Amoeblog

November 28, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, November 30, 2008 06:29pm | Post a Comment


November 27, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, November 29, 2008 06:27pm | Post a Comment


Vinyl Fetish

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 26, 2008 11:00pm | Post a Comment





This round, instead of being images off of LP covers, our LP-ables are image directly relating to LP's themselves. Needles, headshells, cartridges, Victrollas and vinyl records. I've even included images of records as spaceships, spiderwebs and dancefloors.




  And always remember...

What is the deal with Somalia?

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 26, 2008 01:35pm | Post a Comment
Somalia in the news
If you're like me, you may feel like the media only provides confusing, fragmented glimpses into what remains, by and large, an obscure part of the world that makes regular appearances in the news regarding (usually) famine, war or piracy. And yet, the newscasters seem perfectly content to repeatedly ask, "What's going on?" and "Why do they kill us when we bring aid?" and (most inexcusably stupid) "Aren't pirates a thing of the past?" Yet they seem content merely to ask and never to attempt an answer. So, in the face of another wave of gawking, 30 second snippets provided by the news, here's my humble attempt to shed a little light on the region; one where long-simmering tensions and colonialist pressure have caused the Somali people considerable strife and difficulty for centuries, with no hope of apparent change in the future. And yet, I hope the music and cultural bits I've thrown in will provide a balance to all the misery.


Introduction
Somalia's history (and the horn of Africa, for that matter) for the last few centuries has been a familiar history of extreme hostility and violent retribution. Begrudging neighbors are made pawns of European powers and played against each other with suffering resulting on all sides. Somalia, whilst one of the only countries with only one ethnic group, has never very unified. Originally the Somali people organized themselves on the coasts of the mostly barren country in tiny city states (and later, after conversion to Islam, Sultanates). 


Tubeec & Magool

Ancient Beginnings

In ancient times, the region was widely known and valued by its neighbors, from China to Rome (who referred to the Horn of Africa as "Regio Aromatica"), for its dragon's blood, frankincense, and myrrh-- two of which were good enough for the Christ child and which remain popular commodities today. For a while, everything was apparently chill and, for centuries, Muslim Somalia maintained good relations with Christian and Jewish Ethiopia. The prophet himself commanded Somalia to never take up arms against Ethiopia... unless (foreshadowing here) Ethiopia drew first blood.
 

(Left) A giraffe bought in Somalia by Zheng He. (Right) Ibn Battuta.

Medieval Times
Jump forward a couple of centuries to early 1331. The lengthily-named Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta, a famous Muslim explorer and historian, documented the known Muslim world from Mali to China and, hence, visited the area. He wrote of Mogadishu:

     It is a town endless in its size. Its people have many camels, of which they slaughter hundreds every   
     day, and they have many sheep. Its people are powerful merchants. In it are manufactured the clothes
     named after the city, which have no rival, and which are transported as far as Egypt and elsewhere.


In the early 1400s, the Muslim Chinese scholar, Zheng He, also visited the area. He famously purchased a giraffe which he took back to China.



The Seeds of Enmity
Around this time, Ethiopia began to launch efforts to subjugate the Somali kingdoms, going to far as to execute the Somali king Sa'ad ad-Din II and establish tributary kingdoms which resulted, quite understandably, in Somali revolts and enmity toward their neighbors which is still strong. 
 

Omar Dhuule

In 1527, Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, armed with guns and backed by the Ottomans, led a scorched earth invasion of Ethiopia, attempting to force conversion there to Islam. The Ethiopians, faced with likely annihilation, appealed to the Portuguese, who sent fleets from occupied India, hoping to enlarge their comparatively tiny colonial presence in Africa. The Portuguese-Ethiopian force crushed the Somali state and the Portuguese attempted to absorb it into their empire. Instead it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

Hibo Nuura

Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
In 1875, following Europe's abolishment of slavery, the European powers attempted to exploit Africa through colonialization. Britain, France and Italy all staked their claims and set about carving up Somalia.
Some Somali in happy times
 
In 1900, Ethiopia under Emperor Menelik II again invaded Somalia's Ogaden region. Somalia's nationalist Sayyīd Muhammad `Abd Allāh al-Hasan (called "The Mad Mullah" by the British) retook the area for Somalia... which was then given back to Ethiopia by the British in 1945 and remains a barren patch of symbolism that Somalia and Ethiopia still trade fire over.
 
Some really cheerful Somali pirates
 
Independence
In 1960, both Italian Somaliand and British Somaliand gained independence and unified as Somalia. Following independence, Somalia was fairly liberal for a short time. However, Somalia remained a state whose unity was fragile. Things quickly went south with heavy-handed dictators leading Somalia down the road of repression. In 1976, Somalia went back into war against Ethiopia over the barren, largely uninhabited, contested Ogaden region. Communist Ethiopia was backed by Soviet and Cuban troops who practically obliterated the out-gunned Somali forces. They in turn appealed to the U.S. for help but, under Jimmy Carter, America declined the offer to get bogged down in another Cold War front.


Somali street scene

Civil War & the Descent into Chaos
The weakened Somali state began to fall apart, descending into a civil war, openly encouraged by Ethiopia. Somalia's government grew increasingly totalitarian. By 1990, Somalia was under the thumb of a repressive dictatorship and suffering from a lack of resources. Somalis weren't allowed to assemble in groups exceeding three, fuel lines were long and the currency was worthless. In 1991, Ethiopia-backed clansmen toppled the government and Somaliland, in the north, declared its independence (although it's yet to be recognized by any government). The government splintered and the country, once again, descended into civil war. At this point, piracy grew rampant in the face of a powerless government. Famine resulted from the war as well and, due the volatile instability, the UN proved unable to provide humanitarian aid. The US sent in troops to secure the south. It didn't go well.


Ahmed Cali Cigal
 
In 1993, under Mohamed Farrah Aidid, fighting escalated between Somali and American troops, resulting in 1000 Somali casualties and 18 American. The foreign forces withdrew and the state collapsed completely. Mohamed Farrah Aidid was killed in fighting three years later. Since then, the country has divided along tribal and factional lines, with so-called Islamic fundamentalists attempting to impose their medieval codes through force while a central government exists only in theory and exile. In 2006, Ethiopian forces again intervened, supposedly to help the Somali government, but were mistrusted by many Somali for good reason.


Mohamed Nuur Giriig - Dayaxa idhibay Xala

Piracy

Lately the news has been all about pirates, who are discussed like they're from the pages of some 17th century adventure novel. Unlike the sex trading slavers in the Pacific or the the Disney-glorified serial rapists of yore, Somali pirates are mostly fishermen who turned to piracy in desperation and have a reputation for humane treatment and big spending. By some accounts, they treat their captives relatively well, feeding them Western food and providing plenty of smokes. The pirates, who've netted $150 million in ransom money in the last twelve months, are largely credited with turning the coastal villages they patronize boomtowns. The freewheeling, khat taking, booze swilling pirates help create, in the eyes of many, an oases of liberalism at odds with the Islamofacist-terrorized world beyond their influence.


Fadumo Qasim - Habiibi
 
Fragmentation
Nowadays (although there is on paper an official Somali government) the north is run by local leaders in the fairly autonomous states of Galmudug, Northland State, Maahir and Puntland and Somaliland. The central and southern parts of the country are run by the so-called Islamic Courts who brutally apply Sharia law to the suffering people.

Old Music - Hasan Adan Samatar
Uploaded by bishaaros

Black Hawk Down & Iman... all most of us know of Somalia

Somalia in Film and Somali Film
Not surprising, perhaps (due to the harsh conditions of Somalia), the country has produced very little cinema. Most Somali are content to watch Bollywood films and musicals like Riwaayado reflect the influence of India's film-making. In 1988, Abdulkadir Ahmed Said released the 23-minute Geedka Nolosha which won Best Short Film that year in Turin. But that's about it for homegrown cinema.

With millions living abroad, Somali's diaspora make up large minorities in cities like Toronto, London and Minneapolis (as well as neighboring countries like Djibouti, Kenya and Yemen). Therefore, it's not completely strange that the so-called Somaliwood film industry is centered in Columbus, Ohio. Out of the Midwestern town came Warmooge, the first animated Somali film, Rajo, the first feature-length Somali film and the thriller, Xaaskayga Araweelo. There, directors like Iman Abdisalam Aato and Abdi Malik Isak as well as the actress Fathiya Saleban have achieved a level of fame impossible in their homeland.
 
 
Ahmed Gacayte & Amina Abdilahi

Somali Music

To my western ears, Somali music sounds a great deal like most music in the Horn -- lurching, funky, jazzy and with a tonality that probably connotes something completely different to its main audience. And yet Somalia hasn't received the exhaustive Western attention that Ethiopia has. My guess is that part of this is because most modern Somali music uses cheap synthesizers instead of cost-prohibitive, large bands with expensive interests. Ethiopiques producer/cultural watchdog/apparent douche, Francis Falceto has already vocally criticized modern Ethiopian music for not being authentic enough for his patronizing ass so it's unlikely that he's going to embrace a group of musicians even less able to afford to entertain him with music suitably stuck in the past to please his tastes -- especially when music has been repressed and many artists have moved to London, Columbus and Toronto. 

Some of the better known artists to check out (if you're willing to accept the modernization of third world music as you do your own) include Maryam Mursal, Abdi Sinimo, skyhigh family, Waaberi Horseed, Xaaji Baal Baal Dance Troupe, Cabdillahi Qarshe, Hibo Mahamed Hudoon (Hibo Nuura), Ahmed Cali Cigal, Haliimo Khalif Magool, Mohamed Nuur Giriig, Madar Ahmed Mohamed (Madar Yare), K'Naan, Hasan Adan Samatar, Ahmed Mooge Liban, Mohamed Mooge Liban, Abdiqadir Sheikh Ali Sanka, Yusuf Jamac Ganey, Mohamed Saleebaan, Omar Dhuule, Mohamed Mooge, Ahmed Gayate, Mahamoud Mohamed Cige (Buuse), Mohamed Yusuf, Ismail Yare, Amina Abdilahi, Fadumo Qasim, Abdihakim Mohamed Warsame (Calaacal) and Hasan Haji Abdilahi (Hasan Ganey). If you don't live in a town with a large Somali population, the best thing to do is probably check out Amoeba's Somlia section.

I AM A ROBOT & I WANT TO SCORE A VOICE ALTERED HIT SINGLE

Posted by Billyjam, November 26, 2008 01:30pm | Post a Comment
thr33 ringz t-pain
Last night as I was listening to, and really really trying to like, T. Pain's latest over-produced and overly guest heavy new album Thr33 Ringz I quickly determined that Mister Pain is still painfully over-using that vocoder like voice altering program which I had hoped would have stayed back in the summer of 2007 when near every damn rapper had some digitally altered ear-piercing robot voice effect prominent in their sing-songy rap hit single/video. I thought or rather hoped the fad was long over. But I was wrong.

Apparently here at the end of 2008/cusp of 2009 this gratingly annoying vocal effect is still very much alive as proven by such current hits as the T. Pain featuring Lil Wayne single "Can't Believe It" --  found on the R&B singer's aforementioned recently released new album.

But let's leave T. Pain alone. Even more painful to these hip-hop loving ears is Kanye (the artist formerly known as a hip-hopper) West, who kanye westrecently, in an interview about his rap-free new LP, announced that "hip-hop is over for me" and who dedicates his heartbreakingly-hard-to-listen-to entire new album (808s and Heartbreak) to (like T.Pain) singing through the vocoder like autotuner effects. Jeesh. I guess his hanging out with Daft Punk just rubbed off on him way more than anyone could have ever anticipated. Below is a clip of Kanye performing a track off this new album on Letterman earlier this week. Disappointing? Hells yeah and not coz the autotuner is a bad piece of musical recording/performing equipment. But like anything in music, as in life, it comes down to how you use it, or rather don't use it (3 words Kanye: "less is more").

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Vanity Insanity Saturday At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, November 26, 2008 11:23am | Post a Comment

Saturday November 29


Vanity Insanity Triple Feature!


3 Action Packed Films Starring Vanity!


Never Too Young To Die 8pm
dir. Gil Bettman, starring John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons, George Lazenby

John Stamos is Lance Stargrove, star gymnast & son of top secret agent George Lazenby. Gene Simmons is transsexual singer / evil-doer Ragnar out to poison the Los Angeles water supply. Throw in Vanity as Stamos' love interest (you'll never eat an apple the same way again), Peter Kwong (one of Big Trouble In Little China's elementals) as Stargrove's fun-loving computer nerd pal and a plot to retrieve a mysterious computer disc and you don't even have half the "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS MOVIE EXISTS" that is NTYTD.

Action Jackson 10pm
dir. Craig R. Baxley, starring Carl Weathers, Vanity, Craig T. Nelson, Sharon Stone, Bill Duke, Robert Davi

Craig R. Baxley (stunt coordinator for tv's The A-Team) directed one of the last truly-80s action films that showed that Carl Weather (Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies) could & should have been one of the great action stars of the decade. As Detroit cop Jericho Jackson, Weathers battles evil auto magnate Craig T. Nelson (take THAT bailout plan!) with the help of Vanity & a seemingly never-ending stock of one-liners.

The Last Dragon Midnight
dir. Michael Schultz, starring Taimak, Vanity, Julius Carry

Motown records founder Berry Gordy produced only one Martial Arts / R&B epic and this is IT! Trainer to the stars Taimak (playing Leroy Green aka Bruce Leroy!) searches for his inner master, meets-cute with Vanity and battles the Shogun of Harlem (Julius Carry in a career defining role, RIP) to pulse pounding sounds by Debarge, Rockwell, Stevie Wonder & more! This may be your last chance to see this in the theater before the remake hits in 2010!

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REVISITING DIRECTOR DAVID LYNCH'S BODY OF WORK

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2008 05:07pm | Post a Comment
eraserhead
Ever since recently receiving word that film director David Lynch would be visiting Amoeba Music Hollywood today (6:30PM but get there a little early) for an in-store signing in celebration of the release of the recommended new nine disc DVD box set collection David Lynch The Lime Green Set, I decided to do a little digging in the crates and host my own personal David Lynch film fest: going back to re-watch many of the living legend's classic creations, most of which I hadn't seen in many years.

I watched several episodes of the early nineties show Twin Peaks (which was executive co-produced by Lynch along with Mark Frost), Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Wild At Heart  -- all of which combined, I know, really only scratch the surface of this fine film-maker's body of work. But still it was enough of a refresher course to give this Amoeblogger a proper dose of the heart and soul of the artist behind these brilliant works.

I guess in retrospect what is foremost so striking about the 1990/91 ABC TV series Twin Peaks, to which the 1992 David Lynch film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was a sequel of sorts, is the fact that it even made it onto network TV in the first place, and managed to last two seasons at that. It was not your typical mainstream TV fare by a long shot but like any of the best TV shows it was addictive viewing for those who got it. I guess that is the key to all of Lynch's work: you have to appreciate all of his nuances and to fully dispel everyday reality & allow yourself to submerge deep into Lynch's world -- typically a slightly surreal parallel universe that summons blue velvet by david lynchup the place of dark dreams we've all experienced at sometime --  to really get and to fully appreciate the magic David Lynch manifests on the screen. 

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AMOEBLOGAY MUSIC LISTS: PART V

Posted by Billyjam, November 24, 2008 09:03pm | Post a Comment

Welcome to the fifth installment in the Amoeblogay Music Lists series which was inspired in great part by the Out Magazine 100 Gayest Albums list. This final part includes contributions from Bootie USA's Adrian + Mysterious D and also from Amoeba employee/Pansy Division member Jon Ginoli, who wished to say, "Thanks to the Amoebans and others" for including Pansy Division in every Amoeblogay Music List submission to this series. (Note Pansy Division were clearly the number one most popular act, getting name-checked by everyone surveyed.)
jon ginoli of pansy division
Ginoli, who has had a busy and productive 2008 (including Pansy Division's tour with Penelope Houston and The Avengers), will be having an even busier 2009. In March Pansy Division will drop their next album That's So Gay on Alternative Tentacles, and around that same time, Ginoli's book Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division will be published by San Francisco queer publisher Cleis Press.

Additionally the Michael Carmona documentary film about Ginoli's group, Pansy Division: Life in A Gay Rock Band, which has already previewed at various film festivals in cities including San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, London, and Dublin, will be widely released, "So next year will be a big year for us," said Ginoli. Below is a trailer for the Pansy Division documentary followed by Ginoli's Amoeblogay Music List. Ginoli suggests, "Seek 'em out! Dig 'em up!"
 


(In which history repeats itself.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 24, 2008 06:10pm | Post a Comment

It seems like only a year ago that it was November 24. How time flies. Time flies less often than it did, it seems. Probably due to all the crazy “safety” precautions that airports employ now.

You know, they can make sure I don’t carry-on my switchblade, my flame-thrower, or my collection of vintage anthrax samples onto my flight, but they can’t confiscate my NINJA ABILITIES. Think about that one, my friends. My lightening moves don’t fit in no Ziploc baggie.

It was on this day, in 1963, that Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down by man-about-town Jack Ruby, which brings to mind a song I quite like by Camper Van Beethoven, which brings to mind an album I rather fancy by Camper Van Beethoven.

The album is called Key Lime Pie and it takes me back to my high school days; though not actually my high school itself, because I never listened to rad tunes on campus. Only the Peanuts-like drone of adults as they lovelessly forced us to recite Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
From the scene in which Juliet drinks Romeo's blood while clutching her highly-prized, ball-point pen

It’s a wonder I love The Bard as much as I do considering that nothing was more painful than listening to a classroom full of barely literate teenagers haltingly fumble their way through iambic pentameter. It didn’t help matters that these same teenagers called me faggot to my face and probably f**ked with my locker. (Joke was on them, I never once figured out where my locker was.)

I never plan these blogs out in advance. Hard to tell, right?

I tried to find a clip of the song "Jack Ruby," but it, like my high school locker, remains elusive. But here’s a song from the same album, and you might find it a pleasant surprise, as it’s one of those records that a lot of people have heard without realizing who it was that recorded it.
 

The song was originally a hit for the British band Status Quo.

Camper Van Beethoven played an in-store at Amoeba Music Hollywood in the past, and I was there, singing along joyfully.

The group also recorded an album called Tusk. “But wait,” you say while balancing a plate of fresh trout on your head, “Didn’t Fleetwood Mac already… whoops!” And now you’ve dropped the fish to the floor, which is why your grandma always warned you to not balance seafood while reading a blog and talking about it at the same time. I don’t know why you don’t listen to your grandma. She’s way smart.

To finish and answer your ill-timed interruption, yes, Fleetwood Mac did record an album called Tusk, and Camper Van Beethoven’s version revisits each song, in order. It’s a delight for those who, like me, believe Fleetwood Mac’s album to be one of the very best in the history of modern music.

Let’s sample some of these gems
Fleetwood Mac...
 
 
...and Camper Van Beethoven
 

Once again, The Mac...


