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The 17th Central Avenue Jazz Festival

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2012 03:05pm | Post a Comment
THE CENTRAL AVENUE JAZZ FESTIVAL


 


Every year for the past 17 years, during the last weekend in JulyLA residents and visitors are treated to the preeminent jazz event on the West Coast with The Central Avenue Jazz Festival. It’s free and open to the public – last year, 35,000 attended. The focus, of course, is live music but there are also craft and food booths. I've been meaning to check it out in the past and this I year finally did.


LOCATION OF EVENT


The Dunbar in 2012 and Central Ave - A Community Album


A BRIEF BIT OF BACKGROUND ABOUT SOUTH CENTRAL


 
          Intersection of Malcolm X Way and MLK                                A Jazzy mural at Alondra's Bakery


The event takes place at the historic Dunbar Hotel in South Central -- the actual neighborhood named after South Central Avenue and not the coded catch-all for “all neighborhoods south of the 10 Freeway assumed to be mostly black, impoverished and dangerous." I could be wrong but it's my guess that it's mostly due to the perceived, negative connotations of "South Central" that there seem to be almost no official uses of that name in reference to the area. Instead one get's the "Central Avenue Corridor" in its stead, or "Historic South Central" as a way of deflecting lingering associations -- much as Compton Boulevard was re-branded Marine Boulevard on South LA's Westside.


   
South Central historical markers for the corridor, Jack's Chicken Basket, California Eagle and Elk's Club

On the second day of the festival I took the Blue Line to Washington Boulevard, walked over to Central Avenue and headed south. I didn't realize how big South Central is, and how hot it was, until I'd begun walking 23 blocks, keeping my eyes open for historic markers and sites of interest along the way. One landmark that I passed and didn't see a marker for was the former headquarters of the Black Panthers' Southern California chapter (4115 S. Central Avenue).


SOUTH CENTRAL'S BEGINNINGS 


the all black LAFD Station 30 now the African American Firefighter Museum (AAFFM)


Before the rise of the South Central neighborhood, most of Los Angeles’s black population lived in a small area around Skid Row colloquially known as “Brick Block,” where several black-owned businesses were established. Leapfrogging south over Skid Row, more black businesses and residences sprang up around the intersection of South Central Avenue and 12th Street in what's now the Downtown LA's The Wholesale District. By 1915, the black-owned California Eagle publication was referring to South Central as the LA's "Black Belt." Because it was centered along South Central Avenue, the neighborhood came to be known as South Central


RISE OF THE EASTSIDE

  
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of South Central and the Eastside

In 1917, famed New Orleanian ragtime and jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton made a new home in LA. Two years later, fellow Louisianan jazz musician Kid Ory followed. The so-called Black Belt began to move further south along Central Avenue Corridor and expanded to the surrounding area roughly hemmed in by Alameda, Main, Slauson and Washington (including what's now the Furniture & Decorative Arts District. To many inhabitants of the area, the region east of Main Street as "The Eastside" (not to be confused the  Eastside region east of the LA River). 


THE DUNBAR HOTEL


Dunbar Hotel postcard


The most important site of West Coast Jazz in South Central was the Dunbar Hotel. The hotel, which had an Art Deco lobby, was built in 1928 and was originally known as the Hotel Somerville. Its original owners, John and Vada Somerville, two prominent black Angelenos (John was the first black graduate of USC). There’s was one of the only hotels to allow black guests to stay there and many did. In 1928, delegates of the NAACP stayed there when in town. Somerville sold the hotel in 1929 to white owners who nonetheless renamed the hotel "Hotel Dunbar" after black Ohioan poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar.


DUNBAR'S HEYDAY



Soon after, the hotel again sold in 1930, this time to a black owner, Lucius W. Lomax, Sr. In 1931 he obtained a cabaret license which allowed for live entertainment. Soon, black luminaries including Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, James Weldon Johnson, Joe Louis, John Coltrane, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Marian Anderson, Nat King Cole, Paul Robeson, Ralph Bunche, Ray Charles, Redd Foxx, Stepin Fetchit, Thurgood Marshall, W. E. B. Du Bois, and others congregated, performed and/or stayed there. Black Western star Herb Jeffries did as well, after he quit Earl Hines’s band and moved to LA.


OTHER SOUTH CENTRAL CLUBS


The Lincoln Theater - nicknamed "The West Coast Apollo"


For a period during the Great Depression the hotel ceased operations as a hotel and served as a mission run by Reverend Mayor Jealous Divine, a cult leader who proclaimed to his followers in the Peace Mission movement that he was God. But the Dunbar (and attached Club Alabam) wasn’t the only hot spot in South Central. There was also Alex Lovejoy'sThe Avalon TheaterThe Casablanca, The Crystal Tea RoomThe Downbeat (4201 S. Central - demolished), Elk's Hall (3416 S. Central - demolished) The Hole in the Wall, Ivy's Chicken ShackJack's Chicken Basket (Jack Johnson's after hours - 3219 S. Central - now demolished), The Last Word (demolished), The Lincoln Theater (2300 S. Central - now a church), The Memo Club (demolished), The Ritz ClubThe Showboat, and Stuff Crouch's Backstage all operating nearby. In the 1940s, the Dunbar returned to its roots, again becoming a hotel with live music.


DESEGREGATION AND THE DECLINE OF JAZZ’S POPULARITY 


Street scene at 2012 Central Avenue Jazz Festival


As a result of 1948's Shelley v. Kraemer case, the Supreme Court banned the continued enforcement of racist restrictive covenants. As a result, the black population of South Central (and by then, Watts), began to fan out from their cramped neighborhoods. Visiting black musicians like Duke Ellington could suddenly stay in places like Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, closer to the venues where they were playing. At the same time, amongst jazz fans, West Coast Jazz’s popularity waned as new styles including Hard Bop, Modal Jazz and Free Jazz waxed. More damaging to jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll stole Jazz's place in the spotlight.


YEARS OF NEGLECT


A look inside the Dunbar today


The Dunbar struggled on until 1974, when it finally closed its doors (the same year it was designated as an Historic-Cultural Landmark (no. 131)). After it closed, Rudy Ray Moore filmed much of Dolemite (1974) and A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich (1976) on the premises. The former hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 but continued to suffer from neglect and vandalism. Closed and long vacant, it attracted squatters until, after renovations, it re-opened in 1990 as an apartment for low-income seniors. It also became the home of the Museum in Black, a museum of black history originally established by Brian Breye in Leimert Park in 1971. As of 2011 it was empty and began undergoing restoration. Although currently without a home, the MiB still has an online presence -- Preserve the Museum in Black.


REVIVAL


Another scene at the 2012 Central Avenue Jazz Festival


Following the 1992 Riots and the introspection and dialogue that followed, several black cultural events arose including the Pan-African Film Festival (1992) and Central Avenue Jazz Festival (1996) and there seems to have been a general re-assessment of South LA's unique cultural and historic importance. Despite the fact that much of South LA and South Central’s black population moved in the wake of the riots, (today South Central is more than 87% Latino and only 10% black) the Central Avenue Jazz Festival offers attendees a chance to experience a bit of history and culture and maybe will serve as an example of why we should hold onto the sites of our city's rich history instead of, oh, tearing them down to make room for a KFC or police station.


CENTRAL AVE - A COMMUNITY ALBUM


There was a large art piece in the middle of the street with reproductions of photos from several generations. It was part of a project called Central Ave. It includes a mix of portraits taken by Sam Comen and family photos from Eastsiders of all generations. Since the website seems to be down, click here to check out the Facebook event page for the opening, or write to Comen at sam@samcomen.com


THE 2012 EVENT




No sooner had I arrived than a woman asked me what I'd thought of Ernie Andrews. Everybody seemed to be buzzing about his performance. One gentleman joked that he'd missed the performance, which started shortly after 1:00, because he was just getting up then -- because he'd only gone home at 7:00! 




I did catch Phil Ranelin's set which I enjoyed quite a bit, as did the rest of the attendees, apparently. The band rumbled and swung through numbers that touched on modal jazz, hard bop and avant-garde jazz showing that West Coast Jazz fans can appreciate other styles. Other performers included Diana Holling Band, Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Jazz America, LAUSD Beyond The Bell All-City Jazz Big Band, Poncho Sanchez, Sons of Etta, The New Jump Blues, and The Ray Goren Band. If you missed it this year, make sure you come to next's!

*****

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thenewno2's Dhani Harrison Answers Questions Before Performing at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, July 31, 2012 02:23pm | Post a Comment
The first time I heard thenewno2 was in my car, listening to KCRW. Their song “Make It Home” was on, and I was immediately taken with its unusual, insistent melody. It was enough to get me Shazamming the song immediately and discovering who this band was. This method of discovery is appropriate enough, given the band's fusion of electronic experimentation, programmed sounds and rock hooks. I was surprised to find out the band’s singer is Dhani Harrison, son of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. But not only does he look like his father, his voice bears a pretty strong resemblance as well. The now Los Angeles-based (formed in London) band, which includes Grammy-winning sound engineer Paul Hicks, as well as Jonathan Sadoff, Jeremy Faccone, Nick Fyffe and Frank Zummo, will perform at Amoeba Hollywood today at 6 p.m. and sign copies sold at the store of their second album (which is out today), thefearofmissionout. Harrison even mentioned the performance on Conan — sweet! I caught up with Harrison a bit before their performance.
 


PST: What did you try to do differently on this time around compared to the last album?

Harrison: Write better songs. Work with more people. Get more a group vibe going, more of a collective, different heads in the game, more creative, more players on the pitch. Mash it up a bit more. The last one was being like a lonely astronaut. This record kind of like a big gang.


PST: Who were some of the influences this time around?

Harrison: I went back to listening to a lot of blues, so, like Howlin’ Wolf. Obviously, Thom Yorke has been a big inspiration to me. I love Bjork. Paul’s really into Burial. We like Amon Tobin, Squarepusher.


thefearofmissingoutPST: Can you talk a bit about the concept behind thefearofmissingout?

Harrison: Everyone suffers from some degree of FOMO and it can affect your life, detrimentally. I think I’ve tried to therapize myself from the different stages of FOMO with this record … and it’s helped to a certain extent, and it created new forms of FOMO in a way as well, but change is like the opposite of FOMO. So change can be used as an agent to help you deal with your FOMO. If you’re experiencing change and you’re going with it, then you shouldn’t be too connected to the things that you’re afraid of missing out on.


PST: How did RZA become involved for “The Wait Around”?

Harrison: We did that song four years ago in my bedroom, and it’s been waiting around … hence the name. He’s always been a big influence as a team leader, specifically … the way he put the Wu-Tang together and the way he produces and just the way he’s an all-around inspiring, genius kind of guy. I see a lot of RZA in thenewno2, in the way that it’s structured, so to get him involved seemed like a natural fit from the beginning and that’s why he was into it … because it was.


PST: Was there always the plan to feature rapping on a track?

Harrison: Yeah. I’ve always loved Wu-Tang and this is experimental music. We’re trying to see where things cross over. Blues and rap and hip-hop and guitars … where does it all meet up? There’s a place somewhere where it does, and some might think it works and some might think it doesn’t. I happen to think it works. Experiencing different stuff, that’s what it’s about.


PST: Songs like “I Won’t Go” and “Make It Home” are catchy enough to stand alongside bands like Muse on rock radio but they’ve also got really interesting sounds and ideas fitted into the radio-ready melodies. Is that a goal with thenewno2, to create something that is widely appealing but has an experimental quality as well?

Harrison: It’s always good if your music is widely appealing, especially if it’s experimental music. Bands like Pink Floyd achieved that with experimental, deeply experimental music … and The Beatles too, experimented with studio records that became highly popular and part of society. So, ideally, all music that you make you want it to be readily consumed by everyone. I don’t mind making pop music and occasionally you accidentally make something catchy.


PST: I’ve read the unusual nature of the band name was in part to have the band stand on its own apart from your background. Was it important, too, to have the band not sound “Beatlesesque” for lack of a better term? Or does that worry not come up?

Harrison: What is Beatlesesque? They went through so many different styles of music. I’m sure at some point every band can sound Beatlesesque, other than, you know … Magnetic Man.


PST: The band name and album name and way they’ve been presented also make me think they are commentary on modern language and technology, sort of the condensing of words and dropping of space and punctuation you see on social networks. It also seems to fit the band’s music and presentation as this sort of post-modern idea of rock music. Did that enter into the conceptualization of the band?

Harrison: Yes. The whole thing was started as a collective. Eventually we’ll have to write everything with no punctuation, spelling, spaces … everything now is hashtagged. I gave the band this name back in 2001, so I think that, ironically, you’re starting to realize it now. I just happened to see the way that it was going and I chose a long view.


PST: Is Fistful of Mercy (Harrison's band with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur) still active?

Harrison: If and when the opportunity presents itself to do another record, I would. But right now we are all deep into our own projects so it’s not happening for awhile.


PST: What are the long-term plans for thenewno2?

Harrison: Lots more collaborations. Lots more records. A lot of festivals. We’d like to play a lot of festivals this year and get the music to the people that actually will appreciate it. We just recorded an acoustic EP which is going to come out, so just continuing to show the varying different styles of thenewno2. Building on top of what we’ve done, working with lots more great artists. We look forward to working with Shephard Fairey again, and Ben Eine, and look forward to working with new people that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Albums Out Today: Reissues From Blur, Yaz, At the Drive-In, Plus New Albums and Preorders

Posted by Billy Gil, July 31, 2012 01:11pm | Post a Comment
This week sees a huge set of reissues from Blur, among others ...

at the drive-inAt the Drive-InIn/Casino/Out
 
Though At the Drive-In’s third and final full-length, Relationship of Command, gets more attention for being the post-hardcore band’s breakthrough, At the Drive-In’s second album, In/Casino/Out, is the best representation of the band at the height of its powers. The album was recorded live to capture the band in its native environment, as the band had begun to make their name on explosive live shows that would lead to word-of-mouth expansion of their fanbase, and true to form listening to In/Casino/Out now feels like travelling back in time to when the band was playing basement shows, before Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López’s The Mars Volta would play to massive crowds in the following decade. You see the beginnings of that band in how Bixler-Zavala crams verbiage into “Alpha Centauri” and the band makes the 3:13 song feel like an epic, but the live recording makes it feel manageable, most of the lyrics spat out quickly and its movements more memorable than the Volta’s proggy opuses. It’s also easy to forget how catchy the band could be, and a run of mid-album cuts proves this, including “Pickpocket,” with its instantly memorable, if incomprehensible screamed chorus. The band would also slow down to great effect on “For Now…We Toast,” which clips the distance between the band’s more melodic and aggressive leanings. But the album stands together as a whole, as well, with song after song coming at you with a warm assault of visceral guitar attacks and complex wordplay.
 
blur 21Blur Reissues
 

Blur releases a mass of reissues on LP today, as well as its Blur 21 box set, celebrating 21 years of the Britpop band. To these ears, the incredibly solid Parklife and relentlessly experimental 13 have always been the essential Blur albums, but I also have a newfound appreciation of Leisure, their first album. Before they were kings of Britpop, Blur were a fresh-faced band of whelps wielding shoegaze guitars and madchester beats into a neat package, no better than on the funk-inspired “There’s No Other Way” or throbbing “Bang.” Yes, Leisure is sort of Blur’s Pablo Honey, where the band was still finding its footing, but Leisure also stands on its own, thanks to the fact that Damon Albarn and co. had more personality than most of their countrymen in 1991. You saw the beginnings of Albarn’s experimentalism in the percussive elements underpinning the slow-burning alt-rock of “Repetition” and accordion riff looping under the dream-pop guitar squalls of “Bad Day.” Even at its most derivative, such as the “Only Shallow” aping riff of “Slow Down,” Leisure is still a an early ’90s time capsule of a record with plenty of pleasure to spare, and one that hinted at the heights Blur and Albarn would achieve later on. Maybe I just like it now because every song sounds kind of like My Bloody Valentine's "Soon." Regardless, all of the albums are worth checking out, including Blur, Modern Life is Rubbish, The Great Escape and Think Tank.
 
yaz upstairs at eric'sYaz Upstairs at Eric’s
 
In these days of excellent darkwave revivalists like Light Asylum, Yaz and its best album, Upstairs at Eric’s, seem more prescient than ever. The albums big hits all have a certain desperation that often underpins some of the best pop songs. “Don’t Go,” despite its memorable synth hook, boasts lyrics like “I turned around when I heard the sound of footsteps on the floor/Said, ‘He was a killer,’ now I know it's true/I'm dead when you walk out the door.” Vince Clarke, who penned early Depeche Mode classics like “Just Can’t Get Enough” before splitting for Yaz (and later Erasure), offers spare backdrop that favors tiny, interlocking synth riffs rather than big blankets of chords for Moyet to pour herself over. Moyet’s deep vocals hit hard throughout, especially on “Midnight” and the classic “Only You,” slow, sad new wave ballads that would be nowhere without Moyet offering some much-needed soul to a genre often saddled with wispy male vocals. Upstairs at Eric’s is a lot of fun, too, even with its more emotional tunes — Clarke’s synths mimic ’50s rock tropes and disco shimmer to great effect on “Bad Connection” and “Goodbye Seventies,” respectively, while Moyet’s exuberant kiss-offs and creepy laugh make “Situation” one of the best feel-good breakup songs around.

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List of Music heard during the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Posted by Job O Brother, July 31, 2012 11:18am | Post a Comment


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More Additions to Rock The Bells 2012

Posted by Billyjam, July 31, 2012 10:18am | Post a Comment
The organizers of the 2012  Rock The Bells summer festival series have just announced some new additions to this year's stops on the traveling three city, 2-day hip-hop fest. These include DMX (left) and Eve who have now been added to the Bay Area stop, August 25 & 26 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, and Slaughterhouse, French Montana + Red Café, Chief Keef, and Tinie Tempah all been added to the sole East Coast date at Holmdel New Jersey on September 1st & 2nd. Meanwhile for the opening festival tour dates, August 18th and 19th, at the San Bernardino NOS Events Center, the star-studded line-up will now include KRS-One, Xzibit, Hieroglyphics, El-P, Killer Mike, Kid Ink, Machine Gun Kelly, Casey Veggies, I Self Devine, Chief Keef, and Slim da Mobster. The long list of artists for this tour, see flyer down below,  also include such acts as Nas, Rza, Slick Rick, Salt N Pepa, Atmosphere, Mix Master Mike, Wiz Khalifa, Kid Cudi, Asap Rocky and Action Bronson.

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Malazan Book of the Deaden: Gardens of the Moon

Posted by Charles Reece, July 30, 2012 10:37pm | Post a Comment
  

Having long since caught up to George R.R. Martin's progress in finishing his A Song of Ice and Fire saga, I've been on the hunt for some fantasy methadone to make waiting for the man a little more bearable, but, most importantly, only if it doesn't make me wonder why I'm not reading something else. (It's always been much easier to find well-written science fiction.) One such series that's regularly suggested in Google searches is Steven Erikson's 10 volume Malazan Book of the Fallen (e.g., this site suggests it's one of the best, as does NPR's list). I was wary, since its densely imbricated world has its origins in Erikson and co-creator Ian Cameron Esselmont's formative years as role-gaming enthusiasts (the latter has his own series of novels based in the same diegesis). But most writers don't have Tolkien's background in history, language and mythology, so the counterfactual worldbuilding has to come from somewhere, I guess. Besides, Martin himself has been influenced by gaming and my goto critic of weird fiction, Jeff Vandermeer, seems to admire the series. So I tried the first book, Gardens of the Moon, only to suffer through it until page 221 (of 484), when I threw in the towel. The possibility of nine more volumes of this:

The flat tone of her voice told Toc that her invitation had not cost anything -- and this horrified him, shook him to his very core. A quick glance showed a similar response from Tayschrenn and Dujek, though the latter veiled it.

was too much. It doesn't matter who the 'her' refers to or what the invitation is (it's the Adjunct Lorn, FYI, inviting the person who killed her family, the sorceress Tattersail, to the dinner table as a show of political tact), only that without knowing anything about what's going on, you can tell exactly what everyone's emotional reactions are and that this woman is very capable of coldly repressing her own. There's no character opacity here: even though Dujek "veils" his reaction, the narrator assures the reader that this character, too, is "horrified." Page after page, the book reads like a dungeon master telling his players what they're facing. Erikson hollows it out further by assigning every character clearcut roles from the D&D manual: a thief, an assassin, a soldier, a mage, a god, etc.. This is adult fantasy only relative to a lifetime of reading Dragonlance novels.

'Dark' is another adjective that gets thrown around when this series is discussed, but it's a matter of being told how bad something is, never shown. For example, on p. 77, the sacking of the formerly free city of Pale by its blood enemy, the Moranth:

Faintly, beyond the cries of carrion birds, came the wail of men, women, and children dying beneath the sword.

What makes this dark is that the reader is seeing it through the perspective of Sergeant Whiskeyjack, who's one of the primary protagonists, although he's fighting on the side of the Malazan Empire, which does what empires do, namely colonizes free people. The Empress Laseen has made a deal with the Moranth where in exchange for their service, they get to exact vengeance for their longstanding enmity with Pale. The reader later learns that some 18,000 citizens were slaughtered, and the streets ran red for days while the Malazan troops only watched. But who are these stats? "Men, women, and children" -- that's all. How were they killed? Painfully "beneath the sword." Is this supposed to feel any more traumatic than when Galactus devours some nameless planet on his way to Earth in a Fantastic Four comic? More like a bad roll of the die.

I ran across this perverse defense of Erikson as some tough-minded writer's writer, compared to Martin's readerly style:

Martin will ALWAYS reach a larger public because his writing is much more approachable, making easier to connect with story and characters. Erikson, deliberately, writes in a different way and doesn't care to win the reader over. He doesn't care to make sympathetic characters that readers find easy to connect to.

That seems to me to get it exactly wrong. Erikson isn't like Borges, rejecting psychological realism, but rather spoonfeeds the reader everything he or she needs to know about the characters' inner workings. Martin, on the other hand, actually requires his readership to make many inferences on subtext and a memory for previous events in order to possibly grasp what's going on. If a character's actions are morally questionable, it's because the reader actually has to question those actions based on events that have been described. This is the opacity I alluded to earlier. Did, for example, Robert Baratheon really love Ned Stark's sister, Lyanna, or was it more a matter of sick fixation on a girl who actually loved then Prince Rhaegar Targaryen? Robert's version is that Lyanna was kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar; the Targaryen side of events is that Lyanna ran off with the prince. The only thing that's definitively known is that her disappearance led to the rebellion, the end of which had Robert ascending to the throne. What actually went on is a matter of hypotheses based on a variety of stories that are told throughout the series by characters possessing motivations that aren't exactly forthright due to their ideological alignments. Had Erikson written this series, he would've likely stated up front that Robert was fooling himself, end of mystery. The only "mystery" remaining would be when characters might catch up to the reader's knowledge that Jon Snow is really Lyanna's son, not Ned's. Thus, it's the cognitive demands on an active reader, not realism, that separates Martin from Erikson.

Ugh. I'm going to read Eco's new novel, then back to my quest for a good fantasy series. Next up will probably be Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast.

July 30, 2012: Klown

Posted by phil blankenship, July 30, 2012 10:31pm | Post a Comment

The Art Of The LP Cover & Label Gallery- Fire! Pt. 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 29, 2012 07:18pm | Post a Comment

Check out the first gallery from 2009, click here.


