Amoeblog

Documenting the Already Forgotten: The Interview Project at davidlynch.com

Posted by Charles Reece, January 31, 2010 05:23pm | Post a Comment
The webcasts started back in June of last year, but I just heard about them. Directed by Austin Lynch and Jason S., a 100 so-normal-they're-surreal citizens of these United States are interviewed in situ by Angie Schmidt and Julie Pepin. The Interview Project covers 20,000 miles and selects potential subjects as "they're found." Each interview is about 2 minutes long and introduced by David Lynch (father to one of the directors):


 

They go to places like Marfa, Texas:


Which is where No Country for Old Men was largely set. And they interview Texans like Doc Whitman:


Whose Steve Ditko-styled hands suggest a lifelong struggle against nature and industry:

   

They, of course, meet other people from other places, too, if you're into that sort of thing:


Better yet, it's free, comrades, so check it out

"It's the MOST... Blackhistorymonthy tiiime of the yeeear...!"

Posted by Job O Brother, January 31, 2010 10:45am | Post a Comment

I know what you’re thinking: How can it be that it’s Black History Month again, already? It seems to come up faster with each passing year. No sooner do I finish cleaning up all the gift wrap and decorations from 2009’s BHM festivities when – BAM! – time to break ‘em out again for 2010.

But I am excited! I love draping my house in the traditional BHM crushed-velvet flour sacks, heated bear skins, and twinkling, sapphire, mailboxes. We gather together around the hot oil printing press and sing BHM carols, get tipsy on Pancake-Sausage Nog, and remind each other, with love in our hearts, not to forget to turn off the air conditioner before leaving the house. Oh, joy! Oh sweet, unmitigated joy!

Of all these rituals, my favorite is the singing of the carols. I thought I’d share some of them with you, and invite you to sing along with me! Just click on a song below and belt one out. If you’re at work, or reading this on your iPhone while standing in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s, or simultaneously looking at Internet porn (way to multi-task!) – no matter! Sing all the louder! Let everyone know: You’re Black and You’re Proud!







































Oh, but then! After a day of opening presents, kissing ‘neath the severed toe, and feasting on the traditional BHM rice cakes drenched in cherry gravy, we cuddle together in front of our private movie theatre (or, if you’re not filthy, filthy rich like me, your – hee, hee!television) and watch the films that have come to be associated with BHM. We watch them every year, but somehow they never get old, do they? Even when, say, TBS reloops The Wiz the entire day, who doesn’t get seduced into watching the second-half a few times?
















Yes, my love, this is a special time of year, when we meditate on the profound impact that Black Earthlings have had on every facet of culture. But you know what? It’s not just this month. Oh no, child. If we’re to appreciate things in terms of who helped to better and influence them, then every month becomes Black History Month, particularly in the United States of America, where our history is inextricably linked with that of the Black Community. Actually no – not linked – rather, it is one history. One complete story. And regardless of what your ethnic background is, in terms of government, community, neighborhood, and family, we are all a part of the Black Community, that is, the American Community.

Now settle down and finish brushing your BHM teeth and go to bed.

Black Cinema Part I -- Race Movies - The Silent Era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 31, 2010 10:11am | Post a Comment
This is the first installment in a three part history of early Black Cinema.
To read Part II, covering the Hollywood Studio years of the 1930s and '40s, click here
To read Part III, covering the TV Age of the 1950s and '60s, click here



The Lincoln Motion Picture Company

In most American silent films, minorities were generally played by white actors in make-up. When actual minorities were cast, roles were generally limited. Latinos in silent films usually played greasers and bandits; Asian-Americans played waiters, tongs and laundrymen; and blacks usually played bellboys, stable hands, maids or simple buffoons. Early film depictions of black characters were highly offensive, including those in the films Nigger in the Woodpile, Rastus, Sambo and The Wooing and Wedding of a Coon. Not surprisingly, both Asian-Americans and blacks responded by launching their own alternative cinemas. But whilst Asian-American Silent Cinema quickly faltered, black cinema (blessed with a much larger audience) flourished and soon many so-called race movies were being made by both black and white filmmakers for black filmgoers.

  

The first film company devoted to the production of race movies was the Chicago-based Ebony Film Company, which began operation in 1915. The first black-owned film company was The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, founded by the famous Missourian actor Noble Johnson in 1916. However, the biggest name in race movies was and remains Oscar Micheaux, an Illinois-born director who started The Micheaux Book & Film Company in 1919 and went on to direct at least forty films with predominantly black casts for black audiences. Also in 1919, seeing how lucrative the growing race movie market was, Jacksonville, Florida’s Norman Film Manufacturing Company switched tracks and began making race films, starting with an all black remake of one of their earlier films.

Continue reading...

Sam Cooke - Sittin In the Sun

Posted by Miss Ess, January 31, 2010 09:59am | Post a Comment
I don't know if you caught the American Masters show on PBS the other night about Sam Cooke, but it was great.


Sam Cooke is, of course, an American Master, but he was also a man of the people. He charmed everyone he met, was a brilliant song writer and the first African American to own his own record label. He started his career in gospel and realized that if he wanted to advance himself and take better care of his family (see footage below), he needed to move out into the world of pop. With his careful cover choices and his well-honed genius for writing about topics that appealed to a mass audience, he became one of the first black entertainers to crossover and garner a huge number of white fans.

Playing segregated halls (eventually refusing to) and enduring despicable treatment in the South throughout the late 50s and early 60s, Cooke realized he was in a position as a popular artist to say something about what was going on in America. He covered Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" regularly, but also was inspired to write his own anthem for the movement, "A Change Is Gonna Come," to this day one of the most affecting songs ever to grace the airwaves.

Cooke was, beyond everything else, a self-made man, one who bowed to no one and who crossed boundaries no one thought possible at the time. He gained the respect of the people with his integrity, enthusiasm and smarts. Like many talented artists, his life was cut short early and tragically, at a hotel in Los Angeles in December 1964 when he was shot to death at the age of 33.

To me, Cooke's at his best when he's the most honest and least polished. Here's "Bring It On Home To Me," with his ex-bandmate Lou Rawls on backing vocals:



And here he is on American Bandstand in '64 with Dick Clark with "(Ain't That) Good News" and an interview:

HIP-HOP HISTORY: TOP 30 RAP SINGLES CHART, FEB/MAR 1993

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2010 08:00pm | Post a Comment
Black Moon
The following Top 30 Hip-Hop Singles chart from February/March 1993, which was originally compiled and published by long defunct East Coast hip-hop zine One Nut Network, was put together based on rap singles' airplay on both college hip-hop radio shows and commercial radio mix shows at the time. The time was early 1993, considered by most as the tail end of hip-hop's much celebrated and oft lamented so-called "golden age" or "golden era," when, it seemed, every new hip-hop release was a noteworthy (and worth owning) release. And while that belief may not be 100% correct, it is, as the following chart indicates, pretty darn close to the truth.

By just eye-balling the 30 singles on the Feb/March 1993 chart below, many of which, including Black Moon, Dr Dre, Young Black Teenagers, and Ice Cube, got released towards the end of 1992 but still had airplay into the first quarter of 1993, you can tell a lot about the status of hip-hop at the time and where it stood in its historical development. For example, many of the acts most associated with the aforementioned "golden age" of hip-hop were represented here, including Kool G Rap ("Ill Street Blues"), Gang Starr ["Gotta Get Over (Taking Loot)"], Brand Nubian ("Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down"), Diamond D ("Sally Got A One Track Mind"), Naughty By Nature ("Hip Hop Hooray"), and Lords of the Underground ("Funky Child") -- each of which happened to be East Coast (NY or NJ) acts.

Continue reading...

GRAMMY NOMINATED BAY AREA ARTIST JOHN SANTOS INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2010 07:39pm | Post a Comment

Among the many artists up for a Grammy this year is longtime Bay Area Latin jazz musician John Santos, whose 2009 anti-war themed album La Guerra No (Machete Records) is nominated under the the Best Traditional World Music category. This is actually not the first time in his career that the Afro-Latin percussionist has been nominated for such an award, but if he wins, it will be the first time he will have won.

Santos is also an in demand music lecturer on the college circuit, and like the seasoned musician and music industry veteran he is, he takes it all in stride, with a sense of realism and a wait-and-see attitude. Should the Grammy be granted to him this weekend, it will be something he'll share the glory of with the (literally) dozens of other artists from various other countries who collaborated and contributed to this powerful album that took a five year period to record and produce.

Earlier today I caught up the busy artist to ask him about his career to date, what went into the making of La Guerra No, and whether or not he will be heading down to LA for Sunday night's big event, the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Amoeblog: How many times have you been nominated for a Grammy?

John Santos: This is the fifth time.

Amoeblog: And how does it feel to be nominated?

John Santos: It's an honor.

Amoeblog: For those who may not be aware of your prolific body of work, can you briefly run down your rich musical history?

Continue reading...

Our Oscar Nomination Predictions!

Posted by Amoebite, January 30, 2010 06:36pm | Post a Comment
oscar
Three of Amoeba's most rabid Oscar fans make their predictions before the nominations are announced this Tuesday, Feb 2. Read on to hear our thoughts about who will be nominated, who will win, how the hosting will go, the new policy of naming 10 Best Picture nominees and, of course, who will make the best and worst dressed lists!

Sally: First of all, what kind of hosts do you think Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will be? Can they do a great job? I feel kind of weird about how having them is just an advertisement for their film, It's Complicated, but at the same time, I genuinely like both dudes and think they are talented. They have potential to be very funny. We'll see. I just hope they are cutting when necessary and also don't bloat the show with excess that is not necessary. Know what I mean? Oh, and if pressed, I would definitely rather see them do a comedic musical number than Hugh Jackman's last year, but maybe that's just me. I say bring back Jon Stewart!

January 27, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, January 30, 2010 10:19am | Post a Comment

January 30, 2001: Sugar and Spice

Posted by phil blankenship, January 30, 2010 12:33am | Post a Comment

J.D. Salinger 1919 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, January 29, 2010 10:55am | Post a Comment
Every obituary for J.D. Salinger, who died yesterday at the age of 91, will inevitably mention that he was a celebrated author and an enigmatic recluse who detested the spotlight. He was the Garbo of letters so too speak, whose first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, is an anthem of adolescent angst and youthful rebellion, and in the 1980’s a couple of sociopathic assholes claimed they read something into the book that doesn’t exist, which drove their actions. A few obits might also mention that Salinger was a big fan of Ring Lardner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alfred Hitchcock, W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers and even psychic Edgar Cayce. But Salinger lives. His novels' popularity obviously endures today. His books continue to sell, Catcher alone sells more than 250,000 copies a year in paperback, as do his other books, Nine Stories, and two compilations, and possibly his very best writing, about the fictional Glass family-- Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.
 
As for me, here's something I'll add, Salinger wrote one of my all time favorite lines, I ate it up as a kid and even memorized it: “If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible.”
 
Here are some other quotes from J.D. Salinger:
 
 “I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.”
 
“I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.”
 
“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”
 
“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody.”
 
“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.”
 
“Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.”
 
“I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
 
“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
 
“Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phoney. I could puke every time I hear it.”
 
“I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
 
“It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
 
“It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it.”
 
“You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phoney stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart.”
 
“It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.”
 
“Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.”
 
“In my mind, I'm probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.”
“Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it, though, the same week I made it -- the same night, as a matter of fact.”
 
“People always clap for the wrong things.”
 
“I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.”
 
“It's no fun to be yellow. Maybe I'm not all yellow. I don't know. I think maybe I'm just partly yellow and partly the type that doesn't give much of a damn if they lose their gloves.”
 
“Catholics are always trying to find out if you're Catholic.”
 
“Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.”
 
‘Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.
It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
 
‘That's the nice thing about carousels, they always play the same songs.”

This Week at the New Beverly: January 29 - February 4

Posted by phil blankenship, January 29, 2010 10:38am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our complete February calendar is online:
www.newbevcinema.com/calendar.cfm


Friday & Saturday January 29 & 30

Amarcord
1973, Italy / France, 123 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071129/
dir. Federico Fellini, starring Magali Noël, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio, Armando Brancia
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:15 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Academy Award Winner Best Foreign Language Film

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 01:29:10

Posted by Billyjam, January 29, 2010 07:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 01:29:10

BlakRoc
1) BlakRoc Blakroc (V2/Cooperative)

2) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)

3) Jay Z Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)

4) Fashawn Boy Meets World (Loud)

5) Oh No Dr. No's Ethiopium (Stones Throw)

If the newest Amoeba Music Hollywood hip-hop chart above looks similar to the SoCal store's chart from three weeks ago, well, that's because it is exactly the same. All the top selling hip-hop releases from the past few weeks' weekly charts at the Hollywood store have been consistently selling well and hence holding steady in their respective chart slots at the Sunset Blvd. store. Both Jay-Z and the Black Eyed Peas' now months-old 2009 releases continue to sell phenomenally well, and not just at Amoeba but across the nation also. They are still simultaneously holding down spots on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, ranking at #9 and #31 respectively on the national sales based chart. Meantime, instrumental versions of seven of the great tracks off the recommended self-titled BlakRoc album, composed and performed by The Black Keys for the emcees Mos Def, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch, Ludacris, etc etc, were unveiled this week on the website The Black Keys Fan Lounge.

January 29, 2001: The Gift

Posted by phil blankenship, January 29, 2010 12:37am | Post a Comment

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Boyle Heights

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 28, 2010 09:11pm | Post a Comment

This neighborhood blog is about Boyle Heights. To vote for more Los Angeles neighborhoods, go here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


The area now known as Boyle Heights was originally inhabited by the Tongva, who lived there for centuries until their displacement by the Spaniards. When the area was still part of Mexico, it was known as Paredón Blanco. Prominent families in Paredón Blanco included the Lopez and Rubio households.

  
Pendersleigh & Sons' official maps of Boyle Heights and The Eastside

In the 1830s, a cemetery near Soto and Breed was removed and bodies displaced in order to make room for a new elementary school. Though the bodies were relocated to Evergreen Cemetery, there have been reports of various paranormal activities within the walls of Breed Street Elementary School, presumably the work of the lost souls who once rested there.

  
         Andrew Boyle                                        The Boyle House                                     William A. Workman

The neighborhood acquired its current name when Irishman Andrew Boyle moved to the area in 1858. His son-in-law, William H. Workman, was the mayor of Los Angeles and was largely responsible for developing Boyle Heights.

1941 The Flats


FROM SLUMS TO PROJECTS

Boyle Heights was traditionally viewed as being divisible into two sections, the more affluent section, The Heights, and the more downscale section, The Flats. Until the 1930s, The Flats were covered with slums that noted reformer Jacob Riis compared unfavorably to those in New York. In fact, the slums around Utah Street were widely considered to be the "most abominable in the country."

  
                      Aliso Village                                         Estrada Courts                                           Pico Gardens

In the 1940s, the slums were razed and replaced with the Aliso Village, Estrada Courts and Pico Gardens projects. By the 1970s, the neglected projects had been allowed to fall into disrepair and served as the breeding grounds for local gangs including Primera Flats, AV Fellas, AV Rockers, Varrio Nuevo Estrada and Alcapone. Village and Pico Gardens were, in turn, razed in the 1990s and replaced with the New Urbanist and Pueblo del Sol projects. The Estrada Courts project still stands and today is more recognized for its many murals and preservation efforts than gang violence. 


CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS OF BOYLE HEIGHTS 

First Annual Boyle Heights Block Party

As of 2000, Boyle Heights was 94% Latino with a very small (2.3%) Asian minority. However, in a world where the movements of even a few white people are attacked either as "white flight" or gentrification (depending on the direction of their movement), the existence of a 1.6 % white minority is threatening to nearly complete homogeneity.

As I walked along the sidewalk on behalf of this blog, a cholo bitched "Too many f---ing weddos around!" as he passed, presumably for my benefit. What this hater probably didn't know is that, in the first half of the 20th century, Boyle Heights was historically one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, home to large numbers of Croatian, JewishJapaneseMexican and Russian immigrants. It is only in recent decades that it has become one of the least ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city.

*****

JAPANESE IN BOYLE HEIGHTS

 

After the 1882 passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, many Japanese immigrated to California to fill the resultant void in the labor force. After the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, many Japanese citizens moved away from the bay, often to Boyle Heights. Faced with growing numbers of non-Chinese Asian immigrants, the Asian Exclusion Act was signed in 1924 to broaden discrimination to other Asian-Americans. By then, however, Little Tokyo (just across the river) and Boyle Heights were already home to about 30,000 Japanese-Americans, including famed artist Isamu Noguchi.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, hundreds of Japanese residents of the Japanese fishing village on Terminal Island were given 48 hours notice to evacuate their homes so that a new military base could be built there. Many of the displaced moved to the Forsythe Hostel in Boyle Heights. Not long after, however, they along with almost all Japanese-Americans were rounded up and shipped to concentration camps.

After World War II ended, few Japanese returned to the neighborhood, preferring, in many cases, to move to Gardena, Monterey Park, Torrance, Pasadena, San Pedro, Compton and Long Beach (rather than back to Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo or Little Osaka). The highly acclaimed restaurant, Otomisan, established in 1956, is one of the few reminders of a more diverse era. Other Japanese vestiges include Haru Florist, Hayashi Realty, and Tenrikyo Mission.


RUSSIANS IN BOYLE HEIGHTS


The next major wave of immigrants to Boyle Heights came with the arrival of large numbers of Russians, many whom immigrated to avoid czarist persecution. A large number were Molokans, a religious sect that refused to follow orthodox practices. By the 1930s, there were six Molokan churches in Boyle Heights. Later many Russian Jews fled to Los Angeles. In the 1940s, the nexus of Russians in Los Angeles shifted to West Hollywood, although there are today large numbers of Russians in Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas and Sherman Oaks.


MEXICANS IN BOYLE HEIGHTS


Texas-born pachuco Don Tosti moved to Boyle Heights

As previously mentioned, Boyle Heights used to be in Mexico. However, after the US took over, many more Mexican began to move to Boyle Heights in the 1910s, often fleeing the violence of the Mexican Revolution. In the 1930s, large numbers of Mexican-Americans were, regardless of their country of origin, deported to Mexico. When the Japanese were interred in the 1940s, however, Mexicans were actively encouraged to return to fill the void in the labor force. 

An uncharacteristically calm scene along Cesar Chavez Ave

Whereas most of the other early groups left the neighborhood, Boyle Heights' Latino population has steadily increased over the years. Reflecting the continuing Latinization of the neighborhood, in 1994, Brooklyn Avenue was renamed Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, which most nights is a bustling street, and not just by Los Angeles standards.



For many years, one prominent Mexican-American resident, Ross Valencia, was known as "Mr. Boyle Heights." Since his death last year, a small park has been dedicated to his memory.


