James Yorkston's Year of the Leopard: a cheap and beautiful Folk-Rock stunner!

Posted by Mark Beaver, October 31, 2008 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Los Angeles is beautiful right now. The sky is almost completely blanketed with a thin layer of cloud, each cloud undercoated with gray as if it could start raining any moment. It won't, though. Not yet. We have a few weeks, maybe even a month before there's any significant rain, but still, this weather holds a promise that L.A. is moving out of its summer monotony of heat and dust. The wind is moving everything around, warm and round and humid, unlike the Santa Anas and their hot, lip-chapping blast. I'm ready. I want to have a good excuse to sit on the couch and watch a movie as the rain pours off the roof and through the huge oak in my front yard. I'm ready for a day that will welcome a centrepiece like James Yorkston's Year of the Leopard.

Yorkston plays a beautiful acoustic guitar and he writes a beautiful song. He kicked around Scotland and England for years in punk bands and the like, settling down to write the type of gorgeous tomes that Pete Paphides of The Times (London) called, “...songs that sound not so much written as carefully retrieved from your own subconscious, played with an intuition bordering on telepathy. " He's got a great, simultaneously warm and brittle voice that sometimes reminds of fellow Scot, David Gray. His songs are not too far afield from Gray's work, either, often underpinned by burbling electronics and synth washes that, surprisingly, never pull them out of the Brit-Folk context from which they emerge. Yorkston has toured with Beth Orton, David Gray, the Tindersticks, Turin Brakes, Lambchop after having come to many fans' attention through his opening slot on all 27 dates of John Martyn's 2001 tour.

Year of the Leopard, from 2007, was his 3rd release for Domino Records (quickly becoming a touchstone for some of the more interesting and chance-taking bands coming out of the UK). It was produced by Rustin Man (nee Paul Webb), from the legendary, production-heavy Talk Talk and most recently from the lauded and out of print sessions with Portishead's Beth Gibbons. That light hand with the electronics and the enfolded clarinet and harmonica, recorder, mandolin and strings are exactly what Talk Talk has come to represent, and it's here in full force.

The album flows strong and unbroken from its solid opener "Summer Song," into the record's real highlight, (which I've included a video for, below) "Steady As She Goes." The only odd note happens with the appearance of "Don't Let Me Down," the album's 9th track, which, as lush (if not more so) than the rest of the album, is so strongly in the style of Radiohead's Thom Yorke that I kept checking the credits to assure myself that it wasn't a cover.

I found this in the hats displayed above the FOLK Clearance section. It was $1.99. I would have paid $20 for it. Find one and dig it.

Here's a few other James Yorkston albums, as well as the newest, When the Haar Rolls In, due out next Tuesday, November 4, 2008.






Wild And Willing

Posted by phil blankenship, October 31, 2008 03:34pm | Post a Comment

Private Screenings / Media Home Entertainment PS551

Terror en Pointe: Maddin's Dracula proves that holiday ballet is not just for Christmas anymore!

Posted by Kells, October 31, 2008 11:43am | Post a Comment

Last year, for a few nights before Halloween, my roommate and I enjoyed a brief, Dracula themed movie marathon. Nested on the saggy couch in our 100 year old Chinatown flat, the two of us watched Dracula after bloody Dracula, eventually lighting on a few nuggets of pure entertainment delight. By the end of our brief waltz through several cinematic portrayals of Transylvania we discovered that we'd yet to hear a satisfactory soundtrack to F.W. Murnau's silent and beautiful Nosferatu (we alternated between two musical interpretations that were ultimately disappointing), that we loved the excellent extras that accompany the recent, two disc reissue of Francis Ford Coppola's heady and deeply symbolic Bram Stoker's Dracula (the mini-doc about the in-camera, naive effects employed in the film making is absolutely amazing), and that we sat awestruck in front of the TV while a brilliant collaboration between Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Canadian cult director Guy Maddin tantalized our eyes with their film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary (a marriage of said ballet's interpretation of Dracula and Maddin's singular, super-charged visual style). I have seen and loved many dance movies, but this has to be one of my very all time favorites because the dancing is more than just a part of the film, it is the film! Add to this the touch of Maddin's hand and I swoon like Lucy ready to receive her eternal kiss. It's that entrancing.

Part of what makes this movie work so well is the way in which it blends certain aspects of Victorian era appeal (fairy story settings, men with attractive hats, tall ships) and politics (xenophobia, fear of 'the other,' repressed sexuality) relevant to Stoker's demented story while maintaining an early film, silent-era aesthetic. Indeed, Maddin must have realized the best way to film a ballet, particularly this one, would be to treat it as if it were meant to be a silent movie. This totally works in that there could be no better, more expressive actors for a silent film than professional dancers, whose only medium is their physical form. Standout performances by sensuous and stalwart ballerinas like the pale and nimble Tara Birtwhistle (as Lucy Westenra), the suave and sinewy Zhang Wei Quiang (as Dracula), and the gracful and doe-eyed Cindy Marie Small (as Mina Harker) make unconventional movie stars who earn constant praise from Maddin in his entertaining commentary, during which he repeatedly refers to his preference for women with big, expressive hands. It is worth noting also that the story is danced to the melodramatic strains of Gustav Mahler's first and second symphonies -- yet another element of the production that supports the silent film treatment, as the music plays just as important role as the dancers do.

The visual impression this film makes is huge. Rather than film the ballet in a straightforward, this-is-a-ballet-made-for-the-stage manner, Maddin employs the use of deep shadows, blurred vignettes, and tinted colors to overload the film's sumptuousness index. Nods to more than one Dracula film of the past are dashed here and there throughout the production without ever feeling like anything has been lifted outright from any other movie. The reason for this familiar-yet-fresh-feel of the film is, in my opinion, that for all its eccentricities, this film remains largely faithful to Stoker's original story, something that is just not all that common in most Dracula adaptations. Also, shocker, Maddin is doing things his way with this film which is to say that he's doing things that are rarely, if ever, done. For example, the grainy, antiquated look of the film is at least due in part to the fact that it was almost entirely shot in black and white Super 8, many of the scenes captured in a such a manner as only can be achieved by using hand held cameras, which I love. I find this simple, intimate way of filming ballet dancers totally exciting -- it's so close that one almost feels the swish of the air displaced by the dancers' movements. This in-your-face, hand held footage also allows for the capture of miniature tableaux where the dancers are framed almost like a still life within a revolving point of view. Unlike the ballet performed in a theater or opera house which unfolds two dimensionally, Maddin's Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary is so 3D it could almost take you in and it probably will if you succumb easily to hypnosis, or vampires, or ballet. 

Seeing a ballet in person is a glorious thing and I urge anyone who hasn't done it to at least take a date or the kids, or a maybe flask, down to your local production of the Nutcracker (or, if you happen to be in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Ballet Theatre is performing an interactive interpretation of the Rocky Horror Show this Halloween). As a little girl I took ballet classes for a few years and learned enough about the discipline and dedication of the beginning ballerina to ask my mom to get me involved in something else (I then found out the hard way that ballet is way easier, and more agreeable in my case, than karate.). I almost lost all interest in it until I went to see a production of Prokofiev's  Romeo and Juliet when I was about nineteen. Though I went solely for the dark, dramatic music, the production as a whole tore me apart. I remember tears streaming down my face as Romeo danced with the limp, "dead" body of Juliet in their final pas de deux. I realized then that even the most structured of dances cannot suppress physical expression of the soul. It moved me deeply. I know it's corny, but I believe Madonna's right when she says, "you can dance...for inspiration." Don't let anyone tell you you can't. I only wish I had known about the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Dracula when it made a brief stop in San Francisco on its world tour a few years ago. How I would have loved to see it on the stage (even though I can see Maddin's vision of it any time I want to.)!

But what if ballet is truly not your thing? Well, there are enough little oddities in Maddin's mad ballet movie to keep everyone interested: sick people in glass cases, demonic perverts, bugs for dinner, oral sex in a convent, arms that leak gold coins when they're cut, near death by choking on money, a castle made of vaginas, death by impalement... the list goes on and on. And if you think Maddin's commentary would seriously clue in the curious viewer who questions any weirdness, think again, for his commentary is probably the most misleading yet enjoyable of any commentary I've ever bothered to listen to. He may not be as crazy as, say, Paul Verhoeven, but he is a little bit wacky and he clearly loves a good pun off the cuff. In the end a Maddin movie is a Maddin movie and viewers should come to expect the unexpected. I strongly suggest to anyone who fancies a gander at this flick to watch it twice, or at least once with the director's commentary on; it simply rules. One more thing: this film makes for excellent fodder for academic deconstruction, especially if your area of interest and/or expertise is any kind of political science or ethnic studies. I earned myself a big fat A+ thanks to falling in love with this gem of a movie. Oh Canada, how I love you and not just for your maple syrup and aurora borealis and Anne of Green Gables anymore.


Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2008 10:28am | Post a Comment

"This year Halloween fell on the weekend. Me and Geto Boys went trick or treatin,'" famously rapped Bushwick Bill in his verse on the Geto Boys classic 1991 rap hit "Mind Playing Tricks On Me." Whenever Halloween falls on a weekend night, especially a Friday -- providing the whole weekend to recover (and don't forget to change your clocks Saturday night/Sunday morning) -- there tend to be tons of parties jumping off and fun Halloween themed things to do including, of course, lots of costume contests. 

And remember: there is no law against entering and winning as many different Halloween costume contests as you can physically get yourself and your costume to in one Halloween. So I suggest (especially in these hard economic times) that you try and win as many cash prizes as possible and further suggest if you hope to win that prize(s) that you avoid donning Sarah Palin, Joe The Plumber, Joe-Six-Pack, McCain, or Obama costumes (you will be up against too much competition) unless you can come up with some very original twist on such a topical (IE: obvious) choice.

Following below is a guide to some of the hip-hop flavored Halloween happenings around the Bay Area (most with costume contests), including of course the two Bay Area Amoeba Music Halloween events which note are both early (2PM) events since each store will close early tonight at 6PM. All others, unless specified, are nightclub events that start at 9PM and go til closing (2AM or later).

2:00PM - 6:00PM Amoeba Halloween Madness at both the Berkeley and San Francisco Amoeba stores this afternoon with the Horrific Halloween Costume Contests and DJ Sets at each location. At the Berkeley store there will be the spooktacular sounds of DJs Ralphus Fuad & I am Bloody Baby Tooth and a costume contest hosted by Jo-Nasty for a chance to win "an Amoeba Gift Certificate to DIE for!" Free, all ages. SF Amoeba's costume contest will be hosted by Mike Bee with the ghoulish sounds being thrown down by DJ Nero Nava. (Note that the Hollywood Amoeba is also hosting a special Halloween Shock-Hop with a host of in-house DJs starting early, at 5PM, since that store will close at 9PM tonight.

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Happy Halloween!!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 31, 2008 10:15am | Post a Comment


Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2008 03:40am | Post a Comment

Multi-talented Japanese-born hip-hop artist Shing02, who has called the Bay Area home for the past 18 years, has relocated to Los Angeles. "It's for a fresh start," the MC/DJ/producer/musician & musical instrument creator (the Faderboard, which Japanese DJ equipment company Vestax manufacture, is his invention) recently announced to surprised Bay Area friends. The artist was raised in Japan and England before moving to California at age 15.

But Shing02 had been away from the Bay for much of 2008 already, spending six months this year touring in Japan. Up until his move away he was living in North Oakland. This weekend Shing02 returns to his beloved Bay Area to do two special Halloween shows later today (10/31/08). At 6:30PM he will perform at the Halloween Hip Hop Showcase at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park along with his ensemble Kosmic Renaissance. The show is free and all ages. Then after that show Shing02 will head over to the Ahoy! Ninjas! party at G3 Lounge (in SF's Richmond District at 3910 Geary @ 3rd Ave.) to do an emcee set for this second show which opens at 9PM and goes til 2AM ($15 or $10 in costume). Yesterday, as Shing02 was prepping for his trip to the Bay, I caught up with him at his new LA home to ask a few quick questions about music, LA vs the Bay, his tour of Japan this year, and what to expect at his two shows today.

Amoeblog: You said you left the Bay Area for  "a fresh start." Is LA providing that for you?                           

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Birds and the French Resistance

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 30, 2008 08:15pm | Post a Comment
No doubt about it, birds are animal of choice for record label mascot. I've been gathering animal label images for well over a year now and this is my second round of birds.

My friend, do you hear the black flight of ravens over our plains?

Anna Marly, born on October 30th 1917, wrote the "Chant Des Partisans." The song was so inspirational to the French Resistance that there was a serious push for it to become the new French national anthem in the years following WWII. Born under a bad sign, Anna's birth coincided with the Bolshevik Revolution. The bloodletting cost her a father and her homeland, as her family had to take refuge in France. However, she grew into a scrappy young woman. A cabaret singer before 18, she chose the name Marly out of a telephone directory, feeling that Betoulinsky might not roll off of the French tongue fluidly. Speaking of birds, Anna also wrote "Une chanson a trois temps" for La Môme Piaf. The record  Her Songs and Her Guitar appears on the Chanteclair label. The only other listing I could find for Chanteclair was a mention of language program series conceived by Richard and Zelia Toledo Piza Fisk. Richard was from the Oswego, NY area and Anna lived in the same area in the 60's so I'd imagine Chanteclair was a small regional label, probably named after the early French recording cylinder.

Happy All Hallows' Even

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 30, 2008 08:05pm | Post a Comment

You know those grinches that, on Valentines Day say, "I don't need a holiday to tell me when to express my feelings for my loved one" or, on Mothers Day say "I don't need a stupid holiday to tell me when to call my mom?" Well, that's one reason I like Halloween --because those bias keep their yaps shut for once. After all, it's unlikely that those negative nancies are going to say, "I don't need a stupid holiday to tell me when I can dress like Boba Fett and go door-to-door begging for candy from strangers." Like so many holidays, most of the customs are under threat of disappearance due to the media standardizing, simplifying and corporatizing its observance.

Halloween origins

On Halloween, the boundary between the alive and deceased is erased or at least thin. It was observed as Samhain by the Celts and other Euros until 837 AD, when one of the popes decided to move All Souls Day from May 13 (previously chosen to capitalize on another pagan holiday -- The Feast of the Lemures -- on which day Romans would exorcise their homes of evil spirits) to its current date. Over time it has evolved from a harvest festival, to an opportunity to divine the future (in the 18th century), to an opportunity for children to obtain candy, to its current status as an excuse for drunken adults to dress like media figures or slutty versions of mythological beings.

Jack-o-lanterns and other Halloween trappings

The tradition of carving a jack-o-lantern comes from the tale of Stingy Jack, or Jack the Smith as he was also known. Jack was an Irish drunkard whose reputation for debauchery, scumminess and villainy reached the ears of the disbelieving Devil himself. When the Devil decided to take Jack's soul, Jack tricked him into transforming himself into a coin to pay for one last ale. Instead, Jack placed the coin in his pocket, next to a rood, and made a deal that the Devil wouldn't come back for another ten years. When the Devil showed up ten years later, Jack asked to have an apple. The Devil, displaying shocking gullibility, consented and Jack climbed a tree with a crucifix carved on the trunk. This time Jack struck a deal to never be taken to Hell. Upon Jack's death, he was denied entry into both Heaven and Hell so the Devil gave him a burning ember inside a hollowed out turnip, cursing him to spend eternity wandering around with his strange lantern.

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We've Got Tonight - Odd Pairings in Music

Posted by Miss Ess, October 30, 2008 07:33pm | Post a Comment
With the recent advent of the Jack White/Alicia Keys James Bond theme song, a fellow employee and I got to thinking about odd pairings. What was up with the 80s anyway? It was the era of the power ballad, which means it was also one of the main eras of odd pairings (although I do seem to remember Bob Dylan popping up in Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" video in the 90s, but blessedly that was not an artistic pairing).

The first one that comes to mind, of course, is Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Paul was the "cute" Beatle and Michael was the "cute" Jackson, so this seemed like it could work...until you realize that Paul lived on a Scottish farm with his wife of many years, Linda, and their children, eating vegetarian food and lovingly raising animals. Michael, on the other hand, lived on Neverland Ranch, allegedly with groups of small children shuttling in and out of his Playland, complete with caged exotic animals. And these guys duetted twice, on "Say Say Say" and also "The Girl is Mine!" Without even considering the legal issues that came about soon after the duets due to Jackson buying the Beatles' songbook despite McCartney's wishes, it's no surprise they never talked again after creating these tracks. Here's "Say Say Say":

Another odd pairing that is a favorite of mine has always been Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton's "We've Got Tonight." Kenny's a down home kind of guy, into primping but still at home in cowboy boots-- a classic Texan. Sheena's an intense, romantic gal hailing from grey Scotland and specializing in dance-pop. I think all these two had in common was that they were selling a heck of a lot of records on their own back in 1983. I've heard they really did not get along at all in the studio though. At least they could come together this once, just for this night, of course. From the intro chatter to the mic control, I absolutely love this performance:

Now that I have had a little more time to think about it, one of my very favorite odd pairings (not from the 80s this time though) actually made for an entire album: Lee Hazlewood and Ann-Margret duetted on 1969's The Cowboy and the Lady, of course. I suppose there is a connection in that she was born in Sweden and he eventually lived there for a time, but musically they sound like they are from entirely different planets, especially as they take on "The Dark Side of the Street," with his conversational, deep dark baritone and her fluttering, operatic and over the top vocals competing back and forth. Sadly there are no videos of this bizarre duo that I could find, so you'll have to rustle up that CD here at Amoeba. Trust me, it's worth it -- perhaps the ultimate odd pairing.

There are so many fantastically weird pairings in music beyond these three examples! I will have to think of many more in the near future -- feel free to leave your own faves.

out this week 10/28...the cure...bloc party...eagles of death metal...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 30, 2008 04:11pm | Post a Comment

It is hard to believe that The Cure have been recording albums for over 30 years now. They had already been a band for about 10 years before I became a fan, and I have now been obsessed for the last 20 years -- ever since I first heard them. The Head on the Door was the first album by The Cure that I ever heard and bought, way back in 1985. Two years later came the amazing album Kiss Me Kiss Me. By the time Disintegration came out in 1989 I was a hardcore crazy fanatical Cure fan. It is sort of funny. This was the album that Robert Smith made that he thought would not be a commercial success. His label also was worried about this album. It was their darkest album yet and would remain their darkest of all time, yet everyone embraced the album and fell in love with it. It somehow managed to speak to an entire generation. The Cure was not just for the goths and weirdos anymore. Everyone liked them. I could not get enough of this band. Disintegration remains most Cure fans' favorite album. It came out at an important developmental part of my life and probably was the most important album in my life. People often overstate the importance of certain albums, but it came out a couple days after my birthday during my last couple months of junior high. It became my album of the summer of 1989, the year before I started High School. I probably listened to this album at least once a day. Wish came out 3 years later, a couple weeks before my 18th birthday and close to the end of my life in High School. While Disintegration would remain my favorite, I also fell in love with Wish. The album was everywhere. The singles that most Cure fans didn't really like were all over the radio. It was really all about the B-sides and the non single tracks on this album. These were the songs I was obsessed with. I could live without ever hearing "Friday I'm In Love" or "High" again, but still can't get enough of "Apart," "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea," and "To With Impossible Things." This album became the album of my summer of 1992. I was not alone. It was another important album for a very important part of my life. The Cure was there for me again to help me transition both emotionally and physically. For most of us, Wish would be the last great Cure album. We are hopelessly devoted fans for life but nothing can compare to those albums.

I've remained a fan all these years, just as obsessed as ever. I go see them every time they tour. I listen to all their old albums many times throughout the year, but I am always a bit disappointed every time I first listen to their newest album. There are always a couple songs that I like but I never listen to their new albums all that much. I decided to have a new approach to this newest Cure album. I would not set my expectations that high and have a better chance of liking the album. I ended up liking a bunch of songs on this new album a lot. I actually found myself listening to this new album more that I have to any of the previous 3 albums. The new album is their 13th album and appropriately called 4:13 DreamIt is their 4th album since Wish and their 13th proper album. Robert intended this album to be a double album. I really wish that he would have followed through with that. Most of their albums have a dark part and a pop element to them, but the songs are usually all mixed up together. It would have been fantastic to have a new album with a disc of pop upbeat songs and a disc of the more dark Cure songs. The album ended up including more of the happier pop songs that Robert has become fond of over the last decade. They recorded 33 songs for the album, so there are many more songs out there. Some of them have ended up as b-sides on the singles, but I am hopeful they will decide to release another album of the tracks that did not make it onto this album. Maybe that second Disintegration type album is still possible. Most fans just simply want another Disintegration. We then become disapthe cure 413 dreampointed when each new Cure album sounds nothing like Disintegration.

There are some elements of some older albums on this new one. There is no getting away from Robert Smith's signature voice. Once you are a fan, it is hard to resist. There are always elements of the new songs that I fall in love with. If nothing else it is his voice. I am a big fan of one of the singles on the new album. "Sleep When I'm Dead" is easily one othe cure sleep when i'm deadf the best songs on the album. I was very pleased to learn it was originally written for The Head on the Door. It has an older Cure sound to. How appropriate that my favorite song from the new album originally came from my first Cure album. "The Reasons Why" and "The Hungry Ghost" are two of my other favorites on the album. "The Hungry Ghost" could have easily fit on the Wish album. I like these songs because they remind me of the older sound of The Cure that I fell in love with. The album has already grown on me this week. I like it more now that I did earlier in the week. Regardless of how you feel about the new album, there is no denying their greatness live. They still remain one of the greatest live bands that I have ever seen. They are the closest thing that we have to the Grateful Dead. I have never seen the Dead live but imagine it was similar to a Cure show. I really hope Robert Smith follows through and gives us that companion album of those dark songs. He may not be as depressed or drug induced as he was when he recorded Pornography and Disintegration, but I know another amazing dark albums is still inside of him somewhere. It may even already be recorded -- he just had to put it out. He doesn't really owe it to his fans. He has already given us so much. It would just be an amazing gift to us. Maybe he should call the next album The Gift.

also out today...

bloc party intimacy

Intimacy by Bloc Party

ryan adams cardinology

Cardinology by Ryan Adams

snow patrol hundred million suns

A Hundred Million Suns by Snow Patrol

kaiser chiefs off with their heads

Off With Their Heads by Kaiser Chiefs

eagles of death metal heart on

Heart On by Eagles of Death Metal

The Fame by Lady Gaga

deerhunter microcastle

Microcastle by Deerhunter

squarepusher just a souvenir

Just a Souvenir by Squarepusher

arthur russell love is overtaking me

Love is Overtaking Me by Arthur Russell

school of seven bells

Alpinisms by School of Seven Bells


Posted by Billyjam, October 30, 2008 04:20am | Post a Comment
                                 Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five 10:30:08

product of the 80s
1) T.I Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

2) Prodigy, Big Twins & Un Pacino Product of the 80s (Dirt Class Records)

3) MF Doom Operation Doomsday
(Traffic Entertainment)

4) Foreign Exchange Leave It All Behind (Hard Boiled)

5) Lil Rob 1218 Part II (Upstairs Records)

Thanks to Ray at Amoeba Hollywood for this week's hip-hop chart with T.I.'s sixth and latest album Paper Trail still going strong, holding down the number one slot a month after its release by the ever- popular Atlanta rapper. The number two hip-hop album seller at the SoCal Amoeba this week is Prodigy of Mobb Deep fame, who teams up with BIg Twins (aka Twin Gambino) and Un Pacino for the New York City themed Product of the 80's album on Brooklyn's Dirt Class Records. The album captures a bygone (rougher) era in a place and time each of these NYC artists, who were born in the seventies, witnessed first hand growing up. On this new collaborative album the rappers are backed by production from the likes of Jake One, Sid Roams, and Benny Needles. The Traffic Entertainment reissue of MF Doom's Operation Doomsday is selling well at all of the Amoeba stores, including Hollywood, where it is numberlil rob 1218 part 2 three this week.

