Amoeblog

Amoeba SF Chart with Luis, Frisco Legends Tour, Coolzey's Summer Series, Guru + more: Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Weekly Round Up: 04:30:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 30, 2010 10:20am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:30:10

Andre NIckatina
1) Andre Nickatina Khan! The Me Generation (I-Khan Dist)

2) B.o.B. presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray (Rebel Rock/Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

3) Cypress Hill Rise Up (Priority Records)

4) Little Brother LeftBack (Traffic)

5) Truthlive Patience (Interdependent Media)

Bonus pick of the week:
Sick Jacken Stray Bullets (Urban Kings Ent.)

Many thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for supplying the latest hip-hop top five chart, in both text and video formats, which also includes the Bonus pick of the week & featured vinyl releases (new & classic) at the Haight Street store. As Luis says in the video below, the recent Record Store Day (RSD) two Saturdays ago at Amoeba SF was off the hook, with records like the new Cypress Hill vinyl (RSD special release) and the Beastie Boys' "Mystery RSD" 12" attracting a lot of record collectors. "We sold out of all fifteen copies of that Beastie Boys record we had in like five minutes," Luis told me. As far as new releases on CD, the number one release this week is from longtime hometown artist Andre Nickatina, Khan! The Me Generation. Since arriving on the local rap scene back in 1993 with his debut The Real Jim Jones on In-A-Minute, back when he went by the moniker Dre Dog, Nickatina has not only been extremely prolific (systematically dropping an album on average of B.o.B.every other year), but more importantly he has remained consistently in-demand with the every fickle rap fan.

Continue reading...

This Week At The New Bev: Screwball Comedies, Terry Gilliam, Kathryn Bigelow, Grindhouse Film Festival & More!

Posted by phil blankenship, April 29, 2010 05:27pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

www.newbevcinema.com


Thursday April 29


The Children's Hour
1961, USA, 107 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054743/
dir. William Wyler, starring Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter, Veronica Cartwright
7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress Fay Bainter

Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.. beautifully complement each other. Hepburn's soft sensitivity, marvelous projection and emotional understatement result in a memorable portrayal. MacLaine's enactment is almost equally rich in depth and substance.
- Variety

Interview with Joshua Grannell about His Feature Film All About Evil!

Posted by Miss Ess, April 29, 2010 03:36pm | Post a Comment

The most exciting and anticipated film premiere in SF this year is very nearly upon us! [Now that it's happened, read a wrap up of all that took place right here!] Legendary San Francisco drag queen Peaches Christ's alter ego Joshua Grannell has written, directed and is starring in the new film All About Evil, which is having its grand debut as a part of the San Francisco International Film Festival at the fabulous Castro Theater this Saturday! The event will be marked with a star studded preshow, a la Peaches Christ's historic and completely over the top Midnight Masses.

The film stars Natasha Lyonne, Mink Stole, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Thomas Dekker, and some seriously scary twins. This is a blacker than black black comedy -- full of thrills and chills as well as major laughs. I've actually had the pleasure of seeing the film in its earlier state and can guarantee we have a crowd-pleasing hit on our hands! Joshua's particular brand of genius comes from his geniunely deep obsession with horror films coupled with an understanding of camp and comedy that only someone with years of drag experience can bring! And I love that the main character Deborah (Natasha Lyonne) goes from shy librarian to small movie theater owner to unstoppable, out for blood serial killer, all in the name of quality films! Wait'll you see how it all unfolds!

In addition to having a premiere here in SF, where the film was shot, Peaches and Joshua will be taking this show on the road! There will be a series of premieres around the country, starting in Austin, TX! And if you aren't lucky enough to be in the Bay Area or Austin, stay tuned to the Peaches Christ website for more date announcements.

Joshua took some time out of his increasingly busy schedule to chat with me a bit about his concept for the film, the surreal aspect of finally shooting a feature after being a film nut for so long, and his love for his home city, among other things. Please read on to find out All About Evil!



Miss Ess: How did you come up with the concept for this film?


Beatles 3000 Offers A Hilarious Fake Historical Look Back At The Fab Four -1000 Years From Now

Posted by Billyjam, April 29, 2010 12:08pm | Post a Comment


"It was twenty years ago today. Sgt Pepper taught the band to play," go the famous Fab Four lyrics, but the hilarious Beatles 3000 clip above, courtesy of Zoltarkill and www.scottgairdner.com, travels a thousand Beatles Simpsons Sgt Peppersyears forward into the imaginary future to examine "the legacy of John, Paul, Greg, and Scottie."  Starring Ryan Mitchell, Perry Smith, Scott Gairdner, Brian Lyman, and Nick Mundy, this inspired ensemble of witty satirists imagine how future anthropologists and historians might attempt to (but fall way short of) retelling the accurate history of a pop group called The Beatles.

In addition to getting the line-up incorrect (John Lennon, Paul McKenzie, Greg Hutchinson, and Scottie Pippen),   these imaginary history tellers in the year 3000 also
hilariously fudge facts about Beatles songs and album titles, crediting  "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Don't Stop Believin" to the Fab Four and naming their hit single "Ticket To Run" and one of their albums Sgt. Petsounds & The Spiders From Asia. (Sgt Pepper's has been parodied before many times including by The Simpsons, left). Beatles 3000 offers other numerous and hilarious Beatles history faux pas and the 3 & 3/4 minute clip (made back in November) is well worth viewing if you have not seen it already.

Androids & Robots

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 28, 2010 12:30pm | Post a Comment
The inner sleeve from my last post got me thinking about this collection of Robot and Android covers.
Enjoy!

Interview with Andy Noble of Kings Go Forth, Who Effortlessly Capture Retro Soul/Funk Vibe On Brand New CD

Posted by Billyjam, April 27, 2010 10:45am | Post a Comment
Kings Go Forth "One Day"

When you think of the typical retro RnB / soul revival type group, you tend to think of a well meaning musical ensemble who may earnestly attempt to recreate their favorite bygone musical era, but rarely match the sound and vibe of their soul heroes. Milwaukee's ten piece Kings Go Forth, who last Tuesday released their debut album The Outsiders Are Back on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, instantly break that stereotype. Their sound, as witnessed on this all-killer, no-filler 10 track album, is a Kings Go Forthrefreshing recreation of a 70's soul/funk vibe served up in an all new sound, pitch perfectly arranged, with crispy clean production, and infectious dance rhythms aplenty.

The group's name is drawn from the title of a 1958 Frank Sinatra/Tony Curtis film, and was founded six years ago by bassist Andy Noble and vocalist Black Wolf (a respected figure on the Milwaukee music scene since the 70's who was once part of The Essentials). The rest of the ensemble includes Dave Wake (keyboards), Dan Flynn (guitar), Jeremy Kuzniar (drums), Cecilio Negron Jr. (percussion), Jed Groser (trumpet), Dave Cusma (trombone), Dan Fernandez (vocals), and Matt Norberg (vocals & rhythm guitar).

(In which we consider Natalie Merchant.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 26, 2010 01:37pm | Post a Comment

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Natalie Merchant perform selections from her (eagerly awaited after seven years off devoted to raising her first child) album Leave Your Sleep, a concept album consisting of poems from predominantly Victorian children’s books adapted into songs by Merchant herself.

Wow. That was a long sentence.


This concert was made all the more intimate and aesthetic as it was housed in the somewhat small performance space at the Getty Center, making the entire experience one of those special moments when you love Los Angeles, because you’re enjoying something uniquely LA; like getting rear-ended by Tom Hanks or having Beverley D’Angelo bum a cigarette off you.

I can’t say I was a fan of 10,000 Maniacs, though I always respected them, and quite fancy their live album recorded for Mtv Unplugged. However, once Ms. Merchant went solo, I rallied and stood up to be counted.


It’s easy, in a popular culture so quickly and easily distracted by any shiny object dropped in its path, to undervalue Natalie Merchant’s musical contributions. As though a living embodiment of the very women (both historical and archetypal) she champions, her image brings to mind the brainy but dowdy girl in the library who might be pretty if she removed her glasses, set down that copy of Mrs. Dalloway and knocked back a couple shots of tequila. Who must her music be for, then, if not smart, lonely, college girls and melancholy gay men?


Well, we’re idiots if we think this, because Natalie Merchant is – and you can quote me on this – hot, motherf**in’ shit. Bringing a treasure trove of historical and literary references to her work becomes important when you consider how she deftly grounds this source-material in the (often mundane) experiences of our dumb hearts. Hers is not the realm of the Intelligentsia – you need never have written a thesis on the impact of the cholera epidemic on romantic literature in order for her songs to make you feel considered – even when these songs might be about said epidemic.

And let’s not forget – her tunes are catchy! Sure, they’re often backed by lush but sullen orchestrations or a down-tempo beat more appropriate for injecting heroin than conquering the disco, but after a few listens of any one song, chances are you’ll find yourself humming them hours afterwards.


I myself was surprised by how flirtatious, charismatic, playful and unselfconscious Ms. Merchant performed. She oftentimes literally escaped the limelight for exuberant strolls to the stage wings, or into the audience, or sometimes just to look at the screen projections that accompanied the songs, as though forgetting she was the star of the evening. In fact, her whole persona reminded me of a favorite schoolteacher – a substitute, perhaps – who wasn’t haggard by years of disappointing students, rather, was enthusiastic about the material she taught, to the point of sometimes seeming scatterbrained. Imagine what Einstein would have been like teaching a physics class, or taking a field trip to Greece with Isadora Duncan, or, if you don’t have an imagination, watch the rad movie Pennies From Heaven for Bernadette Peters’ performance as a lovable teacher...


...All these are examples of how Ms. Merchant’s performance struck me. This was not the dowdy girl from the library – this was the street-smart, Sicilian girl who stole your virginity when all you thought you were gonna do was share a lemon Coke.

If you get the chance to see her perform this tour, do yourself a favor and attend. Ms. Merchant is so effervescent and spontaneous that any night you choose to see her will undoubtedly be just as special as if you caught her at the Getty. Come ready to learn some details about poets you’ve probably never heard of, and stay for the encore where you’ll get to hear your favorite singles, and if Ms. Merchant invites the entire audience over to her house afterwards to watch All About Eve, as she did the night I went, for goodness sakes, go! Just be careful when the lemon Cokes start pouring…

Cats! As Told Through Album Covers...

Posted by Amoebite, April 26, 2010 12:58pm | Post a Comment
We here at Amoeba love more than music...we love animals too! Here's a collection of album covers featuring cats! You've seen some but maybe there's a delightful few you haven't seen!


Cats


1991 Interview with Gang Starr's DJ Premier and the Late Great Guru

Posted by Billyjam, April 26, 2010 09:44am | Post a Comment
Gang Starr
Exactly one week ago today Keith "Guru" Elam (aka G.U.R.U.) of legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr tragically died at the age 43, a month after the cancer-stricken emcee collapsed and went into a coma. His passing hit all hip-hop fans hard, including myself, since I have been a die-hard fan of Guru and his production partner, the ever talented DJ Premier, from day one and had had the honor of meeting and interviewing them several times over the years. Earlier today, after digging, I discovered one of these old interviews. It's from mid 1991, when the duo were out visiting the Bay Area for a show at the DNA (which was off the hook!) and visiting local retail and radio, including KALX, where I conducted the interview that follows below.

At this stage in their career the Brooklyn based (Boston formed) duo was riding high off the reception to their January 1991 released second album Step In The Arena. In hip-hop it was a time many when rap acts were jumping on the jazz fused musical tip, something that Gang Starr had pioneered -- melding jazzy grooves (rather than the standard James Brown and other funk breaks) into their hip-hop sound. In fact, it was Gang Starr's track "Jazz Music" off their 1989 debut album No More Mr Nice Guy (Wild Pitch) that caught the attention of director Spike Lee, resulting in his inviting Gang Starr to contribute "Jazz Thing" (with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and featuring Kenny Kirkland and Robert Hurst) to the soundtrack of Lee's 1990 film Mo' Better Blues starring Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L Jackson, and Lee himself.

Honky-Tonk Angels: Martyrs (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, April 25, 2010 10:24pm | Post a Comment
 

 
I wanted to interpret a hymn to the triumph of the soul over life. What streams out to the possibly moved spectator in strange close-ups is not accidentally chosen. All these pictures express the character of the person they show and the spirit of that time. In order to give the truth, I dispensed with “beautification.” [...] 

Rudolf Maté, who manned the camera, understood the demands of psychological drama in the close-ups and he gave me what I wanted, my feeling and my thought: realized mysticism. But in Falconetti, who plays Joan, I found what I might, with very bold expression, allow myself to call “the martyr’s reincarnation.”
-- Carl Th. Dreyer on The Passion of Joan of Arc 

Torture is not the point of Martyrs. The film deals with human pain, the meaning of it, which is something completely different.
-- writer-director Pascal Laugier

My attraction to repulsion occasionally yields a transgressive masterpiece, but, more often than not, it's just proof of a strong emotive fortitude combined with some twisted prurience that I never grew out of -- that is, a willingness to endure aesthetic defilement. Despite all the highfalutin cant that's been written about it, I doubt sublimity is the prime selling point for Un Chien Andalou. But I'm with the Marquis de Sade in that art has no obligation to depict virtues. Morality enters into our relation with the art, however reprehensible it might be. The intrinsic morality of the art is but one side of the dialog. It is for this simple reason that I don't support obscenity laws of any sort. The desideratum of Nekromantik needs no more of a defense for its existence than Jennifer Aniston's current love interest. So, with that in mind, I caught up with some of the fairly recent horror films coming out of France; to see what, if anything, they say to me. First up is Martyrs, easily the nastiest of the bunch, so it's only uphill from here.
 
   

spoiler alert!

I missed all the controversy surrounding Laugier's film after its premiere at Cannes in 2008. It was the discovery of an import blu-ray with its promise of complete depravity that lured me in last week. The film is divided into two parts, each with its own rusty moral message nailed through the viewer's palms. If you've seen Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses, the bifurcated structure is similar, just without any intention of entertainment. The first half is basically a rape-revenge story, only without the sexualized sort of rape. It's the more realistic part of the tale. The second half is pure sci-fi phantasmagoria that creatively borrows from both 2001 and The Passion of Joan of Arc. It's in this segment that Laguier defines what he means by martyr (in nauseating, physical detail):
 
For me, the martyr represents the one who, having no other choice but to suffer, manages to do something with this pain. Of course it’s an extreme projection, entirely disenchanted, of what I was telling you about today’s world. Since we don’t believe in anything, since the world is increasingly divided between winners and losers, what is left to the losers but to do something with their pain? Deep down, it’s what the film is about.
 
In the same interview, he claims melancholia as his goal (that is, the realization of spiritual malaise), but it's more like watching the butchering of the tortoise in Cannibal Holocaust extended to an hour and half. If he shares with Dreyer's Joan the dominance of the spirit over the body and material existence, it's only as what's left when spiritual fatigue finally gives out. Ultimately, it's Martyrs' vile fantasy that undermines any moral critique Laguier is attempting (although, this analysis over at M-L-M Mayhem offers a perceptive and forceful defense of the film that's well worth your time). One gentle soul has compiled all the film's bloodiest moments in high definition for the commonweal.

Wasting no time, the film opens with a young Lucie, bloody and beaten, limping away from a dilapidated warehouse (looking like a Vietnamese girl who's caught the tail-end of a napalm attack). She goes on to live in an orphanage where she meets her BFF, Anna. Haunted by one of those mangled apparitions from J-horror, Lucie regularly cuts herself over the guilt of not having rescued a fellow hostage during her escape. Despite all the torture she endured, Lucie won't confide in the authorities, only Anna. The reason for her silence is made clear when the film cuts to 15 years later. 


In a nice, upper-middle class home on the outskirts of some town, we see a loving family of four preparing to eat breakfast. After about 5 minutes of suburban bliss, there comes a knock on the door. Dad answers, and receives 12 gauges through the chest. Lucie begins her revenge. Next goes mom, then the son sitting behind a cereal bowl, and finally the daughter takes one in the back. Anna arrives to help clean up, but begins to question her friend's sanity upon seeing the dead children (who weren't even born at the time of Lucie's entrapment). When Anna tries to help the barely alive mother escape, Lucie finishes the job and then kills herself. (This description doesn't even come close to conveying how grueling this segment is. I remember looking at the timer thinking, "holy shit! -- only 55 minutes have passed.") Then the real fun begins. Anna discovers a high-tech torture chamber underneath the house, adorned with illuminated pictures of real-life torture subjects, where she finds the living remains of a current victim.

Clearly, Laugier is suggesting the way civilized, bourgeois society rests on the repression of violence, that it's defined by what it leaves unsaid and unnamed (much like what I discussed more extensively regarding The Dark Knight). The problem here is with the explicitness and concreteness of the metaphor. The parents are quite directly the torturers. There is no actual repression, which effectively lets the real world bourgeois counterparts off the hook by claiming that they do not torture little girls, these parents are nothing like me. (This is, by the way, exactly the reasoning Roland Barthes used in criticizing Pier Pasolini's Salò "I am really not like them [the debauched libertines], I am not a fascist, since I do not like shit.") Only in Anna's slaying the children does the film ask the significant question of what defines 'innocence' and 'responsibility' in a terrorist act. JMP (from the aforementioned  M-L-M Mayhem) has it right, at least regarding the writer-director's intent:
 
The inclusion of victims who are quite probably unaware and individually not responsible for the violence inflicted upon their murderer, however, is important in that it removes the symbolic act of violence from a simplistic moral interpretation concerned only with the act.  What is important, for Laugier, is the context of violence and these children, regardless of their possible ignorance and uninvolvement in the violence inflicted on Lucie, are part of that context. 

That is, much like all of our so-called collateral damage, the childrens' death is the result of playing by the rules of the game. But, again, this is the game being explicitly played by the parents, not something like stocks rising in value on the back of Third World oppression. The metaphor's concreteness means only what one is prepared to bring to it. If the children didn't participate in the torture (and, as far as we know, they did not), they're not responsible, since nothing about their life is, in fact, shown to be based on that act, directly or indirectly. There is no real transgressive potential here, just the nausea of violent spectacle. The target of the critique is let off the meathook.


