I Got 5 On It: A Guide to the Eagle Rock Music Festival

Posted by Amoebite, September 30, 2011 10:57pm | Post a Comment
5 Must-See Artists at the Eagle Rock Music Festival

-By Scott Butterworth

Eagle Rock Music Festival 2011
The Eagle Rock Music Festival is back for its 13th year with a lineup as big and eclectic as ever.  With stages curated by the promoters of some of Los Angeles' most prolific underground music scenes  (Low End Theory, FYF Fest, Dublab), the talent throughout the day is more than worthy of your exploration.  If you're still planning your day, and looking for suggestions........."I got 5 on it".  5 must-see artists at this year's festival.

1)  Nosaj Thing:

Nosaj Thing live

Los Angeles club/promotor/institution, Low End Theory, has been a fertile breeding ground for some of the most exciting underground electronic "beat" music of recent years.  Of the many artists gaining acclaim from parts all over the world (Flying Lotus, Daedalus, The Glitch Mob), in my opinion Nosaj Thing has emerged as the most musically AND visually captivating artist coming out of the so-called "Beat Scene."  By putting a strong emphasis on the symbiotic power of sound and visuals in a live performance setting, he's elevated himself to one of the icons of the movement.

Get Passes to See Jane's Addiction Perform on Jimmy Kimmel

Posted by Amoebite, September 30, 2011 06:52pm | Post a Comment
Jane's Addiction Great Escape Artist
Pre-order the new Jane's Addiction album The Great Escape Artist (out 10/18 on Capitol) starting Tuesday October 4 in-store at Amoeba Hollywood and receive a wristband to see them perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 6th!

One wristband per CD pre-order. Limit 2 CD pre-orders per person.

Lineup for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! is at 6:30pm on October 6 to guarantee admission. 16 and over.

Watch the video for "Irresistible Force" fromThe Great Escape Artist:

Mike Stilkey Turns Book Covers Into Art in Amoeba Storefront

Posted by Billy Gil, September 30, 2011 01:34pm | Post a Comment
Mike Stilkey's book stacks-cum-canvases adorned with surrealist, gothic characters have landed in the window display of Amoeba Hollywood. His piece at Amoeba depicts a horse, buffalo, owl, and giraffe playing in some sort of quartet — they're using cello, acoustic guitar, banjo, and accordion, so you be the judge.

Stilkey's pieces have attracted the attention of the likes of The New Yorker. He said once the store approached him about doing a piece for the window, his inspiration for the piece was Amoeba itself.

“It was just my experience with Amoeba and loving the store,” he said. “I just wanted to make a really fun piece that incorporated my characters, plus a musical theme going on."

He said they'd wanted to use records, which he has done in the past, but he thought that might be too obvious, so he went with his more usual method of stacking books, upwards of 1,000 in this piece alone, mostly discarded old hardbacks from the library.

“I tend to use the more colorful and funnier titles for the pieces,” he said.

From there, he uses hot glue and builds them up like bricks. Once they're up, he brackets them to wood and layers acrylic paint over the carefully arranged bindings and covers.

“I've kind of always painted on things I've found on thrift stores and whatnot,” Stilkey explained. “That happens to be records and old books. I've had a phobia of a big white canvas for a long time, so I would paint on other things that would make it a little less intimidating.”

Here are the pieces on their own, prior to being installed in the Amoeba windows:


Head to Amoeba Hollywood to check out Mike Stilkey's installation today! It's on display in the windows facing Sunset Blvd.

Hip-Hop Rap Up 09:30:11: Madlib, J.Cole, Das Racist, Blu, Evidence, Sylvia Robinson (RIP), DMC World Finals, A-Plus, The Coup & Platurn @ O Zone, Roach GIgz, Bomb Hip-Hop + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2011 07:14am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Six Week Ending 09:30:11

1) Madlib No.12-Raw Medicine-Madlib Remixes (Stones Throw)

2) J. Cole Cole World: The Sideline Story (Roc Nation)

3) Das Racist Relax (Greedhead Music)

4) Evidence Cats & Dogs (Rhymesayers)

5) Blu Open (Nature Sounds)

6) Lil Wayne  The Carter IV (Cash Money/Universal)

Thanks to Luis at the Amoeba Music San Francisco store for the latest Top 5 Hip-Hop chart which features tons of nice brand new stuff including the latest from Madlib No.12-Raw Medicine-Madlib Remixes. Below is an audio snippet from the Stones Throw release featuring both Doom and Dilla. Also below is an album snippet sampler of J-Cole's new Cole World album plus an audio track from the unstoppable Blu's latest release Open; the track "Part Time Suckers" with Chop and Fresh Daily. Also featured below are videos from Das Racist's Relax and also from another new Amoeba chart entrant Evidence - the DJ Premier produced track "You" off his recommended new Rhymesayers release Cats & Dogs.

Madlib feat. Doom & Dilla (2011)
Completing the twelve-part Madlib Medicine Show series from a year ago, Madlib serves up a mix of many things here in a release that Stones Throw calls "part mixtape, part beat tape, featuring a host of un-suspecting collaborators that run the gamut from thugs, street poets, star emcees and underdogs."

Sampler of J. Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story

New album from J.Cole on Roc Nation featuring snippets of all tracks including: 1) Intro 2) Dollar and a Dream III 3) Can't Get Enough ft. Trey Songz 4) Lights Please 5) Interlude 6) Sideline Story 7) Mr. Nice Watch ft. Jay-Z 8) Cold World 9) In The Morning ft. Drake 10) Lost Ones 11) Nobody's Perfect ft. Missy Elliott 12) Never Told 13) Rise and Shine 14) God's Gift 15) Breakdown 16) Work Out

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Cinema Speakeasy SF Presents The Evil Dead & Evil Dead II DOUBLEHEADER -- 10/6

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 29, 2011 05:04pm | Post a Comment
Cinema Speakeasy
Start October off right with a double creature feature! Join Cinema Speakeasy SF for a spooktacularThe Evil Dead screening of The Evil Dead AND Evil Dead II on October 6th at GAFFTA (998 Market St. @ Taylor St. 94102)!

Marking the 30th anniversary of its release, Cinema Speakeasy is resurrecting The Evil Dead to witness Sam Raimi make movie magic (and history) with a scary small budget, THEN they'll compare it to the Hollywood budget he had for Evil Dead II. The basics are the same: a creepy cabin in the woods, some book and audio recording conjuring evil spirits from beyond, and this dude Ash running around in the woods dismembering people possessed by demons. If that doesn’t raise goosebumps on your arms, then you’re probably the evil dead too.

But that's not all! It's a Drink-Along screening too! Here are the rules:

- A human gets possessed by an evil spirit: DRINK!
- Someone suggests going out on their own (or something equally stupid): Yell NOOO! Then DRINK!
- A milky white substance excretes from someone’s face: CHEERS and DRINK!
- You’re a little scared: LAUGH and DRINK! It’ll help. Trust us.

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Diego El Cigala Headlines the 6th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival: Festival Flamenco Gitano 2011 on 10/23

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 29, 2011 03:16pm | Post a Comment
See Diego El Cigala on October 23rd at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley at the 6th Annual Bay AreaDiego el Cigala Bay Area Flamenco Festival Berkeley Flamenco Festival: Festival Flamenco Gitano 2011

Diego El Cigala, Latin Grammy-winning Gypsy singer from Madrid, is noted as a pioneer in fusing flamenco with Latin American music forms such as the bolero, Afro-Caribbean jazz, and tango. His ability to blend different types of contemporary music with traditional flamenco has won him widespread popularity and numerous awards.

For tickets to see Diego El Cigala, click HERE! For more information on the Bay Area Flamenco Festival, click HERE!

Visit Amoeba Berkeley between October 5th and October 19th to enter to win a pair of tickets to see Diego El Cigala!! 
Festival Flamenco Gitano 2011

As He Prepares To Celebrate the Bomb Hip-Hop 20 Year Anniversary Dave Paul Looks Back At His Long & Varied Music Career

Posted by Billyjam, September 29, 2011 06:58am | Post a Comment

DJ, broadcaster, club promoter, concert producer, journalist, publicist, magazine publisher, music producer, record label owner, webmaster, and iPhone app designer are just a few of the titles that have applied to Dave Paul over the years. But the San Francisco born and bred Paul is probably best known for both his respected Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine, that began 20 years ago (hence the Bomb 20 Year Anniversary party tomorrow night at Madrone Bar in San Francisco) and his pioneering Bomb Hip-Hop record label that came a few years later, and would be instrumental in helping propel the global turntablist movement thanks to his influential Return of the DJ series.

I first met Dave back in the late 80's when he was at KCSF out of City College of San Francisco  doing a weekly hip-hop radio show called Beat Box Fridays (he'd already been DJing for a good five years at that point) and was immediately impressed with what an ambitious, hard-working, self-driven, and focused individual he was - but never in an overbearing or unpleasant way. Dave is just a genuinely nice guy: someone you want to be around and someone who is always upfront and always passionate about his work. He is also never one to rest on his laurels. 

Since I've known him he has been a hustler; up at the crack of dawn working hard on whatever project he has going on at the time. Key to his success is that he doesn't wait for things to have to be done - he projects ahead and initiates change in the present: like how one day he developed an iPhone app for Bomb Hip-Hop. And as times change (especially in the ever fickle music industry) Dave always seems prepared; constantly evolving and expanding his skill base.

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Geoffrey O’Connor Brings His Noir Synth Pop to Hollywood Forever

Posted by Billy Gil, September 28, 2011 02:09pm | Post a Comment
Geoffrey O’Connor, frontman for Australian indie pop band Crayon Fields, released his debut record under his own name this week with Vanity Is Forever, a dark and sexy collection of new romantic pop reminiscent of Bryan Ferry and later-period Roxy Music. It’s gorgeous stuff, and tonight he’ll play it at Hollywood Forever Cemetery alongside Swedish songsmith Jens Lekman at 8 p.m. I took a minute to chat with O’Connor about his music upbringing and influences — surprise, it’s not all ’80s all the time!

PST: Can you tell me a little bit about your musical background up until releasing Vanity Is Forever?

O’Connor: I’ve been writing and recording songs since high school, which is when I started playing with Crayon Fields — we are now working on album number three. I released a solo record in 2007 as Sly Hats, but then decided to drop the name for the one my mother gave me.

PST: What are some of the influences, musical or otherwise, that got you making the music that appears on this album?

O’Connor: Classics like Fleetwood Mac, Lou Reed and Dory Previn are the first musical influences that come to mind. I work in a cinema and get to see a lot of free movies — often there will be a memorable scene or quote that will trigger a song idea, even in the ones I don’t like.

PST: I definitely hear a cinematic quality to your music. Have you or would you consider scoring a film?

O’Connor: Very much so — it is pretty much my dream to score a film. I often feel like my efforts making films are more to do with wanting to score them.

PST: I feel like there's been a return to sort of luxurious music of the '70s and '80s lately in underground/indie music and film. Music like Washed Out and The Field, referencing bands like Roxy Music; the movie Drive comes to mind. This sort of like, underside of "Miami Vice" thing. I see songs like "Whatever Leads Me to You" fitting alongside that to some degree. But that's just it conjures up for me, I guess. Does that sound along the lines of what you'd like to create, or is it very different for you? What imagery come up for you when you hear/make your own music, and do you see it as fitting alongside other artists of this era?

O’Connor: It’s been interesting how often the ’80s has been cited in the write-ups and reviews for the record so far. Generally it doesn’t bother me — I can see how the comparison could be drawn. I do love Roxy Music too, especially the later stuff. It’s certainly not a premeditated thing though, or an homage of any kind. I guess I’ve always liked the purity of direct, melodramatic pop music — which is typical of many ’80s classics. While I love a lot of contemporary music, a lot of it frustrates me in its lack of both lyrical and melodic conviction.
PST: At the same time, the music is very removed from a lot of trends. It's more deliberate and sensitive to me. Did you seek to make music that sounded like it could come have come from a number of different eras and genres?

O’Connor: To a degree I did, I always aim to make my songs sound contemporary — but I guess my approach to song writing resembles that of the ’60s and ’80s in that the melodic hooks and lyrics always come first. I’m very much into music that sounds deliberate, as opposed to being improvised — and that’s the way I go about writing and recording.

PST: Are you involved in any other projects, musically or otherwise?

O’Connor: I’m finishing a Masters in film this year, and using my time in the course to put together a series of music videos. I’d like to be more involved in film/video making, I enjoy it just as much as making music. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with it yet, though I’m toying with the idea of putting together a soap opera at some point — I’ll probably call it “Vanity Is Forever,” too. I also play in a couple of other people’s bands on guitar and bongos — Guy Blackman, Montero and Monnone Alone.
What's your setup for playing live?

O’Connor: I have two modes at the moment. I usually play with two other dueling synthesizer players, and then for the solo shows it’s just me with a guitar and sampler. I’m very much into making it a visual thing and I bring my own projections, lasers and smoke when I can. I think both modes work in very different ways and suit different environments — it’s always nice to have company though!

Party Like It’s 5772!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 28, 2011 01:05pm | Post a Comment
Shana Tova, y'all!

(Wherein we eagerly anticipate the death of leaves.)

Posted by Job O Brother, September 28, 2011 11:04am | Post a Comment

Fairfax & Melrose

I’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough now to notice a two-degree temperature drop and the standard grey, morning haze lasting an extra hour and excitedly exclaim, “Fall is in the air!” It’s what I have to work with down here.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I’m eager to cuddle up in coats, drink steamy brews, over-do holiday cooking, celebrate Walrus Day, and frankly, I like the melancholic pallor it casts o’er humanity – makes my fellow man seem more relatable than when they’re sweating and spiking balls over nets, behavior which makes me skittish and distrustful.

Of course I know this new chill in the air may be a tease; there’s always opportunity for Mother Nature to Alan Funt the situation. I’m not boxing up my cargo shorts and ice cube collection just yet, but I am eager. To prepare, I’ve hand-selected the finest mini-marshmallows to serve in cocoa (I myself hate eating marshmallows – they’re like sugar-sweetened, antique erasers, but ironically I delight in judging and organizing them), I’ve begun psychologically manipulating the boyfriend with subliminal messages while he watches The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to favor Douglas Firs over White Firs, and I’ve taught my cats to knit their own sweaters. (To be honest, this last effort has been a real power struggle, with both felines putting up a lot of resistance and excuses:

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DJ Quest Announces New Album That Reunites Original Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters

Posted by Billyjam, September 28, 2011 10:34am | Post a Comment
Good friend of Amoeba Music DJ Quest, who has been involved in countless Amoeba instores over the years, informed the Amoeblog yesterday afternoon that had has just wound up production on an as still yet untitled, brand new album that, while a DJ Quest solo, album is essentially a Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters reunion album. "Yeah I just got done with the last final mix," he told me noting that he is not wasting any time and already has a release party date, October 22nd at the Elbo Room in San Francisco, even though he hasn't determined an album title yet. "I guess I better get on it right away so they can put it in the flyers," he laughingly said in reference to the Saturday night weekly at the Elbo Room put on by 4oneFunction.

The new album features a good deal of input from the legendary Bulletproof Scratch Hamsters (the group that morphed into the Bullet Proof Space Travelers)' fellow members DJ Cue and Eddie Def. Both were his co-members of the famed San Francisco DJ trio the Bulletproof Scratch Hamsters who made history by such things as creating the Hamster Style and by releasing the first battle record, Hamster Breaks, for DJs two decades ago. And both Cue and Eddie contribute exclusively to this non-MC, DJ release. Quest said that the album's foundations were constructed by Eddie Def who gave him a nice selection of loops and beats to build on. Then Quest added preliminary cuts and scratches on top, before then passing along that mix to DJ Cue who, in turn, took into his lab to add a whole other production layer (including "a lot of 808 sounds"). Then Quest, who also produced some beats for it, got it back and "made songs out of it all" adding various other production values to the very final mix.

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New Punk T-Shirts At Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, September 27, 2011 06:30pm | Post a Comment
Tuesday nights at the Cathay de Grande...Fridays at the Olympic Auditorium...Saturday afternoons hanging out at the Mystic Records studios. Sound familiar? These were special times for a whole generation of punkers in Los Angeles County and beyond.Black Flag T-shirt

Rodney Bingenheimer
's Sunday night show on KROQ supplied the sounds that fueled the restless youth as they waited for the weekend and another round of shows. Whether on the west side (The Starwood, The Whisky), downtown (Hong Kong Cafe, Al's Bar), Hollywood (The Masque, Baces Hall) or the beach (Cuckoo's Nest), LA punk was in full effect and there was no turning back! 

We even had a great, pioneering TV show (New Wave Theater). Hosted by the late Peter Ivers (punk rock's answer to Art Laboe), New Wave Theater was the very first program to beam bands such as The Plugz, Social Distortion, 45 Grave and tons more to boob tubes all across the SoCal basin.

Circle JerksRelive your hardcore memories of the L.A. punk rock glory days by picking up a few of the recently added L.A. punk flier tee shirts - available exclusively at Amoeba Hollywood!

Remember when Black Flag, Fear and The Stains played Devonshire Downs (CSUN) back in '82? How about The Damned gig at Godzilla's from the same year?

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New Reissues Out Today: Nirvana & Pink Floyd

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 27, 2011 03:26pm | Post a Comment
It's a big day for reissues, folks! Look what you can get on today...and with free shipping to the U.S.!