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October 29, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, October 30, 2008 12:57am | Post a Comment

The signs are everywhere; the return part two … 6 days left

Posted by Whitmore, October 29, 2008 07:04pm | Post a Comment

I am first and foremost a simpleton. No news flash there. On occasion a “reasonably intelligent” accusation is hurled in my direction, but I’m probably more at home dancing along the edge of idiocy. But contrary to the proof you might read here, I’m not quite the Nijinsky of Idiocy. That takes fortitude, and though the phrase has a nice ring to it (I honestly wouldn’t mind such a caption adorning my tombstone), I believe the Nijinsky of Idiocy should, at least for the next few days or so, go to Ashley Todd in Pittsburg, who is this year's gift to Halloween. She’s the woman who fabricated being assaulted at an ATM and claimed to have had a “B” carved into her face because she was a McCain supporter. Maybe idiocy isn’t the problem here. I like to think true idiocy often tandems with clever, and with a sprinkling of clever, an actual idiot can invent fanciful, imaginary situations to play with in the house of the bored. Add a few well placed twisted characters to the story line, a bit of grit, and genius may blossom (well, that’s my personal and optimistic idiotic hope). Actually, Ashley Todd’s misadventure isn’t idiotic, nothing's about to flower. It falls short. It’s asinine. It's hateful. It's dildoic. There's no panache, no élan, just a stiff half-cocked punch line without a set up. So as my fraction of an idea on three hours of sleep swerves past this week’s car wreck, here is a quote I think Ashley Todd, perhaps unknowingly, took to heart on her trip down the aisle of American paranoia -- from W. C. Fields, “If you can't razzle them with dazzle, baffle them with bullshit.” Though, this quote also fits: “The human race has gone backward, not forward, since the days we were apes swinging through the trees.”

Amoeba & Guitar Hero Kick Out The Jams @ Blake's In Berkeley !

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 29, 2008 12:44pm | Post a Comment
guitar hero amoeba event

On Saturday, October 25th, Amoeba sponsored an event coinciding with the drop of the new version of Guitar Hero, entitled Guitar Hero: World Tour. As you may or may not have heard, Amoeba is featured in the game as a playable level which is unlocked as you play through the "Tour" career mode of the game. So naturally, to celebrate the release of Amoeba's first venture into the video game world, the folks of Amoeba Berkeley had a wee soiree down the street at Blake's On Telegraph. The event was held on the top two floors of the three floor bar, where patrons could not only be the first ones to purchase the new game, but could also demo a single guitar version for Xbox 360, or the full Rock Band version on the PS3.

guitar hero amoeba event

This is the first time that a Guitar Hero title has been sold with the full Rock Band set up, including an updated guitar (now 25% bigger and with a sunburst finish), an updated drum set (similar to the Rock Band 2 drum set with 3 drum pads and 2 "cymbal" fan pads to better recreate the feel of a real drum kit), and my personal favorite, the microphone. Unfortunately for yours truly, my voice had been rendered useless by a cold, so I could not belt "Living On A Prayer" at the top of my lungs.

The set up of the event was pretty neat, with DJ Vinnie Esparza spinning a great mix of tunes varying from Latin soul breaks, to artists you would assume would be played at a Guitar Hero event: Sabbath, guitar hero amoeba eventMaiden, Slayer, etc. Before entering the event I had wondered how we could have a DJ and multiple versions of the mainly musical game all going at the same time. Upon arriving, however, I saw that the game stations were equipped with nice headphones for each person, so they could hear the rock, while not interrupting the bar's other alcoholics.

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Posted by Amoebite, October 29, 2008 11:40am | Post a Comment
by Daniel Tures
jimmy page
Guitar Hero!

The expression conjures denim-y visions of long-haired axe '70s victims on stadium stages, tossing their ringlets while shooting out silvery torrents of liquid metal... Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton for God's sake... whammy bars whamming, wah-wahs wawwing, while the smokepots explode, the amps overload, the groupies squeal and the wastoids drool... THE GUITAR HERO. A mythical metal man with a Strat, stealing from the rich and shredding to the poor!

The great hard rock and heavy metal guitarists have been well-documented and complimented to death.  BUT DID YOU KNOW... there's another kind of guitar hero out there? Just as heroic, but more flannely?  More of a van- riding kind of hero, modestly sqwawking his stuff on the beer-soaked stages of the alternative landscape?  Not your ordinary guitar hero, I'm talking about.. the INDIE ROCK GUITAR HERO.

Yes, it's true, there are indie rock guitar heroes too! Dare I say it! We self-loathing, mumbling indie types have our own low-budget version of the big-rig metal demigod, and to my mind some of them are just as wanktastic and wailing as the big guys, and deserve a little blogspace. Now, once we get into this, there are gonna be opinions and opinions. I myself greg ginnam more of a fan than an expert, and I certainly suck at guitar, so I hereby humbly present to you my own biased and incomplete and endlessly revisable list of
indie rock guitar heroes.  Dispute these choices and add your own!

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Alien Nation 20th Anniversary!

Posted by phil blankenship, October 29, 2008 10:59am | 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 November 1

Alien Nation

1988, 91 min

director: Graham Baker

starring: James Caan, Mandy Patinkin & Terence Stamp

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

November 8 The Stepfather
(Daddy's Home and He's Not Very Happy!)
November 15 Title TBA
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!")


December 6 Title TBA
December 20 Title TBA
December 27 New Year's Evil


Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2008 08:00am | Post a Comment
paris acid reflex
Yesterday (Oct 28th), with exactly one week to go before the most crucial presidential election in recent American history and at a time when the nation is in its worst economic state in many long decades, emcee Paris' new album Acid Reflex (Guerrilla Funk - Fontana - Universal) arrived in Amoeba Music and other stores across this troubled nation.

For the ever-politically outspoken Bay Area hip-hop artist, whose two-decade long career has been a series of confrontations with the establishment, the timing seems perfect to unleash this lyrically charged new album, the latest in a series of incendiary releases that include the post 9/11 Sonic Jihad and the 1992 album Sleeping With The Enemy, featuring the highly controversial song "Bush Killa" which resulted in him getting him booted off the Warner Brothers distributed Tommy Boy Records at the time.

The new Paris album, Acid Reflex, which tackles just about every issue and problem facing America today, is not only (in my opinion) the best, most lyrically engaging album of this year, but it is also one that parisharks back to a forgotten time in hip-hop when the genre was rich with high-profile artists who used the medium as a platform for social and political debate. I recently sat down with Paris to talk about the state of hip-hop today & his history as an artist, his label Guerrilla Funk, the economy, next week's election, and other issues addressed in the new album Acid Reflex, including the current trend in America of scapegoating immigrants.  Here's what he had to say.

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Milk Premieres -- My Red Carpet Moment with Sean Penn, James Franco, and Others

Posted by Miss Ess, October 28, 2008 08:53pm | Post a Comment
This is so Perez-y, I know, but it was exciting for me that a red carpet premiere -- of Milk, no less -- was going on tonight a few blocks from my humble home!

Being a pop culture junkie, I was not gonna miss this. Castro Street was blocked between 18th and Market, and there was indeed an actual red carpet rolled out in front of the Castro Theater for the stars to walk. There were bunches of No on 8 supporters as well, shouting from behind the blockade, erupting each time an actor emerged from the motorcade. Milk stars Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, Emile Hirsch, and James Franco, and they were all out in full force, and thisclose to me! The movie is a biopic of the beloved Harvey Milk, and many of his friends and supporters from back in the day were out on the red carpet as well, including my old landlord (!), Carol Ruth Silver, who was on the SF Board of Supervisors during Harvey Milk's time and was apparently also targeted by Dan White. She is even portrayed in the movie! This is all news to me! The most surreal moment was definitely seeing Carol Ruth, rail thin and in one of her ever-present hats, arm in arm with Diego Luna and Emile Hirsch, being photographed by the paparazzi. Also on the carpet were the gorgeous Diane Lane, Robin Wright Penn, T.R. Knight and his nearly underaged boyfriend, and, of course, Gavin Newsom. I also spotted Phil Bronstein, former Chronicle editor, former husband of Sharon Stone, and one-time victim of a grisly Komodo Dragon attack.

It was fun to watch each star speak with Access Hollywood and Extra, shows like that, and to ham it up for the cameras. Sean Penn swept past the photogs, but made a point to walk up and along the large crowd that was chanting "No on 8!" I don't live in Los Angeles, so this was as close to Hollywood glitterati as I could get, at least 4 blocks from my apartment. Here's some pictures my boyfriend took before his camera's battery unfortunately died. Argh, bad timing.

To check out the trailer for this film, click here.

That's Diego Luna, Emile Hirsch, and, incredibly, my old landlord, Carol Ruth Silver!

Diego Luna again.

James Franco

James Franco gabs with Access Hollywood.

October 28, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, October 28, 2008 06:54pm | Post a Comment

The signs are everywhere, a return … 7 days left

Posted by Whitmore, October 28, 2008 06:40pm | Post a Comment

“Anyone who isn't confused doesn't really understand the situation.” - Edward R. Murrow

A quick, and possibly incomplete thought. I’m really curious where all this politicking is going and when this all gasses out. The 2008 fear mongering model takes me back to the bedtime stories my grandfather used to terrify me with as a kid. Tales of the 1950’s with boogeymen everywhere, and wealthy, fat, comfortable and despicable men at attention behind their podiums and pulpits schooling Joe Average American about the greater wickedness set to pounce from every shadow in every godless Gotham, where clusters of un-American denizens like communists or socialists or blacks or Jews or Catholics or immigrants or musicians or artists or poets or newspaper editors are seeking flesh, preying on the weak of mind, weak of spirit. I thought Joseph McCarthy was dead. Now, decades later, my grandfather’s peculiar bedtime stories and his stranger than truth, boogeyman capers seem to be making a comeback. But hey, don’t call it a comeback! Call it a taxi, somebody’s been on a bender, just get these friggin’ idiots outta here … sleep it off man, or at least stick your finger down your throat and get that shit out of your gut! We can all use a little less contemptibility in our innards. W.C. Fields, the great philosopher, said it best, “Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”


Posted by Billyjam, October 28, 2008 06:30am | Post a Comment

Even though it was on the opposite coast and about 3000 miles from the nearest Amoeba store, there were numerous Amoeba logo sightings (on bags and t-shirts mostly) over the weekend at the big WFMU Record Fair at Manhattan's Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street.

Understandably the giant annual music collectors convention, which boasts 10,000 square feet of vinyl (lots of rarities), CDs, DVDs, and magazines & artworks, etc., draws many of the same folks that Amoeba Music attracts-- diehard music fanatics. "Let's face it, music collecting is an addiction," laughed DJ Babu, who visited the fair on the opening day, Friday, when he also did a live set on WFMU from the Chelsea location.

LA native Babu, who coined the term turntablist and who is known for both his solo DJ/production work (his Super Duck Breaks on Stones Throw is a classic) and his membership in Dilated Peoples, Beat Junkies, & Likwit Junkies, said that over the years that he has spent way more time and money at the Hollywood Amoeba than he cares to even think about. Today (Oct 28) is the release date of Babu's latest album, Duck Season Vol. 3 on Nature Sounds. Look for it at Amoeba.

And if you think Babu traveled far, how about record collector Nakajima who flew over all the way from Japan for four days specifically to shop at the all weekend record fair!? But then this record fanatic has also made previous trips to the US from Japan specifically to shop at the Hollywood Amoeba (where he got the Amoeba t-shirt he wore over the weekend as in picture below right). New Yorker Andres (pictured above left proudly clutching his Amoeba record bag), who lives just a few blocks from the Manhattan record fair location, said that he got his bag on "one of several visits" to the Hollywood Amoeba store. "I love Amoeba and every time I go to LA I go to Amoeba," he smiled. 

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out yesterday....guitar hero world tour...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 27, 2008 05:10pm | Post a Comment
Maybe some of you have heard of this game called Guitar Hero. I am sure some of you are fans of Rock Band and want nothing to do with Guitar Hero. I am probably one of the very few people who has never played Guitar Hero or Rock Band. I have heard  people talk about it endlessly  and been at parties where people have been playing it, but I have resisted for some reason. I guess it is sort of like Karaoke. I love the idea of it and actually love watching people "perform" at Karaoke bars but am just too shy to actually sing out loud in front of large crowds of strangers. A couple of years ago one of my friends dragged me to one of those private Karaoke booths that they have in Japantown in San Francisco. I never even really knew these existed. I could finally do karaoke. I really don't mind embarrassing myself in front of my friends. I just don't like strangers I guess. So really I should love Guitar Hero. There will be no strangers watching me embarrass myself. I just never had this game in my own house before.

Up until last week the newest game system I had was a Super Nintendo. They unfortunately did not make Guitar Hero for Super Nintendo. I have spent numerous nights playing Nintendo Jeopardy and Super Mario World late into the night, but I never really felt the need to upgrade. In my mind all the new games were for people who were obsessed with sports or war games. I didn't really feel the need to kill people in a game. I felt that I could happily live out the rest of my life living off used Super Nintendo games from thrift stores. Then I found out that there are actually new games for people like me. I just never spent the time to find them. When I found out Amoeba was going to be in the new Guitar Hero game, I realized I had to get myself some sort of new game system. I could not let this moment in history pass me by. Amoeba Hollywood always carried used games, but we never really got into the whole new games market until now. How could we not carry a game that we are a star of!? We are carrying the Guitar Hero games in all versions at all 3 stores. But we also have a selection of other games at the Hollywood store. I am so excited that game nerds can now hang out with music and movie nerds. I am sure we will all get along. We don't sell the actual game systems, but I imagine you can figure out where to find those. I could have gotten a Play Station or XBOX, but being a long time fan of Nintendo, Wii was the obvious choice for me. Of course, these are the hardest systems to find, but I managed to track one down last week, and I will be bringing home my new copy of Guitar Hero very soon. The new version of the game, Guitar Hero World Tour, actually came out yesterday, October 26th. The Game industry seems to have their own set of rules. Guitar Hero actually came out on a Sunday! They can't even wait until the Tuesday street date like the movies and music.

I am excited to be able to embarrass myself in front of my boyfriend and friends. The new Guitar Hero will let me do that numerous times I am sure. Rock Band was basically a more involved version of Guitar Hero. You didn't just get a guitar but a drum kit and microphone. Guitar Hero has now become the best again with Guitar Hero World Tour. Not only does the game feature Amoeba Music Hollywood as one of the venues you get to play in, but it also comes with a whole lot of extra stuff. The band kit comes with drums, a guitar, and a microphone. It even has a music studio program that lets you create your own digital songs that you can share with other users of the game. I will be patiently waiting for the New Wave Edition that comes out with a keyboard! This is surely the next step. Come on, Guitar Hero, do it for me! I could also go for the Shoegaze edition. I would most likely do a lot better playing a Lush song than Korn. But for now, I will settle for Guitar Hero World Tour. In case you are dying to see the songs that come with this new edition, here they are...

Continue reading...


Posted by phil blankenship, October 26, 2008 06:49pm | Post a Comment

Prism Entertainment 2460

(In which Job has his reasons.)

Posted by Job O Brother, October 26, 2008 02:32pm | Post a Comment
Okay! Okay! Alright! Enough already!
I know I haven’t blogged since Neil Arnott invented the waterbed, and I appreciate the many of who have lovingly asked me, “What the hell, loser?” but if you knew the LIST of reasons why I haven’t been able to write here, you’d have a greater sense of compassion.

Therefore, I present you…


1.)    I was busy researching the origin of the waterbed.

2.)   I switched to decaf. But the not normal kind. The kind that makes you forget to breathe. So you collapse. You almost die. (Available in whole bean from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.)

3.)    I was in the hospital on a respirator that artificially kept my lungs going.

Not my best photo, but I like it 'cause I look slim.

4.)    I was busy inventing a version of the waterbed that could be used in hospitals.

5.)    I almost died of electrocution while testing a hospital waterbed (or, as I call them, Surf-a-Sufferer). As fate would have it, the electrical shock got my lungs to start got my lungs to start working again but also did something to my brain so that I now unwittingly repeat words sometimes.

6.)    I was working on my stage musical version of Sophie’s Choice, which I hope to produce next fall. You’ll love it! I added even more funny parts and cut the rather bland roles of Sophie and Nathan so as to concentrate on Stingo, who I’ve reworked into a jolly but blood-thirsty Scotsman whose taste for freshly baked Pfeffernüsse is matched only by his tremendous fear of being electrocuted by a waterbed.

7.)    I perfected my recipe for Pfeffernüsse.

Pfeffernüsse, originally a Dutch cookie baked to celebrate the holiday Sinterklaas, and to construct the walls for windmills.

8.)    I was eating so much Pfeffernüsse.

9.)    I gained so much weight I could no longer make the long walk to my desk to blog.

10.)    I had to get fitted for my muʻumuʻu (or, as you Haoles spell it “mumu”).

11.)    I, along with eight other morbidly obese people, was flown to New York City to be used as models for a challenge on Season 6 of Project Runway. The designers had to make us muʻumuʻus that could go from day to night and help “slenderize” us. For raw materials, they could only use whatever could be found in Michael Kors’ pockets in under five minutes. My designer lucked out and snagged eight yards of PVC pipe and a half-eaten Mars Bar, which he rendered into a rather lovely turquoise muʻumuʻu with nougat-and-almond jerkin, accented with a 17th Century inspired whisk, which, while not exactly practical for baking Pfeffernüsse in, did cause quite a stir when I wore it on the red carpet at this year’s Golden Globe Awards.

See that thing around his neck? That's a whisk.

12.)    I was in endless meetings with my lawyers, as I am suing Tilda Swinton for nibbling on my jerkin while I was distracted by talking to Denzel Washington about how sleeping on a flotation mattress might help his chronic back pain and redundant choices in film roles.

13.)    I went on a strict weight-loss plan that required me to spend less time at the computer blogging and more time enjoying activities that got my heart-rate up, like jogging, swimming, and wrestling bears wearing nothing but a jock-strap and a thick coat of whale blubber.

Reason #15767 why you should only wear a jock strap and whale blubber when wrestling a bear.
(Taken from Howe & Collier's Pictorial History of Errors in Bear Wrestling and Papier-mâché)

14.)    I was beaten-up by a roving gang of PETA members who denounced my use of whale blubber. (I tried to explain that I only used blubber from whales who had been given 1 to 80 years to live.) In a tragic and ironic twist of fate, the animal rights activists were mauled to death by the bear I was wrestling.

15.)    I had a lot of funerals to go to.

16.)    I was enjoying the re-issue of The Belly of an Architect soundtrack. Composed mostly by Wim Mertens – who’s work is a kind of cross between minimalist-classical and New Age – it fits perfectly with Michael Nyman’s scores for Peter Greenaway films. I highly recommend it for those of you who like things exactly like it.

17.)    I had my birthday! It was October 22. And while I did enjoy a romantic dinner at Café des Artistes with my beloved, Corey, I couldn’t help but notice that YOU did not send me anything! Not a card, not a gift – nothing.* Which leads me to believe that maybe you think love and loyalty mean more than material possessions. Balderdash! I need an iPhone, and last I checked, you can’t buy those with birthday well-wishes posted on my Facebook “wall”. [*Not counting my Mom.]

18.)    I’ve been heartily enjoying recordings by the Pied Pipers.

19.)    I’ve been busy reconciling with Tilda Swinton. In exchange for tips on how to get and maintain a slim figure, I am allowing her to eat whatever clothes of mine she likes.

20.)    I’ve found I can only express myself in a list format, and it’s not been until now that I figured out how to blog thusly.

21.)    My hand hurt.

22.)    My brain hurt.

23.)    My hand hurt again.

24.)    I bet my friend Carrie that I could go for 2½ months without blogging. (Ha, ha! I win, Carrie! You owe me a dime!)

25.)    I was daydreaming about how I would spend my dime if/when I won my bet with Carrie. And last, but not least:

26.)    A dog ate my blog.

Negative Campaign

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 26, 2008 11:35am | Post a Comment
So, the McCain / Palin camp have sunk to an all time lame-o moment with Ashely Todd. Seriously, her hoax is even worse than the old Morton Downey Jr. thing. In contrast to the very lame, I present the very coolest in negative imagery...

Project: Shadowchaser

Posted by phil blankenship, October 25, 2008 06:33pm | Post a Comment

Prism Entertainment 8851

The TRON Aesthetic: The Atari Age of German Expressionism

Posted by Charles Reece, October 25, 2008 01:38pm | Post a Comment
The magnificent scenes of heroism, transcendence and man dominating his surroundings should please the most masculinist among us, including Ayn Rand and Leni Riefenstahl:

The close-ups all have that overly melodramatic silent-era quality to them. Note the way Flynn (Jeff Bridges) has Valentino eyes and Sark (David Warner) looks like a Conrad Veidt villain:

The neon destruction is one of the best visual features of TRON, and I particularly love the Art Deco explosion of the light cycle running into the wall:

Here are some be-yoo-tee-ful shots of various control chambers:

These next three shots are probably the result of Moebius's designs, but in terms of color and shading, the first two remind me of Fleischer Studio's Superman cartoon (itself borrowing heavily from German Expressionism):

This next series points to the way TRON takes the acute Expressionistic angles and frequently pushes them towards abstraction. As can be seen in the third shot, those same angles are used in the realworld, as well:

Undoubtedly, the grid is the most recurring motif in the film (just look at the shots above). Despite the sheer daftness of TRON's storyline, the film provides a persistent visual critique of modern existence under technology centering on the grid. The realworld doesn't look all that different from the simulated one, just in duller, Modernist colors. If anything, the oppression of the office cubicles is far more of a labyrinthine mindfuck than the prison in TRON (Bruce Boxleitner)'s world. This use of office space here is every bit the equal to that in Billy Wilder's The Apartment and Jacques Tati's Playtime:

Little wonder that so many prefer escaping reality into videogame simulacra. Where would you rather be, with Lora (Cindy Morgan) in her lab, or with her cyberpunk avatar, Yori?

Thus, when Flynn gets reconstructed by the Master Control Program (MCP; Warner again) into the world of cyber-spectacle, the film visually suggests there's little ontological difference between the two states, online versus offline -- on or off the grid. Life itself has become a simulation:

Despite the standardized happy ending where modern life has been saved from the evil MCP, the time-lapse photography of the city at daytime turning into night before the credits roll suggests something else, namely that we're never too far away from the oppressive regime of the MCP. Note how similar the night-time city is to the mindscape travel sequence of the title sequence:

[Click on images to enlarge.]

The Broadway Beat, IHOMI and Other Downtown Ghosts

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 25, 2008 11:45am | Post a Comment

Last month I found myself with quite a bit of free time, roaming Downtown L.A. during extended breaks. I was stuck on a jury and the trial was being held up for many reasons. Anyhow, I finally got truly familiar with Broadway. Ross Cutlery, the Bradbury Building, Clifton's Cafeteria, Angels Flight, La Cita, and the Grand Central Market--  all places I had been to before, but now I was finally steeping in them. The Los Angeles, Orpheum, Million Dollar, State, UA and Palace Theaters. Even with all the razing going on downtown, Broadway is still a time warp.