More problematic is the second half, with its exploration (exploitation) of what torture, pain and suffering mean. While trying to rescue the victim, Anna is caught by a secret organization under the leadership of the Mademoiselle, whose raison d'être is to recreate the sublime visage of true martyrdom in order to discover the secrets of the afterlife. For the next fifteen or so minutes (days and days in diegetic time), Anna is forced to eat what looks like puke and is methodically and repeatedly punched in the face. When she finally gives up any hope of escaping by retreating into herself, she's readied for martyrdom by having all her skin stripped off, save for the bruised visage you can see above. In The Passion of Joan of Arc, Dreyer gives pain significance through Joan's sacrifice for a cause. She fought under God's supervision (at least, so she believed) to restore proper rule to France. Pain and an eventual death are what she paid for her decision to belong to a cause. Contrariwise, Laugier's Anna endures pain solely as the result of another's decision. That's not martyrdom, just torture. Suffering here is akin to how it was used by Mother Teresa

This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor. MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.
-- Christopher HItchens, "Mommie Dearest"

Hanging by her arms and with the dead-eyed stare of the martyr, Anna whispers whatever metaphysical secret she's discovered to the Mademoiselle. The latter is then supposed to reveal this truth to the party being held for the occasion. Instead, she puts a gun in her mouth and pulls the trigger, following a brief exchange with one of the organization's members (borrowed from here). The man asked her if the message was clear and accurate: "Crystal clear, and so accurate that once heard you instantly realise it can be no other way.  What do you think comes after death?" He replied that he doesn't know. "Keep doubting."


Laugier, through an intertitle, goes back to the Greek (via Latin) 'martur' to define 'martyr' as a 'witness,' suggesting the victim-protagonist is a stand-in for all the indigent and powerless people of the world who are made sideline casualties in a hegemonic pursuit for an abstract, totalizing idea. (The actress playing Anna, Morjana Alaoui, is French Moroccan;  Myène Jampanoï, Lucie, has a Chinese father.) They are the true witnesses to what these ideas actually cost and mean, the meat of the matter. This interpretation is central to JMP's defense. Accordingly, Martyrs might be seen as a radical laicization of Saint Joan's martyrdom, a way of showing how this poor, illiterate woman was used by competing state apparatuses for control (heretic vs. martyr) -- transcendence having nothing to do with it, except as an illusory justification for the pain (willingly accepted). In fact, the Mademoiselle herself is dismissive of religion when explaining her agenda to Anna.

There is, however, a major problem with that interpretation. The film conveys, through a brief Kubrickian mindscape trip into Anna's eye, a transcendence from the body just as she fully gives up on her material constraints. This, despite claims to the contrary, provides catharsis to all the bloodletting that's come before and serves to justify it much in the same way for which Hitchens criticizes Mother Teresa's use of the Third World. It certainly complicates, if not outright contradicts, the possible interpretation that the reason Mademoiselle commits suicide is due to the ultimate meaninglessness of her lifelong pursuit, that all it adds up to is torture. Instead, having found the Truth, it's too much for her to handle, and in order to exert one last bid for control, seals it off from others. They'll have to go back to the drawing board. This seems to be consistent with Laugier's quote above, that a "martyr  represents the one who, having no other choice but to suffer, manages to do something with this pain."  So what about the other "witness" here, the audience? His film isn't aimed at those suffering, but at us who live in comfortable societies sustained by such repressed suffering, with enough time and inclination to sit through imaginary violence. Thus, Anna's transcendence serves as justification, an intellectual excuse, for watching all this misery-as-spectacle. The monotonous butchery says something "important." But anything important it has to say is already determined by the abstract ideas each viewer brings to the challenge (can I endure this? can I justify my willingness to endure this?). Nothing is transgressed, the social dividing lines we believe in aren't restructured. Which just means that I can sit through some really depressing shit.

   

A friend told me that he couldn't get the import blu-ray to play (I couldn't get any of the extras to work), so you might want to go with the domestic DVD.

April 25, 2010: Kick-Ass

Posted by phil blankenship, April 25, 2010 07:49pm | Post a Comment



Nothing Mean About These Reds: GWAR meets Joan Rivers!

Posted by Kells, April 25, 2010 01:54am | Post a Comment


GWAR
or Joan Rivers, at the moment I don't know who I love more. GWAR has always been near and dear to my heart as hometown RVA homeboys, familial connections notwithstanding, and as general criminal art-students against society, popularizing songs with lyrics like "this is your ass/ and I'm in it" and proliferating blood-stained concert tees as "you had to be there" tour souvenirs (including, ladies, your white undergarments which will forever be a faded shade of pinkish-red a.k.a. your "GWAR bra"). Like the fiercest of Drag Queens wielding a gaudy bauble of accessories, milady Joan Rivers, on the other hand, never fails to hypnotize me with her keen wit, fathomless fashion sense, talk show know-how and Dot Matrix/lady-robot realness in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs; I'm pretty sure I've loved her my whole life. But what happens when Gwar meets Joan Rivers? The answer is: everyone wins! Don't you just love that she thanks God for GWAR's Scumdogs of the Universe CD release and that she dressed from head to panty-hosed toe in rich reds. This is how I prefer to spend my Sundays, ya'll. Check it out:

Xasthur and Marissa Nadler Collaborate On Genre Bending New Album

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 23, 2010 08:00pm | Post a Comment

Fresh in the racks at Amoeba Music Hollywood just today is the wonderfully bleak and dissonant Portal of Sorrow (via Disharmonic Variations), a truly collaborative effort by the one-man depressive black metal band Xasthur and ethereal folkie Marissa Nadler. Scott Conner, aka Malefic, the man behind Xasthur, recently announced that this would be the absolute final release under the Xasthur banner. Oh! And what a glorious end it is! Upon first spin, Portal is easily recognizable as the best of Conner’s last few releases and will likely hold up as one of the touchstones in the Xasthur discography and beyond -- wherever Conner decides to go next.

The album announces its individuality in the Xasthur catalog with acoustic guitars that swirl around a plodding dirge enveloped by the ghostly purrs of Nadler. Eventually this lovely and melancholic breath is absconded away by the brief shattering sounds of glass and horror-film -orchestra stabs that leads into the cascade of bizarrely mixed buzzsaw guitar, Deathrock-like bass warbles and clattering cardboard box drums of the second track, “Broken Glass Christening.” The song is then shortstopped by an ominous piano, Malefic’s anguished shrieks and further apparitional lacing from Nadler. For all the album’s sorrowful moments, there are flashes in half-light, like the lovely “Mourning Tomorrow,” which infiltrates the album’s tracklist like a Folk-Noir Cocteau Twins. The LP lacks any monotonous riffing or repetition usually found in the gloomier end of the Black Metal genre, and aside from the above mentioned instrumentation, incorporates synthesizer and organ which supply some very dreamy yet crestfallen ambiance.

If Portal of Sorrow is anything to go on, Marissa Nadler fans may have quite the unexpected album on their hands when the chanteuse releases her next solo LP, which is currently in the works. While Portal is Conner’s affair in composition, the album’s dim light shines from the scary corners of both musicians' minds and hopefully has opened up a new world, not just for Malefic but Marissa as well. The album maybe controversial among the narrowly-focused “trueheads” of grim Black Metal but no one really cares what they with such limited palates think anyway. Their loss, our win.

Conner has stated he has every intention of writing, recording and releasing music again, though he refuses to identify what it will be like other than of an equally dark tone. Portal of Sorrow, in the end, is both a death knell for Xasthur/Malefic and a herald of rebirth for Scott Conner. Xasthur is Dead, Long Live Xasthur!

Listen: "Karma/Death" from Portal of Sorrow

Amoeba Music Hollywood has quantity of Portal of Sorrow as well as many Xasthur catalog titles. Be sure to also check out Marrisa Nadler’s many gems in the folk section! Portal of Sorrow will also be available on vinyl via Hydra Head later in the year.

Donatella Rettore's Magnifico Delrio

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 23, 2010 03:10pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hollywood buyer extraordinaire Scott Spaulding yanked this gem out of a rather uninteresting collection. It's one of the more amazing packaging gimmicks I've seen in a while -- the cage which holds back the she-beast is a separate molded plastic overlay. Her shimmering eyes are a nice touch and the hot wired love-robot inner sleeve is quite striking as well. It seems that Ms. Rettore is still a popular singer in Italy and at her peak rivaled Mina in popularity. Sadly, the music on this LP comes off pretty flacid when compared to the packaging. Below is a video for the album's hit single "Kobra."





This Week at the New Beverly: Gone With The Wind, Jules Dassin, Billy Wilder, William Wyler, John Schlesinger, Lloyd Kaufman & MORE!

Posted by phil blankenship, April 23, 2010 12:19pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly


Friday & Saturday April 23 & 24

Never on Sunday
1960, Greece / USA, 97 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054198/
written & directed by Jules Dassin
starring Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin, Giorgos Foundas, Titos Vandis, Mitsos Ligizos, Despo Diamantidou
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 2:40 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Academy Award Winner For Best Song plus Nominated for Four Other Oscars including Best Actress & Best Director

Remains Mercouri's quintessential performance. It's not a performance; it's an apotheosis. One of the most popular films of the 1960s. Enormously influential...Its title song was heard around the world. Greece became a magnet for the world's tourists.
- Terrence McNally, The New York Times

Beasties' RSD Mystery Single, Guru's Controversial Deathbed Letter, DJ Vlad vs Rick Ross, DMC NOLA, DJ Junebug Movie, League510, Little Brother Say Farewell + More: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up 04:23:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 23, 2010 07:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:23:10

Murs & 9th Wonder
1) Murs & 9th Wonder Fornever (SMC Recordings)

2) The Beastie Boys RSD Mystery (Capitol Throw)

3) Meth, Ghost, Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)

4) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

5) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

So successful was Record Store Day at Amoeba last weekend that one of the releases only sold on that day (last Saturday) made it to number two on the latest Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Chart. As reported by Amoebite Daniel Tures in his recent Record Store Day Mania at Amoeba Hollywood Amoeblog, "hip bands and artists from the Flaming Lips to the Beastie Boys released exclusive, limited-edition vinyl items available at independent record stores only, which were the subject of an intense shopping free-for-all that looked like a pro wrestling cage match grand slam." Many of these records were 7" releases. The Beasties were one of the few 12" and there were reportedly only a 1000 copies pressed up with indie stores all over each getting their limited share to sell. And even though the contents of the Beastie's sealed twelve inch, appropriately titled RSD Mystery, were indeed a mystery (Capitol Records, who pressed it up, promised that it contained Spinderella Amoeba Hollywood"two unreleased" tracks wrapped in a white jacket with only the Beasties logo on it), fans fiended for them nonetheless. In fact, they snapped them up in record time (pun intended) for their collections.

Earth Day at 40: As Individuals Become More Conscious of Their Environment, Corporations Appropriate the G Word

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2010 06:30am | Post a Comment
Greenzo, 30 Rock
Today, April 22nd, Earth Day 2010, is the fortieth year of celebrating Earth Day! And looking back over those 40 years it is clear that things have changed a lot in our collective consciousness as well as in our behavioral patterns towards the good of our planet, including our awareness of the seriousness of climate change.

Today it is clear that a greater percentage of the population is much more aware than back on the first Earth Day in 1970, of such things as the importance of composting, or methodically recycling their garbage including E-waste, and truly thinking "green." In fact, awareness of that word "green" (the G word, if you will) is among the key things that have changed over the years -- both for better and for worse. Despite all of the well-meaning folks' adaptation of the term "green," the G word has simultaneously become a buzz word for big business to borrow. At its worst the G word has morphed into one of those hollow words that profit-driven corporations love to market as they loudly throw it on leaflets, wastefully printed up by the hundreds of thousands to inform us of just how "green" and "eco-friendly" they are.

I always think of that hilarious episode of 30 Rock starring David Schwimmer as the NBC Earth Day 2010environmentally-friendly mascot Greenzo used by the GE owned NBC to make the most money off of what they see as "the whole green trend." Of course, in true 30 Rock comedic tradition, the project backfires when Greenzo, with new-found popularity gone to his head, insists that he really believes in the meaning of "green." Furthermore, the real joke behind this 30 Rock episode is that Tina Fey and company concocted it in a slightly subversive reaction to the real-life NBC's week long green-themed programming, which the company, at the time three years ago, toted as "aimed at entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives."

Record Store Day Mania at Amoeba Hollywood!!!

Posted by Amoebite, April 21, 2010 06:15pm | Post a Comment
amoeba hollywood record store day 2010

By Daniel Tures

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Claremont, the City of Trees and PhDs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 20, 2010 07:13pm | Post a Comment
This blog entry is about the city of Claremont. To vote for coverage of other Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


Claremont City Hall

INTRO

Claremont is the poshest of the three cities in the Los Angeles end of th Pomona Valley. It's bordered by La Verne to the west, Pomona to the southwest, Montclair to the southeast, Upland to the east and the Angeles National Forest to the north. My opinion of Claremont's poshness is almost entirely based on knowing someone from nearby Ontario who claimed to be from Claremont.

On Friday, I traveled in the CARDIS to La Verne to pick up Paul Vasquez (aka DJ Stingray – formerly DJ Superstar), who’s also an authority on, among many sci-fi things, the culture of Claremont.

GETTING TO AND AROUND CLAREMONT

If you don't have access to the CARDIS, the most pleasant way  to get to Claremont is via the Metrolink's San Bernardino Line, which has stops in the middle of everything at the Claremont Metrolink Station. Claremont is also served by the very nice Foothill Transit lines 187, 197, 480, 492, 699, and 855. People over 60 and anyone disabled can take Dial-a-Ride.  Pomona Valley Transportation Authority (PVTA), serves Claremont, La Verne, Pomona and San Dimas. Finally, groups of over six Claremontians can take Group Van Service.



Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Claremont


Claremont is situated near the former Tongva village of  Torojoatngna.


John R. Rodman Arboretum

PARKS

Due to its fairly green nature and the existence of seven colleges and universities, Claremont has the nickname "City of Trees and PhDs." As a matter of fact, the National Arbor Day Association has honored Claremont as a Tree City USA for the past nineteen years. We tried to visit the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden but a rather snippy harpy squawked at usaggressively. We merely asked if she’d mind us checking out the park (since it was still open according to the posted hours) and she shrieked nastily, “As a matter of fact I do!”

Luckily, there are fifteen other parks in the city where the staff have to be less unpleasant. We decided to check out some of the others. There proved to be no beasts guarding the smaller but welcoming John R. Rodman Arboretum.

Claremont Hills Wilderness Park

The Towers (with teens in the grass)   


                       The things they carried

Paul piloted his Saturn to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. The area known as “The Towers,” Paul informed me, is a popular place for teens to drink beer. Indeed, we did find evidence of both teens and several empty cans of a beverage billed as "high gravity lager." Memorial Park plays host in the spring to the Claremont Folk Music Festival and, in the summer, the Claremont Monday Night Concert Series. Also worth a mention -- but held in a park, is April's Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival.


The Village

CHARACTER

Claremont's population today is roughly 64% white, 16% Latino (mostly Mexican) and 12% Asian (mostly Taiwanese), and 5% black. German-Americans and English-Americans are the largest ethnicities.

During our visit Claremont proved to be very quiet, as green as its reputation promises and full of spring blooms. Claremont is mostly residential and centered around a shopping area known as “the Village.” In the last few years, the formerly industrial area to the west of the village has been rezoned for commercial use and branded “Village West” (aka the “Village Expansion”). There are also many shops in the Claremont Inn Complex, attached to the Old School House.


The Press

EATS

Some of the noted Claremont eateries include Some Crust Bakery, BC Cafe Kick Back Jack's, Inka Trails, Pollos Kikiryki, Patty's Mexican Foods, Viva Madrid, The Back Abbey, La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana, Saca's Mediterranean Cuisine, Bua Thai Cuisine and Walter's Restaurant. A chance encounter with KSPC’s fetching DeeJay Dia (host of Songs for the Whippersnapper Show ) resulted in her giving us a heads up about a relatively new joint, Ali Baba… but we returned from whence we started (for symmetry’s sake) to the Press to conclude our exploration as we’d begun, over some drinks at a venue known for its live music, often featuring local acts like AzBuka and the Baldy Mountain Jazz Band.

MUSIC


Ben Harper is a widely recognized native and his grandparents founded the Folk Music Center in 1958.


Before Rhino became a re-issue label, it was a record store and it was at the Claremont location that I bought the best of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds on VHS about a decade ago.


                                Outside KSPC                                                                  Happy Hollows setting up

There’s also the radio station KSPC (88.7), which I can sometimes hear thirty or so miles away. Frank Zappa and the Dust Brothers both had a shows there at one time, as did DJ Superstar. When Paul and I popped in, we ran into Steven Hertz, host of the Videogame Music Show. We crashed the studio to find Happy Hollows setting up for a live performance to precede their gig at No-Chella.


Whilst there, Paul showed me Bridges Auditorium (aka Big Bridges) … and Little Bridges, where he once walked out of a Cat Power show -- something that I can relate to.


THEATER, FILM & TV

Nestled in the the foothills is the Padua Hills Theatre, which was built back in the 1920s. Several films have been shot either in part or in whole in Claremont, including Teenwolf Too, Son of Flubber, Real Genius, Over the Top, The Fear, Dave, Beaches, The Absent Minded Professor, Gilmore Girls and the first shot in the opening credits of The Facts of Life.


Claremont is currently home to just one movie theater, Laemmle's Claremont 5. Though a multiplex, the Laemmle's chain show a good selection of first-run, independent and foreign films. The Claremont 5 opened on the location of an abandoned citrus packing plant.

Claremont was formerly home the 540-seat, single screen Village Theatre. It was by Sumner Spaulding, who also designed Harold Lloyd's Green Acres and the Avalon Theatre in Avalon. It opened in 1939 but I have no information as to when it closed.


CLAREMONT ORGANIZATIONS

For the history and preservation-minded, Claremont Heritage is an excellent organization. There almost have to be more bookstores in Claremont that I'm not aware of. All that I know of are Huntley Bookstore and The Claremont Forum. The latter is a non-profit organization and not just a bookstore although it seems to be one of the most well-reviewed bookshops in the city.

FURTHER READING AND VIEWING

If you'd like to read more about Claremont, there is Wayne L. McElreavy's Claremont (2012) -- part of the Images of America series. For viewing, Visiting...With Huell Howser episode #1511, "Citrus Packing House," delved more deeply into the culture and history of Claremont than the title might suggest.



*****


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

Amoeba Berkeley Has Its Biggest Record Store Day Yet!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 20, 2010 04:48pm | Post a Comment
Words by Spenser Russell-Snyder
Photos by Ryan Stark and Dina Ruedel

Before opening this fine Spring morning, at least 100 rabid record collectors had lined up in front of Amoeba Music in Berkeley to take part in Record Store Day 2010! When we opened our doors, the crowd immediately filed down our "Broadway" display aisle, where they grabbed as many of the exclusive releases for the day as they could.

amoeba berkeley record store day 2010

Some of the hot sellers were the Flaming Lips performing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on colored LP, a Fela Kuti 10-inch, a Rolling Stones 7-inch, and a special box set of John Lennon 7-inch singles. Having been in charge of setting up the display both last year and this year, I noticed that there were almost double the amount of releases this year than last year, and the crowd was easily double from last year as well.

amoeba berkeley record store day 2010

amoeba berkeley record store day 2010

I could go on for ages about all the awesome releases that sold out within the first hour (Elvis Presley, Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, and Soundgarden reissues, among them), but here at Amoeba Berkeley, Record Store Day wasn't only about the releases. We also had some great DJ's all day long! Starting out the day was Amoeba's own Kyle, who spun garage and punk rock for an hour.