...versus The Van


It's important to note that the above video is something I swiped from YouTube, and features home movies of some baby crying. This baby, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with Camper Van Beethoven, rather, is the work of some eager new daddy who has a remarkable amount of free time considering his baby is obviously colic.

Anyway, yeah. Jack Ruby. The Kennedy assassination. High school Shakespeare and Stevie Nicks with still some fat on her cheeks. "It's all a rich pageantry," as my boyfriend would say.

I don't plan these blogs ahead of time.

The Swimming Pool

Posted by phil blankenship, November 24, 2008 03:39pm | Post a Comment
 

Charter Entertainment 90155

Favorite Home Recordings

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 24, 2008 10:20am | Post a Comment

An album made entirely in one’s bedroom is no longer a foreign concept. In fact, it has become the norm. Digital sampling and recording programs such as Pro-Tools, Reason, Cubase and Digital Performer have all become the norm for most musicians. Why pay studio costs and mixing engineers for what you can do on your own your own computer?

The unfortunate result has been that as the need to record in a pricey recording studio has become a thing of the past, so has analog home recording. There is something a bit different from home recording made from analog forms (cassette or reel to reel recorders) rather than digital. Most arguments made on digital versus analog have to do with sound. My argument has to do with creativity. Although you still have the ability to overdub parts in analog recording, there are no quick fixes. You cannot instantly quantize bad timing, edit mistakes, cut out background noise or automatically tune vocals that are off key; all which you can do on the most basic digital recording programs. Instantly the mediocre can sound like the professionals. But what if some mediocrity is part of the charm? Honesty captured onto tape, with background noise, slightly off key vocals and poor recording techniques that captures a song in its purest form. It's no wonder fans of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix used to pay top dollar for bootlegs of their home demos. There is purity to their songs that got lost once they made their way into a professional recording studio. The same thing sometimes happens with digital recording. The options are limitless, so much so that the end results sounds nothing like the beginning.

The Lo-Fi movement of the late eighties/early nineties exemplified this. Artists such as Daniel Johnston, Sebadoh, and The Mountain Goats didn’t just record onto four track for the sake of purity, it was also about economics. A Tascam 4 track recorder was affordable. Many studios were selling their outdated eight and four track reel-to-reel recorders dirt-cheap as well. In a bedroom, garage or in a practice space, you were left to your imagination to create without the restraints of paying a studio an hourly rate.

Below are some of my favorite analog home recordings. This is not a best of, rather, it is a collection of home recordings that have plenty of creativity and very little musical boundaries. On top of that, these artists wrote great songs.

Aleyda-Estrofas y Estribillos (Verses and Refrains)

Released in 2001, Aleyda is Alex Chavez, an Austin, Texas based musician who now fronts the group Maneja Beto. Alex played guitar, keyboards and sang the vocals on this record, which goes from heavy rock, “Sin Sentido,” to an absolutely beautiful acoustic version of  “Hasta Siempre Che Guevara.” There are jazz excursions, traditional Mexican music and ventures into Nueva Trova. Estrofas y Estribillos is  revolutionary both musically and in content. Much of the CD is filled with speeches by Subcomandante Marcos, recorded by Alex when Zapatistas marched to Mexico City back in March of 2001.

Cody Chestnutt-The Headphone Masterpiece

Cody was Shuggie Otis, Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, D’Angelo and Prince all rolled into one. Mix that with a Southern Hip-Hop influence and you've got one of the most unique albums ever recorded in or out of a studio. Recorded in his bedroom on a four-track cassette recorder, Cody was sometimes spacey, sometimes horny, sometimes in love, sometime angry and sometime vulgar, but he was honest and wrote some great songs. Everyone from The Roots to Thom Yorke cites him as an influence. Maybe that is why we haven’t had a follow-up to THPM. It would be a tough act to follow.
 






Beck
-Banjo Story

This was my introduction to Beck, back in 1989. My friend played me the song “Let's Go Moon Some Cars" with lyrics that seem to be an ode to everything young and stupid: “Let's go moon some cars, let's go steal some beer, let's go shoot some pigs…yea!” Of course, I loved it instantly. Beck performed everywhere he could during that time, mostly impromptu sets between forgettable local L.A. bands. Most of the songs on Banjo Story ventured into the Dylanesque flow of conscience via teenage hipster that would serve him well a few years later on songs such as “Loser” and “Devil’s Haircut.” But what is likable about this release is his first hint of two themes that continue to mark his career even now: the tragic love song with “Woe” and also tales of regret in “Goin’ Nowhere Fast.” Both of these themes would continue on albums such as One Foot In The Grave, Sea Change, Mutations and his latest, Modern Guilt.


Money Mark-Mark's Keyboard Repair

Money Mark was a carpenter with a home studio when he had a run in with a Beastie Boy while repairing a fence at one of their houses. Who knows if we would have heard any of Mark’s Keyboard Repair had he not hooked up with The Beasties. Makes me wonder how many more Money Mark types lay dormant in the suburbs of Los Angeles, recording at home with their songs stuck on their computers or tape decks. I love the honesty of “Cry” and “Sometimes You Got To Make It On Your Own.” They are like soul hits from the past, simplistic in nature, heavy in emotion, yet filled with humor. Money Mark has put out several albums since but none have reached the level he hit with Keyboard Repair. Maybe I have an attachment to this release because Mark and I grew up in the same town (Gardena, Ca.) To me, his sound was all Gardena; Slow and low ballads, low level funk and soulful rock.


Latin Playboys
-S/T

This album captures the freedom of home recording. David Hidalgo and Louie Perez from Los Lobos, off the heels of a successful number one song (Their version of "La Bamba") and their most critically acclaimed album Kiko, drank tequila, got high and recorded what they felt onto a cassette eight track. The sound of the album is marked by oops of neighborhood sounds underneath hypnotic violin, low moaning contrabass and out of tune guitars. Latin Playboys sounds like Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs and Chrome’s Half Machine Lip Moves being played simultaneously while driving past the Estrada Court murals in the early morning hours. Latin Playboys was a part of an incredibly creative period for the band and David Hidalgo, who not only wrote two Latin Playboy records, but also created great songs on the next three Los Lobos releases, Kiko, Colossalhead, This Time, as well as the Hound Dog record, a one off project with former Canned Heat member Mike Halby.

The Accolade break barriers in Saudi Arabia

Posted by Mike Battaglia, November 23, 2008 10:50pm | Post a Comment

Thanks to user Navelgazer at community blog Metafilter, I was turned on to this interesting story recently published by the New York Times about an all-female Saudi rock band called The Accolade, most probably the first one of its kind ever. There are no photos of The Accolade because they are forbidden from posing for them. They have a MySpace page though, where you can listen to their first single, "Pinocchio." It is the sound of cultural awakening.

Eye Of The Demon

Posted by phil blankenship, November 23, 2008 01:21pm | Post a Comment
 




Vidmark Entertainment VM 5305

Irving Gertz 1915 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 23, 2008 11:43am | Post a Comment

I am a big 1950’s sci-fi film fan and aficionado of the scores of these classic and occasionally not so classic B-movies. The fact is, more often then not, the music will be oddly brilliant. Another inevitable universal truth is the lower the budget, the better the soundtrack. Some of the very best ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ scores were composed by Irving Gertz. He died on November 14th in Los Angeles at the age of 93.  

The youngest of eight children, Gertz was born in 1915, in Providence, Rhode Island, where he learned to play the piano, clarinet, upright bass and tuba as a kid. He studied composition at Providence College of Music and privately with composer Walter Piston. In 1938 Gertz was hired by the music department of Columbia Pictures, but left to serve during the Second World War. After his tour of duty, he studied with legendary composers Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Ernst Toch before returning to the industry.

Throughout the 1950’s and until his retirement in 1968, Gertz contributed music to more than 200 films, often without screen credit. One of his most recognized early works is the music for the 1955 western Top Gun, but his most notable musical efforts are in the Sci-fi world. Some of his soundtrack work includes The Alligator People, The Leech Woman, The Curse of The Undead, and The Creature Walks Among Us. Gertz also worked extensively with Jack Arnold, the first certified genius of the low budget 1950’s sci- fi genre, scoring films like It Came from Outer Space, The Monolith Monsters and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Gertz also worked extensively in television, composing for Land of the Giants, The Invaders and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

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40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEATLES' WHITE ALBUM

Posted by Billyjam, November 23, 2008 10:54am | Post a Comment
the white album
Beatles
fans take note: in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' White Album (in actuality their self-titled album), "the producers, engineers and technicians who worked on the LP recall their contributions" in a recommended documentary special by the BBC in celebration of the double LP set that was originally released on November 22nd, 1968 and was the fab four's ninth studio album.

Click here to check it out. Note that you will need Real Player in your computer. Meantime, check out some White Album related video footage (including some rehearsal/recording sessions) of John, Paul, George, & Ringo down below the track listing & YouTube album audio medley (immediately below). Luckily I found a copy of the album for just a dollar in the used vinyl bin at the Amoeba Music Berkeley store some years back (a numbered copy and in good condition too!). It is also available on CD-- both new and used. Get it if you don't already own it. And buy it at Amoeba!


 
THE BEATLES' WHITE ALBUM TRACK LISTING:

SIDE A:

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Jean-Claude Van Damme, Critical Darling: The Mythopoiesis of JCVD (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 22, 2008 07:18pm | Post a Comment
The white meat is on the run
and the dark meat is far too done
and the milkman left me a note yesterday
get out of this town by noon
you're coming on way too soon
and besides that we never liked you anyway.
-- "Sweet Revenge" by John Prine (with a nod to Hunter S. Thompson) 
 

Who'dathunk it, but the Muscles from Brussels has finally starred in a film that's been getting some good critical response. JCVD is an attempt to explore the heart and mind of Jean-Claude Varenberg, the man behind the dissipating Van Damme legend. Director and co-writer Mabrouk El Mechri might've called the film I'm Not There had the title not already been taken. It's a pomo-biopic trying for more versimiltude than Being John Malcovich, but any honesty in the film is more of an accidental byproduct of the essential cluelessness of its eponymous star than the result of actual introspection. 'Tis the the age of schadenfreude, and that's why I went to see this film. As Dostoevsky said, we love "the disgrace of the righteous man," only Van Damme ain't righteous, just famous. As he admits in the movie, he's just a commodity, who's benefited greatly from being so. The film asks us to care about the toy that starts feeling suffocated by its packaging. The resulting drama, however, comes closer to a VH1 special about a boy band member deciding he's a real artist. If you were crying along with Dave Mustaine in Some Kind of Monster or get choked up reguarly watching Oprah give shit away to bourgeois housewives, then JCVD might be something other than comedy relief. This is a date movie for WWE fans.

But I came to bury Jean-Claude, not praise him. Unfortunately, JCVD spends too much time on its plot, rather than the philosophy of the man (e.g., "To me, life is... you open the shutters, you see the dogs outside, you look left, you look right, in, what, a second and a half? And that's a life." -- osu!). As JC, he's taking time off from Hollywood in his native hometown, where he mistakenly gets blamed for a post office robbery despite his being one of the victims. His supposed friends in Hollywood and the powers that be almost take it for granted that he's to blame, but his true fans stick behind him. The armed robbers make him continue with the illusion if he wants to keep the hostages alive. No wonder Jean-Claude was willing to take the piss out of himself to resurrect his career. With satire like this, who needs critical praise? The definitive answer has been given to WWJD, anything that helps. And it seems to be working; despite the noxious narcissism, many have found the faith. Surely, Oprah's delivering a virgin birth will arrive before everything comes to a screeching halt in 2012 (to be released in 2009, under the direction of Roland Emmerich). However, for ye of little faith, the only thing really intentionally funny is the teaser trailer:
 

I suppose there's an academic thesis somewhere on the fact that Jean-Claude plays a simulacrum of himself, JC, but the latter turns out to have more depth than the real thing. If you ever wanted to see him cry while performing a soliloquy, now's your chance. Evidently, he -- or the specular JC, as constituted by the writers -- feels really bad about his earning so much for churning out pap in a world where people just as talented don't make squat (JC can't quite bring himself to say, "more talented"). Yep, he's learned a thing or two over the years (namely, to produce tears on demand). I don't think I'm giving away too much to say JC lives in the end. As he's being held at gunpoint by one of the criminals with the gendarmerie all around, he experiences his Last Temptation: a dream of rolling under the gunman and taking him out, then standing up and flexing his muscles to his cheering acolytes. But the older and wiser JC resists the lure of popularity, and instead elbows the criminal, merely to fall to the ground. He's subsequently arrested as a suspect, with few of his fans knowing that he sacrificed his reputation in order to keep the hostages alive. JC gives and he gives and he gives. Pop martyrdom and religious allegory -- where have you gone Marty Scorsese?

MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM WHEN JEAN-CLAUDE WAS JUST A MAN

Van Damme vs. Chuck Zito


"My father taught me how to fight when I was 5," says Zito (who would later pick up five martial-arts black belts). But his most memorable knockout was not in the ring. It came in 1998 in the Scores strip club, when tough-guy movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme cursed out Zito publicly. Zito responded with a straight right and a left hook, screaming, "This ain't the movies! This is the street, and I own the street!"

Killing 'em Softly

Posted by phil blankenship, November 22, 2008 06:54pm | Post a Comment
 




Prism Entertainment 2252

J Pop's Golden Apple: Shiina Ringo in translation

Posted by Kells, November 22, 2008 01:31pm | Post a Comment

I'm currently hooked on 椎名林檎 (Shiina Ringo), aah-gain. This recurring addiction happens from time to time and, for me, always with the same kind of artist: preternaturally gifted, flawed but beautiful ladies with an unconventional way of expressing themselves though the kind of music that appeals to ears hungry for one-of-a-kind singer/song writers-- you know, the Tori/P.J./Bjork/types (I suppose you can replace Tori for Kate if you must). Shiina Ringo is the J pop equivalent to these select "raisin girls" of too-bold-for-Lilith Fair powerhouses of 90's female alt-rock superstardom. Not only has she been compared to each of the above ladies in one respect or another, she has also aroused Courtney Love's attention because of her song "Gips" ("Plaster Cast") in which she sings, "You always want to shrink away/and that makes me happy/because it's like Kurt/and that would make me Courtney;" she's a huge fan of Janis Ian, and many folks mention Shiina Ringo and Alanis Morrisette in the same breath, claiming that her voice sounds Alanis-ish. Though it's obvious that Ms. Shiina embraces all kinds of music -- her tunes vary wildly from the ornately orchestrated classical to slinky jazz to electro-dance to mainstream rock to grungey punk -- it's her vocal eccentricities (she's famous for rolling her "r"s gangsta style) and her thought-provoking, complex lyrics (which often feature sprinklings of archaic language and use of uncommon words/kanji characters) that have made her singularly famous. On top of all that, she's got wicked style, a style so influential that recent J pop starlets have fledged new careers by modeling themselves after Shiina Ringo. Vivienne Westwood has the trendsetting Ms. Shiina to thank for making her wares so sought after in Japan and Japanese culture mavins world wide have Shiina-san's recurring, totally "和" ("old Japan") fashion sensibilities to admire as she so frequently weaves the antiquated with the contemporary when it comes to her visual appearance whether it be in photos, music videos or live stage performances. There has even been a popular manga and film created with an admittedly Ringo-esque main character. Despite all this, my first impression of Shiina Ringo was a somewhat convoluted one given my inability to really "get" everything she was spitting, but --holy moly-- was the music fantastic! And that's all that really mattered at first. Since then I've grown into a comfort pocket with her music that, like so many other of my favorite artists, demands rummaging through on a regular basis. This time I decided to find out more about her; here are some basic facts and interesting nuggets of knowledge about Shiina Ringo -- J pop songstress extraordinaire:

Born in 1978, Yumiko Shiina grew up in a household filled with music thanks to her father's interest in jazz and classical and her mother's love of dance, especially ballet. Ms. Shiina studied ballet from a very early age, but due to complications resulting from several surgeries necessitated by her having been born with esophageal atresia, her body began to grow less symmetrical as she aged and she eventually had to leave ballet behind. The scars on her shoulders leftover from those operations are said to resemble the removal of angel's wings [echoed in the design of her costume worn in the video for first single "Koufukuron" ("Happiness Theory") pictured left]. Her interest in music increased and by the time she was in high school she was involved in about ten different bands which honed her skills as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Her parents aided her in her musical quest, making connections and pushing her to audition for musical competitions, some of which she won. It was around this time that she changed her name to Ringo, the Japanese word for "apple" and possibly the name of her favorite Beatle (somebody's gotta love Ringo). Eventually, she signed with Toshiba EMI despite their harsh criticism of her lyrics which lead her to temporarily flee to the U.K. (Toriphiles, can you dig it?).

From 1999 to 2003 Shiina Ringo released three albums of original solo works: Muzai Moratorium (Innocence Moratorium), Shōso Strip (Lawsuit Winning Strip), Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana (Chlorinated Lime, Semen, Chestnut Flower) -- all three of these are fabulous exhibitions of Shiina Ringo's international appeal regardless of her mother tongue. Music lovers worldwide who have no knowledge of Japanese have fallen hard for her star whether it was in her initial phase as an awkwardly pretty, ex-pizzaria worker/subway station busker turned self-made icon with a surf green Duesenberg Starplayer II guitar (Deusenberg enjoyed a sharp spike in sales in Japan thanks to her despite the fact that she bought her first one by installments) or in her current, post-mole collaborative phase. [Ms. Shiina had her trademark mole removed towards the end of her first solo career before forming the band Tokyo Jihen (Tokyo Incidents) and commemorated it in the succinct video for her final solo single "Ringo no Uta" ("The Apple's Song") in which her entire solo career is summed up by her donning a parade of costumes from her previous music videos until she's shown unclothed, sans mole, at videos end.] For anyone looking to dip their toes into Ms. Shiina's collected works I suggest starting with her third solo album, Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana [which is also a perfect example of Ms. Shiina's word play as it seems another way to interpret the title would be "Semen Smell, Semen (Feminine), Semen Smell" -- intelligent and euphemistic sexual undertones permeate many of Shiina Ringo's lyrical sojourns] and working backwards from there before moving on to Tokyo Jihen or her recent solo explorations. That record is a non-stop tour de force void of track markers and jelly jams -- it's so good all I can think of to say is "baNAnas!"

Before I go nuts choosing which video gems to insert into the Shiina-rific mix here I'd like to do a top ten list just for fun. Here are my top ten Shiina Ringo songs from her first three solo albums:

10. "Koko de kisu shite" ("Kiss me right here") -- Maybe I am wrong, but I think this was Ms. Shiina's first hit. It is in my opinion anyway; in this song a teenage girl sings about catching her boyfriend checking out other girls while they're together in public and then telling him to kiss her right then and right there, adding, "I'm directly in front of you/I'm not going to weep silently am I?/Actually it's all so that I match your ideals of anarchy/I'm the only one who can put a modern day Sid Vicious in handcuffs." The music may be nothing to go on about, but it's got all the right Top 40, stuck-in-your-head-all-day moves.