JEWS IN BOYLE HEIGHTS


The Vladek Center (1950)


By the 1920s, Boyle Heights had the largest Jewish population west of the Mississippi. Today, one of the few visible vestiges of Boyle Heights' (particularly the Brooklyn Heights tract's) historic Jewish population is the Breed Street Shul, which, when it opened;in 1923, was the first synagogue on the west coast.

At the time, the Jewish population was centered around Brooklyn and Soto, where there were many Jewish-owned businesses. Few Angelenos likely know that the famed deli Canter's was actually started in Boyle Heights (as Canter Brother's Delicatessen) in 1931. In 1941 it moved, with much of the city's Jewish population, to the Fairfax District 


*****
CULTURE IN MODERN BOYLE HIGHTS


image source: KCET


Proyecto Jardín is a unique community garden and art and cultural space created in 1999 in the shadow of White Memorial Hospital. It includes a performance space, art and garden plots. It's also closely associated with Ovarian-Psycos, an all-female Eastside bicycle crew.


CAINE'S ARCADE

 
Nestled in the northwesternmost corner of Boyle Heights is Caine's Arcade. Because I still run into people who've never heard of it, Caine Monroy built this amazing, elaborate arcade out of discarded cardboard boxes in the back of his father's auto parts store. In 2012 filmmaker Nirvan Mullick made a short film about the arcade which he shared on Hidden Los Angeles and the whole, heartwarming thing went viral in a huge way.

MUSIC IN BOYLE HEIGHTS

THE SOFT PACK & OTHER GREAT AMOEBA IN-STORES THIS WEEK

Posted by Billyjam, January 27, 2010 11:20am | Post a Comment
  The Soft Pack 'Answer to Yourself' live on 91X (2009)

Formerly known as The Muslims, San Diego indie rock outfit The Soft Pack will play for free at Amoeba Music Berkeley this evening at 6pm. The band has an amazingly catchy sound that they unleash on their about to drop (The Soft Packnext Tuesday) self-titled debut on Kemado Records (and on Heavenly Records in the UK). What I personally love about these guys' sound, especially the new album track "Answer To Yourself," which has been stuck in my head for the past two days straight, is how much it reminds me of one of my favorite eras of music: Belfast Northern Ireland punk circa 1979/1980 on the Good Vibrations label. I love it and the rest of the head nodding, retro-sounding tracks that I have heard off the new album (recorded with Eli Janney of Girls Against Boys). At today's Amoeba Berkeley in-store, you can pre-order it, in addition to getting an autographed CD booklet along with a limited-edition 7" Wayne Hancockfrom the band (while supplies last at the Telegraph Ave. Amoeba today only).

Above is the band playing live on radio station 91X a few months ago and below is a clip of them doing an instore at the Hollywood Amoeba on October 29th, 2008. 

Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day

Posted by Whitmore, January 25, 2010 10:05pm | Post a Comment

The who’s who of calendar demarcations, Chase’s Calendar of Events, has designated the last Monday of January, today, as Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day. (And of course do not forget, bubble wrap is trademarked, so just try and name your band Bubble Wrap ... see where it lands you!) Since its invention in 1960, Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning material has been used by and has entertained kids of all ages, from two to one hundred and two!
 
According to legend, the birth of Bubble Wrap® took place in a garage in Hawthorne, NJ. Of course, isn’t stuff like this always invented in a garage and in Jersey? Two engineers, Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding, were trying to make plastic wallpaper with a paper backing, something, no doubt, that would compliment the popular trend of the day, popcorn ceilings. They failed miserably. But in a moment of pure unadulterated genius, with just a hint of desperation, they turned their attention towards a new direction: Packaging. Yes, the future was in plastic, plastic packaging. Their invention would be perfect for cushioning all sorts of products when shipping. At that time, only abrasive paper products were used for packaging, which were often insufficient for heavy or delicate items. They founded Sealed Air Corporation soon after, and today Sealed Air is a leading global manufacturer of a wide range of food and protective packaging materials and systems with annual revenues in excess of four billion dollars.
 
How is Bubble Wrap® packaging made? The process is a trade secret. But some details are available at the Bubble Wrap® website. “Bubble Wrap® cushioning starts as polyethylene (plastic) resin, in the form of beads about the size of small peas (just not as green). The beads go into an extruder -- a long cylinder with a screw inside that runs its entire length. As the screw is turned, heat builds up and the resin melts into a liquid that is squeezed out of the cylinder into two stacked sheets of clear plastic film. One layer of the film is wrapped around a drum with holes punched in it, and suction is applied, drawing one web of film into the holes that form the bubbles. The second layer of film is then laminated over the first so that when the two films are joined, they stick together and trap the air in the bubbles.”
 
And this all may sound easy, but polyethylene is a very porous, sponge-like material. Because air can easily leak out through the pores, which tends to limit the cushioning ability of the packaging, Sealed Air started using a Saran coating to seal the air in the bubbles. Eventually, a method -- the secret method -- of encapsulating an air retention barrier in the polyethylene during the extrusion process was developed.
 
So enjoy Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day. I’ve been hearing popping all over the city today. Pop away citizens, pop away!

Cyril Pahinui at Amoeba Hollywood - Jan 23, 2010

Posted by Amoebite, January 25, 2010 05:26pm | Post a Comment
An acoustic guitar isn’t just an acoustic guitar, at least not in the hands of a ki ho’alu (slack-key) player like Cyril Pahinui. As part of the Third Annual Southern California Slack-Key Festival on January 24 in Redondo Beach, Pahinui stopped by Amoeba Cyril Pahinui in-storeHollywood and played a few sweet island songs to a crowd that he would warmly call his “friends.” Little matter that the lyrics of these songs were mostly indecipherable, Cyril couldn’t have been cooler or more emblematic of the island way of life. His slack-key guitar playing was so fluid that it just proves the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Using the fingerpicking technique that his father—the legendary Gabby “Pops” Pahinui—helped preserve as a live tradition in the 1940s, the two-time Grammy winner’s baritone voice is always very full of mood. As each song tells a story, Pahinui paid homage to his father with one number, and to his drinking days in Nanakuli in another, saying that with 17 grandchildren those days are well behind him. He brought out a Japanese Hula dancer for a song, and his wife, Chelle, for another. It was a real treat to catch Pahinui like that on a blue-skied day after the Southern California storms. And it was a bigger treat to watch up close and personal the easy way his thumb and fingers can turn that acoustic guitar into something more...plural. Very cool.

Cyril PahinuiCyril Pahinui In-Store

And for those who dig the great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World,” it was Pops Pahinui that he dedicates the song to at the beginning—“Kay, this one’s for Gabby.”

"What I like to hear blow," Job says.

Posted by Job O Brother, January 25, 2010 04:58pm | Post a Comment

Stevie Nicks, one of many people not mentioned in the following blog post

Gee whiz, I sure do like sackbuts.

Now there’s a sentence you weren’t expecting! In fact, I’m willing to bet you never once considered whether or not someone would one day write that sentence. As far as that goes, it’s a sentence right up there with, “That’s a lovely cancer you’ve got growing on your blouse,” or “Honey, would you mind moving to Atlantis yesterday?” or even, “That George Bush sure was a fine President.”

Come to think of it, there’s millions of sentences we never expect to read or hear.

But who cares? Not me. So moving on...

I like sackbuts.

I know some of you readers are assuming that “sackbut” is a word that I made up for the express purpose of being silly, which goes to show how little you understand my blog which is NOTHING BUT ABSOLUTELY FACTUAL ALL THE TIME.

A sackbut is an earlier form of trombone, dating from the Renaissance to Baroque era in popularity. In sound it is similar to trombones, but is more delicate and etheric, though only by comparison.

It was invented by Albern Heißen. Legend has it that Heißen was so vexed at having to hear his neighbor, Ärgerlich Nachbarn (formost cymbal player of Saxony) practice his craft, that he invented an instrument that could rival the cymbal in terms of sleep-ruining. What Heißen didn’t realize was that his neighbor was quite deaf, having lost his hearing after dying from Plague. No matter how often or how loud Heißen would blow his sackbut, Nachbarn continued with his cymbal crashing.


Albern Heißen, inventor and Playgirl's Centerfold for 1529

This was back when traveling hordes of Mexicans would roam Northern Europe, fruitlessly looking for a warm place to settle down and “exist” in. The Mexicans – known as “Protestants” in those days – happened to hear Heißen and Nachbarn’s “duet” and quickly sought to learn how to re-create it. This led to the sackbut’s spread of popularity throughout Europe, while simultaneously sparking the Thirty Years War, after Jaroslav Bořita z Martinic and Vilém Slavata z Chlumu a Košumberka gave an impromptu performance of a (then scandalous) sackbut sonata at Hradčany Castle, which ended in their being tossed out a window into a pile of manure*.


Early music critics

Eventually, sackbuts lost out to the better tasting and lower calorie trombone, which remains popular to this day.

Even so, there are still some groups of musicians who play and record this instrument of yore. One of my favorite such groups is His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, who have a spiffy selection of compact discs available.

And, at the risk of… erm… tooting our own horn, Amoeba Music Hollywood actually has a sackbut section you could check out. It’s located in Classical Music. The sackbut section is small, but it’s there!

I hope you enjoy discovering this neat instrument as much as I have. In the words of sackbut affectionado Martin Luther:

“Der Hut Ich trage sieht aus wie eine hängende, dunkle Pfannkuchen!”







*This is the origin of that famous schoolyard chant, “See-saw one, see-saw two, play with a ‘but, get a bunch-a poo!”

INTERVIEW WITH BLOCKHEAD ABOUT NEW ALBUM, THE MUSIC SCENE

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2010 01:26pm | Post a Comment
Blockhead The Music Scene
Back in the second half of the nineties, following a short-lived, unsuccessful turn at being a rapper, New York City native Blockhead turned his creative focus to producing hip-hop music. At first he worked for emcee Aesop Rock, and later for many other artists. He simultaneously began producing and releasing his own music as a solo artist for such labels as Mush and Ninja Tune.

Just recently the artist released his fourth album on Ninja Tune, The Music Scene, which he half jokingly describes on his MySpace as "the tears that fall from your emo face on to your laptop. or nordic flute music with a hip hop edge...either or... "but which is actually a recommended rich and engaging collage of sounds that utilizes literally hundreds of sound sources. I caught up with Blockhead to talk about his new album, what went into making it, and the meaning behind its title.

Amoeblog: The cover art of the new album The Music Scene, done by your friend & fellow producer Omega One, shows a futuristic deserted New York City overrun by wild animals. Is there a distinct correlation between that specific imagery and the album's theme?

Blockhead: Yeah, it just shows New York as this barren wasteland being overrun by animals. And that is kind of how I view the music scene at this point. It's a very simple metaphor. Like if you think about New York City and what it once was. I am a native New Yorker. I grew up downtown and to see what has happened to my neighborhood, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's just become something different. And the music scene is pretty much in the same boat. It was once this thriving place where people could be creative. But now if you are creative it is really not for you because it is not going to happen for you on a level like it used to. There was a time when ugly singers could be famous, when people would just get by on their talent but now it's like you have to have a market plan and it's depressing.
Blockhead
Amoeblog: Listening to the layers of sounds and samples and beat changes and overall intricate production that went into The Music Scene, it sounds like you put a lot of time and energy into producing this album. Did you?

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring the City of Industry

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 25, 2010 11:31am | Post a Comment

This Los Angeles County community blog is about City of Industry. To vote for more LA County Communites, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles Neighborhoods, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

 
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of City of Industry

Industry, as with Commerce (which is often referred to as "City of Commerce"), is often referred to as "City of Industry" to distinguish if from the common noun, "industry." Perhaps too it has the subtle effect of arguing for Industry's legitimacy as a municipality (and thus to hopefully disassociate it from "phantom cities" like Bradbury, Hidden Hills, Rolling Hills, Vernon, and the City of Commerce.) 

Industry is a strangely shaped "city" in the south end of the San Gabriel Valley surrounded by the communities of Whittier Narrows, South El Monte, El Monte, Baldwin Park, West Puente Valley, La Puente, Valinda, South San Jose Hills, Walnut, Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights and North Whittier. It almost completely surrounds Avocado Heights.


As with most all of the San Gabriel Valley, Industry was inhabited by the Tongva, who were then displaced by the Spaniards, which was followed by the region becoming part of Mexico. One of the few vestiges from that era is the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, an historical landmark and the burial sight of Pío Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California. Industry was incorporated in 1957 in a move in part designed to prevent surrounding cities from annexing the land for tax revenue and as a shelter for those wishing to operate without the strict zoning laws of a typical city. It also allows a very small group of people -- in many cases related to one another -- to operate a municipality more like a corporation than a typical city. 


Most recently, Industry has been designated the sight of the future Los Angeles Stadium, which if built would mean return American football to the Los Angeles County. Above is an artist's conception. Apparently the artist also conceives of the surrounding warehouses being obliterated and replaced with large, well maintained lawns.

Befitting its name, Industry is almost entirely industrial (92%) and just a little commercial (8%). The last census found that only 219 people even call Industry home -- it's not called "The City of Residents," after all. Most are members of city council or their friends living in city-owned properties and rented below market rate (but off-limits to outsiders). Elections for city council are almost never held. The tiny population of Industrians are roughly 62% Latino (mostly Mexican), 24% white (mostly Danish) and 9% Asian. On paper Industry's political situation might resemble that of North Korea but it is an open city, welcoming visitors and explorers, so explore it I did.

*****

Interestingly, Industry produces about 35,000 to 50,000 tons of pre-consumer food waste daily, mostly cheese by-products and imperfect tortillas. In a novel solution, the city's garbage trucks run on cheese by-products. They could call it, therefore, "City of Cheese Waste," but there's more to Industry than curds and whey. 

For starters, there's an exposed area of rock that locals call Fossil Hill, located behind the Colima Road McDonald's in Stoner Creek. I have no pictures of it, unfortunately, as I haven't yet visited it.

There are quite a few bars and gentleman's clubs in Industry. In one tiny shopping center one can find a tavern, a gentlemen's club, a "bar * lounge," and a pijiu wu (Taiwanese pub). Popular drinking holes include Opium Pub ($25 all you can drink), Dream Lounge and Vip Lounge.


For those who venture to Industry and need to spend the night (perhaps having drunk all one can drink), there's The Pacific Palms ResortThe golf course at the resort was featured in a memorable scene in the cult classic Joel "sexual outlaw" Schumacher film, Falling Down.


Popular restaurants in the area tend to reflect the surrounding areas more than the local population but with over fifty in the city, there's considerable variety. Some of the more popular places to eat are Roda Viva, King's Palace, Curry House, Frisco's Carhop, Jurassic, Iguanas Ranas, La Kaffa, Little Tokyo, Shabu Shabu, Sakura, and Smile Express.

The headquarters for Newegg.com, Emtek Products, and Engineering Model Associates/Plastruct are all located in Industry. The most Amoeba-relevant business (since it has something to do with music culture) is Hot Topic
 

The aging Puente Hills Mall, built in 1974, appeared as Twin Pines Mall (and later Lone Pine Mall) in the film, Back to the Future.


Nowadays, the mall is pretty empty except for the AMC theater, so the mall's owners ensure people have to pass by the remaining stores by not allowing entrance directly into the theater. Nearby, Speed Zone was featured in Kevin Smith's Clerks II, Summer School, and 1979's Van Nuys Blvd. The final fight scene was filmed there, in a now demolished Ikea.


One of the most interesting businesses in Industry is the McDonald's that's only used for commercials and films, such as Mac & Me.


Industry is also home of Vineland Drive-In, one of two remaining drive-in theaters in the Southland.


A phone booth (no longer there) at Brea Canyon and Old Ranch Road was featured in the film, Halloween.


Kern's of California

The factory showdown in the film Terminator was shot at Kern's Of California. It was there that Linda Hamilton's character uttered one of the most squirm inducing, corny one-liners in film history...


Industry has  also been a filming location for NWA and AWS matches, Raspberry & Lavender, Street Fury: Inferno, Suicide Kings, Bye Bye Love, Fun with Dick and Jane and American Pie. On a final note, As far as mom & pop video stores, there's John's Video Place.

 

*****


Follow Eric's Blog and check out more episodes of California Fool's Gold

Eggs

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 25, 2010 10:30am | Post a Comment


I would like to thank the New Birth, without whom this blog would not be possible.







It's a toss up between the Hirax and Yanni covers, isn't it? However, I must admit that the Van Halen design is what started me in this direction. I wonder if that sulfuric looking gas is emanating from Sammy or Michael Anthony ?



Django Reinhardt

Posted by Whitmore, January 23, 2010 08:41pm | Post a Comment

Legendary Jazz guitarist  Django Reinhardt was born 100 years ago today, the 23rd of January, 1910.

From the Gypsy camps where he learned to play to his Quintette du Hot Club de France fame in the Parisian jazz scene, the man’s style has probably been ripped off more times than any other guitarist of the 20th century. His playing was joyous, often wild, always expressive and lyrical. His legend was sealed way before his early death from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 43.
 
The most amazing story about Reinhardt is, of course, how at the age 18 he was caught in a caravan fire that left his left hand partially paralyzed. As the story goes, one night on his way to bed he knocked over a lit candle, it hit the floor, catching some artificial flowers made off celluloid and paper on fire. Everything, caravan and all instantly burst into flames. His injuries, from trying to save his pregnant first wife, Florine "Bella" Mayer, were severe. The entire right side of his body was badly burned, especially his leg, which doctors intended to amputate. His left hand, his fretting hand, was also horribly burned. Reinhardt would spend over a year in and out of hospitals. He was never expected to play again, but his brother bought him a new guitar, urging him to give it a try. With only the index and middle fingers on his left/fret hand for soloing, and his two twisted fingers for simple chord work, he re-invented his own technique.
 
Happy Birthday Django Reinhardt!



Advance Screening of Clive Barker's DREAD Tonight!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 23, 2010 01:24pm | 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 23

Shock Till You Drop & New Beverly Midnights present a special advance screening of

DREAD

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

Writer-director Anthony DiBlasi & cast members Shaun Evans, Hanne Steen and Laura Donnelly will appear IN PERSON, schedules permitting, to discuss the movie.

Advance tickets may be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/94780


For more information, please visit
http://shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=13415

January
January 30 Happy Birthday To Me
Because of the bizarre nature of this birthday party, pray you're not invited.

February
February 6 Running Scared (2006)
It's Not How Far You Go For The Truth. . . It's How Fast You Get There.

The Late, Great Jean Simmons

Posted by Charles Reece, January 23, 2010 09:15am | Post a Comment
 
Black Narcissus (1947) -- Her introduction begins at 9:12. Hubba hubba! Here's her obit.