Nirvana:Nirvana Nevermind Reissue
Nevermind [Deluxe Edition] (CD)
2-CD Deluxe Edition 20th Anniversary reissue.

There’s a lot to devour on this deluxe edition of Nevermind. The clues to Nevermind's development are riveting to sift through, from early sessions with producer Butch Vig to the “Boombox Rehearsals” in which drummer Dave Grohl was brought onboard to give the songs that extra sonic uppercut that landed these songs all over the pop atmosphere. The sound quality of those recordings vary, but the way in which it shows the band developing through such a crucial phase makes it a must-listen for any fan of the band, while BBC session recordings see some of the songs fully formed and recorded well in a live setting. With songs that have been repeated so endlessly on radio, TV and throughout pop culture, it’s wonderful to have a remastered version of Nevermind and these new versions of its songs, which allow listeners to relisten to the landmark album in a new context and hear what was going on leading up to and after its release.

*Gift with purchase: a 4-postcard set of 12" art replicas (Smells Like Teen Spirit, In Bloom, Lithium, Come As You Are). While supplies last.

Cheb i Sabbah Continues His Fight Back to Good Health

Posted by Billyjam, September 27, 2011 02:05pm | Post a Comment
Pioneering world music ambassador, veteran DJ, producer, promoter, and former Amoeba Music employee Cheb i Sabbah, who earlier this year was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer, is doing much better but still continues his fight for a return to full health. This he has been doing despite having no medical insurance but, luckily, having the love and support of friends and fans who have rallied to his help in recent months. Back in July Cheb i Sabbah supporters threw two successful "health-care benefits" in San Francisco for the highly respected world musicologist. These benefits and other acts of support directly helped the man who gratefully posted online that, "With your blessings, prayers and generosity, I am currently in Germany at a clinic nicely situated in a small town that's famous for it's sulfur baths and countryside. I have begun a battery of tests and some treatments. I am feeling good and full of hope, and this is all due to your love. For that I will always be ever grateful." That got him to Europe for treatment this summer. Now back in the Bay Area he is still facing more treatment and, naturally, more expenses.

The unprecedented show of support for Cheb i Sabbah in time of need has proven what an admired, appreciated, and most important figure he truly is. "You know he's been around DJ'ing since he was just a teenager - playing soul in the 60's in Paris and [he] was very hip to all the North African styles long before most anyone else was," said Amoeba Music's Marc Weinstein recalling that Cheb i Sabbah worked at Amoeba Berkeley as world music buyer for about four years in the mid-nineties. "He brought an incredible depth, especially with African and Middle Eastern music, when he worked here at Amoeba," recalled Weinstein, adding that as a DJ he is in a class of his own. "He would have Nickies [on Haight St.] rockin' so hard, creating monster grooves. The place would be packed! He is the most well loved DJ I have ever known!"

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Album Picks: Dum Dum Girls, Geoffrey O'Connor, Jens Lekman

Posted by Billy Gil, September 27, 2011 01:43pm | Post a Comment
Reviews of some of my favorite albums from the past couple of weeks:

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams (CD or LP)

Noise popettes Dum Dum Girls started out rough, all motorcycles and dingy guitars and black nail polish, on their excellent debut album, I Will Be, before expanding the lo-fi quality of their sound to brighter places with this year’s He Gets Me High EP. They continue that trajectory with their second full-length, Only In Dreams, which ups the pop ante considerably. While The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde always had been a touchstone for singer/guitarist Dee Dee’s smoky drawl, the band’s music serves as a signpost here as well, insofar as Only in Dreams combines rock toughness and girl-group melodies in a way rarely seen with such success since that band — check out “Caught In One” for one of the best examples. Elsewhere, the band sounds a bit like early Go-Gos (the jangly “Bedroom Eyes”), The Bangles (“Hold Your Hand” is kind of like an indie-rock “Eternal Flame”) or Mazzy Star (it might bother you how much “Coming Down” sounds like “Fade Into You,” if the tremoloed riffs and breakup lyrics weren’t so damn effective). While they struggle a bit to establish their own identity apart from their forebears, Only in Dreams proves Dee Dee and co. to be formidable purveyors of classic pop-rock.

Free download of "Bedroom Eyes" by Dum Dum Girls.

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September 26, 2011: Moneyball

Posted by phil blankenship, September 26, 2011 10:53pm | Post a Comment

Classical Guitarist Miloš Karadaglić Plays Herbst Theatre in SF, 10/15

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 26, 2011 05:17pm | Post a Comment
CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present classical guitar virtuosoMilos Karadaglic mediterraneo CIIS Montenegro Miloš Karadaglić at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on October 15th.

Born in Montenegro, Karadaglić began playing the guitar at the age of eight and quickly won international recognition. In 2010, he signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first album, Mediterraneo, topped the U.K. classical charts and has now been released internationally.

For tickets and more information, visit them HERE! (Group discounts available for 10 or more!)

CIIS California Institute of Integral Studies

Pulp Documentary, The Beat Is The Law – Fanfare For The Common People, Plays at Roxie Theater in SF 9/29!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 26, 2011 01:24pm | Post a Comment
The Roxie Theater and Noise Pop present the San Francisco premiere of The Beat Is TheBeat Is The Law Pulp Roxie San Francisco Law – Fanfare For The Common People at the Roxie Theater, this Thursday, September 29th.

Picture it...Glastonbury Festival, 1995. The Stone Roses pull out of their headline set after a mountain bike accident and Rod Stewart is unavailable. Last minute replacements Pulp take to the stage to face 80,000 people. They deliver a set regarded as one of the best in the festival’s history, climaxing with the era-defining song, "Common People." In the process, they catapult themselves to the forefront of the Britpop movement – an achievement that 10 years earlier seemed like an impossible dream.

Made with the full co-operation of the band, The Beat Is The Law – Fanfare For The Common People (Dir. Eve Wood, 2010, Digital, 90 min.), brings together original interviews, performances, promos, newly unearthed live footage, and home videos to tell the story of Pulp and their contemporaries’ journey from the darkest industrial depths of the Steel City to the pinnacle of pop via the consciousness-raising techno/house of  Warp Records. Featuring original interviews with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, Russell Senior, Candida Doyle, and Nick Banks plus Richard Hawley (Longpigs), Mark Brydon (Chakk/FON/Moloko), Rob Gordon (FON/WARP), Adi Newton (ClockDVA) and many more, The Beat Is The Law is a deep-fried feature documentary from the creators of the acclaimed Made In Sheffield

Cultural Vegetables vs. Cultural Vegetables: Audience-Proof vs. Critic-Proof Movies

Posted by Charles Reece, September 26, 2011 01:21am | Post a Comment
Béla Tarr                                                                         Michael Bay

A few months ago, when reading about Meek's Cutoff, I ran across an essay by Dan Kois titled "Eating Your Cultural Vegetables." It's one of those confessional pieces by a professional critic where he boldly claims to not like some unpopular art to his audience, most of whom probably share his distaste (otherwise they'd be reading someone else). Novelist Jonathan Franzen wrote something similar back in 2002 regarding difficult literature (that is, all of this has gone on before). In response, there predictably came the defenders of the boring aesthetic and experimental writing. Of course, an argument between Franzen and someone like Ben Marcus isn't exactly an entrenched battle line drawn between low and high culture (albeit some critics do dismiss the former as middlebrow because of his focus on the bourgeoisie). And, similarly, how far off is Kois' general aesthetic from Manohla Dargis or A.O. Scott?From what I've read of them, I suspect not much. At least Marcus does write truly experimental fiction that's not as immediately forthcoming to his reader as Franzen's own stories, but Andrei Tarkovsky's narratives aren't particularly difficult to understand, just slow (e.g., Stanislaw Lem's Solaris was, if anything, conventionalized by the filmmaker, removing the invented scientific and philosophical papers through which the story unfolded). The same can be said of Kelly Reichhardt (who also directed Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy). Contrary to Kois, I didn't find her Meek's Cutoff boring; it's slow, yes, but undergirded with a tension, a potential threat of death, that never lets up. I'd call it slow burn dread, an affect not unlike what's felt in Claude Chabrol's Les Bonnes Femmes or Takashi Miike's Audition.

Kois' essay doesn't amount to much, because he never really says Reichardt or Tarkovsky are boring, only that he finds them so. And as examples of other supposedly mentally nutritious "cultural vegetables" he cites Todd Haynes' Mildred Pierce (a fairly faithful adaptation of the novel by James M. Cain), Hou Hsiao-hsien and Derek Jarman's experimental film Blue. (Is hardboiled fiction now considered too recondite for the hoi polloi?) On the other hand, Kois loves the slow-moving YiYi, having watched it five times without falling asleep once (keeping count is very important for cultural capital). In other words, Kois finds some things boring, but doesn't know exactly why, so he won't begrudge someone else for enjoying them -- a pretty forgettable essay of subjectivist mush. But the editors of Film Comment felt it important enough to feature two rebuttals in the latest issue (Sept./Oct. 2011), one from Kent Jones, the other from Jonathan Rosenbaum, both of whom can be counted on to play their roles in the game of genre politics.

Jones refuses to even call it an essay, putting questioning quote marks around the word itself, comparing what Krois wrote to an "editorial in a mimeographed middle-school newspaper" with a "creepy," puerile "undertone," an example of "passive-agressive baby talk." Rosenbaum draws a more insidious inference from the essay, that it goes "beyond the usual middlebrow philistinism," suggesting "that audiences supporting art movies [...] must be masochists wanting to impose their self-inflicted punishments on others" implicating it as "[p]art of America's eccentric mistrust of art and poetry [....]" As a stalwart high-minded critic, his idea of a cultural vegetable isn't Tarr, but stuff like Star Wars, Inglourious Basterds and Avatar. Of course, what he's implying is that those aren't "cultural vegetables," but are made for cultural vegetables. For example, he's previously proposed that Tarantino's film is "morally akin to Holocaust denial." Nothing mealy-mouthed about his condemnation, Rosenbaum's for morally good films, Krois and the philistines prefer evil. Then, sounding like a cocksure undergrad cinephile who just sat through all eight hours of Warhol's Empire to prove his bona fides, Rosenbaum tells us how many times he watched Tarr's latest (see, labor value) and loved it:

Why, then, did I wind up at all three screenings of The Turin Horse in Wroclaw, three afternoons in a row? Largely because of my fascination with how a film in which practically nothing happens can remain so gripping and powerful, so pleasurable and beautiful. [E]ven though his diverse techniques are completely different from those of Erich von Stroheim, there's something about the sheer intensity of both filmmakers as they navigate from one moment to the next that makes the usual rules and logic of film narrative and even the usual practice of following a plot seem almost beside the point -- a kind of distraction. The world of The Turin Horse isn't unveiled or imparted or recounted or examined or told; it's simply there, at every instant, as much as possible and to an extent that seems more than we can think to cope with, daring us simply to take note of it. -- p. 50

Note that Rosenbaum essentially defends what Krois was reacting against, that enjoying high-minded cinema doesn't come easy, but it's good for you, edifying. It might not be Tarr's intent (or even true), but what's suggested here is that his new film resists understanding, which requires a good deal of effort to enjoy (maybe the Lacanian 'jouissance' would be appropriate). That is, it doesn't unveil, impart, recount, examine or tell of what it contains; it dares an audience to "take note of [its world]." Tarr's "sheer intensity" comes as pure pleasure for Rosenbaum (really, intense ... Tarr?), but if you're not so culturally or genetically predisposed, you'd best learn to be if you don't want to live your life as some cud-chewing Tarantino-loving dolt prone to the fascistic urges inculcated by revenge films. In other words, there's something suspicious about pleasure that comes too easily, a position that's satirically taken to its logical conclusion in Brendan Connell's short story "The Putrimaniac" (from his book Unpleasant Tales):

"You say 'good taste,' ... 'genius,' ... but what are these? ... Pablo Picasso's Guernica is atrocious, crude, and yet at the same time so truly noble, inspiring .... Vincent van Gough, in his Night Café, used the most appalling colours, a hallucinatory blend of pond-scum green, butcher-shop red, and puke brown, but it is a masterpiece of the highest order. Because, when ugliness is taken to the limits, it turns into beauty. This is something uncultivated minds do not realise. Vulgar people delight in the smell of roses, the sight of tawdry watercolours, the unambiguous taste of fresh strawberries or breast of chicken. A truly sophisticated person however turns away from all such things with disdain." -- p. 56, the character of Alfonso on the true aesthetic 

That Rosenbaum isn't, in fact, defending anything more than his own ability and desire to enjoy what Krois would most likely find insufferably tedious is made abundantly clear in Jones' takedown of Transformers 3:

[T]he long-held dream of a critic-proof movie industry has at last become a reality. What has yet to be understood is the effect on moviemaking itself. Transformers 3 is indeed stupid, sloppy, bombastic, sexist, militarist, and carelessly made, as debased a movie as I've ever seen. But it is plagued by a new development that has gone all but unnoticed.

[...] What is new in movies pitched for mass consumption is a short-circuited non-aesthetic that starts the film anew with every scene, rendering a flow of disconnected attractions that becomes all but indistinguishable from the commercials for Sprite, the Navy, and the fall lineup from AMC.

[I]t is the abandonment of any aspirations to sustained buildup or momentum that is the film's most disconcerting characteristic. [...] In Transformers 3, all that is trusted is the gut reaction to the moment at hand, which is pushed and twisted, hacked apart and splayed, polished or beefed up in such a way that is has no tonal, stylistic, or narrative carryover with anything before or after. [...] 

[T]hey [the target/mass audience for films like Transformers 3] trudge in and out of the eternally distracting world they supposedly asked for, perhaps afraid that they're going to miss something, perhaps following the paths laid out for them because they're too exhausted to do anything else. Or maybe they're waiting, even praying that somewhere along the way, they'll be lulled or even jolted into a state of enlightenment. -- p. 58-61

First, note how Jones does exactly what Krois is being accused of: Transformers' fans aren't really enjoying the film, but are actually bored, watching it because "they're too exhausted to do anything else" (like watch a Tarr film three times). Perhaps one man's "stupid, sloppy, bombastic, sexist, militarist" is another's "sheer intensity." It might be a shit aesthetic, but they come by it honestly. Second, what Jones calls director Michael Bay's non-aesthetic is really an aesthetic, which, in a recent video essay, Matthias Stork deems "chaos cinema." Though critical, he gives it a poetic spin:

Trying to orient yourself in the work of chaos cinema is like trying to find your way out of a maze, only to discover that your map has been replaced by a reproduction of a Jackson Pollock painting, except the only art here is the art of confusion.

Furthermore, it's ironic that the most prominent features of this "non-aesthetic" are shared by Rosenbaum's true aesthetic: difficult to comprehend due to its lack of concern for plot ("a flow of disconnected attractions" versus Tarr's treatment of plot as "a kind of distraction") and its general thereness -- what a non-fan would call boring --  daring the audience or trusting their "gut instinct" (depending on predisposition) to simply take note of it as experience (the "abandonment of any aspirations to sustained buildup or momentum" and the way "each moment at hand [...] is pushed and twisted, hacked apart and splayed, polished or beefed up" versus Turin Horse's being "simply there, at every instant, as much as possible and to an extent that seems more than we can think to cope with"). And, if I were feeling more rascally, I might even suggest that "being indistinguishable from a commercial" isn't much of a distinguishing feature, either. Where Bay's style is more accommodating to mass commodities, it's not difficult to imagine what a commercial from Tarr might look like, say, shilling for Jean-Paul Gaultier.

September 25, 2011: Abduction

Posted by phil blankenship, September 25, 2011 09:57pm | Post a Comment

The Art of the LP Cover- Eggs, Part 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 24, 2011 05:30pm | Post a Comment

Sunny side up, hard boiled, scrambled or even fossilized.
Between this and last years blog I've got all the bases covered.
I've even thrown in a couple of labels and a sticker!
To check out last year's gallery, click here.

Happy birthday Bronze Buckeroo - Herb Jeffries turns 98 today.

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 24, 2011 02:18pm | Post a Comment
HAPPY 98th

Today is the 98th birthday of actor/singer Herb Jeffries. Although not widely recognized today (especially among non-black audiences, during his heyday in the 1930s and '40s he was an enormously popular singer and the first black actor to star in Westerns. I'd probably know nothing of him except for my tenure in the Black Cinema section at Amoeba, where elderly gentleman regularly treated me to their reminiscences about a black singing cowboy they'd idolized as kids. 


Herber Jeffries was born September 24, 1913 in Detroit, Michigan to Afro-Sicilian pianist Umberto Balentino and his Irish-American wife, Mildred. He never knew his father and was raised by his single mother, who ran a boarding house. Although light-skinned and almost surely able to "pass," he identified as black and associated himself with Detroit's Howard Buntz Orchestra, which brought him a measure of local fame.

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Glitch Mob, Moby, Plump DJs among those at LovEvolution in Oakland Today

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2011 09:50am | Post a Comment
San Francisco's much loved annual large scale, outdoor, electronic music event, LovEvolution festival (aka Love Fest, aka Love Parade since it was modeled after the now defunct Berlin event of that name), is happening today Saturday (September 24th) but don't start heading to San Francisco's Civic Center just yet to party at a big free dance party as you might have in years past since there have been some significant changes made this year.  For starters it's not in the downtown streets and Civic Center areas of San Francisco this year. Instead it's hopped across the Bay to the grounds of Oakland's Oracle Arena. And not only is it now an 18+ event (it used to be all ages) but they are now charging for tix. Before it was a requested donation event except for two years ago when they charged $10. Now it is $25 to get advance tix or $40 at the door today.

