Amoeblog

TOUGH LOVE STORY

Posted by Charles Reece, August 31, 2008 10:40pm | Post a Comment
Lemmy Loves Wendy


"Stand By Your Man"

Ozzy Loves Lita


"Close My Eyes Forever"

Udo Loves Doro

 "Dancing With An Angel"

(His most holy Texan loves taking a rest from writing, but will be back soon.)

Rebel Storm

Posted by phil blankenship, August 31, 2008 12:03pm | Post a Comment
 




 
Academy Entertainment #1215

C.H.U.D. II - Bud the Chud

Posted by phil blankenship, August 30, 2008 06:55pm | Post a Comment
 


 
Vestron Video 5285

The Pits

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 30, 2008 11:00am | Post a Comment
I remember a while back, one of the gossip sites was giving Beyonce Knowles a bunch of crap for posing in numerous photos with her arms up behind her head. She always looks great, so I guess it was a very slow news week or something to that effect.  Anyhow, here's a batch of covers with people also showing off their pits-- some au naturel, some shorn, some covered up.

BTW, Nugent is the king of said pose; there's almost always at least one pic of him doing it on his album covers or inner sleeve.





Eternal Evil

Posted by phil blankenship, August 29, 2008 10:11pm | Post a Comment
 




 
Lightning Video 9985

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 08:29:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 29, 2008 04:57pm | Post a Comment
              AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP ALBUMS TOP FIVE CHART 08:29:08         
ice cube
1) Ice Cube Raw Footage (Lench Mob)

2) GZA Pro Tools (Babygrande Records)

3) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)

4) MF Doom Volumes 1 & 2 Nastradoomus (HHS)

5) Arabian Prince Innovative Life: The Anthology    
    1984 - 1989
(Stones Throw)

Thanks to  Marques for supplying this week's top five  chart for the Los Angeles Amoeba store. Hometown rap veteran Ice Cube occupies the number one slot with his latest album, Raw Footage, which hit Amoeba shelves August 19th. The album simultaneously debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and Top Rap Albums Chart, and at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart.

"Thank God the Gangsta's back... and we ain't got to put up with this brainless rap," spits Cube on the catchy new album track "Thank God" -- just one of many strong cuts on this eighth solo album from the 39 year old artist. Others include "Jack N The Box," "Here We Come" (feat. Doughboy), and the singles "Do Your Thang" and "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It." And speaking of gangsta rap: listening to some of these new Cube tracks remind me of old Ice Cube and also of how the original gangsta rappers (NWA, Geto Boys, etc.), while demonized at the time for being so lyrically violent and offensive, were actually quite political and socially aware, comparatively more so than the most  prominent current crop of gangsta rappers.
MF Doom
Other entries on the current chart include GZA, Lil Wayne, and the just released Stones Throw retrospective of the Arabian Prince's 1980's electro years. Last week the pioneering LA hip-hop artist and original NWA member did an instore at Amoeba Hollywood, which, according to Marques, included the artist playing a lot of electro and electronica. 

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Hot August Nights: dog-days are the new spring break

Posted by Kells, August 28, 2008 02:52pm | Post a Comment

August currently occupies the number one spot on my top twelve list of favorite months of the year. Surely it has something to do with the fact that I’ve only just returned from a much-needed three week vacation; the dog days of summer are the new spring break. Also there’s something about the word “august” that really floats my boat. Really there is no other word that conveys a true and simultaneous sense of majesty and wisdom like the word august does: for example, “the jellyfish regulates its deepness by augustly changing the amount of gas in its float”-- how lovely. Still, with Autumn closing in on San Francisco with nary a thunderstorm nor scent of burning leaves wafting on the wind, the month of August has got me stunned, obsessed with the notion of slowing time until it stops. The easiest way to do this is to let the music take you to that magical spot where time stands still. 


I spent the last three weeks at home ---all three of them: the Atlantic coast of South Florida, North Carolina’s Outer Banks and my hometown, Richmond, Virginia. Each leg of the journey enjoyed its own specific soundtrack comprised of songs chosen because they serve to soften the blow of the kind of going home it is oft said one can never do, or, contrariwise, songs that heightened the potency of the nostalgia I felt at times like I was happily drowning in. These are essentially comfort songs, great candidates for the secret cache of music no one but you ever knows you have. Last night, for example, I caught a fellow coworker pouring over the inner sleeve of his new MC Hammer CD while waiting for the bus---not that I was looking to catch him looking at anything--- and yet he made at least two excuses for having it in his hands before I had enough time to inquire, “What’s up?” We shared a laugh and bonded over our so-called “guilty” listening pleasures. 

FSOL's 1991 SINGLE "PAPUA NEW GUINEA" STANDS THE TEST OF TIME

Posted by Billyjam, August 28, 2008 02:46pm | Post a Comment

Future Sound of London (FSOL), the duo comprised of Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans, had their breakout hit with "Papua New Guinea" in 1991 and the track remains both the UK electronic group's best known and arguPapua New Guinea - FSOLably best recording ever. It is one of those great records where the first time you heard it, it just grabbed you and pulled you in, leaving you thinking: WTF was that? Even now, all these years later, after just re-listening to it for the first time in ages, it sounds as tight (to these ears) as when it was first released 17 years ago. 

The song has the perfect balance of the slow rumbling bass, a trancey mix of breakbeats, plus the pitch perfect mix of dreamy vocals and sounds, all cascading into a dance pop masterpiece; one that has been remixed to death by DJs/producers all over the world who all helped make this a true rave/club classic. One of the great remixes I got of it back in the day was by the Twitch guys -- the SF remix crew that included Jim Hopkins, who used to put out limited edition double vinyl (later released on CD) sets at 45RPM of nearly always really great remixes of popular rave/techno tracks, including many UK imports.

"Papua New Guinea" also appeared on FSOL's album Accelerator as well on the 1992 soundtrack to the film Cool World.  Besides being remixed countless times, the song has also been released in various versions many times over the years since its original release (both bootlegged and legit versions + on countless compilations/DJ mixes) with the most notable including re-releases in 1996, 2003, and in 2001 when a five version EP of the song was released on FSOL's label Jumpin' & Pumpin featuring the original "Papua New Guinea" plus remixes by Hybrid, Satoshi Tomiie, Blue States, and Simian.

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out today 8/26...the verve...the week that was...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 28, 2008 01:51pm | Post a Comment
There are many bands over the years that I have been obsessed with. At one point it was Depeche Mode, The Cure, and The Smiths. Then it was Suede, Pulp, Blur, and The Verve. Once your obsession reaches a certain point, I think it never really goes away. Part of it is always there or it just builds and gets bigger and stronger. I have no doubt that these bands will be with me the rest of my life. Depeche Mode and The Cure are my Rolling Stones and The Who. The Smiths are my Beatles. My obsession can live on in Morrissey's solo career much like that of Paul McCartney does for fans of The Beatles. The Verve could not have come at a better time in my life. I sort of needed them. I needed a new band to latch on to and get obsessed with. My shoegaze bands like Ride, The Pale Saints, and Slowdive were starting to break up and dissolve away. The first Blur album had come out a couple of years prior to 1993, but I didn't really get into them until 1993. This was the year of the first Verve album, A Storm in Heaven and also the year of Blur's second album, Modern Life is Rubbish. The album that really made me a fan. 1993 was also the year of the self titled album by Suede and my first Pulp album, His 'N' Hers. Pulp had already been around for a decade or so but I had never heard of them until 1993. I suddenly had all these new bands to obsess over. The albums were all excellent and easy to get obsessed with. Many of my friends, and most everyone else in the world, were all into Oasis, but I remember seeing Oasis in some interview and right then deciding that I didn't want to like this band..but they obviously played a part in this period of music. Their debut album Definitely Maybe would come out a year later in 1994. These bands were also all over the magazines and a lot of my friends were also getting into the same bands. It was just an exciting time for music.

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The Korean Wave - 한류 - Hallyu - The explosion of Korean TV, movies, food and culture

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 28, 2008 01:50pm | Post a Comment
korean actors and actresses

Korea
's recent global rise in profile is sometimes referred to as "The Korean Wave" or Hallyu. Back in the early 1990s, Korean Drama underwent an explosive growth in popularity around East and Southeast Asia as well as in cities like Los Angeles, with large immigrant populations from these regions. Soon, Korean movies (beginning with Shiri) gained an audience among American critics who'd previously (with close-minded, snobbish prejudice) limited their viewings of Asian films to critically-canonized Japanese and/or (1980s) Chinese productions. And Hollywood has taken notice too, remaking numerous K-Horror films, the romcom My Sassy Girl, and the magic-mailbox drama The Lake House.


I'm told Korean music grew in popularity too. I guess I know a couple of non-Koreans who listen to K-Pop. Whilst flipping through the unparalleled multiculturalism of Los Angeles' AM radio band, I've occasionally stumbled across Radio Seoul (AM 1650) and Radio Korea (AM 1230). Just judging from the cadence and character of AM radio in general, I'd guess that the majority is Christian in nature, but they do occasionally play Korean pop music. Last year at the Hollywood Bowl, K-Pop was showcased in a program featuring BoA, Epik High, Fly to the Sky, Ivy and Super Junior.



Probably the most visible (and olfactory) evidence of Korea's rising profile is in the large number of Korean restaurants and the non-Koreans' resultant discussions of where "the best" Korean food is found. Everyone now knows about kimchi and where they stand on that popular dish. Jajangmyeon, various banchan, anju & beer and bulgogi are also fairly well-known among culinary tourists who've gone to shikdangs or a pongjanmacha at an area farmer's market.



If you're like me, and you don't have cable TV, you may've (in curiosity or desperation) flipped through the Southland's scores of local stations past the shopping networks, megachurch sermons, narco movies, and used car commercials and stumbled across K-Dramas being shown on KSCI or KXLA. They usually have subtitles and I've, on occasion, watched partial episodes of unknown series. After a few scenes on a few dramas, it becomes evident that the popularity of K-Dramas owes to their ability to transcend their cultural and geographic origins by dealing with universally popular issues of love, work, loving a co-worker, difficult in-laws and love triangles, all told without the raciness of their also-popular counterparts, American Soap Operas and Latino telenovelas. The conventions of Korean Dramas (sensitive guys with improbable hair, repressed love, etc) have, since their rise in popularity, even become the subject of parody. Look for former Amoeba employee Steve Lee in his brother (Bobby Lee)'s satirical K-Drama, Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive.


 
The popularity of Korean dramas first spread across Asia. In Iran, there's currently a Korean Drama showcase on their state-operated network Channel 2 called Korean Wave. On China's government-run station, Korean dramas account for the majority of the programing and China is consequently considering imposing restrictions on the amount of airtime devoted to them. Taiwan and Vietnam's governments are also weighing the idea of banning Korean Dramas since they've taken over the airwaves at the expense of homegrown shows.


 
More recently, Korean Dramas have invaded the airwaves of  Brazil, Chile and Mexico. At Amoeba, a completely unscientific poll has revealed that most of our K-Drama fans are young Latinas.


Here at Amoeba, our top selling K-Dramas are (in alphabetical order):
All About Eve
Jumong
Love to Kill
My Lovely Sam-Soon
Palace Princess Hours
Peppermint Candy
Prince's First Love
Sad Love Story
Sandglass
Someday



 
    

In the face of Korea's meteoric ascendancy on the world stage, some Japanese have instigated a backlash against the Korean Wave. Manga Kenkanryū (which translates to Manga-The Anti Korean) is part of the so-called "Hate Korea Wave" which some cultural theorists have suggested stems from bitterness over the perception that Japan has slipped from the position they had in the 1980s of East Asia's dominant exporter of culture. The manga in question depicts the Japanese as more diverse, fun, Bambi-eyed free spirits who are contrasted to the Koreans, who are depicted as tiny-eyed, loud, arrogant elitists who owe their success to Japan's superior culture, which they borrow from.

Whilst today Ice Cube is primarily known as a star of unwatchable children's films, he was once at the vanguard of the Hate Korea Wave.

As a response, some in Korea have responded with the "Hate Japan Wave" or Hyeomillyu. Two artists, Yang Byeong-seol and Kim Sung Mo have each produced Manhwas both under the same name (Hyeomillyu). I'm no expert in funny pages but it seems a queer place to settle your scores.

*****

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Rodriguez' Cold Fact

Posted by Miss Ess, August 28, 2008 12:13pm | Post a Comment
In 1970, Detroit native Rodriguez released his auspicious debut album, Cold Fact. It failed in the charts. His follow up album fared even worse, and he was subsequently dropped from his label, his music doomed to obscurity.


Luckily for us, reissue label Light in the Attic has recently re-released Cold Fact, and it is a fantastic surprise, a cohesive, shrewd and confident record. Oh, and it sounds effing great too! The album is awash in late 60s-era production touches, along with Forever Changes-like horns and overall orchestration that add to the complexity of the songs. Rodriguez' vocals are plaintive and his delivery style somewhat Dylanesque, although I think his voice is much more consistent than Dylan's. A few of my coworkers have said the album sounds much like Donovan, but I think it sounds much, much smarter than any Donovan record. The songs are clear eyed views of poverty, city life, sex, drugs and rock n roll-- views of the muddled '60s. I love how in the album's second song, "Only Good For Conversation," he calls a woman out as "the coldest bitch I know" by the second line! I think the album is pretty bold for 1970. It also still sounds fresh to these ears, even today.

Rodriguez was born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez in 1940s Detroit to Mexican immigrant parents. He was discovered playing guitar in bars by Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore. Coffey was a member of the Funk Brothers, the incredible crew of musicians that had played on countless Motown Hits. The two signed Rodriguez to the Sussex label, where he would record his two albums before being dropped. The label folded a few years later.

Over time, Rodriguez languished in construction, not knowing that his popularity was growing exponentially over the decades, first in Australia and New Zealand, and then in South Africa, due to radio play and word of mouth. In the late 70s he was alerted to his acclaim in Australia, and he toured there. Then, in 1998, his daughter discovered a web page plastered with photos. The page was based in South Africa and had been set up to find Rodriguez, milk-carton style. Through the site, she learned that there were multiple rumors of his death, that he was a star in South Africa and that his records' popularity had mushroomed there for ages, particularly after their release on cd in 1991. Rodriguez finally traveled to South Africa and was embraced by young and old alike on his various tours there.

Here's hoping that now he catches on here in the U.S as well and tours here! The album is one of the best things I have heard in ages. It's truly a nearly-forgotten gem, one where every track is not just solid, but fantastic. Rodriguez lives in the Oldies section her

Little Darlings Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, August 28, 2008 10:06am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!

 


 

Saturday August 30

Don't Let The Title Fool You

Little Darlings

1980, 96 min

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, $7

 


September
September 6 Idle Hands

(9th anniversary for the 1999 stoner horror comedy! Special guests TBA!)
September 13 Showgirls
(Beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your wildest fantasies!)
September 20 Michael Mann's The Keep
(25th Anniversary! Paramount Archive 35mm Print!)
September 27 Over The Top
(Sylvester Stallone. Big Rig Truckin'. ARM WRESTLING!)

 

October
October 4 Hard To Kill

(Steven Seagal is Mason Storm. Mason Storm is... Hard To Kill!)
October 18 All Night Horror Show!
(100% Movie Mania! New Bev Fundraiser! 12 Hours Of Movies, Fun & ??)
October 25 The Wraith
(If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear!)

November
November 1 Alien Nation

(Prepare Yourself for the 20th Anniversary!)
November 8 The Stepfather
(Daddy's Home and He's Not Very Happy!)
November 22 Waxwork
(20 Anniversary! More fun than a barrel of mummies!)
November 29 Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon
(Now, when I say, "Who's da mastah?" you say, "Sho'nuff!")

Man Ray

Posted by Whitmore, August 27, 2008 11:55am | Post a Comment


Often cited as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Man Ray, was born Emmanuel Radnitzky on this day, August 27, 1890 in Philadelphia. He significantly contributed to the Dada, Surrealist and Avant-Garde movements of the 20th century and was a significant voice in the Parisian art world after The Great War. Though he mostly considered himself a painter, it’s as a photographer and film maker he is best remembered, not only for his experimental photography and films of the 1920’s and 30’s but for his fashion and portraiture work also.

A side note, during the Second World War, Man Ray returned to America, settling in Hollywood from about 1940 until 1951 at 1245 Vine Street-- the Villa Elaine apartments, across the street from the old Hollywood Ranch Market, right around the corner from present day Amoeba Records in Hollywood.




Clu Gulager Festival At The New Beverly Starts Tonight !

Posted by phil blankenship, August 27, 2008 10:44am | Post a Comment


 
Aug. 27-30: the New Beverly Cinema is honored to present the CLU GULAGER FILM FESTIVAL, a four-day series of films starring the venerable actor and longtime New Beverly patron and friend!

The films to be screened are THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) and FEAST (2006) on Aug. 27-28, and THE KILLERS (1964) and THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971) on Aug. 29-30. The festival will also include several short films and clips from various projects of Clu, including an extremely rare screening A DAY WITH THE BOYS, a short film directed by Clu in 1969, and VIC, a short film directed by SAGE STALLONE and starring Clu.

The following IN PERSON GUESTS are scheduled for the 7:30 screening of THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD on Wednesday, Aug. 27:

Writer/director DAN O'BANNON
actors CLU GULAGER, DON CALFA, JAMES KAREN, BEVERLY RANDOLPH, BRIAN PECK, THOM MATHEWS, JEWEL SHEPHARD and JOHN PHILBIN
make-up artist TONY GARDNER
production designer BILL STOUT

Director JOHN GULAGER is scheduled to introduce the 10:00 screening of FEAST on Wednesday evening!!

Pricing Codes

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 27, 2008 10:30am | Post a Comment
In previous decades many department stores and record chains developed a pricing code system. They'd have a few different letters, each signifying a different pricing tier. There would be a little chart around the store giving you the price break down. I never really understood how this made things simpler or more efficient, maybe someone out there knows?






JAMOEBLOG TOP TEN: WEEK OF 08:27:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 27, 2008 06:55am | Post a Comment
                                       JAMOEBLOG HIP-HOP TOP TEN: 08:27:08                                             

1) Homeboy Sandman "Opium" (Homeboy Sandman)

2) NaS feat Eban Thomas "You Can't Stop Me Now" (Def Jam)

3) Lee "Scratch" Perry  "$hine" (Narnack Records)

4) The High Decibels "Miss Cindy" (Rolling Jack)

5) Paris "Don't Stop the Movement" (Guerrila Funk)

6) Murs "Can It Be" (Warner)

7) Double Dee & Steinski "Lesson 3" (Illegal Art)

8) Foreign Legion "Come To The City" (Hunger Strike)

9) DJ Spinna "The Spirit of '94" (Colt 45)

10) The Bug "Freak Freak" (Ninja Tune)

The number one on this week's Jamoeblog Hip-Hop Top Ten (a subjective song-based chart) is from up-and-coming Queens, NY emcee talent Homeboy Sandman, whose totally unique flow and style is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise overcrowded sea of cookie cutter rappers. So far only available through his website, as well as at a few select East Coast record stores, Homeboy Sandman's self-released debut CD Actual Factual Pterodactyl offers up hip-hop like you've never heard before, with great songs such as the slow-mo flow of "Opium" or the funny uptempo rapid fire delivery of "Food Glorious Food" which draws its hook from the Oliver! soundtrack.

Continue reading...

