The Return of the Real Aesthetic: Friday The 13th 3D (1982)

Posted by Charles Reece, January 31, 2009 04:54pm | Post a Comment
The quarrel over realism in art stems from a misunderstanding, from a confusion between the aesthetic and the psychological; between true realism, the need that is to give significant expression to the world both concretely and in its essence and the pseudorealism of a deception aimed at fooling the eye (or for that matter the mind); a pseudorealism content in other words with illusory appearances. -- André Bazin, The Ontology of the Photographic Image

[Please note: Ontological Enhancement Device (OCE) is required for the proper reception of the life-enhancing images that follow. Click on images for full lifeworld experience.]

If kids played baseball on the street, this is what it would look like:

Or if housewives watched TV, this is what it would look like:

I'm told that smoking reefer is something akin to the following:

Before September 28, 1987 -- when the holodeck went online -- kids used to do this:

I always felt the problem with Max Ophüls was that his objects lay dormant on the screen:

Did Robert Bresson ever achieve this level of realism?

Jean Renoir
is famous for using depth of field, but he's "quadrophonic" vinyl compared to the 5.1 surround of the following:

These are animals:

Realism or surrealism?

Now you see it, now you don't:

Supernatural Serial Killers: They're Just Like Us.

They take an axe to head, but keep on coming with a machete:

Books hurt them:

They hang from rope:

They get stuck in traffic:

They fall down:

They enter through windows to get the girls they love:

They look like their parents:


Posted by Billyjam, January 31, 2009 08:30am | Post a Comment
sweet lord by murs and 9th wonder
1) Murs/9th Wonder Sweet Lord
(Record Collection)

2) Atmosphere God Loves Ugly (Rhymesayers)

3) Dälek Gutter Tactics (Ipecac)

4) X-Clan Mainstream Outlawz
(Suburban Noize)

5) Cappadonna Slang Prostitution
(ChamberMusik Records)

Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for supplying this week's Hip-Hop Top FIve chart of the best selling albums of the week at the Haight Street store where the new number one is the album Sweet Lord by Murs and 9th Wonder. It was recorded about two years ago by the Los Angeles emcee and the North Carolina producer but not first released until a few months when it was made available as a digital download only; the album is only just now available to buy on CD. 9th Wonder, who is one of the best and most in-demand hip-hop producers today, and Murs, who is among the brightest and most gifted lyricists in the genre, have worked together before. Most recently they collaborated on a few tracks off of Murs' major label debut Murs For President, released on Warner in late September. In the studio they have a wonderful chemistry. As Murs raps on the Sweet Lord track "Are You Ready?" -- "Welcome ye'all to the 9th Wonder, Murs' dream. Ghetto music with a purpose..two of the world's most respected musicians are now at work. I suggest you listen."

The rest of the ten track album is really, really good (you wouldn't expect less from the talented duo) and features such other standout songs as "Free," "It's For Real," and "Nina Ross." "Nina Ross," which is a very clever song, is one of those great hip-hop tracks that draws you in thinking it is (yet) another tale of a hip-hop guy scamming on girls or (in this case) on the one girl, Nina Ross. Instead Murs flips things up in this engaging tale. And as the story unfolds it turns out that Nina is the one in control of the situation and that the guy is the one been taken advantage of -- or rather being taught a lesson for his past sexist & explloitive attitudes & deeds towards women.dalek gutter tactics

Continue reading...


Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2009 08:46am | Post a Comment

aaron cometbus
Somehow longtime author, punk rock drummer, and self-described "punk anthropologist" Aaron Cometbus (born Aaron Elliot) has managed to stay relatively under the mainstream radar while simultaneously gaining great notoriety and deserved respect among underground punk circles for close to three full decades now -- ever since the beginning of the eighties when, barely a teenager, the highly intelligent and gifted Berkeley youth began writing his seminal punk fanzine Cometbus.

He also played music in many bands from a young age. His second band Crimpshrine, in which he played drums, was the pioneering East Bay punk band which had a major impact on the burgeoning East Bay punk scene, up until their demise in '89. Since then Aaron has continued to consistently make music as a member of, literally, dozens of different bands -- most of them short lived groups. Some, such as Pinhead Gunpowder, which he formed with Billie Joe Armstrong and others in the early nineties, still play occasionally. His most recent band is the Thorns of Life which formed a few months ago in Brooklyn and features Blake Schwarzenbach (of Jets to Brazil & Jawbreaker fame) and bassist Daniela Sea (known for her former membership of the Gr'ups and Cypher in the Snow as well as her acting role in the TV show The L Word). The band, who played their first club date ever on Monday at the Hemlock in SF followed a few days later on Thursday last by a "secret show" at Thrillhouse Records with a reported 100 folks squeezed into the small Mission Street retail space., play 924 Gilman tomorrow (Sat. Jan 31st).

Continue reading...


Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 29, 2009 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Having covered cityscapes in another blog, I've tried to focus a bit more on signular structures. It's actually pretty difficult to do; companies that chose buildings for their label image wanted the cool skyline at nite thing.


Posted by Billyjam, January 29, 2009 11:11am | Post a Comment
john martyn
As reported earlier today by both the Guardian UK and Associated Press, famed British folk singer-songwriter John Martyn has died earlier today, of unknown causes, at age 60. Martyn, who was very recently awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the 2009 New Year honours list, was best known for melding jazz with his folk musical style.  

Martyn's 1973 album Solid Air, whose title track reportedly was a tribute to singer-songwriter Nick Drake, with whom Martyn was often compared, remains his most acclaimed album. Over his several decades-long career Martyn had collaborated with such high-profile acts as Eric Claptojohn martyn solid airn, Phil Collins, and David Gilmour. Additionally he had collaborated a lot with his former wife Beverley Martyn.

As reported by the Guardian, Martyn, who was known for wholeheartedly living the rock n roll lifestyle (booze and drugs), had struggled in recent years with alcoholism and once told Q Magazine that, "If I could control myself more, I think the music would be much less interesting. I'd probably be a great deal richer but I'd have had far less fun and I'd be making really dull music."

In 2003 his right leg was partially amputated after a large cyst under his knee burst, leading him to spend his latter years in a wheelchair.


Posted by Billyjam, January 28, 2009 11:35pm | Post a Comment
I recently found a bunch of old California punk flyers buried in a box that had been stored for years since back in the 80s when these shows that took place in both the Bay Area (SF and Berkeley) and in SoCal. This Amoeblog focuses on some California punk flyers from the 1980's.

Almost as much as I loved the music itself, I equally loved most of the simple but impassioned flyer designs and the raw energy that went into making them. They were  often created by a band member or one of their extended crew. While the styles ranged a little bit from one flyer to another, they were usually just handdrawn graphics or images or maybe just one simple image cut out of a magazine and slapped on the page.

Sometimes the main information (the band names or club info) might have been handwritten or else typed out, but not like today on a computer. Back then it was usually made on a typewriter, then blown up on a copy machine to match the scale of the flyer.

Compared to now, when everyone has the luxury of a tricked-out computer oozing with graphic programs etc. that can do every type of desired design at the click of a finger, this was an archaic and simple time. It was when cut-and-paste meant literally cutting out an image or graphic with a scissors and pasting it with glue or Scotch tape or sometimes just spit to hold things in place. Having a friend who worked at a local Xerox store or working there yourself was always a plus. Same went for those who did fanzines. I remember many show flyers being so rushed that they would be Xeroxed and all passed out before anyone would catch some glaring typo or ommission such as the date of the event having been left off the flyer! Or sometimes with handwritten flyers it was impossible to make out the name of the venue or the date because it was so badly drawn or so artisitically done that design prevalied over content and legibility.fucked up and photocopied

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Posted by Miss Ess, January 28, 2009 05:52pm | Post a Comment
I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona last night and it was all so very Woody Allen. In a way, it's nice to know that despite setting his movie in a place as far-flung as gorgeous, sun dappled Spain, you can't take the neuroses out of a New Yorker and thus his work.

The movie is about two friends who are opposites when it comes to love, which in this movie equals life. They visit Spain for the summer, one to study art and architecture, one to study, of course, love and life. They quickly meet an artist named Juan Antonio who has a violent ex-wife, Maria Elena. Various entanglements ensue. I do tire sometimes of Woody Allen's female characters and their limitations in so many of his films -- his women are so often both shallow and unknowable, both to other characters and the audience. You can tell a man with a somewhat restricted, maybe even old fashioned knowledge of women's inner lives has written the script. But then, each time this thought enters my head while watching a Woody Allen film, I think of Annie Hall and I know that there is or was something more in him, just not in this particular movie, which for me includes Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Penelope Cruz exhibits enough rage and instability as Maria Elena to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and good for her. She is probably the best, most emotive character in the film, and yet I was still frustrated by the lack of depth to her character.

There are some odd, Woody-esque details that make the film feel almost a tad silly, maybe a bit lovable: The oddly sinister sounding omniscient narrator that chats us through the film; Vicky's square fiance and his perfectly coiffed hair; The ending itself is oh-so-Woody Allen, but I won't give any of it away.

Truthfully, like most of Allen's films for me, the whole thing, as usual, comes off as a slightly creepy, should-I-really-watch-this? old guy's fantasy. Which is probably what it is anyway, right?

That said, the flim did keep me absorbed throughout (it's only about an hour and half long), and brought up some interesting thoughts about class divisions and life choices. And did I mention the scenery? I mean, if Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johanssen, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall aren't enough for you, there's always the Spanish countryside, which is just as seductive as the characters, if not moreso. The camera lingers and gazes at the scenery with a kind of wonder that matches that of Vicky and Cristina, the tourists.

This picture is not a weighty work, but all things considered it's a rather flippant, light pleasure to watch. And considering it was written and directed by a guy who is the same age as my grandparents and whose creative output continues nonstop, despite his age, I'd call it worth watching. It arrived on DVD&nbs

Basic Instinct Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, January 28, 2009 12:28pm | 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!

January 31

Paul Verhoeven's
Basic Instinct

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

Stranded in the Jungle

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 28, 2009 12:13pm | Post a Comment
An exotic setting for an album cover is a great way to grab the attention of the record buying public, but it can leave an artist with a bit of a problem. Does the music match up with said exoticism or is this really just another late period Three Dog Night record???

I was somewhat surprised that Ian Lloyd was the lone user of the always effective bird of paradise.  Below, Richard Torrance proves "Anything's Possible" as he was able to convince Capitol to OK this design!

Fruits of Label

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 27, 2009 09:50pm | Post a Comment
I must say that this blog has taken a very long time to put together. Occasionally I come up with a concept that just lays itself out nicely over a couple of months time -- although that's the exception, not the rule. I've been collecting these images for well over a year now...

I started out with a fruit & vegetable theme, but obviously fruit wins hands down. Rutabaga Records is the lone vegetable of the bunch. I have other foodstuffs set aside for a future blog; we'll see how much longer that takes to piece together.


Posted by Billyjam, January 27, 2009 09:40pm | Post a Comment

Patrick Hambrecht
of the unique Brooklyn rock group Flaming Fire has a really wonderfully written article in the latest Vice magazine (published online yesterday) entitled "The Past, Or Three Reasons I Quit My Band and Started Over." In the piece he writes, "I was in a band called Flaming Fire. I recently ended this band." The charismatic center of the self-described "spooky electronic chant" band / metaphysical arts collective has created an extremely entertaining piece of writing in which he draws analogies to the cartoon G-Force and also Syd Barrett. What he wrote follows and will certainly entertain anyone who has ever been in a band:

"When I was a kid, my favorite show was G-Force, an anime about "Five secret agents trained to fly like birds." They traveled around in a huge space plane that could turn into a phoenix, and everyone on the show had a cool vehicle that detached from the phoenix. Mark, the leader, had a jet fighter; the robot sidekick had a subterranean drill; the girl had a scooter; the cool guy had a racecar. The only guy who didn't have a cool vehicle was Tiny. Tiny was the fat dork who drove the big plane, and waited for everyone to come back from their awesome solo missions. When you start a band, you think you're going to be Syd Barrett, and everyone else will let you get drunk, do lots of drugs and be fun while they pack drums and set up gigs and do all the boring stuff. But that's not going to happen. Because you're the band leader, the band is your thing, not theirs. Your drummer may be in eight bands, your bassist may be a painter, your lady vocalist may be a cartoonist, but you won't have time for those things yourself. You have to set up gigs, book tours, cart them around in a van you buy, smooth over arguments between members, try to save money from gigs for recording sessions, mail out promo CDs over your lunchbreak. You're not Syd Barrett; you're a secretary. You're Tiny."

Greg Weeks of Espers and Language of Stone Records Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, January 27, 2009 06:02pm | Post a Comment
Greg Weeks is an exceedingly multi-talented musician at the forefront of the so-called "Folk Revival" that's been going on for several years now with his solo albums, including this year's The Hive, and his band Espers. He is also single-handedly helping keep alive the art of analog recording with his studio in Philly, Hexham Head. AND he has his own label, Language of Stone, distributed by Drag City, for which he plays A&R man. Then there is also Greg's other baby, The Valerie Project, which involves a group of Philadelphia musicians who created a soundtrack to play along live at screenings of the 1970 cult Czech film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and debuted back in 2007. Between all these various artistic endeavors, it's a wonder Greg had time to chat here! Read on to hear about the thrilling new projects Greg is taking on, where he finds inspiration, and what songs are currently defining his life, among other things.

Miss Ess: What was it that got you into music in the first place?

Greg Weeks: I'd have to say radio ... or the Solid Gold dancers. Probably radio.
ME: Can you describe the exact moment?

GW: No way! That's like asking what it was like in the womb.
ME: What records defined that early period of musical obsession for you?

GW: Ah, well, I had two sound designed LPs of Hansel and Gretel that were very much loved. I wore out the grooves on the bit where the witch burnes alive in the oven. The plate reverb on that part probably had a large impact on future production tastes. I listened a lot to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and the Sean Cassidy LP.

ME: Jumping to the future: any news on the next Espers album?

GW: We're recording it. Slowly but surely. Our drummer is hardly ever around, and that makes it challenging, but we should have a record out in the Fall.

Yes, Otto is fantastic, and consequently high in demand! What projects are you working on currently and what is coming up next for you?

Well, Valerie Project is likely going to be doing several weeks in Summer around Green Man. That will pretty much put the wraps on that project and allow us to get on with the biz of a second installment in the Project Series (though the subject is being kept under wraps). I have a project with Alison from Mellow Candle underway. She wrote a series of songs on dulcimer (with vocals) which I'm arranging for rock band treatment. Recording should begin soon on that.

Wow, I can't wait to hear that! You have your own label, Language of Stone. Is there any commonality between the sound of the artists you have chosen to sign?
Well, when you have one person designing the roster there has to be some through line linking the bands. My taste is somewhat diverse but there are commonalities, perhaps indefinable to some degree. It's all subconcious stuff really. Labels are a funny thing. We music fans often think of label signings as being a signifier of status and worth for a band, but in reality small labels are populated by administrators with fickle tatstes who pass up great bands all the time in service of their own whims and agendas. If Ben Goldberg hadn't picked up a copy of [Weeks'] Fire In The Arms Of The Sun for $1 in an Other Music bargain bin, it's likely that Espers, Valerie Project, Language of Stone and Hexham Head wouldn't exist. No other label was interested in that record. So, in a way, Ben Goldberg is a founding father of the psychedelic folk movement.

Thank god for the independent record store in that instance! What past and current labels are you inspired by or are favorites?

Dandelion, Harvest, Elektra, Virgin, Philips, Mellow, Si-Wan, really a lot of the re-issue labels and the modern day vinyl only labels.

Your solo album The Hive came out this past year. How do you choose what will go on a solo album vs Espers and how did the creation of the record come about?
My solo records are vastly internal affairs. I'm writing for me and largely about me, either specifically, abstractly, or about my feelings regarding the world around me. Espers records will by default have some of that same energy in the mix, but the works are written for larger forces. There is no ego in an Espers tune. We intentionally remove the "I" from our music. We attempt a more universal approach. The music follows suit because it mixes the energies of the three writers with the overall energy of the ensemble. The band in effect erases the individual's imprint to some degree.

You put out an excellent album with Espers, The Weed Tree, that is all covers -- what songs do you still want to cover sometime in your career? How do you decide what songs to cover in general?
Man, I always have a running list of songs to cover, and there's a good chance we'll squeeze another covers record out, but I hesitate to name names. People know too much nowadays. The excitement of the unknown needs to be cultivated, so I'll leave it at that. As far as choices ... personally I'm not interested in doing a straight cover rendition, so the tune has to lend itself to an interesting retelling. Manipulating the original intent is always a fun endeavor as well.

You are involved in so much. What aspect of your work within different musical fields is your favorite?
Touring would be last on my list. Playing music in front of people is incredible and rewarding ... and probably allows for the most spiritual of experiences, but touring is the least creative aspect of musicianship and the biggest time waster. And physically and psychologically it is very difficult. I most enjoy working with others at this point. Espers is great cuz for me coming up with arrangements to other people's parts is absolutely the most enjoyable aspect of music making. And certainly assisting other talented musicians in reaching their potential ... that's incredibly rewarding. If I could do that full time and make a living I would likely devote myself to it.
I read that your song was featured on Weeds! How did that come about and how do you feel about it?
Showtime contacted me through Myspace. Simple as that. I'm all for music licensing. It's one of only a few ways to make money from music. An artist needs to be selective, of course, but there isn't much out there that I wouldn't go for if offered. I live in this society. Every day within it I feed almost every aspect of its structure, good and bad, by default. If a car commercial asks me for a tune, I'm likely gonna give them a "yes." I drive a car. I'd be a hypocrite to hold out for moral reasons. If some throwaway Hollywood crap film wanted a song I'd likely say "yes." I slum bad Hollywood movies on tv all the time. But I'd have no trouble turning down $1,000.000.00 if offered by the US military or Haliburton or McDonald's or some such company that I am patently opposed to and resist supporting. With Weeds it was a perfect fit. Showtime hardly pays anything so I don't have any pressures to flee my destitute lifestyle and change my artistic orientation, and pot needs to be legalised, so I feel I'm supporting a just cause I firmly believe in by helping pot gain more mainstream appeal.

What is your most prized piece of music gear and why?
Oh, I would off the cuff say my Mellotron, but in reality its likely my '78 Gibson Les Paul Custom, the only electric guitar I've ever owned. I bought it for $400 in 1986 and despite its backbreaking weight I will own and use it till I become fertilizer for some grower's pot patch.

