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Music History Monday: March 18

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 18, 2013 10:22am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: March 18, 1941 - R&B vocal legend Wilson Pickett (born in Prattville, AL.) Happy Birthday to "The Wicked Pickett" on what would have been his 72nd Birthday.


Born on this day: March 18, 1963 - Singer/actress and former Miss America Vanessa Williams (born Vanessa Lynn Williams in Tarrytown, NY). Happy 50th Birthday, Vanessa!!


On this day in music history: March 18, 1967 - "Penny Lane" by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney), it is the 13th US number one single for the "Fab Four." The single is one of the first two songs (along with "Strawberry Fields Forever") to emerge from the sessions that will yield the band's landmark Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is titled after a district near the Liverpool City Centre where Lennon had once lived as an art student. The idea for the song will come to McCartney in a dream. Recording sessions for the song will begin on December 29, 1966, with the final overdubs being recorded on January 17, 1967. Trumpet player David Mason will be hired to play the songs' signature piccolo trumpet solo after McCartney hears him playing the instrument during a television performance of Bach's 2nd Brandenburg Concerto. For both the US and UK releases of the single, it will come packaged with a picture sleeve that features a portrait of the band on the front with childhood photos of each member on the back. Released on February 13, 1967, it will enter the Hot 100 at #85 on February 25th, zooming to the top three weeks later. Surprisingly, the single will peak at #2 on the UK singles chart when it is held off the top by Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me." "Penny Lane" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. After the singles' release, it will be included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour in late 1967.
 

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Albums Out 10/30: The Soft Moon, Neil Young, Killing Joke and More

Posted by Billy Gil, October 29, 2012 07:00pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

The Soft MoonZeros

The Soft Moon ZerosCD $12.98

LP $15.98

Slightly more pop than his first release but still dark enough to scare off the uninitiated, the second album from The Soft Moon improves upon Luis Vasquez’s one-man goth factory sound with a bit more muscle and increased emphasis on hooks and (somewhat) intelligible vocals. Vasquez’s sound — one part Dario Argento soundtrack, one part post-punk mastery — remains relentlessly bleak throughout Zeros, creating a sort of shut-in listening experience during which no light enters or escapes. The result isn’t alienating though; rather, Vasquez carefully builds the album up and keeps it chugging smoothly, from an almost M83-like synth-epic opening, to the short ‘n’ creepy “Machines,” to the title track, the first song we get of several that fulfills the promise of his earlier work. The title track and “Insides,” which immediately follows, sees Vasquez allow his voice to step out of the shadows a bit as he gives an impassioned scream in the title track’s buzzing climax, and on single “Insides,” he sings a discernable yet ghostly melody over a Pornography-era Cure backdrop of a looping guitar riff and bassline and mechanical beats. That breathy whisper that opens the song grabs you, but Vasquez seems to know he can’t offer only atmosphere forever, and his singing, emotional and buried, is a highlight across Zeros when it pops up. On “Dire Life,” which revs its synths before kicking off with a yelp, Vasquez drives listeners down a grim autobahn. Even better is “Want,” in which Vasquez cries “I want it…you have it” over clattering, afrobeat-esque drumwork that sounds like nothing else he’s done. It’s touches like this that keeps Zeros from being a one-note album, and though he doesn’t completely step out from the shadow of his influences, on Zeros Vasquez comes dangerously close, while scratching a very specific itch for immaculately constructed goth pop.

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Hurricane Sandy Soundtrack

Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2012 12:45pm | Post a Comment

New York City, Monday, October 29th 3:45pm: Here in New York City and other parts of the Northeast Coast including New Jersey and Rhode Island we are already feeling the strong winds and rain but are still awaiting the brunt of Hurricane Sandy to hit sometime later today. The massive storm with such a friendly name is expected to wreak havoc here on the Northeast over the next day or more with the worst of it hitting later tonight/early tomorrow morning, according the National Weather Service. Already winds are up near 100 MPH on the Jersey Shore and here in Queens, where I am, some trees have been blown down. Hurricane Sandy, which is arriving  in conjunction with a separate severe cold weather system a couple of days shy of Halloween, has  been dubbed "Frankenstorm" by the media who are always, it appears, delighted to have some potential apocalyptic disaster to report upon. Most folks here in New York and New Jersey that I know are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. NYC buses and subways have been out of service since last (Sunday) evening and both JFK and La Guardia airports are shut down with flights cancelled through tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. For up to the minute news on the storm YouTube is live streaming The Weather Channel,  while Weather.Com is doing live updates online that you can get on your mobile devices.

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100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
      

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.

SONG/ARTIST PLAYLIST & AMOEBA SHOP LINK OF ALEX'S 100 GUITAR RIFFS (IN ORDER):


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

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Jonathan Demme’s "Neil Young Journeys" Opens in SF 7/6. Win a Gift Certificate to Amoeba SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 2, 2012 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Hey music and film lovers! In honor of the San Francisco premiere of Jonathan Demme's new documentary NeilNeil Young Journeys Young Journeys, Sony Pictures Classics, Amoeba Music, and Campus Circle invite you to enter to win a gift certificate to Amoeba Music. Just enter HERE at Campus Circle.

Neil Young Journeys is a look at Neil Young's 2011 solo tour to Toronto's Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. At 65, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity. Concert footage of the Massey Hall performances is interspersed with scenes from a road trip through Ontario. Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbors. As he drives past the dramatically changed landscape, Young fondly embraces his memories of the past. 

Neil Young Journeys
 opens in San Francisco at the Century 9 San Francisco Centre this Friday, July 6th!  

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