Amoeba Hollywood employee Thom Petrizzo's band Songs By Thom has just released a limited edition cassette called Love...Unrequited. Get it HERE on Amoeba.com before they're all gone!
"Local L.A. musician and Amoeba's very own Thom Petrizzo (a.k.a. Songs By Thom) presents Love...Unrequited, a limited edition cassette-only release. This album is a whimsical and wistful collection of catchy ditties with simple but universally-relatable topics: longing, yearning, and hard-won love. Thom builds upon guitars, keyboards, and drums, with heartfelt, confessional lyrics and layered vocals, such as on album opener "May I?" or the kaleidoscopic treat "It's Nice To Dream." This is bashful bedroom pop at its most charming!" - Brian G.
Coming to terms with, and starting to get over the death of someone close takes time. For each person this amount of time can vary. For Carla Green, aka femcee CMG of legendary Oakland female hip-hop duo The Conscious Daughters, it has taken up until now, 15 months since the sudden death of her longtime partner in rhyme Karryl "Special One" Smith, to feel like she has come to terms with the sudden passing of her "sister" and musical partner of two decades.
For The Conscious Daughters' CMG, whose rap name is an acronym for "Cash Makin Girl," it was only earlier this month when she felt fully ready to go out and perform the Daugther's music again. The show was a special show celebrating National Women's History Month two weeks ago at Yoshi's San Francisco on a bill along with Suga T, Yo-Yo, Lady of Rage, and The Coup's DJ Pam The Funkstress.
The concert was the first show that CMG felt ready to do since Special One's passing but it wasn't the first show she had done. "That was the second show I did without Special One," she told the Amoeblog recently. "The first was when I had opened up for Too $hort back in March of 2012 and it was just too soon for me to perform. I felt so empty and “not there”. I was onstage but I was 100% absent. It was like I was in a dream and just standing there rapping. It wasn’t a good look!," she shared. But fast forward to March 2013 and CMG was finally ready, she says. "I am [now] at peace with Special One’s death. I have regrouped and reinvented myself. I have a new DJ (Deeandroid) and she is fabulous. We have been rehearsing and vibin’ – so, for this last show with Rage & DJ Pam, Yo-Yo and Suga-T, I was in rare form, feeling good, and really feeling juiced about performing again." Part of that reinvention and regrouping for CMG is realizing that she now has the responsibility "to carry on the legacy of Conscious Daughters" but that she is not doing it alone. "I do feel that Special One is there on stage with me and most definitely watching over me….and I always hear Spesh’s voice in the back of my mind telling me what to do," she said adding that having DJ Deeandroid up on stage with her as her new partner is a real positive as a performer. "I don’t feel all alone and I can vibe off of her," she said of the gifted turntablist who many know as one half of the DJ duo Deeandroid & Celskiii.
Big release from the prolific Pittsburgh crew, the latest on Spencer Parker's new Work Them imprint. Well-received releases on Uzuri, Further, Argot and their own Pittsburgh Tracks imprint have demonstrated the trio of producers are creatively restless, offering fresh takes on dub techno, rhodes-driven house, boogie and bass music in their relatively short run. On Strenf, PTA continues to keep listeners guessing. A1 "Strenf" finds PTA plying the uptempo analog techno sound which made Untitled such a big track. "The Standard" is peaktime madness, with a deceptively simple synth vamp filtering over a powerhouse rhythm. The B-side eases up slightly, dropping into the dub house territory of their previous Further release Archipelego, and indulging their documented love of classic effects modules. Closer "It's Time" represents the unlikely meeting ground of Basic Channel andclassic Dancemania productions, and goes a long way to describe the group's growing popularity in the underground; while hundreds of producers clamber over each other to mimic the classics in fascimiles of varying worth, the Pittsburgh crew's collective decades of voracious record collecting and studio time allows them to push the music they love forwards.
Whether you're a fan of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series or just a nighttime TV junkie jonesing for HBO's explicit tits, violence, and wine approach to adapting Martin's opus into their small screen "prestige" drama, you're likely as fired up as I am for the season three premier of Game of Thrones this Easter Sunday night. Having enjoyed reading the books immensely, I'm itching with anticipation for the faces, places, and expirations, however abrupt, yet to receive HBO's patent sexpository book-to-show treatment. For those interested in getting to know the new additions to the series this season, I've compiled my own top ten anticipated new faces set to appear in Game of Thrones 3.0 (expect mild spoilers at best), including a smattering of other related hopes and fears I have concerning the page-to-performance transition (e.g. I'm beginning to think that we're not gonna hear anyone say "R'hllor").
