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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #86: Local Project in Long Island City, NYC Daily Life in the 1950's, Met Opera in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2014 11:53am | Post a Comment

The talented aerosol artists / muralists, whose vibrant colorful work adorned the walls of the recently displaced (evicted) 5POINTZ graffiti arts mecca in Long Island City (LIC) Queens to make way for the impending construction of luxury condos, were not the only victims of the late 2013 shutdown of the globally revered outdoor public arts space. The long-running, local, non-profit, underground arts organization LP (Local Project Arts Space), who were housed inside the Long Island City 5POINTZ complex, were also unceremoniously evicted. Luckily they found a new home just several blocks away but now they have the challenge of meeting the higher rents in this once run-down industrial section of Queens which, like so much of New York City, is undergoing a gentrification makeover - read: driving out the artists and working folks who can no longer afford to exist there.

In the case of LP whose mission statement has always been to provide local artists a platform to show their work, under the shrewd guidance of its Chilean born director Carolina Penafiel (see Amoeblog interview above), it has come up with creative ways to pay the rent and exist (subsist?) in its new home on 44th Road. These include preparing to sublet out some of its space as small office cubicles and also, in the short-term to cover the rent for the immediate two months, a 30-day Kickstarter campaign that will end on July 12th. Tied into that campaign this Friday, June 27th 2014, they will have a sign-up donation station for visitors to contribute to the organization (in turn they get a brick in the wall with their name engraved on it), as part of a photography art show entitled The Bad, The Good, The Beautiful, The Ugly Pt 2. There will also be spoken word artists and DJs  including myself (doing a live WFMU broadcast) on Friday evening. For more info on LP and this Friday's exhibit visit their website, and click link for more info on their current Buy-A-Brick Kickstarter campaign  and/or peep video below.

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Currently On Tour With Rodriguez, LP Readies To Drop Her New Album "Forever For Now"

Posted by Billyjam, May 27, 2014 10:08pm | Post a Comment

LP's "Forever For Now" - to arrive in Amoeba June 3rd - will the artist's third full-length release


As she prepares to drop her brand new album Forever For Now (Warner Brothers) next week New York singer/songwriter LP (not to be confused with NYC hip-hop artist El-P) is keeping quite busy doing back to back concerts on tour as opener for Rodriguez. Tonight and tomorrow (May 27 & 28th) she plays The Warfield in San Francisco, and on Friday and Saturday (May 30th & 31st) she plays the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles - all on bills with Rodriguez. Then next Tuesday, the date her album drops and in celebration of its release she headlines LA's Sayers Club.  While many only first heard LP in 2011 thanks to her uplifting song "Into the Wild" being chosen as the soundtrack to a national TV commercial for CitiBank (available from Warner at the same name and again included on this new album) the artist had been around for a lot longer than that. Back in 2001 The self-described "working class approach" to music-making artist released her debut album, Heart-Shaped Scar. That first LP album was produced by David Lowery who three years earlier featured her on his band Cracker's album Gentleman's Blues on Virgin. Since then she toured and performed a lot, released a second album in 2004 (Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol) but somehow, despite critical acclaim, never got the level of commercial success she deserved.  She then shifted her career slightly when, in addition to writing and recording her own material, she also began avidly writing and co-writing for other artists including Rihanna, and Christina Aguilera. Then in 2012 she released the 6 song (five live tracks) EP Into the Wild (Live at EastWest Studios), which was reissued on vinyl for last year's Record Store Day (long out of print). Her new album Forever For Now , with the lead single "Night Like This" that drops next week, will feature guest spots from such artists as Isabella "Machine" Summers from Florence + the Machine, and looks set to gain the artist the level of attention that she has long deserved.

Led Zeppelin Bow 'Whole Lotta Love' Rough Mix Ahead of Reissues

Posted by Billy Gil, May 27, 2014 02:26pm | Post a Comment

Next week, rock greats Led Zeppelin will reissue their first three albums, the unimpeachable run of Led Zeppelin I, II and III. Ahead of those June 3 releases, the Zep have unveiled a rough mix of the classic "Whole Lotta Love," which will appear on the reissue of Led Zeppelin II. Give it a stream below:

Here's what the band had to say about the mix, via RollingStone:

"This version of 'Whole Lotta Love' is the mix down from the night that we recorded it, so it doesn't have any of the overdubs that everyone will be familiar with, because when they hear this they'll think, 'Oh yeah, that's the original' and all of a sudden they'll go 'No, it's not,'" Robert Plant said in a statement.