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 01:22:10

Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2010 10:19am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five: 01:22:10

J. Stalin
1) J-Stalin Prenuptial Agreement (Town Thizzness/SMC/Fontana)

2) Souls Of Mischief Montezuma's Revenge (Clear)

3) Mos Def The Ecstatic (Downtown)

4) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)

5) Sene & Blu A Day Late & A Dollar Short (SW Records)

Last week the Bay Area's own J-Stalin was number one at the San Francisco Amoeba store and this week he repeats that accomplishment by topping the hip-hop chart at the Berkeley Amoeba Music with his latest official release (as distinct from his series of mixtape CDs), Prenuptial Agreement (Town Thizzness/SMC/Fontana). On this latest album the cover shows the rapper from the Cypress Village housing projects in West Oakland looking very sharply dressed. J-Stalin delivers what his fans fiend for: good quality Bay rap with catchy hooks and featuring many well known guests. The 22 track CD, which includes the two singles “Rock Day” and “Everyday My Birthday,” features such guests as E-40 (who appears on the song "Get Me Off" that also offers a cameo from E-Da Sanga), Messy Marv ("H.N.I.C."), Too $hort & Mistah F.A.B (together on "Neighborhood Stars"), San Quinn ("Posted"), The Jacka ("Red And Blue Lights"), and Shady Nate, who collaborates on two album tracks.

This Week At The New Beverly January 22 - 27

Posted by phil blankenship, January 21, 2010 10:40pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our complete January / February calendar is online:
www.newbevcinema.com/calendar.cfm


Friday & Saturday January 22 & 23


A Raymond Chandler double bill

Double Indemnity
1944, USA, 107 minutes
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0036775/
directed by Billy Wilder, screenplay by Raymond Chandler & Billy Wilder based on a novel by James M. Cain
starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:25 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

7" Fix: Crystal Stilts "Love is a Wave"

Posted by Kells, January 21, 2010 09:15pm | Post a Comment
Another January day in San Francisco, another forecast calling for gloomy weather with a ninety percent chance of cabin fever for all you would be picnickers, window shoppers and beach combers out there. Well, don't let the gray days get you down! Turn on the ol' hi-fi and turn up the heat with a hot nugget of a jam like "Sugar Baby," the b-side on the Crystal Stilts Love is a Wave seven-inch single, and try your gams at dancing the "stanky legg" like these limber ladies:


Don't you just love it when the girl in the white pants fans herself during her mesmerizing little solo? It's understandable because attending to such greatness just plain gives me the vapors too, honey. I suppose we need extend our thanks to Texas rap ensemble GS Boyz for introducing the world to the stanky legg via their hit single called (can you guess?) "Stanky Legg" (which also, for your information, includes other sensational dance moves known as the "booty dew" and the "dougie"--- dance moves that apparently also entertain their own corresponding singles, but I digress), which just goes to show that now, more than ever, hip hop is not back on the dance tip but still on it. As far as the Crystal Stilts' association with this dance craze goes, well, I guess they just got real lucky. And why not? It totally works.

As for the video and A-side single "Love is a Wave," though nowhere near as hypno-dope as the ass-tacluar wonder featured above, it also deserves inclusion here, as it is pretty stellar in its own right. I love the A.D.D. editing style mixed with the kind of satisfying feeling that comes from viewing a bunch of scavenged gems apparently culled from heaps of "lost footage" and cutting-room fodder. It really suits the making-the-old-new-again vibe of the Stilts sound --- you know, that post-punk, neo-garage psych-pop revival sound that has within the span of a year become so popular a wave that it has virtually churned over to swell almost tsunami-sized in terms of underground (street) credibility. It's no secret that this scene has become especially celebrated in Northern California, what with such local heavy hitters as Thee Oh Sees, the Fresh & Onlys, Ty Segall and Girls (the latter two having performed sweaty, fantastic in-stores at Amoeba Music San Francisco last summer), each seeming to enjoy their respective rides atop the crest of the movement that shows no signs of diminishing anytime soon.

Jay Reatard's Amoeba Picks

Posted by Amoebite, January 21, 2010 04:47pm | Post a Comment
Before Jay Reatard passed away earlier this month, he did a trifecta Amoeba instore tour, hitting all three of our stores in the month of August. At the San Francisco stop, he took the time to tell us what was in his bag! There's one shocker (or is it?) -- he chose ABBA! Check it out below:

Double Indemnity / Blue Dahlia Fri & Sat @ New Bev

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 21, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

The New Beverly couldn't have picked a better week to show these two Raymond Chandler greats. With post New Year's euphoria drying up (who hasn't already had at least one personal let down already?) and a week of L.A. rain, my head is in just the right space to receive Chandler's particular brand of darkness. Granted, he's not the actual writer of the original Double Indemnity story-- that would be the brilliant James M. Cain-- but Chandler and director Billy Wilder took the original novel and tightened it around the edges of the Hays code. D.I. is tight and tense with double entendres strewn throughout, ample location shots and intense performances from its co-stars-- Walter Neff is certainly Fred MacMurray's shining cinematic moment.

IMO the Blue Dahlia is one of Chandler's most underrated efforts; it's also my favorite Veronica Lake film. I'm sure that the fact that Raymond himself badmouthed it from the beginning helped set it on course for secondary status among his fans. I feel it's far superior to This Gun For Hire, which also featured Lake's co-star Alan Ladd. The Dahlia is heavy on atmosphere, quick dialogue, and features a deep supporting cast, including Hugh Beaumont, best known as Ward Cleaver, the father from Leave It To Beaver. Considering that most people only know MacMurray from My Three Sons and Beaumont from the Beav, this double feature goes a long way in showing what cool careers some of the 50's & 60's sitcom actors had before settling down into squaresville.



New Beverly Cinema

7165 West Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90036
(323) 938-4038







January 20, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, January 21, 2010 12:29am | Post a Comment



California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Longwood Highlands, a Neighborhood of Pride

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 20, 2010 01:17pm | Post a Comment



This installment of the Los Angeles neighborhood blog is about Longwood Highlands. To vote for a different Los Angeles neighborhood(s), click here. To vote for a Los Angeles County community, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.




The romantically-named Longwood Highlands is a neighborhood in Los Angeles'  Midtown (Mid-Wilshire) area.



Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Midtown


The borders of Midtown neighborhoods are often hazily defined but Longwood Highlands seems to be hemmed in by West Olympic Boulevard to the north, South Rimpau Boulevard to the east, West Pico Boulevard (and maybe South San Vicente Boulevard) to the south, and South La Brea Avenue to the West.



Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Longwood Highlands


There is only one sign at the northeast corner of the neighborhood that I could locate so it’s difficult to be sure. However, if I’m correct in my assumptions then Longwood Highlands is neighbors with Brookside, Park Mile, Country Club Park, Miracle MileRedondo-SycamoreVictoria Park, Vineyard and Wilshire Highlands.




As with the rest of the Midtown area, what’s now Longwood Highlands was for centuries Tongva land until the arrival of the Spaniards. After the area passed from Mexico to the US, it remained primarily farmland until the 1890s, when surrounding areas began to develop. It wasn't until after the opening of the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Aqueduct (in 1907 and 1913 respectively) that the formerly pastoral region was rapidly developed.

Most of the homes in the neighborhood were built in the 1920s in a variety of styles, often in the mock-Tudor and Spanish Colonial styles. The homes tend sit back fairly far from the streets on relatively large lots. Longwood Highlands is still a primarily a quiet, gently hilly residential neighborhood surrounded by loud, busy commercial corridors.


It’s a rather lush, green neighborhood, the streets of which are lined with mature magnolias, oaks and sycamores. The stately residences suggest that the neighborhood’s residents are rather well off. However, as I strolled along the quiet streets I was confronted with many greetings and smiles from the mostly black, Latino and white residents -- a dead giveaway that a neighborhood isn’t as posh as it first seems. In fact, closer examination reveals that nearly every home in the neighborhood is a duplex or, in fewer cases, a quadraplex. The varied and asymmetrical designs, however, give the impression that the multi-residence homes are single-family mansions. Thankfully, and in contrast to most of Los Angeles, there are no dingbats to be found.




There aren't a lot in the way of mom and pop eateries in the area… two donut places [Lee’s (aka Bee's) and Magee’s], El Burrito Jr, I Love Teriyaki and a BBQ place whose name I couldn't sort out. Rosemead's El Chato Taco Truck frequently posts up there too. Otherwise, mega-chains like Burger King, KFC and Starbucks are located along the neighborhood’s edge. Nearby to the west is Little Ethiopia, which is full of good eats. Along the southern edge of the neighborhood are a goodly number of auto shops.




Given the age, location and charm of the neighborhood, undoubtedly some early Hollywood figures lived in the neighborhood although my research turned up nothing. Raymond Chandler (creator of Philip Marlowe) lived in the area (among many others in the city) in 1929 somewhere along Highland.



However, the most impressive cinematic connection in Longwood Highlands is the presence of a life size model of Gort (the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still), which stands in the window of Grey Goose Custom Picture Framing. I took a picture but it didn’t turn out. Luckily, the Grey Goose Gort is the favorite Los Angeles landmark of former Amoeba employee Will Keightly.



DISNEYLAND FOR MUSIC GEEKS: NAMM 2010 REPORT BY SHING02

Posted by Billyjam, January 20, 2010 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Shing02's NAMM 2010 report (Video Version)

The winter NAMM is an international music products event held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center. The event showcases thousands of exhibitors featuring new instruments and gadgets. Although it is not open to the general public without Vestax's president Mr. Nakamainvitation, tens of thousands gather from all over the world every January to check out the latest trends. Basically, the four-day experience is Guitar Center on 'roids, or, to be more appropriate, a Disneyland for music geeks (coincidentally, the real Disneyland is right across the street from the convention center).

I've been coming to the NAMM show for over ten years, both as an exhibitor (for Vestax) and as an attendee. Surely the main attractions are the new products by your favorite brands. You can forecast trends before they happen, as most exhibitors debut product lines at the show, and engineers on-site are eager to hear critical feedback from musicians. It's quite impressive when you observe the long process of how products are conceived, designed, and manufactured from innovative ideas. Equally motivational as far as getting people to show up at the trade show is the camaraderie factor. In this open and crazy atmosphere, you bump into many DJs and producers, so you can chop it up with them and trade contacts. Sometimes mega-stars (Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Bootsy Collins, Snoop Dogg, to name a few) come around and show face as well.

New 12" Electronic Releases at Amoeba Hollywood - 1/20/10

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, January 20, 2010 10:03am | Post a Comment
HOUSE::TECHNO::HOUSE::TECHNO::HOUSE::TECHNO::HOUSE::TECHNO::


Andre Lodemann
Still Dreaming
Freerange

 

ANDRE's debut on FREERANGE feats 2 original house cuts: "STILL DREAMING" & "WHATEVER I DO." The Berlin based producer/DJ was responsible for several dope underground house 12"s on how own BEST WORKS label as well as releases on INFRACOM, SIMPLE and G STONE. Limited edition 12".









Anthony “Shake” Shakir
Frictionalism 1994-2009

Rush Hour

Rush Hour is proud to present a compilation of producer Anthony "Shake" Shakir's best work he released on his Frictional Recordings label (and some on 7th City, too) over the past 15 years, circa 1994-2009. Shakir is an undoubted legend in early Detroit techno, shaping the sounds of artists such as Juan Atkins and Derrick May, and refusing to bow to trend or convention. The label Shake started brought us some of the deepest, funkiest and most diverse techno, though much has been overlooked in many cases. After a few years' hiatus, Shake is now back and will be recording and releasing on Frictional soon. But first, we look back and/or get the chance to catch up with his catalog. 4 x 12"  + 7".




Claude Vonstroke

Big N Round Remixes
DirtyBird

Pipes

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 19, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment


  A rainy night lying in bed, watching a film & smoking my pipe is a very meditative time indeed.







The tobacco pipe is the least Rock and Roll of smoking apparatuses. These days, when American Idol contestants are considered important RnR rebels, I can't think of anything better than distancing oneself from the whole retreaded "sub-culture." So, if you're going to chip away at your health, drop the butt and pick up a billiard, some Captain Black, and plenty of penny matches and teach yourself the fine art of smoking.


FOLK SINGER KATE MCGARRIGLE HAS DIED AT AGE 63

Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2010 08:56am | Post a Comment
Kate & Anna McGarrigle
The Canadian folk artist Kate McGarrigle, best known for her work with her sister Anna McGarrigle, died last night (Jan 18th) following a battle with a rare form of cancer. She was 63. Her musical career (songwriter/vocals/piano/guitar) began with sister Anna in the mid seventies. They recorded ten albums together. Additionally, she was also known to many as the mother of musicians Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright from her marriage to musician Loudon Wainwright III. In fact, when reports that the artist was critically ill surfaced over the weekend, son Rufus reportedly canceled his tour of Australia and New Zealand, scheduled to begin in two weeks, to be by his mother's side. 

The McGarrigle Sisters debuted in 1976 with the critically acclaimed album Kate & Anna McGarrigle, which was even named "album of the year" by UK music magazine Melody Maker. Over the years tracks from the sisters' repertoire, which included songs such as "Heart Like a Wheel," "Goin' Back to Harlan," "Heartbeats Accelerating," "Talk to Me of Mendocino," and "On My Way to Town," have been covered by many artists, including Billy Bragg, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris. Below is a video of the McGarrigle Sisters performing their beautiful song "Heart Like A Wheel" in 1990. And below that is an amateur video of Kate, Martha, and Rufus Wainwright all together onstage two years ago at Radio City Music Hall in NYC performing "Talk to Me of Mendocino." Rest in peace, Kate McGarrigle!

RECOMMENDED BAY AREA HAITI BENEFIT TONIGHT

Posted by Billyjam, January 18, 2010 06:01pm | Post a Comment

If you only go to one benefit concert event this year it should be one to benefit the unfortunate victims of the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. And if you are in the Bay Area tonight there is such an event taking place. Rebound in downtown San Francisco tonight will be featuring none other than Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation fame, along with several local artists / DJs, including J-Boogie. The benefit starts at 7pm this evening (Monday, January 18th) at Vessel in San Francisco. The goal of the event is to raise as much money as possible for the World Food Programme to go directly to Haiti.

What is significant about this evening's appearance by Thievery Corp's Garza is that as a part of that popular group he is used to playing large venues (I saw them in a sold-out show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley two summers ago). But to do his part to benefit the Haitian earthquake victims, he has volunteered his time to play at an intimate SF venue. All the performers are also donating their time for this very worthy cause. Others on the bill tonight include J Bowman, Chris Clouse, Gordon Waze, and David Harness, who will not be DJing but instead will be the host of the evening. At 930pm Haiti quake survivor Angelo Viard is scheduled to speak.

Vessal is located at 85 Campton Place, San Francisco, CA 94108. More info here.

Youth Is Revoltin': The Valley of the Bees (1968) & Logan's Run (1976)

Posted by Charles Reece, January 17, 2010 06:36pm | Post a Comment

Ondřej begins Frantisek Vlácil and Vladimír Körner's The Valley of the Bees as a teenager jealous of his ogrish father, Lord of Vlkov (Zdeněk Kryzánek), who's just married Lenora. She's Ondřej's age, and he clearly has a crush on her, expressing his anger by giving his stepmother a basket of flowers with a bunch of crippled bats at the bottom. She freaks out, to which the father responds by picking up his son and throwing him against a stone wall. Fearing that his son might die, and to assuage his guilt, the Lord promises his son to God if the Almighty will spare Ondřej. He survives, and is sent to the North to become a warrior monk under the tutelage of Armin (Czech heartthrob Jan Kačer) in the Order of St. Mary of Jerusalem, the local equivalent of the Knights Templar. 

The Order functions for Armin like contemporary Gospel music does for its male performers, as a repressive sublimation of homosexual inclinations. He's a true believer who warns Ondřej (now played by Petr Čepek) to not give in to the materialist temptations of the Pagan world, telling him what became of some of their brothers not properly committed: "Some knights were mercenaries, and did not seek salvation. Instead they sought beautiful women and riches, only to drink their own urine in the desert, cursing God and their mothers." That is, "suffering is the way to God." Or, in a sort of Pascalian wager -- this being the Middle Ages -- you're going to suffer, so it might as well be for a higher purpose. The only joy allowed here is jouissance, taking pleasure in the pain of monastic denial. Ondřej has his doubt, feeling only his balls getting cold in the water in which he lies with Armin.


Ondřej's real crisis begins when he sees how the Order deals with an errant knight. Rotgier explains that he's had enough of the monastery and wants to return to his land where he can live as a civilian. Having been forced into this life, Ondřej understands and is willing to let him go. Instead, the Order recaptures Rotgier, breaks his sword and makes him walk out of a window to a canine death. Fearing ideological contamination, Ondřej is put into solitary to fast and ruminate. Too late, he goes on the lam, with Armin tailing him. The Soviets saw too much of a parallel with their own bureaucratic order in the film and banned it after taking over Czechoslovakia later in 1968. Vlácil doesn't leave much doubt where his sympathy lies and which side Ondřej's on:


An order of warriors who are as ruthless and unforgiving to their own brotherhood as they are to anyone else defying God's Law sounds a lot like Michael Anderson and David Goodman's Logan's Run, but with a central computer, Lifeclock, filling in for the deity. The 23rd century is a perverse mirror of Vlácil's medievalism, where "paganism" has won, but nothing much has changed in the operations of ideological power. After some major catastrophe that's reduced most of the former cities and landscapes to the proverbial middle ages, citizens live in vast metropolitan domes, fucking like rabbits and seeking nothing but pleasure (of the non-painful kind). "Do what thou wilt" is almost the whole of the Law, with one catch: they've gotta expire at age 30. The little lifeclocks on the palms of their hands go black to tell them when it's time. The hedonic ratiocination here is that any long-term moral repercussions to a society devoted purely to pleasure are taken care of by giving a time limit to the life of leisure. Should a citizen try to avoid the one commandment, Lifeclock sends its "Sandmen" to enforce the big sleep.


Coincidentally, The Valley of the Bees was released in May of 1968, the month of revolution, with its bellwether taking place in France. The youthful members of the New Left saw it as a time for a potential overthrow of totalizing ideologies of all stripes, including Stalinism, not just capitalism. It was not to be, however, with the majority of Western baby-boomers settling into their role as consumerist citizens. As Christopher Hitchens concluded two years ago:

At the time, I thought 1968 was the beginning of something. Later, I understood that I had instead been part of the end of something: the last gasp of red-flag socialism (which actually persisted until the murder of Salvador Allende in 1973 and the overthrow of Portuguese fascism in 1974). But the antitotalitarian ethos embraced by the best soixante-huitards [the "sixty-eighters"] remains an option, and I believe that it will have further opportunities to declare itself—in Cuba, to take one vivid and imminent example—long after the pseudo-revolutionary silliness has been forgotten.

Ondřej is more in the spirit of the youthful Hitchens, rejecting a totalitarian order, his Brotherhood, to live life as he sees fit, including returning home where he finally reunites with his stepmom, Lenora, who is now a widow. Vlkov is something of a ghost town, where its remaining inhabitants continue to act as if their repressive Lord were still alive. He cursed Lenora, so she spends her days flagellating the impurities from her soul. Ondřej's renunciation of the church begins to free her and the town of this spectral hold the former Lord has over them. At least, until Armin shows up on the couple's wedding day and violently restores the old order.