What is the musical scene like right now in Philadelphia and what makes it different than scenes in other major cities?
The scene is vibrant and ever expanding, so much so that even Magnet did a story on Philadelphia! I can't even keep track of the people who keep arriving, friends and strangers. I imagine the climate is much like that of Seattle in the early 90s with one exception; there is no major label cash influx to challenge the scene's foundations. Philadelphia is the last artistically viable big city on the East Coast that remains affordable. New York is untennable, as is Brooklyn. DC is dead, atomised into small loft scenes that are very strong individually but aren't able or interested in creating a unified scene. Baltimore is an amazing city with a lot of great people and a very healthy electronic scene, but it's too small and disparate yet to cultivate a unified scene able to support outsiders. And south of DC ... good luck. Like the midwest, there simply is no suitable infrastructure. It's like mainland Europe without the government interference.

Speaking of scenes, now that the "New Folk" movement has been around for several years, how does it feel to you now and how do you feel about the labeling of it that has gone on?
The labels exist for the simple reason that we need symbols to help us easily understand what we're discussing. New Folk, New Weird America, Freak Folk, Psych Folk ... none of it means what it pretends to say. I've always said that it's a movement based on personal politics. That the unifying factors are rebellion against what the megacorps project as being the mainstream: music megacorps, clothing megacorps, produce megacorps, lifestyle megacorps ... anything faceless and huge and not represented by the common man/woman. This music, in all its wide varieties, grew out of a network of individuals who slowly came together with a shared desire to create a world they believed ought to exist. It may seem relegated to a microcosm of indie music but the evidence shows it's part of a widescale sea change in attitudes. Or more so, a change in momentum wherein everyday people have found the inner strength to resist what is force fed them. We're seeing it in the natural foods revolution, the global economic meltdown, US political regime change, the crafts revolution and all sorts of things that, while [also] embracing new technologies, are taking us back to what was good about the world on the cusp of the industrial revolution. Music is a huge force for change, despite the fact that musicians are the most ghettoised of artists. Music has to a very great extent supported youth (those 40 and under) in this current movement towards change.
What has been the musical highlight of your life thus far?
The first Valerie Project performance ... my first solo performance at VPRO's Amstel Fest. Those would be the two highest ranking experiences on my list.

What have you been listening to lately?
Ys by Joanna Newsom. The first side of that record is one of the great works of art of the 21st century. Funnily enough, when I play it for the uninitiated, the first reaction is always "it sounds like a little girl singing." "Violence Grows" by The Fatal Microbes (thanks to Jeremy's Christmas cd smapler). A German gal by the name of Haruko. Frumpy's video for "How The Gypsy Was Born." There's an Austrian band by the name Graumahd that I really dig. And there's an ellusive Brit who makes the most incredible and melancholic music (available only on Myspace and YouTube) by the name of Chevalier of the Brazen Serpent. I wish someone would convince him to let me put out a record of his.

Name an album that you couldn't live without that you think more people should listen to.
Anything by Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Er ... anything that a person enjoys hearing shouldn't really be considered a guilty pleasure. Though I guess enjoying an M.O.D. album should make me feel guilty.

It's interesting how often pockets of great music come out of one particular place and within one particular time period. Is there a musical scene, a particular place and time that you would like to go back to and insert yourself in?
I'd happily insert myself in Bearsville [NY in the late 60s/early 70s] right now! Europe in the early 70s was amazing straight across the board. Late 60s early 70s Italy would have been insane. Biglietto Per L'Inferno, Osanna, New Trolls, Saint Just, Mauro Pelosi, Dalton ... the list goes on.

What song best describes your life right now?
"If" by Bread and "Jesahel" by Delirium.

If you could cre
ate your dream bill, made of any bands/artists irregardless of time and space, with Espers as the headliners, who would you choose?

Supersister would have to be on there. Aside from that, a multimedia affair with artists largely drawn from the list of Favorites on the Language of Stone YouTube page would be a good start.

I've heard that you also are interested in making films. Have you had a chance to make one yet? What is it about and what was its inspiration?
I have long been wanting to make a film series dealing with modern day stone cults and centering largely around the push and pull between nature and humankind; how each side attempts to reclaim what the other has taken away. The problem is finances. All the participants and the creative team are lined up, but I'm not good at raising money, I don't want to cede creative control to investors and I want to shoot it all on 16mm. Any suggestions?

Since the economy is as bad as it is these days, I would say definitely don't put it on your credit card, even if that's what so many indie filmmakers have done in the past! Any idea when you will be back on the road touring?
Solo stuff, I don't know ... I'm not sure if there's an audience for me live in the US. I've never been in the position to gauge it. Espers will definitely be out there to support the next record.

Thanks so much for your time!

More News from the Wild Kingdom

Posted by Whitmore, January 27, 2009 03:37pm | Post a Comment
At the Southland Museum in Invercargill, New Zealand a rare and endangered native reptile, a tuatara, has become a father, possibly for the first time, at the age of 111.
Henry the tuatara was thought to be past his prime -- you would think -- especially since he has shown no interests in females since his arrival the Southland Museum in 1970. But last July Henry mated with Mildred, herself no spring chicken either; she’s in her 70’s. Mildred laid 12 eggs and this week after 223 days of incubation, 11 baby tuataras successfully hatched.
According to the Museum, Henry’s new found vitality may be due to a 2002 operation to remove a cancerous tumor under his genitals. Known for his foul moods and aggressive behavior towards other tuataras -- 25 years ago, Henry bit off Mildred's tail when the two were put together for mating purposes -- Museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said that Henry has had a "major personality transplant."
Tuataras are found only in New Zealand and are sometimes referred to as "living fossils." They resemble lizards and are the only surviving members of a species that walked the Earth some 220 million years ago. Today most tuataras live in predator-free sanctuaries or on New Zealand’s offshore islands. They can live between 150 and 250 years and usually reach sexual maturity at about 20. This coming spring the newly rejuvenated Henry is expected to mate with another tuatara, Lucy, one of three females he currently lives with -- sounds like a basic cable reality TV show …

Blood Voyage

Posted by phil blankenship, January 27, 2009 10:55am | Post a Comment

Werewolves in Film, DVDs, Games and Music

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 26, 2009 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Whilst werewolves have been the subjects of films at least as early as 1913's The Werewolf, werewolf movies has always played second fiddle to vampire movies. Heck, maybe even third fiddle, with zombies probably having overtaken them. Werewolf films are therefore like the Dr. Pepper to Zombies' Pepsi and Vampires' Coke. The Rodney Dangerfield of monsters. And yet werewolves' history, both in cinema and reality, is indelibly intertwined with other, more popular monsters. Historically, werewolves were even viewed as likely candidates for vampirism after death. And in films they have a long history of grudge matches with their undead enemies. In the past, it was usually Dracula himself vs. The Wolf Man in a series of B-movies. Now, vampires and werewolves are often depicted as members of different races of beings with ancient hatreds that play out less in the horror genre than the fantasy.


Why don't werewolves get more love? Where did it all go wrong? Maybe it's just because, for the most part, great werewolf films are few and far between -- most of the early ones, which may be the genre's Vampyr or Nosferatu, are lost. Maybe it's because werewolf films are always introducing more and more mythology to the canon, shaping and shifting our perceptions of werewolves as cunning and secretive in the silent era, to rampaging maniacs in the '40s, to Vampire hating proles in modern, dark fantasy. Beyond film, vampires have captured the black hearts of the dispossessed and pasty goth subculture in a way werewolves never have. I mean, Peter Murphy didn't sing, "Lon Chaney Jr.'s Dead." I, for one, have always identified with werewolves more than any other monster. I'm not sure why, but I think there's more to it than them being the underdogs... or wolves as it were. Plus, once (after going to bed in upstairs), I awoke in the early morning on the ground outdoors... unclothed... with bloody bits of skin under my nails and no memory of how I got there.

Continue reading...

Final Mission

Posted by phil blankenship, January 26, 2009 10:28am | Post a Comment

Thorn EMI HBO Video TVB 3001

Another Soul In The Park

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 26, 2009 12:55am | Post a Comment
This Wednesday Los Angeles,
don't miss this unique occasion as we welcome a warm change of pace
with the Brazilian stylings of the Funky President.

If you haven't caught on to SOUL IN THE PARK at Footsie's yet,
imagine a small local dive bar with a reputable sound system.

A room full of open-minded music lovers,
Rocc sharing yet another side of his repertoire,
worldly sounds in this intimate setting --
something to be a part of.



a special Brazilian set by


resident selector


2nd and 4th wednesday // FREE // 10pm-2am

don't miss out...


Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 26, 2009 12:08am | Post a Comment
I was doing some research for my next deejay set (can't talk about it or I'll jinx it, me thinks) when I stumbled on this gem of gems. It's Johnny "Guitar" Watson covering Grover Washington Jr.'s monster hit, "Mr. Magic." Watson just destroys the original easy funk version. Don't get me wrong, I love the original, but Watson trumps the o.g. version. The band is hot as well. They play tight, dress sharp and follow every move Watson makes. If I were Grover and I saw this performance, I would have said, "Damn!!!" and hoped to never to share a bill with Watson.

Ornette Coleman & James Blood Ulmer 1974

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 25, 2009 11:21pm | Post a Comment
I was thinking about James Blood Ulmer, who is one of my favorite guitar players. As great as musicians John Coltrane and Miles Davis were (and still are), they have many legions of imitators who sound just like them. I love Ulmer for the same reason I love Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy; The minute you hear Dolphy, you know it's Dolphy. No one can copy their style. It's both out and in, rooted in church blues, structured in classical music and improvisational all at the same time.

I was already a fan of James Blood Ulmer a few years back as I was playing legendary organist John Patton's album, Accent On The Blues. The song was a breezy soul jazz piece that suddenly came to life with a crazy guitar solo. I didn't even have to read the credits to know it was Ulmer, but I checked anyway. Sure enough, it was him.

I didn't know much about James Blood Ulmer's work with Ornette Coleman. I searching the internet and stumbled upon this video.The song is called "Theme from a Symphony from Dancing in Your Head." The band is Ornette on soprano sax, Blood Ulmer on guitar, Norris Sirone Jones on bass, and the late great Billy Higgins on drums. It's from 1974. I love the way the song starts. It sounds like Blood Ulmer is playing a Velvet Underground song under Ornette's sax line. Together, both musicians compliment each other as they are both heavily rooted in the blues. It is as beautiful as it is abstract. I love it!

Today James Blood Ulmer's music is less jazz and more funk/blues oriented and that great tone as morphed a bit. He sounds what I'd imagine Hendrix would have sounded like now if he was still alive. Check out some of his newer tracks on his myspace page.


Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2009 11:00pm | Post a Comment

e-40 the ball street journal
1) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)

2) Common Universal Mind Control (Geffen)

3) 88 Keys The Death of Adam (Decon)

4) E40 The Ball Street Journal (Sic Wid It/Warner)

5) Atmosphere God Loves Ugly (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

Thanks to Inti at Amoeba Music Berkeley for supplying this week's Hip-Hop Top FIve chart of the best selling albums of the week. As with both other Amoeba stores, the current Q-Tip and Common albums are both still selling steadily. So too are 88 Keys and the "Ambassador of the Yay Area," E40. In addition to the former Jive Records artist's first release through Warner, E40 is also one of the 40 odd artists featured on the fantastic new hip-hop rooted but musically diverse compilation N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo on Anti (more on this release later). Not on this chart but still selling well at Amoeba Berkeley, as well as elsewhere, and coming in at a close number 6, is Kayne West's 808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella Records). "I really like that album," said Inti from Amoeba, adding that, "It's a concept album and I always appreciate concept albums. And people are loving it and buying it."
atmosphere god loves uglyThis week's Top Five's newest chart entry, Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly, is in fact a reissue of the relatively slept-on 2002 release by the superb Minneapolis, Minnesota duo comprised of Slug (emcee) and Ant (beats). Atmosphere's stellar last album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (Rhymesayers) was the top selling hip-hop album at Amoeba Music for 2008. As time goes on and mainstream hip-hop gets more redundant and repetitive, it seems unique voices like Slug's (an intelligent, insightful emcee with a real gift for storytelling and flipping the script in a truly original way) over the dense innovative beats of Ant, rise to the top to get the attention they rightfully deserve.

Continue reading...

This Week At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, January 25, 2009 10:36am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

Peter Bogdanovich guest programs
the New Beverly Cinema January 21-31!

The New Bev is extremely honored to have legendary director/ writer/ actor PETER BOGDANOVICH as a guest programmer for the period of Jan. 21-31, 2009. On Jan. 21-24, we will screen 5 of Mr. Bogdanovich's best films, and on Jan. 25-31, we will screen 3 double bills of other American classics selected by Mr. Bogdanovich.

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday January 25, 26 & 27

Peter Bogdanovich Programs The New Bev

North By Northwest
dir. Alfred Hitchcock, written by Ernest Lehman, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Sun: 3:00 & 7:30; Mon/Tue: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

To Have And Have Not
dir. Howard Hawks, written by Jules Furthman & William Faulkner based on the Ernest Hemingway novel, starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, Lauren Bacall
Sun: 5:30 & 10:00; Mon/Tue: 10:00


Posted by Charles Reece, January 24, 2009 08:02pm | Post a Comment

As a final fuck you to the outgoing President, the Academy has decided to do the near exact opposite of the facts that I so kindly placed before it in this here blog. Hey Hollywood, don't blame all Texans for that family of carbetbaggers! My predictions are in orange -- the "hook 'em horns of Satan" color -- followed by my attempts at psychoanalyzing the voters.

Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Richard Jenkins in The Visitor (Overture Films)
  • Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (Universal)
  • Sean Penn in Milk (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)
Langella's been around a long time without an Oscar nod, but mostly in crap that goes under the Academy's radar. His best chance is that Ron Howard specializes in the liberal schmaltz it loves, but he's not playing a murdered gay man. Ditto for Jenkins, and he doesn't even have Howard. Then there were three. This is a tough one: oppressed minority in a biopic versus pretty actor looking ugly with special effects versus Hollywood reincarnation myth. Penn's been rewarded before, true, but these are ideological times and he's an ideological actor in an ideological film. I'm going with the anti-Prop 8 vote.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Josh Brolin in Milk (Focus Features)
  • Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.)
  • Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)
Get the fuck out of here! They should've just renamed this category "most promising dead young actor killed by an Olson Twin." Der. Ledger's gonna bury the competition!

Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Angelina Jolie in Changeling (Universal)
  • Melissa Leo in Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Meryl Streep in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Kate Winslet in The Reader (The Weinstein Company)
This is a simple matter of bean-counting. Winslet's been nominated 5 times previously and never won. She's in a Holocaust film. Jolie's already won. Although Hathaway plays a narcissistic drug addict, Rachel is too real for the type of realism celebrated by the Academy. What the fuck is Frozen River and who cares? It's an odd-numbered year, so the "Meryl Streep" award goes to Winslet.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Amy Adams in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (The Weinstein Company)
  • Viola Davis in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)
Cruz has been most on the radar, and this time she's in a generally liked film by Woody Allen that didn't receive squat otherwise. Henson and Davis will probably split PC-geared votes, regardless of talent. Adams is young and will have plenty of chances later on. Tomei has already won and her actress-who-could-pass-for-25-playing-a-burned-out-broad-over-40 role is too close to the one from 2007's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

Best animated feature film of the year
  • Bolt (Walt Disney) -- Chris Williams and Byron Howard
  • Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) -- John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Andrew Stanton
Pixar plus serious message equals a cartoon that even adults can love. Regardless, it's gotta be better than the other two.

Achievement in art direction
  • Changeling (Universal) -- Art Direction: James J. Murakami / Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt / Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Art Direction: Nathan Crowley / Set Decoration: Peter Lando
  • The Duchess (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) -- Art Direction: Michael Carlin / Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
  • Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) -- Art Direction: Kristi Zea / Set Decoration: Debra Schutt
For the past 20 years or more, art direction in the Oscars has meant special effects or period piece, so this isn't an easy prediction. I'm going with period piece created with special effects (cf. Forrest Gump and Titanic).

Achievement in cinematography
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Claudio Miranda
  • Changeling (Universal) -- Tom Stern
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Wally Pfister
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Anthony Dod Mantle
Edit: I accidentally had the best director's list here, rather than the one for cinematography. That Benjamin Button has a lot of special effects was my original reason for picking it. I note that my personal choice was Milk, which I thought was too subtle for the Academy. Well, it didn't even make the list. I'm still going with Benjamin Button over The Dark Knight, because the former is more "serious drama," even if both have a ton of effects.

Achievement in costume design
  • Australia (20th Century Fox) -- Catherine Martin
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Jacqueline West
  • The Duchess (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) -- Michael O'Connor
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Danny Glicker
  • Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) -- Albert Wolsky
With the exception of The Adventures of Priscilla, there's been a +50 years constraint on what constitutes best costuming. Milk has a stereotypical connection to that exception proving the rule, and its 70s look is flawless. While watching it, I realized that my own fashion sense largely resembles many of the Castro's residents during the first half of that decade, so I'm rooting for the film. I'll go with my heart, my Urban Cowboy attire and, most importantly, the anti-Prop 8 voters.

Achievement in directing
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Ron Howard
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Danny Boyle
The "better late than never" award. The entrails all read in Fincher's favor: more of a blockbuster-mainstream name than Van Sant or Boyle, Howard's already won, "didn't give your film the Best Pic award" and "we really loved all the other films for which you're actually celebrated."

Best documentary feature
  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) (Cinema Guild) -- Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
  • Encounters at the End of the World (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment) -- Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
  • The Garden (A Black Valley Films Production) -- Scott Hamilton Kennedy
  • Man on Wire (Magnolia Pictures) -- James Marsh and Simon Chinn
  • Trouble the Water (Zeitgeist Films) -- Tia Lessin and Carl Deal
First, let me check to see if any of these docs are about Nazis or the Holocaust ... Okay: Betrayal is about the U.S. bombing of Laos, which isn't enough of Vietnam to make up for the lack of the Holocaust; Encounters is Herzog in Antarctica, which sounds fun, only not "important" or "dramatic;" Garden is about urban farmers in L.A. after the 1992 riots, bringing to mind the old Sam Kinison joke about starving Ethiopians; Trouble the Water is about a rapper living in the Katrina aftermath, so enough said. Therefore, the most financially successful of the five, Man on Wire, is safe enough with its apolitical remembrance of the Twin Towers.

Best documentary short subject
  • The Conscience of Nhem En -- Steven Okazaki
  • The Final Inch -- Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
  • Smile Pinki -- Megan Mylan
  • The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306 -- Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde
Two of these, Final Inch and Smile Pinki, are about poor Third Worlders getting helped by Western scientific know-how, which makes us feel good about ourselves. But what really makes us feel good is Obama, and I'm thinking his golden aura will encompass The Witness, a guy celebrating his memory of Martin Luther King. The Khmer Rouge makes everyone feel bad, but about acceptable subject matter (cf. all the Oscar hooplah surrounding 1984's The Killing Fields). Plus, the director of The Conscience, Okazaki, has been nominated without winning 4 times previously. That might put him over for the win. On the other hand, he's not a star, so track record might not mean shit here. Who to choose, who to choose? To paraphrase Wesley Snipes, always bet on Obama.