July 29, 2012: The Queen of Versailles

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July 28, 2012: The Mercenary / Death Rides A Horse

Posted by phil blankenship, July 29, 2012 12:16am | Post a Comment

51Oakland Presents Don Reed's "East 14th" to Benefit Oakland Schools

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2012 02:21am | Post a Comment
Oakland born-and-raised comedian Don Reed, whose built a rep for his work on HBO, the Cosby Show, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, will be doing a special one-off performance of his renowned one man show East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player at Yoshi's in Oakland on Monday July 30th. The critically acclaimed, funny but poignant show, that has the distinction of being the longest running one man show in Bay Area history, will benefit Oakland Public Schools Music & Arts Education thanks to the 51Oakland organization.

East 14th
's storyline is described by its producers as chronicling the true tale of a young man raised in Oakland by his mother and ultra-strict stepfather as a middle class, straight A, God-fearing church boy. The boy, however, wanted to be just like his dear old dad. Too bad he didn't know dear old dad was a pimp. And yet we find even the outlaws in our community have a moral compass that leads our most promising to higher ground and higher education. This week I caught up with writer, director, performer Reed to ask his long-running popular play, his stand-up work, East Oakland, and the state of the East Bay school system today.

Amoeblog:
You have said that you were at first reluctant to do a show like East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player because it is so close to you & your personal life. But once you did it on stage was it a cathartic rewarding (or other) experience?

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New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood, 7/27 - New Terre Thaemlitz, Juju & Jordash, Joy Orbison, Pepe Bradock, and B-Tracks

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 27, 2012 06:17pm | Post a Comment

Terre Thaemlitz
Soulnessless 12"
Comatonse Recordings

Eagerly-anticipated first installment of two EPs in support of Terre Thaemlitz's convention-transgressing, 32-hour microSD card album Soulnessless. The EP features two extended reworks from Thaemlitz under his K-S.H.E moniker, clocking in at almost half an hour. Plush, puckered deep house minimalism from one of the finest operators in the field. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin and limited to 500 copies

Purchase Soulnessless 12" here:






Juju & Jordash
Jewsex 12”
Golf Channel

A pounding Italo/EBM influenced club epic. Atmospheric and moody but still aimed at the dancefloor. Like JOHN CARPENTER's soundtrack synth music mixed with GIORGIO MORODER. 3 mixes: "JEWSEX", "CLUBSEX" and "DUBSEX". Awesome!

Purchase Jewsex 12" here:







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Behind the Scenes: Dave Gahan, Rich Machin and Serj Tankian

Posted by Rachael McGovern, July 27, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hollywood was buzzing with some recent "What's In My Bag?" guests.

Serj Tankian HarakiriFirst, we had Serj Tankian, solo artist and frontman for System of a Down. He was particuarly interested in film music, including composers Ennio Morricone and John Williams. His choices were mostly from the jazz room, although he did select a Sigur Ros album and Mondo Cane by his friend Mike Patton. Serj actually came in that day inquiring about the experimental section which is now located in the jazz room, so technically Mondo Cane is also a jazz room pick. As for the rest of his picks and what he said about each one, you'll have to wait for the video!

Serj just announced a North American tour in support of his new solo album, Harakiri. You can see him live in Los Angeles September 28 at Club Nokia.
 

Serj Tankian at Amoeba Hollywood

Southern California Night Markets - the Return of the 626

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 27, 2012 04:17pm | Post a Comment
626 Night Market logo

The first 626 Night Market was a victim of its own, unanticipated success. Taiwanese-American organizers Jonny and Janet Hwang struggled to get enough vendors to commit even after lowering fees to the point that they expected to lose money. The Facebook page had about 2,000 fans a couple of weeks before its debut but FB fans are a notoriously flaky bunch – or is that just when I’m hosting something?


By some estimates, when the night market actually took place, some 10,000 people descended on a single, long block of North Oakland in Old Town. It was honestly a bit scary being swept along by the crowd without any control and a little amazing. My roommate’s phone disappeared and we weren’t even able to approach most of the food vendors to even see what was available -- forced to accept the sugary toast sold nearest to the entrance. Several friends I expected to meet gave up -- several opting to go to Arcadia to satisfy their Taiwanese jones. My roommate and I barely escaped and went to Lucky Baldwin’sThey, along with other businesses in the vicinity, were probably among the few who enjoyed the windfall that resulted from what was quickly nicknamed the "626 Nightmare Market" -- or maybe that was just me.


The night market in Yilan -- notice breathing room and smiles

For those unfamiliar with night markets (I overheard someone at a neighboring table explaining that there was “some kind of Asian fest” taking place) are nighttime bazaars where people do a little shopping as they aimlessly ramble and eat street food. They’re especially popular in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. I’ve been to them in HaulienTaipei, Taitung, Yilan and Pasadena and in my experience eating and strolling are the primary focus except the first Pasadena, where not getting trampled or crushed was.


Empty lounge in Monterey Park -- everyone's eating


 
Night markets offer an alternative to the typical urban American nightlife (usually alcohol-fueled) options like partying, bar-hopping, clubbing, pub-crawling, art openings, music performances, &c. Eating out with friends is popular in Asian-majority communities like Monterey Park (America’s first Chinese-American majority city). With a population of over 60,000, they're seemingly content with only two bars (one in a hotel, the other on the border with East LA and almost entirely patronized by Latinos). Boozing doesn’t seem to play much of a role in the activity. In Monterey Park's San Gabriel Valley neighbor, Rowland Heights (nicknamed by some, "Little Taipei"), most evenings large numbers of young people congregate around Diamond Plaza, cruising through the parking lot, playing cards and hanging out at a tea house. In other words, much of LA County seems to me to long have been primed for night markets.
 

suffocating at the first 626 Night Market -- no smiles

Although a writer for the LA Weekly described the first 626 Night Market as “Southern California’s first Asian night market,” there have been at least two earlier examples. Monterey Park hosted a small night market back in 2004 that occurred on Saturdays in the summer for a couple of years before disappearing. Santa Monica apparently had a one-off Malaysian night market in 2010. (Update: As of 2014 there's also the KTown Night Market in Koreatown, the Little Saigon Night Market in Little Saigon, the OC Night Market in Costa Mesa.) 





For the returning 626 Night Market, the location has been moved to Centennial Square, in Pasadena’s Civic Center District (100 N. Garfield Ave, Pasadena). Thankfully, it will this time be allotted more than 4 ½ acres (18,580 square meters) -- about six blocks. It will take place from 4:00 pm – 11:30 pm and for all you people who hate looking for parking, the Gold Line’s Memorial Park Station is located within the area covered by the night market.


Unable to get any closer to the food


And for those that complained that there weren’t enough vendors at the last 626 Night Market (how do they even know? I couldn’t even get to most of them), this one has the following (including three times as many food vendors as last time): 626 Movemeant, 8 Ate 8's K BBQ, AFC Soy Foods, AK Lashes, ANP Design, AU79, Addicted to Phones, Akbar Cuisine of India, Alltronics, A-sha Dry Noodle, Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, Astro's Donuts, Aunty Merry, Bao Style, Beatnixx, Beyond the Olice, Black Persimmon, Bling Bling Dumpling, Boba Avenue, Bowls LA, Bowtique Envy, Crepe 'N Around, Cafe 18, Cal Fresh Vikon, California Museum of Art, Cannan Restaurant, Cha Cafe, Chala Handbags, Chare's Import, Charmy Charmy, Chines & Korean BBQ, Christina Liu, Comien Silk, Covina Tasty, Creative Twist, Creme Carmel LA, Dr. Cellular, Dragon Whiskers Candy, Evike, EWC Group, Eddie B Games, Fighting Fish, Flour + Tea, Fluff Ice, Fresh Roast, Fruit King Juice, GG_Infinite, Ginger Bread Man's Asian Roots, Gippentarp, Green Cube Gourmet, Green Cube Tofu, Grilled Cheese Truck, Haven Gastropub, Heo Cuisine, Hollywood Fodder, House of Bonz, Indonesia Satay, It's a Snap!, J Noodle House, JHL Style, Java Cafe, Jessica, Juba, Kawaii Foods, Kebab Brothers, Komodo Food Truck, Korean Contacts, Las 3 Hermanas, Leapfrog, Lee's BBQ, Liang's Kitchen, Little Rain, Lobsta Truck, Lotus Circles, Lucky Bamboo Garden, Mama Go's Fil-Cuisine, Mama Masubi, Mandoline, Michelle Lee, Mighty Boba Truck, Miniemall, Momochai, Molla Space, Moni Moni, Ninja Sox, OMG Blings, Offal Laffo, Optic Remix, Oscar Enterprise Company, Overseas Commercial Group, Ozero, Papa Lee, Pasta Joe, Patricia Huang, Peppers Thai, Pet Lover Cafe, Phuonghang, Pie n Burger, Q-Zone, R2 - Ray Rays, Raw Cane Super Juice, Ready Artwork, Rock n' Roll, Rocxten, Roll Up, Savana Electronics, Sculpster, Seoul Sausage, Shaosi Ye Valdez, Shinano, Silver Panda, Slammin' Sliders, Solpoint Services, Soyumi, Spices n' Rice, Store13, Supreme Vege Cuisine, T-Square International, Takken, Takoyaki Tanota, Tan San, Tangy Choices, Tarami Patisserie, Taxco, Tea Bar Starry, Tealicious, Ten Ren's Tea Time, The Boat Restaurant, The Candy Chef, Ton Ten Ko, Unfindings, Underestimate, V & R Thai-Chinese Food, Wok Master, Yiming Ou, Yirin Grill, Yogurtland, Zummy Road, Zarlito's Family Kitchen, and Zeta Epsilon Tau.



See you there and bring your appetite!

*****
Update: The second 626 Night Market was a vast improvement over the first one. It was still well-attended and there were far more (and diverse) food options. While the main complaint this time seems to have been that stinky tofu is stinky, mine would only be that the lines (at least there were lines this time) were still long. I had to wait 30 minutes for a grilled cheese -- again, at least this time I got to eat -- at multiple places. Hopefully the apparent success will lead not only to more 626 Night Markets but more night markets throughout LA!
 




 
*****

Local Stuff: Flying Lotus, Chelsea Wolfe, Lord Huron, Tamaryn, Plus Shows This Weekend

Posted by Billy Gil, July 27, 2012 11:44am | Post a Comment
Flying LotusFlying Lotus – “Between Friends” (ft. Earl Sweatshirt and Captain Murphy)
 
Everything Flying Lotus does requires us to pay attention — not just because everything he touches, whether it be hosting excellent artists like Jeremiah Jae on his Brainfeeder label or his own work on albums like Comsmogramma, seems to be uniformly excellent, but because there’s a depth of complexity there that extends past sample-rap-repeat. This song for Adult Swim’s Singles Program features guest spots from Earl Sweatshirt and Captain Murphy — who is maybe Tyler, the Creator? So postulates Pitchfork, which may be true, since Captain Murphy was a character from the off-the-air animated series “Sealab 2021” whose original voice, Harry Goz, died in 2003. I love how it starts with this dream soul intro that completely cuts out twice before getting into trading codeine-fueled raps. Sounds like something that would have been concocted at the bottom of the sea, indeed! (Ugh.) Flying Lotus’ new album Until the Quiet Comes is due Oct. 1 on Warp Records, featuring guest spots by Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu and more.
 


 
Chelsea Wolfe – “The Way We Used To”
 

If you’re like me, the thought of deliberately acoustic music usually sends you running — something about assumed authenticity and it not actually being all that interesting. But Chelsea Wolfe isn’t your typical singer-songwriter, and this first taste of her new album, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs, is truly arresting. It might be my favorite thing I’ve heard from her, and I think the conceit of “acoustic” songs (I mean, there’s still overdubs where she harmonizes with herself, etc.) actually does her a lot of favors. Her first album, Apokalypsis, was grandiose in its gloom but sometimes Wolfe sounded lost among the layers. In “The Way We Used To,” the alluring concept of “doom folk” actually comes through much clearer, given the starkness of presentation and welcome brevity of the song, which leaves you wanting to listen again the second it’s done to grasp what you’ve just heard. It sounds like some lost blues spiritual filtered through modern aesthetic, eschewing bigness in favor of subtle sorrow. Unknown Rooms, which is due Oct. 16 from Sargent House, could just be Wolfe’s breakthrough.
 

 

Lord Huron – “Time to Run”

 
After releasing 2010’s excellent Mighty EP, Los Angeles-based songwriter Ben Schneider under the name Lord Huron is finally set to release his first full-length album, Lonesome Dreams, via IAMSOUND Oct. 9. “Time to Run” teases a sunkissed Western sound that nicely balances its dusty country leanings with healthy but not oppressive reverb and a galloping beat. Looking forward to hearing the rest!
 

 

Tamaryn – “I’m Gone”

 
SF-based Tamaryn does shoegaze right — songs about vague, indescribable concepts (see 2010’s “Love Fades,” a standout from her last album, The Waves, one of the best songs about feeling low and out of love). “I’m Gone” mines similar territory to her previous work. I’m not sure what she’s singing about, but the feel and concept offered by the title are of a certain emotional deadness that some mistake for laziness, when actually it’s a difficult, real feeling that is pretty hard to convey this well. I look forward to hearing the rest of Tender New Signs, out Oct. 16 on Mexican Summer.

 

Shows This Weekend:
 
Friday: King Tuff, Jaill, The Coathangers at The Echo (8:30 p.m., $12)
 
Saturday: Nick Waterhouse at The Getty Center (6 p.m., FREE)
 
Sunday: Fiona Apple at The Palladium (8 p.m., tickets are $100+ via various sellers) OR if you’re not rich/didn’t buy tickets ahead of time to that and you’re like me and LOVE Crystal Stilts, you’re in luck — they’re playing Part Time Punks at The Echo with The Mantles and Sea Lions (10 p.m., $10)
 

 
 

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 07.27.12: Aesop Rock, Nas, Masta Ace & MF DOOM + more

Posted by Billyjam, July 27, 2012 01:01am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Wk ending 07:27:12

1)  Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

By far the current bestselling hip-hop title in the store is this new self-produced solo album from Aesop Rock, which really shines a spotlight on the man’s originality and talents. This one is possibly his strongest offering to date, with superb production
that really matches his vocals and carves a niche in hip hop that is all his own. One  listen through this, and my immediate thought was “no other person in hip hop makes  music that sounds like this.” Support brilliant original music and pick this up!

Skelethon is available from Amoeba in both CD format and album/LP format.





2) Nas Life is Good (Def Jam)

The latest from [Nasty] Nas is more of what fans should expect from the man: some hot singles, raps about his daughters and his current state of mind, plus his signature voice and flow. Production credits include No I.D, Buckwild and Salaam Remi. This is grown
man rap music that reflects Nas’ life in an honest way that most mainstream artists steer away from. Cool stuff.

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July 26, 2012: The Big Gundown / The Hills Run Red

Posted by phil blankenship, July 26, 2012 11:59pm | Post a Comment

Forgotten Surf Masterpiece: "Summer Means Fun" by Bruce & Terry

Posted by Joe Goldmark, July 26, 2012 04:51pm | Post a Comment

Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!    

Here’s a little known surf gem that I stumbled upon at Amoeba. It has all the ingredients of a hit: catchyBruce and Terry  Summer means fun charles manson tune, great production, and excellent vocal performance, but for whatever reason it never charted.  

Bruce & Terry are unknown as a group, but individually Bruce and Terry charles manson summer fun surf beach boysthey’ve got quite the reputations. Bruce Johnston went on to become a Beach Boy and also wrote the infamous hit “I Write the Songs,” which Barry Manilow got reamed for. Terry Melcher was a renowned L.A. producer and son of Doris Day.  He produced the first few Byrds albums among others. Together Bruce & Terry also produced many other acts, including the Riptides and their hit of “Hey Little Cobra.”

Unfortunately, Terry is perhaps best known for having been chummy with Charlie Manson for awhile. It was his just-vacated house where the murders occurred and it’s theorized that the family was really after him and his girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen, and not Sharon Tate

Amoeba Presents The Be Good Tanyas at Bootleg Bar Aug. 17

Posted by Billy Gil, July 26, 2012 03:15pm | Post a Comment
Americana heroines The Be Good Tanyas will play the Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles August 17, following their gig at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival on Saturday Aug. 11 with the likes of Metallica, Sigur Ros, The Kills and more.

Amoeba Music
is proud to present the show, which also features Leftover Cuties and Willie Watson of Americana string band Old Crow Medicine Show. This is a 21+ event. Tickets are available at Amoeba Hollywood! As is their latest album, A Collection (2000-2012), which gives an overview of the 21st century roots band’s existence. Their three studio albums, Blue Horse, Chinatown and Hello Love, are available as well.

The Be Good Tanyas CollectionThe Be Good Tanyas, consisting of Frazey Ford (guitar, vocals), Samantha Parton (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) and Trish Klein (guitar, banjo, vocals), formed in the late 1990s after meeting at tree-planting camps in British Columbia — yes, apparently these exist in Canada, which is clearly a more thoughtful place. The band also once included the Tom Waits-feted folk singer Jolie Holland. The band is known for its exquisite harmonies, renditions of traditional songs such as “Oh! Susannah” and particularly a rousing take on “The Lakes of Pontchartrain,” as well as original songs faithful to traditional roots music. Ford’s sweetly warbling voice also has been featured on her solo ablum Obadiah, released in 2010. You may have heard her haunting “Firecracker” now and then on KCRW, where she also recently performed.

Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood August 4th. Classical Blowout, DVD Box Set 2 for $10, and More!

Posted by Amoebite, July 26, 2012 12:25pm | Post a Comment
SidewalkSaleVisit Amoeba Hollywood on Saturday, August 4th from noon-5:30pm for our next sidewalk sale! Pick up some awesome deals on CDs, vinyl, DVDs, box sets and more all at great savings.

The sidewalk sale will also feature a Classical blowout with vinyl for 50 cents or three for $1 and CDs at $2.99 and $3.99 that arebuy-one-get-one-free! BOGO! What a deal! There are many great bargains among these titles, but we just need to clear them out for new merchandise.

AND get this! We have a TON of DVD box sets that are two for $10!! We've got titles like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The OfficeCurb Your EnthusiasmWeedsWill & Grace, South ParkThe Simpsons, and SO MUCH MORE!

Come out and see the many other deals to be had at the sidewalk sale! For those who can't make it out, shop our Clearance section online for some sweet finds.

All sidewalk sales are final. Store credit cannot be used to purchase items from the sidewalk sale. Prices apply to sidewalk sale stock only and this offer is only while supplies last.

Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood

Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba    Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood

Summer on 7th - Inner-City Arts fundraiser

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 25, 2012 05:00pm | Post a Comment

The other night I went to a fundraising even at Inner-City Arts in Downtown LAInner City Arts is a program provides arts exposure and education to kids, most of whom live within a few miles of the school -- one of the more impoverished and under-served areas in the county (although there is at least one student who’s bussed in all the way from Pomona).


A center for ants


The Inner-City Arts campus was designed by Michael Maltzan, whose Los Feliz-based firm is also responsible for Westwood’s Billy Wilder Theater, part of Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and several housing units for the formerly homeless.


 
Inner-City Arts classrooms


Though located in a gritty section of downtown on the edge of the Wholesale District and the Downtown Industrial District near Skid Row, it’s rather like a calm oasis. The poetic modernist architecture is reminiscent of the work of Portuguese architect, Álvaro Siza, and is largely open but separated from its gritty neighbors. Inside, the courtyard is well landscaped. One can imagine this environment being conducive to the creative development of the young people it serves.



On the night of the fundraiser (21+, natch) there was food from as well as complimentary beer and wine (always a plus for me!). There was shopping with several jewelry designers, artists, ceramacists, photographers and more exhibiting and offering their wares. I spent $20 at the mystery shopping boutique and came away with a DVD set of 35 Clint Eastwood films (valued at $179.98 – score!). There were also several Val Lewton collections left in the gift exchange area. Forgive them Nzambi, they know not what they do!

 
         Our Canvas History: Journey to Los Angeles                                     You know me and art maps

Food was provided by Cypress Park's Antigua Coffee, Pasadena's Burger Continental, Crispy Waffle & Frite, From the Grill, Let's Be Frank, Los Angeles Bakery, Sana Gourmet, Tender Greens, and The Solomon Family. The (vegetarian) tamales from Sana Gourmet were favorites, as was Tender Greens' gazpacho.


 
                             The Bizung Family                                                     Meta: A picture of me taking a picture


Additionally, Chilean-born Franco-Hungarian graffiti artist Mambo worked on a plexiglass piece; Ghana-born Mohammad Alidu and his band, Bizung Family, played highlife, afropop and other African styles of music; and DJ D-Styles, DJ Cyberia, DJ Ronix and ReallyNathan kept the dance floor filled. Since I wasn’t driving, I amused myself with the breathalyzer, which I treated like a “high striker” carnival game, hoping a bell would ring if I was boozy enough (it didn’t). All for a good cause!



Anyway, Inner-City Arts is a great, very inspiring program, they throw great parties and you should check and help them out if you’re able -- here's a link to their Facebook page

*****

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July 24, 2012: Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D

Posted by phil blankenship, July 24, 2012 10:51pm | Post a Comment

Celebrate the 1st Anniversary of Harry Duncan's Roots & Rhythm at Amoeba with Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 24, 2012 09:43pm | Post a Comment
This Saturday, July 28th, marks the one year anniversary of Harry Duncan's Roots & Rhythm DJ seriesarhoolie at Amoeba San Francisco. Mr. Duncan has brought a lot of great guests to our stage over the past year, including Tower of Power's David Garibaldi (event photos) and The Meters' Ziggy Modeliste (event photos). To celebrate the momentous one-year anniversary, Amoeba and Roots & Rhythm welcome Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records!

Established in 1960 by Strachwitz, Arhoolie has released a rich and eclectic mix of down home blues, folk, jazz, gospel,

Chris Strachwitz
zydeco, Tex-Mex, country, and cajun — the full panorama of American roots music. Through Arhoolie, Strachwitz has helped to introduce artists like bluesmen LIghtnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Mance Lipscomb, zydeco king Clifton Chenier, Tex-Mex master accordion player Flaco Jimenez, Lydia Mendoza, as well as jazz man Sonny Simmons and folk singer Barbara Dane to wider audiences.

An NEA Heritage Fellow, Strachwitz is also president of The Arhoolie Foundation, a non-profit that documents, preserves, and presents authentic traditional and regional vernacular music. Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, and T-Bone Burnett are among those that participate on the Arhoolie Foundation Advisory Board.

For more details on Saturday's Roots & Rhythm event, click HERE.

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B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls are Back: August 4th!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 24, 2012 08:55pm | Post a Comment
bay area derby girls

Join the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls for their final home bout on Saturday, August 4th at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. Will the San Francisco ShEvil Dead army of zombies take the Bay Area Championship title or will the Richmond Wrecking Belles pulverize the West Bay interlopers? Like all good grudge matches, this final home bout will surely be a nail biter of epic proportions!

This is an all-ages event, but if it had a rating it’d be PG-13. No children under 12 allowed in track-side (“suicide”) seating. Please note: track-side (“suicide”) seating is AT YOUR OWN RISK. Seating is first-come, first-served, so arrive early to secure your spot!

Be sure to enter the raffle for a chance to win an Amoeba swag bag including a $25 Amoeba Music Gift Certificate

6pm: Doors Open
7:30pm: It's on!

The Craneway Pavilion
1414 Harbour Way
South Richmond, CA

Get your tickets HERE!

