Also, it must be said that this record rates high on the list of apropos album artwork in relation to the record's overall sound. But don't take my word for it, find out for yourself! Click play on the album's opening track below and have a long, lingering look at that cover photo. Careful now, overexposure might lead to excessive use of the word "vibe" as a verb and an unconscious referral to the word "energy" in the plural form.
Vanity pressings and small labels have always floated just under the surface of the platters you’d see in Billboard. My friends made some back in those days. Faces filled of hope, fame and just plain good-old personal righteousness. Words like “Real People”, “Outsider”, “Loner Folk”, “Xain Psych”, and “Steakhouse pressing” are just some of the many tags tossed about now about this history. And they’re filled with samples galore if you dig that sort of thing. Who doesn’t need a 5-second turnaround out of a live version of “Raindrops Are Fallin’ On My Head”?
These are not the Holy-Grail garage records. These aren’t the $1000 regional soul records. Just “real people" doing hard work and craft, and they're all available on Amoeba’s site to the first-come! Just click the title and see if they’re still there.
Journeys Out Of The Body
Nada Pulse Records U.K. 1983
unique slice of gay Black history engagingly told through a recently-presented collection of photos of black male couples over a century and a half. The collection was carefully complied from the archives of historian Trent Kelly who researched and collected Hidden in the Open's 146 rare vintage photographs of gay Black couples and some that include their (loving) families. One of the photos featured is even included as the lead photo in Job O Brother's Black [gay] History Month Amoeblog recently posted.
These historic photographs, spanning a wide 150 year period in black (and gay) history, are especially significant from a black historical context because, "Historically, the Afro American gay male and couple has largely been defined by everyone but themselves," as historian Kelly says of his rare photo collection. "Afro American gay men are ignored into nonexistence in parts of black culture and are basically second class citizens in gay culture."
These photos also present fashions of the various time periods in black history. In his introduction to Hidden in the Open, Kelly notes how, "the black church, which has historically played a fundamental role in protesting against civil injustices toward its parishioners, has been want to deny its gay members their right to live a life free and open without prejudice. Despite public projections of a 'rainbow' community living together in harmonious co-habitation, openly active and passive prejudices exist in the larger gay community against gay Afro Americans."
BLACKS IN MEXICAN AND EARLY AMERICAN LOS ANGELES
Pio Pico ca. 1890
During the period that Los Angeles was part of Mexico (1821-1840), blacks were fairly integrated into society at all levels. Mexico abolished slavery much earlier than the US, in 1820. In 1831, Emanuel Victoria served as California's first black governor. Alta California's last governor, Pío de Jesus Pico, was also of mixed black ancestry. The US won the Mexican-American War and in 1850, California was admitted to the United States. Although one of America's so-called "free states," discriminatory legislation was quickly enacted to restrict and remove the civil rights of blacks, Chinese, and Native Americans. For example, blacks (and other minorities) couldn't testify in court against white people.
Chilean MC Ana Tijoux is releasing her new album, La Bala (Nacional Records), on January 31. I've been eagerly waiting its arrival, curious to hear it and witness her evolution.
I first became familiar with Tijoux through her What's In My Bag? video and the infectious title track from her last album, "1977." One of the things that most interested me about her What's In My Bag? video came toward the end - a conversation about where to file her music in Amoeba, in Latin Pop or Hip-Hop. She views Hip-Hop as one language, regardless of whether the actual words are in English, French, Spanish or whatever. But she is also aware that she is representing Latin America (and Latin American Hip-Hop) to the world.
Tijoux, who was born in France to a French mother and Chilean father, raps and sings in Spanish and French. She released two albums in the late '90s with a Chilean Hip-Hop group Makiza and then collaborated with Mexican singer/songwriter Julieta Venegas. They had a hit with "Eres Para Mi" from Venegas' 2006 album, Limon y Sal. Tijoux's 2007 solo debut album, Kaos (Oveja Negra), earned her nominations for "Best New Artist" and "Best Urban Artist" by the MTV Latin America VMAs. She received further acclaim and success, particulary in the US, with her outstanding album, 1977 (Nacional, 2010). She toured like crazy, including performing at South by Southwest and Lollapallooza, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban album.
These are films that I either suffered through, or whose trailers assaulted me while waiting to see something else.
Not So Bad Once You Get to Know Them
These are two individuals who made careers out of dehumanizing others. Yet, we're supposed to sympathize with them because one was a repressed gay man and the other a woman who faced off against men and is now suffering from Alzheimer's. Fuck them both. There are many legitimate ways to approach biopics about interestingly evil people (e.g. Downfall), but a liberalized understanding is not one of them.
I've previously expressed my horror at seeing simple 2D cartoonish figures rendered in photorealistic 3D detail. Who needs to count the black lines in Scooby's iris or see the snot dripping from his nose to get into the plot? But this grotesque disfiguration has really reached its aesthetic nadir with Spielberg's adaptation of the comic famous for its clear line style, HergÃ©'s TinTin. Rather than believe Spielberg can't see how hideous these deformed monsters look, I suspect that this kind of adaptation is really a simulation of a live action adaptation. Ultimately, it's a portent of a later stage of the technological revolution in which actors and much of the old film crew will be out of a job. A perfectly realistic CG star can't join a union. Of course, that'll only happen if they can digitally create the voices, too, which brings me to why the Muppets are dead and should not be brought back as zombies. Maybe Gallagher and Sam Kinison can be safely simulated by a close relative, but there is no muppet without the original muppeteer. Kermit and Fozzie might look the same, but they're obviously defective clones, being revealed as recovering stroke victims upon opening their mouths. (Not that I've ever been much of a fan of the Muppet movies, which tend to identify more with the lame humans than the characters of interest.)
My guiltiest pleasure in Latin music has to be the songs written by Marco Antonio Solis during the years he was fronting Los Bukis. There is not a time when a Bukis song comes blasting out of a car or jukebox in a Mexican restaurant/bar where I don’t smile inside. Solis was the master of the balada, or ballads. Although Los Bukis music will forever be dated by their matching suits and that stock 80’s Latin Pop sound, the core of his songs were brilliant.
I didn’t always feel that way. One of my first jobs out of high school in the late 80's was working at a warehouse that custom cut various pieces of foam for Aerospace companies. It was there I discovered a few things. The first thing I discovered is that manual labor sucks. The pay was bad and so were the early work hours for someone who was in the mist of his partying years. The upside is that I had no stress. I lived cheaply and the hours of mindless repetition of cutting and rolling foam around a tube left my mind free to be creative. I wrote songs and stories frequently in my head, sometimes writing my ideas quickly on any scratch piece of paper during my fifteen-minute break.
I discovered that this foam we had called Temper-Foam, was great to sleep on. It was used for the Space Shuttle for shock absorption. We used it to nap on during our half an hour lunch break. I would immediately knock out once I laid down on it. If I had a late gig the night before I wouldn’t have time to sleep. I’d go straight to work and that 30- minute nap made me feel like I slept all night. We now know it as Tempur-Pedic, the company that makes expensive beds and pillows.
Ethel Merman’s voice makes my stomach acids sour and the very idea of shopping for clothes gives me a panic attack; despite these and other suspicious facts, I am a member of the LGBT community. For this reason, the issue of equal rights is ever-present in my mind.
