Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Hip Hop In The Park, Souls of Mischief in NYC, Top 5, E-Lit's New Releases, Amoeba Converse Exhibit + more

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2015 09:05am | Post a Comment

This weekend marks the nineteenth year of Hip Hop In The Park - Berkeley's annual free, all ages, all elements inclusive, hip-hop event in Peoples Park, located behind Amoeba Berkeley. Since 1997, the Students For Hop Hop @ Cal have been presenting this always fun afternoon celebration of hip-hop culture. This year's headliner is Fashawn who has been winning over a whole wave of fans since connecting with Nas and the Queensbridge rapper's new label,  Mass Appeal, on which he released the critically acclaimed The Ecology two months ago. Just in the past week, the Fresno rapper unleashed the album's second single and accompanying video, "Higher."

The Souls of Mischief along with their childhood friend and director of the engaging documentary on the Hiero crew, 'Til Infinity, Shomari Smith are all in New York City right now for the screening of the film tonight at the Helen Mills Theater on West 26th Street as part of the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF 2015). So far, the veteran Oakland hip-hop crew have included doing an interview with Birthplace magazine, and stopping by an old friend's radio show. 

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Unique Veteran French Prog-Rock Ensemble Magma Return to US for Brief Tour

Posted by Billyjam, March 30, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

One of French rock music's most innovative and eclectic musical ensembles, the eight member group Magma whose style is their own unique brand of progressive-rock, will be making a brief North American tour over the next two weeks with only eight select dates scheduled (including two in California dates: LA's Echoplex on Monday, April 6th and Slim's in SF on Wednesday, April 8th). Their upcoming tour that kicks off at Venue in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, April 2nd.

The longtime group, who were founded by main member Christian Vander four and a half decades ago upon inspiration from a "vision of humanity’s spiritual and ecological future," stand apart from every other band (not just in France but everywhere) due to their unique musical sound and the fact that they crafted their very own language.

WFMU radio's DJ Trouble, who plays a lot of French musical acts on her weekly show, has been a big fan of Magma's for many years and will be attending their upcoming tour's closing date at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on April 13th. I asked the DJ what exactly it is that she likes so much about Magma? "They're a wild French band that includes a former Yé-yé girl," she said, adding "And they've made up an extra terrestrial language and "origin" story. Oh and they make crazy prog-ish sounds! What's not to love?" Another major fan of the band is Amoeba owner Marc Weinstein whom I asked what it is that has long attracted him to Magma. "They are unlike anything else. They created their own universe and you literally have to enter their universe to appreciate their music," said Weinstein, noting how Magma founder Christian Vander's intense interest in music by Stravinsky and Coltrane helped shape the band's eclectic, adventurous progressive sound.

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Digging in the Crates of OMCA's Vinyl: Sound & Culture of Records Pt 4: Sylvie Simmons, David Katznelson, & Rachael Aguirre

Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

If you haven't already made your way to the ever-popular, Amoeba Music sponsored, excellent exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) which opened three months ago on April 19th (Record Store Day) at the downtown Oakland museum in its Great Hall exhibition area don't fret as you still have some time - well not much, but some - since it is open through tomorrow Sunday July 27th. To mark the end of this wonderful hands on exhibit, that paid homage the joys of analog and vinyl with lots of local Bay Area folks (including many Amoebites) offering their input on the subject, today Saturday July 26th will be the final weekly Talk & Play program of the three month long exhibit in which experts in specific areas of music/records informally chat to a museum audience while dropping the needle on the records that they are referencing in their talk/lecture.

Today - from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Great Hall - the Talk & Play session will be David Katznelson (record producer, and president of Birdman Recording Group) and friends who will be presenting a Talk & Play they call Every Record Has a Story. David's co-hosts will be Steven Baker (former president of Warner Brothers Records), Britt Govea (Folk Yeah Productions founder), and Josh Rosenthal (founder of Tompkins Square Records)  - all of whom will share  their favorite music/records and tell stories and secrets related to collecting said records. David Katznelson is among the many record collecting musicologists who have curated crates (that museum goers can personally play on provided turntables) at the Vinyl exhibit. For this final fourth installment in the Digging in the Crates of OMCA's "Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records" Amoeblog series I have included David's crate: The influence and genius of the Velvet Underground, along with those of two other contributors: Sylvie Simmons whose crate is Grrl Power - women in rock from pop to punk, 1960-1980, (she also curated Sylvie Simmons the Americana crate), and the museum's own Rachael Aguirre (Administrative Assistant & OMCA Lab - Curatorial and Experience Development) whose crate is titled Sound track for Dungeons and Dragons: Onyx Discs of Epic Sound: A Dungeons and Dragons Soundtrack. Meanwhile the photos in this blog are either provided by OMCA or James Mak of Joysco Photos who kindly shot this photos on behalf of the Amoeblog (thank-you James!).

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Digging in the Crates of OMCA's "Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records" Pt 1 featuring Marc Weinstein

Posted by Billyjam, June 27, 2014 11:35pm | Post a Comment

Since it opened two months ago (fittingly on Record Store Day, April 19th), the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) ongoing exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records has been resoundingly popular and is attracting museum visitors of vinyl, the sound and culture of records at oakland museum of californiaall ages and generations, from those who grew up with records to those too young to have ever seen vinyl firsthand or had opportunity (until now) to put down the needle and experience playing vinyl in all its analog glory.

The exhibit, which runs through July 27th, is sponsored by Amoeba Music who supplied nearly all of the vinyl for the hands-on exhibit. The action is in OMCA's Great Hall alongside another cool exhibit scheduled for the same run: Eric Nakamura's  SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot exhibit.

As well as supplying nearly all of the records on exhibit and featuring a window display at the Berkeley Amoeba store dedicated solely to the OMCA exhibit, several Amoeba staffers have contributed to the exhibit by way of curating the numerous crates that dot the cavernous exhibit hall. These include Gail Todd, Marc Weinstein, Lori Katz, and myself who are among numerous other contributing music nerds -- such as avid local rap collector 12 Man Rambo, noted San Francisco producer Dan the Automator, and author Denise Sullivan -- who each drew up lists of 33 records per crate (some more, some less).

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Recap: Record Store Day Press Conference at Amoeba Hollywood with Chuck D, John Densmore & More

Posted by Rachael McGovern, March 20, 2014 05:20pm | Post a Comment

Chuck D and John Densmore at Amoeba Music Hollywood

On Thursday, March 20 Amoeba Hollywood hosted a press conference and roundtable conversation to announce the official list of limited edition releases available exclusively at independent record stores on Record Store Day 2014 (April 19). Download Amoeba's list (.pdf) of Record Store Day titles here.

RSD co-founder Michael Kurtz kicked off the event with representatives from the city of Los Angeles. Angela Babcock, Business Development Specialist for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Tony Arranaga, Communications Director for LA City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, presented Kurtz with official plaques proclaiming April 19 Record Store Day. 

Angela Babcok, Tony Arranga, Michael Kurtz at Amoeba Hollywood

Our special guests for the roundtable included Chuck D, Record Store Day Ambassador for 2014 and co-founder of Public Enemy; John Densmore, founding member of The Doors; Marc Weinstein, co-owner of Amoeba Music; Mark Thompson, owner of Vacation Vinyl; Neil Schield, owner of Origami Vinyl; Julie Edwards of Deap Vally; and Samuel Lopez of Tapioca and the Flea.

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