Alienator

Posted by phil blankenship, August 26, 2008 10:17pm | Post a Comment
 



 
Prism Entertainment 6054

David S. Ware's Surrendered: killer jazz quartet's languishing gem

Posted by Mark Beaver, August 26, 2008 02:40pm | Post a Comment

I have to say that I do understand how an album as solid as Surrendered could get lost in the shuffle. David S. Ware has been recording under his own name since 1988, and in groups led by legendary names like Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrille and Barry Harris since the early 70's. In these last 20 years of releases under his own name, Ware has released about an album per year. So, where to start? And what are the chances that an album or two might slip through the cracks and end up in Amoeba's Clearance section?

Ware is considered by many to be a technical (and perhaps theological) descendant of John Coltrane. His tenor is big and brash, in a mold not unlike Pharaoh Sanders, Arthur Blythe or Archie Shepp. His facility is masterful, never neglecting the changes and yet pushing and pulling at the melodic core of the composition. He plays the whole range: he dives off the pier and swims far enough from shore to nurture tension, but he never lets go of his lifeline-- the strong melody within a strong composition. In fact, that's what pulls me to Ware over and over again. His albums are always so full of real composition. Songs are what he and his teams bring to the table, in this case, the killer quartet made up of pianist Matthew Shipp, percussionist Guillermo Brown, and a man I consider to be essential listening any and every time one has the chance, bassist William Parker.

Surrendered starts strongly with a tone poem of sorts called "Peace Celestial." Matthew Shipp holds the core of the piece with piano meditations conjuring Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett at his more internal. "Sweet Georgia Bright" follows, and is the album's most traditional "bop" composition, and it's the lesser for it. This quartet's strength is in the idiom of the post-Coltrane continuum. Tracks like the aforementioned opener, "Theme of Ages," the loping title track with its slow, even build reminiscent of Charles Lloyd's "Night-Blooming Jasmine," and even, to a great extent, "Glorified Calypso," tour that greater territory of improvisational and textural possibilities that the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago liked to refer to as, "Great Black Music," rather than bind it within the limits and collected baggage of the term "jazz."

In any case, Surrendered has enough within it of depth, beauty and mastery of ensemble communication to qualify as another pearl from the great sea of red.




Glitter Rock -- The red-headed stepchild of a red-headed stepchild

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 26, 2008 12:03pm | Post a Comment
If you find Glam too brainy, too challenging, too confusing, then perhaps you're what the press used to refer to as a Glitter Kid! These bands didn't take their cues from the androgynous, artistic pretensions of David Bowie, Bretty Smiley, Cockney Rebel, Doctors of Madness or Jobriath. They looked to the big, stomping beats and refined stupidity of T. Rex and sliced away everything til there was just a skeleton.
Enjoy!

Kenny


Slik


The Osmonds


The Glitter Band


Mud


The Sweet


Alvin Stardust

Apollinaire

Posted by Whitmore, August 26, 2008 10:48am | Post a Comment


Today marks the anniversary of the birth of a personal hero of mine, the poet Guillaume Apollinaris de Kostrowitzky, better known as Apollinaire, who was born on this date in 1880. His greatest contribution to the 20th century, other than coining the term ‘surrealism’ and helping to publicize and define the Cubist movement, was probably his poetry, influencing many of the avant-garde, dada and surrealist writers in post-Great War France, such as André Breton and Tristan Tzara.

Early in the century Guillaume Apollinaire’s began to devise his Calligrammes, a term he used to explain his shaped poems.












It’s Raining

It’s raining women’s voices as if they had died even in memory
And it’s raining you as well marvelous encounters of my life O little drops
Those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities
Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music
Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you above and below




Viking Massacre

Posted by phil blankenship, August 25, 2008 10:23pm | Post a Comment
 



 
Videoline 1261

HITLER PLANS BURNING MAN, TIX UPDATE, REMINDER TO PISS CLEAR

Posted by Billyjam, August 25, 2008 04:15pm | Post a Comment

I first saw the above video a few months ago but figured that today -- the official first day of the 2008  burning manBurning Man Festival, which runs through Sunday, September 1st -- would be the appropriate time to post this very funny clip.
Burning Man started 22 years ago on Baker Beach in San Francisco. As Burning Man gets more widely known with each passing year, it seems more important for the organizers of the event to reiterate the goals of this unique participatory arts event/mass party. This time round they pose the following to folks planning on attending the event in the desert: "Leave narrow and exclusive ideologies at home and carefully consider your immediate experience. What has America achieved that you admire? What has it done or failed to do that fills you with dismay? What is laudable? What is ludicrous? Put blame aside, let humor thrive, and dare to contemplate a larger question: What can America contribute to the world?"

Note that for this year's Burning Man the ticket sales timeline has been extended and it is possible to buy tix online through midnight tomorrow (Tuesday, August 26th) at this link. Advance tix are always required. You can't just roll up on the event at Black Rock City, Nevada and expect admission without having your tickets arranged beforehand. Nor is it ever advisable to attempt to sneak in (as some try each year) to avoid paying the pricey admission.

The Bay Area and Sacramento walk-in ticket outlets stopped selling tickets yesterday but the Reno ticket outlet is selling tix through the end of the business day tomorrow.  Also, those with will call tix must collect them by noon on Saturday at the latest. Click here for last minute ticket info. And if you are one of the tens of thousands expected to descend upon the world renowned festival, remember to be safe and most importantly, drink lots of water (i.e., piss clear) and read over the essential official 2008 Burning Man Survival Guide.


Hot Boy Ronald -- toot it up!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 25, 2008 01:34pm | Post a Comment
I was watching the Argentina vs Nigeria game the other night and started fiending for some N.O. Bounce. Before long I was searching for some Hot Boy Ronald and I stumbled on this fan video that made me lose it.

But let me back up a little bit first. Hot Boy Ronald is a 9th Ward Bounce artist who's collaborated with Choppa, Juvenile and others. Some of his certified bangers have included "Shake it like a oink" and "Walk like Ronald." The latter is on Bounce Back (2005 - King's Ent.). Looks like he's got a new record called Bottom of the Map. I tried to do a little background on him but Wikipedia's got nothing. Allmusic's got nothing. His own myspace doesn't have a bio (although it's got more bells and whistles than the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics). At that point it becomes a cold case.

As with any Bounce hit, popularity isn't measured in terms of CD sales, but how many youtube videos people post of themselves dancing to your song.

First up you've got Ashley in San Antonio sort of lethargically doing the "Walk like Ronald" with some enormous slippers on.


And then you've got Christina and friends. Um... still a little rough.


Mark, Nick and Stacy are a bit better. But the image quality will screw with your eyes.

A BIKER'S DREAM: INNER CITY STREETS FREE OF CARS

Posted by Billyjam, August 25, 2008 12:15pm | Post a Comment

Cycling down a completely traffic-free Park Avenue in the heart of New York City over the weekend, I was reminded of the numerous futuristic or Sci-Fi movies in which the Big Apple is abandoned after some major disaster.

Last year's I Am Legend (available on DVD at Amoeba) -- in which Will Smith and his canine companion wandered a deserted midtown Manhattan -- specifically sprung to mind as myself and other cyclists, hikers, and skaters, unhindered by any autos, passed by the raised street level outside Grand Central Terminal at Park and 42nd Street, heeding the city's invitation to "Play. Run. Walk. Bike. Breathe." 

The reason there were no cars two days ago, and also on two previous Saturdays this month, was because it was the third and final weekend day in the first ever city initiated Summer Streets program. From 7AM to 1PM, all autos were banned on Park Avenue from 72nd on the Upper East Side all the way downtown, essentially connecting Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge -- a seven mile long distance, all traffic free!

But what made this whole cycling experience so special is that it is normally impossible to do a bike ride like that, at least in such a stress-free way.  Like most major cities, the best way to see New York is by bike, but the problem is that cycling round Manhattan is far from safe. Typically you take your life in your hands, maneuvering your bike through New York's congested auto-dominated streets, on weekdays especially, with erratic drivers (including lots of yellow cabs & buses) unpredictably accelerating and cutting you off or worse. And as for the few bike lanes on Manhattan's major thoroughfares: drivers notoriously ignore them and cut off cyclists all the time. I personally know of several NYC cyclists sent to the hospital due to negligent drivers.

The 2008 Air Guitar World Championships

Posted by Whitmore, August 25, 2008 10:03am | Post a Comment

This past Friday, August 22, while the rest of the civilized world was watching the Olympics, shredders from around the world had their head bangin’ attention fixed on the 13th annual Air Guitar World Championships Grand Final held in Oulu, Finland.

After a two year Air Guitar reign, Ochi "Dainoji" Yosuke of Japan was overwhelmingly crushed by Craig "Hot Lixx Hulahan" Billmeier, who hails from Alameda, California.

Hot Lixx scored highest on the First and Second Rounds, defeating his strongest opponent, Andel "John Sniffler" Soreen of the Netherlands, who took second place. Canadian Cole "Johnny Utah" Manson came in third.

In addition to the instant international recognition and the fame and glory, Hot Lixx Hulahan was awarded a Finnish hand-made Flying Finn electric guitar. He also received a laptop backpack by Golla.

For the 13th time the jury was chaired by Juha Torvinen, the Finnish guitar legend. Also on the panel were the 2005 Air Guitar World Champion, Michael "The Destroyer" Heffels; Amanda Griffiths, who is doing her PhD on the air guitar culture; and the Air Guitar contest organizers, Rita Cadillac and Mark DiPietro.

Of course, after the competition the night doesn’t end until, as tradition goes, Air Guitarists summon the whole world to go forth and play Air Guitar to “Rockin' in the Free World." According to Air Guitar Ideology, all evil, bad and unspeakable things on this planet will vanish if everybody, even for a moment, plays the Air Guitar.

The event attracted around 1000 people.

THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ...

Posted by Charles Reece, August 24, 2008 10:44pm | Post a Comment
For the Beatles purists out there who thought the worst thing imaginable was having the Bee Gees redo Sgt. Pepper's, here's something even worse-- Ozzy and Dweezil redoing "Stayin' Alive":


"Every man has his price" and every man discovers his threshold where Huey Lewis no longer sounds that bad. My threshold was reached upon rediscovering this video for "Summertime Girls" by Y&T:


The half-shirt, a sign of 80s masculinity. It made a comeback with Axl when he did this duet with Elton John on "Bohemian Rhapsody" (skip to the end where the two walk towards each other in 60s variety show fashion for the denouement):


I'm sorry for not being able to stay away from the Axl videos. However, the most holyfuckingshit moment comes from his ex-bandmate Slash's team-up with Puff Daddy for some vague, all-inclusive charity function. Note the "Ending Hunger" message dead center in big Broadway letters while Puffy raps "It's All About the Benjamins":

Its all about the benjamins, what?/I get a fifty pound bag of ooh for the mutts /
Five carats on my hands with the cuts/
And swim in european figures/Fuck bein' a broke nigga.

That kind of dimwittedness requires a purity of essence. One would have to go back to Tom Mix serials to find an equal lack in irony.

Operation Warzone

Posted by phil blankenship, August 24, 2008 10:27pm | Post a Comment
 



 
AIP Home Video #7022

Lisette Model

Posted by Whitmore, August 24, 2008 01:33pm | Post a Comment

If any of you west coast jetsetters are planning on swooping down onto the Big Apple this next week, there is an exhibition at New York’s Zabriskie Gallery of a photographer whose work is definitely worth checking out.

Born Elise Amelie Felicie Stern in Vienna in 1901, Lisette Model was schooled as a classical musician, but soon after arriving in Paris in 1926 she took to the visual arts, picking up photography. She moved to Manhattan in 1938. Later that year she was hired as a staff photographer for Harper's Bazaar, and began to photograph not only street life, especially the Lower East Side, but also the nightlife of New York City’s cafés and bars. Model, along with Berenice Abbott and Weegee, became the photographers who most captured the ebb and flow of mid-century New York and its anomalous collection of eccentrics, curiosities, elastic cityscapes and culture.

In 1951 Model was swayed by Berenice Abbott to teach at the New School for Social Research in New York. Several of her students would become some of the most prominent photographers of the second half of the 20th century, including Rosalind Solomon, Bruce Weber and her most famous protégé, Diane Arbus. Model would continue to teach until her death in 1983.

Lisette Model was said to be direct yet enigmatic at the same time, inventing her myth and simultaneously denying its existence. She had a knack for intimacy, and even when photographing her most unusual subjects she maintained and revealed their self-owned dignity. Then again, some of her photographs have a harsh, claustrophobic feeling, situated along a dark and troubling and misanthropic edge.

Model’s photographs have been acquired by numerous museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Chicago Art Institute, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institute.

Giallo en Espanol "Por Fin"

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 24, 2008 12:00pm | Post a Comment
Esto es nuestro nuevo vidéo, para la canción Por Fin, que viéne en la edición 1.2 de nuestra serie de 12” EPs titulado isolated incidents.
 
Enfocado en cinta de 16” por Jason Tosta y Steve Carter, y dirigido por Sukho Lee. Directamente inspirado por la cinema Italiana giallo de los 70s (Argento, Bava, etc.) y tomando mucho del lecho de muerte en el hospital de la película Autopsy. Para una versión más clara, visita nuestra website. Es un poco sangrienta, por eso sí no te gusta eso, omitélo.

(Somewhat bloody-- if that's not your thing, skip it.)

METALLICA'S STRUCTURING ABSENCE, OR GOOD 80s BANDS 2

Posted by Charles Reece, August 23, 2008 06:24pm | Post a Comment
No wonder Metallica is so successful and so goddamn terrible now. What were you doing in high school?  Here's what Cliff Burton was doing with Faith No More's guitarist, Jim Martin:

 
Notice Martin's "Search and Destroy" riff in the second part:


Mmm.  I never heard anything like that at my high school talent shows. Closest anyone came was a spot-on Night Ranger cover band.

A Heavy Load of Brainfever

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 23, 2008 01:50pm | Post a Comment





Today's Holidays (23 August, 2008)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 23, 2008 08:28am | Post a Comment
     

Catholicism - Santa Rosa de Lima & Saint Philip Benitius' Feast Days.


Santa Rosa is the patron saint of the Peruvian Police Force and of people ridiculed for their piety. Phil B. was a Florentine who raised a couple of kids from the dead, exorcised a demon and smote some blasphemers. Don't ridicule!

            Hannibal Rising

Lithuania - Black Ribbon Day

A Day of Mourning in Lithuania, marking the Nazis' and Soviet's "political rearrangements" wherein they decided how to divide up Eastern Europe.

      

Rome - Vulcanalia


Vulcanalia is celebrated by sacrificing a red bull-calf and a red-boar to encourage Vulcan to keep the destructive power of fire in check. Maybe drink a red bull and pray that Griffith Park doesn't go up in flames this year.

 
Tertium non datur. Dir: Lician Pintilie
Romania - Liberation Day

Celebrated to mark the end of the Nazi occupation and the beginning of the Soviet one.

swaziland without the king

Swaziland - Umhlanga Day

The day begins harmlessly enough. Young women gather reeds together in order to protect the windbreak at the Queen Mothers house. Then, boys impregnate their mothers to please the gods. Don't worry, the incest baby is murdered and eaten by his parents/sibling and dance around with the mother's breast milk in their mouths --but that's a later holiday. Today's just the incest part.



Ukraine - Flag Day


Ukranians spend today worshiping their flag, which is of the same colors as my Little League Soccer Team (Blue Thunder) as well as my elementary school (Rock Bridge Rockets). It was designed in 1918.



National Gotopless Protest Day
Advocates of topfree equality mark this day by protesters whose aim is to achieve the same rights for women as enjoyed by men, who're allowed to go topless where women who do the same are criminalized and humiliated by our local Taliban.






International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition


Specifically the transatlantic slave trade. Celebrated today because it's the anniversary of a 1791 Dominican uprising that set in motion events which ultimately brought the downfall of that particular slave trade.




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The Night...Of The Thriller

Posted by Amoebite, August 22, 2008 10:06pm | Post a Comment
Amoebapalooza 2008 Hollywood
Forget about yer Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonaroo, yer South by Southwest, yer what have you... once and only once a year it's time for a truly hallucinogenic celebration of musical mayhem, and it's called AMOEBAPALOOZA! Twenty Amoeba Music employee bands in 4 hours -- ten-minute sets, a cavalcade of rock, rap, soul, tributes, impersonations and uncategorizable strangeness! You are there!

The cavernous space of the King King in fabulous downtown Hollywood looms before you... seething with an assortment of delinquents, sickos and lovable kiddies... the red stage lights beckon! The gigantic extended family of Amoeba has gathered here to see what kind of musical freakiness they can come up with, while bewildered onlookers watch in wonderment. Let the show begin!

The festivities got started with the '60s sunshine lady pop of My Mellotron Summer, and rolled right along with the suave sounds of the Amazing Reverb Engine, until they crashed head-on into a white-noise raveup from a knockout Velvet Underground cover band! Very inspired performances Amoebapalooza Hollywood 2008from a demented first-time Lou Reed and a frosty Nico, a tom-pounding Mo Tucker and three wailing Sterling Morrison guitars.

Brooke Back Fountain featured the eponymous leading lady busting out some Four Non Blonde covers in a voice bigger than Linda Perry's ego! Folks were pretty bowled over by that (having unsuccessfully blocked those Four NAmoebapalooza Hollywood 2008on Blondes songs out of their memories all these years)... those '90s were a golden age of top hats and dreadlocks, lest we forget!

August 21, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 22, 2008 09:41pm | Post a Comment













PS: I used a free ticket to see the movie.

Charles and Ray Eames

Posted by Whitmore, August 22, 2008 08:38pm | Post a Comment


… once again I’m a day late and a dollar short, but that’s just the beginning…

Yesterday was the thirtieth and, oddly enough, the twentieth anniversaries of the deaths of legendary designers Charles and Ray Eames. Mostly known for their furniture design, their work also includes major contributions in industrial design, graphic design, architecture and film. Charles died August 21, 1978, Ray died on the same date, ten years later in 1988.

Architectural colleagues Charles Eames and Ray-Bernice Kaiser married in 1941 and moved to Los Angeles to open their own firm. In 1946, as part of the Arts & Architecture magazine's "Case Study" series that commissioned architects of the day to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes, the groundbreaking Eames House design was selected. Built on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at 203 North Chautauqua Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades, and once a part of Will Rogers' estate, this unique house, also called Case Study House #8, used pre-fabricated steel parts and was hand-constructed in a matter of days. The structure was entirely constructed from "off-the-shelf" parts available from steel fabricator catalogs. However, immediately after the Second World War, steel was in very short supply, which explains the three year delay in construction. The Eames house was completed in 1949.

Working from their office located at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, Charles and Ray Eames’ hit their stride in the 1950’s in modern furniture design. Their landmark and highly collectible furniture includes early molded plywood chairs and their innovative use of materials, such as the fiberglass and plastic resin. Aside from the molded-plywood DCW (Dining Chair Wood), other classic furniture designs include the DCM (Dining Chair Metal with a plywood seat), the Eiffel Plastic Armchair and side chair from 1959, the Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman from 1956, the Aluminum Group furniture series and the wire mesh chairs designed for office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller, 1962’s Eames tandem sling seating, as well as the Eames Chaise designed specifically for film director Billy Wilder in 1968. At the time of Charles’ death they were working on what would be their final design, the Eames Sofa, which went into production in 1984.