Ecstatic Peace Library Launches...

Posted by Amoebite, April 20, 2010 03:11pm | Post a Comment
Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore has officially launched his print label, Ecstatic Peace Library. Initial releases include new work from Yoko Ono, Raymond Pettibon, Kim Gordon and more! We're looking forward to future offerings this imprint may bring.

Die Antwoord Does Amoeba Hollywood...

Posted by Amoebite, April 20, 2010 01:48pm | Post a Comment
What's In My Bag w/ Die Antwoord coming soon. Here are some iPhone snaps for now...

Die Antwoord Amoeba

Die Antwoord Yolandi Amoeba

Die Antwoord Amoeba

Die Antwoord Amoeba



Amoeba San Francisco's Record Store Day - Rock Around the Clock!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 20, 2010 11:13am | Post a Comment
Whew! We're still recovering from a very successful and exhausting Record Store Day 2010 here at Amoeba San Francisco!

record store day san francisco amoeba 2010

The day started off with a bang right at 10:30, with throngs of customers who had been lined up outside anxiously busting through the doors and rushing to find the special RSD treats. Within minutes there were hundreds of frenzied, music-seeking people flooding into the store!

amoeba san francisco record store day 2010

amoeba san francisco record store day 2010

The first items to go this year were the Beastie Boys' Mystery White Label, Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs Box Set, Wilco's Kicking Television Live in Chicago and The Hold Steady's Heaven is Wherever LP. The quick-moving line wrapped around the rock vinyl section, with happy customers eagerly chattering about their scores. On their way out the door, they received free goodie bags full of swag as a thank you!

amoeba san francisco record store day 2010

amoeba san francisco record store day 2010

The morning flew by and before we knew it, Charlotte Gainsbourg was stepping into the store, looking fresh and fashion forward in her goat fur lined coat and perfectly weathered brown boots, ready for her signing. The fans were already lined up, anxiously awaiting their turn to speak to rock/fashion/film royalty. She walked out to strains of Blonde on Blonde; along with Dylan, for her signing, Charlotte had requested we play Dark Side of the Moon and The White Album, all together three of the more popular rock records in the canon. We got the chance to interview Miss Charlotte post-signing for an upcoming website feature, and throughout the interview she was calm and even, despite the frenzy downstairs on our floor.

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Glendale, the City of Perpetual Harvest

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 20, 2010 10:14am | Post a Comment


This entry is about the Los Angeles County community of Glendale. To vote for other Los Angeles County communities to be covered here on the blog, click here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

A few days ago, accompanied by frequent traveling companion "Steve Shimbles..." the CARDIS transported us to The City of Perpetual Harvest.

Hip-Hop Icon Guru Dead At Age 43. Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal, Rest In Peace

Posted by Billyjam, April 20, 2010 10:13am | Post a Comment
Gang Starr "Mass Appeal"

Yesterday  hip-hop icon Keith Elam, aka the emcee Guru, died at age 43 reportedly succumbing to cancer following a heart attack last month. GGang Starruru, whose name stood for Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal, will always be remembered for having been one half (the emcee part) of legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr along with DJ Premier. Together this emcee and this producer created some of the finest, most memorable hip-hop during the genre's golden era. And despite all of the work over the years Guru did apart from Premier, including the ambitious Jazzmatazz series with Branford Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ronny Jordan, it is the Gang Starr recordings that will forever remain in hip-hop consciousness.

Proof of the power and influence of Gang Starr's music lies in the sheer volume of later hip-hop songs that have sampled or paraphrased Guru's words. Over the years and up to this day Gang Starr song titles and Guru lyrics such as the classic "Just To Get A Rep" or "Mass Appeal" (video above) continue to lend themselves to club night names and mixtape titles. Expect to hear a lot of Gang Starr, songs like "Code of the Streets" (below), on the radio for the next week. Rest in peace, Guru.

(In which Job does the least he can do.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 19, 2010 09:34pm | Post a Comment
I have a tummy ache. Do you think it’s the weather? The volcano? Or maybe that I decided to conclude my late lunch with a third of a pack of butterscotch chips?


Even the word “butterscotch” is delicious to me. Having a crush on both butter and scotch helps. But take it from me: there’s more to making this delicious concoction than merely mixing butter and scotch together. I learned the hard way.

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you found this blog entry both educational and entertaining. Bye!


…I’ve just been informed that the above paragraphs weren’t enough to qualify as proper Amoeblog entry. Apparently my editors think that, so long as they’re paying me to write a blog about media and art, that there should be more to an entry than a quick cautionary tale about mixing dairy and booze. I’d tell them to lump it, but I really need the money to buy butterscotch with.

Well, as a music addict, pretty much any subject can lead to tunery. For instance, after writing the word “butter” five times in this entry, I now have a song stuck in my head by 1980’s act Martika, perhaps more famous for not being Madonna than anything else. Most of us know her one-hit wonder single "Toy Soldiers," but the song that’s playing in the jukebox in my brain is…

Okay, before I tell you, let me explain: This is one of those songs it’s so easy to mis-hear. You know the type: a song who’s lyrics are obscured or sung in such a way that it allows you to sing the wrong words, sometimes for years. In the case of the following song, I always hear her singing about butter. And honestly, maybe because I’m not what you could call a Martika fan, I think this song is improved if you think she’s singing about butter.

“Like butter! How could I do without you?” the chorus goes.

So listen now, and imagine that that’s what it’s all about…


And now, because Martika always makes me think about Madonna, I can’t help but mention my tampering with her song "La Isla Bonita," a ditty I’ve always hated, except for the dumb thrill I get in singing along with it incorrectly. According to me, the opening line of the song is:

“Last night I dreamt of some bagels…”

This is followed not long after (as the sun rises in the video) by:

“Young girl with eyes like potatoes…”

Madonna doesn’t want me to post her videos on the Amoeblog. She’s held a grudge on me ever since I used her roite bindele to floss my teeth. DENTAL HYGIENE IS IMPORTANT, MRS. CICCONE! Anyway, you can still see the video by clicking on this rather wordy link I have constructed right here where you’re currently looking with your eyes.


L'Chaim!

I wonder – have I written enough yet? I feel like I’ve covered a lot of important territory, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with information. It’s important to know your threshold for new data.
[10 minutes later]

I just went to ask my boyfriend what I should blog about. First, he suggested I talk about flagellum.



Flagellum. Really. Well, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m willing to bet you want to hear about flagellum about as much as I know about it. Which is not at all. What an unhelpful boyfriend!

His second suggestion was that I post a photo of our new kitten, Maybe. I told him I didn’t think the Amoeblog was an appropriate venue for posting pictures of pets; that’s the sort of thing one does on Facebook so your boring friends get the chance to give you a “thumbs up” and feel like they’ve stayed in touch. But he got insistent!

“Post a picture of her and then add some songs about kitties!” he squealed. And for a moment, blogging about flagellum didn’t seem like such a bad idea, after all.

But because I love him and because this entry is kind of hackneyed anyway, here you go, Earthlings…


This is Maybe. She looks cute but she laughs at racist jokes and leaves the toilet seat up. Just sayin'.

























I’m pretty sure all this qualifies me for a least enough paycheck to buy more butterscotch. Here’s hopin’.

The Oppression of Armond White, Film Critic

Posted by Charles Reece, April 18, 2010 11:08pm | Post a Comment
  

Critic Armond White used to regularly irritate me with his movie reviews over at the New York Press when I read them. I often agreed with his views on the ideological underpinnings of Hollywood, but rarely for the reasons he gave. I'm of the opinion that it's better to be wrong for the right reasons than vice versa. He could always be counted on to take the inverse reaction to the majority of high-toned critics writing for film magazines and weeklies, not because they were wrong (they often are), but more, I suspect, because his inflamed rhetoric to the contrary got him noticed. It's hardly a coincidence that he should write for the Press, the city weekly equivalent of talk radio. While no right-winger, he shares with that group a reactionary take on culture. And not unrelated, his critical M.O. is similar to Pauline Kael's: puncture the pretentious bubbles of critical elite, take down their sacred cows. Her bête noire was the doleful European art cinema (e.g., Ingmar Bergman), whereas his is the current misanthropic American indy film (e.g., Noah Baumbach, to whom we'll be returning shortly). From there, the Paulette "bravely" defends a commercial filmmaker who's been slighted by said elite. Following the titular hero of Dawson's Creek, White's pet project has been Steven Spielberg.  

Take for example his positive critiques of the director's two releases from 2002, Catch Me If You Can:

Telling the true story of Frank W. Abagnale Jr. [Leonardo DiCaprio], a con artist who switched identities, posed as an airline copilot, doctor, lawyer and cashed millions of dollars in bogus checks before he was 21 years old, Spielberg locates the American myth of ceaseless ambition in the neurosis of a boy attempting to emulate, please and avenge his father. [...]

In the nauseatingly hip Blow, a drug dealer chased the American dream hypocritically, narcissistically. It was impossible to enjoy or learn from that movie because of its dishonesty–pandering to the youth audience while pretending rebel, entrepreneurial cred. Abagnale’s habit of collecting labels torn off product containers (Dad’s Root Beer, Spam, Gallo, etc.) more credibly illustrates capitalism’s effect on youth–the influence a consumer culture has on one’s developing identity. In Catch Me If You Can, Abagnale’s elusiveness derives from this product- and media-oriented lack of emotional connection.  [...]

Catch Me If You Can has a grave, dark undercurrent despite its surface pastels–the pinks, blues, greens, yellows, sunshine. This vision of the life Americans once idealized also measures the distance we’ve gotten away from it. Lazy film-watching and dishonest filmmaking won’t do. Catch Spielberg, if you can.

And Minority Report:

Minority Report’s arcane title is subtly critical; it refers to a singular–possibly exculpating–crime report that’s been suppressed because it disrupts the standard, politically convenient view. (Spielberg implies that corrupt, fallible police procedure is an inevitable social threat.) Anderton [Tom Cruise]’s pursuit of this typically ignored–misfiled–truth makes Minority Report a socially significant, moral mystery–an extraordinary moral inquiry–rather than a film noir in the classic sense. The movie is way ahead of cliche cop dramas (and news reports) that exploit urban chaos by reducing it to racial antagonisms. Class tensions are still observable in the shocking difference shown between the exurban lives of moneyed citizens and cramped city-dwellers. But more than noir, this is poli-sci-fi–the first movie since Godard’s Alphaville to truly connect moral fiction with political science. [...]

Like da Vinci’s study of the body, Spielberg graphs the body politic through Anderton’s behavior–a reflection of morality, law and cinema esthetics. It’s a rare achievement because these days a moral movie is a minority report.

I picked these two examples because they prompted the only bitchy letter I've ever written in response to a film critic:

The only problem I see in Armond White’s attempt to recreate a New Wave for our commodified age is that he’s no Truffaut and Spielberg’s even less of a Hitchcock. Spielberg’s like a one-man Disney, reducing every story ever told to one: the relationship between a boy and his parents. That’s not where his virtues lie, of course, for it is the formally innovative manner with which Spielberg will tell us which mall stores to shop at (or, perhaps, airlines to take) in his latest offerings that will put so many asses in theater seats over the holidays (well, that or Leo and Tom). "American myth of ceaseless ambition," indeed. Keep trying, White, and just maybe we’ll all live to regret chuckling at your expense, but I’m betting not.

I regret that snark buried my genuine appreciation for Spielberg's high level of craft. There are few filmmakers who share Hitchcock's ability to perceive through the kino eye. What he doesn't share with Hitchcock, however, is crucial, namely a critique of the status quo hidden somewhere in his pleasing forms. It's there that White's time would be better spent defending the auteurism of, say, Paul Verhoeven. Any true ideological problematic, need for a structural overhaul, or call for a revolution in a Spielberg narrative is resolved/dismissed "in the last instance" through the status quo, typically signified by the nuclear family. It's for that reason that his films are more accurately seen as diversionary entertainment. He's a modern day Frank Capra (who in his overtly political films -- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town -- presented middle-class common sense as a challenge to the system, rather than a matter of course).


Spielberg's one notable exception is Munich, where taking the family as a model for the State results in dehumanizing and murderous effects on those not included in the ideological bloodline. The more typical, Capraesque resolution is best demonstrated at the end of Spielberg's War of the Worlds, where after seemingly world-wide destruction, Cruise's hero is reunited with his estranged family in the untouched townhouses of Massachusetts, as if nothing ever happened. Is it "lazy film-watching" to find it distasteful that the recurring Spielbergian hero is thoroughly status quo, regardless of which ideology is in ascendancy? In Schindler's List, it's an Aryan businessman with a change of heart; in Minority Report, a cop who has the state apparatus turn against him; and in Catch Me If You Can, it's an FBI agent who provides the necessary father figure to America's prodigal son. White, however, sees this as moral filmmaking, which challenges the prevailing dogma.

   

How could the most successful and widely known mainstream director be a challenge to much of anything? Well, by White's borrowing a page from Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority playbook. For all his incessant yammering about the culture, White's a rather petty provincialist who can't see past the narrow confines of alternative newspaper critics:

These delusions derive from an elitist, art-for-art’s-sake notion. It’s the “Smart About Movies” syndrome allowing bloggers and critics to feel superior for having suffered through Dead Man, Ye-Ye, Gerry, Inland Empire—movies that ordinary moviegoers want no part of and that hardly reflect a community of citizens or the New Millennium’s political stress. It may be a coincidence of social class that most movies are made by people espousing a liberal bent, but it is the shame of middle-class and middlebrow conformity that critics follow each other when praising movies that disrespect religion, rail about the current administration or feed into a sense of nihilism that only people privileged with condos and professional tenure can afford.

Just as Falwell had the Christian become a beleaguered minority in a country of 90% Christians, White turns Spielberg into an agent provocateur for daring to express values in line with the average American against that old bugaboo of the anti-intellectual intellectual, the "elite." Clearly, White attempts to separate himself from conservatives with his constant attacks on the middle-brow and bourgeoisie, but his perversion of the dialectic -- where negating the negation has him merely celebrating the commonplace positive as a novel insight -- amounts to little more than a version of reactionary politics, albeit coded in revolutionary jargon. For Falwell, it was the secular liberal media elite that controlled everything. For White, it's the film critical establishment controlling the commonplace discourse on his subject of choice. (Little surprise that he would find a job at the right-wing version of the Village Voice.) And nothing better demonstrates how two left turns can have one going backwards than White's self-manufactured controversy regarding how he was shut out of an early press screening for Baumbach's Greenberg.


First, consider what White has previously written on some of Baumbach's films:
  • The Squid and the Whale: Real (average) moviegoers are said to stare back at the screen in numbed stupefaction, however screening rooms buzzed with the press's self-satisfied chuckles. Propaganda for ourselves. Most New York critics should have recused themselves from judging this mirror reflection. Their lack of such scruples matches Baumbach's lack of talent. The mind-boggling moment when his alter ego (Jesse Eisenberg) rips off a Pink Floyd tune at a music contest and, supposedly, no one in all bourgie Brooklyn recognizes the theft, demonstrates the downright plagiarism and nepotism of Baumbach's career. [...] Baumbach fakes adolescent naivete because he has no perspective on the arrogance and selfishness that divided his parents and the family snottiness he himself perpetuates. [...] Film critics repeated the publishing industry's logrolling practice when they promoted Baumbach's narcissism as the current cultural standard. The low point was the Village Voice writer who (in one of a series of Baumbach-praising articles) bragged about saving all the movie reviews published by Baumbach's mother, an undistinguished film critic but a former Voice employee. Thus, the Baumbachian admiration of snide and obtuse behavior comes full circle.
  • Margot at the WeddingNoah Bambauch makes it easy to dislike his films. Problem is, he also makes it easy for New York’s media elite to praise them. [...]  Sure enough, morons think Baumbach’s deep because he wallows in unsightly “truths,” but creatures like Margot and Pauline can be dismissed as dime-store Freud. [...]  Appointing himself cinematic enabler to New York’s most obnoxious people, Baumbach makes it obvious that each sister represents one side of his own psyche—just as the parents in Squid and the Whale were embarrassing family self-portraits. [...]  Baumbach not only turns Leigh’s fearlessness into Isabelle Huppert-style masochism, he offends her person with a scene where Pauline shits her panties. And we see it. Baumbach can’t guide us through troubled emotions like O’Neill, Williams and Anderson; he leads us into the shallow end of arrogance, conceit and ugliness. The rat at the bottom of the pool is Baumbach himself.
  • Mr. Jealousy: I won't comment on Baumbach's deliberate, onscreen references to his former film-reviewer mother except to note how her colleagues now shamelessly bestow reviews as belated nursery presents. To others, Mr. Jealousy might suggest retroactive abortion.
As I previously mentioned, I'm no fan of Baumbach's films. They strike me as social critique reduced to the sort of self-deprecating remarks made by the rich and famous, meant to make their status in the cultural hierarchy relatable and thus more easily accepted by the have-nots. That is, it's self-promotion disguised as -critique. On that, I wholeheartedly endorse White's criticism. But there's clearly something else going on than a mere distaste for Baumbach's films. The director has become a personification of all that's evil in film. What White doesn't mention is the long-standing hostility existing between him and Georgia Brown, the "undistinguished film critic" and the director's mother who reappears as a target in all of these reviews. Baumbach's literary and critical pedigree (his dad's a writer, too) might help explain his worldview, but it doesn't make for some conspiracy of the New York elite against good, common folk. In fact, his films have nothing to say about such people. And, for that matter, what does White know of rednecks or the populace in flyover country who supported the Bush administration and practice the morality that's so maligned in current cinema? At least Baumbach ignores them, whereas White uses them as a cheap rhetorical tool to wage war against some imaginary elite group of Yankee critics who have no influence on anyone but another Yankee critic. Rejecting bourgeois leisure-time miserabilism doesn't justify a defense of the fucked up views many common moviegoers have. Fact is, Baumbach's narcissism is a whole lot less contemptible than the politics of the average red stater.