Also obviously there's no downtown San Francisco parade (that was the best part too) but there will be many of those same amazing DJ booth + wall of speakers floats on the grounds of the Oakland outdoor event with one of them featuring Moby that will slowly cruise around the perimeter of the parking lots which, organizers claim, is the "same length of our parade in downtown San Francisco."

The event runs all day with headliner the Glitch Mob being the last to go on with a set that begins at 7pm. Other big names today on the main stage include Pendulum, The Plump DJs, and Isaiah Martin. Other performers on the other stages will include Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation. While this is a promising electronic music event it is completely different from the beloved SF Love Fest of years bygone. For anyone who attended one of those SF LoveFest's will attest, it was so much fun to witness hundreds of thousands of people happily dancing in front of Civic Center, San Francisco. But it was also because of so many people converging on this area that last year the festival was canceled by the authorities based on concerns of crowd control with simply too many people anticipated. Hence this year it's back but with  compromises. Word has it that the event may be back at Civic Center in SF next year. For a look at a past SF LoveFest visit the Amoeblog report (lots of pics) from the 2007 SF LoveFest. And for full details on today's event click here.

4,000 Words

Posted by Job O Brother, September 23, 2011 05:23pm | Post a Comment

The End!

Amoebapalooza Hollywood is Sun Oct 2

Posted by Amoebite, September 23, 2011 12:01pm | Post a Comment
Join the Amoeba Hollywood staff as we put together bands for one night only, performing tributes, original music and more surprises! Our annual celebration of musical mayhem - Amoebapalooza - will feature 13 bands on Sunday, October 2, at The Dragonfly (6510 Santa Monica Blvd.). Doors are at 9 p.m.  21+ over, $5 at the door.

To prepare yourself for the magical insanity that is Amoebapalooza, check out our recaps of the 2010 and 2009 Hollywood Amoebapaloozas.

Amoebapalooza Flier

Hip-Hop Rap Up 09:23:11: Weezy, Casual, Dream Nefra, Los Rakas, The Jacka, Amp Live, DaVinci + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 23, 2011 11:18am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 09:23:11

1) The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
  Watch The Throne (Def Jam) 

2) Lil Wayne  Tha Carter IV (Cash Money/Universal)

3) The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West) Watch the Throne - Deluxe
(Def Jam) 

4) Lil Wayne  Tha Carter IV Deluxe (Cash Money/Universal)

5) Blu & Exile Below The Heavens (Sound In Color)

This week's hip-hop five chart from the Amoeba Hollywood store proves that the big names (Weezy, Kanye, & Jay-Z) are holding their own with both Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV and Jay-Z & Kanye West's Watch The Throne both still holding down top slots in not just the regular CD versions but also the Deluxe versions of each release. 
Speaking of Lil Wayne, the artist who was recently incarcerated at Rikers for 8 months, does not seem to have lost any momentum at all in his ever rising career. The latest achievement for Weezy is being placed in the 2012 Guinness Book Of World Records for having the most US Hot 100 hits. Over the past decade the artist has had an astounding 60+ tracks that entered the Hot 100 chart.  This will not be the rapper's first time in the Guinness Book Of World Records. He previously got inducted for having the most “likes” on Facebook in one 24 hour period. Also charting on the Top Five this week at the Los Angeles store is Blu & Exile's sleeper hit Below The Heavens.

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September 21, 2011: The Change-Up

Posted by phil blankenship, September 22, 2011 11:10pm | Post a Comment

out this week, 8/29 & 9/6: Beirut...Blood Orange...Doug Benson...Jacuzzi Boys...The Rapture...

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 22, 2011 06:44pm | Post a Comment
Hello friends! Sorry it has been so long since I have updated you with all the big new releases that have been coming out these last couple of weeks. It has been an intense couple of weeks of new albums! Almost too much for me to handle. I just don't know what to listen to. Which albums do I devote my time to when there are so many to choose from. It is hard to believe. But September is almost over. Summer is pretty much over. The kids are back in school. And Halloween and Christmas are right around the corner. But before we get into holiday craziness, we still have some time to enjoy these amazing albums that have been coming out in August and September.

has finally put out a new album! Zachary beirut Condon, the genius behind Beirut, has been putting out amazing albums since Gulag Orkestar in 2006. This was followed by The Flying Club Cup which ended up somewhere on my best of the year list in 2007. He released March of the Zapotec in 2009. But this new album Rip Tide is really the third official full album by Beirut. I always looks forward to anything this guy puts out. The albums always sound like there are 20 people are playing on them. It has the depth of a Arcade Fire album but not as frenetic. His albums are more laid back. Perfect summer albums. I can imagine laying out by the pool with my fancy cocktail listening to this new album. If I did that sort of thing. This is not the kind of album I listen to while driving. Although I imagine it would be nice if you were all alone on some country road driving on some beautiful windy road. It is really never too late to fall in love with Beirut. This is some beautiful stuff. Great album to fall in or out of love to. But you will most certainly fall in love with the voice of Zach Condon! Beautiful stuff.

I am also having a hard time putting down the new album by Blood Orange, Coastal Grooves. This is new project of Devonte Hynes from Lightspeed Champion. I have said it before I know. But I love everything this guys does. I was obsessed with those Lightspeed Champion albums. And Devonte has again managed to make me fall in love with his new project Blood Orange. I don't even know how to describe his genius. He is just a magical songwriter and puts together these extremely catchy and heartwarming songs that I just can't get enough of. If you want to read more about my love of Lightspeed Champion and Dev Hynes, you can do that here. I don't think I can make everyone love this album. But I wish that I could. You will either like it after the first listen or you just won't get it. But I highly recommend this. Check it out.

Here is the video for "Sutphin Boulevard" from the new album Coastal Grooves by Blood Orange.

I have been a loyal fan of the amazing Doug Benson for a couple of years now. I am a loyal fan of his podcast Doug Loves Movies. I myself love the movies. And I love Doug Benson. I am not even a stoner but I still can't get enough of this guy and his laid back sense of humour. He did a question and answer thing at the New Beverly with Edgar Wright and the cast of Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. I have been hooked on Doug Benson ever since. Comedy Central has just released his new comedy album called Potty Mouth. The best thing about this release is that it includes a DVD with six episodes of The Benson Interruption. This really makes it worth it alone. The Benson Interruption is basically live stand up with his comic friends. He is sort of the host but he basically sits in a chair on the stage making fun of them and jumping in every once in while with his own jokes. It is like interactive comedy. Good stuff.

  Another album that you should be checking out is the new album from Jacuzzi Boys. Another fantastic album to end your Summer with. Or start your Fall with. The new album Glazin' is out now on Hardly Art. The label distributed by Sub Pop Records. They are from the land of The Golden Girls in Miami, Florida. This is a super fun garage rock album. Nothing that will drastically change your life. But a really fun catchy album. It is so short that I am often tempted to listen to it twice in a row. This is the music that I would imagine Blanche's Grandson to listen to when he comes to visit the girls. At least if The Golden Girls was set in 2011. I guess in 1985 he was probably listening to The Ramones and The Cramps.

Check out "Glazin'" from the new album Glazin' by Jacuzzi Boys...

the rapture
The Rapture
is also back with a fantastic new album called In The Grace of Your Love. They released their first album Mirror way back in 1999. I still think of them as a San Francicso band even though they relocated to New York many years ago. And I had honestly sort of forget about them the last couple of years. I was not really a big fan of their album Pieces of the People We Love back in 2006. But I got excited when I first heard the new single "How Deep Is Your Love" a couple of months ago. I am glad that they left Universal Records and are now back on DFA Records where they should be. Another great album to end your Summer with.

Free download of "How Deep Is Your Love?" by The Rapture.

also out 8/29...

Rip Tide
by Beirut

Potty Mouth
by Doug Benson

Coastal Grooves
by Blood Orange

by Dirty Beaches

by Jacuzzi Boys

Endless Now
by Male Bonding

I'm With You
by Red Hot Chili Peppers

by Yacht

also out 9/6...

Some Easy Magic
by Fungi Girls

Work (Work Work)

In The Grace Of Your Love
by The Rapture

Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
by Wu Lyf

Wavves Unveil New Video for their Song "Bug"

Posted by Billyjam, September 22, 2011 01:08pm | Post a Comment

Wavves "Bug" (2011)

The fun SoCal lo-fi rock band Wavves have just unveiled their brand new video; the Alan Tanner directed black & white music video (above) for the song "Bug" off their current Life Sux EP on Ghost Ram which is available on CD and vinyl. Not simply "King(s) of the Beach" Wavves, who have stopped by Amoeba to perform and be interviewed, are fans of weed as much as the surf it seems.

When the rising tide is rowdy and the Summer crowd is crowdy...

Posted by Kells, September 22, 2011 09:45am | Post a Comment

Come Fall! Come all to the Hotel Utah Saloon -- San Francisco's historic (circa 1908) "tall ship" themed venue where Marilyn Monroe used to await her beau Joe Dimaggio -- tonight and see local bard of beard and board Little Wings air some new songs along with Juanita and the Rabbit and the Lowrollers who'll be kicking it off at 9pm. The Utah being something of a fabled haunt, both in the literal and figurative sense, the eerie vibe of this dark and mysterious bar always frames nothing short of an ideal setting for Kyle Field's alter (altar?) gig-ego. Who knows if the last captain's face is still stuck in the mirror, but I'll be around to speak his name three times tonight and see if he appears. Stowaways: $6.

Troy Davis' Execution Will Undoubtedly Unleash A Slew of New Protest Raps

Posted by Billyjam, September 21, 2011 10:18pm | Post a Comment
Jasiri X "I Am Troy Davis (T.R.O.Y.)" (2011)

There's already been several hip-hop songs written & recorded about Troy Davis, including the moving song & accompanying video above by Jasiri X who expertly reworks Pete Rock & CL Smooth''s 1992 classic "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)." But following the 42 year old Davis' execution late tonight (Weds Sept 21) in a Georgia State Prison by lethal injection, and the controversy it has already fueled, you can expect a slew of new hip-hop songs expressing outrage over the execution of Davis - who many believe to be innocent - and outrage at the United States Supreme Court for refusing to step in after Davis' lawyer had pleaded with the court to examine “substantial constitutional errors” in the murder trial of a Savannah police officer.

Ron English's Brand New Homo Hunk Art Celebrates End of US Military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy

Posted by Billyjam, September 21, 2011 02:55pm | Post a Comment

Without missing a beat today Ron English unveiled his brand new piece of art (Homo Hunk) in celebration of yesterday's (Sept 20th, 2011) historic ruling that repealed the US military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy which banned gays from serving openly in the military since 1993 when it was passed by Congress and signed into law under then-president Bill Clinton. Under Barack Obama, yesterday's ruling ushered in what the Pentagon has heralded as "a new era in the American armed forces."

From yesterday until today  English was busy working on his new art piece which unveiled today via his website The above comic book cover styled art that is titled The Incredible Homosexual Hunk (aka Homo Hunk) with the text "an army of one no more!" that can "fight for your right to fight" was created from scratch yesterday and today by the artist. But if you look on the popaganda website you will see that he already had the pink army recruitment poster that's already been wheatepasted several times across the country in true Ron English  guerrilla art style. 

Passes to Pearl Jam Documentary Screening in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 21, 2011 12:53pm | Post a Comment
PJ20 posterPurchase the new Pearl Jam 2-CD set soundtrack, Pearl Jam Twenty, in-store at Amoeba San Francisco and get a free pair of tickets to see the new Cameron Crowe documentary about the band, PJ20, at the Balboa Theater in San Francisco (while supplies last). The film is playing for limited dates only: Sept. 23-29.

About the film:

Pearl Jam Twenty chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon-after their rise to megastardom, their step back from center stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them—giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound, the film is carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely-seen and never-before seen footage spanning the band’s career. Pearl Jam Twenty is the definitive portrait of Pearl Jam: part concert film, part intimate insider-hang, part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists.

About the Filmmaker:

CAMERON CROWE - Director, Writer, Producer

At age 13 Cameron Crowe began his professional life as a music critic, writing for magazines such as Creem and Crawdaddy, and at 15, became a staff writer for Rolling Stone. In 1979, Crowe (then 22) went undercover as a Southern California high schooler for his book, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He then wrote the screenplay for the film upon which it was based. In 1989, Crowe made his feature film directorial debut with Say Anything…. His other films include Singles, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown and Almost Famous, which earned him an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay. His newest narrative film, We Bought A Zoo, starring Matt Damon, will be released in December 2011.

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New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood 9/21 Yoko Duo, Roman Flugel, Fudge Fingas, Pacific Horizons and tons more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, September 21, 2011 12:47pm | Post a Comment

Yoko Duo
Behaving Like A Widower LP

It's impossible to describe without metaphors what happens when listening to the debut album Behaving Like A Widower by Yoko Duo. Holger Zilske and August Landelius draw bright paintings with cool colors, framed by a mosaic of delicate glitches. This music comes without any irony or cynicism and guarantees a prominent place in the gallery of soulful legacy of the electronica genre for the Yoko Duo.

Purchase Behaving Like A Widower here:

Roman Flugel
Fatty Folders 2LP

After two outstanding 12" releases on Dial Records, German electronic music staple Roman Flügel continues with Fatty Folders, a full-length album presenting a colorful selection of essential works. Also known as Eight Miles High, Soylent Green, Sensorama and Alter Ego, Roman Flügel always has been a main influence on the Dial Records family. Roman Flügel's unique and unexpected productions explore an excitingly wide range of eclecticism, modernism and dandyism under a groove. Every single track is a magical journey and the whole album is like finding a universe as deep as an ocean. Here comes a true sound scientist who knows how to enchant the dancers, the connoisseurs and the lovers.

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Love Her Or Hate Her, LA's Uncontainable Karen Centerfold is the Engaging Subject of New Documentary

Posted by Billyjam, September 21, 2011 12:00pm | Post a Comment
Folks outside of the LA rock scene may not know the individual that is Karen Centerfold. But that should all change with the release of the documentary Centerfold Centerfold.
The subject of this forthcoming documentary is the unique, uncontainable, enigmatic Hollywood/LA rock scene fixture Karen Centerfold - known mainly for her presence on LA cable public access TV and at local rock shows (in addition to political activist, adult model, and office worker).

"If you spent any time at weird rock and roll shows in LA you probably have a Karen Centerfold story. As for me she always insisted on introducing one of my bands everytime we played.  She would then always get the name wrong and spend most of the show smacking us on the ass.," my friend Brandon Perry (aka WFMU DJ Marty McSorley & fka KXLU DJ Paula Poundstone) from the defunct band Explogasm [mispronounced "Explorgasm"] recently told me. Perry continued that the "gender-bending destroyed puzzle of a human that only LA could create" is exactly as she appears in the documentary trailer below and that she typically will  "show up, be loud, sometimes try to take over shows, and just try to cause a scene in general!". The film is directed by Eckse, with production and editing duties handled by Xenia Shin, Angie Meng, and Margot Padilla.  Responsible for the film is longtime LA underground promoter Sean Carnage - the documentary's executive producer. This week I caught up with Sean Carnage to ask him about himself, his film, and of course its colorful subject. That interview follows the trailer for the film below.

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The 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Wrap-Up!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 20, 2011 05:13pm | Post a Comment
We’re back from the 54th annual Monterey Jazz Festival where we were onsite at the Monterey Fair Grounds with a Mini-Amoeba store selling CDs, vinyl, posters, and special edition jazz t-shirts. We wereIndia.Arie Idan Raichel Monterey Jazz Festival also live blogging all about the amazing signings with jazz luminaries we hosted at our tent and making hundreds of new friends! Now it’s time to share the photos and great experiences we had withthe many heroes and their fans we met while out in Monterey.

There were several artists that made a huge splash at the festival and their albums flew off our Mini-Amoeba shelves directly after their performances. Friday night, pianist Hiromi gave two performances that blew the audiences’ socks off and created a weekend-long craze for her newest release, Voice. Another was Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter India.Arie who performed with Israeli artist Idan Raichel on Sunday. Their collaboration, Open Door, hasn’t been released yet, but you should check out their separate works, which were very popular at our tent. Bassist, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, and bandleader Richard Bona performed with guitarist, singer, and songwriter Raul Midon as the Duwala Malambo Project on Friday and Saturday, creating quite a stir for their back catalogue.

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Screamfest Horror Film Festival: 10/14 - 10/23

Posted by Amoebite, September 20, 2011 01:02pm | Post a Comment

Are you ready for ten fright-filled days of new horror films?! Then dig this: Screamfest® Horror Film Festival takes place October 14th through October 23rd at Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood at Hollywood and Highland.

Films include the world premiere of Victor Salva’s Rosewood Lane starring Rose McGowan, Enter Nowhere starring Sara Paxton and Scott Eastwood, French film Livde, Israel’s first slasher film Kalevet (Rabies), Vamperifica, Stormhouse starring Katherine Flynn (daughter of Jane Seymour), Isolation starring Eva Amurri (the daughter of Susan Sarandon), The Tunnel (making its US premiere), and 3D films Sector 7 and Julia X 3D starring Kevin Sorbo.

Individual tickets are $10. Full passes are available. For tickets, schedule and more info, visit

Spray Paint The Walls: The Story Of Black Flag

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 18, 2011 11:25pm | Post a Comment
By now most most Amoeba customers know about our expanded book section. From time to time I'll be pulling out some books from the section and recommend some I find of interest. The First one that caught my eye was Spray Paint The Walls: The Story Of Black Flag, written by Stevie Chick. Here is a small review of the book, which you can currently buy at Amoeba Hollywood.

