Burned Out: Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno

Posted by Charles Reece, July 31, 2010 09:47pm | Post a Comment

There's not a lot to this documentary unless you're a huge fan of Henri-Georges Clouzot ... or if an hour's worth of leering at Romy Schneider is your thing. Either one of those makes this the best movie of the summer so far for me. Schneider suggests the essence of Doris Day as a sordid fetish object, kind of the European Tuesday Weld. She plays Odette, the much younger wife to Serge Raggiani's possessive husband, Marcel, in Clouzot's unfinished L'Enfer. As co-directors Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea tell it in their doc, so much Hollywood money was thrown at the perfectionist director that it resulted in too much planning and constant revisions to ever reach completion. And because Clouzot was one the great authoritarians of cinema, he tended to treat his actors like building material for the realization of his storyboards. Raggiani had had enough abuse and quit during the middle of shooting. Clouzot tried to replace him, but suffered a heart attack, leaving the film one of cinephilia's fantasized masterpieces. This doc is really just an excuse to show the great footage that had been lying dormant for over 40 years.

Marcel is pathologically jealous, imagining Odette in various infidelities. Inspired by Fellini's recently released , Clouzot wanted to push the oneiric qualities of cinema even further in depicting his character's delirium. He hired a group of celebrated cinematographers to create a series of visual experiments, mostly focusing on Schneider. The results are amazing and can only make one consider the negative impact of CGI on film aesthetics. Inception or this:

Xu DaRocha - Painter, Photographer, Chinese TV & Cinema Veteran... and Dumpling Lover

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2010 11:55am | Post a Comment

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage, an occasion I marked by seeking interviews with several Asian-American artists (like Roommate's Ken Lambert) and blogging about Asian neighborhoods and such… One interview I attempted to land was Chinese-American artist Xu Darocha, now giving a whole new meaning to the concept of “Asian time” by getting her responses to me in time for National Cat Fish Month… To be fair, she’s been occupied with more pressing business, working on her amazing artwork.

Eric Brightwell: Hello Xu, thanks for letting me profile you. Happy Asian American Heritage Month. Have you done anything in recognition or celebration?

Xu Darocha: Not yet. I will make myself some dumplings soon. Will that count?

EB: Not really, unless you weren’t going to otherwise make them… plus it’s a little late! When I mention your name, almost everyone asks, “Is that her real name?” Do you get that a lot?

XD: Most of the people I meet are usually more confused about how to read “Xu.” I was born and raised in China. Xu is pronounced "zoo." "DaRocha" is the last name I took from my ex-husband when I was married. So yes – it’s my real name.

Continue reading...

Mars - The Red Planet in Games, Movies and Television

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2010 11:00am | Post a Comment
A lot of people come up to me and say, "Love the blog, especially the ones about moons, planets and dwarf planets in film, music, video games, &c... so why haven't you done one on Mars?"

Actually, no one said that and I just never did one until now because I figured it would be too much work. To my surprise, it actually turned out to be pretty manageable, so here you are, on the two year anniversary of the discovery of water on Mars.

The reason writing an entry about Mars in films, TV, &c proved to be rather easy is because although Martians show up all over the place in films (mainly as invaders of Earth) we rarely ever see the planet or culture of Mars itself depicted. This post, then, is only about depictions of life on Mars and not every depiction of Martians.

Marriage of Venus and Mars

Mars is named after the Roman god of war. He was the sun of Juno and Jupiter. He started out as a god of fertility, vegetation, cattle, fields, boundaries and farmers. Over time, he became the most prominent of the martial gods. As the father of Rome's founder, Romulus, he is the ancestor of all Romans.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:30:10: Amoeba Hollywood Top 5 with Marques, KRS-One Amoeba Instore Review, Shing02 Interview + Live Music Guide

Posted by Billyjam, July 30, 2010 03:40pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 07:30:10

Big Boi OutKast
1) Rick Ross Teflon Don (Def Jam)

2) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)

3) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)

4) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)

5) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)

Special thanks to Marques at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store for this week's in-person Top Five Hip-Hop Chart (scroll down to see video clip) from the Sunset Blvd. store where I spent much of Wednesday and Thursday this week soaking in all the loveliness of being surrounded by so much music Damn but the huge, cavernous two-level Hollywood Amoeba is just so vast that you seriously need to pace yourself if you go shopping there. The hip-hop section alone, where I stumbled upon records and DVDs that I had never even seen before, is worth the trip.

Besides crate digging and talking music with a slew of impressively knowledgeable Hollywood Amoebites, I also had the honor of moderating Wednesday evening's Q&A session with The Teacha himself, Hip Hop KRS ONE + General Jefflegend KRS ONE, who, in support of his latest book, The Gospel of Hip Hop, came for an exclusive Amoeba Hollywood instore that involved him talking about his unique hip-hop history-meets- life- manual publication, and also responding to questions from myself and some Amoeba customers who had bought the KRS book. One such customer was General Jeff (pictured above with KRS) from the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, who had a great question about homeless youth -- something that KRS, as a former homeless youth himself, enthusiastically responded to in enlightening detail.

Continue reading...

Bell, Book & Candle @ Egyptian! Kim Novak In Person!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 30, 2010 01:50pm | Post a Comment

Tonight, the Egyptian Theatre is hosting a tribute to Kim Novak and she's going to be there!!! The Cinematheque is screening Bell Book and Candle with Pal Joey. If you enjoy extreme Technicolor, highly stylized sets depicting an idyllic late 50's NYC, Xmas fairy tales, sensual witches, subterranean beatnik clubs, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Elsa Lanchester, the Brothers Candoli and Persian cats, then you really need to come down to the Egyptian Theatre tonight. If not, then you should stay home and watch Family Guy re-runs.

Egyptian Theatre

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

$11/$7 for members

The Gories Are Still Cooler Than You

Posted by Miss Ess, July 30, 2010 11:17am | Post a Comment
One of the best Detroit bands ever to grace the garage scene, The Gories, is back!

The Gories lasted roughly from 1986-1992 and are a delightfully primitive sounding, hard rocking group signed to the influential Crypt Records and including Motor City icon and guitarist/singer Mick Collins (who would later form The Dirtbombs), Peg O'Neill and Dan Kroha (also of Rocket 455 and The Demolition Doll Rods).

After a nearly 20-year break, the Gories reformed last summer for a European tour (with quick Detroit and Memphis reunion shows), while those of us who are fans across the USA collectively held our breath, crossing our fingers for some more spread-out dates here. The time has come to breathe freely again -- The Gories are coming!

Tour dates currently include NYC tonight and tomorrow! But also I have uncovered a San Francisco Gories show at the Independent on September 9! Look for The Gories in your town! Here are the other dates announced so far:

7/30 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom

7/31 New York, NY - Lincoln Center

9/8 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo

9/9 San Francisco, CA - The Independent

9/10 Portland, OR - Musicfest NW

This Week At The New Beverly: Roman Polanski, Federico Fellini, Nicole Holofcener & more!

Posted by phil blankenship, July 29, 2010 08:48pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full schedule is available online:

Friday & Saturday, July 30 & 31

Roman Polanski double bill

The Ghost Writer
2010, UK / France / Germany, 128 minutes
written & directed by Roman Polanski based on a Robert Harris novel, starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Jon Bernthal, Tim Preece, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:05 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Sandwell District / Downwards Stock @ Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 29, 2010 04:17pm | Post a Comment

Sunday Sound Matinee @ Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, July 29, 2010 09:54am | Post a Comment
sunday sound matinee amoeba hollywood

A Look at Baloch Arts and Culture and an Urgent Appeal to Prevent the Execution of a Child

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2010 01:48pm | Post a Comment

Balochistan (????????) is a UNPO member nation that lies along the division between the Middle East and South Asia. It is currently divided between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.


The area was first settled c. 7000-6000 BCE by the Dravidian ancestors of the modern day Brahui. The ruins of the Neolithic Mehghar reveal it to be one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.

From the first to third centuries, AD, the area was ruled by Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings, the P?ratar?jas. During the Arab Conquest in the 700s, Islam and Arabic culture arrived. In the 1000s, fleeing the Seljuk Turks, and in the 1200s, fleeing the Khagan of the Mongol Empire, numerous Aryan tribes arrived. All found the harsh, arid and mountainous ideally isolated and today, Baloch people's DNA reveals a rich genetic mix with varying degrees of Arab, Aryan, Dravidian, Greek, Kurdish and Turk ancestry.

Plastic Bertrand Forced to Admit He Didn't Actually Sing

Posted by Amoebite, July 28, 2010 11:44am | Post a Comment
Ca Plane Pour Moi 1   Ca Plane Pour Moi 2  Ca Plane Pour Moi 3

The Onion A.V. Club
is reporting that new-wave scenester Plastic Bertrand didn't actually sing "Ca Plane Pour Moi!" Scandalous! It's not even like its a hard song to sing. Read More...

Tigerskin - What's In My Bag?

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 28, 2010 11:43am | Post a Comment
Our friend Alex Krueger, aka Tigerskin, aka Dub Taylor, was here in LA for a recent gig and stopped by Amoeba; here's what he picked up...

The Gospel of Hip Hop According to KRS ONE, Part VI -- Hip Hop as World's Savior, The Gospel & KRS in the Year 2040

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2010 09:00am | Post a Comment

At 6pm today (July 28th), KRS One (aka The Teacha & longtime ambassador of all things Hip Hop) will celebrate the publication of his in-depth book, The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument presented by KRS One for the Temple of Hip Hop (Powerhouse Books), with a special Amoeba Music Hollywood appearance. Unlike most Amoeba instores, which tend to be music concerts followed by a meet and greet/CD signing, today's standing room only KRS  instore event, to be held in the SoCal store's cozy Jazz Room, will involve the veteran Hip Hop artist, activist, educator, author giving a lecture related to The Gospel of Hip Hop, taking some questions from the audience, and signing copies of his book. It is still possible to get in on today's special event. For full information & exact details click here. And if you are unable to attend today's event but would like to purchase a copy of the book online from Amoeba you can do so by clicking here. If you have any questions that you would like KRS to answer please write them in the comments below, and, as moderator of today's KRS lecture, I will do my best to have the man answer your question.

Today's KRS One Amoeblog is the sixth and final part in the series leading up to his instore and includes another audio excerpt from the recent Amoeblog exclusive KRS phone interview. After spending even a short time in the company of KRS you quickly realize that to say he does not take Hip Hop lightly is quite an understatement. The man lives and breathes it. His famous line, "rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something to live," are truly words that he lives by. In conversation he mentions Hip Hop continually and clearly never stops thinking about it and its ramifications. "I think Hip Hop is the savior of American KRS ONEsociety; Hip Hop itself brings cultures together because it gives people a chance to talk and to really see what the other guy is thinking and in a peaceful way," he told me when I asked about the real meaning of Hip Hop as a culture and a lifestyle.

Amoeba Hollywood Vinyl Insider- Box Sets and Punk Collectibles This Week!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 27, 2010 09:05pm | Post a Comment
This week we will be putting out a ton of recently priced and marked down box sets; look for them near info next to the new arrival LPs. Also, over on the south east wall, we will be changing out all of the punk and hc collectible rows.

The Gospel of Hip Hop According to KRS ONE, Part V -- On His "Divine Intelligence," Dealing with Detractors, and Satanists & Hip Hop

Posted by Billyjam, July 27, 2010 04:05pm | Post a Comment

In celebration of Hip Hop legend KRS One's recently unleashed 800 + page book, The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument presented by KRS ONE for the Temple of Hip Hop published by Powerhouse Books, the Teacha himself will make a special exclusive Amoeba Music Hollywood appearance tomorrow (Wednesday, July 28th) at 6pm. He will present a lecture, Q+A session, and book signing for those lucky to gain access to the standing room only Jazz Room section of the Southern California Amoeba store.

For more information on how you can still attend this unique Amoeba instore appearance by the man who literally wrote the good book on Hip Hop, click here. And if you cannot attend this one off event but would like to purchase a copy of the book online from Amoeba and have KRS sign it for you, you can do so by clicking here. Also, should you have any questions that you would like presented to KRS, please write them in the comments below and, as moderator of his lecture at Amoeba Hollywood, I will do my best to have him answer your question.

Meantime, this is the fifth in the six part KRS One Amoeblog interview, with each installment leading up to the KRS instore on July 28th. On the topic of the Gospel of Hip Hop, KRS One insists, "If we are going to create a kulture, an international kulture, then we are going to have to dig a little deeper than rap music CDs and Wild Style movie watching. We're gonna have to actually know, to the deepest aspect of our being, who we are and what we mean. And this is done in mathematics. This is done through language. This is done through gnostic knowledge, dreams, visions, miracles. And to live that even you have to live a dangerous life. You have to live on the edge. You might get arrested. Your friend may die. And people don't want to go that path. They don't want to investigate anything that deep. So for me there is no debate. I have delved deep into Hip Hop for my own survival by the way, love of craft, and my own survival."

Neil Young Sideman Ben Keith Dead at 73

Posted by Miss Ess, July 27, 2010 12:50pm | Post a Comment

Ben Keith, who had a long and distinguished career as a Nashville session man,
record producer and steel guitar player with Neil Young for decades, has passed away at 73. He was truly one of the greats. The cause of death is unknown currently.

The photo above is from just a little over a month ago, when Keith appeared at Pegi Young's instore at Amoeba SF. There are many more images from the event here on our website and a video of the show is forthcoming.

In the meantime, here is a performance of Neil's "This Old House" featuring Keith:

Paul McCartney's Gershwin Prize Concert on PBS 7.28

Posted by Amoebite, July 27, 2010 12:06pm | Post a Comment
paul mccartney amoeba

On June 2, 2010, Amoeba fan and friend Sir Paul McCartney was presented with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by President Obama at the White House. McCartney also performed several of his hits to mark the occasion, including "Michelle," which was of course dedicated to Mrs. Obama, and artists like Jack White, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl, Emmylou Harris and many more performed tracks from McCartney's deep catalog, plus remarks were made by Jerry Seinfeld!

Luckily for those of us who were not invited to the event, this award ceremony was captured on tape for all to enjoy, with performances, behind the scenes footage and interviews! It is set to air on PBS tomorrow -- July 28. Check local listings for exact air times!

To whet your appetites, here's a balls to the walls performance of "Mother Nature's Son" (with a bit of "That Would Be Something") by Jack White:

Renegade Craft Fair in SF This Weekend

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 27, 2010 11:47am | Post a Comment
renegade craft fair

Four Inch Focus- Ladies Of The Labels Pt 3

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 26, 2010 01:30pm | Post a Comment
An LP label is approximately 4" in diameter; this is a gallery focusing on female imagery.
Check out my previous galleries here & here.