Achievement in film editing
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Lee Smith
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Elliot Graham
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Chris Dickens
Looking at the history of this award, two factors contribute to what the Academy considers good film editing, neither of which really concerns editing: big special effects and high melodrama. Thus, there's only two real choices here: The Dark Knight versus Benjamin Button. Probably melodrama more than special effects-delivered action.

Best foreign language film of the year
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex A Constantin Film Production - Germany
  • The Class (Sony Pictures Classics) A Haut et Court Production - France
  • Departures (Regent Releasing) A Departures Film Partners Production - Japan
  • Revanche (Janus Films) A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production - Austria
  • Waltz with Bashir (Sony Pictures Classics) A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production - Israel
There are only 2 of these in play: The Class versus Waltz with Bashir. Points for the first: it's French, and the Academy loves them above all others for this category; it's about yet another inspirational teacher; it's about an inspirational teacher in France. Points for the latter: it contains a lot of self-important self-analysis from the side of power -- a staple of serious Hollywood filmmaking since the 50s; lots of word of mouth. Close call, but I'm going with the teacher over a cartoon.

Achievement in makeup
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Greg Cannom
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Universal) -- Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz
Lots of obvious use of makeup for a suppsedly realistic effect spells win.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance (Paramount Vantage) -- James Newton Howard
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Thomas Newman
The Academy really loves Howard (7 previous nominations, no wins), Newman (8 previous nominations, no wins) and Elfman (3 previous nominations, no wins), so in this year without a John Williams, Howard Shore or James Horner, it'll be one of them. I'm eliminating Defiance, since no one much cares about it. Of the remaining two, Newman's is the best, but it's attached to a film that's not serious enough -- at least, a cartoon for kids doesn't signify "seriosity." If only American Beauty had come out in 2008. And Newman is up for Best Song. Therefore, it's Elfman's time.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • "Down to Earth" from WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman / Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • Jai Ho from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) -- Music by A.R. Rahman / Lyric by Gulzar
  • O Saya from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) -- Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam
Honestly, who can tell the difference between the two Rahman tunes by memory? Divided votes will result in yet another award for aging rockers turned adult contemporary artists on soundtracks.

Best motion picture of the year
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Nominees to be determined
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Christian Colson, Producer
Catchy world-beat dance score, orientalist flourishes and a contrived feel-good story about overcoming an impoverished existence equals smug first-world satisfaction. "We really love diversity."

Best animated short film
  • La Maison en Petits Cubes -- Kunio Kato
  • Lavatory - Lovestory -- Konstantin Bronzit
  • Oktapodi (Talantis Films) -- Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
  • Presto (Walt Disney) -- Doug Sweetland
  • This Way Up -- Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes
Presto was the best thing about WALL-E. Being attached to one of the biggest hits of 2008 won't hurt its chances any. It also looks to be the most fun out of these 5.

Best live action short film
  • Auf der Strecke (On the Line) (Hamburg Shortfilmagency) -- Reto Caffi
  • Manon on the Asphalt (La Luna Productions) -- Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
  • New Boy (Network Ireland Television) -- Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
  • The Pig -- Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland) -- Jochen Alexander Freydank
Well, shit, I don't know. Toyland has all the right code words in its description: "In 1942, a German boy believes that his Jewish neighbors are going to Toyland."

Achievement in sound editing
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Richard King
  • Iron Man (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) -- Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
  • Wanted (Universal) -- Wylie Stateman
Bang! Pow! Wham! The word is made flesh and Batman is more popular than the other superheroes.

Achievement in sound mixing
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
  • Wanted (Universal) -- Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt
If The Dark Knight is awarded the previous award, then that leaves two possibilities here: Benjamin Button versus WALL-E. Slumdog will be thought of for its music (even if it doesn't win), so that's enough regarding its sound. And no one cares about Wanted. I'm going with precedent: sound for animation involving realistic people trumps that for animation involving cartoonish looking people.

Achievement in visual effects
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
  • Iron Man (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) -- John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan
This is the "keep the tech geeks happy, even though we don't much respect the stories on which you're most needed" prize. It always goes to sci-fi, monster or fantasy films. I guess Batman.

Adapted screenplay
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Screenplay by Eric Roth / Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
  • Doubt (Miramax) -- Written by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Screenplay by David Hare
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy
Slumdog will have enough. Slamming the Nazis versus slamming the Catholics versus slamming Nixon, or do they want to continue giving more stuff to Benjamin Button, since it won't win Best Pic? Fincher's got Director, so it'll probably be one of the others. I bet liberal schmaltz.

Original screenplay
  • Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics) -- Written by Courtney Hunt
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (Miramax) -- Written by Mike Leigh
  • In Bruges (Focus Features) -- Written by Martin McDonagh
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon / Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter
Consolation prize and anti-Prop 8 sentiment. An adaptation of a documentary is "original?" Harumph! Sorry, In Bruges, you deserve it out of these 5.


Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2009 03:05pm | Post a Comment
Bored Stiff video for "@ A Distance" off their new album The Sad Truth (Solidarity)
(Check for the scenes shot at Amoeba Music San Francisco)

The brand new video "@ A Distance" from Bored Stiff, who headline the Elbo Room in SF tonight (Saturday Jan 24th), is like a nice condensed history lesson (set to music) of the longtime San Francisco true hip-hop crew, who have been tirelessly putting it down on the hip-hop scene since the early 90's. The Matt Straus directed video (above) mixes footage taken over the years of the tight knit Sucka Free collective spanning from 1992 to 1998 to 2001 to the present day. Some of the current day shots in the video for the song, taken from their highly recommended new album The Sad Truth (Solidarity Records),  were shot partially inside Amoeba Music San Francisco (:53 - :57) where they go digging for their latest release in the "New Hip-Hop CD" aisles) as well as outside including right in front of the Haight Street store (1:06 - 1:10) with sometime collaborator Z-Man making a cameo.

Luis, from the hip-hop department at Amoeba Music San Francisco, is both a big fan and supporter of the group, most of whose members live not too far from the SF store."They're a humble group of really good rappers who have steadily kept their rap game on point all these years. Their style is timeless because they transcend trends. In fact they have an album called Timeless," said Luis by phone this week. "They've been doing this stuff since the early or mid-nineties and their music is still top quality all these years later." Their current album The Sad Truth, which features such guests as The Grouch and The Jacka, has cracked the SF store's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart.


Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2009 02:00pm | Post a Comment

I'm really not an early riser. I sure don't like the cold. And I certainly don't care for standing around for hours on end in freezing temperatures after getting out of bed really early and without enough sleep. But on Tuesday this week in Washington DC I gladly put aside all of these personal disinclinations to be on the National Mall for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama

Sure it was uncomfortably cold as I waited, standing in the one spot for five long hours in frigid temperatures after being up since 4AM. Not only that but, like the majority of the other people that crammed all the way from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building on Tuesday, I didn't even catch a firsthand glimpse of the miniature faraway figure of Barack Obama on the steps of the Capitol Building. Instead I only got to see him (and everything else) on one of the many JumboTrons that were set up along the National Mall. But none of these temporary, uncomfortable inconveniences mattered one iota to me or seemingly to anyone else who had gathered in the numbingly cold pre-dawn to late morning hours patiently waiting for the historic ceremony to begin. It was all well worth it.

While varying reports I have read estimated Tuesday's turnout to be anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million, all seem to agree that it was a landmark event with a stunning turnout. Consider in comparison that for the last inauguration, George W Bush's second in January 2005, that a mere 100,000 showed up, and many of them were protesters. Meanwhile, for this year's inauguration festivities an estimated 10,000 charter buses, packed with revelers from as far away as Chicago and California, descended upon Washington for Tuesday's events and the couple of days leading up to it. So crazy were the numbers arriving in the nation's capitol that not only were all hotels in the DC area completely booked (many reportedly jacking their rates way up in a direct correlation to demand) but hotels up to a three hour drive in all directions out of DC were also booked up. One guy told me how his friend had rented out his DC apartment for $2000 for a night. In fact, get this, even all the campgrounds in the greater DC area were all booked up, and trust me, this is not camping weather on the East Coast. Many, like me, were lucky to have friends living in the DC/Maryland/Virginia areas who they could stay with.

Amoeba Art Show Seeks Warholians

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 21, 2009 06:27pm | Post a Comment
In collaboration with the East Bay Express and the de Young Museum, Amoeba will be presenting its 3rd Annual Art Show in Emeryville this coming March 6! While celebrating local artists and their work, the show additionally aims to pay homage to the renowned Andy Warhol.

andy warhol

To this end, the East Bay Express, is hosting a special Warhol-inspired Film Festival, which will take place at the Art Show. The show is looking for submissions -- you can win $5andy warhol's factory00!

Here are the rules:

-Film must be edited to not exceed 15 minutes in length.
-Must be shot, acted and edited in the style and period of Warhol's films.
-Original script and film concept required.
-Scenes and dialogue from Warhol's films cannot be used.

You can submit final copies of your film on DVD by Feb 25 to:
East Bay Express
Attn: Sarah Hammill
1335 Stanford Ave, Ste 100
Emeryville, CA 94warhol's empire608

You could win:

-Grand Prize of $500
-Amoeba gift certificates
-Screening at the Art Show March 6
-Screening at the de Young on April 24
-Recognition in the East Bay Express
-Video hosting on

So foil up your apartment, get your wigs out and your go go boots, and go crazy! Or just film one building. All day. 24 hours. It's all up to you and your own inspired creativity!

January 21, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, January 21, 2009 06:14pm | Post a Comment

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man Documentary Plays in Bay Area

Posted by Miss Ess, January 21, 2009 02:45pm | Post a Comment

Attention all Bay Area Scott Walker fans! There's a documentary that was executive produced by David Bowie himself and has been floating around for a few years called Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, and now it will finally have its proper debut on the big screen this week here in the Bay Area!

For decades now Scott Walker has continually been hipper than hip and within the past few years his cult status has only ballooned. He also has the best album covers of all time, imho, or at least the most dramatic, both the interior photos and exterior. His music tends to produce immense reactions in listeners -- either enthusiastic or otherwise. It leaves no one unmoved one way or the other. His fans are rampant and rabid and they continue to grow in numbers as the years have passed.

Born in America but living in England since the 60s, Walker has enjoyed an illustrious career as one of the most cultishly admired vocalists both in his early group, The Walker Brothers, and especially throughout his fabled solo career, with his acclaimed solo albums Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3 (sensing a pattern here?) and Scott 4 all being released in the late 60s. Scott 4 is highly influenced by Ingmar Bergman and his films and is truly epic. Walker continues to make music, most recently releasing The Drift in 2006.

The film premieres at Shattuck in Berkeley and at Opera Plaza Cinema in San Francisco Friday, January 23.

There will also be a premiere party celebrating 30 Century Man at the Casanova here in San Francisco's Mission District this Friday, January 23. The DJ will be spinning all Scott all the time and there will be ticket and prize giveaways.

Moving Units & (((6))) @ Glasshouse Sat 24th

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 21, 2009 10:15am | Post a Comment

Peter Bogdanovich's Targets At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, January 21, 2009 09:42am | 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!

January 24

Peter Bogdanovich's

Paramount Archive 35mm Print!

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


Posted by phil blankenship, January 20, 2009 10:29am | Post a Comment

Marquis Video Corporation

A Change is Gonna Come Today

Posted by Miss Ess, January 20, 2009 08:34am | Post a Comment


Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2009 03:43pm | Post a Comment
macworld 2009
This year's Macworld Expo, every Mac-head’s favorite trade show, was unfortunately a bit of a downer. Steve Jobs was too sick to give his traditional keynote address. There were no really groundbreaking products to announce (iLife 09-yawn), and an overall tone of austerity. 

Most of the exhibitors were not giving away any free stuff, and the ones that did have free stuff seemed kind of cheap. There were a few cool booths at the show.  Probably the The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus was the most impressive.  A fully loaded Greyhound type bus with digital audio and video studios built into it. They visit about 200 high schools a year and teach kids how to produce a CD or DVD. Check out their website.

I saw a huge amount of iPhone and iPod related stuff: little jackets and wallets for the gadgets, speakers to amplify the tiny amount of sound coming from these devices. There are about 10,000 “apps” for the iPhone and iPod Touch now; an amazing selection of software. One of them turns your iPod into a whoopy cushion. Yipee! Truphone (marketed as "a free application that lets you make international mobile calls from your own phone over the internet at incredibly low rates") has a free app that turns your iPod Touch into a VoIP phone when you’re near a wi-fi network. 

Myvu has little video eyeglasses that display the video from your iPod -- probably not a good idea to use these when you’re walking or driving around. A company called Solio makes compact solar power devices that can charge up your unit on the go. The one company doing something really different for Mac users was Axiotron. They turn your Macbook into a tablet computer with a touch screen. Of course, it’s very expensive.  The Macbook is about $1400 and then another $1400 to convert it into a “modbook.” Ouch! One piece of software I have loaded onto my Mac is Wiretap Anywhere. Basically it takes the audio from any source coming into your computer and makes it available to your audio recording software. Grab the audio off YouTube or MySpace or some internet radio station...whatever! Supposedly, PC users have had this capability for a while, but now it’s here for us Mac users.

So, all in all, it was a day well spent at Macworld. Supposedly, Apple, Inc. will not participate in the Expo anymore. That seems kind of sad. Hopefully, it’s just a ploy for them to control the event more to their liking. In any case, there are more Mac users every day, as people get tired of Microsoft and their lame products, so to those of you who just bought your first Mac, I say, “Welcome!”                          

The Late, Great Bob May, Body behind Robot B-9

Posted by Charles Reece, January 19, 2009 08:18am | Post a Comment

Dead at 69.

Happy 200th Birthday Edgar Allan Poe

Posted by Whitmore, January 19, 2009 08:11am | Post a Comment

Two hundred years
ago today, the greatest of early American writers was born in Boston, Massachusetts: Edgar Allan Poe. The master of the macabre, horror and one of the earliest practitioners of the short story is also considered by many to be the originator of the detective/crime fiction genre. In celebration I originally thought I’d blather on as if possessed by some dark unfathomable tide, revel in the sound that takes the form of a demon. But I convinced myself that I shall not seek to convince. Am I here to exorcise my own demons beyond some memory of my past bliss; deceits, they lie in the anguish of today. Would such blather hasten some clever paranormal patter? Alas, for you Poe, I recollect one vanquished thought, “Man is an animal that diddles, and there is no animal that diddles but man.” I won’t diddle. No one needs to read my diddle. Instead here are some of Edgar Allan Poe's greatest quotes:
“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
“Stupidity is a talent for misconception.”
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”
“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”

“The true genius shudders at incompleteness -- and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.”
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.”
“I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity.”
“All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream”
“Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them.”
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
“I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect -- in terror.”
“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”

The Replacements

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 19, 2009 12:11am | Post a Comment

Today at Amoeba we heard The Replacements' Let It Be over the store’s stereo. To most alt rock types, this album is considered a timeless classic. Released back in 1984, it is a mix of adolescent angst and Paul Westerberg's foray into mature songwriting. And…much like most 80’s albums, it also painfully dated. As the album played I thought to myself, “Would any kid born in the nineties understand why people liked Let It Be so much?” Perhaps if they listened to the lyrics to “Sixteen Blue,” “You’re My Favorite Thing,” “I Will Dare,” and “Unsatisfied,” they would. Those songs speak to that inner adolescent that is still in us or yet to be.

Still, I had to laugh at some of the other songs. Not because they are terrible songs, but because they all dealt with subjects that post-nineties children wouldn’t understand. For instance, in the song “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out,” teenage drummer Tommy Stinton gets a tonsillectomy by an impatient doctor. According to Wikipedia, the number of tonsillectomies in the United States has “dropped significantly from several million in the 1970s to approximately 600,000 in the late 1990s.” The chances of anyone born in the United States after 1990 getting a tonsillectomy in their lifetime are minimal. Maybe the title “Tommy Has Tonsillitis And Gets a Prescription For Antibiotics” would work better in 2009.

How about the song, “Seen Your Video?" It was the Anti-MTV anthem of the eighties at a time when your main chance of having a career in music depended on whether MTV playing your video. Now, most bands don’t even make a video and MTV rarely plays them. Now there is YouTube. Your music video viewing is no longer dictated by MTV when you can put your favorite artist name YouTube's search engine and magically their videos pop up…that is, if they chose to even make one.
Finally, there is the angst ridden “Answering Machine.” From the first line, “Try to breathe some life into a letter,” it sounds dated. Really, when was the last time you wrote a letter? I’m not talking about an e-mail, I’m talking about an actual letter. On top of that, how many people still have an answering machine? I have voice mail on my cell that cuts you off after a certain time if you babble on and besides that, no one ever leaves a message. If I miss a call, I get a text message a minute later that reads “call me.” We are even too lazy to leave a voice mail. Then there's text messages -- how many regrettable texts of love have been sent? Far more than songs written about, “How do I say I love you to an answering machine?”

I saw The Replacements while in my high school years. It was a great show. They were drunk, would start songs and abandoned them if they thought they were boring. The songs that they played that night were both originals and covers, and real bad covers to boot. Billy Swan’s “Let Me Help,” Vanity Fare’s “Hitchin’ A Ride” and of course, their version of Kiss’ “Black Diamond.” The songs they covered were so bad that they were great. They were the ultimate old school bar band, which is a lost art. When was the last time you walked to a bar and saw a great cover band with great originals?

Listening to Let It Be made me think as much as I love technology, I feel sorry for the kids. They missed out on some cool sh*t.

This Week At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 18, 2009 10:47pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

Peter Bogdanovich guest programs
the New Beverly Cinema January 21-31!

The New Bev is extremely honored to have legendary director/ writer/ actor PETER BOGDANOVICH as a guest programmer for the period of Jan. 21-31, 2009. On Jan. 21-24, we will screen 5 of Mr. Bogdanovich's best films, and on Jan. 25-31, we will screen 3 double bills of other American classics selected by Mr. Bogdanovich.

Mr. Bogdanovich will appear in person for many of the screenings. Details on his specific appearances will be posted on our website as they are confirmed.

Sunday & Monday January 18 & 19

Van Damme x 2

(2008) Van Damme's Critically Acclaimed New Film!
dir. Mabrouk El Mechri, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Sun: 3:05 & 7:30; Mon: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!


Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 18, 2009 08:20pm | Post a Comment
I think that's it's been well over six months since I last did a sticker gallery. Not a price tag gallery, but a promo sticker gallery.  Some of these stickers are clearly the label interfering with the artists intentions, others are clearly part of the artists design, but all are clear...

