December 30, 2011: J. Edgar

Posted by phil blankenship, December 30, 2011 11:42pm | Post a Comment

Best of 2011 Hip-Hop Part 3: Billy Jam's Picks

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2011 09:00pm | Post a Comment
      Talib Kweli was among the hip-hop artists to embrace the Occupy movement
  in 2011 - even shooting his video for "Distractions" @ Zuccotti Park

This is the third and final of the Best of 2011 Hip-Hop Amoeblog posts. The first Best of 2011 Hip-Hop installment featured a hundred of the hip-hop album releases that were popular sellers at the three Amoeba Music stores over the past year while the second Best Of 2011 Hip-Hop featured favorites of the year chosen by current and former Amoeba hip-hop department employees  Meanwhile this Best of 2011 Hip-Hop post is this Amoeblogger's personal favorite 30 albums of the year. But before I get to these (all below) first let me briefly mention a random list of a few of the interesting hip-hop news stories or events/happenings that generated attention over the past year.

In 2011 hip-hop lost some great artists and most of them were young; tragically taken from this earth long before they should have been. These included 44 year old, Golden Era hip-hop star Heavy D who died of a heart attack while climbing the stairs to his Los Angeles apartment back in early November. Even more recently, just three weeks ago, Special One of The Conscious Daughters (aka TCD) died suddenly the result of a blood clot. The Bay Area hip-hop community was really shaken by this news but glad to learn that the rapper's longtime partner in rhyme, fellow TCD member CMG (Cash Makin Girl) would continue the TCD legacy and about a week ago announced that she would be (sometime in early 2012) be releasing a posthumous TCD album. A famous Bay Area rapper who didn't die but was rumored to have in the latter half of 2011 was Too $hort. This was around the time that $hort had a run in with fellow Bay rapper Messy Marv who foolishly started a beef (at first on the internet and then in rhyme) with the "godfather of Bay rap."

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My Favorite 2011 Discoveries in the Free Downloads Section on

Posted by Amoebite, December 30, 2011 05:23pm | Post a Comment
I love being in a song's clutches, whether it's a new single by an established band or the first track from a new artist I've never heard. I know a song has grabbed me when I hit repeat immediately after its final notes wafted through my ears. I especially love it when this happens with artists with whom I wasn't familiar before. It makes me want to dig into the rest of their music, learn a bit about their history, find out where they've been all this time and why haven't I heard of them until now?

This happened with quite a few tracks I first discovered this year in the Free Downloads section of Since it's the season of "Best Of" lists and looking back at 2011, I wanted to share some of my favorite discoveries (in alphabetical order):

2 Hearts and Chemicals
2 Hearts and Chemicals - "Coming Home"

2 Hearts and Chemicals is a bi-coastal band featuring childhood friends Eli Lhymn (who is based in LA) and Stephen Biebel (who is based in NYC). Through the magic of the Internet they exchanged tracks created in their individual studios to produce the Coming Home EP. The title track is an ‘80s synth meets ‘90s shoegaze pop soundscape featuring female background vocals by Iameve.

XD Records released Coming Home on November 11, 2011. Download "Coming Home" by 2 Hearts and Chemicals.

- "For Sake"

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December 29, 2011: In The Land Of Blood And Honey

Posted by phil blankenship, December 29, 2011 11:44pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hollywood's Best Electronic Albums of 2011 - Andy Stott, Roll The Dice, Morphosis, Tin Man, Demdike Stare, Omar S & more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 29, 2011 03:29pm | Post a Comment
Andy Stott
We Stay Together / Passed Me By
Modern Love

Many electronic artists are entering a compelling new phase of progression and evolution, like Andy Stott, Rene Hell, Demdike Stare, Raime, and the Sandwell District roster -- and have crafted out their own hauntological niche in the modern music world. Brooding, visceral, and encompassing like a thick veil, sounding of a darkness that speaks psychically to the lonely silhouette of a dancer in the shadows of a warehouse party long after the crowd has dispersed. Slow, syrupy syncopated beats that are swirling in some sort of autoerotic blackhole, something like a VHS of loops thrown into a compression chamber. This music might slowly shut down your nervous system before transcending into brightly gaseous atmospheric bliss. Andy Stott mines in the deepest voids of sound and texture to craft what is at once real yet incredibly uncomfortable and subconsciously recessed in the depths of our emotions. Bondage wrapped electronica for those who wish to explore those existential darkrooms.

Purchase We Stay Together / Passed Me By here:

What Have We Learned

This experimental techno free-form jam makes for one of this years best electronic albums. Recorded in only two days Rabih Beani has created a masterpiece that oozes with emotion and strays from traditional production methods and styles. The result is 10 tracks of abstract techno filled with dark kraut influenced bliss. Essential listening.

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December 28, 2011: Spellbound

Posted by phil blankenship, December 28, 2011 11:58pm | Post a Comment

First Fridays at LA's Natural History Museum

Posted by Amoebite, December 28, 2011 02:55pm | Post a Comment
Once a month, Los Angeles's Natural History Museum stays open until 10 pm and features live music,First Fridays, Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, LA exciting scientific discussion, and behind-the-scenes curatorial tours as part of the First Fridays program. Amoeba is excited to sponsor this fabulous series of live music, discussion, concessions, tours, DJs and more.

Join us on January 6th from 5-10 p.m. for a live performance from Mariachi El Bronx and El-Haru KuroiKCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Travis Holcombe, and a lecture from Dr. Michael Shermer on "The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods To Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them As Trusts!” Wow!

Read more about this First Friday of 2012 HERE!

Mariachi El Bronx      El-Haru Kuroi

December 27, 2011: Albert Nobbs

Posted by phil blankenship, December 28, 2011 09:45am | Post a Comment

Film Noir Festival NOIR CITY X Takes Over San Francisco's Castro Theatre - 1/20 - 1/29

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 27, 2011 07:12pm | Post a Comment
Noir City, film noir, san francisco, castro theatre,

January 20-29, 2012
Castro Theatre, San Francisco
Tickets HERE!

NOIR CITY -- the most popular film noir festival in the world -- celebrates its 10th anniversary with aLaura, Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Noir, Film Noir, poster 10-day film extravaganza featuring San Francisco treats, a Dashiell Hammett marathon, freshly preserved 35mm rarities, by-popular-demand encore screenings, surprises galore, and super special guest star ANGIE DICKINSON!

Noir City promises that this will be the darkest and most delirious incarnation yet of San Francisco's popular classic film festival!
Presented under the auspices of the Film Noir Foundation, NOIR CITY remains the only film festival in the world that donates 100% of its profits to the rescue, restoration, and preservation of endangered films---a mission ever more crucial as the world rushes to exclusively embrace digital cinema presentation. "If at-risk films aren't preserved in 35mm within the next two years," says FNF president and NOIR CITY host Eddie Muller, "it could be too late. It's the only guaranteed method of long-term survival. Soon, labs won't exist to do the photo-chemical work, and many films deserving of restoration will be lost in the rush to an all-digital future. Saving films in their original celluloid form is the only way to ensure their survival in any media."

As an added attraction, this year's festival features the live event Everyone Comes to Eddie's: The Noir City Nightclub, a nocturnal celebration of noir style, presented Saturday night, January 28, at theSwedish-American Hall. Entertainment includes Mr. Lucky and the Cocktail Party with Ralph Carney, torch-song temptress Laura Ellis, renowned burlesque queen Evie Lovelle (flying in from France!), and Kansas City's cutting-edge noir-rockers The Latenight Callers. Revelers can party like it's 1949!
Check out the full schedule for NOIR CITY X to get the lowdown, but here are a few favorites and rarities that we here at Amoeba are looking forward to...

Best of 2011 Hip-Hop, Part Two: E-Lit, Robert, Luis, Jason Chavez, DJ Inti, Ray Ricky Rivera

Posted by Billyjam, December 27, 2011 12:02pm | Post a Comment
 Luis F. Soria Top Five + Fave Ameoba San Francisco Instore of 2011

1) The Roots Undun (MCA)

2) Elzhi/Will Sessions Elmatic / Elmatic Instruments (Fat Beats)

3) Oddisee Rock Creek Park (Melo Music)

4) Blu & Exile Below the Heavens (Sound in Color)

5) Snoop Dogg Doggumentary (Priority)

This is the second in the three part Best of 2011 Hip-Hop series for the Amoeblog. The first Best of Amoeba Hip-Hop 2011 featured all the releases in 2011 that were popular sellers at the three Amoeba stores over the past year. The next, third will be this Amoeblogger's personal favorites of 2011. Meanwhile this one features the hip-hop picks by Amoeba staffers (both current and former) from the three Amoeba stores. The above top five is from the great Luis F. Soria who, up until recently when he left Amoeba to undertake some other projects, was the main hip-hop man at Amoeba Music San Francisco. He is missed but his former position, has been taken over by Robert whose list is down below, is in good hands.

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Amoeba's Youtube Playlist of the Best Music of 2011

Posted by Amoebite, December 26, 2011 06:41pm | Post a Comment
Youtube asked us to create a playlist of our favorite music of 2011. That's a pretty big task given how much music we all loved this year. We tried to keep it as close to 20 videos as we could (but we ended up with the random number of 22 faves). Check out our little intro video and then dive into our playlist...

Zola Jesus
Zola Jesus
Sacred Bones

 continued Zola Jesus' evolution to full-fledged goth pop star, with dance beats and hooks underpinning her freaky awesome voice.

Anti- / Epitaph

Malian Touareg band Tinariwen are joined by Kyp and Tunde from TV on the Radio on this beautiful single.

Girls Father Son Holy Ghost

Father Son Holy Ghost
True Panther Sounds

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Best World Music Releases of 2011, Part 2: The Best of the Rest

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 25, 2011 11:18pm | Post a Comment

Best Artwork:
V/A: Brazil Bossa Beat-Bossa Nova & The Story Of Elenco Records

Best World Music Album Title:
Joan Sebastian-Huevos Rancheros

Best Of The World Music Releases That NPR Likes:

Best World Fusion Album:
Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal-Chamber Music

Best Retro World Release:
V/A- Chicas: Spanish Female Singers

Best New World Release On LP
Frente Cumbiero- Frente Cumbiero Meets Mad Professor

Best World Music Box Set:
V/A-Opika Pende: Africa At 78 RPM

Best World Music Compilation:
V/A-Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque

Best Of The Many World Psychedelic Compilations We Saw In 2011:
V/A-Psychedelic Pernambuco

Best Retro African Compilation:
V/A-Bambara Mystic Soul (The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso 1974-1979)

Best New African Compilation:
V/A-Jess & Crabbe Present Bazzerk African Digital Dance

Best Retro African Release:
Na Hawa Doumbia-La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol. 3
L'Orchestre Kanaga De Mopti-S/T

Best New African Release:
Seun Kuti-From Africa With Fury

Best Usage Of World Music Without Being A World Music Album:
Quantic- Cumbia En Hip-Hop

Best LP That I Wish I Bought But Now Is Sadly Out Of Print:
V/A-Istanbul 70: Psych, Disco, Folk Edits By Baris K Vol. 1-3

Best World Music Album That I Liked Better After Seeing The Artist Live:
The Echocentrics-Sunshadows

Best New Brazilian Release:
Kassin-Sonhando Devagar

Best Retro Brazilian Release
Lula E Lailson-Satwa

Best Brazilian Compilation:
V/A-Bossa Nova & The Rise Of Brazilian Music In The 60’s

Best Of The Fania Reissues On CD:
Fania All-Stars -Our Latin Thing

Best Of The Fania Reissues On LP-
Tipica 73-S/T

Best Salsa Release Of 2011
Bio Ritmo- La Verdad

Best New Middle Eastern Release:
Omar Souleyman-Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts

Best Of The Many Retro Middle Eastern Releases In 2011

Best Of The Many Retro Chicha Releases In 2011
Los Destellos-Constelacion

Best Of The Many Retro Asian Compilations Released in 2011:
V/A-Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard Psyche

Best Of The Many Retro Indian Music Compilations Released In 2011
V/A-Bollywood Bloodbath

Best Retro European Compilation:
V/A-Acid Rumba: Spanish Gypsy Grooves 1969-1976

Best New European Album:
Charlotte Gainsbourg-Stage Whisper

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Enrique Bunbury-Licenciado Cantinas

Best World Music Album That I Raved About Last Year That Got Popular This Year:
Chancha Via Circuito- Rio Arriba

Best World Music Album Of 2011 Sadly Not Available At Amoeba:
Sistema Bomb-Electro Jarocho

Best In-Store Performance By A World Music Artist:
Celso Pina- Sin Fecha De Caducidad

Best World LP Lifesaver When You Didn’t Bring Enough Records To The Club:
V/A-Fania Records: 1964-1980 The Original Sounds Of New York

Best Retro Latin Compilation:
V/A-The Original Sound Of Cumbia

Best International Rap Album:
Los Rakas-Chancletas Y Camisetas

Best New Latin Release:

Best New Latin Music Compilation:
V/A-Juan Lennon Presents: 213 Cumbia Vol. 1

Best World Music Release That Would Make You Travel To A Remote Part Of The World Just To See Them Perform:
Boban Markovic Orkestar Vs.Fanfare Ciocarlia-Balkan Brass Battle

Best World Music Release Of 2011:


December 25, 2011: In Time

Posted by phil blankenship, December 25, 2011 06:45pm | Post a Comment

December 25, 2011: The Darkest Hour

Posted by phil blankenship, December 25, 2011 12:46pm | Post a Comment

December 24, 2011: Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Posted by phil blankenship, December 24, 2011 08:48pm | Post a Comment

My Reawakened Love of Christmas Carols and this Year's Top Ten

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 24, 2011 03:37pm | Post a Comment

"That's someone shooting Tiny Tim for his PS3"

Of Christmas, the wise Ebenezer Scrooge cynically but rather sensibly wondered, "What was Christmas but a time for running into debt and getting one year older without getting even one hour richer?" That was 1843 and not even the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come could foresee the horrorshow to come in which people would trample minimum wage employees to death and unleash thick clouds of acrid pepper spray into the weeping faces of innocent babes in the effort to procure a Tickle Me Elmo, Furbie or whatever mass-produced crap has in any given year temporarily excited the mindless, collective consumerist impulse. Happy birthday, Christkind!

The crappy Christmas Carol-free zone!

Christmas Carols too have been given a bad wrap, sullied by their association with joyless, joint-zapping visits to the mall. For those working in retail, imagine how much worse it is. The fact that the same roughly eight or so songs mercilessly begin mannheim steamrolling anyone that ventures outdoors around mid-September is enough to justify anyone feeling like the Grinch. However, having avoided malls and shopping centers altogether this Yuletide, and running my own store (Brightwell - shameless plug) have allowed me to hear Christmas music in a new and holy light. I decided in this newly-awakened joy/mania to attempt to come up with my Top 10 Christmas Carols.

Right away I realized that there are so many great songs that it would be impossible to choose just ten. Who can deny the undying beauty of 12th century's mournful "Veni, veni Emmanuel"? Similarly, the sounds of the 16th century's "Ding dong merrily on high" have somehow never ceased to excite the humors in my otherwise bile-filled vessel. The 19th century gave us the equally beautiful "Stille nacht, heilige nacht," "The first Nowell," and "What child Is this?" not to mention Tchaikovsky's entire score for The Nutcracker or Schubert's "Die winterreise" song cycle.

The thing about Christmas songs is that despite the fact that you're generally inundated with an incredibly small number of songs (including, most egregiously, the gratingly-cheerful Thanksgiving carol, "Jingle Bells") there are nearly constantly new songs being written in celebration of the season as well as numerous mostly-forgotten numbers waiting for rediscovery.

This year I was introduced to many new Christmas songs, including Buddy Rich's "Quiet Christmas riot," Charles Brown's "Please come home for Christmas," Count Basie's "Good morning blues (I want to see Santa Claus)," Count Sidney & His Dukes' "Soul Christmas," Dana Dane's "Dana Dane is coming to town," Disco 4's "He's Santa Claus," Frankie Carle & His Orchestra's "Little Jack Frost get lost," Freddy King's "Christmas tears," Isaac Hayes's "The mistletoe and me," James Brown's "Santa Claus," Kay Starr's "(Everybody's waitin' for) The man with the bag," La Comala's "Peces en el rio," Leroy Carr's "Christmas in jail," Lionel Hampton's "Boogie woogie Santa Claus," Loretta Lynn's "To heck with ole Santa Claus," Louis Armstrong's "Cool Yule," Peggy Lee's "Don't forget to feed the reindeer," Sonny Boy Williamson's "Sonny Boy's Christmas blues", Sparx's "Ay del chiquirritin," The Emotions' "What do the lonely do at Christmas" or anything by Mexico's nightmarish answer to The Chipmunks, Las Ardillitas. Doubtless, in the coming years, some of these will rise to my personal Holiday Top 10.

Although last year would've probably included "I've got my love to keep me warm" and "Baby, it's cold outside," I think that at this point I've heard them enough to last me a few more winters. So, without further adieu, here is my current Top 10.


Wham! "Last Christmas" -- A double A-side with the equally amazing "Everything She Wants," it defeated Frankie Goes Hollywood (who are curiously revered in the UK) and the always inexcusably-horrid Bob Geldof for the coveted number one Christmas spot.

Stevie Wonder "Someday at Christmas" -- Written by Bryan Wells and Ron Miller, the latter of whom penned many of Motown's great songs in the era, including Stevie Wonder's "For once in my life." I am reading that this song was later sung by Justin Bieber which I haven't heard but who I know to be a young boy who pisses off grown-ass Rockists who should probably be fighting other battles with people their own age and not being so concerned with harmless tween popstars.

Bing Crosby "Marshmallow world" -- Bing Crosby was the first artist to record this 1949 Carl Stigman and Peter DeRose composition. I pretty much like all versions of this winter song that never mentions Christmas (making it perfectly acceptable to subject your friends to until the dawn of spring) although Johnny Mathis' incomparable stylings make his version the one I aim to ape. (Since I can't find a great video for the original, here's one for the Johnny Mathis version).