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 08:22:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 22, 2008 10:15am | Post a Comment

AMOEBA SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE:

1) GZA Pro Tools (Babygrande Records)
2) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)
3) Messy Marv Cake & Ice Cream (Siccness.net)
4) Ice Cube Raw Footage (Lench Mob)
5) Stacy Epps The Awakening (JapanNubianMuzzik) 

Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for this week's hip-hop top five album chart. In the number one chart slot is Pro Tools, the latest from Wu-Tang's GZA, aka The Genius. Note that this is the fifth solo release from one of the founding members of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan, who dropped their groundbreaking debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) fifteen long hip-hop years ago. 

Although Pro Tools was originally slated to be a compilation overseen by GZA or a "GZA presents WU" type album (and it essentially still is, due to the numerous collaborators) it is officially listed as a GZA solo release. Taking its name from the production software popular with music producers, Pro Tools       features many contributing talents, including production from RZA, True Master, Mathematics, Black Milk, Bronze Nazareth, Arabian Knight, and Dreddy Kruger, as well as guest vocal appearances from RZA, Masta Killa, Sean Price, and GZA's son, Young Justice (Kareem), who joins his pops on the tracks "Groundbreaking" and "Cinema." The Pro Tools track that most hip-hop fans have already heard is the advance leaked track, the 50 Cent diss rap, "Paper Plate," which continues the artist's beef with the G-Unit main man.

Celebrate the Bullet?

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 22, 2008 12:45am | Post a Comment









out today 8/19...stereolab...sarah june...lindstrom...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 21, 2008 06:12pm | Post a Comment
Remember that band called Stereolab? Yes, they are still making great albums. They never really stopped, you just may have forgotten about them. They have a new album out this week called Chemical Chords. I think it might be like their 20th album by now. They were on a major label for a long while, but they are back on the indie label 4AD now. They had that EP collection out last year, but this is a real new album. I have not had a chance to listen to it yet, but I can't really wait. They are one of those bands that I got really obsessed with when they first came out. I had lost a bit of interest over the last 5 or 6 years, but I feel ready to be a Stereolab fan again. I just hope the album is as good as I want it to be. I like the song that I have heard from the album. I don't really see how you can't like a Stereolab album. They are always so fun and catchy. I am just glad there are some releases out this week that I actually want to bother listening to.

The Dandy Warhols also have a new album out this week. I have had sort of a love/hate relationship with the Dandy Warhols. I still don't really know how I feel about this new album. I am going to give it one more listen before I make up my mind. I also have been listening to that new album by The Uglysuit. It is slowly growing on me but I doubt it will turn into one of my favorites. There is also the debut album from Uh Huh Her. I have not heard this one yet either-- however, I do love Leisha Hailey. She plays Alice Pieszecki on The L Word. She is the funniest thing about The L Word and the only reason that I watch it. Many years ago she was in the Murmurs, so it's not like this is her first time making music. There are also some great other albums that are coming out this week that I just fell in love with.

Sarah June has put out her fantastic debut album This Is My Letter to the World. Her real name is Sarah Weathers. She is originally from Detroit but now lives in San Francisco. Maybe that is why I like this album so much-- it makes me think of rainy sad days in San Francisco. Maybe she is the female version of Mark Kozelek that I have been looking for all these years. It makes me miss the city. The little indielabel Hand/Eye is putting out this new album. I have not really paid much attention to this label over the years so I had not expected much when I put on this album yesterday, but I quickly fell in love. The album is sort of gothic folk-- dark and depressing and intense and folky. Joanna Newsom fans will probably like this album...although, I am not really a Joanna Newsom fan myself. It just sort of fits intosarah-june-this-is-my-letter-to-the-world that same genre. And like Joanna, she has a very unique and weird voice, but for some reason I just like Sarah June better. The album also reminds me of Bat For Lashes. She has one of those haunting voices. The album actually reminds me of The Cranes or maybe Mazzy Star. The Cranes were a sort of gothy dream pop band in the 90s. I fell in love with them as well. The music was dark but the vocalist had this angelic childlike voice. Sarah June has this same thing going on, so let me rename the genre dark dream pop folk. I have only had the album in my possession for 2 days lindstromnow but I have already listened to it a bunch of times. She also does a couple covers on the album. "I Can't Help Falling In Love" and "When Doves Cry." I obviously love the original Prince version of "When Doves Cry," but she totally reinterprets the song and makes it her own. I love it. "Charlotte" is one of my other favorite songs on the album. I can't get these songs out of my head. I already know that this album will continue to haunt me for the years to come. There is no going back now. I am now part of the Sarah June fanclub. And I am so glad that I found her.

Also out this week is a very different album from Lindstrom. Lindstrom is from Oslo, Norway. I am not sure if he is related to the Betty White character from the Golden Girls, but it does put a smile on my face to know that he shares a name with the fictional character Rose Lindstrom Nylund. It must be my grandmother's roots from Norway and Sweden that make me gravitate so much to music that comes from those countries...or maybe it is just the roots of Rose Lindstrom. I really need to get myself over and visit some time. I might just fall in love and want to stay. I have not really given much time to the last Lindstrom album. I know I listened to it and I liked it, but I didn't love it. I didn't need it in my life. But this new Lindstrom....I love it very much. I will probably go back and revisit It's a Feedelity Affair. This new album is called Where You Go I Go Too. Both albums are released by the label Smalltown Supersound. It is kind of a downtempo sort of electronica album. I always like when electronica albums sound like John Carpenter soundtracks. It could easily be some ambient sci-fi/horror soundtrack from the 80s. Think about the soundtracks to Manhunter or any of the Giorgio Moroder greats like Scarface, Midnight Run, or Flashdance, but it is not simply retro 80s. It somehow sounds futuristic today like those 80s soundtracks sounded back then.  And this for sure fits in with those. Maybe it is Giorgio Moroder meets John Carpenter. Disco meets science fiction soundtrack.

The album only has 3 tracks on it, but the first track is about 29 minutes long. Don't worry. You will not get sick of the song. It takes you on a nice little journey. The album reminds me a bit of album by The Field, From Here We Go Sublime. I really loved that album so much last year. Maybe this will be my new favorite of the year. Everybody needs a little Lindstrom in their life. I always think of this music as sort of like therapy. There really seems to be nothing wrong with the world when I listen to music like this. It just takes you to whole new level and makes you forget everything. It is new age- tronica, but it makes you feel good inside and out, not just numb and ambivalent. I highly recommend you get some Lindstrom in your life. You will not regret it.

also out this week...






Earth to the Dandy Warhols by The Dandy Warhols











Punkgasm by Don Caballero











Remember by The Fiery Furnaces











Moody Motorcycle by Human Highway











Take Me to the Sea by Jaguar Love











Rhumb Line by Ra Ra Riot











Sbach by Sbach











Chemical Chords by Stereolab











Uglysuit by Uglysuit











Common Reaction by Uh Huh Her












You & Me by The Walkmen





Saluting Hip-Hop Greats: Gang Starr

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2008 01:57pm | Post a Comment
gang starr
(Update: 04/20/10 Guru died at age 43)

Gang Starr, formed back in 1986 and comprised of DJ Premier and emcee Guru, are no longer officially a group -- at least according to Guru in an interview a little while back. But then, who knows if they ever will perform or record together again? A Tribe Called Quest have gotten back together -- more than once -- so maybe Gang Starr will too.

Regardless, the hip-hop duo's rich back catalog is enough to satisfy this hip-hop fan for hours on end. If you don't already have any of the incredible duo's six albums (plus two greatest hits compilations), I suggest you pick up the double CD retrospective Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr (originally released in '99) at any of the Amoeba Music stores.

Full Clip is a great starting point, as it  includes all but one ("Arena") of the songs in the six Gang Starr videos begang starr full cliplow, including "Words I Manifest,"  "Step in the Arena," "Mass Appeal," "Who's Gonna Take The Weight?," "Take It Personal," and "DWYCK" featuring Nice & Smooth. Listening back the other day to this 2 CD set from start to finish made me realize not just how amazing Gang Starr's music is, but also how influential their work has been on hip-hop.

And are the videos/songs below a comprehensive best-of Gang Starr? Hells no! Just enough to whet a hip-hopper's appetite.

Roc En Espanol Videos From The Early 90's

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 21, 2008 12:36am | Post a Comment
During the late 80's and early 90's, bands from the Spanish speaking nations started to get into Ska, Reggae & Punk. Bands like The Clash and The Bad Brains had a big influence on Latin Rock movement yet the bands of that era differed from the Roc En Espanol groups that came before them. No longer were they trying to emulate the music that came out of Europe and America; they started to get their own identity musically and lyrically. The groups weren't afraid to incorporate music they grew up with. Groups like Mano Negra, Todos Tus Muertos, Tijuana No! and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs fused Brazilian, Cuban, Middle Eastern, Jamaican and African influences into their music as well as the music from the countries they originated from. Lyrically, they spoke of oppression, revolution, self-determination and the need for change.

Mano Negra - "Sr. Matanza" - Spain
This was Manu Chao's band before he went solo.



Todos Tus Muertos - "Andate" -
Argentina



Tijuana No! - "Pobre De Ti" - Mexico
This song was co-written by Julieta Venegas.



Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - "Matador" - Argentina

Unrecognized Caucasia and neighboring regions

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 20, 2008 05:16pm | Post a Comment
The current situation in the Caucasus prompted one of the loyal blog readers to request that I post about the confusing region and shed a little light. If you blog readers have any requests for blog topics, I always welcome them.

******
(If interested, there are similar entries about Eastern Europe, North Asia and South Asia.)

******



Caucasia
is a mountainous region located between the two continents of Europe and Asia. While it's not the Nazi-imagined homeland (a concept invented by 18th century craniologists) to the blond & blue-eyed, it is home to some of the oldest human populations in the world as well as the birthplace of wine. It's also one of the most culturally varied regions in the world, where tiny populations of little-known peoples have somehow existed between some of the biggest, baddest imperialists of world history. Perhaps it's not surprising then that they seem or persevere by clinging tightly to cultural expressions like music and dance, as well as deeply-embedded xenophobia, mistrust, mutual hostility and self-preservatory instincts.

Just to name a few, in this tiny global neighborhood you've got Abazins, Abkazians, Adjarians, Adydhe, Aguls, Archins, Armenians, Avars, Azerbaijanis, Balkars, Bats, Chechens, Cherkes, Cossacks, Dargins, Georgians, Greeks, Ingush, Kabardins, Kalmyks, Karachays, Khinalug, Kists, Kumyks, Kurds, Laks, Laz, Lezgins, Mingrelians, Mountain Jews, Nakh, Nogais, Ossetians, Rutls, Svans, Tabasarans, Talysh, Tats, Trukhmens, Tsakhurs, Ubykh and Udins... my apologies if I've forgotten anyone... also my producer, my wife and so forth. I just know I'm forgetting someone!



In the Greek religion, the Kaukasos (Caucasia) was where one of the pillars supporting the planet was found. It's also where Prometheus was chained by Zeus, having one of his organs picked at by a buzzard, if memory serves...just because someone duped Prometheus by slyly asking for "a light." Because of that, it was considered by the Greeks to be sort of like hell for Titans.

           Jason and the Argonauts

They also thought it was a place populated by magical and barbaric women. It's also where Jason met Medea in a story perhaps constructed to give a taste of Caucasian women's famous ferocity. When he left her for another woman, Medea killed the girl, her dad, and the two kids she'd had with Jason. I'm on her side. Get it how you live it.

August 15, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 20, 2008 01:48pm | Post a Comment

RECOGNIZE: BAY AREA FEMALE RAPPERS

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2008 10:24am | Post a Comment
Conscious Daughters
Big ups to the female artists in the history of Bay Area hip-hop who, as it seems to be the case with the rest of the rap nation, are (and have always been) in the minority. Why? A variety of reasons-- the main one, in my opinion, is that women can never fare well in a male dominated field that is predominantly (but not exclusively) sexist and misogynist. If you have any strong insights into why you think there is still such a unbalanced female to male rap ratio, please share in the COMMENTS box below where I invite you to also list your favorite female emcees from the Bay Area or elsewhere.

By no means is this post inclusive of the many female hip-hop artists from the Bay; it is merely a salute a select talented few -- both new and old school -- who come to mind, including such old school emcees as 80's East Bay female rapper Cassidine. When she dropped her debut twenty years ago on 75 Girls (the Oakland label run by the Hodges Brothers), she was heralded as the female counterpart to (label mate) Too $hort. Cassidine's album, Man Handler, contains such hardcore tracks as "She Daddy." Unfortunately, the a killer collection of hardcore rhymes and beats from a bygone era in Bay rap has never been re-released. 
Oaktown 3-5-7
Also from 1980's Bay rap is Oaktown 3-5-7, the female rap crew who first came to fame as MC Hammer's backing singers/dancers on tracks such as "Let's Get It Started."  In fact, they performed this song with Hammer and the rest of his large entourage when they made their national debut on the The Arsenio Hall Show. When they released their own music on Hammer's label they enjoyed reasonable success but not enough to keep them from breaking up in 1992. Their 1989 Wild and Loose album was their most successful and made waves on the Billboard pop and black-album charts two decades ago when it spawned the singles "We Like It" and "Juicy Gotcha Krazy" (video below).

August 13, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 19, 2008 01:54pm | Post a Comment









Roc En Espanol Videos From The 80's & Early 90's

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 19, 2008 12:54am | Post a Comment
Virus - "Juegos Incompletos" - Argentina



Caifanes- "Matenme Por Que Me Muero" - Mexico



Mikel Erentxun - "A Un Minuto De Ti" - Spain



Los Prisioneros - "Tren Al Sur" - Chile

RBD CALLS IT QUITS!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 18, 2008 11:53pm | Post a Comment
RBD, the band that came out of the hit Telanovela Rebelde, decided to call it quits over the weekend. Latina tweeners and their mothers alike are left in a state of shock.

Rebelde (Rebels) was a novela about wealthy students in a private school wearing revealing school uniforms trying to start a band. The novela was so successful that the actors formed their own group. Their first release, Rebelde, was an instant success. They played sold out arenas not only in Latin America, but also around the world, including a performance at the 2008 Pre-Super Bowl show & a sold out show at The L.A. Coliseum. They followed the success with four albums in four years that never quite managed to pull the success of the first release. Among the releases was an ill-advised self-titled English language release, Rebels, which just bombed.

The six members of the three-girl/three guy pop group, Alfonso Herrera, Christian Chávez, Dulce María, Maite Perroni, Christopher Uckermann, and Anahí Portill, all plan to pursue solo careers. My prediction is that Anahí Portill and Dulce Maria will be the most successful ex-members of RBD, much like Paulina Rubio & Thalia were the most successful ex-members of Timbiriche. Trivia question…can you name at least five former members of Timbiriche?? (Ahhh…not including the ones I just mentioned!) Answers below.

Here is the token break-up statement from their website:

"México DF, August 14th, 2008

To all our fans and media in the world:

Together we achieved a dream we never thought could be possible; we sang, cried and laughed with our songs all over the world and in front of millions of people.

We touched and left unforgettable marks in millions of people…Our fans!

You, our fans, also left an unforgettable mark in our lives, and we'll never forget you, and keep you always close to our hearts.

Every big Project needs to make changes in order to move on, and today we are initiating that process.

Our next concerts on the 21, 23 and 25, in Spain will be the beginning of the end.

For now our next confirmed shows are Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, a very special concert in L.A. and of course our beloved Mexico.

We look forward for the upcoming shows, and feel that special magic he felt during this last four years."


Answers to trivia question above: Sasha Sokol, Benny Ibarra, Diego Schoening, Mariana Garza, Alix Bauer, Erick Rubín, Eduardo Capetillo, Bibi Gaytán and Edith Márquez.

(Thanks to Amoeba employee Miguel for the Timbiriche history lesson.)
 

Amoeba Hollywood Latin Charts For July/August

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 18, 2008 10:33pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood’s Top Selling Latin Music for the months of July & August:

Julieta Venegas - MTV Unplugged
Manu Chao - Clandestino
Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos - Cantan En Español
Ximena Sarinaña - Mediocre
Manu Chao - La Radiolina
Quetzal - Die Cowboy Die
Thalia - Lunada
Mana - Arde El Cielo
Molotov - Donde Jugaran Las Niñas (reissue)
Belanova - Fantasia Pop

With the power of MTV Tr3s behind her and a great line-up of special guests, Julieta Venegas not only has sold the most CD’s but also DVD’s in the Latin Rock section. Manu Chao continues to sell a gazillion CDs, capturing the # 2 & 4 spots. A surprise at number 3 is Eydie Gorme y Los Panchos’ 1964 classic, Cantan En Español, getting the mom vote. Ximena Sarinaña is the latest Mexican actress to release an album. She has already gone gold in Mexico and is not doing too bad at the store either. Local favs Quetzal have outsold major label artists like Thalia and Mana at Amoeba Hollywood despite having no label, no radio or video play and very little promotion. Ah, Amoeba, the great equalizer!

Salsa Top 5:

Spanish Harlem Orchestra - Across 110th Street
Manolito Simonet - Control
V/A - Salsa Dura Show
Joe Bataan - Joe Bataan Anthology
New Swing Sextet - Back On The Streets

This chart is a little skewed due to the fact that we got to sell the Spanish Harlem Orchestra catalog at their performance at the Santa Monica Pier last month. Otherwise, Manolito Simonet would be on the top of the chart. Manolito came on strong for all the Timbaheads in L.A. The Timbaheads might be small in numbers, but man, are they loyal! Timba, which originates in Cuba, is a very fast and musical version of Cuban music that is quite difficult to dance to unless you are in the know. You can tell a Timbahead at a Salsa dance club when the DJ drops a Timba track and everyone sits down except for the 'heads. Joe Bataan (and for that matter, Ralfi Pagan) always sells due to his crossover appeal with the oldies set. The surprise was the new release by The New Swing Sextet. It was their first release in many years and KJAZZ, L.A.'s only true jazz station, was all over it. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet but I heard from the fans of the group that it’s a monster of a CD.

Reggaeton & Bachata Top 5:

Wisin Y Yandel - Los Extraterrestes
Daddy Yankee - Talento De Barrio
Calle 13 - S/T
Aventura - Kings OF Bachata
Flex - Te Quiero

Wisin Y Yandel are the heartthrobs of the Reggaeton world, but soon maybe taken over by Daddy Yankee’s Talento De Barrio, which came out a week ago. Calle 13 & Flex are solid sellers, but my personal favorite is Aventura. A few months ago, MTV Tr3s made some hilarious promotional commercials playing on the group's heartthrob appeal. The commercials are genius. The band seems to be good sports as well.



JAMEBLOG TOP TEN: WEEK OF 08:18:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 18, 2008 06:47pm | Post a Comment

Jameoblog Top Ten: 08:18:08

1) Wale - "The Kramer" (10 Deep/elitaste.com)
2) Fatlip - "What Up Fatlip? (Breakbot RMX)" (Delicious Vinyl)
3) NaS "Sly Fox" (Def Jam)
4) KRS-One "Pick It Up" (KOCH)
5) Jean Grae + 9th Wonder - "2-32's"  (Blacksmith)
6) Alltruisms - "Jalopy" (Gravel Records)
7) James Brown - "There Was A Time (Kenny Dope Remix)" (Verve)
8) Paris - "Get Fired Up" (Guerrilla Funk)
9) Girl Talk - "Don't Stop" (Illegal Art)
10) A.G. Cubano feat. The Jacka, San Quinn, & Matt Blaque - "I'm Winnin"  (City RIch/Blackhouse Ent)

On Wale's instantly engaging song "The Kramer," off his recent Nick Catchdubs mixed-Seinfeld themed The Mixtape About Nothing album-length digital download, he jumps head in and addresses the current hip-hop driven cultural use and abuse of the N word and, to a lesser degree, the B word. The Washington DC emcee, whose name is pronounced "Wah-Lay," uses Michael Richards' (aka Kramer on Seinfeld) infamous N word tirade, which he samples at the beginning of the track, as the jumping off point to address society's current use of the N word and its contradicting implications when used by blacks or whites-- specifically the dilemma of white diehard rap fans continually hearing the N word in their favorite music.