July 25, 2010: Salt

Posted by phil blankenship, July 25, 2010 11:29pm | Post a Comment

Bob Hope and the Feminine Spectacle

Posted by Charles Reece, July 25, 2010 10:55pm | Post a Comment
In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female figure which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.
-- Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"

I've been reading some feminist film theory lately, and came upon an interesting tidbit about Laura Mulvey (best known for bringing 'the gaze' to film critique). As a member of London's Women’s Liberation Workshop, she participated in the protest of 1970's Miss World Pageant, which involved lighting stink bombs, throwing flour bombs, shooting water pistols and making a lot of other ruckus during one of host Bob Hope's routines. And thanks to YouTube's worker ants, the incident is online:

What's interesting about that is how close Hope's intro lines up with Mulvey's own take on the male gaze: "I'm very, very happy to be at this cattle market tonight. Mooo. No, it's quite a cattle market; I've been back there checking calves." With the emcee, a proponent of the contest, being so direct about what was going on, I wonder if there was any need for the counter-spectacle. Hope did get defensive, though, saying that the protesters must've been "on some kinda dope" to disrupt "an affair as wonderful as this." For her part, Mulvey thought the incident a success, writing with collaborator Margarita Jimenez that it was "a blow against passivity, not only the enforced passivity of the girls on the stage but the passivity we all felt in ourselves" (from "The Spectacle is Vulnerable: Miss World, 1970"). But if being called cattle doesn't wake the girls up, what good is the stench of sulfur and a starchy haze? On the contrary, if you've ever seen one of those MTV docs about the beauty pageant circuit, you know that it's a lot of hard work to be this "passive." The contestants have to really want to be the objects of the dominating gaze, like Phyllis Schafly putting her duties as a homemaker on perpetual hold to defend traditional femininity against the ERA and anything else that's come up in the subsequent years. Beauty contestants are proactive supporters of the patriarchy, true ideologues. One might as well blow kazoos at a Klan rally to alert the racists of their false consciousness.

The type of woman who enters beauty pageants will continue to exploit her genetic gifts because it gets her things she wants (how else could one explain Donald Trump's marriages). What the demonstration accomplished was, as Lynne Harne explained in her London Feminist Network "feminar" was "an iconic moment in terms of what Women’s Liberation was about." That is, it was a reactive spectacle directed at those of like mind: young, budding feminists. It wasn't activity versus passivity, but ideology versus ideology, action versus action. And it proved that Bob Hope was a real asshole.

The Gospel of Hip Hop According to KRS ONE, Part IV -- Thinking Very Deeply, Favorite Hip Hop Artists & the N Word

Posted by Billyjam, July 25, 2010 07:07am | Post a Comment

Boogie Down Productions "My Philosophy" (1988)

That 22 year old Boogie Down Productions (BDP) era quote of KRS-One's that goes, 'I think very deeply,' taken from the song/single "My Philosophy" off the 1988 BDP album By All Means Boogie Down ProductionsNecessary (Jive/RCA), remains true to this day. KRS-One really does think very deeply about every minute detail and aspect of Hip Hop and he digs deeper than most are prepared to, or are even interested in doing. As he said in the Amoeblog interview, "I dig deep: I'm rapping, I'm emcee'ing. What the hell is emcee'ing? Rakim said 'E M C E E, a repetition of words, check out my melody,' so why did he say E M C E E and not M C? What's the difference? I know other people didn't really care about what the difference was. They just wanted the money. But me, I ran and grabbed the Oxford English dictionary with a magnifying glass on it and I looked up E M. What is E M and what is C E E? And then what is I N? And what does it mean to take the G off of I N G? When did this happen in English language? Who else did this? Why are we thinking like this? No one asks those questions. I ask those questions."

At this point I asked KRS a question. Who are some of his favorite emcees or Hip Hop artists in general? He said that there were too many to mention every one, but that he counts Supernatural among his favorites, quickly adding, "People like Chris Rock I think encompass the kulture of Hip Hop. He applies the sight of Hip Hop to another medium and you could see Hip Hop in another way by looking at him." However, KRS was somewhat critical of both Will Smith and Queen Latifah, not as emcees but as Queen Latifahhigh profile movie actors in a position to represent Hip Hop more than they do.

The Town Part II: Interview with Oakland's Bikes 4 Life's Founder Tony Coleman

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2010 02:55pm | Post a Comment
Bikes 4 Life 3rd Annual Peace Ride - July 24th 2010

Oakland's unique Bikes 4 Life, which later today presents its 3rd Annual Bike Ride for Peace & Bike-In Movie Night with a free screening of The Warriors, is yet another thing about The Town (aka Oakland) that helps make this long slept-on East Bay neighbor of San Francisco such a wonderfully unique & special place to live or visit. And the goal of the Amoeblog's The Town series is to focus on many of the Bikes 4 Lifefine Oakland organizations and businesses (for profit & non-profit) that have either been around for a few years such as Bikes 4 Life, or for a good many years such as Rent-A-Relic, or else ones have only just cropped up in the past several months such as Beer Revolution and The Layover (both to be Amoeblogged about here in the upcoming weeks).

Earlier today I caught up with Tony Coleman, who is the founder and executive director of this Oakland bicycle based organization -- someone who I originally met through hip-hop several years ago and who has always been a really cool, positive person-- one with his community always first in his mind. The interview with Tony follows and includes the specifics on this evening's bike ride and movie screening.

Secret Society of the Sonic Six Returns!!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 24, 2010 01:25pm | Post a Comment

will be playing tracks off of their current release, Arp Little Secret (cassette only & available at Amoeba Hollywood), as well as revamped versions of old songs. Locals Peeling Grey will open and between band incidental music has been personally selected by (((6)))

1911 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles
No Cover w/ 2 drink min (or dinner)

10:00 Door
10:30 Peeling Grey
11:30 (((6)))

Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:23:10: Rick Ross, Kero One, Curren$y, Take Back the Mic Bay Area

Posted by Billyjam, July 23, 2010 05:46pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 07:23:10

1) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)

2) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)

3) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)

4) Curren$y Pilot Talk (Blu Roc, Def Jam)

5) Tie between three:
  -  Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)
 -  Rick Ross Teflon Don (Def Jam)
  - Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives  
   (Republic, Universal)

Thanks to both Inti and Evan at the Berkeley Amoeba Music, who star in the video below, for this week's hip-hop chart and honorable mentions/picks. As Inti mentions in the clip, still holding steady in sales are The Roots, Big Boi, Eminem, Drake, and Nas & Damian Marley. Meanwhile, the new entries include Rick Ross' Teflon Don, the Miami artist's fourth full length release following 2006's Port Of Miami, 2008's Trilla, and last year's Deeper Than Rap. The new album features such guests as Ne-Yo, members of the Miami-based Triple-C (Carol City Cartel), Jay-Z, Kanye West, Chrisette Michelle, Drake, T.I., and Raphael Sadiq. And in case, like me, you were fooled into thinking that MC Hammer, whose name appears on the sticker on the cover of the new CD, also appears on the new release, he doesn't; instead there is the song "MC Hammer (feat. Gucci Mane)" (audio sample below).

Krist Novoselic - What's In My Bag?

Posted by Amoebite, July 23, 2010 11:59am | Post a Comment
We snagged Krist Novoselic at the cash registers yesterday for an episode of WIMB and here's what he had to say about his trip to Amoeba Hollywood. Thanks, Krist!

The Gospel of Hip Hop According to KRS ONE, Part III -- Spellings & Definitions of Hip Hop

Posted by Billyjam, July 22, 2010 09:45pm | Post a Comment
KRS One KRS ONE appears at Amoeba Hollywood on July 28th at 6pm in a special standing room only lecture in celebration of his latest book, The Gospel of Hip Hop!

Of the many memorable lyrics and expressions KRS-One has uttered over the years, perhaps the most often quoted by fans of Hip Hop is: "Rap is something you do. Hip Hop is something you live."

Simple but brilliantly profound, this regularly recited and referenced expression is part of the lyrics from the veteran hip-hop emcee, educator, activist, author's song "Hip Hop Vs. Rap," which was originally released as a B-side of the 1993 single "Sound Of Da Police" off his landmark 1993 solo debut Return Of The Boom Bap (Jive Records). The Teacha, as KRS ONE is commonly known, has long been a spokesperson for and ambassador of Hip Hop. Through his tireless two and a half decades of making Hip Hop music and giving lectures on the topic he has helped define the very meaning of the culture, or kulture, as he spells it. In fact, he has literally written the book on Hip Hop with his third and latest book, the 800 plus page The Gospel of Hip Hop, which is subtitled First Instrument presented by KRS ONE for the Temple of Hip Hop. Not surprisingly, The Teacha spends a good deal of space within these pages dissecting and analyzing the exact meaning of Hip Hop right down to its spelling, which he divides three distinct ways: Hip Hop, hip-hop, and Hiphop.

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Burbank, A City Built by People, Pride, and Progress

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 22, 2010 08:20pm | Post a Comment

This blog entry is about the Los Angeles County community of Burbank. To vote for other communities, click here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Orange County communities, click here.

Burbank from the Verdugos

For this episode, I was accompanied in the CARDIS by frequent traveling companion, Shimbles. We were originally to be accompanied by Matt Masocco, but he was called into Amoeba to work at the last minute. It was a hot, muggy day in Los Angeles.

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the San Fernando Valley


Anyway, Burbank is located in the San Fernando Valley and can be divided into two distinct areas, one nestled on the slopes and foothills of the Verdugo Mountains, and one in the western portion in the southeastern end of the San Fernando Valley. Burbank is surrounded by Tujunga and Sunland to the northeast, Shadow Hills to the north, Sun Valley to the northwest, North Hollywood to the west, Toluca Lake and Universal City to the southwest, Griffith Park to the south, and Glendale to the east.

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Burbank

Being its own city, Burbank is made up of several of its own neighborhoods, including happening Downtown (with the Mall District, The Civic Center and Burbank Village), noisy Burbank Junction, hilly Burbank North Estates, chill Chandler Park, Hillside, edgy Magnolia Park, the bustling Burbank Media Center, McNeil, the Northwest District, and the horse-friendly Rancho Adjacent and the Rancho Equestrian Districts

out this week 7/13 & 7/20...frank (just frank)...phranc...the kids are alright...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 22, 2010 01:55pm | Post a Comment

My new favorite band of the week has got to be Frank (Just Frank). I love when a band comes out of nowhere into my life-- I didn't even know they existed until last week but now they are in my life and I love it. I am not talking about Frank Sinatra, and I am not talking about the lesbian musician Phranc. (Although any time I get a chance to talk about Phranc I sort of have to go for it.) Frank (Just Frank) is a new band on the fantastic Brooklyn label Wierd Records. The band is from Paris, least, sort of. They are what you would think Cold Wave would sound like. This album could have easily been made in the 80s, which is, of course, why I love it. It is dark and brooding. It is weird and atmospheric. It is not exactly the sort of album you might put on when thinking of LA in the summer. It's more like London or Berlin in the middle of winter! But I love it for summer. I have my Beach House and Ave Buffalo for the summer, and my Best Coast and Surfer Blood, but I need something dark to balance those records out. Those pop albums can't really exist without something that sounds like their opposite! The new album is called Brutal Wave, a perfect title for the album. It is dark synth, like a dark shoegaze band. There are dark jangly moments that make me think of the darker Smiths songs or the Cocteau Twins. One of their songs replicates the opening of an XTC song. There are some really great songs on this album and it reminds me of Clan of Xymox at times! It's definitely somewhere between New Order and Joy Division.

Buy the album Brutal Wave by Frank (Just Frank)

Let me get back to Phranc. I feel like some of you may not know who she is, or maybe you forgot. She was sort of the Alternative version of K.D. Lang. I first found out about her from Morrissey. He took her on tour with him for his Kill Uncle Tour in 1991. She opened up for him on the tour and also seemed to take up about half of the Tour Program as well. I didn't even know for sure that I was gay at the time, but I was pretty sure about Morrissey. I even went to this show with my girlfriend! I almost felt like Morrissey was coming out of the closet a bit by having Phranc open up for him. Phranc also sort of started my obsession with all things lesbian. My new found fixations on Team Dresch and Sleater- Kinney were just around the corner. Lesbians are for sure all over the media these days, which really is an amazing accomplishment. The images of lesbians in the media may not always be the best, but some sort of exposure is usually better than none. The L Word on Showtime was probably the first introduction to a sort of normal lesbian culture for a lot of people. The show really was nothing more than a lesbian soap opera, and I think it really could have been a lot better, but I still couldn't resist watching it every week. I really felt a void when it was over. I hated the U.S. version of Queer as Folk, so The L Word was phranc morrisseyactually a better alternative. But I knew there would be some bad lesbian imitations around the corner. I knew there would be some horrible reality show spawned from this show...and now there is. The Real L Word premiered a couple of weeks ago. I had to watch the first episode and I even watched the first episode a second time with a friend of mine. It really is one of the worst things that I have seen on TV! I guess that these women do sort of exist in some sort of reality. I wonder how much of these on screen personalities are actually real. I also hope that the rest of the world doesn't think that this is actually how most lesbians act. I have known many lesbians in my life and I have yet to meet any like any of the women on this show. Please try to resist and don't watch this show. I think my least favorite thing on TV has to be TMZ. I would seriously rather watch Sarah Palin. I still have no idea why they film the office conversations of a bunch of paparazzi idiots making fun of celebrities. I still feel like somebody accidentally left a camera on in their office and it is not actually supposed to be on TV. But somebody wanted to show what idiots they are, so they decided to broadcast it. The Real L Word is really not much better.

There is another lesbian pop culture phenomenon happening right now -- the movie The Kids Are Alright. I went to go see it in Century City last weekend with my boyfriend. I honestly thought there would maybe be like 10 people in the theater. I sure was wrong! The screening we actually tried to go to was almost sold out 15 minutes before it started. I really didn't want to watch the movie from the front row so we went to the next screening that was also almost sold out. I do realize that this was Los Angeles, and the movie was only playing in a couple theaters, but I was still surprised. This seemed to be a sort of mainstream hit -- a film about a lesbian couple and their kids who try to find their sperm donor dad! I really could not imagine a mainstream movie like that existing in 1991. There have been many lesbian movies before this, some of them worth watching, and some of them not so much. The two first movies that I remember seeing were Desert Hearts and Liana. Movies like those paved they way for sure. It really wasn't until then that lesbians were not just the evil women in movies who usually ended up dead or run out of town by the end of the movie. The crowd at The Kids Are Alright seemed to be 95% straight. That me happy, and the movie is actually really good! It's one of those movies that you can't really hate. It is just likable and full of likable characters but it really is more of a drama than the trailers make it seem to be. I just saw another trailer of it last night that makes it seem like the next Hangover -- every joke in the movie in shown in the trailer -- but there really is a lot more going on. It deals with the problems of a couple growing older together, how parents deal with their kids growing up. It deals with infidelity and trust. They are just sort of a normal family coping with a lot of the things that a straight couple and their family would deal with -- which is the important part. They are just normal. The movie probably has its flaws but I really liked most everything about it. It sure beats an episode of The Real L Word. It is also always nice to see a gay or lesbian movie where one of the main characters doesn't die. Gay couples can grow old together.

also out 7/13...

Move of Ten by Autechre

They''ll Only Miss You When You Leave by Carissa's Wierd

Inception Soundtrack

Maya by M.I.A.