Most examples of these types of stickers have a more or less general placement on the cover. However, this Tom Paxton sticker has very specific placement. Not only would that require hand placement, but very meticulous execution. Quite a feat...

Les Folies Bergere

Posted by Whitmore, January 18, 2009 06:57pm | Post a Comment

The Rat Pack Vegas of yesteryear is quickly fading into lore.

It was announced from Las Vegas this week that the legendary topless revue, “Les Folies Bergere” will be closing after a 49 year run at the Tropicana Resort & Casino. The final curtain call will take place on March 28th, leaving Bally's “Jubilee!” as the only and last full-scale showgirl revue left on the Las Vegas Strip.

The "Folies" originally came from Paris where it has run in one version or another since the 1870’s. The Vegas edition opened on December 24, 1959 under then Tropicana entertainment director Lou Walters, the father of newswoman / talk show host Barbara Walters.

Tropicana President Ron Thacker, in a statement released last Thursday, didn’t explain the decision but it is thought that such old school showgirl productions have fallen out of favor with audiences seeking more Cirque du Soleil kind of razzle-dazzle. The closure is part of a strategy by new management to bring in fresh entertainment as its parent company tries to emerge from bankruptcy. The statement also ended speculation that “Folies” might move to another Las Vegas casino or hotel. 

As Sinatra use to say, “It's Endsville man.”


Posted by Billyjam, January 18, 2009 03:39am | Post a Comment
Biggie's the word this weekend. Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace but more commonly known as Big Poppa), whose big screen biopic, the George Tillman Jr. directed Notorious arrived in theaters nationwide on Friday to across-the-board deserved good reviews. Biggie Smalls, who has been named the greatest rapper of all time by many, including The Source magazine, has never been my personal favorite emcee (I like him, sure, but always felt he was way overrated and that there are many far better skilled lyricists out there), but I still really enjoyed this film and give it a 3 out of 5 rating. I like most movies dealing with hip-hop, especially a well filmed and acted one like this, even if it doesn't delve as deep in some areas as I would have liked it to have gone.

In a nutshell Notorious is the tale of a drug dealer from the rough and tumble, do-or-die, Bed-Stuy district of Brooklyn, a man of girth with a wandering eye for the ladies but ever respectful of his moms. This man rises to fame (thanks to a shrewd fella named Puffy) and become a world renowned hip-hop recording artist, all the while rapping in his unique flow about the street life that he just left behind. Within his way-too-short life, during which he only got to see the release of one of his albums, he famously got into a beef with the West Coast artist/one-time friend Tupac Shakur (played by Anthony Mackie) that spiraled out of proportion to become the center of the (media fueled) East vs West coast rap feud. And in March, 1997 at the young age of 24, Biggie was tragically shot and killed in LA while leaving a party, his unsolved murder coming exactly six months after 2Pac's murder in Las Vegas.

P.I. Private Investigations

Posted by phil blankenship, January 17, 2009 10:42pm | Post a Comment

Key Video 4742

All For One

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 17, 2009 09:55pm | Post a Comment

Matching outfits, like minded hairstyles or matching facial hair? There's always something special about band uniforms...This cover collection is only a small sampling of the many LP's I see everyday that feature the designs of a local tailor, girlfriend or svengali...

Love Story - The Band Love and Arthur Lee's Skewed Genius

Posted by Miss Ess, January 17, 2009 06:15pm | Post a Comment

One of my favorite bands from the 60s has to be Love. Their music is so unexpected and so unconventional, both lyrically and sonically. I give Arthur Lee the lion's share of credit for this (sorry Bryan MacLean). Lee was truly one of a kind.

I've just watched the recent documentary about Love, Love Story.

Lee formed the band under various names in Los Angeles in the early 60s. It was one of the very first integrated rock bands to hit the scene and gain popularity -- something that is discussed in the film quite a bit, as band members feel they were represented to the press/public early on by colorful psychedelic drawings as a way for the record company to avoid presenting the potentially "risky" fact that the band was made up of both black and white musicians. 

Love was one of the first rock bands to sign to Jac Holzman's Elektra Records and it was not to be a simple relationship between the band and their label. The band members spend a great deal of time in Love Story accusing Holzman of not promoting their work enough. Holzman counters this by pointing out Lee's aversion to touring outside of California. Regardless, the band made three brilliant albums within a span of a year and a half (!) -- Love, Da Capo and Forever Changes -- and increasingly, Lee's moments of brilliance were aggravated by longer and longer durations of virtual insanity because of his drug use.

Due to the fact that he was a young African American man in Los Angeles in the 60s and also because of Lee's skewed view of the world and his paranoid and idiosyncratic thoughts, Love's music portrays the world from an outsider's perspective. This lyrical innovation is just one part of what marks the band's music as distinctive and even refreshing; while Love's albums have some of the hallmarks of the psychedelic era, if you listen to the lyrics, they are highly critical of hippies and their "peace and love" stance. (Yes, ironic considering the band is named Love.) The lyrics are dark and question the way the world works.

Sonically, each album grows more multi dimensional; from Love, which is garage-y and poppy, with sudden time changes and inventive drumming; to Da Capo with its flute accents and experimental full-side-love-it-or-hate-it jam; to Forever Changes which takes the listener on an uncomperable trip through Lee and MacLean's brains with flamenco guitar, strings, Latin-flavored horns, etc. Although the documentary Love Story ends its story after the release of Forever Changes, when the original band broke up, I highly recommend the next album Arthur Lee released under the Love banner: Four Sail, in addition to the first three albums. Four Sail has some of my favorite Love songs ever, and Lee forges a solid comeback in all his quirky glory.

Love Story is a great documentary. Arthur Lee is such a character that it is fun to watch and listen to him. Although his diction is sometimes difficult to understand (and the film's sound is amature), he still presents an ever-strong point of view. There are so many great bits of footage and the interviews, particularly an interview with Bryan MacLean, who died in 1998 and several with Lee, who died in 2005, are precious. Guitarist Johnny Echols is also extensively interviewed and he seems to be the band member who has done the best job of keeping his head together, post drug addiction and fame. Echols adds astute comments to the unfortunately short story of the band Love. Their music is singular, electrifying and resonant; there will never be another group like Love.

Because Love never had a legit radio hit, there is almost no footage of them performing. It's a bummer, but here is the closest they ever came to a hit, a cover of Burt Bacharach's "Little Red Book."

Io -- as seen on TV, DVD, VHS, games and telescopes

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 17, 2009 11:57am | Post a Comment

Io is the fourth largest moon in the solar system, about the same size as Earth's. But, whereas Earth's moon (like most) is a boring ball of dirt, Io is bat guano insane, with over 400 volcanoes spewing plumes of material from its molten core as high as 500 km into space, creating a thin atmosphere of sulphur which disperses, due to Io's low gravity.


The volcanoes were first noticed by a navigation engineer named Linda Morabito when she was analyzing images sent from Voyager 1. It is also covered with mountains (most tectonic and not volcanic), some higher than any on Earth. It's also highly radioactive. And as pockmarked and hard to look at as it is, it has no known impact craters. Io remains difficult to look at for dermatosiophobes like myself. If you also have this probelm, maybe it will help to compare it to a moldy fruit.


It was first discovered in 1610 by Galileo Bonaiuti de' Galilei, an astronomer curiously referred to, in most cases, by his first name (like Bjork, Sadam, Lawrence, Madonna and Prince) -- a fact which I find fascinating. It's not as if Galileo is an overly common family name. Though named "Io" by Simon Marius in 1614, the moon was usually referred to as Jupiter I until the mid-20th century. Marius claimed to have discovered Io, in fact, a week before Galilei.


The name "Io" comes from one of the priestesses of Hera. Her father was Inachus, a river god who inaguarated the worship of Hera in Argos. As a hot young priestess, Io caught Zeus' eye. Zeus came to her nightly and begged her to meet him in a meadow for a fling. She told her father about having weird dreams and he reluctantly sent her away. An implacable serial cheater, Zeus disguised himself as a cloud so that he could get it on with Io without Hera noticing. He turned her into a cow to avoid Hera's suspicion. It didn't work. Hera was no slouch, used to Zeus going to all kinds of magical lengths to cheat on her, and when she noticed the earth blanketed in a thick fog with Zeus no where to be found in Olympus, she figured it out so she asked for the cow as a gift.

Argos guarding Io

Hera then tied her to a tree and charged 100-eyed Argus Panoptes with guarding her. Zeus sent Hermes to lull Argus to sleep so that he might resume his affair with the girl. Instead, Hera set her free to graze and wander, driven and plauged by a vexatious gadfly. In her travels, she wandered out of Greece and her name was later applied to the Ionian Sea. After she crossed the Bosporous, she encountered Promotheus who -- despite having his liver pecked out repeatedly by an eagle -- comforted her with the knowledge that she'd become human again someday. When she got to Egypt, she gave birth to Zeus' son Epaphus, as well as a daughter, Keroessa. There she married the Egyptian king, Telegonus. Their grandson, Danaos, eventually returned to Greece with his fifty daughters (the world famous Danaids), as recalled in Aeschylus's play The Suppliants. Io's nickname was "the horned virgin."

As a pretty cool moon, Io has not surprisingly shown up in more than one work of television and film. The space western Outland was set there. In V, the baddies blew it up. On Red Dwarf, Judas Rimmer was raised there. It was home to an Earth Alliance colony in Babylon 5 with the Sol system's jumpgate orbiting it. There was a mining colony there in Escape from Jupiter. In that curious genre of dramatized, speculative sci-fi documentaries, the BBC made Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets. When an astronaut lands there to collect samples, he's overcome by exhaustion and, compounded by the risk of radiation exposure, the samples are abandoned.

  Transformers Season 3 

Io also shows up in a few cartoons. In the Transformers episode "Five Faces of Darkness," Blurr and Wheelie were stranded there following an attack by the Deceptacons. In Heroic Age, in an attempt to knock Io out of orbit, a massive space weapon destroys Jupiter in the process -- (one of my biggest phobias). In Exosquad, Io is where the Exofleet is based.

And you gamers can get your Io on in Ultima II, where the player must travel to Io to complete the game. Many game programers revolve around Io's sulfur mines. Pipeline, level 11 of Descent, and a level of  Disruptor are all set in those mines. Final Doom breaks the mold and includes a resarch base. Io is also featured in ZeroZone and Battlezone I.

January 15, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, January 17, 2009 09:08am | Post a Comment

Happy Birthday Andy Kaufman

Posted by Whitmore, January 17, 2009 08:21am | Post a Comment

a year in music

Posted by Whitmore, January 16, 2009 04:59pm | Post a Comment
Since the first of the New Year I’ve been trying to decide on what music releases might have been my favorites of 2008. But as I rifled through my addled opinions, I suddenly realized I was shockingly unaware of anything going on in music in ‘08. This goes to show you how much attention I pay to the goings on around me at Amoeba. I think I need to get out of the used 45 room a bit more, though it’s hard to do … it’s like a record geek Shangri-la in there!
Between my obsession with the Presidential election, the Dodgers pennant hopes, a Top Chef / Project Runway fixation, and just being wrapped up in my own primitive world, most of my information came by way of an occasional obituary, never ending music-celeb scandal sheet fodder or random music pouring from some car pulling up alongside me at a red light. I guess I can list my favorite old 45’s I discovered this past year, but they have little to do with ’08, let alone this century. I only bought a handful of CD’s last year. A few that come to mind are the Antony and the Johnson’s CD, a Mighty Hannibal collection, and Baden Powell’s Canto on Guitar but none of them were released in 2008. I didn’t download any new music either and though I probably bought some 30 DVD’s and maybe as many as 40 books last year; once again, I’m not sure if any of those titles were actually released or published in 2008.
So then I started thinking about all the gigs and concerts I went to … and once again I drew a blank. There are years that fly by, and then there was 2008 which seemed to last only about 37 and a half hours … and I must have slept through most of it.
Then again I did have two great adventures last year. A three week tour in Italy where we played some great gigs, but more notably I ate some incredibly delicious food. And a two week vacation in Paris, which I wrote laboriously about over the holidays, where once again it was all about the food. However, during both trips there were two unusually great musical moments that came out of nowhere. Unfortunately both events are probably knee deep in that “you had to be there” category, but what the hell …
In Florence after playing a show, we were all invited to stay at a friend of a friend’s 15th century farmhouse in the hills of Tuscany, about a half an hour away. But first we had to meet our host at a club not far down the road, located in an old, abandoned Catholic church. From the outside it looked like most any other 600 year old building, inside some of the original religious elements were still intact, not many, but enough to realize that this used to be a place of worship. What really surprised me was the music; tangos and only tangos. It was a tango club. On the dance floor were the most perfectly attired, gorgeous collection of people I think I’ve ever seen gathered in one room in my life; and I looked like hell. Most of dancers moved in the traditional Argentinean or Uruguayan steps of “the forbidden dance,” and a few other couples who hadn’t yet perfected the tango just playfully toyed with the chest to chest embrace, spinning hip to hip, tearing it up in their own way. The music selection was perfect; the volume was nice and low so the conversations around us were lively and intimate. The room was pretty brightly lit so you could see the pick-ups and make-out romances at the tables along the walls. Dozens, and I mean dozens, of wine bottles were strewn around the perimeter of the dance floor. There was one helluva sensual vibe in the room. And I don’t mean that last-call-desperate-to-get-laid kind of vibe either. Anyway, I’ve always been fascinated by Tango music, from the early songs of Carlos Gardel, to the orchestras of Juan D'Arienzo, to the Nuevo Tango of Ástor Piazzolla. That night with a bottle of wine in my hand, I just sat in the corner --but not too far from the heat of the dancers -- listening to the rhythms and I was at home!
If you’ve ever taken the Metro in Paris, chances are you’ve been accosted by a musician performing on the subway train. More often than not, what the captive audience gets is a mediocre accordion or bandoneón player or some guy with a guitar singing some song you’ve heard way too many times and never need hear again, let alone a sorry ass rendition. Rarely does the music stir anything except irritation. But on this last visit to Paris we were riding on the number 8 Metro, towards Alfortville, to see some friends. An accordion player stepped on board, and instantly a slight frown appeared on practically every face but the musician’s. He stood in the center of our train, started playing, and something came alive. People perked up, turned around and actually looked him in the eyes. He was masterful. Playing a couple of jazz standards which I should know the titles of but I can never remember, his tone was insanely beautiful, simply faultless. He improvised fluidly and soulfully, without that annoying bravado street musicians might shove down your throat in order to be noticed. In a matter of moments he made something happen, an intangible skill few musicians possess no matter how trained and studied they might be. This portly, unattractive accordion player with a bad haircut had the musical equivalent of “it!" After a couple of minutes he gathered a few coins from his audience and moved forward to the next train car.

Dead Space

Posted by phil blankenship, January 16, 2009 11:12am | Post a Comment

Columbia TriStar Home Video 91203


Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2009 07:44pm | Post a Comment

The new year is already off to a good start with lots of exciting brand new material dropping, or about to drop, such as P.O.S. (the unique Minneapolis Rhymesayers' emcee with the punk rock past), who will be releasing his anticipated new album Never Better on Rhymesayers Entertainment in two weeks (in Amoeba Music on Feb 3rd). I have only heard snippets off of the album so far, but they sound as good as I expected. The record was reportedly entirely written by P.O.S. while in a moving car and hence, I am told, it conjures "get-away cars, racing chariots, the pursuit of sirens, and the occasional rueful nighttime drive."  I believe it based on his powerful past output.

P.O.S.'s last album, 2006's Audition, also on Rhymesayers, was one of the most innovative hip-hop albums of that year and perfectly melded the urgent energy and sonic assault of my two favorite genres, hip-hop and punk rock. Not too surprisingly, then, P.O.S. (or Stef, as they call him at the dinner table) has been invited on the Vans Warped Tour in the past, and will be on the road once again this summer for the 2009 Warped Tour. He is always a crowd favorite.

In the meantime the artist will be doing his own national solo tour starting next month in support of Never Better, with Cali dates in the first week of the tour, including a show at San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill on Monday, Feb 9th and the following night, Tuesday, Feb 10th, in LA at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Expect an Amoeblog interview with the artist that same week. Scroll down to end of article to hear Never Better's first single, "Goodbye."

The Late, Great Ricardo Montalbán

Posted by Charles Reece, January 14, 2009 05:48pm | Post a Comment

At 88, he escaped from the planet of the apes.

Festival Of Swords & Sorcery

Posted by phil blankenship, January 14, 2009 05:20pm | 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!

Festival Of Swords & Sorcery

January 17

5 Films. $10 All Day Pass.

Barbarian Queen (1985) 4:00pm
dir. Héctor Olivera, starring Lana Clarkson, Katt Shea

The Sword And The Sorcerer
(1982) 5:30pm
dir. Albert Pyun, starring Lee Horsley, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, Richard Moll, Richard Lynch
Watch The Trailer!

Conan The Barbarian
(1982) 7:30pm
dir. John Milius, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow, Sandahl Bergman, Mako
Watch The Trailer!

Deathstalker II
(1987) 10:00pm
dir. Jim Wynorski, starring John Terlesky, Monique Gabrielle, John Lazar, Toni Naples
THEATRICAL PREMIERE from the only 35mm print in existence!
Director Jim Wynorski & star John Terlesky IN PERSON!
Watch The Trailer!

Yor, The Hunter From The Future
(1983) Midnight
dir. Antonio Margheriti, starring Reb Brown, Corinne Clery, John Steiner
Sony Archive Print!

Watch The Trailer!


Posted by Billyjam, January 14, 2009 02:46pm | Post a Comment

Between George W. Bush about to (finally) leave office and Slumdog Millionaire scooping up all those awards at the Golden Globes the other night, 2009 is already shaping up to be a great year, one with change for the better. 

Both events prove that sometimes good does overcome all, even in America. In the case of the Danny Boyle-directed Slumdog Millionaire's deserved four Golden Globes awards (not to mention its inevitable upcoming Oscar wins next month), it is a refreshing reminder that, even when you have given up hope, that a truly original piece of art can triumph in the face of all odds and get mainstream acceptance. To paraphrase one of the film's stars Dev Patel (who plays the 18 year old Jamal), "Maybe it is written" that sometimes the underdog can win.

If you haven't seen this movie already, get thee to a theater today or this weekend. It's so good and satisfying on so many levels, and is hands-down the best movie of the past year (far better than even Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Gran Torino, and The Wrestler -- all really great films in their own right) and hence the most deserved winner of any recent era Golden Globes that I can recall. slumdog millionaireAnd while the story description, the tale of a boy from the Mumbai slums who reaches the final round of the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with Bollywood vet Anil Kapoor playing the Indian Regis Philbin as host, is accurate, it really doesn't capture the true essence of this great film, which, at its core, is a traditional Hollywood (and/or Bollywood) rags-to-riches/love-story.