August 12, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 18, 2008 02:02pm | Post a Comment








 

Round and Round

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 18, 2008 11:03am | Post a Comment





                     

Terror Beneath The Sea

Posted by phil blankenship, August 17, 2008 10:36am | Post a Comment
 

Graveyard Of Horror

Posted by phil blankenship, August 16, 2008 10:30am | Post a Comment
 

Wet Wet Wet

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 15, 2008 12:00pm | Post a Comment
The Dog Days of summer are at our door step. At our compound in Pasadena that can mean heat managing up to 105-110...It's been holding off for now, but when that weather arrives I will look longingly at this blog...






AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 08:15:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2008 07:00am | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP FIVE 08:15:08
Elzhi
1)  eLZhi Preface (Fat Beats)

2) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)

3) NaS Untitled (Def Jam)

4) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)

5) Zo! & Tigallo Love the 80's (Hall of Justus Records)


This week's number one seller at the Amoeba Music Hollywood store is the brand new release from longtime bubbling-under Detroit emcee eLZhi (pronounced Els-Eye), who made his introduction to most in the hip-hop world a few years back when he joined Slum Village. Consequently, he has been keepin' active, between touring and appearing here and there on others' releases doing guest shots, including on many records from his Motor City hometown. Many of the Amoeba Hollywood shoppers who made Preface number one this week had no doubt obtained copies earlier this year of elZhi's Europass, his limited edition independently pressed-up CD/ download-able collection, which has won the talented emcee worthy praise from many quarters and also included "Motown 25." But it is the brand new Fat Beats issued Preface that will put eLZhi permanently and deservedly in the hip-hop history annals.
 
Stylistically, eLZhi is a gifted storytelling emcee whose delivery harks back to the more golden age of hip-hop (even the records scratched in are from that classic era in the genre, such as KRS-One) with tales of the hard knock life he has led coming up in Detroit. For samples off the new album and other recordings check out eLZhi MySpace, where you'll hear such great album tracks as "Motown 25," featuring Royce Da 5' 9" and "The Leak" featuring Ayah. Other guests on this recommended new album include A.B., Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Fatt Father, Danny Brown, Fat Ray, Phat Kat, and Fes Roc.

Roy Buchanan

Posted by Whitmore, August 15, 2008 12:33am | Post a Comment

When I was a kid my dad surprised me one day when he told me that his two favorite guitarists, hands down, were T-Bone Walker and Roy Buchanan-- two mostly obscure blues guitarists whose lofty talents are usually held in awe by only record collectors and guitar geeks. You would have thought my dad was a blues musician or at least someone with a passion for obscure vinyl … well, no, he just digs music -- he always said he was too busy working, customizing hotrods in those halcyon days of the 1960’s to be anything but a just a fan, but he does play a mean "Malaguena" from the Suite Andalucia by Ernesto Lecuona on classical piano.

Anyway, T-Bone Walker’s most famous number was "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)." His other classic recordings include "T-Bone Shuffle" and the brilliantly understated parable, "Let Your Hair Down, Baby, Let's Have a Natural Ball."  Walker lived to be a reasonably old man, especially by blues standards, passing away in 1975 at the age of 65. Unfortunately, Roy Buchanan’s life didn’t get that distance.  

20 years go today, Roy Buchanan was found hanging in his cell in the Fairfax County Jail in Fairfax, Virginia, by his own shirt, shortly after being arrested and soon after being placed in a holding tank. Buchanan had been picked up by the police earlier in the evening for public intoxication. Though he had a long history of drunken, restless and destructive behavior, many of his fans, friends and family have always doubted the suicide verdict of his death. He was 48.

Countless aficionados in the guitar world have long considered Roy Buchanan one of the finest and most overlooked guitarists of the blues-rock genre. According to legend, Buchanan's soulful and fiery skills led him to being invited to join the Rolling Stones in the late 1960’s. In 1971 Roy Buchanan found his greatest public exposure in an hour long Public Television documentary appropriately titled The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World. For a moment he was famous and in demand, signing a multi-record deal with Polydor. His 1972 self-titled debut contains one of Buchanan's best-known tracks, "The Messiah Will Come Again." Here’s some live footage of that song from a German television show in the early 80’s.

Karen Dalton's Green Rocky Road

Posted by Miss Ess, August 14, 2008 05:27pm | Post a Comment
The past few days I have really been getting into the new Karen Dalton release, Green Rocky Road.

I am a big fan of Dalton's studio albums, It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You the Best (1969) and In My Own Time (1971). When I first heard them, they seemed like precious relics from the past. It also seemed unlikely anything else of hers would ever be uncovered and released, but now, just a few years later, there have been reissues and even video footage released!

Dalton's life story is very compelling. She seems to have lived on her own terms, with little compromise and a lot of eccentricity and self destruction. Basically, Karen was a free spirit. She was half Native American and grew up in Oklahoma. She married and had two kids by the time she was 21. She also played banjo and 12 string guitar. Dalton left her husband and moved to New York in time to take part in the early '60s Greenwich Village scene, playing clubs and hanging out with Bob Dylan and Fred Neil. Later, she moved north to Woodstock, where she was surrounded by a creative community that included her friends and sometime lovers The Band. Her two albums never sold well and she slipped into obscurity, heartbroken. Eventually, after a life of drinking and drug abuse, she died of AIDS in New York in 1993.

Her voice is unmistakable: a craggy, worn sound that cracks and warbles its way through old folk standards. Green Rocky Road is a 1963 recording of Karen in her home, something never intended for release. Her sound lends itself to this type of setting and is only enhanced by the intimacy of the recording. Dalton slowly winds her way through the songs, taking her time and allowing her throaty voice to coat the jingle jangle of her banjo accompaniment. It's well-known that Karen hated being in the studio, and though her two official albums are extremely well worth seeking out, there is a certain pleasure, a palpable ease and comfort that the informed listener can wring from her voice in these home recordings that may be lacking from the studio records. It's also enjoyable to listen for the idiosyncrasies of the recording: her mother's voice, a phone constantly ringing, picking errors that simply serve to remind me of the organic nature of song. Dalton's voice is haunting and like no one else's.

If you have never heard this striking and soporific voice for yourself, pick up It's So Hard To Know Who's Going To Love You the Best. Dalton lives in the folk section here at Amoeba.

Last of the Blacksmiths Chat

Posted by Miss Ess, August 14, 2008 02:59pm | Post a Comment


Last of the Blacksmiths
are one of the most talented and moving bands here in the Bay Area.  Comprised of Nathan Wanta, Nigel Pavao and Bert Garibay, who play everything from mandolin to keys to guitar to drums, the band's sound rolls from The Band-like harmonies and depth to deep fried Southern- sounding funky interplay and heaviness. To check out their music, visit the band's Myspace page. Their latest record, Young Family Song, is available at Amoeba. I chatted with Nathan and Nigel recently about their visit to Levon Helm's farm, how Bikini Kill makes them cry, and the charm of a Wurlitzer.

Miss Ess: So, what have you been listening to lately?


NATHAN: Seems that this can change so drastically from day to day, but thinking of albums that I’ve listened to most in the past year or so, I’d say Allen Toussaint’s first three records probably win, followed by Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue, the Amazing Visions Black Fiction cd that Bert gave me,Terry Allen’s Juarez, Candi Staton’s Candi, Clifford Coulter’s, East Side San Jose, and I can’t leave out Eugene McDaniel’s Outlaw. Was pretty obsessed with the song “Cherrystones” for a while.  

NIGEL: I agree with Nathan, it changes all the time, but off the top of my head, Melvin Van Peebles Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label (compilation), Quasimoto The Unseen, Blonde Redhead 23, Curtis Mayfield Curtis, Portishead Third, Bill and Kim “their home recordings”, The Smiths…. I can go on forever. I’m at home a lot with my daughter and no matter what we’re doing we always have music on. 

ME: What song or record reminds you of childhood?

NATHAN: Man, there are so many...So many classic rock songs bring me back to driving around with my Dad listening to the radio, all the tapes he had, and 80’s hits of the day. With the stuff from my Dad’s collection, it was Led Zeppelin III, seeing the cover, being blown away by “Immigrant Song.”  Or if I hear a something like the verse melody for “I don’t want to lose your love tonight,” or something like that, there’s a memory of being struck by such a sweet melody. 

NIGEL: When I hear John Lennon’s “Mind Games” I feel like a child again. It’s a powerful experience… love that song.

ME: There's a song from that album actually, "One Day (At A Time)," that reminds me of being about 12, a very specific time and place. I love it. When did you first pick up instruments?

NATHAN: My parents gave me a guitar for Christmas around age 5 or so, and a little Casio as well. I started up on guitar lessons again around 4th grade, but didn’t have the patience to stick with it until high school.

NIGEL: When I was 4 I got my first drum set, by the time I was 7 I was taking piano lessons. My folks didn’t want me to play guitar in fear of some “rock star mentality” or something. At the time I thought it was cruel, but now I’m thankful for all those years of piano lessons. I was able to pick up most instruments after that with some kind of understanding.
 
Same goes for me with piano lessons! How did you all come together and form your sound? What were your main influences?


NATHAN: Well, Nigel and I had been playing together in a louder indie rock band for a while, before this band started. Close to the time the other band ended, we started working on songs that we didn’t think we could play in that band, and personally, I started feeling more courageous about playing whatever kind of music that popped into my head.

NIGEL: Yeah, I guess it’s hard to say how we formed our sound. We had guitars and we knew we wanted to be a full band with piano, drums, and bass. I initially set out to buy a Fender Rhoads piano, but while I was playing one at this store, Emma [Nigel's wife] started playing this Wurlitzer they had hiding in the corner of the room. I was sold from that point on; then Nathan bought one too. I like the Rhoads sound too, but the Wurlitzer just sounded better on a wider variety of styles and songs. As a band I feel like our tastes and desires are constantly changing, but then our songs and sounds all end up sounding like us. I’m guessing that’s just natural. Maybe an outside perspective would say differently.

What is the band's songwriting process like?

NATHAN: Usually someone brings a song to the group, and then we work on it from there. Sometimes the person has really specific ideas of how the song should be, and other times, it ends up being a lot different then you would have expected. But that’s one of the main reasons for being in a band in the first place-- not only having your bandmates help realize a vision, but sometimes when they make the song better than that optimal recording you heard in your head. 

What's your most prized piece of musical gear?

NATHAN: Definitely my old parlor guitar.  Out of any possessions I have, no one thing really comes close. It’s probably because finding the “right” acoustic guitar is such a tough process, and once you find it, you never want to let it go. Same as a girl, I guess. I mean, my Wurlitzer would be my easy second, and I even enjoy playing it more, because I enjoy piano more, but there’s just something about that guitar…

What is your favorite local band besides yourselves? 

NATHAN: I have several favorites, but overall El Capitan is probably my favorite band that I know of that’s still playing in San Francisco or anywhere. Ryan’s songs, the sincerity, the places they take you to, and those shows where the band takes you to that special place that’s harder and harder to come by as you get older...not every show, but those magic ones, where everything just falls into place. 

What album do you absolutely love that you think more people should listen to?

NATHAN: If we're already on the subject of El Capitan, I may as well mention their last album, Stickeen. It’s not just that every song is good, or great, but I do often think while listening to it that if more people heard these songs they could have the people singing along at some show like the Bridge School Benefit or something like that. The song "Black Ice" is one I think any skateboarder would relate to, get a little misty-eyed from. If Bill Withers has the best Grandma song and Guy Clark has the best Grandpa song, El Capitan definitely has the best skateboarding song. 

What record or song can make you cry?

NATHAN: There are several that come to mind, like the Guy Clark song I just mentioned, but the one that always seems to get me is “From Your Boy,” by the Queers. Just thinking of that sweet melody is starting to get me right now. So many memories that go along with the song, and the time. 

NIGEL: The first song that comes to mind is “R.I.P.” by Bikini Kill. For me, that song feels so raw and real, it still gets me. But I think the lasting impact has a lot to do with my memory of first hearing that song and how it just tore me apart. There are others by Curtis Mayfield, The Smiths, and it all depends on the listening moment, but some artists really know how to stick it to you (anywhere on the emotional spectrum) and those artists often end up being my favorites. 

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures? 

NATHAN: Recently (and thankfully the obsession has died down in the last month), I’ve been a bit obsessed with Lionel Richie, but the more I listened to the whole record, and the more I thought of it, the less funny I started feeling about putting it on. I mean, that record is one of the first records I ever remember seeing, in the music aisle at the Payless Drugs in Tracy, right up there with Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Maybe it’s only fitting that I come to appreciate it after all these years and how many thousand albums that came in between. 

NIGEL: Sometimes I get on a top 40 hip-hop kick and then after a while I’ll get bored of the mostly shallow content. Even though I’d agree that a big booty looks good on a woman, I just don’t know how many songs I need to hear talking about that. But some of the arrangements, singing, and sounds keep me interested for a while.

I have been unashamedly listening to a lot of Kenny Rogers lately! It's all about nostalgia. Speaking of old days, I know you guys got to go to Levon Helm's farm and swim and record there...can you retell the story of that experience here?  When are you going back to record there?

NATHAN: It was pretty surreal, and when [we] talk about it, it seems that the consensus is that everyone’s still kinda in disbelief that it actually happened. Just going to the Ramble was an experience in itself.  Seeing Levon play up close like that, and how when he hits his snare, the air seems to get sucked right out of the room. But really, if it wasn’t for Eva [Nathan's wife] having the nerve to go up to talk to him, we never would have been invited back to hang out the next day. That was the most surreal part, but the music was the highlight. 

It would be nice to go back and record there, sure, but oh man, that would be expensive. 

What is the best live show you have ever seen?

NATHAN: The one I think that will forever stand out in my mind, and I don’t know if it’s just something like a fairy tale at this point, but seeing Fugazi at the Trocoder in maybe '94 or '95 seems to be the one that left the biggest imprint. Just being a part of the energy that was created that night. It’s hard to explain. The ultimate combination of music and energy from the people surrounding you and leaving you feeling speechess. 

NIGEL: Bjork in 1998 on her Homogenic tour. 

You guys have opened for artists like Smog and Okkervil River, so who would be your dream headliner that you got to open up for?

NATHAN: Opening up for Smog was probably the neatest show we’ve gotten to open thus far. But if you’re asking who would be a dream person to open for, man, that’s tough to say. Maybe Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Then in the next part of the dream, he’d sing my grandpa’s song of ours, "Pick a Song."

NIGEL: I think it would great to play with Bjork, Yo La Tengo, Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio, or with Allen Toussaint. Like these artists, there are a bunch more that have inspired me that I’d love to play with. Lately I’ve been wanting to set up shows in “non-club-like” environments, no age groups excluded, somewhere you can set up the room, the feel, and run with it.

What has been your peak musical experience thus far?

NATHAN: Aside from the magic moments that I’ve experienced every once and a while at our shows, it’s probably just getting to play with these guys for so long. It’s a special thing, I’d say.

NIGEL: Indeed.

What has been your best find at Amoeba?

NATHAN: Anita Carter’s So Much Love probably takes it. Her records are so hard to find, and you never know what you might find in the Carter section at Amoeba. That record has become one of my favorites, and her voice, oh man… it’s hard to find one sweeter. It’s like your mom singing you to sleep when your sick as a kid.

NIGEL: Sarah Rogers.

Ai, you make me blush! What live dates do you have coming up?

NATHAN: The next one isn’t until October 6th, actually. Should be a neat show though, at 111 Minna. An art gallery show and benefit. 

Thanks so much for your time!

Just Farr A Laugh...earles and jensen present...the greatest prank phone calls ever...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 14, 2008 12:44pm | Post a Comment
This is another sad week for new releases, but it does come in waves. You just have to wait a couple more weeks for some great new albums. I really wish that just one label had decided to put out something good this week. It would have been really easy to get your album to the top this week. It would have also been really easy to get me to talk about your album this week. I just can't bring myself to talk about Daddy Yankee or David Sanborn. The number one selling album of the week will probably by the Jonas Brothers, who I am tempted to talk about. I guess they are sort of the "new" New Kids on the Block, so it is fitting that this week also sees the release of a greatest hits of the New Kids. They seem to be a bit more hip than the New Kids but I guess that it just because they are more up with the times. They wear tight fitting suits and drive the kids crazy. It will be interesting to see where these kids go in the next couple of years. It is weird to have to grow up in the public eye. One out of these 3 "brothers" is bound to have some trouble with the law, or at least some explicit photos show up in thejust-farr-a-laugh tabloids. The music offers absolutely nothing new or interesting, but I guess it serves its purpose. The tweens've got to listen to something. I guess there parents would rather them listen to the Jonas Brothers than Judas Priest, but I personally think that the Jonas Brothers might be more damaging.

I've got to go back a couple of months to find an album to talk about. I don't usually find myself listening to comedy albums. I especially tend to avoid "crank call" albums...but maybe I have been missing out. I put on a sampler album advance of this new album by Earles & Jensen a couple months back, but I really was not expecting very much. I listened to it on a Monday morning with my coworker. It was really early in the morning and I was barely awake, but we both could not stop laughing for the entire length of the album. I wanted to listen to it again. I couldn't wait for more Earles & Jensen. Luckily this was just a sampler and there would be a 2 CD version out soon. The album is actually a reissue of stuff that was out before. I had never head of them before, so I am happy this came out to a wider audience. This double CD Earles & Jensen present...Just Farr a Laugh: The Greatest Prank Phone Calls Ever Vol. 1 & 2 was released by Matador Records. The folks that brought you Belle & Sebastian and Cat Power have managed to put out the funniest comedy album ever! I seriously love this album and love introducing people to it. It is sometimes hard to convince people to actually pick up this album and give it a chance, but it is worth your time. You will never laugh more than this.

The art of the crank call has been around for a while, but Earles and Jensen have perfected it. The set up is the same. Earles and Jensen create many different characters and voices. They call up various retail establishments and businesses and pretend to be these various people. Most of the calls start fairly normal and the receivers of the calls never seem to figure it out. The calls are full of ridiculous pop culture references, half of which seem to go right over the heads of these people, which only makes it more funny. It is hard to believe these people don't know they are getting a prank call, but even harder to believe that these people stay on the phone for so long without hanging up. I wonder how many calls didn't work out so well, but somehow they do manage to get a big selection of perfect prank calls.

After working at the information counter at Amoeba and answering the phones I have had my share of prank calls. Surprisingly, I seemed to get more of these calls at the San Francisco store, but maybe that is just because I worked more often on the phones at the store. You start to recognize the voices, but sometimes you just don't know for sure which calls are pranks and which are real. I would start thinking that more than half the calls were prank calls, but I knew that most of them were not so I just had to treat them all like real people. You do get some weird people calling record stores so it is extremely hard to tell which calls are real. So I guess what I am saying is that I have probably believed some prank calls were real. I just hope that I was not recorded. I often go along with the calls as far as I can. I figure some people are a bit crazy and just need some interaction. It might be a crank call, or it might just be someone who needs some sort of phone interaction therapy. They just need somebody to talk to.