By the time I finally saw Black Flag live it was early 1986, shortly before the band broke up. Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, which only held 500 people, was only a quarter full. I had just seen The Circle Jerks at the same venue a few weeks before and the place was packed. Still, the band was amazing and everything I thought it would be. The band was so loud that the vibration from the speakers shook my clothes as if I was caught in a windstorm. Henry Rollins looked like a younger Charles Manson in his running shorts and tattoos, trying to sing between bouts with a group of skinheads. He just glared at them and kept singing, occasionally swatting at a few of them when they came to close to hitting him. Greg Ginn stood away from Henry, eyes closed, obliviously playing guitar and shaking his long hair as if he was Carlos Santana. This version band was light years away from the band that had released the Damaged album, which was released only five years before. It was indicative of the progression of the band, a decision to progress musically rather to continue to play the same music and retain a fan base. In the end, that choice ultimately destroyed one of the most influential bands of all time. Black Flag’s music was not the only legacy they had. The way Black Flag toured, release records independently and even the sound systems they took on the road are still linked to modern day bands to this day.

In Stevie Chick’s biography of Black Flag, Spray Paint The Walls: The Story Of Black Flag, Chick explores the phenomenon of Black Flag through exclusive interviews with the former band members and people closed to the band. He also uses quite a bit of outside sources from fanzine interviews to other books previously written about the Black Flag experience. The book story predates the actual formation of the group, outlining the story of Hermosa Beach, the small once liberal town where the band grew up that was soon run over by defense contract conservatives. It brings back a time when people were actually scared of Punk Rock and how the police treated punks as bad as they treated minorities from the inner city.  Chick’s ability to link the conservative 80’s back-story and how it affected Black Flag music is a story that 80’s retro babies need to hear; The days of Black Flag and other outsider artists were far from the MTV/John Hughes version of the 80’s. It was a time when individualism labeled one as crazy or worse, dangerous.

Chick covers the band from the formation of the group, through their grass roots uprising, harassment from the police, their constant touring, legal problems and changes in music styles and personal through the eyes of former band members. It through their story you get a glimpse of what it was link to be in Black Flag. All the hard work, sacrifices in having a life outside of being in Black Flag and their mutual respect for the band’s creator, Greg Ginn. But it also their falling out with Ginn that eventually gets each member replace until the last line up of the group, in which rather the fire the popular singer Henry Rollins, quits the very band he created, knowing full well the band can not continue without him. For the exception of Ginn and Rollins (both are heavily quoted through past interviews and through Rollins own book on the Black Flag days, Get In The Van) Chick manages to interview almost every past member.

Chick makes a point to dismiss what he calls; “The hipster version of Black Flag” which is that Black Flag started to suffer (or as the hipsters say, “suck”) once Henry Rollins became the lead singer. He does this by showing how the band's energy is never lost once Rollins is in the group, the energy is only transfered. Albums such as My War and Slip It In are just as influential to musicians such Mark Arm and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (both interviewed for this book) as Black Flag's early releases. Chick makes the connection from later Black Flag to the Grunge movement and Stoner Rock groups of today. Not to mention the independent tour circuit started by Flag that is still used today. Even if you had never been a fan of Black Flag music, it was their popularity and money that brought to the mainstream such bands as Husker Du, The Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur JR., Soundgarden and The Descendents, bands that are hugely influential to modern rock music today.

This is another fine publication about Black Flag to go with Henry Rollins account, Get In The Van as well as Joe Carducci's Enter Naomi: SST, L.A. and All That... and Michael Azerrad chapter on Black Flag in his book, Our Band Could Be Your Life. I think the fact that Chick is an outsider from England and not someone in the band or who had covered them over the years gives a fresh outside point of view of the band.

Still, no matter how excellent most of these books will read, I would love to hear the story from Greg Ginn’s point of view, no matter how crazy he might come off as. That hopefully will be the next publication about the band that would make the whole story complete.

Spray Paint The Walls: The Story Of Black Flag
by Stevie Chick: Omnibus Press 2009

September 18, 2011: Colombiana

Posted by phil blankenship, September 18, 2011 10:57pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Interviews Composer Vince Mendoza At The Monterey Jazz Festival

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 18, 2011 09:39pm | Post a Comment
Composer, conductor, and recording artist Vince Mendoza stopped by the Mini-Amoeba signing table at the Monterey Jazz Festival today and we were once again lucky to have our friend Bennett Jackson on hand to ask a few questions about his upcoming album and his presentation for the evening, Miles Davis/Gil Evans: Still Ahead, featuring music from Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain.

Hispanic Heritage Month - Anglo America in Latin America

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 18, 2011 05:24pm | Post a Comment
For Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15), the focus naturally tends to be on Latino experiences and contributions in the US. The US is a nation of immigrants (founded by illegals, some would argue) and currently the largest group of immigrants arriving are from Mexico (followed by China, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Cuba, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Canada and Korea). 

Individuals' reasons for coming to the United States vary but behind general trends there's frequently the specter of American involvement in the politics of their native countries that have made conditions less bearable at home whether it be the funding of right wing death squads, corporate exploitation, economic imperialism, secret anti-populist wars, CIA-backed coups and assassinations, or the American peoples' insatiable appetite for marijuana, meth, cocaine, rubies and gold.

I've already written a blog entry about documentaries dealing with American Latino subject matter so here's a list of films dealing with Latino-American subject matter that also relate to American foreign policy.

   American Experience - Fidel Castro                            Aristide                                Fidel Castro - El Comandante


Che Guevara - Where You'd Never Imagine Him   CHE - Rise and Fall                                         Cocalero


   El Che - Investigating a Legend                     The Fall of Fujimori                            Fidel - The Untold Story

                The Good Fight                               
Castro - The Survivor                          The Spanish-American War


              The Hugo Chavez Show                 Pablo Escobar- The King of Coke        Pancho Villa - El Angel y el Fierro


       Pancho Villa - Outlaw Hero                       The Panama Deception                        Pictures from a Revolution


              Roses in December                                     La Sierra                                                Yank Tanks

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Jimi Hendrix Died Exactly 41 Years Ago Today

Posted by Billyjam, September 18, 2011 04:33pm | Post a Comment

TV News Report of Death of Jimi Hendrix, September 18th 1970

On this day exactly 41 years ago (September 18th, 1970) American rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix was found dead in London, England. He was only 27 years of age (note that the above ABC news report wrongly cited his age as 28) but in his short life span the highly influential, pioneering guitarist left behind quite a legacy including the just released by SONY (4 CD / 8 LP) box set Jimi Hendrix Experience Winterland.  Note there is also a single CD release that highlights the best of this series simply titled Winterland.

To coincide with the release of this historic 1968 San Francisco live recording - culled from the six shows Hendrix did at the long gone Winterland Ballroom, that was located on Post and Steiner streets in San Francisco, in October 1968 when Henrix was only 25 years old - the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco named September 13, 2011 (last Tuesday) to be Jimi Hendrix Winterland Day. And, as you probably already know, this important event was officially celebrated on stage at Amoeba Music San Francisco earlier this week as reported in detail (with lots of pics)_here on the Amoeblog

It's Sunday At The Monterey Jazz Festival!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 18, 2011 02:05pm | Post a Comment
We’re sad to say that today is the last day of the 54th annual Monterey Jazz Festival. It’s been a whirlwind weekend and we’ve met hundreds of amazing folks with excellent taste…they were shopping at Amoeba after all! It will be a bittersweet experience to pack it up and head back to our respective Amoeba locations, but we have one hell of a line-up of signings today at our Mini-Amoeba store!

Joshua Redman -- 2:30pm
Joshua Redman, 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence, is one of the most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the 1990s. Born in Berkeley, California, he is the son of legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer Renee Shedroff. Joshua loved playing the saxophone and was a dedicated member of the award-winning Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble and Combo from 1983-86. In 1991 Redman graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Social Studies. He had already been accepted by Yale Law School, but deferred entrance for what he believed was only going to be one year. After moving to New York City, he found himself immersed in the New York jazz scene, and began jamming and gigging regularly with some of the leading jazz musicians of his generation, including Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Kevin Hays, Roy Hargrove, Geoff Keezer, Leon Parker, Jorge Rossy, and Mark Turner. In November of 1991, Redman was named the winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition and began to tour and record with jazz masters such as his father, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Elvin Jones, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Paul Motian, and Clark Terry.

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Amoeba Music Interviews John Pizzarelli At The Monterey Jazz Festival

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 17, 2011 10:00pm | Post a Comment
Today at the Mini-Amoeba at the Monterey Jazz Festival we were lucky nab an Interview with John Pizzarelli, the world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, after he signed autographs in celebration of his latest album Rockin’ In Rhythm. Thanks to Bennett Jackson for joining us for this fun conversation with a true great.

In-depth Discussion with Author Denise Sullivan on Her Latest Book, "Keep on Pushing (Black Power Music - From Blues To Hip-Hop)"

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2011 04:00pm | Post a Comment
The recently published Keep On Pushing (Black Power Music - From Blues To Hip-Hop) (Lawrence Hill Books/IPG) is the latest book from longtime California music journalist/author Denise Sullivan whose last book was 2004's The White Stripes: Sweethearts of the Blues. This ever-engaging book by the Crawdaddy columnist and self-described "record geek" could as easily be filed under American political history or American music history (she thinks the latter to be more fitting) as it explores how American history of the past numerous decades is so closely intertwined with protest/revolutionary music (from the early blues, through the musical soundtrack of the civil rights movement, up to the role of contemporary hip-hop as voice of protest).

In Keep On Pushing, the "Nor Cal through and through" music writer examines the cultural interchanges of black and white musicians (many Bay Area artists included) and, along the way, takes numerous enlightening tangents uncovering tidbits of musical history not normally unearthed.
This week I caught up with the author, who tomorrow (Sunday, September 18th) will be at  Stories Books & Cafe on 1716 Sunset Blvd from 4pm to 7pm  and next month at both D.G. Wills Books in San Diego and at San Francisco's literary festival LitQuake, for an in-depth discussion on Keep On Pushing and many of the areas it explores.

Amoeblog: Following a book on the White Stripes, how did you decide on the theme of this book next? How long did you work on this book for?
Denise Sullivan: It's complicated, which is the exact thing I noted in the White Stripes book when I was writing about them covering "Your Southern Can is Mine" by Blind Willie McTell. Matters of race and the sexes, the Great Migration, what was once called the "American Dream," industry, ingenuity, and the entire great American songbook are of deep interest to me and all are tied up in the White Stripes story. Keep on Pushing is a similar story, only it has a lot more people (many of them black, others are Native American, women, or economically strapped, most all of them are trying to survive America), and music is big part of their toolkit. Specifically though, in the case of both books, it was fine art photography that initially inspired me to launch my investigations: American Ruins by Camilo Jose Vergara, and The Black Panthers by Stephen Shames.

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Today At The Monterey Jazz Festival: A Full Day Of Amazing Signings At The Mini-Amoeba!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 17, 2011 01:41pm | Post a Comment
It’s Saturday, our second day at the 54th annual Monterey Jazz Festival where we are onsite with a Mini-Amoeba store! Our tent has been jumping with festival goers who can’t get enough of the pianist Hiromi, whose newest release, Voice, has been flying off our shelves after her two performances at the festival yesterday. It’s Hiromi Mania! If you’d like to check out the piano magic, check out her albums on our site. Other hot items at the Mini-Amoeba include Richard Bona’s Ten Shades of Blues and Raul Midon’s Synthesis

Today we have a full roster of signings and it’s sure to be an amazing day for fans, who will have the opportunity to meet their heroes inside the Mini-Amoeba tent.

Donny McCaslin -- 3:30pm
Jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin got his start after attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, when he joined Berklee professor Gary Burton’s quintet, with whom he toured for four years. McCaslinDonny McCaslin Monterey Jazz Festival Amoeba Music moved to New York in 1991, working with bassist Eddie Gomez and then joining the group Steps Ahead, with whom he made the 1995 disc Vibe. McCaslin began to turn heads with his solo work in larger ensembles like Ken Schaphorst’s Big Band and Maria Schneider Orchestra, where his performance on the album Concert in the Garden received a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” in 2004.

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The Art of the LP Cover- Exploitation Gallery

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 17, 2011 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Here's a batch of LPs that all capitalized on pop culture phenomena.
Cleopatra, Saturday Night Fever and James Bond all had many releases riding on their coattails. 
Chicago, Chico & The ManMarty Robbins probably had less.
Hair probably has more exploitative emulators than any other movie.
However, both of my Hair related images got lost somewhere in my computer's nether regions, so I'll have to include some the next time I cover this topic!

Poncho Sanchez & Terence Blanchard Visited The Mini Amoeba At The Monterey Jazz Festival!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 16, 2011 11:00pm | Post a Comment
 As you have probably already heard, Amoeba is an official sponsor of the 54th annual Monterey Jazz Festival and is onsite with a Mini-Amoeba store! Tonight – Friday, September 16th at 8:00pm – we hostedPoncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard Amoeba Music Monterey Jazz Festival the first of many of our scheduled signings and kicked it off with percussionist Poncho Sanchez and trumpeter Terence Blanchard!

Amoeba Music and the line of smiling fans were lucky to chat with Sanchez and Blanchard before they had to leave to gear up for their 11:00pm show on the Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage where they will appear with their new project, Cubano Be Cubano Bop, a tribute to the legacy of the Original Conga King Chano Pozo and his co-conspirator in Latin jazz, Dizzy Gillespie.

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Pasadena City College - Flea Market & Record Swap, 10/2

Posted by Amoebite, September 16, 2011 06:32pm | Post a Comment

Record swap pasadena flea market amoeba music

On Sunday, October 2nd, Amoeba makes a repeat appearance at one of the Southland's biggest and best record swap meets, Pasadena City College's Flea Market and Record Swap. With over 500 vendors, the Flea Market features antiques and collectibles, records, tools, clothes, toys and much more, not to mention food and good company.

The Flea Market and Record Swap is from 8am-3pm. Look for the Amoeba booth located in the Bonnie St. parking structure (Lot 5) on the 3rd Level. We'll have a great selection of vinyl, so come out and enjoy your Sunday with us! 

We'll also be giving away coupons, gift certificates, and more!

The LA Weekly calls the show “the best source for used records in all of Southern California.” 

More HERE.

…And We’re LIVE At The Monterey Jazz Festival!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 16, 2011 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba is overjoyed to be an official sponsor of the 54th annual Monterey Jazz Festival and to be onsite with a Mini-Amoeba store! We’ve been setting up for three days at the Monterey Fair Grounds and the doors have just officially just opened to the public. Business is already brisk at the Mini-
Amoeba as folks who have been standing in line for hours are streaming in through the gates to the sound of bands warming up and the delicious smoky smells of fair foods.

The Monterey Jazz Festival runs September 16th - 18th and we’ll be here everyday offering rare and popular CDs and vinyl, special edition jazz t-shirts, AND signings with some amazing artists!

Just check out this line-up!

Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard -- 8pm

Donny McCaslin -- 3:30pm
Mitch Woods -- 4:30pm
Soul Rebels & Kermit Ruffins -- 5:30pm
John Pizzarelli -- 7pm

Joshua Redman -- 2:30pm
Vince Mendoza -- 3:30pm
Erik Telford -- 4:30pm
Wil Blades -- 5:30pm
Robert Glasper -- 6:30pm
Tia Fuller -- 7:30pm

Amoeba Music LIVE from the Monterey Jazz Festival
Amoeba Music Monterey Jazz Festival

Polls Play Free Show at The Echo Tonight

Posted by Billy Gil, September 16, 2011 04:19pm | Post a Comment

Hey! Work's almost over, what're you doing tonight? You should probably go see a really cool band called Polls play at The Echo for free. They've got an EP and 7” under their belts, out on JAXART, and play layered, pretty space-pop along the lines of bands like Autolux and Broadcast. Check out their song “Mouth of a Fox” for an example, which vocalist/guitarist Chris Newcomer says was “a split second recording of an octave chord with all the parts just stacked on top.” He says the band's songwriting started out that way, trying to figure out a sound; now, the band writes songs more often out of playing together, as they've solidified their line-up (with Julien Bellin on drums and Dave Franklin on bass). Influences for the band include Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, ELO and The Who. Newcomer says the band hopes to record a full-length in the fall. “We have a lot of new songs that we love and want to set free,” he says. Check 'em out tonight, and hear them on Bandcamp.