Burn & Rise by Mad Sin

Fables of the Reconstruction Reissue by R.E.M.

Disconnect From Desire by School of Seven Bell

Admiral Fell Promises by Sun Kil Moon

also out 7/20...

Way Out by The Books

Archive 2003-2006 by Department of Eagles

Jersey Shore Soundtrack

Infra by Max Richter

Pink Graffiti by Secret Cities

Repetition by Kenseth Thibideau

This Week At The New Beverly: Preston Sturges, Larry Blamire, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Grindhouse Film Fest & more!!

Posted by phil blankenship, July 22, 2010 10:24am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full schedule is available online:

Thursday, July 22

Lynn Redgrave tribute

Georgy Girl
1966, UK, 99 minutes
dir. Silvio Narizzano, starring Lynn Redgrave, James Mason, Alan Bates, Charlotte Rampling, Bill Owen, Clare Kelly

Nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Actress Lynn Redgrave

Harvard Square's Twisted Village To Close July 25th

Posted by Amoebite, July 21, 2010 09:15pm | Post a Comment
I am totally bummed to hear via The Boston Phoenix about the closing of one of my favorite record stores, Twisted Village in Boston, MA. Shop Indie. Seriously. We mean it!!

The Gospel of Hip Hop According to KRS ONE, Part II

Posted by Billyjam, July 21, 2010 04:55pm | Post a Comment

's recently published The Gospel of Hip Hop is a most ambitious Hip Hop based self-help / life-manual that was tirelessly written by the author, artist, and activist over a fourteen year period. Next Wednesday, July 28th, at 6pm, KRS One will be at Amoeba Hollywood to lecture about the book, sign copies, and field questions in an intimate setting in the SoCal store's Jazz Room. This is the second in a series of Amoeblogs leading up to that instore. Each post includes excerpts from the recent in-depth phone interview conducted with KRS about his 832 page book.The Gospel of Hip Hop

Like most bibles, KRS One's Gospel comes in hardcover with a gold laminated biblical like font on its cover and an attached string to mark its pages. It has lots of reading, no pictures, and sets about laying down the exact meaning and intentions (IE, the gospel) of hip-hop itself. However, unlike the good book, KRS's Gospel comes with a "shout out" section; and, like the Bible, the Gospel is clearly on a spiritual tip.

In the introduction section of the book, titled "A New Covenant," KRS writes about "the voice" that led him to leave home in his mid teens and "drop out of high school to pursue Hip Hop." It was this voice that "recited to me the poetry that I recite to others. It was this voice that instructed me to battle. It was this voice that inspired the Stop The Violence Movement (1989), and the Temple of Hip Hop (1996), and this gospel for Hip Hop."

Brian May of Queen & Elena Vidal Book Signing and 3-D Presentation

Posted by Amoebite, July 21, 2010 12:24pm | Post a Comment
brian may elena vidal
On Tuesday, July 27, Amoeba will present a book signing, talk and 3-D presentation with Brian May and Elena Vidal for their book, A Village Lost and Found from 7-9pm at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles! You no doubt know of Brian May for his tenure as lead guitarist in a little band called Queen. He is less known for his work as an astrophysicist (!) -- and his new book, along with co-author Vidal, a photographic historian, brings together a collection of stereoscopic photos called "Scenes in Our Village" by T.R. Williams.

Read much more about this signing event and also the contents of A Village Lost and Found right here!

t.r. williams scenes in our village

July 20, 2010: Predators

Posted by phil blankenship, July 20, 2010 11:54pm | Post a Comment

Interview with Penner & Muder

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 20, 2010 05:09pm | Post a Comment
Penner & Muder Same Monkeys Different Zoo album art
From the opening keys of the piano-led intro and first full track ‘Let The Music Play,’ there’s a beautiful and slightly melancholic thread throughout Penner & Muder's Same Monkeys Different Zoo. This is a house album, however, and groove does not suffer as the stripped back drum&vox of ‘All About You’ aptly proves. Whether it be the dubby feel of ‘Sunset Blvd’ or the future soul of ‘Time Has Come,’ the album is bristling with emotion and even in tracks like the decidedly austere ‘Solitary Movement’ (with Muder’s long term friend/label partner Chopstick) there’s a real sense of feeling. This impassioned theme culminates in the stunning ‘Are You Lost,’ a future classic in the making if ever there was one. Balancing melody with groove, melancholy with uplift and dancefloor sensibilities with a home listening vibe is a rare feat, but Penner & Muder have pulled it off and have done so with a heavily song based LP – a true testament to the talent here.

Nils Penner took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us at Handsomeclub:

When and where were you both born?

John was born in Hamburg, Germany 1979. Nils in Bremen, Germany 1977. Bremen is situated 100 km south of Hamburg.

How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

We know each other since 2007. I was working for Jan Langer, the labe lmanager of artists like Oliver Huntemann, Stephan Bodzin and Thomas Schumacher, who all come from and still lived in Bremen that time. Jan knew Thien, aka Chopstick, John's partner with Suol and the Chopstick & Johnjon project. Thien and John were looking for a graphic designer and so we met through Jan.

What inspired you to make music together?

Well, inspired sounds a little bit over the top, to be honest. Since we don't really consider ourselves musicians (basically because we cannot read notes or play any instrument), I would always say we are more like people who like to play around with sounds and grooves on a professional level. So what brought us together was more the same basic feelings towards certain sounds, grooves and tracks and a musical background we share.

How would you describe your sound?

Grounded, groovy and always the nice and important bit away from the main street.

What can you tell me about your process in making music together?

Most of the time we exchange ideas in loops via email. That is basically because I live in Munich now and John is in Berlin. Sending the ideas back and forth makes them grow and become small layouts with an arrangement idea in the end. Once we get to that point with one, two or more ideas we always try to have some studio time in Berlin to finish the tracks together. That's the most important part, I guess. You can see that in the fact that sometimes in the studio process we change the whole idea into something completely different. A little anecdote at that point would be that the first track on the album, "Let The Music Play," originally started as a remake / cover version of the original 80s classic from Shannon. :-) And now listen to what came out after 3 days in the studio ...

Listen to "Let The Music Play" here:

What do you like to do when you're not involved in making music?

We share a big interest in riding the bike. I have a bike standing in the studio in Berlin nearly since the first time I came there and we love to just drive through the city to get our heads free. Besides that I have to take of my little business as a graphic designer, which is still serving my food and living and not the music as you can imagine. Most of the rest of our time slips away taking care of our other music projects, especially for John because he is actually living on that. John has his label-project, Suol, with Thien, the musical project Chopstick & Johnjon and some solo output as Johnjon. I am also trying to push and bring my little label project Wazi Wazi (with Sasse from Moodmusic) upfront. And then there is the girlfriends ... so no time left ... :-)

Where have you performed? Favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

We decided from the beginning that we would only play live shows, no dj-sets. Our first gig was actually at Berghain/Panorama Bar in Berlin, a club many people consider as one of the best or even the best in the world. It was a Moodmusic label night in August 2008 and so we were pretty nervous, but it all worked out fine and we had great night with cool feedback. Other venues we played are Watergate in Berlin and Baalsaal in Hamburg. Not so many, but we only just started to work with the wonderful Wilde Booking Agency here in Berlin and we hope there is more to come now with the album. The official release party is going to take place at Weekend Club in Berlin on Saturday the 31st of July -- you should all come by.. :-)) Things happen and we try not to push it too hard in terms of "marketing" and "sell-out." We'd rather play some gigs less but know people booked us for our sound and attitude and not because we know how to sell it.

What has been your biggest challenge as a production duo?

I would say the biggest challenge is always the finishing of a track. To leave the idea at some point and say for yourself, "I or we did the best we can and got out all the potential that is in there." That is always a crucial point and there is only a few moments where you are a 100% sure of that.

How long did it take to record
Same Monkeys Different Zoo?

In the end it took 2 years but not working on that the whole time. As I mentioned, we live in different cities and so there was only time in the studio to finish 1 track a month or sometimes even 1 track in three months. Every time we finished a track we decided whether to put it in the box for the album or send it to a label as a new single. That way it took two years until we had a consistent collection of tracks we wanted to put on the album, so the whole thing is round and makes sense. One could actually say the album is more something like a best of from two years of work and that can be heard in the variety of styles and grooves on the album.

What was the vision for Same Monkeys Different Zoo?

There wasn't really a vision since we did not really work on the album as a conceptual product. Afterward we could say that the vision is simply to be able to put out the stuff you produced in a free way without any restrictions or borders. Big thanks to Sasse at this point, who always had the right tips and ideas but never pushed us anywhere. We were always free in what we put on the album.

Listen to "Are You Lost" here:

What's upcoming for Suol & the newly launched Wazi Wazi labels?

Suol's next EP is from Chopstick & Till Von Sein, called Pure 18 EP, coming by the end of July. In the background the guys are busy preparing the ground for the first artist album on Suol by Fritz Kalkbrenner, coming in October. The next Single on Wazi Wazi is actually be me and called Homage EP. It is the fifth release and after the minor hit Presence of Another Man and the excellent As The Morning Comes by the one and only Freestyle Man, we are really happy about the more and more attention we get.

Listen to "Presence of Another Man" here:

What are you listening to at the moment?

Nils' Top Favourite Albums at the Moment

#1 - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
#2 - Freddy Cole - The Cole Nobody Knows
#3 - Mark Almond - The Last & Live
#4 - Fugazi - 13 Songs
#5 - Alice Donut - Mule

John's Top Favourite Albums at the Moment

#1 - Aloe Blacc - Good Things
#2 - Efdemin - Chicago
#3 - Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Breaking The Fourth Wall
#4 - Soulphiction - Do You Overstand
#5 - Actress - Splazsh

Any last words?

Keep it real.

Buy Penner & Muder's - Same Monkeys Different Zoo here on

Last Sundays Fest in Berkeley

Posted by Amoebite, July 20, 2010 05:07pm | Post a Comment
last sundays

Last Sundays Fest returns to Berkeley on July 25 and August 29 from 12-7pm! Stroll Telegraph Avenue (between Dwight and Bancroft ways) for all of the action and entertainment! Swing by Amoeba and check out our clearance tent in front of the store for some great deals, giveaways and prizes! Also, don't miss the two music stages with performances by Judgement Day and the Phenomenauts as well as a mechanical bull riding contest and much more! Click here for more info!

Twilight Dance Series 2010 on Santa Monica Pier

Posted by Amoebite, July 20, 2010 04:55pm | Post a Comment

santa monica pier

Twilight Dance Series 2010! Start off your Labor Day weekend with an amazing night of free music at the Santa Monica Pier! Dr. John will be performing at the closing night this Thursday night, September 2nd, at 7pm. It's an amazing opportunity to see this Louisiana icon for free! 

Visit Amoeba's booth at the pier and enter our raffle contest for a chance to win a portable turntable and a $100 gift certificate or 'spin to win' our prize wheel for a chance to win gift certificates, Dr. John's new CD, and more! It's a dollar a spin and everyone who donates will receive a special coupon to use at Amoeba's store in Hollywood.  To commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hurrican Katrina, all proceeds from our contests will be donated to the New Orleans Musicians Fund and Tipitina's Foundation. We'll also have CDs to for sale and cool Amoeba stuff to give away. Come down and be a part of this amazing evening! Click here to learn more!

LA Street Food Fest this Saturday

Posted by Amoebite, July 20, 2010 04:48pm | Post a Comment

la street food fest

The LA Street Food Fest invades The Rose Bowl on Saturday, July 24 from 5:30-9pm. Amoeba is delighted to sponsor this delicious event featuring street-inspired eats from 60 food trucks, food carts and restaurants! Partake in the beer gardens and premium tequila tastings and enjoy live music from Warpaint and The Deadly Syndrome. Unique LA Marketplace, an Ice Cream Social and a cocktail lounge will also be on hand! Don't miss out! Click here for more info!

The Gospel of Hip Hop According to KRS One, Part I

Posted by Billyjam, July 20, 2010 03:34pm | Post a Comment

Announced just last week, anticipation is already mounting for the very special appearance by KRS One at Amoeba Music Hollywood on July 28th at 6pm. The Teacha himself -- one of hip-hop history's most articulate and prolific spokespersons -- will give a lecture and field questions from the standing room only audience in relation to his most recently published book The Gospel of Hip Hop (Powerhouse Books).

The Gospel of Hip Hop, which is subtitled First Instrument presented by KRS One for the Temple of Hip Hop, is more than simply another book on rap and hip-hop. The tome is something that the longtime emcee/educator/lecturer/activist & author born Lawrence Parker (later known as Kris Parker) has been diligently working on and fine-tuning since the mid nineties.

And unlike, say, Jeff Chang's invaluable hip-hop history book Can't Stop Won't Stop, which examines the history of hip-hop music and culture, KRS One's latest book (the author's third, following The Science of Rap and Ruminations), which does outline the history of hip-hop's elements,  is really more like a Hip Hop Kulture rooted philosophical, spiritual manual/day-to-day living guide for the Hip Hop generation, particularly for those who may feel disaffected with organized religion but can relate to all things Hip Hop.

At next Wednesday's standing room only Amoeba lecture (in the Hollywood store's intimate Jazz Room) the Teacha will discuss The Gospel of Hip Hop, sign copies of the book, and take questions from the audience. Note that due to the intimate nature of this event plus obvious space constraints, Amoeba will sell advance Gospel of Hip Hop packages, which, for the nice price of $25, include a copy of the book on event date (7/28), guaranteed space in signing line to meet KRS One, plus a ticket to hear KRS speak and answer questions. Note that all sales are final.

Tidal Wave Fest - All Metal, All Weekend in SF

Posted by Amoebite, July 20, 2010 10:51am | Post a Comment
tidal wave festival

For more info, click here!

July 19, 2010: Standing Ovation

Posted by phil blankenship, July 19, 2010 11:52pm | Post a Comment

(In which we try to beat the heat with a 2x4 with a nail stuck in the end.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 19, 2010 09:34pm | Post a Comment

Summertime greetings from LA!

Hoo boy. It’s that time of year again in the City of Angels: the Season of Heat. LA only has two seasons: warm and sunny (which is known as autumn and winter in other geographic locations) and the Season of Heat, when you never see anyone’s eyes for the sunglasses, and everyone packs the salons for pedicures for some devoted sandal wearing.

"I'm thinking a simple French pedi this time. Thanks, Hoài Mi."

All of which is wasted on me. Forget sunning by the pool -- give me a frozen tundra and a copy of Cowboy Henk and I'm a happy guy. I find myself picking and choosing my activities based on what destinations have the finest air conditioners. (As an interesting side-note, if you find yourself shopping at Amoeba Music Hollywood and you’re in need of a rush of cold air, go to the classical section, then find where we keep Beethoven. That exact spot is where our powerful A.C. first blasts the room, and it’s heavenly.)

"Give me your hot, your scorching, your stuffy masses, yearning to escape stroke..."

