Amoeblog

In Appreciation of John Prine

Posted by Amoebite, March 31, 2020 07:07pm | Post a Comment

By Mark Beaver

By all means of measurement, 1971 was a monster of a year:

Idi Amin took power in Uganda, US-backed South Viet Nam invaded Laos, huge protests against the Viet John PrineNam War were taking place across the world ramped up by the New York Times publishing of the Pentagon Papers. The "troubles" of Northern Ireland were in full burn and earthquakes beat the heck out of Turkey, just to name a few of the struggles that world citizens were facing.

At the same time, great ideas were afoot and some of the most defining music of the decade was being released:

Led Zeppelin IV, Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones, All Day Music by WAR, Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, The Who’s Who's Next, Electric Warrior by T.REX, Pearl by Janis Joplin, Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey, Tapestry by Carole King, Blue by Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd’s Meddle, Paul McCartney’s Ram, John Lennon’s Imagine, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, and outsider masterpieces bubbling below the charts from the likes of Nick Drake, Judee Sill, and Gil Scott-Heron.

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Gunn With Occasional Music

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 31, 2020 04:49pm | Post a Comment

Peter Gunn

By Brett Stillo

Many of us are finding ourselves with a lot of time on our hands -- A LOT of time. We’ve been granted a Peter Gunn, Billy Bartybittersweet surplus of hours to watch whatever we want for as long as we want. With the streaming lanes wide open, my viewing interests have led me to wander back to 1959 to get acquainted with a forgotten crusader in the annals of Pop Culture -- Peter Gunn.

For most of my life, Peter Gunn, the smoother-than-smooth TV private eye created by Blake Edwards, was just a name to me. The series came and went before my time, banished from the color-saturated rerun carousel of my youth to a monochrome junkyard of old shows from the black and white era.

The only thing I really knew about Peter Gunn was the music…and that theme song! That stone-cold bass methodically prowling down a dark street, chased by the frantic screams of brass. Composer Henry Mancini orchestrated a glorious truce between two musical generations: the powerhouse swing of the Big Bands and the brazen snarl of Rock and Roll. Elmer Bernstein built the launchpad for jazz on film with his swaggering score for The Man With the Golden Arm in 1955. Three years later, Mancini blasted it into orbit. This set the tempo for action-packed jazz scores on film and television for the decade to come.

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Somewhere Beyond the Cosmic Sea

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 27, 2020 03:45pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


"And in the lonely chanting of the sea, I heard the echoes of eternity.
And in the fantasy of cloud and sky, I saw the one who lives, while all things die.
And I was swallowed by the sea, and lost in the deep, and washed up on the shore."
~ "La Mar" by Eden Ahbez

When I was a young lad in my 20s, I remember driving to the beach on a rainy day to eat fried chicken Mystic Moods Orchestraand watch the waves crash from the window of my rusty 64' Dodge Dart (with a push-button transmission and a butter knife for an ignition key) that I bought for $200 bucks. The ocean has always been a primordial comfort to me, as it is for so many. Those born under the sign of Pisces gain extra daydreaming superpowers through water, and I too find a recharge to my creativity with the sound and sight of the sea. Even if you are not a "water sign," I hope to introduce you to some unknown abilities you may possess with the help of these musical suggestions that all incorporate the soothing sounds of waaah-taaah.

The Mystic Moods Orchestra released their first album, One Stormy Night, in 1966. It is a beautiful mixture of 60's orchestra pop with thunder and rain (and even a train) throughout the entire album. If you have not heard a Mystic Moods Orchestra album, let me just say they are unique, often with "environmental sounds," and were made to be played while "primitive nocturnal love rituals" were being preformed on your living room sofa as your upstairs neighbor covered their ears in jealousy. The true hit for me on the album is the song titled "Fire Island."

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Remember The Oscars?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 26, 2020 04:05pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

It seems like the Oscars were a million years ago, but they were actually just last month. This column was supposed to run a while back but it’s been in limbo for the past few weeks as civilization has been collapsing. I wasn’t a fan of Joker, but the other two Oscar nominees/winners in this column are totally worth checking out during your virus lockdown. Parasite, especially, is not to be missed. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in the past couple years.

JokerJoker, Warner Brothers:
This steaming pile of Oscar excrement is the most torturous couple of hours I’ve spent in the past few months. Sure, Joaquin Phoenix grunts, weeps, spasmodically chuckles, and even interpretive dances his way through a role and that’s acting with a capital A; but most of the time I just feel like I’m watching a terminally constipated man squeeze out the world’s most reluctant turd. It’s acting with a capital A in a movie that’s a bummer with a capital B. The slow moving script is beyond ham-fisted; it’s like they grafted a herd of wild boars to their forearms. There are multiple layers of irony in the film, but the most annoying one is that a movie called Joker doesn’t have a funny moment in it. The whole thing is utterly grey and joyless. It’s like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, only more depressing. The pacing is glacial. At one point my wife said, “God, this movie is so slow,” and we were only ten minutes past the opening credits! There’s no super villains, fights, or explosions to break up the pace, just one excruciatingly sad scene after another. Unlike Marvel, DC seems to have given up on actually entertaining us. Not even Robert De Niro could save this. I mean, it’s well written and acted. The script had some literary sophistication to it. I appreciated the political and socio-economic metaphors and liked the references to the horrors we’re experiencing in the age of Trump, but at the same time you can see the major plot points coming from a mile away. When he lost his job, I turned to my wife and said, “I bet before the end of the night he’s going to have turned to a life of crime and 'Send In The Clowns' will be playing somewhere in the background." And sure enough… Joaquin Phoenix gives it his all until he pretty much breaks out in a sweat in every scene. I’m not saying he’s trying too hard, but by the last time in the movie he does a little interpretive dance I was ready to open a beer, not because I wanted to drink it but just so that I could throw the bottle at the screen.

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Interview With Tony Thaxton of the Bizarre Albums Podcast

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 24, 2020 06:55pm | Post a Comment


 

Tony Thaxton by Brian Keith Diaz
Tony Thaxton by Brian Keith Diaz

By Audra Wolfmann

If you're at all like me (and I have a strong suspicion that you, dear record collector, might be), then you enjoy a deep dive into the dark corners of music history AND you also love a good Novelty album. You grew up cherishing your Dr. Demento collections and World Wrestling Federation LP, but you also burned with questions about that Leonard Nimoy album your parents had next to the hi-fi in the living room. Well, there's a place for us and, of course, it's on the internet in the form of a podcast called Bizarre Albums. Hosted by drummer Tony Thaxton of Motion City Soundtrack, Bizarre Albums serves as a sort of VH1's Behind the Music for the novelties, oddities, and the just plain strange in the wide world of weird records. Since nothing could be farther up Amoeba's alley than celebrating the unexpected vinyl find, we tracked down Tony and asked him about his show and his own record collection.

Amoeba: What makes an album “Bizarre” by your standards?

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