9. "Tokikoshi-gurou" ("Over anxiety") -- It begins with a bit of beat box and a simple vocal approach but then slams in and out of bombastic rock arrangements and lightly skipping melodies. Maybe the switch-back song structure is due to the subject at hand: a woman, seduced by a man with a line she can;t believe she fell for, casts away her shame because, "I don't care/there's no man as good as you... this isn't getting me anywhere." Think Carrie Bradshaw and Big.

8. "Yami ni Furu Ame" ("Rain falling from darkness") -- Sounding a bit like a Bjork song from Homogenic, the string arrangements here really create a melodramatic curtain for the story of this song about putting yourself in someone else's hands (or perhaps putting a damaged part of your past self into the hands of your current self): "We're getting drenched in the lukewarm rain that you hate/The things that pour down upon you -- maybe rain/maybe fate."

7. "Marunouchi Sadistic" -- An upbeat, sing-a-long song about Ringo's struggling days as a street musician and pizza parlor girl in Tokyo that makes many stops along the famous Tokyo subway Marunouchi loop line mentioned in the song's title as she calls out particular stations as punctuation to some of the stanzas, some saying, "I love Tokyo but there's nothing there" and stating that, "it's so tough I get off on the smell of the Marshall (amp)." One of her best double entendre lyrics is in here too, but it's a little too sexy to explain it here without mucking up the meaning. Oh well.

6. "Shuukyou" ("Religion") -- The dynamite first track that kicks off Karuki Zaman Kuri no Hana. I'll never forget the first time I put this record on -- it totally blew me away. It's the kind of feeling you get when you know you've found something you'll never tire of listening to; the first track to a phenomenal, solid record is the stuff that people like Axel Rose wish they could poop out everyday, but in reality it just doesn't happen very often. The fact that Shiina Ringo has one of these (a completely rock hard, every-song-essential/every-song-a-hit album with a bomb intro like "Shuukyou") speaks volumes.

5. "Kabuki-cho no Joou" (Queen of Kabuki-cho") -- Kabuki-cho is an infamous red-light district/pleasure quarters in Tokyo and this poppy yet bad-ass narrative rock song is sung in the voice of a girl who was born to the Queen of said place. The girl's mother abandons her at the age of fifteen to, the girl assumes, go off and live "with the guy who came every Friday." As she becomes a woman the girl sells herself into the business and lives to become Queen in her own right knowing that "I will lose everything when I want for sympathy." It totally rocks.

4. "Meisai" ("Camoflage") -- What starts with a low and lazy tug on an upright bass explodes into a frenzy of jazzed up poppin' rock 'n' roll with a few odd elements like the use of wood block a la kabuki theater. All in all a solid, flirty song that calls to mind a glamorous lady getting into trouble because of her smokin' hot dress which isn't so far from the song's subject matter of getting away from reality only to realize, maybe too late, what it is to be "real." 

3. "Honnou" ("Instinct") -- The video for this single is as sexy and brazenly extreme as the content of the song itself. Ms. Shiina, outfitted in a very fashion forward nurse uniform sings, "I don't need promises/I hate things like that, which won't end/I want to be linked always/longing for a window upon which morning never comes" into the radio piece of a megaphone cradled beneath her arm as she kicks down glass walls with her stiletto heels and, later, smashes more and more glass walls by punching them with her bare, albeit tastefully accessorized, clenched fist. The theme of the song deals with urging one's self to embrace one's mistakes and regrets and live life to the fullest knowing that we all face loneliness. That and sex: basic, animal sex. 

2. "Okonomi de" ("As you like it") -- A catchy song with a meandering, piano-driven lounge/rock melody that deals with the kind of relationship that makes for good nighttime TV. I love that the girl's point of view of the dysfunctional yet masochistic and addictive relationship she has with her boyfriend is all somehow related to and reflected by the color of her nail polish: "I hate words having to do with love/How dare you say that as I coolly dart you a exclusive amorous glance/suiting the sharpness of these unyielding deep red nails/And the blood of those burning cheeks will be the same color/A sunny plan ripening in the shame of your garden/as if I've poured my best liquor into it."

1."Tsumi to Batsu" ("Crime and punishment") -- This song haunts me. The blues she sings of sting like wind so cold on your cheek that it burns; pain so unnatural and acute that it's likened to a smoldering icicle. Perhaps the greatest thing about this song is that the heavy musical arrangement is so perfect for the heartbreak of the lyrical content that the overall impression of the piece is devastating. Seeing her wail this song through tears during the opening number of her "Electric Mole 2003" tour DVD just kills me. I love it.

On to the videos: Here is a spattering of TV commercial promos for the album Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana featuring a Shiina Ringo puppet played Bunraku, Japanese traditional puppet theater, style:



and here is the video for the aforementioned "Ringo no Uta" ("The Apple's Song") summarizing Ms. Shiina's first solo career and the much talked about removal of her famed beauty mark:



Here is a clip from my favorite tour performance video, 2003's Electric Mole tour which featured the band that would eventually become Tokyo Jihen. The song is "Poltergeist" from the album Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana:



And to top it all off here is a trailer for the film Sakuran starring newly emerged J Pop/rock idol Anna Tsuchiya (a Ringo wannabe, I feel) and featuring music by Shiina Ringo (with Neko Saito), which is very fitting in my opinion, as it would seem that the movie is a mirror of some of the themes and subject matter of Ms. Shiina's songs and interests concerning her fascination with the red light districts of old Japan and the Oiran, or high ranking courtesans, who made those rich places worth a visit:



In closing, when it comes to J pop I like mine sassy and classy and so I propose a toast to none other than Shiina Ringo. Keep an eye out for the new Shiina Ringo album box set to be released on November 25th which will include all five of her albums (including the three I mentioned here -- her later stuff is delicious too!) in a box that plays Shiina when you open it and will also have a 100 page booklet, stickers, postcards, and a poster (what more do they want???). Also, for the record, my favorite Tokyo Jihen album is Adult; how fabulous is a CD of sensual and intense jazz inspired rock that actually comes with its own divinely scented perfume? -- AMAZING! Anyhoo, to semi-quote a recently dismissed contestant from the latest cycle of America's Next Top Model, who just happens have the name Sheena, you just got Shiinafyed!

Guy Peellaert 1934 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 22, 2008 10:02am | Post a Comment


Belgian artist Guy Peellaert, most famous for his album cover illustrations of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and The Rolling Stones’ It’s Only Rock 'n' Roll and his ground breaking art book Rock Dreams, died this past Monday of kidney cancer in Paris. He was 74.

Born in Brussels in 1934 into an aristocratic family, Peellaert broke with his family as a teenager, first by entering the military, then by choosing an art career over his father’s demands to pursue a career in medicine. Peellaert first major success was the comic strip, Les Aventures de Jodelle, published in 1966 in the French magazine Hara-Kiri. The central character, Jodelle, was modeled after Ye-Ye singer Sylvie Vartan. Peellart's second comic strip, Pravda, again modeled the heroine after a French singer, the iconic Françoise Hardy. In the 1970’s Peellaert went on to design movie posters for such films as Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver; Wim Wenders's Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire and Robert Altman's Short Cuts.

But Peellaert is best known for his rock album covers -- especially his controversial Diamond Dogs design from 1974. The gate-fold cover features Bowie as a half-man, half-dog grotesque. Peellaert painted in a photo-realistic style and the controversy stems from how well he flaunted the hybrid genitalia. I guess that was something of a no-no in the early 1970’s. A few copies of the original cover inexplicably survived, today they fetch upwards of a few thousand dollars each. The initial RCA release had the genitalia airbrushed out, but the recent reissue on Rykodisc/EMI revives the original artwork.

Continue reading...

Carnival of Light

Posted by Whitmore, November 21, 2008 06:52pm | Post a Comment

"Carnival of Light," the long-rumored, almost mythical 14-minute experimental Beatles track, may soon see the light of day. Composed and performed only once for an electronic music festival in 1967, Sir Paul McCartney earlier this week confirmed that the recording exists, and the piece once thought to be too experimental for mainstream tastes might actually see a release date sometime in the near future.

In the 1990’s while preparing the Anthology collection, the Beatles plus producer George Martin vetoed its inclusion, deeming the track as being "too adventurous" for release. But McCartney feels the public is ready for the psychedelic/avant-garde inspired tune, which is said to include improvised distorted guitar, church organ, gargling, backwards tape sounds, random cacophony and band members shouting words or phrases like "Barcelona!" and "Are you all right?"

First though, approval from the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison, plus permission from Ringo Starr and George Martin would be required.

I found a video on YouTube that claims to contain actual  "Carnival of Light" music. Of course if this is a real Beatles tracks, it's brilliant! If this is in fact not a recording from he Beatle's, it  just  becomes ... more stuff.

Alex Chilton's Forgotten Record - 1970

Posted by Miss Ess, November 21, 2008 05:23pm | Post a Comment

For years one of my favorite posters in the back hallways at Amoeba SF has been a bright, colorful border surrounding a black and white image of young Alex Chilton, leaning against a wall in an argyle tank top with the number 1970 below. I smiled every time I saw it but for some reason never gave it much thought...


Chilton has always been something of a cult hero with not one but two fine bands, The Box Tops and Big Star, that largely flew under the radar/were forgotten, and he wrote some of my favorite songs of all time while in different mutations of Big Star including "Thirteen" and "The Ballad of El Goodo" (from #1 Record) and "Nighttime" (off Third/Sister Lovers). He's a master of sweet, low-key ballads, but can also turn out pop perfection -- a very satisfying combo since basically it means he is something of a melodic genius.

This week I happened upon a copy of an album by Alex Chilton entitled 1970! I had somehow never bothered to figure out what that poster stood for, and now here it was, right in front of me. As it turns out, the album is a post Box Tops solo record made by Chilton in, of course, 1970, in Memphis, which was promptly forgotten and left untitled by both artist and producer when Chilton moved on to Big Star. The original, unadorned tapes were later discovered and released in 1996 by Chilton's famous Memphis label, Ardent Records.

Chilton must have been feeling liberated upon leaving his late-60s pop outfit The Box Tops, because he sounds utterly confident and raucous throughout 1970. The influence of the storied Steve Cropper is everywhere in the record's clean, chugging guitar sounds and there are also other touches of Southern sounds with funky guitar solos and a pedal steel on "Free Again" and "The Happy Song." You can definitely tell that the album was made south of the Mason-Dixon line!

At the same time, the record's sound is fairly timeless -- the over the top, macho sounds of the past combine effortlessly with sounds that reverberate in the future of rock, since Chilton was always ahead of the game. Chilton sounds feisty and even tongue in cheek as he covers "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Sugar Sugar"/I Got the Feelin'" -- he definitely adds a lot of salt to his heavy version of "Sugar Sugar!" In fact, the entire album is positively salty and feels almost like it's running off the rails at times (in a good way), with tracks like the strutting "All I Really Want Is Money." Chilton sounds like he is in his element. It's a shame it never saw release in its time, but at least we can make up for that now by giving 1970 its proper due in our Chilton collections.

Reckless

Posted by phil blankenship, November 21, 2008 05:09pm | Post a Comment
 


MGM / UA Home Video MV800421

Men In Black

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 21, 2008 03:05pm | Post a Comment




R.I.P. Pushing Daisies

Posted by Job O Brother, November 20, 2008 08:20pm | Post a Comment

Bryan Fuller

$%(&$*%#%@*^%$%^*%^!!!!

You just insert whatever cuss word sounds best screamed out loud and that’s what that opening line is. Why am I yelling obscenities? Because I just learned that Bryan Fuller’s fantastic TV show, Pushing Daisies, has not been renewed.

Honestly, I guess I should be used to this by now. The phrase “too good for TV” has left my lips too often, and has applied to every Fuller creation.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, treat yourself to Wonderfalls or (most of) the first season of Dead Like Me, and definitely check out Pushing Daisies.

For cynical, intellectual blokes like me who are more excited by an evening of psychologically tormenting Swedish films or whose idea of a catchy pop tune includes Scott Walker moaning in an echo chamber about the Plague, Bryan Fuller’s programs offer a rare opportunity to enjoy a romantic-comedy, a genre that otherwise tends to leave me feeling spiritually grifted.

I can only hope that Mr. Fuller turns to the film industry. There, he could dream up elaborate whimsy that, while never very far divorced from the unwelcome bedfellow of finance, might nevertheless allow him more breathing room to realize his visions.

In the meantime, I might just go out and purchase a TV set, just so I can throw it off a cliff.

 
From Wonderfalls:
 

From Dead Like Me:


From Pushing Daisies:

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 11:20:08

Posted by Billyjam, November 20, 2008 07:28pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 11:20:08

q-tip the renaissance
1) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)

2) Jurassic 5 11th Anniversary Deluxe Reissue (Decon)

3) Jedi Mind Tricks A History Of Violence (Babygrande)

4)  88 Keys The Death of Adam (Decon)

5) Black Milk Tronic (Fat Beats Records)

Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music store for this week's Top Five Hip-Hop chart with the number one slot occupied by Q-Tip with his great new album The Renaissance (far superior to his last solo effort), which includes one track produced by the late J-Dilla. Click here to check out Porkchop's review of the A Tribe Called Quest member's recent San Francisco performance at Mezjurassic 5zanine as part of the Bounce Tour last week. In the number two slot is the Jurassic 5 CD & DVD retrospective package on Decon, 11th Anniversary Deluxe Re-Issue, which includes J5's original self-titled album in its entirety plus fifteen unreleased tracks, as well as a DVD of the documentary The Jurassic Period which was directed by Jason Goldwatch.

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Waxwork Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, November 20, 2008 04:59pm | Post a Comment



Saturday November 22



Waxwork (1988)

dir. Anthony Hickox
starring Zach Galligan & Deborah Foreman


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



MORE NEWS FROM THE WILD ANIMAL KINGDOM

Posted by Whitmore, November 20, 2008 03:50pm | Post a Comment

Debby, the world's oldest polar bear has died. Suffering from multiple organ failure, she was euthanized earlier this week, just a month shy of her 42nd birthday. Some polar bears living in captivity make it into their 30s, but few in the wild reach 20 years of age. Earlier this year the Guinness Book of World Records certified she was the oldest polar bear on record and one of the three oldest bears ever documented from any of the eight bear species.

Born in 1966 at the height of the Cold War in the former Soviet Union’s Arctic Island’s Region, Debby was orphaned at a very young age, but was rescued by the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In her years at the Canadian zoo she gave birth to six cubs with her mate of almost thirty years, Skipper, who died in 1999 at age 34. All of their offspring are still alive today.

As tributes pour in from around the world, a memorial is planned at the zoo this coming Saturday at noon at the zoo's Animal Tracks Café.

 

Daz I Kue's "Funky President" Remix Celebrates Obama's Victory

Posted by Mike Battaglia, November 19, 2008 10:54pm | Post a Comment

My good buddy Daz I Kue of London's pioneering Broken Beat crew Bugz In The Attic recently sent me this fantastic remix of James Brown's "Funky President" that he's done under his Bloodfire alias -- one he's applied to cheeky less-than-official reworks of other jams like Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" and Syreeta's Stevie-penned "To Know You Is To Love You," both of which are fantastic and worth the tracking down, if you can find either out-of-print 12".

Recently married and residing in Atlanta, Daz channeled his emotions over the recent presidential election into this fantastic bit of dancefloor badness which juxtaposes the untouchable original with "Yes We Can" chants, putting the whole thing into glorious, evocative focus.

Many thanks to Daz for giving us permission to post the track here. No MP3 either, this is a full-spectrum AIFF CD-quality soundfile, suitable for club play. Play it loud!

Bloodfire V Funky President (Yes We Can Rehash) (sendshare link to 71mb AIFF)
and here's a 16MB MP3 in case you're balking at the file size!

Single Ladies/Single Man Mashup

Posted by Miss Ess, November 19, 2008 12:41pm | Post a Comment

Beyonce announced that she has an alter-ego recently with the release of I Am Sasha Fierce. Well, in this YouTube clip, even her ultra-fierce alter-ego can't stand up to Shane Mercado -- Sasha Fierce got out-fierced! This has to be my favorite YouTube clip in a long while. It brings Beyonce's already flawless moves to a whole new flawless level!

XY:XX twice in Nov.

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 19, 2008 10:22am | Post a Comment

This Saturday XY:XX is hosting a
release party for the new Psychic
TV
album. "Psychic TV/ PTV3
returns with Mr. Alien Brain vs.
The Skinwalkers!
, a collection of
ALL new material from various
sessions." Dias records head
Gibby will guest DJ. Last time I
was there, the Punch-Out game
was working fine. It should be a
fabulous nite out.

And since there's an extra Saturday this Nov., there's an extra XY:XX. A tribute to D.A.F. is in the works. Although, the competition is fierce as only blocks away, the New Beverly is running a Vanity triple feature...




Promises, Promises

Posted by Job O Brother, November 19, 2008 10:08am | Post a Comment
In my most recent blog post (excluding whichever blog post I've written after this blog post) I mention providing a link to my interview with the glorious Sandra Bernhard. Well, honeychild, you just read right past that link.

If you've never seen her film Without You I'm Nothing, I cannot recommend it enough. That is, if you're into things that are so effing rad. Also worth watching is the film that made her famous: The King of Comedy, a dark comedy directed by Martin Scorsese and also starring Robert DeNiro.
 

Sandra Bernhard*, Jenna Fischer, Chelsea Handler and Wanda Sykes
as Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan and Lil Kim;
from a Vanity Fair pictorial on women in comedy.
Photo by Annie Leibowitz

*I think it's worth nothing that Miss Bernhard is the only one playing
herself in this photo.

November 18, 2008 part 2

Posted by phil blankenship, November 18, 2008 11:31pm | Post a Comment









November 18, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, November 18, 2008 02:41pm | Post a Comment



CAUTION: FLAMMABLE!

Posted by Job O Brother, November 18, 2008 11:37am | Post a Comment

The view from my window. That store in the middle is Linda Thai - they have great food.

*Cough, cough!*

Hello! Greetings from *cough* Hollywood!

Sorry about the grey ash everywhere. It’s from the fires. And the heat. Strange, isn’t it? To be in the middle of November and planning your day around which businesses have air conditioning? (Amoeba Music, by the way, has air conditioning.) This is how we do winter in LA: pretend the blazing heat is an Arctic chill and those flakes of ash falling from the sky are snowflakes.

Also, that fat man laughing loudly on Sunset Boulevard is Santa. Nevermind that you’ve never seen Santa throw-up in the gutter and scream that the government put wires in his cereal. This is how we do winter in LA.

*Cough, cough* Word.