The Late, Great Patrick McGoohan

Posted by Charles Reece, January 14, 2009 10:29am | Post a Comment

Dead at 80. Be seeing you.


Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 13, 2009 10:55pm | Post a Comment

Gomez Comes Alive First DJ Gig Of 2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 13, 2009 10:15pm | Post a Comment
this wednesday, join us for our first one to start the year!
as a special treat for you, we have some of LA's finest specialists
playing cumbia music throughout the night.

...AND JUST ADDED, a special guest all the way from distrito federal!

cumbia! cumbia! cumbia!

wednesday, january 14th

special guests




resident selector


Footsie's Bar 2640 N Figueroa St Highland Park, CA 90065
every 2nd and 4th wednesday || 10pm-2am || FREE

- o O o -

Past guests include:
a race of angels and GB of THE OTHASIDE..

- o O o -
lets be friends.

*Soul in the Park*

L'Trimm's Cars That Go Boom - The 1988 Miami Bass, Subwoofer Anthem by Tigre and Bunny D - Stands the Test of Time

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2009 08:28pm | Post a Comment

L'TRIMM "Cars With The Boom" (1988/Time-X Records)

Upon recently going back and playing the 1988 subwoofer anthem "Cars With The Boom" (the Miami bass song usually referred to as "We Like The Cars That Go Boom") by the duo L'Trimm (Bunny D and Tigre), I had give the pop-rap hit single/album track two thumbs up and place it in the truly stands-the-test-of-time category. To my ears "Cars With The Boom" sounds just as great today as when I first heard it 21 years ago on their debut album Grab It on Miami's Time-X Records label -- recorded when they were each only 18 years of age. It also sounds as fresh today as it did then, confirming what many say about the young duo being influential on contemporary acts that tap that classic Miami bass sound.

But back in '88 L'Trimm were occasionally accused of sounding, or trying to sound, like the already established female rap team of Salt'N'Pepa. And while it is true that the influence of, or traces of (Salt'N'Pepa's 1987 hit single) "Push It" can be heard on L'Trimm's debut, Tigre and Bunny had their own totally unique spin on the genre, not to mention the asset of having the killer, bass-heavy production skills of Davis Stone for Hot Productions Inc., something that makes "Cars With The Boom" a better, more solid sounding record than "Push It" in retrospect. It also, in my opinion, holds up much better than even Sir Mix-A-Lot's 1992 single "Baby Got Back" -- another pop-rap, bass-fueled hit that opens with girls talking about guy, but maybe I have just heard Mix-A-Lot's way too many times over the years.

Revenge Of The Mercenaries

Posted by phil blankenship, January 13, 2009 10:17am | Post a Comment

This movie isn't even on the imdb.

January 12, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, January 13, 2009 12:08am | Post a Comment

Best Of The New Releases & Reissues Of 2008

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 11, 2009 11:59pm | Post a Comment

New Releases:
ZZK Sound-
Cumbia Digital
Nortec Collective Present: Bostish & Fussible-
Tijuana Sound Machine
Bronx River Parkway-
San Sebastian 152
El Guincho-
James Pants-
Calle 13-
Los De Atras Vienen Conmingo
Chancha Via Circuito-
Ocote Soul Sound-
The Alchemist Manifesto
Un Dia-
Juana Molina
Terakaft-Ahk Issudar
Al Green-Lay It Down

Saul Williams- The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!

Nomo-Ghost Rock
Q-Tip-The Renaissance
Sidestepper- The Buena Vibra Sound System
Jesus Pagan Y Su Orquesta- Salsa De La Mata - From The Roots
Beatconductor-Brand New Second Hand
Afronaut Y Amigos -Presentan Hecho En Casa Part 1


V/A-Dancehall:The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture
V/A- Nig
erian Special, Nigeria Disco Funk Special &
Nigerian Rock Special
Orchestre Poly Ritmo-Vol. 1 Vodoun Effect
V/A-Salsa Dura Show
V/A-African Scream Contest
Juaneco Y Su Combo-Masters Of Chicha Vol.1
Senor Coconut-El Baile Aleman

Calypsoul 70: Caribbean Soul & Calypso Crossover 1969-1979
Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story 1980-1986
Tabaco Y Sus Metales-Grandes Exitos
V/A-Latin Funk "El B
arrio" ( Nu Yorican Funk 1968-76)
Tito Puente- The Complete 78s Volume 1&2 1949-55
MAG All Stars: The Best Peruvian Orchestras Of The 50's & 60's
Candido Y Su Movimiento-Palos De Fuego

Sh*t I Slept On

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 11, 2009 11:15pm | Post a Comment
People tell me I have good taste in music. I have to disagree with them. It’s not that I’m humble, because I’m not, it’s that I’m a natural-born skeptic and my cynicism gets the best of me, especially with music. Most people can like a band, song or album instantly. I have to scrutinize it until I see everything that is wrong with music before I see what is right. This is especially true when I see an artist perform live without knowing anything about them. Without having the knowledge of an artist’s music beforehand, I’ve denounced many artists that later on I've found myself loving. Here are a few of my worst blunders, in no order.

Latryx @ The House Of Blues (1996)

I went to check out DJ Shadow, who was opening for Jeru The Damaja & De La Soul. When the curtains opened, Lateef The Truth Speaker & Lyrics Born, otherwise known as Latrx, came out, rapping simultaneously with two different rhymes. I thought, “What is this weak shit?’ The truth was I just wanted Shadow to do his Endtroducing jams and I wasn’t in the mood to hear anything new. I remember some kid in the audience scolding the L.A. crowd after their lackadaisical response to the group’s performance. “Yo kids, ya’ll sleeping on them!” A year later I couldn’t put the Latyx CD down, as well as the Blackalicous e.p. I guess I was sleeping.

Bikini Kill
@ Jabberjaw (1992)

L.A. was the home of The Runaways, The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, L7 and Hole. Frightwig, The Mudwimin, and Tribe 8, and Spitboy from The Bay area played in Los Angeles years before the arrival of the Riot Girl movement. So what was the big deal about Bikini Kill? Most people at the show were there to antagonize them for their outspokenness. We also had to suffer through one of the worst opening bands in the history of music, a short-lived band called Pussy Willow, who droned and wailed for more than an hour. The show was just a back and forth with the audience, who tried hard to break the spirit of the group. The show ended with the band exhausted and in tears. It was like seeing the Sex Pistols in Texas on their first tour. Since I really didn’t know their music at the time, I lost out on Bikini Kill's barrage of Black Flag licks with Exene meets Poly Styrene vocals. To top it off, the band wrote best punk songs to come out of the 90’ retrospect, of course.

Helios Creed
@ Raji’s (1990)

Here was another, “you are the opening group and I don’t know you” situation. I had no idea who Helios Creed was, nor that he was once half of the band Chrome. I went to see Nomeansno, a band I could care less about now. I think I waited at the bar and missed ninety percent of Helios' set. What was worse is that that was the line-up that had Rey Washam on drums, who played with (among others) Scratch Acid, Rapeman, Ministry, The Big Boys, The Didjits, Lard, and Tad. Yes, one hell of a drummer. Now I can list Chrome as one of my biggest influences, but back then, I had my head up my ass.

Freestyle Fellowship @ The Roxy (1992)

This one is real embarrassing because I write so much about them and their influence on Hip-Hop. But back in 92, they were the opening group for-- get this-- The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy! I went to the show because this Hip-Hop hating girl I was dating liked them because they were, “intelligent,” unlike the Rap that I loved so well. I think she thought she was doing me a favor, exposing me to Michael Franti, who was and still is the poster child for the overly conscious, overly educated, privalaged people of America. Of course, their audience did not get Freestyle Fellowship, but neither did I! I felt so awkward in the audience of college rockers, all I could think about was leaving. I really didn’t pay attention to Freestyle Fellowship’s ability to flow their asses off. In fact, I didn’t even know what freestyling was! Aceyalone, Mikah 9, Jupiter 9 and P.E.A.CE. traded verses like jazz musicians traded solos. In retrospect it was the equivalent of a lyrical Bird, Dizzy, Roach and Monk jamming on stage. After the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy set, the Fellowship gang got back on stage to freestyle, but the entire audience, seeing that Franti wasn’t coming back on stage, just left. A few months later I got a cassette of Inner City Griots and I was hooked. It’s easily in my top 10 favorite Hip-Hop albums of all time. I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve even seen a Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy CD. Clearance bin perhaps?

Notorious B.I.G.
@ The L.A. Sports Arena (1995)

It wasn’t that I didn’t like Biggie; it was more that I went to the show to see The Wu-Tang Clan. It was a radio show (92.3 The Beat, back then) and the bill was Biggie, Ice Cube, Coolio, The Wu Tang Clan, and various other rappers. After the Wu Tang and Ice Cube sets, a huge fight broke out on the Sport Arena floor. Ice-T, who was the MC for the night, tried to calm everyone down but the fights continued. I got fed up and started to walk towards the exit. At that point, the group of people that got kicked out of the venue for fighting started blasting in the parking lot, people started running back into the Sports Arena for fear of getting shot. I then went back to my seat. Coolio tried to do a set before LAPD got involved and shut down the show yet again. I was going to wait it out for Biggie but I saw the riot squad arrive and I started to think that maybe it would be best if I left. I never found out if Biggie performed that night or if they ended the show then and there. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to know if he did. I rationalize my decision to leave with the thought that I witnessed The Wu Tang kill it on stage that night and I that I saw Cube play all of his hits. Yet, once again, I listen to Biggie more now than I do Cube or Wu Tang. 

Serge in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 11, 2009 08:59pm | Post a Comment

There are four major cemeteries in Paris, and each has their big name resident bringing tens of thousand of visitors each year. The largest cemetery is in the eastern part of Paris, Pere-Lachaise, and the biggest draw there is probably Jim Morrison, Isadora Duncan, Oscar Wilde and Chopin. In the north, the 18th arrondissement section of the city is Montmartre Cemetery where the great dancer Vaslav Nijinsky is buried and the "Beethoven of the Guitar" Fernando Sor. Passy Cemetery in the 16th arrondissement is where Claude Debussy is interred and, for you silent movie buffs, Pearl White, the star of The Perils of Pauline serial. And finally there is the Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. There you can find the graves of playwrights Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco, Dadaists Man Ray and Tristan Tzara and probably the most visited and garlanded grave in all of Paris: Serge Gainsbourg. His grave site is forever covered in flowers, cigarettes, metro tickets, personal notes and odd little objects that derive their significance from his lyrics. Earlier this week we spent two nights in our favorite fleabag-Henry Miller-down and out kind of hotel around the corner from Montparnasse. I stopped by one morning in the snow, said hello to Serge, took a couple of pictures and had a very respectful snowball fight with my son. This may sound more macabre then intended, but there’s nothing like a cemetery blanketed in snow.

Snowman in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 11, 2009 08:19am | Post a Comment

I’m back in Los Angeles and it’s sunny and warm. I’m overjoyed -- and somewhat warped, yes -- knowing that those are my dirty dishes in the sink and that’s my cat box that needs cleaning. I understand most of what I hear on television. And except for a dream that was apparently about the 1919 Flu pandemic (who knows where that came from?), the rediscovery of sleep in my own bed is just short of a mystical experience.
There were two things which surprised the holy hell out of me during my two weeks in Paris. First of all, how cheap it was for a doctor to make a house call on my behalf under the French healthcare system … yeah I think I’m dying, but who isn’t … Secondly, and truly the most unusual event, was that it actually snowed in the city of Paris for the first time in years. Its not everyday your six year old son can make a snowman in Luxembourg Gardens, or throw snowballs next to Serge Gainsbourg's grave, or make snow angels alongside Boulevard du Montparnasse. The morning after I flew out of Charles de Gaulle Airport it was 16 degrees Fahrenheit in Paris. I’m not sure what the temperature was here in LA but I walked down to Albertsons in my T-shirt.


Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 9, 2009 09:15pm | Post a Comment

My year in music - confessions of a grumpy old man

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 9, 2009 10:24am | Post a Comment

According to Billboard, the top artists for 2008 are Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Jordan Sparks, Jonas Brothers, T.I., Coldplay, Flo-Rida, Carrie Underwood, T-Pain, Josh Groban, Colbie Caillat, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, Katy Perry and Mariah Carey.

At Amoeba, the top sellers were Radiohead, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Portishead, Coldplay, M.I.A., Fleet Foxes, Beck, Flight of the Conchords, The Raconteurs, Sigur Ros, She & Him, Santogold, Crystal Castles, Black Keys, Lil Wayne, Cat Power, Kings of Leon, Amy Winehouse, Bon Iver.

Haveing not heard of most of the Billboard stuff, I can only assume that it's mostly autotuned, oversung, expendable American Idol/Disney Channel/Nickelodeon R&B/pop/Rap sung by sexualized children -- which gives me hives. I definitely would rather, if forced, take the Amoeba package, although I am surprised that I have never heard of four of the top sellers there either.

My friend Lars, who gave up on new music a long time ago, was surprised to read news about Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails and asked, "Is that what people are still listening to? Bands from when we were in high school?" It is kind of strange. I mean, the Beatles and the Doors weren't dominating the charts in the '80s. So it is kind of strange to see a figure like Mariah Carey on the charts, who I remember as a adult-contemporary VH1 staple whose vocal runs I used tape onto VHS to send myself into fits of laughter when needed. Kanye I've listened to and can, without exaggeration, say it was some of the most unpleasant music I've ever heard. When interviewed about Kanye West for the Defamer, I expressed my dislike and someone commented that, to be fair, asking a white thirty-something music store employee is like asking someone in the inner city about bluegrass. Yeah, because Kanye West is "urban" music. Seriously? If you go to Watts or Compton, the Norteño has a lot more in common with Bluegrass than Kanye. Hollywood nightclubs and the suburbs is where rap flourishes... welcome to the '90s, dude.

But I have a serious question. Where does that Top 20 stuff even get played? When I scan the radio, I hear Korean talk, Persian Pop, Ranchera, Oldies, Shock Jocks, News, Classical, Vietnamese Talk, Banda... I seriously feel like I'm never even exposed to this stuff except maybe as I pass through a Glendale food court. Is their some new technology that I'm unaware of that exposes people to that stuff? I wouldn't doubt it. MTV's not playing music again, are they?

On the Billboard Top 20, I only have heard four other artists. Coldplay are too bland to have any sort of reaction to except to say that I bet the rest of the band don't tell the singer when they're going somewhere to hang out. T.I. has epic production but his inability to say anything remotely interesting makes him not worth revisiting, and this is coming from a Young Jeezy fan! I mean, his peak was yet another song about rims ("24s"). Lil' Wayne... Oh man, Weezy F, from 1995 to the first Carter he was awesome. Then he turned his back on the South, sold his soul to Baby, pissed off Freshly Snipes and everything since then has been tailored to the ringtone market above all else. He's been recording for thirteen years now, so the well has to run dry somewhere, right?

Working in a music store can often make you realize what you don't want to ever hear again more than turn you onto new stuff, as we tend to play stuff that's familiar to most. In my case, I learned that I've had enough, forever, of  the Damned, the Undertones, the Buzzcocks, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, middle-of-the-road reggae and what I call Baja Fresh music -- the sort of Cuban stuff they play in slightly pretentious Mexican Chains that I eat at when I'm too lazy to walk further.

And yet, I got into more new music in 2008 than any year in my life, probably, since 1983 when I first turned on a radio and stopped relying on my parents' jazz, bluegrass and soul records for everything.
Myspace, Pandora, Youtube, podcasts and yes, the amoeblog. I learned about music I already know, too. Not all songs by the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and the Cars suck, just the ones we've heard over 700,000 times! Some of their other stuff is actually quite good. 

, Skweee and Spacesynth were all new discoveries to me that I'm happy to have in my life. I wish I had a better venue for non-Western (or so-called "World" music) though. I did discover that music from all the horn of Africa is to my liking. Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia may not be hyped like Ethiopia, but I can't figure out why. I also learned that almost everything from Central Asia is amazing-- especially Turkmenistan and Kyrghyzstan. Maybe that's what I'll try to focus on in 2009. Since they either never name the artists or I just can't understand them on the non-English channels, the Shazam application has the power to open up the horizon. First positive ID on some jam Recuerdo was playing, Leo Dan.

Although I already was a fan of a lot of Australian bands from the '60s to the present, I bought a 2-disc compilation called Inner City Sound that introduced (and re-introduced) me to a bunch more gems of Australia's still criminally underrated music scene. Chief among my new favorites are The Apartments, Lime Spiders, Paul Kelly, The Scientists, Slim Dusty, The Stems, The Triffids and Young Charlatans.

I've always loved the Baroque era -- the music, the archictecture, the art, the wigs, the harpsichords. But classical stations tend to represent it with Bach and not much else, so I'm glad to now be familiar with  Dietrich Buxtehude, François Couperin, Georg Muffat, Giacomo Carissimi, Heinrich Schütz, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, John Blow, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Marin Marais and Pietro Antonio Locatelli.

I used to sit in the classroom in Florida and frequently there'd be some car parked outside with a trunk transmitting the carressing frequencies of some serious Bass. I never knew who it was half the time, and sometimes you could only feel it anyway and not hear the lyrics. My Iove was re-awakened when an angel known as Ngoc cung came into my Iife, reminding me of the charms of Gucci Crew II and the like. This year I was really happy to be introduced to Bass 305, Bass Mekanik, The Dogs and Lejuan Love.

There are just so many Blues artists in the history of the Blues. Blind so-and-so this, Reverend Willie so-and-so that. And then, for me there's always the danger of being hit with the Blueshammer. So I am really grateful to learn of Big Joe Williams, Bukka White, Furry Lewis, Josh White, the Memphis Jug Band, Pink Anderson, Rev. Robert Wilkins, Rev. Gary Davis, Skip James, Snooks Eaglin and Sunnyland Slim.

Whilst I've never been to Brazil, I'm pretty sure I'd love it. My grandfather, who sadly died this year (RIP), used to go there over and over, despite the fact that he was mugged three times. The thing about so much Brazillian music that I like is that, even though it's coming from a tropical locale, it doesn't all have that relentless, facist party-time aspect, like, say, Soca does. It's just content to whisper sweet nothings and be pretty. This year I got exposed to Alcione, Celso Fonseca, Djavan, Marcos Valle, Maria Rita, Rosa Passos and Vinicius de Moraes.

Whereas the British charts are usually dominated by the likes of Bon Jovi or some umpteenth Simply Red reissue, they've produced more than their fair share of great pop music. Who would dispute that? And there's still more out there to discover, year after year, like Hotlegs, The Loft, Real People, Reverb and The Weather Prophets.