Bing Crosby "White Christmas" -- In The Charlatans' "A man needs to be told," singer Tim Burgess wonders "Ever wonder how much the man who wrote White Christmas made?" (my italics). "The man" in question was Irving Berlin -- maybe you've heard of him? He was only a world famous Jewish songwriter born in Tatarstan who later emigrated to the USA and wrote some of the most widely known songs in the history of time, including this not-very-Jewish song. Bing Crosby was the first to make it a hit, in 1942.

Judy Garland "Have yourself a merry little Christmas" -- Introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 musical, Meet me in St. Louis. It was written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin. The film's director, Vincente Minnelli, criticized it for being depressing… which it is… like Christmas itself!

Slade "Merry Xmas everybody" -- Speaking of depressing, no song captures the bleakness and forced gaiety of Christmas like this office party favorite. Although Gary Glitter, Mud, T. Rex and Wizzard all performed Glitter takes on this glitteriest of holidays, only Slade's, with lines like "look to the future now it's only just begun," has the power to somehow simultaneously evoke a sense of boy soul-crushing boredom and existential angst.

Roy Orbison "Pretty paper" -- A 1963 composition written by the great Willie Nelson, who later recorded it himself in 1979. The almost mantra-like lyrics focus on wrapping Christmas present with a disturbing break where Nelson wrote "There he sits all alone on a sidewalk/ hoping that you won't pass him by/ Should you stop? better not, much too busy/ You're in a hurry, my how time does fly" before refocussing simple-mindedly on the pretty paper and ribbons of the title.

The Nat King Cole Trio "The Christmas song" -- Mel Tormé and Bob Wells penned this classic in 1944 during a summertime heatwave in an effort to distract themselves from the misery at hand. Two years later, The Nat King Cole Trio recorded the first of many versions - including many re-recordings by King himself.

Vince Guaraldi -- "Christmas time is here" Written for the 1965 special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Guaraldi softly swings his evocation of wintertime in a bright and relaxed fashion on many of the originals. On this number, however, a choir of anklebiters sound browbeaten and despondent, like the pressures of Christmas cheer have practically been their undoing.


Denim "I will cry at Christmas" -- In film, no director working today can mix what should be mutually exclusive emotions and tones like Bong Joon-Ho. In music, Bong's equivalent is Lawrence, an under-appreciated treasure of humanity who can mix kitsch, bitterness, pathos, urgency and hilarity in a way that no one else can, often with just a line or two and a two minute pop song. This song first appeared as a B-Side on another of Lawrence's absolute classic masterpieces, "It fell off the back of a lorry."

On a personal note, tomorrow will be the 21st anniversary of my mom's passing. Toss in some SAD, clinical depression and general Christmas blues and I will be toastily rocking this one with the help of my trusty TV (Megaro) and raising a wassail to toast the season and all of the great songs it's inspired. Happy holidays!


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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 12.24.11: Drake, MF Doom, Dam-Funk, Common, Talib Kweli

Posted by Billyjam, December 24, 2011 02:48pm | Post a Comment
  Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 12:24:11

1) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)

2)  Childish Gambino Camp (Glass Note)

3) Mac Miller Blue Slide Park (Ingrooves)

4) Wale Ambition (Warner Bros.)

5) MF Doom Operation Doomsday  (Metal Face)

Special thanks to Robert at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this latest Hip-Hop Top Five Chart that includes the 2011 vinyl reissue of MF Doom's Operation Doomsday   - the debut solo album by hip hop artist born Daniel Dumile that was initially released by Bobbito's Fondle 'Em Records in 1999. Two years, with an altered track list, it was reissued by Sub Verse Records in 2001 with a slightly altered track listing. Doom's own Metal Face label re-reissued it three years ago, and now again this year several months ago with new cover art designed by Jason Jagel, who also did the cover art for Mm.. Food. The other entries on this week's hip-hop chart at the San Francisco Amoeba store are Childish Gambino's Camp, Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park, Wale's Ambition, and Drake's hugely popular second album Take Care. The artist's latest video for the album bonus track "Motto" which is dedicated to Mac Dre features a quick outside shot of the Amoeba San Francisco store.

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The Art of the LP Cover- Sights of The Sounds of Christmas (Christmas 2011, Part 2)

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 24, 2011 11:10am | Post a Comment

Tilting at Windmills

Posted by Charles Reece, December 24, 2011 12:55am | Post a Comment

From the recent Daybeds show.

December 23, 2011: A Dangerous Method

Posted by phil blankenship, December 23, 2011 11:50pm | Post a Comment

Over It: Foxtails Bridage Finds Beauty in Not Really Feeling Christmas, This Year

Posted by Kells, December 23, 2011 11:18am | Post a Comment

It's Christmas eve eve and whether or not you're reeling in feeling the frenzy of the heightened excitement of the season there's always room for a little plaintive introspection. Local auteur/chanteuse Laura Weinbach and her chamber-pop ensemble Foxtails Brigade are among many who have released a special album for the holidays this year, but no seasonal tribute has ever so sweetly serenaded the ghosts of Christmas past quite like their single "I'm Not Really In The Christmas Mood This Year" from the album Time Is Passed. The song is a beautiful if painfully heart-tugging reminder that the Christmas monster needs taming, a glockenspiel and brush lullaby for the lovers of the true meaning. Plus, it comes perfectly packaged in a ruefully gorgeous, must-see visual medium, do check out the video below!

Merry Christmas all, even if you're not really feeling it, this year.

A Special Edition of "What's In My Bag?" with Numero Group's Rob Sevier

Posted by Amoebite, December 22, 2011 02:03pm | Post a Comment

WIMBWe have been shooting What's In My Bag? episodes for about three and a half years, but in our latest video with Numero Group founder Rob Sevier, he turns the tables on us a bit. His vision was to give our series the Numero treatment: research its history, interview some of the integral players, and compile his favorite moments and videos from the series.

Rob shadowed us for about a full day, even serving as a host in a separate WIMB with Cheech Marin. He spoke with Brently Heilbron, the host for our very first What's In My Bag? video (an impromptu shoot with Weird Al Yankovic at the end of the registers at Amoeba Hollywood). He interviewed one of the current series producers, and dug deeper into our videos with sketch comedy troupe Human Giant, musician Dave Grohl, Pinky of TV Carnage, internet video sensation Leslie Hall, comedian Neil Hamburger, hip-hop producer/MC Large Professor, and cartoonist Joe Matt

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Amoeba San Francisco Among Bay Area Landmarks Celebrated in New Drake Video Dedicated to Mac Dre

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2011 07:20am | Post a Comment

Drake ~ The Motto Featuring Lil Wayne & Tyga (Official Video) from OctobersVeryOwn on Vimeo.

For ever-popular rap star Drake's latest, brand new video, released yesterday, for "The Motto" featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga, the top selling artist whose recently released second album Take Care (from where this song is culled as a bonus track) went straight to number one on the Billboard pop album charts (and #1 at Amoeba too the week it was released last month) travels to the Bay Area.

 The video is an homage to the Bay in general and in particular to Mac Dre (the late great Vallejo rapper born Andre Hicks whose mom Wanda Salvatto appears at the beginning of video) and some other Bay Area landmarks including Amoeba Music San Francisco at the 1:10 mark in the above video - making it the latest in a long line of music videos, movies, and TV commercials to feature Amoeba Music. 

Drake's new excellent video features lots of other Bay landmarks (a lot of footage shot on Treasure Island) and familiar rap figures including E-40 and Drake lovingly shouts out Mac Dre and even paraphrases some of his music ("Feelin Myself") in the song/video. You can buy Drake's Take Care on CD and also Take Care on vinyl from Amoeba Music.

December 20, 2011: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Posted by phil blankenship, December 21, 2011 06:01pm | Post a Comment

Headnodic's Latest Video Is "An Open Love Letter To Vinyl"

Posted by Billyjam, December 21, 2011 04:27pm | Post a Comment

Headnodic "The Mondays (feat. Kat O1O)" (2011)

Record collectors/vinyl fanatics are sure to fully appreciate the latest video (above) from Headnodic which features a non-stop display of approximately 200 different record album covers. How many can you recognize?  The video for the song "The Mondays" featuring KAT 010 and is taken from the album Red Line Radio on Traffic Entertainment which was released back in July by the Bay Area producer who came to fame as a member of the Crown City Rockers.
The video, which is also directed by Hednodic, is described by the record-loving artist as, "an open love letter to vinyl." The track features Hednodic on the bass and drum programming, with Kat O1O on the Rhodes, Crumar Orchestrator, and melodica. Purchase the album Red Line Radio either from or in one of the three Amoeba Music stores.

R.I.P. Warren Hellman, Founder of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 21, 2011 03:50pm | Post a Comment
Warren Hellman, a financier who was best known in San Francisco for creating (and funding) the epicWarren Hellman Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass concert, passed away Sunday, December 18th at the age of 77 due to complications from leukemia.

His memorial service was held today (Wednesday, December 21st) at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Reports say that more than 1,500 turned out to honor this great patron of the arts.

Footage from the memorial service can be viewed on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass website.

According to the festival's website, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass will continue and the 2012 dates have been announced: October 5 -7!

Oh My Hobbit! Official trailer for An Unexpected Journey out now!

Posted by Kells, December 20, 2011 11:23pm | Post a Comment
Ready to get your Hobbit-habit body rocked this Christmas, for next Christmas? The first official trailer for Peter Jackson and company's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey dropped today and you best believe it's got me reeling like a total bro re-upped on that initial super stoke that came of learning that the green light had finally lit for all the folks at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop et al to work this project tirelessly in a living example of epic fantasy film production done right. Keep on keeping on Kiwis, loving what's up so far!

Metaphor for Starting Over A Fitting Title for Krip-Hop Act Kounterclockwise's New Album "Daylight Savings Time"

Posted by Billyjam, December 20, 2011 07:20pm | Post a Comment
Kounterclockwise "Open" (2011)
Kounterclockwise may have been considered hip-hop since the duo, the married couple comprised of Deacon Burns from Cleveland, OH and Kaya Rogue from New York City, first formed a decade ago. But it is only in more recent times that they have also been simultaneously considered a krip-hop act.

Headed by Berkeley, CA's  Leroy Moore, the krip-hop movement, tagged Krip-Hop Nation, is a loose knit global collective of hip-hop artists with disabilities. As outlined in the two in-depth Amoeblogs on the krip-hop movement earlier this year, that featured an interview with Leroy Moore, some krip-hop artists are born with disabilities while others sustain them later in life. In the case of Kounterclockwise it was the latter.

For the duo, who had spent most of their earlier career working behind the scenes in production capacity for others including their production work with DJ Swamp and Yela Wolf but only recently released their own album, this occurred four years ago when Deacon Burns had a very serious accident that at first looked like it would signal the end of Kounterclockwise forever. On November 17, 2007 Burns got into an accident in Ohio in which he broke five vertebrae, several ribs, collapsed both lungs, and had a hairline neck fracture. This resulted in him suffering a severe spinal cord injury that resulted in paralysis of both legs and has restricted him to use of a wheelchair to get around. But rather than be defeated and allow this tragedy to halt his life and his love of music, Burns has slowly rehabilitated himself and recently returned fully to making music.

The Jingle Cat's First Visit to Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 20, 2011 03:54pm | Post a Comment
Plenty of celebs walk through the doors of Amoeba Music every day...but this one was a whole other breed. At last, the famous Yuletide feline has made his way to the world's biggest independent record store to mark his territory!

We documented the Jingle Cat's first ever shopping spree at Hollywood's music mecca, in a raw, uncensored look behind the scenes that shows you what the secretive meower of holiday favorites is REALLY like. From graffiti-ing our passenger elevator to digging for kitty flicks on the mezzanine, to unsuccessfully attempting to pay for a Cat Stevens record with a seed ball, this tough-talking tomcat proves that he AIN'T your grandma's fluffywuffles.

You love his Christmas carols, now see him up close and personal, and DON'T rub him the wrong way!

Meowy Christmas!

"Son of the Hood" Shady Nate Talks About His West Oakland Neighborhood, LiveWire, etc.

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2011 07:01pm | Post a Comment
A founding member of LiveWire Records West Oakland's Shady Nate is a local rap hero and long a popular artist with both Bay Area rap fans and fans nationwide of the mobb street style of rap that he and his LiveWire potnas (including J Stalin, Philthy Rich, and Stevie Joe) all deliver. He grew up in West Oakland's notoriously violent Acorn housing projects on 7th Street not far from the West Oakland BART station - an area that has gone through much changes over the past decade - and, while a gifted hip-hop artist who has enjoyed moderate success from his art, has gotten caught up in the street life and spent a good deal of the past decade either incarcerated or under house arrest. However thanks to his ever optimistic, upbeat outlook Shady Nate has managed to write and/or record music and boasts an impressive discography that includes  - much of it with his fellow rap artists in the tight knit LiveWire collective - the label he launched in 2004 along with J Stalin and Jay Jonah.  I recently caught up with Shady Nate to talk about rap music, West Oakland, and how he got the name Shady Nate?

"I got my name from my hood: the notorious Acorn Projects - the only projects in Oakland period. They say everybody in my hood is Shady. I'm from a shady hood and Acorn niggas ain't cool and all that. So I named myself Shady Nate just to let people know what it is," Nate told me. Known for caring about his West Oakland neighborhood and giving back to his community (Nate has been responsible for throwing BBQ's in his neighborhood for the kids coming up over the past two summers) I was curious to know what Nate thought of West Oakland today versus ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago. Is it better or worse than when he was a kid coming up? "That's a tough one," he answered, pausing for a second and considering all of the so-called "development" that taken place in West Oakland in the past decade. "Yes they're putting money into the city; they're rebuilding but they're not putting money back into the right places. They're not putting money into the schools so while they're rebuilding the structures, the buildings, they're not rebuilding the community, the people. So the people is getting worse. It's a lot worse from when I was a youngster. People might have thought I was crazy but now the people that is coming up under me they is even more sick. I can't say it's getting better. I really think it's getting worse."

Continue reading...

Celebrate the First Night of Hanukkah with Zach Rogue (Release The Sunbird / Rogue Wave) in SF! 12/20

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 19, 2011 06:53pm | Post a Comment
In celebration of their latest album release, Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva RecordsHanukkah Chanukah cat Story 1950-1973, Tikva Records and The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation opened a 1950′s style record store in San Francisco’s Mission District (3191 Mission Street), which will run through the end of Hanukkah (December 28th). They've been thowing a lot of fun events and their first-night-of-Hanukkah celebration won't disappoint! 

At 7:00pm on Tuesday, December 20th, Zach Rogue, lead singer and Release the Sunbird Rogue Wave Zach Rogue songwriter for the band Rogue Wave,  will perform songs and light the candles for the opening night of Chanukah 2011

Zach Rogue’s latest solo recording, Come Back To Us (which he released under the artist name Release The Sunbird), features sun-kissed, joyful songs that are likely some of the loveliest tunes you’ll hear this year.


Get your FREE tickets HERE!

Newly Expanded Headphone Section at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2011 12:01pm | Post a Comment
Headphones at Amoeba
We just expanded our selection of headphones at Amoeba Hollywood to include a broad spectrum of gear from Eskuche, Funko Tronics, Skullcandy, Sony, Urban Ears, and more. 

Below is a sampling of the headphones we're carrying. We have additional colors in most of these styles, particularly the Skullcandy headphones. Hesh, Agent, Lowrider and Uprock are the names for their different lines of headphones and each come in a variety of colors/designs. Same for Eskuche, whose lines include Control, 33iG, and Kassette.

Swing by soon and pick up a pair. Your ears will be glad you did! 

Urbanears UrbanEars
  • 3.5mm stereo plug
  • Zound Plug: a socket that allows your friend to plug into your earcap and listen to the same thing as you are listening to.
  • Microphone and remote compatible
Paul Frank Hesh Headphones Skullcandy
2011 Hesh - Paul Frank Devil Julius
  • Explosive 50mm Drivers
  • Soft Leather-Touch Ear Pillows
  • Satin Travel Bag
  • 3.5mm gold-plated plug
Skullcandy Agent
2011 Agent - Retro Hoops
  • Speaker Diameter: 40mm
  • Contour Frame Design
  • Soft Leather-Touch Ear Pillows
  • Satin Travel Bag
  • 3.5mm gold-plated plug 
Lowrider headphones
2011 Lowrider 
  • Speaker Diameter: 40mm
  • Articulating Ear Cups
  • Lightweight Stashable Design
  • 3.5mm gold-plated plug  
Skullcandy Uprock
2011 Uprock
  • 40mm Audio Drivers
  • Lightweight Ergonomic Fit
  • Tangle-Free Flat Cable
  • Soft Ear Pillows
  • 3.5mm gold-plated plug   
Eskuche control-i
Control-i GLD
  • Custom designed single touch controller for seamless play/pause and answer/end technology
  • Gold plated 3.5mm 4 pin plug (for music AND talk), and a gold plated 6.3mm adaptor
  • Plush ear cup cushioning and soft, pliable headband for hours of comfort
  • Compatible with iPod/iPhone/iPad and other music output devices
  • Premium woven cloth cording to prevent tangling
  • Protective headphone travel pouch
Kassette BRG
Kassette BRG
  • Light weight, on-ear headphone with a thin, durable, adjustable aluminum headband
  • Custom designed single touch controller for seamless play/pause + answer/end technology
  • Gold plated 3.5mm 4 pin plug (for music AND talk)
  • Compatible with iPod/iPhone/iPad and other music output devices
  • Spongy foam ear cushion for prolonged comfort
  • Premium woven cloth cording to prevent tangling
Eskuche 33iG
  • Custom designed single touch controller for seamless play/pause and answer/end technology
  • Gold plated 3.5mm 4 pin plug (for music AND talk), and a gold plated 6.3mm adaptor
  • Plush ear cup cushioning and soft, pliable headband for hours of comfort
  • Compatible with iPod/iPhone/iPad and other music output devices
  • Premium woven cloth cording to prevent tangling
  • Protective headphone travel pouch
Sony MDR XD200
Studio Monitor Series
  • Capable of producing movie quality sound
  • Comfortable over-the-head fit with urethane leather ear pads.
  • Designed for home music/movie/games
  • Sound mode switch to match the sound source
  • Gold-plated, straight stereo Unimatch® plug
Sony MDR ZX100
ZX Series Studio Headphones
  • Efficient Neodymium drivers reproduce clear mid-range and low-end sound.
  • A rugged Y-type design for a tangle-free experience.
  • High quality large driver units accurately reproduce a broad, dynamic frequency range.