Richmond Wrecking Belles
Richmond Wrecking Belles ShEvil Dead

Albums Out Today: Purity Ring, Jeremiah Jae, Heavenly Beat and More

Posted by Billy Gil, July 24, 2012 05:15pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks
 
Purity Ring ShrinesPurity Ring Shrines
 
To say Purity Ring’s debut record has been anticipated would be an understatement. Anything signed to the 4AD label generates drool from indie music fans, let alone bands who tease brilliantly formed singles with Cocteau Twins-ish poetic gibberish titles like “Belispeak” and a sound that calls to mind the skewed electro-pop of fellow recent 4AD signee Grimes and the menacing witch house sound of bands like Salem and Unison. Though a newish genre, witch house wants for personality, and it has gotten it in the form of Purity Ring, whose Megan James offers clear, girlishly breathy vocals over Corin Roddick’s paranormal beatwork. Even through murky sounds, the duo knows how to write songs that would sound great even out of context. James sings creepy, culty lyrics that like “Dust off my necklace, familiar…to the culminated piles of bones” in “Ungirthed” — their zombie apocalypse quality may seem over the top, but it gives the song its necessary character and are pretty fun, coolness be damned. Shrines reaches its peak on “Grandloves,” maybe the most convincing combination yet of house beats, hip-hop delivery, courtesy of Young Magic, and shoegaze sonics that help define the nebulous genre Purity Ring occupies. Every time Shrines seems to settle, its brilliant pacing picks it up, like the way “Belispeak’s” horror-movie pop beats cut through the din in the album’s final quarter. It’s a highly successful debut record that promises Purity Ring, and seemingly silly genres like witch house, are nothing to dismiss.
 
Jeremiah JaeJeremiah JaeRaw Money Raps
 
The latest protégé on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label unleashes an impressive debut of record of psychedelic lo-fi beats and rhymes. Jeremiah Jae’s spaced out delivery over a stuttering, skipping beat on “Guns Go Off” give lyrics like “all these things get lost in time” a scary acceptance more effective than any heavy-handedness would have. The more instrumental tracks call to mind the head-spinning brevity of Madvillain or Flying Lotus at his most hip-hop, while the catchier bits, like the irresistible posturing and druggy synths of “Money and Food,” are strong enough to appeal to fans of more mainstream (but likeminded) acts The-Dream, Drake and Frank Ocean. Raw Money Raps is indeed pretty raw, but it also holds together nicely over its 19 tracks, and points for big things to come from Jeremiah Jae. (Catch him LIVE at Amoeba Hollywood July 29 at 3 p.m.!)
 
Heavenly BeatHeavenly BeatTalent
 
Apparently Beach Fossils’ skeletal guitar-pop perfection extends to side projects, as well — first we got BF member Zachary Cole Smith’s dreamy Diiv record, now bassist John Peña releases divine guitar pop as Heavenly Beat. Peña’s soft jazz chords and lightly melancholic melodies feel like a perfect cocktail in the dead heat of summer. The “beat” part of Heavenly Beat comes in light electronic drums that feel like Balearic beats without the deep pulse, staying crisp and fizzy on “Messiah” in an otherwise cathedral-like song. The steel drums and female backup vocals of “Presence” up the laid-back, island feel, but the melodies are all Sarah Records-style British mope, with nods to Aztec Camera in its spindly acoustic riffs. Just listening to Talent feels like an exotic vacation in and of itself.
 
Also out today:
 
MicachuMicachu and the ShapesNever
 
The second album from Micachu & the Shapes is even more chaotic and messy than 2009’s Jewellry — and that’s a good thing. Whereas that album still concerned itself with being presentable once in a while, Never is truly unhinged. Even at their catchiest, on a trio of songs at the album’s core, “OK,” “Low Dogg” and “Holiday,” Micachu and her cohorts couch the hooks with electronic squelches, strange time signatures and breaks, bits of found sound and other madness. Still, “Holiday” will have you tapping to its weirdo beat.
 

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Kreayshawn Unveils Video for Her New Major Label Single "Go Hard"

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2012 05:05pm | Post a Comment
       

Today (July 24th) Kreayshawn unveiled the colorful video above for her brand new single "Go Hard" which is taken from the Oakland rapper's upcoming album, Somethin 'Bout Kreay  which will drop on Columbia Records by the end of the year. The artist, whose meteoric rise to fame has been well documented including here on the Amoeblog, shot to fame via the viral success of the May 2011 video "Gucci Gucci." The ever-popular video, which to date has racked up almost 37 million YouTube hits, landed her a big dollar record deal with the major label which within a couple of months of its release.  Since then she's built on her fanbase as well as managed to continually piss off a segment of diehard hip-hop heads who feel that she rode on the coattails of Bay Area rap culture and slang just to get to where she is. She and her White Girl Mob crew dismiss these detractors as "jealous haters."

Fresh back in the US from a European tour that took her to festivals in Norway, Belgium, France, and the UK (where she launched her new collaborative t-shirt line with clothing brand A Bathing Ape) the artist says of the new single "Go Hard' with the "la,la,la" refrain that, "I wanted to inspire people to just do their own thing." The rapper/rapper / videographer came up with the video storyboard, which she describes as "a visual adventure," in collaboration with design based collective Syndrome, who have previously done videos for big name stars like Eminem, Ke$ha and the Black Eyed Peas.



Video: Customer Shows Off Purchases from East Coast Vinyl Collection

Posted by Amoebite, July 24, 2012 04:55pm | Post a Comment
A customer essentially made his own "What's In My Bag?" video taking us through a handful of purchases from the East Coast Vinyl Collection which was unveiled over the weekend at Amoeba Hollywood. Some of the gems he snagged include an LP by Stomu Yamash'ta, Irrlicht by Klaus Scholze, Solstice by Ralph Towner on ECM, and Urban Bushmen by The Art Ensemble of Chicago, among others. Check out his haul!

Stomu Yamashta     Klaus Schulze Irrlicht 

Ralph Towner Solstice ECM     Art Ensemble of Chicago Urban Bushmen


Ice T Well Prepared For Critiques of his "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" Documentary at UK Premiere

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2012 07:07am | Post a Comment


Ice T
's critically acclaimed, independently produced, hip-hop history documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, which opened in the States last month, just opened here in Europe on Friday last. The evening before (July 19) there were a series of premiere screenings in London and other select European cities including Dublin, Ireland when I caught it at the IFI (Irish Film Institute) where the film was followed immediately by a Q+A & concert performance via live satellite from London's Hammersmith Apollo. There Ice T, along with Melle Mel, Chuck D, and Raekwon were all in town for the UK debut. During this Q+A from the audience (a tough crowd) Ice T fielded most of the questions in which he spent a fair amount of time in defense of his great film: something he was well able to handle.

But first the movie which I had heard and read all about and was most anxious to view. I thought it was really excellent; especially on the big screen with the film's ample use of panoramic aerial views of NYC, LA, and Detroit, all lovingly shot in breathtaking widescreen at various times of the day from helicopter, that nicely broke up the dialog segments of  the documentary.

Sure the film didn't have all my favorite rappers in it but it was not my film, it was Ice T's. And as the OG (original gangsta) turned rapper, turned actor, turned filmmaker - stated before the film was even screened at Sundance earlier this year; he was not trying to represent all things rap (especially the bling & swag elements) but rather simply focus on the art of the rapper / emcee, and from his own personal perspective. This he did in loving detail, casually catching up with old friends in the rap game, and having them spit a verse or two from their own or other rapper's favorite rhymes, and share a little insight on how they approach their craft. In all 47 artists made the final cut including such talents as Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Raekwon, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Snoop Dog, Kool Keith, KRS-One, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chino XL, Grandmaster Caz, and Melle Mel - the latter two getting perhaps the most shine and props in the film. 

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Trannyshack: Stevie Nicks vs Kate Bush Tribute Night, 8/17 in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 23, 2012 04:40pm | Post a Comment
Trannyshack, San Francisco's biggest drag club night, incorporates everything from low brow trash to high brow performance art and has become famous (or infamous) worldwide as the quintessential San Francisco experience. Amoeba music is proud to be a sponsor of the Trannyshack salute to not one, but two legendary women of rock: Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush! Join Heklina, DJ Omar (Popscene / Sixxteen), and a host of amazing drag performers on August 17th at the DNA Lounge for this momentous event! Get your tickets in advance HERE!

trannyshack stevie nicks kate bush

7-Year-Old Girl Takes Title at the HHCF-Hosted Step Up Revolution All Styles Dance Competition in San Jose

Posted by Billyjam, July 23, 2012 03:45am | Post a Comment
Yesterday (July 22nd) in San Jose, CA the wonderful Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) organization hosted the first ever Step Up Revolution All Styles Dance Competition at which a talented young seven year old girl who goes simply by her first name Sarah wowed everyone and took the title with an impressive routine that blended various dance styles.

This hip-hop rooted dance battle was designed to help "get kids off the street and showcase the amazing dance talent in the Bay Area," said HHCF mainman Adissa Banjoko (pictured left with Sarah) who, for many years, has tirelessly worked as a mentor with youth via his hip-hop chess organization & other outlets. Yesterday's worthy event, in which the HHCF joined forces with Step Up Revolution Movie for Hip-Hop Dance Battle, helped raise money for school supplies for at-risk youth - something that is more important than ever in these financially challenged times for inner city school systems.

Sunday's event, which took place at San Jose's Alum Rock Youth Center, kicked off with a workshop by A-Game from the Hybrid Crew/Style Elements in which the renowned Bay Area Bboy taught an eager to learn young audience fundamental Bboy moves. Then came the all styles dance competition which was DJ’ed by Kool DJ Dizzy of All Tribes Zulu Nation chapter and judged by San Jose Bboy Anonymous and Funkee Asiatic of All Tribes Zulu Nation. The competition was, according to Banjoko, "conducted in an Iron Man format that came down to a face-off  between poppers Shez and Maze, both representing San Jose. After a grueling 5 rounds Shez and Maze tied for first."

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Holy Terror, Batman! Some Thoughts on Violence in The Dark Knight Rises

Posted by Charles Reece, July 22, 2012 11:56pm | Post a Comment

There are plenty more insipid cartoons about the recent "Batman shootings" where Jeff Korteba's came from. I don't use it as an example of the decrepitude of political cartooning (it's always been the world's lamest artform). Rather, the cartoon exemplifies a certain misreading of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy*: the vigilante Batman displaces real world law and order in the superheroic fantasy. In which case, the films' audience needs a reminder of who we should fantasize about, namely the guy who really puts his life on the line. However self-critical his films are, Nolan is too much the well-ensconced liberal advocate to ultimately use the character as anything more than an imaginary supplement to the status quo. There is a reason, after all, why the revolutionary violence in all three films is treated as pure chaos for chaos' sake. Batman doesn't represent change, but a much needed (or so the narrative goes) restoration of order.

Sure, the Joker scores some good points against hypocrisy when he sounds like Walter Benjamin in advocating "divine violence," a resetting of cultural values to zero, destroying the occluded underground byways of systemic violence that capital requires to continue (just think of the modern sweatshops used in manufacturing the iPhone, for example).** And Catwoman sounds like Bertolt Brecht as she gleefully portends what Bane's about to do to Gotham's stock exchange (e.g., "robbing a bank's no crime compared to owning one"). Nevertheless, these are the villains of the trilogy, not the heroes (Catwoman only becomes a hero when she fights to restore order). That's why Ben Shapiro over at Big Hollywood has it right: this is a conservative trilogy.

The hero is the one who preserves the tradition against the radicals, who uses violence (what Benjamin called "mythic violence") to maintain the order, not abolish it. There is no real meditation on the French Revolution's choice of liberty or death here, but a decisive alignment with the pragmatico-realist's belief that the corrupt impurities in the devil you know is always better than the irrational radicalism of the devil you don't. When Batman proves incapable on his own of dealing with Bane's tyranny, he's aided/supplanted by the collective body of Gotham's finest, who heroically face off against the enemy's superior firepower. Just in case you might miss the point, Nolan cuts to a battle-worn American flag. As Bruce Wayne explains in The Dark Knight Rises, the Batman could be anyone ... anyone, that is, who willingly fights for the status quo -- never, of course, the demonic Other represented by Ra's Al Ghul, the Joker or Bane (those guys are just batshit crazy terrorists). 


------------------------------------

[*] This misreading is based on the common moralizing assumption that specular violence doesn't have content, that it doesn't say different things in different contexts. To wit, Dana Stevens' analysis of the possible relation between Nolan's films and the actions of terrorist du jour, James Holmes:

To discuss the meaning and motives of his crime, of course we have to at least talk about why he might choose The Dark Knight Rises as a backdrop (and possibly a template) for whatever private fantasy he was enacting. And maybe there should also be conversations about what it means that the economics of the film industry are driven almost entirely by the fantasies and desires of young men, and what effect that kind of over-representation in pop culture might have on … the fantasies and desires of young men. All I know is that, when I heard the news about the Aurora shootings, my first thought was very clear and very scary: “Of course this was going to happen sooner or later.”

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July 22, 2012: The Dark Knight Rises

Posted by phil blankenship, July 22, 2012 04:38pm | Post a Comment

The Art Of The LP Cover- Playing Cards

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 22, 2012 02:10pm | Post a Comment


Tim Cohen's Magic Trick Releases Video for "Invisible at Midnight." Go Amoeba Alums!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 22, 2012 01:05pm | Post a Comment
magic trick tim cohen ruler of the nightMagic Trick, the side project of The Fresh & Onlys' Tim Cohen (who just happens to be an Amoeba San Francisco alum!), is celebrating the release of their second album, Ruler of the Night, with a spectacularly imaginative video for the song "Invisible at Midnight."

Directed by Mat Dara, another member of the Amoeba SF family, the video follows a young girl's loss of a pet goldfish and her subsequent attempt at necromancy. Enjoy!




New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood, 7/20: New Workshop, Shed, Morphine, Jam City, Der Zyklus & Albert Van Abbe + more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 20, 2012 05:19pm | Post a Comment




808 Mate / Marcellis / Schweiz Rec / Frak

Workshop 15
Workshop

A Workshop family House affair

Purchase Workshop 15 here:








Shed
Killer LP
50 Weapons

Gatefold double LP version. The third full-length from Shed eschews gimmickry for serious signal noise, strong beat-patterns, and massive power in the bass area. Rich in variety on tracks like "Silent Witness," a massive groover, to "I Come by Night," a real big four-to-the-floor slammer, to nice and lovely melodic tracks like "Gas Up" or the album version of the pre-single track, "The Praetorian." Once again the album feels like one big piece. Every track accepts the subordinate role in this game, and all the tracks are hits. Made for the pimping PA in your car, for home listening (at your neighbor's cost) or also to enjoy with a good pair of headphones. Aimed to be more homogeneous, the album is first and foremost a true techno love story.

Purchase Killer here:




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Local Stuff: Sweet Valley, Heaven, Wild Eyes, MellowHype, Plus Shows

Posted by Billy Gil, July 20, 2012 12:35pm | Post a Comment
Sweet Valley and Heaven
 
There’s a new Sweet Valley track out. Who’s that, you ask? It’s Nathan Williams of Wavves, along with his brother, Kynan. “Total Carnage,” from their upcoming debut record, Stay Calm, is warped, instrumental surf rock that makes its looping riff sound like an endless summer. You want to just put it on, lay at the beach and never have that moment end. Stay Calm is out Aug. 7 from Fool’s Gold.
 

 
And speaking of Wavves, Wavves drummer Jacob Safari debuted songs from his new project Heaven via Vice’s blog this week. “Hanging Out” is kind of industrial and cool, with a foreboding beat and spacey vocals, while “Can’t Grow Up With Poison” is more of a straight-up shoegazer with a driving beat and a more melodic bent. I’m really digging this, obviously. An EP is due soon!
 
 
Wild Eyes – Blue Haze
 
New band crush: Wild Eyes, a So. Cal. shoegaze band with heart-and-brain-melting tracks that recall the best of the genre — Ride, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine. Found this one over at Buzzbands.la, where I learned they recorded their Blue Haze EP in a garage and rehearsal space. For such humble beginnings, the thing approaches Creation status. Gotta love those garage-gaze bands!
 

 
 
 
Mellowhype Tracks
 
Odd Future’s MellowHype have released two tracks from their upcoming LP Numbers, the followup to their excellent Blackenedwhite. “Fakuoy” has some sweet spectral street vibes, while “La Bonita” features vaguely Latin undertones while Hodgy Beats and Left Brain extol the virtues of spandex on Latina butts. Try to ignore the f-bomb in “Fakuoy” — didn’t you hear about Frank Ocean? Numbers is out Oct. 2.
 






 
Shows This Weekend
 
Friday: Gil Scott-Heron tribute @ California Plaza in Downtown L.A. at 8 p.m. Read about it here.
 
Saturday: The Happy Hollows, The Union Line, Rachel Fannan andBrandon Intelligator @ Bootleg Bar. ($10, 8 p.m.)

Sunday: Robatanists and Derde Verde play a daytime show @ Royal/T in Culver City. It’s the last day of business for the café, which is moving to a new location. The show’s at 3 p.m.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 07.20.12: Top 5, Psycho Realm, Aesop Rock, Nas, Public Enemy, Kyle Rapps, QBert + more

Posted by Billyjam, July 20, 2012 06:06am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:20:12


1) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)

2) Psycho Realm Presents Sick Jacken & Cyni In Terror Tapes 2 (Mb Recordings)

3) Nicki Ninaj Pink Friday Roman Reloaded (Cash Money)

4) The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde [Expanded Edition] (Delicious Vinyl)

5) Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhyemsayers Ent.)

Thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Hollywood Amoeba store for this latest Hip-Hop Top Five chart that includes such new or recent releases as J Dilla's posthumous, emcee guest heavy Rebirth of Detroit, Psycho Realm's Presents Sick Jacken & Cyni In Terror Tapes 2 - Sick Jacken with Street Platoon artist Cynik which is another, refreshingly hardcore rap presentation from the no-holds-barred Psycho Realm who never fail to disappoint (check out down below the party-hard video for the album track "I'm Gone" Recordings), and
Aesop Rock's Skelethon just released by Rhyemsayers Entertainment - his killer return that, as witnessed by the turnout & crowd reaction at his Amoeba San Francisco in-store earlier this week is a universally crowd favorite.

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Radio Icon Joe Frank Returns to KCRW

Posted by Billyjam, July 20, 2012 02:49am | Post a Comment
Friend of Amoeba Hollywood, public radio station KCRW welcomes American radio icon Joe Frank back to the Santa Monica radio station's airwaves later today (July 20th) when he will present a special production of UnFictional - the KCRW Independent Producer Project that features captivating stories of real life told by writers and performers.  Today's special production of UnFictional, that airs at 730pm, is titled Dreamers and addresses questions regarding time and mortality. It includes "stories about a family’s tragic visit to Palestine, a man who attends a dinner party after learning he might be dying, and a contemplation of different perspectives on time,” said Frank in a prepared statement.

The most-unique & influential radio artist was previously at the station for sixteen years when he created several radio programs beginning in 1986 with the one hour Joe Frank: Work In Progress. Of Joe Frank, KCRW's Bob Carlson said that, "Listening to one of his stories is a mesmerizing and disorienting experience. If you’ve never heard one before, you’re in for a trip.”

Dreamers will air live today Friday, July 20th at 7:30pm PST on 89.9 FM in the greater Los Angeles area and will also stream online at kcrw.com. If you miss it today it will rebroadcast on KCRW on Tuesday, July 24 at 2:30pm or you can grab it online later today here to download, stream and podcast.

New "What's In My Bag?" Video with Bob Odenkirk

Posted by Rachael McGovern, July 19, 2012 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba.com just posted a new "What's In My Bag?" video with funnyman Bob Odenkirk, a.k.a. Saul Goodman ("Better Call Saul!") on the AMC television show Breaking Bad.

The actor and comedian was visiting Amoeba Hollywood to host our April charity auction and took some time to do a little shopping for The Shins' Port of Morrow and Elvis Costello's Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, plus La Haine and The Royle Family DVDs.
 



Bob Odenkirk - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube


Big congratulations are also in order to the cast and crew of Breaking Bad which was just today nominated for 13 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Lead Actor.

Radio Day By The Bay 2012: Saturday, July 21st in Berkeley

Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2012 09:23am | Post a Comment
         

Radio history fanatics in the Bay Area are probably already aware of two wonderful local entities dedicated to preserving the history of radio from a local perspective: the California Historical Radio Society (CHRS)  and the Bay Area Radio Museum (BARM) both of which are located in the historic KRE radio station building down the end of Ashby Ave. in Berkeley (near the freeway). If you have never checked out the Bay Area Radio Museum before you really should do so. And this Saturday July 21st, is the perfect time since  the annual Radio Day By The Bay is happening at the venue from 10am to 2pm .

Radio Day By The Bay 2012 will feature such things as a radio history auction (items on the block will include phonographs, test equipment, amateur gear, & vintage working radios like the one pictured to the left), a live radio play (that almost lost & completely forgotten art-form) by The Broadcast Legends who will do an episode of Fibber McGee and Molly, plus a live music performance in the afternoon from the Tamsen Donner Blues Band,  There will also be book signings by the authors Mike Adams  (Lee De Forest: King of Radio, Television & Film) and John F. Schneider (whose Bay Area Radio was published back in March),  an announcement of The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2012,  plus a whole lot more including food vendors and various fun distractions such as an electronics flea market.

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July 18, 2012: Easy Money

Posted by phil blankenship, July 18, 2012 11:32pm | Post a Comment

New Albums Coming from Yeasayer and Bloc Party

Posted by Rachael McGovern, July 18, 2012 05:07pm | Post a Comment

Yeasayer's third album, Fragrant World, is being released August 21 on Secretly Canadian. On Fragrant World, the band continues to embrace electronic instruments and effects, with hardly any guitar presence. In many ways, it's a progression from the sound of their sophomore album Odd Blood, an album I much prefer over their debut, All Hour Cymbals (as fellow Amoeblogger Billy Gil mentioned in his recent post).

Chris Keating, Ira Wolf-Tuton and Anand Wilder recorded Fragrant World in Brooklyn, (side note: for some reason I have it in my mind that Yeasayer is an Australian band and have to constantly remind myself that they are, in fact, New Yorkers). Keating recently told Under the Radar that he was listening to a lot of R&B while working on the album and "wanted to make a record that was legitimately, to use a bad word, funky." That is music to my booty-shaking ears. He also went on to describe it as "Sci-fi Pam Grier music," which made my booty stop shaking and instead looked a tad quizzical. But my booty and I will hold out final judgment until we can listen to the entire album. So far I've only heard "Henrietta," which Amoeba.com offers as a free download (get it here), and "Longevity" (video below), but I love both of those tracks already. And I can kind of see what he meant with the Sci-fi Pam Grier comparison.

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Mudhoney Doc "I’m Now" Premieres in San Francisco August 4th at The Vogue Theatre

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 18, 2012 04:20pm | Post a Comment
Head on out to The Vogue Theatre on August 4th for the San Francisco premier of I’m Now, a documentaryI'm Now Mudhoney about the seminal band Mudhoney, directed/edited/produced by Ryan Short and Adam Pease. 

Today Mudhoney stands as one of the only survivors of a musical movement that inspired a generation and changed Rock and Roll forever. The band’s seminal hit “Touch Me I’m Sick” is on the short list of songs that define Grunge, the early ‘90s rock renaissance and, let’s face it, is one of the best rock songs ever, regardless of genre niche or time period. Mudhoney’s music and attitude have inspired countless artists and continue to do so today.