There’s been a lot written and said about comparing the history of intolerance between racial minorities and the gay community, most especially in late 2008 when Prop. 8 was passed in the state of California amidst reports that large numbers of black people, urged by their church heads, voted to end the briefly instituted marriage equality of the state.
There were, of course, many exceptions to this and I don’t mean to angle this as a blacks-versus-gays situation – it's far more complicated than anything I'll do justice to here – but it did shine a light on an issue that often ruffles feathers. Knowing my place here on the Amoeblog as “light entertainment,” I will eschew any prolonged essays on the matter (for great, long-winded crap like that you should check out Charles Reece’s blog), but I will say that equal rights for all people is not only a victimless proposition, it’s one that benefits all people. Whether you think it’s appropriate to compare the struggle for gay equality with those of racial minorities, the fact is that everyone should have the same basic, human rights.
It would be one thing if a child was struck with bone marrow cancer every time two lesbians kissed, but kids, that’s just not the way it is and the sooner we let the gays get married, the sooner they can set up homes that will raise the property value of your block.
1) Gangrene Vodka and Ayahuasca (Decon)
2) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)
3) Moka Only & Chief Crickets (Feelin Music)
4) The Roots Undun (MCA)
5) Lazerbeak Lava Bangers (Doomtree)
Thanks again to diehard hip-hop music fanatic E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for this week's top five chart plus overview of some of the new releases for this exciting new year in hip-hop including the brand new 20 track Lazerbeak album Lava Bangers from the gifted member of the midwest hip-hop collective Doomtree who coincidentally will be doing a special Amoeba Music Berkeley in-store on Monday, Jan 30th 2012 in advance of their Slims San Francisco show the following night, Jan 31st. They will also be playing Santa Cruz the following night (Feb 1st) at the Catalyst (show info here) and Hollywood's Troubadour on Thursday Feb 2nd on a recommended bill with 2Mex. If you are in the East Bay on Monday (Jan 30th) do yourself a favor and stop into Amoeba Berkeley for the Doomtree family in-store since, as E Lit points out in the above video, it will be a great opportunity to meet and chat with such collective talents as Dessa, P.O.S., Sims, and Lazerbeak. More Doomtree Amoeba in-store info here
Welcome to the kick-off of the 2012 Black History Month Amoeblog series in which, over the upcoming month of February 2012, we will honor Black History Month via a series of blogs covering an array of black history and culture pieces from the various Amoeblog contributors. This latest Amoeblog series will continue the tradition of honoring Black History Month here on the Amoeblog not just in February but all year round with pieces such as Eric Brightwell's thought-provoking Happy MLK Day. Yo, whatever happened to peace? Amoeblog from two weeks ago. Eric Brighwell will be among the many of us Amoebloggers posting articles on Black History Month. Oakland author / journalist / broadcaster JR Valrey, who was recently profiled here on the Amoeblog about his latest book Block Reportin', will be a guest Amoeblogger for Black History Month and contribute an article on his views on black history and culture titled The Black Experience Study Guide: My Top 7 Books, Movies, and Albums for Black History Month. I plan on posting several Black History Month 2012 Amoeblogs including this one on the highly recommended, recently released The Black Power Mixtape DVD.
Join Amoeba Music and Noise Pop from February 21st - February 26th for a toast to two decades of independent culture in the Bay Area. This year's musical lineup includes The Flaimin Lips, Built to Spill, Archers of Loaf, Cursive, Die Antwoord, Bob Mould, Surfer Blood, Grimes, Budos Band, The Fresh & Onlys, Release The Sunbirdand, so much more. But that's not all! Noisepop 2012 also boasts impressive art shows all around town, a rockin' film series with screenings at the Roxie and Artists Television Access (ATA) (read more about that HERE), a festive pop-up shop (located in The Bold Italic Headquarters at 34 Page Street) that's just brimming withevents, and the Culture Club happenings at Public Works.
For more info on Blaze Foley check out the Secret Seven record release profile here, read about his biography Living In The Woods In A Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley by Sybil Rosen here and check out info on the documentary film, Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah, here. There is also a special episode of the Astral Maps podcast dedicated to the works of Blaze Foley, featuring a guest appearance by Greg Gardener - the man behind the curtains at Secret Seven records, here. Incidentally, if you ever just want to talk it out concerning your esteem for lost country greats, all things Blaze and/or outlaw country in general be sure to seek out Astral Maps podcasters Andrew K. and Sterling the next time you visit Amoeba Music in San Francisco, feel free to let 'em know I sent ya!
Blaze Foley documentary trailer
Watch this video to hear it from the band themselves — your donation helps pay for flights, visas, transportation and even the mixing and mastering of the album. So if you'd like to donate, head to IndieGoGo and place a donation. You'll get more than just the satisfaction of helping a young local band play for the NME set: a $5 donation gets you a rare So Many Wizards B-side; a $10 donation gets you a free digital copy of the new album the day it is finished; a $20 donation gets you their complete digital discography; a $30 donation gets you the discography and a T-shirt; and a $50 donation gets both a signed copy of the "Inner City/Best Friends 7" and a signed copy of the full-length CD, along with the other perks. More donation packages are avaialble upwards of $50 as well. So help them make it happen!
All sidewalk sales are final. Store credit cannot be used to purchase items from the sidewalk sale.
Yesterday after stopping by Amoeba Music Berkeley to talk with E-Lit at the East Bay Amoeba about the new hip-hop releases of the week (check back here on Friday for the latest Hip-Hop Weekly Rap Up Amoeblog) I ran into local indie hip-hop talent Celsius 7 outside the store on Telegraph Avenue who - on the spot - did the above freestyle rap. Celsius 7, who has been interviewed here on the Amoeblog a couple of times including five years ago around the time he released his debut solo album Wanderlust, officially began his hip-hop career back in 1995 when he formed the group Psychokinetics along with his best friend Domingo (aka Spidey). The group, that soonafter added iLL MEDia and Dj Denizen to the lineup, never officially broke up but haven't done anything as a crew in years.
Without Psychokinetics Celsius 7 has remained active in hip-hop as a solo artist and his lomgtime musical partner Spidey even makes a cameo on his latest solo album Life Well Spent. The longtime East Bay emcee/producer who, as he explained in his second Amoeblog interview a few months ago when his latest CD first dropped, that the album had been in the works since 2008 when he first started writing some of the new songs adding that, "I worked diligently on Life Well Spent for probably about the last year....It just took me awhile to find inspiration as I was maybe a little bored with my chosen creative outlet. Once I started getting all these good beats from all these producers I solicited, it all pretty much wrote itself. Sometimes that's all you need; the right beat."
Mike Doughty is a solo artist today, but I came to know him as the frontman for Soul Coughing. The book's primary plotline is about his relationship with drugs, the trajectory of his addictions, and his recovery. But the secondary plot is about his relationship with, and to, his former band. Admittedly, that is why I picked up the book. Addiction in and of itself isn't as interesting to me as the person who is telling the story of addiction, and I was very interested in what Mike Doughty, the former lead singer, guitarist and lyricists for one of my favorite bands, had to say.
One of the things that I most appreciated about Soul Coughing was the mixture of intelligence and quirkiness, the wordplay and the soundplay (we'll pretend that's an actual word). Doughty uses those strengths in The Book of Drugs, telling his story with humor, wit, honesty, self-reflection, anger, passion, and sorrow. (For someone who says he was out of touch with his feelings for so long due to his addictions, he has come a long way in accessing those emotions and laying them on the page.)