The iPhone Antenna Song

Posted by Amoebite, July 19, 2010 12:14pm | Post a Comment
After "Tha King A Pop" video WFMU's Beware of the Blog posted earlier today, I didn't think my internet week could get any better...until my brother asked me if I saw the strange youtube video that preceded last week's iphone press conference. Uh..... wut?

Apple Fanboy - iphone 4 Dont Buy It

11th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos Infomercial

Posted by Amoebite, July 19, 2010 08:58am | Post a Comment
I've unsuccessfully tried to convince Amoeblogger Eric Brightwell numerous times to join the family and attend the Gathering of the Juggalos. With comedy legend Gallagher on the bill, things are looking like this could be the year. The least he could do is get us an interview with "sweet" Sugar Slam.

BONUS PHOTO: Coolio with his misspelled Juggalo Tattoo
Coolio's Juggalo Tattoo

July 18, 2010: Inception

Posted by phil blankenship, July 18, 2010 08:33pm | Post a Comment

Inception: A Borgesian Heist Film?

Posted by Charles Reece, July 18, 2010 08:34am | Post a Comment
He understood that the task of molding the incoherent and dizzying stuff that dreams are made of is the most difficult work a man can undertake, even if he fathom all the enigmas of the higher and lower spheres -- much more difficult than weaving a rope of sand or minting a coin of the faceless wind.
-- from "The Circular Ruins" by Jorge Luis Borges

Christopher Nolan's Inception is another one of those sci-fi tales confronting the problem of infinity lurking behind subjectivity. Because it uses dreams instead of virtual reality, the film is structurally closer to the short story quoted above than the cyberpunk-influenced Matrix (although the action puts it closer to the latter). In Borges' tale, a sorcerer spends years dreaming a man into reality only to learn that he, too, was given life via the same method. And it's just as likely that the dreamer of the sorcerer is himself being dreamed, etc., ad infinitum. This is the old phenomenological problem of the Transcendental Ego.

In order to have a collection of intentional states (which are always regarding some mental or physical object) cohere as a self (the 'I' that's doing the believing, desiring, etc.), Edmund Husserl posited a transcendent pure subject that couldn't be objectified. This I was pre-reflective, the guy who was there each time an intentional state was being reflected upon (the I thinking "it is I who likes pizza" at one time and "It is I who hates the rain" at another). As with all such metaphysical "buck stops here" explanations (cf. the final cause argument for God), the question soon arose as to why this Ego didn't require another, more transcendent one to ground its reflective relations.  And since then, many theorists from various disciplines have been perfectly happy with the notion of a fractured self, that the I is nothing but a comforting mask for deterministic forces (cf. the death of the author, social Darwinism, or connectionism). Causal language is more scientistic, but problematic for suggesting the possibility that we humans have free agency, that there is something of a self not purely reducible to objective control, or material determinations. Thus, philosophical libertarianism sounds suspicious to many, like a new agey charlatanry.

There is a real world practical implication to this question of self-determination, namely that to be without agency makes morality (presumedly a very human characteristic) dubious. How responsible is a member of the Borg, or one of the inhabited human bodies in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers? (All of this is much more complicated than I'm making it out to be, see here or particularly here.) While it's true that most people haven't spent much time reading about mind-body dualism, the fractured self, or determinism, they have experienced what it feels like to be treated as a product, which is ultimately what the death of the subject adds up to.  Modern-day capitalism relies on such an instrumentalist reduction; like the Borgesian dreamer of the dreamer, it creates the world which makes the reduction possible and even tolerable (the oneiric creation of a "real" man can only work if reality is illusion; capitalism only works if we accept its spectacles as reality). I suggest therein lies the intrinsic allure to Inception, a heist genre reworking of Borges, Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard (to my mind, three of the most relevant writers to the 21st century). Some spoilers will follow.

While the telling of the story is somewhat convoluted, the plot is pretty basic, and not all that different from movies starring Jean Gabin or Sterling Hayden: in addition to his long-term partner, Arthur, Cobb is to assemble a team of experts for one final score initiated by Saito. Cobb is to enter the subconscious of Robert Fischer, planting the seed of an idea, which will turn him against the dying wish of his father, Maurice, for global dominance over energy resources through their corporation. Thus, the theft results by leaving something. Inception is the name of this subliminal procedure, but also provides a certain irony in the film's title, since it's never clear where the dreamscape actually begins, as is constantly alluded to throughout (e.g., walls close in on Cobb as he's running, despite being in the supposedly real world; his children don't age or change clothes from the memory of the last time he saw them). The additional crew members are: the chemist, Yusuf, who provides the specialized soporifics needed to enter dreams; Eames, the forger, who can become dream simulations of other people; and the architect, Ariadne, who's responsible for mentally designing the Möbius labyrinthes that they'll work in/are trapped by. The oneiric architecture is something like a M.C. Escher print, or Ballard's "Concentration City," which creates the illusion of space, but when an inhabitant takes the subway far enough, he ends up where he started (as the global networks connect us, the world seems smaller, yet we increasingly lose the ability to get anywhere different). If the team succeeds, Cobb will be free to return to his children in America through a simple phone call by Saito (yet another sign that reality is artifice).

Mal framed Cobb for her own suicide years ago, and he's been on the lam ever since. After spending too many years in the dream world, Mal lost her grip on what was actually real. When she awoke (through Cobb's use of inception on her), she no longer believed that reality was anything more than the mental architecture of another dreamer (as is the case in "The Circular Ruins"). Rather than accept this, she believed suicide was the only way of returning to reality. The frameup was her attempt at forcing Cobb to join her. He turns to a life of crime, blaming himself for her delusional state. He tries to lock away a guilt-derived simulacrum of his wife in his mental basement, but she constantly escapes to interfere with his thought crimes (such as warning his victims that they're in a dream). Of course, it's not clear who's actually delusional here.

In Total Recall (based on Dick's "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"), Quaid's a bored construction worker who pays for a virtual memory implant of an adventure where he's a spy with a forgotten identity. Something goes wrong with the programming, so that either he's really a spy who's just been awoken by the implant, or he's losing his self-identity to the malfunctioning computer. When a doctor tries to warn him of the latter, Quaid kills him to remain in what is quite likely virtual reality. Analogously, Mal tries to warn Cobb that he's lost in mental limbo, but he's convinced that she's too imperfect to be his real wife.  She points out the ridiculousness of how he's supposed to see his kids again (why would a phone call free him of suspicion?) and how there's no clear beginning to any of the settings Cobb finds himself (there is no memory of how one gets to the beginning of a dream sequence). To increase the confusion and give the narrative a patina of unreality, Nolan de-emphasizes transitional sequences (the primary source for tension and pleasure in a heist film like Rififi) -- the characters seemingly pop up in one place and then another with little sense of time passing or distance traversed.

Furthermore, each member of the team has a totem, which functions as a reality anchor. A totem has to feel the right weight and function according to physical laws if the person is awake, unlike when he or she is dreaming. It should never be handled by another, since that could alter its functioning in a dream (an architect could otherwise account for the object's phenomenal qualities in his or her design so that it behaves as if it were really there). Cobb doesn't have one of his own, only the spinning top that was once his wife's, suggesting that his anchor is compromised. So when he decides to complete the mission and rejoin his children (which Mal tells him are nothing but virtual projections), it's possible that he's retreating from reality, deeper into his subconscious, which might be controlled by some unknown architect. Nolan leaves the ending ambiguous.

Yet, despite all of that, Inception is kind of  a bore to sit through. Cobb spends too much time spouting technobabble, an attempt to somehow make the fantasy sound more plausible. At least a quarter of the film is spent detailing arbitrary rules. A few writers can do this well (e.g., Samuel Delany, Stanislaw Lem) by using invented explanatory concepts to critique real world social structures (scientific, literary, political -- e.g., the way Solaris tells its story through fictional research articles), but here it's more like midi-chlorians. Relatedly, the dreams are too weighed down by a realistic aesthetic. Each layer of the constructed dreamworld (corresponding to increasingly deeper layers of the subconscious) is causally tied in with the other layers. When a van in one level is falling, the sleeping characters inside begin to float in the next dream within a dream they're collectively having as if there was some shared physical space with attendant nomological properties. Similarly, when Saito is shot on an upper level, he begins to bleed on the lower ones. And time behaves in standard linear fashion, only at different speeds depending on the layer (avatars age more slowly on the more subconscious levels). Not only does none of this make sense (in dream logic or the realistic kind -- e.g., we can fly in a dream regardless of our waking state, so why would such a causal connection obtain between two levels of dreaming?), but it serves to make the dream world mundane. Worse yet is that the majority of the mission involves bombs, machine guns and car chases. Maybe Nolan dreams of The A-Team, but mine look and feel more like Kwaidan.

"The Black Hair" from Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan.

The Art of the LP Cover- Ice Is Nice!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 17, 2010 01:20am | Post a Comment
With summer in full blaze, I present a gallery of icy scenes.

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Sherman Oaks

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 16, 2010 05:13pm | Post a Comment

Sherman Oaks from Mulholland

This blog is about the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sherman Oaks. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods (as many as you'd like) to be the subject of future entries, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities (again, as many as you'd like), vote here. Should you also like to see blog entries about Orange County communities, click here.

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Sherman Oaks

Sherman Oaks is a neighborhood located in the southern portion of the San Fernando Valley, surrounded by Van Nuys and Valley Glen to the north, Valley Village to the northeast, Studio City to the east, West Hollywood to the southeast, Beverly Crest and Bel-Air to the south, Brentwood to the southwest, Encino to the west, and the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve to the northwest. For this episode I was joined by frequent traveling companion, Shimbles. It was a hot day, yet, for unknown reasons, he kept rolling up the windows so that he could listen to and sing along with the hits of Sugar Ray, Smashmouth and Collective Soul videos on his iPhone.

What is Hip-Hop? This is Hip-Hop. It's All in Your Attitude...Peace, I'm Out

Posted by Billyjam, July 16, 2010 03:53pm | Post a Comment

This is Hip-Hop

Thanks to DJ Inti at Amoeba Berkeley for forwarding me the above video. Its earnest portrayal of what hip-hop is was not meant to be funny but certainly is! Note how the delivery of the woman is similar to the pitch and flow of the ShamWow guy. Well worth the three minutes it will take you to watch.

Conan O'Brien in SF This Saturday Night!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 16, 2010 02:17pm | Post a Comment
Fans and supporters of Coco, unite!
conan obrien
SF Sketchfest will mount a tribute to Conan O'Brien this Saturday, July 17, when he will be interviewed by fellow comedian and friend to Amoeba Patton Oswalt at the Herbst Theater. Apparently there will be a special appearance by Andy Richter as well! This is a makeup date -- the event was originally scheduled to take place in January, when that whole little Tonight Show scuffle was going on...Hope Coco gets real about the whole ordeal while in conversation tomorrow night. Should be quite an interesting and no doubt hilarious onstage chat! Go here for tickets and more info!

Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:16:10: Big Boi Bashes Jive, Black C Keeps RBL Posse Legacy Alive, Die Antwoord Sells Out Rickshaw Stop, Lineage's New Video, Dopestyle's Afro Themed Video Shoot, Big L Reissue + Much More

Posted by Billyjam, July 16, 2010 02:16pm | Post a Comment
Luis @ Amoeba San Francisco with run-down of new & noteworthy hip-hop, mid July 2010

Special thanks to my man Luis (above video) at the San Francisco Amoeba Music store for doing a nice in-depth run-down of the new and noteworthy hip-hop CDs and vinyl releases, including reissues, at the Big BoiHaight Street store this week. As the ever knowledgeable hip-hop buyer (and DJ) notes, right now is a perfect time to stop by Amoeba SF and dig for vinyl in the vast hip-hop section of the store.

As with the Hollywood and Berkeley Amoebas, the new releases from Big Boi, Eminem, Drake, Nas + Damian Marley, Madlib, and The Roots are all in demand in San Francisco. And as noted by Luis, Phonte, who guests on the new Roots album How I Got Over, will be at the San Francisco Amoeba in one week when his group Foreign Exchange plays a free instore next Friday, July 23rd at 6pm.The critically acclaimed group (rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte + producer Nicolay), whose still in-production third album Authenticity is scheduled for an October release, play Yoshis SF later that night as well as the previous night (July 22nd) when they are billed to play with YahZarah, Darien Brockington, Zo! and live band.

15th Annual Silent Film Festival @ the Castro Theater, SF!

Posted by Miss Ess, July 16, 2010 01:30pm | Post a Comment

Among the most awesome benefits to living in San Francisco, the Castro Theater is a true landmark, built in 1922. Its gilded decor, elegant murals and one serious art deco chandelier (don't wanna be sitting under her during an earthquake!), plus the consistently fantastic film programming all add up to give us one phenomenal place to take in the full cinematic experience. Then when you add in the organ player, who is raised and lowered into the stage, rousing the crowd before each show with old timey and apt hits like "San Francisco," your brain just might explode with kitchy throwback fireworks. Truly, one of the best things ever.

For the past 14 years, Silent Film fans from around the country have flocked to the Castro for the Silent Film Festival, and now here it is, the 15th anniversary of this uniquely San Franciscan event!

The festivities kicked off last night and will continue through the weekend with screenings of films such as Metropolis, The Strong Man by Frank Capra, Diary of a Lost Girl starring Louise Brooks, Man with a Movie Camera, and plenty more. Additionally, both Metropolis and Man with a Movie Camera will be scored live by the Alloy Orchestra! Head to the Castro Theater website for full listings and ticket information.

This Week At The New Beverly: Horror Classics, Astaire & Rogers, Lynn Redgrave, Bring It On & More!

Posted by phil blankenship, July 15, 2010 09:54pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full July schedule is now available online:

Friday & Saturday, July 16 & 17

Two Classic Haunted House Tales

The Uninvited
Not Available On DVD - New 35mm Print!
1944, USA, 99 minutes
dir. Lewis Allen, starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:15 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

The B Side Live -- Sock It To Me!

Posted by Whitmore, July 15, 2010 07:23pm | Post a Comment

True blue idiocy! What else would you expect to find online these days? This could be a post modern sock-hop for the 21st century except it’s highly unlikely anything from this century will find the turntable. Last week's episode, the 1970’s, saw the good, the bad and the scratchy. Little will change this week -- all 45’s all the time, great music seven inches at a time, except for one thing, tonight, Thursday, July 15th, Sock It To Me! Funk & Soul. The B Side Live at 9pm PDT at

And if you can’t catch it live, it will be on the internet for ad infinitum. That is the good, the bad and the ugly ... here is a little bit from last week, reduced to under 5 minutes.

Recommended Reggae Compilations

Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2010 02:22pm | Post a Comment
Rita Marley
Digging in the crates of my reggae albums today I came across some really good various-artist collections from the early nineties. This was a time when reggae music, particularly dancehall, was making a big impact in the US thanks in large part to the proliferation of hip-hop that was dancehall fused. Of these collections I have singled out three that are still available at Amoeba Music and are well worth tracking down. Compilations are always a great way to get a nice jump into any style of music, reggae included!