Second, consider the actual reason professional critics get to see films before their release date with the rest of us. That is, in the interest of commerce. Criticism rarely improves by being rushed, reflection takes time. The studios and filmmakers want people talking about their films to create publicity. Sure, the critics might hate a film, but even the most bilious invective tends to have little negative consequence for two primary reasons, both related to the size of the film's production. For a big budget spectacle, White's "ordinary moviegoers" don't give a shit what critics have to say, since they don't much read critics anyway. For the small, independent/art house/foreign films aimed at the exceptional moviegoer who probably do read critics, enough bad press will only make him or her more likely curious as to why such a film is being labeled immoral, dangerous, depraved, etc. (just look at the careers of Lars von Trier, Peter Greenaway, or countless others). Concern for the art of criticism has zero to do with its ties to commerce or a film's release date. Or, as White himself put it, regarding the official critical reactions to the MPAA's screener ban controversy:

Film criticism has been corrupted, and we shouldn’t make things worse by getting involved in an industry that’s skewed. We need to step outside it. We can comment on it, but not get involved with it. [...]  The New York critics have been corrupted. And the L.A. critics are of course corrupted. They’re just too close to the industry that maybe they don’t know that they’re supposed to be separate from. They think they’re a part of the industry. Well, I’m not part of the film industry, I’m a journalist. I’m not involved in that dispute. And to preserve journalistic integrity, I have to stay apart from it. It’s sad and aggravating that my colleagues don’t understand this basic fact of journalism. There is an ethical issue at stake, which has been forgotten.

Now, for some reason White was "disinvited" from Greenberg's press screening, only to be reinvited a week later to another one (due to the controversy created by the banning). Most plausibly it was Baumbach himself who did it through his publicist, Leslee Dart, but that was denied by the latter. Given the continual tangential attacks on Baumbach and his family, it's understandable that the director wouldn't want to make White's job any easier. Why not own up to it? But I don't much care about that. What's entertaining is White's review of the film, a better demonstration of how solipsism leads to the conspiratorial mind, I won't likely find. According to the title, this "Greenberg problem" isn't just White's, but all of ours.


Consider how "the unhealthy alliance between the film industry and journalism [...] threatens journalistic independence and prevents criticism from being trustworthy." Because White denied ever calling for Baumbach's abortion (rhetorically or otherwise), Village Voice critic J. Hoberman went to the library, and posted the Mr. Jealousy review online that proves just that (see link above). Rather than a matter of getting the facts straight, White takes this as a sign of Hoberman's "viciousness," reflecting that "[h]is only solidarity is not with the critical profession but with publicists" and his "sid[ing] with censorship." Thus, "given this crisis, [White] can no longer keep silent about the conspiracy afoot in film criticism or the personal brickbats thrown [his] way." There's so many insane quotes that it's hard to choose, but how about this summation of Hoberman's influence:

Hoberman’s film culture dominance exemplifies the nepotism and personal favors that rule the critical network in New York, if not across the country. Like some nefarious, shadowy dictator in a Fritz Lang silent, Hoberman’s influence (as NYU instructor to the Times’ Manohla Dargis and innumerable Internet clones) stretches from coast to coast, institution to institution. He’s the scoundrel-czar of contemporary film criticism. 

White doesn't stop there, though. Hoberman " prefer[s] a film culture that caters to cronyism," " hold[ing] onto his pathetic, unexamined anger [that] exposes the hidden conspiracy by him and his backward children (you know who you are) to control film discourse" whose "defense of Baumbach disguises their reluctance to engage this writer in a forthright discussion of aesthetics; it’s basically a witch hunt." And after calling Hoberman "traitorous," comparing him to both the communists and nazis, White goes the way of Clarence Thomas: "It’s unfortunate to have to point out that it is also a racist lynching by white critics of a black critic." And without a hint of irony, White writes, "[t]he snarkiest people have the thinnest skins." Professionally speaking, "[a]s Chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, [he] must rise above" all the vicious slander being thrown his way to stifle his minority voice.

All of that simply because White couldn't initially attend a publicity screening for some small independent film. It has nothing to do with value of criticism, and everything to do with a bourgeois critic whining about temporarily getting one of his privileges revoked. That privilege is, of course, the ability to use the publicity machinery of a film to promote his own writing on said film. If White had to actually wait for some time after a film's release date, fewer people would read his reviews, since they'd no longer be as conducive to the shopping guide publicists and movie industry want them to be. Without that, his criticism would be increasingly reduced to that of the bloggers he so despises. That's tantamount to censorship, I guess. Ah well, I'm still chuckling at his expense and glad that others are, too.

Happy Birthday Virgina O'Brien

Posted by Whitmore, April 18, 2010 09:23pm | Post a Comment

So here is my annual tribute to one of my all time favorite comedic actresses and peculiar lady of song, Virginia O’Brien. Today is her birthday, though she passed away back in 2001. She was also a popular singer in the 1940’s, though never a big star. Often co-starring with Red Skelton in several MGM musicals/comedies, she is best known for her deadpan expression as she sang, a gimmick she stumbled upon by accident at the Los Angeles Assistance League Playhouse's opening night performance of a musical comedy revue called Meet the People.
 
Some of her films include The Big Store (1941) with the Marx Brothers, Ship Ahoy (1942), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), and Merton of the Movies (1947), all with Red Skelton. Then there are Thousands Cheer (1943), The Harvey Girls (1946) with Judy Garland, Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Francis in the Navy (1955) and Gus (1976).

After a guest appearance in 1948’s short film Musical Merry-Go-Round, O'Brien was dropped from her MGM contract, a victim of the old Hollywood studio star system fading.

Here are some of Ms O’Brien’s great musical numbers.



Record Store Day Pre-Party Re-Cap!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 17, 2010 05:46pm | Post a Comment


(Amoebites Evan, James, Spenser, Anthony, and Grace)

Words by Spenser Russell-Snyder
Photos by Ryan Stark


With Record Store Day 2010 just a few days away, Amoeba Music Berkeley and The East Bay Express brought the best independent record stores in the East Bay together to pre-game for the big day! The pre-party took place at the Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, where Amoeba has its monthly Dusty Fingers DJ nights.

Amoeba gave away the standard buttons, stickers and magnets, and also had a raffle for limited edition Record Store Day screen printed lithographs (limited to a numbered run of 110 posters!), RSD t-shirts, a copy of the game "Rock N' Roll Triviologies," and a grand prize of a $25 Amoeba gift certificate! When entering the raffle, each contestant also got a $5 off coupon, good only at Amoeba Berkeley on Record Store Day, to help folks cut down the final price of their Record Store Day exclusive purchases.

Celebrating Record Stores on Record Store Day!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 17, 2010 12:20pm | Post a Comment












This Week At The New Bev: Classic French Crime Thrillers, Lee Van Cleef Spaghetti Westerns, Troma 35th Anniversary, Charles Bronson, the Grindhouse Film Fest & More!

Posted by phil blankenship, April 16, 2010 11:39am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full April calendar is online!
www.newbevcinema.com/calendar.cfm



Friday & Saturday April 16 & 17

Classic French Crime Thrillers!


Elevator to the Gallows
1958, France, 88 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051378/
directed by Louis Malle, original music by Miles Davis, starring Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 2:50 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

E40, Madlib, Murs & 9th Wonder, Masta Killa, DJ Craze, Coachella, Record Store Day: Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Weekly Round Up: 04:16:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 16, 2010 07:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:16:10


1) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

2) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

3) The Young Jazz Rebels Slave Riot (Stones Throw)

4) Madlib Medicine Show 3-Beat Konducta in Africa (Stones Throw)

5) Murs & 9th Wonder Fornever (SMC Recordings)

E40, aka Forty Wata, aka E-Feezy, aka the long reigning King of Bay Rap, is riding high with his latest two-part Shifts, the pair of simultaneously released CDs Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift and Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (both on Heavy on the Grind Ent.) which for the third week in a row top the Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Charts. After two weeks of riding high at the San Francisco and Hollywood charts, this week the longtime Vallejo rapper locks down the number one and two spots at Amoeba Music Berkeley. The Bay Area has always supported E40 over the past two decades, both as a solo artist and with and his extended family group The Click, although I remember back in the very early days how some hip-hop fans just couldn't get their heads around E40's Madlib Young Jazz Rebelsmost unusual rapid pace flow, peppered with his homemade language (slanguage), unlike anything anyone had heard at the time. At first, I remember, it is mainly the younger kids who really dug "Mr Flamboyant" and other early tracks from this unique wordsmith. But by the mid 90's, when 40 and The Click were signed to Jive, most everyone else had caught up with his trademark rap style. By sticking to who he is artistically, E40 has proven that the key to success is to always be yourself. By so doing you are setting the trends, not following them, and end up sticking around a lot longer.

Film Noir Festival Final Weekend

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 15, 2010 11:01pm | Post a Comment

So the final weekend of the film noir festival is upon us! Friday features a couple of hard boiled crime films, including a prison break film featuring Perry Mason star William Talman and a revenge film featuring location shots filmed in 1950's Alaska! Saturday gives us a double dose of The Whistler and Sunday closes things out with a Femme Fatale double featuring the legendary Cleo Moore.

Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA
(between Las Palmas & McCadden)
(323) 466-3456

$11/$7 for members
all showings start at 7:30

Friday April 16th- Crashout / Cry Vengeance
Saturday April 17th- Power Of The Whistler / Voice Of The Whistler
Sunday April 18th- Strange Fascination / The Come On

Tor Lundvall's Latest Spectral Masterpiece; Plus Hollywood's Goth / Industrial New Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 15, 2010 06:45pm | Post a Comment

Tor Lundvall
, famous for his outstanding paintings, has a very haunting style. The figures in his gorgeous landscape paintings are at once ghostly and earthly, ethereal and organic. The feeling one gets when staring into his soft but rich work is isolation, but not loneliness. It’s a remoteness with Spirits, a communion with nature where a gateway to shadowy unknown worlds exist. No surprise then that his work as a musician seems to perfectly score his stunning visual art. Though he made a limited private press album of Industrial music in 1997,  Lundvall's first big waves in music came in the form of a 1998 collaborative effort with Tony Wakeford (of Sol Invictus and Death in June fame), entitled Autumn Calls. The album, though equally billed between the two artists, was mostly a Lundvall affair with some minor embellishments from Wakeford and other guests. Autumn is full of  the warm yet effecting dark ambient soundscapes that Tor has continued to mine with increasingly finer results with each successive release. Recently, his exceptional 10th full-length, Sleeping and Hiding (via Dais Records), made our Best of 2009 and our Best of The Decade lists and now his just released CD collection, Ghost Years, is likely to make 2010’s.

Ghost Years collects B-sides, unreleased outtakes, and compilation tracks from 1995-2005 and, much like Sleeping and Hiding, this collection focuses on Lundvall’s delicate vocal-centered songs. The fact that the album’s tracks were recorded years (sometimes a decade) apart is completely unnoticeable, though it did aid in creating the variety of sounds within the LP’s tracklist. His earliest track on the disc, “Grey Sunday,” is the most structured and “pop” of the bunch with an almost danceable beat and bouncy bassline, whereas the most recently recorded track, “Alienor,” drifts along in ambient washes and spectral voices. Fans of late period, blissed-out Slowdive ala Pygmalion will find much to love here.

While Lundvall’s music is essentially “ambient” and works well as mood music, one benefits from deeper listening as the textures, layers and accents here all have transportive qualities, much like Lundvall’s paintings. Lyrically, Lundvall is very much rooted in nature, albeit a nature that is surrounded by but maybe secluded from modern living and all its trappings. Seasons and their signifiers (rain, leaves, snow, flowers) abound not as metaphors, but simply as themselves to provide a landscape for the supernatural moods and memories they can invoke. Obviously, Lundvall writes much like he paints.



Listen: "Grey Sunday" from Ghost Years

Amoeba Hollywood has quantity available of the Ghost Years CD now, as well as just few copies left of the super-limited and superb Sleeping and Hiding LP.
New Goth / Industrial Releases This Week, Amoeba Music Hollywood

Divine Muzak Maison Skinny [Punch] CD Import
Here we find plastic drumbeats, cruel analog synthesizers, retro organs, kinky guitar strings, weeping musical saw and theremin tears, isolated accordion keys and departed acoustic instruments, along with emotional and deep girlie vocals. Divine Muzak is reaching its highest by creating a personal recipe for a bizarre medicine made of electronica, lounge, industrial, cabaret, post-modern psychedelia, dark pop and looney poetry. You are invited to experience it under the name of "hospital-pop" while taking your unsafe seat in Divine Muzak's Maison Skinny.

Loveliescrushing CRWTH (Chorus Redux) [Line] CD
The original release of Chorus itself was inspired by a challenge... to make a Lovesliescrushing album abandoning Scott Cortez' trademark guitar work and using only the voice. Chorus was created by taking vocal tracks, deconstructing them via minimal processing, and turning them into new compositions. CRWTH is a completely re-edited take on the material, not merely a remix album, but an alternate version of Chorus, a redux. CRWTH (Chorus Redux) is even more spectral, spacial, and hushed.

Wumpscut Siamese [Metropolis] CD

Siamese harkens the elements that made Wumpscut’s Embryodead such a cult classic. Brooding vocals, destructive percussion, ominous synths, and captivating sequences. Tracks “Boneshaker Baybee” and “Loyal To My Hate” are destined to be club favourites with their acidic beats and sticky melodies.

Mt. Sims Happily Ever After…Again [Punch] CD Import
Like the sequel to a novel, Mt. Sims (Matt Sims) returns with his magnum opus entitled Happily Ever After...Again! as the final response to his previously released album Happily Ever After. Once known as hedonistic “electroclash” noise maker Mount Sims, Sims has since shaved off some letters form his moniker, moved to Berlin, collaborated with The Knife and has now moved onto chillier musical terrain that mines classic-era 4AD and the industrial dancefloor. Win!

The 12 Days of Coachella: 6 San Franciscans

Posted by Amoebite, April 15, 2010 06:35pm | Post a Comment
"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
.....
12 DJ's DJing.....11 Angelenos....10 Duos Duet-ing....9 Debut Albums....8 Don't I Know You From Somewhere?.....7 Artists Reuniting....

....and 6 San Franciscans:  

Faith No More
Sly & The Family Stone
Kaskade
Girls
Les Claypool
Street Sweeper Social Club

Coachella line up San Franciscans

Both coasts of the United States are indented with bodies of water larger than a cove, and smaller than a gulf. Still, when someone refers to "The Bay," it only means one thing....San Francisco -- more specifically the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area is the birth place of these six artists, who represent diverse communities and "scenes" far and wide throughout the Bay Area. But more importantly, they have all been a very influential part of San Francisco's internationally respected music scene, past and present, and have been ingrained in our popular culture along the way. If you're not in love with San Francisco...first off, what's wrong with you!?!....and second, after watching these videos, you'll fall in love in no time.


NOLA DMC DJ Battle Does Its Part in Helping Restore a Post Katrina New Orleans to Its Former Big Easy Glory

Posted by Billyjam, April 15, 2010 05:23pm | Post a Comment

Tomorrow, Friday April 16th, the 2010 DMC American Battleground kicks off with the first round of this year's National DJ Battle Qualifier events. The DJ battle, being held in New Orleans at the Hookah Club on Decatur Street and hosted by Truth Universal, will also feature showcase sets by New York's DJ Shiftee, who is the current reigning DMC World Champion, and Mista B of San Francisco's 4OneFunk crew, who was runner up in last year's US DMC finals. In the upcoming weeks following the New Orleans DJ battle, other US DMC regional battles will take place in Denver (May 1st), NYC (May 15th), Long Beach, CA (May 21st), and San Antonio TX (May 28th). Then on August 7th the 2010 DMC US Finals DJ Battle will be held at Santos Party House in New York City.

But of all these US DMC battles, perhaps the most noteworthy is tomorrow's opening event since, by hosting the DMC battle in New Orleans for its second consecutive year, the event organizers are not only helping ignite the local competitive turntablist scene but they are also doing their part in the gradual recovery of a post Katrina New Orleans -- a still devastated city that has a ways to go before returning to its former Big Easy glory.
 
Christie Z-Pabon, the DMC USA Event Coordinator, credits local New Orleans DJ/promoter Tony Skratchere (part of New Orleans' Soundclash collective) with making the NOLA DMC event happen in the first place. "Tony Skratchere was just determined to bring it there and get the scene kicking. I remember when DJ Spin from Louisiana was the only person from that state battling in the late 90's," she told me, noting that, "Basically the DJs are taking the lead in all the cities and either becoming the promoters or finding promoters for us [at DMC]."

out this week 4/6 and 4/13...jonsi...manual...the school...MGMT...

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 15, 2010 01:22pm | Post a Comment
It seems like a recent trend for singers of big huge bands to want to go off and make a solo album! I guess it always happens at some point but it seems like there have been more than normal the last couple of years. Thom Yorke from Radiohead went off and made a solo album called The Eraser in 2006. Julian Casablancas from The Strokes put out Phrazes For the Young last year. Sometimes is a just a new collaboration that ends up coming out. James Mercer from The Shins just put out an album as The Broken Bells with Dangermouse. Alex Turner from The Arctic Monkeys also went this direction and started a new band called The Last Shadow Puppets. Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley has put out two solo albums. Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes has put out solo albums and is a member of the super group Monsters of Folk. Singers need breaks from their bands. Or maybe the bands actually need breaks from their singers! Maybe the singers just have big egos and want to go off on their own and show their fans that they can be just as good as a solo artist. Billy Corgan should just really be going by BIlly Corgan now. As far as I am concerned, Smashing Pumpkins broke up a long time ago! It is basically just him and a bunch of teenagers in the band now! Doug Martsch from Built To Spill even went solo in 2002 with Now You Know. Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star has put out a couple of solo albums as well. Even Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl is getting in on the solo action with a new album out next month on Merge. And Kele from Bloc Party also has a new solo album around the corner! I am sure we will soon see solo albums from Beth Ditto, Karen O, Brian Molko, and Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon. It's just the way the industry goes, I guess.

Most of the artists in the adult contemporary genre were once in bands as well -- they have just been solo for so long that we might have forgotten! Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting, Glen Frey, Robert Wyatt, Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel, and of course Paul McCartney all came from big bands. I guess Thom Yorke and James Mercer will become the adult contemporary artists of the future. Maybe the radio station KOST will have to change their format or just adapt to the time. Phil Collins and Sting will then be played on the oldies stations. And Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst with be soft rock!

Jonsi from Sigur Ros has now joined the solo bandwagon and put out an album of his own. You can see him perform live at Amoeba San Francisco on Record Store Day, this Saturday! With this new record, he is following the footsteps of his fellow Icelandic native Bjork. Bjork was once in The Sugarcubes, in case you forgot. Jonsi has been hugely successful as the lead singer in Sigur Ros. They have made some amazing albums and I am sure they will make some more. This solo album just seems to be another outlet for Jonsi. He writes a lot of songs and I am sure he just had a bunch extra that he thought made more sense as a solo album. It still sounds like Sigur Ros -- he has not drastically changed anything. More of these songs are in English but it is not really that easy to tell the difference. The songs are still big and dreamy and the album will easily fill the room. It is atomospheric and beautiful just like any Sigur Ros record. The music and lyrics are dramatic. Some of my favorite concerts have been Sigur Ros shows so I really hope that I will get to see some more, but I am also sure he will not disappoint with his solo tour. I will always love Jonsi and I love the album too! It makes me happy but it does have me missing Sigur Ros a bit. It is just hard to improve on something as magical as that band. I guess it is probably how Glenn Frey fans feel.