This documentary tells the story of Mudhoney from their very beginnings, to following them on their recent world tour and everything in between. Complete with testimonials from friends, music industry veterans, and musicians such as Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, and Mudhoney themselves, this movie shows the true story of the founding fathers of Grunge (please do not describe Mudhoney as the founding fathers of Grunge).

Get your tickets HERE!
Follow @AmoebaSF on Twitter for a chance to win tickets to see I'm Now!

El-P Enjoying Life Post Definitive Jux

Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2012 05:05am | Post a Comment
Few hip-hop artists have the luxury of enjoying a fan-base dedicated enough to patiently wait around five full years for a new album to drop. Aesop Rock, who two days ago had an incredible turnout for his Amoeba SF in-store in support of his first album in five years - the incredible new album Skelethon on Rhymesayers, is one of these lucky artists. So too is his colleague & indie hip-hop contemporary El-P who has similarly returned after five years with an awesome new album -  Cancer4Cure released recently on Fat Possum.
 
The Brooklyn, NY producer, emcee, label owner & CEO, who has put his record company Definitive Jux on hiatus, also fully produced the, equally stellar, new Killer Mike album R.A.P. Music released by William Street. And it is because he has more time to focus on making music and not overseeing his iconic indie hip-hop record label, he told me, that he had the time and energy required to properly focus on both of these meticulously produced new albums.


El-P "The Jig Is Up" from his new album Cancer4Cure 
 
Beyond focusing more on his art and musically fine-tuning his sound in the half decade since his last album (2007's I'll Sleep When You're Dead) El-P has also matured significantly on a personal level - although, ever the artist, El-P rarely differentiates between his music life and his personal life. "Not to sound corny but really your greatest artistic endeavor is how you shape your life," he told me recently before performing at the Regency in San Francisco as part of the national Into The Wild Tour also featuring Killer Mike, plus Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire and Despot.  Been free of the record label responsibilities El-P said has, "been a great stress off of my back" and that by not doing the label (which is why his new album came out on Fat Possum) has freed him up immensely as an artist. He has also had time to reflect on the passing - four years ago from lung cancer - of his friend/collaborator Camu Tao to whom the album is inspired and named for. Like Aesop Rock, Camu Tao was also on the Definitive Jux label and was also a member of The Weathermen along with Tame One, Yak Ballz, and Breeze Brewin.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Altadena, The Community of the Deodars

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 17, 2012 11:18pm | Post a Comment
INTRODUCTION TO ALTADENA


When people hear the disyllabic sounds, “alta” and “dena,” I would wager that most of them think of the well-known City of Industry-based Alta Dena Dairy, which was started by the three, Missouri-born Stueve Brothers in Monrovia, California in 1945. Oddly, more than five minutes of internet research haven’t helped me figure out why they named their dairy after a fellow San Gabriel Mountains community located some miles west of their hometown. Nonetheless, I based my map's "typeface" on their logo.



For a community that's never bothered incorporating, Altadena seems to have a very strong sense of pride, place and community. The first time I think I visited Altadena involved walking there from my workplace in Pasadena. Although my journey involved little more than crossing a freeway, once I arrived I felt as if, proverbially speaking, I was no longer in Kansas.


CHARACTER AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ALTADENA

Undoubtedly part of Altadena's unique vibe is owed to its particular racial and ethnic demographics. The population of roughly 43,000 people is 40% white (mostly English and Lebanese), 27% Latino (mostly Mexican), 24% black, 6% Asian – making it noticably less Asian, and much more black than most of the San Gabriel Valley. Indeed, it feels very different from most of LA. Within the community the vibe varies greatly too. Laidback, working class West Altadena feeling worlds rather than miles away from wealthy, woodsy East Altadena, which convincingly enough (for some) stood in for Beverly Hills on the series Beverly Hills, 90210. The foothill neighborhoods swing between eye-searingly dull suburbs and rustic, bohemian and slightly creepy enclaves. 


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Altadena


Like Pasadena, Altadena's neighbor to the south, most of Altadena is situated on a broad alluvial slope at the mouth of the Crescenta Valley, partially separated from the San Gabriel Valley proper by the Kinneloa Mesa at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in the east and the low, rolling hills of San Marino and South Pasadena to the south. I’m assuming that this is why it’s most often considered to be part of the San Gabriel Valley but The Verdugos region by the LA Times – despite the fact that none of it is located in the Verdugo Mountains or their smaller geographical siblings, the San Rafael Hills and Shadow Hills

To many, Altadena has a reputation as a high crime area. In researching for this blog entry I’ve read descriptions stating that it’s “gang infested" or "the ghetto." As with all of LA, people tend to perpetuate, exaggerate and overstate how dangerous an area is. The average amount of violent crimes reported in Altadena per month is 1.8. Its violent crime rate is lower than that of neighborhoods like Chatsworth, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, West Hollywood and plenty of other places less-often (or never) characterized as ghetto. While any and all violent crime is lamentable, fear of it should not factor into one's exploration and enjoyment of any neighborhood. The sad fact of the matter is that "gang infested" and "ghetto" are thinly-veiled code words for young, black men and Latinos.

There seems to be a bit of a buzz about Altadena as of late (click here to listen to an "Off-Ramp" segment) and in this episode I was accompanied by Maryam Hosseinzadeh, who spent a large chunk of her childhood there.  It was a hot day and the air was really fragrant. Walking around I inhaled the scent of huge evergreens and even a tiny clove cigarette butt on the ground. 


ALTADENA HISTORICAL SOCIETY



We started our exploration at the Altadena Historical Society, a non-profit founded in 1935 by 
Mrs.
Frederick 
Marsh. Although at the time the community was only a few decades old, they published their first history in 1938. Today the society offers lectures on historical subjects, tours of historical sites, and boasts a large collection of fascinating artifacts and materials from Altadena’s surprisingly rich history. ($25 membership buys newsletters, program announcements and discounts on events. $50 buys all that plus 4 limited edition reproduction vintage post cards of Altadena).



Upon our arrival we met Sherry Cavallo, an Altadena resident who moved “from out east” some 35 years ago. We also procured an invaluable guide to locals sites of note which we used to determine much of our day’s course. The next place we checked out was accessible from the Historical Society’s parking lot, the Woodbury-Story House. The house was built in 1882 for one of Altadena's founders, Captain Frederick Woodbury, and his wife, Martha. More on them later. First a bit of history.


ANCIENT AND SPANISH ERAS

For approximately 7,000 years, the area that now makes up Altadena was home to the Hahamog'na band of Tongva. Hahamog'na was the leader of the band which lived in two villages -- also named after him -- in the upper Arroyo Seco area. Hahamog'na encountered the Spaniard Gaspar de Portolà on his 1770 overland expedition through the area, a precursor to the Spanish Conquest. The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was established in 1771 in present day Montebello before relocating to modern day San Gabriel a few years later. Hahamog'na’s lands were stolen by the mission and claimed for Spain. Hahamog'na was converted to Catholicism and re-named “Pascual.”


MEXICAN ERA

In 1834, Mexico (including California) gained independence from Spain and the lands that now include Altadena (along with present day Pasadena, San Pasqual, South Pasadena and parts of San Marino) became part of the 58.29 km2 Rancho el Rincon de San Pascual. It was granted to retired artillery lieutenant Juan Marine by José Figueroa. Marine passed away in 1838 and the land passed to José Pérez and Enrique Sepúlveda. They died in 1841 and 1843, respectively, and the land was granted to Manuel Garfias.


AMERICAN ERA


In 1848, following the US’s victory in the Mexican-American War, the old land grants were honored by the victors. Garifas sold off portions of his land to finance the building of his home. By 1858, all of the lands had been purchased by Benjamin Wilson, who in turn sold to John S. Griffin in 1860. Griffin sold a portion to Dr. Benjamin S. Eaton, who developed water sources from the Arroyo Seco and Eaton Canyon later in the decade, allowing for a development he, Griffin and Wilson called the San Pasqual Plantation. The project failed by 1870. In 1873, Wilson negotiated a deal with Daniel Berry, who represented a group from Indiana who founded “The Indiana Colony” in Pasadena. The portion that became Altadena was sold to two brothers from Marshalltown, Iowa -- Fredrick and John Woodbury – in 1880. Fred had his mansion – the Woodbury-Story House – built in 1882 and still there today. (It's been featured in commercials, episodes shows like Ghost Whisperer, LXD, of and music videos by the likes of Debbie Ryan, Lost Prophets, Nicole Sherzinger, Shwayze, and films like Dark Reel).


EARLY AMERICAN SETTLERS

One of the first homes built in the area is Virginia-native Eliza Griffin Johnston's on her Fair Oaks Ranch which, built in 1862. Englishman Walter Allen established the 502-acre Sphinx Ranch in 1878. His home, despite its historical distinction, was demolished in 1928. In 1882, the Johnstons' house was moved from to its current location to make way for the construction of the James Crank House ( featured in Catch Me if you CanMatilda, and Scream 2). The Eastlake-style Lewis Schumann House was built in 1888 for the Coloradan family who’d moved to the area in 1883. Scott and Kay Way moved into a Victorian farmhouse then-surrounded by ten acres of exotic gardens they named “Idle Hour.” Las Casitas Sanitorium was built in 1887 (it became a private home in 1895).  


MOUNTAIN VIEW



The Mountain View Mortuary & Cemetery was established in 1882 by another early resident, Levi Giddings. Over the years, 14,000 people have been buried there including Charles Richter, Eldridge Cleaver, George Reeves, Octavia Estelle Butler, Wallace Neff, Wilbur Hatch and obviously, many others. On the day of our visit a scene was being filmed, presumably for a movie, involving an LAPD funeral. Extras in cop uniforms lounged around comfortably and upon passing, we noticed that many of the LAPD cars were painted sloppily and therefore presumably not meant to be filmed in close-up.  


THE WOODBURYS AND THE AVENUE OF DEODARS



In 1883, after a trip to Italy, John Woodbury brought Deodor Cedar (Cedrus deodar) – indigenous to the Himalayas – to Altadena and had 135 of them planted them along Santa Rosa Avenue (where Woodbury was planning to build his mansion). The work was carried out by a labor force made up of Chinese workers who also lay the open river-rock gutters that line the street. Woodbury abandoned the construction of his home in 1888 when the boom busted.


CHRISTMAS TREE LANE



In 1920, after the trees had matured, one fourth of the 1.1km stretch was lit for Christmas following the efforts of then-president of the Pasadena chapter of Kiwanis, Frederick Nash and advertised as the "Mile of Christmas Trees." In 1927, an Altadena chapter of Kiwanis formed and the Avenue of Deodars came to be nicknamed Christmas Tree Street (later Christmas Tree Lane). Over the years, especially in the mid-20th century, Christmas Tree Lane was the subject of many colorized postcards. In 1990 it was listed on the US National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and designated as California Historical Landmark No. 990.  


ESTABLISHMENT OF ALTADENA

In 1887, the Woodbury Bros formed the Pasadena Improvement Company and attempted to sell lots of their Woodbury Ranch in a subdivision they called The Woodbury Subdivision --just as a great land boom was about to bust. Earlier, in 1875, a nursery had been established in the foothills by Byron O. Clark, who’d named it Altadena Nursery before moving away. The Woodbury’s contacted him and he gave them permission to rename their subdivision Altadena.


OWEN BROWN'S GRAVE

Although abolitionist Owen Brown (son of famed abolitionist John Brown) died of pneumonia in Pasadena, he was buried on Altadena’s Little Roundtop Hill near El Prieto Road. A memorial plaque was later added that stated “Owen Brown, Son of John Brown, the Liberator, died Jan. 9, 1889.” The monument also included two iron ornaments meant to represent freedom from slavery. Mysteriously, after the land was purchased by new owners in 2002, they were removed.


MILLIONAIRE'S ROW




Despite the presence of the aforementioned settlers, Altadena's population was spread out, sparse and devoted primarily to agricultural concerns until a group of mostly Midwestern millionaires began to build mansions along Mariposa in what became nicknamed Millionaire’s Row. One of the earliest to establish a home there was Irish-born Chicago map magnate Andrew McNally and his friend, Colonel George Gill Green – a veteran of the War Between the States and patent medicine entrepreneur. Another printing magnate, William Scripps, moved to Millionaire’s Row from Detroit, Michigan in 1904, to his home known as the Scripps Estate.


SCRIPPS




The Scripps Estate is a three-story Crafstman-style “Ultimate Bungalow” designed by architect Charles W. Buchanan and built in 1904. In 1979, the home faced the threat of demolition and was saved when purchased by the Pasadena Waldorf School in a deal negotiated by Altadena Heritage. Renamed Scripps Hall, it was was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.






Scripps also opened The William A. Scripps Home for Aged People in 1913 in a home originally built by one Thaddeus Lowe (more on him in a paragraph), for his son, Thad Jr. Its name was changed to “The Scripps Home” in 1962. It closed in 2007. All of the facilities except the small Gloria Cottage (built in 1914) were demolished in 2008 by developers and its residents were relocated to facilities in Alhambra. Today the old Scripps Home sign hangs at the Altadena Historical Society.

*****

PROFESSOR THADDEUS SOBIESKI COULINCOURT LOWE & the MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY



New Hampshire-born aeronaut, adventurer, scientist, inventor and dreamer, Professor Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt Lowe, famously scaled Oak Mountain (bragging he was the first white man to do so), planted an American flag atop it and re-named it Mount Lowe after moving to Los Angeles in 1887. His friend and fellow Altadenan, Andrew McNally, ensured that the new name stuck when his Rand, McNally & Co. maps labeled it Mount Lowe on their maps. Lowe, formed the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co. in 1891 with a Canadian-born engineer David J. Macpherson, who’d drawn up plans for a scenic, mountain railroad. Unable to obtain the rights to scale Mount Wilson, the duo turned their sites to Oak Mountain, near Lowe’s new home in Pasadena, where he'd moved in 1890. The first section of the Mount Lowe Railway opened on 4 July, 1893. Ultimately the line would grow to include three sections: the Mountain Division, the Great Incline, and the Alpine Division. The Mountain Junction railway station was located at the corner of Lake and Calaveras.


Part 1: The Mountain Division




For the Mountain Division the railway used a trolley that traveled from Mountain Junction Railway up Lake Avenue before passing through the Poppyfields District and ended in Rubio Canyon, at the base of Echo Mountain. At the Rubio Canyon terminus stood the 12-room Rubio Pavillion guest house and station.


Part 2: The Great Incline & Echo Mountain



The second stretch of the railway required passengers to transfer from the trolley to a funicular train which took them to the summit of Echo Mountain. At the mountain’s peek there was the 40-room Echo Chalet hospice. In 1894, it was joined by the addition of the 80-room Victorian Echo Mountain House. Ultimately the site included an observatory, a casino, a dancehall and other structures which came to collectively be known as White City.

Echo Mountain is separated from its neighbors by Las Flores Canyon, Rubio Canyon, and Castle Canyon. Boy Scouts assisted in development of the mountain by locating "sweet spots" where people yelled for entertainment – in some cases aided by the use of “echophones.” Today, with the train long gone, it’s primarily accessible by the Sam Merrill Trail and a fire road that begins in Millard Canyon.


Part 3: The Alpine Division & Mount Lowe



The third section of the railway opened in 1896. After crossing Los Flores Canyon, rounding the “Cape of Good Hope,” and passing through Millard Canyon and Grand Canyon, the train arrived at Crystal Springs. At this terminus there was a 12-room chalet called Ye Alpine Tavern, which had been built in 1895. Mule rides were conducted from there on a trail known as Mount Lowe Eight (for its figure eight shape) and there were tennis courts and a wading pool as well. Mount Lowe is primarily accessible by Chaney Trail as well as a fire road.


The End of Mount Lowe Railway

From the very, start Lowe’s adventure was, in most ways, a disaster. The train operated at a loss from day one. By 1899 Lowe was in receivership to Jared S. Torrance. A whole series of disasters struck over the years to come. The Echo Mountain House was destroyed by fire in 1900. Henry Huntington's Pacific Electric Railway took over in 1902. A 1905 fire destroyed more structures. The Rubio Pavillion was destroyed by a flood in 1909. Having lost his fortune, Lowe moved into his daughter’s home in Pasadena and died, aged 80, in 1913 and was buried in Altadena’s Mountain View Cemetery. In 1928, a wind storm felled the observatory. A 1936 fire destroyed the tavern. In 1938 the railway was abandoned and today, all that remain are ruins. Lowe’s life was dramatized in the 1972 Walt Disney miniseries, High Flying Spy, part of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.



The last remaining vestige of the lower part of the railway, the Pacific Electric Railway Substation #8, was used for retail from 1942 (after the electrical switching equipment was removed) until 1979. It was restored and repurposed for offices in 1980.

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ZANE GREY ESTATE


Zane Grey Estate - photo credit: Alex Tarr


The large, Mediterranean Revival-style home known as the Zane Grey Estate was originally built in 1907 for a Chicago business machine-manufacturer, Albert Herbert Woodward from designs by Elmer Grey (no relation) and Myron Hunt. In 1918, western author Zane Grey moved to Southern California. Two years later they purchased the Woodward home and made several additions. Grey died in 1939. 

ALTADENA TOWN AND COUNTRY CLUB



The Altadena Town and Country Club was formed in 1910 by five members of the Altadena Improvement Association. In 1911 they purchased two acres of a former dairy farm and built a small bungalow-style clubhouse. It was damaged by a storm in 1913 and subsequently enclosed by a new, larger clubhouse. The current building was designed by club member, David A. Ogilvie. It acquired its current name in 1946, when it was reorganized and incorporated as an equity owned member club.


COBB ESTATE -- HAUNTED FOREST


 The Cobb Estate in 1930

                                                                  Haunted Forest" 2009 - photo credit: Kansas Sebastian


At the northern end of Lake Avenue sits the 107-acre Cobb Estate – nicknamed the Haunted Forest. Lumber magnate Charles H. Cobb and his wife, Carrie, had a large, Spanish-style mansion built for them in 1918. Cobb, a Freemason, died in 1939 and his will stipulated that his estate be given to the Scottish Rite Temple in Pasadena. The Freemasons sold it a few years later and it went through a succession of owners over the next few years – including the Sisters of St. Joseph. It was purchased by the Marx Brothers in 1956 but gained notoriety as a hangout for juvenile (and adult) delinquents. In 1959, most of the home was demolished. The Marx Brothers’ estate sold the land in 1971 and local preservationists purchased the land. Sometime later, stories involving the usual cast of KKK members, Satanists and murdered children began to circulate. In 1978 the gates were deemed sufficiently spooky and were filmed in the movie, Phantasm.


LA VINA


 


Chicago doctor Henry B. Stehman opened a hospital in Pasadena in 1909, a colony of 17 bungalows, after moving to California to recover from tuberculosis. Shortly thereafter, he and the newly-formed Pasadena Health Camp Association purchased Eugene W. Giddings' 160-acre vineyard in the hills and named their new hospital La Viña. The help cover operational costs and patient treatment, the hospital raised horses, chickens, turkeys, and cattle; grew orange trees, grapefruit trees, and vineyards and operated its own post office. In turn they sold eggs, grapes and milk. A children’s wing was added in 1934. The Las Flores Canyon fire destroyed it all in 1936. A new Myron Hunt-designed building opened on the site in 1937. In its final incarnation it operated as a respiratory hospital. In 1978, its offices served as those of the Warren County Sanitarium in the film Halloween. In 1992, after a lengthy battle, the La Vina McMansion gated community replaced Hunt’s building.


Many of Altadena's historically significant homes were built in the 1910s. Other significant homes from the era include the Frank Keyes House and the Mount Wilson Tollhouse (both built in 1911), The Chambliss/Benzinger House (built in 1914), and The Frederick Popenoe House (1919). There’s also a small neighborhood of Crafstman homes dating from the period on the 1900 block of Mar Vista Avenue.


THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY







The Theosophical Society was founded in New York City in 1875. The Altadena building was completed in 1920. The esoteric society is supposedly an altruistic one devoted to seeking hidden knowledge but there’s a creepy vibe that made me feel like I’d stepped into a Giallo film – probably just a combination of eerie silence suddenly shattered by the arrival of a noisy flock of ravens.


RONNIE'S


photo credit: I Am Not a Stalker


Ronnie’s Automotive Service is a gas station built in 1920. It's supposedly been featured in many commercial and movie shoots although all I could find on imdb was Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story (2004), where it is listed as having been the site of something called “hot girls’ car wash." I Am Not a Stalker says it also appeared in Crossroads (the Britney Spears one), Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, and Transformers.


FARNSWORTH PARK



The 15 acre Farnsworth Park was purchased by Los Angeles County in 1921 and initially used as a tree nursery. In the 1930s, General Charles S. Farnsworth successfully lobbied to have it turned into a park. In 1934, the impressive, stone William D. Davies Memorial Building was completed by the WPA. The park was named Farnsworth Park in 1939. For the last fifteen years it has hosted an annual summer concert series.  


OLD ALTADENA COMMERCIAL/CIVIC DISTRICT

Between 1924 and 1926, developers LG and MA Collison oversaw the construction of buildings on the 900 block of East Altadena that constituted Altadena’s first commercial district. It later grew to include Altadena’s first fire station, first sheriff station, an architect’s office, a grocery store and a beauty salon.


JANES VILLAGE 


 


Between 1924 and 1926, a number of English-styled cottages were built – largely by Elisha P. Janes -- supposedly to attract World War I veterans with a new taste for the Old World. I've never been to England so I can't really say whether or not Janes Village really evokes Albion or not but for those that have but that's the kind of charming simulacrum that makes Southern California turn.


THE BALIAN HOUSE



The home now known as the Balian House was built in 1922, originally for Burnell Gunther and his mother, Jennie. Its current owner is ice-cream magnate George Balian. Since 1955 the house has been widely known for its increasingly over-the-top Christmas displays which transform the pink Mediterranean into something of a Yuletide playhouse that would turn Pee-Wee Herman's bow tie green with envy.


LA SPOLANA SPANISH REVIVAL NEIGHBORHOOD



On par with the Craftsman neighborhood and Janes Village is the La Solana Spanish Revival neighborhood. The Spanish Revival-style homes designed by B.G Morriss and built by the BO Kendall Company in the 1920s.


THE BOULDER MANOR

Built in 1922, the Boulder Manor was the first home built on Boulder Road as a wedding present for Howard Edgecomb’s wife, Thelma. Its grounds used to also include a stocked, artificial stream. 


WEBSTER'S OF ALTADENA




Webster’s is really a complex of connected six buildings and a beloved landmark to locals. The original, central building was originally Bailey’s Drugstore, constructed in 1926, and later purchased by Harold Frank Webster and his brother. After buying out his brothers share he opened Webster’s Soda Fountain. The next building, to the north, was added in 1930. In the past, the six buildings were connected by an open segment wall and operated as separate departments. Sections included Webster’s Liquor Beer & Wine, Webster’s Health Mart Pharmacy, Webster’s Fine Stationers, and Webster’s Shipping & Supplies. At one point there was also a video rental store.Webster's was featured in at least one episode of The Wonder Years. In 2010, the pharmacy was sold by members of the Webster family to Michael and Meredith Miller, former owners of South Pasadena’s Fair Oaks Pharmacy, who remodeled, reorganized and renamed it Webster's Community Pharmacy. The rest of Webster's -- including the liquor store, stationers and thrift store are still Webster family operations.