I must admit, I kind of like the way the air smells when Los Angeles is consumed in hell-fire. Kind of like everything’s hickory smoked. Kind of delicious, and reminds me of Christmas gifts of Hickory Farms, like you might find a smoked and dried Pasadena nestled in a box of fake grass, next to some strawberry candy. Sounds good, right? Who wouldn’t want to spread a little smoked Pasadena on a poppy-seed cracker? Maybe add a sprig of dill. Mmm!
The last seven days – we’ll call it a week for short – have been packed with all sorts of activities. Let’s start with the most improbable of them:

I, Job O Brother, have finally succumbed to that quintessential of LA subcultures; I have started taking yoga. I came to this by way of helpful suggestion from my boyfriend Corey. And by helpful suggestion I mean an incessant, high-pressure sale, wherein which yoga was presented as the cure-all for anything I didn’t like in life…

JOB: My back hurts.

COREY: Yoga would take care of that. You should take yoga.

JOB: Why is my eye always irritated?

COREY: Probably circulation. You should take yoga. It would help that.

JOB: Are we out of beer? Dammit!

COREY: Yoga would help take care of your craving.

JOB: That was my Mom on the phone. My Aunt Lois has died.

COREY: See? You should’ve taken yoga.

Etcetera…

It’s inevitable that, when Corey reads this blog post (in a few months from now when he has nothing to do at work) he will object and claim that I am exaggerating his approach, but I will have my final revenge. When he complains, I’ll simply remind him that yoga will soothe his sense of injustice.

Ultimately, it is he who is vindicated, because I am loving yoga. Honestly, it wasn’t the act of yoga that intimidated me – it was the idea of being in a classroom environment. I realize that I’m no longer a kid and I can’t be forced to do homework or go to anyone’s office, but I’ve always said that the best thing about being an adult is that I never, ever, ever have to go to school again.

I believe I’ve said this before, but I HATE SCHOOL.

Which reminds me, I’ve discovered that actor Wilson Cruz, who played Rickie on My So-Called Life is living in my apartment building. That’s kind of cool.

I’m not taking him any housewarming gifts, however. I hate knowing my neighbors, so I assume they feel the same.

I hate knowing my neighbors because once you’ve reached a point where you’re chit-chatting, it makes it impossible to pass them quietly in the halls when you’re finally home from work. I’ve been on my feet dealing with people for eight hours and I’m only five yards from peace and quiet, but yes, I would LOVE to spend the next 15 minutes talking to you about how hot it is right now and yes, PLEASE tell me about taking your dog to the vet. Heavenly! And they’ll knock on your door asking for sugar! Yeah, I have sugar. I keep it at the grocery store down the street. Help yourself.

This makes me sound hostile, which is unfair. I am hostile, but more than hostile I’m a warm and sensitive sex machine. Don’t let the negative eclipse the positive, mon ami.

Where are we? I sometimes lift my head up from blogging and discover I have no idea how I got where I am, and my original intent seems very far away. Let’s review the first few paragraphs and maybe start again from there…

Hmm… Lots of flippant remarks about the devastating LA fires… Gross tangent about Hickory Farms gift boxes… (Who reads this blog?) The state of winter in LA… Ah, yes! My eventful week.

Friday night, Corey and I went to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, located in Franklin Village (or, as I like to call it, Hipsteropolis), for a midnight No-on-8 comedy show.

(Yes, we realize the 2008 elections are over, but the term No-on-8 has carried over and is no longer just campaigning, but a stand for marriage equality.)

One of the kerjillion ways Prop 8 sucks is that it hijacked my favorite number. I’ve had a crush on 8 since I first learned to count, and now I find myself saying “no” to 8 all the time. I hope, in four years, that the next Prop 8 will be for something I really want. Like, a “yes” vote for Prop 8 will mean every dude in his 30’s will get free massages and a Christmas gift-box from Hickory Farms. YES WE CAN!
 

It's not the photo - she's really this blurry in person.

Anyway, the performances at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre were hilarious. A long roster of performers, both famous and otherwise, did sketches and monologues in support of gay marriage. Highlights were Janeane Garofalo’s monologue, in which she somehow made her rant against men wearing sandals a strong argument in favor of marriage equality; a disorganized but nevertheless chuckle-inducing monologue by funnyman Steve Agee, whose role (as Steve) on the Sarah Silverman Program has unwittingly made him a poster-boy for the bear community...

...Also I loved a sketch by two young women who, with the idea that they would see what it would be like to be married to each other, basically screamed at one another with flawless timing (I don’t remember their names, unfortunately – anyone who does should say so in the comments below).

As a bitchy side-note, the barista who was working the Bourgeois Pig – some high-strung, fey dude – was awful, and caused me to leave before I could order. He spent almost 10 minutes filling the order of the two ladies in front of us (I timed it, yes) because he kept joking and performing for them. When it finally came time for Corey to order, he found that they didn’t have the flavor of tea he wanted. Faced with a last minute decision and an inability to easily see what teas were available (this café is lit with blue and red lights and no tea menu – just display boxes) Corey asked the barista what flavors they had, to which the barista snottily replied that he was too busy to read them, to read the boxes “yourself” and proceeded to help the next person in line! HEY JERKFACE! YOU ARE BUSY! BUSY HELPING THE CUSTOMER WHO JUST WAITED 10 MINUTES TO ORDER SOME TEA!

I’m really sorry about that last paragraph. I realize how indulgent it is to use my blog as a vehicle to rant about poor customer service, but it made me crazy. Ordering tea should never be a stressful experience. And it’s not like I want the guy to get fired. Just, y’know, assassinated a little bit.

Then, a few days ago, I had a phone interview with one of my idols, Sandra Bernhard. I’ll post a link once that’s up.

Yes, a full week. And mostly rad. I hope yours was as well, mon ami, and that the coming week is even better. Cheers.

*Cough!*
 

Coming Soon

Posted by phil blankenship, November 17, 2008 04:33pm | Post a Comment
 




MCA Home Video 55126

AMOEBLOGAY MUSIC LISTS: PART IV

Posted by Billyjam, November 17, 2008 10:13am | Post a Comment

suede
Welcome to Amoeblogay Music Lists Part IV, in the ongoing five-part series that began last Tuesday and was inspired in great part by the recent Out Magazine Top 100 Gayest Albums list. This second to last installment includes two lists --  both from Amoebloggers. Brad Schelden has compiled a list, in no particular order, noting that, "I did agree with a lot of the albums they (Out Magazine) listed. Seems to be a lot of disco and dance music missing as well."

The other list below comes from Amoeblogger Job O Brother, who says his list includes, "Some records that deserve a spot in any comprehensive list of recordings significant to the LGBT community. Word." Job also added that, "Some of these are so obvious it baffles me they were missed by Out Magazine. In scrutinizing their list, it seems rushed, haphazard, and the work of a small pool of people who would never get a job at someplace like Amoeba Music! I didn’t bother to include Pansy Division – again, so obvious! – because I know that other people contributing to your project will include them." 

Special thanks to both Job O Brother (Another Witty and Unnecessary Blog) and Brad Schelden (Pen is mightier than the sword) for their time and insights in this series and check back here for the final Part V to be posted here in a few days. Meantime, be sure to check out the wonderful Latino Gay Music Icons Amoeblog immediately below this blog, compiled and posted by Gomez Comes Alive!

Continue reading...

Latino Gay Music Icons

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 17, 2008 01:55am | Post a Comment
When Billy Jam asked me on my take on the 100 Top Gayest Albums Of All Time, I initially told him no because I felt I had no right to add to this list cause I’m not gay. I wouldn’t want to read a list on the 100 Best Things About East L.A. written by some hipster from Silver Lake, so why would someone want to hear about what I think?

It goes without saying that many gays shop at Amoeba and the Latin Rock & Pop section is no exception. In fact, we probably get more gays shopping in our section than most sections in the store. In the last four years I have worked in that section I have received quite the education on Latino gay icons.

So I decided to make a list. In the end I did not feel the list is a generalization on what gays like. I feel like our gay customers that shop at Amoeba Latin Music Sections helped shape this list.













These are popular with the older men:

Juan Gabriel
Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos
Luis Miguel
Chayanne
Jose Jose
Christian Castro
Ricky Martin
Juanes

Where's our queens at?

Ivy Queen
Monica Naranjo
La Lupe
Celia Cruz
Shakira
Thalia
Martha Sanchez
Paloma San Basilio
Ana Torroja
La Prohibida
Paulina Rubio

The Latina Lesbian set love their powerful women, gay or straight:

Julieta Venegas
Chavela Vargas
Aterciopelados
Ely Guerra
Maria Daniela Y Su Sonido Lasser
Amandaditita
Natalia LaFourcade
Gloria Trevi
Alejandra Guzman
Ximena Sariana
The Kumbia Queers

These CD’s sell well for the kids who aren't quite sure:

Porter
Zoe
Plastilina Mosh
Austin TV
Café Tacvba
Manu Chao

The Techno Side Of Gay:

Moenia
Mecano
Fangoria
Alex Syntek
Belanova
Miranda
Kabah

Sugary pop, so sweet it hurts:

Belinda
RBD
Timbiriche
Menudo
Garibaldi

Rock Music With The Muppets

Posted by phil blankenship, November 16, 2008 01:22pm | Post a Comment
 


Playhouse Video 6763

Sylmar November 15, 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 15, 2008 09:51pm | Post a Comment

Yorba Linda, Corona and Anaheim Hills November 15, 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 15, 2008 09:47pm | Post a Comment

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 11:15:08

Posted by Billyjam, November 15, 2008 02:01pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 11:15:08
a history of violence jedi mind tricks
1) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)

2) Jedi Mind Tricks A History Of Violence (Babygrande)

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

4) 88 Keys Death of Adam (Decon)

5) Little Brother Seperate But Equal (Traffic)

Special thanks to Scott at Amoeba Music Hollywood, where the Look Daggers (Ikey Owens of The Mars Volta & 2Mex of Visionaries and SonGodSuns) did a great free in-store performance on Thursday evening, for this week's Top Five Hip-Hop Albums. This chart, based on sales for the past week, includes some great new albums such as hip-hop trio Jedi Mind Tricks' sixth and latest full-length A History of Violence, and Little Brother's Separate But Equal (Drama Free Version) which should not be confused with the similar (including title) release by the group originally featured by DJ Drama on a hosted mixtape. The official DJ Drama-free version contains many extra previously unreleased tracks and bonus material.

And in the top slot on this week's Top Five is the great new release from Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest fame called The Renaissance. Q-Tip is currently riding high on rave reviews for both this album and his current headlining spot on the Bounce Tour. The video game tour, sponsored by 2K Sports, rolled through San Francisco two nights ago in a concert at the Mezzanine. Backing Q-Tip onstage for this show (and all of the tour) was both a full live band and a special DJ, DJ Scratch of EPMD fame. Music fanatic, Amoeba Music fan and self-described "jaded raver" Porkchop attended the SF show and was kind enough to write a review for the Amoeblog.

Porkchop's Q-Tip/Cool Kids Bounce Tour @ Mezzanine SF Review:

The Secret Of Yolanda

Posted by phil blankenship, November 15, 2008 01:30pm | Post a Comment
 


MGM / UA Home Video MV600210

Jody Reynolds 1932 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 15, 2008 12:45pm | Post a Comment

Rockabilly Hall of Fame
member Jody Reynolds died this past week of liver cancer in Palm Desert, California. He was 75. His most famous record, and sole Top 10 hit, "Endless Sleep," not only added a strange evocative sound to the typical Rockabilly rave-up of the day -- Reynolds differentiated himself from many of the era’s rockabilly artists with his disquieting, haunting melodies -- but was a forerunner in the long line of melodramatic teen hit records and a genre sometimes known as “teardrop rock."

Born in Denver on Dec. 3, 1932 as Ralph Joseph Reynolds, his family soon moved to Oklahoma, where he grew up listening to country music and Western swing acts such as Eddy Arnold and Bob Wills, eventually picking up the guitar as a teenager. In 1956 while performing in Yuma, Arizona, Reynolds wrote the song “Endless Sleep” after listening to Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" five times in a row on a jukebox. Two years later Reynolds met a music publisher named Herb Montei who forwarded the demo version to the Los Angeles based label Demon Records. Demon liked the demo but executives insisted on Reynolds tacking on a more uplifting end to the song; the revised finale has the suicidal girl saved from drowning by her guilt ridden beau. Another peculiar bit of history about “Endless Sleep” -- writing credits for the song went to Jody Reynolds and Dolores Nance, but according to Reynolds, Nance was a fictitious person created by the Demon Records to make it appear that there was songwriting team.

By the summer of 1958 “Endless Sleep” became a huge national and international hit, peaking at No. 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, no doubt opening the door for several other doomed tales of love-death tinged million selling pop hits including Mark Dinning's "Teen Angel," Ray Peterson's "Tell Laura I Love Her," Dickey Lee's "Patches" and the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack," to name but a few. Reynolds' next single was not as successful. “Fire of Love” peaked at number 66 on the Billboard charts. It would be his last charting single. Still, he continued to record and tour into the 1970’s for several labels including Smash, Brent and Pulsar Records. His typically anomalous 1963 recording, and excellent single, on Titan Records, "Stranger in the Mirror" / "Requiem for Love" featured a very young Bobbie Gentry (“Ode to Billie Joe”) in her debut. Eventually Reynolds opened a music store in Palm Springs and worked as a real estate agent. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1999.

Killer Fish

Posted by phil blankenship, November 14, 2008 03:34pm | Post a Comment
 






Key Video 9057

An Electronica-Dub-Reggae treasure for all-but-free! Djosos Krost's ignored No Sign of Bad

Posted by Mark Beaver, November 14, 2008 03:30pm | Post a Comment

Djosos Krost
(DJ Pharfar and DJ Filip) are two dub-obsessed Danes who are better known for having produced the most popular mix of Junior Senior's dancefloor hit, "Move Your Feet." 

I was on board No Sign Of Bad from the first dub moog-fuzz chords of this album. Guests on vocals include Tuco, Jah Bobby, Little Tasha, EMO and Adrian. Tuco, featured on lead vocals for the opener "Straight Upfront" has that lover's reggae vibe pulled from the holy book of Hugh Mundell and Gregory Isaacs. Such a slinky, relaxed delivery as the little dub bleeps and blurps chase each other's tails around the tune.

A good while back (95-99), I was really into the Japanese electro-dub outfit Audio Active and their super-tripped take on bong-heavy dub. Their two classic releases Tokyo Space Cowboys and Happy Happer still satisfy that stony, space-travel urge instilled in all lovers of On-U era Lee 'Scratch' Perry masterpieces like Time Boom De Devil Dead and From the Secret Laboratory.

Here's a classic track from Audio Active.



And one from that particular era of On-u Sound Dub Syndicate 'Scratch!'



No Sign of Bad
is pretty much the first recording I've heard since that captures that real bubbling, headrush reason for dub in the first place, while still mixing it up with that mis-step of idiom that can only be produced by a foreigner (read: non-Jamaican). I would include United States caucasian dub in that mix, but European and Japanese purveyors of dub are SO INTO IT that their final product tends to have that sheen of worship and awe that really good, classic dub deserves. American-caucasian dub has a hard time getting to the pressing plant without at least some measure of self-conscious cleverness or irony worked into the grooves. Give me the tire-tracks pressed into Jamaican vinyl any day!

I found my copy for $2.99. Go look for yours. Do it now!

Sukiyaki Western Django

Posted by Kells, November 14, 2008 11:25am | Post a Comment
Japanese director Takashi Miike is a freak. Based on ongoing discussions I've held with friends and co-workers I'd say his films seem very either/or; anyone who has seen even one of his films has undoubtedly come to the conclusion that they've either seen one Miike film too many or that they've become Miike movie addicts. I've seen only a few films of his that could be categorized as middling (my favorite is one of these: the wonderful musical-comedy-horror farce Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)), and plenty of others I had trouble watching or couldn't finish due to the shocking visual content his stories are often soaked in. Being highly prolific (he has directed over seventy theatrical, video and television productions since 1991 and is credited with directing fifteen productions from 2001 to 2002 alone) and internationally famous for making movies capable of churning stomachs and blowing minds with such outrageous depictions of extreme violence and bizarre sexual perversions in underworld or otherworldy settings that often involve gangsters, outsiders and general sickos, it is no surprise Miike's films caught Quentin Tarantino's eye. It is a surprise, however, to see Tarantino himself all gunslingin' and gussied up in the opening sequence of Miike's latest creation, made available this Tuesday on DVD, Sukiyaki Western Django. I was so not expecting his performance or much of what followed, but I can say that I had a good night of movie magic enjoyment.

The overall flavor of this film, and I'm not just saying this 'cause I've got Thanksgiving on my mind, is reminiscent of that fabled holiday concoction, the turducken. This movie may be made of way too many ingredients, but fans of Miike (and Tarantino), Westerns (especially Spaghetti Westerns), and cinematic sensory overindulgence will eat this movie up and continue to savor the flavor long after it's done. The cinematography and production design are just fantastic! For one thing this movie is inspired by the both the original samurai movies that inspired so many Spaghetti Westerns and the Spaghetti Westerns themselves, so the blending of both Eastern and Western influences and their delicious juxtaposition really make this movie worth viewing. In particular, I love the way pairings like an old west outpost set against an image like to one of those old woodblock print views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai (instead of the tired and done desert sunset) really create a sense of two visual worlds crashing together. Especially the depiction of a traditional torii gate in use as both an entrance marker and a gallows -- genius! If only that were the cover image for the DVD. Oh well. But the costumes are colorful and crazy, the camera work is exciting (and very, very Spaghetti Western feeling), an arsenal of weapons large enough to fill several barns is employed, and the music is a delightful mix of Morricone meets Kabuki including a Rock'n'Roll meets Enka style theme song, "Django - Sasurai," that is also enjoyable as a music video. There is even an erotic dance/flashback sequence that makes for a stunning piece of work in itself -- my favorite part of the movie would be a dance montage, of course.

All in all, Sukiyaki Western Django has an escapist entertainment vibe the likes of which home theaters were invented to celebrate in that this movie made from movies made from movies quite nearly has it all, turducken style. That said, I think the only thing that stands to turn folks off when watching this movie is the phonetic English dialogue spoken by all of the Japanese actors for the duration of the film. While it is interesting to keep tabs on which of the actors are better at delivering lines in English with a wild west accent tagged on for good measure (some of them are nearly close to bilingual, while others struggle with their lines like they've got constipation of the mouth or maybe something worse), most viewers will likely have to turn on those subtitles just to keep up with what all's being said. It gets a bit messy in places, word-wise, but the action is mainly where the real talking is done in this film. After all, the movies this one draws from definitely have their memorable lines, but the script itself is only a small part of the big picture. And as far as Miike is concerned, words are not necessary when exploring whether or not the sword is mightier than the gun. Check the trailer and see for yourself:


And if you're not buying that preposterous slice of action where a Japanese sword cuts a flying bullet down, check out this badass excerpt from the Japanese show トリビアの泉 (Fountain of Trivia):


Where's Waldo?