Buy
the new album Go by Jonsi.

Another one of my recent favorites is the new album by Manual. Azure Vista from 2005 remains one of my favorite albums. This new album is called Drowned In Light. He has put out an album nearly ever year of this past decade. He fits into a genre somewhere in between IDM and shoegaze, two of my favorite genres. Just imagine shoegaze without the vocals. His albums are beautiful and I can't get enough of them. He is obviously influenced by Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, and The Cocteau Twins. He is also similar to Syntaks, B. Fleischmann and Ulrich Schnauss. His first couple of albums were on the label Morr Music. Darla has released his last couple of albums. Drowned in Light is a pretty good name for the album, but you are not blinded by the light. You are not hit over the head with it. Instead, you are sort of soothed and comforted by it. This music calms me down and makes me happy. It is my new age music. Manual is really Jonas Munk from Denmark. It reminds me of the reasons I love the Cocteau Twins. Jonas should really get together with Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins and put out an album. It would be amazing.


Buy the new album Drowned In Light by Manual.

I also have a new favorite this week -- I had not even heard of them until a couple of days ago. They are called The School. Loveless Unbeliever is their debut album on Elefant Records. They are a new twee pop band from Wales who occupy the same musical space as Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura. Their record is for people who are not afraid of pop music or of the adorable and cute! The music sort of sounds like a 60's girl group. I always need to balance out my musical life with a group like this. They make me happy! You should let them into you life too!

Buy
the new album Loveless Unbeliever by The School.



also out 4/6...





Pumps by Growing












Hippies by Harlem












I Learned the Hard Way by Sharon Jones












Sticky & Sweet Tour by Madonna












Steal Your Face by Mi Ami











Extra Wow by Nice Nice












Fear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies the Answer by Red Sparowes












And Then We Saw Land by Tunng







also out 4/13...





Little Window by Harold Budd & Clive Wright










And In the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees
by Johann Johannsson











Drowned In Light by Manual












Congratulations by MGMT












The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man On Earth












Loveless Unbeliever by The School


Record Store Day is This Saturday! Come on Down and Party with Amoeba!

Posted by Amoebite, April 15, 2010 09:38am | Post a Comment
It's that special time of year again! Time to celebrate Record Store Day at independent record stores all across the nation! The three Amoebas are poised to throw huge parties in honor of this year's holiday!

record store day 2010

First of all, there will of course be special, limited releases by illustrious artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix, Fela Kuti, TV on the Radio, Tom Waits, Them Crooked Vultures, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Doors, Sonic Youth, the Rolling Stones, Monsters of Folk, Mastodon, John Lennon, Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, Hole, Elvis Costello, and a zillion others! See the full list of Record Store Day limited edtion releases right here. In addition to all that, we will be marking the occasion with hourly gift certificate giveaways, Record Store Day giveaway bags full of swag available while supplies last with purchase, and special instore appearances and DJs at all three stores! Read on for the details at each Amoeba.

You can also enter to win a Project-Debut turntable plus an enormous stack of vinyl right here! Contest ends Sunday, April 18.

Amoeba Berkeley Warms Up for Record Store Day (Sat April 17th) with Party Tonight at Oakland's Uptown Nightclub

Posted by Billyjam, April 14, 2010 03:23pm | Post a Comment
Record Store Day
It may be still a few more days until this year's Record Store Day (Saturday, April 17th), during which all three Amoeba Music stores will be joining other independent record stores from all around the world in celebrating, but tonight the Amoeba Berkeley will get a head start on the festivities with a free Pre-Record Store Day Party at Oakland’s Uptown Nightclub at 1928 Telegraph Ave. Tonight's no-cover dance party, a co-production with the East Bay Express that runs from 9pm to 2am, will feature employees from Amoeba Berkeley, 1-2-3-4-Go! Records, Mod Lang, and Dave's Record Shop (2634 San Pablo Berkeley), all spinning music to groove your butt to.

Then, come Saturday, a thousand independent record stores from eighteen different countries will simultaneously celebrate Record Store Day 2010 with special events such as instore performances and special sales, and exclusive releases from tons of fabulous artists and labels!

Amoeba Hollywood's celebration
will include live silk-screening to benefit Pablove Foundation, a Smashing Pumpkins pre-order event, a Slash CD signing (sold out -- sorry), and a DJ set by Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa fame. 

The 12 Days of Coachella: 7 Artists Reuniting

Posted by Amoebite, April 14, 2010 01:32pm | Post a Comment
"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
.....
12 DJ's DJing.....11 Angelenos....10 Duos Duet-ing....9 Debut Albums....8 Don't I Know You From Somewhere?.....

....and 7 Artists Reuniting:  

The Specials
Public Image Limited
Faith No More
Pavement
Orbital
Sly & the Family Stone
Sunny Day Real Estate

Coachella 2010 Lineup

Since its inception in 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has made bold attempts to reunite some of the most sought after bands in modern music history. And many of those attempts have successfully come to fruition, making Coachella the preeminent and trusted outlet for artists to bring back the magic that we the music fans hold near and dear to our hearts and our lives. With Jane's Addiction in 2001, Iggy and The Stooges in 2003, Pixies in 2004, Daft Punk in 2006 and Rage Against the Machine and The Jesus & Mary Chain in 2007, Coachella made headlines around the world, making huge headliner reunions one of the festival's defining and signature attractions. This year
Coachella is giving seven artists the figurative "slap on the ass" and telling them, "Get back out there and go get 'em, Champ!"

Happy 90th birthday Ken Nordine!!

Posted by Whitmore, April 13, 2010 11:11pm | Post a Comment

You may not know it, but you do know Ken Nordine, and you know him well. His deep resonant, baritone voice, gritty in a perfect kind of way, has sliced through television and radio ads for decades now. But you should know him for his "word jazz." He recorded his first Word Jazz album back in 1957, backed by the Chico Hamilton band. Nordine’s pieces play in the common -- words, bopping and shifting, wit pedaling to and fro in between the everyday bits of everyday life nimbly budging the predictable out of the way. Colorful is the perfect adjective, absurd is another word that should have a turn here too. Mundane is not in his vocabulary.

Anyway, today the legendary wordsmith is 90 years old -- Happy Birthday, Ken Nordine!






New Electronic/House 12" at Amoeba LA - Till Von Sein, Tigerskin, Martin Buttrich, Cassy & more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, April 13, 2010 06:15pm | Post a Comment

TILL VON SEIN

Sundowna 12"
Supplemental Facts

Presenting Till Von Sein's first EP on Supplement Facts. The Sundowna EP will defrost your minds and hearts with its warmth and soul. After the title track, Joeski provides a house-y retouch. And to complete the vinyl release, label hero Dyed Soundorom and Shonky bring more of a dancefloor-banging version.

Listen to "Sundowna" here:





TIGERSKIN
Everybody Likes Ollie 12"
Audiomatique

Tigerskin aka Alex Kruger presents one for Audiomatique which supports the techier, more intense end of his eclectic love of house and techno. "Everybody Likes Ollie" whirls and skips across a liquid platinum backdrop of silky-smooth grace and wonder. Part pumping house, part disco, part future-techno, it's a mind-blowing, anthemic track. "Carlswood" comes on strong like a techno classic with off-kilter FX, building slowly as momentous synths mark its incline -- a monster of the highest order.

Listen to "Everyone Likes Ollie" here:






STEWART WALKER
Scratched Notes 12”
Curle

Persona label head Stewart Walker joins the Curle imprint in what is a solid release of subtle deep tech sounds. This release lives and breathes the deep melodic minimal sound Stewart Walker got known for and a great addition to the Curle family.

Listen to "Scratched Notes" here:







MARTIN BUTTRICH
Crash Test 2x12"
Desolat

This is the first full-length album on Desolat by renowned German composer and producer Martin Buttrich. Whether listened to while driving on the highway or on a massive speaker stack at next summer's festivals, one thing is for sure: Crash Test will splinter preconceptions. The album is a compilation of tracks, picked from among many works the artist has created over the last 15 months at his Hannover studio and various spaces and places worldwide. Each song pays testament to this Grammy-nominated artist's fluid approach to music composition -- an ability to converse with machines, and dive deep into the circuitry of a song. Buttrich has spent recent years developing a sound that appeals to both sides of the brain: having dropped records on labels such as Planet E, Four:Twenty, Cocoon, Poker Flat and Desolat that encompass the entire spectrum between dreaminess, intuition, warmth, melancholy, and highly-calibrated dancefloor precision. Meanwhile, his catalog stretches round some of the most influential dance tracks heard around the globe since 1992. Crash Test is a long-player, a four-to-the-floor album that can be listened to from start to finish; an organic sequence of shifting moods to sublimate existing minimal house or techno paradigms. The album is shaded with bass weight: a reflective, meandering interpretation of the grooves that have always inspired Buttrich: echoes of hip-hop, jazz, reggae and soul. Emotive tangents hover, punctuated with found sounds and textures recorded in public spaces. This album is intended as an expression of a certain time and space: a collection of tracks that could only have been woven together at this turbulent point in history. The album contains more acoustic and analog instruments than Martin Buttrich usually uses, and attempts to bridge a gap between imagined and audible worlds. A bridge from the cozy confines of a studio to the outer spaces, in which each tune is re-contextualized.

Listen to "Enough Love to Hate" here:


Listen to "I'm Going There One Day" here:





COBBLESTONE JAZZ
The Modern Deep Left Quartet 2x12" 
Wagon Repair

Canada's Cobblestone Jazz is back with a second powerhouse album that captures the group's live-in-the-studio energy like never before. A mixture of heady, jazz-inspired house grooves and below-the-belt analog funk, it raises the bar for electronic dance music in 2010. Titled The Modern Deep Left Quartet, the record marks an important addition to the Cobblestone Jazz line-up, as the trio of Mathew Jonson, Danuel Tate and Tyger Dhula bring aboard Colin de la Plante (aka The Mole). De la Plante is no newcomer to the Cobblestone crew: the four musicians have been playing together for nearly 15 years, since their first performances in small-town Victoria, British Columbia, and they've all shared the stage as the Modern Deep Left Quartet. (In 2005, they also recorded an EP for Wagon Repair.) Now, using that moniker as their new album title, the band officially anoints de la Plante a full-time member of the studio line-up. "Rehearse" and "record" actually mean virtually the same thing for Cobblestone Jazz: their method is spontaneous, in part because their gear requires it. There's no saving patches with analog machines like theirs... antiques like the TR-808, TR-909 and SH-101; newfangled head-scratchers like Cwejman and Doepfer modular synths; strange, custom-built doohickeys of uncertain purpose; and of course, Tate's trusty vocoder and Fender Rhodes. Tracks begin from scratch and develop across freeform jam sessions that often see day turning into night (and sometimes, back into day). The final mix is done in real-time, with three of the four musicians spread out across a semi-circle of machines, attacking all the buttons, knobs and faders they can handle, yelling out the changes, filtering and looping on the fly. At the same time, Tate lays down his Rhodes solos and accompaniments in one shot. Rather than making the music busier, the extra set of hands has finessed it even further. All the staples of the Cobblestone Jazz sound are there: subtly swinging machine beats, mind-bending arpeggios, Detroit-inspired chord progressions and, of course, powerful bass lines that roll like beads of quicksilver. But the sound of The Modern Deep Left Quartet is unusually fluid, open and nuanced. In marked contrast to today's hyper-compressed, digitalist dance music, this is a sound that breathes like no other. The more deeply you listen, the more hidden details you'll hear.

Listen to "Sun Child" here:





READE TRUTH
Let's Go To Heaven 12"
Wurst

Wurst kicks things off for 2010 with a seriously heady jam for those late night/early morning affairs in what I think is one of Reade’s best works to date. Brennan Green of Balihu fame steps in for remix duties. Hot!

Listen to "Let's Go to New York Instead" here:






CASSY

Cassy 3 12"
Cassy

This is the first single off of Cassy's third record, released on her label, where she concentrates on simple sound and voice experiments. Both tracks are very characteristic of her sound, with vocals and 808s on each. "Endless Endeavour" is a "love song" whereas "Ava" could be perceived as an anti-love song.









PRINS THOMAS
Prins Thomas 2LP
Full Pupp

This is the first solo full-length release by Norwegian disco superstar, Prins Thomas. This album showcases Thomas' myriad musical gifts over seven sprawling, ever-evolving, head-nodding, navel-gazing, body-moving, mind-mushing tracks, perfectly assembled for an hour-long trip, almost all of it played by the man himself. Guests such as Lindstrøm lend keyboards to "Wendy Not Walter" and in conjunction with Todd Terje (on trumpet), a funky bit of clavinet on "Sauerkraut." From the shimmering, Neu!-like guitar lines of opener "Ørkenvandring," you're in for a kosmiche treat. Hand-claps and a battery of percussion propel "Uggebugg" right into the groovy synth-slithers of "Slangemusikk," which fittingly translates as "snake music." More double-digit delights lie just beyond the opening tracks (including a shout-out to the mighty Wendy Carlos), but why ruin the funky and sumptuous space party that awaits your head with so many words...

Listen to "Wendy Not Walter" here:




ARCHITEQ
Mind Games (Feat. Ilija Rudman) 12"
Tirk

Taken from their GOLD + GREEN album, this "dubby, swingy, electronic funk" single features ILIJA RUDMAN on vocals along with remixes from SAM, SAMOYED, and DC RECORDINGS' EMPEROR MACHINE ("his analog synth collection..taking proceedings in a burbling dub direction").

Listen to "Mind Games" here:





TRENTEMØLLER - Sycamore Feeling 12" (IMR 001EP)

DONNACHA COSTELLO - Before We Say Goodbye EP 12" (PFR 025LP)

ROB MELLO - Does It Feel Good Baby 12" (CRM 059EP)

TIEFSCHWARZ (FEAT. CASSY) - Find Me 12" (SOUVENIR 026EP)

Nick Chacona - THE WAIT 12" MOOD084

Mod.civil - OP.CIT 12" ORN013

Greg Wilson - RUFF EDITS 4 12" RUFFED04

Electric Jones - RE-RUBS 03 12" HNRBS03

Skream - PASS THE RED STRIPE 12" SJR16912

Trickski - THE WARM UP EP 12" DOG09

Midlake - ROSCOE BTWS REMIX 12" IIBR002

Marcello Napoletano - FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY MIND 12" YRE023

Interview With Dave Tompkins About His New Book - How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop, the Machine Speaks

Posted by Billyjam, April 13, 2010 04:50pm | Post a Comment

"Ever since the first bored kid threw his voice into an electric fan, toked on a birthday balloon, or thanked his mother in a pronounced burp voice mutation has provided an infinite source of kicks," writes author Dave Tompkins in his just published new book How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop, the Machine Speaks (Melville House/Stop Smiling). The recommended hardcover Dave Tompkins How To Wreck A Nice Beachbook is an exhaustive in-depth study of the history of the vocoder (and other voice mutating and vocal altering technology) that the author, who has been obsessed with the sounds and effects emitted by vocoders ever since he first heard "Scorpio" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and "The Raven" by the Alan Parson's Project, spent a full decade researching and writing.

The result is a unprecedented historical study of the vocoder that should appeal equally to music fans, tech heads and also history students. Currently on the road promoting the book, Tompkins will be doing a lecture and slide show and playing music tonight in San Francisco at SOM Bar at 2925 16th Street along with hometown DJs B-Cause, Centipede, and Freddy Anzures. His set is at 10pm and on Thursday he will be at the HotWax party at 222 Hyde St. in San Francisco. Earlier today I caught up with the author to ask him about his book and the obsession that led him to write it.

Amoeblog: What inspired you to write this book?

The 12 Days of Coachella: 8 Don't I Know You From Somewhere?

Posted by Amoebite, April 12, 2010 05:58pm | Post a Comment
"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
.....
12 DJ's DJing.....11 Angelenos....10 Duos Duet-ing....9 Debut Albums....

....and 8 "Don't I Know You From Somewhere?":  

Public Image Limited
She & Him
The Cribs
Perry Ferrall vs. Steve Porter
Major Lazer
Bad Lieutenant
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Owen Pallet


Coachella Lineup






















Happy Birthday Joe Pop-O-Pie! Legendary 1980's SF Punk Music Figure Celebrates His 51st Birthday by Reforming the Pop-O-Pies on a Bill with Faith No More, the Group With Whom He Was the Original Singer

Posted by Billyjam, April 12, 2010 05:55pm | Post a Comment
Pop-O-Pies
Today, April 12th 2010, is Joe Pop-O-Pie's 51st birthday. And to celebrate the occasion, the key figure behind the legendary SF punk outfit The Pop-O-Pies, who formed in 1981 and disbanded sixteen years ago, decided to reform the group and perform on a bill at the Warfield in San Francisco tonight (they play tomorrow & Wednesday also), along with another recently reformed SF group -- Faith No More. Coincidentally, Joe was an original member of Faith No More!

Besides being a unique way to celebrate his birthday, another reason Joe chose this time to reform the group was that he recently found himself with a lot of free time on his hands and needed to fill that void. "This is what recessions are good for. If you get laid off and you've got nothing to do, you gotta do something," laughed the long time San Francisco resident, speaking by phone a few days ago from his new home in Reno, Nevada.

After living in the deep and gritty heart of San Francisco for three decades, including having spent the past eighteen Pop-O-Piesyears in the Tenderloin, the New Jersey born and raised Joe Pop-O-Pie has embraced his recent move to Nevada. "One of the things that is so fantastic about Reno, NV is that cockroaches can't live up here. Yeah, the Tenderloin is just rife with cockroaches. It was such an amazing thing. Cockroaches can survive a nuclear war but they won't follow you up the mountains to Nevada," he said. Shortly after finishing college in NJ Joe packed up and moved west to the city by the Bay, where, in September of 1981, he formed The Pop-O-Pies. Labeled 'punk,' the Pop-O-Pies, which essentially consisted of Joe and an ever rotating list of musicians, were really a concept band. For the first two years of their existence at their live performances the band played only one song for their entire set, the Grateful Dead's "Truckin.'"

The Vinyl Confidential, 3.4 – The Odd Order of Oblong Boxes

Posted by Whitmore, April 12, 2010 05:29pm | Post a Comment
"All I saw was the seven inch record lying there on the floor under the vibrating glare of the florescent lights, split in half like a fortune cookie, except this platter’s fortune would read doom and troubled kismet; “you’ve seen better days,” it’d say.
 
