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JR Valrey Discusses His Second Book, Unfinished Business: Block Reportin' 2

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment

jr valreyOakland author JR Valrey has just published his powerful second book - Unfinished Business: Block Reportin 2. The author/journalist/broadcaster/activist who is also known as the People's Minister of Information will be doing two Bay Area book readings this month in celebration of this second publication in an ongoing series at both of the Bay Area branches of the wonderful Marcus Books: at the San Francisco Marcus Books (1712 Fillmore St.) on February 13th, and at the Oakland Marcus Books (3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way) on February 22nd.

Two years ago, during Black History Month 2012, JR Valrey acted as a guest Amoeblogger here and wrote an insightful piece titled The Black Experience Study Guide: My Top 7 Books, Movies, and Albums for Black History Month. That piece followed a profile/interview with Valrey from a couple of months earlier on the topic of his first book Block Reportin. This week I again caught up with the busy Oakland-based Valrey to talk about his latest book, its subjects, and some of the topics covered in it and his opinions on them.

 
Amoeblog: Is it fair to call Unfinished Business a sequel to / a continuation of your last book and does it continue that book's same format?

JR Valrey: I guess you can say that. The only continuity between Block Reportin" and Unfinished Business is that they are both books consisting of a compilation of interviews; interviews that I did as a print and broadcast journalist over the years.  The third installment of the series, which is yet to be named, will include 28 interviews so that the total number of interviews that I have put out in book form will number 100.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.15.13: Tyler, The Creator, Murs & Fashawn, Equipto, Illogic & Blockhead, The Coup

Posted by Billyjam, February 15, 2013 08:08am | Post a Comment

Tyler, The Creator "Domo 23"

Yesterday, February 14th, Odd Future's Tyler, The Creator announced via skydiving video that he would be dropping a new album, entitled Wolf, on April 2nd and last night, via oddfuture.com, premiered the video (followed shortly afterwards by an upload to YouTube - above) for the track "Domo 23" from that forthcoming follow-up to the critically-acclaimed May 2011 release Goblin. As well as the new album there will be an accompanying upcoming tour, the artist's new clothing line called Golf Wang, plus the second season of Loiter Squad. When the new album arrives in Amoeba in early April it will do so three separate album covers, including a deluxe version featuring art by Los Angeles-based pop surrealist Mark Ryden.



Illogic & Blockhead "Capture the Sun (feat Slug)"

Another upcoming April hip-hop release will beIllogic & Blockhead's collaborative full-length, Capture The Sun that will drop on the 16th of that month. The album, which includes features from Blueprint, Abstract Rude, Slug and others, will be released on TK via Man Bites Dog Records. Above is the new video of the album's lead single and title track, featuring the aforementioned Slug of Atmosphere, "Capture The Sun."

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50 Essential Albums Released in 2012

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2012 11:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for eight years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2012 releases that I fell in love with or had serious affairs over the past 365 days. 2012, for me, was a surprising and amazing year in music. Nearly all 50 releases here could have been a Top-Ten contender almost any other year, and the Top Ten is full of records that could easily have been #1.



50 Essential Albums of 2012


1.  SCOTT WALKER Bish Bosch (4AD) 

The 6-year-long wait was well worth it, as is usually the case with Walker. This isn't the latest indie background music du jour - It's an Absurdist's symphony. Melody is eschewed for repetition, but you still walk away with the damned thing in your head. E-bows, machetes as percussion and disturbing (as well as amusing) scatological metaphors are some of the unlikely ingredients that make up this terrifying (and weirdly infectious) beauty. There's really nothing else like it, so enjoy figuring it out for the rest of your life.  






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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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Weekly Roundup: Local Natives, Kendrick Lamar, The Coup, Kitten

Posted by Billy Gil, October 18, 2012 05:30pm | Post a Comment

Local Natives Live at AmoebaLocal Natives – “Breakers”

L.A.-based Local Natives have unveiled a new track from their forthcoming second album, Hummingbirds. It’s a bigger, more textured sound for the band, while retaining the rambunctious energy that made their first album such a delight. The band played Amoeba a while back as well — check out photos from that performance here.

 

 

Kendrick Lamar – “Backseat Freestyle”

Kendrick Lamar, of West Coast supergroup Black Hippy (Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul) and from our city of Compton, has dropped the first track form his upcoming first official album, good kid, m.A.A.d city (preorder here). “Backseat Freestyle” really does sound like he’s f-ing the world for 72 hours, as he says in the song. It’s tough and laid back and self-assured as its title would imply.

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