For me, the most salient scene from the book that illustrates how much his addiction affected him involved his daily trip to the ATM four blocks away. He would call his dealer and then descend his apartment building's stairs (a thirty minute process one way), walk down the block, and across a larger intersection. The whole trip - four blocks - took him ninety minutes, sometimes two hours. The fact that the ordeal of walking a few blocks seemed to him like a natural side effect of aging (he was thirty-something at the time), and not a by-product of his drug habit, was heartbreaking.
Porcelain Raft – Strange Weekend
Porcelain Raft, aka Italian-born Mauro Remiddi, makes the kind of wide-eyed romantic pop that borrows from various genres — lo-fi, soul, indie pop and shoegaze — but ends up in its own emotional territory due to Remiddi’s bedroom-recording aesthetics. “Drifting In and Out” appropriately sees its swooning electronics and new wave guitars come in and out of focus in what feels like falling asleep with the radio on. Strange Weekend works because its filled with tiny surprises, like the way Remiddi suddenly gets all glam in “Shapeless & Gone,” like an electro-twee Marc Bolan, or the psych-hop beats that pull back the marvelously affecting “Unless You Speak From Your Heart” from preciousness. It’s not the first time at the rodeo for Remiddi, a 37-year-old veteran of indie pop, previously in the band Sunny Day Sets Fire; perhaps that’s why he gets nearly everything right on his first solo full-length record.
Howler – America Give Up
What a pleasure Howler’s debut, America Give Up, is. Already this early into 2012, we have the year’s most irresistible album, 10 songs from a band weaned on the likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain and Guided By Voices. Much like their forebears in The Strokes (how’s that for making us all feel old), Howler has a way of distilling somewhat obvious and oversaturated influences into three-minute gems that get pretty much everything right. — dig the swaying romanticism of “Too Much Blood,” or the surf-gaze of “America,” or the snarky indie rock of “Back of Your Neck” (featuring the too-good lyrics “you think we’re Bonnie and Clyde, but both of them fuckin’ died”). If you can stop playing this on repeat, you’re stronger than we are.
Common – The Dreamer/The Believer
As reported by several news and hip-hop outlets last month in Washington DC cops along with ATF agents wound up an intricate one year undercover sting operation that entailed agents posing as “music industry insiders” running a "fictional rap label" and amounted to authorities making numerous arrests and confiscating over $7.2 million in drugs and 161 weapons. The DC sting, which began in November 2010 and went to great lengths to ensure results, involved D.C. police creating the Manic Enterprisess studio in Northeast Washington, even going so far as to create for the fictional label the fictional rap artist Richie Valdez. (Note that unfortunately - and oddly - no images or music reviews or website links seem to exist of this fake rapper.) Next, reportedly, agents then told the underground world and black market that they were seeking to purchase weapons and drugs which resulted in money, drugs, and weapons: 161 firearms including a rocket launcher, 29 assault weapons, 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of cocaine, 1.25 gallons of PCP, 24 pounds of marijuana, and undisclosed amounts of heroin and ecstasy.
I am thoroughly obsessed with the new Grimes single, "Genesis." I wasn't familiar with her until hearing this track and now I can't wait to hear the full album, Visions (out 2/21 on 4AD), to see if she can pull off what she has done so masterfully in this initial single - that is, combining the most seemingly disparate genres into one coherent piece of music and somehow making it work.
"Genesis" starts with this synthy piano bit that could come from an Enya album or something. Then her ethereal vocals kick in around the 0:39 mark. I can't, for the life of me, understand what she's saying, but it's beautiful. But then at 1:02 the track veers left into the world of electronic beats. Every time the track is over, I hit repeat to see if I can finally, finally make some sense of it on the next listen. So far, no dice.
Amoeba.com is offering a free download of "Genesis" by Grimes.
Grimes is the project of Canadian Claire Boucher and Visions is her fourth release in two years (it's also her first for 4AD). 4AD and Arbitus Records describe the influences on her new album "as wide as Enya, TLC and Aphex Twin, whilst drawing from genres like New Jack Swing, IDM, New Age, K-pop, Industrial and glitch resulting in a record that is both otherworldly and futuristic."
Red Bull Music Academy presents New York City to the SF Bay: JAZZ
The GARY BARTZ Project with featured guests BILAL & ALOE BLACC
January 25th at Yoshi's SF
Get tickets HERE!
Grammy Award winning jazz saxophonist Gary Bartz began making waves on the jazz scene during its prime in New York City and never slowed down. Mr. Bartz was formally trained at Julliard; however, it’s the time alongside jazz greats like Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and McCoy Tyner that has placed him as a legend in the game. R&B icon, Bilal, serves as featured vocalist for the Gary Bartz Project, and for this special night only, soul sensation and 2006 RBMA Participant, Aloe Blacc, will join them on stage.
Red Bull Music Academy presents New York City to the SF Bay: Hip Hop
"THE STRETCH ARMSTRONG AND BOBBITO SHOW" Revisited
Featuring DJ Sets from DJ Stretch Armstrong (Plant Music) & DJ Bobbito Garcia (Kool Bob Love)
Opening set by DJ Shortkut (Invisibl Skratch Piklz/Beat Junkies)
January 26th at Mighty
Get tickets HERE!
But what really gets me about Seasons is the passion they clearly put into each song. Through their three released “season” EPs — Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn, the last one just released this month — Seasons aren’t afraid to change things up sonically or thematically. So what you get is a landscape painting of a band across its releases rather than a portrait. Though overall I might classify the music as epic spacefaring rock of the variety you don’t see too often these days — Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins and, more recently, The Arcade Fire come to mind — there’s also a strong twee vibe running throughout, echoing Sarah Records and C86 bands, not to mention an electro streak that keeps things vibrant.
The band consists of longtime friends who like to go by their first names — John sings and plays guitar and keys; Nik does the same; Adam plays bass and guitar; Erik plays drums; Ray handles beats, keys and bass; and Kaitlin, violin and vocals. During the day, these people occupy such various jobs as teacher, florist, Trader Joe’s team member and Grammy Museum usher.
In the summer of 2006, they came up with the idea to do a set of EPs each with a mood to set the tone for feelings that arise during a particular season.
“We let the climate changes and the way people and ourselves reacted to each season inspire us to write each one, with the intention of releasing them when we were finished even if they season they were written in was over,” John explains.
The Autumn EP begins with “Monday Night” (available as a free download), a lighthearted danceable ode to getting up and out at the beginning of the work week — which, by the way, you should do tonight and/or next Monday to see the band play at the Echo as part of its January residency. The EP continues with the strings-and-bells laden yet hard-charging “These United States,” which nicely features singer Nik's growling, yearning vocals. The EP’s closer, “Lazy Bones,” is sort of meat-and-potatoes Seasons, a six-minute-plus psychedelic heart-on-sleeve power ballad. Meanwhile, “Number of the Beat” is their most outward flirtation with dance music thus far, although its striking violin playing still lands it firmly in orchestral pop territory.
Are you ready. Here we go...