The Choice Bin's Choice-y-er Buy Counter Scores of 2011

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 18, 2011 07:08pm | Post a Comment
As the year 2011 flies to a close, I've gathered some of my favorite scores from the past year together to reflect upon how much great stuff gets traded in at our used buying counter. All this art came in over Amoeba's trade-in counter but didn't make it past my "gotta check this out" sensors-in-overdrive...lots of stuff maybe not have been released in 2011 but plucked from the ocean of "keepers" and brought ashore, as the relevance and quality make it so, and the joy of reconnecting with a reissue or another format.  Our "Insurance Return" policy keeps the good stuff coming in as well.  And I've forgotten more titles than I've remembered...


John Adams


ECM 1984

I've owned this on a compact disc for ages, and then I see the magnificent film, "I Am Love" with the great Tilda Swinton and I see a vinyl copy of it and my head goes, "BUY THIS"!  This record was cut up and used as the score in such a wonderful, effective way, swooning, tilting and fanfare-ing the scenes making the picture so much more intense and sentimental. Bravissimo. The wax sounds amazing, too, as is the ECM tradition.

Havergal Brian

Complete Piano Music
Cameo Classics 1981

Amazing moods and very sound writing for piano. Think Debussy, Copeland, Ravel, Mozart, Haydn, Bryars and Gershwin and all this rolled into one fellow born in the U.K. in 1876. The great sound on this disc makes it so enjoyable, and being a wonderfully produced U.K. pressing with a brilliant performance by Peter Hill seals the deal.

Forrest Fang

Ominus Thud 1986

Ambient textures, muti-sonic trips of electronic and real instrument sounds compostition taking me somewhere...there. Fang manufactures mucho sonance to capture and stamp his own sound and style into this rich, alluring pressing on very nice vinyl. Many listens await. Ominus Thud Records? WTF? Almost non-existent.

Hindemith 6

In Musica


Chilean chamber-jazz with bassoon (!), flute, vibes, piano and a rhythm section perform sort of a Third Stream style from South America. How this came to into Hollywood is a mind-blower, but great music hath no boundary. The capitol-O-obscure funk monster "Descuadradito" is worth it's weight in gold, and the chops and sensitive playing on this is mesmerizing. Silver foil cover (with masking tape here) is so hip I couldn't believe it. A reissue of this is mandatory.

Jimmy Giuffre 4

Soul Note 1985

Jimmy gets it again on this sensitive jazz/rock-'sorta-fusion...HIS fusion, as it's unique and appealing. Synths, electric bass and drums plus Jimmy on the licorice stick and flute deliver a cool, avant-melodic writing style that crosses genres and time periods. I guess this is a CD, as Soul Note stuff has been around digitally. Digitotally.


Light Of Tao Thru Aeoliah
Narada 1984

2 side-long echo-y keyboard ambiences, with mood aplenty. Trippy motifs and haunted melody make it sound like treated synths, with backwards processing and reverb. Starts out like cheesy DX7 patches, but becomes enchanting soundspectacle as the spirit grabs this guy Aeoliah. Probably subliminal hypnosis and backmasking.

En Som Maior
Disco Som Maior 1965

Airto and Hemeto Pascoal made this trio LP with bassist Humberto Clayber back in '65. These guys are great, this being no exception even as their careers were beginning, and I have acquired much of their musics elsewhere. Grooving, skittering bossa-jazz with sounds beyond. I've heard this on CD, but this vinyl reissue is terrifically punchy and present. I'm digging a lot of these Brazilian reissues. Which leads us to...

Milton Banana Trio

Milton Banana Trio
Odeon 1965

I think this is the original Brazilian issue of this amazing trio's LP, with a thin glossy cover and flipback package. 1965 seems to have been a great year for piano trios in Brasil, and this drummer Banana played with the best of the best musicians around... then and afterward. Awesome syncopation and natural feel always present, with his propellant energy infecting everybody, especially pianist Walter Wanderley.


No Mans Land
Zero Records 1980

Very nice synthesizer and concrete sounds LP from Philadelphia. Buchla electronics and creative composing/writing/improvising make this a top-drawer piece that's really hard to find. Really weird cover makes it hard to figure out what this is, but I took a long look and then the needle-drop did it.


Where Are We Captain?
Polydor UK  1975

Heavy synthesizer orchestrations and sequenced electrohappenings from the British electronic duo. One of the fellas was in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and the chops here indicate righteous pedigree. Some moody sine waves and pompous riffrock that goes together nicely if you like this kind of thing. Unique gem in this style.

Phil Woods European Rhythm Machin
Chromatic Banana
Inner City 1970

Woods finally takes it over the top on this scorcher fom '70, playing electric sax with Gordon Beck's Rhodes and piano and Texier and Humair on bass and drums. Really great energy and chops on a disc I've never seen on CD. Real furious and gnarly most of the time and always grade-A blowing from the fellas. Inner City's 2nd release.

Raul Garcia

Sono Radio Peru 1968

Self-taught guitarist, lawyer and cultural figure, Garcia manifests the Peruvian sound via his deeply expressive guitar style on this rare LP. With total command of hammer-ons, slides and finger picking, he can communicate the sound of his country's music as a one-man band, portraying the breath of the panflutes and the strumming of the charango simultaneously to establish a terrific individual sound that is truly fascinating. This scratchy, much treasured copy became mine before it could be sent to the clearance bins.

 Compact Discs

Lama Gyurme & Jean Phillipe Rykiel

The Lama's Chants

Narada 1994-2004

I love the sound of a Bhuddhist monk chanting over a good synthesizer patch. So I  like this compilation 2-CD set of these fella's timeless pieces. Airy, minimal and deeply felt music and sound from a very deep-voiced man transmitting some heavy vibrations. Speaking of vibrations...

Beach Boys

Smile Sessions Box Set
Capitol 1966/67

(sobbing)...I love this record, and the sessions that produced the tracks are here in supreme aural ecstasy. Wilson, Parks and the other willing participants elevated themselves beyond what they did with Pet Sounds or any other works to make one of the greatest "rock" records ever conceived (sobs). I'm overjoyed that this finally came out legally, and the sound engineers and art director did a magnificent job...(sobbing...sniffling).

Bendan Perry

The End Records 2011

Perry's voice has co-driven Dead Can Dance's music, and here is a really nice record he just did, with a similar vibe yet different. He kinda sounds like Sinatra sometimes, and his range here is much wider than I remember on DCD recordings. Synthetic symphony and drum patches envelop the vox. Timely themes and timeless charm.

Edgardo Canton

Musiques Electroacoustiques
Creel Pone 2011

Keith F Whitman's label does it again with this discovery, a great electronic and concrete sound CD-R lovingly put together for fans of this stuff. Canton wrote some of the best of this genre in 1962-70, and I really like his studio sounds and  exotic compositional style. Beauteous bloop-bleep and ecstatic echo combine for a fascinating journey not of this earth.

Tim Hecker


Alien Records 2011

Tim releases another fine disc of minimal processed-sound pieces that vibrate deeply into the psyche. Inspiration comes and fades into other dimensions, and these records always make me reflect on my emotions, with a sort of nostalgia built-in to the resonant frequencies somehow conjuring up the past and the future. Psycho-acoustic.

Pat Zimmerli

Modern  Music
Nonesuch 2011

Wondrous new collection of modern music for 2 pianos played by Brad Meldau and Kevin Hayes, featuring a great new piece by Zimmerli, whom I'd never heard of before. Also featuring music by Reich, Glass and Ornette, the Zimmerli work is the real star here, standing shoulder to shoulder with the other more famous composers' pieces. Quite a mover and groover I daresay.

Jordi Savall & Hesperion XXI

Lachrimae Caravaggio
Allavox 2007

My infinite love for Jordi and his clan is revived by this release, one I'd never seen before. A collection of superbly performed, enchanting and moving music from the 16th century with pieces written recently by Savall to complement and connect the music to make this an amazing and deep listening experience, quite unlike anything previous.

Chris Watson

El Tren Fantasma

Touch 2011

Ex-Throbbing Gristler Watson makes an elegant and mesmerizing sound piece from train trip recordings in Mexico. He's made many field recording pieces but this one takes him into Musique Concrete territory and is every bit as good as many concrete' pieces of any era. Groovy old train photos adorn the textured cover.

Stefano Battlaglia Trio

The River of Anyder
ECM 2011

Stefano delivers a modal style, like a mini-raga, on his piano as this trio pushes and pulls around him to create a glorious coming-together of emotions. The nuance and attention to each sound give this music a unique, spellbinding style. 5-star sound

Roger Eno

All Saints 1998

The younger Eno sibling put forth this piece in '98, but I just noticed it this month, and it's a pleasant surprise in terms of the growth Roger has made from the 80's to the late 90's in his composing prowess. It's an ensemble piece that features piano and strings, and comes up as the best work of his that I've been exposed to. Modern composition of the melodic and contrapuntal variety, with delicious chords and sweet string sweeps dictating the direction. Very pleasant stuff, and I've played it multiple times to great inspiration.


Touch 2-CD 2011

Without a doubt the best piano/electronics collaboration that Sakamoto-san has made to date. I loved his Comica disc which set the pace for this direction, and his stuff with Alva Noto is cool, too. The two he's made with Fennesz before this pale in comparison to this deep, lush and savory set of soundwaves. Much more pensive and exotic piano activity characterizes the definitive stature of this set, and the two guys seem to be very comfortable with each other as they've been playing together with YMO and touring. Nice fold-out package with oceanic photography.

Patrick O'Hearn

Patrick O'Hearn Music 2011

I like all of O'Hearn's music, the simpler the better, so anything he does gets me listening. Patrick has been doing his thing for almost 27 years, making big, deep glacially-moving synthesizer music. This new one is made up of very simple modes and chords leading into other chords and modes, with thick synth pads and shimmering tones that carry the chords around on their shoulders. Post-new-age music for the enlightened.

Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer
ECM 2-CD 2011

An amazing record. The guys took titles in the ECM catalog, and cut them up and
sliced and diced them into new pieces of their own with only said ECM catalog as their sound sources. One of the best ambient or electronica records I've ever heard.

Keith Jarrett

ECM 2-CD 2011

Keith's in love, and he calls his sigificant other each night before he steps on stage.
It shows, as this is one of his best solo piano records he's ever played. ECM rushed it out so we could dig it and I do very, very much.

Vince Mendoza

Night On Earth
Horizontal 2011

Mr. Mendoza does it again, with his emotion-drenched, sensitive jazz writing, arranging and playing. Lovely dissonances hand-in-glove with bluesy guitar and 20th century strings make this another great piece in Vince's discog. Contempo cool.

Gary Husband
Dirty & Beautiful Volume 1
Abstract Logix 2011

Fantastic shredder from drummer/keyboardist Husband. Players like Jerry Goodman, Jan Hammer, Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin perform some magnificent guest soloing to deem this CD a keeper of the highest order. This jazz-rock music is truly alive and vital in their hands.

Herbie Hancock

Mwandishi (Japanese 24bit Mini-Lp Gold Disc)
WMG Japan 2007

The great Mwandishi album remastered in high definititon, plucked from Amoeba's Japanese mini-LP section, and what a great sound on this disc. I loved this record when it came out in '71 along with Crossings, and the music he invented here generated a new genre copied by scores of folks. I'm still finding the audiophile-quality reissues of some favorites right out of the bins, so they're there, just waiting to be snagged and enjoyed...again.

Best of 2011 Hip-Hop Albums At Amoeba

Posted by Billyjam, December 18, 2011 06:30pm | Post a Comment

This is the first of two Best of Hip-Hop in 2011 Amoeblog posts. This post features most of the hip-hop releases that were popular at the three Amoeba Music stores over the past year while the next (more subjective) Best of 2011 Amoeblog will feature personal favorite top five or top ten lists of the year by such Amoeba folks as myself, E Lit, and Ray Ricky Rivera. As you will see from the list of approximately one hundred hip-hop albums listed (scroll down) that were popular at Amoeba Music in 2011 there was a wonderfully diverse melange of both mainstream/pop rap and underground hip-hop releases by a wide range of talented artists; some that may only be regionally popular and others that are phenomenally popular on a national and global level. 

This wide array of artists included Drake, LiveWire, The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West), San Quinn, Murs, The Beastie Boys, Curren$y, Lateef The Truthspeaker, Lil Wayne, Evidence, Talib Kweli, Wale, Dregs One, The Roots, Philthy RIch, Beans, Lupe Fiasco, Zion I & The Grouch, DJ Quik, Moe Green, Wiz Khalifa, Del Tha Funky Homosapien. Mac Miller, The Jacka, Tyler the Creator, Doomtree, Pharoahe Monch, and Ski Beatz to name but some. If you missed out on any of these releases over 2011 now might be the time to catch up. Most of them are still available, in stock at Amoeba in stores or online with their to-buy link embedded in bright blue in the long list below. Also immediately below are some randomly chosen videos with accompanying text from the past year to give a flavor of the year that was 2011 in hip-hop. Feel free to add in the comments below any of your favorites of 2011 that you think we missed.

Talib Kweli's 2011 album Gutter Rainbows was a most popular release at each Amoeba store including at the San Francisco where it landed in the number one slot with a bullet upon its release on CD. The album Talib Kweliwhich precedes the artist's anticipated Prisoner of Conscious  (to drop sometime in 2012) is "just for the fans," Kweli said in an interview. And fans approved of the album which sported cameos from several artists including Sean Price, Blaq Toven, Outasight, Chace Infinite, and Blacksmith Records (the label he co-founded/runs) artist Jean Grae. The number of producers enlisted is even greater; 13 different producers from all over worked on the album's 14 tracks. These include 88 Keys, S1 (aka Symbolyc One from Texas, who is now best known for producing "Power" on Kanye's new album), Ski Beatz (who produced "Cold Rain," the second LP single that drops online today), and Oh No (who produced the Jean Grae cameo track "Uh Oh").  E Jones produced "Friends & Family," in which he name checks a slew of hip-hop artists including the "Mystik Journeymen," who he raps, "introduced me to Top Ramen" in a humorous nod to the Living Legends low-budget early career survival techniques that included throwing Top Ramen parties. As for why Talib worked with so many different producers on Gutter Rainbows?  "I tend to want to work with a limited amount of producers but the producers for this album, they had sounds that were right for what I wanted," he told me in an interview a month before the album dropped. He then described Gutter Rainbows as a kind of "prelude" to the highly anticipated forthcoming Prisoner of Conscious.

Continue reading...

Best World Music Releases of 2011, Part 1

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 18, 2011 05:39pm | Post a Comment
Bombino-Agadez CD/LP

My first experience with Omara Mochtar (Bombino) was on the Sublime Frequencies release, Music from Niger: Guitars from Agadez, Vol. 2, which was recorded live and sounded like something recorded in a juke joint in Mississippi. On Agadez, Bombino recorded in a studio where all the richness of his guitar tone comes through, making this the guitar album that all guitar players should own from 2011. Much like their contemporaries Tinariwen and Group Inerane, this album is heavy on the Toureg blues, with trance-like guitar drones that conjures the sound of many lonely desert nights in Niger. Soulful without effort, Agadez has led Bombino out of the desert and hopefully into your stereo.

Adanowsky- Amador CD/LP

With the rep of being the son of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, Santa Sangre) and being a kid that hung out with members of The Beatles, you would expect Adanowsky to be either the second coming or some spoiled kid with talent and nothing to say. (i.e. Sean Lennon) Well, Adanowsky is neither. Is Amador a psychedelic masterpiece? No. Is Amador some over-indulgent dribble? Far from it.  Amador is a heartbreak record. It’s full of pain and letting the heartbreak of broken relationship take over. From the heartfelt piano ballads to the tequila-fused Rancheras, it all stages of a post break-up. Much like John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band, it’s very minimal in instrumentation and lets emotion carry the songs. In the end, I can’t imagine Adanowsky being single for that long. Amador is too charming of an album to let that happen.

V/A-213 Cumbia CD Only

I was a little skeptical of 213 Cumbia in the beginning. First off, unlike other New School Cumbia compilations that come from one geographical area or another, Los Angeles Cumbia has no one sound. At any given day you can check out Cumbias your uncle and aunts would like. There are Cumbias that are only liked by immigrants. They are Electro and club Cumbias that only hipsters seem to appreciate. To top it off, every local band south or East of Downtown L.A. play at least one Cumbia song in their sets. So rather than focusing on one sub-genre, Lennon added them all and he made it work. Beat makers DJ Lengua and Mexican Dubweiser are along side the kids playing traditional Cumbia such as Buyepongo, Chicano Batman and Bardo Y Su Conjunto.213 Cumbia is filled with old school players and new school fools making their interpretation of what they think Cumbia is, and that is the L.A. way. Los Angeles may have not invented Cumbia, but as 213 Cumbia proves, L.A. always makes it their own.

Bituaya-Electrocaribe CD Only

Hailing from Venezuela, Bituaya is like the guest that is a little late to the party but it’s the one that keeps it going till the wee hours of the morning. Bituaya is another in a long lineage of great Latin music fusion bands, bringing Salsa, Cumbia, Merengue, and Venezuela’s national music Joropo together with heavy dance beats, dub reggae and street Hip-hop. What I like about Bituaya that they are musicians first. When they reinterpret a style of music you know that they can play the original with ease. That cannot be said with the new generation of Latin American beatmakers, whose musical training comes from making beats first. Bituaya could be great at any one style of Latin music but choose to forge their own path, and that’s what I like about them.