WALLACE NEFF



Though born in La Mirada, Andrew McNally’s grandson Wallace Neff began his architectural career in Altadena with his design of the St. Elizabeth of Hungary, completed in 1926. Influenced by Mediterranean and Spanish architectural schools, his synthesis came to be known as the California architectural style.


ALTADENA MEDIA

Altadena was formerly served by The Altadena Press, who released their first issue on 21 November, 1929. It ran until 1944. A complete set of the papers can be found at the Altadena Historical Society. It was succeeded by The Altadenan, which ran between 1944 till 1977. The Altadena Chronicle was printed from 1977 till 1983. From at least 1936 - 1954 there was also the Altadena Weekly. Beginning in 1922, Paul F. Johnson briefly broadcast Altadena’s only radio station, KGO, from his home (Sagemont).


ALTADENA GOLF GARDENS



photo credit: Altadena Historical Society

Altadena’s first miniature golf course opened in 1930 at the intersection of Lake and Foothill. Live musical accompaniment scored the golfing, broadcast throughout the park. The park closed after just two years of operation. There’s still a remnant of the course, however, behind Lifeline Fellowship Christian Church.


ZOTHARIAN RANCH





Armenian Jirayr Zorthian immigrated with his family to New Haven, Connecticut. As a teen, he attended Yale's school of fine arts. After graduating, he spent part of the 1930s travelling and studying in Africa and Europe. Returning to the US he rose to prominence as a muralist with the WPA -- mostly painting in the South and East. During World War II he designed propaganda posters. After the war's conclusion, Zorthian and his wife, Betty Williams, moved to Altadena where they bought a 27 acre ranch in the foothills which they named Zorthian Ranch.



Charlie Parker at Zorthian Ranch (best audio available)


After a divorce, Zorthian married his second wife, Dabney, and added an additional 21 acres to their holdings. On the ranch, Zorthian experimented with building techniques, erecting many structures and making sculptures and objects out of found materials. The Zorthians also organized music events and threw parties/bacchanalias for their eclectic assortment of bohemian friends/luminaries (Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Buckminster Fuller, Charlie Parker, Chet Baker, John Lautner, John C. Lilly, Richard Feynman, William Saroyan and others). Charlie Parker recorded a live set at the ranch, released as At Jirayr Zorthian’s Ranch, July 14th, 1952.


Additionally, the ranch has been used as a shooting and filming location. Jirayr passed away in 2004, at 92 years of age. Dabney passed two years later. It's currently inhabited by one of their five children. Today it hosts an annual New Los Angeles Folk Festival.


ZEKE THE SHIEK


photo credit: Root Simple

Tim Dundon (aka "Zeke the Shiek" aka "The Guru of Doo Doo" aka "The Sodfather") was born in Altadena in 1942. His family lived adjacent to Mountain View Cemetery. In his 20s, as a plasterer, he fireproofed buildings. He later got into ironwork... and boxing... and pill-popping (bennies, reds, Percodan and more). He raised snakes, had a pet coyote, and hung out at Zorthian Ranch. It was only after dropping acid that he graduated to the so-called "gateway drug," marijuana. A weed shortage in 1967 led to a new found interest in gardening. Gardening was the gateway to composting. That interest in composting turned into an obsession.



He was arrested in 1985 for cultivation, sales to a narcotics officer and possession of mushrooms with intent to distribute. Out on bail he was arrested for possession yet again. He defended himself in court as his alter-ego, Zeke the Sheik, and ended up serving eighteen days. In 1990 his huge compost pile (located on land owned by Mountain View Cemetery) burst into flames -- bacteria and fungi give off considerable heat as they feast on compost. In 1999, his pile had grown to a height of more than forty feet and he ran afoul of zoning officials. The cemetery was faced with possible fines and the pile was bulldozed. Dundon still lives and composts in Altadena in the Mountain View home that grew up in that is now full of lush vegetation growing from rich soil and shared with geese, ducks, chickens.


NUCCIO'S


Photo taken from Sazanka (who do NOT represent Nuccio's, it should be noted)

In 1935, Joseph and Julius Nuccio opened Nuccio’s Nurseries in Alhambra and specialized in Azaleas and Camellias, they sell over 600 species of the latter. In 1946 their father, Giulio Nuccio, bought forty acres of land in Altadena at the nursery’s present location. Today it’s managed by Tom and Jim Nuccio.


THE PASADENAN THREAT

As greedy, gourmandizing Pasadena grew, it steadily devoured chunks of its neighbors through annexation. In 1888, South Pasadena incorporated as its own city, protecting it from obliteration. East Pasadena and Altadena never did. Today East Pasadena has been almost entirely annexed by Pasadena but Altadena, despite never incorporating, successfully fought off the attempted wholesale annexation in 1956 after decades of small annexations. (As a result, Pasadena pulled the plug on Christmas Tree Lane which resulted in the foundation of the Christmas Tree Lane Association in 1957 to take over).


GREGORY AIN TRACT


Ain, Johnson, and Day's Park Planned Development was begun on Highland Avenue in 1946. Some people (well, maybe a couple) may know that Gregory Ain is one of my absolute favorite architects (I’ve mentioned Silver Lakes’ 1947 Avenal Cooperative Housing Project and Mar Vista’s 1948 Modernique Homes in previous entries).


CASE STUDY HOUSE #20

 

 
The Bass House - photographed by Julius Shulman 


Buff, Straub and Hensman's Case Study House #20 was built in 1958. The famed USC trio of architects built the residence for the great graphic designer/filmmaker, Saul Bass. The man had an eye for modernist beauty.


ALTADENA LIBRARY




David Oliver Green's "The Tree of Life" (1969)

Altadena’s first library operated out of a classroom beginning in 1913. The Altadena Library District was formed in 1926. The first structure built specifically to be a library was completed in 1938. The Bob Lucas Memorial Branch Library was built on Lincoln Avenue in 1957. The Main Library was built on Mariposa Avenue in 1967, designed by Boyd Georgi. It is located at the former site of Colonel George G. Green’s home, which was demolished to make way for the library.



Green's carriage house, built in 1889, remains.
 


ALTADENA IN THE 1970S

As a result of the extension of the 134 and 210 Freeways into Pasadena in the 1960s, and following the desegregation of the Pasadena Unified School District in 1967, much of the area’s white population moved away from the area. Whereas before 1960, the black population had been only 4%. By the 1970s it was much larger, with some neighborhoods having black majorities for the first time in their history. As Altadena went through sometimes tumultuous changes, its sense of community seemed to grow. In 1975, five Altadenans formed the Altadena Town Council. Though it has no legislative or legal authority, it continues to attempt to express consensus opinions of Altadenans to the County of Los Board of Supervisors.


INTERNATIONAL BANANA CLUB MUSEUM

The International Banana Club® Museum opened in 1976 – about 20 years after the Panama Disease devastated the staple (and, I'm told, vastly superior) Gros Michel banana resulting in our now eating slushy, almost-flavorless Cavendish bananas (thanks Science Friday!) . Anyway, I may dislike the fruit but the museum must love them as the museum has, with over 17,000 pieces, the world’s largest collection of banana-related objects. It's listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as “the world’s largest collection devoted to any one fruit.” Sadly for local bananaphiles, (but boon to banana-lovers in the Inland Empire) it moved to Hesperia in 2006. 


CHARLES WHITE PARK


Charles White Park was dedicated and named for Altadena artist Charles White in 1980 after he died in 1979. White was also well-known for having served as Chairman of the Drawing Department at the Otis Art Institute in the 1960s and ‘70s. From 1980 till the early ‘90s the park hosted the Charles White Memorial Arts Festival. The Altadena Arts Council and White’s son, artist C. Ian White, have recently focused their efforts on trying to bring the festival back.


TOWN HALL

Altadena got its first town hall in 1991 when a structure originally built as a barn in 1891 (with several additions and remodelings and a stint as a home) was moved to its current location from its original site at Lake and Sacramento.


ALTADENA FARMER'S MARKET





In February 2011, the Arroyo Time Bank and teamed with Mariposa Creamery owners Gloria Putnam and Stephen Rudicel to host the Altadena Urban Farmers Market at the Zane Grey Estate. I was there to help set up. It was done underground but obviously not very secretly and issue with permits, fees and neighbors resulted in its being shut down not long after. In 2012, the famers market returned as the Altadena Certified Farmer’s Market returned to Loma Alta Park (right next to the Altadena Community Garden) with necessary permits.  


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ALTADENA IN FILM & TV 

In addition to the aforementioned TV shows and films, there are at least a few other times Altadena has appeared on screen -- though often as somewhere else.





On Beverly Hills, 90210, Minnesotan parents Cindy and Jim Walsh moved with their teenage daughter, Brenda, and their 31-year-old son, Brandon to a home in Beverly Hills… which was actually in Altadena (1675 E Altadena Ave). Their friend Dylan McKay moved a couple of doors down the street, to a bungalow at 1605 E Altadena.



Though named after a Valley community with a long-established and large black enclave, Neil LaBute's Lakeview Terrace, is based on events that happened in Altadena, concerning John and Mellaine Hamilton, an intteracial couple who were terrorized by a black LAPD officer, Irsie Henry. It was, however, mostly filmed in Walnut.



Currently, Kentucky-born director Allison Anders (Gas, Food Lodging, Mi Vida Loca, Grace of My Heart, &c ) is planning on filming her next film, The Amorous Humphrey Plugg (named after a Scott Walker song) in her Altadena home.


MUSIC OF ALTADENA

I’m sure there are more musicians from and bands who’ve formed in Altadena – that’s where you, the reader, hopefully comes in. Maryam pointed me to The Moore Brothers and The Sundowners. The internet pointed to R&B singer Major James.


Photo credit: Altadena Above it All


I also don’t know of any traditional live music venues. As I mentioned, Zorthian Ranch, somewhat regularly hosts musical events. There’s also The Folly Bowl, Susanna Dadd and James Griffith’s backyard amphitheater where they’ve hosted music events and other follies, since at least 2007.


ART-ADENA

The Underground Art Society is an Altadena art gallery owned by Ben McGinty. Its permanent collection includes works by over 65 artists. They have art show/parties on the first Friday of every month that take place between 7:00 and midnight. McGinty is (or at least, was) also a member of the Altadena Arts Council – established in 2003 and whose Altadena Community Arts Center is located in the Loma Alta School Center


ALTADENA EATERIES


We did not use the guide to determine our next destination, which was to be lunch. Maryam suggested Oh Happy Days Natural Food and Café. Normally I wouldn’t be opposed to a vegan restaurant but I’d had a great, late night and awoke hungry as a horse and was desirous of something heavy to be washed down with copious amounts of coffee. We tried to go to Fox’s – an old school, family-owned joint that opened in 1955 and is known for breakfast and lunch and homey atmosphere. Unfortunately they were closed. So we ventured over to Amy’s Patio Café – a gruyere asparagus omelet sounded amazing. Unfortunately for us, they were also closed. Across the street is El Patron, situated in a tiny, triangular building constructed in 1951 that has hosted a succession of eateries including the Echo Café and most recently, CJ’s Wing Café.
 


My eyes proved to be a bit larger than my stomach and I ordered both a mushroom quesadilla (which, though listed as an appetizer, would’ve been sufficient on its own as a meal) and nopalitos con huevos. I thought the chips and salsa were so-so. The chips, I suspect, were store bought and the tomatoes in the pico de gallo hadn’t ripened sufficiently to the point where discernible flavor had emerged. The other dishes, however, were good and our waitress was great.


Overall, Altadena has a relatively small restaurant scene (and one surprisingly and thankfully short on chains). Other places to grab a bite include Bill’s Chicken, Bulgarini Gelato (which Maryam extolled the virtues of), Coffee Gallery, Dutch Oven Bakery, Everest Restaurant, Fair Oaks Burger, Jim’s Burgers, Mota’s Mexican Food, Pasties By Nancy, Patticakes the Dessert Company, Pizza Joe’s, and Poncitlan Meat Market.


HIKING ALTADENA


Photo credit: Bill Qualls


With Altadena extending into the lower San Gabriel Mountains, hiking is one of the best pastimes one can take enjoy in Altadena. The Altadena Crest Trail, Gabrielino Trail, Rubio Canyon Trail, The Sam Merrill Trail, and the Ridgeline Trail all reveal stunning views of the San Gabriel Valley and access places like Millard Canyon Falls, Inspiration Point, the aforementioned ruins of Lowe’s misadventure, and other treasures. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time in our day to hike at all so I look forward to coming back another time. 


GRAVITY HILL

We did have time to check out Altadena's “gravity hill” at a bend where E Loma Alta Drive becomes Rubio Canyon Road. Apparently, a school bus full of children drove off the road killing everyone on board and if one puts their car in neutral, the tiny ghosts of the dead children push your car uphill, against gravity. Another explanation is that the various angles of landscape such as trees, streets, homes and landscapes interact in such a way as to make it appear that one’s car is rolling uphill when, in fact, it’s rolling down. During our visit, neither youthful ghosts nor landscape angles conspired to make us feel like we were rolling anywhere but down... something I didn't feel warranted commemoration of with a picture.


DRINKS IN ALTADENA

There are very few places to grab a drink in Altadena. Although not a bar, George's Drive-In Liquor seems like a popular place to grab some liquor, take it outside, transfer it to a cup and hang out on a heavily-tagged bus bench. We stopped by to grab something non-alcoholic and a group of young men and a woman sipped from their styrofoam cups, nodding politely and seemingly attempting to appear nonchalant. The liquor store also offers incense in scents including Ghetto Love and Chronic Killer. There's also Johnny's Liquor.






It wasn’t until we concluded our day that we decided to go to a bar, forsaking the Altadena Ale House for the only other bar in down, Rancho Bar. Back when I worked in Pasadena, I occasionally headed up to Rancho to join a group of Pasadenan friends. However, it wasn’t until having spent the day exploring the neighborhood that I noticed how much it’s covered with clippings and artifacts about Altadena – like a the historical society if it had beer and was packed with regulars. Our bartender was cheerful and her pit bull was friendly.



Coyotes and pickup trucks in Altadena


After waiting a bit, we headed back to our homes. Physically, it’s a short distance between Altadena and Silver Lake but Altadena’s distinct vibe serves as an example of just how much variety is packed into the wonderful Southland of ours.

*****

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*****


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Album Picks: Frank Ocean, Blanche Blanche Blanche, Jeff the Brotherhood, Plus Albums Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, July 17, 2012 04:18pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks:

Frank Ocean Channel OrangeFrank Ocean’s music touches such a raw nerve because it’s the rare album that fully appeals on a here-and-now pop level while referencing classic pop — in this case, pop and soul maestros like Stevie Wonder and Elton John — and offering something else entirely. This something else is that human, overexposed, heart-and-mind-on-sleeve content that firmly roots Channel Orange in the social network era. I was late to the game; the first time I heard “Thinkin Bout You” was the day before Ocean very publicly came out of the closet. That happenstance was strange for me — the thing that first struck me about the song, aside from its obvious craft, the kind of instantly memorable hit that combines a suave, easy to follow melody and arrangement with dagger-in-the-heart lyrics, was an indescribable “third” quality beyond music and lyrics that I usually find with my favorite music, whether it’s The Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles or, perhaps more relatedly, morose ’90s/'00s R&B hits like PM Dawn’s “Die Without You,” Fabolous & Tamia’s “So Into You,” Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor” and so on. It’s that sort of feeling that hits you immediately and reminds you of all the stupid unrequited crushes, moments of indirection, and fleeting feelings of serenity in youth. That Ocean possibly wrote the song about his own unrequited same-sex love made sense to me, since that’s pretty much what the song reminded me of. But beyond any personal affiliation with the song, the ability to communicate such universal but difficult to pin down feelings so instantly is quite rare, and so thus should be treasured in the way rave reviews have been pouring in for Channel Orange. Indeed, I think “Thinkin Bout You” is the best song anyone will release this year, and Channel Orange likely will be the album of the year. Beyond that opening instant classic, Channel Orange brims with power. Take the lush Marvin Gaye-meets-How to Dress Well-meets-Kanye West depiction of new parenthood in “Sierra Leone,” its lyrics offering a welcome balance of vagueness and detail devoid of judgment, communicating feelings of joy and trepidation. He celebrates and also exposes the lives of privileged black youth in a seemingly realistic way, beyond the bling-style fantasies of much of hip-hop, in songs like “Sweet Life” and the brilliant “Super Rich Kids,” which sounds like a hip-hop “Benny and the Jets” playing over an episode of the similarly revelatory reality show “Baldwin Hills.” He creates an sprawling, Kanye-style centerpiece with “Pyramids,” an epic track buoyed by raunchy synth riffs that turn glittering in the song’s sweetly disintegrating second half. And he continues to explore his evolving sexuality on a trio of closing ballads, in which he sounds as comfortable and natural singing about love between men, and between men and women. Though that doesn’t at all overshadow the rest of the album, which has more merits in spades to stand on its own, it can’t be ignored, either, as a huge moment for hip-hop — for all music — as a knocking down of barriers in music, sexuality and male image through some of the most dazzling, yet thoughtful pop music being made today.


 
 
OK, enough about how great Frank Ocean is. Here’s another artist who could probably actually use another person talking about them: Blanche Blanche Blanche, from Vermont’s Zach Phillips and Sarah Smith. Their Wink With Both Eyes has been out a little while, but Pitchfork’s recent review prompted me to check it out and boy, I’m smitten. Super lo-fi antics, similar in sound to an Ariel Pink but with the playfulness of a Unicorns and the cool girl vocals of a Broadcast. They remind me quite a bit, too, of The Fiery Furnaces at their best, especially when Phillips jumps in for some vocals alongside Smith, although it’s more in restless spirit than sound. Anyway, if you like any of the aforementioned, by hook or by crook, you have to get this album. I saw one copy on the floor at Amoeba Hollywood; not sure about the other two stores, but you can also order it from us here. Really just mind-bending, haunting stuff, probably will be one of my favorites of this year. Apparently Phillips has a bunch of other projects too, like Bruce Hart, Horse Boys, GDC and Jordan Piper Philips, which I’ll now have to check out after listening to this album constantly.


 
jeff the brotherhoodReleased today was Jeff the Brotherhood’s Hypnotic Nights. The band’s anthemic rock ‘n’ roll resonates so well because their synth-tinged, nerdy fuzz rock never really went out of style, it just sort of disappeared for a while, as Weezer aimed for Beverly Hills and bands like Grandaddy dropped off entirely. Thanks to bands like MGMT and Jeff the Brotherhood, fist-pumpers for the rest of us are alive and well, like Hypnotic Nights’ irrepressible “Sixpack,” whose lyrics “I wanna cool out/and get wasted” sound like nerds finally coming of age and buying booze for the first time while listening to too much Cars and Black Sabbath (is there such a thing?). With The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach producing, real-life brothers Jake and Jamin Orral are surprisingly adept at changing things up, too, like the classic lo-fi indie rock vibes of the awesomely titled “Mystic Portal II,” which starts out with a Guided By Voices/Built to Spill style entry before launching into a beautifully melodic power ballad that ends in guitar-sitar loveliness. And songs like “Staring at the Wall” call out their psychedelia roots with heavy flanged guitars. Sorry if you peaked in high school; the A/V club kids always end up having more fun down the line.

 

Also Out Today:

 
Animal KingdomAnimal KingdomThe Looking Away
 
Animal Kingdom produce some of the sweetest, sleekest Britpop you’ll hear on The Looking Away, balancing pop smarts and expert balladry in songs like “The Wave.” Fans of Coldplay, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Ros, take note.
 





 
Baroness Yellow and GreenBaroness
Yellow & Green
 
Though Yellow & Green is metal band Baroness’ most accessible release yet, they haven’t lost any of the drive that have made them a favorite of diehard metal fans and indie music fans alike. Yellow & Green is melodic enough to be on rock radio — just check out the wave-like melodies and guitarwork on “March to the Sea,” complete with country-esque riffery floating below the din. But it’s also plenty tough, as John Baizley’s vocals rarely leave the low jaw-singing range and guitars, while lovely when they relent, as on the driving hard rock of “Little Things,” they rarely do.
 

 
can unlimited editionCan
Unlimited Edition and Flow Motion
 
Reissues of Can albums — Unlimited Edition collected previously unreleased Can tracks, while Flow Motion is their eighth studio album, featuring the jam “I Want More.”
 







The Dark Knight RisesThe Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack
 
Music composed by Hans Zimmer.
 








 
MatisyahuMatisyahu
Spark Seeker
 
Matisyahu’s Spark Seeker reintroduces the performer not as the Hasidic Jewish rap poster boy but as he should be heard — a pop artist who informs his music with elements of roots reggae, hip-hop and Judaism. Songs like “Sunshine” and “I Believe in Love” are positive to the core, espousing the importance of joy, love and spirituality over buoyant reggae backbeats that will land these songs everywhere from pop radio to religious retreats.



 
john mausJohn
MausA Collection Of Rarities & Previously Unreleased Material

It’s just as the title says, with 16 tracks composed by the cerebral yet goofy John Maus over the past decade or so. Key track “Bennington” boasts a raunchy synth groove and lyrics like “I miss those funky eyes.”
 

 





milo greeneMilo GreeneMilo Greene
 
Milo Greene is a set of beautifully crafted songs that make the most of the band’s five-person set-up, taking cues from the Fleet Foxes as each musician contributes to the band’s folky soundscapes and lush harmonies. Check out the band’s live streaming performance at Amoeba (and Amoeba.com) tonight at 7 p.m. and read my interview with them here.
 



 
nas life is goodNas
Life is Good
 
One of the greatest MCs of all time returns with his 10th studio album, with production by Salaam Remi and No I.D., and appearances by Rick Ross, Mary J. Blige and the late Amy Winehouse.
 

 





smashing pumpkins pisces iscariotSmashing PumpkinsPisces Iscariot (Reissue)
 
So excited about this one, maybe even more so than the recent Gish and Siamese Dream reissues. Fans have long known Pisces Iscariot, the Pumpkins’ 1994 B-sides album, to be as strong as anything in their catalog. So great to have it on vinyl, and in a deluxe edition with additional tracks such as their dynamite cover of Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Jackie Blue,” early new wave jam “My Dahlia” and an awesome live version of non-album psych-punk jam “Slunk.”
 


 
The Very BestThe Very BestMTMTMK
 
The second album from duo The Very Best is a genre-hopping world music mashup of ideas, incorporating afropop, reggae, hip-hop and house music.
 

In A Cloud II - MORE New Sounds From San Francisco!

Posted by Kells, July 17, 2012 12:23pm | Post a Comment
Looking to scope the lay of the local pop scene in San Francisco? Seek no further than In A Cloud...II!


Finally, the long anticipated sister release to the initial In a Cloud - New Sounds from San Francisco compilation the fine folks at Secret Seven Records delivered back in 2010 is ready for her coming out par-tay! Like her predecessor, In A Cloud II: New Sounds from San Francisco features 13 previously unreleased recordings from some of the city by the bay's finest, including: Vetiver, Ty Segall, Hannah Lew (of Grass Widow), Wymond Miles (of Fresh & Onlys), Chuck Prophet, Lucky Eyes, Will Sprott (of The Mumlers), Sonny & The Sunsets, Paula Frazer, Kelley Stoltz, Bad Backs (featuring Andrew Kerwin of Trainwreck Riders & Bianca Sparta of Erase Errata), Tim Cohen (of Fresh & Onlys and Magic Trick), and Papercuts with fresh-to-death cover art by Simon Evans. Unlike the previous In A Cloud jammer, this sweet baby is a limited vinyl-only release with 650 copies pressed so don't go sleepin' in on the release date (that would be today, y'all sleepyheads). The Hannah Lew track, "Octopus via Satellite", currently has my heart hypnotized like a gracefully executed intergalactic postcard, it's hard to imagine this would've could've ever been a throw-away creation. Get yours today at Amoeba Music!

p.s. the only way one might one-up experiencing a gathering of local lovelies as put forward by this exemplary comp is to double down on the support by attending the record release show for In A Cloud II this Thursday July 19 at Amnesia, 9pm. Check out the flier below for details 'n things!