Jackie! Are you ready for this? I seriously can't believe it is already time for this. I have been trying to catch up the last couple of weeks and see all the movies that I need to see. I am still a bit behind. But I saw Tin Tin on Sunday and just saw Young Adult last week. So I am almost there. We should start off first by talking about the host. I was happy that Brett Ratner resigned from the show. I was really not looking forward to a show produced by him. I had come to accept Eddie Murphy as the host. But after he dropped out too I was really hoping for some interesting choices. I think the show should always be hosted by a comedian. Last year just didn't really work. I still think Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon would be great together. But we are getting Billy Crystal this year. I actually think he did a great job in years past as the host. So I think it will be a fun show again. Maybe not as edgy as I had hoped. But it is the Oscars. I expect him to come out on a horse wearing a Hawaiian Shirt with a baseball bat and maybe a dragon tattoo. Maybe dressed up as a maid or a bridesmaid. But maybe he will surprise us all with some amazing material and jokes. I am looking forward to the show as always. Regardless of who the host is. Jackie...Thoughts on the host. Are you hoping for a When Harry Met Sally reunion on stage. Or maybe he could come out with Carol Kane in their makeup from The Princess Bride.
Even those Bay Area residents who are normally non-plussed about sports can't ignore the excitement brewing in the days/hours lead up to today's important hometown football game when the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants in the NFC championship at 3pm (6pm EST) at Candlestick Park. This game is of nail-biting importance for football fans in the Bay since it offers a shot at the Super Bowl for their beloved Niners who are the underdog in today's sold-out game. Artists feeling this excitement that had to express their feelings via hip-hop include such local rap artists as Bailey and his uplifting 49er rap anthem "Who's Got It Better Than Us" and San Francisco collective of Equipto, Baldhead Rick, Shag Nasty, Curt Sak, Ike Plump and Sellassie who, with production from JDef, under the name S.C.O. (Solidarity Co Op) have collaborated on the "49ers Anthem" song "Faithfully" (Solidarity Records). The video for the song above, which was shot in part at The Ave Bar on Ocean Ave in San Francisco, was made by Tony Rain for Strive Films while the song can be downloaded for free here.
Early this morning I caught up with longtime SF hiip-hop head and "Faithfully Niners Anthem" producer JDef (aka self-described "old school JDEF from KCSF/Bomb Mag./Rymskeme/KNT days!") to ask him how he and the guys got the idea for the song and how to structure it? "Basically, I had had this idea for a while. Sampling the Journey song for a Forty-Niner song just seem to go together perfectly. I wanted to really try and get working on it after the Philly game," he explained. "But it kept getting pushed back because of other things and plus I was getting caught up in the moment of each win. I always had Equipto in mind and wasn't sure who else to put on it, I just knew they had to be a "FORTY-NINER FAITHFUL". So one day, I had a recording session with Nim-One (F.M.D. of FM2O) at my studio and we were working on a song feat. Equipto.
Born in LA and raised in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, Etta James (who won four Grammys in her lifetime) was loved by music fans worldwide and was inducted into both the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her music could be filed under blues, R&B, rock and roll, and even jazz sometimes (her album Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday won her a jazz Grammy). Even though James is best known for her soothing soulful rendition of "At Last," I personally always thought of the singer, who I saw in concert many times and was always blown away by her performances, as a gritty soulful blues singer since she always brought so much raw emotion and passion to her music. As anyone who has ever seen James in concert will attest, she brought sexy (or "raunchy" as some said) to her stage act in which she always gave it her all.
James was discovered by Johnny Otis, who in a tragic twist of coincidence passed just 3 days earlier this week, back when she was just a teen and recorded her first record when she was only 15. That record was “Roll With Me Henry,” which -- because of its sexual innuendo -- had its title changed to “The Wallflower" and as such became a 1954 hit on Billboard's Rhythm-and-Blues chart. A year later, a more whitewashed, toned-down version of the song retitled "Dance with me Henry" by white singer Georgia Gibbs became a mainstream number one Billboard pop charts hit. Understandably, that bummed out the black singer who had created the song.
1) Drake Take Care (Cash Money/Universal)
2) The Roots Undun (MCA)
3) Luckyiam I Love Haters (L-R-G)
4) Moka Only & Chief Crickets (Feelin Music)
5) Flash Bang Grenada 10 Haters (Hellfyre Club)
Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba for this week's top five chart plus overview of some of the new releases which, as E-Lit notes, is traditionally never too many in January as things just begin to pick up in the new year for new music releases. Of those new and recent releases just out (some late 2011) are ones from the ever-prolific Bay Area artist The Jacka, Bay Area underground hip-hopper Gee Soul, and the unique union that is Moka Only & Chief's Crickets which pairs Canadian rapper/producer Moka Only with equally talented Swiss producer / beatmaker Chief for what E Lit wisely chooses as one of the best recent indie hip-hop releases. For proof check out the video below of the title track of “Crickets." The album is brimming with material like this which, while definitely hip-hop, can be filed under electronic or other - IE the sort of hip-hop album that people who normally don't like rap will like. This is not the first time the Canadian and the Swiss hip-hop talents have collaborated. Four years ago they worked together on the tracks “Felt Before” and “Do Work.” This paved the way for Moka Only's 2008 album Lowdown Suite 2 - The Box to be released on Chief’s label Feelin’ Music on which this latest release also appears.
via two separate fundraisers in San Francisco this weekend: tonight Friday(Jan 20th) at Public Works and on Sunday (Jan 22nd) at SOM Bar in the Mission - scroll down for full details.
This morning the Amoeblog caught up with the native San Francisco DJ born Christopher Evans who, despite all he is dealing with ("pain, meds, bed positioning, etc.") since been rushed in serious condition to intensive care in SFGH (San Francisco General Hospital) twelve days ago, was in a surprisingly upbeat good frame of mind. But then that is the kind of guy Toph is and always has been - looking on the positive and loving life.
Toph One has long been a renaissance man and diehard music fanatic (hip-hop, funk, reggae - anything good he's dug up and spun) known for his talents as a writer (both a graffiti writer and a music scribe who wrote for XLR8R and other outlets), and as a DJ who has tirelessly been spinning music in Bay Area clubs forever - and often spinning 10 times in a one week stretch. He also promoted his own Red Wine Social and Pepper parties for many years. In short Toph One loves music and life. He also has much love and compassion for others including those who are suffering from AIDS and each year he religiously participates in the AIDS/LifeCycle to raise funds & awareness in the annual "ride to end AIDS" and is hoping to be able to make a recovery in time to participate in this year's event in five months time.
Her voice makes jelly of my innards. Etta James dead at 73. Two of my favorites:
"I'd Rather Go Blind"
"The Wallflower (Roll with Me, Henry)"
Otis was not just an accomplished musician and bandleader/talent scout with a keen ear for true talent but he was also a talented radio DJ with a distinctive on-air voice. I met him at KPFA years ago when he used to host an entertaining and educational Saturday morning music show on that and other Pacifica stations up until seven years ago.
Otis, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, earned the title of "The Godfather of Rhythm & Blues" due to his band from the late 1940s into the 50's forging a sound that melded jazz of the big band era with the pre-rockNroll spirit of raw church gospel mixed with blues - IE rhythm and blues or early rock'n'roll. As bandleader or A&R talent Otis' taste was impeccable. Artists he discovered and helped launch careers of included Jackie Wilson, Etta James, and Big Mama Thornton.