Pissed, I flopped around the room like a huge puppet entangled in strings, cursing, spitting guttural yaps till my own ears grew tired of the clamor. I had wheeled my office chair across the small hovel of a room, felt the rear end mysteriously fishtail, looked down and there it was, splattered across the speckled black and blue tile, long gouges furrowed into the vinyl, Ruby Andrews'Just Loving You” sadistically dismembered. A few minutes earlier she had been lapping curves on the turntable, how was I supposed to know she was spinning on stolen time? Her love had been so good to me ...
 
I thought about every other goddamned record I would’ve loved to have snapped in half. This was a pitiful shame. The urge to apologize to all the DJ’s in all the clubs who would crap their knickers for a chance to spin her crept into my brain. How do you explain the mangled demise of such a rare and expensive beautiful thing? The stink of stupidity hung around me like some cheap truckstop aftershave.
 
I let the record lie there for a while as I priced some inexpensive pop vocal records. And just before heading home for the day, as I shut the computer down, the stereo, clicking off the lights, I finally tossed the halves into the bin. Again her melody spun in my head over and over in a dizzying parade of nostalgia. And as I slammed the office door shut, I thought I heard a thin voice say, "Thanks, for listening, mister."

The 12 Days of Coachella: 9 Debut Albums

Posted by Amoebite, April 12, 2010 01:27pm | Post a Comment
"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
.....
12 DJ's.....11 Angelenos....10 Duos Duet-ing....

....and 9 Debut Albums:  

Passion Pit
Hockey
The XX
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
The Temper Trap
Miike Snow
B.o.B.
Florence + The Machine
Little Boots

Coachella 2010 Lineup Debut Albums

Each year, the stages of Coachella are graced by legends in music, many with careers spanning decades and musical catalogs expansive enough to fill the entire 3-day weekend. But there's also another pool of artists at Coachella each year -- usually found on the smaller "tent" stages or in the early hour slots of the main stage -- making a name for themselves in the music world on very limited but deserving musical output. Coachella promoters make a profession of spotting these artists early and presenting them to us before the "rest of the world" catches on. And it's not rare to see some of these artists, who are featured in the smallest font on the above flyer, go on to headline the festival in future years. The following 9 artists are playing Coachella this year on the strength of their debut albums. All 9 of them include singles that have permeated diverse avenues of pop culture within the past year, but all 9 artists have inaugurated their careers with "albums" that bite as hard as their "singles" bark. 

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Top Ten For March 2010 & April Previews

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 11, 2010 11:03pm | Post a Comment

I’m a little late with the Amoeba Hollywood World Music best sellers list for March, so here it goes.

1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
2. Basseko Kouyate-I Speak Fula
3. Bunbury-Las Consecuencias
4. Chatmonchy-S/T
5. V/A-Pomegranates
6. Julieta Venegas-Otra Cosa
7. V/A-Pomegranates (LP version)
8. V/A-Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia
9. Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate-Ali & Toumani
10. V/A-Nigeria Special Vol.2

Charlotte tops the chart for the third month in a row. Most likely she will bumped by the new Ozomatli in April (More on that later). If you live in or near San Francisco, take note: Charlotte Gainsbourg will be appearing at the SF Amoeba for Record Store Day, where she will be doing a signing at 12 noon! The Pomegranates compilation scores double positions on the chart with both the CD and LP version making the top ten. Two in-store performances fueled the sales of  Basseko Kouyate and Chatmonchy. None of the releases on the top ten show any signs of slowing down; if anything, some may sell more than when they were first released in the coming weeks!

April is turning into another busy month of new releases. So far we had releases by Angelique Kidjo’s Oyo, Mulatu Astatke's Steps Ahead and Richard Bona’s The Ten Shades of Blues. Another B-Music compilation, Absolute Belter, is a collection of Psychedelic pop nuggets from Spain from the late 60’s/early 70’s. The LP version will be out soon, so I hear.

April 13th will bring us a new live Lila Downs release, Lila Downs y La Misteriosa en Paris Live a FIP. Lila is a great live performer that is matched by very few. This performance was in front of an intimate audience and live and intimate is how you should experience Lila’s work.


Lila Downs-"El Relampago"




Also out on April 13th is The Nortec Collective's Corrido Urbanos, which features Clorofila (Jorge Verdin), producer and graphic designer for the collective. The sound is what you expect from Team Nortec, electronica mixed with Mexican Banda and Corridos with a few special guest appearances by the likes of Australian singer Supina Bytol and David J of Bauhaus and Love And Rockets fame. Corridos Urbanos is a nostalgic look of Tijuana from Jorge's past -- the record stores and radio stations that influenced him in his youth, and the days before the Narcotraficantes took over the city.


Nortec Collective Featuring Clorofila-"Discotecta Nacional"




April 20th will bring us the new Ozomatli, Fire Away. I have to admit, I was not a fan of their last album, Don’t Mess With The Dragon, at all and when I heard the first single for the new one, “It’s Only Paper” featuring Jack Johnson, I figured they were going the same route. However, Fire Away has some great tracks with raw production, such as “45,” which sounds like something Cody Chestnutt could have written, and “Nadas For Free,” which reminds me of Mellow Man Ace’s “Mentirosa” (which some deejays are rediscovering!). But by far the best jam is “Gay Vatos In Love,” a Los Lobos-esque jam about love and how it is for EVERYONE. It’s probably the most polarizing song they have ever written. At a recent show, they asked the audience to sing along with the chorus. Only the women and the few gay men sang along. Come on, fellas! What are you afraid of? If you can throw your fist in the air for equality, then you can sing for gay vatos!


Ozomatli- "Gay Vatos In Love"

 


By the way, Ozomatli will also perform live at Amoeba Hollywood on 4/20 ( the day of the release), with live streaming on our website for those of you who can't make it in person. I believe this is Ozo’s forth time performing at Amoeba Hollywood and each previous instore has been packed! If you plan to attend, come early!

 Last but not least, April 27th will bring us Ana Tijoux's first U.S. release, 1977. Most Spanish rappers do not impress me; in fact, I can count my favorite Rappers en Español on one hand: Control Machete, Tego Calderon, Residente, Bocafloja and Olmeca. Now I've got to use my other hand to include Ana Tijoux. Ana grew up in France. Her mother is French and her father was a political exile from Chile. When she was in her teens she moved to Chile with her father and started rapping. She was part of Chile’s biggest Hip-hop group in the 90’s, Makiza. Soon after she went solo and collaborated with Julieta Venegas on her big hit, “Eres Para Mi.” 1977 is Ana’s second solo album and her first on Nacional Records. She’s currently on a big tour in the U.S that so far has included well-received shows in L.A., Berkeley, Austin, Chicago and New York. The reason I like her flow is that you can tell she is a student of Hip-Hop, You can hear the flow of Paris, New York and Latin America in her voice when she raps, yet her her style is all her own.


Ana Tijoux-"1977"

(Wherein which you may get cancer.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 11, 2010 03:33pm | Post a Comment

Recently, one of my boyfriend’s favorite celebrities died from one of his least favorites diseases.

Dixie Carter passed away April 10, of complications from endometrial cancer.








Cancer has been an unwelcome houseguest in our lives for a while now. The boyfriend’s from the Lone Star State, where getting cancer seems to be as common as sequenced sweaters and tuxedos matched with leather boots. The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas, but so it seems are a few malignancies.

No amount of my assurances will convince the boyfriend he won’t necessarily get cancer; it’s neither a birthright, nor a curse – but he’s already decided which hospital will treat him and where to find the best wig for the occasion. It’s the “wedding day” daydream equivalent for the hypochondria set.


My Grandma went to Carlsbad Caverns and all I got was this lousy CANCER.

With little provocation, the boyfriend will rattle off a list of people, both family and family friends, who’ve joined the Malignant Neoplasm Achievers Club as though it’s proof that “In the future, everyone will get cancer for 15 minutes.” I explain that I’m Swedish and we don’t need tumors to feel a sense of impending death – we can see it reflected in our morning cornflakes, a blue sky, or in the smiles of children.

My arguments to not fear cancer really took a hit when our dearest friend, Jenny, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas. (“Thanks, Santa!”) Watching her deal with treatment with the poise and defiance she’s displayed has been inspirational, even as it’s made our whole lives seem like a subplot on thirtysomething. While I love Jenny, I’m totally not into her cancer, and I wish she’d stop having it.

Anyway, I thought it might be both delightful and macabre (a charming combination, I think) to collect some movie clips and songs by various Homo sapiens who’ve had cancer.

Enjoy?



































Disney's Counter-Aesthetic: The Abstracted Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Posted by Charles Reece, April 11, 2010 10:07am | Post a Comment


Couch Art





















The Magic Kingdom











Maleficent












April 9, 2010: The Black Waters Of Echo's Pond

Posted by phil blankenship, April 10, 2010 12:30pm | Post a Comment







The 12 Days of Coachella: 10 Duos Duet-ing

Posted by Amoebite, April 10, 2010 02:08am | Post a Comment
"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
.....
12 DJ's.....11 Angelenos....

....and 10 Duos Duet-ing:  

She & Him
Orbital
La Roux
MGMT
2ManyDJ's
Matt & Kim
The Big Pink
Beach House
The Raveonettes
Girls


Coachella 2010 LineupCoachella Duos



Bearded Country Stud Gallery

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 10, 2010 12:50am | Post a Comment
We've just put out a huge batch of new country vinyl so I'm posting this batch of covers...enjoy!

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Eagle Rock

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 9, 2010 03:21pm | Post a Comment

This entry of the Los Angeles neighborhood blog series is about Eagle Rock. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be featured in the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here.  To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.





Eagle Rock is a neighborhood situated in Northeast Los Angeles whose neighbors are Pasadena to the east, Garvanza to the southeast, Highland Park and Mount Washington to the south, Glassell Park to the southwest and Glendale to the West.

 

This Week at the New Beverly: John Milius, Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch & MORE!

Posted by phil blankenship, April 9, 2010 03:11pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full April calendar is online!
www.newbevcinema.com/calendar.cfm



Friday April 9

Two by David Lynch

Mulholland Dr.
2001, USA, 147 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166924/
written & directed by David Lynch
starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Justin Theroux, Brent Briscoe, Robert Forster
Fri: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Return Of The Wu, Saluting Malcolm McLaren, New Aloe Blacc: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up: 04:09:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 9, 2010 10:40am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:09:10

Wu Massacre
1) Meth, Ghost, Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)

2) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

3) Madlib Medicine Show 3-Beat Konducta in Africa (Stones Throw)

4) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

5) Jedi Mind Tricks presents Army Of The Pharaohs: The Unholy Terror (DCide Records)

For those disappointed by the recent Return of the Wu album on Gold Dust Media that sounded, by its title, like it would have been an all new Wu-Tang Clan album but in actuality was really a collection of recycled (mostly previously available) Wu related material mixed by Mathematics, two recommended new releases on this week's Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart should nicely ease that disappointment. While neither are officially Wu Tang Clan releases, one features three original members of the legendary Shaolin crew on an album that is like a throwback to their brilliant mid 90's sound, while the other new release is perhaps the closest thing to a current day collective carrying on the legacy of the great Wu-Tang that you will hear these days.

Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon (aka Meth, Ghost, Rae) have joined creative forces to unleash Wu Massacre which, with the album's many producers including the Wu's RZA and Mathematics plus cameos from such other Wu alums as Cappadona and Inspectah Deck, is essentially a new Wu-Tang album -- and a really good one too, serving up such bangers as "Pimpin' Chipp" and the soulful 70's infused single "Our Dreams" (below) which is the only RZA produced song on the twelve track album. Mathematics handles the majority of the album's production with further contributions from Scram Jones, Emile, BT, Ty Fyffe and Digem Tracks Productions. While there is certainly no filler on Wu Massacre, it is over too fast, with the total running time of a little under half an hour, which leaves you thirsting for more Wu or at least Wu styled music.

The 12 Days of Coachella: 11 Angelenos

Posted by Amoebite, April 8, 2010 11:25am | Post a Comment

"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
.....12 DJ's.....

....and 11 Angelenos:

The Soft Pack
Them Crooked Vultures
Iglu & Hartley
Street Sweeper Social Club
DJ Lance Rock
Alana Grace 
Shooter Jennings & Hierophant
RX Bandits
Mayer Hawthorne & the County
Local Natives


Week Two of The Film Noir Festival at The Egyptian Theatre

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 8, 2010 11:10am | Post a Comment


So it seems that the Film Noir Foundation folks have another great week of programming lined up for us! It starts off on Friday with an intense double featuring one of Robert Mitchum's rarely screened gems The Locket along with The Bodyguard, which happens to be Robert Altman's first big writing credit. Saturday brings a Broderick Crawford mid 50's double feature that includes a spectacular Gloria Grahame performance in yet another film based on Emile Zola's La Bete Humaine. Sunday brings a "crooked world" double that includes Mickey Rooney's great Drive A Crooked Road, a quick paced film written by Blake Edwards and featuring some great old arcade footage. I will definitely make it to this one, as it's paired with something I've never seen-- Walk A Crooked Mile, described as an anti-commie / atomic scare flick featuring Raymond Burr and Dennis O'Keefe set in San Francisco. Wednesday brings a Neo-Noir featuring an all mannequin cast entitled Eve's Necklace. Thursday rounds out the week with a Gothic Noir double from the early 40's featuring Albert Dekker, Susan Hayward, Francis Farmer & Elisha Cook Jr!



Drive A Crooked Road trailer

Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA
(between Las Palmas& McCadden)
(323) 466-3456

$11/$7 for members
all showings start at 7:30

Friday April 9th- The Locket / The Bodyguard
Sat April 10th- New York Confidential / Human Desire
Sunday April 11th-Drive A Crooked Road / Walk A Crooked Mile
Wednesday April 14th- Eve's Necklace
Thursday April 15th- Among The Living / Dark Waters

The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief

Posted by Kells, April 8, 2010 09:51am | Post a Comment
For many citizens of the Western hemisphere Japan remains a strange place chock full of exotic and inscrutable cultural asymmetries. It is a place where paying to "fall in love" with a stranger you cannot meet outside of a designated place, you cannot call upon as need dictates and, in many cases, you cannot touch under any circumstances whatsoever is sometimes preferred to falling in love the complicated way, the old fashioned way, for mutual appreciation's sake. But then perhaps that is what makes so many Japanese justify the risk of succumbing to economic ruin to patronize hostess and host bars, financially worshiping their quarries, spending as much as $10,000 a night to ultimately "fall in love" with their fantasies. Seeing this kind of scenario playing out over and over again like a demented, downward spiraling carousel in The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief, a documentary feature that vignettes the life and times of Rakkyo Cafe (a popular Osaka host bar) with special focus fixed on their top selling host, Issei (22), and the staff of twenty young male escorts who all benefit from Issei's tutelage, is a compelling voyeuristic experience so emotionally harrowing that it almost made me wish my heart were a stomach so that it could barf.
I remember my first exposure to the world of hosts and host bars in the form of a brochure put into the basket of my bicycle as I passed through a busy intersection in Osaka. I had no idea what manner of publication it was; upon first glance I assumed that it was some kind of fashion magazine judging by the pretty girls on the cover, but perusing it later I realized that the the girls were actually boys and the fashion magazine was more like a catalog of host bar "menus" displaying glossy over-lit portraits of the boys whose companionship you would purchase for a spell buffered by ads calling for young women who fancied designer goods and other expensive sundries to consider employment of a certain kind to support their extravagant tastes. The general obscenity of these ads, however, took a backseat to my immediate fascination with the appearance of the hosts, whose hair-stories and accessorized flair shared a similarity of outlandishness that baffled my mind delightfully. It was like flipping through a guide for a zoo that specialized in Japanese peacocks who all toiled to attain a similar high-style reminiscent of any tough British rock star who sold out in the eighties. I have to admit I was taken with the absurd cocksure posturing, but do these men really possess a vision of what women want by Japanese standards? Definitely one of those things that make you go hmmm...
While watching The Great Happiness Space wasn't a total downer, it packed none of the laughs I expected to glean from my limited exposure to what I considered to be the most ridiculous existence of hosts and the host bar phenomenon. Though I think this film would make for great conversation concerning gender issues, I also didn't get the impression that the lady patrons of Rakkyo Cafe's hosts were winning anything back for the oppressed women of Japan like I had expected. Indeed, their role in the host/client relationship signifies a double-victimization for women in that the men exercise absolute control of their many paid relationships plus the fact that the majority of Rakkyo Cafe's regulars interviewed for the film held jobs in the mizu shobai, Japan's nightlife working sector, whether they be employed at cabarets, hostess bars, touch bars, "soap lands," or engage in outright prostitution in order to capably afford satisfying their need to feel needed by their host of choice and, at Rakkyo Cafe, Issei-san is most definitely in high demand.

But what makes Issei so popular? According to his co-workers he's a master of his trade, saying and doing anything women want of him, all the while reading any situation he finds himself in and playing the role that best suits his clients' needs and his desire to ultimately maintain command of the money flow. This has also put him in a position of getting as much ass as he gets cash, "I was having nonstop sex," he says of his ascension to the top-selling host in his district and his willingness to let women have their way with him -- "sex with 365 girls a year." So many of Issei's regular girls openly claim an addiction to his person, one completely whacked chick claiming that her "life without Issei is unimaginable right now," that watching his interactions with them casts a shadow over his character, a demonizing that Issei himself recognizes as one of the many hazards of the job. He also is forced by trade to consume more alcohol in an evening than most folks do in a month, as much as ten bottles of champagne per night, drinking, throwing up and drinking as many times as necessary just to keep it up. "I think my liver is fucked," he says. Of course, the hosts at Rakkyo Cafe are available by the hour for their company but they also depend on generating revenue by pushing pricey drinks on their patronesses. Bottles of champagne, consumed by the disco-lit pitcher-full, range from $250 to $600 for average priced fare and up to $5,000 for the high rollers. There is also at least one exclusive seat in the house: if Issei is entertaining ladies in the main part of the bar a client can pay a premium for a private audience with Issei in a special seat secluded from the crowd for an additional charge of $50 per hour, which, now keep in mind that average hosts earn a monthly paycheck of $10,000, for Issei-san a good month usually nets $50,000 --- cha-ching!
However, the scene fades to its bleakest when the hosts, after hours, talk each other out of feeling any moral conflict for leading their clients forever onwards, breaking hearts, emptying wallets and enabling young women to sell flesh for the purpose of supporting such an costly addiction as pleasurable soul-searching with the boys of Rakkyo Cafe. This film draws the viewer into the never-neverland that is the Osaka host bar scene, portrays the twisted interrelationships inherent to the varied and never-short-on-creativity nightlife industries in Japan without taking sides, and forces viewers to explore their own conclusions in the end. Thanks to this excellent documentary I am pleased to know more about this subject than I'd have ever learned flipping through my slick souvenir host catalog I received once upon a time in Osaka and I find that I am plagued with a host, pun intended, of real questions concerning the host bar phenomenon that weren't answered or even addressed by this film. Here's hoping there are others like The Great Happiness Space director Jake Clennell who seek to shed more light on the intricacies that lie down the darkened corridors of Japan's modern "Floating World."