I have a couple favorite tracks on the album, but as I listen to it again, I realize that I like almost every single track. It just gets better and better. My favorite call is probably "Barbara: A Realistic Portrait." A blues musician woman calls a man hoping to join his band. She is so sincere that it is hard to believe it is not real. Her husband makes the next call to explain the previous call. They also go on to imitate various celebrities. But they dig a bit deeper than you would expect. There is a great call from Tim Butler, the brother of Richard Butler, the singer of the Psychedelic Furs. There is a call from Morris Day. They also love to impersonate personal assistants, because who is really gonna know if they are actually that person: a call from RuPaul's assistant, a call from Gallagher's assistant-- even the assistant of the great Christopher Cross. There's also a great call from the late great Isaac Hayes complaining that somebody made fun of him at a grocery store. Another one of my favorites is when the assistant of Ed Asner calls a restaurant to have a photo of another celebrity removed. I don't really even know how to review a comedy album. This album goes beyond comedy. I will warn you that if you listen to it on your headphones people might think you are crazy -- you will be laughing a lot -- so I recommend listening to it with a friend, or maybe in the privacy of your own home. I am going to listen to the whole album again right now. I love it. And it always feels good to laugh. I think it is supposed to make you live longer or something. You will have the CD memorized soon because you will want to listen to it so much. The CD also includes a great booklet with some interesting drawings and descriptions of all the calls. So instead of trying to find some exciting new release that does not exist this week, go buy some Earles & Jensen. You will love it!


FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS & LIVE A FULL LIFE: SUSIE WYSHAK

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2008 09:24am | Post a Comment
Susie Wyshak SuperViva.com
Meet Susie Wyshak. She believes in dreams. More importantly, she believes in chasing after and accomplishing those dreams in life. The San Francisco resident thinks that not only should everyone have a concise list of life goals but that they owe it to themselves to nurture and rigidly go after these dreams, no matter how ridiculous or far-fetched they may seem to the rest of the world.

So, being a woman of action, Susie decided to do something about this. A couple of years ago the LA transplant launched her website SuperViva.com where she encourages people to draw up "life lists" (kinda similar to the theme of that recent movie The Bucket List). Her goal is to inspire people to develop their inner goals in life (mostly dreams already in peoples' subconscious-- just not fully hatched & realized) and make a life list of these personal goals, and then one by one go about executing them.

Susie, an Amoeba fan and dedicated music lover (who "grew up during the great 80s punk era" in SoCal) already had her own life list but thought the web would be the perfect place for keeping a long list of ideas and tracking how they are developing: a way for herself and others to stay on track with their life lists by posting updates. When Susie meets people she gives them one of her SuperViva business size cards which encourage people to "LIVE A FULL LIFE" -- her mantra -- and she also invites them to "jot down their top dreams" which she hopes they will do, and perhaps post the results on her site. Recently she did something a little different -- she trekked around the Bay Area to cold interview strangers (a "brainstorming project" is what she called it) and posted the results on her site. I recently caught up with Susie to ask her about SuperViva, her own life goals, and, of course, music.

Don Helms 1927 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, August 14, 2008 08:47am | Post a Comment


Don Helms
, steel guitarist and the last surviving member of Hank Williams' band, the Drifting Cowboys, died Monday in Nashville of a heart attack. He was 81. Helms played with Williams on and off for about decade, from 1943 until 1953 when Hank Williams died from just living too fast at the age of 29 on New Year's Day, in Canton, Ohio. Helms is featured on over a hundred Hank Williams recordings -- actually 104 to be exact. His steel guitar sound added a heart breaking mournfulness to many of Williams' ballads, songs like “Your Cheatin' Heart,” “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and “Cold, Cold Heart,” but Helms could also add a touch of playfulness on up-tempo tracks such as “Jambalaya” and "Hey, Good Lookin'."

Donald Hugh Helms was born Feb. 28, 1927, in New Brockton, Ala. He got his first steel guitar when he was 15, and by 18 he was playing with Williams in juke joints around the south. After serving in the army during World War II, Helms re-joined the Drifting Cowboys when Williams became a star on the Grand Ole Opry in 1949.

After Williams' death, Helms stayed in demand as a session player and went onto play on dozens of classic recordings such as Patsy Cline's “Walkin' After Midnight,” Lefty Frizzell's “Long Black Veil,” Ernest Tubb's “Letters Have No Arms,” and Stonewall Jackson's "Waterloo." Helms recorded with most every great Country-Western star of the day, including Ray Price, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Webb Pierce, Ferlin Husky, Chet Atkins, Cal Smith, the Wilburn Brothers, and Jim Reeves. According to legend, Helms wrote Brenda Lee's first number one hit “Fool Number One” in exchange for getting Loretta Lynn a recording contract with Decca Records.

In recent years, Helms continued to provide his signature steel guitar sound on sessions with artists Rascal Flatts, Bon Jovi, Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, and Kid Rock. During his lifetime Helms continued to play with all the Williams': Hank Jr., Hank Williams III, and even recorded with Jett Williams, the daughter of Hank Sr. who was born a few days after Williams’ death.

AMOEBA MOVIE/DVD ROUND UP

Posted by Billyjam, August 12, 2008 10:08pm | Post a Comment

The recommended DVD sections in each Amoeba Music location are the kind of places where time can stand still as you lose track of everything else around you and get lost in the sea of video/DVD delights in front of you. You can spend hours just digging in row upon row of a wide variety of movies and TV shows and music videos and concerts of every genre imaginable. 

For proof, check out the current Top Sellers Movie charts for each of the three Amoeba stores (Berkeley, San Francisco, Hollywood), where you will also notice a real diversity of content on each of the Top 25 charts. The five DVDs listed from each store below are drawn mostly from these current Top 25's but also include some additional current hot sellers at Amoeba.

Amoeba Hollywood: 5 DVD Picks

  Girl On The Bridge
  Control (
Joy Division)
  Mad Men: Season 1
  Spaced: The Complete Series
  Cocaine Cowboys


"The French movie Girl On The Bridge is doing really well right now," said Rigo at the Hollywood Amoeba of the movie La Fille Sur Le Pont (Girl On The Bridge). Check out a scene from the film below. This three minute clip is from the film's knife throwing scene and is set to the moving score of Marianne Faithfull's "Who Will Take My Dreams Away." Another music themed movie doing well with a clip below is last year's big screen biopic on Joy Division's late lead singer, Ian Curtis.

Papua - King Kong, Keep the river on your right, world music, south pacific section

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 12, 2008 07:39pm | Post a Comment
In Papua, a Kapiraya chief announced Monday that he's launching a campaign to get compensation for environmental damage wrought by US mining company Freeport. The gold and copper-mining giant has polluted the coastline and streams around the Karpiraya's lands in the world's largest copper and gold mine, established in 1971. Due to the considerable pollution, the Kapiraya are faced with a water shortage.


Freeport is a joint venture co-owned by Indonesia and the U.S.A.'s Freeport McMoRan. They pay an estimated 1.8 billion dollars in taxes to the Indonesian government, which doesn't help the Papuans, whose land is occupied by Indonesian soldiers who suppress the indigenous population.

How did West Papua end up in the hands of the notoriously heavy-handed Indonesian government?

Since then, like many of the 100s of non-Javanese peoples of Indonesia, things have been crappy all over. During the seemingly unending rule of the murderous, military dictator Suharto, the best that can be said about the Indonesians' treatment of occupied Papua is that they didn't do much. In 2001, the Indonesian government passed a law granting a degree of autonomy to Papua, although they've failed to enact any of the law's requirements.


Papuans have lived in the land for at least 40,000 years. It's the second largest island in the world and was created when, at the end of the last ice age, the glaciers melted and flooded the Torres Strait. With nearly 1,000 languages spoken, it's the most linguistically diverse area on Earth.

Joker's Wild, or Batman Degree Zero: The Dark Knight (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, August 10, 2008 10:36pm | Post a Comment
The Joker


There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing: every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheel-barrow he rolls in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards can find nothing. It is always empty. Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves ... -- Slavoj Zizek, p. 1, Violence

I just happened to start reading Slavoj Zizek's new book, Violence, shortly after I saw Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and found both to serendipitously complement each other. Zizek begins his book with the little tale of theft quoted above, which he uses as a grounding metaphor in analyzing our approach to violence. Too often we're concerned with its subjective effects (who was hurt and by what, i.e., what's in the wheelbarrow), rather than its objective status (the symbolic order that gives form and definition to the violent act, i.e., the wheelbarrow itself). For example, an anti-semitic remark doesn't constitute hate speech -- isn't violent -- for a Nazi who exists in a context where "the Jew" is defined outside of humanity, and thus moral concern. It is the functioning symbolic order that allows everyday people to exist in a system perpetuating violence on others without seeing how their own normality is defined by what it violently excludes. This is what the Joker is getting at when he says to Harvey Dent:
 
Nobody panics when they expect people to get killed. Nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if the plans are horrifying. If I tell the press that tomorrow a gangbanger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will get blown up, nobody panics. But when I say one little old mayor will die, everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy, you upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I am an agent of chaos. And you know the thing about chaos, Harvey? It’s fair.
 
Sure, we (represented here as Gotham City residents) might see the gangbanger's death as violent, but always as subjective violence, an act by an individual on another individual, not as a sign that the cultural system itself is violent. The difference between the violence against a gangbanger and against the mayor is that only the latter is perceived to be a threat to the normal order of things, whereas the former is already written into the cultural bill as the price of doing business as usual. The Joker is an agent of chaos, because he's the embodiment of pure objective violence. That's why he assures Harvey that killing his girlfriend, Rachel (Bruce Wayne's love interest, as well), and leaving him horribly disfigured as Two-Face was "nothing personal." As such, the Joker's actions can only be read as chaotic, senseless, or just plain nuts. He doesn't put Gotham's citizens (including its criminals) through a series of terroristic spins on the prisoner's dilemma for personal gain, revenge or as the result of some childhood trauma -- he's an ascetic without a real history. Rather, his only goal and source of pleasure is in making his victims face up to the abstracted violent substructure around which their culture is configured. Sounding like Jack Nance and looking like he's spent time in A Clockwork Orange and Ichi the Killer with fashion tips from Malcolm McLaren, the Joker provides a scarred face to the invisible logic of capitalism, with cracking make-up and a forced smile. He's pure desire without an object, paradoxically making the impersonal personal and invisible visible. Regarding this invisible and "fundamental systemic violence of capitalism," Zizek writes:
 
[M]uch more uncanny than any direct pre-capitalist socio-ideological violence: this violence is no longer attributable to concrete individuals and their "evil" intentions, but is purely "objective," systemic, anonymous. [Some stuff about Lacan's Real versus reality that I will spare you.]  We can experience this gap [between the reality of people and what's being defined as reality by the logic of capitalism] in a palpable way when one visits a country where life is obviously in shambles. We see a lot of ecological decay and human misery. However, the economist's report that one reads afterwards informs us that the country's economic situation is "financially sound" -- reality doesn't matter, what matters is the situation of capital ... -- p. 12-3, ibid.

Stocks wouldn't keep rising for a corporation that exploits third-world misery if that repressed misery took on a subjective quality for the investors. For capital to keep growing, said misery has to remain purely objective, an abstract cost that's been symbolically excluded out of our day-to-day concerns. The Joker is the same unbounded desire that drives capitalism. Without any object or goal to satisfy him, he exists outside of our rational system and can only be stopped with violence. He can't be beat, however, only beaten, because the solution to the problem he presents is the problem itself: repression of systemic violence. (Batman once tried to reason with him -- understand him -- in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke with miserable results.) At best, Gotham City can return to the status quo by forgetting him -- define him out existence as insane and lock him away in its local Id repository, Arkham Asylum. Or they could kill him, but Gotham's local hero of repression has only one rule: he doesn't kill.
 
The Batman


 
It is an enigma to me how a theologian can be praised because he has struggled his way to unbelief. The achievement that always struck me as most heroic and praiseworthy was struggling through to belief.  -- Karl Kraus, #421, Dicta and Contradicta

There's many parallels that Nolan uses to show Batman and Joker as two sides of the same systemic coin, with Two-Face serving as their dialectic. At a fundraiser being thrown for the still intact Harvey Dent by Bruce Wayne, the latter is shown throwing out champagne while pretending to drink it. When the Joker shows up at the party, he does the same thing, but stages the pretense for all to see. Bruce has to pretend to drink in order to hide his identity as the Batman and keep functioning within Gotham's high society, whereas the Joker wants nothing more than to lay bare all such pretenses. While the Joker has no determinate psychological beginning (he changes the tale of his scars with a change in victims), Batman is bound by his origin. Bruce would've never become the Batman without being from Gotham's wealthiest family. Conversely, Gotham needs him as a stopgap mechanism to continue functioning at all.  The city got the hero that it needs through an act of subjective violence on the Wayne family. In turn, Batman perpetually fights evil doers on a case-by-case basis, giving Gotham the illusion that something's being done about its pervasive corruption. As the always astute Dave Fiore says of the Caped Crusader:
 
All he wants to do is hang on. Exercise virtue and excise "corruption." Keep the money in the hands of the people that are already ("legitimately") rich, and the underclass in its place. The only "systemic" critique this concept is capable of generating is a law n' order screed against legal loopholes that allow the criminals to go free.
 
Bruce has to believe in his subjective cause, lest his whole origin be called into question. Just where do all those billions come from if not from the same rapacious practices of the real world's most successful capitalists? To help explain the Bruce/Batman duality, Zizek provides, once again, a telling example-- that of the liberal communist. The unbridled desire of capitalism is masked by the charitable communitarian deeds of many of its most successful practitioners. While remaining ruthless in their business practices, men like Bill Gates and George Soros find enlightenment and meaning by giving away much of their wealth to needy causes. The inspirational figurehead for the liberal communists is Andrew Carnegie, who gave away a good deal of his wealth to fund humanitarian causes while using a private army to suppress organized labor. Capitalism needs charity in the same way the Batman "justifies" Bruce Wayne's wealth.  Capitalism qua Gotham City creates the problems and then provides the repressive mask by which those problems are to be solved.
 
Gotham City


Reg
: But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Xerxes: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, pea... Shut up! -- Monty Python's The Life of Brian
 
Following Brecht, Michael Wood suggests Gotham City has to be a pretty miserable place if it needs Batman. Well, yes and no. On the one hand, Gotham's repressed elements are always more on the verge of surfacing than in an average city, hence the reliance on a vigilante. On the other hand, like any capitalist center for civilization, there's going to be a good many people who are helped along, with all the repressive mechanisms in place to make their existence a fairly smooth one. People wouldn't have the time to earn doctorates and write for the London Review of Books about comic book characters without a certain level of bourgeois complacency. There is value, even a sense of existential heroism, in the Batman's Sisyphean struggle to return the city to a state of equilibrium (even if it's doubtful that Gotham has ever been in such a state). Gotham would cease functioning altogether if it could no longer hide the systemic violence that the Joker represents under Batman's mask of rationalization. The Joker's chaos might be "fair," but the have-nots wouldn't be helped in the slightest by reducing all the haves to their status. Therefore, Batman can't give in to the Joker's demand that he remove his mask in order to stop the latter's killing spree. This need to "keep the mask on" is demonstrated on multiple levels:

It's telling that the main criminal power brokers ultimately side with the uncorruptible (will to status quo) heroes Batman and soon-to-be Commissioner Gordon. Even Gotham's gangsters realize the Joker operates outside of their ratio-economic structure and has to be repressed. They choose Batman's law and order to a fellow criminal willing to burn their sole raison d'etre, money. The Joker is just plain crazy.  Crime wouldn't pay -- wouldn't make sense -- if the system of criminalization went belly up. What would be the point, for example, in being a drug dealer if all drugs were legalized? The criminal rationale is just as dependent as bourgeois comfort on the extant symbolic order.

In order to test the limits separating Gotham's law-abiding citizenry from its criminal underworld, the Joker rigs two ferryboats with explosives and gives the detonator for each to the other boat. On one boat are the citizens and on the other, a group of prisoners. If neither group chooses to execute the other by midnight, the Joker makes it clear that he'll blow up both. Batman manages to stop the Joker's ability to carry out the double execution before the deadline rolls around and neither boat has exploded, but why did neither group push the button? In the corniest example of his Eastwood growl, Batman claims it's because these people are "good." He wasn't privy to what we viewers got to see, however. On the criminal boat (a significant proportion of whose occupants were, in all likelihood, put there by Batman), a single black man cons his way into possessing the detonator, only to throw it overboard, determining the fate for all. Contrary to a popular religious myth, one lone martyr is hardly an argument for the good of all. On the law-abiding boat, the passengers take a vote, and overwhelmingly elect to kill the criminals. The button isn't pushed because of virtue, but due to a lack of resolve. Violence to restore stability is fine when done abstractly through a representative (an executioner or a soldier), but not when it takes on a personalized meaning. The "goodness" that saves Gotham's (or Batman's belief in Gotham's) dignity turns out to be cowardice.

Finally, when the Joker gives Batman the forced choice between rescuing Rachel (the girl he loves) or Harvey Dent (the white knight of supposed systemic change), Batman chooses the subjective. Because the Joker lied about the location of the two victims, Batman mistakenly rescues Harvey, while Rachel goes up in flames. The Joker has Batman's number. For all his scientific-detective rationality, all he really has to fight the problem of the Joker with are his fists. He continually pounds the Joker, to which the latter knowingly replies with something like, "you've got nothing on me." As I discussed with Iron Man, superheroes can only address systemic threats on a personal level. Their serialized nature requires such a palliative solution in order to heroically continue. (The one superhero story that does effectively address systemic change is the never completed fascistic-utopian Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman.)  Bruce Wayne pays lip service to possible systemic change by funding Dent, but as Batman he puts his subjective interests first. Thus, like DC Comics' stockholders, he doesn't really desire a Gotham without a need for the Batman.

As a heroic figure of repression, Batman remains unchanged by the Joker's games of pitting objective violence against its subjective counterpart. Like the Joker, he'll just keep on keepin' on. Harvey Dent, however, is thoroughly contaminated. With Rachel dead and his face now horribly disfigured on one side (dripping pustular goo all over his suit), he becomes the stochastic angel of vengeance, Two-Face, meting out violent retribution with a flip of the coin. The only system of justice left to him is chance, where everyone's (even Gordon's kids') guilt or innocence is determined randomly. Can there be any doubt that the Joker has won? Rather than allow the truth about Gotham's corrupted hero get out, Batman takes the rap for Dent's crimes, further perpetuating the illusory hope that real change is just around the corner.  Batman is certainly the hero Gotham needs, but Two-Face is the one it deserves.

Remembering Isaac Hayes & Black Moses

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 10, 2008 09:43pm | Post a Comment
It’s not often that I get emotional over a musician’s death, but when I heard Isaac Hayes passed away I was saddened, like I'd lost a friend. In fact, his music was my friend in times when I needed it the most. If I was in love, Isaac encouraged me. If a girl left me, Isaac was there to console me. When I hated the world, Isaac was there to show that love conquers all. Basically, when the shit hit the fan, Isaac Hayes was a friend when no one else was.