Classic Reggae Vol. 1 (Profile) was originally released in 1992 but the reggae on this compilation dates back from the mid 70's to the early 80's. This all killer, no filler collection is jam packed with classic selections ranging from the sweet voice of Sugar Minott on “We’ve Got a Good Thing Going” to the ragga stylings of Johnny Osborne on the bass heavy track “Buddy Bye," and Beres Hammond's timeless “What One Dance Can Do.” Other reggae classics on the CD are Barringtion Levy’s thrilling “Murderer,” Rita Marley’s 420 themed “One Draw,” Dillinger's timeless "Cocaine In My Brain," the lovers-rock classic’ “Cottage In Negril” by Tyrone Taylor, and one of reggae music's all time anthems, “Greetings” by Half Pint.

Also released in '92 on the same label was the then contemporary dancehall collection Dancehall Stylee (The Best Of Reggae Dancehall Music Vol. 3). This twelve track comp offers a sampling of some of the top dancehall artists from the vibrant scene, including Cutty Ranks, Frankie Paul, Louie Rankin, Shabba Ranks and Barrington Levy. The powerful Ninjaman and Florigan track “Zig It Up” is in this collection, as is the head-bobbing Lady Patra track "Ambition," which lyrically offers a little overview on her philosophy of life. Note that both this comp and the previous one mentioned were released Profile Records, who have built a name for their hip-hop catalog but have also put out some great reggae music! Additionally Profile released a series of wonderful house and techno compilations from the late 80's to early/mid 90's.

Finally, on Heartbeat Records (a label that specializes in Jamaican music) is Steely & Clevie's Plays Studio One Vintage. As reggae fanatics will be quick to tell you, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, who was considered the Berry Gordy of Jamaica, owned Studio One and his renowned studio was responsible for launching the careers of countless Jamaican artists. Artists who recorded at Studio One include Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown and Marcia Griffiths.

New Electronic 12" Releases 7/14 @ Amoeba Hollywood - Vakula, Skudge, Mosse & Lowtec, Don Froth, Maetrik, Deetron w/ Seth Troxler & More

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 14, 2010 04:53pm | Post a Comment
Vakula EP5 10" cover

EP5 10"

5 track EP from FIRECRACKER and Ukrainian electronic artist VAKULA. A mix of "analogue rawness, soviet synths, sci-fi soundscapes and a Detroit state of mind." Limited 10" with artwork from HOUSE OF TRAPS.

Laid Records

Workshop 12"

The house of Workshop is powerfully represented here by Kassem Mosse & Lowtec, and it does not require a lot of words to introduce these two outstanding artists. Lowtec and Kassem Mosse have defined for years how contemporary dance music can have a sound that locates one foot in the future and the other one in a record collection filled with countless amounts of soul, disco, house, Detroit, Chicago, techno, and more.

Culoe De Song Ambush artwork

Culoe De Song
Ambush 12”
Mule Musiq

Long awaited second release from the new star from Africa. His releases from Innervisions and Mule Musiq were highly acclaimed. The new song 'Ambush' is Culoe's unique touch on the deep house sound with his African taste. It's beautiful as music but of course it will make a great DJ tool as well. Culoe can do no wrong at the moment!!

Mission Creek Music Fest Continues in SF!

Posted by Miss Ess, July 14, 2010 11:06am | Post a Comment

Did y'all know that back in the day there was a creek running through what we now call the Mission District of our beautiful San Francisco? And it was large enough to have been deemed "navigable" in old maps and have a bridge built over it? Yup, we live on top of one of the largest, most paved over former estuaries in the world. What once was is where the title of the Mission Creek Music Festival comes from -- and this yearly fest is happening right here and now in San Francisco!

Upcoming highlights include Little Wings playing at an art opening for Kyle Ranson at Mission hot spot Adobe Books this Friday, July 15th.

On Saturday, July 17th, McLaren Park in Diamond Heights will host hipsters galore at a free show! The lineup includes The Fresh and Onlys, Grass Widow, Miranda Lee Richards and Ganglians, among many others. The all-day event will also host DJs between sets, indie vendors and food carts!

And, also on the 17th but at the regular night shift time, the always-awesome Howlin' Rain, 3 Leafs and Sean Smith & The Present Moment will hit the El Rio!

There are tons of other shows happening via this fest -- check out the Mission Creek Music Festival website for full information on all of em!

Oakland Group The Hot Toddies' Infectious Sound Wins Over Amoeba Berkeley Audience

Posted by Billyjam, July 14, 2010 01:20am | Post a Comment
The Hot Toddies
In the comments section below one of The Hot Toddies' numerous YouTube video posts one fan wrote, "This is my favorite band, and if it is not yours, the only possible explanation is that you are hopelessly insane." Another fanatic of the indie rock female quartet enthused, "I fuckin' love this band!" Such is the effect that this Oakland group, who played a charged instore set at Amoeba Berkeley last evening (Tuesday, July 13th), has on people. And no wonder. Their hook-laden songs are the sort that The Hot Toddiesslowly seep into your brain and have you still humming the melodies days later. The Hot Toddies' music is catchy and infectious, as evidenced by the ten songs that pack their recommended new album Get Your Heart On (Asian Man Records), which was released yesterday.

At the East Bay store yesterday, where the sound mix of vocals and instruments was just the right balance, the Amoeba crew were actively video-taping and photographing The Hot Toddies' fun set so be sure to keep an eye out here on the Amoeba website in the coming days for lots of quality photos and video footage of the group performing.

Much of the four-piece's half-hour plus set, which started just after 6p.m., included a lot of material from the brand new Get Your Heart On, the band's second album, including the upbeat song "Rain or Shine," which starts out kind of soft and acoustic but then nicely builds up as the drums and electric instrumentation kick in and is accentuated, like all the group's songs, by beautiful harmonizing. The Hot Toddies manage to make music that is new-sounding yet simultaneously reminiscent of some of the best power pop/rock of the past several decades, most notably the sixties.

Wired Magazine: Best Album Art of All Time

Posted by Amoebite, July 13, 2010 06:28pm | Post a Comment
What? No Cannibal Corpse??? It's writers vs. readers in Wired Magazine's picks for best album art of all time. What jacket do you see missing? - via

Dead Kennedys       Cheep Thrills

Charlie Louvin Diagnosed with Cancer

Posted by Miss Ess, July 13, 2010 04:50pm | Post a Comment

Charlie Louvin
is a true music legend, releasing Country music classics as one half of the Louvin Brothers, eventually becoming a member Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, and, in more recent years, also having his own solo career. He just turned 83 last week. A few years back I had the distinct honor of working with this icon at his Amoeba SF instore performance. Charlie's a Southern gentleman to the core and he also had me cracking up all day, flirting relentlessly and making cracks about "tramp stamps." He's quite a character and a consummate entertainer -- they don't make em like that anymore.

So when I read today that Charlie has just been diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer, my heart dropped. He will undergo a surgery on July 22.

Charlie, all of us here at Amoeba are thinking of you and sending our love to you out in Tennessee!

You can get a tiny peek of our experience with Mr. Louvin right here, in this interview and performance from 2007 at Amoeba SF:

Charlie Louvin Interview

Charlie Louvin Amoeba SF Performance

Treasure Island Music Fest Line-Up Announced!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 13, 2010 01:07pm | Post a Comment
treasure island music fest 2010

Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker to Tour, Release Solo Album!

Posted by Miss Ess, July 13, 2010 12:56pm | Post a Comment

Watching Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss musically kick ass as Sleater-Kinney through the late '90s and early '00s was beyond inspiring! They really stood for a particular moment in Olympia-based, riot grrrl-inspired rawk. In 2006, after the classic-rock-y The Woods, which was perhaps their strongest album ever and most promising, the band broke up, leaving us fans with little more than a vague promise they'd perhaps get back together someday.

Well, that someday still hasn't come. Janet Weiss has continued to drum with the awesome Quasi and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks; Carrie Brownstein (a longtime fashion hero) intellectualizes about music for NPR; and now, at last, Corin Tucker, who played guitar and sang (more like wailed) in S-K and was one of the band's founding members, is finally releasing a solo album!

Billed as Corin Tucker Band, Corin, along with Sara Lund and Seth Lorinczi, will be releasing an album October 5 on Kill Rock Stars as well as touring! This all just warms my 19-year-old heart of olde to hear! According to the KRS website, the initial tour dates are as follows:

October 2010
7 - Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
8 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox
9 - Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
11 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
13 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey
25 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
26 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
28 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
29 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat

Sleater-Kinney fans, rejoice! And if you haven't heard the idiosyncratic sound of Corin Tucker's tremulous vibrato yourself, listen here and become a fan!

HARD LA Festival feat. MIA, Die Antwoord Canceled

Posted by Amoebite, July 12, 2010 05:13pm | Post a Comment
Just Announced: The HARD LA show featuring MIA, N*E*R*D*, Die Antwoord, and Flying Lotus on Sat July 17 has been canceled. From their website:
Hard Fest Flyer

HARD LA M.I.A. this Saturday July 17th has been canceled, but not due to the lack of support or the full approval from the personnel at the City of Los Angeles and California State Parks, who have signed off on our comprehensive security plan. We have decided to instead produce one massive event on August 7th at the same amazing location, the Los Angeles State Historic Park in Downtown Los Angeles.

We continue to work closely with LAFD, LAPD, City of Los Angeles, and California State Parks, who c
ontinue to support all HARD events and have approved our plan to operate the HARD SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL at the Los Angeles State Historic Park on August 7th, 2010 featuring Soulwax, Crystal Castles, Major Lazer, Erol Alkan, Diplo, Digitalism and more.

Tickets for HARD LA M.I.A. are automatically valid for the HARD SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL. Refund information will be posted July 13th.

We're not yet sure what the HARD Summer Music Festival lineup will look like with this change -- will some of the artists from HARD LA be added to the August date? We also do not know why Saturday's show was canceled. Security concerns? Low ticket sales? Hopefully we'll have more information soon. What's fairly certain is that South African sensation Die Antwoord will likely not be at the August show, which is a darn shame.

BUT, the good news is Die Antwoord has scheduled a show for Sat, July 17 at the El Rey in Los Angeles. Get your tickets here before they're sold out!

(In which we wonder why one bothers... Hmph!)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 12, 2010 02:34pm | Post a Comment
"Social Security barely covers my cost of living and Diabetes has ruined my sense of freedom and vitality!"

I’m grumpy. Not hella grumpy, mind you, just regular grumpy. I suppose it’s from a week of drinking booze and eating varieties of delicious, weird, snack food that Trader Joe’s is always inventing, getting you hooked on, then discontinuing. (“Dark chocolate covered, rosemary-seasoned aspirin, anyone?”)

Maybe it’s because the weather just became truly warm here in L.A.; the kind of warm that makes you hate wearing shirts and leaves you wanting to bear-hug an electric fan. Most folks here love this weather – in fact, many moved here specifically for it. I am not those people. I like the north aspect to North America. And if it is going to get hot, I want it to smell like baked oak trees and wild grasses – not car exhaust and Beyoncé’s Heat.

No amount of orange juice makes this stuff taste good, FYI.

Maybe I’m grumpy because we* finally found the right bookshelves for our bedroom after an exhausting day of umlaut deciphering, baby stroller dodging and meatball eating at our nearest Ikea, only to discover that we forgot bookends, which we need before we can use the shelving.

Harvey Pekar of American Splendor Fame Dead at Age 70

Posted by Billyjam, July 12, 2010 01:39pm | Post a Comment

Harvey Pekar in one of his outspoken appearances on David Letterman's show

Harvey Pekar, the creator of the acclaimed autobiographical comic-book series American Splendor and the subject of the 2003 film of thHarvey Pekar American Splendore same name his work inspired, was found dead by his wife, Joyce Brabner, early this morning in their Cleveland, Ohio home. He was 70 years of age. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death. Pekar and Brabner wrote the book-length comic Our Cancer Year after Pekar was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1990 and consequently underwent an exhausting treatment for the disease.

In addition to his renowned comic book series, Pekar was also a jazz music and book critic, as well as an author of short stories. Pekar won wide exposure in the 1980's for his numerous guest spots on the Late NIght with David Letterman show on NBC, during which he constantly stirred up controversy for speaking his mind and often verbally denouncing the GE corporation, who owned the network Letterman was on. Eventually he was banned (temporarily) from the show. The above Letterman show clip contains some classic Pekar moments with the no-holds-barred Pekar speaking his mind.

But it is for American Splendor that Pekar will be always best remembered. In the brutally honest, autobiographical comic-book series, he portrayed himself, in his mundane everyday trials and tribulations, as a neurotic, anxiety-ridden, obsessive compulsive, far from glamorous, file clerk "from Off the StreeHarvey Pekar RIPts of Cleveland," as the comic's subtitle stated. In real life Pekar worked as a file clerk in the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Cleveland, where he found more than a little inspiration for his work, and continued working there up until his retirement in 2001.

July 11, 2010: Toy Story 3

Posted by phil blankenship, July 11, 2010 04:22pm | Post a Comment

The Art of the LP Cover- Total Destruction!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 9, 2010 11:00pm | Post a Comment

The Radio Geek's Guide to American Public Radio

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 9, 2010 05:00pm | Post a Comment
I recently saw a petition to get the US government to fully fund PBS and NPR. Now, I'm sure the writers of this petition have nothing against other public radio producers, NPR's competitors Pacifica, PRI and APM. All compete for airtime against each other and locally produced material, as well as foreign public radio producers BBC and CBC. What they have in common is that they rely primarily on listener support rather than commercials.

Commercial radio station WYNX's Bill McNeal on behalf of Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor™

I tend to hate metonyms. To the displeasure of many, I don't call all soda Coke, nor do I call facial tissues "Kleenex," all brands of gelatin "Jello," nor all adhesive bandages "Band-aids." If that makes me a bit like that annoying guy from "The Velveteen Touch of the Dandy Fop," then so be it. I also hate that that sketch's title incorrectly synonymizes "dandies" and "fops" but I'll save that rant for another blog.

                  Pacifica's Amy Goodman                                            NPR's Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Promotion, Hollywood Style

Posted by Amoebite, July 9, 2010 04:30pm | Post a Comment
bus stop
The Expendables Bus Stop Advertisement.
Some of my friends complain about the advertisement overload that comes with living in Hollywood but I sorta enjoy it. You get to see all sorts of weird promotional movie hijinks around town. With all the money film studios blow on over the top promotional crap, I'm just as awestruck when I see a them release something half-heartedly. The bus stop poster showing up all around town for The Expendables is a great example of this. For a film that I've been looking forward to since it was announced, I was totally bummed to see that they allowed such a green designer to finish it. Really? This was approved? Bruce Willis' face looks like a roadmap! And Mickey Rourke looks... nevermind.

The End of the Vader Project

Posted by Amoebite, July 9, 2010 01:13pm | Post a Comment
Untitled Document
the melvins
The Melvins
Everything & Nothing

I have a really hard time bringing myself to call a show of customized Darth Vader helmets "art." But my nostalgic side persuaded me to check out the final auction of The Vader Project anyway. Among the music related artists I was surprised to see participating...

