Amoeblog

Christmas 2015 White House Mixtape

Posted by Billyjam, December 25, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

Destiny's Child "8 Days of Christmas" (2001): 1 of 14 songs on 2015 White House Holiday Mixtape


Yesterday the White House, via a published Spotify playlist, unveiled the playlist (left) chosen by the president and First Lady (The First Playlist?) for this 2015 Christmas/holiday season. Descriptively entitled Holidays with the Obamas, the virtual mixtape noticeably does not include any hip-hop by the man dubbed by many as the "first hip-hop president." Not even Run-D.M.C.'s ubiquitous holiday hit "Christmas In Hollis" (slightly devalued IMO by its use in a car commercial) that was first released in 1987 when the president was 26 and Michelle was 23 and they were both reportedly fans of hip-hop & rap. Also absent are such hip-hop friends and guests of the current White House as Common and Jay-Z. But then come think of it, neither recorded Christmas songs that I am aware of. However Hova's wife and fellow former White House performer Beyonce did make the current playlist, as part of the female trio that catapulted her to fame.

A live version of Destiny Child's "8 Days Of Christmas" (video above) from the 2001 album of the same name ranks along with such other soul-fueled holiday classics as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (just reissued on 10" picture disc), and Stevie Wonder’s “Someday At Christmas.”  Also here is The Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (audio below), which was initially released on the 1970 full-length Jackson 5 Christmas Album (one of three albums released by the group that year). Released a decade before they were even born, but remaining a Christmas classic ever since, is Eartha Kitt's 1953 recording "Santa Baby." The song has been covered over the decades since by other artists such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande.

New Orleans-born Bay Area soulstress/actress Ledisi's version of "Silent Night" is included as are Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men’s “Let It Snow,” and the late great Luther Vandross' 1995 recording "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (audio below).  As with any music list compiled by any person (especially POTUS), people will find fault and question why such a song was included or why another was not. My critique was, why no rap?, while another's was how come "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto" by James Brown was not included? It's all subjective so we can wonder all we want. However, more telling will be future Barack Obama Christmas playlists after he no longer holds the office of president and will be free to really let loose and include anything he truly wants. I'm visualizing a hardcore rap Xmas playlist featuring songs like the recently reissued Eazy-E "Merry Muthafukin Xmas." But we'll just have to wait and see.

Continue reading...

Interview with Bay Area Hip-Hop Artist Turned Novelist Bret Alexander Sweet on "Among The Veils"

Posted by Billyjam, October 12, 2015 01:30pm | Post a Comment
Bret Alexander Sweet is the Bay Area hip-hop artist turned author who expertly channeled his writing skills as an emcee (Karma with Kemetic Suns, and Fundamentals) into being an accomplished author. This year Alexander Sweet, who works in mentoring inner city youth in entrepreneurship and is the son of prominent Bay Area civil rights attorney and social entrepreneur Clifford Charles Sweet, published his impressive first novel Among The Veils.  With a distinct musical backdrop to its storyline (references songs and musicians throughout) the work of fiction is clearly fueled by Alexander's love and broad knowledge of music. The book is the Oakland, CA resident's first in an ambitious five-part series of publications. Already half completed the author, who graduated from Berkeley High School in 1995, has scheduled the sequel to Among The Veils - to be entitled Sanctuary In The Veils - for a late 2016 planned publication date. 

As a hip-hop artist in the nineties Sweet was a founding member of Kemetic Suns, a member of Fundamentals, as well as founder of the underrated indie label House Kemetic Suns whose releases included the cassette The PatterFall Wars (scroll down to hear). As mentor/teacher Alexander was awarded Certified Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship in 2004 which led to him a few years later founding the Dualism Group whose mission statement he outlined as an, "early stage venture capitalism firm and consulting arm geared toward helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and expand their companies in order to bring jobs to lower income communities."   Recently I caught up with Bret Alexander Sweet to find out more about his book and its inspiration.