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 14, 2008 10:20am | Post a Comment


So, now that we actually have something to look forward to in our President Elect, I feel that we'll see our first real nostalgia for the decade known as the 90's. I know that there's been club nites and VH1 shows centered around fond 90's remembrances. However, now that's it approaching the "20 years ago today" mark, I think there will be a more in depth look back on the gen x/grunge era. I know for me, I can finally look back fondly at plasma donations, 60's styled garage rock bands, skinhead assaults, and janitorial gigs -- Henry Rollins on the Grammys and Chumbawamba blasting from frat houses, what a decade!!!  Dovetailed at either end by a Bush as well as a hit or two in the middle by Bush (the band!). The 1990's ushered in the modern American culture wars -- the left armed with the Scum Manifesto and the right playing duck duck goose with the Book of Revelations




But somewhere in the middle, during a serious hackey sack break, the stoned out slacker crowd crowded around one book.....Where's Waldo became a huge hit in the early 90's. The object of said work was "find the nerd in a cluster of people, places and things." Maybe it was a poetic statement on being lost in the modern world. Maybe it was just difficult. Anyhow, nothing quite says pre-internet boom 90's to me quite like the Waldo book franchise. Supposedly movie studios are still kicking around a Where's Waldo movie idea. With Toad the Wet Sprocket touring, $2500 copies of Nirvana 7"s and a Democrat in the White House again, someone should really capitalize on the "90's are cool again" feelings before it's all over.  Here's a gallery of images that hark back to the Waldo finding of yesteryear...



AMOEBLOGAY MUSIC LISTS: PART III

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2008 11:55pm | Post a Comment
mirah you think it's like this...
Part III in this week's Amoeblogay Music Lists series, an ongoing informal survey of the best queer/gay or "gayest" (in all senses of the term) music or movies, includes submissions from Amoebloggers Miss Ess and Eric Brightwell. Note that most of these lists drew inspiration from the Out Magazine Top 100 Gayest Albums of All Time.

Amoeblogay Part I featured Larry Bob's Top 26  Queer Albums and Amoeblogay Music Lists Part II featured Amoebites Mark Beaver, Amoeba Brady, Brent James and Michael Whitmore. Lists still to come from Amoebites Brad Schelden, Jon Ginoli and Job O'Brother.

First up today for Part III is Miss Ess who says, "I agree about Pansy Division, but I personally haven't listened to them too much. I also think earlier Gossip records are better than the one that made the list. I like That's Not What I Heard. Sleater-Kinney should have had more entries on there too, like The Hot Rock and The Woods. I also love Mirah's album You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This."

Eric Brightwell"s 10 Gayest Releases:
 

Mission Impossible 2


Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man (1991 Don Johnson & Mickey Rourke)

Amoeba's Video Game Top Sellers

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 13, 2008 05:29pm | Post a Comment


Guitar Hero World Tour



Fallout 3



Madden NFL 2009



Lego Batman



Rock Band 2



Silent Hill Homecoming



Star Wars the Force Unleashed



Bioshock



out this week 11/11...girl talk...new order...the smiths...pelle carlberg...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 13, 2008 04:20pm | Post a Comment
I was a New Order fan way before I was a Joy Division fan. I know most people would claim the other way around. I am sure you hear some people born in 1985 who claim to have liked Joy Division before they liked New Order, but it is just not possible for some of us. Joy Division was formed in 1976, when I was 2 years old. Ian Curtis committed suicide days after my sixth birthday. We simply didn't cover this event in my Kindergarten class. Joy Division were not on Sesame Street. It really was not until 1987 when I started getting into New Order. The double album Substance came out in 1987. It still remains one of my favorite albums. It was one of the albums that shaped who I am today. It probably was also one of the first albums that I was absolutely obsessed with. I am sure it has a special place in the heart of many. The first album by them I remember actually buying was Technique, which came out in January of 1989. I was in ninth grade and not really ready for the 80s to be over. I actually think I had a dubbed cassette of Technique and Substance before I actually bought any album by them. Within the next couple of years I picked up most of the New Order albums and the two studio albums of Joy Division. I quickly fell in love with Joy Division as well, but for different reasons. I was also a Morrissey fan before being a Smiths fan. It was always exciting to go back and discover a band that was over before I was old enough to actually listen to them while they were happening. I fell in love with New Order-- there was just no avoiding it. They were everything I wanted in a band. They were also really unavoidable during the 80s and 90s. New Order were all over the radio and you would most likely hear them everywhere else you went. You would hear them in the mall or at your friends' house. DJs loved New Order. You would most likely hear them at any school dance, dance club, party, wedding, or bar mitzvah that you went to. They were a band that was easy to fall in love with. Joy Division captured that inner depression and angst that many of us felt, but New Order captured that more fun and optimistic side that many of us also identified with. Joy Division and New Order were sort of two sides of a coin. They have both remained with me ever since. I still never get tired of hearing "True Faith" or "Blue Monday."

Joy Division released a fantastic box set back in 1997. Ten years later the three Joy Division albums, Unknown Pleasures, Closer, and Still, got the deluxe Rhino reissue treatment. New Order got a box set in 2002. It is now finally time for the New Order album reissues! The first five New Order albums all get reissues this week. These deluxe 2CD sets are the ones that Rhino has been putting out the last couple of years. They did the same thing with the Depeche Mode and Cure catalogs. Those reissues were all done perfectly. They look great and have great liner notes. These albums really did need remastering and really do sound fantastic. I grew up with many of these albums on cassette, so imagine the difference! The second discs are always exciting as well. It is really fun to hear a whole group of songs and remixes and demos from the same era of the albums you fell in love with so many years ago. Rhino still owes us a couple of Cure reissues. They never did get around to Disintegration and Wish. I know that they have plans to put this out, it just seems to be taking forever. Maybe the new Cure album pushed them back a bit, but these two Cure albums we are waiting on are two of my favorites, so it is a bit of torture just having to wait for them. The Smiths and Morrissey reissues cannot be too far away. The new Smiths album out this week should give us all hope that they are in the works. The Sound of The Smiths comes out this week as a single disc compilation and a deluxe 2CD set. The deluxe version looks fantastic and comes with great glossy liner notes and photos. The second disc may not have much for the rabid Smiths collector, but for someone who only owns their studio albums, there is quite a bit of new stuff on here. There might even be some Smiths songs on here that you have never heard before. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a couple versions of some songs that I had never heard before. The Smiths reissues cannot really be that far away in the future.

But this week, it is all about New Order. I never really gave up on these albums. I own most of them on cassette, CD and vinyl. I usually go through a New Order phase once or twice a year and listen to all their albums constantly for a couple of weeks. Once you start it is really hard to stop. I think I listened to all 5 reissues, including the bonus discs, in just one day. The albums sound better than ever. They will bring you back to that very special place if you have not heard them in a while. They will also surely make you fall in love with them all over again. They really are that good. They might sound dated to some, but they still sound as good as they did when they first came out to me. Maybe that is just because I never stopped listening to them. I really don't ever want to stop.

Here is what you get in these five great New Order reissues...

Movement (1981)

Disc One (the original album)new order movement

Pulsebeat

Posted by phil blankenship, November 13, 2008 01:30pm | Post a Comment
 




Lightning Video LA9533

William Friedkin's Sorcerer Saturday At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, November 12, 2008 11:11pm | 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 15


Sorcerer (1977)

dir. William Friedkin
starring Roy Scheider
soundtrack by Tangerine Dream


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




November
November 22 Waxwork
(20 Anniversary! More fun than a barrel of mummies!)

 

November 29 Vanity Insanity Triple Feature!
Tickets $10. Three ACTION PACKED films, vintage trailers & more!
Never Too Young To Die 8pm

Action Jackson 10pm

The Last Dragon Midnight

December
December 6 Phase IV
(Paramount archive 35mm print!)

December 20 Title TBA
December 27 New Year's Evil

AMOEBLOGAY MUSIC LISTS: PART II

Posted by Billyjam, November 12, 2008 07:10pm | Post a Comment
the smiths
Whitmore, Amoeba Brady, Brent James,
and J. Mark Beaver all contributed to this second part in the ongoing Ameoblogay Music Lists week for the best queer/gay or gayest albums, songs, music videos or movies. Amoeblogay Music Lists Part I yesterday included SFQueer.com's Larry Bob's Top 26. His and all of these lists were inspired by the recent Top 100 Gayest Albums of All Time compiled by Out Magazine, previously Amoeblogged about in these pages, and to whom we are indebted.

One thing worth mentioning in light of the outcome of Proposition 8 in the California elections last week and its blow to same-sex marriage in the state, is that despite this step backwards for human rights, a likely positive outcome is that it will not only strengthen & energize the civil rights movement but will most probably also inspire some powerful new art, including of course lots of great reactionary music.

WHITMORE WEIGHS IN ON HIS TOP GAY ALBUM NOMINATIONS:

The record I couldn't believe wasn't on the list, because I would have placed it at number one -- with a bullet! -- if for no other reason then the fact that it's so weirdly brilliant, not necessarily good, but weirdly brilliant: Jobriath's self-titled first album on Elektra. I thought about blogging about this record recently because I think it was just reissued on CD along with his second album, Creatures of the Street.

Strictly Instrumental

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 11, 2008 11:45pm | Post a Comment






Happy Martinmas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 11, 2008 09:10pm | Post a Comment

Today is the feast day of Martin of Tours. Martin was a Roman soldier who gave part of his cloak to a naked homeless man. According to some, he gave the rest of his clothes to another naked man and rode Lady Godiva-style through the late autumn winds. God miraculously warmed the earth for him, which is why it gets warm after being cold this time of year (known by a few as "St. Martin's Summer"). That night, Martin dreamed that Jesus came to him, scantily clad in the portion of his cloak which he'd given to the naked guy. When Martin awoke from his homo-erotic dream, he decided to devote himself to Christ and was baptized at 18.


Eventually he became a bishop in Tours. He didn't want to be a bishop so he hid in a goose pen. The geese betrayed him with honking and that is why we traditionally eat goose today, a sort of revenge best served fairly hot.



In Tours he gained a reputation for his iconoclastic violence, destroying the polytheistic art objects and ancient, historic temples of the indigenous Druidic religion like some medieval representative of the Taliban. He even went a little nuts and cut down trees, to the locals' dismay. On one occasion, a druid consented that he could cut down the tree if he stood where it was likely to fall. He did so and, of course, the tree fell in another direction. The druids were impressed.


He didn't stop there. He was able to stop fire, cast out demons and even resurrect the dead. Threads of the sackcloth he wore were used to heal the sick. He also introduced the Chenin Blanc varietal and, although he only believed in drinking wine when sick, is widely associated with viticulture.

Martin himself lived a fairly ascetic existence, as recommended by Jesus. Wearing clothing made of camel hair and living in a cave, he became strangely popular by the middle ages. The practice of "Quadragesima Sancti Martini," or, "the forty days of St. Martin" were marked by overindulgence on the eve of his feast day followed by 40 days of fasting.


Today, Flemish and Germanic children parade through the streets with lanterns made of paper... or beets. They're led by a horseman dressed as St. Martin whom the kids sing songs about. In Malta children are given bags of various nuts, citrus fruits and pomegranates which symbolize things that I don't feel like getting into.


In Portugal people gather to eat roasted chestnuts and drink aguapé and jeropiga. Some children are given presents today, sitting out St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. For Baltic people, Martinmas is a day to honor the dead, and the first day of winter. People stopped working in the fields, going to work instead in the home (if women) and the forests (if men). In Balkan countries, priests bless the grape before it becomes wine. They eat Mlinci, a dish made of bread that's been fried in bird fat. In Poland they eat croissants and set off fireworks. In Spain they slaughter pigs which has given rise to the saying "A cada cerdo le llega su San Martín," which would sound really cool if you said it right before offing some bad guy on November  11.


In Denmark, where they hate Germans, the holiday is known as Mortens aften because Martin sounds so German (e.g. Martin Luther). One of the two Danish guys I know is named Morten. Today, Danes eat duck because Goose is too expensive. This doesn't really seem fair to the duck, who had nothing to do with Martin's being forced into the church.



In the olden days, men went door-to-door, dancing and singing and crossing-dressing, a tradition echoed by the characters Shenehneh Jenkins, Edna Payne from the '90s television series... Martin! Another interesting connection is that there is a country, St. Martin, which is mostly known for its bars and nude beaches. Things that make you go "hmm."

November 10, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, November 11, 2008 10:14am | Post a Comment

AMOEBLOGAY MUSIC LISTS, PART I: PANSY DIVISION #1

Posted by Billyjam, November 11, 2008 08:45am | Post a Comment
pansy division
As typically seems to be the case with any published "best of" music list, not everyone agreed with the recent Top 100 Gayest Albums of All Time compiled by Out Magazine, which was Amoeblogged about here on September 6th. After reading over this list many disagreed with numerous entries, suggesting certain additions and/or deletions. Most did agree however that Out Magazine's Top 100 list, based on a survey by the respected gay publication of 100 gay music authorities, was a pretty darn good list, albeit not perfect.

"There are a lot of omissions including The Cure, Nina Hagen, a ton more disco artists -- and of more recent artists Basement Jaxx and Miss Kittin" was an Amoeblog comment posted by A.D.Depp.  "It seemed to be a little hipster heavy. It seemed like it missed many gay iconic artists," critiqued Amoeblogger Gomez Comes Alive. Meanwhile Larry Bob of the SFQueer.com website, who updates the exhaustive dally Queer things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area list,  posted this comment to the Amoeblog, "No Pansy Division? Ridiculous. At least they managed to get Team Dresch and Fifth Column to rep the queercore. Also no Tribe 8."

The SFQueer.com webmaster is absolutely right, especially about Pansy Division (pictured above and whom FYI are the number one most popular act, by a landslide, in this Amoeblogay music survey series, which runs over the next few days).  In fact, besides lacking in the queercore department the Out Magazine Top 100 albums list also displayed a glaring lack of any so-called homo-hop from artists such as the Bay Area's Deep Dickollectivelike  (DDC), whose song "Straighttrippin' (feat. Doug E)" from their album BourgieBohoPostPomoAfroHomo was featured on the Independent Sounds: Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. III -- another omission that the ever astute Larry Bob also noted.

Multiple Maniacs

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 10, 2008 11:45pm | Post a Comment








(In which Job learns he is no chicken.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 10, 2008 03:17pm | Post a Comment

The view from my window. That store in the middle is Linda Thai - they have great food.

It’s a beautiful, autumn day in Hollywood. I’m sitting in my underwear at my open French doors which overlook my bustling community and writing this sentence. Well, I was. Now I’m writing this sentence.

Suddenly, I begin a new paragraph and with it, a faint sense of dread seeps in, because I realize I’m writing about writing, and there’s only so long that that is cute. It could quickly descend into obnoxiousness.

So I choose to focus on your face. Your sweet, shining face reading this blog entry. I can feel your eyes gaze on these words, and my heart grows warm. A little too warm. This is uncomfortable, actually.

I think I might be having a heart attack.

Which reminds me of that age-old question: What music would you like to be listening to when you’re experiencing myocardial infarction (or, as they call it on the East Coast, Hellmann’s)?

It’s a tricky question because you want something that will keep your spirits up as you endure the occlusion of your coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, but you don’t want anything too loud and jarring when an unstable collection of lipids and macrophages ruptures the wall of your artery. Plus, it should be catchy. Anything that meanders like, say, late Scott Walker or Laura Nyro is going to annoy your nurses every time. Nurses hate Laura Nyro when they’re working. Also  they don’t like it when you call them “mommy”.

“My pain scale is a 5, Mommy,” is all you have to say and they’ll shoot you a look so cold you’d think you were in the E.R. for hypothermia. It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to make things more cozy and homey. Ask them “Why are you hurting me with that needle, Mommy?” and forget about it. No good pills for you. (This is different if the nurse is male, however, in which case they not only think it’s cute that you call them “mommy” but will often scribble their personal home phone number on your electrocardiogram.)

The results come back and you learn that it wasn’t a heart attack at all, rather, your heart just broke a little bit. It broke a little bit because California, the state you’re so proud of (normally) and which has for so long been on the cutting edge of liberty (normally) has decided to pass Proposition 8, which basically lets me know how the majority of voters think about my sexuality (abnormally).

The pain is compounded when you learn that the success of this measure was due in no small part to the Mormons and the African-American community. But I guess that’s to be expected, since neither group really knows or understands what it’s like to be an oppressed minority, right?

Um…
 

The new home of California politics: Salt Lake Temple, Utah

But this is a music blog, not the Huffington Post, so I’m going to separate myself from this issue which is HURTING ME SO VERY, VERY DEEPLY and concentrate on the music I’ve been listening to since Election Day, 2008.

Each selection appeals to me because it reminds me of people who have lived through harder times than myself. People who bore the brunt of tremendous injustice and still managed to create music ripe with dignity, intelligence, and unvanquished spirit. When I hear the selections below, I regain a sense of will and courage that must see me through until I am no longer an object of HATE simply because of who I choose to LOVE.

Nina Simone
Pirate Jenny
 


Paul Robeson Ol' Man River

(with alternate lyrics by Paul Robeson)



Ludwig Van Beethoven Symphony No. 3
conducted by Herbert Von Karajan



Medusa Dare To Be Truthful

Posted by phil blankenship, November 10, 2008 02:53pm | Post a Comment
 




Columbia TriStar Home Video 93683

SINGER MIRIAM MAKEBA DIES AFTER COLLAPSING ON STAGE

Posted by Billyjam, November 10, 2008 10:01am | Post a Comment
miriam makeba
Legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba, who was banned from her own country for more than 30 years under apartheid, died after collapsing on stage during a concert in Italy last night (Sunday Nov 9th) according to a report from AP. She was rushed to the Pineta Grande clinic in Castel Volturno, near the southern city of Naples, where she died of a heart attack earlier this morning (Monday 11/10). She was 73 years of age. 

Reportedly the singer had just finished performing "Pata Pata," one of her best known hits (once famously banned in her homeland), when she collapsed. Known as "Mama Africa," Makeba's sudden death has sent shockwaves through South Africa, which is in mourning today. "One of the greatest songstresses of our time has ceased to sing," said the country's Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in a statement today. "Throughout her life, Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid and colonialism through the art of song."

Over her long, prolific career she had performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, and Paul Simon. She was the first African woman to win a Grammy award in 1966 together with Harry Belafonte for the album An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba, which dealt with the political plight of black South Africansmiriam makeba pata pata under apartheid. Her rise to international awareness began when she starred in the 1959 anti-apartheid documentary Come Back, Africa. A year later when she tried to fly home for her mother's funeral, she discovered her passport had been revoked. It would be thirty years before she was allowed to return again to her homeland.

Wrong Lyrics Exposed, Part 2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 10, 2008 01:52am | Post a Comment
In my first blog about wrong lyrics exposed, I shared how as a kid I somehow added the name Wilt Chamberlain in The Commodores' song "Easy." I have to think that he was so much in the news at the time that I must have had his name embedded in my head. Even growing up in the Showtime-era Lakers of Magic and Kareem, we still heard about Wilt The Stilt.