As one might expect of a futuristic hedonist society, the only people who seem to work are (not unlike Hollywood) in the service industry: cops, hookers and plastic surgeons. Logan 5 (Michael York) is the future's parallel to Ondřej, a Sandman who has a crisis in faith after being sent on an undercover mission by Lifeclock to infiltrate a rebellious group known according to their ideal destination, "Sanctuary." The group's pagan symbol is the ankh, standing for eternal life. The idea of Sanctuary is the reactionary inverse of Ondřej's rejection of his Brotherhood: ultimately, it stands against the continual youthful revolution, and for the reestablishment of a forgotten dead society. It wouldn't take long for the hedonist to figure out that dying at 30 isn't much fun, so faith is necessary (just as it's necessary to give Armin a reason to live his life in denial and suffering). What Lifeclock promises is much the same as Christianity: the potential for renewal, but in this world, not the next. It warns the people that they'll die anyway, but running guarantees a swifter and more permanent annihilation. Thus, the citizens follow the rules and show up for "Carousel" where they're obliterated with the hope of reincarnation.


Logan 5 sees the same ankh symbol on Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter), an employee of the Circuit (which is the 23rd century's brothel), that he and his partner, Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), recovered from a runner earlier in the picture. Unlike Ondřej, who was never completely sold on the Order to begin with, Logan 5 doesn't begin to question the system until being placed among the heretics. Once on the outside of the city, he discovers an inhabitable nature, the remnants of an ancient democracy (the U.S.), and an elderly man (Peter Ustinov) with a knowledge of historical tradition -- all of which puts the big lie to the Lifeclock's ageist suicide doctrine and myth-spinning. And he finds old-fashioned "true love," rather than the transitory "hooking up" with Jessica 6. More concretely, Logan 5's palm lifeclock goes clear -- he's "renewed" as Francis 7 puts it -- on the outside, while beginning to sympathize with the rebellion. 

Leisure instead of suffering, sex-on-demand instead of asceticism, torture for beauty instead of bodily abjection, mandated suicide instead of a mandated lasting as long as God sees fit, and a worship of the pagan material world instead of the Christian's afterworld -- yet faith in ideology functions the same in the future as it does in the past: living for the Other, rather than taking responsibility for oneself. Both The Valley of Bees and Logan's Run seem to be getting at Jean-Paul Sartre's libertarian ethic: "you can always make something out of what you've been made into." (It's been too long since I've read any Sartre, so I took a crash course.) We're free, because as consciousness ("being for-itself") we can negate/transcend the mere facticity of our bodies ("being in-itself") and the internal constraints placed upon us through the interaction with ideology, society, etc. ("being for-others"). Whether we go with the ontological flow or resist it, we are ultimately responsible for that individual choice. (Both films make for a good contrast with the very anti-Sartrean Knowing.)

   

spoilers ahead!

With that in mind, both Francis 7 and Armin make for psychologically interesting cases of the faithful, or in Sartre's term, bad faith. During a fight to the death where he comes up losing, Francis 7 goes out believing that Logan 5's clear lifeclock got that way because that's what Sandmen are promised, renewal for their service. All that he experiences on his path (similar to Logan 5 and Jessica 6's) doesn't make him waver in his service to the Lifeclock. As such, he abdicates any responsibility for his choices, simply assuming the course that's been programmed. Armin, on the other hand, is a man searching for questions to fit his answers. He resists the way he is -- i.e., homosexual -- by suppressing life around him that doesn't conform to the ideology that keeps his latent desires in check. His only bodily contact with another that he initiates is the aforementioned arm-locking with Ondřej in erection-defying, icy cold water. When a blind Bohemian girl he meets asks to touch him in order to "see" his face, he threatens to cut off her arm. This has nothing to do with his being potentially tempted, but rather a disgust for femininity signifying the pagan contamination of his friend (and repressed love object). That he wants Ondřej to share in his repression (as close to sex as Armin will allow himself) is made clear when his solution to his friend's wedding is to slit the bride's throat. Since Ondřej won't conform to his worldview, Armin remakes his friend's world so that he'll have no choice ... or, at least, feel as if he has no choice.


Armin is thrown to the dogs for the murder, but accomplishes his mission: Ondřej is seen returning to the flock in the end, giving into the inauthentic existence he had attempted to escape, while making Armin a martyr to the cause. The antitotalitarian ethos to which Hitchens refers is crushed. Bringing the old man along as evidence, Logan 5 returns to his brotherhood, too, but with the intention to destroy the ideology he no longer believes in. When the Lifeclock scans his mind, it discovers that there never was any physical place called Sanctuary and self-destructs, blowing holes in the city's dome, and releasing the citizens. Whether or not they're freed is another matter. 


As a priest says at Ondřej's wedding banquet: "Bees are like people. They fear and sense disaster. You can destroy their homes, but they begin building a new one right away." As pure ideology or belief, the Lifeclock can't compute Sanctuary as an opposing ideational construct, so it terminates itself. Logan 5 has caused the revolution, but what the citizenry does with it is up to each individual. The ending is made to seem triumphant, but is it? Such freedom requires responsibility. It seems more likely that an irresponsible people, accustomed to living for the Other won't find freedom any more computable than Lifeclock did Sanctuary. That is, much like Ondřej's returning to the Order, they'll opt for another totalizing ideology "right away" to fill in the hole, perhaps that of the old man's tradition.

(In which we celebrate the Arts of Antarctica.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 17, 2010 01:51pm | Post a Comment

"Hurry up and take the damn picture!" - Captain James Cook

It was today, in 1773, that Captain James “how ironic that he can’t” Cook made history when he and his crew, aboard the HMS Resolution, became the first people in our known history to cross the Antarctic Circle.

To commemorate the occasion, I thought it might be fun to focus on Antarctica, specifically, its music scene and film industry.


Downtown district

Unfortunately, aside from a few morally questionable home videos of research scientists playing a drinking game that involves Jell-O, some oil, assorted breasts and a few confused penguins, there isn’t really much in the way of Antarctic films.

Nor is there a strong music scene, beyond these same research scientists occasionally picking up a guitar and annoying their fellow bunk-mates with clumsy renditions of “Blackbird” or “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill.”

Well, no matter. This is a big, big world with so much variety, and we need only to travel north from the great ice continent to discover other interesting music and films.


Ross Ice Shelf

Chicago has often been called the “Antarctic Circle of Illinois”* and when you visit this bustling metropolis, with its snow-capped hot dog stands and high-rise igloos**, it’s easy to see why.

Parallels between Antarctica and “the Windy City” abound. For example, Chicago has the highest population of Alaskozetes antarcticuses and nematodes in the entire city of Chicago. Both countries have things***, and many of the inhabitants occupy, bedevil, or sometimes even thrill. It all depends on stuff. (Few people know that Chicago’s famous landmark, Liberty Hall****, was commissioned by King Jeff IV of Antarctica in gratitude for the city’s aid in cleaning up after the 1914 Fecal Spill of Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen.)

But one place where Antarctica and it’s conjoined-twin-to-the-north are cruelly separated is in terms of its music. While deserted disco-techs succumb to ice dust and icicle decay in the south, Chicago’s music scene is hot, hot, hot!

Theories addressing this discrepancy are varied. Some people claim it’s because there’s about two million, eight hundred and two thousand, one hundred and fourteen more people in Chicago. But others, like me, think it has something to do with MAGIC.

Perhaps no other artist captures the heart and soul of Chicago like its native pop icon Jan Terri. For those few of you who’ve never heard of Jan Terri, consider this exposure to mark your maturity in the world of music appreciation. The majority of you who are already fans can simply revisit and renew your love. Your love for Jan Terri. Jan Terri love.


For there are two major periods of music: P.J.T. (pre-Jan Terri) and P.J.T. (post-Jan Terri), and she, like Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Elvis Presley and The Beatles, has become the new standard by which artists are judged.

Below you will find some of her music videos. Also included is this link to a rather snarky piece on Jan Terri as seen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You can also visit the Jan Terri Shrine, or her (fan-run) MySpace page. I was hoping to find an audio of Yo La Tengo’s cover of her Christmas ditty “Rock & Roll Santa,” but failed.

Enjoy! And, as they say in Antarctica, “Wow! Look at all that! Just look at all that!”






















*Not actually true.
**Igloos aren't Antarctic.
***Antarctica and Chicago are not countries.
****Liberty Hall is in Kentucky.

January 16, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, January 17, 2010 12:26am | Post a Comment





Marked for Death TONIGHT at the New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, January 16, 2010 07:12pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!



January 16

In Above the Law, he got tough; In Hard to Kill, he got even; Now Steven Seagal is...

Marked
For Death


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


January
January 23 Clive Barker's DREAD
Special Advance Screening w/ Guests! Co-Sponsored by Shock Till You Drop
http://shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=13415

January 30 Happy Birthday To Me
Because of the bizarre nature of this birthday party, pray you're not invited.

February
February 6 Running Scared (2006)
It's Not How Far You Go For The Truth. . . It's How Fast You Get There.

February 13 The Last American Virgin
There's only one thing left to lose...

Kay Nielsen - Artists in Film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 16, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Kay Nielsen
was a Danish illustrator and key figure of the golden age of illustration. His art evinces the influence of ukiyo-e heavy Utagawa Hiroshige as well as Art Nouveau master Aubrey Beardsley. However, his synthesis was his own-- an instantly recognizable, highly ornate, fantastical world of pastels and light.

Nielsen was born March 12th, 1886, in Copenhagen, Denmark. His father was the director of the Royal Danish Theatre. From 1904 till 1916, he studied art in Paris and London. His first professional work was providing the illustrations for In Powder and Crinoline, Fairy Tales Retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, first published in 1913. He returned to Denmark in 1917 where he collaborated with Johannes Poulsen in painting stage scenery at the Royal Danish Theatre. After his theater work, he returned to illustrations, providing them for several collections of fairy tales.
In 1936, Nielsen was commissioned to provide stage art for a performance of Max Reinhardt's Everyman at the Hollywood Bowl. In 1938, Poulsen died, and the following year, Nielsen and his wife, Ulla, moved to California, where he found employment at Walt Disney. There he served as art director for the “Night on Bald Mountain” and “Ave Maria” segments of Fantasia.

Whilst at Disney, he also worked as a visual development artist for Little Mermaid. However, the pace and assembly line approach at Disney wore him out and he was let go in 1940. Disney intended to bring him back for a sequel to Fantasia but after the original was a box-office disappointment, plans for that film were scrapped. In 1956, his work was featured in an episode of Disneyland titled “The Plausible Impossible,” which dealt with animation techniques. The Little Mermaid was finally made into a film in 1989, although the look has little resemblance with Nielsen’s.

For the remainder of his life, he lived in poverty with most necessities provided by his friends. He occasionally painted murals around Los Angeles. His mural The First Spring originally hung at Central Junior High. After that school was demolished it was moved to John A. Sutter Middle School in Canoga Park. His illustration of the 23rd Psalm adorns the altar tablet at Wong Chapel. He died January 21st, 1957. His wife died the year after.


January 15, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, January 16, 2010 12:25am | Post a Comment

AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP (VIDEO VERSION): 01:15:10

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment

Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco with HIp-Hop Top Ten


Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 1:18:09

J. Stalin

1) J-Stalin Prenuptial Agreement (Town Thizzness/SMC/Fontana)

2) Blockhead The Music Scene (Ninja Tune)

3) The Grouch Three Eyes Off the Time (Legendary Music)

4) Slum Village Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1 (Barak Records)

5) BlakRoc Blakroc (V2/Cooperative)

6) DJ Drez Jahta Beat: A Path To Light (S.I.L. Music)

7) Snoop Dogg Malice N Wonderland (Priority)

8) The Clipse Til The Casket Drops (SONY)

 9) Souls Of Mischief Montezuma's Revenge (Clear)
Blockhead
10) Edan Echo Party (Traffic)

Luis' underground release of the week: 
Ya Boy Mohawks & Heavy Metal (self-released CD)

Special thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for this week's Hip-Hop Top Ten chart in both text and video versions (above). He also gives his "underground release of the week" pick, the mixtape CD Mohawks & Heavy Metal from San Francisco native Ya Boy, whose latest is the artist's 13th release (including mixtapes and official albums) since 2004. Coming next, sometime this Spring, from this rapper (born William Joseph Crawford, cousin to both San Quinn and Messy Marv), will be the mixtape CD The Fix 2. And speaking of prolific Bay Area hip-hop artists, West Oakland rapper J. Stalin is this week's number one with Prenuptial Agreement. The artist can count this latest as his 14th release (including mixtapes and official albums) since 2006. Some months ago as a tease/taste of the new official album, he released the mixtape CD Prenup: The Leak, which helped propel this official album on Town Thizzness Entertainment (a sub-division of the late great Mac Dre's Thizz Entertainment) via SMC/Fontana to number one this week. Below in the series of videos (many slide shows or stills with music) is a sample from the new album -- the song "Self Made Millionaire" that features L'Jay, Lil Retro, and Lil Blood.

Read A Requiem Mass For Me: Jay Reatard

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 14, 2010 02:33pm | Post a Comment
by Rob

The Reatards Fallout Records, Seattle – 1999

It's been just over ten years since that was filmed. On the first cross country jaunt by (a just old enough to drive) Jay and his make shift band. As whip fast and damaging as jay reatardthat daytime instore was, that night's gig has gone down in Seattle’s punk rock history books. A local oaf was heckling the Reatards as they played at the downtown venue The Gibson House (RIP). Jay, not one to take lightly these jabs at his character, watched as the drunken punk walked out the door. As he waited to cross the street, Jay threw down his guitar, opened the sliding window (stage left), jumped out and ran to the intersection. The crowd watched in awe as the band continued, not missing a damaged beat…and acting as though this happens all the time. It does. Jay laid a few steady blows, a few crazy man arm swings, wrestled about, and then came back in to finish the song.

This left a lasting imprint on me.

Not as much an imprint as it did on the pulpy, drunk outside, but…

This was art as terrorism. Band vs. crowd. He was the rare kind of frontman that does this not for the jay reatardaudience's sake, but for himself. This was his release. A tension breaker. Therapy. Jay was in it deep. If he hadn't been, he'd prolly have been a criminal or something. I dunno.

Jay Reatard Dead at 29

Posted by Amoebite, January 13, 2010 01:12pm | Post a Comment

Musician Jay Reatard was reportedly found dead today in his house. He passed away last night at just 29 years of age. The death is now being investigated as a homicide. More information will be posted as it is known.

Reatard recently played a mini-tour of all three Amoeba stores on August 18, 22 & 23, 2009. To see pics of him in action from Berkeley, click here; San Francisco, click here; and Hollywood, click here.

YELLOW SUBMARINE REMAKE TO STAR PETER SERAFINOWICZ

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment
RIngo remembers John Lennon's "Imagine"(from The Peter Serafinowicz Show)

The hilarious The Peter Serafinowicz Show is coming out next month on DVD. The UK TV show was created by Peter Serafinowicz, and the comic has nailed the Beatles on the popular series. Above is the clip "Ringo remembers Imagine" and below is the great Beatles spoof clip from the TV show, titled "RIngo Remembers 1969." Besides expertly channeling Ringo Starr, Serafinowicz can also equally do spot-on interpretations of any one of the other Fab Four members.

Director Robert Zemeckis, who is making the 3D Disney remake of the Beatles classic musical cartoon Yellow Submarine, wisely cast the British comic as Paul McCartney. The currently in production animated remake also features Epic Movie's Adam Campbell as Ringo. Dean Lennox Kelly (who many may know from the UK TV bizarre comedy series Shameless) will be playing John Lennon, while George Harrison is being voiced by Cary Elwes of Princess Bride and Christmas Carol fame. 

For more background information on the Yellow Submarine remake by Zemickis, which will not be completed and released until 2012, read the UK Independent's report here. Meantime, be sure to pick up The Peter Serafinowicz Show at Amoeba Music when it is released on DVD early next month, and check out both the Beatles skit from the show below and the other non-Beatles clip that is equally funny; it's a mock commercial for The Butterfield Karaoke Bar that offers only twenty songs that include Abba, Sinead O'Connor, Queen, and "the chairman of the board himself" (no, not Sinatra) --  "the late great Notorious B.I.G."

January 12, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, January 13, 2010 12:23am | Post a Comment

Art Clokey 1921 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, January 12, 2010 08:31am | Post a Comment

Art Clokey
, the animator who created Gumby and Davey and Goliath, both coming into being by way of stop motion clay animation, died this last weekend at his home in Los Osos, California. He was 88.
 
Fashioned from a little green slab of clay, Gumby made his television debut in 1956 on The Howdy Doody Show. The following year The Gumby Show premiered. Along with his constant pony pal and sidekick Pokey, together they rambled though what could best be described as a series of gentle but weird LSD trips. Their colorful adventures against a toy strewn landscape often included Gumby's pestering nemseses, The Blockheads. (According to his son, Clokey did try LSD once, but under medical supervision and years after he created Gumby. I like to think he tripped with Cary Grant and Steve Allen.)
 
Though the initial show was short-lived, Gumby enjoyed a comeback in 1961 running through 1968, then again in the 1980s and once again in the 1995 feature film, Gumby: The Movie, also directed by Art Clokey. Eventually 233 episodes were produced. Davey and Goliath, which ran in the 1960’s and 70’s, had over 300 episodes underwritten by the Lutheran Church of America.
 
Born as Arthur Charles Farrington in Detroit on Oct. 12, 1921, he lived with his father after his parents divorced. But at age nine Art’s father was killed in an automobile accident and instead of rejoining his mother, he was placed in an orphanage near Hollywood. Art was adopted sometime later by Joseph Waddell Clokey, an established composer and music professor at Pomona College in Claremont.
 
Art Clokey earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio and later attended Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, intent on becoming an Episcopal priest. He left soon after and entered the University of Southern California, where he studied film with Slavko Vorkapich, a pioneer in modern montage techniques. In 1955, Clokey made a student film, Gumbasia, with animated clay shapes gyrating to a jazz score. The film was the inspiration for the later television series. (The film is included on the DVD Gumby Essentials, released in 2007 by Classic Media.)
 
In 2006 Art Clokey was the subject of a documentary film, Gumby Dharma.
 
Art Clokey’s first marriage, to Ruth Parkander ended in divorce. His second wife, Gloria, died in 1998. He is survived by his son, Joe, a stepdaughter, Holly Harman, and three grandchildren. Another daughter, Ann, died in 1974.

Webster's New World Word of the Year for 2009

Posted by Whitmore, January 11, 2010 09:40pm | Post a Comment
Dictionaries are as competitive as any cross-town sports rivalry. I suspect there are fewer incidents of stealing mascots, but the urge to kick your opponent’s ass from one goalpost to the other is eternal. The Word of the Year is a nasty, ego driven business. It’s ruthless. Not quite a bloodsport -- less cockfighting, fewer carcasses -- but intense none the less. Anyway, Part One is here and Part Two is there. Now, Part three -- Webster’s New World® College Dictionary Word of the Year for 2009 is actually a phrase, but somehow the word gods allowed its selection.
 