Back in 1994, I was hired as a bass player to go on the road with a band. After each tour, someone in the crew or band got let go in the most absurd passive aggressive manner. It was never "thank you, but your services are no longer needed", it was just  a lot of bad vibes until you either quit or once the tour ended you were replaced without notice. It was nerve wracking to say the least. I figured they were going to fire me at any time. It was like being in the mob and waiting for a hit that would eventually come. On the last tour, I knew my time had come. We were in Europe and I was starting to get the bad vibes. I was getting the silent treatment from everyone on tour, including the star of the show. I felt ignored and was getting shut out of activities that a band and crew engage in on tour. Alone in my bunk on a bus, I found solace through music. My anger about my situation was alleviated by a rotation of The Stooges Funhouse, Black Flag’s Slip It In and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. But once I was done with my anger and the rotation of those CD’s, I felt that isolation deep inside. Those long drives over night from city to city can be some of the loneliest times, especially if you don’t feel like you have any friends around you. I missed my family, Los Angeles and Mexican food. I missed talking to people on a homie level. That’s where Isaac came in.

Before we left for our European tour, I bought Isaac Hayes’ Black Moses. That album was a cold drink of water to a thirsty man. Although most of the songs are covers, it was his interpretations and the emotions that he put into the songs that got me. It felt real in a world that was unreal. Each arrangement felt heavy, not in the rock and roll sense of heavy, but in the sense that I believed every word he was saying. When he sang, “I Never Can Say Goodbye," it felt like he was never-ever going to say goodbye. Michael Jackson is a great singer but the youthful Jackson 5 version doesn’t sound heartbroken. Isaac's version is almost painful to hear. When he was “Going In Circles” you could feel that frustration of being in love and being pulled in one direction and then to another. Even his versions of pop fluff, ["(They Long To Be) Close To You," "I’ll Never Fall In Love Again"] were done with such conviction, I couldn't help but believe in those songs. I listened to every word, every arrangement and every harmony. The subtlety of the instrumentation had me transfixed; I broke down each part in my bunk. It was like a class in musical arrangement. Much like listening to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, the more I listened to it, the more I got out of it.

Suffice to say, that European tour was my last with that group. I have no regrets, especially because that last tour was when I discovered Black Moses. That album changed my life. After that, a whole new world of music was opened up to me-- one of arrangements out of the norm and where every note you sing or play has the potential to move people. That is what Isaac showed me in those dark nights on bus, and I will forever be thankful to him.

Thank You Isaac, for everything. Rest in peace friend.

R.I.P. ISAAC HAYES

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2008 01:43pm | Post a Comment

Is
aac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician (and rapper before it was officially called "rap") whose “Theme From Shaft” earned him both Academy and Grammy awards, was found dead at his home earlier today. He was 65.

According to the Associated Press, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says a family member found Hayes unresponsive near a treadmill today. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis. The cause of death was not immediately known.
  
Like so many great American soul artists, Hayes started out singing in the church from a very young age. He taught himself how to play piano, organ, and saxophone and before launching his own career in Memphis at Stax-Volt (whose treatment would later cause him much stress), he worked behind the scenes at the label as a writer for others.  His work there included co-writing the big hit "Soul Man" for Sam and Dave. 1967 was the yearisaac hayes black moses Hayes began his solo career with the debut Presenting Isaac Hayes, followed two years later by the commercially successful landmark album Hot Buttered Soul

The albums kept coming, including The Isaac Hayes Movement and To Be Continued, but it was the 1971 release of the score to the movie Shaft that would push him to the top. The score also earned him an Academy Award (for Best Score) and a Grammy. He continued his creative streak that year with
the amazing Black Moses album. In 1973 he released Joy and the next year composed two soundtracks, Truck Turner (a film that he also starred in) and Tough Guys.

Ganymede

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 10, 2008 01:23pm | Post a Comment
Ganymede

Ganymede is the largest satellite in our solar system and probably more interesting than the planet Mercury. It orbits the largest planet in the system, Jupiter. Imagine taking a gander into the sky and seeing that red storm swirling above you like the eye of Sauron! Luckily for citizens of Ganymede, you can't get shrooms there, because that would pretty much guarantee a scary time.



Jupiter (left) and Ganymede (right) (case'n you didn't know)

200km below Ganymede's icy surface, a salty subsurface ocean exists*. It is the only moon in the solar system to possess a magnetosphere. Its atmosphere is primarily composed of oxygen in various states.

 
           
The handsomest man alive since the handsomest man expired               The handsomest moon

It was named after the Gods' cupbearer in the Greek religion. The position of divine cupbearer had previously been filled by the goddess of youth, Hebe, who was replaced following the abduction and installation of Ganymede at Zeus' insistence. 



Where it all went down- in what's now Turkey

Ganymede was a Trojan prince and the most handsome guy alive in his day. One day he was tending sheep whilst vacationing in Phyrgia. There he caught Zeus' pederastic eye and the god sent a giant eagle to abduct the guy and bring him to Olympus. In Olympia, he was well-liked except, perhaps not surprisingly, by Zeus' wife Hera. His greatest contribution to we mortals was inventing mead, the delicious alcoholic honey brew which made Grendel go cuckoo for cocoa puffs in distant
Götaland.

       
The abduction of Ganymede             Getting high off of his own supply         "If you want me to play tambourine, just ask"

Plato later theorized that the story of Ganymede was invented. He figured it was created by Cretans to explain their curiously widespread love for young lads among their Minoan elders.

Ganymede wasn't the only name considered when naming the Jovian moon. It beat out "The Jupiter of Jupiter" as well as the possibility of being named after one of the members of the Medici family in an historical instance of corporate sponsorship.


Members of the Medici family. Don't you just want to slap them?

For all of its mystery and wonder, few filmmakers have utilized Ganymede as a setting, whilst video games, television episodes and animes rather more often have. In fact, one of the only films having anything to do with Ganymede is Operation Ganymed, a made-for-tv movie from Germany which aired in the '70s.

   

In the animes Space Battleship Yamato (Uchū Senkan Yamato) and Geneshaft (jīn shafuto) some of the action takes place on Ganymede. In Cowboy Bebop (Kaubōi Bibappu), Ganymede is fully aquaformed and is the home of 7 million humans (who live in floating colonies) in addition to new lifeforms unique to the world.



Eht's Grrrrane!

On Babylon 5, there is an ice mining operation is situated there. In the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name," Scotty gets faded on some green drank he's picked up on the moon. "Ganymede" is the first word uttered in the series Red Dwarf.


                                        One Must Fall 2097                                                                       Carnage Heart


                             Target Earth                                                                                 Shadowgrounds

In the PC game One Must Fall: 2097, combatants fight for the right to develop Ganymede. It's also featured in the PC Game FOM, the Sega Genesis game Target Earth the Playstation game Carnage Heart, and the PC game Shadowgrounds.

*maybe


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BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP, PART II: 08:10:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2008 07:05am | Post a Comment
Stacy Epps
Due to the sheer volume of really great new hip-hop dropping these days, this is the second Amoeblog hip-hop round up for this week. Click here to check out part one from Friday, which included the Berkeley Amoeba Music Top Five plus news items on A.G. Cubano, DJ Teeko, Diplo, and NaS.

Meantime, this second part round-up comes complete with my personal top ten hip-hop chart. This chart is song oriented rather than album based. The songs are all new 2008 releases, unless otherwise noted, and are culled from various formats including vinyl, CDs, mixtape CDs, 7" singles, and MP3s. Most should be available at Amoeba Music now or in the very near future. Ask Amoeba's always helpful & informed staff for assistance if you ever have questions on any music.

                    JAMOEBLOG TOP TEN HIP-HOP TRACKS: 08:10:08

1) NaS "Black President" (Def Jam)
2) Jean Grae + 9th Wonder feat K Hill, Edgar Allen Floe, & Joe Scudda "Smashmouth" (Blacksmith)
3) KRS-One "Pick It Up" (KOCH)
4) Rza as Bobby Digital feat. Monk & Thea "Drama" (KOCH)
5) Stacy Epps "Cosmik Dust" (JapanNubianMusic)
6) Keak da Sneak, E40 & Clyde Carson "All I Know" (KOCH)
7) DJ Quest "Killing The Cut" (ZQ Records)
8) Tony Matterhorn "Big Belly Guns" (Mad Decent)
9) dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip "Look For The Woman" (Strange Famous)
10) Esen "Please Don't Leave Me" (Take A Record)

Mas Y Mas Exitos

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 10, 2008 01:30am | Post a Comment
In anticipation of Chico Sonido’s DJ set for Worldwide Underground. I wanted to post up some of my favorite videos. What does this have to do with Chico Sonido? Well…he, along with his crew of DJ’s Ganas, Enorbito, Hoseh & Lengua, have a night called Mas Exitos. They describe Mas Exitos as “a bi-weekly event that traces the connections between the music made on both continents of the Americas. Think of it as a National Geographic documentary on sound that will take you from the Andes of Peru to the East Side of LA. From fuzzy cumbias, to funky jazz oddities, to psych freak-outs and janky beats...”

I call it the best DJ night currently in L.A. The next Mas Exitos happens 8/12
@
The Verdugo Bar
3408 Verdugo Rd.
Glassell Park 90065
Free


The following videos were influenced by the peeps @ Mas Exitos. Their selections run much deeper, as I am limited to what youtube has.

Andres Landero "La Pavo Congona"



Anieto Molina "La Cumbia Sapuesana"



El General "Muevelo"



La Revolucion De Emiliano Zapata "I Dig It"

August 7, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 9, 2008 06:35pm | Post a Comment



Bernie Mac Has Passed Away

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 9, 2008 04:31pm | Post a Comment


I try to refrain from blogging too much about the passing of entertainers, lest I come off like a buzzard, but Bernie Mac was an inspiration to me and many others and I can't let his loss just pass without mention. He was my favorite living comedian and I'll miss his humor.



I always loved his attitude toward children- a mixture of disdain and violent justice. He reminded me a lot of two other late greats, W.C. Fields and Robin Harris (whose character in House Party was shown to be Bernie Mac's brother in the third installment.)



Just like me, he was raised by a single mother who died when he was sixteen. He then moved to Tampa, just as I did. Unlike me, he started getting small roles in films, beginning with Who's the Man? in 1993. In 2000 he appeared in The Original Kings of Comedy, which I mainly watched for Ced the Entertainer. I ended up being blown away by Bernie Mac, though, literally rolling on the floor with laughter at his routine. Next to D.L. Hughley's familiar, cliched "black people are like this, white people are like that" schtick and Steve Harvey's G-rated advice, Bernie Mac shone (despite being really dark).

In 2001, he got his own show. The Bernie Mac Show, like few other comedies, was fairly unique (for network TV) in that it didn't have a damned laugh track, leaving the viewer to figure out what was funny. Whilst toned down from his stage act, he showed he could still usually be funny even without profanity or punching kids in the throat.



He often played irritable characters, easy to anger, and often getting the bested by the source of his annoyance. Sometimes it was hard to tell where the fictional Mac ended and the real Bernie began. I watched him once on Leno. Being a clueless dolt, Leno criticized Mac for his immaculate pedicure. Bernie seemed genuinely puzzled and annoyed by Leno's teasing that getting your nails done is something bizarre for a man. Bernie just kept saying, "Don't go there" to the clueless host. What kind of tool thinks having gross hands is manly? Bernie said he felt sorry for the ex-Doritos shill's wife. I thought it was classic.

Last year, on Letterman, he announced his attention to retire after 30 years. He completed shooting The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Mac. He told Letterman, "I'm going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit," Mac told Letterman. "I missed a lot of things, you know."

Mac suffered from sarciudisus, a type of lung disease. A week ago he was hospitalized. According to his publicist, he died today from complications arising from pneumonia. He was only 50.  

The Band's All Here

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 9, 2008 11:30am | Post a Comment






The Kingsmen

Posted by Whitmore, August 8, 2008 10:00pm | Post a Comment


45 years ago today, on August 8, 1963, a band from Portland, Oregon, The Kingsmen, initially released their classic version of "Louie Louie" on Jerden Records. Written by Richard Berry in 1955, it has since been recorded by hundreds of artists, becoming a rock standard, especially for garage bands cranking their amps to 10 in beer soaked clubs and basements everywhere. Richard Berry recorded his version in 1957, and it was released on the Los Angeles based label Flip Records. The original version is sung in a more of a bluesy-calypso style and tells the story of a Jamaican sailor bragging to his pal Louie about his "fine little girl" back on his island home.

The best-known version is of course by The Kingsmen and has always been thought of as being outrageously obscene, describing lascivious acts of extreme perversion in such detail as to warrant an investigation by the FBI-- an investigation that ended without prosecution. Here are the legendary lyrics:

Louie Louie, oh no
Me gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go

Fine little girl waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home

Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, constantly
On that ship, I dream she's there
I smell the rose in her hair.

Okay, let's give it to 'em, right now!
 
See Jamaica, the moon above
It won't be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
Tell her I'll never leave again

Let's take it on outta here now
Let's go!!


Ossetia - Ир, Ирыстон

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 8, 2008 03:41pm | Post a Comment
Remember how Russia was grousing when Kosovo declared independence? Remember how they said it would open a Pandora's Box of evils like autonomy, diversity, cultural expression and self-determination? Well, in an unprecedented about face, Russia invaded the breakaway region of South Ossetia today to repel US-encouraged Georgia's forces who launched a surprise attack on the hapless Ossetians at the encouragement of the Bush administration, killing unconfirmed numbers of Ossetian civilians without provocation. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how most of the media have used this to denounce Russia, and not to defend the Ossetians, whose homeland was invaded without apparent provocation.

Condoleeza Rice said, “This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it,” she said. “Things have changed.” It's sort of funny coming from the people who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied their capitals, overthrew their governments and got away with it. But they're not our neighbor so it's ok. So why did the media throw their support behind the breakaway republics of Yugoslavia but not Georgia? Because Georgia is a tool and partner in the US's efforts to expand influence in the area, so they aren't beholden to the same standards as our enemies.



The Ossetians homeland lies both in Russia and Georgia. They're an Aryan people who moved to the region some 7,000 years ago. The word "Ossetia" comes from the Georgian name for them. Their own name for their country is Irættæ. Their ancestors founded the kingdom of Alania, which was a beneficiary of the Silk Road. They migrated to their current home in the Caucasus to flee the Mongol Horde. When the USSR collapsed, some Ossetians proposed reviving the name of Alania. Soon afterward, the term Alania was revived in many enterprises and added to the official title of the Russian-occupied north, making it Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP, Pt I: 08:08:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 8, 2008 05:38am | Post a Comment

BERKELEY AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 08:08:08

 
1) Diplo Top Ranking Santogold (Mad Decent)
  
2) NaS Untitled (Def Jam)
  
3) Zo! & Tigallo Love the 80's (Hall of Justus Records)
  
4) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
  
5) The Roots Rising Down (Def Jam)

Just 366 days to 09:09:09. Meantime, happy 08:08:08 and thanks to Tunde at the Berkeley Amoeba Music for this week's hip-hop top five on which the number one album of the week comes care of superstar DJ/producer Diplo who, in keeping with what he did on MIA's Piracy Funds Terrorism mix, delivers the goods with a killer 75 minute mix of Brooklyn female vocal force Santogold mixed with a ton of other sources. Incorporating music off of her recent debut release along with other material, Diplo serves up original blends/mixes of Santogold and other artists' that run the gamut from dubstep to Dirty South. The non-stop, hour and a quarter, 35-track mix, which is heavy on the old school and reggae flavors, includes a refreshingly diverse diplo remixes santogold mix of music that Diplo makes fit perfectly together. Included are Barrington Levy, Three 6 Mafia, Devo, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Sister Nancy, The Clash, and B-52's.

Zo, along with Tigallo (aka Phonte) from Little Brother, have merged forces to record and release this week's chart's number 3 entry: the limited edition (reportedly only 2,500 copies pressed & individually numbered) Love the 80's. A throwback, fun r&b based EP (right down to the cover art), it combines the smooth, slick production by Zo topped with Phonte’s vocal chops as they Santogoldcover some of their favorite songs from that colorful decade known as The 80's. Also included are remixes by Trackacademicks and Nicolay.

Payday Starring Rip Torn...It's is Almost Totally Nuts!

Posted by Miss Ess, August 7, 2008 01:34pm | Post a Comment
Last night I watched the 1973 movie Payday starring Rip Torn, which was released on DVD early this year.


The original 70s movie poster

It's about an aging country singer songwriter named Maury Dann who is on the road, working his way through gigs, women, alcohol and more during the day and a half of time the viewer spends with him.

It's a fully certifiable "Man Movie"-- that is, women are objects, hysterical and insecure, while the men grapple with their own manliness and keeping up appearances of masculinity. There's a lot of beer and belt buckles in this movie, is what I'm saying. There's gambling, hunting and fist fights and even a stabbing and a car accident! So much action, so much manliness on the line. 

The movie is interesting because Maury is so completely flawed and dynamic. He is more than slightly off the rails and no one has ever really been able to rein him in. We see him using and abusing overeager women and handing his mother a pile of pills to keep her quiet, yet we also see him gently pressing his face against his beloved spaniel when he realizes he can no longer keep him. It is clear that he thinks of himself as a great singer songwriter, but the film shows that the gigs are no longer as big as they used to be and that he has not had a radio hit in a while, if ever. Maury's life seems to have moved for years, decades maybe, at a non-stop pace-- from gig to car to hotel to radio station to restaurant and on and on and from whiskey to women to pills to weed and on and on and on. While he is busy puffing himself up, he actually appears more and more degraded.

I thought the movie was creative but a little too meandering for me. I was depressed by all the portrayals of women. My favorite part of the movie was that Maury's spaniel is named Snapper. My boyfriend, however, thought it was a fantastic movie overall, and has already been recommending it to all his friends. Like I said, it's a certifiable Ma

out today 8/5...conor oberst...the faint...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 7, 2008 11:30am | Post a Comment
I don't know if it was intentionally planned or not. But this week The Faint is in a battle with old label mate Conor Oberst for the number one indie album. It may not be as publicized as the album battle of Kanye West and 50 Cent, but it is no less significant...for me, at least. Conor Oberst was actually a member of the early incarnation of The Faint for about 5 minutes and they both remained on the same label up until now. Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst) has put out a couple more albums than The Faint. Saddle Creek helped to make them both household names across the world, at least in the indie rock community. I was always more of a Faint fan. I didn't give in to Conor until years after my Faint obsession began. But I became a Faint fun much like how I became a Bright Eyes fan. I was sort of forced into it-- I had resisted The Faint for a couple of years. I had heard about them and knew some of my friends were fans but just had not gotten around to listening to them yet. I was going through a big R & B phase in my life at the time, so indie rock was not as much of a priority. I was intrigued as soon as I found out that The Faint were using keyboards and sort of adopting a more synthy sound. My first Faint album was actually their third album, Danse Macabre. A friend of mine gave me the record for my birthday. It was actually just a couple of months before I made the first big move back to Los Angeles. He told me that he knew I would love it, and I fell in love with the album, as did many of us. Sort of like with the Teaches of Peaches album by Peaches, I became obsessed. The album just seemed to take over many peoples lives. I couldn't stop listening to it, it was so good. It was one of those albums that I was so glad to have discovered. I was just so glad that it existed.