Also, NERD ALERT! if you're in San Francisco on Sunday and you're looking for some Throner-related nightlife I urge you to check out the Game of Thrones viewing party presented at Stage Werx beginning at 8pm with a screening of GoT season two, episode ten to get everyone up to speed. Episode one season three will screen at 9pm immediately followed by a live recording of Boars, Gore and Swords (the "third greatest," and my favorite, Game of Thrones podcast) by Red Scott and Ivan Hernandez so stick around, mingle with ye bannermen, and partake in some top-shelf insightful and opinionated infotainment.
Andre Royo is famously known for his role as "Bubbles" on the hit TV series, The Wire. If you are a fan of the series then you know that Bubbles keeps it real! If The Wire's not your thing, you've probably seen Royo on other television shows including Third Watch, Party Down, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe, Key & Peele, Prime Suspect, and most recently Elementary.
In this "What's In My Bag?" episode Royo keeps it very real and drops an impromtu Hip Hop history lesson, giving us a few of his classic picks. He also shares the story of how the ultimate '80s boxer flick, Rocky, inspired him to become an actor. Andre also does a little shopping for his daughter, grabs a few Rock & Roll LPs, and tells us about his "first introduction to white people." The dude is funny, see for yourself!
Andre Royo - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube
This long lost experimental album from Blu finally gets an official
release. The album No York! was originally supposed to be released by Warner Bros Records, but a change of staff got it lost in the woodwork and the project was eventually shelved. The album has been floating around as a bootleg for some time now, but this is an official fully mastered version of it that’s sure to satisfy Blu fans worldwide. Features production from Exile, Flying Lotus, Samiyam, Daedelus, Dibia$e and more. Get it!
Tricky "Does It (feat. Francesca Belmonte)" (2013)
Based on both the advance album track "Nothing's Changed," that was leaked last month as a free download, and the brand new video (above) for "Does It (feat. Francesca Belmonte)" - that was unveiled today - the accurate consensus is that UK artist Tricky is back in force and on top of his musical game again. Hence the collective anticipation by longtime fans of the artist, who first came to fame as a member of Massive Attack, for his new album False Idols: to be released on his own label of the same name and slated to arrive in Amoeba on May 28th. Diehard Tricky fans agree that False Idols should be his best in years and a welcome return to that dark, ethereal, pleasing sound that Tricky carved out on his early career, nineties releases such as his 1995 debut Maxinquaye and 1996's Pre-Millennium Tension.
Apparently the musician/producer and sometime actor has had time to sit back and reflect and honestly examine on where he had gone creativity. The outcome of that mediation? A definitive decision to keep it real and keep it simple, and bring things back full circle in a return to his 90's musical roots. "I was lost for ages," he admitted in a prepared statement from his label. “I was trying to prove something to people, trying to do something to please other people and also myself at the same time, which is never going to work. To be honest with you, I’ve been floating around since Chris Blackwell and Island.
Classixx Announce Remix EP; Preorder Hanni El Khatib's 'Head in the Dirt'
Leading up to the May 14 release of their long-awaited debut LP, Hanging Gardens, L.A. duo Classixx have announced an EP with remixes of their recent single, the infectious disco jammer “Holding On,” will be released April 2. It features this slightly slowed down yet no less shimmering remix by Jerome LOL, among others. You can download the original “Holding On” here.
Speaking of remixes, Classixx also recently remixed fellow Angeleno and garage rocker Hanni El Khatib’s track “Penny”; check out the remix, the original and preorder Hanni El Khatib’s Head in the Dirt(CD or LP), due April 30, also on Innovative Leisure.
In this 25th installment of the New York State of Mind Amoeblog I take a look at the new Vampire Weekend video, "Step," which has a Souls Of Mischief connection as well as other Bay Area references, the new Bronx graffiti indie film Gimme The Loot, a cool piece of public art by sculpture WIll Ryman that is constructed out of industrial nails, a look at Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation that rolled through Times Square last weekend, concerts in the Big Apple for the week ahead, and the interesting tale of a historic building in the high-priced Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
Above is a photo taken yesterday of the historic Northern Dispensary building that is located in northern Greenwich Village. Originally, it was established by The City of New York in 1791 as a Dispensary for the treatment of the poor when it was located further south on the island of Manhattan in the neighborhood of City Hall. But as New York City rapidly grew, this current structure was established in 1824 and fully built seven years later in 1831 as a provincial branch to the north - hence named "Northern Dispensary." The unusual Y-shaped building now sits in Waverly Place where Grove Street and Christopher Street intersect on its own little island of land. The photo lower left was taken of the building in 1885.