Show tonight:
Polls at The Echo
1822 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
21+ FREE, 18+ $7 w/purchase of any of the bands' vinyls
With Pek Pek, Now, and The Californian

Two Customers Made Their Own What's In My Bag? Video

Posted by Amoebite, September 16, 2011 12:41pm | Post a Comment
Two customers and regular What's In My Bag? viewers - Sam and Brian - went shopping at Amoeba Hollywood and made their own WIMB video!! They talk about Coldplay, Mutemath, Dream Theater, Son Lux, the beauty of clear vinyl, red-headed idols, and more. Check it out:

Hip-Hop Rap Up 09:16:11: E-Lit's Hip-Hop Report, Astronautalis, EquiptOtayo, Zion I + Hella Fresh Fest 4, Hip-Hop Empowerment Panel, 2Pac Art Memorial, Myka 9, Dopestyle, DJ Swamp, Andre Nickatina + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 16, 2011 09:54am | Post a Comment

E-Lit @ Amoeba Berkeley Wk ending Sept 16th, 2011

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 09:16:11

1) Lil Wayne  The Carter IV (Cash Money/Universal)

2) Blu & Exile Below The Heavens (Sound In Color)

3)   Candy's 22 A Girl and Her Gun
                   (Grimm Image Records)

4) Qwazaar & Batsauce Bat Meets Blaine

5) Blu Jesus (Nature Sounds)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Amoeba Berkeley store for the latest Top 5 Hip-Hop chart plus overview of what's new and what's hot in his opinion. These include two of the E-Lit's favorite releases for all of 2011; Qwazaar & Batsauce's Bat Meets Blaine on Galapagos4, and Astronautalis' This Is Our Science in whose indie rock meets hip-hop hybrid E-Lit hears traces of both Tom Waits and Nick Cave. Other new/recent releases of E-Lit's include Oddisee's Rock Creek Park (Mello Music) which is named after an area in the now Brooklyn, NY based Washington DC artist's home, and Otayo Dubb's Cold Piece Of Work. This San Francisco Bay Area MC, who is part of the Beatrock Music collective is teaming up with Equipto tonight for a double record release party - combined they've dubbed themselves EQUIPTOTAYO. As you'll recall about five weeks back San Francisco's ever prolific Equipto (known for his solo work, longtime membership of Bored Stiff, and collaboration series with Andre Nickatina) had an Amoeba San Francisco instore for his just dropped latest solo album, Ilyich.

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September 15, 2011: Drive

Posted by phil blankenship, September 15, 2011 11:52pm | Post a Comment

Shoegazers Sleeping Bags Release Debut Album, Play Bootleg Tonight

Posted by Billy Gil, September 15, 2011 12:15pm | Post a Comment
As a diehard shoegaze fan, my ears tend to perk up any time I hear the following things: echo, reverb, tremolo, washed out vocals, densely layered guitars. So witnessing the birth of a true LA shoegaze band in the form of Sleeping Bags has been a pleasure.

The band consists of brothers and Princeton members Matt and Jesse Kivel (the latter also of Kisses), on guitar/vocals and drums/vocals, respectively, plus Abe Burns on guitar, David Lewis on bass and Mark Nieto on synths and other noise. Their self-titled debut, out now on Easter Everywhere, calls to mind swirling shoegaze maestros like Ride, Chapterhouse and Swervedriver, but with more of a willingness to explore synth-laden textural landscapes, akin to modern shoegazers like Airiel, Film School and The War on Drugs. Songly like “March of Gold” create inviting aural fields of sound with lovelorn melodies before igniting them with guitar fireworks.

Burns says the band formed when he and Matt Kivel worked at Daily Variety. (Hey, I worked there too! Ages ago though.) Burns says they practiced once before their first show, writing all of his parts during that first practice. Later, they added members, fleshed out the songs with more sonic texture, with Lewis of Gentle Hands coming on board last to add low-end sound.

Its great dream-pop aesthetic aside, the band also bonded over krautrock bands like Can, Neu!, Faust and Cluster, which can be seen in Jesse Kivel’s insistent beats in songs like “Park” or the more ambient, Eno-esque “Marine.”

“When we recorded, it was really LOUD,” Burns says. “I’ve never had to wear earplugs under my headphones. We cranked everything. I had my guitar going through my amp and a PA, you could 'feel' the sound moving around the room.”

The album, recorded in two days at KXLU, can be purchased at and  And if you can’t make it to the Bootleg tonight, chances are they’ll be playing Pehrspace again soon, where they’ve taken to playing every couple of months.

Show tonight:
Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Sleeping Bags are on at 9 p.m., followed by Baron Von Luxxury, Robatanists and Spirit Animals

Hopie's "Raw Gems" Record Release Party & Concert At 330 Ritch, Sept 15th, To Showcase Talents of This Gifted Bay Area Femcee & Other Bay Area Female Artists

Posted by Billyjam, September 14, 2011 11:43pm | Post a Comment
Bay Area female emcee Hopie may not yet be a household name but that could all soon change once the hip-hopper's brand new self-released album Raw Gems, which with production by 6Fingers captures the artist at her best and in some excellent company (guest  spots from  MURS, Del the Funky Homosapien, LuckyIAm, Moe Green, Psalm One, Josie Stingray, and Donwill) makes its way out into the hip-hop sphere and hip-hop fans catch up on this San Francisco secret. The new album, which dropped this week, is the third full-length album from the artist who until very recently went by the rap name Hopie Spitshard and who was also known as simply Hopie Spitta. Tomorrow night (Thursday September 15th) the Manila, Philippines born and Daly City, San Francisco raised artist will be throwing a big record release party / hip-hop showcase at 330 Ritch for which she'll be joined by an array of local talents  including DJ Snayk Eyez, La Femme Deadly Venoms, Rocky Rivera, and Hard Candy

A lot of good things, it seems, have happened in this artist's life of late; on both a personal and an artistic level. In her personal life Hopie, who many of her diehard fans feared had dropped out of the hip-hop game for good since they hadn't heard much from her for a few years, had taken a couple years off to focus on law school which she graduated from last year. Since then the tireless woman has kept busy working in the studio on both Dulce Vita, which dropped earlier this year, and on the brand new Raw Gems

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September 14, 2011: Beauty and the Beast 3D

Posted by phil blankenship, September 14, 2011 11:42pm | Post a Comment

Longtime West Coast Rapper Suga Free Releases Career Spanning Best Of Collection This Week

Posted by Billyjam, September 14, 2011 06:02pm | Post a Comment
Longtime West Coast rapper Suga Free, who was raised in Compton by way of Oakland before becoming based in Pomona, CA, this week released a best-of collection CD titled Why U Still Bullshittin’?-The Best of Suga Free on Suburban Noize/Laneway Records. Suga Free, whose claim to street fame is that he is a pimp (hence his tag "The Ponoma Pimp"), officially began his career in rapping working with producer DJ Quik on his 1997 debut album, Street Gospel with Quik even making mic cameos on the songs "Don't No Suckaz Live Here" and "If U Stay Ready" - the latter of which appears on this new retrospective collection.

In addition to working with DJ Quik (who was at Amoeba Hollywood earlier this year), Suga Free has also worked closely with other SoCal rap icons. These include Snoop Dogg  and Xzibit for whom he contributed to his album Restless. All of this company aided the already talented, albeit nasty mouthed artist, gain solo notoriety. It was in 2004 when he released his sophomore release The New Testament (The Truth) which was followed by a string of other albums by Suga Free including his 2006 album Just Add Water, 2007’s Sunday School, 2008’s Smell My Finger, and 2009's HI Power Pimpin.  Last year the artist was featured on tracks with Kurupt, E-40, MURS and 9th Wonder. The retrospective released this week overviews the best of these releases by the artist including his street classics “Why U Bullshittin’?” and “I’d Rather Give You My Bitch.” But the 14 track CD also includes two brand new tracks “Shit Yeah” and “Bitch (featuring Moosei)." Why U Still Bullshittin’?-The Best of Suga Free is now available at Amoeba Music and if you buy it online at the $12.98 CD ships for free anywhere in the US.

Airbrush Artists Memorialize Tupac at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, September 14, 2011 05:54pm | Post a Comment
On the fifteenth anniversary of Tupac Amaru Shakur's passage from this sphere, Makaveli Ronald "Riskie" Brent (creator of the Makaveli Don Killuminati cover painting) & his homie Neneki "Nick" McGee, came by Amoeba Hollywood to pay homage with a live painting session in memoriam to the man born Lesane Parish Crooks.

Busting out the airtanks & the airbrush, they did a plein air, public demonstration of the nexus of talent & passion, inspiring reminisces from appreciative passerbys who rhapsodized about Tupac sightings & his impact on their lives.

Airbrush Artists    Airbrush Artists

Airbrush Artists    Airbrush Artists

Airbrush Artists    Airbrush Artists

Airbrush Artists    Airbrush Artists

September 13th Proclaimed JIMI HENDRIX - WINTERLAND DAY By City of San Francisco…And It Happened At Amoeba SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 14, 2011 04:28pm | Post a Comment
In honor of the release of Jimi Hendrix Experience Winterland, the four-CD box set documenting the
jimi hendrix winterland day band’s historic performances at San Francisco’s legendary Winterland Ballroom over the course of six concerts in just  three nights in October of 1968, September 13th was proclaimed JIMI HENDRIX - WINTERLAND DAY by the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco! As the site of the former Winterland Ballroom at Post and Steiner Streets (where legends such as The Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane once presided) is now covered in condominiums, the ceremony was held at the next best beacon of Bay Area rock and roll glory…Amoeba San Francisco!

As scheduled, a limo arrived right at 7:00pm to 1855 Haight Street that 
Jimi Hexdrix & Jamie Hendrixnight carrying the funk legend Bootsy Collins and Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s half-sister and Experience Hendrix CEO, who were present to accept the honor on Jimi’s behalf.  Bootsy and Janie were accompanied by the glamorous Patti Collins (Bootsy’s wife), and a few friends and relatives. The crowd went wild as Bootsy and Janie were introduced from the Amoeba stage by publicist Bob Merlis, and then the JIMI HENDRIX - WINTERLAND DAY proclamation (see below for full text) was delivered by progressively hip District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who also spoke on the legacy of San Francisco’s music scene.

Janie Hendrix thanked Supervisor Wiener, Bootsy, and the crowd of fans for keeping Jimi’s spirit alive and, obviously overwhelmed with the support, wondered what Jimi would think of all this. “He would probably just say WOW.” She said. “He was a man of few words.”

September 14, 2011: Sector 7

Posted by phil blankenship, September 14, 2011 03:02pm | Post a Comment

September 13, 2011: Warrior

Posted by phil blankenship, September 13, 2011 10:01pm | Post a Comment

Fool's Gold’s Luke Top Talks ‘Leave No Trace’

Posted by Billy Gil, September 13, 2011 05:07pm | Post a Comment
Fool’s Gold over the past couple of years have recorded and released two albums and toured pretty much constantly, taking their Hebrew-sung afro-pop around the globe. The band started in 2007 as a side project of as a side project of musicians Luke Top and Lewis Pesacov, the latter of fellow L.A. band Foreign Born. On their newest album, Leave No Trace, the band solidifies its lineup, whittling it down to five members (with Garrett Ray, Brad Caulkins and Salvador Placencia), and adds some spark to their sound, with more electronics, hookier songs, and lyrics sung in English, while retaining the North African-style guitar work that made them popular to begin with. I spoke with frontman Luke Top about the new album and the development of the band’s sound over the past couple of years.
Luke Top (second from left) and Fool's Gold
PST: It seems like you guys were trying to make a more fun record the second time around. Was that an intentional change?

Top: It's funny, I don't know if that's necessarily ... to me that’s not necessarily the aesthetic of the record. It's kind of interesting to hear people’s take on it. … I wouldn’t say our goal was to be a party band, per se, although we do party at our shows. We do bring that energy sometimes. Some of our shows can be ecstatic almost orgies at times. I wouldn't say we're really trying to direct that energy on the album. I think if anything we wanted to capture more moods on this record. Just like lots of different shades of what we're able to do. I guess if you have something you can connect to at a party or by yourself with headphones in a dark room, definitely it's able to capture different types of listening experiences. I'm not saying don't put it on at a barbecue, by all means please do.

PST: The album is definitely cohesive, but there are some songs that seem to fit some new mold while other songs are more in line with the first album, like “Bark and Bite,” with more African-inspired guitar lines or lyrics sung in Hebrew. Was there an effort to include the sounds of the first album but build upon that? Or is it just a song-by-song thing?

Top: It's like saying it's hard to avoid who you are. You are the same person you were two years ago. You aren't exactly the same person, but at your core you are. There are elements of your personality you can't shake for whatever reason. We were definitely building upon what we did for. Touring for about two years off that first record really helps you focus on what it is you’re doing, and we were really excited to use all that energy and bring that into the second record. But also we used to be this kind of free-for-all as far as who’s in the band, who's going on tour. We never had the same lineup two times in a row. At the end of that we ended up with this core five-piece band. So that informed the writing process. The first album as more of a snapshot of jams we were writing.

PST: How important was it to sing in English versus keeping some lyrics in Hebrew?

Top: It helped me articulate my thoughts a little more. I was really drawn to my first language, which is English and what I use day to day. I was really excited to be a little more personal and intimate with the words. It was pretty important to me. The Hebrew thing is funny because it really kind of changed me in a lot of ways on a personal level and in an artistic level let me sing what I want and gave me a lot of confidence and comfort on stage. With that I really felt the need to now capture some of that with English and see where I can take it.
PST: This band started after Foreign Born had already achieved some success, leading some to label it a side project. At this point is it most people in the band's full-time gig?

Top: It's pretty much a 24-hour-a-day lifestyle. Foreign Born hasn't really been active in some time. So there's no conflict with any of that. They were sort of slowly dissipating as we were kind of starting. Now this is taking front seat.
PST: Do you see the band continuing for a while then?

Top: Yes, at this point I do. Maybe when we started out it was an experiment. At this point, this record we made, we've just evolved together as a unit and plan on continuing to make records and continuing to play. As long as there's an audience for us, I suppose we can logistically continue.
PST: I feel a real Smiths vibe on this album on songs like “Leave No Trace” and “The Dive.” Were they a more active influence this time around, in that they're sort of a band that was able to incorporate more international influences into a Western pop sound?

Top: Yeah. ...With all the travelling we did and listening to music and talking about music, when it came down to it, we were able to draw from even more things. Some I suppose more Western stuff like music from the U.K. definitely creeped in there. We definitely added more stuff to our repertoire, I suppose, which is a kind of exciting aspect to the band. We were able to draw from more things, but you can still tell it's Fool's Gold.

PST: There's more of a confident sound on the new album. Is part of that settling on a lineup and having kind of a set band?

Top: Yeah, I mean the experience of being in front of so many people and engaging on that level, playing live and traveling, all that really gave us a lot of energy. I'm not sure that confidence was ever really an issue – the things we were doing to begin with were a little out there and strange. I don't think confidence was lacking, but I do think we were able to go a little deeper and articulate more this time. I guess maybe on some level there's some confidence there, maybe we feel we're allowed to dig a little deeper.

PST: It's also definitely more immediate. Is it safe to assume that's because this album was written and recorded much more quickly than the last?

Top: With fewer people, you can hear more things maybe. The first album sessions were just like a clusterfuck, just like three guitars, four percussionists, just sort of a free-for-all. I think now you're maybe able to hear the parts more and more intention behind it. There's a little more ownership of what we're doing maybe. We know who we are a little bit more.

Free download of "Street Clothes" by Fool's Gold.

U.S. Tour Dates:

September 13, 2011 – Tulsa, OK
Cain’s Ballroom

September 14, 2011 – San Marcos, TX
Texas Music Theatre

September 15, 2011 – Dallas, TX
South Side Music Hall

September 18, 2011 – Chicago, IL
Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements Festival

September 19, 2011 – Columbus, OH

September 20, 2011 – Philadelphia, PA
Kung Fu Necktie

September 21, 2011 – Washington, DC
Black Cat

September 22, 2011 – New York, NY
Mercury Lounge

September 24, 2011 – Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Bowl

October 1, 2011 – San Francisco, CA
Brick & Mortar Music Hall

(In which we lose our cool.)

Posted by Job O Brother, September 13, 2011 10:58am | Post a Comment

My idea of a romantic comedy!

Last night I had the pleasure of introducing the boyfriend to the 1971 film Harold & Maude. How he managed to make it to age thirtysomething without ever seeing it sooner shows an utter lack of regard from his friends and family, and we can only praise Allah that I showed up in his life.

Oddly enough, we seem devoted to cinema circa ’71 this week, as the films featured in our fetching living room all hail from that year. Before Harold & Maude was The Andromeda Strain, a movie which may well be the most boring sci-fi thriller ever to be shot, but was so beautiful we couldn’t stop looking. Oh, so boring! Imagine the longest, highest budget, fantastically designed instructional video ever, or if Stanley Kubrick had decided to make 2001: A Space Odyssey without all that pesky meaning.

Before that was Ciao! Manhattan, the enigmatic art film that accidentally became a biographical piece on tragic, subculture superstar, Edie Sedgwick. I hesitate to comment further on this particular work, because it presently consumes me in my career and I’m sure I’ll be devoting an entire blog to it someday soon. But if you’re a fan of all-things-touching Warhol’s Factory, the film is a must-see. Or if you just want to see a lot of full frontal nudity from a former Vogue model who’d recently gotten a boob job, there’s that.

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Girls Across America: Sept 16 Webcast

Posted by Amoebite, September 13, 2011 10:08am | Post a Comment
Girls Father, Son, Holy GhostSan Francisco indie rock band Girls (a.k.a. Christopher Owens and JR White) are releasing their second full-length album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost this week on True Panther Sounds.

To promote the album, Girls will be performing Girls Across America, the first ever nationwide instore, on Friday September 16. They'll be physically playing at Grimey's in Nashville, but independent record stores across the country (including us!) will simultaneously broadcast the show.

Tune in here on Friday September 16 at 3PM PDT to watch Girls Across America!