Like I said, I grew up on Bluegrass (you know, the music "those people" know nothing about.) I spent the first four years of my life in Bluegrass Country and the first time I was on TV I was attending some Bluegrass Festival. But like all good children, I didn't pay attention to what most of it was and rebelled by not listening to it much. Of course, you always outgrow your rebellion and come back to what's good, which for me included Dock Boggs, Don Reno & Bill Harrell, Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers, Osborne Brothers, Red Smiley & the Bluegrass Cut-Ups, Sid Hemphill and Tony Rice.

Classic Rock     
Man oh man, I used to hate Classic Rock. I worked on a farm in Iowa for two years. They seemed suspicious of anything that they hadn't heard a buzillion times before and whether you were a "Prep" or "Scurv" was mostly determined by whether you prefered Led Zeppelin and AC/DC (Prep) or Black Sabbath and Metallica (Scurv). Oh yeah, male Preps chawed and played football, male Scurvs smoked and wrestled. Everyone agreed that the Steve Miller Band would never get old, that only "fags" drove Fords or drank Coke. So I was shocked to move to L.A. and find the twentysomethings who'd grown up, presumably, on New Kids on the Block and the like, playing the same stuff I'd fled. However, I do have a soft spot for Mountain Dew Rock because it now makes me nostalgic, as long as I haven't heard it too many times, which is why I was pleased to learn of the rocking sounds of  Elf, Grupa 220, Jane, Montrose, Quicksand, Radio Stars, Ten Years After, Trapeze and Zephyr.

Pretty much my problem with Classical radio and Baroque is the same as with actual Classical of the Classical period, which tends to be heavy on the really well-known. So I was happy to be exposed to the new (to me) sounds of Antonio Soler, Johann Ludwig Krebs, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Karl von Dittersdorf and Muzio Clementi.

The country I was exposed to as a kid was usually Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers and stuff like that, which I liked! But my parents never played much older stuff. And the radio? Forget about it. I usually can only tell that the hat country they play on the radio is even supposed to be Country and not pop because it's especially bland but missing the code words that give away Christian rock (e.g. "He," "light," and "up"). When I worked at a horse ranch, it was all Hank Jr, which I didn't much care for. And I never listened to George Jones because of his hair. I had no idea what I was missing. Thank the lord I found Carl Smith, Charley Pride, Cliff Carlisle, The Delmore Brothers, the aforementioned George Jones, George Morgan, Hank Snow, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Reeves, Ray Price, Red Foley, Red Simpson, Stonewall Jackson and Uncle Dave Macon.

I've long genuinely enjoyed cheesy dance music. I can't listen to any of these artists, all new to me in 2008, without being cheered up: Den Harrow, Fun Fun, Ken Laszlo, Laban, Nick Straker, Sabrina Salerno, Squash Gang, Sarah Jean, Jim Player, Cheryl Hardy, David Lyme, Kay Franzes, Ken Laszlo, Lime, Nick Straker and Alisha. Again, all credit to the inestimable Ngoc Nguyen.

Depeche Mode Soundalikes
I'm always shocked at how many bands there are that sound just like Depeche Mode. Since the days of Red Flag, Camouflage and Cause & Effect, I've always liked them. In 2008 I also was turned onto And One, Beborn Beton, Cetu Javu, Covenant, De/Vision, Imperative Reaction, Seabound, VNV Nation and Melotron.

It's weird to me how evocative the sounds of the 80s are. I mean, Danny Hutton Hitters, Dragon, Honeymoon Suite, Sheriff and Sly Fox are all new to me but they make me feel like the credits are rolling after some nerd gets the girl in a twenty-year-old sex comedy.

It seems like every week I'm hearing about some new band playing in Echo Park or Silver Lake who's described as "Electro." Don't they know that that term is already spoken for? This year I got turned onto some great real Electro that I missed out on as a kid: Jazaq, Funkatronic, Rodney Stepp, Impackt, Cosmic Touch, Megatrons, Starr's Computer Band, Sorcery and The Future.

I began 2008 in the mood for Folk music, which I'm still pretty ignorant of, so I was pleased to learn of  Bridget St John, Frida, Jake Holmes, Kate Rusby, Martin Carthy, Roger Rodier, Susan Christie, Vashti Bunyan and Wizz Jones.

The way I see it, anyone who doesn't love Freestyle either hasn't heard it or is just too insecure about their own sexuality to admit it. It's in the human race's blood! So I was happy to learn of Bad Boy Joe, Linear, Nolan Thomas, Pajama Party, Sequal and Sweet Sensation.

Previous to 2008, I always thought that I didn't have a Funk gene. I mean, aside from the one Bootsy Collins song (that I only know because of N.W.A.), I never wanted to hear "Jungle Boogie" or any P-Funk again in my life. So I was really surprised to discover The Boris Gardiner Happening, Ebony Rhythm Band, Michael Liggins & the Super Souls, all of which I really enjoy.

I was never a teenage rivethead. I never role-played that I was a cyborg or anything, but I did used to go clubs with names like Stigmata, but didn't at all dress the part, because the stuff is so over-the-top it's irresistable to me. So whilst they may be old news to all you deckers out there, I was happy to get into Combichrist, Funker Vogt, Suicide Commando, Velvet Acid Christ and Wumpscut.

is like it's own country or something. You know that every scene and every subculture that's ever existed is being kept alive by at least ten Japanese at any time. It's so hard sort through the thousands of bands in hundreds of styles (not to mention all the traditional genres), but I did find out that I like Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Cruyff in the Bedroom, Gackt, Guitar Wolf, Loudness, The Mops, Number Girl and Thee Machine Gun Elephant.

OK, my dad used to play Jazz every Sunday as he made grill cheese sandwiches (his one contribution to helping raise three kids), but I never knew who any of it was. So I'm sure I'd heard a lot of these guys before, but I didn't realize how much I like Barry Harris, Dick Wellstood, Earl Hines, Erroll Garner, Jelly Roll Morton, Joe Sullivan, Joe Venuti, Pee Wee Hunt, Red Garland, Sonny Stitt and Teddy Wilson until the '08.

Thinking of women's music as a genre seems exclusionary and patronizing, but I feel like finding women who rock always takes special effort. I mean, entire weeks pass when I only hear dudes rocking on the radio and at Amoeba. So I was pleased, in 2008, to get into Azita, The Bangs, Be Your Own Pet, Black Tambourine, Buttersprites, Girlschool, Milk 'N' Cookies,  Nikki & the Corvettes, 100 Watt Smile, Penetration, STP, The Pandoras, The Rogers Sisters, The Vibration, Visqueen and Wendy & Bonnie.

I don't know ish about Mambo except that I've always liked it, but it's all pretty much new to me. I did, however, take a special liking to Beny More, Cheo Belen Puig, Emil Richards, Humberto Cane Machito and Tito Rodriguez. Maybe not all of that's considered Mambo, but that's what I've labeled it and I'm not going to call it Cuban and ruin the alphabetical order of this blog.

Whenever I used to listen to Medieval music at work, my co-worker Dave would say it sounded like Church music to him. Dude! What church is that?! We never sang anything like these composers in my church: Alfonso X (el Sabio), Francesco Landini, Léonin, Peirol and Perdigon.

OK, I never really listened to any metal growing up. They never played it on the radio and the headbangers were rumored to be Satanic or racist so I kept my distance as a kid. So a lot of what I heard in 2008 is probably old hat to metalheads, and every time I came to my co-worker with a new discovery, he invariably dismissed it as garbage. What can I say, if it's got dragons and knights in it, I'll probably like it. My 2008 Metal discoveries include All That Remains, Andy Timmons Band, Los Angeles del Infierno, Armored Saint, Avantasia, Black ‘N Blue, Black Majesty, Celesty, Dark Moor, Dragonforce, Dream Evil, Edguy, Excalion, Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, Hibria, Kamelot, Loudness (courtesy of Ngoc's cousin, Hien), Mob Rules, Nuclear Blast Allstars, Pretty Maids, Rata Blanca, Rhapsody of Fire, Saratoga, Silent Force, Sonata Arctica, Steel Attack, Tierra Santa and Zandelle.

I've always been a sucker for most things with a hint of psychedelia about them, but most of the neo-psychedelic stuff flew under my radar until 2008 until I got turned onto Abunai!, Bobb Trimble, Green on Red, Hex, The Last, The Rain Parade, The Salvation Army and The Three O’Clock.

Portuguese, Farsi, Japanese and Korean are probably my four favorite languages just for the way they sound. So take some passionate Portuguese singers and their lovely language and it's a recipe for success, as far as I'm concerned.  2008 happily presented to me the sounds of  Amalia Rodrigues, Dulce Pontes, Madredeus, Mariza, Misia and Monica Salmaso.

Power Pop     
I love the perrenial playground vibe of power pop, which makes me feel like it's high school all over again. In 2008 I got introduced to Dirty Looks, The High Back Chairs, The Mirrors, The Motors, Off Broadway, The Posies, The Stems, Tuesday, 20/20 and We All Together. Yeah, I knew of the Posies when they were popular. Why didn't I listen to them before? I guess I was a close-minded little shit.

Prog rocks. If you know of my predilection for gnomes and stuff like that, then it should come as no surprise. But as someone who never played D&D or had a dorky older brother (my mother claimed to have turned Ethan Bob into a frog before I was born), I have to find all this stuff on my own. In 2008 I was pleased to find Atomic Rooster, Barclay James Harvest, Bo Hansson, Caravan, Egg, Laghonia, Moonkyte, National Health, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Wigwam.

I never was a Punk. Buying an anarchy patch and donning the uniform of a mohawk and plaid pants always seemed so... conformist. Heck, my dad was the one who introduced me to the Sex Pistols (as an example of "mental illness"). What's more punk than hating punk, right? So, now that I'm old I learned to enjoy the likes of Blitz, D.O.A., Negative Trend, UK Subs and TSOL.

Radio Dramas 

Since I'm not in my seventies, listening to radio dramas was pretty much all new to me. In 2008 I eagerly tuned into episodes of Adventures of Phillip Marlowe, Dimension X, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, The Great Gildersleeve, Night Watch, The Six Shooter, Suspense, Tales of the Texas Rangers and X Minus One.

Having spent most of my childhood near the cradle of Ragtime, I was familiar with some of the more obscure names in the genre but I don't think I'd truly heard the actual sounds of Blind Boone, Butch Thompson, Claude Bolling, Eubie Blake, Frank Townsell,  Muriel Pollock, Miguel Pineda-Van Gelder, Sue Keller, Vee Lawnhurst and Zez Confrey till 2008.

With R&B, I always favored the synth-heavy, straightforward stylings of artists like Oran "Juice" Jones, Timex Social Club and the like. When New Jack Swing happened, I pretty much ended my relationship with R&B and we don't talk anymore so it probably shouldn't be surprising that my 2008 R&B discoveries were the likes of Aurra, Barbara Mason, Cherrelle, Coffee, Dennis Edwards, Jeffrey Osborne, Kashif & Meli'sa Morgan, Patrice Rushen, Starpoint and Yarbrough & Peoples.

It's been a while since I heard any new rap artists that I thought were worth a damn. I dislike both the bourgie, bland club crap that dominates the airwaves as well as complainy, hating, bitchy, conservative back pack stuff. So what's someone in my position to do? Just stay in my Dirty Dirty world, I guess, where I continue to unearth enough gems to keep me grinning. In 2008, I got into the mostly old school sounds of Da Sha Ra, Ninja Crew, New York Incorporated, Lil Slim, Magnolia Shorty, MC Thick, Sporty T, VL Mike, Black Menace, Tinchy Stryder, Man Parrish, Body Head Bangerz, Da Banggaz314, Huey, Black Twang, Black Moon, Booty Bouncers, Da Grassroots, Divine Sounds, Justice, Maceo, MC Duke, Plastician, Pretty Ricky, Skinny Pimp, The Watts Prophets and Young Quon.

Back in Florida, the only music they played on the radio that I could stand was Reggae. But then working at a music store, I got so sick of the go-to world music being reggae or salsa. Still, it turned out in 2008 that I can still enjoy some Reggae, such as the likes of Busy Signal, Cham, Ital Sound, Mr. Vegas, Ooklah the Moc, Tanto Metro & Devonte, Tony Matterhorn, Voicemail, Vybez Kartel and Wayne Smith & Prince Jimmy.

Renaissance music, to me, is the music of autumn, when life is a mead-fuelled vision along the lines of a Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting... or that's what I pretend, at least. It's always been something of a mystery for me why the Classical Stations never take the Wayback machine any further than Bach. So, in 2008, I was turned on to Andrea Gabrieli, Carlo Gesualdo, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Jacob Obrecht, Johannes Ockeghem, John Plummer, John Sheppard, Ludwig Senfl, Nicolas Gombert, Peter Philips and Tomás Luis de Victoria, which were all new to me.

The '60s seem like such a fertile time for music. I remember at one point thinking, "Surely I've heard of every band from the '60s by now." I mean, how many can there be? How many people were there on the planet back then, right? And yet it wasn't until 2008 that I got introduced to the awesome sounds of The Aerovons, Andwella’s Dream, Arzachel , Billy Nichols, The Black Diamonds, The Boots, Bram Rigg Set, The Cryan’ Shames, Drag Set, The Free Spirits, The Gordian Knot, The La De Das, Majic Ship, Marmalade, The Maze, The Millenium, The Moving Sidewalks, The Open Mind, The Remains and Sagittarius.

With so much soul music out there, every year brings the discovery of tons of gems. In 2008, I got hipped to Ann Sexton, Azie Mortimer, Barbara Lewis, Bettye Swann, Beverly Shaffer, Bobby Marchan, Chuck Jackson, Don Covay, Jan Bradley, Kim Weston, Maxine Brown, Percy Wiggins, Shorty Long, The Tams, Walter Jackson and many others.

Space Rock        
As a fan of '80s bands like Spacemen 3 and Loop, I was pleased to disover that Space Rock seems to be making a return and in 2008 I got into The Black Angels, Darker My Love, Dead Meadow, The Ponys, Spectrum and The Tremeloes.

Everyone loves Tango, it seems. But, if you're like me, you know Astor Piazolla and maybe Carlos Gardel but that's it. In 2008, I finally broke through and also got into Alfredo de Angelis, Anibal Troilo, Francisco Canaro, Francisco Rotundo, Jose Basso and Miguel Montero.

20th Century Modern
I don't know what else to call this stuff. My co-worker (the one who's reminded of his church at the sound of 14th century monastic chanting) claims that this stuff all sounds like it was made by children. I love it though, and was happy to learn, in 2008, of Elliot Carter, Hans Werner Henze, Henri Lazarof, Luciano Berio, Luigi Dallapiccola, Marcel Dupré and Stefan Wolpe.

So music fans, here's to 2009 and may we all be blessed with new musical discoveries. Excelsior!

Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!


Posted by Billyjam, January 9, 2009 06:06am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 01:09:09
keak da sneak and san quinn
1) Keak da Sneak & San Quinn
Welcome To Scokland (Ehustl)

2) San Quinn From A Boy To A

3) E40 The Ball Street Journal
(Sic Wid It/Warner)

4) Common Universal Mind  Control (Geffen)

5) Messy Marv Draped Up &
Chipped Out 3
Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music Sam Francisco for not only providing the Amoeblog with this first hip-hop top five of 2009 but also for being instrumental, through his dedication to local music as hip-hop buyer at the Haight St. store, in the healthy representation of Bay Area hip-hop on this weekly chart. Four of the five new album entries, including the king of the Bay E40 and his latest The Ball Street Journal, are homegrown rap recordings. Only Chicago's Common (and his December 9th release Universal Mind Control) hails from beyond the Yay Area. The number one seller is the hands-across-the-bridge (Bay Bridge) collaboration, appropriately titled Welcome To Scokland, between two of the Bay's best longtime rap acts, Oakland's Keak da Sneak (who recently dropped his own new solo album, Defied, and who will be interviewed in an upcoming Amoeblog) and prolific San Francisco rapper San Quinn.

Animal Collective Listening Party

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 8, 2009 04:26pm | Post a Comment
animal collective

On Tuesday we had a Listening Party at the Knockout here in San Francisco to celebrate the release of Animal Collective's excitedly awaited new record, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The packed crowd at the event bubbled with anticipation as they first took in local band French Miami's live set. Merriweather Post Pavilion was played next, and according to event hostess Tarin, "I didn't see anyone without a smile on their face." The record's play was followed by a live set from Maus Haus, while attendees continued to drink, laugh and dance.

The album came out this week, but only on vinyl. The CD will be out January 20th, but the vinyl is already out of print. We still have a very few copies left here at Amoeba SF, so if you're wanting the new Animal Collective on vinyl, the time is now -- hurry on down to Amoeba SF and grab it OR click here to mail order it from us!

In the meantime, check out some photos from the Listening Party, (mostly) taken by the fabulous DJ Gilmore, who can be seen below modeling the album:

animal collective listening party
Merriweather Post Pavilion with DJ as your model.


Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2009 10:48am | Post a Comment

Of all genres of popular music from the 1950's up til the present day, disco is perhaps the most discrimated against and unfairly hated upon Ironically, the hate is oft times spewed by the very same people who will be the first to dance to or sing along with said disco hits. Of course, karaoke nights and wedding DJs have only helped make some songs less enjoyable than perhaps they should be due to over exposure and bad sing alongs. A prime example would be Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," which is still a great song even 31 years later but might be more enjoyable if we had only heard 3 million fewer times in our lives. The video for that song, along with nine other disco classics, is below. 

The videos include Lipps Inc.'s "Funkytown" from 1979, A Taste Of Honey's "Boogie Oogie Oogie" from '78, Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell" from '79 and, from that same year, Sister Sledge's second biggest hit "He's The Greatest Dancer" (their biggest hit was the eternally popular "We Are Family," which was also released that same year). 

Also included is what I consider to be the greatest and most influential disco record of all time, the Giorgio Moroder-produced Donna Summer song "I Feel Love" from her 1977 album I Remember Yesterday (Casablanca) and released as a single. So innovative was Moroder's futuristic production on this track, according to the liner notes of his Sound + VIsion box set, that, in 1977 while David Bowie was recording with Brian Eno in Berlin, "Eno came running in and said, 'I have heard the sound of the future'...he puts on 'I Feel Love' by Donna Summer…He said, 'This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.'"

FOOTLOOSE Saturday At Midnight!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 7, 2009 01:22pm | 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 January 10

Footloose (1984)

25th Anniversary! New Print!
Starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker

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

Arp's Alexis Georgopoulos Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, January 7, 2009 11:53am | Post a Comment
Alexis Georgopoulos has been a creative force in the San Francisco scene for many years, first making music with the band Tussle and then as his current project, Arp. Arp's release In Light is a textural and warmth-exuding record that has added something new and welcome to the electronica section of Amoeba. Recently Alexis packed it up and moved to New York City where he plans to continue composing his balmy and atmospheric tunes while also working on a multitude of other projects, notably within the gallery scene there. Here, Alexis chats about those projects, his work in Arp, and also details what we can assume are just a few of his myriad influences and inspirations.