Record Store Day 2013 takes place April 20, featuring new releases, reissues of out-of-print albums and other rarities. I’ve pulled out 10 titles or sets of releases that jumped out to me personally. If it’s anything like last year, you’ll have to get here early to get those in-demand releases (check out last year’s coverage here).
You can view a listing all of the releases that will be made available that day here and find more information on Record Store Day's official site. Check out my picks below.
The debut release by The Bats, part of the Flying Nun clan of New Zealand jangle-pop bands. The Bats are fronted by Robert Scott, sometime bassist of The Clean, a band whose cult infamy has helped lead to their brethren being rediscovered by a new generation. I haven’t heard By Night, but having quite enjoyed 1987’s Daddy’s Highway, I’m sure their debut is just as chockfull of jangly delights. Seriously, I want to just jump on an airplane slash time machine and live in New Zealand in the ’80s and listen to awesome bands like The Bats, though they’re still around making fine records today.
Wavves’ latest album album mostly ditches the “King of the Beach” surf-punk notions of previous releases for a big, warm, alt-rock embrace that does wonders to highlight the quality of Nathan Williams’ songwriting. “Sail to the Sun” starts out with sparkling synths and moves into a thumping, surging rocker. “Demon to Lean On” is built for rock radio, with a catchy, two-note riff leading into its soaring chorus. It’s reminiscent of mid-’90s radio gems from the likes of Weezer and their brethren, but it’s also smartly built, with watery guitars and castanets seeping beneath the surface of its Pixies-inspired, quiet-to-loud dynamics and Nathan Williams’ paranoid lyrics. After starting out boldly, the album takes dark turns that should please fans of Wavves previous work, including the lo-fi attack of “Mystic,” which buries Williams under stacks of distorted sound before engaging with a singular synth riff. But he always brings it back to some of his hookiest songs yet, like the soaring title track, which makes use of backup vocals by Jenny Lewis and delivers another instantly recognizable, could-be radio hit from 1996. If only all pop-punk, surf-alt or what have you was this catchy, smartly written and unafraid of hooks! Afraid of Heights succeeds as Williams’ clearest bid yet for crossover success, yet it doesn’t sacrifice his essential slackery appeal. File it next to your Dookie, Blue Album and Doolittle records and embrace the fuzzy pop of Afraid of Heights.
"Rock You in a Tatami Room" by artist Yumiko Kayukawa
It's Women's History Month and, as time would have it, I am missing the Underground Japanese Rock section that I used to upkeep at Amoeba Music's San Francisco location. Having dedicated not a small amount of my life to the study of Japanese language and culture over the last thirteen years, caring for and discovering Japanese music at Amoeba in tandem with my academic duties has been and continues to be a pleasure, though the enjoyment of filing them neatly into their own cozy little vicinity is, sadly, a notion of the past. We do keep a J-Pop section up and running, but I digress.
With this post I seek to celebrate Japanese women in music, specifically the musicians performing on the (alternative/avant-garde/experimental or whatever you want to call it) flip-side of the produced-for-mass-consumption J-Pop norm, and, even more specifically, my favorite artists in the cut. Whenever possible I have included live footage of these artists because, frankly, I find the fact that some of these performances are available at all is incredible. Case in point:
The 2013 San Francisco Underground Short Film Festival (SFUSFF) hits the Victoria Theatre on Saturday, April 13th with two big programs full of shorts AND the World Premiere of the feature film La Bamba 2: Hell Is A Drag written and directed by Rob Fatal.
Hosted by Peaches Christ and Sam Sharkey, the SFUSFF is dedicated to supporting underground cinema from Bay Area filmmakers. ACT 1 (Shorts Circus) begins at 7:00pm and ACT 2 (Shorts After Dark) begins at 9:30pm. La Bamba 2: Hell Is A Drag premieres at Midnight.
The SFUSFF will be a physically immersive event with Christ and Sharkey kicking off the night with a Live Rock Show, followed by special appearances from some of the filmmakers themselves and the stars of the films. Some films will screen with a live interactive component where the film is presented in 4-D!
Please note that the second program of the evening (Shorts After Dark) will feature the more adult content of the festival (basically all the blood and sex), so be sure to bring your mom.