In the midst of all the discount clothiers, markets and restaurants is the International House of Music. In business since 1902, the House is a full service instrument shop. Kids getting their starter horns. Metal kids in black long sleeves staring longingly at Randall stacks. An eager salesman tried to sell me an overpriced bass clarinet when I told him I was in the market for one.

Needless to say I passed. Craigslist presented me with a very nice used option, but I was struck by the overall energy of the place. On my way out I walked by the accordion section-- WOW!!! Seriously, seeing them all together was more spectacular than the entire jewelry district a couple of blocks down. A few weeks later, I came across the collection of accordion classics that I'm now sharing with you...


Posted by Billyjam, October 25, 2008 06:00am | Post a Comment
Above is a video preview of the new Guitar Hero World Tour and its Battle of the Bands mode, which allows eight players to join online and challenge each other band-to-band to determine who is the best player. In the band modes, up to four players can jam together, online or off, as they progress through the game, and in single-player career-mode, players can jam on any of the instruments in branching venue progression, enabling them to rock out in the order of their choice. And as you know tomorrow is the official release date of this new Guitar Hero World Tour game and Amoeba is previewing it at Blake's in Berkeley tonight (Sat) with a Midnight Sale and Preview Party for the new game with three areas (Wii, PS3, and Xbox360) set up for demoing the game. More details here.  

You can check out some previews of the new Guitar Hero on the GamerTrailers website or in Popular Mechanics magazine, which pits Guitar Hero World Tour up against Rock Band 2 and Rock Revolution in a preview from E3 2008 (with video). Meanwhile, today's Los Angeles Times takes a more sobering look at the game in a story less about its technical aspects but instead focusing on the implications of its success in relation to the state of the economy, stating that, "wildly popular Guitar Hero video game could become a test of the game industry's ability to weather the broader economic storm."

Continue reading...

Joseph Childress Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, October 24, 2008 12:41pm | Post a Comment
Joseph Childress is a drifter-- the kind of artist I had heard about months before actually meeting and seeing him perform, because he had been hitchhiking and rambling around the country. His reputation preceded him, and it was rumored that he was coming to live here in San Francisco; and indeed he has, becoming a solid part of the SF scene within the 2-ish years he has been here in our fair city. His voice is strong, burbling like a stream, and it's one of his greatest assets; and then there are the songs -- melodic stories about landscapes, both inner and outer. Though he has settled down for a while, he is still one to keep an eye on: Joseph will release a highly anticipated first album in the near future. Here, he chats about working on cattle ranches, seasons changing and his upcoming record.

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

Joseph Childress: Well, besides the obvious classics, I have been digging almost everything I've grabbed from Sublime Frequencies and Mississippi Records. Also, Lucky Dragons, White Rainbow, the Yaala Yaala label, Los Increibles, Melodii Tuvi, and the George Mitchell field recordings, mostly country and world stuff. 

ME: What inspires you to write songs? Do you write the lyrics or the music first?

JC: With the exception of maybe three songs, I write the music first. I let the melody tell me the story. I will usually get an image if the part is doing its job. As for inspiration, a whole lot of things inspire me, from nature and women to politics. The weather plays a huge role, also seasonal change. When the air starts to change I get an overwhelming feeling to write.

ME: I love that. When did you first pick up the guitar?

JC: I started playing guitar when I was around twelve or thirteen. I played the drums first, and I played the trumpet all throughout school. My parents bought me a bass, and my brother a guitar, and I would sneak into his room when he wasn't home and play it. I think I wanted to be like him more than actually playing guitar. But it eventually hooked me... a blue Strat. My folks still have it. My father, who is a wonderful musician, taught me my first chords, and I figured the rest out on my own and with the help of friends.

What did you hear playing around your parents' house while you were growing up in Colorado?

Christian and Gospel music. My father is a "minister of music" and choir director at the church I grew up in. The church is non-denominational, but has very Pentecostal roots, so they were heavily influenced by Southern gospel, and southern choirs. I have discovered over the years that a lot of the songs they sing come from traditional songs from the south. My Dad is also a very prolific writer, and they continue to sing a number of his hits.

I know you worked on houses some before moving out here.  What records would you blast on the boom box to keep yourself happy while you were doing electrical work?

Yep, electricity and cattle ranches. I worked with my brother and we would constantly be searching for new things. I think it started out with classic artists like Dylan (GOD!) and Neil Young, also the recent indie records of the time. We would drive to Denver, which was a couple hours away, and shop Wax Trax and this little shop called Double Entendre, which sold exclusively independent artists. We eventually moved to playing mostly classic country music. I still remember the first time my brother played me Hank Williams. It was a profound experience.

Despite the fact that my grandparents lived in upper class suburbs here in Northern California (far from the range!), they all absolutely loved country music! That's how I first heard Hank Williams. What was it about the Bay Area that made you decide to move here and play music?

I wandered around the country for a couple years, and San Francisco was always the city that I missed the most. The music community has always been strong here, and fairly welcoming. There is also somewhat of a balance between concrete and nature in this area. There are breathtaking places to visit that are less than a half an hour out of the city.

I completely agree. We are so lucky here. Who are your favorite singer-songwriters?

Tuvan throat singers.

What is your favorite local band besides yourself, of course?

Have you ever heard that band ShipSnowblinkFamilyTraeJeffMansonLazarusMarieeSiouxVetiverOhSeeSWhyspHacklesPortOBrienD
SareesSonnyandtheSunsetsOkayMassatDawnJefferyThoresbyEmilyJaneWhiteDrySpellsYogaLazer? That band fucking rocks.

Oh, that that little band!? Somehow it contains nearly the entire sound of the city! What is the best live show you have ever been to?

Hmm...A handful of Dylan shows, Ten Grand in Denver at Monkey Mania and a hundred more there, the Angel Island show, and every show that David Wilson and Frank Lyon have ever put on, Gillian Welch at Hardly Strictly a few years ago when the mist was blowing over the stage, the early Quiet Quiet fests, dance party in a church in Boston.

Tell me more about your new album, who produced it and when it may be available. Was this your first time in a studio? How was it for you?

It was recorded this last summer in an attic in Portland, Oregon by Mike Coykendall. He is most known for his work with M.Ward and She and Him. I was blessed to be joined by my friends Aaron Robinson and Joey Ficken from the band Seawolf. It was a wonderful experience. The songs came so naturally. I have attempted to record in the past, and have had some very frustrating attempts. It's all about comfort. I think that Mike's personality and experience plus the high quality of musicians that contributed made it flow very smoothly. I mean we recorded a full record and mixed a good portion in a week! Now in SF, it has slowed a bit. We have gone back and filled in some of the more barren valleys with some sprinkles of moisture and vegetation. My dear friend David Wilson has drawn the cover art and we should be done by December 1st. After that I don't know...Hopefully someone will want to release it!

What's your favorite Michael Hurley record or song?

It has to be Armchair Boogie, which I heard is being reissued on vinyl by Mississippi Records soon! So good.

What's the best Townes Van Zandt record or song, in your opinion?

That's too hard. It's a dead tie between The Late Great [TVZ], High Low [and In Between], and Our Mother the Mountain. They all have distinct flavors, depends on what I am craving.

What about Gillian Welch?

I LOVE Gillian Welch! I have always dreamed of playing with them. David Rawlings is one of my favorite guitar players. That parlor guitar he plays is so beautiful.

Oh yeah, that guitar is perfect for their songs too. What album do you think is the greatest Will Oldham has ever made?

I think it would have to be Ease Down The Road. It's so funny and pleasant. Yeah, that's it.

I love to ask that question of Oldham fans cause the answer is usually different for everyone. Name an esoteric record that you love that you think everyone should know about.

I have been really digging this country/rockabilly singer named Johnny Horton. He was around in the fifties and sixties, and died tragically. The songs and words are very simple, but have this really nice beat that makes you want to shake it. His voice is SO good. Check out the record Honky Tonk Man.

What is your favorite venue to play here in SF?

I would have to say the Warfield. Kidding. There are so many great spaces in SF. I like the Make Out Room. The acoustics of the space go well with my voice and people show up. Adobe Books is great too.

Will you be touring any time soon?

I hope so. I have been taking it easy with shows lately to work on the album, but when the record is released I am hoping to get out for quite a while. Nothing's certain yet.

What has been your best find at Amoeba?

A mint original pressing of the soundtrack to Rockers for a buck.

Thank you so much for your time! Can't wait to hear your record when it arrives.

Money Talks: AC/DC and Wal-Mart collaborate for profit's sake

Posted by Kells, October 24, 2008 12:34pm | Post a Comment
One of the best things about working at Amoeba Music is all the stories you get to hear. It seems everyone has at least one really great story starring some celebrity or other. Add to that the countless daily recounts of brushes with the bizarre (I'm sure each location has it's own special blend of resident and transient "street life" enthusiasts) and the many stories from the road told by those touring musicians Amoeba frequently fosters; the odd life-altering event/near death experience sort of yarn is spun as often as are the wheels of the gossip wagon. All this and more than enough stupid jokes and "inappropourri" to swell one's ears and imagination for days. Some of the stories I've heard will stay with me forever and some of the story tellers I'd swear have lived multiple lives.

One of my favorite co-workers I like to trade stories with at Amoeba is dear to me for his deep appreciation of all kinds of heavy metal, especially glam/hair metal. Though he's a bit older than me, I'll never forget the day we bonded over our knowledge of obscure (read: tragic) hair metal bands. Floodgates opened and we discussed everything from Bang Tango's singular hit, "Someone Like You," to Pretty Boy Floyd's album Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz and their singular saving grace (ultimately, their hair). Clearly we could go on for days as, it seemed to me anyway, I had no one else at work with whom I could discuss late eighties Hollywood glitter rock and still feel comfortable with myself afterwards. 

One of my favorite stories this person shared with me involves Warrant, a band that almost always suffered comparison to Poison yet never eclipsed, or even slightly reached, Poison's level of glam-rock stardom. Perhaps that explains why my friend saw them playing in a crappy night club in Fresno. The story is short and amounts to this: at sometime during the gig he stole backstage and lifted a number of items from Warrant, namely a bottle of White Rain shampoo. Now, maybe it's not that funny to everyone, but I clutched my gut in laughter upon hearing this. White Rain! The bottom shelf of hair products! These glamorous guys, who obviously pride themselves on their hair, couldn't get it together to get some Panteen Pro-V or Mane and Tail (being the show ponies they were). I have to admit that I was and still am inclined to think the worst of Warrant -- I was never a fan, not even a little, of their music and their frontman, a man called Jani Lane, frightened me in an Edgar Winter way. To me their music was a tepid, obvious attempt at following Poison's lead (and so was Jani Lane's romance with"spokesmodel" Bobbi Brown, who happened to be Poison frontman Bret Michael's ex-girlfriend) and it was even rumored that Warrant's two guitarists Erik Turner and Joey Allen hadn't played even a shred of a note on Warrant's debut album though they received credit for it. To top it all off, the most annoying girl in my school, who was also my best friends' neighbor and confidante, loved them and Warrant quickly became the crux of our rivalry. And so the very thought of Warrant roughing it on the road with dollar store bought White Rain set me snickering. It was too perfect. And to think that Warrant's debut album was titled Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich-- hardly.
Later on I got to thinking about all those wanna-be rock stars featured in Penelope Spheeris' documentary Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years and my laughing slowly subsided into a kind of internal choke. Remembering all those faces staring directly at the camera proclaiming, "Oh yes, I'm gonna make big one day. Definitely. Without a doubt," really hit home. I wonder just how many rockers made the pilgrimage to Hollywood with a mind to find fame and fortune. I thought of my brother (pictured second from the right with his band Trauma Kamp) and how he moved to Hollywood around that time with only what I can imagine to be the same dream of making it big in the music business (and let me tell you, not only did he survive the strip, he's got endless yarns of killer stories about the madness that is, er was, er probably still is, the Hollywood rock scene). Suddenly I was furious at my friend. How could he steal such vital items from a hair metal band on the road like he's stealing food stamps from the needy? The ridiculousness of my anger started me laughing again and I giggled my way over to my dusty video shelf to look for my copy of The Metal Years, only to find it missing, stolen perhaps by a fellow coworker and metal enthusiast whose name just happens to rhyme with the latter syllable of the word Warrant.

Continue reading...


Posted by Billyjam, October 24, 2008 04:00am | Post a Comment
Radio killed the iPod star? Not quite but, as reported this week by Ad Age, a recent study of online and radio listening habits of a youth/young-adult demographic, revealed some interesting findings.

The study, which was conducted by Paragon Research in a random survey of 400 14-24 year olds, showed that this group has increased its time spent listening to radio by 11% this year, while its time spent listening to iPods has actually decreased by 13%.

In the Ad Age story, Jeff Haley, president-CEO of the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau), said the study confirms what the radio industry has heard anecdotally by reflecting the "lack of inertia in the MP3 experience. You don't have the ability to refresh or any kind of automated way to come across great new music. As a result, that isolated programming effect does not allow you the serendipitous experience the way radio does."

Indeed, that is exactly what makes listening to your favorite (especially local, non commercial) radio station in real time so special: the surprise and sense of the unexpected; never knowing what will be next on the DJ's playlist or in his/her mic break. But of course, a radio or an iPod are merely listening devices and it is only a matter of time before all digital players such as iPods will be easily able to pick up all terrestrial radio stations' streams on their iPods and other music players.

Remote Control

Posted by phil blankenship, October 24, 2008 12:41am | Post a Comment

IVE 66159

Country from other countries

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 23, 2008 06:57pm | Post a Comment
Country Music

In the American South, traditions from Celtic music, folk, blues, gospel and mountain music melded together into what was originally known as Hillbilly music. Hillbilly produced some incredibly popular artists like Jimmie Rodgers, who sold over a million records in the '20s, back when there were probably like 2 million people in the country.

In 1949, Billboard started referring to it as Country, since many Hillbillies began to feel like they were performing some kind of minstrelsy for urban, northern audiences who'd stick some straw baies on the stage to make these noble savages feel at home.

Anyway, it wasn't just popular at home. There are seemingly more fans of country outside of the U.S. than in it. Before long, other countries were producing their own Country, influenced by the original but occasionally tailored to their own traditions.

Canadian Country

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that Canada, our kid sibling to the north, would have their fair share of Country musicians. in fact, outside of the U.S., Canada is the Countryest country. Originally it developed out of their heavily Celtic Maritime Provinces. Most Country, however, mirrors the U.S.'s and many Canadian Country artists have infiltrated Nashville unsuspected and undetected, capable of producing Pop Country as bland as our indigenous experts. Most Canadian Country musicians sing about Tennessee this and Kentucky that, happy to not reflect their own backgrounds. Those that do have a more distinctly Canadian tone often have an elevated Folk aspect to their music.

Canadian Country artists include Shania Twain, Adam Gregory, Hank Snow, Paul Brandy, Wilf Carter, Tommy Hunter, Stompin' Tom Connors, Corb Lund, George Canyon, Don Messer, Anne Murray, Lucille Starr, Marg Osburne, Ian Tyson, Mercey Brothers, Maurice Boyler, Gordie Tapp, Carroll Baker, Bob Nolan, Stu Davis, Gene MacLellan, Myrna Lorrie, Ray Griff, Ronnie Prophet, Colleen Peterson, The Good Brothers, Terry Carisse and Prairie Oyster.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 23, 2008 02:42pm | Post a Comment

In case you haven't already heard this, Saturday night at Blake's in Berkeley Amoeba Music is throwing a very special Midnight Sale and Preview Party for the brand new Guitar Hero World Tour game whose official release date is Sunday (Oct 26th). This brand new Guitar Hero (for Wii, PS3, and Xbox360) will be sold at Blakes by itself as well as along with the bundle pack, according to Amoeba's Tarin Muir. 

From all reports, this anticipated new Guitar Hero is sure to be a big hit, especially for the upcoming holidays. Guitar Hero World Tour comes complete with new wireless six-piece drum set with fan-like cymbals, a slap-strum pad on its 25% larger sunburst guitar, an impressive 86 master recording track list, plus lots of new features such as Wii Freestyle (scroll down to video below poster to learn more about this Wii-only mode).

The no-admission Amoeba Guitar Hero World Tour Midnight Sale & Preview Party at Blake's on Telegraph Ave starts at 10PM Saturday night, October 25th. Note that even though the party is a 21+ event, there will be window sales for anyone underage to pick up the game. 

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out today 10/21...gang gang dance...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 23, 2008 12:55pm | Post a Comment
gang gang dance saint dymphna
I have been anxiously awaiting the new Gang Gang Dance album since hearing their excellent EP from last year. I fell in love with Gang Gang Dance in 2005 when God's Money came out, but the EP RAWWAR totally blew me away last year. It was only 3 tracks but they seem to pack the greatness of a whole album into that little EP. I still listen to the second track whenever I get a chance. "Oxygen Demo Riddim" is just an instrumental track but it became one of my favorite songs of the year. Gang Gang Dance is now back with a new album called Saint Dymphna. This band has always beengang gang dance rawwar somewhat of a mystery to me. I have never really done any research on them and have never read a review of them or their albums. I know they live in New York, but that is pretty much where my knowledge of them begins and ends. I have no idea what they look like and I have no idea how others have described them. It makes them more interesting to me. The music just basically exists in my head and I have made my own little personal set of stories about them. I have not yet had the opportunity to see them live -- maybe that will clear up some of my questions about them. I do have a chance coming up soon. They are playing November 15th at the El Rey in Los Angeles. I really do know one thing about Gang Gang Dance: I love this new album and I love Gang Gang Dance. They don't really sound like anything I have ever heard before, yet the music somehow speaks to me. The songs are often intense sort of musical collages -- lots of instruments and sounds seem to interfere with each other but end up creating some beautiful music when all put together.

Their music could easily be described as experimental. The songs are a bit weird and different, but weird in the good and interesting way. I hear elements of new wave and shoegaze within the songs as well. They also remind me a bit of Blonde Redhead at times. They capture that intense sadness that Blonde Redhead also conveys in their music. "First Communion" is easily my favorite track on this new album, but it doesn't stop there. That song just gets me hooked on the album, although they didn't really need to hook me in with this album. I was already obsessed because of their last album. This album is just doing a fantastic job at meeting my expectations. I could not have imagined a better album for them to create. The shoegaze song of the album is "Vacuum." This song could have easily found a home on a My Bloody Valentine album. It is sort of a mixed up version of a shoegaze song. It guess it is Gang Gang Dance's version of shoegaze. They make egang gang dance god's moneyverything sound better somehow. The song that follows sounds like something from some Warp album -- not just your typical use of electronics. "Inners Pace" floats into the next song "Afoot," which sounds like Patti Smith doing her spoken word. Track 10 is probably my second favorite song on the album. "House Jam" is Gang Gang Dance at its best. The song is almost accessible and as close as they will get to a pop song. It is their version of a Gwen Stefani or M.I.A. song. It is for sure catchy and I find myself humming it even if I don't know any of the words. The last song on the album is "Princes." The song features an MC from East London know as Tincy Stryder. Hip Hop seems to be the last genre that they wanted to explore on the album, but the song is still an obvious Gang Gang Dance song. It just happens to be their version of the genre. The album travels all over the place but it also somehow keeps a cohesive sound throughout. I am in love with Gang Gang Dance all over again.

also out today...

Everything/Everything by Simon Bookish

Missiles by The Dears

of montreal skeletal lamping

Skeletal Lamping by Of Montreal

Receivers by Parts & Labor

High Time by Pit Er Pat

X's On Your Eyes by Plus/Minus

Too Thirsty 4 Love by Quintron

Car Alarm by The Sea & Cake


Posted by Billyjam, October 23, 2008 08:00am | Post a Comment
                                   Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:23:08

1) Jake One White Van Music (Rhymesayers)

2) Mighty Underdogs Droppin' Science Fiction (Definitive Jux)

3) MF Doom Operation Doomsday (Traffic)

4) Micheal Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers (Anti)

5) Devin the Dude Landing Gear (Razor & Tie Music)

Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for this week's top five, which includes super talented Seattle producer Jake One and his guest-heavy (over two dozen emcees!) album White Van Music on Rhymesayers in the number one slot. Also with many guest shots, but not near as many as Jake One's record, is the Bay Area supergroup the Mighty Underdogs (Lateef the Truth Speaker, Gift of Gab, & Headnodic) and their recent Def Jux release Droppin' Science Fiction which is the number two top selling hip-hop album at the Haight Street Amoeba this week. As is the case over at the Berkeley Amoeba, the Bay Area's much loved Michael Franti and Spearhead's new album All Rebel Rockers on Anti is also selling well in the San Francisco store. Others on the hip-hop top five include Devin the Dude's Landing Gear and the MF Doom album re-release of Operation Doomsday courtesy of Traffic Entertainment. 

Continue reading...


Posted by Billyjam, October 23, 2008 07:58am | Post a Comment


The above video of a one-man AC/DC covers band was posted on YouTube a month ago by deathwish808. The one-man band, who gets no ID, although he does look a bit like Jack White, proves that a single man (or woman) can do it all, even if they do mess up a bit on the vocals.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Taste No Evil: Religulous (2008), Blindness (2008) & Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Posted by Charles Reece, October 22, 2008 08:01pm | Post a Comment
Power can essentially do what it wants, and what it wants is completely arbitrary. -- Pier Paolo Pasolini in the documentary "Salò": Yesterday and Today

~ Hard of Hearing ~
The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods. -- Socrates in Plato's Euthyphro

In every internet debate I've ever had regarding religion (almost always with a Christian fundamentalist), I bring up the Euthyphro dilemma. Before Christianity even had its start, good ol' Plato cut it off at the knees with one sentential swipe. His reasoning goes something like this: if an action is moral only because a god says so, then morality is arbitrary; but if it's moral because it coincides with moral reality (what's objectively real), then morality is independent of a divine will (i.e., a god is good because it subscribes to the same reality that we mortals do). In either case, we don't need a god for morality. However, I've yet to meet a Christian who's convinced by this argument -- such is the function of faith -- but if he's intellectually inclined, he'll acknowledge that the argument is important enough to be dealt with. After all, what good is a religion that doesn't ground morality? Religions suck at doing science and are even worse at giving day-to-day practical advice. Thus, there has been a fine, honorable tradition of Christian rationalist attempts to explain away Plato's argument.

The logical tradition is interwoven with the history of Christianity. Indeed, my personal favorite argument for the capital-g God's existence (i.e., He who is omnipotent, -scient and -benevolent) -- the ontological proof -- was proposed by a Christian Platonist, St. Anselm (just check it out; it's got a real aesthetic beauty to it). And no sooner than Anselm's ink had dried on the parchment, there was a rebuttal from a Benedictine monk by the name of Gaunilo. All of this took place in the socalled "Dark Ages," around the time of the Crusades. My point in bringing all this up isn't that Christianity (or, by extension, any religion) is, in the final instance, as rational as any other belief system (it most certainly isn't), but that based on what it uses as an ontological ground (faith in God), it has a tradition of rational argumentation that's pretty fucking solid, even if you reject the ground.