(In which we mark the anniversary of that one place with the things and stuff.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 17, 2012 11:46am | Post a Comment


You don't look a day over 62.


Today and tomorrow mark the 57th opening day events anniversary of Disneyland. I can think of no better reason to decide that I will use cuss-words in the following blog – something I don’t normally do – so if that’s going to offend you, you should totally read this (assuming that you love to be offended which, let’s be frank you easily offended folks – you do).

The opening days went notoriously awry – drinking fountains didn’t work, rides broke down constantly, the young woman in the Minnie Mouse costume went mad and tried to fell the Swiss Family Robinson tree-house with a chainsaw while terrified children screamed from the branches, and it was such a hot day!

Ronald Reagan was there for opening day – it’s one of the only things he did that sits well with me. Rumor has it that he got his idea for “trickle-down economics” by watching how the natural flow of passengers organizing themselves to take turns riding on the Matterhorn fucked over the poor.

Did you know Doritos were invented at Disneyland? It’s true, and kind of weirds me out. And then it weirds me out that it weirds me out. I haven’t felt very stable lately.

I love Disneyland, usually. There are some things I don’t love. They are, in no particular order:

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100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
      

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.

SONG/ARTIST PLAYLIST & AMOEBA SHOP LINK OF ALEX'S 100 GUITAR RIFFS (IN ORDER):


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

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The Connection (1962) Screening July 20-26th- New Beverly Cinema

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 16, 2012 11:50pm | Post a Comment
The New Beverly Cinema is screening a brand new print of Shirley Clarke's legendary Junk/Jazz docudrama The Connection. Filmed in New York at the beginning of the 60's, this film focuses on a group of junkies, including legendary sax player & jazz composer Jackie McLean and pianist Freddie Redd, as they philosophize, swing, smoke and sweat it out while they wait for a special delivery. 

A must see!!!


July 16, 2012: Red Lights

Posted by phil blankenship, July 16, 2012 10:29pm | Post a Comment

Rest In Peace Jon Lord

Posted by Billyjam, July 16, 2012 02:40pm | Post a Comment
     

We lost one of rock music's greatest today with the passing of keyboardist Jon Lord of Deep Purple fame (as well as of Whitesnake, Paice, Ashton & Lord, The Artwoodsand Flower Pot Men). Classically trained, the gifted organ player, known as Hammond Lord, died today at age 71 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

"The man brought many an inspiring sound into my porous teenage brain," said Amoeba Marc today upon hearing the sad news, citing the Hammond Lord solo in above video of the many profound pieces by Lord that moved him upon first hearing it years ago. Below is another equally amazing live Jon Lord performance: Deep Purple's "Child In Time."

Read a full in-depth obit care of the Guardian UK. Rest in peace, Hammond Lord.

      

Milo Greene Set to Play Amoeba With Live Webcast As Debut Record Lands

Posted by Billy Gil, July 15, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Milo Greene is British. He’s well-dressed — three-piece suit and the like. He’s incredibly confident and charming, he’s well-spoken, he’s an intellectual, but also a man’s man. He’s exactly six feet tall to the millimeter, and if he were a dad, he’d be the No. 1 dad.
 
Milo Greene the man also isn’t real — they are a band, not a dude. He’s a fictional character band member Robbie Arnett invented when forming the band with Andrew Heringer. When contacting venues, Milo Greene would send the requests, and Arnett and Heringer saw their fortunes rise accordingly, getting better shows.
 
Now a five-piece who’ve taken the moniker Milo Greene as their own, in a bit of Belle & Sebastian-style alluring bewilderment, is set to release its debut, self-titled record July 17. The band plays Amoeba Hollywood the same day, at 7 p.m. with a live webcast.
 
milo greene milo greeneThe L.A.-based band’s debut record, Milo Greene, offers the same sort of intimate harmonies and natural harmonies of a Fleet Foxes or, further back, Fleetwood Mac just as Stevie and Lindsay joined the band. Written in part in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and recorded with co-producer Ryan Hadlock (Ra Ra Riot, Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, The Lumineers) at Bear Creek Studio, a converted early 1900s barn in the country outside of Seattle, it’s a beautifully crafted set of songs that makes the most the band’s five-person set-up. They offer lush harmonies on songs like “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” which sounds like a gorgeous gospel intervention. Lone girl Greener Marlana Sheetz in particular stands out on songs like “Perfectly Aligned,” in which Sheetz’s testimonial vocals are wrapped in just the right amount of gauzy reverb while the boys (who include Graham Fink and Curtis Marrero, in addition to Arnett and Heringer) back her up with swaying folk-rock, along with electric swells of sound and strident harmonies when necessary. The whole thing’s, you know, perfectly aligned.
 
I sat down to talk with Fink about what it’s like to be in a folk band in L.A. in 2012, and what records and songs are doing it for him these days (Hint: Lots of ’90s R&B).
 
Me: Truthfully it was a bit hard to find out more about you guys, and along with the whole “Milo Greene” concept, it seems to me sort of an early Belle & Sebastian situation where you want the music to stand for itself and not for any member of the collective to stand out. Is that fair to say?
 
Fink: Absolutely. This is a very collective group, and the music has always stood at the forefront. We liked the idea of just releasing some live videos early, so people could see the five of us in a room, making music. No lead singer, no gloss, music first and foremost. That being said, I'm really trying to get famous so I can be gifted courtside Clippers tickets.


 
Me: I love the idea of the band retreating to a cabin to write free from modern distractions. The notion reminds me a bit of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. You don’t hear a lot of that kind of thing in L.A. anymore it seems! Although Hotel Café and things like that do exist. Do you see L.A. as having a viable folk scene? Was it hard to get noticed around here, and do you see more response outside of L.A.?
 
Fink: We never really thought of ourselves as a folk band, definitely qualities of folk in our music, but I think there are a lot of bands right now that share that common thread. They should call it Folk+ a la Google+. Two of the bands that we get compared to, and are fans of, are Local Natives and Ed Sharpe, and if they're indicators, L.A.’s a pretty good place to grow and get noticed for a band with folk qualities. After all, it is the city of hybrids. We do see an amazing response to banjo throughout the country though, damn people love banjo.
 
Me: Do you write songs collectively? How does the songwriting process happen for this band?
 
Fink: Four of us are former lead singers and songwriters, so every song is different. One person may write the bulk of it, four people may write the bulk of it, it’s a hodgepodge, but there's group quality control for everything that we release.


 
Me: I could see Milo Greene as being a band that is best experienced live, in that you get the full effect of the harmonies and interplay. Was it hard to get the sound you wanted on record?
 
Fink: The record and our live show are a little bit different, but I think they complement each other. The record lulls you into this dreamy world, it's serene at times, and a bit softer than the live show, which we try to inject a bit more energy into. At our concerts, Marlana head bangs, Robbie does back flips, Curtis takes his shirt off — and you'll have to come see us to find out if that's true!
 
Me: Can you make us a list of records you’re into right now?
 
Fink: I’m pumped for the to-be-released albums from our friends Superhumanoids and PAPA, they sound gooooooood.
 
Here's a list of tunes as well [Note: I’ve linked to the relevant record, when available, at Amoeba]:
 
1. Shuggue Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23”: Whether it's a sun roof, moon roof or a simple side window, roll it down and pump out the yam!


 
2. SWV’s "Right Here": Ummm...Sisters With Voices! And Michael Jackson sample?! Duh.


 
3. Tangerine Dream's "One Night In Space": Summerdrugssummerdrugssummerdrugssummerdrugs.


 
4. James Brown's "The Payback": Summer Soul Session, aka, Triple S'zzzzzzz!


 
5. The Human League's "Human": Slow dance summer nights.


 
6. Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendal": Introspective summer days.


 
7. Haim's "Forever": Neighborhood grooves. Kewlest girls in town!


 
8. Astrud Gilberto's "Misty Roses": If you're looking to give birth in the spring months of 2013, this might make the cut — depending on the temperature of your relationship, of course.


 
9. Dream's "He Loves You Not": Four words — bad boy for life.


 
10. Bobby Womack's "Please Forgive My Heart": June 12!
 

July 14, 2012: The Pact

Posted by phil blankenship, July 14, 2012 10:05pm | Post a Comment

The Art Of The LP Cover- Who Is That?

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 14, 2012 02:55pm | Post a Comment

Today's feature is a collection of ill advised portrait covers. 
Some are worse than others, I think that the Frank Sinatra / Lena Horne pairing might be my favorite.

out this week 7/3 & 7/10...Holograms...The English Beat...Twin Shadow...Frank Ocean...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 13, 2012 06:35pm | Post a Comment

The new Frank Ocean CD Channel Orange was scheduled to be released next Tuesday on July 17th. But we are able to sell it a bit early and now have it out on the floor. So come pick it up at one or our stores! Or pick it up on amoeba.com. The LP is still scheduled for 7/31. You can Pre-order it here. Frank Ocean is of course part of Odd Future. This is his first official release. Everyone is super excited about this album. And you should be too!

The new Twin Shadow just came out this week. And I am a bit obsessed with it. I honestly was not really that into the first album. But maybe I just never gave it a chance. Maybe I just had higher hopes for this one since 4AD put it out.  Confess is out on CD and LP. It is catchy and highly addictive. You will like.

Captured Tracks has done it again. They really are unstoppable this year. They just released the new album by Diiv a couple of weeks ago. Which I can't get enough of. And now they have released the new album by Holograms this week. We are sold out of the colored vinyl of the new Diiv. But should be getting the more of the regular black vinyl any day now. The new Holograms is only out on CD right now. The black vinyl for Holograms comes out on 7/24. But we should be getting colored vinyl on this album any day now. Holograms is much rougher than what you might expect from Captured Tracks. This is more similar to Joy Division or Echo & The Bunnymen. The harder side of shoegaze! Punkgaze. Whatever you want to call it. Captured Tracks can really do no wrong.

One of my favorite bands from the 80s has just reissued their catalog. And this week we get a new greatest hits and box set. That band is The English Beat. I grew up knowing them as The English Beat. Which is what they were called in America. But they were simply known as The Beat in the UK. And they were called The British Beat in Australia. I remember thinking that they were the coolest thing when I first saw their video for "Mirror In The Bathroom." The English Beat released three studio albums. I Just Can't Stop It in 1980. Wha'ppen? in 1981. And Special Beat Service in 1982. Edsel has just reissued all three albums with bonus tracks. Each reissue had two CDs and one DVD. The CD reissue of I Just Can't Stop It features "Tears Of A Clown, "Mirror In The Bathroom" & "Twist & Crawl." Wha'ppen? features "Drowning," "Too Nice To Talk To" & "Doors Of Your Heart." Special Beat Service features "I Confess," "Save It For Later" & "Jeanette."

The English Beat have also just released a box set called The Complete Beat. The box set includes the three studio albums. It also includes two CDs of rare 12" and dub versions, non-album singles and live sessions. All in a great little compact box. You can also get the new greatest hits album called Keep The Beat: The Very Best Of The English Beat.

Pick them all up now from amoeba.com...






I Just Can't Stop It
by The English Beat











Wha'ppen?
by The English Beat











Special Beat Service
by The English Beat











The Complete Beat
Box Set by The English Beat by The English Beat











Keep The Beat: The Very Best Of The English Beat

by The English Beat






out 7/3...






Smug Life
by Doug Benson











(I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson
by Stevie Jackson







out 7/10...






Beak II
 by Beak











Swing Lo Magellan
by Dirty Projectors











Holograms
by Holograms











Electra Heart
by Marina & The Diamonds











Unsound
by Mission of Burma











Confess
by Twin Shadow







Local Stuff: Ariel Pink, Ty Segall, Puro Instinct, LOL Boys, Starred, Soft Pack

Posted by Billy Gil, July 13, 2012 02:29pm | Post a Comment
So much West Coast goodness coming our way this week, I’ll just get right into it …
 
New Ariel Pink – “Only In My Dreams”
 
Ariel Pink debuted a new song this week from his upcoming Mature Themes, the regal-sounding “Only In My Dreams.” Loved the “Baby” cover, but it’s great to hear that his new originals are great, too. Mature Themes is due Aug. 17 on 4AD.
 

 
New Ty Segall Coming — Again
 
Won’t I ever shut up abou this guy? Not when he’s making such great music so consistently. On the heels of his White Fence collab Hair and his searing Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse comes a new album just credited to the king of SF garage himself, called Twins. It’s out Oct. 9 on Drag City. The next time he’s close to this neck of the woods is Oct. 14, at the Treasure Island Festival.
 
New Puro Instinct – “Dream Lover”
 
Speaking of Mr. Pink, his friends in dreamy duo Puro Instinct have a new song, “Dream Lover.” It’s not a Mariah Carey cover, although I bet that would sound amazing. This song finds them branching out, getting bigger than the sound they debuted on Headbangers in Ecstasy. Sounds like My Bloody Valentine by the pool. It’ll be on an EP later this year.
 

 
LOL Boys – “Changes” [ft. Heart Streets]
 
Originally hailing from Montreal, these guys make sort of lo-fi jazzy house music. And they are called LOL Boys, which is pretty good, although I feel like it should have been LOL Boyz. I’m pretty bewildered by the whole thing in a good way. Their debut Changes is out July 17.
 

 
starredStarred – “No Good”
 
Now this is where it’s at — hazy L.A. acoustic rock from Brooklyn transplant Liza Thorn and cohort Matt Koshak. Thorn used to be in a band called Curls with now former (WTF??) Girls frontman Christopher Owens, which might give you a clue as to the duo’s pop songwriting chops. “No Good” is just all kinds of good, touching those sweet spots for which we usually turn to the likes of Mazzy Star, The Sundays, Cowboy Junkies, some Cocteau Twins and Dum Dum Girls. Check it out at Pitchfork. I really can’t wait to hear more Starred. A 7” of “No Good” is promised sometime in 2012 from Pendu Sound, which also has their spacier track “Cemetery” up to stream.


 
New Soft Pack – “Saratoga”
 
One of our favorite local bands The Soft Pack are coming back with a long-awaited second album called Strapped, due Sept. 25 on Mexican Summer. “Saratoga” moves quickly with gauzy noise that seems to erupt everywhere, like the best half-remembered night of your life. It’s a classic indie rock rev-up jam, like The Walkmen’s “The Rat” or Broken Social Scene’s “Almost Crimes.”
 

 
Shows This Weekend:
 
Friday: Sonny & the Sunsets, Wet Illustrated, The Blank Tapes @ The Echo (8:30 p.m., $8)
 
Saturday: Viva Pomona with La Sera, Grass Widow, So Many Wizards, Tijuana Panthers and more @ The Glass House (5 p.m., $14)
 
Sunday: Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration with Triple Chicken Foot, Rod Melancon, Son Ark @ The Echo (5 p.m., FREE)

 
 

Amoeba Co-Hosts Screening for Rodriguez Documentary ‘Searching For Sugar Man’

Posted by Billy Gil, July 13, 2012 12:28pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba, Sony Pictures Classics and The Los Angeles Film School are teaming to host an advance screening of the critically acclaimed documentary Searching for Sugar Man, about elusive ’70s rocker Rodriguez, on July 24 at 8 p.m. You can get tickets July 24 at Amoeba Hollywood to attend the LA Film School screening, as well as pick up the soundtrack (preorder here), which comes out July 24, featuring Rodriguez cuts like “Inner City Blues” and “Sugar Man.” Sony Pictures Classics will release the film at the Landmark Theaters in Los Angeles this Friday, July 27th. Check out the film’s official Twitter and Facebook pages to receive additional movie release information.”
 
Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (so named because he was the sixth child in the family) was the son of middle-class Mexican immigrants, born in Detroit in 1942. His music, which sounds a bit like Donovan with Cesar Chavez’s politics and psych touches, first was released in 1967 with the single “I’ll Slip Away” on small label Impact. From there, he released two albums on Sussex, Cold Fact (1970) and Coming from Reality (1971).  
 


 
Though he didn’t make a huge splash in the U.S. and stopped releasing music once Sussex folded in 1975, his music gained fame in places like South Africa and Australia. With renewed buzz, he toured Australia in 1979 and again in 1981 with Midnight Oil. After fading once again into obscurity, the new millennium brought increasing notoriety. In 2002 DJ David Holmes placed his song “Sugar Man” on the mix album Come Get It I Got It, and “Sugar Man” was sampled in the Nas song “You’re Da Man,” from Stillmatic (2001). “Sugar Man” also appeared in the 2006 addiction drama Candy, with Heath Ledger, Abby Cornish and Geoffrey Rush. He ventured once again to Australia in 2007 to play a few shows. He has seen recent covers from singer-songwriter Ruarri Joseph and South African band Just Jinger. And his two studio albums were re-released by Light in the Attic Records in 2009.
 
 


The film tells of two South Africans who set out to find their musical hero, whom some over the years believed had died or committed suicide. The film, from director Malik Bendjelloul, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival won the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, all in the World Cinema – Documentary category. Searching For Sugar Man also recently won the Audience Award at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival in the Best International Feature category. And Bendjelloul also got 2nd place in the Audience Award – Documentary category at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
 



Rodriguez - I Wonder recorded live at Amoeba San Francisco.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 07.13.12: Top 5, Aesop Rock, AeroSoul 3, Pharcyde, Darkest Before Dawn, Cut Chemist, Roach Gigz, + more

Posted by Billyjam, July 13, 2012 07:36am | Post a Comment

Aesop Rock "ZZZ Top" (2012)


Hip-Hop Top 5 Week ending 7/12/12


1) Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhyemsayers Ent.)

2)  El-P Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum)

3) Killer Mike R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)

4) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)

5) Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope)

Like El-P, whose Cancer4Cure is his first album since 2007, another hip-hop artist who can patiently keep fans waiting five years before dropping a new album is Aesop Rock. And this week Aesop Rock, who used to be on El-P's currently on hiatus Def Jux label, returns triumphantly after half a decade between albums with a stellar new full-length: Skelethon on Rhymesayers Entertainment.. The album does not disappoint with powerful songs like "ZZZ Top" (video above), the opening “Leisureforce,” “Homemade Mummy,” and the lead single “Zero Dark Thirty.” With Aesop's usual barrage of intricate lyrics luckily the physical release comes with a lyrics sheet. Another new release this week is a re-release of an older hip-hop album: The Pharcyde's 1992 Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde [Expanded Edition] which differs from the original two-decade old classic in that it is a triple disc set with the original album in its entirety, plus two additional discs including instrumentals, remixes, and “B-cydes” plus really nice packaging that include some classic old photos of the legendary SoCal hip-hop crew and enlightening liner notes from producer J-Sw!ft.  And in honor of this most welcome reissue/extended set here is one of the great tracks from that hip-hop classic: "Passin' Me By,"

Continue reading...

Wall of Sound: West Coast Punk Art Retrospective at Steven Wolf Fine Arts, SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 12, 2012 03:45pm | Post a Comment
Focusing exclusively on the West Coast's punk rock art movement of the 1970's, Wall of Sound at
Exene Cervenka art
Exene Cervenka, Dick, 2008 
Steven Wolf Fine Arts (July 12th - Sept 8th) features work by artists who are better known as musicians, and by musicians who are better known as artists. 

The rise of punk rock in the 1970s provoked an explosion of collage-based visual art. A new generation of rebels reworked dada aesthetics in the design of flyers, zines, and studio art. Some of the most interesting work was done by the musicians themselves. The bridge that formed between music and visual art inaugurated a hybridity now common in studio practice where art history shares equal space with movies, music, and television as source material for artists. 

See work by:
David J. Hastings
Tomata Du Plenty
J.C. Garrett
Fayette Hauser
V. Vale
Matt Heckert
Raymond Pettibon
and more....

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Summer Nights at Oakland Museum of California, Fri. 7/27! Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, & Hippies Too!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 12, 2012 03:00pm | Post a Comment
Summer Nights Oakland Museum OMCA

 

Join Amoeba Music and the Oakland Museum of California for another action-packed installment of Summer Nights at OMCA on Friday, July 27th!


Held on the final Friday of each month from Friday, April 27 through Friday, October 26, Summer NightsRevolution hippies haight san francisco features special evening hours and half-price Museum admission after 5pm! With classic '68 film screenings in Oak Street Plaza, Amoeba Music DJs spinning '60s-inspired sets, and sizzling special activities throughout the Museum, you won't want to miss Summer Nights!

On Friday, July 27th, Amoeba's own DJ Michael Henning will be spinning international and psychedelic gems of the era and you can watch this classic 1968 film under the stars at Oak Street Plaza:

Revolution
Starring Herb Caen and featuring interviews and performances by Country Joe & the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Steve Miller Band.

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Cyril Jordan of the Flamin' Groovies Presents ART WORK 2.0 Tonight @ Mini Bar In San Francisco

Posted by Billyjam, July 12, 2012 02:00pm | Post a Comment

Most may know longtime San Francisco musician Cyril Jordan as the guitarist and founding member of the Flamin' Groovies but, ever since his early protopunk, power-pop group started out in the mid sixties,  Jordan has also been an active graphic artist too with his prolific illustrations dating back decades to those early days of his band and including various album covers' artwork and even such early era Flamin' Groovies concert showbills as the one right from legendary Fillmore, San Francisco rock venue The Matrix.

Additionally with a flare for vintage comic book cover recreations many of his illustrations are reworkings of many classic comic book covers. In fact in 1989 Jordan's comic book inspired illustrations landed him a deal to provide artwork for a Walt Disney comic book published by Gladstone Publishing. And in the two decades since the Groovies disbanded Jordan, who currently plays guitar in Magic Christian, has given even more time and energy to his art, presenting / curating various art shows including one last month in San Francisco at the Mini Bar.

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Gil Scott-Heron Tribute to be Held at Grand Performances Downtown

Posted by Billy Gil, July 12, 2012 10:31am | Post a Comment
Legendary soul/spoken word artist Gil Scott-Heron will be honored July 20 with a tribute in Downtown Los Angeles at 8 p.m. at California Plaza (350 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071) as part of Grand Performances. The "Peace Go With You, Gil" celebration will feature performances by Scott-Heron’s longtime collaborator Brian Jackson, Amoeba Music staffer Jimetta Rose Smith, Carlos Nino, Jeremy Sole, and more. The celebration is said to explore “the soul, vitality, power, humor, social activism, humanity and dynamic messages” of Scott-Heron through a musical and artistic experience. Amoeba will be there with a booth, so come check it out.
 
Amoeba also has several Gil Scott-Heron albums available in store, including the harrowing I’m New Here, released in 2010, and its remix album with Jamie XX from moody Britpop duo The XX. I recently picked up Reflections on vinyl, it's awesome. Check out all the releases in stock here.