Otis was a Bay Area cat through and through. He was born in Vallejo to Greek parents (many listeners were shocked to discover he was not Black) and grew up in South Berkeley. He would later move to SoCal. As well as bandleader and sometime singer Otis played drums, piano, and vibraphone. In the early 1950's he scored fifteen hit singles on Billboard's rhythm-and-blues chart including the number one hit single "Double Crossing Blues."
Sunday, February 5th: Amoeba makes a repeat appearance at one of the Southland's biggest and best record swap meets, Pasadena City College's Flea Market and Record Swap. With over 500 vendors, the Flea Market features antiques and collectibles, records, tools, clothes, toys and much more, not to mention food and good company.
Dave Paul, who has been profiled & interviewed himself here on the Amoeblog, began his music career back in 1984 when he started out as a mobile DJ. This wise career move would lead to Dave getting on the radio as college spinning hip-hop in its formative years. In 1991 Paul launched the long defunct but still revered Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine and in 1996 he morphed the magazine into Bomb Hip-Hop Records label which got named "one of the fifteen independent labels that matter" by Rolling Stone magazine. As a club DJ Dave Paul has played in clubs throughout the US, and Europe. As a club promotor he's been producing his Prince and Michael Jackson themed parties for close to a decade now. You can contact Dave Paul at - firstname.lastname@example.org Guest Amoeblogger Dave Paul: You’re originally from Boston and lived in New Orleans for five years. How did you end up in San Francisco?
First Aid Kit gained attention in 2008 on YouTube with their cover of a Fleet Foxes song (looking very, very young) and they released their debut full-length album, The Big Black and The Blue (Wichita Recordings, 2009), at the tender ages of 17 and 19. We were fortunate enough to have First Aid Kit do a Green Room Session at Amoeba Hollywood when they were supporting The Big Black and The Blue.
Their new album, The Lion's Roar, was recorded in Omaha, Nebraska with Mike Mogis (of Bright Eyes) and again capitalizes on the beauty of their harmonies. Like many of their songs, the title track begins quietly with a single voice and builds to their harmonies on the chorus. "The Lion's Roar" is a strong opener for the album, with a passionate chorus:
"...and I'm a goddman coward but then again so are you. And the lions roar, the lions roar."
First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar by Wichita Recordings
On "Emmylou," they pay tribute to Emmylou Harris, June Carter, Gram Parsons and Johnny Cash, and the joy of singing with someone you love:
In honor of the big festival, Amoeba San Francisco and Amoeba Berkeley have set up displays of selections from Muller's Top 25 Noir Films list! If you're going to trust anyone's taste in film, it's this guy's! Come on down to either Bay Area location and browse this terrific selection. You won't be dissapointed!
Additionally, Muller had the chance to stop by Amoeba San Francisco for a little shopping recently and talked with Amoeba's Audra about what was in his bag!
A new compilation of SoCal bands titled Who invented the Mirror has just been released and is available exclusively at Amoeba. One of the bands featured thereon, Those, recently released their debut, We Cure Nothing, just before Christmas.
The name of the band, Those (assuming it's the plural pronoun of "that" and not the village in Nepal), seems calculatedly obscure and at the same time reminiscent of Them, The Who, The The, They, Them, Them! or It. The they behind those are John Cason (guitar), Eric Spolans (ex-The Not Today and 000 Records - guitar), JJ Watson (bass and horns), Brett Strobridge (drums), and Emily Grant (keys). It was recorded and engineered by Chris Reynolds at Dangerbird Studios in Silver Lake.
Jimmy Castor Bunch "It's Just Begun"
For the past few hours word that the beloved American funk musician Jimmy Castor had died has been flying round the Interweb - albeit without final confirmation from any reliable source. Unfortunately though that sad confirmation of the passing of Jimmy Castor has just arrived through his good friend Cliff Perkins. Castor was 64 years of age and so far cause of death is not confirmed. Castor will be remembered by for songs like his oft-sampled 1972 million selling hit single "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" but more importantly his influence on hip-hop music - the song "It's Just Begun" is among those select records that is a key part of the foundation of hip-hop itself - long being a staple of hip-hop DJs and B-boys to break to.
Jimmy Castor Bunch "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" (1972)
The saxophonist, singer, band leader began his career as a doo-wop singer in the fifties replacing Frankie Lymon in The Teenagers in 1957. By 1960 he had switched to playing saxophone. Sixties hits for the artist included his own 1966 Smash Records single "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You" and Dave "Baby" Cortez's "Rinky Dink" on which he played sax.
Castor's real success came in the 70's as leader of The Jimmy Castor Bunch whose 1972 album, It's Just Begun, was popular back then and - thanks to hip-hop endlessly sampling his music - ever since. The album's two hits - the title track and the aforementioned "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" - have been sampled a lot as have much of Castor's other funk releases. The spoken intro of "Troglodyte" - "What we're gonna do right here is go back..." - is one of the most sampled soundbites in hip-hop history.
Congratulations to Brandon, the lucky winner of our Gibson Guitar contest! Brandon won a limited edition Gibson Silverburst Flying V guitar with a case and a $50 Amoeba gift certificate.
Thanks to our friends at TrueTone Music and Gibson for the guitar!
And thanks to Brandon's family (Karen, Cisco, Sophia and Alex) for their patience listening to him wail out on his brand new axe.
On Valentine’s Day (February 14) tune in to the @AmoebaBerkeley Twitter feed for a Rolling Stones trivia contest.
Two correct responses will be chosen randomly by the end of the day who will win the Grand Prize (18" x 24" canvas poster) and Second Place (used Limited Edition 1994 Mini LP Style CD version of Some Girls).
The Life of Riley began with an audition taping on July 25, 1943 after its creation by Irving Brecher. Over the course of roughly 320 episodes, it established itself as one of the most enduringly funny sitcoms on Old Time Radio. It's final episode on ABC aired on July 8, 1945. After moving to the NBC radio network, it aired again from August 8, 1945 until its final episode aired on June 29, 1951.
The main character, Chester A. Riley, was played by William Bendix. His wife, Peg, his son, Junior, and his daughter, Babs, were all played by more than one actor. Both his co-worker/neighbor, Gillis, as well as audience favorite, Digby "Digger" O'Dell (the "friendly undertaker") were both played by John Brown. At various times it was sponsored by the American Meat Institute, Teel Dentifrice, Dreft, Prell Shampoo, and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.
Amoeba Hollywood is breaking out the balloons, the crates, and the deals for a sidewalk sale on Saturday, January 21 from noon-5pm. There will be plenty of bargains on CDs, vinyl, DVDs, box sets, toys and more! See you there!
All sidewalk sales are final. Store credit cannot be used to purchase items from the sidewalk sale.
Today the USA celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (1929-1968). As we all know, Dr. King preached nonviolent activism in the global civil rights movement. Ironically, the other two persons honored with national holidays are Christopher Columbus and George Washington, two powerful slaveowners who advocated (and in Washington's case, waged) genocidal violence against people who fought for their civil rights.
On Saturday, January 21st, I’ll be taking Discos Inmigrantes on the road. First, with an in-store DJ set at Amoeba San Francisco in celebration of the compilation, Juan Lennon Presents: 213 Cumbia Vol. 1. I’ll be playing tracks off of 213 Cumbia as well as vintage Cumbia. My set will be from 2pm-4pm.