Interview with Sonny Smith About 100 Records, The Unique New Fictitious Record Cover Art Show at SF's Gallery 16

Posted by Billyjam, April 8, 2010 04:36am | Post a Comment
100 Records 16 Gallery exhibit piece  by Reed AndersonEver since the music industry tried to quietly kill off vinyl, it appears that the medium, complete with its accompanying cover art form, has triumphantly resisted eradication. In fact, not only have records, along with album & singles & ten-inch cover art, refused to die -- they've actually grown in popularity with a whole new generation of appreciative vinyl fans.

As we well know, these days vinyl sales are continually going up and it seems you can't go a week without encountering some wonderful new album cover art show somewhere. Not only are curators presenting classic album cover art on exhibition, but this week one most innovative individual is presenting an exhibit of all new & original record cover art by many different artists complete with all-new corresponding music -- fictitious songs for fictitious bands!

Bay Area artist Sonny Smith (of Sonny & the Sunsets) melds his love of both music and art in a unique new gallery show titled 100 Records that opens tomorrow (April 9th) at Gallery 16 in San Francisco. The diverse & tireless San Francisco artist, who just recently returned from SXSW in Austin, TX with the Sunsets (the band he formed three years ago with Tim Cohen and Kelley Stoltz and whose changing lineup now includes Ryan Browne, Tahlia Harbour and Zack Ehrlich), spent the past year meticulously piecing together the 100 Records show in which he created the names and song titles for 100 different fictitious bands.

April 7, 2010: The Ghost Writer

Posted by phil blankenship, April 7, 2010 11:45pm | Post a Comment

April Shower Soundtracks: Hollywood's Featured Goth / Industrial etc. Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 7, 2010 06:30pm | Post a Comment
 
California, for all its famed sunshine, has historically fostered some pretty dark and cloudy musical ventures. From the original Christian Death and Von on to The Vanishing and Leviathan, this state has produced some of the greatest and most well-known Dark musical acts. That tradition strongly continues today, as all four of our featured releases this month are from quite excellent, decidedly shaded, California-based artists. The Crystelles' Attach and Detach is a wonderfully raw, gothy & garagey blues LP featuring the wildly soulful wail and musings of former Christian Death member Gitane DeMone. The Los Angeles-based band’s lineup also features Demone’s daughter (who is also a reknowned and quite amazing surrealistic painter), Zara Kand, on drums. The vinyl-only release is composed of 12 dirty and volatile tracks that Gitane herself calls ‘Death Blues’ and also includes a gorgeous 28 page Lyric & Art book. This is an essential release and is stacking up already to be one of our favorite releases this year.

Another current “local to L.A.” favorite of ours is Minimal-Synth project Frank Alpine. Alpine released a 7” this past year via the always superb Dais Records entitled Night Tripper, and also just self-released a CD version of the previously cassette-only release Keyboard Cassette. Frank Alpine’s mastermind is former New Collapse drummer Rich Bitch, however Alpine’s cold atmospheres are far-removed from his former band’s spastic synth-freakouts. Tracks vary from spare, chilling ambience to full-on John Carpenter-worship (like B-side “Another Land”). Both Night Tripper and Keyboard Cassette are only available in limited quantities, so don’t slack!

The Bay Area’s Worm Ouroboros features Amber Asylum, The Gault and World
E
ateralums and its self-titled debut CD (via Profound Lore) mixes Doomy riffing, Dark Ambient, and ethereal Folk harmonies fluidly into a dazzling and crystalline pool of sound. The album also features beautiful Digipak and booklet art by bassist/vocalist Lorraine Rath, revealing her to be an equally soul-stirring visual artist and vocalist. The only thing that isn’t perfect about this release is that it is not available on vinyl. Please get with it, Profound Lore!

Back to L.A. on our final featured release, the darkly experimental and always excellent Habitat is already on their third release in less than a year! The new CD, You Can’t Argue With Nature, is their first release to prominently feature vocals. Their two previous releases – the extremely limited Habitat and Code Gray -- were largely ambient and nebulous; however YCAWN is a structured song-cycle of eccentric, apocalyptic pop with a sly sense of humor occasionally peeking through.

So stop in the L.A. store’s Goth/Industrial section for all the above releases and more. The forecast is for rain this weekend and these are the perfect soundtracks for the grey weather and April showers! How’s that saying go? “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain?”

Digging through the Record Stacks 3 -- O'Hegarty, “Body in the Bag”

Posted by Whitmore, April 6, 2010 09:52pm | Post a Comment
 
O'Hegarty – “Body in the Bag” / “What a Mouth” (Verve-Folkways 1966)
 
Every record geek’s collection benefits from owning a few sides of twisted little English ditties, if only to help explain our twisted little lives. And this seven inch is as ridiculous and perverse a record you could ever hope to find. Most any vinyl fiend, jonesing for some new weirdness, would love to slip a needle on this disc. Anyway, one thing you should know, I’m not a big fan of pets, just not ... at all ... but if push comes to shove and to preserve harmony in the mostly cat loving Whitmore homestead, I too am more cat people than a dog people (it’s the poop question), so dear cat family, be warned, “Body in the Bag” yanks out several merry and morbid feline jokes, driven along by an acutely cheery organ and a happy jaunt on the sunny side of the street as the singer retells the tale of how he tries to rid himself of a dead cat. The original lyrics start like this:
 
“I met a strange man on the street today
He shoved a bag into my hands and quickly ran away,
I really must admit that it took me by surprise
What a charming fellow to leave me such a prize.
But when I took a look inside
I couldn’t believe my eyes,
He left me with a body in a bag
So on I went with a body in the bag
A body in the bag, ta ra ra.”
 
The song was written by Charles O'Hegarty and recorded in New York City on July 5, 1966. And as you may consistently find with many of the great singles of yore, the superior side, the desired side, like “Body in the Bag,” was originally relegated to B side status. The plug side, “What a Mouth,” is a nice song, a funny song, sure enough, but it ain’t no “Body.” Over the years I believe O'Hegarty wrote several different versions of “Body in the Bag,” as I keep on coming across different sets of lyrics, but no need for you music lover to fear -- it is always a snappy song about a dead cat ... ta ra ra ... ta ra ra.
 
Throughout O'Hegarty’s career he was mostly known as a singer of the traditional seafarer’s ballads and shanties and a gifted creator of weird tales, blessed with the ability to spontaneously craft a little song at the drop of a hat as fast as a cat. In a career that spanned decades, he was also a member of the band The Starboard List, who put out two albums for Adelphi Records and occasionally he was a contributor to the ground-breaking humor magazine National Lampoon during its heyday in the 1970’s.
 
Unfortunately I just read some sad news today; Charles O'Hegarty died earlier this year in the Hackney at Homerton Hospital in London, England of a heart condition on Friday, January 29th. He was 72. Rest in peace, O'Hegarty.

Roy Harper's Valentine

Posted by Miss Ess, April 6, 2010 04:17pm | Post a Comment

Sometimes choosing a favorite album from an artist you consider one of the all time greats can feel daunting, if not downright impossible. With Roy Harper though, one album clearly outshines the rest for me -- 1974's Valentine.

The theme is love, of course, and the album floats past on waves of strings and picking, overwhelming moments and golden sunshine. Most of the songs are about falling in love, making this an apt springtime listen: "For there we stood two children of spring/ As everything seemed to be gleaming"...Roy sings on "Commune." You can listen to "Commune" below, followed by another effortlessly fluid and favorite (though appearing for the second time on a Harper record) Valentine track, "Forever." These versions came from a BBC appearance though, and are different from the album, though not short on plucking intricacy and perfectly pastoral lyrics :


This album has an otherworldly, out of time to it. A gauzy softness coats the tunes and thus my mind as I listen. It brings a transporting feeling. There are stories of love and loss, the thrill and the reality, but mostly the tracks are about love in its highest, purest sense, giddy with descriptive details. And the sounds and sentiments of the few songs about longing and/or loss, like the album's dramatic center "I'll See You Again" and Harper's lovely cover of the perennial "North Country," don't break the spell of the record but rather enrich it.

Here's a particularly dreamy number about a long plane ride, "Twelve Hours of Sunset":


It must be noted that there are unfortunately a few moments that are less than spectacular and break the mood. I always skip right through two songs that just don't fit the vibe, regardless of if I am listening to Valentine on CD or vinyl: "Male Chauvinist Pig Blues (name alone says enough!) and "Magic Woman Liberation Reshuffle" (ditto), but the rest of this beauteous work makes up for that in spades.

I also have to admit I am creeped out by the pedophiliac possibilities described in "Forbidden Fruit" ("Let me hold your thirteen years...") As with Van Morrison's epic "Cyprus Avenue" ("So young and bold/ Fourteen years old..."), even though my brain is fairly disgusted, the song still moves the rest of me...To say that even that doesn't wreck this majestic album means there's something really going on on Valentine. And it can be said that even though this man's weapon of choice is the often benign-appearing acoustic guitar, he's not one to ever play it safe or hold back.

Here's a live version of "North Country" from 1978:

Easter Weekend In Ireland Is Synonymous With Hip-Hop's Four Elements: Amoeblog Report On The 2010 Community Skratch Games & The 3rd Annual All City Tivoli Jam

Posted by Billyjam, April 6, 2010 04:16pm | Post a Comment
All City Tivoli Jam 2010

For the third consecutive year, two excellent, true skool hip-hop festivals took place over the long Easter weekend in Ireland-- the DJ themed Community Skratch Games in Galway in the West of Ireland and the graffiti & b-boy themed 3rd Annual All City Tivoli Jam on the opposite coast in the country's capital, Dublin. Both were highly successful and relatively intimate-scale events, drawing a few hundred die-hard hip-hop heads between the two bi-coastal gatherings. Of course, having two similarly themed events taking place in a country as small as Ireland, where hip-hop happenings like this don't occur often, presents a dilemma for fans who are forced to choose one over the other since they happen at the exact same time on opposite coasts of Ireland. Hence, to properly cover this past weekend's two events for the Amoeblog, I hopped on a bus and headed cross country to Galway to attend the Community Skratch Games while my man, and frequent Amoeblog Irish reporter, Tall Paul Lowe, stayed in Dublin for the All City Tivoli Jam.  Community Skratch Games 2010

Now in its fourth year, the aptly named Community Skratch Games (CSG), which features several DJ based showcases and a scratch DJ battle over the long weekend, is truly all about community with a genuine emphasis on fun & camaraderie rather than on competition & seriousness. In fact, the prize for the winner of the CSG's annual DJ battle is not a trophy (a la the famed DMC or ITF battles) but a big bag of Irish breakfast meats (rashers, sausages, black pudding etc., all supplied by the local butcher) that the winning DJ traditionally shares with the other participants in a big breakfast cookout on "Skratch Monday" after all events are over. At this year's DJ battle on Saturday night (dubbed the "Community Skratch Open Freestyle Battle Royale"), ten turntablists went head to head, scratching for 16 bars each. To help mark the end of each 16 bars, drummer Tony Higgins dramatically crashed two cymbals together to the obvious entertainment of the packed crowd.

April 5, 2010: Greenberg

Posted by phil blankenship, April 5, 2010 11:43pm | Post a Comment



The 12 Days of Coachella: 12 DJs DJing

Posted by Amoebite, April 5, 2010 03:19pm | Post a Comment
"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert."
  - By Scott Butterworth


On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....

....12 DJs DJing:

Deadmau5
Benni Benassi
DJ Lance Rock
Tiesto
David Guetta
Kaskade
Z-Trip
Bassnectar
Pretty Lights
Infected Mushroom
Craze vs. Klevar
The Glitch Mob

The word "DJ" can be a very ambiguous term. It can mean a turntablist, music producer, remixer, someone who curates music for an audience, an artist using electronic based instruments; also, some straddle the line of electronic artist and full on rock band, and any number of additional definitions. But for the purpose of this blog, the term "DJ" is going to mean the group of artists holding residency in Coachella's Sahara Tent, aka "The Dance Tent," and by any means necessary, they are are going to get your off your ass and make you dance.


California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Thai Town

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 5, 2010 01:23pm | Post a Comment


Both apsonsi and LADOT signs mark the entrances to Thai Town


This entry is about the Los Angeles neighborhood of Thai Town. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities not technically part of Los Angeles, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

 

         Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Thai Town (with no attempts made at scale) 
    
                                  Siam Square

Thai Town is roughly boundried by Hollywood Blvd on the north, Normandie on the east, Western on the west, and Sunset (or Fountain by some accounts -- although there's nothing Thai south of Sunset) on the south. The neighborhood is home to about 46 Thai business, including markets, clothing shops, massage parlors, bookstores and a seemingly ever-growing number of delicious restaurants. Hollywood Boulevard is the main commercial and cultural center of the neighborhood although there are businesses of note on Sunset as well.

Interview with Frosty - Director of Crate Digging/Recycling Documentary Secondhand Sureshots (now on DVD)

Posted by Billyjam, April 5, 2010 05:05am | Post a Comment

The short, engaging documentary Secondhand Sureshots, which every DJ / record collector must see, proves that there is indeed gold to be found in the dollar bins, and that a crate digger with a good eye and a good ear can simultaneously recycle and create from those cheap vinyl finds. Filmed four years ago as a production of dublab, this crate digging in the dollar bin documentary was very recently released on DVD by the Stones Throw label with bonus material. The film, which screened over the weekend at the Downtown Independent, was directed by Frosty, who aptly and eloquently described it as "an experiment in creative sound recycling." The film takes place in Los Angeles, where it follows J-Rocc, Daedelus, Nobody, and Ras G on a crate digging excursion (a "secret mission" is the film's official description) at the local thrift store's (Out Of The Closet Thrift Store) dollar bins to see what musical magic they can conjure up out of what most people would immediately discard as crappy records (and some are really crappy). 

As any modern crate digging beat maker will tell you, it is not about what the original record you have in your hands has to offer, but what you can cull from it to transform it (via chopping up and reworking sounds) into something new and wonderful, and this is where the skills of these four gifted producers come into play. The film comes as a DVD + CD set containing the original 30 minute documentary with additional films featuring more music and art creation plus extra beats and mixes from all four producers, and some other niceness. Recently I caught up with Secondhand Sureshots' director Frosty to ask him about his love letter to dusty old vinyl.

Lost in Translation: "Sundown," "Ab Aeterno" & "The Package"

Posted by Charles Reece, April 4, 2010 10:13pm | Post a Comment


A subjectivist would say that evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. However, cross-cultural psychology tells us that beauty preferences for bodily proportions remain pretty consistent across cultures -- e.g., the alignment of eyes to the nose or the ratio of hips to waist to bust might differ in our preference for how big or small the body parts, but percentage-wise, the preferred numbers are statistically close. Is the subjectivist also similarly wrong about evil?

In "The Package," the latest episode of Lost, having been captured by Whitmore's team, Jin turns on a brainwashing video in the cell where he's held. Along with the psychedelic montage are two inscriptions: "we are the causes of our own suffering" and "everything changes." Both respectively comment on two of the show's main themes, the nature of evil and determinism. Given that the narrative relies so heavily on fate and time travel, where the present has been determined by the actions of characters shifted into the past, we viewers should read irony into the Heraclitean message that you can never step into the same river twice. As is taking shape in the alternative timeline, the river might look different in the particulars, but it's always leading to the same place. Likewise, a grain of salt should be applied to the other message suggesting a subjectivist determination of evil. 

If memory serves, the video is the same one that was forced on Alex's boyfriend, Karl, by the Others (then led by Ben). Thus, it was either created by them, or they appropriated a DHARMA Initiative's video for their own purpose (since the room was definitely created by DHARMA). Either way, there was a good reason for the Others to use the video on a wayward member, to repress any suspicion that much suffering has been wrought by Jacob's will (and, of course, Ben's wish to punish the boy for dating his adopted daughter). Jacob pays a lot of lip service to free will, such as when he meets Richard for the first time in a flashback sequence of "Ab Aeterno." Just before offering a Richard a job as his liaison, he explains his purpose in bringing all the people to the island is to prove to the Nemesis that they can freely choose to do the right thing. However, the right thing isn't freely chosen by Jacob's candidates, but by the dictates of the island and/or Jacob. Thus, however justified the suffering of those who find themselves on the island might or might not be, one thing is certain, the evil effect isn't subjectively determined. What remains for the characters, as with the audience, is to determine the true nature of evil.


Since the last time I blogged about the show, I've been happy to discover that it hasn't gone the route of a dualistic struggle between good and evil. Sure, it continues to play with the iconography of a Star Wars metaphysics (black and white, two teams, etc.), but I think the writers have shown enough of their hand that the audience can be assured the moral outcome isn't going to be so simplistic. Take, for example, the parallel that's been drawn between the bargains proffered by Jacob and the Nemesis. As the personally chosen representative of Jacob and protector of the Temple, in "Sundown" Dogen offers the resurrected Sayid a chance to redeem himself and prove his goodness by killing UnLocke (the Nemesis) with a sacred dagger (sacred because it continues to get passed between the two island deities through the ages).
 
 

Using Jacob's typical rhetorical technique, Dogen only tells Sayid enough to get him to do the task at hand. It is hardly indicative of someone who respects the will of another, but rather the work of a satanic trickster. No mention is made of the likelihood that the dagger will have no effect on UnLocke -- and it doesn't. Furthermore, Dogen insists that Sayid must strike before UnLocke says anything, effectively robbing the opponent of any chance to prove his humanity to the contrary of his being characterized as "evil incarnate" (possibly another of Dogen's deceptions, since the Nemesis has been robbed of his body). On the other side, the Nemesis (as the Man in Black) gets Richard to go after Jacob with the dagger by tricking him into thinking the latter is the devil ("Ab Aeterna"). Richard is convinced he's in hell for killing a doctor, and due to the Nemesis' machinations, the only way to free himself and his wife is to kill Satan. Once again, the blow is to be dealt before the opponent has a chance to speak. Thus, the Nemesis has no more regard for a man's right of self-determination than Jacob. These methods suggest that the only good that will come out of following either Jacob or UnLocke is a utilitarian ratio where the final good outweighs all the evil means.


Having failed to kill UnLocke, Sayid makes a Faustian bargain to help the former infiltrate the Temple if he will bring the latter's dead wife back. Certainly, UnLocke makes a better argument for killing Dogen than the latter did in reverse. Would anyone else be convinced by "if you want to be good, kill this guy, no questions asked?" UnLocke gives a biblical choice to the Temple residents, either follow him or die. And a lot of them are murdered.