  • Estevan Orioi - Best known for his album covers for artists ranging from Snoop Dogg to Cypress Hill.
  • The Melvins -  who killed it at their 2008 Amoeba Music Hollywood instore.
  • Frank Kozik - The 90s famed poster artist and occasional album jacket whiz.
  • Derek Hess - Indie/Hardcore concert poster and album cover artist.
Notice any others?? Let us know in the comments below!
L.A. Darth Vader
Frank Kozik
Rust Vader
HessDerek Hess
Cherub Troopers of Death

out this week 6/29 & 7/6...thieves like us...scissor sisters...delphic...trash humpers...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 9, 2010 11:55am | Post a Comment
It has been almost a year and a half since the release of the debut album by Thieves Like Us. I'm still in love with that first album, Play Music. It just doesn't get much better than that. Records tend to get overplayed and then you sort of move on and get over them. It might happen for some fans with just certain songs... you sort of wear them out and there is always a new song around the corner to catch your ear. But some songs never get old and you never tire of listening to them. There have been certain albums that I have liked so much but ended up taking an intentional break from -- I had to sort of cut them off because I knew I would wear them out! Itthieves like us play music is like too much of a good thing. Sometimes you have to take a break from your favorite things just to keep them your favorite things. Music is often like this for me. I really almost wore out the album by The Teenagers a couple of years ago. And I almost wore out my Thieves Like Us album. Luckily there have been some great albums this year to keep me busy! I am still not nearly done with the Wild Nothing album but I now listen to it about once a week instead of every day. I was so in love with Thieves Like Us last year that it ended up at the top of my favorite albums of 2009, so I was obviously excited about this new album that just came out this week. It did surprise me a bit a couple of weeks ago when I first heard that they had a new album coming out already -- I didn't know if I was ready yet. I really was not quite done with the first album -- but I quickly got myself ready. This involved listening to the first album one more time and then doing some cleansing. I had heard the new record was going to be a different type of album for them, which was good news. I didn't want the first album replicated or replaced. I was ready for a brand new album from one of my new favorite bands.

Much of my youth was spent exploring older albums by my favorites. I didn't start listening to The Smiths until after I had bought my first solo Morrissey album. It is always fun to go back and explore the older albums of your new favorite bands or artists because they usually get better when you go backwards in a discography. My first cassette by The Smiths was Louder Than Bombs. I then picked up a copy of Strangeways Here We Come. Then it was Queen Is Dead followed by Meat Is Murder and the self titled debut. I bought Rank on cassette I think next because I found it a a record store and realized it was the only album I didn't own by them. I think The Smiths were the first band that I owned the full catalog of on cassette -- at least everything that I could find at the record store. I of course later updated to CDs and LPs. The same thing happened with most of my other favorite bands. I think Blue Bell Knoll was my first Cocteau Twins album and Into the Labyrinth was my first Dead Can Dance album. Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me was my first album by The Cure. It just all depends how old you were when these albums first came out, how cool your older brothers or sisters or cousins were, what albums your best friends listened to, or even when your radio station decided to start playing certain bands. At this point in my life I have pretty much explored all the albums of the bands that I already like or am ever gonna like, but luckily I still do love new music, so it is exciting to find a new band that you can follow from the beginning. Sometimes though I wonder if it is better to go backwards. It does always seem like the albums get better when you go backwards. Early New Order is obviously better as you go backwards.

Bands like Thieves Like Us always get me thinking about this. I don't think Thieves Like Us will ever get as popular at The Smiths or New Order, but I can dream, can't I? I wonder what it will be like in 10 years when kids who are 5 years old now are just starting to really get into music. I think 14 or 15 was really the year I started getting really obsessed with music. Will they start listening to these bands that are new now? When they are onto their 10th album? And then will they go backwards and explore the older discographies like I did when I was 15 and 16? I hope so.

This new Thieves Like Us album is called Again & Again. You can listen to the whole album right here or just go ahead and buy it from I guarantee you it is that good! It's dancey and synthy but dark and melancholic as well. Imagine a mix of all your favorite bands -- bits of New Order and Pet Shop Boys mixed up with bands like The Smiths and Legendary Pink Dots and Galaxie 500. Like a more intense version of the Reality Check album by The Teenagers, which, by the way, is still one of my favorites that I keep going back to. I am still patiently awaiting the second album from the Teenagers. Come on, guys. Really -- I need this album to come out! Again and Again is probably not as fun as the first one and it seems a bit darker. There may have been some relationship breakups involved in the songwriting or maybe just some reflection on past relationships. Regardless, I love the album. A great listen for these early gloomy days of summer.

Buy the new album Again and Again by Thieves Like Us

Buy the debut album Play Music by Thieves Like Us. You should probably start with this album if you have not already. But as I said before, it is usually better to go backwards.

I also highly recommend a recent addition to the Amoeba store and to our website store -- the new compilation of LA rockabilly from the fantastic label Wild Records! It is called The Young Breed Vol. 2. and includes tracks from Gizzelle, Santos, Pachuca Jose, and the Delta Bombers. I have always known that LA loves its rockabilly, and I knew there was a whole new group of bands out there exploring the roots of rockabilly and creating their whole new sound, I just had not yet explored it myself. This compilation is a great place to start. You can then go explore the whole word of albums and 7"s that the label has put out. We now carry the entire Wild Records catalog in the Rockabilly section of the Hollywood Amoeba! The packaging from this label is fantastic. Each album is like a little piece of art. The albums looks old and vintage and the songs themselves sound like they come from a different time and place. This is good stuff! It sounds like the 50's country and rockabilly and simultaneously sounds like 1970's punk rock and garage music. It will make you happy to be alive and happy to know there are bands like this out there. You can check out some of the music right here, or just trust me and pick up the album from Amoeba!

Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:09:10: Big Boi, The Roots, Drake, Eminem, Nas + Damian Marley, DJ Inti, & DaVinci

Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2010 08:20am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 07:09:10

Big Boi OutKast
1) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)

2) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)

3) Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives  (Republic)

4) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)

5) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)

Only released three days ago (July 6th), Big Boi's anticipated new album Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty on Def Jam Recordings, is already at number two on the Amoeba Music Berkeley chart. The 15 track CD also comes in a CD+DVD Deluxe Edition. The Atlanta hip-hop artist is best known as one-half of OutKast and this is his first solo album, so expectations are high. Big Boi has morphed into his Sir Lucious Left Foot alter ego on the new record. As DJ Inti at Amoeba Berkeley accurately points out in the video clip below, generally it is Big Boi's more accessible (and arguably more gifted, lyrically at least) OutKast partner Andre 3000 who gets the most light shed upon him, inevitably upstaging Big Boi's more subtle talents.

Over two years in the making, Sir Lucious was initially slated to come out on Jive Records, but Big Boi was reportedly unhappy with their marketing plan, or rather, lack thereof, and hence he switched to Def Jam. Sir Lucious is by no means a total departure from OutKast -- in fact, not only does Andre 3000 produce a track ("You Ain't No DJ"), but also the overall sound carries that same OutKast vibe and feel, with the Dungeon Family (including the return of Joi) fully representing on the album and featuring Organized Noize (including Sleepy Brown, who also does vocals) & Mr. DJ supplying some production. Others on the record include Salaam Remi (who has worked with such artists as Nas and the Fugees), the Boom Boom Room productions crew, and the hot up-and-coming producer Boi-1da who also lent production to Drake's album Thank Me Later (this week's #5 on the Amoeba chart) on the track "Best I Ever Had" (see video below).

This Week At The New Bev: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Dennis Hopper, Duke Mitchell, Disney Documentaries & More!

Posted by phil blankenship, July 9, 2010 12:54am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full July schedule is now available online:

Friday & Saturday, July 9 & 10

An Alejandro Jodorowsky double bill

El Topo
1970, Mexico, 125 minutes
written, starring & directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 2:35 & 7:15, Watch The Trailer!

July 7, 2010: Death At A Funeral

Posted by phil blankenship, July 8, 2010 08:23pm | Post a Comment

Matador Turns 21 in Vegas! Starring Pavement, Sonic Youth and more!

Posted by Miss Ess, July 8, 2010 02:54pm | Post a Comment
Why wait for a perfectly round-numbered anniversary when you can bring together a line-up as commanding as only Matador can?

To celebrate the trusty indie rock label's 21st anniversary, a host of cooler than thou, kick ass artists will come together to rock in the glittering lights of Las Vegas this Oct 1-3 at the Palms!

Heavy stuff, no?

Answers to pretty much every question ringing through your over-stimulated mind, including when tickets go on sale, are available here.

Bill Thompson - The Voice of Droopy Dog and Wallace Wimple...

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 8, 2010 01:45pm | Post a Comment

Today is the birthday of radio and voice actor Bill Thompson. Although he also sang for a bit with The Sinclair Weiner Minstrels, he was best known for voicing the characters Wallace Wimple and Droopy Dog.

William H. Thompson was born on July 8, 1913, in Terre Haute, Indiana to a Vaudevillian family. Bill began his career making regular appearances on Don McNeill’s variety show, The Breakfast Club, on Chicago radio in 1934.

Around 1936, he joined the cast of Fibber McGee and Molly, where he played several characters including Widdicomb Blotto (aka Horatio K. Boomer) and Nick Depopulis. In 1937 he introduced The Old Timer, whose classic statement, “That's pretty good, Johnny, but that ain't the way I heeerd it!” became a national catch phrase. In 1941, McGee’s frequent foil, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, left the show to star in his own sitcom, The Great Gildersleeve.

Thompson ultimately reintroduced Mr. Wimple in 1941 to fill "The Great Man’s" newly-created vacancy. Wallace Wimple was a henpecked milquetoast who lived in fear of his abusive, oft-discussed but never seen/heard wife, “Sweetie Face.” His mush-mouthed greeting, “Hello, folks,” was another big laugh-getter and inspired Tex Avery to build a character around his voice. The result was one of MGM’s most enduring cartoon characters, Droopy Dog. The jowly Droopy Dog was one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time; he was a mild-mannered basset hound who was usually motivated by his romantic pursuit of various beautiful, vaguely disturbing anthropomorphic beauties. Given his lethargic demeanor and small stature, he was frequently exposed to bullying which would provoke hilarious displays of surprising physical strength, albeit meted out with his normal, stone-faced stoicism.

Dylan LeBlanc's "If Time Was For Wasting"

Posted by Miss Ess, July 8, 2010 09:59am | Post a Comment
Maybe all the sweaty, countrified True Blood I've been watching has really seeped into my brain because the Southern sound is really hitting me today. Dylan LeBlanc is a brand new artist on Rough Trade/Beggars, a young Louisiana lad, and the sound of pedal steel guitar weaves through his first single "If Time Was For Wasting" in an appealingly loose, summery way. It's just easy on the ears. Check it out:

Thanks, Alela

Boris: Heavy, New and Noteworthy

Posted by Kells, July 7, 2010 01:03am | Post a Comment
It may seem like Boris has been keeping uncharacteristically quiet of late, but get ready kids! This summer will be anything but restful for the tempestuous trio, what with a US/Canada tour kicking off in San Diego later this month and a handful of new and noteworthy releases, not to mention the latest news that Boris has surprisingly teamed up with the Cult frontman Ian Astbury. Merely imagining how frightfully massive Astbury's god-like vocal contribution to Boris' patent wall of sonic, hard-rocking excess could be on BXI --- their collaborative EP to be released by Southern Lord on CD and 12" this September --- has got this fan all in a fluster of anticipation. The audience-realness perspective of the video below aside, if seeing this new Boris/Cult thing unfold onstage via a cover of the Doors "This is the End" doesn't spark your fire then you ought to get your tinderbox checked.

Until they grace the stage in my hometown I'll have to make do with the latest imported Boris offering, Variations + Live -- a deluxe greatest hits CD of sorts comprised of several re-recordings and reinterpretations of thirteen well-loved Boris rockers featuring part/full-time axe-master Michio Kurihara on guitar and a bonus DVD of the band playing live in Japan. If Heavy Rocks and/or Akuma no Uta is/are among your most treasured Boris albums this'll have to be a must-have, as the newly recorded versions of "Korosu," "1970" and "Naki Kyoku" shalt surely melt ye face. Variations + Live is available now at Amoeba Music in San Francisco; act fast. 

If you're looking for something newer and slightly heavier, get off the couch next Tuesday and come on down to pick up Chapter Ahead Being Fake, the new Torche/Boris split 12" on Hydra Head Records. Sure, the union of Torche and Boris carries less surprise than the impending Ian Astbury jam, but the prospect is none-the-less delicious. And it's no mistake that this little gem drops the same day as the Melvins/Isis split 12" (also on Hydra Head), as there has been talk that what spurred the split sparked from the idea that Torche and Boris represent "proof of Melvins' children," or so says Tadashi of Daymare Recordings. Chapter Ahead Being Fake having already been released in Japan for quite a while, it is about time we get to hear "Luna," a twelve minute space-rock track that would've been the first new material from Boris since 2008's Smile if it had ever been released stateside. All the same, it feels good to be looking forward to not just any summer, but a Boris-heavy summer!

Chat with Michael Yonkers about Goodby Sunball, His Latest Reissue

Posted by Miss Ess, July 6, 2010 02:01pm | Post a Comment
Michael Yonkers has had one of the strangest careers in the music biz. His creative and lo-fi albums were largely ignored at their release in the late sixties through early eighties, but now they are being reissued slowly and discovered by a whole new audience of rabid psych-folk fans. Since the early sixties, Michael has been a pioneer in the world of recorded sound. Unfortunately, he also suffered a catastrophic back injury in the early 70s that radically changed his life.

Goodby Sunball is the latest reissue for Yonkers, and it was written back when he was recovering from his spinal injury and subsequent surgery. He says, "I recorded the tracks in the little studio I had in my place. It was all recorded on two-channel, tube type machines (back and forth between machines). The vocals were done in the bathroom, to give an expanded sound." The album came out originally in 1974, and now Secret Seven Records has re-released a special 500 limited run vinyl pressing and it is available at Amoeba now!

To get an idea of what Goodby Sunball sounds like, you can check out a track from the album, called "Swamp of Love," right here. You can also hear a cover of another track off the album right here, "Oh Can You Tell Me" by Grace Cooper of the Sandwitches. This cover reportedly made Yonkers cry when he heard it! Finally, you can watch the premiere of an entrancing video by Jeanne Applegate set to "The Day of Jubilee" for a final glimpse of this beautiful, idiosyncratic record. The interview follows below.

Miss Ess: Mr Yonkers, how did you first get into music? How did you discover that you wanted to be a recording artist?

Michael Yonkers: When I was very young, there was no rock music. When rock first started, it was on the county western radio stations where it was played. My father listened to country western music. I took to the early rock music like a fish to water. About the time when a couple radio stations started to play all rock music, I got a little "crystal radio." (It needed a real long antenna wire and a "ground" connection in order to pull in a few AM stations.) Then, with money from my paper route, I purchased one of the first transistor radios. I would even put the radio under my pillow so I could listen all night. But, it was not until I heard a band named The Trashmen that I decided that I wanted to play guitar.

