Amoeblog

AMOEBA MUSIC BAG SIGHTINGS @ WFMU'S RECORD FAIR IN NYC

Posted by Billyjam, October 27, 2009 05:31am | Post a Comment
Jared Lenny Olmsted

I've been attending the amazing WFMU Record Fair for the past four years, ever since I joined the unique freeform New Jersey radio station, and the one thing that is a given at this popular annual event is that you will always spot a ton of Amoeba bags floating around the weekend long event. This should not be too WFMU Record Fair 2009surprising, considering that both the WFMU Record Fair and Amoeba Music attract the same sort of person -- one who is extremely passionate about his/her music, and music collecting.  With hundreds of thousands of records and CDs (plus tons more stuff) being sold by over a hundred vendors at the expansive Metropolitan Pavilion venue in the Chelsea district of New York CIty, the three day WFMU Record Fair attracts people from all over the States and overseas who will travel to New York City just to attend this event. Many of these same folks will travel all the way to LA or the Bay to shop at Amoeba.

This time last year I reported here on the Amoeblog about the 2008 WFMU Record Fair, where Amoeba logo wearing music collecting fanatics included Nakajima, who had flown all the way to New York City from Japan specifically for the WFMU event. And at this year's event (Oct 23, 24, 25), which was "a success" according to WFMU Station Manager Ken Freedman, the instantly recognizable black record 100% cotton tote bags with the bright yellow & red Amoeba Music logos and store of origin's name were sighted all over the place.

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TOM SCHARPLING ON HIS PAUL McCARTNEY RAM ALBUM TRIBUTE

Posted by Billyjam, September 9, 2009 03:35pm | Post a Comment
paul mccartney ram
Everyone loves The Beatles, incuding radio DJ / comedian / televison writer Tom Scharpling, who has long favored Paul McCartney as his favorite of the Fab Four. Scharpling, who hosts the briilliant weekly WFMU 3 hour live radio program The Best Show on WFMU, considers McCartney's post Beatles, May 1971 release RAM (with wife Linda McCartney) to be one of the artists' finest works.

In fact, Scharpling was so into the album, which is often unfairly dismissed by critics, that he had the wonderful idea of producing a RAM covers tribute compilation, inviting his many musician friends to contribute to the project.The final product would be a special WFMU only release made out of love for McCartney, as well as for WFMU, as it helped raise funds (which it did very well) for the New Jersey radio station's annual fundraising pledge drive marathon earlier this year. 

Renamed TOM, and with a cleverly altered cover, the new tribute RAM is a sincere track-by-track reinterpretation of the 38 year old release with such artists as Ted Leo, Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Portastatic, Danielson, Dump (Yo La Tengo's James McNew), Spider Bags, Black Hollies, and Stones Throws' James Pants, all pitching in their time and talent to help out the popular radio host and the non-profit independent radio station.
Tom Scharrpling
I recently caught up with Tom Scharpling, whose show really is The Best Show on WFMU and one I never miss! It airs every Tuesday 8pm to 11pm EST on WFMU. I talked with him about the concept for the album, the artists' attitudes towards McCartney, and also his reaction to the similarly themed Ram on L.A. album that was released around the same time as his RAM tribute.

Amoeblog: How did you first get the idea to do this RAM themed compilation?

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Observing Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Posted by Billyjam, April 21, 2009 11:31am | Post a Comment
the readerOne of the most memorable scenes from the hilarious Ricky Gervais/ Stephen Merchant television series Extras produced by HBO/BBC is the episode in which Kate Winslet, playing a nun taking a break from shooting a Holocaust film, is giving advice on how to score an Oscar. "If you do a film about the Holocaust, you're guaranteed an Oscar," advises Winslet, playing herself in the mockumentary about extras in Hollywood. Winslet's episode was first aired in August 2005. Of course, the real kicker to this fictional scenario is that just three years later Winslet went on to star in the wonderful 2008 Holocaust film The Reader and won an Oscar for her role for "best actress" at the Academy Awards earlier this year. 