Enter Bill Maher, skeptic, talkshow host, and humorless prick. Watching some of his early performance clips in his and director Larry Charles' documentary, Religulous, suggests divine intervention (or, at least, demiurgic interference) that such an individual could've ever had success as a comedian. His role in the film is as a bumptious court king, spewing out pieces of his leg of lamb while insisting that his dimwitted subjects entertain him ("orf wit' 'is 'ead"). As with the politicians he regularly lampoons, Maher's popularity rests on an audience even duller than he is. Likewise, his role as social critic is the result of the dependable outrage of people even more humorless. It's the sort of controversy that made both Rush Limbaugh and Madonna stars. Thus, there's no modern day Anselms in his film (no Alvin Plantinga), just a parade of faithful ignoramuses at whom we can point and laugh. True, Christiatnity has its fair share of such people, and I'm not unsympathetic to their being mocked. I just don't need Maher and Charles' subtitles to see the stupidity on display. And, yes, subtitles are actually used to point out what's supposed to be funny.  It reminds me of those bits on Leno where the audience is clued in by knowing comments and looks from Jay -- with the answers in front him -- on how ignorant the people on the street are about politics or grammar. Elitism for dummies.

Maher knows he's taking easy shots as demonstrated by the two exceptions in the film where he evinces any sort of respect for his interview subjects: Francis Collins, the former head of the human genome project, who is a devout Christian (although he feels misled), and some old middle management type in the Latin division of the Vatican, who seems to have lost his faith long ago and is now just collecting a paycheck. Knowing these guys aren't idiots, Maher doesn't even try to be funny around them (albeit the Latin expert is a real hoot). He's clearly only comfortable mocking the easily mocked (confer this).

So, back to Christianity, morality and rationality: the largest majority of morons in America didn't get that way because of their mistaken faith in a mythical foundation. Rather, the majority of morons are Christians simply because most people are Christians. If you were to draw some Venn-like diagrams with one big circle being labeled 'morons,' another big one 'Christians,' and a much smaller one 'non-believers,' you'd find that even if the non-believer circle was completely contained within the moron one, you'd still have more Christians coming out morons due to the sheer quantity of people stuffed within the overlap. I'll leave it to another day as to which group is actually proportionally more likely to be moronic, though. Suffice it to say that knuckleheads abound in any social affiliation.

Therefore, the nonreligious shouldn't make the same fallacious assumption about the religious that they often do about the nonreligious. One's belief in the foundation of morality or truth shouldn't play a part in determining whether one is behaving morally or rationally. The absolutist and relativist, for example, can agree that the indiscriminate killing of 10 year old boys is wrong while being in disagreement over the metaphysical why. For the calculus of brutality, it doesn't much matter whether people are getting slaughtered for God's Will or the good of the collective. Conversely, who cares if the leaders of Civil Rights Movement were acting in accordance with religiously inspired principles? What matters, as Plato demonstrated, is whether the actions coincided with correct moral thinking. Consequently, when Maher ends his film with a lengthy, humorless, tin-eared rant about the evils of religion and how much more peaceful the world would've been without it, he violates his own flippant disregard for faith, ironically giving the religious foundation too much credit in a film that had until then given it none. Religion is just an ideological muzzle used to cover up man's evil inclinations or to accept the credit when he does good. Man would still behave in the same way without it in his conceptual toolbag, only with a different set of rationalizations for doing so.
~ Seeing is Believing ~
Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the lord I saw the light. -- Hank Williams, "I Saw The Light"

A friend's mother used to have one of those tacky plates expressing homilies hanging up on her kitchen wall. Hers read, "Lord, if you can't make me thin, please make all my friends fat." There's a sort of religious fanatic's wish fulfillment fantasy expressed in that message, namely "I don't want to be happy, I want others to be more miserable." Only, it doesn't quite get the desire for power correct. More accurately, it should've read, "make my friends fatter than me." Peter Parker would've hardly captured the dork imagination had he only been given the strength of his high school archnemesis, Flash Thompson. No, he needed to become vastly superior. A thought experiment regarding this fantasied superiority complex comes by way of Fernando Meirelles' film adaptation of Nobel-laureate Jose Saramago's novel, Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (An Essay On Blindness). I haven't read the book (but this plot summary sounds pretty close to the film's), so I'm just going to be talking about the film.

The story takes place in the not-too-distant future in an unnamed city where an epidemic of "white blindness" breaks out. The afflicted characters describe the blindness as swimming through milk, and the grey shapes fading into a white fog created for the camera eye reinforce this description. A more allegorically rich name for the film might've been The Ganzfeld ("whole field"), since the affliction bears a close resemblance to the old gestalt effect of creating a sort of snowblindness with a homogeneous distribution of light across the eyes. The ganzfeld parallels the redistribution of power relations among the blind and seeing within the story. As it were, "seeing the light" no longer has any beneficial effects for the sighted (just as belief in God has no real moral benefits for the religious).
Since blindness can occur just as much from a lack of contrasts within light as it can from the simple lack of light, it makes for an interesting allegory of societal relations centering on faith (even if the film as a whole fails to follow through with the full promise of its conceit). As Maher or some of the currently popular atheist ideologues (such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens) would have it, ridding the world of religion would reduce evil (a dream that isn't that far removed from the totalizing desire of the religious fanatic). What Blindness shows (badumpbump) is that any such homogeneous effect would, at best, provide for a temporary state of equilibrium in the social structure. As faith qua sight begins to disappear, the blind willingly lead the blind through the building in which they've been quarantined. But is this charity -- good will towards fellow man -- or an act of desperation resulting from what was lost? It doesn't take too long for a rebellious group to form around a charismatic leader (Gael Garcia Bernal as "the bartender") who decides to take control of the food supply. Blindness becomes the new source for the same ideological struggles now denuded, with seeing as an otiose mask, or useless filter. As such, the one person who retains her sight (Julianne Moore as "the doctor's wife") hides her (now super-) ability, pretending to be blind in order to belong to what remains of her society. Moore is Superman to Bernal's Lex Luthor.

I can't help but think of Bill's disquisition on Clark Kent in Kill Bill 2, where he gives a Nietzschean spin to  Superman's secret identity. Therein, Tarantino suggests that Superman is the true identity and the bumbling Clark reveals his contempt for Earthlings as a mocking imitation. Another possible interpretation, more consistent with Superman's own thought balloons, is that Clark represents the smalltown values with which he was raised and can never completely escape, regardless of how much power he might possess. Superman is no übermensch, but a being who uses his power to reinforce his (and others') place in the flock. It's the all-too-human Luthor with the Zarathustran dreams. Like Superman, Moore's character eventually uses her extra-ability for some violent superego retribution to the unbridled id impulses of Bernal and his group. It was the arrival of the adults in Lord of the Flies that stopped the children's savagery. It wasn't that the shipwrecked kids became wholly alien to civil society, but that they were cut off from the filtering mechanisms which normally regulates our inclinations. As an inverse of the standard monster film where the monster is the repressed, the appearance of the adults represents a thankful return of the oppression. Similarly, the white blindness doesn't so much create a new totalizing desire for power as it breaks down the repressive mechanisms that were in place during the occularist order. As the last vestige of occular control, the wife's struggle with the bartender points to another prominent Nietzshean idea: with the failure of faith in a previous order, the desire or need to control doesn't disappear; it just gets restructured. 
~ Melts in the Mouth ~
[W]ho will not be relieved to say in front of the libertines of Salò: "I am really not like them, I am not a fascist, since I do not like shit." -- Roland Barthes, Sade-Pasolini

Another filmic thought experiment is Pasolini's Salò, a modern retelling of Marquis de Sade's The 120 Nights of Sodom. (You can read a plot summary here.) It might not be science fiction proper, but it fits within the umbrella category of speculative fiction, into which more respectable authors like J. G. Ballard are often put to escape the critical taint of the science fiction genre that snobs like Susan Sontag have expressed. In fact, Salò isn't all that far removed from the dystopic disaster subgenre of Blindness -- the main difference being the willful ingestion of feces versus blindly stepping in it. Pasolini takes the dystopic idea to the extreme by removing any figure of the old restraining order, letting desire follow undeterred its own logical course of objectification. For all the posturing Kulturkampf (dim-)witticisisms of a film like Religulous, Pasolini's cropophagic masterpiece provides a cleansing of the palate. Where Blindness offers a glimmer of hope at the end that sight will return, Pasolini is consistently pessimistic. Hope, he said, is manufactured by those in power to maintain their control of others.

Thanks to the fetish film night over at the Egyptian Theater, I finally got to see it on the big screen. No matter how good the print (and the Egyptian had a recent 35mm one), there's a crude pornographic quality to Pasolini's stilted, wide-angled mise-en-scene. Like in the days of cheap VHS porn, the characters tend to look lost within the frame. I doubt the film ever looked new or crisp. This degraded aesthetic only adds to the degradation of the teenaged victims. The Kubrick-styled design of, say, Salon Kitty, would've made the film kitsch. Too much high-minded visual style can turn the transgressive into mere silliness -- just look at Cronenberg's adaptation of Ballard's Crash. Pasolini knew he had to get ugly for the film to work. Thus, there is something to be said for experiencing Salò in the washed out images on a well-worn tape and at home. Nevertheless, Egyptian's sound system gave me a newfound appreciation for the film's sound design, most notably the low level rumble of planes flying overhead while one of the lady storytellers began to relate her first experience with the Dirty Sanchez. The rumble continues through the "Circle of Shit" segment until the victims are finally released from their mandated constipation, providing the main course for the infamous dinner scene.

It might no longer be censored in as many countries as it once was and it has a lot more fellow travelers these days in narrative cinema (from Takashi Miike to Catherine Breillat), but it hasn't lost its transgressive potency. Transgression depends on shock, an ability to rattle one's preset concepts (moral or otherwise), and the film can still activate the flight or fright mechanism in even the most ironically detached of modern viewers (I counted 3 walkouts by the middle of the film). We won't be seeing any digitized appropriations of the characters for the purpose of selling things any time soon. For good or ill, the film remains defiantly authentic to itself, much like its literary source. That's real art to my mind.

Barthes takes Pasolini to task for mixing the obscenely erotic with a critique of fascism (or, really, totalitarianism in general). The gross-out factor resulting from the depths that the libertines go (Barthes seems to be saying) keeps the audience at a distance from the lure of fascism, thereby preventing a real critique (e.g., "those fascists aren't like me"). As I understand it, the difference between the erotic and the pornographic is a matter of gratification, the former being more conceptual and the latter being more physical. Salò contains many parallels to totalitarian subjugation: making the victims eat whatever shit is put before them, the Stockholm Syndrome of having a victim smilingly take on the desire of his bearded oppressor, guards justifying their abhorrent behavior with a "just following orders," and the tendency to save oneself by ratting out one's fellow captives. Contrary to Barthes' objection and unlike Cronenberg's Crash, Salò manages to keep the audience tethered to that liminal chain between disgust and desire. If, that is, the audience stays with it. Although the particular fetish objects aren't everyone's, the fetishistic desire for control is a central human trait we should all recognize.

Of course, this ain't wank material, rather it draws in vivid detail a conceptual link between the obscenities of totalitarian desire and those of an unconstrained eroticism. As Sontag has argued, this conceptual use of obscenity is what justifies its appearance in art (but not pornography), what makes it aesthetic. She suggested the obscene is ultimately a drive towards death. And I can't think of a better example of humanity's death drive than when it succumbs to the totalitarian desire for absolute control. Maybe Salò's moral is that of the old plate-worthy adage "absolute power corrupts absolutely," but even allowing such a pithy summation, the film's virtue lies in making you feel the truth of that expression, viscerally spelling it out (to the letter, as Barthes said). That virtue is also what led to the film being oft-labeled obscene, and unworthy of legal protection. Obscenity rulings never address the truth value of the artistic statement being judged; rather, they address whether that statement meets the supposed community standards. The more self-denying those standards are, the more likely truth itself will be deemed obscene, or degenerate.

Salò addresses the central problematic constitutive of culture that Blindness doesn't have the balls to follow through with and that Religulous is too simple-minded to even understand: "Man has always been a conformist. Man's principle trait is to conform to whatever power or type of life he's born into" (Pasolini, ibid.). As opposed to its appearance in a "fetish film" series -- implying risque entertainment for the bourgeois S&M crowd who spend their leisure time in latex at bondage parties --  Pasolini's film actually condemns the very notion of "free love." Freeing desire from social constraints is what connects the fascist to the libertine. Pure subjectivity can exist only if everything else becomes its mere objects, where otherness is reified and made easily consumable. From the top down, a system of repressive mechanisms (e.g., culture) is needed to stave off the obscene end product of pure desire, namely total control resulting in death (consider Descartes' experiments in vivisection, where he denied any subjectivity to the animals he treated as mere objects). From the bottom up, the way to achieve power is to conform to the mechanisms in place, filtering the individual's totalizing desire by shaping it into the repressive forms of his or her milieu. Ridding ourselves from a particular repressive mechanism like religion or old-fashioned sexual mores won't free us from this problematic. The godless communism of the Soviets was little more than a theocracy with the name 'God' erased (unsurprisingly, distinctions become blurry under totalitarianism, where one size fits all). Either God would be replaced with another form of repression, or we would take a step towards the world of Salò. Being an atheist and an optimist, I have hope that the theocrats will eventually find a new form of repression through which they can channel their desires.

Thomas More's map of Utopia.

The Wraith Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, October 22, 2008 01:34pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music & Phil Blankenship present

Saturday October 25

The Wraith

1986, 93 min

director: Mike Marvin
starring: Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid & Clint Howard

Director Mike Marvin IN PERSON !

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

October 21, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, October 21, 2008 04:30pm | Post a Comment

Dee Dee Warwick 1945 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, October 21, 2008 02:46pm | Post a Comment

Dee Dee Warwick,
whose classic northern soul single "Worth Every Tear I Cry" / "Lover’s Chant" can fetch upwards of 500 dollars or more, has died; she was 63. Dee Dee, who was the sister of singer Dionne Warwick, cousin of Whitney Houston, and niece to gospel singer Cissy Houston, passed away last Saturday in a nursing home in Essex County, New Jersey. She had been in failing health for several months.

Born on September 25, 1945 in Newark, New Jersey as Delia Mae Warrick, she got her start as a gospel singer. As a teenager in the 1950’s she sang with her older sister as The Gospelaires and later with the Drinkard Singers, a long-running gospel group managed by their mother. Before embarking on a solo career in the mid 1960's, Dee Dee sang back up for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Eventually she signed a deal with the Mercury label where she enjoyed considerable R&B success with such hits as “I Want to be With You” and “Foolish Fool.” "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," initially released by Warwick in 1966, was co-written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and was later covered by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations.

Dee Dee Warwick was also twice nominated for a Grammy in the early 1970’s for "Foolish Fool" and "She Didn't Know" for the ATCO label. Earlier this year she was featured in the title track from her sister’s gospel album Why We Sing and toured with Dionne on her My Music and Me show throughout Europe. Below are a couple of Dee Dee's best cuts, "We're Doing Fine" and "Worth Every Tear I Cry."



Posted by Billyjam, October 21, 2008 07:36am | Post a Comment
                                                            Jamoeblog Top Ten 10:21:08

1. Mike Relm "Everytime (feat. Del the funky Homosapien & Adrian Hartley)" (Deep Fried)

2. Mulatto Patriot "Showtime (feat. Prosper Jones & Mena)" (MP)

3. People Under The Stairs "Letter 2 c/o The Bronx" (Gold Dust Media)

4. CYNE "Just Say No" (Hometapes)

5. Jake-One "I'm Coming (feat. Black Milk & Nottz)"  (Rhymesayers)

6. Madlib the Beat Konducta "Disco Dance" (Rapster/BBE)

7. C-Rayz Walz & Kosha Dillz "Holiday" (Modular Moods)

8. Kaboose "Two Sides" (Syntax)

9. Cre-8 "Hootie & the Bloated Blowfish" (Potency)

10. Fort Knox Five "Sao Funky (pts. I & II featuring Javier Miranda)"  (Fort Knox)

Mike Relm's hit-bound single "Everytime" appears in three different (emcee) versions on the SF DJ's brand new debut album Spectacle (out today, Oct 21st, and avail in Amoeba Music). The track features female vocalist Adrian Hartley (who he worked with on the Blue Man project) on each of the three versions. The best version ("Everytime") is with Oakland emcee Del the Funky Homosapien, while the other two (almost but not quite as good) versions feature the emcees Mr Lif ("You Break") and ADeeM ("My Heart"). The rest of this new album is really good too, with some nice electro tracks, cameos from Quannum's Lateef and GIft of Gab, plus a bunch of TV montage skits sprinkled throughout, which makes sense since Mike Relm's specialty is doing live video mixes culled from hours of TV and movies.

Continue reading...


Posted by phil blankenship, October 20, 2008 08:48pm | Post a Comment

Lightning Video LA9941

Music on PlayStation 3's LittleBigPlanet causes recall

Posted by Billyjam, October 20, 2008 05:53am | Post a Comment

One of this year's most anticipated new PlayStation3 (PS3) video games, LittleBigPlanet, which was scheduled to be released tomorrow (Tuesday) has had its release date postponed due to an official diabatecomplaint by a Muslim group who objected to a song on the game's soundtrack. Reportedly this religious group issued a complaint to Sony, makers of PS3, over the inclusion of a song by Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté on the background music soundtrack. This piece of music quotes two verses or expressions from the Qur'an, and many Muslims consider the mixing of music and scripture to be extremely disrespectful.

The game was already pressed, packaged, shipped and ready to go on sale, but now instead of the new PS3 game becoming available on its scheduled release date of October 21st, it has had to be withdrawn, have the soundtrack altered, and the game repackaged. Impressively, Sony reps say that this process will only delay the shipping of the game by a little over one week, meaning that it ships next week and should be on most store shelves by the end of the month or early November. 

On the PlayStation blog, Sony's US director of Corporate Communications, Patrick Seybold, wrote, "Sorry for the delay, and rest assured, we are doing everything we can to get LittleBigPlanet  to you as soon as possible." Other artists on the soundtrack to this new PS3 game include Battles, whose music also appears in the promotional clip for LittleBigPlanet below.

Continue reading...

Gomez' Belated Blog On Mexican Independence Day

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 20, 2008 12:35am | Post a Comment
I forgot to mention that I did a set at Amoeba for Mexican Independence Day way back on September 16th. Most Non-Mexicans (and some Mexicans as well) think that Cinco De Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. Mexican Independence Day celebrates a declaration of independence from Spain in 1812. Mexico would not become independent until 1821. Cinco De Mayo is the celebration of a victory over the French army at Puebla de Los Angeles in 1862. It was a war that eventually Mexico would lose a year later.

For Mexicans living in the United States, Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day have become a way to show pride in our culture and people. For that reason, It was fun to play an entire set of mostly Mexican artists. I tried to play as many different genres of Mexican music possible, from traditional to the newer Electronica groups. Again, there are misconceptions that Mexican music is simply traditional. Others lump in any music sung in Spanish as Mexican music such as Salsa or Flamenco. In my set I tried to defuse the myths, yet still play the songs that make Mexicans...well...Mexicans. Some songs are fun, some political, some are heart breakers and some are timeless classics.

Below is the set list that I played that day. The links will take you to the artist's videos for the songs on YouTube. Some of the older ones are gems. Check Out Vicente Fernandez & Los Dinners!

"El Rey"- Jose Alfredo Jimenez
"Pachuco"- Maldita Vecindad
"Mexico 70"- Perez Prado (not a Mexican, but he moved to Mexico from Cuba post-Castro)
"La Chica Sexy"- Los Tucanes De Tijuana
"Yepa Yepa Yepa"- Silverio
"Don Quijote Marijuana"- Brujeria
"The Clap"- Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible
"Jefe De Jefes"- Los Tigres Del Norte
"Chaparra De Mi Amor"- Ramon Ayala
"La Cumbia Del Rio"- Los Pikadientes De Caborca
"La Bala"- Los Dinners
"Cumbia De Mole"- Lila Downs
"Eres Para Mi" (Sonidero Nacional Cumbow Remix)- Julieta Venegas
"Metrosexual"- Amandititita
"Cumbia De Moonra"- Moonra Y Su Batallon
"Cumbia Sobre El Rio"- Celso Piña
"La Negra Tomasa"- Caifanes
"Falso Amor"- Los Bukis
"Las Fabulosas I"- Contol Machete
"Viva La Raza"- Latin Playboys
"Se Me Hizo Facil"- Chavela Vargas
"Rata De Dos Patas"- Paquita La Del Barrio
"Volver Volver"- Vicente Fernandez

I could have played much more, but I only had an hour for my set. I tried to cram as much as I could.

The Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 19, 2008 11:39pm | Post a Comment
Game five do or die: DJ Sloe Poke shows us which side he's on.

Dodger Fans cheering in a half full stadium. A 5:30 start time doesn't help the cause.

A doomsday sky above Chavez Ravine, thanks to the smoke from the all the local wildfires and a Phillies 5-0 lead over the Dodgers. The end is indeed near.

A picture of a Dodger fan tradition: leaving early to beat the traffic when your team is down.

Phillies celebrate their victory over the Dodgers. It was hard to watch.

In the parking lot, heading home. An ironic sign for us broken-hearted Dodger fans.
Better sign Manny!

Juaneco Y Su Combo

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 19, 2008 10:01pm | Post a Comment

Due to the success of last year’s The Roots Of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru, Barbes Records is now releasing full album by the some of the groups included on that compilation. Juaneco Y Su Combo is not a household name, but it should be. Masters Of Chicha Vol.1 is a collection of the group’s work from when Juan Wong Jr. took over his father’s band in the late 60’s to the late 70’s. Juaneco Y Su Combo combined Cumbia, Peruvian Folk Music and Rock to create the sound that was later dubbed Chicha music.

The group was also known for their look as well as their sound. They dressed in traditional Shipibo costumes, a native tribe from their home in Pucallpa. Much like a country band dressing like cowboys, even if none of them are actually cowboys, Juaneco Y Su Combo dressed like the Shipibo as a way to show their pride in where they are from. The Shipibo influenced even the song subjects, as the group often wrote songs about life in the jungle.

There are two reasons why this band sounds so unique. First, when Juaneco took over his father’s band, he switched from playing the accordion to the Farfisa Organ, which gave the band that 60’s garage rock sound. The second was guitar player Noé Fachin, who was much older than the rest of the group. He came into the group with Brazilian and African music influences and soon became the main songwriter. Upon listening to the Juaneco Y Su Combo: Masters of Chicha disc, one knowledgeable enough will notice the Congolese guitar influence on Noé Fachin's guitar playing. They often covered Brazilian standards as well as the hit Cumbia and Rock songs of the day.

Noé Fachin, along with several other members of the group, died in a plane crash after a gig in 1977. The remaining surviving members, including Juan Wong Jr., who drove home after the gig rather than flying, decided to continue with the group. It was said that the group never sounded quite the same after that the death of Noé Fachin.

Juaneco Y Su Combo are still performing to this day. Juan Wong Jr. passed away in 2004 and his son, Mao Wong Lopez, has taken over the band, continuing the family tradition.

Among the standouts on this collection are “Recordando A Fachin” (Remembering Fachin), a song done by the post Fachin line-up with a wicked guitar solo; “El Agua Del Higueron” (The Water Of Higueron), which is an underground Cumbia classic; and the garage rockin’ “Dale Juaneco.” The only complaint I have with this release is that it includes six tracks that are also on the Roots Of Chicha compilation. I would have like to have heard other tracks. Nevertheless, it is another standout Chicha release. Hopefully Los Mirlos will be their next release.

Check out this video of the later version of the group-- it's fantastic! I would have loved to seen this group back in the day, but this is great.

Juaneco Y Su Combo: Masters of Chicha can be found at Amoeba Hollywood in our Peruvian section, located in the World Music Section.