Miss Ess: How did you come up with your sound for Arp? What was your vision?

Alexis: After leaving Tussle, I started experimenting with analog synthesizers. Initally, Matthew Higgs (curator of White Columns gallery in Manhattan) asked if I'd do an installation for an exhibit he was putting together at New Langton Center for the Arts. When I learned it was a collaboration with an architect, I realized the music I'd just started making with analog synthesizers might work really well. So the first public Arp project, Cloud, was a modular room on wheels set up with a featherbed (just large enough for two people to lie down on or three to sit), two speakers and a few of my musical pieces on infinite repeat. I took the gallerists' sanity into consideration by picking pieces that I hoped could be heard again and again without driving them crazy.

It became clear then that these pieces would work well as an album. I knew I wanted to create a distinct feeling. I wanted to do something with only analog synthesizers, partly to get away from the habits I'd formed playing drums and guitars. And I wanted to do something that didn't fall prey to digital recording constraints. I didn't want to record to a grid, as it were. I wanted to use electronic instruments, but play them live, so things would be a bit more organic, something I felt had been discarded in favor of vacuum-sealed sterility.

I wanted to do something that had to do with a feeling I associated with the Mediterranean coast – I've spent a lot of time at my uncle's in the south of France – the ocean, the air, the smell of Eucalyptus and Cypress and Pine trees. Something pastoral. Something to do with the feeling of longing for something passing, something inspired by the cinematography Eric Rohmer films like La Collectioneuse and Clare's Knee and Antonioni's Red Desert... Coastal imagery is so often associated with leisure and hedonism. I wanted to imbue that psychological environment with something more reflective. The moments one has alone in such places. When one feels the summer ending and autumn beginning...

Miss Ess: What projects are you involved in now besides Arp? I know there is The Alps, but are there even more?

Alexis: Yeah, we (The Alps) just released our first studio recording, III on Type (UK). It's not really anything like our early CDRs, which were just one-mic recordings we put out in small-run editions for the sake of documentation. I'm quite happy with it. It's unfortunate that because we don't tour, I think a lot of people who might like it probably won't hear it. But, what can you do? Ultimately, you make music because I need/love to, so... We'll be recording our second album in the next few months when I can get back to California.

I'm also half of Expanding Head Band with Quinn Luke. We met when Quinn produced Tussle's Telescope Mind. He and I realized we liked working together – arranging, mixing, dubbing – and that we shared a lot of the same ideals. So when I left Tussle, we decided to start something new that would pick up where that left off. We just did our first remix for DFA earlier this year, a remix of Shocking Pinks' "Cutout" and our first two 12 inches of original material for DFA will come out this year.

There are also a few other projects in the works. The The David is a group with the artist Keegan McHargue, Matt Roberts (The Mantles), Will Bradley (art critic and drummer for Life Without Buildings) and myself. We got together a few times when Will was here from the UK working at CCA and recorded an EP's worth of material with Jason Quever (The Papercuts). We've all been busy with other things but we hope to complete it soon. It's quite different than any of my other recent projects, more like early Rough Trade singles than anything else.

ME: What are you currently working on? What's coming up next for you?

AG: It's been a busy few months. I did a live score to artist Doug Aitken's most recent film Migration at 303 Gallery with White Rainbow and Lichens. And I've just completed a sound installation at a new gallery in the East Village called Audio Visual Arts (AVA). The installation included four pieces corresponding to different times of day. I'm hoping to do a solo show in the coming year that combines music with sculptural installation and film.

Other that that, I'm midway through the second Arp album. I'm recording it with Philip Manley (The Champs, Trans Am) onto 2" tape. I was supposed to finish it in August but just as I was ready to lay down my first take, the tape machine broke, so I don't know if I'll return to SF to finish it or if I'll do it here in New York. In any case, it looks to be quite different from the first. I'll be singing some songs for one thing, and the instrumentation will be more varied. There's a lot more piano, and more guitar. Synthesizers are still playing a role but they're just one of many instruments in the mix.

Just beginning work on the first Expanding Head Band full-length and a second Alps album as well.

ME: Phil Manley used to do sound for Amoeba instores a while back! He's a great guy. Sounds like you've got quite a full plate. Going back, when did you first start playing and creating music?

AG: I first picked up a guitar when I was 12, and soon after played in a few bands in high school, doing a mixture of covers and originals. Not much I care to remember really, ha! But I do remember doing a pretty solid version of Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods" my senior year of high school (1992). Ha!

ME: Beyond electronica, what other genres of music do you enjoy creating?

AG: Hmm... I guess there are certain "genres" that I gravitate towards. But genre is not really what turns me on. I pay attention to whether the sound(s)/compositions/arrangements engage me.

ME: What is your most prized of piece of musical equipment and why?

AG: Right now, I'm really loving my Crumar Orchestrator. It's an Italian analog synthesizer from the 70s that has a small range of sounds but nearly all of them are great. I'm trying to phase out anything digital  – which is not to say I'm against anything digital, but when you play a digital keyboard next to analog, you can't help notice how thin and cold it sounds, which might be something someone else would exploit. But I love the rounded warmth of analog.

ME: Me too, and it sets the tone for your music, as well; listeners can recognize that sweet analog sound right away. What do you find most fulfilling: the creative process itself, recording, or performing?

AG: It's hard to say as they each offer their own difficulties and rewards. They're each essential. Though, if I absolutely had to pick, I'd say the most fulfilling is listening to a recording and feeling you achieved what you sought to.

ME: You have a history of working with and supporting visual artists. What other artists inspire you?

AG: The past few years, I've really been into these sort of utiopian/dystopic architecture groups: Superstudio and Archizoom especially. Öyvind Fahlstrom. Ed Ruscha. Werner Herzog. Yves Saint Laurent (RIP).

ME: What have you been listening to these days?

AG: Pretty much anything by Philip Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble
Cilibrinas Do Eden - Cilibrinas Do Eden
Slappy Happy - Slapp Happy
Chopin waltzes
Nelson Angelo & Joyce - Angelo & Joyce
Frankie Dymon Jr. - Let It Out
Anthony Moore - Pieces from Cloudland Ballroom
Ali Akbar Khan - Misra Mand
Henry Flynt - You Are My Everlovin'/Celestial Power & Ascent To The Sun
Ebenezer Obey - The Horse The Man and His Son
John Lee Hooker - It Serves You Right To Suffer
Jorge Ben - A Tabua De Esmeralda
Julie Covington - The Beautiful Changes
Soft Machine - Third
Sunroof! - Cloudz
Es - Sateenkaarisuudelma
JJ Cale - "Cherry"

ME: You've been around the SF scene for a long time! What would you say have been its high points? Now that you are in NYC, what is the music scene like there and how do the two compare?

AG: Well, it's hard to say, as I've just arrived in New York. I am excited at the prospect of so many great musicians being here. In terms of San Francisco, there was a high point between 2003-2005. It was an exciting time when a lot of things were being rediscovered and hadn't yet been commodified (by New Yorkers! and the media).

ME: I would agree with you about those years being the most exciting as far as my experience in SF as well. So it's not just me! I know that you had a recent show in France. What are your fans like there and in Europe in general? 

AG: I don't know if I can make any generalizations about audiences elsewhere vs here. I've encountered both grateful and ungrateful crowds here and everywhere.

ME: What sort of music do you remember hearing played around the house when you were a child? Did it have any influence on the type of music you are inspired by or create?

AG: My parents love music, but they listen(ed) almost exclusively to Classical. I only remember three Pop albums in their collection: Desire by Bob Dylan, Ram by McCartney, and some Simon & Garfunkel. There might've been some French and Greek music occasionally as well. Did it inspire me? Not at the time. I liked it. (My mom just told me when I was three I used to hum Handel's Water Music and [Music for the] Royal Fireworks.) But I pretty much just wanted to listen to Duran Duran or Madonna or New Edition or whatever. In retrospect, however, I think there's no doubt it's played a role.

ME: That's why that question is always so interesting to me, because it seems that even if one denies whatever one's parents were listening to, their choices were inescapable and regardless of the child's opinion of it, just developing that opinion created an impact. If you could play with any other bands for a one-night-only show, what would be your dream bill?

AG: Oh, god. Hmmm... let's see, how bout a festival? Does that count? I think a good night would include ... Can, Roxy Music, LaMonte Young, John Cale, Don Cherry, Agitation Free, Serge Gainsbourg with Jane Birkin, Lula Cortez & Ze Ramalho, Caetano Veloso, Cerrone...

ME: What music do like to fall asleep to?

AG: I can't fall asleep listening to music anymore. It keeps my attention too much. But I've probably listened to Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou's Ethiopia Song and Ali Akbar Khan's Misra Mand late at night more than any other albums... Flying Saucer Attack is good for when night turns into morning.

ME: What music do you like to wake up to?

AG: Agitation Free - First Communication
Popol Vuh
Mozart Flute Concertos

ME: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

AG: Oh God, sure. Penguin Cafe Orchestra. The Grateful Dead. Random new stuff – that Santogold track, the occasional Toto track.

ME: Do you have any musical heroes?

AG: John Cale. Terry Riley. Chopin. Eno. Gainsbourg. Stockhausen. Bowie. Dylan. Ray Davies. Conny Plank. Martha Argerich. Balzac.

ME: Your album's cover is so perfect for your music's sound -- what are some of your favorite album covers that you think really capture their album's sound?

AG: Well, thank you. I think, ultimately, a listener can be guided into a certain state of mind by the artwork. But in the end, I respond to a compelling image/artwork, regardless of how closely it mirrors the music. Or sometimes in spite of it! So... I don't know... I can think of only a few that mirror perfectly: Wolfgang Voigt's entire Gas catalog, Peter Saville's stuff for Joy Division, Nelson Angelo & Joyce, Jean-Paul Goude's art direction for Grace Jones.

I can think of some artwork that I love (regardless of how well it corresponds to the music). Some favorite covers:

John Lennon - Mind Games
Slappy Happy - Slapp Happy
Jean-Claude Vannier - L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches
John Cale - Paris 1919
Sebastian Tellier
- Sexuality
CSNY - So Far
The Brooklyn reggae label Wackies' catalog

ME: Fantastic picks! What has been your best find at Amoeba?

AG: Oh, god. I've probably shopped at Amoeba more than any other record store! But all my records are in storage and I can't think of any!

ME: That must feel strange for you, to be without your records! Hopefully once you get settled in NYC they will eventually surround you once again. Thanks so much for your time.


Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2009 07:17am | Post a Comment

Sacramento (aka Sac-Town) CA, born Brotha Lynch Hung is the longtime NorCal producer and rapper who is best known for his unique, unapologetically hardcore, sadistic, self-described "rip-gut cannibal" rap style, often labeled "horrorcore." Brotha Lynch Hung got his rap handle from his younger half brother, rapper Sicx, not long after he first got into rap in the latter half of the 1980's as a battle rapper. Along with Sicx and (the long incarcerated Sac-Town) rapper X-Raided he was a part of early Sacramento rap trio Endangered Species who recorded the local landmark EP NIgga Deep (re-released in the mid nineties). 

In 1991 Brotha Lynch Hung produced X-Raided's solo underground and locally popular debut EP NIggas N Black. The following year he produced all but one track on X-Raided's acclaimed & controversial debut album Psycho Active.

But it was Lynch's 1993 own solo debut, the EP 24 Deep which he wrote, produced, mixed and performed, that firmly cemented him as a rap talent to be reckoned with, and one with a taste for shock-value. On the cover he dramatically appeared stretched out in a casket with a shotgun laying across his stiff chest looking very dead. Of course, he was not deceased but understandably many (especially those outside the immediate Sacramento area who bought the tape) believed him to be indeed dead and the EP a posthumous release. This, like his association with both X-Raided (incarcerated for his alleged part in a murder) and the infamous 24th St. Garden Blocc gang, only helped further fuel a morbid fascination by many with the artist.


Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2009 06:06am | Post a Comment
                                                         Kraftwerk "Die Roboter"

After a forty year musical partnership the two founding members of Kraftwerk, Ralf Hutter and Florian
who officially formed the influential Düsseldorf, Germany group in 1970, have gone their seperate ways. As reported yesterday by, Schneider has decided to leave the group to pursue other projects. Meanwhile Kraftwerk will continue to perform and record after his departure.

Schneider, who played flutes, synthesizers, electro-violin, and programmed computers, first met Ralf Hütter in the late 1960's when the two were both students at the Düsseldorf Conservatory. Initially the group played more in the Krautrock vein before altering their style to more techno/synth pop/rock for which they became famous. Besides merely playing their instruments, they also created many of them. Kraftwerk is perhaps the most widely influential band of the past several decades, with their influence being felt in every genre from new-wave to hip-hop to techno and other strains of electronic music and beyond.

Marxist Tales 3: Falling Stars, or When Art Imitates Art

Posted by Charles Reece, January 5, 2009 11:00pm | Post a Comment

Madonna falling in Rio back in December got me to thinking, naturally enough, about Mulholland Dr.'s use of "Llorando," Rebekah Del Rio's Spanish cover of "Crying." There's a lot of gravitas to gravity -- with one slip, the reality of artifice can be exposed. At the club Silencio, when the character of Del Rio (played by Del Rio) falls, but her singing continues, David Lynch is playing around with Bertolt Brecht's epic theater and his notion of estrangement. By having the work remind the audience of the layer of representation intervening between them and the emotions they're experiencing, Brecht hoped to create a more politico-rationally engaged experience -- that is, one of empathy, not sympathy (the former being of intellectual understanding, not the latter's identification).

However, Lynch turns estrangement on its ear by using lip-synching as the emotional crux of his film. If you'll remember, the scene occurs at the point where the fugue world of Betty is fracturing, and the reality of Diane is seeping in. Diane had killed her lover, Camilla, out of jealousy, replacing her in the dream with the amnesiac Rita. Of course Rita can't remember who she is, because she's a manifestation of Diane's oneiric state, a displacement of Camilla, with all the bad stuff repressed. As Rita, she's a ghost, pure desideratum, or Diane's objective (objectified) correlative of the real deal. (In fact, the same applies to Betty; she's Diane's idealized self.) Just as the illusion of the film's representational quality is most exposed (Lynch's "eye of the duck" scene), Betty and Rita begin sobbing -- and (provided the Silencio sequence works properly) the audience along with them.

Lynch has the audience identifying with his characters' experience of the distancing effect. The more one becomes cognitively aware of what's going on (say, knowing what's coming next in the narrative through repeated viewings), the more the emotive impact of the scene. The two dream projections, Betty and Rita, are doppelgängers of Diane, and (through identification) reflections of our own contemporary existence in what Guy Debord called the society of the spectacle. We all exist as objectified projections of others while projecting our own images on them in return. The rub is that often what we desire and who we believe ourselves to be are thoroughly mediated by spectacle (our own images are no more our own than the other's image of us). Being made aware of specular (representational) mediation as Brechtian theater attempted hardly solves the contemporary dilemma between what's real and what's merely manufactured. Awareness of artifice is no longer sufficient to counterprogram mass desire (if it ever was), since a lip-synching existence has become an object of dreams. Gravity's truth hasn't hurt the fanbase of the following stars, any more than that of Madonna's.



K-ci & JoJo

The show goes on independently of the stars, just like a perpetual motion machine. Increasingly, we're less likely to feel shame at the antics of Milli Vanilli, instead dreaming of getting such a choice gig. What's really most prized, the face or the voice behind the face? Beyoncé can actually sing, but that's not really why she's famous. Her voice is a phony justification for her star image. The what's-their-names behind Milli Vanilli could sing, too, but fat lot of good that does them now. In other words, "hips don't lie."

Anyone under 60 probably has some level of sophistication regarding the construction of images, but this generalized awareness can lead many to be skeptical of an image's falsity. Living in an age where the medium is the message creates a parity between the real and illusion, making such a determination an agnostic guessing game of which is which. Consider that there was much debate on YouTube as to whether WWE impresario Vince McMahon was really hurt during the obviously staged destruction of the set around him:

As professional wrestlers will tell you in these supposedly sophisticated times, just because wrestling is pure commodity, staged for our entertainment, doesn't mean that they don't really get hurt. These wrestlers acknowledge the truth in Lynch's film: artifice is painful, regardless of whether we know it's false. Aware of the image people have of him, Pauly Shore pulled an Andy Kaufman-esque stunt playing into the mass desire of wanting to see him get punched:

Clearly, Shore was inspired by the internet infamy achieved by Glen Danzig when his macho image got neutered:

Whereas Danzig was probably embarrassed, Shore's intent was, like Madonna's voice in Rio, just to keep his fading stardom continuing as long as possible -- that is, regardless of whether he looked like a coward or a wimp. Being seen is the desire, 'as what' is irrelevant. (The strategy can work.) That's why we can see former Guns 'N Roses drummer Steven Adler sucking on a bong, crying about how Slash hasn't called him on Celebrity Rehab. And it's why some dumb fucker on Cheaters or COPS will sign a release form. When the dream being bought and sold is nothing more than cheap spectacle, devoid of content, where does that leave us? Somewhere in the precarious space of this young actress playing Helen Keller:

Feeling sadness at Diane's awakening to the role she's been playing out in her slumber demonstrates that there's something very real in her identification with images. Del Rio's falling begins to ground Diane's imaginary weightless existence with the moral ramifications of the choices she made in pursuit of the fantasy. Here, Lynch uses the identification with fiction in its most enlightened sense, to reflect our current state of being. As a dialectic between mass media and identity, eventually the desired spectacle will trip over reality. To borrow an analogy from Plato, we can either lift the stick out of the water to see that it's not actually bent, or we can continue to leave it there.

Parts I and II.

Tile, Tubs & Toilets

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 5, 2009 01:42pm | Post a Comment


Posted by Billyjam, January 5, 2009 11:35am | Post a Comment
v.e.r.a. clique
V.E.R.A. Clique
's Fresh Out The Box CD is available at Amoeba Music and other stores but you can also buy it on BART if you're lucky to run into one of its members selling the CD on a random BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train.

The Oakland based group, whose album track "The Movement" is featured on the recent BOMB Hip-Hop Compilation Vol. 2 (also avail at Amoeba), are a talented hard-working hip-hop crew whose pre- Oakland roots date back to 2002 to Bend, Oregon where the group's Anderson Ray and Mascen Apollo first crossed paths at a hip-hop event. Fast forward a few years and both hip-hoppers had moved south to the Bay Area where they formed the group V.E.R.A. Clique, with the name standing for Very Essence of Real Artists.