Free download
Free download of "Vomit" by Girls from Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

Girls Across America

Album Picks: Wild Flag, St. Vincent, Fool's Gold

Posted by Billy Gil, September 12, 2011 07:41pm | Post a Comment
As part of my reviewing duties here at Amoeba, I'm going to periodically repost reviews I've written for our newsletter of my favorite albums of the past few weeks. This time I'm checking out Wild Flag, St. Vincent and Fool's Gold. Amoeba has a great promotion going on right now for St. Vincent -- she's playing tomorrow, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. at Space15Twenty. Buy the album tomorrow via Amoeba starting at 10:30 to get a free ticket to the show! (One ticket per item, limit 2 per person. While supplies last.) As for Fool's Gold, check back here in the coming days for an interview with the band.

Wild Flag – Wild Flag

There's a lot of expectation that comes with this one — Wild Flag is the first major musical post-Sleater-Kinney project for Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, and includes Mary Timony (Helium) and Rebecca Cole (The Minders) to boot. Their early live shows held all the excitement one would hope for with these veterans channeling their talents into a new project. And their self-titled debut album doesn't disappoint, as one perfectly formed indie rock blast ignites after another. Energetic doesn't begin to describe songs like the shout-along “Romance,” while the band shows a bittersweet delicacy in songs like “Something Came Over Me.” Wild Flag should remind fans of independent rock throughout the '80s, '90s and '00s of plenty of great bands they loved from those decades (including the former bands of its members), but Wild Flag's brittle, guitar-geek riffs, vocal interplay, melodic songwriting and, yes, wild energy, should also remind us of why we loved those bands. You're going to have to sit down for this one.

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Malcolm Mooney and The 10th Planet Play Skyline Arts Gallery on Sept 15th

Posted by Billyjam, September 12, 2011 10:00am | Post a Comment

Malcolm Mooney and The 10th Planet @ 21 Grand, Oakland July 2010

Fans of Malcolm Mooney and his legendary influential German experimental band Can should make it their business to head to the Bay Area's Skyline College to the San Bruno campus' Skyline Art Gallery this coming Thursday (Sept 15th) for a must-attend art-opening, reception, and a performance from the iconic musical figure in which he and The 10th Planet will play a free concert! Half will be the music of Can. "The other half will improv," promised Marc Weinstein (aka Amoeba Marc), who has been a constant in Mooney's ever-rotating 10th Planet backing band over its fifteen year history. The band came about as an outgrowth/extension of Malcolm Mooney's back up band Pluto. Above is a clip of  Mooney and The 10th Planet a year ago when the band played the wonderful (albeit now sadly defunct) downtown Oakland gallery and performance space 21 Grand.

For this week's Sklyline concert, which promises some nice experimental drone sounds, the 10th Planet players' lineup will include Weinstein on drums, Peter Conheim on bass, both Dean Santomieri and Jim Hrabetin on guitar, and of course Malcolm Mooney himself ("a weirdo poet singer guy," laughed Marc) doing vocals. Mooney is also a key component of the gallery's new exhibit. Along with Gregory Edwards and Fay Grajower, they make up the 3 Corner Symphony (a piece that was first exhibited in New York City), which will run for five weeks at the Skyline Art Gallery. The art show is produced in association with the show Mooney recently had at White Columns in NYC and "he is recreating it" at Skyline, said Marc. The art opening's reception begins at 5:30pm and the music is scheduled to start at 7:30pm.
Directions to Skyline College
Art gallery info.
Malcolm Mooney's website.

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Mighty White of You: Juxtaposing Cowboys & Aliens and Attack the Block

Posted by Charles Reece, September 12, 2011 09:06am | Post a Comment
What follows is a slightly altered version of a two-part series of posts I recently wrote, now combined as my entry for Pussy Goes Grrr's Juxtaposition Blogathon

In the realm of categories, black is always marked as a color [...], and is always particularizing; whereas white is not anything really, not an identity, not a particularizing quality, because it is everything -- white is no color because it is all colors. This property of whiteness, to be everything and nothing, is the source of its representational power.
-- p. 127, Richard Dyer's "White" from The Matter of Images

Reading Dyer's above quoted essay reminded me of the classic Saturday Night Live skit where Eddie Murphy went undercover as a white man to discover what whiteness is really like. He receives a free newspaper, gets cash from a bank without any credit and, once the city bus is free of minorities, the whites have a party. Instead of whiteness being the default or normative position from which every other ethnicity is otherness, Murphy's blackness is the norm and whiteness is seen as excess.

A less ironic and more recent example of what Dyer's getting at is the colorizing of Marvel's superheroes: Nick Fury is black in the films and Ultimate line; the Ultimate version of Peter Parker was killed off and replaced by a half black, half latino kid named Miles Morales; Kingpin was played by a black man in the Daredevil film; and more controversial among the Aryan supremacists was the decision to make the Norse god Heimdall black in the Thor film. The difference here between whiteness and otherness is that Peter Parker isn't first marked as white, second as Spider-Man, but Miles Morales is foremost a mixed ethnicity and secondly a superpowered human. If he were to live with his aunt at a near poverty level, that would be part of his ethnic narrative, whereas it's not really a part of Peter's being white. For Peter, those are qualities which merely help the audience sympathize with his struggle as an individual (they aren't anything but dramatic attributes within a particular narrative). The white narrative, through its dominance, seen as normative, is hidden, only revealed by contrast with what falls outside, or underneath.

Murphy ends his skit with a warning, that he and his black friends have a lot of makeup, so beware, the white face we trust just might be black underneath. What would've J. Jonah Jameson and his readership made of a black man underneath the mask of Spider-Man? The webslinger might've been maligned as a public menace, but he wasn't a black menace. It was the decade of black empowerment and radical politics, after all. This fear of contamination, or corruption of status quo values, is most obvious and dangerous in racialist movements' desire for purity (cf. Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto), but when it appears in alien invasion films (in which I'd include demonic possession, such as The Exorcist, alongside the existential substitution in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers) it can serve as a thought experiment on Whiteness (or dominant power positions, which tend to be white in these stories). In these fantasies of contamination, the dominant power is reconfigured as a minority one. There are exceptions, such as District 9 and Starship Troopers (both of which draw a parallel with the aliens and currently existing minority powers), but the primary conceit is placing the dominant power into the role of its other under threat of extinction by a more powerful alien race or presence. Two such fantasies that deal explicitly with Whiteness have popped up recently, Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens and Joe Cornish's Attack the Block. The first treats it as race, the second as class. Intended as diversionary summer entertainment foremost, both end up comforting illusions for Whiteness as the normative structure. 

EW: So the idea of visiting an indigenous culture, invaders who in the Westerns would be the pioneers and settlers, is it reversed in this story? Are the cowboys essentially the natives and aliens are like the conquering Europeans?

JF: Yeah, in the frustration of not having the technology to allow you to prevail. It’s always the low-tech culture that feels powerless when faced with an enemy that has technology on their side. And of course the culture with technology on their side feels like it’s manifest destiny: They’ve been granted this gift by the divine and intend to use it. So yes, it is a bit of a flip, because the cowboys find themselves as the low-tech culture. And what’s also fun is it allows the cowboys and Native Americans to come together, which would be impossible had there not been a greater common enemy.
-- Entertainment Weekly's interview with Jon Favreau

Cowboys & Aliens takes place in 1873, Arizona, when it was a territory and Geronimo's campaign against both Mexican and U.S. troops was underway (he surrendered in 1886). Many of the post-Leone western tropes appear (without his panache, unfortunately): a gunman without a name (he's amnesic), a town ruled by a cutthroat capitalist (the law is bought and paid for), and a tough-minded beauty who's able to take care of herself (except when the no-name anti-hero needs to show that he's not a complete bastard). What's new here is, of course, the insertion of aliens. They're more of the clickety-clack bug type that's overwhelmed the genre of late. I suppose it helps convey the infestation motif, but it would be nice to see a species modeled on fish or birds. Aliens rarely, if ever, invade our water supply (The Man Who Fell to Earth was too polite to be called an invader) and Hitchcock demonstrated the potential danger of birds. Anyway, the gunman is revealed to be a notorious outlaw Jake Lonergan who's wanted for, among other things, stealing a bunch of gold from the rich cattleman Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (the aforementioned capitalist). 

The plot isn't all that important (although it took five writers to adapt some shitrag comic): the aliens are equal parts evil, pragmatic and really stupid. They capture the townsfolk to experiment on them for no apparent reason (it looks like torture for torture's sake, but maybe our puny Earthling brains can't comprehend the greater good -- but, really, the torture is there to make sure we know who not to identify with). They harvest gold for energy so that they might return home and bring more of their kind. And when fucking with the humans, they do stuff like leave one of their high powered, alien techno gauntlets on a nearby table so that the hero can escape with it on his wrist, but when it comes to fighting the humans, they choose to mostly use their swordlike appendages against enemy rifles rather than the laser cannons at their disposal. Had the European settlers chosen to use only knives after introducing the Indians to rifles, there might be some parallel here.

Because everyone has lost a loved one to the aliens, the people decide that they have more that unites them than divides (the enemy of my enemy ...). This includes the Chiricahua Apache, who at first believe the white men responsible for the disappearance of Indian women, but are disabused by the Colonel's Apache assistant/adopted son with his tales of the former's great warrior deeds. In return, the Colonel learns respect for the Apaches when he realizes his assistant is more of a real son than his own layabout flesh and blood. The inclusion of the Apache is problematic for Favreau's stated goal of inverting the white settlers as their other, since the Indians are already occupying that minority position. The set-up is, in fact, closer to the Apache making a Faustian deal with the U.S. troops to fight the more longstanding threat from the Mexicans. A more interesting version would've had the Apache siding with the aliens to wipe out the white settlers, the equally imperialist Mexicans and then going on to slaughter the remaining Comanche (who'd played a large part in the Apache's dwindling numbers), resulting in control over the whole Southwest region. Only then could whiteness be fantasized as a minority power. What we get instead are criminals, capitalists, the law and the American Other all coming together to ensure that the symbolic order is restored for a happy ending. That the order is structurally white is forgotten (forgiven) by all, as are Jake's and the Colonel's evil deeds; the town is appropriately named Absolution. Underneath skin, the film suggests, aren't we all really the same, or, as Dyer put it, "no color," that is "white"? 


[Attack the Block] would start like an Abel Ferrara film or a Michael Winner film with this archetypal situation, this deliberately stereotypical situation and then this thing would fall from the sky and everything would change. And you would start the process of humanizing and exploring and dimensionalizing the characters. That was absolutely the inspiration.
-- Writer-Director Joe Cornish

Attack the Block begins with the mugging of a young white woman named Sam by a group of South London teenage thugs in hoodies. In contrast to a "stereotypical situation" from Winner or Ferrara, the process of humanizing the gang was already implicitly underway before the audience learns anything else about the characters: Sam is neither raped nor killed, only loses her purse. That is, thieves are a lot more human than rapists or murderers (e.g., Cary Grant was allowed to play the former in To Catch a Thief, but the studio insisted that Hitchcock absolve Ray Milland of wife killing in Dial M for Murder). Identification won't prove too taxing, since a falling alien disrupts the event before it possibly takes a turn for the worse, unburdening the empathic bond between audience and the criminals cum heroes we'll be asked to feel later on (nevertheless, some still had a problem with the film's anti-heroes). The position of Whiteness is here about class, the structural haves versus the have-nots: Sam is a nurse in training with an economic future; the gang members have to take what they need. She'll move away from the area after her residency; the gang is stuck there. As with Cowboys & Aliens, the fantasy of extraterrestrial invasion erases the structural conflict, the leftover being what unifies the two represented classes, namely their jointly held humanity. Sam eventually joins her former attackers (the plot if you want it), reasoning that she's safer with them than alone against the ("true") aliens.

If Attack the Block is less problematic than Cowboys & Aliens in its function as diversionary entertainment -- as a white humanist fantasy -- it's because there's seemingly less to distract the viewer from the entertainment, such as the recalling of genocide. Cornish doesn't bring along as much ideological baggage (or, at least, he stores it better than Favreau and his screenwriters). Differences in class are never truly differences in the ontological position of Human. As Marx (in Capital) suggested, the proletariat receives a wage that, however insufficient, is never symbolically nugatory. He has some agency in how to spend it. This is a difference in scale, not kind, from the rich capitalist. Chattel slavery, on the other hand, deprives the individual of his humanity, his agency; since no wage is given, his body becomes pure use value for another (the master). Expanding on this contrast, Frank B. Wilderson III (in Red, White & Black) points out, "[i]f workers can buy a loaf of bread, they can also buy a slave." (p. 13) The proletariat might be exploited and alienated, but the slave isn't even human. In having the middle class white nurse join up with a bunch of poor, mostly black kids (there's one white among them), Cornish sets up what Wilderson calls a conflict ("a rubric of problems that can be posed and conceptually solved") rather than an antagonism ("an irreconciliable struggle between entities, or positions, the resolution of which is not dialectical but entails the obliteration of one of the positions" - p. 5). The class difference between the white heroine, Sam, and the black anti-hero, Moses (the gang leader), can be elided, because the history of class struggle has never been a matter of denying one class the ontological position of Human. Therefore, facing an attack from the ontological Inhuman -- i.e., the black, furry ape-wolf hybrids with glowing blue teeth -- a common ground is (re-)discovered by the two protagonists (and the audience). 

A beautifully streamlined, low-budget design.

What's left unsaid -- is structurally unconscious -- is the difference (the antagonism) between Whiteness and Blackness. Is it mere happenstance that most of the gang (the lower class) are black? The fear being entertained in this film, as with Cowboys & Aliens, is that the dominant order aka the status quo aka Whiteness will be destroyed by an extraterrestrial lifeform qua Otherness. The fantasy is that Whiteness' own historically situated Earthbound Other (Indians, blacks) will naturally find more common cause with the extant normative order than with the revolutionary potential of the invading Inhumans. Granted, both films stack the deck, showing the aliens to be nothing more than bloodthirsty monsters, but that simply reinforces the fantasy of what Wilderson calls a Master/Settler narrative. A more revolutionary alien invasion film has yet to be made that would show an intelligent invading species providing a genuine, empathic analogy to those who've historically been structured as ontologically closer to the aliens than humans. To its credit, one might say, Attack the Block shows Moses being arrested after having saved the status quo from destruction, but this ironic outcome doesn't mitigate the fact that he's smiling at a job well done.

Mighty White of You 2: Attack the Block (2011)

Posted by Charles Reece, September 11, 2011 11:02pm | Post a Comment

[Attack the Block] would start like an Abel Ferrara film or a Michael Winner film with this archetypal situation, this deliberately stereotypical situation and then this thing would fall from the sky and everything would change. And you would start the process of humanizing and exploring and dimensionalizing the characters. That was absolutely the inspiration.
-- Writer-Director Joe Cornish

Attack the Block begins with the mugging of a young white woman named Sam by a group of South London teenage thugs in hoodies. In contrast to a "stereotypical situation" from Winner or Ferrara, the process of humanizing the gang was already implicitly underway before the audience learns anything else about the characters: Sam is neither raped nor killed, only loses her purse. That is, thieves are a lot more human than rapists or murderers (e.g., Cary Grant was allowed to play the former in To Catch a Thief, but the studio insisted that Hitchcock absolve Ray Milland of wife killing in Dial M for Murder). Identification won't prove too taxing, since a falling alien disrupts the event, unburdening the empathic bond between audience and the criminals we'll be asked to feel as heroic later on (nevertheless, some still had a problem with the film's anti-heroes). The position of "Whiteness" is, for the present film, about class, the structural haves and have-nots: Sam is a nurse in training with an economic future; the gang members have to take what they need. She'll move away from the area after residency; the gang is stuck there. As with Cowboys & Aliens, the fantasy of extraterrestrial invasion erases the structural conflict, the leftover being what unifies the two represented classes, namely their jointly held humanity. Sam eventually joins her former attackers (the plot if you want it), reasoning that she's safer with them than alone against the (true) aliens.

If Attack the Block is less problematic than Cowboys & Aliens and functions better as diversionary entertainment -- as a white humanist fantasy -- it's because there's seemingly less to distract the viewer from the entertainment. Cornish doesn't bring along as much ideological baggage (or, at least, he stores it better than Favreau and his screenwriters). Differences in class are never truly differences in the ontological position of Human. As Marx (in Capital) suggested, the proletariat receives a wage that however insufficient it may be, is never symbolically nugatory. He has some agency in how to spend it. This is a difference in scale, not kind, from the rich capitalist. Chattel slavery, however, deprives the individual of his humanity, his agency; since no wage is given, his body becomes pure use value for another (the master). Expanding on this contrast, Frank B. Wilderson III (in Red, White & Black) points out, "[i]f workers can buy a loaf of bread, they can also buy a slave." (p. 13) The proletariat might be exploited and alienated, but the slave isn't even human. In having the middle class white nurse join up with a bunch of poor, mostly black kids (there's one white among them), Cornish sets up what Wilderson calls a conflict ("a rubric of problems that can be posed and conceptually solved") rather than an antagonism ("an irreconciliable struggle between entities, or positions, the resolution of which is not dialectical but entails the obliteration of one of the positions" - p. 5). The class difference between the white heroine, Sam, and the black anti-hero, Moses (the gang leader), can be elided, because the history of class struggle has never been a matter of denying one class the ontological position of Human. Therefore, facing an attack from the ontological Inhuman -- i.e., the black, furry ape-wolf hybrids with glowing blue teeth -- a common ground is (re-)discovered by the two protagonists (and the audience). 

A beautifully streamlined, low-budget design.

