Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 08.08.14: Amoeba Berkeley Chart With E-Lit, AmpLive, Wu-Tang Clan, Armand Hammer, Triple Threat DJs

Posted by Billyjam, August 8, 2014 12:24pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Chart Week Ending 08:08:14

1) Amp Live Headphone Concerto ( Plug Research Music)

2) Shabazz Palaces Lese Majesty  (SubPop) 

3) Madlib Rock Konducta 1 & 2 CD (Madlib Invasion)

4) Has Lo & Castle Live Like You're Dead (Mello Music Group)

5) BPos Positive Beings (One League Entertainment)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for this week's top five chart plus his nice comprehensive run-down (see video above) of all the new and recent hip-hop arrivals at the East Bay store - in both CD and vinyl formats.  These include Armand Hammer's vinyl only Furtive Movements (Backwoodz Studioz), the brand new collaboration between Philadelphia emcee MarQ Spekt and prolific New York City producer Blockhead - JustPlayWitIt on HiPNOTT Records, and Anticon label co-founder/member Alias' new full-length Pitch Black Prism featuring fellow Anticon co-founder/former Amoebite DoseOne as guest emcee on the track "Crimson Across It." Other new arrivals include the limited edition vinyl (only 300 pressed up) House Shoes and Street Corner Music Presents: T-White The Gift Vol. 5!, and Washington DC beatmaster Damu the Fudgemunk's Public Assembly CD care of Redefinition Records and Fat Beats that was initially intended as a limited edition vinyl only release for the 2014 WFMU Record Fair. The other new / recent releases that made the top five chart entries this week
(recent Amoeba San Francisco instore performers) Shabazz Palaces' pioneering new album Lese Majesty  (again on SubPop), Madlib's Rock Konducta 1 & 2 CD c/o Madlib Invasion that is also available in single volumes on vinyl (Rock Konducta Vol. 1 LP and Rock Konducta Vol. 2 LP), and the latest from the unstoppable Mello Music Group; Has Lo & Castle's Live Like You're Dead. The other two top five entries are both Bay Area (Amoeba Berkeley and Amoeba San Francisco have long been highly supportive of homegrown talent): San Francisco crew  BPos's latest Positive Beings on One League Entertainment that will be featured in detail in a soon to be published feature here on the Amoeblog, and the newest release from Zion I producer Amp Live: Headphone Concerto on Plug Research Music. As he proved long ago on such productions as Rainydayz Remixes project, on which remixed Radiohead's 2008 album In Rainbows (totally reworking it and adding in such artists as Too $hort, Del, and Zion I mate Zumba, Amp Live has always musically been beyond hip-hop. And this album - his first for Plug Research - while it is hip-hop at its base still further pushes the envelope more beyond hip-hop into such other musical terrain as soul, pop, and electronic on such tracks as the cello intro'ed, pop hit sounding "Penny Nickel and Dime" featuring Anya and Prof (see video below which demonstrates the message of the song - about the influence and power of the almighty dollar).

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Complete with Excellent Soundtrack, HBO's True Detective Fills Void Left by Breaking Bad

Posted by Billyjam, February 16, 2014 09:54pm | Post a Comment

As it has for the past four weeks, tonight's installment of True Detectives, HBO's new excellent noir murder mystery set in the deep south starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey , will kick off, what is sure to be another nail-bitingly engaging episode, with its eerily moving opening main title theme song "Far From Any Road" by The Handsome Family (Carrot Top Recods). The track, which is available as a download from, is not just an excellent song by itself but it has the distinction of being one of those perfectly chosen TV show theme songs. That's thanks to the show's music supervisor, musician T-Bone Burnett. For last week's crazy amped-up, adrenaline-fueled show (no spoilers here in case you are a latecomer to this TV series) that followed three slower-paced story-setting episodes, Burnett handpicked more excellent accompanying songs from a wide array of artists from blues to rap and rock, including Slim Harpo, Melvins, Bo Diddley, Boogie Down Productions, Primus, Wu-Tang Clan, and (Nick Cave's) Grinderman (the manic sounding "Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars)").

