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Music History Monday: November 25

Posted by Jeff Harris, November 25, 2013 09:10am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: November 25, 1968The Beatles (aka The White Album), the ninth album by The Beatles is released (UK release date is on November 22, 1968). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Trident Studios in London from May 30 - October 14, 1968. The album will mark the beginning of a difficult and tense period for The Beatles, with various inner conflicts within the band coming to a head during the recording sessions. The squabbling will become so intense that Ringo Starr will quit the band briefly before being persuaded to return. In spite of this, it will still be a highly creative period, yielding more than thirty new songs, most of which are written during The Beatles spiritual retreat to India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi earlier in the year. The album's cover art designed by Richard Hamilton will be a stark white gatefold sleeve with the band's name embossed on the front during the original press run (later copies feature the title printed in light grey ink) and individually stamped with a number running up to over 3,000,000 in the US. The album will also come packaged with a poster and four individual portraits of the band members. In the UK, it will be the final Beatles album to be issued with separate mono and stereo mixes. The US pressing will be released in stereo only. The original mono version of the album will be reissued on vinyl in the UK in 1982, and finally on CD in 2009 as part of The Beatles Mono Box Set. Initial UK LP pressings will feature a uniquely designed gatefold sleeve with the jacket openings being on the top instead of on the sides. The Beatles will spend nine weeks (non-consecutive) at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 19x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: February 11

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 11, 2013 11:02am | Post a Comment

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

Remembering Pop and R&B vocal icon Whitney Houston (born Whitney Elizabeth Houston in Newark, NJ) - August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012.

 

Born on this day: February 11, 1941 - Brazilian jazz pianist and bandleader Sergio Mendes (born Sergio Santos Mendes in Niteroi, Brazil). Happy 72nd Birthday, Sergio!!
 



On this day in music history: February 11, 1963 - The Beatles record their debut album Please Please Me in Studio Two at Abbey Road in London. Following the huge success of their second single "Please Please Me," the band are given the green light to record a complete album. Acting quickly, producer George Martin will have them perform material that is a part of their current stage act. Working with engineer Norman Smith behind the board, it will be recorded for a cost of only £400 ($630.24 US) live to two-track tape with very few overdubs done after the fact. They will record eleven songs in the nine hours and forty-five minutes (between 10 am and 10:45 pm with a lunch break and two tea breaks in between) it takes to complete the album. The album's iconic cover photo (taken by photographer Angus McBean) is shot in the stairwell of EMI Records Manchester Square offices in London. This location is decided upon after the initial idea of photographing the band in front of the insect house at the London Zoo is vetoed by the owners of the zoo. Released on March 22nd, the album is an instant smash, holding down the top spot on the UK album chart for 30 weeks, until it is replaced by their second album "With The Beatles" in November of 1963. Please Please Me will go on to become one of the best selling albums in history.
 

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Amoeba Hollywood's Top 50 DVD/Blu-ray Sellers of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, January 4, 2013 03:19pm | Post a Comment

Here’s a list of our top movie sellers of the year, combining DVD and Blu-ray sales.

Drive1. Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn’s brilliant thriller, many people’s favorite movie of 2011, featuring one of the bestselling soundtracks of the year, came out on DVD and Blu-ray in January 2012 and sold better at Amoeba than many movies with much bigger box office takes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avengers2. The Avengers

 

Joss Whedon’s The Avengers managed to deliver summer thrills and smarts in equal measure, breaking several box office records.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronson3. Bronson (2008)

Refn’s 2008 film starring Tom Hardy as notorious prisoner and fighter Charles Bronson sold well, perhaps with the release of Refn’s Drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sunset boulevard4. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

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In Memoriam: 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 26, 2012 03:15pm | Post a Comment

As the year comes to an end, we pause to remember those who have passed this year. Click on the photos to see our bloggers’ tributes earlier this year.