Later that night I'll be at Brick and Mortar at the 213 Cumbia Release party with my L.A. homies Buyepongo and San Francisco’s own Cumbia Tokeson. Brick and Mortar is located at 1710 Mission St., San Francisco. Show starts at 9 pm
Once I return to Los Angeles, I have two shows. The first is in Boyle Heights for a Radio Sombra fundraiser called Transmission. Myself, along with fellow Radio Sombra DJ’s Reyes (Arts & Grooves) and Libre (Radio Merkado Negro), will be broadcasting live from the M Bar. The M Bar is at 1846 E. 1st Street In Boyle Heights.
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 01:13:12
1) The Roots Undun (MCA)
2) Common The Dreamer/The Believer (Warner)
3) Pac Div The Div (RBC)
4) Onra Chino Series Pt 2 (All City)
5) Thirsty Fish Watergate (Mush)
Thanks to my man E-Lit for both the above latest top five hip-hop chart and the video interview in which the diehard Berkeley Amoeba employee/ hip-hop fanatic gives a nice run down of both brand new releases and some upcoming 2012 hip-hop releases that we should keep an eye out for. As E-Lit says and I fully agree 2012 looks like it is going to be a really exciting year for new hip-hop. E-Lit mentions some of the upcoming 2012 releases in the video clip above. I also mentioned some, including Gift of Gab's sure to be dope forthcoming 2012 album The Next Logical Progression, in last week's Amoeblog Weekly Rap Up and again in a recent Amoeblog on both Pep Love's forthcoming Rigmarole album on the Hiero label. Other upcoming 2012 releases to keep an eye out for include a new one from Blacastan and a DJ Premier produced joint by Big Shug that features guest spots from both M.O.P. and Fat Joe.
Dregs One "Wake Up" (2011)
San Francisco's Dregs One, the conscious hip-hop artist featured in the above video for his uplifting 2011 song "Wake Up," will be among the numerous local artists uniting tomorrow night (January 13th) in a performance at the Eastside Arts Alliance in Oakland to both help spread awareness and raise money for the legal defense funds of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. Aptly titled From Oakland to Freedom! Peltier Abu Jamal! Shut It Down! Free 'Em All this fundraiser has been inundated with artists wanting to donate their time and talent for a cause that strikes a nerve with so many. In addition to Dregs One artists scheduled to perform include Aztec, Fly Benzo, De-Colonized Rymerz, Sogorea Te Warriors, Salah Shambe, Eseibio The Automatic, Abdul Malik, Mestiza, Seneca, Jeremy Goodfeather, Mikhael, and Shango Abiola. The organizers, who say that there may even be some last minute additions to this line up, time permitting, in their official statement for the event say that, "We of Labor Black Brown as well as numerous allies are organizing a fundraiser for the Legal Defense of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier."
Yesterday I caught up with Dregs One to ask him why he and all these other artists were so willing to donate their time and collective talents to this event and what he sees as the importance and implications of this concert? "Even though Peltier and Abu-Jamal were locked up decades ago, it's beautiful that people are still fighting for their releaese - and ugly that they're still in prison," he said. "I think it's important for people to know that there are American citizens who are jailed as political prisoners and it's sad that more folks aren't informed of their story. Hopefully we can change that through the music we make and events like this one!," said Dregs One who did an instore performance at Amoeba San Francisco a couple of months ago for his latest album The Wake Up Call.
That said, I cannot waaaiiit for the proper DVD release of Game of Thrones season one; I just wanna hold it. That first episode was such satisfying viewing, even given my foreknowledge of what's to come, that I'm saving all my geeky esteem for the March 6 release date so I can dig leisurely into said boxed set, desperately laden with extra features and all. And if details like the three horn blasts that punctuate the season two teaser below don't make everyone of your hairs stand on end, shivering with dreadfully sweet anticipation, then consider your craven gamer ass on notice!
Foster will perform a selection of songs, take questions from the audience, and discuss (alongside Vice President of The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Scott Goldman) how the new album is her most personal journey yet. Showtime is 8pm.
Read more about this exciting event HERE!
Let It Burn
Blue Corn Music
We highly recommend you check out their album The New Los Angeles. Their follow-up, The New Los Angeles II, made with producer Billy Anderson, will be out soon!
MLK Day of Music & Service 2011 in Oakland, CA
If you are in the Bay Area and seeking a rewarding and fun thing to do for this coming Monday's Martin Luther King Jr holiday then seriously consider volunteering at John O'Connell High School in San Francisco with the Center for Music National Service and MusicianCorps' MLK Day of Song & Service on January 16, 2012. The upcoming event comes on the heels of last year's "wonderfully successful, daylong event at Oakland School for the Arts (OSA), which brought together 250 community members and volunteers from a wide variety of ages and background to make music, paint murals and celebrate diversity" according to Alaia Zeno - the community programs & service leader with The Center for Music National Service (MNS) who recalled how at last year's premiere event, "Participants honored the spirit of MLK Day with a group performance of the classic Bill Withers soul song, “Lean On Me,” and came together to show the power of music, artistic expression and shared community." See above video.
For this year's MLK Day event participants/volunteers (all ages welcome), whether musicians or not, are invited to join in the fun and give back to the community at the same time. The emphasis for this year's event, according to organizers, is "focused more on beautifying the under-served public school setting we have selected. Led by MNS Staff and MusicianCorps Fellows, volunteers will focus their efforts on improving school grounds, organizing supplies in art classrooms, painting murals, and other small projects." Additionally folks who volunteer will have the opportunity to participate in a mid-day open mic performance as well as an end-of-day sing-along. This year's event, which runs from 10am to 4pm, takes place at John O'Connell High School in San Francisco's Mission District. Breakfast, snack, and lunch will be provided to all volunteers. To register and find out more information click here. And below is a video from compiled from various sources including some national news reports (NPR, NBC) on MusicianCorps' work. Good stuff!
Join us on February 3rd from 5-10pm for a live performance from The Soft Moon and Light Asylum, KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Mario Cotto, and a guest lectures from Dr. John Harris ("A Brief Sprint Through Human Evolution") and biological anthropologist Amy Parish (“The New Science of Darwinian Feminism: Evolutionary Insights from Bonobo Social and Sexual Interactions”).
Find out more HERE!
Souls of Splendor features the story of Leo, a black, gay comic book store clerk and writer who is dealing with his complicated relationship to his art. He feels left behind by his ex-boyfriend (a successful white artist) and creatively stuck in a place of self-sabotage and distraction. Although steeped in the worlds of comic geeks and San Francisco gay culture, Leo feels alienated from both. He finds the success of others unfair but can't seem to budge from his creative rut. When he sits down to write, distractions abound in the form of video games and his alter-egos: a superhero named Captain Fabulous and Franz Kafka. After an overdue confrontation with his ex-boyfriend, Leo realized that metamorphosis comes from within and has nothing to do with fairness or luck.
Poster art by Amoeba's own Wayne Shellabarger!
Music by David Copenhafer and Adam Josef.
What if there was a band that could play great rock & roll, cool R&B, plus hot Mexican and Chicano grooves? On top of that, what if this band could also synthesize those influences into their own wonderful songs without losing any of the flavor or intensity of the various original genres?
Luckily for us, Los Lobos can do all this and more. Their body of recorded work is staggering in its breadth, beauty, and rhythmic groove. They are truly a national treasure and define the term “Americana band.”