But the real reason why so many films about the indelible scar on the human experience that is the Holocaust go on to justifiably win Academy Awards is that these typically somber heartfelt films tend to be made, by both directors and actors alike, with such a level of pure passion and sincerity that it comes across in the finished product and ultimately makes for really powerful pieces of art. Examples of films that deal in some way with the Holocaust include Anne Frank - The Whole Story (2001), The Devil's Arithmetic (1999), Conspiracy (2001), Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005), Life Is Beautiful (1997), Schindler's List (1993), Jakob the Liar (1999), as well as the 1978 TV mini-series Holocaust. All of these films are available on DVD and found at Amoeba Music.

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Why Is The Ratio Of Female To Male Rappers Still So Uneven? Conscious Daughters + Monica Lynch Weigh in on the Topic: Women in hip-hop Part IV: Women's History Month

Posted by Billyjam, March 27, 2009 05:00am | Post a Comment
queen latifah all hail the queenWhy, after all these years, is the number of female rappers still radically less than that of their male counterparts? Is it really that not as many women want to be rappers? Or rather that they are being shut out and discriminated against, and simply not encouraged to be hip-hop artists? Encouragement ultimately comes down to sales figures, so is that not enough hip-hop fans support women artists? 

"Women can't rap" used to be the common criticism of females heard back in the day. Interestingly, these days the ratio of female rap fans has grown, yet the number of female rap artists has not grown proportionately. 

To answer these questions, which have always puzzled me, I asked a few women who have been in the business for a while: CMG and Special One of the longtime Oakland female duo The Conscious Daughters, and Monica Lynch, the president of Tommy Boy Records during the years 1981 - 1998 where she was instrumental in launching the careers of such artists as Afrika Bambaataa, De La Soul, Digital Underground, House of Pain, Naughty By Nature, and Queen Latifah. She still works closely with Queen Latifah, helping guide the artist, actor, investor, product spokesperson's with her music-related endeavors.

"When you look at rap as a subset of the hip-hop culture at large, you see that a vast vast majority of the DJs were male, a vast majority of the graffiti artists were guys, the vast majority of the breakdance crews were men, and the vast majority of the rappers were male. So it was just an extension of the origins of hip-hop culture being a predominantly male cuture," said the former Tommy Boy president, who firsthand witnessed rap music morph from supposed "fad" into an unstoppable global cultural movement.

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AARON COMETBUS ON WRITING & MUSIC (INC. THORNS OF LIFE)

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2009 08:46am | Post a Comment

aaron cometbus
Somehow longtime author, punk rock drummer, and self-described "punk anthropologist" Aaron Cometbus (born Aaron Elliot) has managed to stay relatively under the mainstream radar while simultaneously gaining great notoriety and deserved respect among underground punk circles for close to three full decades now -- ever since the beginning of the eighties when, barely a teenager, the highly intelligent and gifted Berkeley youth began writing his seminal punk fanzine Cometbus.

He also played music in many bands from a young age. His second band Crimpshrine, in which he played drums, was the pioneering East Bay punk band which had a major impact on the burgeoning East Bay punk scene, up until their demise in '89. Since then Aaron has continued to consistently make music as a member of, literally, dozens of different bands -- most of them short lived groups. Some, such as Pinhead Gunpowder, which he formed with Billie Joe Armstrong and others in the early nineties, still play occasionally. His most recent band is the Thorns of Life which formed a few months ago in Brooklyn and features Blake Schwarzenbach (of Jets to Brazil & Jawbreaker fame) and bassist Daniela Sea (known for her former membership of the Gr'ups and Cypher in the Snow as well as her acting role in the TV show The L Word). The band, who played their first club date ever on Monday at the Hemlock in SF followed a few days later on Thursday last by a "secret show" at Thrillhouse Records with a reported 100 folks squeezed into the small Mission Street retail space., play 924 Gilman tomorrow (Sat. Jan 31st).

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