Drum roll please!
 
The Word of the Year is: Distracted Driving.
 
So to get into the word-groove of Webster’s New World’s 2009 pick, I’m writing this in traffic as I drive. Drove right by one motorcycle cop already, he never saw my magic thumbs in action. Oh oh!... close call, almost side-swiped the 181 bus on Hollywood Blvd ... OK, now I’m at a red light ... anyway -- I’m blogging this on my Blackberry driving to Amoeba for yet another day in the Lair of the 45’s ... left down Vine Ave, I see the chess playing guy is back in front of the Montalban Theater ... right on Sunset, maybe, one of these days ... some people take their sweet ass time crossing the street. Wow, one of LA’s finest just gave me a dirty look but kept on going ... now I’m pulling into the parking garage ... Damnit! Dropped the phone under my seat for a second, its not easy making that sharp right turn  ... anyway ... word of the year ... actually just a minute, just remembered -- CrackBerry, a mocking term for 'addictive' BlackBerry use was Webster's Word of the Year back in 2006 ... anyway, almost finished here ... looking for parkin ... Oops! not good ...
 
Distracted Driving is defined as another consequence of what many are guilty of, using digital devices on the go and not paying attention to what they need to be paying attention too, like driving and where they are going and whether or not other people driving might be heading for that same exact, finite location simultaneously. The term is said to be entering the lexicon of lawyers and barristers around the world. Webster calls distracted driving a "sign of the times" and a natural corollary of our ongoing love affair with all things digital and mobile, slick and shiny. The New Oxford American Dictionary also had a word for a similar condition -- intexticated: “distraction caused by texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle.” Webster likes to point out that distracted driving is actually a crime in many places around the world, but here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., I believe it’s only a national state of mind.
 
Runners-ups for 2009 Word of the Year at Webster’s New World were:
 
cloud computing: Computer operations in which documents and data are created, edited, and stored remotely on servers and accessed by the user via an Internet connection (this term is so well established that it will likely be added to the annual update of the College Dictionary in 2010).
 
wallet biopsy: Applies mostly to health care and the means of investigating before medical service is provided, of a patient’s ability to pay, enabling the health care provider to decide whether free or discounted medical care is appropriate; a term fueled in part by the debate on national health care reform.
 
By the way, the 2008 Webster’s New World Word of the Year was -- overshare (verb), “divulging excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval.”

Swans Are NOT Dead

Posted by Aaron Detroit, January 11, 2010 05:20pm | Post a Comment

According to the group's official Myspace page, Swans are back! Michael Gira --who has most recently performed as Angels of Light-- has announced a reconfigured lineup for the group, as well as plans for an LP (their first in 14 years) via Gira's Young God imprint and a new tour.  Strangely, no mention is made of longtime Swans member/colloborator Jarboe.

From the Swans Myspace Blog:

principal players on the swans album are (and there will be many special guests):

Michael Gira / gtr / voice / mendicant friar act  (original swans)

Norman Westberg – Guitar (original swans)

Christophj Hahn – Guitar (mid period swans and most angels)

Phil Puleo – Drums, percussion, dulcimer etc etc  (final swans tour and most angels)

Chris Pravdica – Bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din)

Thor Harris, Drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios,  etc etc... (angels, now also with shearwater)

Angels Of Light is temporarily on hold while gira pursues his “new” project...

Exciting and excellent news! Let's celebrate with video!!:

Swans' Industrial-era with the awesome Ted Parsons on drums:

Sixx's Most Unholy 'Sister Devil'

Posted by Aaron Detroit, January 11, 2010 03:30pm | Post a Comment

Recently highlighted in Black Light District’s 2009 year-end lists, Sixx’s Sister Devil is a starkly excellent yet nearly-forgotten Deathrock recording from 1991 by the members of San Francisco cult (and largely considered America’s first) Black Metal band, Von. After the release of their Satanic Blood demo, the members of Von started Sixx as a side project. While decidedly taking a turn towards Deathrock, the group recorded 8 tracks as Sixx that retained the lo-fi bleakness and Satanic bent of Von’s now infamous and highly influential demo recordings. Sister Devil has threads of early Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Samhain, early Xmal Deutschland, and The Cure. The LP likely would have been an immediately celebrated record had it been properly distributed and promoted on its initial release in ’91; however, the band only ever released a handful of cassette demo copies. The album -- now featuring brand-spanking-new mastering by James Plotkin (Khanate/Khlyst) -- was finally and properly issued on CD and LP this past November thanks to Von/ Sixx’s very own Goat and NWN! Productions and though it took 18 years to properly release, it will now likely be rightly considered a Deathrock classic.

Stand-out track “Black Ride” sounds like it could be an early demo for the Sisters’ First Last and Always LP had Andrew Eldritch been more of the goat-sacrificing ilk, while “On The Dead” is Only Theatre of Pain-era Christian Death meets Peter Murphy on some-sort of pill-popping bender. The lo-fi atmosphere and an almost tentative approach to the songs are complimented and tied together by creepy spoken interludes by frontman Goat (taken from his 1993 zine -- a facsimile of which can be obtained in the special “die-hard” edition of the LP) that sound like ‘found’ recordings of a killer’s last confession.

Sixx only ever played two shows and were unfortunately and highly under-appreciated during their brief existence in the unforgiving purist scenes of the early 90’s, but the band left behind this rarified gem for all to treasure like Golem's precious. Sister Devil can now finally be added to the pantheon of great Deathrock albums.

Listen: Sixx "The Unnatural"

Sixx’s Sister Devil (as well as Von’s Satanic Blood Angel) is available now at Amoeba Hollywood on CD and LP (LP includes AWESOME poster of the Jake Korbin cover art!) and the special 2LP “die-hard” edition should be in the store soon.


Featured Releases This Week, Amoeba Hollywood

Steve St apelton & Tony Wakeford Revenge of the Selfish Shellfish CD [Robot]
Awesome reissue of 1992 collaboration between, essentially, Nurse with Wound and Sol invictus. Includes Bonus CD of remixes by Andrew Liles and others! Faithfully restored artwork in mini-LP package.

Xeno & Oaklander Sentinelle CD and LP [Weird]
One of 2009’s best LPs. US-based Minimal-darkwave-analog-synth duo featuring Martial Canterel’s Sean McBride! Excellent and icy!

This Immortal Coil Dark Age of Love CD and 2LP+7” [Ici D’Ailleurs]
Tribute to Coil and the late John (Jhonn) Balance. "The most extra-ordinary, beautiful, and moving, re-interpretations of Coil I have ever heard!" - Peter Christopherson. Includes amazing version of “Ostia” by Bonny “Prince” Billy! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


In Next Week, Amoeba Hollywood

Osoka Caustic Smoke CD [Rage in Eden]
Osaka is an experimenatal dark rock group hailing from Russia. Caustic Smoke is one expanded track, 45 minutes long, slow, repetitive and crushing, with heavy sections of distorted guitars often interspersed with dark ambient and industrial interludes. CD in 3 doublesided panel digipak.

Sect Imperative CD [Rage in Eden]
Sophomore album from Polish project featuring a more evolved sound. Bombastic orchestral and industrial! CD in 3 doublesided panel digipak.


Still Fresh…

Genevieve Pasqueir La Cabaret Moi CD [Ant-Zen]
Fun, dark Electro-Cabaret with charming-yet-icy vocals!

Der Blutharsch Flying High! CD and 2LP [WKN]

Bauhaus This Is For When 180gm 2LP [Vinyl180/Beggars]
Remastered and remixed from the original analogue tapes from Bauhaus’s concert at the Hammersmith Palais on 9th November 1981. This Is For When is pressed onto two 180g VINYL LPs and is housed in two heavyweight card sleeves wrapped in a printed transparent PVC wallet.

Death In June Symbols An d Clouds - Euro Cross Commemorative edition LIMITED to 1000 2CD Soap Stone Package [NERUS]
Similar to the Brown Book Commerative Edition.

Throbbing Gristle Gristleism Limited Edtion Box [Industrial ]
Industrial Records Ltd. is pleased to announce the birth of Gristleism, the newest member of the Throbbing Gristle family. Bastard offspring of now-famous ambient loop player the Buddha Machine, Gristleism is part industrial sound machine, part noise instrument. Featuring 13 original and uncompromising loops, Gristleism delivers a mix of signature TG experimental noise, industrial drone, and classic melodies and rhythms. Available in three colors—black, chrome and red—the palm-sized unit (size: w67mm x h69mm x d35mm) features a built-in speaker, volume control, pitch-shift control and loop selector switch.

(In which Job & Corey celebrate #3.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 11, 2010 12:38pm | Post a Comment
Reading sentences is weird, isn’t it? Just the way you’re sitting at your computer right now, scanning these lines of organized scribbles and, as a result, you’re hearing these words in your head – words that I typed on my computer sometime in your past.

All of which is pretty intimate, don’t you think? I mean, you’re trusting me enough to allow whatever I decided to write to enter into your consciousness via language, not necessarily knowing what I’m going to type. I mean, what if I wrote this sentence:

We oftentimes remove the hamster’s eyes and replace them with fresh-churned butter, which allows them to see less and makes their faces smell vaguely of movie theatre concession stands.
First of all, there’s a lot of things about that sentence that're willyish, and what if you’re not in the mood to deal with it? But now you’ve read it and there’s no going back. It’s recorded in your mind forever. Even if you someday forget it (which is almost certainly advisable), it will be catalogued somewhere, there in the delicious depths of your awesome brain.
Anyway, the boyfriend and I just celebrated our third anniversary yesterday. It was swell! The cat and I allowed him to sleep-in until noon, while we spent time organizing my music library and watching birds be weird.


The boyfriend is, I think, deeply troubled by my hobby of collecting music. When I enthusiastically talk about it, I can tell there’s a part of him that’s waiting for my cataloguing of Les Baxter’s compositions to result in my forgetting to eat, for my delight in finding some obscure theatre company’s recording of The Rocky Horror Show to degrade into a lack of personal hygiene, or for my diligent organization of Hüsker Dü tracks into thematic playlists to send me on a downward spiral that will end in my writing a final, frantic Amoeblog post, donning my treasured hoodie, and locking myself into our parking garage for an Anne Sexton-style road trip to oblivion. (Which would sooo never happen. Sylvia Plath all the way! That way, as I slowly succumbed to death from poisoning, I’d be able to enjoy the scent of fresh-baked cookies! Yay!!!)

Suicide is better with a warm batch of Toll House. It just is.



The boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary by driving around Los Angeles looking for a comfy chair for him. I have decided that he needs a nook – a place in our home that is intended for him to nestle, to cuddle with a book or diary for long hours, or to nap in after a hearty meal of Rôties au jus de cuisson et la sauce à la menthe compliquée moelle stupide lapin.

Ironically, as we drove around looking for the chair, he enjoyed listening to some of the playlists he worries about me making. In particular, a sort-of New Wave playlist which features things like:












…All of which sounds right well when roving for recliners. And we found one! An immense, white chair – roughly the size of my last apartment – and upholstered in recycled, Italian leather. It’s certain to be the cat’s new, favorite chew-toy.

Later in the evening, the boyfriend and I cuddled and watched an animation double feature: 9, directed by Shane Acker, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Wes Anderson.

My Ma taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all, so let me say how much I loved Fantastic Mr. Fox, and leave it at that. (Come to think of it, my Ma also taught me that if you see a summer’s rainbow while you’re walking on grass it means your baby will be born with freckles, but if it’s autumn, your baby will be born with a snaggletooth and desire to overthrow the government in lieu of a militarized ochlocracy – which may be why I never make babies or go outside in November.)


My new, celebrity crush

Incidentally, Fantastic Mr. Fox has not yet been released on DVD. The boyfriend and I were able to watch it in the comfort of our own home because… um… we have… we know this guy who… err… because sometimes there’s things that happen and as a result there’s stuff, okay? But when it is available on DVD and Blu-ray, Amoeba Music will have it and, if you haven’t yet seen it, do, because it’s almost as delightful as the look in your eyes when you’re licking butter from a hamster’s skull.

I’m really sorry I wrote that. Obviously I can’t be trusted with these sentences. I’ll stop soon.

It was a romantic day for me and my boyfriend. I’ll end this blog with a recording of “our” song, Cole Porter’s ballad, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, as performed by Nina Simone.

Goodbye!

WORTH A MILLION IN PRIZES: IGGY POP

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2010 12:13pm | Post a Comment
Iggy Pop
Some songs just never get old. And Iggy Pop's song "Lust For Life," which I just listened to for the first time in eons, is such a track; one of those timeless tunes that no matter how often I hear it and even though it has been a very popular song, it never fails to grab me. I love it! The song, which is now 33 years old, is defined by Hunt Sales' hypnotic drum intro and Iggy spitting such memorable lyrics as "Coz I'm worth a million in prizes" and "I am just a modern guy/ Of course I've had it in the ear before," with its William S. Burroughs references (Johnny Yen, etc.).

The title track of the second of two Iggy Pop albums released in 1977 by RCA, it was co-written with David Bowie during their prolific Berlin collaborative era. In the first part of '77 the pair collaborated on Iggy's The Idiot, and, following its release, toured together in support of that album. Then, fresh from that short tour, back in Berlin, they jumped into the studio in to make Lust For Life in record time, reportedly writing, recording, and mixing the entire album in a little over a week!

Back when it first came out, Lust For Life was more commercially successful than even Pop's earlier (and highly influential) recordings with The Stooges. And in the years since the initial release of "Lust For Life," the song has taken on a life of its own, continually garnering radio airplay, showing up on countless compilations, and being used in several commercials and soundtracks -- most famously in 1996's Trainspotting, which gave it a new lease on life, introducing it to a new generation of fans. And in the decades since its initial recording, Iggy, who turns 63 this year, continually performs the song in concert, each time with renewed energy and raw power. Below are a number of video clips of Iggy, who never seems to wear a shirt in concert, performing the song. The earliest performance (and best, in my opinion) is the one in Manchester, England in 1977. Also below are the lyrics for "Lust For Life."
 

"Lust For Life" (live, 1977 Manchester, England)

"Lust For Life" (UK TV circa 93/94)


"Lust For Life" (live, mid nineties)

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And the flesh machine
He's gonna do another striptease
Hey man where'd you get
That lotion? I been hurting
Since I bought the gimmick
About something called love
Yeah something called love
That's like hypnotizing chickens
Well I am just a modern guy
Of course I've had it in the ear before

Knowing is Half the Battle: Knowing (2009)

Posted by Charles Reece, January 10, 2010 09:42am | Post a Comment
 

Having a blu-ray player finds me watching some stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise, because there's a limited amount of quality features available to the format (about 20 titles at last count). Alex ProyasKnowing is one such example of techno-fetishism overwhelming my aesthetic expectation. Roger Ebert really liked it, but he was about the only one. As The Crow and Dark City showed, Proyas has something of a singular vision -- although I'm not quite sure what it is, but it probably appeals to James O'Barr's decaying Goth fiefdom back in Detroit. Lots of confusion and brooding, this time with Nicholas Cage. He's an astrophysicist who discovers a code in a string of numbers that his son brings home from school. It was written by a little girl 50 years ago and buried in the elementary school's time capsule. As it turns out, the numbers predicted the time and place of every major and not so major catastrophe over the intervening years since its burial with only a few dates still pending.

Cage lost his wife in an accident and now believes there's no meaningful order to the world (scientists are never allowed to come to a viewpoint through reason, only by emotion in this type of film). As he explains during a lecture, everything's either deterministic or chaotic (ignoring the deterministic equations of Chaos Theory). That's not a very sophisticated metaphysics, but makes it easy to follow the intended message of the movie. According to Cage's physicist, a meaningful existence can only come from a preordained order, in which all events were determined at the outset of creation. He surmised after his wife's death that since it was for no purpose, everything must be random. Thus, discovering a code which predicts all these tragedies helps to restore his faith in the great plan and that there's a meaningful narrative to his life and her death.

spoilers ahead!

With the new agey, self help Christianity that tends to get promoted these days, I give the film credit for being unabashedly Calvinist and for making angels coldblooded enforcers of Divine Providence, but it's a screwy way to restore a man's faith in existential purpose. Knowing comes down to three doctrines of Calvinism: (1) total depravity -- the final prediction is that the whole world will burn, with everyone, both those we mortals might call good and evil, going up with it; (2) unconditional election -- a few children, including Cage's boy, are selected by the angels to be taken away in their spaceship, but not based on anything anyone's done; and (3) predestination -- as already mentioned, all of this had to happen, like the total of adding numbers on a calculator. What could make for a more arbitrary life than that? He's a variable in someone else's equation. Irrespective of what Cage might do or has done, he's going to be punished for simply being born into original sin. His son, but not him, is selected for salvation for no apparent reason, certainly not based on agency or some purpose -- all just because Divine Will has decided it so. This is order without any personal meaning. It's all been arbitrarily chosen by something else, which is exactly where Cage's despondency began. Only at the end, he's supposed to be feeling some sort of redemption. The "randomness" or "chaos" is still with him, but it's been displaced to the Divine Agency that's calling all the shots. Good thing the Earth is incinerated before he realizes it. 

Ride On!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 8, 2010 01:50pm | Post a Comment


Free fridays at Santa Anita racetrack start today and continue for the next few months. I highly recommend a trip out to Arcadia to sit in the bleachers and smoke, drink and bet-- or you can just pretend to bet like I often do. Of course, there are "exclusive" box seats and all that, but to me the bleachers make for a much better bit of people watching and a much more relaxing time. Dollar beers, dollar hot dogs and a stunning view of the San Gabriel Mountains make the trek out east a worthy one.







Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Drive
Arcadia CA 91007



AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 01:08:10

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2010 09:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 12:18:09

BlakRoc

1) BlakRoc Blakroc (V2/Cooperative)

2) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)

3) Jay Z Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)

4) Fashawn Boy Meets World (Loud)

5) Oh No Dr. No's Ethiopium (Stones Throw)

There are a lot of recurring entries on this week's Amoeba hip-hop chart, including the number one release, the self-titled (and excellent) rap/rock hybrid from BlakRoc, and the (#4) impressive debut from Fresno emcee Fashawn; Boy Meets World. Meantime, both Jay Z's Blueprint 3 and Black Eyed Peas's (BEP) The E.N.D., two releases that are four and seven months old respectively, continue to sell well. This is no doubt due to the sheer popularity of these artists combined with the airplay they each garner, especially in the case of BEPs' early June release, which has had a slew of singles getting constant airplay. Released in mid December, "Imma Be" is the current hit single in the US (following "Meet Me Halfway," "I Gotta Feeling"  & "Boom Boom Pow") from this phenomenally popular group, who have racked up close to a combined total of 60 million album & single sales since their 2003 breakout album Elephunk, which was the group's first album to feature Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson.