 

Austin Peralta, pianist/composer

austin peralta

 

 

Whitney Houston, singer

Whitney Houston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 












Ravi Shankar, musician

Ravi Shankar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




















      

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Albums Out Today: Reissues From Blur, Yaz, At the Drive-In, Plus New Albums and Preorders

Posted by Billy Gil, July 31, 2012 01:11pm | Post a Comment
This week sees a huge set of reissues from Blur, among others ...

at the drive-inAt the Drive-InIn/Casino/Out
 
Though At the Drive-In’s third and final full-length, Relationship of Command, gets more attention for being the post-hardcore band’s breakthrough, At the Drive-In’s second album, In/Casino/Out, is the best representation of the band at the height of its powers. The album was recorded live to capture the band in its native environment, as the band had begun to make their name on explosive live shows that would lead to word-of-mouth expansion of their fanbase, and true to form listening to In/Casino/Out now feels like travelling back in time to when the band was playing basement shows, before Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López’s The Mars Volta would play to massive crowds in the following decade. You see the beginnings of that band in how Bixler-Zavala crams verbiage into “Alpha Centauri” and the band makes the 3:13 song feel like an epic, but the live recording makes it feel manageable, most of the lyrics spat out quickly and its movements more memorable than the Volta’s proggy opuses. It’s also easy to forget how catchy the band could be, and a run of mid-album cuts proves this, including “Pickpocket,” with its instantly memorable, if incomprehensible screamed chorus. The band would also slow down to great effect on “For Now…We Toast,” which clips the distance between the band’s more melodic and aggressive leanings. But the album stands together as a whole, as well, with song after song coming at you with a warm assault of visceral guitar attacks and complex wordplay.
 
blur 21Blur Reissues
 

Blur releases a mass of reissues on LP today, as well as its Blur 21 box set, celebrating 21 years of the Britpop band. To these ears, the incredibly solid Parklife and relentlessly experimental 13 have always been the essential Blur albums, but I also have a newfound appreciation of Leisure, their first album. Before they were kings of Britpop, Blur were a fresh-faced band of whelps wielding shoegaze guitars and madchester beats into a neat package, no better than on the funk-inspired “There’s No Other Way” or throbbing “Bang.” Yes, Leisure is sort of Blur’s Pablo Honey, where the band was still finding its footing, but Leisure also stands on its own, thanks to the fact that Damon Albarn and co. had more personality than most of their countrymen in 1991. You saw the beginnings of Albarn’s experimentalism in the percussive elements underpinning the slow-burning alt-rock of “Repetition” and accordion riff looping under the dream-pop guitar squalls of “Bad Day.” Even at its most derivative, such as the “Only Shallow” aping riff of “Slow Down,” Leisure is still a an early ’90s time capsule of a record with plenty of pleasure to spare, and one that hinted at the heights Blur and Albarn would achieve later on. Maybe I just like it now because every song sounds kind of like My Bloody Valentine's "Soon." Regardless, all of the albums are worth checking out, including Blur, Modern Life is Rubbish, The Great Escape and Think Tank.
 
yaz upstairs at eric'sYaz Upstairs at Eric’s
 
In these days of excellent darkwave revivalists like Light Asylum, Yaz and its best album, Upstairs at Eric’s, seem more prescient than ever. The albums big hits all have a certain desperation that often underpins some of the best pop songs. “Don’t Go,” despite its memorable synth hook, boasts lyrics like “I turned around when I heard the sound of footsteps on the floor/Said, ‘He was a killer,’ now I know it's true/I'm dead when you walk out the door.” Vince Clarke, who penned early Depeche Mode classics like “Just Can’t Get Enough” before splitting for Yaz (and later Erasure), offers spare backdrop that favors tiny, interlocking synth riffs rather than big blankets of chords for Moyet to pour herself over. Moyet’s deep vocals hit hard throughout, especially on “Midnight” and the classic “Only You,” slow, sad new wave ballads that would be nowhere without Moyet offering some much-needed soul to a genre often saddled with wispy male vocals. Upstairs at Eric’s is a lot of fun, too, even with its more emotional tunes — Clarke’s synths mimic ’50s rock tropes and disco shimmer to great effect on “Bad Connection” and “Goodbye Seventies,” respectively, while Moyet’s exuberant kiss-offs and creepy laugh make “Situation” one of the best feel-good breakup songs around.

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