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The 10 Best Reunions of the 2000s

Posted by Billy Gil, January 7, 2014 01:44pm | Post a Comment

Since Stephen Malkmus ditched the likely lucrative reunion of his legendary band Pavement to continue on with his Jicks project, which released their great album Wig Out at Jagbags this week, I thought it a good time to look back at the band reunions that have popped up this new millennium. Though these reunions have both delighted and horrified fans, sometimes at the same time, a few have been so solid that it’s like our favorite bands never left us. Now get on it, Cocteau Twins!

1. Dinosaur Jr.

dinosaur jr. amoebaDinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis and bassist/Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow buried the hatchet in the 2000s, formally reuniting with longtime drummer Murph in 2005 to play on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and tour. They subsequently have released three terrific albums. If you were a fan of Dinosaur Jr. but haven’t checked out any of the albums from Dino. Jr. 2.0 (gross), do it now, as they’re as good as anything the band released during its heyday. 2012’s I Bet on Sky featured the kind of more chilled-out (yet still distortion-laden) songwriting you might expect from alt-rock elder statesmen, while 2007’s Beyond felt like lighting a match in a room full of gas, exploding with bottled up riffs and energy. Lou Barlow, whose own Sebadoh reunion also ranks as one of the better ones of the 2000s, makes his first contributions to the songwriting on these albums since 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me, and the band is better for it. Combined with their live shows, which are lessons in ear-splitting noise only bested by the next band on this list, it makes them the best reunited band of the new millennium!

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Interview: Cass McCombs

Posted by Billy Gil, October 25, 2013 09:47am | Post a Comment

cass mccombsCass McCombs’ wonderful new record, Big Wheel and Others, is a big record, in length (22 tracks), scope and humanity. Ostensibly a folk-rock record, it dabbles in country, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and just about every other genre that can be lumped into the general, overarching term “Americana.” Yet this isn’t a reverent record by any means. Much as his prior records did, such as 2011’s double whammy of Wit’s End and Humor Risk, songs veer into avant-garde atmospherics; lyrics defy their genre’s constraints, such as the country-rockin’ “Big Wheel,” which delves into the manhood country music often stands upon (“the taste of diesel and the sound of big rigs,” he sings, before later undercutting such manly imagery with lyrics like “a man with a man, how more manly can you get? I may be 5-foot-one, but you’re all wet”). Interspersing the tracks are interludes cut from the 1970 documentary short Sean, about a hippie kid who smokes weed, plus two versions of the same song, “Brighter!,” one sung with the late actress Karen Black, with whom McCombs also dueted on the Catacombs highlight “Dreams-Come-True-Girl.” I sat down to ask McCombs about the epic new album.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Overview of 1990's Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
The 1990's was an amazing decade for hip-hop music: one which enjoyed the second half of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop, the birth & proliferation of the indie hip-hop movement, the end of the Afro-centric movement and, propelled by the success of the early decade success of the G-Funk Era, the commercialization of the gangsta rap style that continues to this day.  So for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I present a broad overview of the  decade that was the 90's. A by no means inclusive of that very prolific decade this look at the decade merely scratches the surface, selectively highlighting a handful of releases and events (with each year getting a mention) that helped shape the 1990's in hip-hop.

In 1990 revolutionary, militant and Afro-centric hip-hop was in full effect and looked like it would be around forever. Examples included such popular socially & politically charged albums released in that first year of the decade as Public Enemy's third full-length album Fear Of a Black Planet, Ice Cube's first post N.W.A./solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment,X-Clan's To The East, Blackwards, Brand Nubian's One For All, Poor Righteous Teachers' Holy Intellect, Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It, Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum's self-titled Marley Marl debut, and Lakim Shabazz's Lost Tribe of Shabazz.

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