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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #24: A Tale of Two Nick Caves, Sigur Ros @ MSG, Blues for Smoke, Rakim & Raekwon, and more

Posted by Billyjam, March 20, 2013 12:29pm | Post a Comment

       

 

Welcome to another installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog report with an overview of a diverse mix of fun things from music and film to art happening in the Big Apple in the week ahead. Included in this latest Amoeblog report from New York City are such things as the music-inspired Blues for Smoke exhibit at the Whitney, the inspiring documentary You Don't Need Feet To Dance, the photo exhibit celebrating the centennial of the 1913 Armory Exhibition, concerts such as Sigur Rós at MSG, and the slightly confusing tale of two Nick Caves (one horsesuit related and one Bad Seeds related) happening at Grand Central and the Beacon Theater next week.

The fact that two high profile artists in different contemporary art fields with the exact same spelling of the name Nick Cave are performing in the same city on overlapping days is bound to cause confusion to some, so lets clear it up now and distinguish between the two Nicks. Think of it as Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds vs. Nick Cave and the Herd of Soundsuit Horses. One is the well-known Australian musician/sometime actor Nick Cave we all know/love from the Birthday Party Bad Seeds, Grindermanetc. (more on him in NYC a little down further) while the other Nick Cave is the visual artist whose installation/performance piece entitled HEARD•NY (see above & left) will take up residency for a week starting Monday, March 25th inside Grand Central Terminal's main space as part of the historic New York transit hub's big 100 year anniversary celebration.

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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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Ice T Well Prepared For Critiques of his "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" Documentary at UK Premiere

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2012 07:07am | Post a Comment


Ice T
's critically acclaimed, independently produced, hip-hop history documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, which opened in the States last month, just opened here in Europe on Friday last. The evening before (July 19) there were a series of premiere screenings in London and other select European cities including Dublin, Ireland when I caught it at the IFI (Irish Film Institute) where the film was followed immediately by a Q+A & concert performance via live satellite from London's Hammersmith Apollo. There Ice T, along with Melle Mel, Chuck D, and Raekwon were all in town for the UK debut. During this Q+A from the audience (a tough crowd) Ice T fielded most of the questions in which he spent a fair amount of time in defense of his great film: something he was well able to handle.

But first the movie which I had heard and read all about and was most anxious to view. I thought it was really excellent; especially on the big screen with the film's ample use of panoramic aerial views of NYC, LA, and Detroit, all lovingly shot in breathtaking widescreen at various times of the day from helicopter, that nicely broke up the dialog segments of  the documentary.

Sure the film didn't have all my favorite rappers in it but it was not my film, it was Ice T's. And as the OG (original gangsta) turned rapper, turned actor, turned filmmaker - stated before the film was even screened at Sundance earlier this year; he was not trying to represent all things rap (especially the bling & swag elements) but rather simply focus on the art of the rapper / emcee, and from his own personal perspective. This he did in loving detail, casually catching up with old friends in the rap game, and having them spit a verse or two from their own or other rapper's favorite rhymes, and share a little insight on how they approach their craft. In all 47 artists made the final cut including such talents as Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Raekwon, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Snoop Dog, Kool Keith, KRS-One, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chino XL, Grandmaster Caz, and Melle Mel - the latter two getting perhaps the most shine and props in the film. 

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W.R.E.A.M. (Wu Rules Everything Around Me)

Posted by Billyjam, August 30, 2011 05:41pm | Post a Comment
Wu rules everything around me, or so it seems of late since the legendary Wu-Tang Clan appear to be everywhere these days between their own popular recently released album, Legendary Weapons which dropped a month ago on eOne Music; the WU's distinctive presence on the ongoing Rock The Bells tour where they host the 36 Chambers stage; the proliferation of Wu-Tang mashup projects such as the recently Amoeblogged-about Wugazi: 13 Chambers project; plus the seemingly endless amount of cameos on other artist's projects that the ubiquitous Wu Tang members have been making of late. Indeed, there seems to be no end of the amount of guest spots that the numerous members of this influential Staten Island (aka Shaolin) NY crew (who redefined hip-hop with their landmark 1993 debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)) have been making lately. Even though their latest album is noticeably missing GZA, not to mention Masta Killa, it still became a fave with both critics and fans.


Anything Wu Tang do seems to command widespread attention. Case in point was when, a few weeks ago, within hours of their NYC offices posting an ad for an unpaid intern position, the ad went viral and got picked up and repeated by endless online, print, and TV outlets. Meanwhile, the popular official Wu Tang Facebook fan page has close to one and half million avid followers and appears to be increasing at a steady pace, undoubtedly spurred on by the Wu members' inclusion on this year's Rock The Bells. On the tour, numerous Wu soldiers perform, including Raekwon and Ghostface doing Only Built For Cuban Linx and GZA/Genius performing Liquid Swords. Indicative of their draw, the festival includes the WU's own 36 Chambers stage on which crew members and Wu Tang-endorsed acts like Mobb Deep perform.  At this past Saturday's Rock The Bells stop in the Bay Area at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Rae and Ghost's set was one of the festival highlights and proved why these vets can still command such a dedicated following two decades later.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 03:19:11: Lupe, Talib, Raekwon, Blu, Elzhi, Moe Green, De La Soul, Skratchpad, Bootsy Collins + More

Posted by Billyjam, March 19, 2011 06:25am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 03:19:11

1) Lupe Fiasco Lasers (Atlantic) CD

Love him or hate him, Lupe Fiasco’s new one was last week’s best seller by far, selling out the first day we received it and steadily moving units since. Lasers has apparently been disowned by Lupe himself in interviews, which is somewhat of a testament to his testy personality, but he’s clearly tapped into a special realm of the pop music spectrum if he can appeal to Top 40 crowds and seasoned rap listeners alike.

2) Talib Kweli Gutter Rainbows (3D/Javotti Media) CD

Back in stock! I wrote up a bit on this one the other week, but it was out of stock for a sec and now that it’s back on the shelves it’s moving quick. Talib Kweli’s latest is his first independently released solo project in a minute, boasting production from the likes of Oh No, Marco Polo, S1, and Khrysis amongst others. Gutter Rainbows is one crafted for Talib’s long-time fans for sure.

3) Blu Amnesia (Nature Sounds) 10”

New limited 10” single from everybody’s favorite new school West Coast MC, Blu. Taken from his upcoming full length HerFavoriteColour, which was released as a download a while back but is now newly remastered and available to the DJs on wax. The title track and two additional songs on this 10” highlight not only Blu’s natural flow, but also his interesting lo-fi soulful production. Limited and smooth as hell.

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