I first learned about V.E.R.A. Clique only recently and in a most unusual way -- while sitting on the Bay Point / Pittsburg to San Francisco BART, somewhere near the MacArthur stop, Mascen Apollo of the bartgroup walked by dirt hustlin his crew's CD to BART passengers, all the while keeping a watchful eye out for the BART police, who not only frown upon any business being conducted on BART, but will arrest perpetrators for doing so. Over the years I have seen Bay Area hip hop artists sell their CDs or cassettes at various public places. In bygone years, members of Hobo Junction or Mystik Journeymen and their extended Living Legends crew would often be found on Durant or Telegraph (outside Amoba) selling their cassettes. But selling on the BART train was a novel approach to hip-hop marketing or distribution that I had not witnessed before. Hence I was anxious to find out more about it so I recently caught up with the V.E.R.A. Clique member Mascen Apollo to ask him about slinging hip-hop on BART.

Top Ten Songs Of 2008

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 5, 2009 02:51am | Post a Comment

Los Pikadientes De Caborca
-"La Cumbia Del Rio"
Probably the most fun Cumbia I've heard coming out of Mexico since Celso Piña's monster hit "Cumbia Sobre El Rio," Los Pikadientes created their own style of drunken pueblo Cumbia that is fun as anything you would hear at a Mardi Gras. The video for the song is excelient as well.

Jose James-"Park Bench People"
This song is a validation to all the L.A. underground Hip-Hop heads that felt Freestyle Fellowship were light years ahead of their time. Jose James adds more jazz but doesn't stop the flow. Such a visual and beautifully lonely song.

Hijos De La Cumbia-"La Mara Tomasa"
Maybe it was the Caifanes sample or that it borrowed heavily from Andres Landero's "Mi Machete." Either way, I couldn't stop playing this song in the clubs or at my house.

Erykah Badu-"Cleva" (Captain Planet Remix)
This was the B-Side to Greenwood Rhythm Coalition's remix of Erikah Badu's "Honey." It's a Samba version of her hit from her Mama's Gun album. Fits right in with the classic Brazilian music and never failed to make heads turn at the clubs.

Patato Y Totico-"Dilo Como Yo" (Antibalas Remix)
Antibalas took this Patato Y Totico classic and took it into outer space via Africa. Best track off the Verve Remix Vol.4.

Nortec Collective Present Bostich & Fussible-"The Clap"
Part Kraftwerk and part Los Tigres Del Norte, and they make it work!

Johnny Pacheco-"Boogaloo De Johnny" (Quantic Remix)
Another great remix by Quantic, making the boogaloo classic into a rocksteady stomp. Doesn't sound like a remix at all-- sounds like a lost Jamaican/Puerto Rican gem.

Moonra Y Su Batallon-"Cumbia De Moonra"
Toy Selektah is going to becomea household name in the coming year now that he is signed to Mad Decent. He is the originator of the Electro-Cumbia sound that mixes Sonidero with Electronic music and Hip-Hop. This track is one that he did with some of the guys form La Tropa Vallenata, who had a hit with their version of "Los Caminos De La Vida." The song is both spooky and dancable.

Banda Hijos De La Nina Luz-"El Sapo/Crees Que Soy"
This 7" single is a sneak peak of what the Soundway label has to offer for their second installment of the Colombia! series. Banda Hijos De La Nina Luz is acclaimed accordian player Lesandro Meza's family and sometimes backing band. Side B is a a super fast Gaita that sounds like Batucada music out of Brazil. The horns break into Rod Stewart's "Do You Think I'm Sexy" in the middle of the jam. I've heard so many Colombian versions of Rod's stolen hit (stolen from Jorge Ben, btw) that the whole country of Colombia must all feel like they are sexy.

Calle 13 Feat. Café Tacvba-"No Hay Nadie Como Tu"
This song reminds me of Manu Chao's hit, "Me Gustas Tu," which is part of the reason I like it. Much like the Manu Chao song, "No Hay Nadie Como Tu" is one of those universal love songs, cleverly worded so you don't feel like a pansy when you sing it.

Honorable Mention:

Ocote Soul Sound-La Reja (Nickodemus Remix)
Greenwood Rhythm Coalition-Tabaco Y Ron
Tontelas-En Do
Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra-Lagos Calling
DJ Negro-Lluvia
Quantic Presents Flowering Inferno-Cuidad del Swing

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 5, 2009 12:04am | Post a Comment

1. V/A-Roots Of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru
2. V/A-Nigeria Special
3. V/A-Nigeria Rock Special
4. V/A-Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump
5. Manu Chao-Clandestino
6. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos-Cantan En Espanol
7. Manu Chao-La Radiolina
8. V/A-Nigeria Disco Funk
9. Jorge Ben-Jorge Ben (1969)
10. Orchestra Baobab- Made In Dakar
11. V/A –African Scream Contest
12. Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible-Tijuana Sound Machine
13. Serge Gainsbourgh-Les Annes Psychédéliques
14. Julieta Venegas-MTV Unplugged
15. V/A-Brazil 70-After Tropicalia
16. Lila Downs-Shake Away
17. Ethiopiques-Very Best Of Ethiopiques
18. Hector Lavoe-A Man And His Music
19. Suen Kuti & Egypt 80-S/T
20. V/A-Victrola Favorites
21. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-S/T
22. V/A- Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted - Baghdad 1925-1929
23. Toumani Diabate-Mande Variation
24. V/A- Love's A Real Thing - The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa
25. Heroes Del Silencio-Tour 2007

Create Your Own!

January 4, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, January 4, 2009 10:04pm | Post a Comment

The Great Land Of Small

Posted by phil blankenship, January 4, 2009 03:22pm | Post a Comment

New World Video A87011

The Bat Cave In Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 4, 2009 01:13am | Post a Comment

Perhaps it is due to the holidays, possibly because we’re in Paris, but we seem to be constantly raising our wine goblets high, toasting to a helluva lot of people, places and things. Needless to say, we’ve also been drinking a lot of wine, very good wine. Inevitably during the course of a meal, especially a holiday meal, several choice bottles are opened, glasses refilled and then refilled again.
Three of the four residences of our French extended-faux-step-mock-families we’ve had the pleasure of dining with have a wine cellar of some sort. These people take their wine seriously; I’m not looking forward to going home to LA, opening my kitchen cupboard above the refrigerator and yanking down a bottle of Two Buck Chuck after all this. Sadly that’s all we’ll be able to afford after spending these few weeks living semi-large in France. These photos are from my quasi-once-removed-half brother-in-law’s newly built ‘bat cave,’ finished in April of 2007. His initial wine collection consisted of about 200 bottles; today he suspects that there are close to a 1000 bottles of wine and champagne stored down yonder under lock and key. That’s gold in that cave!
Anyway, here are, as far as I can figure, the top three toasts we’ve heard this Holiday season.
#3- Bonne Année (to the New Year)
#2- A la Santé (to health)
#1- Barack Obama
By the way, we have yet to toast Nicolas Sarkozy.
Chin! Chin!” 

Godzilla in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 2, 2009 11:13am | Post a Comment

The conversation at dinner last night bounced between French and English and began with the announcement that we were having rabbit for dinner, much to the shock of my six year old son. But then it was quickly re-announced that there was a mistake in translation, we were in fact eating chicken. My son was relieved, he likes chicken. He’ll eat chicken. Our host then served the rabbit with a Roquefort cheese sauce. From there the conversation went on to my son’s great love for animals and how at the age of two he learned the truth about chicken. To his absolute horror he discovered that the thing we ate called chicken was the exact same thing that clucked, flew badly, laid eggs and hatched cute baby chicks. (It was a dark day for the boy. Since then he’s adjusted well; chicken nuggets were a huge influence on his decision to eat meat.) Our dinner conversation then went on to vegetarians, veterinarians, ostrich meat, wine, medieval life in Burgundy, torture, science and reason, Kansas, the lack of reason, and we talked about how my French quasi-mock-faux-step father-in-law was a research scientist who studied magnetism (and something else about solids and mass, but I didn’t quite get the gist of the French conversation there -- just another spot where I got lost). The subject briefly switched to piano lessons, downloading music, and how the internet, phone and cable television works here in France. Also mentioned was the odd fact that everyone we have stayed with on this vacation has the ability to call the good ol’ U.S. of A. for free. Again the nuance of the French explanation was lost to me. The subject briefly stepped into American sci-fi films, I tried to shove the chat in the direction of 1950’s red scare style sci-fi but nobody took the bait. Instead the tête-à-tête went east to Japan and 1950’s Godzilla movies. And then the moment! One of our friends mentioned Bambi Meets Godzilla, and how while tooling around on YouTube one cold Parisian night, he found the classic, primitively animated film from 1969. I hadn’t seen it in decades! So here it is. A little walk down memory lane, my New Years gift from France.


Posted by Billyjam, January 2, 2009 08:47am | Post a Comment
                            Excerpt from forthcoming 2009 DVD release about Biggie Smalls

2009 is already shaping up to be a promising year for hip-hop releases with many dropping within the several weeks or so of the new year. Upcoming releases include brand new recordings from such artists as DJ Signify, Mos Def, Grandmaster Flash, Rob Swift, and Conscious Daughters and older or newly discovered older material being released for the first time such as the DVD DJ Dusk's Root Down Soundclash sessions grand master flashfeaturing the late LA artist DJ Dusk presenting bygone (2001 - 2003) LA sessions featuring Madlib vs Cut Chemist, will i. am vs Thes One, and Oh No vs. Exile. Look for it in the hip-hop DVDs section at Amoeba Music on  January 13th.

Another late great hip-hop artist being celebrated on a new DVD in 2009 is Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon is the name of the new documentary that will be released on DVD that looks back on the life of the much lamented Brooklyn emcee featuring interviews with many folks like the clip above of a one-on-one with producer D-Dot discussing the making of one of Biggie Smalls' biggest hits. To be released by Gold Dust Media, Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon will be available at Amoeba Music on January 27th. For more up-to-date information on this release and to see other clips, click here.

What I Listened to Most in 2008

Posted by Miss Ess, January 1, 2009 04:23pm | Post a Comment
Since I write about what I listen to fairly often, this list may be a bit redundant, but consider it a happy round up! This is what was getting to me the most in 2008, whether it was released in 2008 or 1974, whether I'd heard it a zillion times before or it was something new to my ears.

Rodriguez - Cold Fact

Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down in the Light

Bobby Charles - s/t

Sun Kil Moon - "Glenn Tipton" from Ghosts of the Great Highway

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - "Islands in the Stream"

Woodstock by Joni Mitchell

Posted by Miss Ess, January 1, 2009 02:23pm | Post a Comment

Though a heck of a lot of people got to witness the monster festival that was 1969's Woodstock, a notable exception was Joni Mitchell.

Famously, her agent thought it would be a better idea for her to keep her scheduled appearance on the Dick Cavett Show, and so Joni barely missed one of the most celebrated and fabled musical festivals of all time. Upset about not being able to attend, she quickly wrote the eloquent and apt song "Woodstock" based on what others had said about the festival, capturing a moment at least as well as any musician who was actually there.

Growing up in a Crosby Stills Nash Young-heavy household, we never ever listened to Joni Mitchell's version of her own song "Woodstock" at all. I didn't even know she had written it when I was young. Finally, in college I started listening to her music and found her version to be much more haunting and moving than the comparatively light and sunny (and kinda wanky) CSNY version. 

Here she is playing the song at a festival in Big Sur in 1969, just one month after Woodstock. I believe this is the first public performance of "Woodstock" ever. As she says, "Well everybody has heard about Woodstock and maybe a lot of you were there," you can hear the utter regret in her voice. It's a gorgeous performance.

Here's the CSNY version, in case your memory needs recharging:

Don't Let Me Down - It's Been 40 Years Since a Little Rooftop Concert...

Posted by Miss Ess, January 1, 2009 01:08pm | Post a Comment
40 years ago this January, the Beatles dragged their equipment up the stairs of their offices at 3 Savile Row, London, for a rooftop concert.

How long has it been since you heard "Don't Let Me Down?" Probably too long. It's been a long while for me. Let's get this new year started off right:

How is it that the Beatles made everything seem so effortless, even when they hated each other and were close to the end? "Don't Let Me Down" was released as a B-side to "Get Back." A B-side!!

I don't listen to the Beatles too often anymore. Honestly, I don't even think about them too much, and after all this time, one glimpse and to me they are the still coolest dudes in the universe.

my top 50 albums of 2008...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 1, 2009 12:47pm | Post a Comment

Hercules & Love Affair-
Hercules & Love Affair (Mute)

Booka Shade-
The Sun & the Neon Light (Get Physical)

m83 saturdays=youth

Saturdays=Youth (Mute)

-Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)

The Teenagers
-Reality Check (XL Recordings)

The Daysleepers
Drowned in a Sea of Sound (Clairecords)

Pelle Carlberg
-The Lilac Time
(Labrador Records)

Grace Jones
-Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

Jonas Reinhardt
-Jonas Reinhardt (Kranky)

Crystal Castles
-Crystal Castles
(Last Gang)

Bloc Party
-Intimacy (Atlantic)

Sigur Ros
-Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (XL Recordings)

The Killers
-Day & Age (Island)

Friendly Fires
-Friendly Fires (XL Recordings)

-Ladyhawke (Modular)

-Microcastle (Kranky)

Gang Gang Dance
-Saint Dymphna (The Social Registry)

Toyko Police Club
-Elephant Shell (Saddle Creek)

-Donkey (Sub Pop)

Kanye West
-808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella Records)

Ten Kens
-Ten Kens (Fatcat Records)

Jack Penate
-Matinee (XL Recordings)

Jeremy Jay
-A Place Where We Could Go (K Records)

Bon Iver
-For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)

The Tough Alliance
-A New Chance (Modular)

-I am...Sasha Fierce (Columbia)

-Where You Go I Go Too (Smalltown Supersound)

-Third (Mercury)

My Morning Jacket
-Evil Urges (ATO)

The Verve
-Forth (On Your Own Records)

TV on the Radio
-Dear Science (Interscope)

Los Campesinos!-
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (Arts & Crafts)

Lightspeed Champion
-Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (Domino)

Last Shadow Puppets
-Age of the Understatement (Domino)

All The Saints
-Fire On Corridor X
(Touch & Go)

Sun Kil Moon
-April (Caldo Verde)

-Shine (Atlantic)

-19 (Columbia)

Bohren & Der Club of Gore
-Dolores (PIAS)

Max Richter
-24 Postcards in Full Color (Fatcat Records)

-Santogold (Downtown)

The Lodger
-Life Is Sweet (Slumberland)

The Week That Was
-The Week That Was (Memphis Industries)

For Against
-Shady Side Sunny Side (Words On Music)

Secret Shine
-All of the Stars (Clairecords)

Fleet Foxes
-Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)

Xiu Xiu
-Women as Lovers (Kill Rock Stars)

Sarah June
-This is My Letter to the World (Hand/Eye)

She & Him
-Volume One (Merge)

Okkervil River
-The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)

My Ostrich in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 1, 2009 11:48am | Post a Comment
The travails of travel … I’m in Paris, the city of lights, and I’ve been here just over a week suffering from the worst jet lag of my entire chaotically wayward life. On top of the jet lag and the most mind-tweaking insomnia I’ve ever experienced, my knees are killing me, my back is killing me, I know -- pity the poor son of a bitch who is spending Christmas and the New Year in France. Did I mention my knees? By the way, it’s snowing right now. Which is about time. It’s been colder than shit here. The other day it got to a high of only 23 degrees. My freezer isn’t even that frosty. At least with a bit of snow on the ground, the cold becomes a little more bearable. Remember, I’m a third generation Angelino. Snow is as exotic to me as eating ostrich--I’ll get to that in a minute.
Then again, I’m not wandering much outside. I’m traveling, but my days of sightseeing are pretty much behind me. I know that sounds asinine, but what I need is more than a building or monument. So why then am I here? Who knows? I had room left on a credit card? Actually there is an answer. I need sustenance. Yeah I could use some spiritual, emotional, intellectual readjustment, but first and foremost I desire something astonishing to fill my gut. It’s called an insatiable appetite. Inevitably, whatever I do, wherever I go, food plays a staggeringly major role. I should have been a food critic. I should also weigh in the neighborhood of about 400 pounds about now. I don’t yet, but as a kid I used to aspire to be the next mythic Hollywood-concocted character like an Orson Welles. I may attain it one day, but only in girth alone.
So here I am in France, the land of incredible wine, cheese, bread and sauces, and my French step-semi-half-removed-extended-faux-in-laws are both excellent chefs. And what suits me and my appetite even better is the fact that they are divorced. In the demise of their marriage, I won the settlement. The family may have lost stability, but I inherit twice the dinner choices in half the time. And on top of that, because it is the holidays, out comes the competition and the big guns of exotic meats, expensive vintage wines and cheeses that redefine the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
Here’s an example. For years now I have heard about a certain cheese from the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. I’ve been told you might not want to check out this cheese too closely under a bright light right after spreading it on some fresh bread and right before popping it into your mouth. You may notice that the innocent looking white dusty coating is moving ever so slightly, and it’s not because there’s a breeze in the room. Alive or not, the flavor is an incredible near-religious experience; it has a bit of a punch to it, almost pungent but not overwhelming, with slightly smoky and nutty overtones, and to maintain its character, this cheese cannot be pasteurized. Maybe because my gourmet meal was served and devoured on Christmas Eve within shouting distance of a 700 year old church … I found myself closer to somebody’s god.
My perfectly delicious Christmas Eve dinner also included my first experience with ostrich, the other, other white meat. Actually ostrich is a red meat that is low in fat and can be used in any traditional red meat recipe. Its flavor and texture is similar to a lean beef, but tastes slightly sweeter and richer than most other meats. Some people say they are reminded of veal, I just say it just kicked my ass. For all of you health-conscious people with a fresh New Year’s resolution, ostrich is low in fat and cholesterol, as well as high in calcium, protein and iron. And here is some advice about cooking ostrich: it cooks faster than other meats because of its low fat content; you’ll notice there is considerably less marbling than any chunk of beef. Ostrich steaks should be cooked medium rare to medium, and according to my French quasi-faux-semi-half-removed father-in-law, cooking ostrich till well done is not recommended. Another thing, for all you trying to live a little greener out there, ostrich, according to the International Ostrich Gazette, has the best feed to weight gain ratio of any land animal in the world -- 3.5:1, whereas cattle is more like 6:1. Then add the additional methane all that bull shoots into the atmosphere … well hell, ostrich sounds like the thinking man’s choice.
That’s all for now, I have to catch the Metro and head off to another dinner … bon appetit!


Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment
                                                           The Walkmen "In the New Year"

                      Music by Sonicville, Electrabel TV spot "Happy New Year (2009)(France)"

                                                 U2 "New Year's Day" from the War album 1982