David Hidalgo on lead guitar, vocals, and assorted other instruments gives the band a lot of its diversity and musical muscle. Steve Berlin on sax and keyboards is the newcomer in the band, having joined in 1983! Cesar Rosas is also an excellent lead guitar man and a soulful singer. Louie Perez writes much of the material, used to be the drummer, and now plays rhythm and sings. Last but certainly not least, Conrad Lozano always plays strong solid bass lines.
Other bands have successfully combined styles and, in some cases, created a whole new genre. However, I don’t think there’s ever been such an eclectic band as Los Lobos. As you can hear below, they cover a lot of bases.
2012 looks like it is going to be another great year for hip-hop especially Bay Area hip-hop with forthcoming releases from both new and established acts. These include the first solo release in over a decade from Pep Love of Oakland's long running Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective who will drop his anticipated new full-length Rigmarole via the Hiero Emporium on March 6th.
The album, which is the first solo release (he has recorded stuff with his Hiero crew and others including respectively Casual and Zion I) from the Mississippi born East Bay emcee since 2001's Ascension, was described by the artist as therapeutic, coming to his aid at a challenging time in his personal life.
"[Rigmarole] was recorded during a time in my life when the music I was making was one of the few things that was actually working. It was therapy; it made me feel better. So there was a lot of learning, personal growth, and healing that continues to this very day. I was focused on where I was headed as a human being more than as a rapper or recording artist," he said of the new album's recording process, adding that, "In the process, I reinvented myself as an artist and discovered my love for what I do."
The therapeutic theme is evident in the album's lyrics too with the song "Reflections," which is produced by Unjust, examining his own life and where it is at nowadays while in the lyrics of the track "Runaway Slave" the 37 year old emcee wears his heart on his sleeve and expresses how he sees his own personal mental/creative development as an individual who has been in the ever challenging rap music industry for so long.
As for my list of best films: most of these I enjoyed some parts of, while not exactly the whole. I'd say the overall best of the bunch are Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Meek's Cutoff and Super, but my favorite sequences of the year came from Hanna, Drive and Beyond the Black Rainbow.
13 Assassins - Takashi Miike
I never seem to tire of action films questioning when it's appropriate or moral to use violence. As I previously discussed, 13 Assassins does a good job of critiquing the aestheticization of violence while aestheticizing the violence.
Amoeba Music and CIIS Public Programs & Performances present
A Night of Rumi and Classical Persian Music with Kayhan
Thursday, February 2, 2012 8:00PM
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Purchase tickets HERE or CALL: 415.392.4400
"...a master of the kamancheh."
- New York Times
Kayhan Kalhor is a master musician in the classical Persian tradition. His intricate melodies accompany the poetry of Rumi, sung in the haunting beauty of the original language. He also improvises instrumental pieces. This music inspires contemplation and meditation, linked through poetry to Sufism. The beauty of this music lies in the free-flowing melody lines, often compared to the designs of Persian carpets and miniature paintings.
Kalhor is a member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project and his compositions appear on all three of the Ensemble's albums.
Group discounts available for 10 or more.
Don’t miss your chance to see this dynamic performer—get your tickets today!
Nicolas Winding Refn
7 Immortals "Thursday Night Live" (2012)
Above is the brand new video/song from NJ native Shawn Lov who has been hard at work to bring in the new year with a bang by releasing a music video as part of an underground Hip-Hop coalition of pioneering artists from Trenton, NJ area called 7 Immortals which consists of many members that regularly recorded with the late, veteran Trenton NJ producer (and emcee) Tony D who is best known for his work with Poor Righteous Teachers and YZ. Produced by The Custodian of Records "Thursday Night Live" is the lead single from the forthcoming 7 Immortals album - one of the many new releases to drop in 2012.
Welcome to the new year of 2012 in hip-hop when there should be some real good releases (and lots of them) dropping; albeit most will be digital files since, of all genres, hip-hop seems to be releasing the least physical copies - ironic considering that the genre was built on vinyl records. As with the past numerous years 2012 got off to a start with Skillz (formerly MC Skillz) doing his always fun, annual wrap of the main happenings (hip-hop and mainstream news) of the previous year in a nicely wrapped up rap song. Uploaded on January 1st below is Skillz' "2011 Rap Up" with references to such folks as white Oakland rapper Kreayshawn and the late great golden era hip-hop star Heavy D.
Skillz "2011 Rap Up" (2012)
Due out later this month is Kid Cudi's anticipated new album which will feature the popular Dot Da Genius produced-song "No One Believes Me" that was released in advance several months ago. The video below, directed by Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock), was featured on Fright Night movie soundtrack. Note that the album is not the follow up to 2010's Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager but rather the first release from the rock band he and Dot da Genius formed called WZRD (formerly Wizard).
Just 14 years ago Hill, who first came to fame as a member of the Fugees with such hits as their rendition of "Killing Me Softly with His Song," was on top of the world with her groundbreaking debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which sold 8 million copies, won her five Grammys, and topped near every chart and list even beating out Madonna for Album of the Year. Since then Hill's career went into a rapid downward spiral with the artist retreating from the spotlight, shunning publicity and the music industry at large, and spending time on raising her large family. But when, over the past several years, she has occasionally returned to the public eye to perform it has been to generally negative reviews and/or controversy like when she spoke out at the Vatican condemning the Catholic Church over its child sex abuse scandal. Furthermore she has been routinely portrayed in the media as just plain "crazy." For the legions of dedicated longtime Lauryn Hill fans, who continue to stand by the erratic performer - known for being chronically late and putting on disappointing renditions of her own hits - wanting to support their favorite artist has proven to be an incredibly frustrating endeavor. Regardless these fans seem to stand by Hill no matter what in the hopes that she will (literally) get her act together and return to her greatness of yore. Luckily for them it seems that their patience with Hill, who headlines the Hollywood Palladium (buy tickets) on February 14th & The Warfied in SF on Feb 16th (tix go on sale today), might finally be paying off as it seems like Hill may be back on track and that 2012 might be the year for the return of Lauryn Hill. The last time she was in the Bay Area, late last August when she headlined the Rock the Bells (RTB) festival at Shoreline, she did an amazing encore that won a standing ovation from the remaining audience at the Mountain View amphitheater.
Getting their start in Marin, The Nuns began performing in the San Francisco in 1976 when they made their debut at the Mabuhay Gardens. By 1978, they had a show at Winterland Ballroom with The Avengers and Sex Pistols. The band split just a year later, but reunited in 1986 and again in 1997 with a more goth rock sheen. By this point, Jennifer Miro had become a popular fetish model and an aspiring screenwriter. Eventually, she went to work for a law office.
Despite suffering from both liver and lung cancer, Miro denied conventional treatment and painkillers, opting for exercise and homeopathic paths.
Here is a clip from The Nun’s show at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1978.
If tickets are sold out already for the Friday show, fear not. The film will play at the ArcLight through January 12, and the contest will be running all week long on The Drive Facebook page.
Here’s how to enter:
Take a picture of yourself next to the Drive poster in the main lobby of the Arclight Hollywood (by the coffee bar), then post this photo of yourself on the Drive Facebook page NO LATER THAN Thursday night, January 12, 2012.
One random and lucky contestant will win a scorpion jacket, and another 10 people will win Drive prize packs.
