Amoeblog

Essential Records: Portishead's 'Dummy'

Posted by Amoebite, October 27, 2014 04:24pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Portishead Dummy

During the summer of 1996, I became obsessed with Portishead. Dummy had been released two years earlier, so generally speaking, I was late to the game, but in the suburban town where I was about to start high school, I was definitely way ahead of the game. Because when it came to underground music, culture or film, there was no game.

I was just about to turn fifteen and leave all the friends I'd known for nearly a decade to attend the state's largest high school on my own. It was a deeply mopey time. At the same time, I was starting to realize that the music on Top 40 radio made me feel like something was missing, that musically-speaking, there must be more out there. So, I started tuning into the local alt-rock station after school, alone in my room, and that's where I first encountered Portishead's "Sour Times."


Portishead - Sour Times
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I hated this song. I thought it was irritating and abrasive. Singer Beth Gibbons would wail "Nobody loves me/it's true/not like you do" with her '60s jazz influenced vocals and I would get pissed off that I'd have to sit through it for the next three or four minutes. (For some reason I never went as far as actually turning the radio off.) Every time I heard it, I would get angry at it, angry that I had to sit through it, angry that the station's Music Director had poisoned the rotation with this grating, slightly terrifying few minutes of song. 

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Two New "What's In My Bag?" Episodes With The Flaming Lips

Posted by Amoebite, February 11, 2014 05:42pm | Post a Comment

Our What's In My Bag? crew had the pleasure of shooting an episode each with Michael Ivins and Kliph Scurlock of psychedelic alternative rock band The Flaming Lips. Definitely a must see for Lips' fans. 

Michael Lee Ivins (pictured in the blue shirt) is the bassist and founding member of The Flaming Lips. The band originally formed in Norman, Oklahoma with Wayne Coyne playing guitar, his brother Mark Coyne on vocals, and Ivins handling bass duties. After several years of crafting their sound, The Flaming Lips broke into the mainstream with their 6th studio album, Transmissions From The Sattelite Heart (1993), spawning the hit single "She Don't Use Jelly."  

In March 1999, The Flaming Lips were gearing up to tour in support of their album, The Soft Bulletin. The band hired Kliph Scurlock (pictured left in purple shirt) to do some heavy lifting as a roadie. Scurlock remaind on tour with the band until 2002 when the Lips were doubling as an opener and backing band for Beck. In an effort to enable multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd to play lead guitar, Scurlock was asked to play drums during the band's run with Beck. Subsequently, Scurlock went from touring drummer to full-time member and remains with the Lips until this day.      

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Author Of "Keep On Pushing" Denise Sullivan Celebrates MLK Day With Reading & Singalong @ YBCA in SF

Posted by Billyjam, January 17, 2013 08:01am | Post a Comment
When the Amoeblog last caught up with Denise Sullivan in September 2011 it was to have an in-depth discussion with the Northern California author about her then recently published book Black Power Music (From Blues To Hip-Hop). At that time the Crawdaddy columnist and self-described "record geek" discussed her engaging book that effortlessly intertwines American history of the past numerous decades. The book nicely covers a wide range of protest/revolutionary music from early folk-blues, through the musical soundtrack of the civil rights movement (soul/funk/rock), and up to the contemporary hip-hop protest music. In that earlier Amoeblog interview Sullivan discussed many things including how she went from writing a book on the White Stripes to a book on Black Power Music. "Matters of race and the sexes, the Great Migration, what was once called the "American Dream," industry, ingenuity, and the entire great American songbook are of deep interest to me and all are tied up in the White Stripes story," she said at the time. "Keep on Pushing is a similar story, only it has a lot more people (many of them black, others are Native American, women, or economically strapped, most all of them are trying to survive America), and music is big part of their toolkit. Specifically though, in the case of both books, it was fine art photography that initially inspired me to launch my investigations: American Ruins by Camilo Jose Vergara, and The Black Panthers by Stephen Shames."

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Pat Thomas signs "LISTEN, WHITEY! Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975" at The Booksmith in SF, 4/10

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 15, 2012 04:46pm | Post a Comment
Listen Whitey Sounds of Black Power Pat Thomas Booksmith Amoeba San Francisco

On April 10, 2012 at 7:30pm, our friends at The Booksmith will host reissue producer/music scholar Pat Thomas for a signing of his new book LISTEN, WHITEY! Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975 and the companion album (out now on Light in the Attic Records), which is being called the definitive Black Power aural document!

Over a five year period, Pat Thomas befriended key leaders of the seminal Black Power Movement,Elaine Brown Huey P Newton Black Forum Motown Records dug through Huey Newton’s archives at Stanford University, spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on eBay, and talked to rank and file Black Panther Party members, uncovering dozens of obscure albums, singles, and stray tapes. Along the way, he began to piece together a time period (1967-1974) when revolutionaries like Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, and Stokely Carmichael were seen as pop culture icons and musicians like Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon were seen as revolutionaries.

LISTEN, WHITEY! chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records; from 1970 to 1973, Motown’sBlack Forum Motown Records Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby and Ossie Davis, and many others, and explores the musical connections between Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Graham Nash, the Partridge Family (!?!) and the Black Power movement. Obscure recordings produced by SNCC, Ron Karenga’s US, the Tribe and other African-American socio­political organizations of the late 1960s and early ’70s are examined along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Archie Shepp, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Clifford Thornton, Watts Prophets, The Last Poets, Gene McDaniels, Roland Black Forum Motown RecordsKirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against op­pression. Thomas further focuses on Black Consciousness poetry (from the likes of Jayne Cortez, wife of Ornette Coleman), inspired re­ligious recordings that infused god and Black Nationalism, and obscure regional and privately pressed Black Power 7-inch soul singles from across America. The text is ac­companied by over 200 large sized, full-color reproductions of album covers and 45 rpm sin­gles, most of which readers will have never seen before.

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"It's the MOST... Blackhistorymonthy tiiime of the yeeear...!"

Posted by Job O Brother, January 31, 2010 10:45am | Post a Comment
bessie smithbeyonce

I know what you’re thinking: How can it be that it’s Black History Month again, already? It seems to come up faster with each passing year. No sooner do I finish cleaning up all the gift wrap and decorations from 2009’s BHM festivities when – BAM! – time to break ‘em out again for 2010.

But I am excited! I love draping my house in the traditional BHM crushed-velvet flour sacks, heated bear skins, and twinkling, sapphire, mailboxes. We gather together around the hot oil printing press and sing BHM carols, get tipsy on Pancake-Sausage Nog, and remind each other, with love in our hearts, not to forget to turn off the air conditioner before leaving the house. Oh, joy! Oh sweet, unmitigated joy!

Of all these rituals, my favorite is the singing of the carols. I thought I’d share some of them with you, and invite you to sing along with me! Just click on a song below and belt one out. If you’re at work, or reading this on your iPhone while standing in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s, or simultaneously looking at Internet porn (way to multi-task!) – no matter! Sing all the louder! Let everyone know: You’re Black and You’re Proud!

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