Another guy who was in the news a lot during that time was Uganda's dictator Idi Amin. Every day as my father watched the nightly news I heard his name. Maybe that's why when Valen Halen did a cover of the Kinks "You Really Got Me," I thought they were singing: "YOU IDI AMIN!" I thought his name was an insult. To many, I'm sure it was.

Here is former Uganda dictator Idi Amin, taken from the great Barbet Schroeder directed autobiography, General Idi Amin Dada:



Here's Van Halen doing "You Really Got Me":



And for good measure, Here's the O.G. version. It doesn't much sound like Idi Amin on the O.G. version.

Latin Rock & Pop Releases For October & November

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 10, 2008 01:45am | Post a Comment

As the days get closer to Christmas, record labels start pushing all their potential moneymakers to the forefront. Sometimes quality releases go unnoticed in the avalanche of greatest hits and blockbuster releases. Here is a reminder of some releases that you can find in our Latin Rock & Pop section for yourself and for future gifts for Christmas.

Aterciopelados'
newest release, Rio, is their most focused release since 2001's classic, Gozo Poderoso. Filled with melodic vocals and soft Latin electronica beats, Aterciopelados explores their Colombian hippie side without sounding contrived. Life and the environment are the central themes of this album that link each song with the sound of a river flowing, rio/river...get it? Click here to watch a song from their Amoeba instore.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela, the surprise Flamenco hit of 2006, return with Live In Tokyo. Fans of the brother/sister duo claim that their strength comes from their live performances, including many Amoebites who witnessed their in store performance at Amoeba Hollywood two years ago. The release includes a DVD and a few new tunes for you to play air guitar to.

The much anticipated live performance of The Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall is finally available on both LP and CD. For those who had forgotten, this is the infamous performance caught at the end of Wim Wender’s film of the group. Most of the key players in that concert, Compay Segundo, Pio Leyva, Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer have all passed on in the recent years. This CD/LP is a document of one of the greatest nights of their lives. My question is, why they didn’t include the entire concert on DVD?

Calle 13’s Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo is another classic from half brothers Residente y Visitante. From the offset, Calle 13 distances themselves from the Reggaeton movement, calling out not just some Reggaetoneros, but all of them! The music as well as the lyrics is irreverent, mixing Urban beats with Mexican Banda, Gypsy Music and Cumbia Villera. Calle 13 collaborates with Indie En Espanol stalwarts Café Tacvba on the song "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," which to me, feels like an updated version of Manu Chao’s "Me Gustas Tu." Another collaboration is with Salsa legend Ruben Blades on "La Perla," in which Ruben Blades shows much updated flow! Calle 13's latest is my favorite of the bunch so far.

Nacional Records are releasing two CDs from Senor Coconut. First is the domestic version of Around The World and the re-issue of El Baile Aleman. For fans of Senor Coconut (also known by his German name, Uwe Schmidt), you know what to expect. Around The World contains the a Latin Lounge version of the Daft Punk hit of the same name as well as versions of Prince’s "Kiss" and The Eurhythmics classic, "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This." This is perfect for fans of kitsch and those who yearn for the days of Les Baxter and Perez Prado performing contemporary hits. El Baile Aleman is the classic album which Senor Coconut does Cumbia, Merengue and Mambo versions of famous Kraftwerk songs. This is true genius at work.

Speaking of Cumbia, Crammed Records out of Belgium get into the fray with Arriba La Cumbia, a mix CD compiled by DJ Russ Jones (Future World Funk, Gypsy Beats & Balkan Bangers). Jones mixes classic Cumbia with remixes from Toy Selectah, Up, Bustle & Out, Mo'Horizons and Basement Jaxx. The selection is more than adequate, though if you grew up listening to Cumbia you may find it a little trite. Russ Jones is not as good as the DJs you would find at a Quinceñera, wedding or club anywhere in the Americas. Russ sort of plays it like an European, which is well...what he is.

Yet other non-Latino exploring Latin America culture is Afronaut, formerly of Bugz In The Attic. His Afronaut Y Su Amigos is bumping! It is a house blend of Puerto Rican folk music, Bomba Y Plena. This one is for fans of Deep Latin and Afro house music. Afronaut is for fans of Quantic & Nickodemus, The Bronx River Parkway and The Candela All-Stars.

Ultimate Desires

Posted by phil blankenship, November 9, 2008 02:23pm | Post a Comment
 




Prism Entertainment 8251

Price Tag Gallery 12

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 8, 2008 11:50pm | Post a Comment







Mimes in music and film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 8, 2008 09:12pm | Post a Comment

Last year for Halloween I was Bip the Clown, a famous creation of the then recently passed master of mime, Marcel Marceau. I thought it would be good to go an entire day without talking, yet it seemed to arouse violent annoyance in as many people as liked it.


 
I think it made me realize that I like mime, especially when it's darker and scarier... as in the mimetic acting of German Expressionist silent film... as well as comedians like Buster Keaton, Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, who were all essentially mimes. And, come to think of it, so was Cesar the somnambulist in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari... whom I was for Halloween a while ago, come to think of it.


Mime has its roots in ancient Greece but most conventions of modern mime were developed by the Bohemian mime, Jean-Gaspard Deburau, who adapted aspects of the commedia dell'arte for nineteenth century French actors. His most famous character was Pierrot, the moonstruck, dumb romantic in white face and poofy threads. He was portrayed in Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis.


In the 1920s, Étienne Decroux created a highly original take on mime, focusing on statuary poses, a technique known as corporeal mime.


 
Jacques Tati worked, not surprisingly, as a mime. As a director, he mimed out his actors' movements.




Lindsay Kemp
was raised in Yorkshire, an area whose green moors and dales have earned it the nickname "God's Own Country." At Bradford Arts College he studied with famous Austrian dancer Hilde Holger and even more famous mime, Marcel Marceau. His take on mime was experimental, nightmarishly creepy, psychedelia and Butoh-informed and part of that whole anarchic, vaugely-sinister, druggy whimsy that seems to be evident in so much late '60s/early-'70s British stuff from the final scene of Blow-Up to The Prisoner. He had a small role in the druggily whimsical The Wicker Man as well as Velvet Goldmine and others. His troupe employed David Bowie and Kate Bush.

David Bowie


Peter Gabriel
is an admitted fan of Kemp and Marceau and, especially in Genesis, he was a mimetic performer with a stock of mime-ish characters. 



Steve Harley
, in Cockney Rebel, frequently incorporated aspects of mime into his performances. And he always chewed gum, it seems.


Jobriath
was obviously informed by mime, mentioning Pierrot numerous times and striking mime-like poses in pictures. He seems a bit nervous here, but there isn't that much footage of him performing and he seems to get a little more comfortable and mime like as it goes on.


Renato Zero
, hailing from the home of the commedia dell'arte, has clearly a been inspired by mime.


Klaus Nomi
's look, his movements and performance all have a distinct air of mime about them.


Kate Bush


 

Marillion's Fish seemed fairly mime-informed... and perhaps owed a little to Peter Gabriel.

I think that part of the reason mimes are so broadly detested is that most people who practice it are just sidewalk performers in whiteface trying to get paid for doing charades. Plus it's just sort of a comedy cliché, like midgets biting peoples legs. Shakes the Clown certainly addressed it, as has Reno 911 and millions of struggling comedians and bloggers.


 
More postive portrayals of mimes do exist in film. Consider:

Hildur and the Magician (1969), Le Monde Etait Plein De Couleurs (1973) and Sueño de Noche de Verano (1984)

Ch-ch-changes: thoughts on music, election Day '08

Posted by Kells, November 8, 2008 01:19pm | Post a Comment

Tuesday was tough. I woke up early, voted without having to wait in line (my polling place has always been quiet) and spent the bulk of the day thereafter feeling like I had been physically rendered into ragged shreds of mixed emotions that mainly resembled a patchwork of grief. Being confined to the registers at work, restless, while polls across the country closed at their designated times, the ague that wracked my body and mind increased as the day sank heavily into night. On my dinner break things started looking up; I spent the hour with a politically like-minded coworker (and dear friend) at a local sports bar so decorated with festive balloons, streamers and flat-screen televisions that the effort needed to focus on what might really constitute "news" distracted my mind away from any results I didn't want to see, but nevertheless felt somewhat prepared to receive. When it was projected that my home state of Virginia was going to "go red," as red as a Virginia cardinal, my nerves slackened into an uncomfortable numbness.

Given the option to leave work early, I fled and hopped a bus to meet up with some friends at a bar I'd never been to or heard of. Trying to find a place unknown on such a night was absolutely frustrating and just when I was knitting my brow in consternation, bent over my cellphone feverishly texting queries to inebriated friends, a girl at the front of the bus began to squeal like a steam leak. Suddenly strangers were hugging, kissing and high-fiving me, dancing and falling all over each other on a crowded, careening Haight street bus with a horn-happy driver at the wheel. Images alike to those photos taken during the block parties that erupted at the end of World War II flashed to life in front of me and, maybe for the first time in my life, I felt the news. Everyone here would remember this night, the night the streets of San Francisco went wild for Barack Obama's victory and the end of eight years of  George W. Bush.

Later at the bar I learned from some fellow Virginians that my home state had, in the end, gone blue (!) and that, duh, Illinois senator Barack Obama had indeed won the presidential race. I sipped at my freshly drawn pint, feeling like a crumpled ball of unraveling strain while tears welled and fell freely over smiling cheeks on so many faces in the place. More hugs, kisses and high-fives were exchanged by all. After the silence that settled the rowdy throng of patrons during Obama's speech had lifted, the first thing my friends and I discussed, naturally, was music, or more specifically, the absence of it. We had noticed that the celebration for Obama in Chicago did not include any specific song, as in a campaign song or a victory song. Though plenty of chants were taken up by the exuberant crowd, no song nor soundtrack enhanced the event save for a sort of generic theme composed of sweeping yet soothing symphonic, vaguely patriotic sounding string-scapes that served to bookend the commercial breaks. Lame. Granted, no song need follow such a punctuating speech, a speech so signifying the end of weeks of high tension and sleeplessness for many Americans regardless of their respective preferred candidates. Nevertheless, for me and my friends, the absence of a song, any song, the song was sorely felt.

This musical missing piece turned our discussion from the recent used (some would say abused) campaign songs (like Obama's "Better Way" by Ben Harper and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder and John McCain's choice of "Take A Chance On Me" by ABBA after John Mellencamp asked the McCain camp to stop using his song "Our Country") to our infinite possible suggestions for songs that for whatever reason were not used by the candidates. My immediate go-to song choice for Obama would have been David Bowie's "Changes," but then a mental run down of the lyrics the comprise the meat of the song had me searching for something more appropriate. Maybe the Pointer Sisters' "Yes We Can Can" would be a better fit, as it goes right along with the repetitive phrasing of Obama's landmark speech, but maybe a little too down tempo to inspire fist pumping, or bumping...you know, victory daps. For McCain, who is just about the same age as my Dad, I gravitate towards songs I tend to associate with my Dad's taste in music. For example, my Dad really likes Kenny Rogers so why not play "The Gambler" at McCain rallies? It carries almost the same message as Abba's "Take A Chance On Me" besides the fact that it sounds a helluva lot better and strikes a chord with card players across America -- and that's basically everyone. A friend of mine in Michigan suggested that maybe "Money" by Pink Floyd might've been a good one to throw in the mix given our current economic conundrum as well as Li'l Kim's "Can't F*ck With Queen Bee" for Sarah "Barracuda" Palin. I know it's too late for such suggestions, but it's fun to play.
And speaking of Sarah Barracuda, anyone catch that song played at the close of the Republican National Convention a while back? Heart's 1977 hit "Barracuda" pounded over the loud speakers and into a mess of trouble, causing Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson to issue a statement condemning the use of their song along with the addition of a cease-and-desist notice sent from Universal Music Publishing and sony BMG. The ladies' statement read:

"Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late 70's as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The 'barracuda' represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there's irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."

And I always thought the song was about burning witches or something like the Salem witch trials -- a somewhat fitting theme for Palin depending on your political point of view. Though the song was meant to refer to Palin's nickname earned during her high school years for being skilled at basketball, really, could there be any better song than one that states, "if the real thing don't do the trick/better make up something quick?" I think not, especially now that everything's said and done and Palin critics have grown increasingly pointed in their harsh remarks and egregious commentary.

One friend of mine mentioned at Tuesday night's election party that if any musical genre stand to lose from Obama's victory it has to be punk rock. Of course punk thrives on political gaffs, governmental abuse of power, and war, war, war but, let's face it, it also thrives on bad fashion, general malaise, apathetic grimaces and beer, beer, beer. I agree that American punkers might have a more difficult time gnashing their teeth at Obama than they've had with Bush, but there is enough decay, injustice and tyranny in the world yet to provide for at least a dozen other punk bands as good as, say, The Subhumans, who once asked their liberty-hawked bretheren, "are you prepared to die for your beliefs or just to dye your hair?" Punk's not going anywhere, but maybe reggae is, thanks to Obama supporter Papa Michigan:


Has the problematic playlist for the historic McCain/Palin campaign been pushed aside to make way for a new wave of upbeat, Obama-centric dance mixes? Part of me hopes not because I personally like to keep my politics and my kinetics separate. That song sure is catchy though and other Obama inspired tracks are soon to follow in the footsteps of artists like Papa Michigan and Will.I.Am, who is ready to release his third song about Obama which sounds like it'll be titled "It's A New Day." One can only hope that the political changes that occur within next four years will have minimal effect on the music industry not to mention the overall quality of music made during the impending Obama administration (read Brad Schelden's Amoeblog for his take on this issue). I, for one, am hopeful and look forward to seeing what form the next four years will take musically and politically. Like Bowie says, "Turn and face the strain/Ch-ch-changes/don't wanna be a richer man...I'm gonna have to be a different man," nice words from a man who once penned a song called "I'm Afraid of Americans." It would seem that many Americans are afraid of Americans these days despite what any English musician like Bowie or Morrissey might say. No matter, our differences, however vast, are united through the music we make as we are, all of us, beings who express themselves via sound, song and music-making. That's a simple fact that puts us right out there in the wild we came from with the howling wolves, the singing whales and the sonic mimicry of the Australian Lyre bird (the ultimate rip-off artist). That said, given all this talk of politics and music, no misappropriation of song use is worse than the absence of joyful music at an event that clearly called for it. And thanks to that oversight I've got "Changes" in my head again.

Suze Rotolo's A Freewheeling Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 06:05pm | Post a Comment

I just finished reading Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. Rotolo is most famous for having had a complicated and inspiring relationship with Bob Dylan early in his career and for appearing with him arm in arm on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.


Her autobiography is an easy read, and she chronicles not only her time in the Village in the early 60s, but also the trials of growing up the child of two communists in the era of blacklisting, and her post-Dylan trip to then-recently Communist Cuba for several months in 1964. It's interesting to read about a woman's life in the early 60s (I was glad to have recently experienced a visual touchstone of the early 60s in Mad Men) and the limitations that were part and parcel of daily life back then that are now in many ways foreign to us gals. When Suze was with Dylan, everyone expected she would merely be his shadow and have no career or creative pursuit of her own, and, among other things, she was subjected to his own rigid expectations of her looks and her second-class status.

While the book was mainly enjoyable to read, I'm not sure if I was expecting too much, but it was not heavy on details, in my opinion. I respect Rotolo's right to keep some things private, of course, but I also wondered at times why she was compelled to write a book if she wanted to keep so much to herself. Still, the book does give an outline of The Village as an exciting, creative place and also of Dylan as a charismatic but manipulative charmer. She also gives an interesting take on the corrosive effects of fame on individuals, those around them, and their relationships.

My favorite story from the book came when Rotolo remembers the night in 1964 she had a party at her house and a man who identified himself as George Harrison called and asked her if she'd come down to the hotel where he was with the other Beatles and Dylan and bring some girls. When Suze showed up at the hotel, she couldn't get in and when she finally located Dylan on the phone, they fought so bitterly she left without ever getting upstairs.

Having completed this book along with many others about Dylan, I'd say if you've never read a book about Dylan's early years and would like to, I would most highly suggest Dylan's own Chronicles Vol. 1, or David Hajdu's Positively Fourth Street, both incredibly absorbing reads that paint what feels like a much more colorful and precise portrait of both Dylan, New York City, and the early 60s. What those books can't offer is a woman's true perspective, and for that, Rotolo's book is worth reading. But don't go looking for all those new and different nuggets of Dylan mythology you were hoping would be included. Instead, be satisfied with a female's insider experience of what was supposed to be the most "free" place on the planet in its time, NYC's Village.

Though throughout the book Rotolo again and again distinguishes herself from others' expectations that she was merely Dylan's puppet, she sure does use the word "freewheeling" a lot in the book to describe things -- a lot -- and she takes several of her chapter titles from more recent albums by Dylan. In these and other ways, she is still connecting herself to this man she also spends much of her book trying to disentangle and distance herself from. A complicated relationship indeed.

Bobby Charles - Let Yourself Go

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 02:49pm | Post a Comment

If you're trying to escape the inevitable -- late fall's chill in the air -- then slip into an easy sense of denial by listening to Bobby Charles' self titled 1972 album.


The album is bursting with the organic sound of Bearsville, NY in the early 70s crossed with a dash of Cajun spice and that simple, ephemeral combination will warm you right up again.

Bobby Charles is an idiosyncratic songwriter from Louisiana who wrote "See You Later Alligator," known mainly as covered by Bill Haley and His Comets. Charles wasn't one for fame, and hid behind artists like Muddy Waters who covered his work, allowing him to pay the bills. I'm not sure why exactly, but somehow in the early 70s he ended up in Bearsville, New York, hanging out with the likes of Bob Dylan and The Band. That friendship is reflected in the album's sound as well as its production, which is by Rick Danko and John Simon (who also put out at least one excellent solo album). Members of The Band no doubt also contributed musically to this album, though with the exception of a songwriting credit for Danko, they are uncredited.

The album's songs are instantly pleasing through and through. They alternatively ramble along and bound forward energetically, but all the tracks glow with an animated heat that will take that chill right out of you: quite the accomplishment for such a hermetic kind of guy! There's also some sweet, sunshiney love songs on this album that'll have you feeling the sun on your shoulders again and make the return of spring seem not so far away anymore. It's all very bucolic and idyllic, as you shall see.

Because Bobby Charles hates performing, finding footage of him is difficult, but here's Vetiver recently performing one of the songs from Bobby Charles called "I Must Be In a Good Place Now." It's quite faithful to the original and lovely:

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 11:07:08

Posted by Billyjam, November 7, 2008 09:09am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 11:07:08

paris acid reflex
1) Paris Acid Reflex (Guerrilla Funk/Fontana)

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

3) Murs Murs for President (Warner)

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

5) Black Milk Tronic (Fat Beats)

Thanks to Tunde at the Berkeley Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five sales-based chart, which finds the Bay Area's own Paris in the number one slot and his thought-provoking, lyrically charged, recommended new album Acid Reflex on Guerrilla Funk/Fontana. If you missed the interview with the controversial artist when it was published last week, click here to read the Amoeblog Paris interivew.