This Week At The New Beverly: January 8 - 14

Posted by phil blankenship, January 7, 2010 09:59pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly


Friday January 8

Final Night To See These Controversial Classics

Antichrist
2009, Denmark / Germany / France / Sweden, 104 minutes
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0870984/
written & directed by Lars von Trier
starring Willem Dafoe & Charlotte Gainsbourg
7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Cannes Film Fest Best Actress Winner Charlotte Gainsbourg

Von Trier, who has always been a provocateur, is driven to confront and shake his audience more than any other serious filmmaker -- even Bunuel and Herzog. - Roger Ebert

As a work of pure visual cinema, Antichrist is a complete masterpiece, one of the most striking films you will ever see, and one that you should see projected if at all possible.
- Devin Faraci, Chud.com

A STRONG ARGUMENT FOR AUTO-TUNE & OTHER STUDIO EFFECTS

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2010 01:45pm | Post a Comment
 Is it live? Yes it is. Ke$ha & her crew on The Tonight Show

Ke$ha
Last night's live "performance" by pop sensation of the moment  Ke$ha of her hit "Tik Tok," off her debut album Animal, on Conan O'Brien's show provided a very strong argument for the use of Auto-Tune and other studio effects to help smooth out an otherwise God awful rendition of her current disposable pop single. Compare last night's poor live performance that lacked any studio effects above (right down to the amatuer choreography that wouldn't make it past the first round of American Idol) with the far superior official music video version of the same song below. The difference is like night and day. 

The official video version has racked up over six million YouTube views since it was posted a couple of months ago with the digital single selling over half a million copies just last week. It showcases the studio version of this song for what it is: a really good, rap-fused dance/pop tune with a memorable melody. But taken out of the studio setting, sans effects, it just doesn't translate, and, to me, proves that some artists shouldn't venture out of the security of the studio and its effects until they are ready, if at all.


Ke$ha "Tik Tok" official video version

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2009

Posted by Whitmore, January 7, 2010 11:58am | Post a Comment

The 2009 Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year choice is based on actual searches on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Online Thesaurus. (And is a very different selection from Part One's New Oxford American Dictionary.) Last September, just a few days after South Carolina’s Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst of “you lie” during President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, this winning word exploded to the top of the charts like a bloated belly on a dead frog on a hot blacktop parking lot of a Walmart in August.
 
The 2009 Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year  ... drum roll please:
 
Admonish (transitive verb), “to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner.”
 
In response to one of the year’s many contentious moments of buffalodung, the U.S. House of Representatives announced plans to “admonish” Rep. Wilson and his teabagging Tourettes. Somehow the word was understood to be a technical or even an official term, and kept on popping up in media coverage like a shiny new, three-dimensional special effect.
 
Filling out rest of the Top Ten Search List for their definitions in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:
 
2-emaciated
3-empathy
4-furlough
5-inaugurate
6-nugatory
7-pandemic
8-philanderer
9-repose
10-rogue
 
Merriam-Webster's has been selecting words annually since 2003:
 
2008’s word was Bailout - “A rescue from financial distress.” 
2007: W00t - “Expression of joy or triumph, or an obvious victory; abbreviation of 'We Owned the Other Team,' originating from computer-gaming subculture.”
2006: Truthiness - “Truth that comes from the gut, not books.” Popularized by Stephen Colbert; selected as Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster's online users.
2005: Integrity - “Firm adherence to a code; incorruptibility.”
2004: Blog - “A Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer, short for Weblog.”
2003: Democracy - perhaps a dull word, but every bit as essential as it is dull.

January 6, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, January 6, 2010 08:47pm | Post a Comment

Best of a Rapid Decade: One per year plus a few too good to not mention...

Posted by Mark Beaver, January 6, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

In recently trying to fill in a friend on what I'd spent the last year or two listening to, I realized that my personal taste tends to gravitate towards some element of either Folk form (any hint of hill-folk finger-pickin' or Ozark/Appalachian melancholy and I'm in), Psychedelia or the tendency to extend a theme for a good long jam (a category in which I include a lot of the Jazz that I like), or just a great, funky groove.

With those qualifiers in place, the following is a year by year review of the last decade which somehow got past me with out noticing it. I mean, really?!! 2010?!!!  I didn't see it coming: 

2000: Album of the Year

Air's enjoyable and wacky Moon Safari had been on the decks for a couple years before they contracted for the soundtrack to Sofia Coppolla's Virgin Suicides. The resultant score is absolutely sublime and marked the French electronauts as contenders to watch.

For myself, it was the defining sound of the millennium's new year.
















Shelby Lynne released a killer country-soul gem, I Am Shelby Lynne, that echoed early material from the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Thinking that it was a brilliant debut from a talented 32yo unknown, I was eventually shocked to find that it was her 6th album. I listened to it for months.




Radiohead's Kid A stood out from the pack as probably my most listened to album of 2000.  It wasn't quite another OK Computer, but I was still high on them and the layers of rock guitar, electronica and Thom Yorke's signature vocal style kept me happy for another year.



Susumu Yokota was dropped on my radar by friends who just know what I like. Sakura, on the LEAF label, is on par with much of that label's releases: smooth, almost glacial electronica. In this case, lots of processed guitar and drum patterns building small, contemplative, melodic pieces. Yokota followed this beauty with an even stronger release in 2002, The Boy and the Tree.




2001: Album of the Year

2001 gave me the one title that I still obsess most about to this day.  It's an odd and singular slab of vinyl by The
Microphones
called The Glow Pt. 2. I have a hard time convincing others of its sheer greatness, but I've brought a few fellow travelers on board.

Led by Washington based Phil Elvrum, who now records under the moniker Mt. Eerie, The Glow is a many-faceted gem of lo-fi songwriting of shocking focus and clarity. Elvrum never lets anything play long enough to bore, and he has, album by album, become a master of atmosphere: layering found sounds, both natural and man-made, across his troubled, gentle songs. This is definitely an album that plays better alone and with headphones, but man! Easily in my Top 5 albums of the decade!





I was totally locked-in with White Stripes and the full-blown media blitz around White Blood Cells. I still think that it holds up as an amazing document from a great year from a great band at their peak. "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," is still a great song, as is "Fell in Love With a Girl," and the surprisingly sweet and affecting "We're Going To Be Friends."




2002: Album of the Year

I think that it would be hard not to admit that Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was the album of the year for 2002. All of the drama around the album allegedly being "passed on" by their label and its subsequent extreme on-line success was just too good of a story to not propel this really very, very good album into legendary status. It belongs there.

















2002 also gave us new highs from long-time staples Beck and The Flaming Lips. Both Beck and the Lips are fairly chameleonic entities. They change styles like people change babies. Beck sounded like he'd been bingeing on Gordon Lightfoot on his release, Sea Change, but the sound fit him well and, to date, it's the only Beck I own.



The Flaming Lips remade themselves from hard-driving psychedelic (damaged) warriors into mystic prophets of the multi-layered freakout. I loved Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots from the opening chords.




The sleeper of the year was Cliff Martinez' electronic score for Steven Soderbergh's remake of SolarisBattestar Galactica fans may recognize some of it as it reappeared in spots on the recent TV series. Not unlike an electronic gamelan. Hypnotic and absolutely beautiful.




Though associated thru her husband, Phil Wandscher, with the band Whiskeytown, Jesse Sykes is a phenomenon all her own. Her pacing, her smoky, almost male vocal tones and her haunting original songs have made her one of my top artists of the decade. As killer as Reckless Burning was in 2002, her albums only got better as the decade progressed. Definitely check out 2007's Like, Love, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul (Barsuk).



Led by Will Oldham's brother, Ned Oldham, Anomoanon (rhymes with "phenomenon") brought all of their talents into focus for their 5th release, Asleep Many Years In The Wood. Sometimes described as a less-meandering Grateful Dead, or a slightly happier take on Crazy Horse, I loved, loved, loved this album and truly, every time I played it, somebody said something to the effect of, "this is awesome, what is it?"





2003: Album of the Year

I didn't pay any attention to Songs:Ohia until 2003, when their Magnolia Electric Co. (a name the band would subsequently be known by) appeared and blew my mind. Rootsy, haunting, alternately rocking or introspective, Jason Molina's self-driven project was my listen of the year.

Also released as a limited 2CD version that includes a disc of the whole album from beginning to end, done by Molina, solo, with just his guitar for company, on the last night that he occupied his apartment. Any of the band tracks that might not seem focused on the first studio disc come into high-relief thru Molina's solo treatment.










Bonnie Prince Billy (aka Palace, Palace Bro.s, Will Oldham) released his best album to date in 2002. Fully produced with strings, backing vocals and the whole kaboodle, it's a near-perfect album. Lots of his trademark Appalachian whine, but fleshed out. Every song a winner. You will see more of Oldham as you read on: he is my choice for Musician of the Decade.




A thick scotch brogue and traditional Scottish ballads or songs that certainly sound like traditional Scottish ballads (murder ballads or otherwise) mist up from the grooves on Alasdair Roberts' Farewell Sorrow. From the band Appendix Out, and signed to Drag City under the urging of Will Oldham, Roberts makes a softly paced trad-folk that's incredibly easy to listen to.



William Basinski found some old reel-to-reels that he had made back in the 80's, and, in the process of trying to transfer them to digital, noticed that the CrO2 was just falling off the tapes like powder. He looped the reels and let them play until they faded into silence. The results, his Disintegration Loops, are some of the most haunting recordings you will ever hear.





Hala Strana is fronted by the Jewelled Antler Collective member Steven R. Smith. You can hear him play amazing guitar on his own recordings and in the bands Thuja, Mirza and Ulaan Khol. Hala Strana takes all of his fuzzed and smeared guitar artistry and applies it toward treatments of themes from Eastern European folk music. Killer!


 

2004: Album of the Year

In all fairness, Dungen had been in the collective hipster consciousness for a good year or more when Ta Det Lugnt hit the shelves, but this was the slbum that set off the full-blown craze.

Everything I like is here: Scandinavian folk forms, psychedelia and some great extended grooves.

I just wish I knew what they were saying...
















The band Espers hails from the Philadelphia area, but their sound is all British Isles circa 1969. There is very little that definitely marks them as being a new-millennium-era band, but I don't mind that in the least. If everyone looked backwards at what came before them as solidly and craftfully as this accomplished combo does, the world would be a more beautiful place. And their albums are all as good as this, if not better.




2004 marked the debut recording, Milk-Eyed Mender, from classically-trained harpist/composer Joanna Newsom. Her troubling voice turned many to flight, as Allmusic described it, "somehere between a child and a crone." I loved it just because of that untrained Appalachian-scented cry. Her songs are intricate and heartfelt, like teaching songs for children about the most painful things they've yet to face.



Ghost albums are always a crap-shoot, but 2004 gave us one of the real gems in Hypnotic Underworld. Though there are no bad Ghost albums, some don't have the pacing one would like, or that complete album feel. Hypnotoc Underworld unfolds of a piece: great songs, great jams, great playing. Everything, in fact, that a collective of Japanese neo-hippies can bring. The best of theirs since 1996's Lama Rabi Rabi.





2005: Album of the Year

Okkervil River is another group that had bubbled along for years, arguably producing even stronger albums than Black Sheep Boy before I stumbled upon them. Nevertheless, I hooked into Black Sheep Boy and didn't let go for weeks.

The title track is a Tim Hardin cover, paced and folky like the original, but the rest of the album thrums like young punkers that are having a hard time fitting into the confines of "songwriting."

That very tension makes it all work.










Many Allison Goldfrapp fans will point to her self-titled band's 2000 debut, Felt Mountain, as the best of her output so far, but I found it all a bit too James Bond-y, torchy and tried. With Black Cherry, she lays it all out for the dancefloor and contends for the sexiest chanteuse of the decade. The title track, the grinding "The Train," and "Strict Machine" are some the most voluptuous dance tracks in years.






They may not have the most original sound on the block, echoing Red House Painters, Jay Farrar, Early Day Miners, and even straying close to Handsome Family, but Great Lake Swimmers sure know their way around a beautiful tune. Banjo, guitar, strings and brushed drums add up to sadcore at its prettiest.




Once the freak-folk began searching for her whereabouts, we knew it wouldn't be long before a new album (after a 35-year hiatus) emerged from British folk legend Vashti Bunyan. Lookaftering sounds like she recorded it a year after her last, the legendarily gorgeous Just Another Diamond Day from 1970. Well worth the wait.






At some point I'm going to have to admit that all I want is a cabin in the woods and a jug of moonshine because that's the sound that kills me. Phosphorescent is basically a one-person (Matthew Houck out of Athens, GA) band plus friends. On Aw Come Aw Wry, they make a decidedly Will Oldham-y sort of sound, though a bit heavier on the hoedown and religious revival. And who can resist a CD that ends with 19 minutes of rain recorded from a rural Georgia porch?





2006: Album of the Year/Album & Artist of the Decade

I've been a fan of Will Odham's through all of his incarnations, but nothing prepared me for The Letting Go. Recorded in Iceland with major contributions from Dawn McCarthy from the folky Faun Fables, the album is a major document of a truly gifted and eccentric songwriter at a real peak.

McCarthy's vocal arrangements are to be credited with a lot of the album's sparse power, but the songs are just really, really excellent.

Listen to the "little birdy" refrain that leads out of "Cursed Sleep." It has echoes of Charles Ives' vocal arrangements on Shaker themes. Fragile, backwoods songs as heard on a lost and broken coast out in the middle of the Atlantic...




Again, here's a piece that stirs the ghost of Charles Ives. Joanna Newsom returns with her second album, and it's a much more ambitious effort that her first collection of songs: only five songs that average out at about 11 minutes each. Van Dyke Parks is on board to help the arrangements in a sort of torch-passing of the American song-cycle form. It's a masterpiece, and a close contender for album of the decade.




I am a reluctant fan of the freak-folk. I don't like how dangerously close Devendra Banhart's vocals stray to those of T.Rex, especially since I'm not a fan of T.Rex's vocals, either. So, when a Banhart-associated project landed in my lap, I was slow to respond. Luckily, I did, and found something much less freak-folk and much more focused and complete. Vetiver's To Find Me Gone is large patches of musical extensions, slightly ambient psychedelic, held together with stitches of fine songwriting. Check "I Know No Pardon" and "You May Be Blue."



Juana Molina...what the hell?! Argentinian singer who makes confoundingly creative albums so varied and layered with ideas that I have to guess she's just plain nuts. Son is her 4th and, for me, her most out. It stands like The Dreaming amongst Kate Bush's catalogue. The stops are pulled out and the sheer insane musicality of it all tumbles out. Hold onto your hat.





I had pegged the Liars, after their debut album, They Threw Us All In A Trench..., as Fall wannabees. Interesting choice, I thought. Lots of the kids are copying the old-folks, but I haven't heard them attempting the Fall, yet. Their sophomore effort, 2004's They Were Wrong, So We Drowned was so god-awful that I thought I was done. Then they went even crazier. Drum's Not Dead and 2007's Liars are amazing albums, and I have no idea what they are doing.



2007: Album of the Year

It was a hard pick between Iron & Wine's The Shepherd's Dog and Panda Bear's Person Pitch, but in the end I was just so proud of Iron & Wine that I picked them as the best of the year.

After years of finely done, but ultimately a bit soft, boring and just incomplete music, I was pleasantly surprised by this full album of great songs, dynamics and jam that made me think that leader Samuel Beam had gone on a major Lindsay Buckingham kick and gleaned all the best things from the craftsman of Fleetwood Mac's pop gems. Feel the Tusk!








Person Pitch by Panda Bear (a project lead by Animal Collective's Noah Lennox) was presented to me as something I was supposed to either dislike or be confused by. Confused, yes, but I loved it. It was like the Beach Boys, who I never liked, suddenly made sense. These are the sounds inside Brian Wilson's head.





Are the tones that Adam Forkner utilizes on White Rainbow's Prism of Eternal Now really healing? They certainly healed my great drone deficiency. Forkner did similarly great work in his previous band Yume Bitsu, and it's good to see he hasn't lost any chops. Satisfies where Stars of the Lid only tease.




From the same Scottish collective that brought us King Creosote, K.T. Tunstall and Alasdair Roberts, James Yorkston writes beautiful, lilting ballads that churn along with strings, brushed drums, harmonica, mandolins and the like. Year of the Leopard is a great companion for a rainy day, of which, unfortunately, Los Angeles has way too few.





There are times in listening to the albums of Norwegian jazz pianist Tord Gustavsen that one might think that he has abandoned the project, or just forgotten to play. Then the trio takes its next step forward and all of that silence makes breathtaking sense. Being There is his best to date and well worth some time spent in its company.




2008: Album of the Year 

Unlike a lot of the full-blown crazes of the last decade, I really liked how the Bon Iver phenomenon manifested. Not very different from the pacing of the album For Emma... itself, it bubbled along by word-of-mouth as more and more people really took stock of what they were listening to.

Justin Vernon's voice is unbelievably soulful without straying into the territory of "Soul Music." He uses vocoder without straying into irony or 80's nostalgia. It's so reservedly experimental that it never becomes "Art Rock." For Emma, Forever Ago is a felt and artful and crafted album, and it deserves all the praise its been given.








This is the cover of the LP version of Build An Ark's Dawn album. It's a great album cover. Luckily, what I found on listening is an astounding album of spiritual jazz featuring Phil Ranelin, Dwight Trible (arguably one of the greatest living jazz vocalists), Carlos Nino and Adam Rudolph, among a host of others. One can draw a line directly from the Impulse recordings of John and Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders to this project's spirit. Heartful and real.





Former Pavement guy Stephen Malkmus got it all working for Real Emotional Trash. He's obviously loving playing his guitar and the extensions on the title track, "Hopscotch Willie," and "Elmo Delmo" show it. His lyrics are as often nonsensical as not, but we never complained when the Ramones sang "Gabba Gabba Hey."





Featuring members that have all cut their teeth over the years with the likes of Earlimart, Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion, Everest peaked the curiosity and attention of Neil Young, who signed them to his Vapor label and took them as openers on two tours. They write great folk and psychedelia-tinged songs like "Rebel in the Roses" and "Black Covers." Can't wait for the next, hopefully appearing sometime in 2010.





I never thought that I would respond to anything so redolent of Bob Dylan as Swede Kristian Matsson's solo venture, The Tallest Man On Earth. However, it's really surprising and really, really good. Just him and guitar (or dobro) and a pocketful of forward-driving folk songs that stand up and shake you by the lapels.






Just when you think there can't be any more good songs in Will Oldham, he lays out another gem. Every time I hear Lie Down In The Light again I just shake my head. How can it be so friggin' good?

Yet another reason why I grant him the title of Musician of the Decade.






2009: Album of the Year

All the pre-hype on this record had it billed as "their black-metal album." Well, black-metal it's not, but the record is flavored with it.