ME: What drove you to become such an experimenter when it comes to recording?

MY: I purchased an electric guitar, but I had no money for an amplifier. I did have a tube type tape recorder. I figured out a way to use that machine as an amp. It was the early days of surf music that got me interested in the effects of sound. Reverb was the sound used a lot for surf music, along with tape type echo. I found that I could add another playback head to my tape recorder, and by running the signal back into the recorder, along with the signal from my guitar, I would get an echo. This led to more experimenting. As time went on I became fascinated with the distortion on old blues guitar recordings. I tried to duplicate that sound by slicing slits in the paper cone of an old loudspeaker. That led to experimenting with circuits in order to get an electronic version of distortion. Remember...there were no "stomp boxes" at that time. It just went on from there. The experimentation came out of necessity.

ME: How does it feel to have Goodby Sunball released after all this time?

MY: It feels good, but kind of odd. It was so long ago. It makes me wonder if I have to live until I am more than a hundred years old for some of my newer music to be released (just kidding).

Your recordings feel intensely personal, since its all home recording. When you hear older recordings such as Goodby Sunball, what do you experience as you listen to them? Do you feel nostalgic? Critical? Pleased? Do you listen back to older recordings with any regularity or never?

My eyes are pretty much pointed towards the front. I almost never listen to anything I have done in the past. I am not saying that this is a good thing. It would probably be a good idea for me to do this. But, I seldom do. It is strange, though, as when I do, I feel oddly disconnected from it. There is no nostalgia. There are definitely no critical feelings. However, I am always pleased.

Please tell us about the writing and recording of Goodby Sunball – did you write the words or music first and how did you record the tracks? What was your home recording set up like at the time?

The music came first. It was the period of time when I was recovering from major spine surgery. I had a hospital bed in my apartment, because the surgery had not gone well, and I was in for many months of recovery. I had my main recorder set up next to my bed, so I could record the guitar parts while laying down, or semi sitting. Then I wrote the words (also while in bed). As I was able to get up and around more, I recorded the vocals. I like recording the vocals in the bathroom, because of the live sound.

How much more music do you have that you would like to release, when is it from, and what is it like sonically?

Quite a bit. Next, I plan to get into the music I was doing in the 80's. I was experimenting with keyboards (the little Casio types), and other homemade circuit bending stuff back then. I have not heard these tracks for over 20 years, so that should be interesting.

How has your back injury limited your musical output? And how has it inspired your music?

The back injury has mainly limited my ability to play live. I do not believe that it has inhibited output. I think the fact that I have spent decades in constant (many times very severe) pain has inspired a lot of the music I have done. I feel that it comes out most in the solo guitar.

What is your life like now? Are you still making music and if so, what is it like and will it be released? How limited are you by your injury currently? What inspires you?

The last couple of years have been very difficult. I spent most of last summer laid up in bed as a result of a terrible flare up of a post surgery neurological problem. I am still recovering from that. Unfortunately, this nerve problem has manifested itself in my wrists and thumbs. This makes it almost impossible to play the guitar at this point. I am using standard and holistic therapies, and hoping for the best. On one hand, I have not played for over a year. On the other hand, I have had several periods like this in the past. If I was 20 years old, and all of a sudden could not play the guitar, it would be much more devastating than to be 63 years old with decades of playing behind me.

What kind of music do you listen to if/when you put on a record?

I listen to quite a variety. Probably the music that you would expect me to listen to. However, what surprises people is that I listen to a lot of symphony orchestra and polka music. I really do.

Do you have a daily musical ritual of any kind? If so, what purpose does it serve?

Yes, I hum. This exercises the vocal chords and lungs. Most mornings I listen to whatever music project I am into. This keeps me oriented. Otherwise I have the tendency to just keep experimenting (and forgetting what i should be finishing).

I read that you love many different kinds of dance. What/whose music is your favorite to dance to?

I have used dance as therapy for decades. I have mostly studied modern dance and ballet. However, I have also spent years studying Middle Eastern dance (belly dance) and improvisational jazz. I have taken exercises and concepts from each of these to use for health benefits. Seriously, I do not have a favorite style of music to dance to. If I did, I would tell you.

What does it feel like to have your music rediscovered and celebrated so many years after it was completed?

I feel like the iceberg that has turned upside down. When one sees an iceberg from the surface, it is hard to realize that most of it is under water. For all these years, I have known that most everything musical I have done has been stored away in boxes. Now, it is getting heard. And, although I do realize that it is being heard, I don't think about it much. Maybe I should think about it ... no, I don't think so.

Amoeba Hollywood Vinyl Insider- New World Collectibles Hitting The Wall This Week

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 6, 2010 11:07am | Post a Comment
Vinyl hounds should keep an eye on our World Music rows, as we've got a new grip of collectibles hitting the Hollywood store walls this week!!! For those of you who might not know, the World rows are on the main  wall, squeezed between the indie and the 70's prog & classic rock.

Radiohead's Phil Selway's Solo Album!

Posted by Amoebite, July 6, 2010 10:36am | Post a Comment

drummer Phil Selway, like fellow bandmates Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood before him, has announced he is working on his own solo career! His new album Famililal will come out August 31 here in the States on Nonesuch.

You can download a track called "By Some Miracle" by visiting his website here and listen below:

"By Some Miracle" by Philip Selway

Looks like he'll be touring Europe for August and September, but let's cross our fingers for some Stateside shows in the late fall.

familial phil selway

July 5, 2010: Grown Ups

Posted by phil blankenship, July 6, 2010 01:09am | Post a Comment

Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson & John Zorn Controversially Take a Walk on the Free Jazz Side at the Montreal Jazz Festival

Posted by Billyjam, July 5, 2010 11:05pm | Post a Comment

Above is an excerpt from the set that got Lou Reed, John Zorn, and Lauriie Anderson booed onstage and caused unhappy concert goers to walk out on the trio's improv free jazz set Friday (July 2nd) at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Reportedly many ticket holders for the show expected, or were led to believe from the pre-publicity for the festival, that Lou Reed would be playing some of his better known solo songs or some familiar Velvet Underground selections. Hence, when, along with his wife Anderson and avant-garde musician Zorn, he played an all improv set, many in the crowd jeered in disapproval. Others walked out after Zorn, in response to the loud boos plus one attendee shouting "play some real music," told the audience, "If you don't think this is music, you can get the fuck out of here.”

Harsh words? Maybe, but he's absolutely right. Reed even said in a pre-concert interview that they would be playing "100% improvised...non-rock.” Not to mention that it was a jazz festival he was playing at, and his two collaborators were his experimental music artist wife and the king of avant-garde, Zorn.

NYC Summer 2010 Pt. IV - HBO Summer Film Festival Series in Bryant Park

Posted by Billyjam, July 5, 2010 02:00pm | Post a Comment

Trailer for The French Connection (1971), which screens for free tonight in Bryant Park

The always appreciative audience that gathers for the free HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival series on Monday evenings is typically a happy and most vocal bunch. When the movie being projected on the midtown Byrant Park Film Festival Manhattan park's big screen is set in New York City, like tonight (July 5th)'s 9pm screening of The French Connection, the energy in the thousands-strong crowd that packs the lawn tends to be even louder than usual! So expect a lot of cheering along this evening as Gene Hackman, who won an Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of tough smack-talking NYPD narcotics cop Popeye Doyle, runs around New York City in this 1971 William Friedkin directed film that features the greatest car & subway chase of all time.

A New York City summer institution for many years, the Monday night free film series at Bryant Park, which typically screens American classics from the sixties & seventies but sometimes movies from the fifties and earlier, is a social hub where for the four hours prior to the film screening, New Yorkers secure their spot on the vast lawn, have picnics and happily socialize (even the possible thunderstorm is considered a minor distraction).

Until a few years ago it used to be you could arrive anytime during the day to spread out your blanket and secure your vantage point, but after some folks starting showing up as early as 10am to mark their territory for the 8:30 or 9pm screening, the rules changed, so the earliest you can get on the lawn is now 5pm.

Fightin' Side of Me: Frontier(s) (2007)

Posted by Charles Reece, July 4, 2010 10:14pm | Post a Comment

Next up in my survey of contemporary French horror films is Xavier Gens' Frontier(s). As can be surmised from the title, the horror affect centers on the question of boundaries, both in transgressing them and being bound by them. Most literally, the five main characters -- Yasmine, aka "the final girl;" her brother Sami; her boyfriend Alex; an awkward, Muslim kid, Farid; and a big, blonde dickhead named Tom -- are making a run for France's borders in the near-future after stealing some loot during a widespread riot on the eve of the National Front (NF)'s winning the popular election. This spatial separation of the inside from the outside -- particularly the urgent need to escape -- is the objective correlative for what follows.

(I'll be discussing plot points as needed, so spoiler alert and don't expect a linear plot summary.)

Perhaps the most commonplace hypocrisy constituting the modern Right's ideological stance is that in promoting deregulation and mass privatization of supposedly everything, the one object that remains for them entirely objective, defined solely from the outside, and thusly constituted by the law, is the body. They are, for example, consistently against drug legalization, outré sexual practices (defined as anything outside of the ventro-ventral procreative technique with the opposite sex), suicide (various State-regulated killing of another's body is okay) and, of course, abortion. Yas, no longer having that last liberty available to her at home, flees to the border with her larcenous comrades to abort her pregnancy elsewhere, not wanting to raise a child in the encroaching fascist dystopia. This plan is foiled when the group encounters the Geisler family, a Eurotrash version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Geislers are more Rob Zombie than Tobe Hooper, but with some of the latter's ideological concern returned to the mix. The patriarch is Von Geisler, a former Nazi (or, perhaps, a dedicated collaborator during the war) who still dons the uniform on special occasions. One of these occasions is the buzz saw marriage of his oldest son, Karl, to Yas. Like all good Master Race advocates, Von Geisler has been attempting to keep his bloodline within the family, and with the predictable horrific results. The numerous offspring produced with Eva -- the hunchbacked, youngest daughter -- are sequestered in the vast cement catacombs undergirding the hotel that the family runs in the country's hinterlands (not unlike the chamber which is the ideological core of Martyrs' suburbs and most likely borrowed from House of 1,000 Corpses). The old man is pragmatic enough to compromise his ideology by trying something else, namely put aside Yas' Arab heritage to further his ideal, much like he repressed all those failed utopian attempts residing in the hotel's unconscious underground. The family will force Yas to raise her child as a member of the Aryan race, a perverse joke on the liberal ideals of tolerance and integration. It's the horrific extreme of secular France's ban on the hijab. We accept people of all beliefs, provided they try to look and act like us. You could say Yas' body has been colonialized.

Like most families pushed to the edge of civilized society (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Spider BabyDelicatessen, The Hills Have Eyes, Naked Prey, etc.), the Geislers are cannibals. They hack their way through Yas' pals, serving her boyfriend as the wedding dinner's main course. I wonder, given the sheer abundance of cannibal films, if it wouldn't be more horrifying for liberally minded people to see a genuinely loving relation between fascists? But, with the notable exception of Hitler (albeit some resist calling him vegetarian), it's easier to think of them as cannibals by the logic of racism: Aryans have dominion over other races like man does animal, so anything non-white becomes food. Which brings up another boundary, the taboo.

Naomi Merritt uses the erotic theory of Georges Bataille to critique what she calls the cannibalistic capitalism of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (TCM). According to Bataille, taboos function to direct our inherent violent impulses into a more socially acceptable practice, such as labor. But when something is put off limits, it gains a seductive power over us, tempting us to transgress it -- like Ren telling Stimpy that whatever he does, don't push the red button. Transgression isn't possible until something that's readily available is made unavailable by a prohibition of some kind. The possibility of transgression then gives the taboo its power, reinforces its "idea or potency."  I'm not sure I see this as a paradox, but Merritt calls it the "fundamental paradox of taboos." As she explains:

A taboo provides a sense of order and control by placing the threatening element outside of society through prohibition. However, the security offered by the taboo is undermined by the recognition that is given to the forbidden thing when it is banished or excluded. The taboo, like any law, paradoxically conceives of the crime by disallowing it.

But it's not like the now criminalized act came into existence with the law. It would've had to have some power in order to be recognized for the prohibition. Maybe I'm being simple-minded, but it seems that some people were tempted to perform the prohibited act before it was outlawed, and that's why it was "disallowed." The red button would have the same destructive effect without Ren's admonition. What was once a desire to act becomes a temptation to transgress, since an illicit boundary has been set. But what's important here is the way Merritt interprets the cause of the family's cannibalism in TCM. They're laid off slaughterhouse workers, whose "violent urges [were previously] unleashed by the commercially driven slaughter and consumption of animals. But unemployment deprives them of this ‘acceptable’ or ‘productive’ outlet, leading to the murder and consumption of human beings." The work gave a form to the violent impulse, justified and directed it. But once machines took over the butchering of livestock, the Leatherface clan's skills were made redundant. Existing as excess of the capitalist system -- as unemployable workers -- they began applying their trade on the other side of the taboo, namely in butchering humans. The form of the violence remains the same, only now without the cultural support.

I'm not sure I buy that reading, since the logic of slaughter in relation to the boundary being crossed (from animal to human) doesn't really follow. Why wouldn't the family just stick to killing animals in a wholesale manner, irrespective of its capitalist justification? What is it about their status as excess that tempts their transgression into eating humans? It seems more plausible to suggest that the whole symbolic order has fallen apart for them once they were cast aside. The hitchhiking brother at the beginning of the film is a grave robbing necrophiliac, for example. A perverse mockery of the family unit and butchering skill set are the only vestiges of the old order. Thus any dialectic of taboo and its transgression -- or, as Bataille put it, "[e]xtreme seductiveness is at the boundary of horror" -- would no longer seem to apply. That might explain why the audience finds the family seductively terrifying (they break our taboo), but it doesn't say squat about the family's relation to taboo, since they don't recognize the same boundaries as we do. The taboo is a function of social order, so without the order, there is no taboo, only the violence.

I bring up Merritt's analysis, because it seems a much better fit for Frontier(s). The Geislers' cannibalism is a dark comical conclusion to the logic of a certain belief system regarding outsiders among us, chiefly immigrants. They are, in other words, a morbid satire of Jean-Marie Le Pen's typical supporter. Le Pen's National Front Party (NF) often gets called fascist, but a look at his core issues (minus an anti-American strain) suggests he's not too far off from our own Republican Party here in the States: strong immigration restrictions, death penalty, fervent nationalism and strict governmental control over one's body (as detailed earlier). If there's one thing that makes Le Pen appear more extreme it's his tendency to avoid (much to his own political detriment) coded language regarding minorities (well, that and his holocaust revisionism). Although the anti-immigration stance of the NF had been achieving an increasing popularity since the 80s, structuring a seemingly more mainstream conservative discourse (most notably in the form of 1993's Pasqua Laws, which -- according to their architect and namesake, then interior minister Charles Pasqua -- were to promote zero immigration), France was shocked when Le Pen came in a close second to conservative Jacques Chirac in the first round of 2002's presidential election. The resulting trauma gave Chirac one of the biggest landslide victories in French history a few weeks later. (A summary of how anti-immigration has played a significant role in contemporary French politics can be found here.) It's the fear of impending nationalism, with its strict delineation of French purity, that is central to Frontier(s)' use of cannibalism.