Del The Funky Homosapien Discusses Anticipated Forthcoming Deltron Album

Posted by Billyjam, July 11, 2012 10:41am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
A true sign of a really good hip-hop act is one that can keep their fans waiting a dozen long years before releasing a new album. In the notoriously fickle world of hip-hop, where even two years is considered a long gap between albums, to keep your fans hanging on for twelve years and still be there patiently waiting in anticipation is quite a coup. But such is the case with Deltron - the famed hip-hop supergroup comprised of the Bay Area's producer Dan The Automator, and emcee Del The Funky Homosapien (aka Deltron Zero), along with Canadian turntablist Kid Koala - who released their critically and commercially acclaimed debut Deltron 3030 back in 2000 that included such guests as Prince Paul. Peanut Butter Wolf, MC Paul Barman and Mr Lif. This September Deltron promise (for real this time) that they will release the hella overdue sequel - tentatively titled Deltron Event II.  And those patient dedicated Deltron fans, who waited so long that there was even a 2008 reissue of the first album, could not be happier with news of the album to be finally released. So too is Del The Funky Homosapien who talked to the Amoeblog this week about the forthcoming album.

"It's great man," said Del admitting that, "It took a while to get it done." Indeed the album, which had many false starts and stops over the past several years ever since production reportedly first began in 2006, has been supposedly been about to drop quite a few times including earlier this year.  Everyone was busy with stuff, said Del. "Dan had things going on. But once it started clicking, it was quick [writing & recording] doing it. It was like the first one." But compared to that first one released all those years ago, this one will sound a little different - but in a good way, insisted Del.  "I gotta say Dan stepped things up with this one production-wise. I really admire Dan from a producer standpoint. There's just all these subtle things in the music at certain places and you might not notice it till much later but they hella matter - just these little special touches, that added gloss," he said. "I like it and I think a lot of people will really enjoy it." 

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Albums Picks, New Albums Out Today: Twin Shadow, Holograms, Aesop Rock and More

Posted by Billy Gil, July 10, 2012 01:01pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Album Picks:

Twin Shadow ConfessTwin Shadow – Confess
 
I must “confess” that I was a big old sucker for Twin Shadow’s first album. One of those “I’m wired to like it” kind of things. George Lewis Jr.’s second album has some of the same slow-motion bittersweet nostalgia thing that made the first album so great, but it also comes alive with a new romantic swagger that previously was just implied by the music. His songs have lost none of their immaculate detail, though. “Golden Light” is immediately memorable for its big chorus, with Lewis at the peak of his Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel style of throaty, emotive vocals, but the verses are impeccably put together, too. First single “Five Seconds” has the same sort of “Boys of Summer” rush that Forget’s “Slow” had, but it’s no cheap retread — it sounds taken apart and put back together, as Lewis unleashes his pipes at unexpected moments, and the whole thing has such a wonderful hushed tension that it’s enthralling throughout. Confess shows Lewis can really go for it pop-wise while still engaging listeners with layered songs and well-considered production choices.
 

hologramsHolograms – Holograms
 
Really great, ferocious stuff from Sweden’s Holograms. “Monoliths” plays its goth cards early, with foreboding riffs and similarly indignant vocals that seem to call out some impending tragedy, which comes in the form of the song’s second two-thirds, a straight-ahead rush of focused guitar energy punctuated by belted vocals. “Chasing My Mind” meanwhile has an almost comically simple and upfront synth riff that the band then undermines with its weird yelp vocals and riffery — which comes out an improbably perfect concoction. Seems like this year’s Iceage. More European post-hardcore, please.

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July 9, 2012: The Do-Deca-Pentathalon

Posted by phil blankenship, July 9, 2012 10:37pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Dennis Flemion of The Frogs Drowns In Wisconsin Swimming Accident Over Weekend

Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2012 09:08pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Excerpt from the Billy Corgan made film Meet The Frogs about "the world's greatest band" 

Sad news surfaced today (July 9, 2012) that Dennis Flemion, one half of the much loved (and loathed or misunderstood by some), longtime Milwaukee sibling, quirky rock band known as The Frogs, has died - the victim of swimming accident over the weekend in Racine, WI’s Wind Lake as reported by the Matador Records website.

Formed in 1980 along with his brother Jimmy Flemion, The Frogs may never have quite reached the level of fame that they deserved but the incredibly prolific and twisted sense of humor band (known for such things as their "wings and wigs" outfits on stage) did gain a cult status and, over the years, counted among their dedicated legions of admirers such well known fans as Kurt Cobain, Beck, Eddie Vedder, and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins (perhaps their biggest ambassador) who dubbed them "the world's greatest band" and even made a movie, Meet The Frogs, about them (see clip above). Corgan also performed with The Frogs many times including on a Lollapallooza tour and in the 1994 concert clip below at The Double Door in Chicago, Illinois when he joined them on "I Only Play For Money." For more on the band read the Matador website report or visit The Frogs Archive.com

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July Charity Auction Recap

Posted by Amoebite, July 9, 2012 07:15pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Tim Simons at AmoebaOn Saturday, July 7 we had our monthly charity auction at Amoeba Hollywood, this time with the hilarious musings and dry quips from Tim Simons, actor and comedian from the HBO show Veep. Tim was pinch-hitting for Matt Walsh, also from Veep and the movie High Road, who had a last minute conflict.

Tim was so gracious and such a good sport stepping in - never having experienced one of our auctions - but his droll sense of humor and his relaxed wry way of nudging up the bids was awesome! We had quite a crowd around the DJ booth, and folks were filling the aisles of used and new rock during the 40 minute auction to benefit Camp Crescent Moon, the nation's first and oldest summer camp for children with sickle cell disease between the ages of 8-14 years.

Here are a few of the highlights:
Camp Crescent Moon
All together the peeps bid $533.00 and with the Amoeba MATCH it means $1,066.00 for Camp Crescent Moon!!! YES!! Nicely done.

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NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences: Dan The Automator, 7/19

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 9, 2012 06:01pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
California Academy of Sciences' NightLife series rocks your world every Thursday night! It's where music, creatures, and cocktails come together. Thursday, July 19th, NightLife really stirs things up as they team up with Noise PopDan the automator

Watch Shane McKnight and the mixologists at Cocktail Lab work their magic during demonstrations using seasonal ingredients. 

The San Francisco Mixtape Society
 will host a mixtape swap, so come prepared with a mix tape, mix CD, or mix USB stick inspired by the theme of Night Creatures. You’ll walk away with someone else’s mix and a smile on your face.

Watch masterful DJs remix a track before your eyes and ears in the Remix Lounge, featuring Friendzone at 6:00, Yalls at 7:00pm and Giraffage at 8:00pm.

And last but certainly not least, Music in the Piazza (presented by Noise Pop) is by Heathered Pearls (Ghostly International, ISO50) followed by Dan The Automator of such awesome projects as Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz!

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Los Angeles's AM radio -- a welcome alternative to FM's Radio Ga Ga

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 9, 2012 05:46pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
REMEMBER RADIO?


Frank Sant'Agata's Remember When We Listened to the Radio

If you're at all like me, when you're in the mood to listen to music, radio is one of the least likely places you turn. There was a time (1983 till around 2000) when the radio was the primary source of my exposure to new music. When I moved to LA in 1999, I flipped around the FM dial stopping whenever I heard something I liked. Before the introduction of Shazam, I had to rely on memorizing snippets of lyrics and then looking them up since it seemed like DJs rarely announced what they were playing. That’s how I discovered B.G.Los DandysDuncan Dhu, Enanitos Verdes, Los Freddys, Juvenile, Lil' Wayne, Mikel Erentxun, Mystikal, Los Prisioneros (among others).

Dating a Vietnamese New Waver, Napster, and Pandora all provided new avenues of exposure and I pretty much gave up on FM radio except for usually music-less public radio. When I've been subjected to FM radio in the past few years, the playlists seem to have somehow been whittled down to approximately four incredibly overplayed "classics" that serve as bumpers between hour-long blocks of commercials -- or pop music meant to make 12-year-old girls feel like 16-year-old princesses (and anyone else nauseated).

On the other hand, listening to LA’s AM radio is like taking a trip around the world -- or something approaching it for people too poor to actually travel anywhere except locally -- and by public transportation. And as one of those in the latter column, I often listen to it ready to Shazam it, post a screen capture from my phone online and ask foreign language majors to hip me to the artist and song in question.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF RADIO

For decades, AM was where most people turned for old time radio programs and music whilst FM was primarily devoted to classical music. AM was home to taste-making rock 'n' roll personalities like Alan Freed, Paul ShermanPeter Tripp, Cousin Brucie, Murray the K, Dr. Jive, Wolfman Jack and Jock, the Ace from Outer Space. FM was comparatively anonymous.

In the 1960s, FM became known as for album oriented rock – whereas AM was dominated by Top 40. In 1978, almost four decades after its introduction, listenership of FM surpassed that of AM. Over the following years, the Top 40 format moved to where the listeners were and AM became primarily associated with right wing talk radio, sports, religious programming and other niche stations. In LA it’s also home to many ethnic minority-owned stations.


LA's AM RADIO

I think my first exposure of LA AM radio was being introduced to the Old Time Radio drama, The Whistler, re-runs of which used to be broadcast on an 1070 KNX. They no longer play any OTR. The next two AM stations I spent considerable time listening to were 670 KIRN and 930 KHJ.


فارسی رادیو


  

The US is home to the largest population of Iranians outside of Iran and the largest concentration are in Los AngelesKIRN -- Radio Iran began broadcasting in 1999 and, from its HQ in Hollywood's Cahuenga Pass, plays Persian music and news. I don’t understand Farsi but I love a lot of the music and the spoken Farsi is also appealing to my ears. When I had a car, listening to Radio Iran whilst driving through heavily Iranian neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Encino, Tarzana, Tehrangeles, and/or Woodland Hills added an exciting cinematic element to the commute.


RADIO JALISQUENA



LA County’s largest ethnic group is Mexican-American, who make up 36% of the population. This being the case, it’s not surprising that numerous LA radio stations play a wide variety of Spanish-language genres. However, Burbanks 930 KHJLa Ranchera, is LA’s only Ranchera station. There are many LA stations that play related genres like Norteño and Banda and Inglewood’s 98.3/103.9 Recuerdo plays Ranchera, Bolero and Spanish-language oldies but La Ranchera, as the name implies, is the home of Ranchera in LA.


라디오한국

    

LA is home to the largest Korean population outside of Korea and Korean-speaking Korean-Americans and Hallyu fans are served by three area Korean language stations: Pasadena’s 1230 KYPA – Radio JBC (Joongang Broadcast Company), Koreatown’s 1540 KMPC – Radio Korea, and Hancock Park’s 1650 KFOX – Radio Seoul. Korean is, to me, another particularly mellifluous language and whether it’s music or talk, it makes a nice soundtrack when one is in Koreatown, Little Seoul, Buena Park, Hancock Park, Park Mile, Wilshire Park or other largely Korean-American communities. 1190 KGBN is currently Korean Gospel Broadcasting Network, and broadcasts religious programming. From 2001 - 2011 it operated as KXMX, which was an amazing multicultural station that broadcast programing in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese

普通話廣播

  

Los Angles has a very large Chinese and Taiwanese-American population. LA County’s Monterey Park is famous for being the first city in the US with a Chinese-American (at the time, mostly Taiwanese-American) population. Chinese and Taiwanese make up the largest group of Asian-Americans in Los Angeles (followed closely by Filipinos). Nonetheless, there’s only one exclusively Mandarin station, Pasadena’s 1300 KAZN. Recommended listening for time spent in LA’s Far East Side -- Alhambra, Arcadia (aka Arcasia), Diamond Bar, Monterey Park, East San Gabriel (aka East Chan Gabriel), Hacienda Heights, Rosemead, Rowland Heights (aka Little Taipei), San Gabriel (aka Chan Gabriel), San Marino (aka Chan Marino), Temple City, and Walnut.


粵語廣播電台

  

Pasadena’s 1430 KMRB serves LA's Cantonese-speaking population -- a population with roots in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong and Macau. It provides a nice backdrop to time spent in Chinatown.


Đài phát thanh tiếng Việt

  

Nearly half of overseas Vietnamese live in the US – especially in Houston, New Orleans, San Jose, and Orange County’s Little Saigon – the oldest, largest and most prominent Vietnamese-American community. Little Saigon’s 1480 KVNR -- Little Saigon Radio broadcasts Vietnamese programing. I sometimes listen with the hope of improving my extremely limited Vietnamese through exposure or osmosis.


So next time you flip your radio all the way four times over without hearing anything but commercials and bemoan the sorry state of FM radio, remember AM radio and be amazed.


*****

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A King's Ransom From Queens

Posted by Rick Frystak, July 9, 2012 03:04pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Virtuous vinyl votaries rejoice! Amoeba Music has just acquired a very choice collection of records from the Queens, NY area to resell in our Hollywood store and on Amoeba.com, a collection that is quite exhilarating to a record guy like myself, and very different from collections I've seen on the West coast or any coast. Beginning on July 21 at 10:30am, Amoeba will offer the first of these records for sale to the public at the Hollywood store, and right now some of them are online at Amoeba.com.

Eddie, the previous owner of the records, was a true record collector, but not in the sense of the must-own or traditional market-driven collectible pieces and sought-after titles. Instead he was a curator of alluring oddities, deviating from the mainstream and submersing himself in what he himself liked to listen to, always with the highest of ideals, a paradigm of good taste. He was able to keep his records in a condition that was exactly as he had bought them, and mantained the collection as if they were never played. Many of the records happen to be still sealed, as new!

Folks here in California will be awed by the breadth of the material and its integrity, consisting of mostly non-rock 'n roll genres, not-oft traded on this massive scale. Vocals, soundtracks, thousands of 20th-century classical and jazz titles, latin music and all locales of international artists are represented here, as well as folk, blues and spoken word. Rarely seen lounge sounds and easy listening cheesecake covers, great Amercan songwriters sitting right beside obscure new age and electronic music. Over 30,000 discs of very small and large labels, private pressings, boutique pressings and artist editions await inspection by Amoeba loyalists on the day these go on sale. As these discs were collected and maintained in the New York area, West Coast LP collectors will delight in perusing these platters just-in to Hollywood from 2,800 miles away!

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DJ Eddie Def and MC Dopestyle Team Up To Form Supreme Raw

Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2012 02:40pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Supreme Raw (Eddie Def + Dopestyle) "Salty The Clown!" (2012)


Collaborating as a duo for the first time DJ Eddie Def and emcee Dopestyle are currently in the midst of finishing up recording a new album project together that the two longtime Bay Area hip-hop artists have christened Supreme Raw.

And Supreme Raw pretty much sums up the vibe of this raw, no-holds-barred, lo-fi hip-hop project as witnessed in the above video for "Salty The Clown!" - the first track to be leaked off the album that is scheduled to be released by summer's end.

This, as yet untitled, new full-length is described by Eddie Def as, "grimy hip-hop, old school 90's with chopped up samples," adding of its sound that it is, "in tradition of Gang Starr, Cypress Hill, Wu Tang type beats, ya know lo-fi hip-hop."

Although the DJ/producer and the emcee are both longtime Bay Area hip-hop artists it was only two years when they first met. "I met Dopestyle at a Casual show when me and DJ Quest were performing a set with Z-Man," said Eddie Def. "I gave him some beats and he responded back and we started working on some shit." Before long they had the makings of an entire album - one that features lots of cameos (not officially announced just yet but should be of interest to fans of West Coast underground hip-hop). "His flow is unlike any other," said Eddie of Dopestyle, "What I love him is that he is a topic rapper; interesting topics too! He raps about cancer. He raps about spousal abuse. He raps about people dying; serious shit and not the typical stuff people usually rap about."

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Amoeba San Francisco Expands its Books & Zines Section

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 9, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Amoeba Music San Francisco has big news for lovers of the written word (and pictures too). We've
If you build it, they will come.
 expanded our Books & Zines section! We have TONS of new and used music, film, and pop culture books, including many out of print titles from a huge, recently acquired collection. We also now stock a wider range of music mags and back issues!

This also means that we now buy good quality used music and pop culture books for cash and credit, so trade in your old books for new!



The Late, Great Ernest Borgnine

Posted by Charles Reece, July 9, 2012 10:12am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Here Ernest Borgnine tests the faith of William Shatner in The Devil's Rain. The former died yesterday.

Gomez Comes Alive Shows With Novalima & Radio Sombra's Transmission

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 9, 2012 05:29am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
 On Thursday July 12th I will be DJ an opening set for a great double at The Conga Room in Downtown L.A. with Novalima & Jungle Fire.

For the last several years, the collective of Peruvian, European and Asian musicians have released quality Afro-Latin electro music that is often imitated but never matched. Novalima takes what folkloric Afro-Peruvian artists such as Peru Negro and Susana Baca have done previously. Yet with each release, Novalima delves deeper in their Afro-Peruvian roots and still remains relevant in the clubs. With a live band that includes both sequenced beats and live masters of Afro-Peruvian percussion, this show should be a soulful evening of dance and song. Opening the show is L.A.’s own Jungle Fire, putting the funk back into Latin Funk. The members of Jungle Fire as individual musicians have played with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Joe Bataan, Breakestra, Ozomatli, Quantic, La Santa Cecilia, Celia Cruz, and Orgone, so you know these guys are funky! They will be celebrating the release of their new 7” on Colemine Records.

Novalima w/ Jungle Fire and Gomez Comes Alive at The Conga Room
800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-0162
$15/8PM

On Wednesday July 11th, Radio Sombra holds it monthly event, Transmission, at Eastside Luv to promote and to fundraise for the radio station. Recently, Radio Sombra added new radio shows by Maya Jupiter and Red Feminist Radio by the AF3IRM crew. With that in mind, our monthly fundraising event becomes even more important to accommodate our growing list of new programs. On this edition of Transmission, with have East Los finest, Thee Commons, performing live on the Eastside Luv stage. Personally, anytime a band put a “Thee” in front of their name, such as “Thee Midniters or “Thee Headcoats” I expect great things. The band does not disappoint. It a garage-y mess of Eastside rock & soul with some Psyche to boot. I will open the night with plenty of Worldly garage, soul, boogaloo and psyche. After the band, Heartbreak Radio’s DJ Phatrick and Art & Grooves’ Reyes will keep the dance party going till closing. Should be a great night of music.

Transmission with Thee Commons, Gomez Comes Alive, DJ Phatrick & Reyes
Eastside Luv Wine Bar y QUEso; 1835 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90033
Tel: 323-262-7442
$5/9PM/21 & Older
Listen to the show live on radiosombra.org

Check out last edition of my show, Discos Inmigrantes with my guest, Gaby Almanza from Amoeba. Gaby gets all Goth and shares her minimalist philosophy. Listen to it by going to this link


Hold Back the Night: Amoeba San Franciso's annual all Carolina Beach Music live DJ set!

Posted by Kells, July 9, 2012 12:10am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Here we are, three weeks into summer and come this July 11th we've got only one thing on our minds: free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven, right? Well, get ready to double down on your summer-fun pleasure index for this Wednesday July 11 marks the return of the annual Carolina Beach Music live DJ spectacular at Amoeba Music in San Francisco from 6-9pm. DJ Flip-Flop Mode and myself will be breaking off hit after hit of classic sunny oldies, boardwalk soul b-sides, and rhythm & blues shuffles what you can Shag to (no, not that kind of shag you cheeky monkey). 

What is Carolina Beach Music?
 

Like other regional Oldies/Soul sub-genres, think Lowrider Oldies or Northern Soul, Carolina Beach Music (or just plain Beach Music if you're in Carolina, nothin' could be finer) developed from various musical styles of the 40's, 50's, and 60's that became closely associated with a fancy, footwork-heavy style of dance known as the shag, or the Carolina shag (which, fun fact, is also the official state dance of both North and South Carolina).

Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, white youth in the Jim Crow South could not easily access the compelling music of primarily black R&B artists in their home towns and, in some communities, this remained in effect even after racial integration was implemented in the region. But the kids, as kids are always wont to do, found ways of flocking to the bars and band shells of the Carolina beaches where the shag was the fad and R&B ruled the jukeboxes and R&B artists sometimes performed live (see: Bo Diddley's Live Beach Party Album, recorded live in concert in July 1963 at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina). Those college students and vacationing teenagers of Beach Music's early years went on to ween their young'uns and their young'uns young'uns on the The Tams, The Embers, The Drifters, The Tymes, The Platters, Ernie K-Doe, Bob & Earl, General Johnson & The Chairmen of the Board, and Major Lance just to name a few.

Quite often the most popular Beach Music jams were discovered on the flip-side of a chart-topper and some of the original acts made famous by the Beach Music phenomenon maintain a popular following today having scored crucial Beach Music hits, besides b-sides, on through the 70's and 80's. With several radio stations in the Carolinas dedicated to broadcasting Beach Music and Beach Music only nowadays, if you find yourself rockin' your digital audio files north or south of the Carolina border this summer let me not be the first to declare: not only are you doing it wrong but you're dealing the season a disservice. And if you're rocking a hi-fi at home, take it from me: many of the best Beach Music gems can be exhumed from the bargain bin in Amoeba Music's extensive collection of 45s and it's worth puttin' in the time mining them out. Here's a hint: pretty much anything on the Ripete label is legit Beach Music fare (even if they are all re-pressings, Ripete reissued a ton of hard to find Beach Music platters for the greater good).
 

In other words: Beach Music is a guaranteed party, people! So get to fixin' this Wednesday, July 11, by hittin' up your local S'leven, secure your Slurps and come on up to Amoeba Music SF from 6-9pm for Hold Back The Night 2012: a proper Beach Music get down spun by two genuine Carolina Girls, I suwannee!

"Hold Back The Night" - The Trammps

July 8, 2012: Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection

Posted by phil blankenship, July 8, 2012 06:58pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Peaches Christ Presents: The Silence of the Trans! SF, July 28th

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 8, 2012 05:30pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
The Silence of the Trans Peaches Christ

Peaches Christ Productions advises you to rub the lotion into “its” skin to celebrate the world premiere of THE SILENCE OF THE TRANS, a blood-soaked summer spectacular exploding at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre on July 28th. Famed Midnight Mass hostess Peaches Christ will debut a sparkling musical pre-show featuring Ms. Christ as Trannibal Lector and special guest, season 4 winner of Rupaul’s Drag RaceSharon Needles as Buffalo Jill!

TWO shows will be presented on July 28th with a murderous matinee at 3pm and the night showing at 8pm. Both programs will feature a pre-show musical extravaganza, a Serial Killer Costume Contest with prizes gore-lore and a screening of the award-winning horror/thriller The Silence of the Lambs. Sharon Needles will also be available for post-show fan meet, greet, and autograph signing in the Castro mezzanine once the film begins.

Get your tickets HERE before they're all GONE!



City Scenes: The Sean Smith Trio & John Vanderslice Present their Favorite Flicks! August 1st & 2nd

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 8, 2012 04:30pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
 

On August 1st and 2nd, Cinema SF and folkYEAH present the third and fourth installments of City Scenes, the on-going series that pairs musicians with their favorite films.

This time around, local guitar-wizard Sean Smith (Citay) will perform Kraftwerk’s 1974 krautrock masterpiece Autobahn in its entirety followed by a screening of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult comedy Big Lebowski (1998).

The following night, master songsmith and Tiny Telephone founder John Vanderslice performs David Bowie's dystopian glam opus Diamond Dogs in its entirety, followed by a screening of Michel Gondry’s meta love story The Science of Sleep (2006).