Massacre At Central High

Posted by phil blankenship, October 19, 2008 06:23pm | Post a Comment

Viking Video Classics #1020

"We will not walk in fear, one of another"

Posted by Whitmore, October 19, 2008 09:16am | Post a Comment

I usually don’t write about politics. I find that the best political writing should employ (exploit?) a subtle and sophisticated hand, especially in these days of tightrope walks and frayed nerves that seem to deal better with cardboard emotions than sheets of facts and figures. I am seldom subtle and, unfortunately, never sophisticated. I’m better off subjecting readers to unintelligible flights of fancy and weirdness than operating a scalpel around the lesions of politics lessons.

But even after witnessing this long, never ending line of fear mongering from the right, I was simply bowled over by the most recent hysteria coming from Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann who suggested that major newspapers should investigate other members of Congress to "find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.” (Of course my first thought was, “I thought the media was controlled by the leftist elite, so how could such an investigation actually work … the left will protect their anti-American progeny!” Then again, I think it's only fair that we should start the investigation with Rep. Bachmann -- you know, she who throws the first stone...just to make sure her aim is true?)

Joseph McCarthy. Not exactly our finest moment as a nation. And now, well here we are ... But then out of nowhere, my rarely seen sunny-optimistic side crawled out from beneath my bleak crusty disposition, swatting away my pesky depression in one mighty blow. I suddenly remembered a quote from Edward R. Murrow’s show See It Now and the special episode entitled “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy” that aired on the evening of May 9, 1954.   

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility.”

The Willies

Posted by phil blankenship, October 18, 2008 06:46pm | Post a Comment

Paramount / Prism Entertainment 51449

out this week 10/14...antony & the johnsons...windy & carl...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 18, 2008 05:30pm | Post a Comment
I am now even more obsessed with Antony & the Johnsons. After their amazing show last week it is really all I can think about it. I was completely blown away by the show. It was tragic and sad and beautiful and wonderful all at the same time. This was also my first trip to the Disney Concert Hall. What a perfect place to see him play. I seriously just wanted to stay there all night. I kind of want to live there permanently. We did sort of feel like tourists walking around the venue and looking around at everything, sort of like how tourists do when they first visit New York City and can't stop looking up at the skyscrapers. He ended up playing a bunch of new songs that were not from the recently released EP. I don't think I even noticed any of the songs from the EP that night. The new songs sounded fantastic and I am now even more excited for the new album next year. There were of course songs that I wanted to hear that he did not play, but he did manage to play some of my favorites, including his cover of "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce. It was a fun crowd to be around as well -- many celebrities were in the crowd that night. I was sitting next to a certain reality star of the show Work Out. Totally random. It just made me happy that he was a fan. Everyone was just in awe of Antony that night. It will be hard to compare other shows to this night. It was really that good.

Not a whole lot out this week. Christmas is around the corner, but once again the labels don't seem to have a whole lot to offer us. There is one new album that I have become a bit obsessed with. For some reason it took me over 10 years to finally discover Windy & Carl. I have long been a fan of the label Kranky. This new album Songs for the Broken Hearted will be their fourth on Kranky. Before this were Depths (98), Conciousness (01), and The Dream House (2005). They have also had about 6 or 7 other albums in between those Kranky albums over the years, in addition to a 3CD compilation in 2002 called Introspection. I have heard of them but never really gave them a listen until now. I was just waiting for somebody to tell me to listen to them, but it never happened. I thought they were a little too new age for me or maybe a little too experimental, but I really didn't know for sure. I gave this new album a listen and fell in love after the second listen. They almost sort of hide their greatness within the album. You may not find it right away. The casual listener could easily dismiss the album as another album of ambient droney shoegaze, but you just sort of have to open your mind a bit and let the album sort of take over. There are brilliant short little songs with vocals hidden between the rest of the album, which is mostly ambient sort of guitar pieces. The album is also very full of emotion. Depending on what kind of mood you are in, it could either drive you to tears or make you feel happy and content. This is another sort of album that I think of as musical therapy.

They could easily play this album at self help groups. Or just play it for people having panic attacks. It will quickly calm you down. It might make you introspective about your life but in a theraputic sort of way. Windy & Carl have been around since the early 90s. I am happy that I finally found them. The album could have easily passed me by just as their previous albums have, and I am sure many people will also continue to live their lives without ever listening to this new album. The album is all guitars and keyboards, and Windy does all the singing.

In case you were wondering, Windy & Carl are Carl Hultgren and Windy Weber. They are a married couple from the beautiful state of Michigan. They also run a record store in Dearborn, Michigan called Stormy Records. I have yet to go back and listen to some of their older albums, but I will be making that journey fairly soon. I am still a bit obsessed with this new album. The point I really fell in love were tracks 3 and 4 on the album when the vocals start. The third song is "My Love." The whole album is about love and all the good things and heartbreaking things about it. Everyone has surely experienced a broken heart at some point. This album is also one of those albums that you can turn into any kind of album you want, it just depends what you are feeling when you listen to it. It is sort of like the Cocteau Twins in that way. I have no idea what Elizabeth Fraser is singing about but it doesn't really matter. The songs just take on different meanings and feelings for each listener. You fall in love with the music or you hate it, and it just takes on its own meaning. That is why I call it musical therapy. I guess all good music affects you in some strong way. That is why we fall in love with certain albums or songs: because of how they make us feel. I am most definitely in love with this album right now. I can't get enough of it. The album is over 70 minutes long, but it always seems to go by too quickly. I am now going back to listen to my Windy & Carl album again...

also out today...

Dirt Don't Hurt by Holly Golightly

Gossip in the Grain by Ray Lamontagne

Theives EP by The Organ

World I See by The Present

Secret Machines by Secret Machines

Little Honey by Lucinda Williams

Minimal Synth & Maximum Horror

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 18, 2008 11:45am | Post a Comment

A perfect nite. 
12 hours of Horror / Exploitation @ the New Beverly and 4 hours of Minimal Synth / Punch Out @ the Barcade. The venues are 2 mi apart-- go back and forth all nite!! All proceeds from the film festival go towards upgrades for the theater. XY:XX is hosting a release party for the new Mt. Sims CD, out on Hungry Eye Records!!!

  The film festival starts @ 7:30
  XY:XX opens around 10:30 and it's free!

New Beverly Cinema
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2548

Los Angeles, CA 90004-2607

wires and lights in a box

Posted by Whitmore, October 18, 2008 11:27am | Post a Comment

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Edward R. Murrow’s seminal address about the future of radio and television, delivered in Chicago on Oct. 15, 1958, in what is now known as the “wires and lights in a box” speech. The legendary CBS newsman warned attendees at the Radio and Television News Directors Association convention to make the most of the new electronic media, and not allow only “escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live.”  

“This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box”

Here is the text of the complete speech.

I suspect Edward R. Murrow would be deeply appalled at what passes as news and news commentary today. Then again, I think he probably had a premonition of it all crashing on down the turnpike. …

Below is a portion of that speech performed by David Strathairn as Murrow in the 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck.


Posted by Billyjam, October 18, 2008 09:45am | Post a Comment
levi stubbs the four tops

R.I.P. to Four Tops lead vocalist Levi Stubbs, who, it was reported, died yesterday (Oct 17th) in his hometown of Detroit at age 72 after a long series of health problems which included cancer and a stroke. The stroke caused him to stop performing eight years ago -- although he did make an appearance with the Four Tops in July 2004 at the group's 50th anniversary concert at Detroit's Music Hall Center. It would be his last public appearance.

In an interview yesterday with Billboard magazine's website, Motown Alumni Association's Billy J. Wilson said of Stubbs that, "He had one of the most prolific and identifiable voices in American history. It's a deep loss, to the entire Motown family and to the world."

Indeed, along with a select few other vocalists, including Dianathe four tops reach out Ross of the Supremes, Stubbs was one of Motown Record's most recognizable voices on timeworn Four Tops classics such as "Baby I Need Your Loving," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),"      "Standing In The Shadows Of Love," "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "Bernadette." 

The Four Tops, who originally formed in 1954 as the Four Aims and signed with Motown in 1963, sold over 50 million records throughout their illustrious career. In 1990 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stubbs' death leaves Abdul "Duke" Fakir as the Four Tops' only living member from the original quartet. Below are a couple of 1960's Four Tops video clips featuring the late great Levi Stubbs.

Continue reading...

The Hill

Posted by phil blankenship, October 17, 2008 06:36pm | Post a Comment

New World Video B87496

Mad Magazine Art Auction

Posted by Whitmore, October 17, 2008 06:06pm | Post a Comment

First thing I should mention… in tough economic times, especially when stocks and bonds have been naughty, it’s often been suggested that investing in art makes sound dollar sense. So with my two bits of wisdom said, here’s a suggestion on how to spend your ever dwindling cash cow.

Next month on November 14th three dozen pages of original artwork from MAD Magazine will be put up for auction. The pieces are expected to bring anywhere between 8 to 40 thousand dollars each. Some have estimated that as much as $400,000 dollars will be bid on these artifacts from the 1950’s. Several covers featuring MAD's official mascot -- the grinning, jug-eared boy wonder Alfred E. Neuman -- will be among the 36 items to go on the block in Dallas at the Heritage Auction Galleries, including the first cover drawing of Alfred E. by the legendary artist Norman Mingo. It's from MAD's issue No. 30, from December, 1956. It shows the gap-toothed icon as a write-in candidate for president, saying "What -- me worry?" while in the background an elephant and donkey are locked in mortal battle.

The 36 items up for bid will be previewed at New York's Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art starting on October 29th.

Founded by William Gaines and Harvey Kurtzman in 1952, MAD quickly became one of the most popular magazines of the day with its blend of absurdist, screwball, and irreverent humor -- especially with its clever parodies of Hollywood, political satires, and MAD’s brilliant ability to upend any number of the self-absorbed, bloated nabobs strewn across our pop-cultural highways.

MAD is also the last surviving title from the notorious and critically acclaimed EC Comics line that worried most every parent and teacher back in the 1940’s and 50’s. Concerns stemmed from EC’s infinite array of ghastly stories, violent-prone anti-heroes and gruesome plot twists, no doubt sickening the imaginations of every kid within eyeshot of such horror. Now owned by Warner Brothers Entertainment and subsidiary DC Comics, MAD magazine is published in over 20 countries, and has been adapted as an off-Broadway stage show, as a board game and as television ads for Mountain Dew. Several MAD albums have also been released such as Musically Mad, Mad Disco and Mad Grooves, featuring the flexi-disc hit “It’s a Gas,” and of course the sketch-comedy series, Mad TV, all sharing DNA with the ever distinguished Alfred E. Neuman.

In Need Of Investment Advice?

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 17, 2008 11:40am | Post a Comment
Or, to be more accurate, Wall Street speaks to Mr. NBC

In the mid 50's, Cronkite was growing into such a force that NBC brought in co-anchors for their nightly news program, to try and tag team the titan. David Brinkley and Chet Huntley were the team and they held their own. The show was quite a success and their signature sign off, "Good night, Chet"..."Good night, David," became a well known catch phrase. 

Chet Huntley came from the Murrow brand of straight shooting newsmen, so who better to explain the stock market on a 3 LP box set? Within the grooves, he gives some sensible advice on the nonsensical world of Wall Street and goes toe to toe with Malcolm S. Forbes. Unfortunately, this copy is extremely molded and toxic, so we threw it away-- something I'd imagine most of my friends with Wall Street investments, under current conditions, would like to do with their current portfolios. Due to the mold, I'll keep my eyes out for another one-- maybe said friends should do the same...

The label that issued this box set, Four Star Television, was a TV production company started by then frustrated director Dick Powell. After directing a handful of feature films, he saw more opportunities in the fledgling TV medium. Teaming up with Charles Boyer, Joel McCrea and Ida Lupino to create the Four Star Playhouse program, the program lasted 4 years. Four Star Television went on to become a major force in early 60's TV with hits like the Rifleman as well as short lived oddities such as Honey West and the David Niven Show. At one time, Four Star Television owned Valiant Records which was home to hitmakers the Association.
Below, a few related clips. The Huntley discussion of hatred is as pertinent now as it was then. The 2nd clip is from the Conqueror, Powell's golden turkey from 1956. Filming downwind from above ground nuclear testing in Nevada wasn't enough for producer Howard Hughes; he had to have 60 tons of the radiated dirt sent back to Hollywood for re-shoots. Much of the cast, including star John Wayne and director Powell, died of cancer. Legend has it that there are pictures of Wayne holding a geiger counter...

Continue reading...


Posted by Billyjam, October 17, 2008 08:40am | Post a Comment

murs  Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:17:08

1) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
2) Micheal Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers (Anti)
3) Murs Murs for President (Warner)
4) People Under The Stairs Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)
5) Jean Grae & 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith)
mccain tongue debate obama
Joe the Plumber vs. Joe the Butcher? All this recent talk of Joe the Plumber, including on David Letterman's great John "I screwed up" McCain interview last night, which was far more direct and revealing than the debate the previous night, got me thinking of another Joe-- late 80's/early 90's Philly hip-hop producer/remixer Joe "the Butcher" Nicolo. Joe produced such politically charged records as The Goats' "Typical American"/"Burn The Flag" record and the 1991 single/album track "Read My Lips" under the pseudonym A Thousand Points of Light, which heavily sampled and mocked then-president George H. Bush.

Joe the Butcher also produced and released the all original breaks album Butcher Beats And Breaks in 1988 on Atlantic Records (dig for it in the Amoeba crates where it shows up from time to time). Philly born producer/rbutcher beats and breaksecord executive Joe the Butcher became staff producer at Columbia Records in the 80's, doing work with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel. But he made his real mark in hip-hop when he created the Columbia distributed Ruffhouse imprint, whose impressive roster included Cypress Hill, The Fugees, Kriss Kross, and the aforementioned (and totally slept on) hometown crew The Goats.

Continue reading...

The Chair

Posted by phil blankenship, October 16, 2008 06:28pm | Post a Comment

Imperial Entertainment Corp 2901

Playing With the Boys: the Blue Angels are Top Gun

Posted by Kells, October 16, 2008 02:33pm | Post a Comment

San Francisco's annual Fleet Week is over, but I'm still reeling in its aftermath. Every year on the last day of the air show I get together with a few good friends, pack a picnic and some drinks and head to a good vantage point to watch a few fly-boys do what they do best; that is, make a spectacle of their exceptional flying skills. Every day, the show is punctuated by an exemplary performance put on by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels who exhibit nothing but aviation at its extreme finest. It seems like everyone in San Francisco has something to say about the Angels, whether its the oft repeated dour expression of dislike or the rare wide-eyed, glowing expression of praise. Perhaps that's because their presence is impossible to ignore -- it's not every day that one hears what sounds like God taking a seam ripper to the sky. (Thankfully, the Fleet Week air shows did not coincide with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this year, much to the delight of all the music lovers who flocked to Golden Gate Park.) I, for one, enjoy their ear-trembling display of non-normalcy. I understand those who argue that the Angels represent a militaristic waste of tax dollars and non-renewable resources, that they're noisy and scary, and that they exist essentially as a weapon, but just look at what they do! There really is nothing quite like them. No matter what is said against them I stand firmly planted on my ground of wondering what the hell possesses people to push themselves to such limits. Whether what they do is deemed right or wrong in your eyes, chances are what they do is something you can't fathom. It is the stuff of dreams and they, the Blue Angels, are like flying rattlesnakes waking you from your sleepy-head, from a world obsessed with headlines, deadlines and the horrid notion of the possibility of bread lines. 

After the show my friends and I settled in for some pints and pitchers at a local pub. To my surprise there were more than a few sailors and Naval officers among the bar patrons. Like the Angels, their presence could not be ignored: handsome young men, clean cut in crispy white uniforms, shiny shoes and the hats hats hats all piled up on a ledge, I imagine for the purpose of keeping them tidy while they watched football or played air hockey. There was certainly a hat for every serviceman in the joint: starchy white and rounded sailors caps and wide-brimmed and polished officer's hats adorned in gold ornaments and filigree. Put together with the flamboyant aircraft we'd watched all afternoon, this picture of seamen at play reminded me of a movie, hard. This meeting of the real and the fantasy of the days' dealings was noticed by everyone and so when it was declared, in friendly buzzing slurs, that before the end of the night Top Gun must be seen, the decision was unanimous. I hadn't seen the film in quite some time and the thought of having to see it with such friends as those who, like me, so suddenly cultured a need for speed sent me into a frenzy of excitement. 

I had forgotten what a music-driven movie Top Gun is. From the opening theme to slamming right into "Danger Zone" it reeks of "soundtrack movie." (I suggest you use the video above more as a soundtrack to read this post to than as a visual representation of the "Danger Zone;" I suspect one might find it as frustratingly lame as I do that Kenny Loggins is pictured singing the bulk of this high-octane hit while lying in bed, taking pictures of a ceiling fan.) Then there's Berlin's "Take My Breath Away (Love Theme From Top Gun)," which went tall the way to #1 on the Billboard charts and won an Academy Award for best song. I learned from watching the music of Top Gun documentary on the special feature disc that accompanies the newest version of the DVD that both of these hit songs were written by Giorgio Moroder, the man famous for producing Donna Summers' best disco hits as well as albums for Sparks and Debbie Harry. This surprised me because I had always thought that "Danger Zone" was purely a Loggins thing, but no. In fact, the lyrics to the song were penned by aspiring lyricist Tom Whitlock who was in fact Moroders' Ferrari mechanic. Whitlock also wrote the lyrics to "Take My Breath Away." He did not, however, have anything to do with the song "Playing With the Boys" -- a song that is indeed all Loggins.  

And it is exactly that song, and the beach volleyball scene it was written for, that pushes Top Gun into the realm of the midnight movie. Clearly the scene was intended for the ladies and the ladies alike. In one of the "making of" docs in the special features, director Tony Scott admits that filming this scene was very much like capturing soft porn: he had all "the boys" get shirtless, slicked them with baby oil and had them strike muscle poses between volleys. And so it was that a big budget Hollywood movie filled with familiar faced-actors would become everything it wasn't meant to be: it became what it really is-- a joke. In watching the extras and behind-the-scenes footage I am amazed at the fact that no CGI was employed to create those entertaining dogfight scenes. The Hollywood people and the Military pilot people really worked their respective kinks out together to create some of the best aerial combat sequences ever seen in movies before computers took over. Maybe this attention to detail concerning these action shots account for the apparent lack of story. Quentin Tarantino, as seen in the 1994 movie Sleep With Me, offers a re-analysis of Top Gun by insisting that the weak story-line has nothing to do with being a crap script but a heroic, bromance of a love story told by not-so-hidden homoerotic subtext that permeates the movie. 

I'd never thought of Top Gun in that way before, but I have to admit that it really works. There is truly something of a man to man bromance that ties the whole wreck of a movie together. Nothing is mentioned of it in the extensive six hours of bonus features that essentially flesh out the back story of what it was like for Hollywood producers to explain to exceptionally trained Navy fighter pilots why "Ma and Pa in Oklahoma" want to see the Top Gun class situated on the deck of an aircraft carrier, flanked by F-14s, taught by a blonde, steamed stocking-clad sex-pot who has the hots for a certain Maverick sitting in the front row like a teacher's pet while a giant American flag wags its colors patriotically in the background. (Doesn't she know he's on the edge?) It was satisfying to hear all those pilots finally have it out about how preposterous it was to be pushed to the limits of Blockbuster moviemaking when they've been trained to withstand seven Gs and countless hours spent sweating through aeronautical science manuals in actual classrooms. 
And did you know that of all the actors who played Top Gun pilots in the film, Val Kilmer was the only one who refused to fly along with one of those real fighter pilots in an F-14? A chance like that comes along only once in a lifetime! Tom Cruise went up, though he became desperately ill, so much so that he apparently ran out of receptacles in which he could vomit. I cannot count myself a fan of the Cruise, but that is a point in his favor in my book. Who knows, maybe Val thought something of his "Iceman" character would be destroyed by actually flying like "Iceman" would. I'd like to grant him that artistic excuse, but I can't, not after what I've seen and learned from the Blue Angels and the lucky ladies and gentlemen of the media who have been honored enough to have been invited to fly with them. I've seen countless clips of this sort of footage and every single reporter and journalist filmed while flying with the Blue Angels, except one, has succumbed to G-LOC (not a hip-hop collaboration of G-Unit and Tone-Loc, but an acronym for G-force induced Loss Of Consciousness, or black out), Gray Out (loss of color vision, a pre-curser to G-LOC) and possible Red Out (experiencing extreme negative g forces resulting in the bursting of blood vessels in the eyes.) If these brave men and women can do it, and all the other actors cast as Top Gun pilots in a movie decidedly titled Top Gun can do it, then why the crap didn't Val? What bothers me more is that in one interview he claims that the only people more full of themselves after actors and rock stars are the real Top Gun pilots who, he explains, claimed at the time of the movies' production that he, Val Kilmer, resembled them the most because he, "had the best hair." Maybe he's a wuss after all.

Anyway, I'll have to wait until next year for my Blue Angels to come back to town. Until then I'll spin Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town" in anticipation and try to find a movie to properly replace what I thought Top Gun would satisfy. Don't get me wrong, it's still an entertaining movie, but nothing I can really get behind if you know what I mean. It's a laugh-riot, a drinking game in the making that you'll think of every time you hear one of the soundtrack hit singles sneak up on you while browsing though the freezer section. Maybe Team America World Police will suffice as a rousing replacement. Because when it comes to admiring the real mavericks of America, as Joe Six-pack knows -- the real "mavericks who aren't afraid of getting all mavericky" up in this, to quote Tina Fey, they are the ones who defy all logic by being all that and more than they can be. And one doesn't need to become a veteran to know it, dream it and be it. Please make the effort to do what you have to do so that you can vote as your conscience dictates in this years' election. And play the "maverick" drinking game while you still can!

The Dive

Posted by phil blankenship, October 15, 2008 11:22pm | Post a Comment


MCEG Virgin Home Entertainment

Sounds of the Show-Me State -- Happy Missouri Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 15, 2008 12:13pm | Post a Comment

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Missouri

Missouri's nickname, the "Show Me State," first appears in print in the words of congressman, William Vandiver, who declared in 1889, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats. Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” Maybe it should be called the "Play-Me State" because it's produced so much great music. OK -- that doesn't make a lot of sense but I needed some sort of intro and transition.


The state song is "Missouri Waltz."  It was first published in 1914. 

Hush-a-bye, ma baby, slumbertime is comin' soon;
Rest yo' head upon my breast while Mommy hums a tune;
The sandman is callin' where shadows are fallin',
While the soft breezes sigh as in days long gone by.

Way down in Missouri where I heard this melody,
When I was a little child upon my Mommy's knee;
The old folks were hummin'; their banjos were strummin';
So sweet and low.

Strum, strum, strum, strum, strum,
Seems I hear those banjos playin' once again,
Hum, hum, hum, hum, hum,
That same old plaintive strain.


Posted by Billyjam, October 15, 2008 11:08am | Post a Comment

                                               Jamoeblog Top Ten 10:15:08
the mighty underdogs
1) Paris "Don't Stop The Movement" (Guerrilla Funk)

2) The Mighty Underdogs "UFC remix (cuts by DJ Shadow)" (Definitive Jux)

3) Madlib "Gamble On Ya Boy (feat. Defari)" (Rapster/BBE)

4) People Under The Stairs "Up Yo Spine (Live at the Fishbucket pt. 3)" (Gold Dust)

5) Mike Relm "Everytime (feat. Del & Adrian Hartley)" (Radio Fried Records)

jake one presents white van music
6) Jake One "Trap Door (feat. MF Doom)" (Rhymesayers)

7) Hu$tle Simmons "Over and Out (feat Buff 1 & DJ Cru Cut)" (Break Bread/Traffic)

8) Murs "The Science" (Warner)

9) Mulatto Patriot "Audio Terrorist (feat. Ras Kass, Casual, & Proper Jones)" (MP Productions)

Continue reading...