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With ODESZA

Posted by Amoebite, June 10, 2015 11:04am | Post a Comment

Odesza

Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight are the duo behind indie electronica project ODESZA. Founded in 2012 prior to graduating Western Washington University, the pair released their debut LP, Summer's Gone, only a short time later to great acclaim. In 2013, ODESZA released their My Friends Never Die EP and opened for Pretty Lights on his Analog Future Tour. A year later, Mills and Knight were back in the studio finishing up their sophomore LP, In Return (Counter Records), before heading out on a U.S. tour that would culminate in a live performance at Coachella. That summer they toured Australia, and returned to the U.S. for a string of dates prior to their second album's release in September 2014. This summer, ODEZSA is set to tour North America and Europe.

ODESZA recently stopped by Amoeba Hollywood to shop around and hang out with our What's In My Bag? crew. Harrison gets things started with a copy of Ain't It Funky by legendary soul man James Brown on vinyl. We at Amoeba are happy to have supplied Harrison with his very first James Brown LP! For Clayton's first pick, he opts for a copy of Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill by psychedelic folk musician Grouper. If you're ever in the mood for some ambient-dream pop jams to remind you of Portland, this is the album for you! Harrison also picks up a sweet re-issue of renowned Brazilian singer-songwriter Marcos Valle's self-titled release. If you dig Brazilian artists like Sergio Mendes and Os Mutantes, Marcos Valle needs to be in your record collection. Clayton manages to dig up a vinyl copy of Sam Cooke's Ain't That Good News, which contains his favorite song to listen to, "A Change Is Gonna Come." The guys of ODESZA dig for an array of great music, including electronica classics Daft Punk and French band AIR.

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Posted by Amoebite, April 21, 2015 06:17pm | Post a Comment

Mike Scott

The Waterboys is the brainchild of Scottish-born singer-songwriter Mike Scott. The project blew up in the '80s with its Celtic-inspired rock and roll, including the hit song "The Whole of the Moon" from their 1985 album This Is the Sea. Ten years into the band's career, Mike Scott, the driving force behind The Waterboys,  went "solo" and the band were on hiatus for most of the '90s. The Waterboys came back in 2000 and have been releasing albums and touring the world since. 2015 has been very busy for The Waterboys, including two new releases, tour dates and their North American national television debut on the Late Show With David Letterman. The band's new album, Modern Blues  (Harlequin & Clown) hit shelves April 7th and was closely followed by Puck's Blues, (Harlequin & Clown) a special 10" vinyl for Record Store Day.

Be sure to catch The Waterboys when they're in Los Angeles next month to play the Fonda Theatre May 13th. You can purchase tickets in-store at Amoeba Hollywood with super low fees or you can get them online here.

Continue reading...

Top 20 Songs About Heroin

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Upon hearing the incredible, engaging new single "Bag A Gear" from the Dublin, Ireland-based rapper Tommy KD (formerly known as Man & The Machine) on the topic of his former heroin habit that he is grateful to have finally kicked, I was reminded of the numerous songs tackling the topic of the highly addictive opiate.

I have put together a Top 20 Songs About Heroin list - some seemingly pro but most definitively con. These songs (with accompanying videos) are culled from different genres and different eras but all share views on the same topic - one that has destroyed way too many great musicians' careers and lives over the decades. Just as there are countless terms and nicknames for heroin (horse, smack, H, skag, junk, dirt, brown sugar, golden girl, hell dust, white nurse, thunder, etc. etc.) there are also seemingly endless songs about the drug. This subjective top twenty list could easily be extended into a Top 100 or Top 200 list, so feel free to post any songs on the subject of heroin that you think should have been included. Since I tried to keep it down to 20, I had to cut out duplicates by artists included and did not include such greats as "Ain't it Fun" by both The Dead Boys and Guns N' Roses.

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  3  4  5  6  >>  NEXT