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July 8, 2012: Katy Perry Part of Me

Posted by phil blankenship, July 8, 2012 03:56pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 07.08.12: Amoeba Top 5, El-P, Killer Mike, Aesop Rock, Azealia Banks, Toure, Erk Tha Jerk, Azeem & Kabanjak

Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2012 03:17pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Amoeba San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:08:12


1) El-P Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum)

2) Killer Mike R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)

3) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)

4) Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope)

5) Oddisee People Hear What They See (Mello Music/Fat Beats)

Once again at Amoeba the number one entry this week on the San Francisco hip-hop top five chart is El-P's truly amazing new album Cancer4Cure which I have worn out from listening to over and over. The only other recently released new hip-hop album that I have played quite as much (a bit more actually) is the number two Amoeba chart entry this week - also coincidentally produced by El-P; Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music on Williams Street. On my WFMU hip-hop radio show this week I both opened and closed with selections off this all-killer album:  the title track and "Reagan" which, with a slow smoldering lead in with some Ronald Reagan samples (in which he admits his lies) is followed by one of the best critical evaluations of the former Republican prez who has been repeatedly in the news of late with so many Republicans citing hm as an example of a fine leader. Killer Mike does not share this view as confirmed with the songs closing lyrics: "I leave with these four words - I'm glad Reagan dead." Another new hip-hop track that samples Ronald Reagan is the track "Zero Dark Thirty" off the new Aesop Rock album Skelethon.  The long awaited new album from the artist, who used to be on El-P's now defunct Def Jux label, will be released by Rhymesayers Entertainment on Tuesday (July 10th) when you can expect it to be a hot seller at Amoeba. The video for this Aesop Rock track (the lead single) follows below along with such others as El-P's new album track "The Full Retard,"

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Follow @AmoebaBerkeley on Twitter to Win PJ Harvey Giclee Print

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 6, 2012 11:26am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
PJ Harvey
We're giving away a 24” X 24” Giclee print of PJ Harvey's Let England Shake album cover on Twitter! Just follow @AmoebaBerkeley on Twitter and keep your eyes peeled on July 14.

Oh, and brush up on your Polly Jean knowledge because winners will be chosen through correct answers in a PJ Harvey Trivia Contest. Good luck!

PJ Harvey Poster

Local Stuff: Best Coast/Iggy Pop, Poolside, IO Echo

Posted by Billy Gil, July 6, 2012 11:12am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Best Coast & Iggy Pop - "Let's Boot and Rally"
 
Insane amount of Best Coast happenings. First there was her not one, but two Fleetwood Mac covers, “Storms” and “Rhiannon,” the latter on an upcoming F-Mac tribute album, Just Tell Me That You Want Me, and now she’s teaming with Iggy Pop on a cool song for “True Blood.” It premieres on this Sunday’s episode of “True Blood,” and you can hear it now via KCRW, whose Gary Calamar co-wrote the song, as music supervisor for the show. Hopefully it makes it onto a “True Blood” soundtrack, I love the song, it sounds like X at their most rockabilly.
 







 

Poolside Album preview

 
L.A. duo Poolside continue to drum up buzz for their upcoming full-length album, Pacific Standard Time. Right now it’s streaming from our friends at KCRW ‘till July 16. After that you’ll have to wait a bit to pick up a physical copy of the disc. For now, enjoy the sweet sounds of this proggy, sunny electro duo’s music with a cocktail. Something blue, maybe with a tiny umbrella.
 








IO Echo – “When the Lillies Die” video

 
It’s absurd, how many great indie pop acts there are from L.A. right now: the aforementioned Poolsdie, Haim, Kitten, and IO Echo, a duo that combines a variety of influences — Asian-inspired melodies and instrumentation, shoegaze aesthetics and pop vocals — into something very cohesive and enjoyable. It’s a nice reminder of how small changes to a familiar and beloved sound (reverby indie rock) can yield awesome results. Their debut album, Ministry of Love, comes out Sept. 11 on IAMSOUND.
 

 

Shows picks this weekend:
 
Friday: Bass Drum of Death, DZ Deathrays, Pangea @The Echo (8:30 p.m., $10)
 
Saturday: Mates of State, The Stepkids, New Life @The Echo (5 p.m., $13, Pick up tickets at Amoeba!)
 
Sunday: Part Time Punks Darkwave Night with The KVB, Deathday, DVA Damas @The Echo (10 p.m., $8, basically just move to the Echo this weekend)

Fourth of July at Amoeba Hollywood: Food, Prizes & Tunes

Posted by Rachael McGovern, July 4, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Fourth of July started out overcast and slightly cool in Hollywood, but by about 12:15pm the clouds burned off and the sun came shining through, just in time for the festivities to start at Amoeba Hollywood. We strategically hid "golden tickets" in plastic easter eggs around the store, each filled with a prize such as a free Amoeba gift certificate, free chair massage by our go-to masseuse Terrence, free caricatures from Rene and April, or a free Amoeba t-shirt. Not to mention lots and lots of coupons for free ice cream and free hot dogs, courtesy of two food trucks visiting Amoeba today: Dogtown Dogs and The Good Times Ice Cream Truck.

Our own DJ Continental Song-gress spun records in the afternoon, providing the star-spangled soundtrack for our busy shoppers taking advantage of the last day of our massive poster sale and hunting for golden tickets.

Hollywood closes early tonight (at 7pm) but we'll be back open on Thursday, July 5 at 10:30am. Have a happy and safe holiday!

DJ Continental Song-gress at Amoeba
Note DJ Continental Song-gress's stylish, one of a kind hat hand-stitched by our very own Daniel!

4th of july golden ticket at amoeba
Strategically hidden golden tickets (a.k.a. easter eggs).

Dogtown Dogs at Amoeba

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July 4, 2012: The Amazing Spider-Man

Posted by phil blankenship, July 4, 2012 01:20pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Be Careful Out There Today

Posted by Billyjam, July 4, 2012 12:44pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

With Liberty, Saggeth and Prizehog for All!

Posted by Kells, July 4, 2012 10:49am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
If a house is not a home without a pot to piss in then surely a city is not a cosmopolitan cultural destination without a local, world-class cover band. In the case of San Francisco we have Bobb Saggeth - the best Black Sabbath tribute act on earth what plans performances in concert with major calendar celebrations!
SO! If you're in San Francisco and you want to celebrate America's birthday splash into independence in style this July 4th get on down to the Elbo Room and be there by 9m if you wanna catch the album release show of SF's own sludge-rockin' skull-crushing trio Prizehog. $8 at the door --- when was the last time the promise of hard partyin' patriotism presented itself at cost far below the price of a severed limb?

Plus, they always play "A National Acrobat" which is not only the greatest song Sabbath ever birthed but a song held high in the ranks of contenders for the inter-continental championship title for  greatest song ever!

I shot this little vid a couple of Hallowe'ens ago at Bobb Saggeth's debut show. I'd apologize for the footage being muggy and more than slightly unstable composition-wise but those atmospheric aspects really only attest to how great a rock show these five put on:

Standing By Your Man and His Records: Lola's Story (Eddie's Record Collection, Part III)

Posted by Billyjam, July 4, 2012 07:04am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
It's interesting how two people can look at the exact same thing but yet see something completely different. Indeed there's always more than one way to look at anything in life. This fact was recently confirmed for me at Lola's large apartment in Rego Park, Queens. That is the NYC location of the vast unique record library, built over a lifetime of collecting by Lola's late husband Eddie, that was recently acquired by Amoeba Music and will go on sale July 21st at the Amoeba Hollywood store.

To collectors and music fanatics like myself (who spent a week packing this eclectic record collection of 30,000 units to ship cross-country back to California) and to Amoeba Marc and Kent from Amoeba Berkeley (who both flew out to New York to spend a full three days poring over this vast record library), it is a true treasure trove.

Full of nearly all sealed copies of rare records or rarely seen in such mint condition older records, dating back over several decades and covering many genres (both imports and domestic), it was described by Kent, who has been evaluating and buying records and record collections for thirty years, with words like "incredible" and "mind blowing!"

However accolades such as Kent's did little to impress Lola's long time neighbor and friend Zoya who has lived down the hall from her for many years. Born in Russia but living in the US for four and half decades with her husband, Zoya took me aside one day while we were busy packing up boxes of recordsand confided in hushed tones, "If Eddie was my husband, I would have divorced him. This many records is just too crazy!" she said shaking her head. "Too crazy," she repeated, this time clicking her tongue for added effect while offering a sentiment felt by many subjected to sharing living spaces with obsessive record collectors like Eddie.

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Happy 4th of July

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 3, 2012 10:24pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share






   




  



Bruce Springsteen

 




Toby Keith

 




 



U2

 




 



Galaxie 500





 
Bruce McCulloch


Fourth of July cube gif













*****

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New Albums Out Today, New Ones Coming in July/August

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Today saw the releases of new albums by Belle & Sebastian member Stevie Jackson, comedian Doug Benson and a 7” from Animal Collective, among others. Check out what’s out today and what’s coming down the pipe:
 
Stevie Jackson
Stevie Jackson – (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson
 
(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson makes a name for itself quite outside of Belle & Sebastian, coming off like the next in line of a lineage of singer-songwriters who exist on their own terms, from John Cale to Brian Eno to Elvis Costello. Far from just being twee, Jackson rocks out to a new wave beat on “Try Me,” singing “I got pills and I’m lookin’ for thrills/At the same time I want to start a family.” The distinctive, reverb-laden lead guitar he lends Belle & Sebastian is on songs like the lovely display on the Kinks-y “Richie.” And even at his most clearly indebted to Summer of Love-era rock, he creates a varied and thoroughly rewarding listen, notably on the swinging, Mamas & Papas-style “Where Do All the Good Girls Go?”

doug benson
Doug Benson – Smug Life
 
Huge pot fan and hilarious comedian Doug Benson releases two different versions of the same jokes on Smug Life, both performed on April 20 (4/20!) at the same club. It plays like a case study in how varied performances of the same material can yield such different results — in one case, you hear a comment yelled from the audience that gets incorporated into the joke in the later performance.

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Tickets on Sale at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, July 3, 2012 06:30pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Tickets at AmoebaAmoeba Hollywood has started regularly selling tickets to local shows, with the added bonus of charging low service fees (if you're into saving money and who isn't really?).

All tickets can be purchased at the registers (while supplies last) for a $2 service fee.

If you have a question about whether we've sold out of a specific show, please call the store at 323-245-6400.



Here is a current list of the tickets we have for sale at Amoeba Hollywood:

Show Name
Venue Show Date
Ticket Price
(fee not included)
Aesop Rock
El Rey Theatre 07/13/2012 $18.00
Ariel Pink The Fonda Theatre 10/05/2012 $22.50
Austra El Rey Theatre 09/15/2012 $19.00
Be Good Tanyas Bootleg Theatre 08/17/2012 $20.00
Ben Howard The Fonda Theatre 10/06/2012 $25.00
Big Krit El Rey Theatre 07/30/2012 $22.00
Dan Deacon El Rey Theatre 10/20/2012 $17.00
Devil's Playground Dragonfly 07/20/2012 $20.00
Dr. Dog John Anson Ford 10/05/2012 $30.00
Easy Star All Stars El Rey Theatre 09/20/2012 $20.00
First Aid Kit The Fonda Theatre 10/16/2012 $25.00
FYF Fest Weekend Pass Historic State Park, DTLA 09/01 & 09/02 $89 (+$4 fee)
Grimes El Rey Theatre 10/10/2012 $20.00
The Kills The Mayan 08/14/2012 $35.00
Kimbra The Fonda Theatre 10/04/2012 $25.00
Mates of State The Echo 07/05 & 07/07 $13.00
Nick 13 El Rey Theatre 07/21 & 07/22 $18.00
The Raveonettes El Rey Theatre 10/08/2012 $25.00
Rodriguez El Rey Theatre 09/28/2012 $25.50
Swans The Fonda Theatre 09/11/2012 $30.00
Tennis El Rey Theatre 08/12/2012 $20.00
Thee Oh Sees El Rey Theatre 09/09/2012 $17.00
The Walkmen John Anson Ford 09/12/2012 $30.00


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His Vinyl Weighs a Ton. 8 Tons In Fact! Shipping 30,000 LPs Cross Country to Amoeba (Eddie's Record Collection, Part II)

Posted by Billyjam, July 3, 2012 05:35pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
I count myself among those blessed (cursed?) to be an avid life-long record collector and I have long considered my collection of approximately 10,000 records to be a hell of a lot of vinyl. But truth is that my total number of records constitutes a modest collection compared to a lot others out there. Regardless, I have long dreaded the day that I might have to pack up and move my records. Just the thought of it is daunting in itself. But recently I got a taste of what that job might be like (only times three and with help) when I had the task of packing and shipping the vast 30,000 unit record collection from a Queens, NY private collection that Amoeba recently acquired.

My task was to pack up this entire collection and safely ship it cross country back to Amoeba Hollywood where this vast eclectic record collection (including lots of rarities) will go on sale July 21st. The 30,000 records (plus several boxes of CDs and cassettes) all made the 3,000 mile journey to Amoeba in LA safely and, in the process, I learned all the intricacies of what goes into packing and transporting vinyl. It's not quite as simple as it at first appears.

This expansive record collection occupied two big rooms of the fifth floor Queens, New York apartment owned by a sweet lady named Lola, a former singer from the Bay Area, that I got to know over the course of the week it took to pack up this vinyl treasure trove. The records were the lifelong collection of her late husband Eddie who kept most of them in shrink-wrapped, mint condition. The task of packing and preparing them for shipping back to Amoeba was something that took quite a bit of pre-planning. And for a novice like myself, that meant extra homework in the art of packing records. Luckily Amoeba Marc and Kent from Amoeba Berkeley (both of whom had flown out to NYC for three days to appraise the collection) gave me some invaluable guidance since they had done this task numerous times before.

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Matt Walsh Hosts Charity Auction at Amoeba Hollywood!

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2012 01:30pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Comedian/actor Matt Walsh hosts this month’s charity auction at Amoeba Hollywood July 7 at 4 p.m., where the store will be auctioning off concert tickets for upcoming shows by Ariel Pink, Grimes and The Black Keys, as well as gift certificates for Trader Joe’s and Urban Outfitters, signed collectibles and more. Proceeds from the auction benefit Camp Crescent Moon, the nation's first and oldest summer camp for children with sickle cell anemia.
 
Walsh is one of the founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the comedy troupe that started in Chicago in the early ’90s and has seen such alumni as Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz and Adam McKay, in addition to opening theaters in New York and Los Angeles hosting live shows and improv classes. Walsh also starred in the TV version of “Upright Citizens Brigade” on Comedy Central with Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Besser. Walsh has been in such Todd Phillips films as Old School, was a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” recently released on DVD his directorial debut with High Road, starring Ed Helms and Lizzy Caplan, and now stars in HBO’s “Veep” alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus. His Comedy Central show “Dog Bites Man” hit DVD in June, detailing a hapless local news team’s fruitless attempts to portray hard-hitting issues, co-starring Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Savage and A.D. Miles. I sat down to speak with Walsh a bit about that show and his career thus far.
 
Me: Are you excited about “Dog Bites Man” coming out on DVD? Have people been asking you when it’s going to come out?
 
dog bites manWalsh: I’m really excited about because I’m pretty sure a lot of people never saw it. I thought it was a really fun show to make, and it was a great cast, obviously, but I think it was a really interesting experiment in television, and I’m glad it’s out there in some form.
 
Me: Did you guys watch a lot of local news clips on YouTube or local talk show clips while making the show for inspiration? Did your work on “The Daily Show” factor in when making “Dog Bites Man”?
 
Walsh: Yeah, I think my experience on “The Daily Show” helped me own like a reporter persona and know what is silly about news. I think a lot of the story ideas came from — I think local news covers the mundane. I think there’s a simple truth to that. So a lot of the stories we came up with were mundane or classic retreads of safety issues or community issues or things like that. There’s one episode where we went to visit the KKK, but I don’t think it ever aired and I don’t think it’s on the DVD.
 
Me: Can you talk a bit about your role in Ted? I think a lot of “Family Guy” fans are wondering what to expect from the movie.
 
Walsh: I think it’s Seth’s sensibility in the movie, so I think there are a lot of hard laughs — things go on for too long, a lot of obscure references. It’s a little sweeter, more driven by emotion [than “Family Guy”]. But I’m sure true fans of the show will find similar stylistic choices. In general it feels much more like a movie than an animated half hour. I’m in a few scenes, I play Mark Wahlberg’s boss at a rental car agency. I think I’m hot shit because I’m friend with Tom Skerrit. I basically keep flaunting that in front of him, that he’ll never be friends with Tom Skerrit.
 
Walsh: How much are you allowed to do improv on “Veep”? Can you talk a bit about how that show comes together?
 
Walsh: We spent probably three or four weeks rehearsing before we shot anything. We would get scripts and put them on our feet and perform. … I think once they saw our take on the character, they’d take the scripts away and rewrite them and you’d see some of the jokes you heard in the room. … On the day [of filming], we were always doing two or three improv takes where we hit the points, but we were able to have fun and explore.
 
Me: How did you put High Road together? As the film is based on improvisation, did you rehearse a lot or just keep filming till you found something you liked? And what’s the response been like?
 
Walsh: High Road came about because I’ve always been a fan of the improv movie. I love Christopher Guess movies like Spinal Tap, so that was my goal at some point, put all the funny improvisers I knew into one movie. We took 70 scenes, spent two weeks at the UCB theater introducing the characters to each other. … By the time we started filming, they didn’t have to make anything up. … Generally we would kind of hit the takes and get pretty tight and hone what we like, and then if there was something new, we’d explore a tangent. We had jokes for certain scenes to make sure there were hard laughs in the movie. And it’s been really well-received. I got an award at the Newport [Beach] Film Festival lat year. … We’ve done like four or five film festivals and did a brief theatrical run in L.A. and New York, and then it came out on DVD.
 
Me: What else are you working on these days?
 
Walsh: I have a couple of movies I’m trying to get off the ground. We go back to “Veep” in October, so hopefully in the next couple months I’ll be shooting a small indie comedy. I’m going to New York for the UCB festival this weekend, and enjoying the Valley heat.
 
Me: What do you think UCB means for L.A. comedy?
 
Walsh: Hopefully UCB comedy means good comedy. It’s all things funny. We have improv, standup, sketch comedy, musicals, one-person shows … the formats are wide open. It’s not limited to one specific style. I think the quality’s good, it’s really competitive to get in there. … We try to stay in touch with what’s new and what’s out there. … I think people take it real serious and enjoy it. The other benefit is the audience has been trained. It’s not like they have to pay 20 bucks and buy two drinks. I think the audiences are great and are more game, more open to the wonderful expectation of “I’m not sure what’s its going to be, but I know it’s going to be funny.” I think that’s a wonderful environment for a performer to step into. I think that’s the other blessing of L.A. is that on any given night, there are established comedians looking to get on stage, whether it’s Patton Oswalt or Paul F. Tompkins or Sarah Silverman. We’re really fortunate that our theater pool is so great because there are so many great people looking to get on stage every night.

The Late, Great Andy Griffith

Posted by Charles Reece, July 3, 2012 09:27am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share

Was there a TV show greater than The Andy Griffith Show? Not many, that's for sure. Boy howdy, I love Andy Griffith! He had one of the great Southern accents, with which he could deliver any moral sentiment as if it were coming from a deep well of archaic wisdom; our agreement was a necessity. Of course, that has a dark side, too, which he portrayed in his obverse role as Larry Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd (see clip). The actor died this morning at age 86.

Jonathan Demme’s "Neil Young Journeys" Opens in SF 7/6. Win a Gift Certificate to Amoeba SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 2, 2012 06:00pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
Hey music and film lovers! In honor of the San Francisco premiere of Jonathan Demme's new documentary NeilNeil Young Journeys Young Journeys, Sony Pictures Classics, Amoeba Music, and Campus Circle invite you to enter to win a gift certificate to Amoeba Music. Just enter HERE at Campus Circle.

Neil Young Journeys is a look at Neil Young's 2011 solo tour to Toronto's Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. At 65, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity. Concert footage of the Massey Hall performances is interspersed with scenes from a road trip through Ontario. Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbors. As he drives past the dramatically changed landscape, Young fondly embraces his memories of the past. 

Neil Young Journeys
 opens in San Francisco at the Century 9 San Francisco Centre this Friday, July 6th!  

Best Of World Music For The First Half Of 2012 And Future Releases

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 2, 2012 07:49am | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share



Best Selling World Music CD’s At Amoeba Hollywood For 2012


1. V/A- Bossa Nova Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s
2. La Santa Cecilia-El Valor
3. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-Area 52
4. Serge Gainsbourg-Historie De Melody Nelson
5. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos-Cantan En Español
6. Enrique Bunbury-Licenciado Cantina
7. Caifanes-S/T
8. Lila Downs-Pecados Y Milagros
9. V/A-The Original Sound Of Cumbia
10. Calle 13-Entren Los Que Quieran

Best Selling World Music LPs
At Amoeba Hollywood For 2012

1. Serge Gainsbourg-Historie De Melody Nelson
2. V/A-Thai Funk Vol. 1
3. Atomic Forest-Obsession
4. Serge Gainsbourg-Initials B.B.
5. Los Miticos Del Ritmo-S/T
6. V/A-Thai Funk Vol. 2
7. V/A: Those Shocking, Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock And Funk 1970-1978
8. V/A- The Original Sound Of Cumbia Vol.1
9. V/A- Jende Ri Palenge/People Of Palenque
10. V/A- Remolino De Oro Coastal Cumbias from Colombia's Discos Fuentes 1961-73

Gomez Top Picks For First Half Of 2012 (No Order)

Ana Tijoux-La Bala
Los Miticos Del Ritmo-S/T
Rocket Juice & the Moon-S/T
Bola-Volume 7
V/A-Jende Ri Palenge/People Of Palenque
Omar Khorshid: Guitar El Chark (Guitar of the Orient)
V/A- Remolino De Oro Coastal Cumbias from Colombia's Discos Fuentes 1961-73
Ceu- Caravana Sereia Bloom
V/A- African Guitar Box (Sorry, Out Of Print!)
Istanbul 70: Psych, Disco, Folk Edits by Baris K
Quetzal- Imaginaries
V/A-Dabke: Sounds Of The Syrian Houran

Upcoming Releases To Watch Out For in 2012

Las Cafeteras-La Bamba Rebelde
Mexican Institute Of Sound-Politico
Ondatropica-S/T
Sofrito-International Soundclash
B-Side Players-Revolutionize
Kinky- Sueno De La Maquina









Amoeba Acquires Eclectic Treasure Trove of 30,000 LPs! (Eddie's Record Collection, Part I)

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2012 11:55pm | Post a Comment Bookmark and Share
If you're an avid record collector or an Amoeba regular then you might have already heard something about the incredibly large and eclectic record collection that Amoeba Music acquired recently  from a private collection in Queens, NY. This collection will be presented for sale to Amoeba shoppers at the Hollywood store starting on July 21st. Perhaps you read the enthusiastic preview of this collection by Amoeba Hollywood's ever-discriminating classical music expert Rubin who, in his four decades of working closely with classical releases, says he has never viewed a collection quite like this. "The most eclectic collection of classical music I have ever seen," he wrote in his recent Amoeblog Huge Vinyl Collection to Hit Amoeba Hollywood on 7/21. Eastern European Classical Gems Galore! 

Beyond the Eastern European and other classical (primarily 20th Century composers) that Rubin addressed, this vast treasure trove of vinyl - 30,000 units in scale - includes lots of different types of music. Among the many other genres that are liberally represented are a whole lot of jazz, an eclectic mix of soundtracks (movies and stage shows from the US, Europe, and beyond), and a refreshingly unique selection of spoken word. Even more impressive is the fact that the majority of these records were never opened, and are still shrink-wrapped and perfectly preserved.

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