What's left unsaid -- is structurally unconscious -- is the difference (the antagonism) between Whiteness and Blackness. Is it mere happenstance that most of the gang (the lower class) are black? The fear being entertained in this film, as with Cowboys & Aliens, is that the dominant order aka the status quo aka "Whiteness" will be destroyed by an extraterrestrial lifeform qua Otherness. The fantasy is that Whiteness' own historically situated Earthbound Other (Indians, blacks) will naturally find more common cause with the extant normative order than with the revolutionary potential of the invading Inhumans. Granted, both films stack the deck, showing the aliens to be nothing more than bloodthirsty monsters, but that simply reinforces the fantasy of what Wilderson calls a Master/Settler narrative. A more revolutionary alien invasion film has yet to be made that would show an intelligent invading species providing a genuine, empathic analogy to those who've historically been structured as something ontologically closer to the aliens than humans. To its credit, one might say, Attack the Block shows Moses being arrested after having saved the status quo from destruction, but this ironic outcome doesn't mitigate the fact that he's smiling at a job well done.

Mighty White of You, Part 1

September 11, 2011: Contagion

Posted by phil blankenship, September 11, 2011 10:50pm | Post a Comment

9/11, 2011 Is Also Bay Area Rapper Cougnut's Ten Year Anniversary

Posted by Billyjam, September 11, 2011 08:17am | Post a Comment
While most people today, September 11th, 2011, will be mourning those who perished in the 9/11 attacks a decade ago exactly, many others here in the Bay Area will also be honoring the late great local rap legend Cougnut who died ten years ago in an auto accident on September 4th 2001 and was buried exactly ten years ago to this day on September 11th 2001.

The San Francisco rapper, who was distinguished by his unique raspy voiced flow and engaging, relatable lyrics, was known for his membership of the pioneering San Francisco rap crew IMP (Ill Mannered Posse) who arrived on the rap music scene in 1989 with No Prisoners and are probably best known for  their mid nineties album Ill Mannered Playas on In-A-Minute Records. This afternoon, from noon to 3pm in the East Bay, Cougnut's former IMP potna Baldhead Rick and others will be honor the occasion with the Cougnut 10th Year Anniversary BBQ at Lake Temescal Regional Recreation Area  in Oakland.

"When I first heard the news of his death my reaction: of course was shock, sadness and a loss for the  Bay Area rap scene and the sense that something big was taken was from us," recalled Kerry Huffman Vann - co-owner of Urbanlife who originally got to know the well liked rapper when she worked at the now defunct In-A-Minute Records. Despite his intimidating look and gruff voice Cougnut was a warm and friendly individual. Recalling this day ten years, Huffman Vann continued, "My mom didn't want me to go to the funeral that day. The planes had just hit and there were alerts on Bay Area bridges. I told her I had to go pay my respects. I had to be there. I was sad. I had just spent some time with him a couple weeks prior. He was really coming into his own and ready to shine in his solo career. And somehow, he reminded me of 2Pac."

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The Art of the LP Cover- Twin Towers

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 10, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment

September 9, 2011: Creature

Posted by phil blankenship, September 9, 2011 11:58pm | Post a Comment

Hip-Hop Rap Up 09:09:11: E-Lit's Picks, Knives and Gasoline, Paul White, Tragedy Khadafi, Casual, DaVinci & DJ Platurn, F.A.M.E., DJ Nu-Mark, Kurupt's The Academy, YG Stunna & V-Nasty

Posted by Billyjam, September 9, 2011 12:05pm | Post a Comment

E-Lit @ Amoeba Berkeley Wk ending Sept 9th, 2011

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 09:09:11

1) Lil Wayne  The Carter IV (Cash Money/Universal)

2) Casual The Hierophant (F.B.M.G.)

3)  elZHi  Elmatic (2 DopeBoyz)

4) Open Mike Eagle Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
          (Hellfyre Club)

5) Blu Jesus (Nature Sounds)

Thanks to E-Lit at Amoeba Music in Berkeley for talking with the Amoeblog again this week for the latest Hip Hop Top Five chart entries plus his overview of some slept-on, under the radar items at Amoeba that folks should be aware of. These new release picks by E-Lit include on vinyl the UK import Rapping With Paul White album featuring such guests as Homeboy Sandman, Guilty Simpson, Jehst, the "Greenberg"  the new picture disc 12" single from Alchemist, Oh No, and Roc Marciano, and the alt hip-hop CD full-length by Knives and Gasoline, Love Songs For Crime Scenes featuring slept on producer LA hip-hop producer Deeskee and Bay Area rock vocalist Stacey Dee of Angry Amputees fame. Deeskee also produced another fave of E-Lit's; Hopeless Crooks With Open Books.

Lots of other new hip-hop releases from both hip-hop newcomers and veterans alike just out or about to drop. Someone who first arrived on the scene two decades ago is Tragedy Khadafi who made a strong mark with such political tour de forces as the revolutionary laced "Arrest The President" (back then he was known as Intelligent Hoodlum) back when George H Bush (senior) was in power. For the artist's latest. about to drop, release Thug Matrix 3, he comes across as forceful albeit not as political. Joining him on the new album, which arrives in Amoeba September 20th, are Killa Sha with production by: araabMUZIK, Shroom, Audible Doctor, Now & Laterz, and Ayatollah. in preparation of the new release he is dropping a series of lead up webisodes including this week's behind the scenes studio-footage for the making of the track “Each One, Teach One” (produced by Audible Doctor) and here is one for the making of "Illuminous Flow."  Below is the video for the artist's classic, golden era, politically charged 1990 single "Arrest The President."

Oakland Rapper Who Embraces Both The "N" Word and the "U" Word Is As Much An Entrepeneur As An Artist

Posted by Billyjam, September 8, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment

"Ugly Nigga T's (Slap Version)"
If you thought the late great Ol Dirty Bastard of Wu Tang Clan fame's name grabbed peoples' attention the moment they first heard it, watch the reaction that East Oakland rapper/promoter Ugly Nigga, who headlines for the second week in a row the Best in the Bay Talent Showcase tonight at the Black Rep in Berkeley,  gets out of people when they first see/hear his name.  "Yeah some people are shocked and accuse me of being racist," said the African American Oakland born rap entrepreneur who heartily embraces both the "N" and the "U" words and has parlayed that love into a source of income which comes mainly from T-shirt sales.  "But I get mostly positive feedback from the Ugly Nigga t-shirts," he told me recently, recalling as the best example, "There was a guy who told me it took him two months to wear the shirt after he bought if from me. He said he wanted to save it for a special occasion. So he wore it at this party and people started coming up to him and saying - Man you're not ugly. And he told me how he had a lot of personal demons and had problems with talking to people and how this changed it. He told me how his stepfather had blamed him for his mother's death and he had kept that bottled in but that night he told me, Man I just kept on talking and the shirt kept drawing attention. He said, Thank-you for making that shirt!"

"The Series" Gathers Wildly Divergent Artists

Posted by Billy Gil, September 8, 2011 01:33pm | Post a Comment
I checked out the latest iteration of Nicole Disson’s “The Series” Tuesday night, which aims to put disparate performance artists, dancers, musicians and other artists together in an LA nightlife setting — at Downtown LA hotel The Standard.

It’s a great idea, and something I’d like to see more often. From what I can tell, the artists and musicians I saw perform had little to do with one another, other than for this show, performing under the umbrella of the concept “An Ocean in Fathoms” for the ninth edition of the show.

We saw performance artists wearing dresses massive kelp clumps dangling from their heads, creating sort of oceanic swamp-thing cocktail party personas. Paper hats sat atop the lights illuminating the Standard rooftop pool area. Swimmers mimicked amphibious noises. Opening the show was a single looping shot of a sailboat off in the distance while the camera sits at ocean level, occasionally submerged, while the accompanying music moved from incredulous sounding keyboard squelches to more melodic tones, strings and such.

Elsewhere, the performances and décor diverged from the theme. Yellow Red Sparks played a set of stripped-down harmonic folk on banjo, acoustic guitar and single drum. Bloody Death Skull played broken-down, recombinant electro folk from inside one of The Standard’s waterbed-style pods, with Daiana Feuer’s vocals emulating a bewildered and primitively sexual child. Raw Geronimo played a wild set of tribal, ferocious sound that marries surf rock, desert folk and art rock, topped off by Laena Geronimo’s swooping vocals and flailing, formidable stage

Possibly my favorite thing about the event: the setting. The Standard’s posh digs and $10 dollar drinks don’t exactly attract the art elite, yet its ultimately bizarre setting, surrounded by skyscrapers of financial institutions and towering over Downtown’s alternating dodginess and bougieness, adds to the commentary of interaction and sly confrontation implied by the show. Plenty of folks who didn’t know what they were in for and wandered in or had been present before the show started for the most part seemed to blend in and give it a chance. Given Disson’s concepts of using unconventional spaces and incorporating a nightlife aspect, I liked that the crowd itself seemed a bit oceanic, uneven and ebbing, with art kids decked out in nightlife attire and nightlife people perusing performances they might not otherwise have seen.

Berkeley's Fist Up Film Festival Focuses On The Revolutionary Power Of Hip-Hop From Global Perspective

Posted by Billyjam, September 8, 2011 09:50am | Post a Comment

Happening tonight, and for four Thursdays this month, at the La Pena cultural center in Berkeley is the 2nd 2nd Annual Fist Up Film Festival. This thought-provoking, documentary film series breaks negative stereotypes and notions of what many see hip-hop to be nowadays, and instead examines the role of hip-hop music and culture as a positive, uplifting, revolutionary force from a global perspective. For their program the festival's programmers have a criteria to seek out "media that changes peoples' lives."  Last week the festival kicked with This Is The Life - the cool documentary about LA's influential Good Life Cafe that was showcased here on the Amoeblog when it screened in Hollywood at Amoeba's Monday Movies at Space 15Twenty.  Tonight's screening is the excellent documentary Ni Wakati!! (see trailer above). Translated Ni Wakati means "It's time" and is a film by Michael Wanguhu that spotlights hip-hop in Kenya through the eyes of M1 (dead prez) and Umi (P.O.W.) who travel to East Africa. "From the ashes of the Mau Mau to the Black Panthers, arises a movement to awaken people globally," is how organizers describe this film which features Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt & Kalamashaka.

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September 7, 2011: Saving Private Perez

Posted by phil blankenship, September 7, 2011 04:21pm | Post a Comment

Refreshingly Unique Production by Berkeley's Raremink Puts Oakland Rapper D.Willz' "Watermelon" Video On The National Rap Map

Posted by Billyjam, September 7, 2011 09:14am | Post a Comment

D.Willz "Watermelon" (2011)

As any contemporary hip-hop artist will attest, having a great song in an already packed marketplace just isn't enough anymore. Even giving away free digital copies of your new album or mixtape isn't guaranteed to grab the short attention span of today's jaded, ever fickle hip-hop fan. Sometimes that great new song needs an equally great, eye-catching video to stand out & get noticed. Such is the case with the refreshingly unique Raremink directed video for Oakland rapper D. Willz' infectious rap song "Watermelon" - the latest, but most successful, in a string of catchy rap songs that the East Bay artist has released over the past several years.  And as you can tell from watching the "Watermelon" clip above, the video breaks damn near every rule in the what-is-expected of a rap music video; especially one from an Oakland rapper. But in so doing it magically manages to transcend all genres and styles by making a fun, instantly appealing clip that, not surprisingly, went viral: registering close to half a million YouTube views. It also clocked up views on various other online video channels as well as on TV: at first on In Demand and later on music video channels such as mtvU where the creative video also won  mtvU's Freshman 5 contest, based on popularity with viewers, and on MTV regular where it got into rotation on MTV Jams and AMTV.  Radio airplay actually came last in a sequence switcheroo that is a true sign of the times since traditionally radio airplay came first, not online play. Not these days.

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September 6, 2011: Love Crime

Posted by phil blankenship, September 6, 2011 11:42pm | Post a Comment

FYF Fest Delivers on Promise

Posted by Billy Gil, September 6, 2011 07:20pm | Post a Comment
FYF Fest may have been better in theory than practice in previous years, due to the usual big festival woes. But as shows like Coachella and Pitchfork Music Festival took some time to iron out the kinks, FYF Fest seems to have gotten it down, judging by this year’s show. Quick entry, lots of different kinds of food, plenty of porta-potties and better sound … the logistics alone surpassed last year’s festival by a longshot.
This year’s band lineup packed some surprises, with plenty of old faces (The Dead Milkmen, The Descendents) showing up amongst up-and-comers (Ty Segall, Twin Sister, Avi Buffalo) and a reunited Death From Above 1979. I’ll try to recount as best I can the bands I was able to catch.
Olivia Tremor Control, best known as an Elephant 6 band as well as creators of the classic ’90s psych-pop opus Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle, returned for a reunion set that hopefully leads to a full-length album — they’ve said they’ve recorded a few tracks already. They really sounded like Pink Floyd to me at FYF, not holding back on long instrumental passages that tend to spill your brain into the frying pan. When I first walked up, I couldn’t tell if the loud squeal coming from the stage was intentional or not. I think it was. I saw the cutest little hipster couple holding hands during the set and realized they could have each been conceived on Dusk at Cubist Castle’s release date, which made me feel a little old but glad they were there to experience this kind of obtuse music when something a bit easier to swallow, like Cults or Japandroids, was going on at the same time. I also saw a group of people “trippin’” Grateful Dead style, dancing around in tie-dye. One of them was holding a baby doll. Seeing them alongside one of OTC’s extended jams made me feel like I was on something too. Another girl was wearing a fox mask.
After catching the end of Cults — “Go Outside” sounded pleasantly anthemic, as usual — I saw No Age, who sounded weirdly pretty at FYF, as the marked lessening of decibels employed on their third album, Everything in Between, seems to have translated to their live show, too. It’s still loud, but more emphasis has been placed on melody and precision. “Fever Dreaming” sounded amazing.

Broken Social Scene sounded like the bewildering beast of a band they ought to, balancing between being the kind of hits-oriented indie flagship band people want them to be and the more indulgent collective they sort of are, which is to say, much of their music is great but is also jammy and they’re going to play a random Modest Mouse cover if they feel like it (“The World at Large”) and “Shampoo Suicide,” a mostly instrumental song from the pretty poppy You Forgot It In People. I didn’t care for the cover, but I liked that they did it. “7/4 (Shoreline)” delivered the singalong goods. Folks may have been sad Feist didn’t show up to sing, but touring member Lisa Lobsinger more than makes up for the absence with her springy stage presence and similarly lovely croon.
Girls were sort of letting me down. I might just not be that into their new stuff and its more languid feel. I kind of miss the scrappier side of them. Either way, it wasn’t the best live.
Everyone at a festival show probably has one or two bands that are their main reason for being there, and Guided By Voices were mine. I got to see them once before they initially broke up, and I’ll never forget that experience of being surrounded by very drunk 35-year-olds as a sober 21-year-old while Robert Pollard told lewd stories (something I’d rather not repeat about Kim Deal) and led the band through a fantastically sloppy set. While this performance shared some similarities to that one, namely the great amount of energy and fun they exude from the stage, I didn’t remember them sounding this together or powerful before. Pollard sang beautifully and forcefully, and seemed like he was having a ball, leading the band through GBV classics like “Exit Flagger” and “Game of Pricks.” I couldn’t stop singing or smiling.
Bonus feature: Chromatics and Glass Candy did double time by playing a decadent show the night before at Los Globos in Silverlake. Plenty of hipsters have tried to or at least wanted to go to Los Globos, and they finally got their chance (I hear shows at Los Globos might become a more regular thing? Awesome!). It was really crowded and seemed really hazy and coked out, which is basically perfect for both of these bands. Chromatics got the crowd nice and riled up, a feat given their dance-oriented but dark, ethereal sound — it works counterintuitively in a nightclub setting, creating a sort of sexy atmosphere that draws in listeners like a tractor beam and makes them sway with abandon. Glass Candy finished out the set nicely picking up where Chromatics left off, upping the pop and dance ante in a pretty rare way. It’s kind of like being at a drag show. I’m curious to hear their new record, especially after hearing their batshit-crazy new song.

Femcee Jean Grae Stays In The Music Biz To Deliver Quality Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 6, 2011 06:18pm | Post a Comment
Jean Grae "R.I.P (feat. Styles P & Talib Kweli)" (2011)

A few years ago super-talented New York hip-hop lyricist Jean Grae threatened to quit the music business altogether. Luckily for hip-hop fans everywhere, who treasure the relatively few positive female emcees in a male-dominated field, that temptation to call it quits passed and Ms. Grae stayed in the game and continued to both perform and record (she is in good company on Talib Kweli's label Blacksmith Music).  Currently on tour she headlines Oakland's New Parish tomorrow night, September 7th, on a bill with Mr Len from Company Flow and local (by way of NY) DJ Ren the Vinyl Archeologist kicking things off, along with host Flossafee.

A while back I caught up with Jean Grae to ask her about her once thinking of quitting, and also what it is like to be a female in such a male dominated genre? "It's really hard to not quit. It's gonna be eighty times harder than the dude next to you," she said of being a woman in rap, adding that "It's definitely a difficult place to be and it definitely requires a thick skin. And sometimes it's hard and sometimes you want to quit." But she noted that having good supportive and positive people in your immediate circle and a "love of" what you do, makes it all fall into place.