Danse Macabre didn't exactly change my life, but I did spend a lot of time listening to it. I took it with me on my journey back to Los Angeles. It was my friend. It was also a great record to hear out and about in clubs and bars. Everyone seemed to love it. It didn't really fit into the electroclash movement, but it came out at the same time. I had always loved electronic and synth albums, and I always sought out any rock albums with keyboards on it. They just made it better. I love new wave more than anything, and I am always excited when bands sort of reinterpret new wave and make it sound new and different. It is "new" new wave. I was playing keyboards in a band at the time as well. I went and saw The Faint play a couple of times on that tour and anxiously awaited their next album. Wet From Birth was only a let down because I naturally compared it to Danse Macabre. It was impossible for them to make an album better than that. I just couldn't imagine anything being better. I liked this next album, just not as much. But I was hooked on The Faint regardless-- I couldn't really go back at this point. When an album by some artist has such an impact on me, I always remain loyal to the band. I feel like I owe them some loyalty after they shared some great album with me. I feel the same way about Blonde Redhead and Black Heart Procession. I know some people love to put down new albums of bands that they once loved. They always expect the next album to be greater than the last. But that is not always possible. It also does not make much sense to just keep remaking the same album over and over again.

So it is time for another new Faint Album. The new album is called Fasciinatiion. They left their label Saddle Creek for this new album, just as Conor Oberst decided to go solo, drop the Bright Eyes name, and jump to Merge Records. The Faint decided to keep their name and put out this new album on their own newly created label. I have had the album for a couple of weeks now. I didn't really fall in love with it after the first listen, but that rarely happens. I was still trying to compare it to Danse Macabre. I finally just came around and started loving the album this last weekend. Like the other Faint albums, it is very short. It seems to end soon after the-faint-fasciinatiionyou start getting into it, so I recommend that you just put it on repeat. My favorite songs on the record are "Mirror Error" and "Forever Growing Centipedes." These are the songs that I keep going back to. I am happy that The Faint are back with this new album. I have come to the realization that there will not be another Danse Macabre, and so should you. The Cure have a new album out in a couple of weeks. And I know that they will never make an album as great at Disintegration. I am OK with that, but that doesn't make me any less excited about the new album. I am just glad that they are still a recording and touring band. I really doubt that The Faint thought this new album could be compared to the Cure album with the similar sounding name, but I am sure that they are a fan of it. Fasciinatiion sounds like Disintegration. And there is the great song called "Fascination Street" from the album Disintegration. They just added a couple of "I's" to make it their own. It did put a smile on my face just to think about that Cure album and how it changed my life. This new Faint album may not change your life, but that doesn't make it any less great. It is a fun album and it makes me happy. As I said before, I am now forever loyal to them. I just owe it to them. Go listen to it. I doubt you will become a new fan if you were not before, but maybe it is possible. You could love this album and then go back and listen to Danse Macabre and fall in love with The Faint like I did!

also out today...






Airborne Toxic Event by Airborne Toxic Event












Funf by Clinic










Correcto by Correcto











Ed Banger Records Vol. 3












Conor Oberst by Conor Oberst



Mr. Bubble

Posted by Whitmore, August 7, 2008 11:26am | Post a Comment
Sad news from the world of high finance and squeaky clean kids: Yesterday, it was announced that Mr. Bubble has passed away. The happy, pink faced bubble bath icon became yet another victim of these changing times, and perhaps a victim of modern kids who just don’t know how to roll around in the muck anymore -- except in chat rooms on the internet. Mr. Bubble, who always refused to give his actual age, was believed to be in his mid fifties.

Born in North Dakota, Mr Bubble was created by the entrepreneur Harold Schafer (1912 - 2001), who founded the Gold Seal Company during The Second World War. Schafer also invented Glass Wax and Snowy Bleach; each of these brands became the number one selling products in the world in their respective categories by 1960. In 1986, Schafer retired and sold his Gold Seal Company.

Ascendia Brands, the Hamilton, New Jersey based present day owners of Mr Bubble and makers of health and beauty products such as Baby Magic and Calgon, said they have filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and are seeking a buyer for the business. Reports say Ascendia and five affiliates listed debt of $279 million and assets of $194.8 million as of July 5 in Chapter 11 documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

So tonight, when you slip into your bath with your glass of sherry or a cup of chamomile tea, think of what Mr Bubble used to sing to filthy and grubby kids everywhere, “I’m Mr. Bubble and you can watch me pop!”



Amoeblog Profile of Acid House Pioneer DJ Pierre

Posted by Billyjam, August 7, 2008 11:03am | Post a Comment
 

DJ Pierre
is a house music legend. The pioneering Chicago DJ/producer/performer, who these days keeps busy DJ'ing round the globe, producing tracks, and running his recently formed Afro Acid Digital label, will always be known as a member of the 80's group Phuture, and as being one of the creators of acid house.

Acid house is a strain of house music that Pierre concocted on the Roland TB 303. He did this in the studio along with his partners in the trio, keyboardist Herb J and producer and Phuture founding member Spanky. In 1987 they unleashed this new sound on the world with the release of their revolutionary EP Acid Trax, which would have a major influence on house music for years to come.

The Roland TB 303 bass line synthesizer was manufactured by the company from '82 to '84 and was originally intended for guitarists to use as a bass accompaniment. Acid House was created almost accidentally by Phuture on the Roland TB 303, when the group was trying to get that unique "squelch" or "wiggly worm" or "funky worm" sound out of it. This sub-genre was particularly influential in the UK, a country that embraced American house music in all its musical mutations much more so than the scene  back in the USA. However, there were always pockets of musical fanatics in the States who embraced the new electronic music, including in San Francisco, where the long gone I-Beam club on Haight Street (not far from where Amoeba SF is now) once hosted a night dedicated solely to playing the acid house sub-genre. Meanwhile, the UK had its big "summer of love" (house music honeymoon) in 1988, and acid was the preferred flavor, with other artists putting their spin on the 303-generated genre and scoring pop hits.

Rainbow Brite At The New Beverly Saturday At Midnight!

Posted by phil blankenship, August 6, 2008 11:48pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!


Saturday August 9

Rainbow Brite in

Rainbow Brite & The Star Stealer

1985, 85 min

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, $7

 


August
August 23 The Gate

(... pray it's not too late!)
August 30 Little Darlings
(Paramount Archive 35mm Print! Rare Screening!)

 

September
September 6 Idle Hands

(9th anniversary for the 1999 stoner horror comedy!)
September 13 Showgirls
(Beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your wildest fantasies!)
September 20 Michael Mann's The Keep
(25th Anniversary! Paramount Archive 35mm Print!)
September 27 Over The Top
(Sylvester Stallone. Big Rig Truckin'. ARM WRESTLING!)

October
October 4 Hard To Kill

(Steven Seagal is Mason Storm. Mason Storm is... Hard To Kill!)
October 18 All Night Horror Show!
(100% Movie Mania! New Bev Fundraiser! 12 Hours Of Movies, Fun & ??)

Tia Chucha's Benefit #2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 6, 2008 07:56pm | Post a Comment
Early last year, Tia Chucha’s Café, a café and independent bookstore run by author Luis J.Rodriguez and his wife Trini, was force to shut its doors in the city of Sylmar because their landlords tripled their rent. That summer a fundraiser was held at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood to help pay for a new center to open in the San Fernando Valley. This year, another fund raiser was held on Sunday to help with the cost of buying a building.

Tia Chucha’s isn’t just a bookstore or a café, but a cultural arts center for the people of the San Fernando Valley. According to their website, they hope to “promote the continued growth, development and holistic learning of our community through the many powerful means of the arts. The Centro provides a positive space for people to activate what we all share as human beings: the capacity to create, to imagine and to express ourselves in an effort to improve the quality of life for our community.“
 
The benefit was held once again at The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. On the bill was a diverse yet unified group of artists, including community activist Nobuko Miyamoto, comedian Ernie G, and the drop-dead funny political satire of Opening People's Minds. The mostly Asian sketch comedy group had me in tears with their dead on interpretations of immigration and differences in culture. If you have a chance to check out their work please do; they were worth the price of admission alone.
 
They were followed by the legendary Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, who played all the hits, including "Express Yourself," "Love Land," and "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do." I stood in awe backstage watching the band go from hit to hit without as much as a break! 

I was there that day to back up my friend Olmeca on the bass. We went on after Charles Wright and Olmeca’s energy was so abundant he got the whole audience to rush the stage. I have to admit, I had trouble keeping up. It’s been a while since I played a show with this much energy.

Next up was East L.A.’s own Upground. The once young lads (they started gigging while in high school) are now young men and their music runs the gamut, from high energy Ska, Cumbia, 80’s New Wave to Chicano oldies. It’s no wonder they have so many fans from different age groups.

The best was left for last. Backed up by Upground was Cheech Marin of Cheech & Chong fame. Rumor had it that Tommy Chong was going to be in attendance to join Cheech, but that never happened. Nor did the appearance of Bruce Springsteen, who is a big supporter of Tia Chucha Café. Too bad-- we could have a "Born In East L.A"./"Born In The U.S.A" medley. What we did get was Cheech performing Cheech & Chong classics such as "Me & My Old Lady," "Mexican American" & of course, "Born In East L.A." At the end all of us who performed got to join in the big ending chorus. I was next to Cheech, Luis & Ruben Guevara (Of Ruben & The Jets fame). It was like I died and went to Chicano heaven.

Luis Rodriguez has a great blog on his website where he writes about ongoings in various barrios in the city and of his travels. He wrote about the event as well and added this, which I think summed why this event needed to exist:

"Today many independent bookstores, cultural spaces, and art galleries are being forced to close, with high rents, high-end developments, and the vagaries of the marketplace. Early last year, Tia Chucha's was forced to move out of our Sylmar space when our landlords practically tripled our rent. We moved into a smaller space in Lake View Terrace to keep the momentum going.

In the LA area alone we may be losing Self Help Graphics, Avenue 50 Studio, Acres of Books, and lately Antigua Cafe was forced to move. In the past few years we've seen the closing of the Midnight Special Bookstore, Luna Sol Cafe, Bohemias Books, 33 & a 1/3 Books, Carlota's Passion Art Gallery, Dutton's Bookstore, Under the Bridge Bookstore, and others.

Tia Chucha's benefit is a big step toward keeping our space alive -- with the goal of finding a bigger and better permanent or semi-permanent space in a year or two. But it's also about safeguarding and expanding neighborhood arts, cultural spaces, workshops spaces, art galleries, and the ever-vital independent bookstores."
 

The Return Of Anda!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 6, 2008 06:38pm | Post a Comment
After a brief hiatus, we are back with Anda! Fans of Cumbia, Retro Salsa & other Worldly music rejoice!
This week's Anda! features a DJ set from Amoeba employees Ray Ricky Rivera, Gazoo & yours truly and an extra special live performance by the group Cava. Check out Cava's myspace page to listen to their great music. Hope to see you there!

Warren Mayes - Keep on kickin it

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 5, 2008 08:26pm | Post a Comment

In the mid-1980s, though hip hop was still primarily an east coast phenomenon, it was quickly spreading to other locales like the musically rich bottom of the map, New Orleans. In 1984, Mannie Fresh, Mia X, DJ Wop and New York-transplant Denny D formed New Orleans' first rap crew, New York Incorporated. Two years later, The Ninja Crew (ninjas being hugely popular then) released the first N.O. rap recording "We Destroy" on 4-Sight, the Ft. Lauderdale bass label. The Ninja Crew included Gregory D, Sporty T and DJ Baby T (aka DJ Lil Daddy). 
  
After those acts broke up, other local rappers began emerging in a rapidly expanding field including MC J' Ro J'Tim Smooth, 39 Posse and the subject of this blog, Warren Henry Mayes III.

Warren Henry Mayes III (often spelled “Mays”) was - along with Ann, Lisa, Travis, Eldridge, Bernell J, Melanie , Izell, Stella "Sunshine" and Renaldo – one of Melba "Ann” Mayes and Warren “Swingin’ Gate” Mayes's many children.  Warren Jr. was a songwriter and dancer. The large Mayes family lived in the 4th ward's Iberville projects.


Warren III (nicknamed "Stone") was also a songwriter. He released his debut, Doin Them Right (Touchdown Records) in 1986. It included the songs “Rock the Bells Baby,” “It’s Real When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Full Time Lover,” Warren Mayes Doin’ Them Right,” “That’s the Way it Is/I’m Backin’ Out,” “Telephone Lover,” “So How Ya Livin Homies,” “Straight From the Project,” “Don’t Stop,” “Stop Jocking,” “Do Your Thing,” “Backin’ Out.”


Old school New Orleanians still fondly recall the flashy legend, proudly driving his Camaro Iroc-Z and wowing the crowds (appropriately, given his sartorial sensibility) at Club Adidas and Club Polo. He released the single, “Get It Girl (Don’t Stop)” b/w “Jam” in 1989. In 1991, it got picked up by Atlantic. The song wasn’t quite bounce - it doesn't use the triggerman or brown beats, for example. It is recognizably New Orleanian in its used of a repetitive chants in the coda and the shout outs, albeit to various signs of the zodiac instead of projects, neighborhoods and wards.

The song, produced by the legendary Bobby Marchan for Manicure Records, also got picked up by The Re-Birth Jazz Band, who a year later would record Warren Mayes Jr.’s (Stone’s father) “(You Got the) Same Thang On.” In New Orleans, the second line bands and rappers often have close ties share a similarly cheerful antagonism as conveyed in chants like "If you ain't gonna roll get the fuck on out the way” and Warren Mayes pioneered a brand of New Orleanian hip hop that often used second line bands for accompaniment.


In 1994, Warren released the thirteen track Back for the 94’ on Party Time Records. For reasons unbeknownst to me, he dropped the “e” from his last name on this and all subsequent releases. He also he appeared alongside DJ KLC and Serv-On on Magnolia Slim’s “Made for Walkin’”debut, off his debut, Soulja 4 Lyfe (Parkway Pumpin’) in '95.


That same  year he released Warren Mays and the Canivin' Boys (1995/Hot Crescent Records)  which included the songs “Intro,”“Booty Shake,” “Get It Girl (Remix),” “ Bounce to This,” “Real Ass Brother,” “Revenge,” “Get Their Skull Cracked,” “Don't Bounce Bitch,” “Represent Yourself,”  “No One Wants to Get Shot,”  “Do My Thang,”  “You Make Me Nasty, “Let It Hang ,” “Doin' Em Right,”Warren Mays and the Canivin' Boys “It's Real,” “Rock The Bells,” “Back for the 9-4 (Club Mix),” “ If Your Down With Your Hood, Put Your Hand Up” and “Club Mix.” Not only did Mays on occasion employ Re-Birth to accompany him in his unique mix of hip-hop and second line music, he even included some tracks where Rebirth play without him. Another point of not, the album’s covers stark art is so at odds with Pen & Pixel’s then-dominant electronic collages that it could almost pass for Peter Saville.


In 1996, he appeared on Pimp Daddy’s posthumous release/tribute, Pimpin' Ain't E Z, with the tongue twisting bounce classic “Keep on Kick It" with production courtesy of Mannie Fresh.


The double album, Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – See Me When I Get There appeared in 1999, credited to Warren Mays and Da Posse. With 8th Ward Villian, Von Ness, YTs and a host of others, it's an epic compilation more than a solo record. Shockingly, it was reviewed by Neil Strauss in The New York Times when he included it in his article “The Pop Life: Undeservedly Obscure; Pop Critics List the Worthwhile Albums Most People Missed.”


Unfortunately, like so many New Orleanians, Warren Mays lost his life an early age, killed August 6th, 1999. As is the case with 99% of murdered rappers, the case remains unsolved. RIP

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SPACED: THE COMPLETE SERIES DVD A HIT WITH US AUDIENCES

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2008 03:01pm | Post a Comment

American fans of Simon Pegg and his movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are obviously quite happy now that Spaced, the wonderful British television show that predated and influenced both these big-screen action/comedies, is finally available on DVD as the nicely packaged Spaced: The Complete Series (BBC Video). 

The British TV situation comedy ran for two seasons back in 1999 and 2001 and has more recently been shown in the US on BBC America. The new DVD set is available at each Amoeba Music location, including the Hollywood store where, according to Rigo in the DVD department, "it has been selling briskly since it was released two weeks ago."

Featuring many of the same players in Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, Spaced was also directed by Edgar Wright, and was written by and stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (formerly known as Jessica Stevenson). Spaced also stars Pegg's movie sidekick Nick Frost, as well as Julia Deacon, Mark Heap, and Katy Carmichael. The witty, fast-paced, sci-fi based comedy TV show that ran for just two seasons -- seven episodes each -- nine and seven years ago, is packed with references from pop culture and movies (including Resident Evil and Star Wars) and is given to veering off into surreal scenes in which its main characters become action movie or video game or comic book style heroes. 

Canadian For 'Yes!': FM's prog clearance masterpiece

Posted by Mark Beaver, August 5, 2008 12:00am | Post a Comment
In a recent edition of the L.A. Weekly’s Ask a Mexican column, someone asked why it was that so many young Mexican kids seemed gaga for Morrissey. The columnist thought the better question was why so few children of the imperialists (white kids) weren’t as equally gaga about some of the excellent music made by Latino musicians. Granted, as I hear my neighbor drive up blasting his stereo beyond what could possibly be comfortable for him inside the nuclear heart of that volume, I have to admit that much of what he plays for the neighbors sounds pretty good. Not necessarily something I would run out and buy, but I was far from hating it.

What’s that got to do with Canada? Good question, but in some ways, it's obvious. Canada is the Mexico of the Great White North, dont’cha know? It has only been the fact of a more-or-less common language that has allowed the very few Canuck rockers to break USA radio charts that have so far. Neil Young, Bare Naked Ladies, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morissette, Steppenwolf, Rush, Leonard Cohen; there aren’t many that spring to mind and most of them are not in my personal collection, but they built careers with American money without being American or British. Good job, guys!

So, trawling thru the Red Sea of Clearance, I happened upon an album cover that has haunted me since my childhood. The vacant stare of the half-man/half-mannequin surrounded by the glowing hoop and splash of light has taunted me from Clearance bins for as long as I can remember being conscious of music. “Now’s the time,” I declared and grabbed it.

FM's Black Noise was in Clearance due to some condition issues, but it was there and cheap, so I took it. FM formed in Toronto in 1976, and Black Noise is their first album, from 1977. I hear a lot of Fragile-era Yes in their sound, some Jean-Luc Ponty, a splash here and there of Jan Hammer and a lot of the prog that defined the reigning Canadian supergroup of the day, Rush.  Perhaps it was the curse of the also-rans, the stigma attached to coming later than first with any particular sound that kept FM from being heard, or maybe we had already filled our Canadian quota for 1977. I certainly don’t mean to give the impression that FM were copy-cats, by any means. There’s enough Buggles in their sound to tilt them towards what was becoming known as New Wave and a bit away from the pack of dyed-in-the-wool proggers. Their drive is provided by fuzzed guitar, virtuoso drums and the central wail of Nash the Slash’s electric violin.



Nash the Slash, you ask? Yea, remember him? The guy who played completely incognito, like the Invisible Man, his whole face wrapped in bandages beneath the Ray-Bans? Yep. FM gave Nash the Slash to the world. He became nearly-famous, a darling of college radio, touring and playing with Gary Numan from his days with the Tubeway Army through his Living Ornaments tour. That subject is a column unto itself, but, I digress…back to FM. Want to hear some prog/pop/New Wave you haven’t heard yet? Snap up Black Noise next time you see the man/nequin staring up at you from the bins. I’m certain it will be cheap.