Tinariwen-Tassili CD Only

This being Tinariwen’s fifth album, you pretty much know what to expect from them. The Toureg blues, the stories of struggle and revolution and an awesome twin guitar attack. But with each album, Tinariwen brings something new. Collaborations with members of TV On The Radio, Wilco and The Rebirth Brass Band may seem like it may homogenize the group’s sound but the guests doing a great job of blending into Tinariwen’s style. Collaborations aside, my favorite track is the solo track from bandleader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, called, "Tameyawt" recorded out in the Sahara desert with a silence that no studio could replicate.

Quantic-Hip Hop En Cumbia (LP & Out Of Print)

For Quantic, if Hip-Hop is the love of his life, what is Cumbia?  Quantic lives in Colombia and is studying accordion with the Cumbia master Anibal Velaquez. On Hip-Hop En Cumbia, it’s old love and new mistress together at last, and the result is much better than one would think. This is not a club mash-up or a remix album, rather it is Quantic forming a conjunto and covering Hip-Hop classics Cumbia style. Dr Dre, Missy Elliot, Pete Rock, Dilla and even Blondie’s Rapture all get Cumbia treatments. It is as clever as it is danceable. It is a natural progression from all the Cumbia artists that covered the likes of Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees, Michael Jackson and Fela Kuti in the 70’s and 80’s.

Chancha Via CircuitoRio Arriba CD/LP

I got this release almost a year ago at a ZZK Records showcase. I wanted badly to write about it but this is a blog about what you can get at Amoeba, right? In March, the CD/LP release of Rio Arriba became available in the U.S. and I couldn't be happier. Chancha Via Circuito explores the world of South American folklore, blending his hypnotic beats with the revolutionary past of South America. The result could be considered another sub-genre of the digital Cumbia movement…perhaps Digital Nueva Trova?? Nevertheless, it is one of the most beautiful and organic electronic records released in some time.

Omar Souleyman- Haflat Gharbia (The Western Concerts) CD/LP

Haflat Ghabia is a collection of live performances recorded while Omar Souleyman was on tour in 2009. Along with his cohorts Rizan Sa'id on keyboards and electric saz player Ali Shaker, Omar just destroyed the stages across the western world, appealing to new fans and Arabic music fans alike. Omar plays an electrified version of Dabke music, mostly popular in weddings and parties in Syria is and Iraq. At his show over the summer at The Echo, he had the whole crowd going, from hipsters with their ethically ambiguous girlfriends to aging world music types to Syrian nationals. Everyone was dancing their asses off and having a good time. Listening to Haflat Gharbia is a reminder on how awesome that night was.

Los Rakas-Chancletas y Camisetas CD Only

It used to be the Rap En Español used to get points for just being that; Rap in Spanish. There weren't many people doing it and it was a welcome break from all the bad Roc En Español I had to endure over the years. Still, until recently, I would prefer to hear the likes of Freestyle Fellowship, Snoop Dog or Nas over anything that came from Latin America. Over the years as mainstream Rap has gotten worse, Rap En Español has improved. My favorites such as Calle 13, Tego Calderon, Ana Tijuox and Marcelo D2, all come from various countries around Latin America.

Los Rakas are Panamanians via Oakland. You can tell they are just as influenced by East Bay Rap as much as what is going on around Latin America. They are intelligent lyricists; make bangin’ beats and has that swagger that only one can from growing up street.  Chancletas Y Camisetas is the CD that you would play to your Hip-Hop heads to make them come around to liking Rap En Español . It’s the type of album you can imagine bumping in any barrio in New York, L.A., Oakland, San Juan or Colon.

Ballake Sissoko & Vicent Segal-Chamber Music CD Only

The face of World Music has changed in the last ten years. The term “World Fusion” has become somewhat a derogatory musical term, conjuring images of pony-tailed guy wearing sandals, Guatemalan pants and Kufis. I call him “World Fusion Guy” In my mind, World Fusion Guy does yoga, works as a masseuse and gets excited about an artist who can blend Tuvan throat singing with just about anything. Then there is  “Global Pop Guy” (or girl) They are products of the 80’s/late 90’s, former fans of The Police and The Talking Heads who see Global Pop a way to get music from all over the world without getting dirty, having to live in a foreign place or know any actual foreign people. Seriously, unless you live in Berkeley or Santa Monica, can you really get exited about a new Youssou N'Dour album?

What has replaced World Fusion and Global Pop guy is the new school of DJ and remixers making mash-ups and remixes of various World Music styles. Some of it is interesting, as is some World Fusion and Global Pop. But World Remixer Guy is usually not that knowledgeable about the music they are remixing. They’ll change a song that is supposed to be in 3/4 into 4/4 to match their beats. They’ll cut off key lyrics or repeat insignificant lines in a song because they think it, “sounds cool” Much of what World Remix Guy does is because they don’t understand the culture or the language of the music they are remixing. It’s the same trap World Fusion guy and Global Pop Guy fell into. It’s changing ingredients to a recipe before one has ever made the original.

Having said that, what makes Chamber Music work is that both Ballake Sissoko & Vicent Segal are both masters of their instruments on their own. Both have worked in classical and in crossover music. I had no expectations when I first played Chamber Music, other than I hoped it wasn’t another bad World fusion album. It’s a quiet album amongst the hype of the next big World Phenomenon. Both Kora and Cello are complementary instruments. The Kora can sound like a harp or a guitar and the Cello’s richness comes out when played with the bow but also can sound like a percussive instrument when plucked. It is what every World Fusion release promises: the mixing of two cultures to make something new, and it works. Chamber Music is a beautiful album that quickly relaxes the savage beast in all of us. Play this after work, while driving in traffic or shopping in those crowded stores and you might learn to appreciate the chaos that surrounds us.

Rare Summer of Love-Era Documentary on the Haight-Ashbury Viewable Online

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 18, 2011 04:13pm | Post a Comment
"Bizarre world of drugs, sex, and sloth" or "a beautiful neighborhood"?Michael McClure Richard Brautigan 1966 1967 Summer of Love San Francisco

This Haight-Ashbury documentary filmed during the Summer of Haight Street Hippies 1960 60s Straight Theater Summer of LoveLove is truly outta sight! Besides priceless images of Haight Street, local businesses, and the general artsy milieu, this short film features poet (and then Haight-Ashbury resident) Michael McClure serving as a visionary guide through the incense-filled scene. You'll also see The Grateful Dead and legendarily weird writer Richard Brautigan. Watch for The Psychedelic Bookshop, The Straight Theater, and Hare Krishnas in a shop front near Kezar Stadium! 

View this video HERE at the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive!

-- Audra

Staight Theater summer of love haight street haight-ashbury Michael LcClure William Tara antonin artaud 1960 60s

my top 50 albums of 2011...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 18, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment
- Blouse (Captured Tracks)
Last year was when I first got obsessed with the label Captured Tracks. Both Wild Nothing and Soft Moon ended up in my top ten last year. This is the year of Blouse, Soft Metals and Craft Spells. This label can do no wrong and keeps putting out amazing albums one after the other. This album continues the Captured Tracks tradition of capturing that early 90's shoegaze sound that I am still obsessed with. This Blouse album fits in more with the soft rock side of shoegaze and dreampop. It is more like Beach House than the darker sounds of label mates Soft Moon. It is a beautiful album and I can't get enough.

kurt vile#2
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

This is not his first album but it really is his first album for me. This is the year that I fell hard for Kurt Vile. I could not stop listening to this album for a couple of months. There is just something about it that really got to me. The album is on the more folky side of things. Something that I need in my life every once in a while. He reminds me of Mark Kozelek and the Red House Painters. And listening to this album makes me remember the first time I discoved Mark Kozelek and was hooked for life. It really is that good.

Zola Jesus - Conatus (Sacred Bones)

Zola Jesus has given me exactly the album that I wanted from her. It is majestic and beautiful and dark and moody. This album is for fans of the The Knife and Fever Ray. And while we patiently wait for the next album by The Knife out next year, this album more than fills the void.  It is a dark emotional roller coaster. I really wish that artists like Bjork or Kate Bush would have moved in this direction. But thankfully we have Zola Jesus to bring us the album that we all needed in our life. A perfect album for dark and rainy winter nights. You should not live your life one day longer without Zola Jesus.

Veronica Falls
- Veronica Falls (Slumberland)
Slumberland has been another one of my favorite labels this year. I have always been a fan but they have really done a great job these last couple of years of sort of reinventing themselves and discovering a whole new group of twee sort of artists. It is the darker side of twee. This is really a fantastic little album from these folks from London. They released a couple of singles on Captured Tracks and have now given us this perfect pop masterpiece of a debut album. 

holy ghost!#5
Holy Ghost!
- Holy Ghost! (DFA)
Albums don't really get any more fun than this album. It captures that same feeling as Booka Shade's The Sun & The Neon Light from a couple of years ago. This is electronica raised on New Order and Depeche Mode. It is catchier than anything and is guaranteed to put you in good mood. I spent many hours of my life this year listening to this album. And I am not done with them yet. I keep finding myself going back to this record. And I always forget how much fun this album really is. It fits somewhere in between albums by Hot Chip, Telefon Tel Aviv or The Teenagers.

Washed Out - Within & Without (Sub Pop)

Washed Out is the only artist to appear in both my top tens last year and this year. The Life of Leisure EP from last year is still one of my favorite debuts of all time. Ernest Greene, the man behind Washed Out, has now given us his excellent full length album on Sub Pop this year. It is an almost perfect dream pop album. It fits somewhere in between Sigur Ros and Crystal Castles. It is what people like to call chillwave. It is basically just a more synth version of dream pop.  At times I have no idea what he is singing about. But this album takes me away to another sort of magical place. It doesn't get much better than this.

Soft Metals - Soft Metals (Captured Tracks)

I was of course first intrigued by Soft Metals because of their Patrick Nagel inspired album covers. But it really was not hard for them to win me over. My second favorite album from Captured Tracks this year. These songs would not be out of place on the soundtrack to Drive. This is the futuristic new wave that I love. Dark and synthy. This music is made for me. Soft Metals are from the beautiful city Portland. Which just happens to be one of my favorite cities. The songs are catchy and very addictive.

Gem Club
- Breakers (Hardly Art)
Hardly Art has been doing a good job at breaking my heart lately. They have just been releasing some great albums. First they reissued some amazing albums by Carissa's Wierd. And now this year they have released some amazing debut albums from Gem Club, Shimmering Stars and Seapony. This Gem Club album has really got to be the most beautiful and heartbreaking album out this year. For fans of Bon Iver and Jose Gonzalez and things that are amazing. This album might be hard for some to get through but it is worth the heartache.

Big Troubles - Romantic Comedy

Big Troubles! This album just sort of sneaked up on me. But I quickly got obsessed with it. A nice little feel good record for this year. You simply can't not like this album. Full of catchy and pop friendly songs. Big Troubles is sort of the perfect middle ground between a band like Pavement and a band like Blur. The songs are catchy and jangly and maybe a bit silly. But this is how pop music should sound. A perfect masterpiece of an album. Every song is just as good as the last on this album. Give me more Big Troubles.

- Soundtrack (Lakeshore)

Walking into this movie I had no idea that it would be my favorite movie of the year. It was a pleasant surprise. It was one of those movies where the music was just perfect. And the music was almost as important as the performances in the movie. It really played a big part of making the movie what it was. From the opening scene to the closing credits. This album is part soundtrack and part score. Cliff Martinez does a great job with the moody 80's score. And the tracks from Italians Do it Better artists Chromatics and Desire fit perfectly in the movie as well. A perfect soundtrack to a perfect film

Memory Tapes
- Player Piano (Carpark)

Shimmering Stars
- Violent Hearts
(Hardly Art)

The Raveonettes
- Raven In The Grave
(Vice Records)

- Father Son Holy Ghost
(True Panther Sounds)

Bon Iver
- Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)

John Maus
- We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

Cold Cave
- Cherish The Light Years

Teen Daze
- A Silent Planet
(Lefse Records)

- Go With Me (Hardly Art)

Puro Instinct
- Headbangers In Ecstacy
(Mexican Summer)

Craft Spells
- Idle Labor
(Captured Tracks)

Blood Orange
- Coastal Grooves

La Sera
- La Sera (Hardly Art)

Atlas Sound
- Parallax (4AD)

- An Album By Korallreven

The Drums
- Portamento
(French Kiss Records)

- Hurry Up We're Dreaming (Mute)

Det Vackra Livet
- Det Vackra Livet

Neon Indian
- Era Extrana
(Mom & Pop Music)

The Rip Tide (Pompeii Records)

David Lynch
- Crazy Clown Time
(Play It Again Sam)

Real Estate
- Days (Domino)

Sea Lions
- Everything You Always Wanted To Know About the Sea Lions But Were Afraid To Ask (Slumberland)

Dum Dum Girls
- Only In Dreams
(Sub Pop)

Friendly Fires
- Pala (XL Recordings)

- Thee Physical
(Lovepump United)

Com Truise
- Galactic Melt
(Ghostly International)

Hercules & Love Affair
- Blue Songs
(Moshi Moshi)

- Red Planet (Strange Attractions)

Gang Gang Dance
- Eye Contact (4AD)

Explosions In the Sky
Take Care Take Care Take Care

(Temporary Residence)

- Escape Velocity (Relapse)

Active Child
- You Are All I See (Vagrant)

Xeno & Oaklander
- Sets & Lights (Weird)

Esben & The Witch
- Violet Cries

Los Campesinos
! - Hello Sadness
(Arts & Crafts)

We Were Promised Jetpacks
In The Pit Of The Stomach

(Fat Cat)

Vivian Girls
- Share The Joy (Polyvinyl)

Acid House Kings
Music Sounds Better With You


The Artist
- Soundtrack (Sony)

50 Favorite Albums of 2011

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 18, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. As you may know, I've worked in Hollywood for 8 years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2011 releases that I fell in love with or had hot and heavy affairs with this year.

50 Favorite Albums of 2011

  1. Wild Beasts Smother

In 2008, Brit quartet Wild Beasts released their shaky-legged -but- stunning debut, Limbo Panto. In the four years since, the band has released two thoroughly dazzling masterpiece full-lengths of deceptively delicate indie rock, lyrically bent towards looking in the dark recesses of the heart and libido, largely sung by co-vocalist Hayden Thorpe in his trademark falsetto. Smother finds the band adding a new restraint to their arrangements that allows the tension in the lyrics to hit with hair-on-end chills. It is a singular LP by a singular band that I expect will eventually reach a Radiohead-level stratosphere. 

Continue reading...

Where Fools Fear to Tread -- A Cabo San Lucas Snapshot

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 17, 2011 05:43pm | Post a Comment

So I recently went on a much-needed vacation to Cabo San Lucas with a motley assortment of friends. Cabo San Lucas was chosen because it was a friend's birthday, a friend whose father owns a bar, Happy Ending Cantina

To be completely forthcoming, Cabo San Lucas has never been high on my list of desired vacation destinations, placing somewhere between Gilbert, Arizona and Hutchinson, Kansas. Admittedly, my ignorance on the subject of Cabo San Lucas was vast... I only knew that Sammy "The Red Rocker" Hagar (Montrose, Van Hagar and now, Chickenfoot) owns a bar there... and that it's frequently referred to simply as "Cabo" by people who I'm guessing neither know what "cabo" means or that there are many other "Cabos."

However, despite my well of cynicism, reservations and the somewhat awkward circumstances, I can honestly say that I had a great vacation. My opinions of Cabo San Lucas might come off as sarcastic and snide but I honestly don't mean in any way to insult or discourage the tourist for whom Cabo San Lucas might be Heaven on Earth. I am merely not the typical "Caboholic." I've also little interest in visiting Acapulco, Cancún or taking a Disney cruise. On the other hand, if you, dear reader, are in the position -- or know anyone who can -- get me a free vacation to Mexico I'm very, very interested in visiting and blogging about Oaxaca, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Guadalajara, Mexico City or Monterrey. I'm pretty sure I'll love any of them. 

Continue reading...

News From The Latin Section, Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 16, 2011 05:35pm | Post a Comment

End of the year usually means the major labels release all their biggest releases of the year and Latin Music is no exception. On the pop side we have releases from Paulina Rubio's Brava and Laura Pausini latest, Inedito, which has a ’Spanish and Italian version. Former Aventura singers Romeo Santos and Henry Santos release their first solo albums. Henry Santos Introducing and Romeo long-anticipated Formula Vol. 1 has been selling like crazy. Even solo, these guys are still the Kings Of Bachata.  Not to be outdone is Shakira with another live CD/DVD, Live In Paris.

On The rock side, Mana has yet another deluxe version of Drama Y Luz, with a DVD with videos and bonus tracks not on the original deluxe version. We had another monstrous in-store; this time it was Enrique Bunbury promoting his newest release, Licenciado Cantinas with an autograph session. We sold over 300 advance CDs for the signing and a bunch more online and now we have the vinyl version, if you are so inclined.

On the Hip-Hop and Electro side, we have from Nacional Records, Welcome To The Ritmo Machine, which features Chile’s Latin Bitan And Eric Bobo, Son of Willie. Also available is the new Choc Quib Town, Eso Es Lo Que Hay on Universo Latino and on the indie tip is Los Rakas, Chancletas Y Camisetas, which is one of my favorite releases of 2011. Lastly, the soundtrack behind the wildly popular Mexican Pointy Boots youtube video has arrived! 3Ball MTY is Erick Rincon, Sheeqo Beat and DJ Otto taking their Tribal Guarachero sound to the main stream with their debut, Intentalo

In the Regional Mexican section, there is a new Pepe Aguilar, Vicente Fernandez and two versions of the new Jenni Rivera. There is  a new Soundway Records Cumbia collection compiled by Quantic called The Original Sound Of Cumbia And it is selling like hotcakes! The Salsa section has a new Tito Rojas and the arrival of the long awaited Supercubano by Isaac Delgado. From Fania Records there is a new Ismael Rivera collection and a box set of the best Fania Funk, Boogaloo, and Disco & Latin Grooves CD compilations called El Barrio.