What allows for the transgression of eating humans here is Von Geisler's redefining some French (as depicted in the film, those of a North African descent) as not actually being part of a truly French people (and North Africans are the largest portion of immigrants to France due to colonialist ties with that region). There's no taboo if they're no longer eating people. In 2002, philosopher Alain Badiou and two of his comrades in the radical left L'Organization Politique argued that there was nothing surprising about Le Pen's showing. Both left and right governments "since Mitterand" had kowtowed to American interests that weren't too far removed from the policies of the NF. But, most importantly for present purposes, even the left had shown a remarkable lack of principle in opposing the removal of the concept 'worker' from popular discourse. In its place was 'illegal immigrant' (sans papiers, or "without papers"), connoting a threat to national borders (such as French identity). This categorical boundary had the effect of pushing legal low-wage legal workers towards the anti-prole policies of the NF and conservative parties by cutting off the solidarity they might've otherwise had with the sans papiers workers. This misidentification is played out in the film through Von Geisler's differing treatment of Karl, the oldest and best-looking son, and Hans, his oafish younger brother. The latter is barely treated with much more respect than what's paid the outsiders, but he's required to do all the butchering and most of the dirty work (having to spend most of his time in the underground chambers with their remains). Karl, on the other hand, is selected as the new patriarch, the one who's to pass on the bloodline and maintain the family ideology. When Hans has about all he can stand, he shoots his father while Yas is holding the old man at knifepoint. In turn, Karl kills his brother. Realizing that the family is ultimately consuming itself, the deformed Eva helps Yas escape (but remains behind to care for her troglodytic offspring).

Having scarcely escaped the worst excess of the NF's id, Yas returns, twitching and with arms outstretched like Romero's living dead, to face the now seemingly more mainstream Front's gendarmes as if it's a relief. This ending is a burlesque extension to the 2002 slogan "vote for the crook, not the fascist" that suggested the French voters rally around the right-wing candidate Chirac for fear of the really right-wing Le Pen actually winning. Her rights are still curtailed, but at least these fascists won't eat her.

Interview with Analog Freak Mr. G

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 2, 2010 01:43pm | Post a Comment
With the release of his highly anticipated debut album Still Here, our man Colin McBean took some time to talk to us about the album and all things Mr. G...

Mr. G - Still Here
When and where were you born, and have you always been in the UK?

Born in Derby in the Midlands, August,1961, and yeah, I’ve always been here……….and……Still Here.

What got you interested in house/techno music

I’m an analog freak so it’s always been about synths. I didn’t know at the time, but that was the link. The sounds from Studio One to Stevie to Eno to Joey Beltram. It’s about the sound and rawness – that’s my link with house & techno.

When and why did you choose to start to making your own music?

I met Keith from Bang The Party and went to his studio at Interchange. Then with Cisco becoming KCC late eighties, early nineties………...Always had a crazy love of music and buying wax at a very early age, it was a natural progression.

Who were your music influences when first getting involved in the music business, and why?

There were no real influences. It was just another part of music being in my life……..I did love what Jeff, Joey, Maurizio and Luke were doing but then I was still buying lots of other music which was non dance as well. I suppose Cisco was a big influence cause he knew all the tech stuff and I didn’t, so it was a big learning curve and interesting.

Why the long wait for Still Here?

What’s the rush, it’s right when you feel it, no? And I hadn’t wanted to make it before……James and Matt know just how to get the best outta me!

You mention that Still Here was started at a low point in your life; this can be heard in the darkness of tracks such as "Platonic Solid No.5." Can you elaborate more?

Yeah, lost my way, what with illness and the coming of the digital era I was becoming very negative and found there was not a great deal a love in the business, but hooking up with Rekids and seeing a whole other world run by folk who wear their hearts on their sleeve was a massive injection for me. You chose well with No. 5 cause the story behind that track’s a whole other world!!!

Listen to "Platonic Solid No. 5" here:

The closing track "Stolen Moments" sees a slower side to Mr. G beats; is there more material in the works like this?

I like gooood music – Funk, Soul, House, Hip Hop, Indie, Classical, Roots, Dub, etc, etc, so yeah, there’s so many other pictures to paint for ya; hopefully next time I’ll show you another side.

Listen to "Stolen Moments" here:

Has your technique for production changed much over the years?

Nope………..MPC and mixer, mixed live with me doing the cuts live. That’s why there’s always something I can show you in the track you wouldn’t know……..Could be 1 take or it could be 21 takes -- it's just how I work, ohh!! And there’s no going back after the mix is down.

Tell us about the Rekids nights at Berghain/Panorama Bar.

One of the best clubs in the world. Run by a great team with a lot of love and detail. I’ve played both now and had a great time at both, but them being very different……..I think Berlin has a much more open mind to music than most and they know how to party hearty. Line ups are always interesting and varied and the staff are entertaining themselves……Love it love it love it! Always fun, which is what music should be at timez -- fun. Back there in September.

Any input on what's happening in this digital era?

Low vinyl sales, etc. Sorry, I’m an analog guy, so the digital era is frackin’ hard for me…. Way too much free music which seems to have no value. Gone are the days you bought something cause you loved it and played it over and over without worrying about fashion and trends. Anyone can put out music, but where’s the quality control?............. Isn’t a bit of history good? Also for the last years it’s been about self and not enough was put back in to bring through the youth, so it made sense that when the youth found another way to get music and change the system they would. I think it’s a great time now for music, if you don’t love what you do you ain’t gonna be in it.

What is the single most important event that changed your life?

Dying on an operating table at 44 and being brought back…….Life was never gonna be the same, little did I know!

What's the typical day in the life of Mr. G?

Up early, do some fitness, eat my porridge up into the studio make beatz, lunch at 12:30, then back in the studio til 6pm, cook dinner…………Oh, and drink Rum alllll day long.

What is the one thing that no one in the world knows about you?

If I told ya everyone would know……….I love a good ballad.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to bring Mr. G live to the States so you can hear me and my MPC and thanx for all the support you give.

Finally, do you have a chart for us?

Conforce  - Machine Conspiracy - Meanwhile
Mr. G - Summer Soul - Sino
Kindred Spirit Ensemble -  Shining Liberation (Tom Trago rmx) - Kindred Spirits
Jerome Sydenham - Black Ice - Apotek Records
Billy Love - Can't Keep Running Away - Sound Signature
Floating Points - Peoples Potential - Eglo
Nick Holder - Soul Size Love - NRK
V/A - Bush Wacker Bill - Soul For Yo Mind
Robert Hood - Omega - M Plant
The Realness - Shade - Cabin Fever
Black Jazz Consortium - The Om - BJC
Unknown - Contemplate - No Logo
Mr. G - Lights Out (G's Dub) - Phoenix G
Function - Burn/Disaffected - Sandwell District
V/A - Berhain 04 Pt 1 - Ost Gut
Echologist - Slow Burn (Sigha Reimagining) - Steadfast

Mr. G -
Still Here is out now! Order Still Here on

Peaches Christ's Singalong Purple Rain @ Midnight Mass! This Weekend!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 2, 2010 09:11am | Post a Comment
midnight mass purple rain

Join the Legendary Peaches Christ and her fabulous crew of cronies for Midnight Mass this weekend -- July 2nd and 3rd at the Bridge Theater here in San Francisco -- where they will present the classic, purple satin and lace-saturated 80s extravaganza Purple Rain starring Prince, with an all-star, let's-go-crazy pre-show! Click here for all the details and to purchase tickets.

Hip-Hop Rap Up 07:02:10: Roots, Drake, Em, Vinnie Paz, Rammellzee (RIP), Jealous Guys, and More!

Posted by Billyjam, July 2, 2010 09:09am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 07:02:10

1) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)

2) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)

3) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)

4) Nas + Damian Marley Distant Relatives  (Republic)

5) Vinnie Paz Season of the Assassin (Enemy Soil)

As witnessed by this week's Amoeba Hollywood hip-hop chart, with repeat appearances of several recent hip-hop albums, there are some strong 2010 summer releases. One of these top records is Eminem's Recovery, which all agree is a better album than last year's Relapse. That 2009 release was originally meant to be the prequel to Recovery but then the artist changed that plan after wishing to distance himself from what he admitted was an inferior product. Another release that should remain on the charts throughout the summer is The Roots' recommended latest How I Got Over. It's a great release from an equally great band, who, thanks to being the house band for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show over the past year, are getting wider exposure than ever before. A few weekends ago in Philly on June 5th the band hosted their 3rd Annual Roots Picnic with performances from Vampire Weekend, Jay Electronica, Mayer Hawthorne, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, The Foreign Exchange, Clipse, and hometown hip-hop legend DJ Jazzy Jeff, to name but a few. The band themselves also played, of course, and by all accounts it was the best Picnic yet. See video of the event below and read a report here

This Week At The New Beverly: Vacation Triple Feature, Joon-ho Bong, Alejandro Jodorowski & Dennis Hopper in Giant!

Posted by phil blankenship, July 1, 2010 04:24pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full July schedule is now available online:

Thursday July 1

A Richard Fleischer double bill

See No Evil
aka Blind Terror
1971, UK, 89 minutes
dir. Richard Fleischer, starring Mia Farrow, Dorothy Alison, Robin Bailey, Diane Grayson, Brian Rawlinson, Norman Eshley

Very suspenseful, with a terrific performance from Farrow and atmospheric direction by veteran helmsman Richard Fleischer.
- TV Guide Movie Guide

Vinyl in the Woods!

Posted by Amoebite, July 1, 2010 03:19pm | Post a Comment
Big Sur has always been hipper than hip, let's face it -- and on Saturday, July 3, even though it's hard to believe, the tiny town is gonna take its hip-ness to new heights with an amazing event called Vinyl in the Woods!
vinyl in the woods

Intriguing, right? It's going to be a HUGE, all-day vinyl fair with DJs, live music, food, drinks, super secret movie screenings and tons o' fun, all at the Henry Miller Library!

Vinyl, you say? It goes without saying that we, the people of Amoeba, will be there, manning and womanning a booth. Please come say hi!

Aside from all the live entertainment and booths, if you are up for the challenge, there will be "Open Turntable" sessions where you, with your favorite record(s) in hand, can step up on the stage and blow people's minds with whatever jam(s) you choose!

And is anyone surprised that the always-amazing ((Folkyeah)) is majorly involved in putting on this event? It's sure to be one of the highlights of this California summer! See you there, and please click here for all the details!

NYC Summer 2010 Pt. III - Tools of War's Christie Z Talks About the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2010 02:04pm | Post a Comment
True School NYC Summer Park Jam, Week 1

Unlike California's seasonal changes, especially SoCal, where the shift from one season to another is relatively subtle, New York goes throuGrand Wizzard  Theodore gh dramatic extremes in the change from winter to summer. The East Coast's freezing cold winters are typically a period when you simply have to stay indoors much of the time and are so severe that by the time the polar opposite hot New York summer rolls around, everybody automatically rushes outside to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

In the late spring and summer New York City's streets and the parks come back to life, with cafes setting up on the sidewalks again and block parties, park concerts and events jumping off everywhere you wander in the NYC. And for hip-hop fans, especially appreciators of the old school, there is no shortage of outdoor events. Of all of these, the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series is the ultimate annual must-attend event.

Now in its eight year, this Tools of War (TOW) produced free summer Park Jam series sets up stage at a few different NYC parks every Thursday evening, June through August. It's clearly a labor of love by TOW's Christie Z Pabon, who works along with a strong support group that includes her husband, legendary hip-hop Park Jam Tools of Warfigure Jorge FABEL Pabon, aka Popmaster Fabel. Long rooted and well connected within New York's hip-hop circles, TOW manages to enlist some amazing artists. Last Thursday I attended the Park Jam at East Harlem's White Park on 106th Street and got to see/hear many artists, including GrandMaster Caz of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers and DJ GrandWizzard Theodore -- the veteran Bronx DJ who created the scratch. As the classic breaks and hip-hop music boomed from the JBL speakers, b-boys, poppers and lockers got busy in a most entertaining and impromptu fashion. 

What's In Canada's Bag, Eh?

Posted by Amoebite, July 1, 2010 12:54pm | Post a Comment
What's In Canada's Bag? Our friends to the north have never been strangers, but you never know who is going to walk through the door at Amoeba Music. On this glorious Canada Day, let's take a look back at a few of our favorite Canuck visitors.
Maybe if we're lucky, next year we'll find out What's in the Bag of Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Zit Remedy or hip-hop rapper Snow.

Robb Reiner - Anvil Drummer

A Sailor's Rest: Celebrating Canada Day and the music of Stan Rogers

Posted by Kells, July 1, 2010 11:07am | Post a Comment

Like 100% Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup draped over a high stack of hot cakes, Canada is a hot mess. Blame Canada. Blame them for killing the Las Vegas showgirl with Cirque du Soleil and Celine Dion. Blame their precious Prince Edward Island for every time a little girl cries for a dress with puffed sleeves after viewing the Anne of Green Gables saga for the thousandth time. Blame them for the trainwreck of visual torture/pleasure known as the TV Carnage series, blame them for making you afraid to utter the words "I don't know" lest you be drenched in green slime. Blame Canada for Alanis, Avril and Mike Myers: schwing! Happy Canada Day, everybody! While all us dumb 'Mericans below you scramble to prime our potato salads and 100% all beef patties for the Fourth of July celebration this weekend, I want to write a little something in honor of one of my favorite Canadians, a man I'd like to bless Canada for on this, her supposed "birthday", a man who inspired many in his time and continues to inspire those with burgeoning nautical fetishes and a preference for salty folk songs that spin irresistible yarns -- Mr. Stan Rogers.

A few years ago one of my outspoken, pro-Canada co-workers (the only one, in fact) approached me to talk about my sea chantey collection and ask me if I'd ever heard of a fellow called Stan Rogers. I hadn't. He then thrust a red CD with a goofy looking, mountain-of-a man on the cover at me and said something like, "you're welcome" before strutting proudly away. I have to admit that my life has changed for the better now that Stan Rogers is fully in it. I remember that initial listen of Rogers' 1976 debut Fogarty's Cove as one of the most enjoyable, guilty-pleasure-ish feelings I've had in ages. This was what I wanted so very desperately to hear when seeking to ease my longing for some sort of contemporary manifestation of maritime music in checking out the works of newer artists like  Mt. Eerie/Microphones, Or, the Whale, Port O'Brien, Mt. Egypt and in Alela Diane's Pirate's Gospel --- very enjoyable all, but none of these could fully quench my thirst for the nautical but nice like the music of Stan Rogers. Most of all, none of the aforementioned artists had penned what I consider to be a true sea chantey; nothing compares to Rogers' stellar "I felt like writing a sea chantey and so I did" composition, "Barrett's Privateers."