Reactions to Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday were upbeat (to put it mildly) in hip-hop circles. Longtime Fillmore, San Francisco rapper San Quinn told Amoeblog the next day, "Hopefully with him winning it will give little black kids in America a new sense of hope to know that instead of drug dealers and rappers and basketball players and football players and many other stereotypical but true things that we choose to be, including killing off each other, san quinnthat now we have a chance if we keep our slate clean to be the president of the United States." 

out this week 11/4...all the saints...for against...barack obama...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 6, 2008 01:45pm | Post a Comment
It is really hard to think about anything but the election this week. It is really all I have thought about for many months now. I have become obsessed with watching CNN every night. I sometimes feel like I know John King and Anderson Cooper better than I actually do. I have spent a lot of time with them. I am just glad it is all over now. The people of the United States actually impressed me this year and elected a president that I actually respect. I still remember how I felt in 1992 when I was able to help elect Bill Clinton in my first election. I have not felt this good about an election since then. Unfortunately we still have to wait a couple of months for Barack Obama to take over. I can't really imagine the last 8 years without music to help me get through it. Just try to imagine your life without the escape that music offers you. I would not have made it. Think of all the great music that came out during the Reagan and first George Bush administrations. The music that came out between 1980 and 1992 was some of the best music ever created. It still remains my favorite period for music. I am really happy about Obama but this might mean we are facing a bad period for music. Just think about all the bad music that came out during Bill Clinton's eight years in office. These were the years of Blind Melon and Crash Test Dummies, Spice Girls and Aqua. I will need to do some more research, but I am almost positive that having a Republican as president helps to create some fantastic music, while having a democrat as president makes musicians lazy and helps to create some horrible singles and albums.

The news of Proposition 8 passing really sort of ruined what could have been one of the best days of my life. I was so excited about Barack Obama but could not stop thinking about all the people that voted for this horrible and homophobic measure. I know it is just people being scared about change. I think it is really time for an updated version of the bible. We really need to move beyond the hatred, don't you think? I just don't understand why people feel they can still tell other people how to live their lives. Marriage has nothing to do with religion. Or it shouldn't at least. But I am not giving up hope just yet. The fact that we elected Barack Obama is a huge step. I am remaining positive about this whole thing. The fact that millions of people stood up to this Proposition and voted against it makes me feel better about the situation. If I had to choose between Barack Obamaall the saints and Proposition 8, I would have choosen Obama. It is more important I think. I don't think I would have any desire to be married if John McCain was our president. And I think I would most certainly have to move out of this country if Sarah Palin ever made her way into the White House.

It is November. Halloween is over and the holiday season is quickly approaching. The new releases might be slowing down a bit in December, but we still have some exciting new albums coming out later in this month, among them new albums from The Killers and Sufjan Stevens, an amazing album by a man named Jonas Reinhardt out next week on Kranky, and a new Girl Talk album out next week finally. Pelle Carlberg also has a new album out next week that at least me and one or two other people are probably excited about. Next week will also have New Order reissues and a double CD collection by The Smiths. Lots of good stuff next week. Election week is a bit less exciting for new releases, but there's still some stuff worth checking out. I still have not decided how I feel about the new a place to bury strangersTravis album out this week. I did like the last album but I feel like it just came out not too long ago. I do like the new album by Little Joy featuring one of the dudes from The Strokes, but it will not make it on to my favorite albums of the year list. The album by the WIld Beast on Domino is really interesting. Sort of a weird album but I do like it. But the album that has me all excited this week is actually an album that came out way back in May. The band is All The Saints and the album is called Fire On Corridor X. The album is finally coming out on vinyl in a couple of weeks, but the CD was put out by Killer Pimp Records a couple of months ago, so I really should have paid attention when it first came out. Killer Pimp put out my favorite album of last year, the brilliant debut by A Place to Bury Strangers.

Most of my favorite albums tend to be albums that sound like they came out 15 or 20 years ago. You have probably noticed a trend if you have read any of my blogs. Despite that, I don't like albums that feel dated or just like imitations of greats albums of the 80s and early 90s. I like when bands create albums that somehow sound both new and old at the same time. These albums are sort of reinterpretations of older genres and sounds. With millions of albums already created it becomes increasingly hard to create a new sound. It is the albums I love that manage to sound somewhat nostalgic and forward thinking at the same time. When you hear this new album by All The Saints you could easily be convinced that it was released in 1989 or 1991. The album reminds me of the band For Against. I highly recommend one of their reissues that have come out over the last couple of years if you have not yet picked them up -- a little bit of Jesus and Mary Chain mixed with some Dandy Warhols. It is a new sort of Dark Psychedelia. All The Saints are from Atlanta, Georgia. For Against are from Nebraska. Just in case you were wondering, both Georgia and Nebraska are traditional red states and went for McCain in this election, but almost 2 million people voted for Obama in Georgia. I like to look on the bright side of things. I quickly fell in love with the A Place to Bury Strangers album when it came out last year. This album does not quite hit me in the same way. It was not instant. It obviously took me a couple of months to even listen to it for the first time, but after listening to it many times over the last couple of weeks, I have fallen a bit in love with it. They might be the perfect mix of what I love about A Place To Bury Strangers and My Morning Jacket. Sort of psychedelic shoegaze. Fire On Corridor X is one of those album that grows on you as time goes by. I recommend a couple of listens before you make your decision, but check it out. It is better than anything that actually came out this week. I hope it will not be left behind and forgotten for too much longer. It is an album worth your time and worth your love.

also out this week...






Drippers by Black Moth Super Rainbow












Trying Hartz by Danielson











Fordlandia by Johann Johannsson










Little Joy by Littlle Joy











Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse by Lou Reed











Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez










The Emanator by Shitdisco











Money by Skeletons











Ode to J. Smith by Travis











Twilight Soundtrack











Limbo Panto by Wild Beasts












(K)no(W)here by The Wilderness





The Stepfather Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, November 6, 2008 12:12pm | 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 8


The Stepfather

1987, 89 min

director: Joseph Ruben

starring: Terry O'Quinn, Jill Schoelen & Shelley Hack


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




November
November 15 William Friedkin's Sorcerer
(Roy Scheider tribute! Paramount archive 35mm print!)
November 22 Waxwork
(20 Anniversary! More fun than a barrel of mummies!)

 

November 29 Vanity Insanity Triple Feature!
Tickets $10. Three ACTION PACKED films, vintage trailers & more!
Never Too Young To Die 8pm

Action Jackson 10pm

The Last Dragon Midnight

December
December 6 Phase IV
(Paramount archive 35mm print!)
December 20 Title TBA
December 27 New Year's Evil

Interview With Kevvy Kev, Host of World's Longest Running Hip-Hop Radio Show, The Drum On KZSU Stanford

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2008 04:00am | Post a Comment

Born and raised in Queens, New York, longtime KZSU DJ Kevin "Kevvy Kev" Montague first moved to (and never left) the Bay Area back in the early eighties to attend Stanford University. It was there that, along with his (Members Only) hip-hop crew, Montague began broadcasting what would become the world's longest running hip-hop radio show, The Drum, which airs every Sunday on KZSU from 6PM to 9PM. Several years ago, in celebration of this unique radio program, Kevvy Kev began throwing the annual Bang The Drum hip-hop festival. The festival's eager participants have included Big Daddy Kane, CL Smooth, Smif & Wessun, Das EFX  (who performed at the most recent Bang The Drum in August), Canibus, Ras Kass, Saafir, Money B, Special Ed, Camp Lo, J-Live, Blackalicious, Mr. Lif, Rasco, Planet Asia, Hieroglyphics, Peanutbutter Wolf, The Lifesavas, and Kutmasta Kurt

Kutmasta Kurt was once a member of The Drum radio show crew. Others have included Mike Nice. The current weekly lineup includes DJ Felix the Friendly Traveler, Raymundo, and Jimbrowski with rotating DJs including Amp Live and D-Sharp. The very original lineup was born out of the 1980's Bay Area Members Only crew which, in addition to Kevvy Kev, was Jonathan Brown, Richard "Rich D" Dwyer, Louis "Easy Lou" Carr, Todd "Todd T" Hosein, Mark "Rockmaster Markski" Hosein and human beatbox Bruce "Casual B" Richardson. This 1980's hip-hop crew built a name for the hip-hop parties they threw. The Members Only crew also put out a record, the twelve-inch single "You're Not Down."

Anda Returns!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 5, 2008 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Thursday, November 6th!!!

Anda returns for our monthly soiree and we have lots to celebrate! Obama is now the President Elect, Mando Fever will be joining us again on the turntables and Anda welcomes AfroBeat Down to our stage!

AfroBeat Down: L.A.'s Premier Afrobeat Ensemble, delivers driving, raw, un-cut African Funk straight to your Nyash, making your body move and shake to the rhythms of Nigeria circa 1970. ABD is 10-15 members strong and each is inspired and dedicated to maintaining the Afrobeat musical tradition-- the legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. ABD's message is fused in Power packed, Political, Polyrhythmic Consciousness focused on bringing people together to fight Oppression and enjoy a peaceful, light filled life. Aloha.
 
Joining them will be Anda’s resident DJs,
Ray Ricky Rivera (spinning Retro Salsa & Cumbia)
Gomez Comes Alive! (spinning Afro-Beat, Champeta & Cumbia)
&
Mando Fever (Descarga & Real Wednesdays)
Spinning Latin & Brazilian House

All this is happening at Mal’s Bar:

Mal's Bar
 
2331 S. Hill Street.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90007.
(213) 746-2177
$8/21 & Over
Starts at 9:30

DON’T MISS THIS!!!!!

November is Native American Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 5, 2008 07:19pm | Post a Comment


NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Back in 1990, President George H.W. Bush named November National American Indian Heritage Month. The purpose of the observance is to highlight the roles America's aboriginal peoples have played in the country's history. It's kind of interesting. I'd say that the main role Natives have played in regard to American history was armed resistance and reluctant subjugation. It's kind of like Israel having a National Palestinian Heritage Month, Turkey having an Armenian History Month or Sudan having a Darfur Day.

I suppose, somewhat begrudgingly, that most Natives today have come to accept the fact that America is here to stay ...at least until 2012. Furthermore, Natives have, in many cases, actually been supportive of America and contributed to her history, to be sure. For example, not only did many Native nations align themselves with the US and its colonial antecedents at various times, but they also served as really good trackers and proved to be natural ecologists who demonstrated their intrinsically environmentalist natures by using every part of the bison and coming up with 30 different names for snow.

  
                              Don't worry, I will use every part of you                                                                     Hmm... what kind of snow is this?


AMERICAN INDIANS VS NATIVE AMERICA

Now, one thing I don't get is why we're supposed to differentiate the hemisphere's various indigenous people along the present day lines of colonial-imposed boundaries. For example, why are the Uto-Aztecan-speaking Comanche and Hopi lumped in with Alaska's Aleuts and separated from their Uto-Aztecan cousins, the Aztecs, just because the latter chose to cross a then-non-existent border? It gets especially confusing when you realize that there are/were various people like the
Míkmaq, Inuit, Lingít, Niitsítapi, Cree, Algonquin, Kanienkeh, Blackfoot, Tohono O'odham and many others who lived on both sides of the future US's borders as if they weren't even there (namely, because they weren't). Though far from hegemonic, to distinguish between Canada's "First Nations" or "Aboriginal Peoples," the US's "Native American" or "American Indian" population and Latin America's "Indios" or "Pueblos Indígenas" along the lines of their colonial destructors is not only nonsensical but ignorant, at the very least, and possibly a bit racialist.


Clearly, since the presence of Mounties indicates that this is Canada, these can't be Native Americans, right?

Anyway, though the stated aim of Native American Heritage Month is to honor contributions only of the U.S.'s indigenous peoples (you know, the usual Sakajewa, Pocahontas and the Navajo Code Talkers stuff), it's not going to stop me from addressing the contributions and existence of non-U.S. Natives from the blogversation as if there's some kind of pan-Native solidarity.





*****


MANY MOONS  -  A BRIEF HISTORY OF NATIVES AND CIVIL RIGHTS

WELCOME TO GENERATION BARACK HIP-HOP

Posted by Billyjam, November 5, 2008 07:00am | Post a Comment
barack obama hope
Like the majority of people in America last night experiencing that combined feeling of joy and relief as the final results in the presidential election became clear, I was really moved when Barack Obama finally got to give his acceptance speech. Not only was it an incredibly inspiring and intelligent speech, but it was also just pitch perfect, like a great symphony or the best pop song. The rhythm of his oration style, especially as he built up to the finale, systematically interspersing in his talk those three words (Yes We Can) right on rhythm, was purely musical in its delivery.

Watching and listening to Barack in Chicago last night all I could think of (besides "Thank God the Republicans are finally out") was, Wow! This speech is not just historic but it is so made for matching over beats that we are going to be hearing this particular Obama speech replayed and sampled over hip-hop instrumentals for a long long time to come. Like JFK and MLK before him, Obama's equally great oratory style is made for playing back over beats.  Already he has been sampled to death in hip-hop songs, but now that he is finally elected to the top position this first hip-hop generation president will be an integral part of the genre for quite sometime to come.

While relatively young for such a high ranking job, 47 year old Barack Obama is not actually the youngest elected president of the United States of America (both Ulysses Grant & Bill Clinton were a year younger, while JFK was just 43 years old and Theodore Roosevelt was only 42 when elected to presidency), but he is the first bona fide elected US president of the hip-hop generation. In fact, he is even younger than many contemporary hip-hop figures, including Grandmaster Flash who, at age 50, is three years Barack's senior.

The Employee Interview XXI: Scott Walker

Posted by Miss Ess, November 4, 2008 05:52pm | Post a Comment
Scott Walker
Years of Employment: "Since the turn of the century."
Jazz floor dude


Miss Ess: What initially got you into jazz?

SW: A horrible answer: I don't remember. Most probably, like many people, it was a mid-era Miles Davis [record]. Pinpointing which one, twenty something years down the road, I would only be guessing.

ME: What album do you consider to be the pinnacle of the form?

SW: To me, there are different forms: Free/Avant, Bop, Trad, so I am tempted to answer one example for each, but won't at risk of boring/alienating readers. I would say an early [Thelonious] Monk recording: one of the late 40s sessions.

ME: What present-day jazz artists do you enjoy?

SW: Seeing Marilyn Crispell last week was pretty heavy: solo piano. I like solo piano stuff a lot, it's kind of like listening to a demo of a song -- it's distilled down to an essence, whether it's Fats Waller, Monk, or Sun Ra. It's hard, because like blues, jazz is so much about re-releases and focusing on history, standards, and regurgitation.

Is there a jazz record you love that crept up on you-- maybe one you didn't love it at first but grew to adore?

I didn't like electric Miles Davis when I first heard it. It was probably parallel to when people first hear electric Dylan: "Is he really serious/allowed to do this?" Now I listen to the electric stuff more often than the acoustic.

What artist's live show would you most like to attend/have attended (living or dead)?

Again, late 40s Monk: Maybe at Minton's Playhouse with all the greats, but it's hard because if I was there with a current mindset -- seeing separate drinking fountains, things like that -- it would make me feel horrible to witness that aspect of United States. Maybe late 60s Europe -- one of the Art Ensemble [of Chicago] shows, or [Anthony] Braxton, the expats.

What music do you like to listen to while you skateboard?

I don't skateboard as much as I used to, because work has hurt my back, but it's always been mixtapes -- the music that they played at the Marina Del Rey Skatepark in the late 70s: punk/classic rock. I remember longhairs and punks together, carving to B-52s, Aerosmith, Devo, Ted Nugent, Circle Jerks -- that's when eclecticism first entered my aesthetics.

What was the first punk record you ever heard and how did it impact you?

That's easy, unless you consider Devo and Blondie punk, it was X: Los Angeles/Wild Gift. My best friend's sister, who lived two doors down, was a few years older, and I remember her taking her dad's Foghat/Jethro Tull LPs off and putting those on. I remember thinking that this was way more dangerous than the Nuge; then, going to the skatepark, I realized that rebellion is rebellion -- no matter what color, flavor or method. When they re-released those a few years back, all shined up with killer bonus stuff, It was like New Year's and all those religious holidays rolled into one.

What punk band do you think made the biggest impression on you and how did it influence your life?

If it wasn't X, it was Black Flag -- especially mid-80s Black Flag. I had long hair, still, at that time, and when that dirge-y, slow, My War stuff came out, I thought: "Maybe I won't get beat up at this punk show."

What was the LA punk scene like back in the 80s?

Seeing Jane's Addiction every month for a few years was real nice; because I grew up with those guys, I rarely had to pay, and shows were more intimate. [Then there were] Black Flag and X as mentioned above. Seeing real early Red Hot Chili Peppers before their 2nd album was real fun. There were some of the older bands still riding the end of that 70s wave that I could see: Gun Club at the Cathay stands foggy but proud in my memory. Seeing Social Distortion play next to my friend's pool, when they (along with The Dickies) could be had for $800 (each) was sweet. I only saw Minutemen once, but it was free, outside.

Since we heard Tim today in the store, might as well ask: what Replacements album is your favorite and why?

That's real tough because of all the new reissues with all those bonus tracks. Right now it's whichever one is on -- and they're on very often. If pressed hard, I would say "don't press so hard," then say Tim -- because it was the first, and I got it for free at school because I went to school in Burbank, and Warners donated a bunch of cutouts for a silent auction. My mom bid highest and won. I don't even remember the other records in that stack.

Can you compare at all the differences/similarities between the music scenes of Northern CA now and Southern CA when you lived there?

I never came up here until after I got out of high school, not even with my folks. All I knew was Dead Kennedys were from up here. Then I got Hardcore California: A History of Punk and New Wave by Peter Belsito and Bob Davis. It was divided in half between upper and lower Cali, so that was important information. When I was younger than that, I pictured Grateful Dead/Jefferson Airplane people with no shoes/showers, sucking on handrolled.

Did the music that your brothers listen to influence you at all growing up?

I was never that close to them, growing up. They listened to more mainstream stuff, and shared a room. I was the oldest, so they were subjected/brainwashed by me as I drove them to school. We're close now, but at that time it was tough: I had to seek stuff out at school or from friends, then pass it on. I didn't like their musical choices too much, but didn't mind driving them to Rush or Asia shows.

Do you have any musical heroes?

Musical heroes that I would like to play similar to? Musical heroes who inspire me creatively? I don't play much music on instruments anymore, but did a handful of years of alto sax; I can read music, so when I heard Charlie Parker, it was a revelation. Jazz music inspires me more than other types, and the amount of chapters that unfolded out of the Coltrane legacy are a never-ending source of comfort, challenge, inspiration and repeated listening. Of course, Monk. After all this renewed Replacements interest -- Paul Westerberg. That song, "You're Getting Married," on the Stink reissue is one of the heaviest things I've heard in a long time.

What song best captures your life right now, this minute?