I am currently working on a Best of 2011 World Music list and a shoppers guide for Christmas, which will be up soon. Also, my very first Disco Inmigrantes radio show is now available for a download podcast at  Check it out!

What Do You Want for Xmas (Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus)? A Few Ideas from Around the Interwebs

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 16, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
xmas christmas space baby jesus alien rocket ship ufo christ
Tis the season to freak out about what to get our loved ones.

It seems to get harder every year, as -- thanks to the internet -- the world becomes smaller and choice becomes more vast. How can you find that perfect gift for someone that not only has everything, but can get whatever they want online in a matter of minutes?

Here's the answer: outsmart them. Use this guide to scoop them on their own desires. They may not yet know they lust after these amazing items, but with the Amoeblog's help, you will reign victorious as this year's King / Queen of Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus /  Winter Solstice.  

For your old school punk:
San Francisco’s seminal punk band Crime was  formed in 1976 Crime band shirt merch Johnny Strike San Francisco punkand ripped post-hippie San Francisco a metaphorical new one when they released their first (and many say Punk’s first) single“Hot Wire My Heart / Baby You're So Repulsive.” They mixed a rebellious and sexually-charged image (they were most often seen flaunting their vampiric, just-outta-rehab good looks in tight leather, regulation police uniforms, or old-time gangster duds) with their unique blend of intellectual and furious lo-fi rock and roll. Crime found local refuge at the now legendary Mabuhay Gardens, but became nationally notorious after playing a gig at San Quentin Penitentiary in full police uniforms. (Read more about them on the Amoeblog.)

Now, after many years, you can purchase official Crime merch directly from original member Johnny Strike and his business partner Faustino Mendonça. Bootleggers be damned! Get some stunning shirts, posters, and pins from the source!

Continue reading...

Punk T-Shirts Make Great Gifts

Posted by Amoebite, December 16, 2011 04:40pm | Post a Comment
Searching for a unique idea for the punk rocker in your life? Or maybe you want to relive your own hardcore memories of the LA punk glory days. Pick up an iconic (dare we say fashionable?) punk t-shirt at Amoeba Hollywood!

Remember when Black FlagFear and The Stains played Devonshire Downs (CSUN) back in '82? How about The Damned gig at Godzilla's from the same year? Well, these are only two of the memorable shows that make up the T-shirt collection. 

The punk shirts are part of our expanded t-shirt section at Amoeba Hollywood. Nestled in the corner of the jazz room, you'll find shirts from all genres and generations of music. 

Black Flag t-shirtUpsetters T-shirtDescendents t-shirt
Watch the shirts in action:

Big Shot: A SKA/Reggae/Rocksteady Blog

Posted by Amoebite, December 16, 2011 12:04pm | Post a Comment
Los Angeles has such a unique Reggae scene with various clubs and shows paying homage to the Reggae Scene. New artists and bands are popping up all the time...and the Reggae Community is active and supported. Many DJs spin SKA, Rocksteady and Reggae. However, outside California (and some large cities such as Chicago, New York and across the pond in Spain) the Ska/Reggae scenes are deteriorating. Within these cities there are still Reggae labels such as Liquidator in Spain and Jump-Up Records in Chicago which is run by Chuck Ren who renewed the Ska scene in the Mid-West. NY/NJ based Stubborn Records is a DIY label run by King Django, a legend in the Ska scene who has been in such bands as the Stubborn Allstars and Skinnerbox. Django has run the label independently for over 15 years. In Oklahoma, Megalith Records is a fairly new label run by Robert "Bucket" Hinley, the lead singer of The Toasters and who helped start Moon Ska Records in NY...

Speaking of labels, this blog is named after Big Shot Records which went from 1968
to 1971. Big Shot was a subsidiary of Trojan Records that started in 1968, gaining popularity with releases from Judge Dread and The Tennors. Big Shot released over 130 45RPM singles and a handful of LP releases. The label itself has stayed active due to the popularity of Judge Dread and the iconic image of the Big Shot cannon. Most modern Reggae labels try to achieve the visibility that Trojan Records has and garner the appeal to counter culture kids as Big Shot did in 1968.

Peter ToshPeter Tosh - Legalize It (legacy Edition) [CD] 

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 12.16.11: The Roots, D.Willz, Roach Gigz, Rick Flare + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2011 07:07am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 12:16:11

1) The Roots Undun (MCA)

2) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)

3) Pusha T Fear of God II: Let Us Pray (Fontana)

4) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)

5) J Cole Cole World (Columbia)

Special thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Amoeba Music Hollywood store for this week's Amoeba Hip Hop Chart which includes staples of the past few weeks Drake's Take Care on Cash Money/Universal, J Cole's Cole World on Columbia Records, Pusha T's Fear of God II: Let Us Pray Fontana, and Eligh & Amp Live's Therapy At 3 via Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic. Meantime the number one hip-hop seller is the brand new album from The Roots Undun which was released last week (December 6th). Undun is the Roots' eleventh studio album but it is their first concept album. As outlined in the Undun preview video above that concept follows the life and times of the fictional young Redford Stephens - "a kid who becomes criminal, but wasn't born criminal" and who is "neither victim nor hero."  As the online Amoeba reviewer accurately wrote of Undun: "Don’t let their spot as Jimmy Fallon’s house band fool you — The Roots haven’t softened one bit. Their latest release is a concept album about a youth drawn into street life until it results in his death, told in reverse. Despite all the inherent bleakness that would imply, lyrically, musically Undun is not so dour, buoyed by vibrant soul and touched by flourishes both electronic and orchestral that suggest how far the Roots have come as a band and as conductors of a sound they alone seem to inhabit.

Continue reading...

The Late, Great Christopher Hitchens

Posted by Charles Reece, December 16, 2011 02:03am | Post a Comment

Part 1 of a wide-ranging C-SPAN interview from 2009, just before Hitchens was diagnosed with the
cancer that killed him yesterday. Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

New R. Crumb Robert Johnson T-Shirt Exclusively at Amoeba

Posted by Amoebite, December 15, 2011 05:47pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music is now carrying an exclusive new T-shirt with artwork by the King of Underground Comics, R. Crumb, featuring the King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson!

Amoeba Music has partnered with filmmaker Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World, Bad Santa) in producing a T-shirt of iconic Delta blues singer Robert Johnson drawn by underground comic artist R. Crumb from the first found photo of Johnson. This T-shirt is an Amoeba Music exclusive, available only through or at all three Amoeba stores.

R. Crumb Robert Johnson t-shirt

Here's a brief history of the image on the shirt. Up until 1973, there was no known photo of Robert Johnson, the haunting, mysterious Delta blues singer lionized by countless rock and roll bands. A postage stamp size photo taken by Johnson himself in a photo booth in the early 1930s turned up in 1973 and was published in Rolling Stone in 1986. After it was published, underground comix artist R. Crumb, a life-long 78 collector and blues fan, drew it as a cover for a highly specialized collector's publication called 78 Quarterly, a magazine specializing in stories on rare pre-war blues and jazz artists and their impossibly rare, highly coveted 78s. 
78 Quarterly Robert Johnson

After publication of the 78 Quarterly issue with the Robert Johnson R. Crumb drawing, Terry Zwigoff got permission from both the publisher and Crumb to produce T-shirts with the image, and they were available for a few years in the mid-1990s. Since then, the T-shirts with the R. Crumb rendering of the Robert Johnson photo have been unavailable. Terry is a friend of Amoeba and recently a deal was struck to produce the shirt again. It is now available on a high quality 100% Egyptian cotton T-shirt as an Amoeba exclusive.

Hula Time

Posted by Sherwin Dunner, December 15, 2011 03:40pm | Post a Comment
Sometimes you never know where the next batch of 78s will be coming from and it's often from unexpected places. Recently, we were contacted by San Francisco's Market Street Railway, an advocate for San Francisco's historic streetcars which run on the Market Street Line. One of their members bequeathed his books on trolley history to them, and included in the donation were the 78s bought by his Hawaiian wife back in the 1920s. Having no use for the records, they contacted us, and we were delighted to find a strong run of records by one of the great early Hawaiian bands that recorded in the late 1920s – Kalama's Quartet. Many other obscure Hawaiian 78s were part of the collection, but by far her favorite group was Kalama's Quartet, and for good reason. Along with steel guitars, ukelele, harp guitar and bass, they featured deeply moving four part harmony singing – raw and forceful, but delicate and beautiful at the same time.

The collectors of early Hawaiian 78s are mostly drawn to the steel guitar giants Sol Hoopii, King Benny Nawahi, and the rare as hen's teeth discs by Madame Riviera's Hawaiians featuring Tau Moe. In addtion to the traditional vocals, Kalama's Quartet features twin steel guitars, playing lead and harmony – more bang for your steel guitar buck, plus the exquisite Hawaiian falsetto singing of Mike Hanapi. Along with Hanapi (front) singing tenor and falsetto, their core personnel included the deep resonant bass voice of Bob Nawahini (left), the baritone of Dave Munson or Dan Pokipala (right) and the lead voice of Bill Kalama (behind Hanapi). They didn't bother to change their name to Quintet when somewhere along the way Bob Matsu was added as a second steel guitar.

Touring native Hawaiian troups became popular following a successful New York Hawaiian revue called “Bird of Paradise” in 1904. Hawaiian musicians made their way to the mainland and found work in nightclubs, on vaudeville circuits and any place where novel and exotic music might have been a good fit. Kalama's Quartet happened to be working in New York in January 1927 just when sound films were in their infancy and like many long forgotten comics, bands and eccentric vaudevillians, their act found its way in front of the sound cameras. In an extract from this film, here's an example of Mike Hanapi's Hawaiian falsetto on a traditional Hawaiian melody, “Sweet Lei Lehua.” 

Continue reading...

Hilarious "Wanna Come To My DJ Night?" Skit on Upcoming Second Portlandia Season

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2011 08:41pm | Post a Comment

"Wanna Come To My DJ Night?" 

Funny because it is so true of Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or anywhere USA. Loved every episode of the all too short first season of this TV show but this skit, with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein desperately trying to escape DJ night, from the new upcoming second season of IFC's Portlandia, has even outdone all the previous ones. Hilarious!  Season 2 of Portlandia begins on the IFC channel on Fridays January 6th, 2012 at 10pm. Check local listings. Meantime purchase Portlandia Season One on DVD from Amoeba.

Best of 2011: PST

Posted by Billy Gil, December 14, 2011 06:30pm | Post a Comment
Oh hey! It's time for some top 50 album love.

1. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Longtime devotees of Anthony Gonzalez’s M83 got to see him make good on the promises of his previous albums, all of which are great in their own way, on this unabated masterpiece. Across two albums’ worth of material, Gonzalez’s childlike ethos spreads across synth pop dreamscapes taken to arena-level sonic and emotional territory in a way that never feels trite or untrue. If he overreaches, he does it in the best way possible.

2.  Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine
Chaz Bundick’s second album is a light-year’s jump over 2010’s chillwave capsule Causers of This, an album that seems to take a young lifetime’s worth of backseat radio listening and picks just the choicest bits, whether its early hip-hop or psychedelic rock or cool jazz, filtering it through Bundick’s too-cool specs.
       3. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
PJ Harvey’s perfect instincts have guided her through the starkest of emotional territory with only the most necessary accompaniment. She continues that trend here, on an album reflecting on war and England’s history in a way that feels loose and not heavy-handed, aided by strangely fitting samples and tasteful effects, but still allowing for the emotional sucker punches she’s so adept at (“I’ve seen soldiers fall like lumps of meat” in “The Words That Maketh Murder” is one for the ages).

4.  Dirty Beaches – Badlands
Dirty Beaches’ Alex Zhang Hungtai is a master of minimalism. Over pitch-black surf riffs he plays and then samples, he breathes, whispers and cries tales of teenage longing inspired by ’50s rock ‘n’ roll (“Sweet 17,” “True Blue”), unearthing the dirt beneath the saccharine. At only eight tracks, two of them wordless, Badlands is the year’s most beguiling release.
       5. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Hip-hop that feels worlds removed from the realm of hip-hop, this forward-thinking album manages to stay fun while its psychedelic tones intimate something more cerebral and transcendent.
      6. Real Estate – Days
While Real Estate seemed primed to take the throne as leaders of the reverb pack with their self-titled debut in 2009, this glorious jangle-pop opus puts them more in line to grab the torch from the departing R.E.M.
        7. Iceage – New Brigade
Real noise punk from Danish teens that rocks so hard it puts just about every other band alive to shame in comparison.

8. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Her oddest yet most compelling release yet marries Annie Clark’s quirky avant-noise experimentation and virtuosic guitar playing to juicy tunes ripe with nuanced imagery.
        9. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Like their self-titled debut, this one’s a grower but soon its strange pop diversions --  whether it’s Hawaiian shirt-style late Beach Boys (“Honey Bunny”), George Harrison style odes to mama (“My Ma”), or Dark Side-era Pink Floyd as lovelorn pop songs (“Vomit”) -- sink their teeth in.

10. Jay-Z/Kanye West – Watch the Throne
What could have been a mess ends up an uplifting testament to two of hip-hop’s greats, and a lot of fun to boot.
11  11. Yuck – Yuck
British kids raid their older sibs’ record collections, discover Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub and Yo La Tengo, and make one of the year’s most irresistible rock record.
12  12. Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion
For a certain sect of music fans wired into liking all things spacey, reverby, ominous and still pop-oriented, Crystal Stilts have been a godsend, and this is their strongest set of songs yet.

13. Drake – Take Care
There’s something really appealingly delicate about Drake, despite the requisite machismo from an A-list hip-hop star. Buoyed by expert production work from fellow Canucks 40 and T-Minus, among others, Drake makes the case for Canada as the bastion of thoughtful, crowd-pleasing hip-hop.
14  14. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
More of the gorgeous rustic harmonies and able folk songwriting we can now hopefully expect to be blessed with every so often from Robin Pecknold and co.

15. Neon Indian – Era Extrana
A gauzey tribute to navel-gazing, like the soundtrack to half-remembered childhood dreams.
15  16. The Antlers – Burst Apart
A more mature affair than 2009’s Hospice, Burst Apart still brims with emotional power but backs that up with more precise pop songwriting.

17. Washed Out – Within and Without
Washed Out’s Within and Without to me sounds like the most luxuriously bummed out vacation ever, like being broken up with poolside at a five-star resort. Hopefully, between the quality of this album, Era Extrana and Underneath the Pine, the word “chillwave” will die and we can appreciate these artists on their own terms.

18. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
Classic rock melodies and riffs under a wash of milky reverb and swirling orchestration. Between this and former cohort Kurt Vile’s Smoke Rings for My Halo, these Philadelphia types seemed to soundtrack some imagined road trip, its details murky but its destination all the more vital for their mystery.

Radiohead – The King of Limbs
It wasn’t Kid A or In Rainbows. But The King of Limbs still packed worlds of music into each track, from the twitchy Britpop of “Morning Mr Magpie” to darker, dubstep-inspired tracks like “Lotus Flower,” inviting either deeper study or as casual a listen as one could hope for from Radiohead while still maintaining their integrity.

20. Twin Sister – In Heaven
I unexpectedly fell hard for Twin Sister this year, who make a kind of anime-futuristic lite pop that makes me think of some domestic sci-fi scenario, like walking your space dog to space Starbucks.

21. Atlas Sound – Parallax
Bradford Cox’s most humanistic release yet under the Atlas Sound name, with a pack of great pop songs (namely “Mona Lisa”) amongst the typically gorgeous atmospherics.

22. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Mark Ronson produced several tracks on this album, adding only the most minimal pop sheen to the “flower-punk” formula Black Lips have perfected over the years. The result is their most instantly pleasurable release yet.

Tyler, the Creator – Goblin
Scary, sad and bracing hip-hop that shows vulnerable soul beneath its sneer. The menace of songs like “Yonkers” is nearly impossible to shake.

24. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – S/T
Quirky lo-fi psych pop that makes its home in your brain and stays there, particularly on the addictive “Ffunny Ffriends.”

25. Drive Soundtrack
The year’s best movie also had its best soundtrack, a pack of perfect night-drive pop songs (especially College’s “A Real Hero”, ft. Electric Youth), moving into Cliff Martinez’s dark ambient score.

26. Dum Dum Girls – Only in Dreams
Taken together with the crystalline He Gets Me High EP, Dum Dum Girls come out of the excellent but murky depths of their debut I Will Be with their chins up high and noise-pop hooks aplenty.

27. The Weeknd – House of Balloons
About as appealingly strange a release you could find in 2011 came from Ethiopian Canadian (again with Canada!) singer/producer Abel Tesfaye, who emotes falsetto R&B style over samples from Beach House and Siouxsie & the Banshees, as well as his own grimey production work.

28. Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
I know I’m not the only one who fell hard for this C86-loving twee toting Slumberland band that remembered you can’t nail a signature sound without memorable tunes.

Zola Jesus – Conatus
Conatus continued Zola Jesus’ evolution from noise-drenched operatic curio to full-fleged goth pop star, with dance beats and hooks underpinning her freaky awesome voice.

30. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
A dance-rock epic that is perhaps a bit bloated, but its highest points (“Need You Now,” “Pharaohs & Pyramids,” “Alisa”) are pretty towering pop achievements.

31. John Maus – We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
Here’s what I said earlier this year: “It’s like someone left their Tangerine Dream and New Order cassettes in the wash and out came a perfectly fused, gauzy amalgam of new age floweriness and new romantic pop.” Good enough/too lazy to write something new.

32. Cults – Cults
Cults were like the too-cute kid at school you wanted to hate if they weren’t so damn nice. Backlash was aplenty to “Go Outside,” but it was harder to dismiss the rest of their album, which packed longer-lasting but still-sugary tunes like “You Know What I Mean.”

33. Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings for My Halo
The prolific Vile gave us his best yet with Smoke Rings for My Halo, full of gravely voice, lonely drugged out folk-pop tunes like the infectious “Jesus Fever.”

34. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
Epic post-hardcore concept album about a nihilistic young couple. You have to love a band for attempting something of this magnitude.

35. Geoffrey O’Connor – Vanity is Forever
The power of the PR pitch — I hadn’t heard of Geoffrey O’Connor or his band, Crayon Fields, until someone randomly emailed me about him. This could be the year’s most overlooked release, a nighttime romantic synth album akin to Bryan Ferry or even this year’s uberhot Drive soundtrack.

36. Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
Handsome Furs has always been my favorite of the Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown pack of related bands if for no reason than their sheer consistency. This album ups the two-person organ-laden indie rock of yore with gnarly post-disco beats.

37. Wild Flag – Wild Flag
The first of what hopefully will be a fruitful career from veterans including Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Helium’s Mary Timony, firing off guitar blasts and twisted harmonies just because they can.

38. James Blake – S/T
OK, not really on board the dubstep train, but you have to hand it to James Blake for injecting the young genre with some personality and songwriting chops. Plus he’s pretty killer live.

39. Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years
I really couldn’t stand “The Great Pan is Dead” the first time I heard it. Too loud! For what reason? But I dug into Cherish the Light Years and its weirdo keyboard noise and post-punk hooks and couldn’t really stop for a while there. So now I get what these guys are getting at and can’t wait to see where they go next.

40. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Like its predecessor, Wounded Rhymes is a bit sleepy at times, but its best moments can knock you on your ass when you least expect it. “I Follow Rivers” is her best song yet.

41. Smith Westerns – Dye it Blonde
Super fun garage pop that’s delightfully polite and winsome without being cloying.

42. Fool’s Gold – Leave No Trace
A more streamlined and brass-ring-reaching second release from Fool’s Gold saw the band largely dumping the Hebrew-sung lyrics and even some of its afropop leanings to focus on pop immediacy, and it suits them well.

43. Thee Oh Sees – Castlemania
I slightly prefer the ramshackle pop of Castlemania, released early in the year, to the more recently released and more acidic Carrion Crawler/The Dream, but really, they’re both great. Anyone else release two kick-ass albums in 2011?

44. The Soft Moon – S/T
A simply harrowing listen from start to finish, with nary a humanistic trait — Luis Vasquez breathes and howls his often lyricless vocals — but the songs are also toe-tapping post-punk jams. It never lets you sit as comfortably as you want to.

45. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong
Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine loving alterna-twee gems. This shit was made for me.

46. EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
More goodness from the Cal Arts pool that birthed Ariel Pink and John Maus — if there’s any through line, it’s that none of the artists seems to be able to stay put, changing gears per song while keeping things structured. EMA’s electro-dusted, emotional singer-songwriter material harkens back to Suzanne Vega and early Liz Phair and PJ Harvey without slapping “’90s” across your face.

47. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
Really weird shit. I kinda wish they would calm the fuck down and do the stuff they do best — Eastern-tinged, Siouxsie-ish electro — all the time, but vaguely conceptual albums with crazy prog-rock art and song titles like “∞∞” will do.

48. Blouse – Blouse
Beautifully dreary post-punk that sounds best when it drops the mope and rouses itself to emit bleary pop (“Videotapes”).

49. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Is it too “duh” to say this is really overrated but still pretty good?

50. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
I barely listened to this but I feel like I’ll love it in like three months.

Turntables at Amoeba

Posted by Amoebite, December 14, 2011 06:07pm | Post a Comment
Here is a breakdown of some of the turntables Amoeba currently sells and a bit of an overview of each one. Please see store for specific stock as our inventory differs between locations. 

Crosley 249 Crosley Keepsake 249 USB
  • 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
  • Fully Automatic
  • Belt Drive
  • Auxilliary input
  • Adjustable tone control
  • Dynamic full range speakers with switch for line in play (iPod/CD, etc)
  • USB enabled
  • Software suite for ripping and editing audio included
Numark Turntable Numark Portable PT-01 USB
- Available Online -
  • 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
  • Belt Drive
  • RCA line & headphone outputs
  • USB enabled
  • Wall-powered with included AC adaptor or battery powered
  • ±10% pitch control
  • Internal speaker
Numark TTUSB
Numark TTUSB
  • 33 1/3, 45 (78 RPM with software)
  • Adjustable anti-skate control
  • Built in pre-amp
  • Line level RCA outputs
  • USB enabled
  • EZ Converter software included 
Jensen JTA-460
Jensen JTA-460 Compact USB Turntable System
  • 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
  • Belt Drive
  • Built in speakers
  • Remote control
  • AM/FM receiver
  • USB enabled 
AT-LP60 Audio-Technica AT-LP60
- Available Online -

  • 33 1/3 and 45 RPM
  • Fully Automatic
  • No Pitch Control
  • Belt Drive
  • Built-in pre-amp
  • Phono or Line/Aux outputs
  • Replaceable stylus
  • USB model available
AT-LP120 Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB
  • 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
  • Manual operation
  • Pitch Control
  • Direct Drive
  • Built-in pre-amp
  • Phono or Line/Aux outputs
  • Forward and reverse play
  • USB


New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood 12/14 - Conforce, Traxx aka Poetic Painter M, Smallpeople, Larry Heard, Floating Points and more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 14, 2011 04:51pm | Post a Comment
Escapism 2LP

Holland's deep electronic specialist Conforce releases his second full-length. Still riding high on the praise from his last EP, Dystopian Elements, Boris Bunnik has crafted another album of deep digital and authentic analog bliss. As well as on Delsin, it's appropriately classy labels like Clone and Rush Hour which have released Conforce's work in the past -- the results of which have helped mark out the man behind them as one of the day's most considered sonic craftsmen. All but one of the album tracks is new and exclusive, with "Lonely Run" the only one heard thus far, given its inclusion on the aforementioned EP. It was a track which perfectly surmised the man's musical mission -- to combine elements of futurism with real hardware, decent software and to simply go wherever it takes him, be that a landscape doused in dub, formed from a firmer techno template or built on a house groove. As such, the aptly-entitled album is a wholly immersive listen from start to finish. Operating in its own deep and subliminal world of rhythm, it goes from lateral and dubby to more upright and kicking, touching on ambient moments and the odd classist moment along the way. Rather than ten shades of the same color, Escapism investigates a number of different moods and tempos. Opener "Revolt DX," for example, suggests a lively pace, despite being drenched in echo and reverb. "Elude," meanwhile, is a more roughshod roller torn apart by blistering synths, crisp percussion and prying claps. "Shadows Of The Invisible" is a mysterious journey into the tense, unknown world of deep space, while "Aquinas Control" floats in a murky, churning and dark underwater abyss... like the album overall, it's hugely evocative stuff that bares little resemblance to the populist motifs of Chicago-this or Detroit-that. From start to finish, Escapism grabs your attention without being rushed, hurried or over-complicated. It's the sort of album which works on both headphones up-close, but also on a dancefloor at a distance, thanks to its devilish detail but palpable presence. Unsurprisingly, one of today's most reliable producers has turned in one of the year's finest albums.

Continue reading...

A Los Angeles Benefit for Jonathan Toubin - Dec 16

Posted by Amoebite, December 14, 2011 02:17pm | Post a Comment
Jonathan ToubinJonathan Toubin, the man behind the sweaty, soul-drenched New York Night Train parties, is in a Portland hospital after a taxi crashed into his hotel room and landed on top of him while he slept. Toubin was in Portland to spin at a Thursday night party and he was staying at the Jupiter Hotel; his room was on the ground floor. - Village Voice

Jonathan has thrown West Coast versions of his Soul Clap parties all over Los Angeles (The Downtown Standard, Nomad Gallery, Spaceland, etc). LA Record and Vice Magazine are presenting a benefit for Jonathan on Friday, December 16 at The Monty. All of the DJs are volunteering their services and 100% of the proceeds will be donated directly to the official paypal account for his medical expenses.

If you can't make it in person, you can paypal funds of love and words of support to [email protected]

Friday, December 16

The Monty
1222 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017 

Suggested donation $5-10

Facebook Invitation.

Jonathan Toubin Benefit Poster

December 13, 2011: The Artist

Posted by phil blankenship, December 13, 2011 11:22pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Now Sells A Variety of Turntables! Learn All About 'Em.

Posted by Billyjam, December 13, 2011 04:40pm | Post a Comment

As you've no doubt already read, vinyl sales are up so to meet the accompanying increase in demand for turntables Amoeba Music recently began selling various turntable models. As outlined in the excellent recent Amoeblog about buying a turntable at Amoeba Music, the three Amoeba stores each have a really good selection of turntables for sale.  Recently I stopped into the Berkeley Amoeba store to talk a bit with turntable expert Brendan about the variety of turntables to choose from at the Telegraph Avenue store. Note that the San Francisco and Hollywood Amoeba stores may each have a slightly different array of turntables to chose from. Call ahead to your local Amoeba (scroll down for phone numbers) to double check on which models are available. 

As outlined by Brendan in the video interview clip above, the Audio-Technica model on display is a wonderful hands-on, easy to operate, sturdy model that comes with a good quality, built-in cartridge (so you don't have spend any extra time and money getting the needle cartridge) for only $129.98. This exact same model - including the extra feature of a USB connection that is geared for folks who, as well as listening to their records, want to dub off their vinyl into a digital format to have on the go in their iPod and other mp3 listening devices -- sells for $179.98. A great deal if you plan on doing a lot of digitizing of your vinyl collection is the Numark TTUSB model with USB compatibility, on sale for just $149.98. As Brendan says in the video clip, this belt-driven model is "a really solid design for 150 bucks!" It also comes with pitch control, which is perfect for DJs and anyone who wants to increase or decrease the speed of the record being played.

Continue reading...

Update on Cause of Death of Special One of The Conscious Daughters & How To Donate To Fund for Rapper's Family

Posted by Billyjam, December 13, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment
Carla "CMG" Green of The Conscious Daugthers (TCD) just posted an update on her Facebook page to say that Karryl "Special One" Smith, her partner in rhyme in the longtime Bay Area female rap duo, who died suddenly on Saturday last (Dec 10th), tragically passed due "to complications from a blood clot." She also noted that fans of the hip-hop group who would like to make a donation to the family of Special One can do so either by a bank transfer or via PayPal.

"We have set up a memorial fund so the family can give her a beautiful home going. She meant so much to so many people. No contribution is too small as she also [has] a son who will need to be cared for," wrote CMG  who is pictured to right in accompanying TCD photo album cover art for their final release together - The Nutcracker Suite from 2009. The Memorial Fund for Karryl "Special One" Smith has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank Acct# 193939865. Folks can also donate via [email protected] "any amount" by PayPal. Meanwhile funeral services for Special One are scheduled for 11am, Saturday, Dec 17th at a still to be announced East Bay location.

2011: That Which Doesn't Kill Us Makes Things Longer

Posted by Job O Brother, December 13, 2011 11:03am | Post a Comment

"Why couldn't I have been the year with Obamacare?"

Oh, 2011! Can it be it’s only been a year since I knew ye? This was a year of firsts: The first time I had a kitten who liked to lick new, clean plastic with an almost fetishistic zeal; the first year I lived in Los Angeles without working the floor at my beloved Amoeba Music Hollywood (I miss you, desperate holiday shoppers!); the first year I grew more than one grey hair at the same time (I blame you, traffic on Fairfax!)

It was also the year I suddenly, and without any obvious explanation, decided I loved and wanted to see any and all films of the horror genre. This came as a surprise to me. My boyfriend accuses me often of only liking films where nothing ever happens – preferably with a lone clock ticking in the corner of an otherwise quiet room. It annoys me when he claims this, mostly because I cannot defend myself.

The horror section in Amoeba Music’s DVD section provided me with many hours of happy judging-a-book-by-its-cover moments. Some gems I was hypnotized by were…

Continue reading...

Amoeba Hollywood Now Carries Handmade Faulein Lilly Record Bags

Posted by Amoebite, December 12, 2011 07:18pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood recently started carrying Fraulein Lilly Record Bags, cloth LP bags handmade in Long Beach, CA. Each bag holds 25-30 records, and has a pocket for notes, your iPod, or anything else you might need. These handmade bags are $39.98 each.

You can find them on display at Amoeba Hollywood right in the entryway into the Jazz Room.

Fraulein Lilly Record Bags    Fraulein Lilly Record Bags

Here are close-ups of some of the bags we are currently carrying:
LP bag with bicycles    LP bags with owls

LP bags with stripes   LP bags day of the dead

Noir City Xmas 2011, Wednesday 12/14 at the Castro Theatre in SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 12, 2011 05:15pm | Post a Comment

The Film Noir Foundation presents the second annual NOIR CITY XMAS this Wednesday, December 14th at the Castro Theatre! This double-feature of rare noir-stained yuletide classics will darken your spirits this holiday season. The evening will also feature the unveiling of the full schedule for NOIR CITY X, the 10th anniversary of the world's most popular film noir festival, coming to the Castro January 20–29, 2012.

Here's what's going down at NOIR CITY XMAS:

Lady on a Train (1945) Dir. Charles David. 94 min. 7:30 p.m.Deanna Durbin Lady on a Train Film Noir Noir CityNikki Collins (Deanna Durbin) witnesses a murder while waiting for a train, but can't get the police tobelieve her when no body is discovered. While they dismiss her as daft, she enlists the help of a mystery writer to sleuth out the culprits on her own. Based on a story by veteran mystery writer Leslie Charteris (The Saint), this is a wildly entertaining mix of comedy, musical, and suspense, rendered in evocative noir style by cameraman Woody Bredell (Phantom Lady, Christmas Holiday, The Killers), and featuring a superb cast of sinister and suspicious supporting players swirling ominously around "America's Sweetheart."

Christmas Holiday (1944) Dir. Robert Siodmak. 93 min.  9:20 p.m.
A young soldier gets more than he bargained for on a holiday stopover in New Orleans when he is introduced to a young "singer" (prostitute) and a local "nightclub" (brothel) and he learns the tale of her descent into degradation. Venerable scribe Herman Mankiewicz hews Somerset Maugham's novel into a brilliant script, directed with delirious intensity by Siodmak. Deanna Durbin is memorable in her first adult role, and Gene Kelly is unforgettable as the murderous cad with whom she tragically falls in love. Unquestionably the most romantically soul-crushing Christmas movie ever made.

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Member James Bernard Happy With The Beastie Boys' Induction

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2011 12:56pm | Post a Comment

The Beastie Boys "Sabotage"(1994)

Besides the group members themselves one person who was very happy about last Wednesday's announcement that the Beastie Boys were among the new inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was long time hip-hop ambassador James Bernard. Bernard, a former editor at The Source magazine, is one of the members of the nominating committee for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and, as such, responsible for nominating the Beastie Boys to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame for the 2012 list. Bernard told the Amoeblog that he was "really pleased" about the Beasties getting in but added that many of the other acts he has nominated have not been as fortunate in the final leg of the process. "We tried to get LL [Cool J] in last year and it didn't really work. We got Eric B & Rakim nominated this time," he said. "And Rakim was so happy but that [nominating] might be as far as we get."

Bernard added that he was also happy that the rap/funk fused rock band The Red Hot Chili Peppers also got into the upcoming Rock And Roll Hall of Fame awards but that he would like to see more hip-hop acts added and will continue to work on that happening in future years. In a prepared press statement last week about their Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction the Beasties collectively wrote that, "While we are very proud of the music we make, we have to acknowledge the inspiration from our families, friends and musicians like The Slits, Bad Brains, X-Ray Spex, The Treacherous Three and too many others to possibly name. And most of all, we give thanks to New York City and the world of musical influence it provided for us."

Continue reading...

Jean-Luc Godard + Blaze Foley vs. the Hollywood-Nashville Axis of Cultural Imperialism

Posted by Charles Reece, December 12, 2011 09:02am | Post a Comment

I was a bit slow on finishing it (big surprise), so my essay on Jean-Luc Godard's One Plus One went up today over at the Hooded Utilitarian. Check it out!

The other artist I've been obsessed with lately is Blaze Foley, particularly the recently released LP, Clay Pigeons, which collects some of his itinerant, and absolutely brilliant, performances. He's the best country artist I've heard since Townes Van Zandt ... really, check out the title track:

December 11, 2011: Young Adult

Posted by phil blankenship, December 11, 2011 10:24pm | Post a Comment

Special One of The Conscious Daughters Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2011 01:31pm | Post a Comment
Conscious Daughters "Something to Ride To (Fonky Expedition)"

Really sad news for Bay Area hip-hop fans has been spreading online all day today that much loved femcee Karryl Smith, aka Special One of longtime East Bay hip-hop duo Conscious Daughters, has died. So far the cause of death is unknown of the artist who first came to fame care of The Conscious Daughters' (TCD) 1993 debut album Ear To The Street (on Paris' Scarface Records label) and its hit single (video above) "Something to Ride To (Fonky Expedition)."

Since then TCD released only two albums, 1996's Gamers and The Nutcracker Suite from two years ago, while CMG recently released a solo album The Jane Of All Trades featuring the lead single/video "All My Life (Let's Do It) featuring Truth Speaks" that was featured just yesterday in the Hip-Hop Rap Up Amoeblog. About an hour ago a still in shock CMG, via her Facebook page, made this statement about the tragic passing of her musical partner and best friend: "Thank you to everyone for your prayers I need them. I am sick over the loss of my sister. The cause of death is still unknown but I will try to share info when I get it. Pray for me and Karryls other sisters Jessica and Tonya. We are all together trying to get through this."