Happy Missouri Day! - Yup, It's aready been a yurr since the last'n

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 15, 2008 12:42am | Post a Comment

The 3rd Wednesday of the October, this year the 15th.

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Missouri

In my experience, when you'ins tell people you’re from Missouri, most people reply self-satisfiedly with "don't you mean Missouruh?" or, alternately, "where is Missouri? I don’t think I’ve ever been there."

Whether Missouri is Lower Midwestern or Upper Southern (or the Border South or, the Upland South, or less commonly today, the Yeoman South) is a somewhat common debate amongst Missourians... at least on the internet.

In my experience, Missouri's Midwestern neighbors, centered along the Great Lakes, (haters) tend to disparage Mighty Mo as a hick state whurr test scores are low, the accent is ugly and you'ins can buy fireworks, liquor and ammo... all in the same place.

Missouri's neighbors in the Deep South (also haters) usually don't consider it to be Southern because Missouri didn't side with the South in the Civil War (well, that's complicated-- thurr were 30,000 gray and 109,000 blue) and because South Coasters love to equate the entire South with just the Deep South aka the Lower South aka the Plantation South.

As far as Southern credentials go, Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, Thomas Hart Benton all seem fairly Southern, do they not? On the other hand, natives like T.S. Elliot, William Burroughs and Maya Angelou don’t so much, huh? Cultural cringe I reckon, plays a part in this confusion, as do geographical overlap and historical shifts.

The Employee Interview XX: Michelle

Posted by Miss Ess, October 14, 2008 04:24pm | Post a Comment
2 years employment
Floor Gal

Miss Ess: I know you are quite the artist. Whose music ins
pires your visual art? What do you like to listen to while you draw/paint?

Michelle: I have to listen to music when I draw or paint or am making something. What works best for me at the moment is drone-y, abstract, experimental sounds/different noises. I'm really into Philip Jeck's Surf album this week for sure. 
ME: What song describes your life perfectly right now?

Michelle: [What] describes my life perfectly right now is Reverend Al Green! Wooo hoooo! Of course! I'm in love and Al Green pops up wherever I go. One time we went to our favorite breakfast diner and they played Al Green songs the whole time we were there. Fancy beer plus fancy chocolate plus fancy Al Green equals good quality couple time.
ME: How did you arrive at Amoeba?

Michelle: When I graduated and got my bachelor of fine arts I quit my job at Borders that I'd [had] for my whole 5 years of college; [I was] in charge of the music department. 

Then, I applied to both the Berkeley and Haight [Street] Amoebas; I love music, it fit my schedule, and [there are] creative people all over the place. [That] is what led me to the store. I'd cut high school just to go to shop at Amoeba; I always admired the people working there too.
I wanted to work at the Haight [Street] store but Berkeley hired me first. I was there for about half a year and transferred over to the Haight [Street] store and here I am now.
ME: What was it like to meet Mick Jones when he came in the store?

Michelle: Mick Jones! Oh my gosh, dream come true. I thought I was really going to faint. My whole day was in slow motion, my heart was in shock. I cried in front of him. I'm not even a star struck kind of person. I got to take a picture with him and I was a freaking stiff nerd. My co worker said I was shaking when he was talking to me. If I hadn't worked here I would have never gotten to meet him. The Clash is thee band that led me to appreciate and explore music.
ME: What women in music do you think are really pushing the envelope?

Michelle: Can't really think of any at the moment. Oh, I know. I'll always like Cat Power; now that girl is real. I guess being real is pushing the envelope nowadays.

ME: That's kind of true, yeah. Sad, but true. What song/album do you think captures the feeling of being in love the best?

Michelle: The ultimate [sound] of feeling in love... Al Green, of course, but I already mentioned him. Who else: The Beatles. You know you're in true love when listening to the Beatles carries a good part in your relationship. And duh, "Meeeshelle my belle"... That song was made for me.
I like that new T.I. song. It's cute & tough-- the one that goes kinda like "you can have whatever you liiiiiiiike" ["Whatever You Like"]. I'll probably hate it in a month though.

ME: What song makes you cry?
Michelle: Sigur Ros songs off the ågætis byrjun album. 

ME: What song is going to get you out on the dance floor immediately?
Michelle: Ummm, first a couple of drinks in my tummy and then some good 60s soul. I bump into some co- workers I rarely talk to at 60s soul nights once in a while and boogie down with them on the dance floor almost all through the nite. Seeee-- music does make the world go round.

Oh yeah, '80s stuff is always fun to dance to.

ME: How has your sister influenced your listening habits?
Michelle: I have two sisters. I'm the middle one. I'm the only one who really bothers with music stuff. It just happened that way. Blacksheep? No. Sweet sheep? Yes.

ME: What's your pick for best release of 2008 so far?

Michelle: Spiritualized - Songs in A & E, Sigur Ros - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust.

ME What is the most enjoyable part about working at Amoeba?

Michelle: [That it's] not stressful. [The] flexibility.

ME: What has been your best find at Amoeba?

Michelle: Tony Dryer. Geez, he's the one that finally made me understand what all those darn love songs are about. Never really listened to the words. I get it now. Who knew?...Yes, I'm a cornball. 

ME: It's adorable how so many employees say their significant other when I ask that question! Amoeba is a great matchmaker! Hell, it worked for me too! Thanks for your time Michelle!

The Malibu Bikini Shop

Posted by phil blankenship, October 14, 2008 02:13pm | Post a Comment

CBS Fox Video 5040

New Digital Cumbia Releases from ZZK Records

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 14, 2008 12:48am | Post a Comment

ZZK Records
out of Buenos Aires, Argentina have just released 3 full albums from some of their artists that they featured on their debut compilation CD, Digital Cumbia Vol. 1. The first comes from Fauna, a group that consists of two bassists/producers, Federico Rodríguez and Cristian Del Negro, better known as Catar_sys and Color Kit. Their debut, La Manita de Fauna (Fauna’s Little Hand) is a mixture of Cumbia Villera, Dancehall and Reggaeton. Their Ragga vocals not only remind me of the Cumbia Villera groups, but of other Latin Alternative staples such as Todos Tus Muertos, El Gran Silencio and Sonido Nacional. That’s not a criticism of Fauna, it just seems that they have traveled the same route as those groups mentioned above in order to get where they are today.

Track of note: "El Zombie (with Princesa)"

Another ZZK release is from Chancha Vía Circuito, entitled Rodante. This group epitomizes the Digital Cumbia flavor. They use the güiro and various percussion instruments synonymous with traditional Cumbia and mix it with Dub and minimalist techno. Sometimes it’s reinterpretations of Colombian Cumbia; other times it’s Cumbia Villera out of the ghettos and back into the lab. It is as smart as it is danceable. For that reason, Rodante is slowly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year.

Track of Note: "Pachamama (with Poeta Inka)"

Coming soon will be El Remolón with Pibe Cosmo. El Remolon's prior release, Cumbia Bichera, was a excersise of their minimalist techno skills over their Cumbia skils. However on this release, Pablo Lescano from Damas Gratis (with keytar in tow) makes an appearance, which should shift the balance a little more to the Cumbia side.

The Fauna and Chancha Vía Circuito records are currently in stock at Amoeba Hollywood. Pibe Cosmo should arrive within the week. It seems like we are your one stop Digital Cumbia shop!

Also of interest and currently in stock:

El Remolón- Cumbia Bichera
Villa Diamante- ZZK Mixtape Vol 1
Villa Diamante- Bailando Se Entiende La Gente
Sonido Martinez- Rebajadas Van A Brooklyn
Sonido Martinez-Sonido Martines Vs Vampiros
Kumbia Queers-Kumbia Nena

My Best Friend Is A Vampire

Posted by phil blankenship, October 13, 2008 06:13pm | Post a Comment

HBO Video 0144

Don't Open Till Christmas

Posted by phil blankenship, October 12, 2008 03:57pm | Post a Comment

Vestron Video VA 4372

Photographer Bob Gruen's solo exhibition

Posted by Whitmore, October 12, 2008 01:18pm | Post a Comment

One of the most respected photographers in Rock and Roll history is native New Yorker Bob Gruen. He has been one of the leading documenters of the rock world since the 1970’s, working with the likes of John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, Elton John, Kiss, Patti Smith, Tina Turner, Blondie, Muddy Waters, Rolling Stones, Madonna, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, The Who, David Bowie, Aerosmith, & Alice Cooper. In 1989, he documented the trip to Russia of the Moscow Music Peace Festival featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue. In 2006 he released a feature length documentary about the New York Dolls called All Dolled Up, which captures the band during their early performances in New York and their 1973 west coast tour. He has also published several books of his photographic work, including last year's ROCKERS; 2005’s John Lennon – the New York Years; The Clash, Photographs by Bob Gruen from 2004 and his first book Chaos, the Sex Pistols, published in 1991.

For the next month, Gruen’s first-ever solo show in Los Angeles will be on exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery located at 7517 Sunset Blvd in Hollywood (near the Guitar Center). Included are about ten photos from his latest book just released in September -- New York Dolls: Photographs by Bob Gruen, compiling over two hundred images of the iconic Dolls. The exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery runs until Nov. 11.

Home Movies: Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, October 12, 2008 09:25am | Post a Comment
            Life sucks, Brendon. That's your lesson. Go enjoy it. -- Coach McGuirk

So, I'll go ahead and use the fussy distinction of my esteemed colleague, Mr. Brightwell, and call Jonathan Demme's new film cinéma direct, rather than cinéma vérité. It's grueling enough to deserve the three accent marks, however. Unlike the use of the shaky-cam in Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield, Demme and his cinematographer, Declan Quinn, always keep the camera in the objective, 3rd-person tense. They also thankfully keep it more transparent than the nauseating narcissism of Paul Greengrass's camera work. While moving room to room, the audience floats along, but when the wedding party guests are talking, Demme and Quinn fix the shot, even remembering that modern cameras can re-focus on stuff in the background without having to move. Contrariwise, I remain skeptical of any definitive ability to distinguish between direct and vérité when it comes to fictional films. The direct documentary is akin to the transparency of classical Hollywood, I suppose, but expert editing, grainy textures, and perfect-looking people tend to call attention to the artifacts in a realist drama. Whatever you call it, Rachel Getting Married is realism at its squirm-inducing most direct.
Jenny Lumet's script rarely hits a wrong note in analyzing a particular bourgeois Connecticut family's power struggles that are inherent to most families. Whereas my family get-togethers center on frito-pie and football, Rachel's wedding involves Indian attire and cuisine with Robyn Hitchcock and Cyro Baptista supplying the entertainment. All attention is being paid to Rachel until her younger sister, Kym, shows up with a weekend pass from court-mandated rehab. What follows is the gentrified version of the Oedipal Complex. The sisters compete for dad's affection using what they have: Rachel is the perfect daughter with some undefined perfect job, perfect friends (successful musicians and writers) and a perfect fiancé, whereas Kym is the classic second-child fuckup, with drug addiction being her defining characteristic. As with the thespian drug addicts in Hollywood who regularly meet at a little café on Vine, just South of Sunset Blvd., Kym's addiction isn't so much a cry for help as an egotistic need to be noticed. Hers is the kind of bottoming out that leads to a memoir featured on Oprah or as a writer of forgettable sitcoms; i.e., dependency as a privilege of the leisure class. Her sister isn't any less egocentric or any more likable: just as Kym is trying to get the family to acknowledge the way they all play into her addiction, Rachel interrupts with the announcement that she's going to have a baby. Score one for sis, and the cycle repeats. Mom got sick of their shit some time ago and left to live her own life; every narcissistic flower has roots. Dad's so castrated that he's always on the verge of singing, "mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey."
The squeamishness comes from the way the mise-en-scène makes you one of the guests, eavesdropping on conversations that you shouldn't be hearing. As with real weddings, you're sometimes placed at the center of attention only to recede into the background in another scene. Sitting through a friend's wedding is bad enough, but two hours at a stranger's is debilitating. And Demme's film is so formally precise that you really feel like you're there. After twenty minutes of family friends talking about the bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner, I felt like covering my eyes when Kym brings attention back to herself by bringing up her drugged exploits in a 5 minute toast to her sister. It's not as uncomfortable as Capturing the Friedmans, but I don't plan on ever sitting through either film again. In scene after scene, the family refuses to properly address a past tragedy that structures much of its current crises, but the familial dynamic is never simply reduced to the tragedy. Anyway, kudos to the filmmakers for creating pitch-perfect quotidian misery. This is a good character study, even if I don't see much of a point to realistic character studies. Life itself already has enough pointless empathy without aesthetic realism giving us more.

The Guardian

Posted by phil blankenship, October 11, 2008 03:50pm | Post a Comment

Vestron Video VA 4162

Hold That Pose

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 11, 2008 12:45pm | Post a Comment
Mastering the guitar requires much more than technical prowess; knowing how to pose with your instrument can be just as important. Here we have a group of photos with fellas that have obviously spent some time mastering said pose.


This Flying V row puts us at an infamous crossroads, "the Blues meets the Buttrock." Also, below we have a lonesome Mandolin moment...

The Onyx Cafe

Posted by Whitmore, October 11, 2008 09:43am | Post a Comment

I remember the worst cup of coffee I ever had. It tasted like mildewed cardboard run through a stale pack of Marlboros. The coffee was barely warm, I think it was heated -- I use the term loosely -- in the sun on the dashboard of a rusty old Buick in a jar of baby formula gone bad. And I also remember the name of the girl who made my double latte that day, it started with a B (I'll only use an initial to protect her identity!) So because it was the Onyx Café, I went behind the counter and re-made my own cup o’ joe. Now I must say in defense of my second home -- aka the Onyx Cafe, most of the time the coffee was pretty good. I just happen to have fonder memories of the dreck I was occasionally served in a place that I loved.

Anyway, it’s been ten years since my ol’ caffeine watering hole has closed. And today, Saturday October 11th, there is a reunion of sorts happening all day long at the Tribal Café located at 1651 W. Temple St. (between Union and Glendale, close to Downtown L.A.) (213) 483-4458 Music, BBQ and all that kind of stuff, and it’s free!


Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2008 09:22am | Post a Comment
                                       Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five 10:11:08

1) Madlib The Beat Konducta WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip (Rapster/BBE)

2) The Streets everything is borrowed (Vice)

3) T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

4) Murs Murs For President (Warner)

5) Bishop Lamont The Confessional (mixtape CD)

Thanks to Scott who works in hip-hop at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store for this week's chart, which has the great new album from LA beatmaster/producer Madlib The Beatkonducta on Rapster/BBE as its number one. WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip, also selling well at the other two Amoeba stores, is a hip-hop feast of cool beats with a ton of talented guests joining the gifted producer, including emcees Murs, Defari, Prince Po, Oh No, and Guilty Simpson (whose name is truly accurate this week with the latest OJ news). My personal favorite tracks are "Life" featuring Karriem RIggins (former Common/Kayne sideman), "I Want It Back" featuring Oh No with Madlib as The Professionals, "The Way That I Live" with ATL female vocalist Stacy Epps, and especially all of the Madlib solo/guest-less joints on this album including "The New Resident" and "Disco Dance." Madlib is such a talented producer that I even don't need to hear any emcees or singers on top of his beats.

Continue reading...

Secret Society of the Sonic Six, Chrome, Savage Rep & More!!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 10, 2008 10:30pm | Post a Comment

Mad Men - Crazy Like a Fox

Posted by Miss Ess, October 10, 2008 03:02pm | Post a Comment
I think I'm in looooooooove.

I've just started watching Mad Men Season 1, and I am already obsessed with it-- the aesthetics, the smart writing, the subtlety and the way the show plumbs the depths of its own artifice. It's a bit spine-tingling.

I know I am a little slow to get to this. I had been avoiding all the press about this show up till now (cause I knew I would get to the DVDs eventually and didn't want to ruin it) so it is all new to me still, and if for some reason you have not caught on either, it's about time. The show, as everyone knows by now, is about an ad agency in the early 60s, but it's more about the internal lives of each of the employees, centering around shadowy alpha male Don Draper (Jon Hamm). The sets, styling and camera shots are extraordinary, very filmic.

It's a visual feast as well as an intellectual one. The show's storylines are juicy and complex -- all those nice, satisfying layers that the best writing adds to characters. It's amazing and intriguing to watch each one's veneer shatter, to see the underbelly and reality of the early 60s in America. I can't recommend this show more highly!

And for once can say I like a show that's not trash! I can respect myself in the morning! What a relief.

I know I am not alone in this. Check out what Brad had to say about it here, and BillyJam here. I just couldn't resist adding my own excitement to the bunch. Oh yeah, and they just won a slew of Emmys too...I guess I really am the last person to catch on!

And since I love an acceptance speech and to see everyone prettied up (in this case, in modern clothes for once!), here's the show's very recent Best Drama win!

More Funky Than Too Funky? (supermodels, shock and a new movie from Katsuhito Ishii)

Posted by Kells, October 9, 2008 07:30pm | Post a Comment
I'll never forget the first time I witnessed the awesome spectacle of George Michael's "Too Funky" video. I was already borderline obsessed with fashion in the mid-1990's and thought highly of Michael's supermodel-laden "Freedom 90" video, but the visual candy of "Too Funky" as designed, styled and directed by then notorious fashion designer Thierry Mugler made the voyeuristic appeal and "freeing" acts of destruction that comprise the "Freedom 90" video seem trite by comparison. I don't care how precious and pretty Linda Evangelista looked as she lip synched inside her sweater, I'd rather see her (along with Christy Turlington, Tyra Banks, Eva Herzgovina and, my favorite, Nadja Auermann, to name a few) strutting her actual supermodel stuff on an actual catwalk, flaunting actual fashion while George Michael repeats, "everybody wants a lover like that," which is precisely what the "Too Funky" music video delivers, and in such a fabulous manner that it cannot possibly be copied -- sorry En Vogue.

So, how about that "Motorbike" dress? Pretty amazing isn't it? Certainly not for everyday wear, but a girl's gotta have options. I remember thinking this playful ensemble shocking, in a good way. Actually, after having just viewed the 'director's cut' of the "Too Funky" video, I got to thinking about what the definition of shocking was a little over ten years ago as far as the mainstream media is concerned. Of course, I got to thinking about everything Madonna: her "Lucky Star" midriff beginnings, her metal-bound Sex book, Erotica, the "Justify My Love" video and a particular scene from her Blonde Ambition tour documentary Madonna - Truth or Dare where Madge is informed by Canadian police that she'll be arrested if she touches herself suggestively during her performance of "Like A Virgin." With Madonna the list goes on and on, but if one were to judge her overall shock value by the percentage of the audience that sings along to her tune, counting both lovers and haters alike, I bet there wouldn't be any shocking findings at all, at any point in her career. Perhaps she really has done it all. And if that be the case, what in the world can be deemed shocking today? For my part, I'd like to submit Katsuhito Ishii's film Funky Forest: the First Contact (two disc DVD now out from Viz Media) for review, as it's the most shocking thing I've seen recently.

So far, I love all the Ishii films I've been able to lock my sights on: Sharkskin Man and the Peach Hip Girl, Party 7, Taste of Tea -- I love them so much I cannot pick a favorite; they're like candy. One of the main reasons I felt shock when I watched Funky Forest for the first time is that it fulfilled all my expectations while successfully deflating them at the same time. It's like when someone decides to give you a 'sexy' cake for your birthday. Of course you didn't expect to get a cake shaped like giant genitals, but you did expect cake and there is no question about whether or not you're gonna eat it. But is it tasty? Funky Forest is a tasty cake of a movie diguised as disjointed, patchwork quilt handstiched by your reclusive little Edie Beale looking, ex-showgirl aunt who happens to moonlight as a Chris Cunningham mutant who watches too much TV Carnage. Threads of several stories are woven loosely with only a few coinciding; however, belly laughs and nervous giggles abound as situations break off, start up and proceed to get weirder and weirder. It's unlike any of his previous films; it's certainly funky and totally fun.

Three reasons to watch:

1. Tadanobu Asano (pictured above, left). A talented, attractive fixture in Ishii's films whether he's starring in them or otherwise shining Johnny Depp-ness on them. In fact I like to refer to him affectionately as the Depp of Japan-- he's just that like/loveable. Like Belinda Carlisle, I get weak when I look at him sometimes, just like the Depp. Susumu Terajima, the guy on the right above, is another reason to watch. He's brilliant.

2. Girls, cute ones: running, dancing, making woodsy music, playing ping pong and sporting ponytails in exciting new ways. They're nothing like supermodels wearing barely-there metallic bustiers, but they're fresh-faced and entrancing with their dreamy, steamy comedic sensibilities.

3. The dancing -- all of it, including this gem of a clip from a scene where the "unlucky with women" brothers organize a singles picnic where all the hot women invited, or any women for that matter, fail to make an appearance...
P.S. See if you can pick out actor Yoshiyuki Morishita = the Japanese Steve Buscemi!

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Oakland's The High Decibels to play Element Lounge tonight

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2008 05:51pm | Post a Comment

Unique new Oakland hip-hop group The High Decibels, whose recently released debut album HP on Rolling Jack Records melds rap, rock, and blues, are playing a must-see show tonight at the Element Lounge at 1028 Geary Ave. in San Francisco. At this evening's show the group's two front men/emcees, main-man Duke and his back up/hype-man Chief (above), will be joined by the tight High Decibels live band led by group founder & album producer KC Booker who will be playing electric guitar, along with Aaron Taunton on electric bass, and Deane Jenkins on drums. Unfortunately superswift DJ Gordo Cabeza, who does a stellar job cutting it up throughout the new album, will not be joining them for tonight's show, but no matters, it should still be an off the hook concert.

I have already seen the High Decibels perform twice in the past few weeks and each time they exuded a level of professionalism not normally associated with a local hip-hop act who have just dropped their first record. Each of these recent shows were semi-informal and were attended by only a handful -- one in KC's North Oakland living-room for a video taping & the other (also in North Oakland) was a live remote WFMU radio broadcast that I produced last week. At each of these performances they connected with the few in attendance and remarkably (especially for live hip-hop) sounded even better than on their record!

Expect the set for tonight's show to be drawn exclusively from their 13 track album and to include such favorites as"Duke Gonna Get Em," "Crash With No Cushion," "Who Knew Duke," and "Miss Cindy." At tonight's show they may or may not be sharply dressed (like on the album cover, left), donning their stylish suits, shirts, and ties. "They [suits] get too hot to perform in sometimes," laughed Duke. And what about that classic large 1988 model boombox also featured on the album cover? "We bring it round with us always to play beats off it," said Duke. But they will not need to bring it for tonight's High Decibels show.

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Mariee Sioux Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, October 9, 2008 04:34pm | Post a Comment
Mariee Sioux's songs are some of the most intricate and evocative I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Her lyrics are often stream of consciousness-like and flooded with images of nature and Native American symbolism, part of Mariee's heritage. She has a way of weaving together beautiful melodies with impressionistic words and creating incredible songs. I highly recommend Mariee's debut album, Faces in the Rocks, which came out last year on Grass Roots Records. You can hear some of the songs from the album and check out her tour dates here, and you can see images from Mariee's Amoeba instore from a while back right here. Read on for our chat about her middle school musical tastes and the French, among other things...