Probably something instrumental. I've lost a few loved ones in the past few years, so maybe something super up, or super down. This is the most difficult question so far, but I don't want to crap out on any of them.

I know you are a voracious reader. Can you recommend any music-related books you've particularly enjoyed?

That's easy -- Da Capo is an amazing publisher for music books: the Best Music Writing series, edited by guest editors, is always a safe bet. Dance of the Infidels about Bud Powell is amazing. The Sonny Rollins bio. The Joe Boyd memoir, White Bicycles, was a great read, as was Phil Lesh's autobio.

Many good L.A. punk books: Marc Spitz' We Got the Neutron Bomb, Brendan Mullen's Live at the Masque. Mullen also put together a good oral history of Jane's Addiction called Whores. Another remarkable oral history: Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me.

British postpunk: Simon Reynold's Rip It Up and Start Again. Colin McPhee's A House in Bali from the 30s is incredible journalism/travel/music hybrid book. I'm about to start Fela -- From West Africa to West Broadway, edited by Trevor Schoonmaker.

What is your favorite music-related film? Favorite soundtrack? And why?

I just watched the Fela Kuti doc, Music is the Weapon, for the 5th or 6th time. It's out of print, so I feel bad recommending it, as is Sun Ra's Space is the Place. As far as available films, Monk's Straight No Chaser I could watch every Monday for 6 months. We usually have that used for round about $10. It's a good soundtrack also. Big Lebowski is my favorite soundtrack, hands down. That's all over the board, but no filler. They need to put out a Vol. 2, like they did with Boogie Nights.

You're so right: Big Lebowski has a masterful soundtrack. Townes Van Zandt's version of "Dead Flowers" is my fave on it. What is your favorite local band nowadays?

The Bar Feeders. [They'll be at] Great American with Hanson Brothers and Triclops, Sunday, 30 Nov. -- be there, or hear about it for the rest of your life, regretting it, looking at photos, and trying to build a time machine.

What has been your best find at Amoeba?

It would have to be a clearance LP. Like most people who've been asked this question, I feel that it is of paramount import to make the general public realize that if they go out to a thrift store, pick up a used turntable, or hell, buy one of those $100 Numark deals, they'll be happier in the long run.

Thanks so much for your time.


November 4, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, November 4, 2008 04:19pm | Post a Comment







Jeff Mangum Lives!

Posted by Miss Ess, November 4, 2008 01:19pm | Post a Comment
If anything can give us some kind of hope on this Election Day, maybe this can: Perhaps you caught some of this on Pitchfork last week, but Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel has been coaxed out of his 10ish years of hiding at last this past October! He's been spotted on the road with his Elephant 6 buddies on their Holiday Surprise Tour, where he ended each show with his NMH B-side "Engine." A surprise tour indeed!

This is the best video I could find of one of his performances right here -- you can actually see Jeff through the whole thing, despite the dimmed lights (apparently Jeff's still feeling a little shy). First up, he performs "The Fool," and then "Engine" begins at about the 3:00 mark. The whole room ends the video by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jeff:


He looks happy and healthy and sounds great. This is a huge deal because Jeff virtually disappeared from the world years ago, soon after releasing one of the greatest albums this music fan has ever encountered, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. To read an earlier post I made on the subject, click here.

JAMOEBLOG TOP TEN: WEEK OF 11:04:08

Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2008 03:25am | Post a Comment
 Jamoeblog Top Ten: 11:04:08


1) Azeem "Going Dumb vs. Going To Brazil" (Oaklyn)

2) Paris "Get Fired Up" (Guerrilla Funk)

3) East Coast Avengers "The Day That Hope Died" (Brick Records)

4) The Mighty Underdogs "Warwalk" (Definitive Jux)

5) Jurassic 5 "Gotta Understand (Bean One Remix)" (BOMB Hip-Hop)  



6) Dirt Nasty "1980" (BOMB Hip-Hop)

7) Madlib feat Prince Po "The Thang Thang" (Rapster)

8) Blueprint "Sacred" (Rhymesayers)

9) Hu$tle Simmons "Over and Out (feat. Buff 1)" (Break Bread Projects)

10) NaS "Black President" (Def Jam)

The number one entry on this week's Jameoblog Top Ten (a subjective, song oriented chart) is the funky and funny "Going Dumb vs. Going To Brazil" by Azeem off the always edgy Oakland emcee's recommended brand new album Air Cartoons on Oaklyn Records (cover by Ezra Li Eismont -- scroll down to see his Oaklyn speed painting video). On one level the song "Going Dumb..." is an ode to "the town" (Oakland) but on another it caps on the short-sighted shallowness of many fellow dwellers of Azeem's in this East Bay city where hyphy culture still rules. In the Anas Cannon produced song, Azeem pokes fun at "that dude that ghost-rided and ran over himself" as well as those who just "wanna swerve thru the town high on pills." Meanwhile, the artist's idea of real fun is heading south to the beaches of Brazil and not acting "dumb." The fourteen track album features lots of great producers complimenting the former Spearhead member's lyrical flow, including DJ Zeph, DNAE Beats, Meat Beat Manifesto, DJ Spin, DJ Aneurysm, Mark Pistel, and Kontroversy 396. And scratch fans will be happy to hear both DJ Quest and Z-Trip add some sick cuts on a few album tracks.
East Coast Avengers
The number three entry is the incendiary "The Day Hope Died" from the thought-provoking, ever confrontational East Coast Avengers (ECA) whose recent single/video "Kill Bill O'Reilly" caused some controversy with its over the top lyrics that suggest murdering the notorious FOX News host. In fact, it was so extreme in its lyrics that even longtime BIll O foe Keith Olbermann of MSNBC condemned the song (scroll down to see video clip below). Boston's ECA, who cite Public Enemy, Paris, and the Dead Kennedys among their influences, is the trio of Esoteric (of 7L & Esoteric, The Army of the Pharoahs), trademarc and DC the Midi Alien. They recently dropped the album Prison Planet, on which they lash out at numerous deserved political and media targets.

Love Kills

Posted by phil blankenship, November 3, 2008 03:42pm | Post a Comment
 


Paramount Home Video 83426

Gomez Comes Alive Day Of The Dead Altar

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 3, 2008 12:19pm | Post a Comment
I thought I would share my altar for Dia De Los Muertos. I've been doing this for the last several years. To me, death is not the end. I still feel the presence of people who passed on every day. Dia De Los Muertos is a day to honor remember those who have passed on to the spirit world.
On my altar I have family members, including my grandmother, my aunt Lola (Dolores), my cousin Robert Bobadilla and my sister Irene Gomez, who passed back in 2005, My friend Lance Hahn from the band J-Church is also there. Every picture that I picked has a meaning. The pictures of my aunt and grandmother came from the day when we were all last together as a family. the picture of my cousin was from my other sister's wedding. and the picture of Irene was from a party that she went to that she had lots of fun at. The pic of Lance was of him and I drinking 40's at his place in the Mission District in San Francisco after a show. I also included CD's of artists who had an impact on my life that have also passed on: John Coltrane, D. Boon, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Hector Lavoe, Ralpi Pagan, Duke Ellington, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Eazy-E and Jimi Hendrix. I rotate most artists every year except for D.Boon & Hendrix. They are always there.

I offer the spirits flowers, tequila and Pan De Muerto. I usually set it out for a day, hoping that the spirits will come down and absorb the essence of my gifts to them. Then I do a shot in honor of all of them and take the Pan De Muerto and give it to friends. So Amoebites in Hollywood, if you had some Pan De Muerto in the break room today, you shared it with some of the best people I had the pleasure of knowing in the physical world.



Yma Sumac 1922 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 3, 2008 10:32am | Post a Comment


Yma Sumac
the legendary, one of a kind singer famous for her 4 1/2 octave range, has died in Los Angeles. She was 86.

Peruvian born, she was the personification of exoticism, making her an international sensation in the 1950’s. After signing with Capitol Records in 1950, the striking, raven-haired beauty became known as the "Nightingale of the Andes," and the "Peruvian Songbird." Her first album, Voice of the Xtabay, rocketed to the top of the LP charts introducing a whole new genre, Exotica, to the music buying public. During her heyday, Sumac headlined at the some of the most prestigious venues in the world, such as the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. She reportedly made $25,000 a week in Las Vegas and turned down offers to sing with New York's Metropolitan Opera. Her eccentric costumes and stage settings were often extremely elaborate, filling stages with native dressed drummers and dancers and caged wild birds. Yma Sumac was also featured in the 1951 Broadway musical Flahooley and appeared in the films Secret of the Incas in 1954 and Omar Khayyam in 1957.

Although details of her birth and early life have varied greatly, lending mightily to her legend, the biggest misconception was that she was born in Brooklyn as Amy Camus -- Sumac was actually born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in Cajamarca, Peru, on Sept. 13, 1922. After performing and recording in Argentina in the early 40’s, she and her husband, bandleader Moises Vivanco, moved to New York City in 1946, where they performed as the Inca Taky Trio, with Vivanco on guitar, Sumac singing soprano and Cholita Rivero, her cousin, singing contralto and dancing.

My favorite record of hers, and one that is almost impossible to find, is Sumac’s 1971 psychedelic album entitled Miracles. It is truly an odd musical experience, and to be perfectly honest Miracles is kind of hit or miss, but it does have some great moments. Yma Sumac’s voice has lost some of its dramatic range, but she can still pull off the Yma Sumac mystic. Exotica legend Les Baxter produced the record, and his experience writing for all those Beach Party movies works well here. The production safely balances the distorted guitars and the foreign sound of 1950’s bird calls and Hollywood primitivism pretty well. Shortly after Miracles' limited release, she "semi-retired" to Peru. Eventually Sumac did return to concerts halls, performing at the Vine Street Bar & Grill and the Cinegrill in Hollywood in 1984. By the early `90s, she returned to touring, especially in Europe, and continued to do so until about 1997.

Yma Sumac, who divorced and then remarried Moises Vivanco in the late `50s and then divorced him again in 1965, is survived by their son, Charles, and three sisters who live in Peru.

Dia De Los Muertos @ Self Help Graphics

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 3, 2008 08:59am | Post a Comment
Self Help Graphics in East L.A. had their final Dia De Los Muertos celebration at their current location on November 2nd. The property that housed the event for the last thirty odd years was sold earlier this year. Self-Help Graphics not only held the longest running Dia De Los Muertos festival in Los Angeles, but many other events as well. Self Help provided a space for Chicano artists to work and display their artwork. It was also the location of The Vex, an all ages punk club that housed many classic early punk rock shows in the early 80’s. Many great artists have either performed or shown their artwork at Self Help Graphics, too many to list them all.






The artwork this year was even more inspired than in years past. Perhaps knowing that this would be the last event held at this location, the artists went all out for this one. The mural of Sister Karen Boccalero, founder of Self-Help Graphic, who passed away several years back was particularly inspiring. It was located above the stage. The bands that performed strayed away from nostalgia and mainstays that are the norm at these events. New groups performed like the all girl punk band The Sirens and El-Haru Kuroi, a band that sings in Spanish, English and Portuguese. The Killsonic Marching Band followed with a guerrilla style performance. They are known to show up at events unannounced and take over. It wasn't really a party until they came on to the stage. Another group that played was La Resistencia, a ska-core group from South Gate who sell hundreds of their independent releases at Amoeba Hollywood. Although some of the music at the event wasn’t my taste, I felt fortunate that there are new generations of musicians that continue to promote culture and music for the rest of us.

I am proud to say that I have performed there many times, including at last year’s Dia De Los Muertos event. I not only feel as a part of a community but also as part of history that Self Help Graphics will continue long after many of us leave this earth.

For more on the history of Self Help Graphics, go here.

The Signs Are Everywhere, the Return, Part 3…1 day left

Posted by Whitmore, November 3, 2008 08:39am | Post a Comment

“There comes a time in the affairs of man when he has to take the bull by the tail and face the situation.” -W.C. Fields.
 
I once took a bottle of Rye up there to W.C. Fields’ grave site in Forest Lawn, right down the road from here in Glendale, to mark the 60th anniversary of his death. (And contrary to popular legend his grave stone doesn’t read “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia,” it simply reads W. C. Fields 1880 -1946.) It was Christmas day and I thought somebody should have a snoot full with ol’ William Claude. But drinking in a cemetery, I discovered, is kind of frowned upon. I thought the Rye was a friendly gesture, but not according to the security guard, who seemed even more disheartened by my choice of liquor. I should have known, never argue with a man in a uniform. I was wrong. The guard was right, Rye is kind of nasty. So I promised the Security guard, I think his name was Donald, the next time I fill my flask I’ll pour in something with a bit more respect. Donald suggested an Islay variety single malt Scotch. The smoky and peaty overtones are a perfect compliment to a cold wintry day. After he returned my Rye, and put away his nightstick, we discussed the weather, W. C. Fields and oddly enough, politics. Over the course of our conversation I discovered we agreed on several fronts such as, Fields' best movie was The Bank Dick and that the last eight years have been like a long icy winter and you’re trapped in a snow cave, with only shoe leather to eat, while your soul dies from hypothermia. And we both agreed the last eight years was probably very good for the whiskey trade.

Lately though, L.A. has been hotter then hell. This October we had some ten days of ninety plus temperatures, registering the hottest October on record since the 1870’s. I’m not sure, but maybe that’s a good sign politically. Though, now that it’s November, genuine weather has made a return … clouds, rain, thunder, wind. I don’t know if that’s a bad sign or just weather in November. And I might be yanking at straws here again, but another possibly good sign -- at least for me and my life in a vacuum -- is that our next President is almost certainly guaranteed to be the candidate whose Halloween mask sold the most. For the last three decades this very unscientific, but incredibly accurate prognosticator seems to always predict the winner. This year’s top selling mask, in a landslide, was Barack Obama, out-selling John McCain masks by a 2 to 1 margin. But Republicans, don’t fret -- set your eyes to the horizon, un-furrow your brow, look north, look to the future, mark your calendars, thank god and bottle up those anxieties because you will be happy to know that the Sarah Palin mask came in second with strong mavericky sales.
 
Personally I’m just searching for political deliverance anywhere, everywhere. And I find signs in the oddest places. I’m reading newspapers and blogs and astrological charts and traffic patterns and weather reports and football scores and topographical maps and grocery receipts and paycheck stubs and my son’s first grade homework and I see signs! The signs are everywhere, but what the hell do they mean … if anything!? Now the Philadelphia Phillies winning the 2008 World Series seems significant -- I swear there’s something there! Especially since the Phillies also hold the distinction of being the team with the most losses in the history of Major League Baseball. And Philadelphia is where The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. Philadelphia is home to Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Philly is home to the Liberty Bell. The City of Brotherly Love is the birthplace of the cheese steak sandwich, Betsy Ross, Grace Kelly, Margaret Mead, Robert Crumb, John, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Wilt Chamberlain, The Stylistics, The Dead Milkmen, The Delfonics, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Bob Saget, Jeremiah Wright, and W.C Fields. And last but not least, over 75% of the million plus voters registered in Philly are Democrats. Is that a Sign? All I can do is hope.

The Blade Master

Posted by phil blankenship, November 2, 2008 03:17pm | Post a Comment
 




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Diwali - aka Deepavali aka Tihar aka Swanti

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 2, 2008 12:13pm | Post a Comment

Diwali (or Deepavali, Tihar or Swanti) is a festival of lights primarily celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Bhuddists but also, occasionally, fans of holidays, South Asian food or culture. As with all ancient holidays, the true origins are obscure but undoubtedly symbolize the triumph of good over evil. Probably due to its timing, it wouldn't be too unlikely that its roots were in an ancient harvest festival. As is also true of all ancient holidays, Diwali acquired additional significance over the millenia for different people. In the modern age it's marked with lots of lights, house cleanings, new outfits, decorations, flowers and snacking on sweets. This year Diwali fell on the 28th, but was celebrated in the Southland's Little India neighborhood yesterday, on the first.

Ghar Main Ho Sali To Pura Sal Diwali

Newar celebrating Tihar


For Hindus

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is honored on this day to ensure a good year will follow and, in northern India, the financial year begins on Diwali. In parts of India, the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya is observed with the lighting of rows (avali) of lamps (deepa) which were used to light his way after a 14 year exile. In western India it marks the day King Bali was sent to rule the underworld by Vishnu. Southern India marks it as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura

 

For Jains


On October 15, 527 BCE, Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana at the dawn of the new moon, an event which is marked today.

Day Of The Dead

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 2, 2008 09:30am | Post a Comment





Frank Navetta, founding member of Descendents, Dies

Posted by Billyjam, November 2, 2008 07:22am | Post a Comment
the decendents ride the wild it's a hectic worldAccording to several sources close to musician Frank Navetta, including the lemmingtrail message board, the original member of the pioneering SoCal punk-pop group The Descendents died on Friday (10/31) "after becoming ill over the course of a few days."

In 1978 guitarist Navetta formed the Manhattan Beach-based group The Descendents along with Tony Lombardo and Bill Stevenson. Navetta reportedly was the one to give the band their name. Milo Aukerman joined in their second year. Navetta remained a member for six years.  After leaving the band, Navetta, who penned the Descendents' fishing themed song "Mr Bass," moved north to Oregon to become a full time fisherman.

Navetta's last recordings with the Descendents were on the album I Don't Want To Grow Up. Navetta's songwriting legacy includes such Descendents classics as "Parents," "My Dad Sucks,""Marriage," and "Statue of Liberty" off Milo Goes To College (you can listen below). Six years ago Navetta rejoined Tony Lombardo and Bill Stevenson for a kind of Descendents reunion at ALL's (ALL being the band that morphed out of the Descendants) Stockage fest in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the group played songs from their pre Milo lineup including "Ride The Wild" and "It's A Hectic World."

 

Amoeba SF's Horrific Halloween Costume Contest

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 1, 2008 05:14pm | Post a Comment
Yesterday Amoeba San Francisco was flooded with spirits in their finest Halloween garb...

Our annual Horrific Halloween Costume Contest took place and this year's event was hosted with aplomb by our own Mike Bee (aka Batags) and DJed aptly by Dracula..er...Nero Nava.

mike beenero nava as dracula

This year's contest was overrun with hair-raising and inspired creatures of all types:
 
brandon alien junkie

From the scary -- Brandon's creepy alien junkie!
 
ben tuttle halloween

To the adorable -- Ben Tuttle was some kind of fuzzy Japanese pet.

leah question mark

Leah's undecided!

corrie death from sandman

Ms. Corrie dressed as Death of the Endless from the Sandman comics.
 
And now for the winners! This year's contest was divided first into Employee and Customer groups. The Employee contest had three categories. First up is the winner for the Most Original Costume:
 
jacob the redneck voter

It's Jacob as the Redneck Voter!
 
Next we have the winner for the Scariest Outfit:
 
lance is scary.
 
Lance creeped us out as a cardboard-faced killer.

Then there's the winner of the Most Creative outfit, Tarin:
 

Junior

Posted by phil blankenship, November 1, 2008 03:26pm | Post a Comment
 




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