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The Art of the LP Cover- Snowbound (Christmas 2011, Part 1)

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 10, 2011 04:40pm | Post a Comment

Johnny Mathis '65

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 12.10.11: E-Lit, Doomtree, Eligh & AmpLive, Big Quarters, Andre Nickatina & Equipto, CMG + Truth Hurts

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2011 12:47pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 12:10:11

1) Doomtree No Kings (Lazerbeak)

2) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)

3) Grap Luva Neva Done EP (Redefinition Records)

4) Big Quarters Party Like A Young Commie (Big Quarters)

5) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)

Thanks to E Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba for this latest hip-hop chart and new releases update that includes super-talented Minneapolis duo Big Quarters latest/third album Party Like A Young Commie on which members Brandon Allday and Medium Zach deliver their best work to date (even better than their previous two memorable works - Cost of Living and From The Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers) with some simple but sick beats like htat on the album track "C'mon" (video below). The album's few guest spots include “Humble Servants” featuring Benzilla and the Julian Fairbanks (Audio Perm) produced  “Savings Bonds.” Also new to this week's chart is the long awaited release from Grap Luva AKA The Younger Soul Brother (as in Pete Rock's brother) who, after a decade and a half in the game, the producer/emcee finally releases his own first official solo record. This may only be an EP but it is a great EP featuring collaborations with Kev Brown, Damu The Fudgemunk and Joc Max.

The other chart entries are Eligh & AmpLive's wonderful Therapy At 3  (see "Tattoo Song" video below), Drake's ever popular Take Care and the Mid West's Doomtree collective's collaborative full-length No Kings. Check the recent interview below with the Doomtree family by 89.3 The Current.  Also below is the brand new video from Andre Nickatina for the track "Heelz" that features longtime collaborator / fellow SF rapper Equipto

Continue reading...

Slam A Stack of Holiday Cheer with the Yule Logs!

Posted by Kells, December 9, 2011 02:30pm | Post a Comment

It's the most wonderful time of the year! 'Tis the season for the
Yule Log's holiday tour-a-thon which also means that the 7th annual anything-goes seasonal revue "Christmas is the BEST!" - going down this Sunday, December 11 at Amnesia SF with hosts Uni & her Ukelele and Dr. Trucker, with the Yule Logs headlining the gig. I borrowed a Log or two for a fleeting yet intriguing interview - do read on, below:

So, three albums of supercharged holiday classics and bangin' original seasonal material in three years - fuck yeah! How do you guys do it? I'm beginning to suspect you guys contract elves in the arctic circle to assist in your bringing Christmas to the kids on time each year. 

Yule Logs: It takes a steady drug regiment. It may have been noted once before, but the "snow juice" we use to fuel our snow machine is actually a highly toxic off-brand of moonshine and ammonia, which we huff with vigorously through a Polish flag before each show.  
What's the story behind your new no-holds-barred holiday hit "WrestleMania Christmas"? Does it have anything to with this video?

YL: Believe it or not the song is based on a true story. When I was six years old I desperately wanted WrestleMania for Nintendo, as I was obsessed with the WWF. Christmas day at my Gram's house I began snooping under the tree till I found what I was certain was a video game, and tore part of the wrapping to be sure. Indeed it was WrestleMania. But then I had something of a freak-out, and decided that instead of being caught red-handed, I would take the present out to the backyard and bury it in the dirt. Later that evening as our entire family was opening presents, my Gram confusedly said something to the effect of, "Jacob, I think you're missing a present." I tried to play it off, ran out back and unearthed WrestleMania. I then brought it back inside and promptly began to weep like the child that I was. 

While we're on the subject of Wrestlemania I have to know: who are your all-time favorite wrestelers? Or: which WWF superstar best/most embodies Christmas spirit? (I vote Ravishing Rick Rude, but that's just me - I have a veritable laundry list of personal reasons. Randy Savage is a close runner up).
Wow. That's a tough question. My all-time favorite wrestlers were Rowdy Roddy Piper and Razor Ramon, neither of whom embody the Christmas spirit, though Piper's kilt was pretty festive. If I had to pick a WWF X'mas Ambassador I'd probably go with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, simply because he had his 2x4 on the pulse of America, only in a ham-fisted, barbaric sort of way, which pretty much sums up Christmas as we know it. 
Another standout jam from You Ruined Christmas is your full-on Hanukkah rocker "Rock of Ages" - how is it that you guys keep slam-dunking hit after hit (nothin' but net) honoring the Festival of Lights?

The credit for "Rock Of Ages" (and all our Hanukkah jams) goes to Spencer. He's got a knack for being able to write pop-rock songs that embody different genres entirely. My brother actually told me that "Rock Of Ages" reminds him of Reggie and The Full Effect, which I get, and only goes to show how versatile Spencer, who considers himself something of a Who man, can be.  
The song "Wish List" bemoans Santa "not getting the facts straight" about those unasked-for gifts, like underwear, that inevitably appear beneath the tree each year - I'm wondering what's on the Yule Logs' Christmas list this year?

Kirt penned "Wish List," and I'm going to guess that he's asking once again for those elusive slap bass lessons. Or perhaps a signed photo of Selena Gomez. I know for a fact that Marty wants the entire Vertical Horizon catalogue on cassette, and Spencer wants to somehow acquire the means to turn his 12-passenger van into a traveling fruit cart. Me? I want to go on a date with Ryan Gosling
Are there some memorable fan-made gifts you guys have received over the years?

Well, we have some very special granny panties tacked up on the wall of our practice space. The only thing is that they didn't actually come from anyone's granny. And I'm not so sure if it's technically a gift, but a man once gave us a three-ring binder filled with a plot to get us on Leno. It's replete with diagrams and skits and heartfelt zeal. I'm not kidding.

I love the jaunty, classic vibe and harmonies on your version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" - one question: can you explain why it begins, like Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf," with a coughing fit (or is that just the organ warming up)?
People don't realize that Old Saint Nick actually has a lot in common with Tony Clifton, who also has a lot in common with Spencer. In fact, Spencer is Tony Clifton. A lot of people think that was Andy Kaufman, but a lot of people also listen to Linkin Park
Thinking of Sabbath has got me pondering what the Yule Logs' heaviest number is, maybe your frontier outlaw rendering "We Three Kings" from your 2009 self-titled debut takes the title though other songs like "First Christmas For Baby Jesus" definitely pack a more subtle, weighty punch. What do you think your heaviest song is? Do you find the songs carry a different weight playing them live?
Well, our darkest song is definitely "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" off Walked With A Reindeer. We did our absolute best to make it sound like a Nick Cave track, and I personally think we did a pretty decent job. As far as the songs carrying a different weight live, I think that would be up to the listener. I think we're certainly louder than most folks might expect us to be.
Dig that crazy Sam the Sham-esque hip-shaker "Athiest Serf Holiday," baby! Was this song born out of frustration concerning the holidays or what?
That song was born out of Spencer wanting to write something a little more reckless than our standard fare. We don't get to play it at every show, as it doesn't suit particular audiences. But there's no real seriousness to it; we're silly, and it gave us a great chance to incorporate anal probing into the holiday season. By the way...did you know that anal probes make great stocking stuffers?
Listening to "Bad Boy Christmas" makes me wonder who the bad boy of the band is, you know, which one of you lumps of coal have been holding out for a scolding this Christmas?

Actually we're all shameless drug fiends with powerful appetites for lust and greed. We often take turns flogging one another for no reason than to feel the joy of another man's pain. But the real bad boy? That would have to be Marty, who often pees on Spencer's beard while he's asleep. Does it matter that Spencer often sleeps on the street in a white garbage bag? Kirt doesn't think so, and neither do I. 
And "Latke Man," man, it's apparent you guys own clearly honed night moves! Is just any latke doable i.e are freezer isle latke enough to satiate your workaday latke man?
No. Only Uncle Fred's latkes will do; an exotic taste that requires you travel to the faraway isle of Alameda, California. 
Looking forward to your live show this season: any new additions to your stage set-up?
I wouldn't note any key additions to the actual setup, though the performance itself includes new wonders of savagery. For one, we've escalated the tradition of lighting Spencer's beard on fire to dousing him with gasoline and setting his entire body aflame. There's also a key moment during "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" when I leap out from behind the drums and shiv Marty in the spleen. Oh, and Kirt deep throats his headstock during every encore. It really is something to behold. 
I love that the Yule Logs play holiday programming on their TV/VCR combo during the show: any new additions to the rotation? Are there any particular highly sought-after holiday VHS tapes you're after? (Santa might be reading this)

Unfortunately we've lost two TV/VCR combos to old age in the last year. Our friend Ernie loaned us his beater after our standby bit the dust, but that old hag of a machine has done nothing but eat precious tapes. We've had a mind to hurl it at approaching cyclists on the highway, but have thus far resisted the temptation. 

I received an inquiry from a fan and frequent reader especially for the Yule Logs, she writes: what do you do with your sweaty towels after the show?

We use them for tickle-snap towel fights and then donate them to the Jesus Center

And now for another round of holiday quick-takes:

Rum balls or whiskey cakes?

Bourbon balls, actually. We just had some at a party last Sunday. 
Spruce or fir?
Fir is boss.
Frankincense or myrrh?

Neither. They're both shitty gifts.
Figgy pudding or Ziggy Stardust?

Ziggy. Marty even celebrates Hours..., which charted at no. 4 in Norway 13 years ago. 

 or Forever Lazy?

Forever Lazy is far more fashionable. Snuggies make people look like disheveled wizards. 

Shake-Weight or Shake-Weight commercial DVD?

Commercial DVD. I tried a shake-weight at a yard sale once, and it wasn't even mildly humorous. 

Chevy Chase or Bill Murray?

While I love old Chevy Chase, Bill Murray's staying power is beyond compare. 

Santa's sleigh or Santa's beard?

Beard. Santa is nothing without it. 

Nutcracker or Nativity Play?

Nativity set. They're timeless, even for heathens like me. 
Velvet stockings or thigh-high Uggs?
Velvet. The Costanza way.

Ugly Christmas sweater or Santa-suit underoos?

Everybody goes with "ugly" Christmas sweaters these days, so why not Santa underoos?

A winter wonderland or Christmas in Hawaii?

Winter wonderland. I wish to God it snowed in Chico.

At least you'll make it snow indoors again this year at "Christmas is the BEST!" I know I can't wait!

As Proven By Amoeba In-Store with DJ QBert, Justin BUA's The Legends of Hip-Hop Displays Unbridled Respect for the Hip-Hop DJ

Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2011 10:57am | Post a Comment
DJ Qbert & Justin BUA @ Amoeba Hollywood Nov 17, holding up the image of the DJ by BUA

Considering that Justin Bua's iconic 2001 The DJ poster art is the renowned contemporary artist's most recognizable piece of art (not to mention the best selling poster art of all time) it was most fitting that the artist known as BUA should have invited DJ QBert,  the world's greatest DJ artist, to join him at his recent Amoeba Hollywood instore on November 17th in honor of BUA's must-get new book The Legends of Hip-Hop (Harper Design) that includes DJ QBert among the fifty hip-hop figures carefully chosen by BUA as subjects that capture & represent the very essence of hip-hop culture in his eyes.

Described as an intimate look at the visionaries, the movers and the shakers, and the pioneers who have helped shape the world of hip hop signed copies by BUA and Qbert of this must get book are available online from Amoeba for $34.99. Among the diverse array of other hip-hop figures chosen by BUA to portray in his unique self-described Distorted Urban Realism style of art are Jay Z, James Brown, President Obama (hip-hop's first president), and  Run DMC (BUA joins DMC from the legendary hip-hop group at LACMA on Monday for another free event tied into his new book - for full info scroll down). In addition to Run DMC's late great DJ Jam Master Jay and DJ QBert, other DJs honored in the book include Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash.
BUA readily recognizes that without DJs, in particular Kool Herc who created hip-hop, there could be no hip-hop and he has always had great respect for turntable masters like QBert. "I grew up around DJs. I know DJs. I love hip-hop. I'm a  graffiti writer. I'm a b-boy and I just love this type of icon," he said of his iconic The DJ which "turned out to be one of the most popular poster images of all time." Of his inspiration to do The DJ art a decade ago he said, "I wanted to do something that was representative of my culture and that was it." Hence to have QBert perform at the Amoeba instore "was really awesome" he said via phone recently. "It was spectacular being there at Amoeba with DJ QBert and having both the real music heads and the art lovers all together in one place was a beautiful thing," said the proud New Yorker who has lived in LA for several years now, teaches Figure Drawing in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Southern California, and calls LA "the second best city in the world."

I asked BUA how tough was it narrowing down his subjects for The Legends of Hip Hop down to just 50 and were there many that he didn't get to include in the book? "Yes absolutely there were a lot of legends from a historical point of view that were not reflected in my book" he said due to space requirements noting how those included are all, "Personal legends without whom I wouldn't be the person I am and I think a lot of people in this culture wouldn't be the people they are without these people. Every single person in this book is a tsunami of the culture. In other words everyone in this book has affected the culture in a seminal way such as Run DMC. If you didn't have Run DMC then hip-hop doesn't go global. If you don't have no James Brown then there really is no hip-hop because we took all of his samples. We took all of his footwork. We took all of his grunts, his moves, his music and we use them on turntables. We use them to dance to. He is the most sampled artist in the history of hip-hop. So without people like that you don't have the culture."

A hardcover book that would make the excellent holiday or anytime gift for that true hip-hop fan The Legends of Hip-Hop is available from Amoeba for $34.99 - signed copies by Bua and QBert while supplies last. BUA's artwork is accompanied by an engaging autobiographical narrative in which he talks about the impact of each figure on him personally and hip-hop at large. As you might have guessed Public Enemy are also included in his book. "Oh yeah Public Enemy is in there," BUA told me, adding that. "In fact Chuck D actually wrote my forward which is a really beautiful forward." 

December 8, 2011: 50/50

Posted by phil blankenship, December 8, 2011 11:29pm | Post a Comment

Amoebapalooza SF done Decked them Halls at Cafe du Nord!

Posted by Kells, December 8, 2011 10:42pm | Post a Comment
Right about now some of us here at Amoeba Music are probably experiencing disconcerting flash-backs of last Sunday nights' Amoebapalooza 2011 extravaganza - our annual variety show / collaborative fete wherein we Amoebites take all of our informed musical tastes and influences and toss them in in a blender with extra heaping helping of dysfunctional family sentiments and exhibitionist zeal often resulting in a veritable battle-of-the-bands whodunnit of epic proportions. For those who couldn't make it, and for those who can't remember exactly what happened, I'm here to commit all of my impressions and observations to the interwebs via personal recollection rendered threadbare by copious rum consumption. [photos by Kaitlin Layher]

First up, right on schedule, we had the elusive "powered by crystals" act Liquid Karma. Now, I know what you're probably thinking - "Liquid Karma? The all-natural plant growth stimulant?" No, silly! I'm talking about the signed-up-by-his-no-good-co-worker, one-man, guru-level experimental drone-core laptop wizard that opened Amoebapalooza 2011 - guess you had to be there, man. The only way he could've improved his performance is with the addition of a fog-machine. I really liked his senior shades.

Following Liquid Karma's wall of WTF we had the good fortune to enjoy fifteen delicious minutes of SCHNITZELKLIT - a newlywed duo performing songs like "Blue Moon" and a heart-swelling rendition of David Lynch's and Angelo Badalamenti's Fire Walk With Me slow jam "Sycamore Trees," complete with an on-hand portable tape recorder playing the sax solo to lend a true Twin Peaks air to the affair. Lovely indeed!

After that we had our very own self-styled "Jesus with a bun" Gabi Back strumming out a solid set of poignant acoustic covers what closed with an especially emotional rendition of Radiohead's "Lucky" proving that, within the span of just three brief acts, the spectrum of musical tastes and talents of our Amoeba brethren is as enthusiastic as it is expansive.

The next act in the line up took their love of George Harrison to new heights as Darkhorse: the one man/three women tribute act that featured our resident Jazz-man/Metal dude/Kate Bush enthusiast (every record store should have one) on guitar, steaming up the inside of his GH mask as he shredded his through the acoustic set accompanied by a Kaitlin, our lady of the Darkhorse tattoo on drums and vocals, with further vocal accompanyment provided by Amoeba ladies both dear and fair of voice. Everyone of them in some way sporting a likeness of Mr. Harrison. I know that sounds like kooky fun, and it totally was, but there are unfortunately no pictures the act to make true said observation. [sigh] I hope the images above, them kooky masks and Kait's Darkhorse tat, make up for it even if it's just a little bit.

What came next was a blast of
rhythmic, Hella-reminiscent sonic chaos called Shark Taint. These guys could blast the antlers off an antilope with their meditative approach to cacophonous cadence, you know, the sort of music-making that requires one to stretch out with one's feelings to accomplish. That's right, I'm referring to Jedi jams. Shark Taint are Jedi jams. Again: you had to be there.

Following Shark Taint came the always, ALWAYS, unpredictable, barely-explainable, inexcusable use of phrase and fecundity, the illusive Aqua Buddha. Clearly he missed the cosmic bus and took his act on the road for a long strange trip that I'm sure he'll never be returning from if his macaroni macrame sweater-vest and orange bermuda shorts emblazoned with pot leaf motifs are any indication. I'm pretty sure his arsenal of harmonicas and high-octane strobe light were employed as talismans to either aid or mask his true intentions: hypnosis of the entire audience. The barometer of success can prove tricky to read when it seems everyone's drinking the kool-aid.

The next act, Vanishing Breed, pretty much made my night; booze-fueled, hard n' heavy roadhouse rock, revved up and sweaty, just the way it should be. It should be noted here that the timing of the line-up had begun to run ahead of schedule allowing for Vanishing Breed to pound out another riff-heavy, proto-metal punch of American hard-rock; think Mountain meets, well, Black Mountain on account of the dual male/female vocal assult. A band that I'm definitely stoked to catch again!