Phil Elvrum (formerly frontman for the aforementioned The Microphones), mixes up a brew that smokes with ambient, field recordings, low-breathed musings and full black-metal assault. It all adds up and ends up being surprisingly human and vulnerable and bare.

I understand those that can't get behind Mt. Eerie, but Im not going to join them. I think they are one of the few groups today that sound ONLY like themselves.









First of all, Dinosaur Jr. finally got themselves a good album cover. Really, they have had some of the worst of all time in their long 22 years of music-making. On top of that, Farm is a great album. Like on the previously mentioned Stephen Malkmus LP,  the Dinos are obviously really enjoying the act of playing rock-n-roll. A folky, Neil Young-y tinge has seeped in over the years and their songs are better for it. Arguably the best of their long career!






Like Espers, Marissa Nadler's music is hard to pin into the 21st century. Using 60's and 70's British Folk as a springboard, she lets her own songs slightly unwind. Organ, guitar, lap steel and percussion build a reserved psychedelic ambience around her thin reed of a voice. Little Hells is her 4th album in 5 years and she grows with every release. Keep an eye on her.

       
          
 

Dj Vinnie Esparza's Best of 2009 List

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 6, 2010 03:21pm | Post a Comment
Vinnie Esparza works in reggae & jazz for our SF store. For the most part, his interest in music stops at 1983.

1. V/A - African Boogaloo - Honest Jons
The best 70s African Latin comp I have ever heard. Stellar.

african boogaloo


2. V/A - Panama! 2 - SoundWay
Outstanding collection of cumbia, funk and even calypso from Panama's golden years.

Panama! 2


3. Edan - Echo Party - Five Day Weekend
Edan outdoes himself with this continuous mix of original party rocking beats. Killer.

Edan - Echo Party


4. Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves (expanded edition) - Island UK
One of reggae's greatest albums gets the deluxe treatment with a second disc of rare bonus material.

junior murvin


5. V/A - Light: On the South Side - Numero Group
Phenomenal compilation of rare, mostly funky blues 45s from 1970s Chicago. Comes packaged with an amazing photograph book that places you right back on the scene. Vinyl only.

light: on the south side

MC PAUL BARMAN AMOEBLOG INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2010 02:14pm | Post a Comment
MC Paul Barman "Owl Pellets" from his new album Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud

New Jersey born, New York City based MC Paul Barman first caught the attention of the hip-hop world a decade ago when he arrived (seemingly out of nowhere) with his Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, A Prince Among Thieves, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Souls of Mischief etc.)-produced It's Very Stimulating EP, which won critical praise and instantly cemented his place as an unabashedly nerdy hip-hopper. A most clever wordsmith, he was labeled by some as a thinking man's emcee. And while his unique lyrical style may not have been every rap fan's cup of tea, he won respect for not fronting, just being himself, and for MC Paul Barmantackling topics not addressed by your average rapper.

He also won the respect of many hip-hop artists and over the years has collaborated with such acts as MF DOOM, Deltron 3030, Masta Ace, and has toured with such acts as Blackalicious and Del tha Funky Homosapien, who is one of the many guests on his new album, Thought Balloon Mushrooom Cloud (Househusband). The album, which touches on such topics as sampling, owls, AIDS, and circumcision, is the self-described "Jewish atheist'"s first official release since 2002's album Paullelujah!. I recently caught up with the artist to talk about Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud and some of the new rhyme styles unveiled on this recommended new album.

New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year for 2009

Posted by Whitmore, January 4, 2010 10:20pm | Post a Comment

Once again we’ve reached that wonderful time of the year, time when several Dictionaries announce their Word of the Year. We’ll start with the New Oxford American Dictionary's typically imaginative selection, whose picks are as often jeered by skeptical wordsmiths as they are lauded by sexy lexicographers throughout the English speaking world.
 
Drum roll please: The 2009 Word of the Year is:
 
Unfriend (verb), “to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook or Myspace.” Personally, I always preferred the term “destalking” ...
 
Some of the other new words considered by the New Oxford American Dictionary for the 2009 Word of the Year were:
 
Hashtag  - a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets
intexticated  - distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle
netbook - a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory
paywall - a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
sexting - the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone
freemium - a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
funemployed - taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests
zombie bank - a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support
birther - a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate
choice mom - a person who chooses to be a single mother
death panel - a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed
teabagger - a person who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)
brown state - a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations
green state - a US state that has strict environmental regulations
ecotown - a town built and run on eco-friendly principles
deleb - a dead celebrity
tramp stamp - a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

THE BOOK OF ELI & OTHER MOVIES OPENING THIS MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, January 4, 2010 12:07pm | Post a Comment
The Book Of Eli
When I first glanced at a version of the poster, left, advertising the new movie The Book of Eli, it was plastered on the side of a bus that whizzed by me on the street. Not knowing anything about the film, due to its layout, I wrongly assumed that it was an ad for some religious group and that Gary Oldman the actor must have become a born again Christian or something like that and was lending his name to this religious group.

Of course, soon after, I discovered that was not the case and that the movie (one of many opening this month), which also stars Denzel Washington in the lead role, is the latest film from the Hughes Brothers, Albert and Allen. Their past films include Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, American Pimp, and From Hell.  As you will gather from the trailer below for this movie, which was filmed in New Mexico, it is the story of a lone hero named Eli (Washington), who battles his way across the wasteland of a post apocalyptic America (circa 2043) in an effort to save a sacred book "that might hold the key to saving the future of humanity." Gary Oldman's character Carnegie -- as the tyrannical ruler of a small makeshift town -- is there to stop him from doing so. The Book Of Eli, which also stars Mila Kunis, opens Friday of next week, Jan 15th, 2010.

The Book Of Eli is just one of many new movies opening this month, and judging from the descriptions and/or the trailers advertising them, it looks like one of the best out of the new bunch. Below, along with the trailer for Eli, is a sampling of some of the other films opening this month that no doubt the Amoeblog's Phil Blankenship will be checking out the weekend they arrive in theaters. Some, such as Bitch Slap, which wisely is only opening in a limited number of theaters and is described as "three bad girls (a down-and-out stripper, a drug-running killer and a corporate powerbroker) as they arrive at a remote desert hideaway to extort and steal $200 Million in diamonds from a ruthless underworld kingpin," looks so, so bad (complete with really bad acting) that it's not even so bad it's good. Just plain awful. But you be the judge. Other trailers below include the futuristic vampire movie Daybreakers starring Ethan Hawke (no doubt Hollywood will run the vampire theme into the ground this year); the "emotionally charged thriller set at the intersection of politics and big business" starring Mel Gibson, Edge of Darkness; the drama Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser, and Keri Russell; and Youth In Revolt starring Michael Cera along with Steve BuscemiRay Liotta, which seems like one of the better of the new crop of mainstream movies opening this month. Not included, because even the trailer is painful to watch, is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Tooth Fairy, opening Jan 22nd.

Lhasa de Sela 1972-2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 4, 2010 01:15am | Post a Comment

Singer Lhasa de Sela passed away on January 1st 2010, after a twenty-one month battle with breast cancer. Lhasa, as she was known, released three albums. 1997's La Llorona, 2003's The Living Road and her self-titled release in April of 2009. She also performed at Amoeba Hollywood in 2004 just before I started working here, and at the San Francisco store later that same week.

She was born on September 27, 1972, to a Mexican father and an American mother. She spent much of her childhood traveling back and forth through Mexico and the U.S. This nomadic lifestyle contributed to her creativity and by the age of thirteen, she started singing in restaurants. In 1997, La Llorona brought her much praise in Canada, where she relocated after moving out on her own. La Llorona was sung entirely in Spanish. The Living Road, her second album, made her an international star, as she sang in Spanish, French and English, easily flowing from one language to the next. 2009's self-titled release, Lhasa, was her first entirely in English, which, after reading the lyrics, I can only assume chronicled her bout with cancer.  Due to her sickness, Lhasa was forced to cancel her tour slated for last fall. She also planned to record an album of the songs of  Victor Jara and Violeta Parra, but died before the album could come to fruition.

When I was reading the lyrics to her latest album the song "I'm Going In" really hit home. In retrospect, it must have taken such determination and strength for Lhasa to complete what she thought might be her last album, and sadly, it was. Her voice will be missed by many across the world.

Below are the lyrics to "I'm Going In" with the videos for "Fool's Gold" (also on her 2009 release Lhasa) and "Con Toda Palabra" off The Living Road.

WHEN MY LIFETIME HAD JUST ENDED
AND MY DEATH HAD JUST BEGUN
I TOLD YOU I'D NEVER LEAVE YOU
BUT I KNEW THIS DAY WOULD COME

GIVE ME BLOOD FOR MY BLOOD WEDDING
I AM READY TO BE BORN
I FEEL NEW
AS IF THIS BODY WERE THE FIRST I'D EVER WORN

I NEED STRAW FOR THE STRAW FIRE
I NEED HARD EARTH FOR THE PLOW
DON'T ASK ME TO RECONSIDER
I AM READY TO GO NOW

I'M GOING IN I'M GOING IN
THIS IS HOW IT STARTS
I CAN SEE IN SO FAR
BUT AFTERWARDS WE ALWAYS FORGET
WHO WE ARE

I'M GOING IN I'M GOING IN
I CAN STAND THE PAIN
AND THE BLINDING HEAT
'CAUSE I WON'T REMEMBER YOU
THE NEXT TIME WE MEET

YOU'LL BE MAKING THE ARRANGEMENTS
YOU'LL BE TRYING TO SET ME FREE
NOT A MOMENT FOR THE MEETING
I'LL BE BUSY AS A BEE

YOU'LL BE TALKING TO ME
BUT I JUST WON'T UNDERSTAND
I'LL BE FALLING BY THE WAYSIDE
YOU'LL BE HOLDING OUT YOUR HAND

DON'T YOU TEMPT ME WITH PERFECTION
I HAVE OTHER THINGS TO DO
I DIDN'T BURROW THIS FAR IN
JUST TO COME RIGHT BACK TO YOU

I'M GOING IN I'M GOING IN
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO UGLY
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO SLOW
THESE PRISON WALLS GET CLOSER NOW
THE FURTHER IN I GO

I'M GOING IN I'M GOING IN
I LIKE TO SEE YOU FROM A DISTANCE
AND JUST BARELY BELIEVE
AND THINK THAT
EVEN LOST AND BLIND
I STILL INVENTED LOVE

I'M GOING IN I'M GOING IN I'M GOING IN


(In which we reunite, even as we bid a fond adieu.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 3, 2010 01:12pm | Post a Comment
Well, it’s the middle of September and there’s nothing novel or interesting about this week.

No, no – of course we’re standing at the precipice of a new decade as a fresh millennium dawns and everything’s fraught with poignancy. I get it. But just for a second, wasn’t it nice to hear otherwise?

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, which is a sure-fire way to get people to forget about me. By now my regular readers have probably been reduced to the Amoeblog staff, my Mom, and myself (and I’m just barely skimming them).

Chalk it up to an action-packed holiday season, kiddies. Since last we met, I shot the footage for an upcoming webisode series with the fantastically rad Elizabeth Keener. Once it’s up and running I’ll let y’all know about it.

Also freelance articles, while hardly pouring in these days, are vying for my time. I just finished writing an article for Gourmet Magazine for their “traditional dishes of Indonesia” series. My piece focused on the Åland crisis and its impact on the League of Nations in the wake of the First World War, and how the Islands’ current Finnish loyalties but Swedish-speaking majority stand as a metaphor for modern Scandinavian policy. What does that have to do with Indonesian food? Nothing. But it’s all in how you spin the article.

Välsmakande mat som du kan äta med din jävla mun!

Also, the boyfriend’s parents were here for a week to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with us. They’re from Texas, so in cooking for them I had to make sure to restrain myself from culinary flourishes. Example: Spaghetti & meatballs are fine, but in lieu of Italian herbs, why not use fresh-roasted cumin seed and Walla Walla sweet onions caramelized in aged balsamic vinegar?

No. Back away. When cooking for Texans, resist the urge to decorate salads with edible flower petals, eschew spices with more than two syllables (“How come no-one’s using the cardamom gravy?”) and for the love of Pete, never never use or try to explain ghee.


It was a lovely holiday, though. The boyfriend, in a gallant effort to halt my developing a stress-hunchback, gifted me an electric foot massager, which now sits here at my desk. Wanna see?


I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-r-rr-r-r-r-r-r-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-w-w-w-w-w-w-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l!!!! B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s y-y-y-y-y-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u t-t-t-t-o-o-o-o-o s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-d-d-d-d-d-d-d t-t-t-t-t-t-t-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o m-m-m-m-m-m-m-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-e-e-e-e-e-e-e t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g t-t-t-t-t-t-o-o-o-o d-d-d-d-d-d-d-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-r-r-r-r-r-r w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-t-t-t-t-t-t-t I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g!!!!

✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦

On the Amoeba Music Hollywood front, yesterday was the final work day of our beloved Charlie Richards, who for some years has been caretaking our neat-o classical music section. He’s moving to Florida, presumably because he’s a masochist with a fetish for pastels. (I’m pretty sure he said that once, actually.) It is to him that this blog entry is dedicated.


Charlie Richards, circa 2004

Anyone who’s worked with Charlie knows his favorite opera is Les contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. Coincidentally, and in spite of Charlie overwhelming us with un-requested lectures of historical minutiae relating to Offenbach’s writing the work…

CHARLIE: Did you know that Offenbach wrote the opera in one night while sitting on the toilet? And it wasn’t until he finished composing it that he realized he was out of toilet paper and had to use his first draft to wipe himself, so what we know today as the opera is actually a second draft he wrote while exercising on his Stairmaster!

CO-WORKER: Charlie, all I asked is if you knew where the tape dispenser was. And what the hell was wrong with Offenbach that he couldn’t just sit at a desk like normal people?!

…the opera is also one of my favorites.

Opera is a hard sell, and I don’t expect any of my readers to go rushing out to ye olde opera-house just because I fancy the genre myself, but one thing I can recommend without reservation is the 1951 film adaptation of said work, The Tales of Hoffmann, directed by masters of motion picture art Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, most famous for their dizzyingly beautiful film The Red Shoes.

Many people know and love The Red Shoes, but I actually like The Tales of Hoffmann more. The opera’s conceit of stories-within-the-story, focused on fantasies of delusional romance and whimsical villainy, allow Powell & Pressburger unrestrained opportunities for the cinematic eye-candy they’re so revered for.


There’s also a lot of badical ballet in the movie, but again, you don’t need to be a fan of either ballet or opera to enjoy this film. It’s rather like the best acid trip you ever took, if that trip took place on an antiquated Disneyland ride.


Fortunately, the good people of Criterion selected the film for release some years back, so it’s available on DVD with their trademark excellence in… menu design and… stuff.


Anyway, in the interest of swell cinema, and for the love of Charlie, I highly recommend you bake yourself a tray of pot* brownies and commit to an evening screening of The Tales of Hoffmann.

And if you find yourself in the Sunshine State, be sure to stop by Charlie’s house to let him know how much you liked the opera. But be prepared to stay a while – he’ll undoubtedly want to explain why Offenbach’s pen always smelled of bacon fat and absinthe.


*Don’t worry – I’m not actually suggesting people use marijuana. “Pot” is just my codeword for crystal meth.

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For 2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 2, 2010 05:00pm | Post a Comment
These are the forty World Music releases that Los Angeles shoppers went gaga over the last year.


1. Zoe-Reptilectric
2. Aventura-Last
3. Amadou & Mariam-Welcome to Mali
4. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol.1
5. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos-Cantan En Español
6. V/A-Nigeria 70 (re-mastered)
7. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-11:11
8. Manu Chao-Clandestino
9. Shakira-She Wolf
10. V/A-Panama Vol. 2
11. V/A-Legends Of Benin
12. V/A-African Scream Contest
13. Mexican Institute Of Sound-Soy Sauce
14. Bomba Estereo-Blow Up
15. V/A-Nigeria Rock Special


16. V/A-The Sound Of Wonder
17. Poncho Sanchez- Psychedelic Blues
18. Serge Gainsbourg-Histoire De Melody Nelson
19. V/A-Black Rio Vol.2
20. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-Live In Japan
21. V/A-Colombia!
22. Mulatu Astatke-Inspiration Information
23. Bebel Gilberto-All In One
24. Buika-Niña De Fuego
25. V/A-Nigeria Disco Funk
26. Arthur Verocai-S/T
27. Los Amigos Invisible -Commercial
28. Os Mutantes- Haith Or Amortecedor
29. La Excelencia-Mi Tumbao Social
30. Buika-El Ultimo Trago




31. Orchestre Poly-Ritmo-Voudoun Effect Vol. 1
32. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs -La Luz Del Ritmo
33. Kinky-Barracuda
34. Serge Gainsbourg-Histoire De Melody Nelson (Vinyl version)
35. Bebe-Y.
36. Calle 13-Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo
37. V/A-Nigeria Special
38. V/A- Boogaloo Pow Wow
39. Vieux Farka Toure-Fondo
40. Gustavo Cerati- Fuerza Natural




Stats:

Of the top forty releases, twenty-five are new releases by a band or artist, Fifteen of the top forty are catalog releases. Eleven releases on the top forty are compilations. Only one vinyl release cracked the top forty. Seven of the new releases came from artists that either made an in-store performance or were part of Amoeba's "What's In My Bag?" series.

Five titles came from the European section, four from Brazil, one from the Middle East and one from Pakistan.

Nineteen of the top forty releases came from The Latin Music section. Of those nineteen, only six were reissues, catalog or compilations.

Ten of the top forty releases came from The African section. Of those ten, only three weren’t reissues, catalog or compilations.

Three artists had two releases in the top forty. Buika (Niña De Fuego & El Ultimo Trago), Rodrigo Y Gabriela (11:11 & Live In Japan) and Serge Gainsbourg. Serge had both the vinyl and CD version of Histoire De Melody Nelson in the top forty.

Happy New Year! Let's see what 2010 brings!

Picasso’s Toy Guitar

Posted by Whitmore, January 2, 2010 04:56pm | Post a Comment

Carabinieri
police in Rome have tracked down the world’s most priceless toy guitar. The sculpture created by Pablo Picasso for his daughter Paloma has been missing the last couple of years. Picasso, several decades back, had given the piece to the Italian artist Giuseppe Vittorio Parisi, but two years ago Parisi lent it to a businessman, who convinced Parisi he could make a glass showcase for it. Then Parisi died last January 2009 at the age of 92. The priceless piece was to go on display at the civic museum in Maccagno, a small town on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy where Parisi was born. Nothing ever came of it. Police say the businessman never returned the work; instead he kept it hidden away in a shoe box in his apartment in Pomezia, a town just south of Rome. The Little Guitar was tracked down with aid from Parisi’s widow, who told police that the piece was most likely still in the hands of the businessman. The unnamed businessman was charged with fraud and is now out on bail. An expert has authenticated the work, which bears the inscription “Paloma.” The Little Guitar will now, as once planned, go on display at the museum in Maccagno.