Dido "Girl Who Got Away" (acoustic version of the title track of the UK singer/
songwriter's new album Girl Who Got Away available from Amoeba March 26th)
Dido returns to the shelves of Amoeba Music tomorrow (March 26th) with her brand new album Girl Who Got Away on RCA Records. Available in both regular and Deluxe CD versions, Girl Who Got Away is the UK artist's fourth album to date and her first since 2008's Safe Trip Home. With production courtesy of her brother/frequent collaborator Rollo Armstrong - in addition to Brian Eno, Jeff Bhasker, Rick Nowels, and Greg Kurstin - the 11 track (17 on the DeLuxe version) new album of self-penned songs spans folk, ambient, dance, electro infused pop, and hip hop. In addition to such tracks as the lead single "No Freedom" (see video below) critics have been lauding praise upon the new album track "Let Us Move On" that features an engaging guest feature from hip-hopper of the moment Kendrick Lamar.
The name, El Haru Kuroi, is a cultural mash-up.It's a mix of grammatically incorrect Japanese and Spanish. They wanted to be called “Black Spring” in Japanese (It should be Kuroi Haru) and the “El” was added when people said they should have a Spanish name to their band because the band's lyrics were mostly in Spanish. Their latest release, Canta Gallo, is nothing short of brilliant. The influences that make El Haru Kuroi are not hard to pinpoint, yet put together they way they do makes for a sound that is all their own. The influence of Brazil’s Tropicalia movement weighs heavy on them, yet much like those artists involved in that movement, El Haru Kuroi adapted the music they grew up on and took the essence. The result is a haunting mixture of Bossa Nova and Boleros mixed with urgency of post-punk groups like Gang Of Four and Fugazi.
Singer/Guitarist Eddika Organista is the daughter of a Mexican musician who played in many Tropical groups. Most of the music Eddika’s father enjoyed was in Spanish, but he was also a fan of Brazilian music, Bossa Nova in particular. The sound of the Brazilian artists singing in Portuguese resonated strongly with a young Eddika, who was already fluent in both Spanish and English and playing guitar by age eleven. She found herself mimicking the sound of Brazilian singers when she sang. This led her to study Portuguese in school. She started to discover other Brazilian artists that went beyond the Bossa Nova singers that her father favored. At the age of seventeen, she is discovered the Tropicalia movement that started in Brazil in the late 60’s and in particular, her world was blown wide open by the discovery of Caetano Veloso. The influence of Veloso’s work on Eddika’s songwriting and musicianship is undeniable, but it goes beyond imitation. She manages to capture the soul of Caetano rather than his sound, the mixture of beauty and darkness that permeates her songs whether she is writing in English, Spanish or Portuguese.Organista's ability to sing in three languages creates options for the group. Language becomes part of the music, with each language chosen for what works best in the song. The rhythm section of Dominic Rodriguez and Michael Ibarra adapt to the whims of Organista’s imagination. Rodriguez imaginative percussive style works with Organista’s gritty yet breezy guitar tone. Ibarra hold them all together with a playing that resembles Charles Mingus when he played support rather than lead. It was an underrated talent of Mingus and one that Ibarra shares with him. Lyrically, Organista’s metaphoric lyrics recall the beauty and pain of Caetano Veloso and Agustin Lara writing without imitation. Each song is pure heartbreak blues, even when decorated in sweet melodies.
Quick-hit white label biz from L.I.E.S., who seemed poised to continue their breakneck release schedule into 2013. Here, Entro Senestre and the prolific Willy Burns (Trilogy, WT) trot out their Daywalker + CF alias, as featured on Gerd Janson’s Music for Autobahns compilation. The title track sets the tone for the varied synth journeys contained on this limited white-label. “You Only Live Once” is a gentle jacker with dueling melodic synth lines. A2 “Insectorium” takes an unexpected turn for motorik optimism - this track would fit in well with Ashra’s “Sunrain” or even Orbital’s “Belfast” - gorgeous stuff. Closer “Chamber” bottles that incredible feeling of lingering in the anteroom of a big room techno club. Limited.
Silverlake’s mad scientist Eddie Ruscha returns to Beats In Space with a heady release that builds upon the plethora of ideas on last year’s “Tropical Psychedelics” LP. Ruscha has honed his restless machines into a side of drippy, tasteful pop for “Afterlife”, a track built around an acid-influenced arpeggiated bass line. Ruscha uses this foundation to show off his songwriting chops, stepping forward with understated vocals before proving, once again, his commitment to psychedelic sound within the dance context. The Ukranian producer Vakula comes with a more floor oriented remix that recalls the live approach of peers Juju and Jordash. The remix ends with a haunting, warped vocal every bit as zonked as something off of a Charalambides record.