Jean Grae headlines tomorrow, Wednesday September 7th, in the East Bay show. Doors 8pm. Tix $15 The New Parish is located at 579 18th Street near San Pablo in downtown Oakland More Info

Get Passes to St. Vincent's Show at Space 15Twenty on Sept 13

Posted by Amoebite, September 6, 2011 01:56pm | Post a Comment
St Vincent at Space 1520UPDATE 9/13 AT 5:57PM:  We are sold out of passes to tonight's show.

St. Vincent
is playing a show at Space15Twenty in Los Angeles on Tuesday September 13! Her new album, Strange Mercy, is out on CD and LP that same day.

Buy Strange Mercy in-store at Amoeba Hollywood starting at 10:30am on 9/13 and get tickets to her show that night at Space 15Twenty!

One ticket per item, limit 2 per person. While supplies last!


The 11 new tracks on Strange Mercy showcase St. Vincent's (a.k.a. Annie Clark) gift for fusing the cerebral and the visceral, her melodically elegant arrangements packing hefty emotional punches. She redefines the idea of the guitar hero, utilizing the instrument as a pointillist artist might wield a brush. Countless judiciously placed riffs and instrumental flares, each distinct and unique, cohere into grand tableaus. On "Cruel," she elicits punchy bursts like an R&B horn section. "Cheerleader" froths and boils, with deep and fuzzy guitars bubbling up to the surface, while "Surgeon" twirls about endlessly, Clark's vocals dancing amid a blizzard of notes.

Clark reunited with producer John Congleton and recorded Strange Mercy in her hometown of Dallas, TX. Other musicians on the album include the Grammy Award winning Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer; Midlake’s MacKenzie Smith on drums; and Daniel Hart on violin. Also contributing were Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.

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The '80s List: Part 11

Posted by Amoebite, September 5, 2011 11:35am | Post a Comment
Hanoi RocksOne day at Amoeba Hollywood I proclaimed that Aztec Camera's 1983 release High Land, Hard Rain was one of the best records of the '80s. This single statement eventually led to over 200 Amoebites ranking their top 10 favorite albums from the ‘80s.

From the beginning we realized that it was impossible for most of us to condense our favorites from all genres into a tiny top ten list. So, we limited our lists to Rock/Pop and its sub-genres like punk, metal, goth, and new wave. Even so, it was a difficult selection process because not only are there hundreds of amazing records to consider, there is also the added dynamic of time.

The '80s were a long time ago and the music has had many years to gestate. We have a deep sense of nostalgia and sentiment with these albums as our fondest memories are associated with them. These are albums we LOVE.

- Henry Polk

See all entries in our ‘80s list series.

P.P.S. The '80s List Book is available for sale at Amoeba Hollywood.

Daniel Tures

Sonic YouthDaydream Nation (1988)
The Durutti ColumnLC (1981)
Prefab SproutSteve McQueen (1985)
Van Halen1984 (1984)
Love TractorThemes From Venus (1989)
Tears For FearsSongs From The Big Chair (1985)
The OutfieldPlay Deep (1985)
The Legendary Pink DotsBasilisk (1983)
The JudysWarsharma (1981)
Def LeppardPyromania (1983)

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Some Classic Working-Man/Working-Woman Songs For This Labor Day

Posted by Billyjam, September 5, 2011 11:14am | Post a Comment
"Working Man's Blues" by Merle Haggard

Beyond that first thought that typically pops into my head on this day every year ("Labor Day already? Damn where did the summer go?!") my mind turns to the endless lists of songs about working & laboring away in a job - of which these can be divided primarily into the "I hate my job and my boss" category (IE Johnny Paycheck's perennial "Take This Job And Shove It") and the "I work hard to make a living and support my family but don't necessarily want to quit or harm my boss." This Amoeblog focuses on the latter and on just classics from the 1960's to the 80's in the rock and pop categories. Disclaimer: obviously there's many not included so feel free to add your suggestion in comments below.

First up is the above classic "Working Man Blues" by Merle Haggard with lines like "It's a big job just gettin' by with nine kids and a wife. I been a workin' man dang near all my life I'll be working long as my two hands are fit to use." Hopefully Merle will play this song when he performs, along with Kris Kristofferson, at the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco in four weeks (Sept 30, Oct 1st & 2nd). Also included (below) is Glen Campbell's timeless tale of the hardworking "lineman for the county" - "Wichita Lineman." Note that there are still some tickets available for Campbell's Amoeba Hollywood instore signing tomorrow (Sept 6th) at 6pm which the artist, who was recently diagnosed with alzheimer's, is doing in support of his final album Ghost On The Canvas.

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The Besson Touch: Colombiana (2011) & Taken (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, September 4, 2011 10:02am | Post a Comment

I caught both of these films the past week, Colombiana at the theater and Taken on blu-ray. The former was directed by Olivier Megaton, the latter by Pierre Morel, but it's the scenarist as auteur who interests me. Although both were co-written by Robert Mark Kamen, I mean the other scenarist who also served as the producer, Luc Besson. If there's something like pure cinema, Besson specializes in pure entertainment. He's unconcerned with any realworld attachment to his cinematic diegeses. His heroes exist in a hermetic reality where all the laws of physics are on their side, cooperating with whatever stunt they're performing, ensuring their success. The only moral code is to be the one performing the violence, not receiving it. This recently resulted in a protest from Colombian-Americans regarding the Besson-world Colombia, filled only with really bad drug dealers killing a couple of really bad drug dealers who happen to love their daughter. Loving little girls is about the only good act in Besson morality, no matter what else one might do for a living (cf. The Professional or Wasabi). Typically that love is expressed through teaching the girl how to perform violence (La Femme Nikita), or to use your professional killing skills to protect her (again, The Professional). In other words, love is violence. 

The present examples are no exception: Taken is about a retired black ops hatchetman for the US going on a rampage through France to rescue his kidnapped daughter from Albanian slave-traders. Colombiana is about the aforementioned daughter from Bolota escaping to Chicago where she meets up with her assassin uncle, who trains her to be a hired killer -- the purpose of which is to eventually exact revenge on the people who killed her parents. Besson, of course, loves assassins, particularly of the young, lithe, winsome and female variety. But that's not what really sets his cornball action tales apart; it's his little flourishes of perversity that I'm calling the Besson Touch.

Consider Colombiana: (1) In trying to put across to his niece how the lack of a good education can lead to undisciplined violence, the uncle pulls out a huge revolver and shoots a random person driving by, causing mass chaos around a school. She chooses to go to school, lesson learned. (2) When one of the bad guys is trying to talk the girl into giving up a disc with damning info about his boss, she stabs a dagger through his hand. That's not perverse, I guess, but the fact that she pulls it from between her legs in an up-close shot is. (3) As an adult, our female hero needs the location of her target, which is known by the CIA. In order to enlist the aid of a basically decent FBI agent, she threatens to kill a member of his family each week until she has the location. 

Taken has two instances of the Touch, with the second a real doozy, surpassing any in Colombiana: (1) The hero doesn't just torture one of the slavers by electrically charging rods shoved through the dude's kneecaps in order to extract some information (if you haven't guessed, info extraction is a recurring motif in the Besson canon), he openly brags that this is the American way of torturing. But Besson isn't making a realworld critique here, just enjoying the bravado involved in the same way one might be entertained by John Wayne leading a cavalry. (2) An old French friend from the hero's assassin days has become a desk-sitting bureaucrat who knows something about the whereabouts of the slave-traders. The bureaucrat won't give up the info, because his bosses are tied somehow to the crime ring (all French officials are evil in this film, as are the Albanians). The hero doesn't just threaten his friend's family, but comes for dinner and shoots the guy's wife in the arm with the next one pointed at her forehead if no address is forthcoming. And the children are waiting targets in the other room. Before her European vacation, the daughter was living with her mom and wealthy stepfather. They both love her, but aren't willing to lay waste to Paris and shoot an innocent woman to save her virginity. Whatever problems the girl might've had with her father at the beginning of the film, she's daddy's girl by the end. That's Besson love.

I haven't seen all of his films, and maybe it's as elusive as the Lubitsch Touch, but details such as sympathetic slaughter, an occasional pedophiliac timbre, despicable heroes and the like all make what would be merely hackneyed plots in another's hands something special in Besson's. His goal is to have the audience explicitly rooting for depravity, without the pretend justifications of the average Hollywood vigilante film. We should feel dirty enjoying his films. He definitely deserves being called an action auteur.

The Art of the LP Cover- TVLP 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 3, 2011 07:45pm | Post a Comment

10 Records From the FYF Fest Lineup

Posted by Billy Gil, September 2, 2011 05:10pm | Post a Comment

FYF Fest is this weekend — tickets are still available here — at the LA Historic State Park Saturday. The lineup features Descendents, Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, Broken Social Scene, Guided By Voices, the Dead Milkmen, Girls, No Age and more. Check back here later this weekend for my review of the event, including a preview show at Los Globos (!) tonight with Chromatics and Glass Candy. F yeah, indeed. (BT dubs, I'll always link to a record first, then a CD if I can't find it on record.)

In preparation, I made a list of 10 great records from the lineup of the show. Check it out.

Guided By Voices – Propeller

Lots of people know Alien Lanes and Bee Thousand (get them now if you don't!) but Propeller is another solid-to-great GBV album with great shoutalong chorus four-track gems like “Exit Flagger.” They'd release stronger material later on, but this charmingly lo-fi album was self-released at the same time Nirvana's Nevermind and a bunch of grunge albums would change the alternative landscape forever. While out of step then, it sounds positively prescient now.


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New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood 9/1 Gunnar Jonsson, Pacific Blue, Lone, Instra:mental w/ Skudge, Marcus Mixx & more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, September 2, 2011 04:35pm | Post a Comment

Gunnar Jonsson
Relationer EP
Just Another Beat

Warm atmospheric extended house grooves. Oozing with emotion. Look out for Henrik Jonsson’s upcoming album with partner Alter on Kontra Musik.

Purchase Relationer here:

Pacific Blue
Industry Pt 1 & 2
Pacific Blue

Exciting new project from Avian camp fts 1st run on lush blue wax backed by a full colour printed insert lovingly designed Mr Mendez from Historia Y Violencia / Sandwell District. Super tough house drums collide w/classic techno stabs & hats.

Purchase Industry Pt 1 & 2 here:

All Those Weird Things 12"

Special edition, 1-sided, laser-etched release with graphics from the label WIGFLEX. The song is a wonky, weirded out techno/future bass track getting support from JAMES HOLDEN, WILL SAUL, PANGAEA, SHORTSTUFF, & RED RACKEM. HEADZ TECHNO

Purchase All Those Weird Things here:

Boddika / Instra:mental
Vicodin / Grand Prix 12”
Naked Lunch

One of our favourite Instra tunes is Vicodin (released with Let’s Talk – a dark, foreboding dubstep classic) and it gets a makeover by Skudge who are getting mentions everywhere right now. Check this track; even the waveform looks freaking dark! Skudge warp it into something between dubstep and house but with all the downer-rhythm that really makes this track. Along with the remix there’s more from Boddika in Grand Prix. Short and sweet little hypnotic bounce track with serious dancability.

Purchase Vicodin / Grand Prix here:

Holger Czukay
Music Is A Miracle 12”
Claremont 56
Another piece of CAN musical history unearthed by CLAREMONT 56. Originally penned 30 years ago, "MUSIC IS A MIRACLE" takes us on an 18 minute trip using samples taken from his "ONE THE WAY" LP circa 1981. An unreleased version "ODE TO PERFUME" on the flip. 350g wax, gold foil text on sleeve.

Purchase Music Is A Miracle here:

Marcus Mixx
Use Your Mouth To Love Me 12"
Unknown To The Unknown

Two jackin' cuts that veer between juke joints and old skool jackin' Chicago house. Very cheeky, very sexual vocals that will get the right dancefloor positively lifted.

Purchase Use Your Mouth To Love Me here:

Elbee Bad

In The Sky 12”

Elbee Bad lives and works in Berlin and has remained a true school house pioneer that even DJ Hell couldn't resist. On this 5th Yore strictly limited, one-sided release, the "Prince of Dance" presents the soundtrack for all forthcoming Mars-missions & delivers the welcome theme song for all the phreaks in space and time. "In The Sky" is house music with a 100% lift-off guarantee, how only a true veteran can do.

Purchase In The Sky here:

Clams Casino/ Instrumentals LP
Balam Acab/ Wander Wonder LP
Vondelpark / NYC Stuff & NYC Bags 12”
FKTB/FKTB 01 12”
David Woods/ On The Green Alone 12”
Sascha Dive/ Jam Session 12”
Nightwave/The Feel 12”
Ford Inc/Satire / Delerium 12”
Inxec V's Droog/WESTBOUND EP 12"
Lung & Maxx Roach/BOOTY CALL 12”
Luca C & Brigante/DIFFERENT MORALS 12”
Mickey Moonlight/INTERPLANETARY... 12”
Gredit/BEN E SLOW 12”
FKTB: FKTB #01 12"
Keyboard Masher/KM EDITIONS #3 EP 12”
Fulbert/GARDEN STATE '92 EP 12”
Moodymanc/JOY 12”
Loadstar/BERLIN 12”
Processory/ENGAGE EP 12”
Deep Space Orchestra/GHETTO... EP 12”
Yuri Shulgin/FLOW EP 12”
Gredit/BEN E SLOW 12”
Innerzone Orch/PEOPLE MAKE..KDJ RMX 12”
Southwest Seven/SOUTHWEST SEVEN EP 12”
Fulbert/GARDEN STATE '92 EP 12”
Johnny Fiasco/CONDUCTION - ZAPPED 12”
Loadstar/BERLIN 12”

The '80s List: Part 10

Posted by Amoebite, September 2, 2011 12:46pm | Post a Comment
Wipers One day at Amoeba Hollywood I proclaimed that Aztec Camera's 1983 release High Land, Hard Rain was one of the best records of the '80s. This single statement eventually led to over 200 Amoebites ranking their top 10 favorite albums from the ‘80s.

From the beginning we realized that it was impossible for most of us to condense our favorites from all genres into a tiny top ten list. So, we limited our lists to Rock/Pop and its sub-genres like punk, metal, goth, and new wave. Even so, it was a difficult selection process because not only are there hundreds of amazing records to consider, there is also the added dynamic of time.

The '80s were a long time ago and the music has had many years to gestate. We have a deep sense of nostalgia and sentiment with these albums as our fondest memories are associated with them. These are albums we LOVE.

- Henry Polk

P.S. We'll be posting new additions to the '80s list project from Amoeba staff members on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. See all entries in our ‘80s list series.

P.P.S. The '80s List Book is available for sale at Amoeba Hollywood.

Heather Long

Pixies Doolittle (1989)
Husker DuZen Arcade (1984)
Judas PriestBritish Steel (1980)
X – Los Angeles (1980)
PretendersPretenders (1980)
The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
The ClashLondon Calling (1980)
Duran DuranRio (1982)
Iron MaidenThe Number Of The Beast (1982)
Adam And The AntsKings Of The Wild Frontier (1980)

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 09:02:11: E-Lit's Weekly Report, Lil Wayne, Casual, Paranoid Castles, Kreayshawn, Mistah F.A.B., Too $hort, Rock The Bells, Moe Green, Doin It In The Park, Thud Rumble's Fader Fest 2011 + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2011 12:28pm | Post a Comment

E-Lit @ Amoeba Berkeley Wk ending Sept 2nd, 2011

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 09:02:11

1) Lil Wayne  The Carter IV (Cash Money/Universal)

2) The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
  Watch The Throne (Def Jam) 

3) Casual The Hierophant (F.B.M.G.)

4)  Game The R.E.D. Album (Geffen)

5)  Smoke DZA Rolling Stoned (Fat Beats)

Again this week much thanks go to E-Lit at Amoeba Music in Berkeley for taking time to talk with the Amoeblog for the latest Hip Hop Top Five chart entries plus an overview of the numerous new underground hip-hop releases, in both CD and vinyl formats.  These include Open Mike Eagle's Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes, the full-length by Candy's 22 in CD format, A Girl and Her Gun ("drugged out country & western rap music" - as E-Lit describes the unusual rap release), the ever prolific Blu's (of Blu & Exile fame) latest remastered version of Jesus, and Kirby Dominant & Factor's Champagne Nightmares on Fake Four Recordings. Scroll down a bit to check out the video for the album track "Orca" off the duo (also named Champagne Nightmares) off this fine latest pairing of the unique East Bay emcee with the Canadian producer who first joined creative forces back in 2004 on One Way Ticket on Side Road Records. Their new video was directed and produced by Stuey Kubrick in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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Ziggy Marley Plays Acoustic Live In-Store at Amoeba SF on September 23rd!

Posted by Billyjam, September 1, 2011 11:25am | Post a Comment

Ziggy Marley "Wild and Free"

It may still be a few weeks away, but mark your calendars now for the free acoustic in-store show and signing by reggae great Ziggy Marley at the San Francisco Amoeba on Friday September 23rd at 6pm.

Ziggy was just a young kid when he first caught the music bug from his iconic father, Bob Marley, whose vocal stylings he inherited, while sitting in on recording sessions for now-legendary reggae tracks. Now 42 years of age, Ziggy has amassed quite a catalog himself over a long, healthy career,  featuring a dozen of albums with his band The Melody Makers and four solo albums, including his recently released Wild and Free on Tuff Gong Worldwide.

While in the Bay Area, Marley will also be performing the following day (Saturday, September 24th) at the musically diverse (electronic to reggae) Earthdance Global Music Festival at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, CA. At both events, he is expected to make reference to his recently launched, rasta and weed-themed comic book MarijuanaMan (see preview below).