Also, here’s some Nash the Slash albums you might also dig. Nash embraced New Wave and the sounds that were soon to be called Industrial. His humor is darker on his own, getting downright threatening at times.
























 
    Children of the Night
(1981)
























And You Thought You Were Normal (1982)

Men In White

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 4, 2008 10:35am | Post a Comment
Well, here they come...The men in the white suits...and sweaters and horses bodies and whatever the hell Menudo is wearing. Kinda looks like a karate uniform mixed with PJ's. Maybe that's what they had to wear for the band slumber parties...







August 3, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, August 3, 2008 11:44pm | Post a Comment



 











 

TRAILER TRASH

Posted by Charles Reece, August 2, 2008 09:05pm | Post a Comment
In W., the third in Oliver Stone's trilogy of "you're expecting a leftist nut, but really I'm just another bourgeois liberal" films (following Nixon and World Trade Center), our current President gets Stone's patented humane treatment:


The majority of Stone's post-JFK work points to something I didn't initially realize about that one truly great film of his, namely that its frenzied, foaming at the mouth and forgetting to breathe conspiratorial style came from a humanistic fear. Similar to those racialist conspiracies of Atlantis and other myths of ancient white civilizations that are grounded in the fear that non-whites might've advanced technology and world culture, Stone doesn't want to accept that another human being might be so foreign to his own humanistic beliefs as to behave in a manner that would call into question his own humanistic worldview.  Thus, he needed to fantasize about the machinations of a Big Other in order to fit the evil that a common man might do and has done into his provincial ontology. This approach de-humanizes evil by making it always one-step removed from its practitioners. As with white racists not having to worry about "savage" technology -- being explained away as the result of their own mythological Aryan ancestors -- humanism is inoculated from evil, since it's always something else causing it, never humanity itself. Instead of looking at how we might be just like them, Oswald, Nixon, Castro, etc. are made to be just like us. Little wonder why Natural Born Killers was so hellbent on blaming the media. A little bit of Saint Augustine's worrying about his dirty thoughts would be good for Stone.

Barcodes

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 2, 2008 02:55pm | Post a Comment
A late entry in the vinyl yesteryear was the barcode. When exactly did they start appearing on the back of album jackets? I'm not exactly sure myself, but it appears to have been very early in the 80's. I've seen copies of the 1st Dickies on original yellow vinyl with one, and that album is from 1979. It might be that they had old copies of the vinyl lying around and had to repress covers in the early 80's though. Sometimes certain records can be difficult to track because a company might press up a ton of covers while pressing smaller batches of the actual vinyl, or vice versa. Coltrane on Atlantic is notorious for that-- you'll see covers clearly printed in the mid 60's with 70's label designs and such. Anyhow, I digress...This is not a gallery of barcodes off of the actual albums; it's a collection of price tags, primarily from the 80's-90's...






The Conclusion of the Anthrax Attacks -- The Rush to Judgement

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 1, 2008 08:31pm | Post a Comment
Remember the anthrax attacks of 2001? The case was named Amerithrax by the F.B.I. The attacks began one week after the 9/11 attacks and were linked by the government and media to Iraq as yet another reason to invade. And then, as quickly as it began, the anthrax scare ended with a conspicuous lack of closure. By the time the US invaded Iraq, the media were content to be Bush's hype men.

The anthrax attacks came in two waves. The first set were mailed out, as mentioned, one week after 9/11. Letters were mailed to ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Post and AMI (publishers of The National Enquirer). Robert Stevens, an employee of AMI, was the first to die. Following him to their deaths were Thomas Morris Jr, Joseph Curseen, Kathy Nguyen and Ottilie Lundgren. At least 22 were infected with anthrax. The original wave of letters read:

09-11-01
THIS IS NEXT
TAKE PENACILIN NOW
DEATH TO AMERICA
DEATH TO ISRAEL
ALLAH IS GREAT

The attempt to make the anthrax-containing letters look like the work of a fanatical Muslim was crude. Few Muslims write the date in the American manner of day/month/Christian Calendar year. In addition, most Muslims say "God is great" if writing in English, not "Allah is great." I'm not suggesting that the anthrax attacks were part of a conspiracy to drum up support for the invasion of Iraq, but they certainly helped win support.



The second wave of letters were dated October 9 and were addressed to Democratic senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. They were identified by the media as opposed to the Patriot Act over concerns of its violation of civil liberties. The second letters read:
09-11-01
YOU CAN NOT STOP US.
WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX.
YOU DIE NOW.
ARE YOU AFRAID?
DEATH TO AMERICA.
DEATH TO ISRAEL.
ALLAH IS GREAT.
If the rationale was, as it seems, to target opponents of the Patriot Act and to use the media to get attention, it suggests that perhaps the perpetrator was not a crazed Muslim hoping for abuses of civil liberties. No, the perpetrator's main aim was apparently to make himself needed and he merely used the post-9/11 paranoia as a smokescreen and tool for his own advancement. Indeed, in 2003, Dr. Bruce Ivins (a top US biodefense researcher) and two of his colleagues at USAMRIID at Fort Detrick were awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service for their development of an anthrax vaccine.

   Anthrax at work and Dr. Bruce Ivins, the man with the possible cure

In 2002, tests revealed anthrax contamination at Fort Detrick where Bruce Ivins was employed. In fact, his office and a passbox near it tested positive for more than 200 spores of the same strain as had been in the mailings. Five years earlier Ivins had written to the New York Post lobbying for the vaccine facility's construction. The purpose of the facility was to create a place devoted to protecting US troops from biological agents. Dr. Ivins' letter (falsely identifying himself as "a reasonably scientifically literate private citizen living right across the street from Fort Detrick" stated: "I personally welcome the proposed vaccine facility. What is being proposed is a vaccine production facility, not a lethal biological agent production facility. The only way I can think of being seriously injured by anthrax or plague vaccine is to get plunked on the head by a vial of the stuff."

The lab was built. Ivins was hired to work in the anthrax lab, despite a documented history of mental instability, including years of homicide threats. When a co-worker would leave the biochemistry department, Ivins would write a poem and song which he'd treat his co-workers to, accompanying himself on keyboards.

The media and government fell for it, with amazingly uncritical willingness, perhaps to be expected in the confusing days following the terrorist attacks. But their willingness to connect the dots with Iraq may've helped lead to the needless destruction of the lives of thousands of innocent civilians. The Guardian reported that Iraq was the "prime suspect as the source of the deadly spores." The CIA said, "They aren't making this stuff in caves in Afghanistan. This is prima facie evidence of the involvement of a state intelligence agency. Maybe Iran has the capability. But it doesn't look likely politically. That leaves Iraq." It reminds me of the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing when plenty of people called for the immediate destruction of the non-Israeli middle east. The US, in response to the anthrax, increased funding for biological warfare research by $1.5 billion in 2003. The following year, Project Bioshield was instigated, providing $5.6 billion for new vaccines and drugs.

So here, perhaps, is why in order to go after the Afghanistan-based al Qaeda, the US instead invaded Iraq. In 2003, Colin Powell presented the argument before a UN Security Council, saying:

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he's determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein's history of aggression... given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond? The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11 world.


The investigation involved interviews of over 9,000 on six continents. Over 6,000 subpoenas were issued and 67 searches conducted. Dozens of buildings were contaminated due to mailings and clean-up is estimated in one FBI document as exceeding a billion dollars. The famously stupid Attorney General John Ashcroft named Greg Dulli look-alike Dr. Steven Hatfill as "a person of interest." Hatfill sued and the Department of Justice reportedly settled for between 4.6 and 5.8 million.

                      
Dr. Hatfill and Mr. Dulli

Ivins grew depressed and sought psychiatric help when suspicion shifted to him. Ultimately, he was removed from his workplace by the police after threatening to kill his co-workers to his counselor. A restraining order was subsequently filed against him by the same counselor, Jean Duley, who said he was stalking and threatening to kill her. On July 29 he committed suicide through an overdose of Tylenol and codeine, only weeks after publishing Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The church-going Catholic, American Red Cross volunteer, juggler and gardener is survived by his wife of 33 years, their two children and his two brothers. When the FBI contacted his brother Tom, from whom he was estranged for 20 years, he offered, "It makes sense, what the social worker said. He considered himself like a god."

The accused perp's Reverend had described him, predictably (almost damningly), as “...a quiet man ... always very helpful and pleasant.”

Stay tuned for the conspiracy theories...


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Ethan Miller of Comets on Fire and Howlin' Rain Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, August 1, 2008 02:19pm | Post a Comment


Ethan Miller
is one of the Bay Area's best musicians. He formed the psychedelic/noise, super intense band Comets on Fire in Santa Cruz in 1999. The group has met with much success-- Comets was signed to Sub Pop, has toured all over the world and released four great albums. After relocating to Oakland, around 2004 Ethan brought together another outlet for his creativity, the riff-heavy Howlin' Rain. Howlin' Rain has released two exceptional records and was recently signed to musical luminary Rick Rubin's label American Recordings, which should bring the group's heavy rockin' sound to even higher highs. Check out Howlin' Rain's performance at Amoeba back in March here.

What follows is my recent chat with Ethan about songs that make him cry, his old piano teacher, and why the studio is what really winds his clock.

Miss Ess: Is there someone in particular who recognized and nurtured your musical interest/talent when you were young?

Ethan Miller: Yes, I had a piano teacher named Jean Bazemore who has been just one of those magical people that you meet in life that is a guiding force and inspiration. Most importantly, she is one of those people who helps you to understand the depth and meaning, power and spiritual activity that is going on beneath our artistic actions. Also my folks, both my Mother and Father, have been supportive and encouraging of my musical path since I was young. Parents can make the musical path very difficult if  they don't approve or don't support it and my path and road in music would have been very difficult without their support.

ME: What song or album reminds you of your childhood?

E: The Gambler by Kenny Rogers.

ME: It's funny that you say that because that record is also one of the touchstones of my childhood, and I have to say I have been revisiting Kenny lately just for a little blast from the past. He was on constant repeat when my dad was driving me around in the station wagon. So what was the first song/record you remember hearing that got you pumped and made you think about making music a major part of your life/your career?

E: Purple Rain by Prince.

You've been in bands since you were a teenager-- what was it initially that made you want to be in a band?

E: When I listened to rock music as a youngster and when I started going to local punk shows as a young teenager, the power and energy that I felt coming from the stage and the albums was like looking deep into the fire of a burning building. Something so exhilarating, powerful and beautiful but out of control-- there is something almost magical going on, like a prism of emotional resonance hitting you. Though we can mathematically explain how chords and melody work in music, we still can't rationally explain the intense emotional and resonant response that happens when we hear those melodies and chords. There is something profoundly spiritual and intoxicating happening there, at times healing, at times longing or sadness, even dangerous responses can happen. It is the most powerful unexplained force in this world and I did then and still find that completely baffling and wonderful. From those early experiences with that force, I wanted to live a life that moved inside of those energies, try to ride it, get knocked down by it, learn from it, spend my life trying to catch that shit by the tail.

When you arrived in Santa Cruz, what did you think of the music scene at the time? Did you have a vision of what kind of band you wanted to form there or did it all just fall together with Comets?

E: When I arrived in S.C. there was a music scene but it was pretty disparate. I didn't have my complete vision then. I was still heavily influenced by my older peers that I had played music with before moving there. It was the first time I was out from under those heavy older influences and once I was surrounded with new musicians that didn't come from the small town that I came from and hadn't grown up under the same influences, my own personal musical path and vision started to emerge. Once I was turned on to White Heaven and High Rise and Mainliner and Albert Ayler and Sonny Sharrock, it was all over and I knew the kind of edge I wanted to have in my next band and Ben F. and I dissolved the rock group we were in and formed Comets.

I read that you would commute back and forth between SC and Oakland for practice a while back...When I was living in SC, I used to drive over the mountain and back like that to see shows in SF all the time for years, and one of the ways I would be able to make the drive so late at night was to rock out in my car to all kinds of stuff, stuff where I could sing along to every word and stay awake. On that note...what records do you like to listen to while driving?

E: Nilsson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison. The Boredoms' newer albums. Aerosmith. Thin Lizzy. Miles Davis - The Jack Johnson [Sessions] box set, Tony Joe White.

If you weren't playing music, what do you think you'd be doing?

E: I'd be lost. Severely depressed. I think I would be questioning what I was doing here. I would be writing and painting constantly to take the place of music. I enjoy those things as well, but not to the level of making music.

What's your favorite local Bay Area band?

E: One of my last favorites was Brightblack Morning Light but I'm not sure if they are even in the Bay Area anymore. I've been on tour for many months now and in even a short time in the Bay Area so many bands come and go-- so I'm not sure who is currently tearing it up down at the Hemlock tonight, ya know? Ask me again in November when I come off tour and I'm able to make it out to a few local shows again.

Last I heard they had skipped town to New Mexico. Speaking of Santa Cruz, the first time I ever saw them was when they were still called Rainywood, opening for Will Oldham at Henfling's Tavern in Ben Lomand! What are your favorite places to go on tour and why?

E: New York is always fun. I love Spain and Portugal and have had great experiences there. With Howlin Rain we have had some amazing experiences in Scandinavia.

What has been your peak musical experience?

E: Making albums is the tops for me I think. Getting a little more time and money and vision for each progressive record. Getting to do a little more and broaden my scope a little more each time. I love making records and always wanted to do it. A lot of people don't like them, or dread the studio environment, but I love it. It's like being in a fucking playground when you're 6 years old---you just play and play and pretty soon the day is gone and the sun is going down and you're just tearing around, climbing all over shit and playing in the dark.

There seems to be a dearth of rock bands the past few years. Howlin' Rain' is a notable exception, of course. What are some other current rock bands that you admire? Are you into the whole Japanese Rock thing?

E: Hmmm. Wouldn't it be nice if now were the time of the death of rock music? But alas, I think rock bands are like cockroaches: after the bomb they just come crawling up from beneath the rubble, banging away at those power chords and playing the "Stairway to Heaven" intro. Maybe being in a rock band has become a little obsolete because the "indie rock band" is the new Rock Rock band. A new cockroach crawling over the head of  the old one out from beneath the rubble. I guess we (Howlin Rain) run the risk of being called cockroaches also because we are trying to wring new art out of an old faithful slop rag. I admire Mudhoney, The Melvins-- those are two of the greatest rock bands ever and they are better than ever. Grinderman at its best is an astonishing rock band.

On the Japanese tip, I didn't read the Japrock Sampler. For me, the big moment in Japanese rock was the mid 80s through the mid 90s. That is where the albums I loved the most from there came from. Ghost and Boris and some of those guys still do great stuff but the 80s and early 90s PSF [Records] stuff is what shook me up and got inside of my heart and head. I don't really keep up too too much on what's going on there now in such depth.

Rick Rubin is one of the most intriguing figures in the music industry, I think. It's really exciting that you are on his label now. Will he produce any of your future records?

E: Yes, we will work together on the next album.

How will being on American Recordings change your recording/production process?

E: Larger recording budget. More time to get it right and shake out ideas and experiments.

What role do you see production work as having in your studio time-- is it a major consideration, an afterthought, something spontaneous? Does it change from album to album/project to project?

E: So far, production is usually sort of invisible because it sort of works itself out in the studio as we go and get stuff down. Mostly with Rick, I think the difference will be that he and I will focus much more on the songwriting and getting the songs in an ideal state before entering the studio, which I like the idea of. I have always felt that a songwriter cannot truly be an objective judge of the value of every part, every lyric, every nook and cranny of her/his songs. And your band members can be tricky judges also because of your already complicated relationship with them, both musical and personal. So having someone like Rick get in there with you and help define what's good, what's great and what needs work in the songwriting sounds very intriguing to me.

Do you prefer to be on the road and play live or be in the studio?

E: Absolutely without a doubt with no fucking question in my mind I love being in the studio. After the first month or two of tour it's not much fun anymore. I do love the feeling of a great live night with a great crowd---just cutting loose like you're trying to do violence to a mountain and succeeding. That energy cannot be beat, even in the studio.

What is your most prized piece of musical gear?


E: My 1964 robin's egg blue Fender Jaguar, which I've been beating the living shit out of for the last 8 years on stage and continue to to this day. A rare beauty and the instrument that I found "my sound" on.

Is there a song you love so much that, every time you hear it, you wish you had written?

E: "The Mercy Seat" by Nick Cave.



What Neil Young album is your favorite?


E: Probably After the Goldrush or maybe Everybody Knows [This is Nowhere]...On the Beach...Tonight's the Night....would be hard to take just one to a desert island.

Those are all my faves in a nutshell too! I was a lit major at UCSC too...what authors have influenced you?

E: Jerzy Kosinski, Michael Moorcock, Jim Thompson, Cormac McCarthy, Richard Brautigan, Joan Didion, Goethe, Shakespeare, Margaret Atwood, and many more.

What album do you love that you think more people should listen to?

E: Bad Brains - s/t

Is there a particular piece of music or song that can bring you to tears?

E: I can't remember lately, though I know a couple have recently...but actually you just reminded me of it when you asked about driving from Santa Cruz. I was driving from Santa Cruz to Oakland or maybe up to Humboldt maybe 6 or 7 years ago and was listening to "The Candidate" by David Bowie [an outtake song off the Rhino deluxe reissue (of Diamond Dogs) from the 90's] and though the song isn't particularly sad, one of those changes hit in the song and just moved me to tears.

What has been your best find at Amoeba?

E: One of my recent best was a beat up old copy of Ike and Tina Nut Bush City Limits. Too many great finds to mention or remember. Love those stores.

What's next for Howlin' Rain?


E: Off to England for the Greenman Festival and surrounding dates, then Outside Lands Music Festival, Bumbershoot in Seattle, and some other Pacific NW shows. We're supporting the Black Crowes in September and October. Then in November we come off tour and begin working on preproduction for a new album!

BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP (W)RAP UP: 08:01:08

Posted by Billyjam, August 1, 2008 09:35am | Post a Comment
NaS
Amoeba Music San Francisco
Hip-Hop Top Five: August 01, 2008


1) NaS Untitled (Def Jam)

2) Jean Grae + 9th Wonder Jeanius
    
(Blacksmith)

3) People Under The Stairs The OM Years 
    
(OM hip-hop)

4) Husalah & B-Luv Tonka Boyz
    (SMC Records/City Hall)

5) RZA as Bobby Digital Digi Snacks
   
(KOCH)

A shout-out to Luis in the hip-hop department at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Top Five chart, which includes the new Bay Area indie rap release from the rhyme duo Husalah & B-Luv, Tonka Boyz, that features guest spots from such local faves as PSD, Yukmouth, The Jacka, and Dubee. Also charting high this week is the double CD retrospective by People Under The Stairs (PUTS) from OM hip-hop. Disc one is "The OM Years" and includes such crowd pleasers as "San Francisco Knights," "The Cat," and "Jappy Jap," while disc two (my personal favePUTS, since it has some stuff I had not heard before) is titled "B-sides & Rarities."  

Luis admits that he is not really feeling the new RZA as Bobby Digital (Digi Snacks) and I have to fully agree with him.This, the artist's fourth solo record, not only fails to match any of his Wu Tang output, but also falls short of his own previous solo work. However, as is often the case with overall mediocre albums, there are a few great songs to be found on the 15 track Digi Snacks, including "Drama" featuring Monk and Thea and "You Can't Stop Us Now" (feat. fellow Wu warrior Inspectah Deck).