Miss Ess: When did you start writing songs?

Mariee: When I was about 18 I wrote some songs with some friends in a little girl band we named "Gale Music"...then after that they just started flowin'. But I've always written things, whether it was journals, weird stories as a kid or even weirder poems as a kid. Then I went on this trip to Patagonia and brought my mom's guitar and just started writing some tunes down there.

Miss Ess: What are your main influences/inspirations?

The insanity of this life and world! I am a pretty sensitive person and this world just constantly trips me out...also crazy I just had this one where I walked into a room and the floor was covered in shedded snake skins like billowing and flaky ....I guess also the sincerity in plant and animal life. I also really liked Simon and Garfunkel growing up. I used to make S&G tapes for myself in 4th grade for my car ride to school... And Jeff Mangum blew my mind/ changed my life and thoughts in high school...

ME: Mangum threw my head back too. Totally freaked me out. How do you write your songs? Words or music first?

Mariee: Usually begins with the words. I'm always scribbling stuff down while I travel or have insane dreams.

ME: Which do you enjoy more, playing live shows or the writing process?

Mariee: Well, I really love both and feel wholly connected to both parts of the trade. I mean at this point I don't know what I would do with these jumbles of songs without playing them live....and I don't think I'll ever be able to stop writing them, even if I'm not having the opportunities to play 'em for people.

ME: When you decided to create an album [Faces in the Rocks], how did you decide on the instrumentation for the songs after having played some of them solo at shows for a long time?

Mariee: I just kinda let it fall into place how it seemed fit. I knew I wanted my dad to jam on it and then kinda gracefully stumbled into Gentle Thunder who played the flutes and drums on the album. Things just kinda seemed to be how they were going to be without me making too many conscious decisions about it.

ME: Can you write a little about your record label Grass Roots Records and why it is special?

Mariee: Hmmmmm...small...Nevada City based...[owned by] Marc Snegg...

ME: I have heard you are especially popular in France. What are your audiences like there? Do you have any thoughts on why you are particularly well-received there?

Mariee: The French people seem to really have open hearts and minds for music and art. Art is like the center of so many things here (oh, I am here in France right now)... And there are constantly state/city founded festivals all year long happening in all cities. They just have a way with receiving people's art, even if they don't know a word you're saying/singing. Plus, they are kinda fascinated with the idea of Native Americans and American folk music.

ME: I saw that you opened for Pegi Young recently. Can you tell me about meeting her? Did you get to meet Neil Young too? What was it like?

Mariee: Sweet people and rad family. Rad lady. Neil is a sweet old man these days.

ME: What artist do you dream about playing with on the same bill?

Mariee: Kate Wolf/Otis Redding/REM.

ME: Paul Goble's book The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses was one of my favorites growing up. The artwork was particularly fascinating and influential for me. I know you love him too -- what influence has Goble had on you and your own creativity?

Mariee: My mom used to always give me Paul Goble books for birthdays and things when I was little and even gave one to me while I was still in her belly, so there has always been a close connection to his artwork and stories. I would love to meet that dude. Those paintings are insane. I really want to own one someday.

ME: What kind of music did your parents play around the house when you were growing up?

Mariee: My dad had band practice a lot at the house with his bluegrass band. And he jammed on the mandolin a lot. They always blasted Graceland out the windows while they were out working in the garden.

ME: When you were young, do you remember having a musical experience that changed you?

Mariee: Seeing Bob Dylan and Paul Simon sing "The Sound of Silence" together.

ME: Who were your favorite artists to listen to when you were in middle s

Mariee: Simon and Garfunkel, Hanson, MJ, Jackson Browne, Ace of Base.

ME: Oh yeah, that must have been when Michael Jackson was at his height, with videos premiering on The SImpsons and all! What have you been listening to lately? What is your favorite record at the moment?

Mariee: Will Oldham continues to put out some pretty mind boggling beautiful albums lately/forever. A lot of random tapes I have accumulated ...a weird Otis Redding tape that is epic and a lot of REM lately.

ME: Ooh, yes on Will Oldham. I just saw him at Swedish American Hall last week and it was fantastic. Is there a song or record that can make you cry?

Mariee: "You Are The Everything" by REM.

ME: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Mariee: Dunno...that "Umbrella" song is pretty catchy.

ME: Now that it is October, is there an album that always puts you in the autumnal mood?

Mariee: Nick Drake is about as autumnal as it gets for me I think.

ME: What's next for you? More touring? Another record soon?

Mariee: Neeeeeeed to record song new jams! Dunno how or where yet....and yeah just cruising around playing these songs, seeing how they can fit into people's lives.
ME: What's been your best-ever find at Amoeba?

Mariee: I don't go in there very much-- it seriously freaks me out... I mean, don't take that the wrong way!! But I just get overloaded and can't think of a single band when I'm in there...but I got a sweet Kate Wolf album there that I love.

ME: Thank you so much for your time, Miss Mariee!

out today 10/7...antony & the johnsons...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 9, 2008 12:15pm | Post a Comment

So we have to wait until January of 2009 for the new full length album from Antony & The Johnsons. That did seem really far away a couple of months ago, but Halloween is quickly approaching, followed by that little holiday called Christmas, so all of a sudden January is almost here. That will mean that I have been back in Los Angeles for a year already! I can hardly believe it. I have been looking forward to a new album by Antony since the day after his last album, I Am A Bird Now, came out back in 2005. That seems like an awfully long time for us to wait, but I love his last album so much that I never really got sick of it. I have been listening to it more this year than I think I even did back in 2005. Antony is nice enough to give us a little sneak peak of the album by releasing a new EP this week. Another World is a nice little gift for his fans, but it really is too short. It seems to end just after it starts. I need more Antony! It is almost cruel just to give us only this. He also really sort of made it hard to make anything better than his last album. How can you compete with the brilliance of I Am A Bird Now? I don't really know what he could have done to make a better collection of songs. The Crying Light will come out on January 21st in 2009. I am hoping that he has kept some of hantony & the johnsons another worldis brilliant and magical new songs for this full length. I am sure he has. I do really like this EP but it just does not really compare to his albums...or maybe it is just too new for me right now. I have listened to it a bunch already and often just start it over once it stops. I might just need some more time for it to fully grow on me.

The first album by Antony & The Johnsons came out in 2000 on Durtro. I found out about him after I moved back to LA for the first time. This self titled album was reissued by Secretly Canadian in 2004. A year later we got the album I Am A Bird Now. He has kept with the brilliant little label Secretly Canadian for this new EP and the new album in January. I am not really sure how to deantony & the johnsons you are my sisterscribe Antony if you have never heard him before. If you are already a fan you probably are a big fan. You can't just really casually like Antony & the Johnsons. You either love him or just don't really get it. It is for sure not for every music fan. It is a bit dramatic. A bit dark and gothy. A bit sexually ambiguous. The music is very beautiful. Lots of dramatic piano. A little bit of folk mixed in there. There is really nobody out there like him, nothing really to compare him to. The five songs on this EP are all good songs, but there is really nothing that compares to his earlier songs like "You Are My Sister," "Hope There's Someone," or "Cripple and the Starfish." The title track is very antony & the johnsons i am a bird nowbeautiful though and it is growing on me. This EP sure does have me excited for the new album. I can also barely handle the anticipation I have for the show I am going to next week. He is playing with the an orchestra at Disney Hall next week. I have only seen him once before, but it was one of my favorite shows of all time. I highly recommend you check out Antony & the Johnsons if you have not yet, but start with "I Am A Bird Now," or maybe just pick up this EP first. Then go back and get his two full length albums and you will probably fall in love with his music like I have. He is very easy to get addicted to. It really tears at your heart strings and could easily make you break down in tears, but there is also something strangely beautiful and optimistic about his music and lyrics. It may take you to a dark place but it will end up lifting you out of it as well. So now we have two things to look forward to in 2009: A new president and a new album by Antony & The Johnsons. I am ready for 2009 already.

also out this week...

Such Fun by Annuals

deerhoof offend maggie

Offend Maggie by Deefhoof

In Ear Park by Department of Eagles

fucked up chemisty of life

Chemistry of Common Life by Fucked Up

morgan geist double night time

Double Night Time by Morgan Geist

the grails doomsdayers holiday

Doomsdayer's Holiday by The Grails

japanese motors

Japanese Motors by Japanese Motors

(Oh) Ohio lambchop

Oh (Ohio) by Lambchop

legendary pink dots platinum blonde

Plutonium Blonde by The Legendary Pink Dots

oasis dig out your soul

Dig Out Your Soul by Oasis

Break Up the Concrete by The Pretenders

pretty & nice get young

Get Young by Pretty & Nice

jay reatard matador singles

Matador Singles by Jay Reatard

the rosebuds life like

Life Like by The Rosebuds

the streets everything is borrowed

Everything is Borrowed by The Streets


Women by Women

yo majesty futuristically speaking

Futuristically Speaking by Yo Majesty


Posted by Billyjam, October 8, 2008 10:47am | Post a Comment

"A free parade that celebrates music, love, diversity, tolerance, dance, and community is something... America needs now more than ever," stated the organizers of the big annual San Francisco LoveFest,  the annual electronic music festival which celebrated year four on Saturday. "We know that in a culture awash in conflict, materialism, superficial concerns and greed, an event of this kind can lift the spirits and the hopes of those who surrender to its power. The power of dance. The power of music. The power of community." That statement was made before Saturday's big fourth annual parade and party. And having attended both the LoveFest Parade and the mega party it morphed into after parking at Civic Center Plaza, I can confidently say that it was mission accomplished for the LoveFest. The event kicked off around 12:30PM as a colorful parade from 2nd Street down Market and ended up as an all day outdoor dance party awash in tens of thousands revelers grooving to all strains of throbbing electronic music.

Saturday's upbeat SF LoveFest 2008 came after a week of downbeat, depressing news headlines. So it was the perfect antidote to the reality of the gloomy world outside where the economy is in the toilet and the future doesn't look bright from any angle. For the approximately 100,000 dancing bodies that packed the Civic Center Plaza to move to the various music booming sound system floats lined up across the large city center plaza, the SF LoveFest truly offered up pure unadulterated escapism -- if only for the day. Of course, there were reminders of the presidential election, with Barack Obama images everywhere. But Obama -- hung round as an image of hope -- never distracted; rather, the images only seemed to reinforce the good vibes that hung in the air all day up until the party wound to a close at around 8PM. Check out the SF LoveFest website for more images and info, plus an amazing bird's eye view video looking down on Civic Center Plaza on Saturday afternoon.

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Horror Hits The New Beverly !

Posted by phil blankenship, October 8, 2008 10:31am | Post a Comment

Warn your friends !

October 15, 16 - The final night of the "Sitting In The Dark With Patton Oswalt" festival brings two horror classics to the big screen: Jacques Tourneur's Night of the Demon (1957) & F.W. Murnau's Faust (1926) !

October 18 - ALL NIGHT HORROR SHOW ! 100% Movie Mania! New Bev Fundraiser! 12 Hours Of Movies, Fun & ?? Featuring Dario Argento's rarely screened Creepers (the US theatrical cut of Phenomena!), The House on Sorority Row (25th Anniversary!), the award winning short In The Wall, Lucio Fulci's Zombie (the Italian gut muncher!), a TOP SECRET SURPRISE MOVIE, Teenage Mother (the live birth exploitation classic!), The Power (unjustly overlooked 80s aztec doll terror!), and the New Bev return of the ultimate crowd pleaser: RAW FORCE! Plus classic trailers & more! Schedule subject to change.

All films presented in glorious 35mm! All proceeds go towards New Bev upgrades & repairs! Tickets available NOW at the New Beverly box office or online (HERE) through PayPal.

October 19, 20 - A Hammer Films double bill of Taste of Fear (1961) & Terence Fisher's The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)!

October 21 - Grindhouse Film Festival with Bigas Luna's 80s cult hit Anguish & Kent Bateman's The Headless Eyes!

October 22, 23 - Two by William Castle! There will be a special FRIGHT BREAK during the showing of Homicidal. Can you heart stand the challenge when the clock starts the COUNTDOWN! Followed by the Joan Crawford camp classic Strait-Jacket! WARNING! 'Strait-Jacket' vividly depicts ax murders!

October 25 - Midnight screening of the 80s fan favorite The Wraith! Special guests TBA!

October 29, 30 - A Clive Barker double feature. First is The Midnight Meat Train (2008). The film's studio has notoriously tried to bury the movie due to internal politics - don't miss this RARE chance to see it on the big screen! Second is the Bernard Rose directed Candyman (1992). Don't say his name five times!

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Little Armenia

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 7, 2008 01:13pm | Post a Comment

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Little Armenia

In the Los Angeles Neighborhood poll, right behind Morningside Circle is Little Armenia. To vote in the Los Angeles County Community poll, go here.

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Hollywood

When I first moved to Silver Lakefrom Chino I got a job in nearby Burbank. I drove through Glendale and noticed that the population of both cities was largely Armenian. The signs were written in that unique Armenian alphabet that kind of looks like broken bits of elbow macaroni glued to croquet hoops. I think that, at the time, I had only the vaguest notion of where Armenia was. (For the record, at Amoeba we file it in the Middle East, to the consternation of many since it's a Christian nation in South Eastern Europe).

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Too $hort to receive VH1 hip-hop honors tongiht

Posted by Billyjam, October 6, 2008 03:42pm | Post a Comment

Veteran Bay Area rapper Too $hort will be one of five artists honored today during music television station VH1's Hip-Hop Honors, for his contributions to the art form of hip-hop. The LA born/Oakland rapper can be credited (blamed?) for embeddng the B word into hip-hop's vocab. The show, which airs tonight (Monday Oct 6th) on the cable channel, was taped this past Thursday in New York CIty when Too $hort flew out to NYC for the big award/performance taping at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Besides $hort Dog, the others lined up to receive awards on tonight''s broadcast are De La Soul, Slick Rick, Cypress Hill, and Naughty By Nature. All five honorees will perform. So will many others, including Wyclef Jean, Lil Jon, Big Boi, Ghostface Killah, Bun B, Q-Tip, MC Lyte, Biz Markie, Busta Rhymes, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Fat Joe, Cee-Lo, EPMD, Mack 10, Jim Jones, Estelle, rock-rappers Gym Class Heroes, Juelz Santana,  Scarface, and Kid Rock. 

The latter two are expected on-stage during Too $hort's performance. Remember that it was Too $hort who was one of the earliest believers in the artist Kid Rock. He collaborated with young unknown white DJ turned rapper back in 1990, long before anyone really knew of Kid Rock. Around that same time, $hort was also instrumental in getting the unknown artist added to the Straight From The Underground Tour bill that featured Yo Yo, Ice Cube, D Nice, and Too $hort.

Also appearing on tonight's hip-hop all star VH1 broadcast, to be hosted by Tracy Morgan, will be Luther Campbell and musician /actress Queen Latifah, who did a great job over the weekend on Saturday Night Live's parody of last week's vice-presidential debate in which she played moderator Gwen Ifill opposite Tina Fey's spot-on Sarah Palin and Jason Sudeikis' take on Joe Biden.

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Night Scenes: Project Shadowchaser II

Posted by phil blankenship, October 6, 2008 10:00am | Post a Comment

New Line Home Video N4024

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Pt. 2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 6, 2008 01:20am | Post a Comment

Carmen Cosoli- Live @ The Santa Monica Pier (August)

Juana Molina- Sound Checking @ Santa Monica Pier (August)

Son De Madera with Martha Gonzalez & Cesar Castro- MacArthur Park (July)

Gomez Come Alive! Guest DJ Set @ KPFK's Travel Tips For Aztlan (June)

Chico Sonido & Toy Selectah
@ Mas Exitos (September)

Marvin Santiago

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 6, 2008 01:04am | Post a Comment

Upon hearing Marvin Santiago’s El Sonero del Pueblo for the first time, I really didn’t know what to make out of it. Marvin’s vocal style is raw, probably too raw for most casual Salsa listeners. But his ability to improvise and to cram every word and syllable in between a choro is hard for anyone to match. Ruben Blades put it best when describing Marvin Santiago’s style: "Marvin is capable of fitting a Mack truck into a parking space where a Volkswagen Beetle won't fit." His raspy voice and lyrical improvisational skills are closer to Reggaeton star Tego Calderon than to someone like Eddie Santiago.

El Sonero Del Pueblo (The People’s Sonero, which was also his moniker), originally released in 1985, is a collection of Marvin’s best material that he recorded for the TH Rodven label. His voice, rough from years of improper vocal training, sounds, as Neil Young once put it, “As real as the day was long.” The recordings that he made for TH Roven sound like the meters on the recording console are peaking deep in the red. The slightly overdriven sound of the band matches the intensity of Santiago’s voice, which is a good thing. It’s like the Salsa version of Black Flag’s The First Four Years. Like that release, El Sonero Del Pueblo is filled with fast songs full of intensity, often layered with humor.

Songs Such as "El Pasajero" (The Passenger) and "Caro Viejo Y Mujer Fea" (Old Car And An Ugly Women) were Salsa Dura classics before there was a term for it. On top of that, try to keep up with Marvin’s thick improvised Puerto Rican colloquialisms. This is one for the dance floor as much as for the people that like to sit and enjoy great musicianship and vocal ability.

El Sonero Del Pueblo captures a period before Marvin was briefly imprisoned on cocaine changes. He recorded another classic, Adentro (Inside) while still in prison. During his stay, he became a born-again Christian. Sadly, times had changed while he was locked up. Hard Salsa gave way to the mostly god-awful Salsa Romantica sound and Merengue became the flavor of the day for most Puerto Ricans. Still, Marvin plugged away, influencing many singers and musicians, until his death in 2004, due to complication with Diabetes. 

In retrospect, Marvin was way ahead of his time. He not only influenced the newer Salsa groups that came out of Colombia, Venezuela and New York, but many Reggaeton artists as well. One could say that if Reggaeton came from the streets of Puerto Rico, then it’s got a little Sonero Del Pueblo in it too.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus - 39 years ago today

Posted by Whitmore, October 5, 2008 08:38pm | Post a Comment

39 years ago today
, light ceased radiating; the World stopped spinning, coughed up a hairball, then turned on its side and attempted to shake loose all the other furry dust berries clinging to its nipple-ly peaks. Fearful of this new creepy darkness, the World tried to catch the tail of a passing comet only to stagger badly and get singed by the fiery interloper.

But seconds before collapsing gloomily into one last catatonic stupor, the World accidentally stepped on the remote control, triggering a channel change and so discovered that there was in fact something worthwhile to watch on television.

October 5th 1969, Monty Python’s Flying Circus was unleashed onto the airwaves of the BBC … six rather handsome young gents (Terry Jones and Michael Palin from Oxford, Eric Idle, John Cleese and Graham Chapman from Cambridge and American born Terry Gilliam from a little school in Los Angeles called Occidental College) changed history itself by saving the World, and us, from sheer utter boredom.


Posted by Charles Reece, October 5, 2008 08:14pm | Post a Comment

Fear[s] of the Dark

                                          Blutch                                                        Lorenzo Mattotti

Pierre di Sciullo

                                      Charles Burns                                                 Marie Caillou

Richard McGuire

White Noise for Channel Identification

Posted by Whitmore, October 5, 2008 07:08pm | Post a Comment

Stereo Test albums and Stereo Dynamic records almost always have great graphics. My all time favorite album cover could very easily be To Scare Hell out of Your Neighbors. My Dad has that record; not only does it look great but it also sounds pretty incredible … well, if not actually incredible, at least bigger then friggin’ hell itself. As a kid I used to play it at full volume over our more then adequate state of functional-furniture-by-way-of-Sears-1967-winter-catalogue stereo console. To Scare Hell out of Your Neighbors features a couple of the finest room-clearing tracks you’ll ever hear, like Bach’s Toccato in D Minor -- aka the Rollerball theme --and the first cut, "Adolph Hitler" from Edmund De Luca's Conquerors of the Ages, where we hear several members of the London Philharmonic forthrightly shouting "zeig heil!" Pieces like these literally disturbed the holy crap out of my grandmother. Perhaps it was I who drove her to those late morning/early afternoon gin and tonics.

Anyway, there is something about the secret language and technical diatribes on the back of these albums I absolutely love. All the numbers and graphs and arrows point you, the listener, in the direction of an aural climax.

And in fact from an early 20th century Dadaist or Surrealist perspective, the complex narratives on these back covers could be viewed as truly modern poetry: polemic critiques of technology, ready to bugger all of our puny, inconsequential romantic rhymes. Reason and precision annihilates passion and unprotected sex. Nonsense belittles the hollow logic of bourgeois capitalist society, producing nothing more than an insane spectacle of collective slaughter … Eat your heart out André Breton … eureka, I have found you!

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The Borrower

Posted by phil blankenship, October 5, 2008 10:48am | Post a Comment

Cannon VIdeo 32025

San Francisco LoveFest Parade 2008

Posted by Billyjam, October 4, 2008 04:20pm | Post a Comment
        SF LoveFest Parade Oct 4th 2008     

Despite the dismal Bay Area weather forecast for this weekend that called for heavy rain from late night Friday well into most of today (Saturday, October 4th), meaning it was to literally rain on the parade -- the big annual San Francisco LoveFest Parade -- the weather turned out to be just perfect today. Sunshine,  blue skies, and temps in the upper 60's, the perfect weather to accompany all the loud lovely bass-driven music from the parade of electronic music DJ floats going down Market to Civic Center for the all day outdoor dance party. Even before noon, and outside SF, for many the party had already begun this morning en route to the event. On the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART I took into SF, each car on the whole train was like a loud, happy, smoke-filled party and very unlike the BART I am used to commuting on. Even though it still was only morning time, it was 4:20 on BART.

It may not draw a million plus revelers like Berlin's legendary Love Parade (whose website estimates that mega outdoor dance party "peaked in 1999 with one and half million ravers") that it models itself after, but the SF LoveFest Parade, now in year four, is a hell of a San Francisco event -- especially when the weather is as perfect as today. Starting close to its scheduled kick off time of noon today at 2nd & Market and booming its way down Market to Civic Center by a bit before 2PM, the parade, which drew tens of thousands along its route, had a great vibe and was less strictly policed as some other Market St. parades. Without any barriers, it was easy for party people to jump into the street and follow the beat booming from the various floats, and that's what many happy dancing people did. Organizers predict about 60 or 70 thousand overall for the entire LoveFest event this year.

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Mic Placement

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 4, 2008 02:05pm | Post a Comment

As in a recording session, proper microphone placement is essential when directing a photo shoot.  I present to you all an excellent batch of mic-centric covers, included are a couple of well drawn interpretations of the artist with microphone motif.  Also, a solo microphone piece to round things out...


Omega Syndrome

Posted by phil blankenship, October 4, 2008 10:55am | Post a Comment

New World Video A87001

out today 9/ bloody valentine...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 3, 2008 12:35pm | Post a Comment
My Bloody Valentine is one of those bands that people get really obsessed with. I can still remember the first time that I ever heard them. After that first listen to Loveless I was forever addicted, forever devoted to the magnificence that is My Bloody Valentine...however, they broke up the same year that I finally discovered them. So I slowly came to terms with the fact that I would never probably see them live. I knew I would never see The Smiths perform live, but at least I had many Morrissey shows that more than made up for it. My Bloody Valentine is also one of those bands that brings people together, like we share this common unbreakable bond. You just know which of your friends are fans and you don't really even have to talk about it. Since you know what it is like to be a fan you can figure out what it is like for others. If you are a My Bloody Valentine fan you have most likely listened to Loveless and Isn't Anything many times by yourself in your bedroom. You have probably listened to these records right before you go tosleep. They have probably helped you overcome bouts of depression and just made you happy to be alive. They have spoken to you in a way that only really good music can, even though you can't really explain how. You have also probably listened to Loveless with your boyfriend or girlfriend during one of those special moments. I know I have said this before, but I really can't imagine my life without these albums. They are that good. They are that important.