Black Lips ripped through songsacross their catalog March 21 at the El Rey Theatre. The band clearly was having a great time without a recent album to support (the most recent being 2011's excellent Arabia Mountain, which saw the band trading some of their trademark scuzz for Mark Ronson production while retaining their essential sound). They began as loudly and reverby as usual, tearing through Arabia Mountain's "Family Tree" and old favorites "Dirty Hands" and "Not a Problem" from 2005's Let it Bloom. By the time they got to the whirlwinds of "O Katrina," the crowd and pit was worked up into a froth — one girl jumped onstage with Black Lips written on her ass cheeks. They played a new song which was hard to make out — they gave the disclaimer that they were still working out the kinks on it. For the most part, they stuck to playing the jams — "Raw Meat," "Boomerang," "Buried Alive." Toilet paper came a-flyin' during "Modern Art," while another girl jumped onstage around the time they played "Bad Kids" to kiss guitarist Ian Saint Pe, who quickly obliged, after having flung a beer all over himself that had been thrown onstage. Cohorts Jared Swilley, Cole Alexander and Joe Bradley mostly stayed well-behaved during the show, minus Swiley's air-humping while playing bass and Alexander licking the mic stand (sorry, no penis this time). The band was set to play Burgerama the next day with Bleached, Nick Waterhouse and others at the Santa Ana Observatory, but they also have a documentary about their trip to the Middle East in the works. It's seeking funding via Indiegogo. Check out the trailer below. I love seeing them play politely in Erbil while onlookers tap their feet and one man holds up his baby. Looks amazing. See photos from their past three Amoeba performances here, here and here.
Some real good quality releases on the latest hip-hop chart from Amoeba Hollywood above including the brand new The Demigodz KILLMatic featuring such talents as the ever prolific member Apathy (more on him in videos below), the return of Canada's Swollen Members with the brand new Beautiful Death Machine on Suburban Noize, and the recent (out a minute but still charting) collab from Murs & 9th WonderThe Final Adventure on It's A Wonderful World Music Group which note will be their fifth and final collaborative effort. Too bad as these guys have a great chemistry together.
A new 3-song EP of synth-heavy funky goodness is making its way around the interwebs today. The project is called Tuxedo, and other than being from the West Coast, that's about all we know so far.
They haven't revealed their names but it sure sounds like Mayer Hawthorne, especially on the track "Do It." Given his proclivity for dressing FLY, being in a group called Tuxedo makes perfect sense. A few people in the Twittersphere are suggesting the other person involved is Seattle producer Jake One. Guess we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, the Tuxedo EP is available for download on Soundcloud.
Producer Shlohmo and R&B singer Jeremih have collaborated on a song that melds the styles of both artists, with Shlohmo’s dreamy beatscapes becoming harder-edged and Jeremih singing lushly, breathily while still singing those come-ons acrobatically (“I’m gon’ do you” he repeats, just slightly tamer than his track “Fuck U All the Time,” which Shlohmo has also remixed). It was recorded for Adidas’ “Songs from Scratch” series. Amoeba Presents Shlohmo with Jeremih at the Henry Fonda Theatre April 6; tickets are $20 (plus a $2 service fee), purchasable in-store. Read more here.
Young & Sick – “Continuum”
Example of Young & Sick's artwork
Young & Sick’s “House of Spirits” was a sad little piece of electronic R&B in which the L.A. based music, fashion and art project lived up to its name, with lyrics about drowning in a car with the one you love. “Continuum” is no less obsessed with drowning, but it is less directly influenced by R&B, instead spinning out ethereal soul somewhere between likeminded acts How to Dress Well and Rhye. As much as I like the song, the story of how they released it sort of takes precedence — they released it via the Tor underweb, a sort of black market of the Internet that makes Craigslist seem like the Pennysaver, with killers for hire and all sorts of unspeakable porn. That and apparently they turned down six figures to do it their way and remain anonymous. They sure have their values in check! Read all about it in Forbes — Forbes, for crying out loud.