Drive comes out on DVD/Blu-ray on January 31, but you can pre-order it now from Amoeba.com (with free shipping to US addresses, of course):
Nicolas Winding Refn
$26.98 - (Blu-ray)
As with so many of the worthy events and happenings associated with Skid Row that I hear about this one too is also linked directly back to General Jeff - the longtime LA hip-hop figure, friend of Amoeba, hip-hop golden age recording artist, & community activist/tireless supporter of the rights of LA's Skid Row community. General Jeff (real name Jeff Page) is Resident Director for Central City East/ Skid Row & is on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council as well as being VP of Outreach and Communications and is always down to volunteer his time, skills, and endless energy to the worthy residents of Skid Row with whom he has worked on behalf of for years. This morning I caught with General Jeff, who was up early busy at work while listening (he informed me) to the late great LA hip-hop artist Mausberg's Non-Fiction album.
The Pasadena skyline from the San Rafael Hills
Well, I can now admit (now that I'm finally done with it) that I honestly waited and prayed that another neighborhood or community would pass Pasadena in the polls.
At the time of writing, Bunker Hill (in Downtown Los Angeles), El Monte (in the San Gabriel Valley), Lincoln Heights (in The Eastside) and Mt. Washington (in Northeast LA) are all tied for second place. All of those places seem comparatively way more manageable. Pasadena, I worried, is just too big to summarize in a single blog entry. True, I've tackled the larger (population-wise) Glendale as well as Long Beach (the second largest city in LA County -- after Los Angeles, of course). But even at ninth largest in population (also exceeded by the populations of Santa Clarita in Northwest County, Lancaster and Palmdale in the Antelope Valley, Pomona in the Pomona Valley and Torrance in the South Bay) but Pasadena is big in other ways -- almost too stuffed with culture and history to address in this format. Alas, however, the people have spoken, so this entry is indeed about Pasadena. Now that I'm finally done, I hope it approaches adequate.
LiveWIre contains countless shout outs to "The Town" including mentions of Interstate 580, SoulBeat TV, and Skyline High School. In fact the East Oakland born & raised emcee even arranged a Skyline High School rap reunion of sorts on the new album's lead single "Oakland" which features cameos from two fellow alumni of the Oakland high school: Del the Funky Homosapien and The Grouch.
One morning last month I caught up with Lateef at World Ground Coffee cafe on MacArthur in East Oakland's Laurel District where he was grabbing a hot drink before heading out on the road, along with fellow Solesides/Quannum member Lyrics Born, to travel up to the North West to do some shows. The two emcees, who as well as having their own individual careers collaborate together as Latryx, (but had not in a long while) had just done two nights of "reunion" shows at The Independent in San Francisco along with such other local artists as Bayonics, Honor Roll, and Hopie Spitshard. "Awesome" was how Lateef described those two shows. In addition to being one of the founding members of the Solesides crew/hip-hop collective that morphed into Quannum Projects Lateef is also part of The Maroons (with Chief Xcel) and has another side career recording with Fatboy Slim. He told me that he and Lyrics Born were busy working on the long overdue follow up Latryx project - that he and Lyrics Born, along with some help from individuals like DJ Shadow and Chief XCel, began almost two full decades ago - but haven't released anything new in over a dozen years with the exception of a few new bits on a mixtape CD (and now a download for sale on LB's site) Latryical Madness Vol 1 mixed by DJ Zeph . "We are about six songs into it [new Latryx album] right now with production on there by Amp Live, Cut Chemist, the Bangerz [formerly Finger Bangerz] are on there doing some stuff. And a few other cats as well: DJ Shadow and [Dan the] Automator is supposed to give us some stuff. And Chief Xcel is supposed to give us some stuff. We've got a bunch of stuff," he said.
Apparently, shortly before the Dublin rocker's death in 1986, the then 36 year old Lynott gave a heap of 150 tapes to a third party for safe keeping - here's hoping the good folks at Universal treat the twenty-six year old find kind.
"In every group there's a member who lovingly collects their recordings and in Thin Lizzy that was Phil Lynott, because Lizzy was his baby and his band."
"There are out-takes, unheard versions of Thin Lizzy hits and, most exciting of all, material which was recorded but never released at the time," said Mr Hammonds.
The scheduled June release won't be the first collection in the last few years to feature archive work by the band as it follows on last year's Live At The BBC release, not to mention all those long-awaited deluxe remastered editions of Lizzy's back catalog. [and while we're on the subject, powers that be, howsabout getting around to taking the TBD out of the promised 2CD/DVD edish of Live and Dangerous equation already]
SF Sketchfest, the most prestigious comedy festival on the West Coast, celebrates their 11th year by honoring the Upright Citizens Brigade with an in-person tribute and by welcoming Eddie Izzard, Drew Carey, Jennifer Coolidge, David Cross, Rachel Dratch, Chris Elliott, Will Forte, Elliott Gould, John Hodgman, Sally Kellerman, Marc Maron, Bruce McCulloch, Christopher Meloni, Laraine Newman, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, John Slattery, Kevin Smith, Reggie Watts, Fred Willard, The Groundlings, the geeks behind w00tstock, the creators of Wet Hot American Summer, Release the Sunbird with Zach Rogue, and so much more!
Their latest installment (episode 10) discusses the big one: 2012!
What will happen? Will we see the poles shift or a paradigm shift? Will a rogue Sumerian planet smash into our solar system, plunging us into serfdom under the iron fist of a race of gold-hungry aliens? Or are the aliens already here?
Bringing out the big guns -- Noam Chomsky and even an embodiment of Anonymous -- RAP NEWS crams in as many theories and arguments as possible about our impending end of days. Happy New Year!
Home is where the hearth is. Downtown Nevada City, California.
The boyfriend and I have recently returned from frolicsome fun in my hometown of Nevada City, California. This year my most shiny of celebrations was neither Christmas nor New Years, but my sister Jacquie’s 50th birthday (for which I provided the cake, subsequently learning that Christmas day is a lousy time to buy baked goods).
Some highlights of the trip were…
Teaching my mother how to prepare absinthe. Who doesn’t love this quintessential Christmas pastime*? Equipped with a curvaceous reservoir glass and ornate, slotted spoon I enthusiastically gave a demonstration on how to prepare absinthe in both the traditional French method and the more dramatic (and efficient) Bohemian method. Both methods were merely informative, not practical, as my Mammy and me prefer our green fairy sans sucre.
My Mom, enjoying her beverage
Armed with our booze and one clove cigarette each, we sat in her English garden and contentedly sinned with some of Satan’s most pleasingly perfumed indulgences. Once we felt sweetly weak-in-the-knees it was time to make some pie. (Drinking and driving is a bad idea, but drinking and pie making is a sign of advanced evolution in a species. Word.)
This apple made a monumental leap from the tree in that it was many years in the making. It seemed that Kyle Field, the man behind the Little Wings mystique, had gone on hiatus only to return on his own terms with this juicy bramble of soft melodies, surf-salted served with a side of Lil Wayne-influenced folk-rock jammage. Field spins wooly yarns that sound like a conversation gone unspoken in the moment regaining shape in memory, voiced to oneself longingly. It's introspective almost to a fault, but the overall sound and vibe offers enough volume and warming to light even the darkest reaches of your keep and stay the ghosts of Black Grass' pasts at bay. Without a doubt the best new record and best instore performance of the year.
Mrs. Jones Cookies