I never thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity to see My Bloody Valentine perform live, but after I went to the amazing Yaz reunion earlier this year, I had a newfound hope of seeing some of my other favorites. That Yaz show completely blew me away. They were absolutely fantastic and I was so grateful that they reunited for their many fans who never had the chance to see them before. They also seemed to be enjoying themselves greatly which made the show even better. I made a mental note of all those bands that I never got the chance to see. Kate Bush and The Cocteau Twins were at the top of the list, but so were Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. I think I had somehow managed to see most of my other favorite bands at some point in my life. My Bloody Valentine did finally reunite for a brief tour this year. I bought my tickets months ago but had convinced myself that it would get canceled. I even got a call from Ticketmaster explaining that the show would be starting a 1/2 hour earlier. I was fully expecting them to announce that the show was canceled. I had also somehow thought I had tickets to Wednesday night even though this whole time I had tickets to Thursday. I was luckily able to switch the tickets at last moment since I was already going to see Sigur Ros on Thursday night. I had some high expectations. I was also just excited to see them finally and knew that I would enjoy the experience regardless of how great they were. I knew it would be this amazing group experience that I would be sharing with all these other My Bloody Valentine fans that had been waiting all these years just like me. And while we were definitely in attendance that night, there was also an amazing amount of Twentysomethings there. I went the first night so I sort of thought that the Thursday show was maybe the night for the original fans. But it just made me happy that all these people were as excited to see them as I was. It really didn't matter if they had liked them for 5 years or 20 years. My Bloody Valentine still has that same incredible power over you. 

The music is not just your ordinary shoegaze music. It is loud and distorted and sometimes almost too much to handle, but it is always somehow beautiful. They have always been sort of a combination of Sonic Youth and The Cocteau Twins. Dinosaur Jr. mixed with Ride. I had been warned that this show was loud, and I don't ever remember being at a show where they pass out ear plugs when you enter the venue. They unfortunately picked some horrible venues to play in for this short tour. They played at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco, probably the worst venue I have ever been to. I felt bad for my San Francisco friends, but I obviously would have been there if I still lived in San Francisco, and I heard the show was still fantastic. The venue down here was not much better. They played at the Sanmy bloody valetine isn't anythingta Monica Civic Auditorium. I did love the amazing architecture. It seemed a little bit trapped in time, like the venue had been recently uncovered and not altered since the 60s. The venue has a great history with bands like The Jam and David Bowie playing there. You could feel the history, but I still would have much rather seen them at the Orpheum or the Wiltern. This was without a doubt the loudest show that I have ever been to. It was like a wall of distorted sound with out any breaks. You could not really even move the whole time that they played. You could feel the music around you and it pinned you down. There was no way to escape. The songs just seemed to melt into each other. Sometimes you could barely tell which songs they were playing or when one had stopped and another had started. I did have to wear my earplugs for almost the entire show. But still managed to have a great time and love every minute of it, even if it was uncomfortable and painful at times. The earplugs did not really do anything -- the music went right through them. I was still happy to be there and to be hearing these songs live that I had only heard before in the privacy of my own bedroom. For not playing together for about 15 years they did sound amazing. I still my bloody valentine lovelessdon't really understand how that sound comes from only four people. And while I wish the drums could have been a bit less loud, it was an amazing show. Seriously, my body was shaking and I could feel each drum beat pulsing through my veins. I will forever remember this show and cherish the fact that I could be a part of it. And I think that my eardrums and entire body will never forget the amazing sonic assault that it was a part of.

We also have some My Bloody Valentine reissues to look forward to. Loveless and Isn't Anything are reissued in the UK this week, which means the Rhino domestic reissues can't be that far away. I have been looking forward to these reissues almost as much as I was looking forward to this show. Rhino has really put out some fantastic reissues over the last couple of years. The New Order reissues will be out in a couple of weeks too! And we will hopefully see these My Bloody Valentine reissues before the year is up, but I imagine it will not be until next year at this point.

also out today...

dungen 4

4 by Dungen

jesus & mary chain power of negative thinking

Power of Negative Thinking Box Set by The Jesus & Mary Chain

mercury rev snowflake midnight

Snowflake Midnight by Mercury Rev

nightmare revisited

Nightmare Revisited Soundtrack

polysics we ate the machine

We Ate the Machine by Polysics

vivian girls

Vivian Girls by Vivian Girls

xx teens welcome to goon island

Welcome to Goon Island by XX Teens


Posted by phil blankenship, October 3, 2008 10:43am | Post a Comment

Charter Entertainment 90122


Posted by Billyjam, October 2, 2008 06:08pm | Post a Comment

                                  Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:02:08

1) Murs Murs for President (Warner)

2) Madlib WLIB (bbe)

3) T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

4) People Under The Stairs Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)

5) J.Stalin Gas Nation (Town Thizzness)

Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five selling albums chart -- all of which are all really strong & recommended new releases, and all brand-new, having dropped this past Tuesday, September 30th. Featured in the number one (with a bullet) top slot is the highly anticipated new major label release from much-loved Living Legends emcee Murs. Murs For President on Warner Brothers has been selling like crazy at the Haight Street as well as at the other two Amoeba Music stores including, of course, Hollywood Amoeba where Murs did a free in-store performance on Tuesday, the same day the new album dropped. Check out photos from his live performance on our website right here!

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"Eternal Flame"

Posted by Miss Ess, October 2, 2008 05:33pm | Post a Comment
The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" is so sugar-sweet it practically rots my teeth...but just like candy, I come back for more over and over again...

Actually, it is one of the many songs that intermittently play on repeat in my head. Seriously though, that song's been up there for years on a loop! Considering the title, the irony is not lost on me! "Eternal Flame" always comes back around somehow, and it's not like I am sitting around listening to Bangles records! Where does it come from?!

I'm really not quite sure why I still find it a moving song, why it stays up there in my brain, but in a way it is sort of comforting to know that when I hear the actual tune (or even just the version in my head), it has the same effect on me as it did when I was small. I never owned a Bangles album as a child and I haven't heard any of their other music probably since the 80s, but this song has just always stayed with me.

Now that I am fully revisiting it, I especially love how it gets all epic at the end with strings and the building vocals...the fact that the video includes fireworks is just too perfect (and 80s). Susanna Hoffs' vocals cannot be denied! Too bad the ladies didn't write this one themselves, but it's still a winner in my heart.

It will always remind me of being enveloped by a disco ball's mirrored reflections as I was roller skating at this tragically 80s rink and also playing in the basement at my cousins' house.

Oh...I guess I've carried it with me so I can conjure up that simpler time at any given moment in my constantly shifting adult life. Maybe I should go find myself a Bangles record after all...

Van Morrison to Perform Astral Weeks!

Posted by Miss Ess, October 2, 2008 04:40pm | Post a Comment

I know I've mentioned it several times before but I just can't resist mentioning it again: Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.

I've just heard that he will be performing the album in full next month at the Hollywood Bowl! The dates are Nov 7 and 8. Wow, I am wishing I was an Angeleno right about now.

I'm interested to see what he does with the songs-- knowing Van's at times rather spotty live performances, and the expansive variation that he brings to his songs when he performs them, who knows? I bet he has not played a good portion of the songs off of Astral Weeks in a zillion years. Frankly, I am surprised he agreed to do this, but it's thrilling! He must be pleased that this album is finally getting its due and being praised by the masses, since it was fairly ignored back in 1968.

As a whole, Astral Weeks' improvisational nature makes it more akin to jazz than rock, really, and one thing I am sure of is that Van will bring his spontaneity and lack of restraint to his performances. If you want to read a bit more about the record, click here.

Apparently he is capturing it all on tape (or whatever more ephemeral substance they're using these days) for a DVD, so if you can't make it, rest assured you will be able to catch it at a later date in the comfort of your own home.

Here's a recent performance of "Madame George" -- sounds great to me!

Blame It On The Night

Posted by phil blankenship, October 2, 2008 04:18pm | Post a Comment

Key Video 6726

The Hills Have Eyes

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 1, 2008 11:55pm | Post a Comment

A Little Patience: New folk-rock by Nagisa Ni Te and Karl Blau out now!

Posted by Kells, October 1, 2008 03:06pm | Post a Comment
Earlier this week while I was walking home from a night out with friends I was surprised by a stranger who randomly yelled out to me across an intersection, “How do you do this all the time?” I assumed by the question and the incredulous affectation that colored his shout that this fellow had to be the sort of out-of-towner used to strolling casually along level sidewalks, not straining to climb them. Living in San Francisco’s Chinatown for eleven years has provided me with plenty of street-side entertainment in the form of visitors struggling to get from point A to point B and these hapless pedestrians have become common fodder for egregious porchfront commentary among my friends and I, especially the drunk ones falling uphill. I offered the winded tourist no reply, but I began to sing to myself a song that hadn’t invaded my head space for some time, “all we need is just a little patience...


What W. Axel Rose and his Guns N’ Roses showed the world with their slowest, most patient song, "Patience," was a sensitive vulnerability, unrestrained by the tired power ballad format, that balanced out all the hollyweird, small-man anger their sleazier hits that flaunted to the top of the charts. "Patience" made it to number four in the US and I know for a fact that it continues to enjoy slurred and spirited karaoke renditions the world over, though, as a choice cut, it bodes ill for the novice due to its length and monotony (Kimberly Starling of The Karaoke Informer says it's one of the top 5 songs that tends to bomb: "It just eludes the average ear and when you get off key on this one it sounds to the ear like a turd in a punch bowl looks to the eye.") However, with "Patience" in mind, I am reminded of two recent, overlooked releases that guild a gentle acoustic sound that is characteristically rock while also spiritually folk: Nagisa Ni Te’s Yosuga and Karl Blau’s Nature's Got A Way.


The Employee Interview Part XIX: John Garcia

Posted by Miss Ess, October 1, 2008 02:20pm | Post a Comment
John Garcia
Over 10 years employment, spread across all 3 stores!
New Product Buyer

Miss Ess: What is your pick for best release of 2008 so far?

John Garcia: Well, so far it is probably the rather weighty 4-CD box set on the Cleanfeed label that brought together multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton and guitarist Joe Morris together for the first time (Four Improvisations [Duo] 2007). Each disc is one solid uninterrupted hour of improvisation between these two masterful performers. They are both busy players that ironically have a keen sense of space, but they use that space very differently. Listening to them attempt to resolve those differences on the fly is big part of the fun of the album. The critic Whitney Balliett is credited with calling jazz "the sound of surprise." Under the best of circumstances, all great music has that quality somewhere.
Also, I am also still quite taken with the new album by the British folk group Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, Bairns. I wrote about it in the upcoming Music We Like (Fall 2008) and just as the Braxton/Morris album is complex and flitting, Unthank & Co. are relatively simple, slow-moving and austere. These qualities are their strength, vocally and instrumentally.
Oh yeah, and that Soft Machine DVD, Alive In Paris 1970 is pretty remarkable visually, musically and historically. It documents a performance by the rare quintet version of the band recorded for a then-new half-hour French TV music series. They were the first band featured in the series. Their set was so popular that they aired a second show using the unused footage they shot for the first show. Most of the cameras are onstage and backstage, so some of the angles are unusually intimate and intense. It is only slightly marred by the occasional overdubbed cheers and applause that, apparently, were used to disguise some of the sound editing that needed to be done. At least they resisted using the "psychedelic" special effects that intrude on so much documentary and televised footage of the period.

ME: Is there a label whose output you will always check out, regardless of if you have heard about the record or not?
JG: Yeah, they are mostly jazz or "new music" labels, like Hatology, Emanem, the aforementioned Cleanfeed, Songlines, Intakt, Tzadik, Balance Point Acoustics, Pi, Psi, Recommended. But, the Smithsonian, Water, Fledgling and Rune Grammophon labels [also] usually have items of interest. There may be a couple I am forgetting right now. There used to be a lot more, but many great indie labels have either gone under or slowed their release schedule down to a trickle.
ME: What music takes you back to your childhood?
JG: Well, my relationship to music was very sporadic during early childhood. It was something that would get my attention from time to time, but in essence it seemed very foreign to me. I remember being very uncomfortable in record stores as these crazy looking people stared at me from their album covers and posters in their outlandish glam and disco attire. These were the days of vinyl and the eight-track. I sometimes tried to make sense of it by imagining that the covers of the albums were telling some sort of story which would then be concluded, or at least continued on the back cover. Some albums told better stories than others, although I can't really remember any of them now.
When music was played at home it was usually Spanish-language radio pop. As far as recordings went, they were usually lounge-type albums which I hated (that distaste never went away), bullfighting music and the French-born Argentinean tango singer, Carlos Gardel (both of which I liked). Sometimes there would be some Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones or Bing Crosby.
I seemed to break away from my parents' tastes when I became enamored of the soundtrack to the first movie I ever saw in a theater, Pinocchio. I remember playing that a lot. I also remember being heart-broken when I'd inadvertently left the album in the sun and it got horribly warped. It just sat there undulating on the turntable, steadfastly refusing to let the stylus rest on a single groove. My father placed the album between a pile of large heavy books for about three months and it was at least playable after that. I had also acquired a 45 of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son" which I thought was great.
The other song I remember liking during those formative years was Ringo Starr's 'No No Song." I really had no idea that the song was about drugs and rehab; it was just really catchy. It sounded like a song for kids. It still does. I did not have the record, so I remember actively jumping from one radio station to the next searching for this song. It was the first time I had actively engaged a radio. I was about 10 years old.

Somewhere in there, I heard a radio show about music from India and I remember liking that very much, but it would be quite a while before I would pursue that avenue.
ME: Somehow all of Ringo's songs sound like they were made for kids! Was there a particular live show you attended that changed your life?
JG: I didn't see much live music growing up, but the few acts I did see made a big impression. The first live music I saw was a Flamenco troupe that played in Oakland, CA. Sadly, I don't remember who they were, but they were remarkable to a 7-year-old. And it was more than just music, there was singing and dancing and there even seemed to be some sort of plot involved, so, it was dramatic in every sense. And it was very loud. The fast guitar strumming, the castanets, the movements and percussion the dancers provided and this seemingly otherworldy singing were stunning, even a little frightening. We even got to go backstage! But, shy as I already was, I was struck dumb as I gazed upon these god-like beings.
The first concert I ever saw was probably a couple years after that at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, CA where I saw John and June Carter Cash and the whole family band in the round. This was very different from the Flamenco troupe, but in some ways no less dramatic, in part because the stage of the venue slowly revolved throughout the show. They seemed more friendly and less forbidding than the Flamenco folks, and they joked around and told stories. I knew most of the songs they played because I used to watch Johnny Cash on TV all of the time, on his own show and as a guest on other shows. I also had the Live At San Quentin album, which was also the first time I'd ever heard expletives deleted and always wondered what words they were bleeping out. The one song I didn't know beforehand was "The Man In Black," which he performed towards the end of the show and whose lyrics were printed on the program that I still own. Anyway, it was all very enjoyable, but music was still something I felt was a bit beyond me. That feeling has never fully gone away.
ME: Do you remember the moment when you suddenly really really got into music? 

JG: In I976, for reasons only a twelve year old in search of something seemed to understand, I started to listen to (almost) NOTHING but country radio. KNEW-AM. So, I became familiar with works of Tom T. Hall, Dottie West, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Jim Stafford, Waylon 'n' Willie (and the boys), Johnny Paycheck, Ray Stevens (Ray Stevens!?) and many others. Perhaps it was Johnny Cash's influence, or the fact that Hoyt Axton co-wrote the "No No Song," but I really got into it and this went on for over two years. It wasn't until the early eighties that I learned about the Stanley Brothers, Hank Williams, Charlie Poole or Bob Wills (although there was that Merle Haggard song…).
Around the time Elvis died in 1977, I realized, like so many others did, that I had always liked Elvis, from his movies and from the radio, but never owned his records, so I started listening to and collecting his records. The next year I went to live in Panama for a short while. When I returned, I stayed with my aunt and cousin. My cousin had what seemed at the time to be a huge record collection. He said I could listen to whatever I wanted. Most of it seemed very strange, but I do remember listening to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper for the first time. I didn't particularly like it, but it did cause me to want to listen to other albums by them; besides, that Ringo guy was in the band. It was somewhere in between being obsessed by Elvis to being obsessed with the Beatles, while still listening to country radio, that I felt a connection had been established. I gradually started listening to other radio stations (I even did my own informal top ten songs of the week chart for a while), checking out unfamiliar music from the library, and reading any number of magazines, biographies and criticisms.
ME: Who are some of your favorite jazz artists?
JG: So, the above searching led me to various kinds of Rock, particularly Prog, older Blues and 20th Century Classical, among other things. I didn't get into Jazz until college. I thought that horrible lounge stuff I heard as a child, and the work of certain artists like Tom Scott, John Klemmer, and David Sanborn was what Jazz was. So, I wanted no part of it. A drummer friend of mine had started a band that was based on the style of the aforementioned players and I concluded upon hearing them that I hated the saxophone.
A few months later, another friend of mine played me some of the Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli Hot Club stuff. I could relate that to some of the bluegrass and even some of the Rock I had heard. Then I jumped into John Coltrane's Giant Steps. I liked that, too, particularly the tunes and Art Taylor's rather aggressive drumming, especially on "Mr. PC." Then I listened to Coltrane's Meditations from the mid-Sixties, and that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. It brought me back to the frightened excitement that I felt at the Flamenco troupe's performance. Things snowballed from there.
I'd like to point out here that although I know that genres are important in retail and commercial environs (and even in this interview) for the purposes of organization, they really have nothing to do with creativity or the creative process. They are a false construct which ultimately boxes in artists, usually unfairly, into a context that gives validity only to the conventions (or clichés) of that context. If an artist tries to express his or herself in a manner that does not conform to those preconceptions they are generally viewed negatively, if they are regarded at all.
I have come to realize over time that I could not truly give my allegiance to those parameters. Even as a listener, those parameters are not your friend; they will let you down. There is so much in every genre that I find objectionable that I can no longer think in terms of "kinds of music," aesthetically speaking. There really is just "music," as confounding and as broad and as obtuse as it sounds.
On the other hand, individual artists/people, once they have touched me, I will follow to the ends of the earth. I will follow the arc of their career, and be forgiving of their seeming missteps [just] as I exult in their seeming triumphs. And I say "seeming" because my perception of art can and will change over time, and eventually I might find something I like about something I thought inferior or reverse my view of a masterpiece in the context of the overall output of an artist.
Having said all of that: artists whose work is primarily viewed as jazz that I will always revel in are (in no real order): Anthony Braxton, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, James "Blood" Ulmer, Johnny Dodds, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Eddie Lang, Tal Farlow, Marilyn Crispell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wadada Leo Smith, Julius Hemphill, Michael Moore (the reed player), Tim Berne, Thelonious Monk, Alice Coltrane, Irene Schweizer, Steve Lacy, Bill Evans, Evan Parker, Michele Rosewoman, Charlie Parker, Lol Coxhill, Henry Threadgill, Leroy Jenkins, George Lewis, Abbey Lincoln, Sonny Sharrock, Albert Ayler, Billy Harper, Eric Dolphy, Peter Brötzmann, Charles Mingus, Billy Bang, the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Pee Wee Russell… I better stop there, otherwise this will start spilling over onto your other blogs.
ME: Which artist was the one who got you interested in world music in the first place?
JG: Well, those Flamenco cats were pretty persuasive. And as I said, I grew up listening to Spanish-language pop, like Raphael, Peret, Lola Beltran, Carlos Gardel and Armando Manzanero. But, hearing the recordings Ravi Shankar made with Yehudi Menuhin and also with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan made a big impression. There is a historic and musical connection between the music of Northern India and Flamenco, that whole Silk Road thing, so I must have heard that on some level. The way I approach the music of other cultures (and music in general, I suppose) is that I listen for the traits that they have in common with each other. I am not very interested in the differences, which tend to be very obvious and often superficial. I also do not like the idea of having a world music specialty; I love many things about many of the world's musics, but there is much I don't like, particularly when fusions go wrong.
But, as I said before, there are artists I will always follow. In this case a small list would include: Amadou & Mariam, Wu Man, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Tom Zè, King Sunny Ade, Hossein Alizadeh, Simon Shaheen, Rachid Taha, Kayhan Kalhor, Dafnis Prieto, Valentin Clastrier, Planxty, Raul Marrero, R. Prassana, Lucilla Galeazzi, Mala Rodriguez, Michihiro Sato, Oumou Sangare, Fosforito and so, so on.....
I will forever be a student, as there's always so much to learn.
ME: You made your much talked about Amoebapalooza debut this year.  Do you have a fantasy Amoebapalooza band? Who would you cover or pay tribute to? What would you play?

JG: Playing both the SF and Berkeley Amoebapaloozas was very nerve-wracking but enjoyable. I am very honored and grateful that the other fellows in Proxy Music let me play with them, considering I had not played in public in 15 years and most of them didn't know that I even played an instrument before we had our first rehearsal! So, it was quite a leap of faith on their part. The crowds were very generous at both events. I do wish things, particularly my tuning and playing, had been better at the Berkeley store 'palooza, which took place in Oakland. Fortunately, a lot of the kinks were worked out by the time we played the SF event a week later. That was much better musically. The Roxy Music tribute band was a fond wish come true. That was always the biggie and I rather doubted it would ever happen.

I have toyed with various line-up possibilities in my mind over the years, but I won't embarrass anyone by being specific here.

So many great cover bands have already been done at these events, it is somewhat difficult to come up with things that haven't already been done. Some possible cover notions would be the songbooks of Nick Lowe, Lou Reed, Amadou & Mariam, Pete Ham, Robert Wyatt, Peter Green, Caravan, James "Blood" Ulmer, John Cale, Kevin Ayers, Richard Manuel, Graham Parker, Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, Ray Davies, Tom Verlaine... there are others, but just jotting down these names is daunting.

I imagine I would play guitar. If the situation were right I might dust off a vocal cord or two.
ME: What music-related movie do you watch over and over again?

JG: Probably The Last Waltz, despite the criminal under-utilization of the great Richard Manuel. From the movie, you'd think he was some weirdo sideman that they brought along for comic relief, rather than the integral soulful vocalist/writer he was. So, when I watch I enjoy most of the performances and collaborations, which are great, even though the "live" nature of the movie is compromised by all of the post-production overdubbing that went into it. Then, once it's over, I usually silently curse Robbie Robertson & Martin Scorsese for excluding Manuel. And I do understand that Manuel's lifestyle may have taken its toll by then, maybe he wasn't in peak musical form, but marginalizing him was still wrong.

ME: I think you're right about that. Richard Manuel is the unsung hero of The Band. What has been your favorite instore here at Amoeba SF?

JG: Probably Bobby Previte and Peru Negro.
I feel I've gone on too long. So, I thank you for your time.

ME: Thank you for your time!

Steven Seagal is... HARD TO KILL !

Posted by phil blankenship, October 1, 2008 10:18am | Post a Comment

Phil Blankenship & Amoeba Music present

Saturday October 4

Steven Seagal is

Hard To Kill

1990, 96 min

director: Bruce Malmuth

starring: Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock & William Sadler

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