Jacob's temptation for Richard isn't all that different from Sayid's. He wants his wife back. No can do, says Jacob. Well, how about absolution? Nope. Alright, how about eternal life, so he'll never have to face eternal punishment? Jacob grants him that with a touch. In return, Richard helps line up candidates and followers for the next century and a half in whatever plan Jacob and the island have in place. As we've seen, and as Jacob explains, a lot of people have suffered and/or died for not having properly followed this agenda. Just like with UnLocke, either follow him or suffer the consequences. For their respective service, Sayid loses his emotional ties to his humanity and Richard loses any sense of purpose. The latter is brought back into Jacob's fold through Hurley communing with Isabella, Richard's dead wife. Keeping in mind that Jack once saw his dead father off the island where the Nemesis cannot be, it's posible that Jacob can impersonate dead people, too. Additionally, we never see "Isabella" actually telling Hurley to pass along the message to Richard that he must stop UnLocke from getting off the island. It might be that all of Hurley's ability as a medium is more of Jacob's shenanigans.

Jack has now found Locke's sense of purpose, but I'm betting on Sawyer's anarchic spirit. The latter has little concern for which side is correct or will win the game, and is more committed to playing them against each other for the sole purpose of getting himself and his friends off the island. Ultimately, the evil seems to be island bureaucracy. On the other hand, the possibility of freely choosing to go against the island's game has been severely undermined with all the deterministic courses everyone is on. Whatever, a Hollywood happy ending ain't likely. And I have no idea how the DHARMA Initiative fits into all of this (but it probably started with the owner of the Black Rock, Magnus Hanso -- was he on the ship?), or why Ben and Whitmore have to play by similar rules to those guiding Jacob and his Nemesis. 

Fresh Wall Of Soundtrack LP Collectibles At Amoeba LA

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 4, 2010 11:05am | Post a Comment
We've priced out a varied and deep batch of rare soundtrack LPs over the past few weeks -- from 80's classics like the Last American Virgin & Rad to Italian rarities by Morricone and Trovajoli. Throw in an original Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, horror rarities like Suspiria & Phantasm and an original Dolemite (with the sticker) and you can see just how cool of a collection we're offering!

HAPPY EASTER!!!

Posted by Job O Brother, April 4, 2010 10:22am | Post a Comment

The screams of children are drown out by the wailing of their mothers.

Oh geez. I’ve been sitting here – literally for minutes! – trying to think of what to blog about; meditating on current events both in my life and on this wacky planet we call Bruggafaderöllfyrwabbanonie (though “we” are a chosen few and most people prefer the moniker “Earth”), and couldn’t come up with anything special about today. I finally thought to visit my friend Wikipedia for some thrills, chills and spills in the form of their random article feature, only to suddenly remember that today is [insert cuss word here] Easter.


It’s Easter, brother! How could I not notice?

I’ll tell you how: I have no kids in my life. No one excited that an anthropomorphized rabbit might be prowling in the night, leaving artificially-colored produce is sneaky spots around our property (how kids think this is “neat” is beyond me and perhaps bespeaks to an aggravated psychological wound in our collective consciousness). My youngest nephews are all in Northern California, safely out of reach from Melrose brunches and Angelyne billboards; the closest thing to a child in my life is the kitten we just rescued. (Her name is Maybe.)


"My name is Maybe. I like chasing toy mice, eating, napping in sunbeams, and
diversifying my investment portfolio among stocks, bonds and money market securities,
so I can lower my overall investment risk."

What’s a dashingly handsome, thirtysomething, childless, city-dwelling, agnostic dude like myself to do on Easter? Volunteer to hide eggs for the homeless? (Is that even a good idea?) Leave a chocolate egg hidden under the pillow of my boyfriend? (That is not a good idea.)




The last Easter I enjoyed was April 11, 1982. I was eight. For whatever reason – the afterglow of hunting for eggs, the sugar rush of countless maltballs and marshmallows pushing my mind to precocious speculation – it occurred to me to ask my father:

“Pop? Is there really such a thing as an Easter Bunny?”

My Dad, who didn’t raise me and wasn’t confident dealing with children, looked helplessly to my older sister Jenny for help. Between the two of them, I learned the truth about said Bunny, plus, as an additional innocence-crusher, Santa Claus. I wept in my Father’s arms for about and hour, then returned to eating candy, trying to displace depression with Cadbury Crème Eggs.

Xanax for fat kids.

It’s oddly gloomy in Los Angeles today, and what with remembering the above story, I feel like my mood has been soaking in a bowl of PAAS blue tablet colored dye.

So here’s some music I like to listen to when I’m feeling melancholy. Happy Easter, I guess. Is there whiskey inside any of these plastic eggs…?













The Late, Great John Forsythe

Posted by Charles Reece, April 2, 2010 11:56am | Post a Comment

John Forsythe dead at 92. Here he is in his best role, as Sam in the criminally
underrated The Trouble with Harry (1955).

This Week At The New Beverly: French Noir, David Lynch, Brian DePalma, The Grindhouse Film Fest & MORE!

Posted by phil blankenship, April 2, 2010 10:20am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our April calendar is now online!
www.newbevcinema.com/calendar.cfm


Friday & Saturday April 2 & 3

Rififi
1955, France, 122 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048021/
dir. Jules Dassin, starring Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:10 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

E40's Revenue Retrievin', Ice Cube's Raiders Movie, DonWill's Don Cusack in High Fidelity, Irish Hip-Hop Fests, Free Downloads and More: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up: 04:02:10

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2010 07:25am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 04:02:10


1) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Day Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

2) E40 Revenue Retrievin'- Night Shift (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)

3) Madlib Medicine Show 3-Beat Konducta in Africa (Stones Throw)

4) Meth, Ghost & Rae Wu Massacre (Def Jam)

5) DonWill Don Cusack in High Fidelity (Interdependent Media)

In both the number 1 and 2 chart positions this week on the San Francisco Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Chart is longtime Bay Area rap artist E-40 with the his simultaneously released pair of CDs titled Revenue Retrievin' Day Shift  and Revenue Retrievin' Night Shift. Released this past Tuesday, both the Day Shift and Night Shift parts shot to the top of the chart partly in response to the well received lead off single/video "The Weed Man (feat. Stressmatic)" (see video below). Other guests who join the pioneering, "slanguage" making Vallejo wordsmith on the new two part CD series include such known names as Snoop Dogg, Too Short,  Mistah F.A.B., Ya Boy, Laroo, Dru Down, The DBz, Turf Talk, The Jacka, E40 MVPGucci Mane, B-Legit, Mike Marshall, Suga T, J. Valentine, Droop-E, Mac Shawn and Clyde Carson & Husalah of Mob Figaz, who appear together on the song ""Lightweight Jammin'" which is on the Day Shift volume of the two CDs. As usual, Forty Water keeps it true to the Bay with all of those local artists joining him throughout the two CDs, which total up 38 new tracks --19 on each CD.

out this week...3/16 & 3/23 & 3/30...she & him...serena-maneesh...bird & the bee...galaxie 500...the runaways....

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 1, 2010 01:55pm | Post a Comment

I have been obsessed with biopics ever since I can remember. I even remember liking the 8 hour long movie Ghandi when I was a kid! I loved A Cry in the Dark, Gorillas in the Mist, and Reversal of Fortune. I wanted to see any movie about real people. I also wanted to watch all the TV movies. Melendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills, Sybil, Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, and The Amy Fisher Story were all my favorites. I love Drew Barrymore in The Amy Fisher Story. I watch this movie many times every year. Not sure why. The movie is not the best in the world, and yet I just can't get enough of it. I put it right up there with Showgirls!

But I have also been obsessed with movies about rock stars. I would probably go see a movie about Kenny G if it was done right. The first movie I remember seeing about a rock star was La Bamba. I probably had no idea who Richie Valens was at the time. He was just the "La Bamba" Guy. I was 13 when La Bamba came out but it was one of my favorite movies. I was also obsessed with the Karen Carpenter Story, which was released as a TV movie two years later in 1989. Cynthia Gibb played the lead role. I was a bit obsessed with The Carpenters. I still can't get enough of them. I find it to be the most tragic, depressing pop music ever. It seems like most of these movies all ended up with the star dying an early tragic death. I also loved Selena starring Jennifer Lopez. I was never a fan of her music until this movie, but it is actually Jennifer Lopez's best role and a pretty good movie with Edward James Olmos as her dad. Angela Basset played roles in two of my other favorites. She of course played Tina Turner in What's Love Got To Do With It and Katherine Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream. But she didn't stop there! She also played the mom of the Notorious B.I.G. in Notorious. She is for sure the queen of the biopic! She also ventured out into some non-music biopics. She played the wife of Malcolm X in Malcolm X and Rosa Parks in The Rosa Parks Story. And you might or might not also remember her as Cheryl McNair in the movie Challenger from 1990.

My favorite music-related biopic is probably Coal Miner's Daughter starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. It just doesn't get much better than that. Sid & Nancy is also another classic. I can't get enough of that movie and have probably seen it over 30 times. Bravo seemed to play it every night back before reality TV took over the channel. Another one I was obsessed with as a child was AmadeusTom Hulce never found another role as good as that one. The Buddy Holly Story might also be the best work of Gary Busey. These roles are a great chance for actors to show off their acting talent. They are not easy roles to fill, especially when the person that they are playing is such a famous person.

Two of my recent favorites are Control about Joy Division -- that movie beautifully captured the feel of the band and the era -- and I also really liked I'm Not There about Bob Dylan. I know everyone was not a fan of that movie. I don't even like Bob Dylan but I loved the movie. Otherelvis presley kurt russell recent big profile bio-films were Ray about Ray Charles and Walk the Line about Johnny and June Carter Cash. A forgotten classic is Elvis starring Kurt Russell in the movie directed by John Carpenter. I have been looking for this movie ever since my coworker John Garcia told me how great it was. It finally just got reissued on DVD. Another one worth checking out is Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows starring Judy Davis. I love how biopics have to have two names! Judy Davis is amazing in everything. I also really liked Great Balls of Fire when I was younger. It stars Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis and Winona Ryder as his 13 year old wife and cousin. I even like The Doors movie starring Val Kilmer. I think I actually like that movie more than I like The Doors. Diana Ross is also awesome as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues. I am sure a lot of people hate these movies. They glamorize aspects of stars' lives and trivalize others. But I still love them. I never think of them as being acurate depictions of these stars lives. These are movies. They are made to entertain. Made to celebrate the lives of these musicians.

Of course, the reason I am getting all excited about biopics is because of the new Runaways movie. I have been excited about this movie since I first heard about it. I love The Runaways and Joan Jett but was never figuring that the movie would be very good. The Twilight movies have kind of ruined Kristen Stewart for me. I did love her in Into the Wild and Adventureland, so I knew she could act with a good script, but those Twilight movies are just so bad! They are hard to look beyond. And I didn't really have much faith in Dakota Fanning. Now that I've seen the film though, I have to say that I thought they were both amazing. The script is based on the book by Cherie Currie, so it really is a story about Cherie and Joan. Cherie Currie gets the most character devolpment. We get to know her mom and dad and her sister and grandma. Even the actors with small parts were brilliant. I loved Tatum O'Neal as Cherie's mom. And Riley Keough was awesome as Marie Currie. I really could have watched a whole movie about the Currie sisters. Scout Taylor-Compton was also great and unrecognizable as Lita Ford. She only had like 3 lines but she pulled off the role fantastically! And Michael Shannon was amazing as always as the creepy Kim Fowley. The movie has its flaws, but I don't need to point them out. It is a movie after all. When you are taking a band that means different things to different people and making an hour and a half long movie about them, there are going to be problems. There are going to be things left out. Still, overall I loved this movie. I thought the set design, costumes and hair were all great. And it really captured the feel of the era, like another great movie, Velvet Goldmine. You felt like you were living in the 70s during this movie. I think Dakota Fanning pulled out the role brilliantly. Cherie Currie wasn't really a musician -- she just got kind of thrown into the band. She portrayed the transition really well. I already want to see this movie again and again, sort of like Sid & Nancy. I don't think I will ever get sick of watching this movie. Go see it you have not already. And go watch some of those old music biopics that you might have missed.

The soundtrack to The Runaways is actually pretty good. It is made up of some songs of the era and some real Runaways songs, but it is mostly Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning singing. And they actually pull it off! But if you are looking to really hear the music, I recommend you pick up a copy of The Runaways Anthology that just got put out on Mercury Records! This anthology is a collection of four albums by the band: Queens of Noise, Waitin' for the Night, The Runaways, and Live In Japan. I also recommend the documentary Edgeplay for a more in depth look at the story of the band.


I still can't believe that Serena-Maneesh is not a more popular group! I thought that they would conquer the world with their last shoegaze masterpiece. Now they are giving it another try with this new album. It really is good stuff. They are another great band from Norway.  All the things that you love about Lush and My Bloody Valentine are on this new album.


If you have never owned these Galaxie 500 albums then now is your chance -- all 3 have now been reissued for like the third time! Before Luna, Dean & Britta and Damon & Naomi there was Galaxie 500. This band was brilliant and influenced tons of bands that you know and love. This is Dream Pop!


also out 3/16...






Powers of Audition by Jonas Reinhardt












Mercury Album Anthology by The Runaways












Under Great White Northern Lights by The White Stripes







also out 3/23...






Oversteps by Autechre












Vol. 1 Interpretations by Bird & the Bee












Wondershow Of the World by Bonnie Prince Billy












Head First by Goldfrapp












High Places Vs. Mankind by High Places












In the Court of the Wrestling Let's by Let's Wrestle












Two Thousand & Ten Injuries by Love Is All












Runaways Soundtrack












No. 2: Abyss by Serena-Maneesh












Vol. 2 by She & Him







also out 3/30...






Good Son (reissue) by Nick Cave












Henry's Dream (reissue) by Nick Cave












Tender Prey (reissue) by Nick Cave












I Will Be by Dum Dum Girls












On Fire (reissue) by Galaxie 500












This Is Our Music (reissue) by Galaxie 500













Today (reissue) by Galaxie 500











Medicine County by Holly Golightly












Unfun (reissue) by Jawbreaker












Yeah So by Slow Club













Vol. 2 by Wooden Shjips




Shadow Dancing in The Desert: Fever Ray Hits Coachella

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 1, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment

Reason 1,867,456,378 those Indio bound this Spring have cause for celebration: Karin Dreijer Andersson aka Fever Ray is bringing her astonishing stage show to Coachella this year. And that is exactly what she brings: a stage show. Fever Ray’s 2009 Lynchian performance at The Fonda was one of the most visually evocative and vividly memorable Pop music shows I’ve ever attended. Stage set with an array of blinking antique lamps, Andersson appeared through heavy smoke and incense decked out in a colorful quilt-like shroud and a head-dress that could have come straight off of one of the Wild Things. Anderrson served as the ringmaster over a band of masked men (which features Fever Ray album collaborators Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid) for an intense 12 song set that also featured a bevy of stoner-ready laserlight grids that created an eerie green virtual ceiling for the living-room-in-the-middle-of the-woods/Pagan-Seance vibe that she appeared to be going for. But unlike most high-spectacle Pop concerts, Fever Ray’s presentation was not done to mask low-quality/without-meaning Pop songs, it was there to enhance the stark, supernatural atmosphere and sometimes even somber moods of her songs. During “Keep The Streets Empty For Me,” the ‘virtual laser ceiling’ lowered over the crowd to make the large space seem uncomfortably intimate, if not claustrophobic, then dissipated just as Andersson intoned, “Uncover our heads and reveal our souls.”

The show proved that Fever Ray’s visual side is an integral part of its art, not just complementary to its music but completing a whole narrative. This also became obvious over 2009 as Andersson released six (!) Fever Ray videos, including one for the project’s eerie cover of Nick Cave’s “Stranger Than Kindness.” Karin seemingly loves the melding of the two, as her other recent release is a soundtrack to an opera about Charles Darwin entitled Tomorrow, In A Year, written and performed by her other main project, The Knife. When Fever Ray won the P3 Guld Award (aka the Swedish Grammy) for Best Dance Artist (huh? Dance? maybe as in Shadow Dancing?) this year, Andersson accepted in a red Burqa-style veil only to reveal a flesh-colored ‘melting’ mask and then preceded to grunt and wheeze instead of spewing the usual ‘thank-yous’ to 'God and My Manager.' Many brushed this off as GaGa-aping but her intentions were apparently much deeper and to draw attention to worldly horrors: The mask was meant to represent the acid scarification many women suffer from violent attacks used in some predominately Muslim countries as a form of punishment and subjugation for "offenses" like going to school and appearing in public with an uncovered face. As with most Performance Art, it was met immediately with uncomfortable laughter, confusion, and your usual doses of skepticism and angry dismissals. For me, Karin Dreijer-Andersson is the 21st century pop artist I’ve been waiting for.

There’s no word yet whether or not Fever Ray’s Friday (April 16) Coachella performance will be the same show that Andersson toured last year, but Fever Ray in the California Desert should be something to behold. Please enjoy, now, all six Fever Ray videos culled from its debut.






Interview with Paul Edwards About His New Book How To Rap: The Art And Science Of The Hip-Hop MC

Posted by Billyjam, April 1, 2010 09:21am | Post a Comment
How To Rap Paul Edwards
Chicago Review Press
' recently published How To Rap: The Art And Science Of The Hip-Hop MC is author Paul Edwards' exhaustively in-depth study of what exactly goes into the writing and execution of hip-hop rhymes or raps. For this comprehensive guide to rap making, the hip-hop fanatic author, who holds a master's degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from the University of London, went directly to the source, to the experts themselves. Edwards interviewed over a hundred different well known emcees, posing questions on literally every angle of what goes into crafting their lyrical art. E40, Chuck D, Masta Ace, Immortal Technique, Schoolly D, Big Daddy Kane, and Kool G Rap (who also penned the 340 page book's foreward) are among those who fully respond to questions on topics ranging from lyrical content and flow to writing style & structure, rap delivery (including breath control), collaborating, and ghost-writing.

Edwards also set up a corresponding website with related information to the book, such as a breakdown of songs referenced in its pages. How to Rap, which should appeal to the die hard rap fan as much as to the aspiring rapper, is laid out in an easily digestible form and offers some good insights. Even someone who thought they knew everything about hip-hop and its creation will learn something new, no doubt. The "science" part of the book's approach includes illustrated 'flow diagrams' for rappers. This week I caught up with the author, who currently resides in Dubai, to ask him about his new book and the art of MC'ing.

Amoeblog:  What gave you the idea to write this book?

March 31, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, April 1, 2010 12:15am | Post a Comment