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UK Inmates Allowed String Guitars Thanks To Campaign Led By Billy Bragg

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg "A New England (live at Amoeba San Francisco: October 2013)"

As reported today by British media outlets including the NME (New Music Express) UK inmates will finally be allowed use of string guitars thanks to a campaign led by Billy Bragg and including such other musicians as Johnny Marr, Dave Gilmour, and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. The political campaign which was kick-started by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, with Bragg leading the musicians in the crusade for prisoners' rights, set about overturning the long-standing ban on steel-string guitars in British prisons. According to UK prison authorities, the guitar ban was based on fear of their parts being used as weapons. "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened," said the Cardiff West MP upon hearing news of the lift of the ban.

"The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. I started the campaign after prisoners wrote to me explaining how they had saved from their small prison wages to buy guitars and how therapeutic learning to play the guitar had been for them before the ban," added the MP. Billy Bragg noted upon news of the lifting of the ban that prisoners being allowed use of steel string guitars, "can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing." A long time champion of the underdog and with a history of fighting against civil injustices, Bragg founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative to try and overthrow the ban against ban arguing that guitar playing helps greatly in the rehabilitation process of inmates.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Bonobo

Posted by Rachael McGovern, April 4, 2013 05:58pm | Post a Comment

BonoboBritish electronic musician Bonobo (aka Simon Green) released The North Borders this week, his highly anticipated follow-up to 2010's Black Sands. Bonobo stopped by Amoeba Hollywood recently to do some record shopping. He picks up a few world music albums, the Jim O'Rourke project Loose Fur, two LPs for potential sampling featuring harps and folk instrumentation, the new Toro y Moi LP, Anything in Return (which I'm also loving right now), and a few more things.

My favorite moment from this video happens right at the end. He selects the new Johnny Marr album, The Messenger, in part because he saw Mr. Marr's episode in which he bought Bonobo's album. (Johnny Marr actually came into Amoeba that day looking to buy Black Sands and we coincidentally had it playing in the store.) Fast forward a few years, now we have Bonobo, having seen Johnny Marr buy his album in the same store, on the same series, and Bonobo is returning the favor. The WIMB circle of life, or as one person on YouTube called it, "the What's In My Bag Karma game." Pretty cool!


Bonobo - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube


Johnny Marr - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube

Albums Out Feb. 26: Atoms for Peace, Johnny Marr, Kavinsky and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2013 08:55am | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Atoms for Peace AmokAtoms For Peace - Amok

CD $12.98

Deluxe CD $16.98

LP $19.98

Deluxe LP $32.98

Download $9.98-$14.98

Thom Yorke further blurs the line between organic and electronic, emotional and mechanical on his latest release, with Atoms for Peace. Keeping the more electronic-based notion of his 2006 solo album, The Eraser, Yorke balloons the tinny sound of that album with living, breathing collaborators — Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and session drummer Joey Waronker. “Before Your Very Eyes” wipes the floor with most songs on The Eraser with its fully realized sound and emphasis on Yorke’s robofunk riffs and supernatural, swooping vocals. “Default,” too, is like the gnarled single the last Radiohead album, The King of Limbs, was missing. “Ingenue” boasts some of the catchiest synth riffs on the album, and its backbeat, a sort of digitally created, organically reconstructed afrobeat/dubstep hybrid, demands careful attention. Though Amok is sequenced well, some of its tracks fail to make a lasting impression, but by album’s end, the acoustic guitar spiderwebs, handclaps and layers of heavenly Yorke vocals on “Judge, Jury And Executioner” save the day, along with the trippy jazz beat, mathematical guitar, buzzing synths and gurgling, cut-up vocals of “Reverse Running.” Musically there’s something new to glean from each listen, from allowing the densely sequenced beats to firmly etch themselves in your brain to appreciating Yorke’s croon as it echoes out and drowns in reverb. Those who closely follow Yorke’s forward-looking adventurousness will get more from Amok than those looking for songs with the emotional heft of, say, a “Karma Police” or “Kid A.” However, Amok is a more than striking debut, sending new spores to grow on you with each listen and establishing Atoms for Peace as a welcome project from Yorke and co.

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New Preorders: Jim James, Beach Fossils, Veronica Falls and More

Posted by Billy Gil, January 9, 2013 07:17pm | Post a Comment

Read below for preorders recently made available at Amoeba. I've linked to vinyl LP on all of these, but they're all available to preorder on CD as well. See all of the albums up for preorder here.

 

John Paul White - The Long Goodbye

John Paul WhiteOut Jan. 22

The Civil Wars man is embarking on a solo release. Check out The Civil Wars' live show at Amoeba here. Download the performance here.

 

Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love

ra ra riot beta loveOut Jan. 22

The latest from the indie-pop band features the melancholy synths and vocoder jam "When I Dream."

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New Johnny Marr Song Indicates Anticipation Well Justified for His 2013 Solo Debut

Posted by Billyjam, November 17, 2012 08:30am | Post a Comment

Johnny Marr "The Messenger" title track from Marr's 2013 solo debut

As reported here on the Amoeblog influential guitarist Johnny Marr recently announced that he will release his first solo album in the new year. The artist, who came to fame as the backbone of The Smiths sound and who has been listed as one of the top ten best rock guitarists by such entitles as Virgin Media, will both sing and play guitar on the album that he recorded earlier this year in both Manchester and Berlin. This week Marr unveiled a teaser from the album in the form the above music video for "The Messenger." The killer song indicates that the anticipation for the album by fans is well justified. "The Messenger' is the first single from the Marr debut solo album of the same name that will arrive care of Sire/ADA in Amoeba in late February 2013.
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