Now, I find myself in a bit of a pickle when it comes to this next act, the Tree Skirts, as it is both near and dear to my heart in more ways than one: it's Christmas-y, and of course Christmas is the best, but it's also a collaboration between one of my very best friends and myself so I risk a breach of decorum when I say that while we may not be the greatest Christmas-twisted-karaoke act out there on this great green earth, we definitely don't suck. I mean, you don't have to be a genius to re-write stupid seasonal lyrics over Lady GaGa's already vapid verses in order to transform her mega-hit "Judas" into our holiday mix. The Mary Jane Girls aren't safe either; depending how you look at it "All Night Long" is basically about offering oneself to meet Santa up on the rooftop in place of milk and cookies. Our sexy holiday take on that jam basically wrote itself and that is precisely what makes us so good, er, not suck - we find a good thing and make it better i.e. so Christmas-y it leaves a stain baby!

And now, a welcome return back to our regular programming with a look back at the Soda Jerks, a hip trio lead by rock-floor dude Matthew possessing of a jangly sensibility compounded by nerdy good looks, quirky pop-rocking hooks and tricky time signatures. Another band worth checking out if you see their name in the billings! It was around this time that I remember marveling yet again at the scope of artful genius that keeps the big wheel turning back at our music mill while, at the same time, beginning to feel a little like the bar was beginning to eat me.

Just like it was meant to be, the Soda Jerks were followed by a band of similar tastes but differing flavors lead by "DVD-room" floor man Aaron under the name Windham Flat. Similarly peopled by dashing young men, Windham Flat's sound is melodic indie-rock fresh outta the garage. Yet another band I'm excited to hear play again, especially as the tight schedule allowed for only a sampling of their tunes.

Now, the last band was billed as
James Taylor Marked For Death, but they'd been rechristened The Foggs by the time they hit the stage last Sunday night - a name that rang more true to their rousing, raw tribute to the Troggs. I know they played more than a few songs but the party hit powerhouse status during their set and despite their readiness with an encore it seemed that the party was over all to early by the time the Foggs had dispersed. Then again, their dissipation only signaled that inevitable setting-in of another kind of fogginess; lets just say that it wasn't me that tried to climb into an adjacent Christmas tree lot to lay down with the evergreens because their seasonal scent was blissfully inebriating, no. I didn't rip my dress on that chain-link fence either. Nevertheless, Happy Holidays from Amoeba Music and cheers to another lively, successful Amoebapalooza everyone!

New School of Seven Bells Single Released - Free MP3

Posted by Amoebite, December 8, 2011 06:14pm | Post a Comment
School of Seven Bells
School of Seven Bells just released "The Night," the first single from their forthcoming third album, Ghostory. The album features SVIIB's signature dreampop influenced by ‘80s pop, shoegaze, and ambient electronic music. But it's also kind of a concept album in that it tells the story of a young girl named Lafaye and the ghosts that surround her life.

Free download
Free download of "The Night" by School of Seven Bells.

School of Seven Bells is vocalist Alejandra Deheza, formerly of On!Air!Library, and guitarist/producer Benjamin Curtis, a former member of Secret Machines and Tripping Daisy. They formed in 2007 in Brooklyn, New York with Alejandra's twin sister Claudia (who left the band in 2010). Their debut album, Alpinisms (Ghostly International), was released in October 2008. Their second full-length album, Disconnect From Desire, was released in July 2010 on Vagrant Records. Ghostory is out February 28, 2012 on Vagrant Records/Ghostly International.

Alpinisms disconnect from desire

Watch our What's In My Bag? video with Alejandra & Benjamin:

The Vinyl Frontier #3 - Surf Music!

Posted by Joe Goldmark, December 8, 2011 02:45pm | Post a Comment

To check out extensive LP label and price guides, head to the Vinyl Beat website!

When Jimi Hendrix joked that “you’ll never hear surf music again,” in his song “Third Stone from the Sun,” he was only four years removed from the heyday of the surf music craze. However in 1967, with psychedelic music flourishing in the midst of the hippie movement, surf music seemed incredibly square and white, like ancient history.

Surf music started out as reverb-drenched instrumental garage music by the likes of Dick Dale and The Bel-Aires and was centered in Southern California. In 1961, The Beach Boys recorded the song “Surfin’,” and a genre was born. By 1964, car themes were also included.

Living in California, there’s still an abundance of surf related vinyl to be found in your favorite record haunts. At Amoeba, there’s also many vinyl reissues of classic albums, such as the Sundazed Dick Dale series. And we recently enjoyed having Brian Wilson sign his Smile reissue at the S.F. and Hollywood stores.

Here’s some live clips of the original hits:

Pipeline - The Chantays

Surf City - Jan & Dean

December 7, 2011: My Week With Marilyn

Posted by phil blankenship, December 7, 2011 11:31pm | Post a Comment

Raw, Uncut, Grassroots, Ghetto, and Anti-Corporate: JR Valrey's Block Reportin'

Posted by Billyjam, December 7, 2011 09:46am | Post a Comment

Many in the Bay Area already know radio & print journalist JR Valrey from his tireless work with both KPFA radio and the Bay View newspaper in San Francisco but others beyond the Bay have also been finding out about him in recent months courtesy of his book Block Reportin'

Valrey's 300+ page book  features an impressive array of interviews with such  subjects as Paul Mooney, Gil Scott Heron, Umar Bin Hasan, Cynthia McKinney Lil D, Mos Def, and Freeway Ricky Ross.

These engaging interviews, like Valrey's radio show which is accurately described as being "pertinent to the survival of Black and Brown oppressed people," were culled from KPFA broadcasts by Valrey who has worked at the Pacifica station for a decade.

Recently I caught up with Valrey to ask him about his work with KPFA, the content of his book Block Reportin', and various other topics that the scholar spends time researching and presenting for his listeners/readers.

For those who may know little about you can you break down your role in the community and your personal history - things like KPFA and Bay View newspaper?

JR Valrey: I am a journalist from East Oakland California, who specializes in radio, print, journalism, and overtly fights for what I believe in. In my teenage years I was fortunate enough to meet other journalists who stood for something that helped me learn my craft, as well as they debated with me about how I saw the world; people like Davey D, Kevin Weston, Malcolm Marshall, Dev Ross, Ri'Chard Magee, Anita Johnson, and yourself among others. About ten years ago, I started working with the San Francisco Bay View New, a national Black newspaper based in the Hunter's Point district, the biggest Black community in the city. I gradually worked my way up from writer, to additionally being the main photographer, to the Associate Editor. The one-time weekly turned monthly shrunk, so my work load was sliced, but I still contribute regularly to this newspaper.

Continue reading...

New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood 12/6 - Nuel, Soundstream, Caretaker, Redshape, LFO, Silent Servant, Morgan Gesit, John Daly and more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 6, 2011 11:59pm | Post a Comment

Trance Mutation LP
Further Records

Recorded in just one week, “Trance Mutation” is a departure from the sound of Aquaplano and one that delves into experimental territory. The result is a beautiful rhythmic and textured journey through the mind of Manuel Fogliata.

Purchase Trance Mutation here:

Sound Sampler 12"

One of the most magical & original house projects with deep roots in classic Chicago House offers its multiple facets on one EP .

Purchase Sound Sampler 12" here:

Storm Queen
It Goes On 12"

Morgan Geist returns with his Storm Queen project with another anthemic vocal jam, limited vinyl only release!

Purchase It Goes On here:

The Sea and Cake Return to LA

Posted by Billy Gil, December 6, 2011 05:37pm | Post a Comment
Chicago's The Sea and Cake are one of those bands who embody indie rock to me, as college rock staples and diehards who've been around since the '90s, take breaks when they need to and come back without the fuss of a "reunion," so to speak. Instead, they keep turning out solid-to-great records, like this year's The Moonlight Butterfly, which updates their fluid jazzy post-rock with electronic touches inspired by frontman Sam Prekop's electronic solo work. I sat down with Prekop before their show at The Troubador Dec. 6. (And if you missed it, Amoeba gave away tickets to the show - follow the Twitter for more giveaways.)

PST: After the band's hiatus in the mid-2000s, there seems to have been a renewed sense of urgency and energy and productivity to the band. Can you tell me about that, why that break may have been necessary and how the band has regrouped and proceeded?

Prekop: I did a solo record in that time, and those usually take more time than I expect. John McEntire did Tortoise stuff during that time. Archer [Prewitt] played on my solo record. But as time is escaping and by the time you get back to it it's like, oh no. ... I remember the first week or so being really difficult, but we fell pretty quickly into it after that. ... If I ever take a break where I don't make music, I don't know what that'd be like.

PST: Can you talk about the recording of The Moonlight Butterfly? What did you guys do differently on this record?

Prekop: I think we went into not feeling like we had to make a full-length record, which in our mind is 10 songs (Note: For the record, The Moonlight Butterfly stretches past half an hour in length). For whatever reason, I wanted to get it out by a certain time. We were pleased with the results and didn't leave anything off. ... It's liberating to do different kinds of stuff. Yo'ure off the hook to do whatever you want [on an EP].

PST: Is there already new material ready for another record? What can you tell me about the new material so far?

Prekop: It's not quite in the works. I'm just now starting to write stuff. ... I do have a lot of work to do. The qualities and ideas of The Moonlight Butterfly will probably rub off, particularly with "Inn Keeping." ... The ideas from the modular synth record I made (Old Punch Card) were on The Moonlight Butterfly. As a result of that, I feel like "Inn Keeping" is the sort of "new."

What has it been like to perform with bands like Broken Social Scene, who in particular have been influenced by you?

Prekop: It's interesting. Kevin [Drew] especially is a huge Sea and Cake fan and is not quiet about it. So it was quite pleasant and quite taxing after a while because it's like hanging out with a superfan 24/7. It's interesting to see them take it to an arena level. It's nice to see.

Close to the Edge: Interview With Author Sujatha Fernandes

Posted by Billyjam, December 6, 2011 09:26am | Post a Comment
Close to the Edge is Sujatha Fernandes' (left) recently published book on hip-hop culture. Like the two other books by this Australian born, former emcee, turned author and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Queens College, NY & the Graduate Center, City University of New York - Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, And The Making of New Revolutionary Cultures and Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela - Close to the Edge views hip-hop and its undeniable cultural impact from a very wide global perspective.

As someone who has travelled the world extensively as both a hip-hop artist and a journalist Fernandes is more than qualified to tackle this topic and as a result delivers a most engaging work that is part hip-hop tale and part travel guide. Being that these are two of my personal favorite things in life - traveling and listening to hip-hop, and that I really enjoyed reading her book I was psyched to be able to catch up and interview Fernandes who, from reading her book, realized that I know her first cousin back in Sydney Australia.

Amoeblog: What are some of the greatest offerings that been an on-the-go globetrotting hip-hop observer has given you?

Sujatha Fernandes: Traveling with hip hop was like wearing a badge that allowed me to avoid the tourist lane and check in to some less worn and usually more interesting paths. I had the luck that I arrived in each of the different cities in the book at a time when their respective hip hop cultures were at a peak, and I got to see and meet some real legends and characters in each place. There’s also nothing like the craziness of hip hop travel to make you profoundly reassess your life. When I found myself – a long-time supporter of the Cuban revolution – threatening a Cuban official by making reference to my American credentials, I knew I had to get a grip.

The Art of the LP Cover- Little Richard (Happy 79th!)

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 5, 2011 01:52pm | Post a Comment

Happy Birthday, Little Richard

Posted by Billyjam, December 5, 2011 11:35am | Post a Comment
Little Richard and band perform "Lucille"

Today December 5th, 2011 rock n roll living legend Little Richard celebrates his 79th birthday. The justifiably self-proclaimed "architect of rock and roll," whose influences are wide and reaching up to this day, began his music career back in the 1940's while he was still in his teens but it wasn't until the mid 1950's, under the mentorship of Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, that the artist born Richard Wayne Penniman's career took off in a major way. That was when he unleashed his full on wild showman delivery of funk fused rock n roll unlike anyone else, and cranked a jaw-dropping series of hit singles (two and a half dozen hit singles in a three year period!).

These Little Richard hits included such time worn rock n roll classics as "Tutti Frutti," "Rip It Up", "Lucille" (above), "Jenny, Jenny", "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Keep A-Knockin'." You can find these plus many more Little Richard gems on various releases at Amoeba Music (his official discography lists approximately 50 album releases over the decades including many Christian/gospel ones) but personally I find his greatest hits packages such as 2006's Little Richard 20 Greatest Hits CD to always be good reliable purchases - and good holiday gift ideas too.

One + One = Godard Roundtable

Posted by Charles Reece, December 5, 2011 09:11am | Post a Comment

I'll be participating in a roundtable on Jean-Luc Godard over at The Hooded Utilitarian. My own piece (appearing this Friday) will be on his mixture of radical democracy, black militancy and the Rolling Stones, 1968's One Plus One (aka Sympathy for the Devil). The whole shebang has begun with a lovely introductory essay by Caroline Small. Check it out!

December 4, 2011: Hugo 3D

Posted by phil blankenship, December 4, 2011 10:28pm | Post a Comment

December 3, 2011: Shame

Posted by phil blankenship, December 3, 2011 10:31pm | Post a Comment

December 2, 2011: The Yellow Sea

Posted by phil blankenship, December 2, 2011 11:33pm | Post a Comment

CBS News Interviews Amoeba Owner Marc Weinstein

Posted by Amoebite, December 2, 2011 02:50pm | Post a Comment
CBS News recently spoke with Amoeba co-owner Marc Weinstein at Amoeba San Francisco about the origins of Amoeba, wanting to build the ultimate independent record store, and our plans for the future. It's a pretty nifty piece about Amoeba. Unfortunately, the video isn't embeddable, but you can watch it here.

Marc on CBS

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 12.02.11: E-Lit, Dregs One, Eligh & Amp Live, Doomtree, Jet Life, Senor Kaos + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 2, 2011 09:18am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Berkeley Top Five Week Ending: 12:02:11

1) Eligh & Amp Live Therapy At 3 ( Legendary Music/Live Up/Traffic)

2) Doomtree No Kings (Lazerbeak)

3) Jet Life Jet World Order (Jets International / iHipHop Distribution)

4) Senor Kaos The Kaos Effect (High Water Music)

5) Dregs One The Wake Up Call (Infinite Potential)

Thanks to E-Lit for always been on top of everything new in hip-hop including lots of under the radar releases and for this week's top five and run down of new releases. See video above for E-Lit's overview which includes the brand new collaboration Therapy At 3 between Living Legends emcee Eligh and Zion I producer Amp Live, Curren$y's Jet Life crew's new release Jet World Order, and Senor Kaos' The Kaos Effect. Also on the new top five is the midwest hip-hop collective Doomtree's new joint recording No Kings (available on CD and vinyl) and including such Doomtree talents as P.O.S. and Dessa.

The Art of the LP Cover- Original Sin

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 1, 2011 11:40pm | Post a Comment

 Holy Apple from Golan / Globus classic The Apple

out this week...11/21 & 11/29...soundtracks!!!...the artist...a dangerous method...the muppets...hugo...war horse...the descendants...the skin I live in...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 1, 2011 05:45pm | Post a Comment
It is now December 1st and officially the last month of the year. Only Twenty Four Days until Christmas. And the Oscars are just around the corner. The Golden Globe Nominations come out Thursday December 15th. The Golden Globes Ceremony is Sunday January 15th. The Oscar Nominees are announced Tuesday January 24th. And the Oscars are on Sunday February 26th. Most of the nominated movies are released in these last couple of months of the year. And most of these movies have some great scores and soundtracks to go along with them. I like to think of it as soundtrack season as well. I almost love soundtracks as much as I love movies. It really is one of my favorite things about watching movies. The music is often what really makes me fall in love with the music. It is those cinematic moments with no dialogue and just the music that I really appreciate most.

Two of my favorite movies of the year so far came out a couple of months ago. Both Beginners and Drive are two of my favorites and they both have great soundtracks to go along with them. The Drive Soundtrack features songs from The Chromatics and Desire and an amazing score by Cliff Martinez. Beginners features songs from Jelly Roll Morton, Josephine Baker, and Mamie Smith. Another one of my favorite films of the year was the latest by Woody Allen. However, Midnight in Paris did not get a proper soundtrack release. The Soundtracks to Drive and Beginners are out now..



Peaches Christ Presents Heeeeeeere’s Christmas: THE SHINING Holiday Spectacular, 12/17 in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 1, 2011 12:16pm | Post a Comment

The Shinning Christmas Peaches Christ San Francisco Castro Jack Nicholson

Join Peaches Christ at the Castro Theatre on December 17th for a Christmas extravaganzaPeaches Christ Christmas bloody screening of THE SHINING featuring the "Torrance Family Christmas Review" stage-show hosted by Jack, Wendy, and Danny Torrance. Be afraid! Be very afraid. The stage-show stars Peaches Christ and the Midnight Mass Players with special guest numbers by "The Twins," "Lady In A Bath-tub," and more!

Dress up for the Crazy Christmas Costume Contest f where your mentally ill wardrobe can win big prizes, and be ready to barely make it out alive. 

Doors at 7:00pm, festivities at 8:00pm. Rated R.

Get your tickets here!

West Coast Hip Hop: A History in Pictures: Book Gets Kickstarted

Posted by Billyjam, December 1, 2011 09:35am | Post a Comment
As with so many music and book publishing projects in these challenging economic times Paul Stewart's small LA based publishing company Over The Edge Books is turning to Kickstarter to help launch the excellent hip-hop photo book West Coast Hip Hop: A History in Pictures by veteran music photographer Michael Miller. The photo-journalist, who was in LA as well as other West Coast spots, during hip-hop's golden era and beyond, has compiled an impressive collection that offers an invaluable view of the key West Coast hip-hop artists of the era including Ice Cube, NWA, Too $hort, Cypress Hill, 2Pac, Snoop Doggy Dogg, House Of Pain, Souls of Mischief, Coolio - most of which were shot for album covers and have gone on to become iconic symbols of that historic era in hip-hop music. The publication of the limited edition book, which has already surpassed its Kickstarter goals, will coincide with many of the book's photos been exhibited in galleries in both California and New York City. This week I caught up with publisher Paul Stewart, who has a long rich music history, and photojournalist Michael Miller, who has also worked with non hip-hop artists, to ask them each about the book and the hip-hop history presents.