"You can see how songs grow," Jimmy Page said. "There must have been five or six other takes of that, which are not present. So the shaping of these things is very interesting and you can hear with this particular version that we haven't quite reached the point yet, and that it's very, very close."

Each of the three albums have been remastered, and their deluxe versions include bonus tracks. Led Zeppelin I will have a bonus concert recorded live in Paris in October 1969. II's bonus disc has this version of "Whole Lotta Love," plus a never-released song, "La La," and the backing tracks for "Thank You" and "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)." III has the instrumental that would become "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp," called "Jennings Farm Blues," plus and instrumental version of "Out on the Titles" (called "Bathroom Sound") and a blues medley of "Key to the Highway" and "Trouble in Mind."

You can preorder all three albums in various versions below:

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Custom Record Store and Label Sleeves From Over The World

Posted by Rick Frystak, April 16, 2014 11:45am | Post a Comment

Promoting one's logo and style has always been a concern if not a priority of any creative business, especially the music business. To have your record store or record label's graphic sensibility out in the world is like a tag, a notice that, "we exist righteously", and "take a look at us, we are cool and you want to be part of this!". What better way to do this than to attach your graphics onto the outside of an LP's inner sleeve living in eternity with the record snugly inside. Or, to have the store's bag carried out onto the street by your loyal customers with your logo beaming out at the universe. Now that's promotion, or perhaps simply an affirmation of being in the moment.

Here is a 10-year collection of various record store and record label's logo and graphic style across the eras, mostly committed to an LP's inner sleeve, and some retail shopping bags inclusive, logos singing raucously or whispering of the quality within. With trends and budgets shifting moment to moment, this collection becomes a small guide to the attraction of it for everyman's taste. What do folks think will look good? How will they remember our business?  As I deal with old record collections and their ephemera daily, it's always a wonderful gift to have an exotic sleeve pop up from accross the country, or even the world. Records have always been a universally traded entertainment, and it's becoming more so by the month now. 

So, this Record Store Day, sit back and find your favorites within the trove of typographical time. Just browsing these photos fills me with hope.

Click on any image to start a slideshow.

Photographs of sleeves and bags by RICK FRYSTAK

Deep Desert Dial-A-Song: Music From Saharan Cellphones

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 15, 2012 04:24pm | Post a Comment
music from saharan cellphones sahlel sounds world mississippi reocrds african rap hip-hop rock folk world wierd compilationmusic from saharan cellphones lp vinyl back cover salel sounds mississippi records african rap hip hop folk desert compilation weird
Music From Saharan Cellphones is not only the first record I have ever bought comprising of music culled from cellular phones but it's also the first to feature a tracklist what includes bitrate info in the notes.
music from saharan cellphones insert LP world music african sahel sounds
But that's not the only info packed into the incredibly informative insert, oh no. Included within are detailed explanations pertaining to each individual song along with notes on the instrumentation for each respective track and insightful remarks as to the personal relevance of these oft swapped compositions from both the collectors' and the musicians' points of view. Also, if you feared plunking down your hard earned cash for another mysterious, untold vinyl oddment be aware that the "behind the music" info-throwdown continues on the back of the tracklist wherein the demystification of this record begins and the essentialness of it's inception becomes fully realized and, in a sense, re-mystified. In short: Christopher Kirkley begot his sahelsounds label to capture an amazing collection of contemporary West African jammage that is nothing if not a true adventure in hi-fi for the 21st century. And apparently there's more to come.
christopher kirkley sahel sounds label musc from saharan cellphones lp
The songs that comprise Music From Saharan Cellphones were mp3s culled from memory cards of cellphones in West Africa where trading songs via wireless transfer was common before the word "smartphone" became an everyday term stateside. All of the songs presented on the LP are the spoils of an armchair musicologist, the aforementioned Kirkley. who based his immersion out of the Nothern Malian town of Kidal. While there Kirkley began gathering whole collections of MP3s and later got it together to track down the artists to collaborate on a commercial release (via Mississippi records) with sixty percent of the proceeds going directly to the artists themselves - I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult a task that was. The variance in musical style is curiously wild with traditional instruments mixing-it-up with the likes of Groovebox, Autotune,a myriad of synths and the seemingly compulsory presence of Taureg guitar with influences reminiscent of everything from Jil Jilala to Tupac Shakur, Algerian Rai to Mauritanian Jagwa.

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