Top Forty World Music Releases of 2009 Vol-4

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 2, 2010 02:20pm | Post a Comment

10. Major Lazer-Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do

The quote attributed to Ken Kesey in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test comes to mind when I listen to Major Lazer: "You're either on the bus or off the bus." The future of so-called “World Music” has everything mixing the past with the present. This is where most purists jump off the party bus and the rest of us keep going. On the bus still are producers Diplo and Switch, along with Vybz Kartel, T.O.K., Ms. Thing, Turbulence, Mr. Vegas, Mr. Lexx, Santigold, Nina Sky and Amanda Blank. Major Lazer is the link between Reggae Dancehall, Baltimore Club music and Favela Funk, all under the guise of a hard partying Jamaican commando who lost his arm in a secret zombie war in 1984. Think of a club at its peak: dirty, sweaty and full of people trying to make it on the dance floor and that is what Guns is. Major Lazer, along with Buraka Som Sistema and Toy Selectah, are bringing the party back into global party!


9. V/A- The Sound Of Wonder!

This is the latest installment in the B-Music/Finders Keepers series of obscure World Music. The Sound Of Wonder! focuses on Pakistan's little known-to-westerners “Lollywood” sound. What is Lollywood, you say? Lollywood was a tongue in cheek term made up in the late 80’s by Glamour gossip columnist Saleem Nasir because all the Pakistani films were filmed in the city of Lahore. The Pakistani film industry thrived, much like India’s film industry, but had little success outside of Pakistan’s borders. The music on this compilation sounds like a lo-fi, spaced out version of Bollywood music with Urdu lyrics. Most of the tracks on this compilation are done by composer M. Ashraf and singer Nahid Akhtar, with one track containing Noor Jehan, the legendary Pakistani singer who recorded over 10,000 songs in her lifetime and was the first female Pakistani film director. Of all the Finder Keepers releases, I feel this one is their strongest to date.


8. Chico Sonido-Chico Sonido

Perhaps this release could easily be placed in our Electronica department, because it has more to do with DJ Shadow or Cut Chemist than it has to do with anything in the Latin Alternative scene. This mostly instrumental music takes you to somewhat familiar territory. Hip-Hop producers have been sampling records from Latin America for decades, but while average Hip-Hop producer’s beats feel like tourist explorations, Chico Sonido's music is homegrown. Chico Sonido brings together his love of nineties hip-hop beats with his love of Latin American Psyche, Latin Disco and Grupera. Songs such as "Mas Discotheque" and "Ye Ye Ye" are drugged out dance floor excursions. Songs such as "En Mi Sueños" pay tribute to often-sampled sounds of groups like Los Angeles Negros. However, "Y Volar" is my favorite, part Dust Brothers with nods to Hawkwind’s electronic geniuses Dik Mik & Del Dettmar.


7. V/A- Panama! 2 &3: Latin Sounds, Cumbia Tropical and Calypso Funk On The Isthmus 1967-77

The Soundway label always does a great job in finding the most obscure yet amazing tracks from all over the world. Some are so obscure that the residents of those countries have long forgotten about them. What makes the Panama! Series worthwhile is not only the music, but also the history of the country itself. The music that is featured on Vol. 2&3 comes from the Caribbean immigrants who migrated to Panama starting from the early 1900s to help build the Panama Canal. Along with the labor, the Caribbean immigrants brought over their music. Panama's love for Afro-Cuban rhythms, Jazz and Calypso all are due in part to its immigrant culture. Also, during the '60s, many Black Panamanians were influenced by the Black Power movement from the U.S. and incorporated it in their music. Funk, Soul, Salsa and Rock mixed with Panama’s pop culture to create some amazing music. Panama! Vol. 2 captures a moment in time when Panama not only revisited its Caribbean roots, but its African roots as well. Panama! Vols 2 & 3 are chock full of big bands and small combos playing the funkiest of funk, the coolest of Cumbia, and hardest of Salsa.


6. Brownout- Aguilas and Cobras

Brownout is the alter ego of Austin, Texas based Grupo Fantasma, a group known to rock parties all over the world. While Grupo Fantasma makes its mark by playing Cumbia and Salsa, Brownout is the little brother that rebelled against his Tejano Roots and got into Soul and Psychedelic rock instead, resulting in the funkiest Chicano rock albums to come out in many years. Brownout’s horn section is second to none right now. One could understand why Prince asked the band to back him up for a few shows in 2008. Adrian Quesada’s skillful yet restrained guitar playing sounds like Carlos Santana if he was raised on Afro-Beat rather than blues. Aguilas and Cobras is an instant classic of Chicano Rock that ranks with the classics by Malo, Sapo, Santana and El Chicano.


5. Joyce-Visions Of Dawn

This is a lost album of Joyce that dates back to 1976; it is a recording session that she did in Paris with fellow Brazilians Nana Vasconcelos and Maurio Maestro. They took their cue from their participation in the Clube Da Esquina songwriter movement, which included Milton Nacimento, Lo Borges and Nelson Angelo, who made a brilliant album with Joyce back in 1972. Visions Of Dawn flows much in the same vein as those classic Clube Da Esquina albums, with psychedelic folk, bossa nova and jazz leanings. At times, Visions Of Dawn sounds like what was coming out of California during the same era, but there is a melancholy that Brazilian music captures that no other music in the world can. It’s not gloom and doom, but it’s an instant grey cloud that covers like a warm blanket.


4. La Excelencia- Mi Tumbao Social

La Excelencia’s 2006 debut album Salsa Con Conciencia dropped like a bomb on the Salsa Music world. The general consensus was that it reminded Salsa music fans why they got into the music in the first place. Yes, it was danceable, but it was also gritty. La Excelencia's approach seemed so easy and natural that I wondered why other Salsa musicians didn’t follow their lead. Still, the Salsa world continued on its path of one killer track per album, then fillers of covers, remixes and love songs. The thing that I like about Mi Tumbao Social is that it is a great album as a whole. Sure, they have great soneros and excellent musicianship, as do many Salsa groups, but the fact that I can listen to this album from beginning to end without skipping tracks is a minor accomplishment. There are no Salsa Romantica or Reggaeton remixes or long self-indulgent solos to bog the record down. The Fania comparisons are inevitable; mainly because the artists that were signed to Fania had the mentality to not only create great songs, but great albums as well. La Excelencia co-founders Julian Silva (music) and Jose Vazquez-Cofresi (lyrics) wrote some great songs that make you dance and well as think. Not since the prime of Ruben Blades and Willie Colon's Siembra have we been this blessed.


3. V/A-Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads And Dirges 1968-1974

This was my driving companion through the California desert on some road trips I took this year. When I first listened to it, it reminded me more of a classic mix tape that you got from a friend with an extensive record collection than a compilation of Psychedelic rock. Forge Your Own Chains does not discriminate or patronize; Dirgy gospel can exist with Korean Psychedelic Folk; Colombian hippies Ana Y Jaime's joyous “Nina Nana” is juxtaposed with Top Drawer's “Song of a Sinner,” some drugged out blues by a young man that feels he’s doomed to hell. Ofege from Lagos, Nigeria's “It’s Not Easy” sounds more like the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” than anything Fela did, but it’s a great love song of merit. Each song on this compilation feels like it belongs, which, given the wide scope of cultures involved, is no small feat. This is the best compilation to come from The Stones Throw family since The Funky 16 Corners.


2. Matias Aguayo-Ay Ay Ay

Much like the now-classic Clandestino by Manu Chao, Ay Ay Ay, Matias Aguayo’s latest full-length, is the sound of a nomadic journey. It’s the natural sounds that you would hear while traveling. The sounds of the streets that plant inside your head and become instant memories of places visited. Ay Ay Ay takes the same journey that Juana Molina has, making layers of one's own voice into an orchestra. But unlike Molina, whose albums sound like hours of obsessed studio work, Aguayo’s approach sounds natural, like someone who wrote the songs in the shower, then recorded them while drying. Along with his effects-filled voice are a few bass lines, minimal samples and beats. On “Ritmo Juarez,” I can imagine being in the darkness of the border town that overlooks the lights of El Paso. The sound of a street carnival in Colombia comes alive in “Juanita” and “Rollerskate” sounds like he was given a microphone at a club and asked to create a party song on the spot. Although Matias Aguayo is filed in the Electronica section, Ay Ay Ay explores more of the world than the average World Music release did in all of 2009.

and finally...


 1.Helado Negro-Awe Owe

This album did not arrive in my hands by conventional means. I did not read about it in the press nor did a record label try to shove it down my throat. In fact, I found it in bin of used CD’s to ready to be priced. I liked the band's name and the cover and that was enough to take a chance. After the first listen, I had to know who these guys were. It turned out it the brainchild of Roberto Carlos Lange, a musician/producer who has worked with Savath and Savalas and School of Seven Bells, among many others. Awe Owe has shades of South America’s psychedelic folk past that meld with Lange’s non-obtrusive beats. Lush vocal, horn and xylophone arrangements made it difficult to tell what era Awe Owe came from. It was the perfect blend of bedroom beat maker and modern day composer, the missing link between Arthur Verocai and El Guincho, with some Spaceman 3 drone to boot. Whatever the case, Awe Owe become the album I came back to the most last year. No matter the weather or my moods, Awe Owe became the perfect soundtrack for 2009.

Thank you Sir, may I have another: Patrick Stewart and Peter Jackson receive knighthoods

Posted by Kells, January 2, 2010 01:09pm | Post a Comment

My favorite famous people are already like living legends in my mind, so whenever they make the Queen of England's annual knighthood list it's almost not a big deal. I mean, if it were up to me to decide who receives the shining armor Patrick Stewart and Peter Jackson would have been knighted fifteen years ago. I remember falling hard for the dashing Stewart during his Star Trek: The Next Generation years and I recall early hints of my understanding Jackson's genius with my first viewings of his masterworks Dead-Alive and Heavenly Creatures (one of my forever top ten favorite films). From those first impressions all the way 'til today both men have become more dear to me as living artists, as pop culture icons and as all around purveyors of delightful diversions. Besides, there is really nothing that can be done to make a major-hot veteran of stage and screen dream like Patrick Stewart more amazing than having to refer to him from now on as "Sir Patrick." And to honor filmmaker Peter Jackson as well? That deserves as hearty a "good on ya" as do his seventeen Oscars and timeless film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings!

To both "Sirs" with love, I can't wait to see what your respective next moves will be. Sir Peter: if only your lovely bones were taking the helm of the Hobbit film adapatation; Sir Patrick: I'm pretty sure you already know what I wish your next move would be...Captain, my captain!

TerrorVision Tonight at the New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 2, 2010 10:36am | 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 2

People of Earth,
your planet is about to be destroyed... We're terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

TerrorVision

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

Advance tickets may be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/92894


January
January 9 Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre
Forget Everything You Have Ever Seen

January 16 Marked For Death
In Above the Law, he got tough; In Hard to Kill, he got even;
Now Steven Seagal is... Marked For Death

January 23 Clive Barker's DREAD
Special Advance Screening w/ Guests! Co-Sponsored by Shock Till You Drop
http://shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=13415

best of the 00's...my top 100 albums of the last decade 2000-2009...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 1, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment



#1
Sigur Ros
-Agaetis Byrjun
(Play it Again Sam) 2000





 



#2
Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Fever To Tell (Interscope) 2003












#3
A Place To Bury Strangers-
A Place To Bury Strangers
(Killer Pimp) 2007










#4
Antony & the Johnson
-I Am a Bird Now (Secrectly Canadian) 2005








#5
Blonde Redhead
-
Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons

(Touch & Go) 2000






#6
The Faint
-Danse Macabre
(Saddle Creek) 2001





 



#7
The White Stripes
-White Blood Cells
(Warner Brothers) 2001




 



#8
Sufjan Stevens
-Illinoise
(Asthmatic Kitty) 2005




 



#9
Idlewild
-100 Broken Windows
(Capitol) 2000




 




#10
Bloc Party
-Silent Alarm (Vice) 2005




 




Radiohead-Kid A (Capitol) 2000





 




The Strokes-Is This It (RCA) 2001




 




The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
-
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

(Slumberland) 2009




 





MGMT-Oracular Spectacular
(Columbia) 2008





 






XX-XX (XL Recordings) 2009





 



Cat Power-You Are Free (Matador) 2003





 




The Knife
-Silent Shout (Mute) 2006




 




Hercules & Love Affair-
Hercules & Love Affair

(Mute) 2008




 





Jens Lekman-Night Falls Over Kortedala (Secretly Canadian) 2007




 




Patrick Wolf-Lycanthropy (Tomlab) 2004






 




The Postal Service-Give Up
(Sub Pop) 2003




 




M83
-Saturdays=Youth (Mute) 2008




 




Thieves Like Us-Play Music
(Shelflife) 2009





 




Explosions In the Sky
-
All Of a Sudden I Miss Everybody

(Temporary Residence) 2007





 




Daft Punk
-Discovery (Virgin) 2001




 




Arcade Fire-Funeral (Merge) 2004









Interpol
-Turn On the Bright Lights (Matador) 2002









Burial
-Untrue (Hyperdub) 2007










Black Heart Procession
-3
(Touch & Go) 2000









The National
-Boxer
(Beggars Banquet) 2007









Lily Allen-Alright Still (Capitol) 2007










Phoenix
-United (Astralwerks) 2000










At the Drive-In
-Relationship of Command
(Fearless) 2000









The Murder City Devils
-In Name & Blood
(Sub Pop) 2000









Placebo
-Sleeping With Ghosts (Astralwerks) 2003









Junior Boys
-So this is Goodbye
(Domino) 2006









Radio Dept.
-Pet Grief (Labrador) 2006









The Drums
-Summertime!
(Holiday Records) 2009









Peaches
-Teaches of Peaches
(Matador) 2000








TV on the Radio
-
Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
(Touch & Go) 2004









Booka Shade-The Sun & the Neon Light (Get Physical) 2008








Telefon Tel Aviv-Immolate Yourself
(Bpitch Control) 2009









Studio
-West Coast (Information) 2007









The Teenagers
-Reality Check
(XL Recordings) 2008








M.I.A.
-Kala (Interscope) 2007










Bon Iver
-For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar) 2008









My Morning Jacket
-Z (ATO) 2005










Jose Gonzalez
-In Our Nature (Mute) 2007









The Gossip
-
Standing in the Way of Control

(Kill Rock Stars) 2006









Fever Ray
-Fever Ray (Mute) 2009









Silversun Pickups
-Swoon
(Dangerbird) 2009








The Killers
-Hot Fuss (Island) 2004










The Mars Volta
-
De-Loused In the Comatorium
(Universal) 2003






Arctic Monkeys
-
Whatever People Say
I Am,
That's What I'm Not
(Domino) 2006








The Decemberists
-Picaresque
(Kill Rock Stars) 2005









Belle & Sebastian
-The Life Pursuit (Matador) 2006








PJ Harvey
-
Stories From the City,
Stories From the Sea

(Island) 2000








Iron & Wine
-The Shepherd's Dog
(Sub Pop) 2007









Okkervil River
-Stage Names
(Jagjaguwar) 2007









Fleet Foxes
-Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop) 2008










Beirut
-Gulag Orkestar (Ba Da Bing!) 2006










Shout Out Louds-Our Ill Wills
(Merge) 2007










Ryan Adams
-Rock N Roll
(Lost Highway) 2003









Muse
-Absolution (Warner Brothers) 2003










Franz Ferdinand
-Franz Ferdinand (Domino) 2004









CSS
-Cansei De Ser Sexy (Sub Pop) 2006










Lightspeed Champion
-
Falling Off the Lavender Bridge

(Domino) 2008








!!!
-Louden Up Now (Touch & Go) 2004









Death Cab For Cutie
-Photo Album (Barsuk) 2001








Bat For Lashes
-Fur & Gold
(Caroline) 2007










Crystal Castles
-Crystal Castles
(Last Gang) 2008









Max Richter
-Blue Notebooks
(Fat Cat) 2004









Jonas Reinhardt
-Jonas Reinhardt (Kranky) 2008









Manual
-Azure Vista (Darla) 2005










Ulrich Schnauss
-Goodbye (Domino) 2007










Sally Shapiro
-Disco Romance (Diskokaine) 2007









Gonzalez & Russom
-The Days of Mars (Astralwerks) 2005









Grouper-Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill (Type) 2008









Pictureplane-Dark Rift
(Lovepump United) 2009









Justice
-Cross (Vice) 2007










The Daysleepers
-
Drowned in a Sea of Sound

(Clairecords) 2008








The Legends
-Public Radio
(Labrador) 2006









Memory Tapes
-Seek Magic
(Pod/Inertia) 2009









Gravenhurst-Western Lands (Warp) 2007










Cursive
-Ugly Organ (Saddle Creek) 2003








Los Campesinos
-
We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed

(Arts & Crafts) 2008









The Big Pink
-Brief History of Love
(4AD) 2009








Friendly Fires-Friendly Fires (XL) 2008









Pelle Carlberg
-In a Nutshell
(Labrador) 2007









Godspeed You Black Emperor!
-
Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

(Kranky) 2000










Grace Jones-Hurricane
(Wall of Sound) 2008










Mogwai-Rock Action (Matador) 2001










Xiu Xiu-Fabulous Muscles
(Five Rue Christine) 2004









Cold Cave-Love Comes Close
(Matador) 2009








Mew-And the Glass Handed Kites (Columbia) 2006










Dead Man's Bones-Dead Man's Bones (Anti) 2009










Maria Taylor-Lynn Teeter Flower
(Saddle Creek) 2007









Deastro-Moondagger
(Ghostly International) 2009









My Vitriol-Finelines (Epic) 2001









Sun Kill Moon-
Ghosts of the Great Highway
(Caldo Verde) 2003







Retro-Futurism: Star Blazers, The Movie

Posted by Charles Reece, January 1, 2010 03:00pm | Post a Comment
 

I love that they keep the future envisioned in the 70s look to the thing. I have high hopes for this. If only superhero films were retro-styled .... Here's the original Americanized version, which provided some high soap-operatic drama for my 8-year old brain:


All of which can be had for a pretty penny on DVD:

December 31, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, January 1, 2010 02:42pm | Post a Comment

This Week At The New Beverly: January 1 - 8

Posted by phil blankenship, January 1, 2010 10:11am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly


Friday & Saturday January 1 & 2

A John Hughes double bill

The Breakfast Club

1985, USA, 97 minutes
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0088847/
written and directed by John Hughes
starring Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Paul Gleason
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:35 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

An honest attempt to create teenagers who might seem plausible to other teenagers. - Roger Ebert

- plus on the same bill -

Weird Science
1985, USA, 94 minutes
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0090305/
written and directed by John Hughes
starring Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey Jr., Suzanne Snyder
Fri: 9:30; Sat: 5:35 & 9:30, Watch The Trailer!