California is the destination of two of the four stops on the current extremely limited North American tour - tagged as Built By Meanred - by The Bug (aka prolific Dubstep and other electronic genres producer Kevin Martin) alongside Daddy Freddy and Miss Red who were up in Montreal performing last night and are playing San Francisco tonight (Thursday March 21st) and Los Angeles tomorrow (Friday March 22nd) before flying cross country to play NYC on Saturday night (March 23rd). The venues are Public Works, San Francisco, Club Los Globos in Los Angeles where Ras-G will join the lineup, and Le Poisson Rouge in New York where Jubilee and Fantasy Thrilla will also perform.
The last minute announced select US dates by the extremely prolific artist, whose discography spans such labels as Ninja Tune, Virgin, Rephlex, Position Chrome/Mille Plateaux, Word Sound, Hyperdub, City Slang, Tigerbeat 6, and Grand Royal, will likely sell out so don't wait to buy tickets at the door. Buy them in advance for SF here, LA here, and NYC here. The short tour is a kind of teaser for the forthcoming new EP and new full length from The Bug. The EP, which will be a double 10" release entitled Filthy, will drop on Ninja Tune on May 28 ("Kill Them / Louder" is from that release) while the follow up album - also on Ninja Tune, to be titled Angels and Devils, will drop later in the year and feature an impressive and diverse guest list including Death Grips, Daddy Freddy, Grouper, Ganja Sufi, Burro Banton, Inga Copeland, and Danny Brown.
Jovanotti is easily Italy's most notable pop star. He sells out stadiums across Europe and has over 1 million followers on Twitter. With an impressive career spanning 25 years of dominating the charts in Southern Europe, selling millions of records and collaborating with everyone from Sergio Mendes to Pavarotti, including combating worldly issues with the likes of rock royalty Bono, the Italian mega star has set his sights on the ears of the American public. What better way to introduce himself to American audiences than to perform on the stage of the world's greatest record store?! Jovanotti brought his brand of World/Hip Hop/ Funk to a very enthusiastic crowd of fanatic Italians at Amoeba Hollywood. He wowed the crowd with selections from the ATO Records U.S. release of Italia 1988-2012, a reworking of songs from his lengthy career, plus four new ones.
Jovanotti also took time to do a little shopping at Amoeba and shared some stories with us about the music that inspired him to become a rapper and his lifelong connection with dance music. (Hint: even the grandparents do it.)
Welcome to another installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog report with an overview of a diverse mix of fun things from music and film to art happening in the Big Apple in the week ahead. Included in this latest Amoeblog report from New York City are such things as the music-inspired Blues for Smoke exhibit at the Whitney, the inspiring documentary You Don't Need Feet To Dance, the photo exhibit celebrating the centennial of the 1913 Armory Exhibition, concerts such as Sigur Rós at MSG, and the slightly confusing tale of two Nick Caves (one horsesuit related and one Bad Seeds related) happening at Grand Central and the Beacon Theater next week.
The fact that two high profile artists in different contemporary art fields with the exact same spelling of the name Nick Cave are performing in the same city on overlapping days is bound to cause confusion to some, so lets clear it up now and distinguish between the two Nicks. Think of it as Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds vs. Nick Cave and the Herd of Soundsuit Horses.One is the well-known Australian musician/sometime actor Nick Cave we all know/love from the Birthday Party, Bad Seeds, Grinderman, etc. (more on him in NYC a little down further) while the other Nick Cave is the visual artist whose installation/performance piece entitledHEARD•NY (see above & left) will take up residency for a week starting Monday, March 25th inside Grand Central Terminal's main space as part of the historic New York transit hub's big 100 year anniversary celebration.
This Friday marks a special milestone for the Universe as we know it, as March 22nd will be William Shatner's 82nd birthday.
Best known as Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk, The Shat has since worked his way into the very fiber of our pop culture and continues to be an active contributor to Earthlings via TV, film, numerous autobiographies, and -- of course -- the Internet. If you've been following his Twitter feed, then you've certainly seen this gem of a bucket list, posted today:
If anyone is going to punch a shark, it's going to be The Shat!
In honor of the great man's birthday, The Vortex Room in San Francisco is hosting a special William Shatner Birthday Tribute Night full of Shatner rarities, burlesque dancers, and a special screening of 1958's Screeming Mimi, a strip-tease murder mystery with Anita Ekberg and Gypsy Rose Lee, in 16mm projection! The burlesque talent for the evening will be provided by Szandora LaVey, Laika Fox, The Indra, Mistress Pon-Farr, and your Mistress of Ceremonies, Odessa Lil. Find out more and RSVP on the Facebook HERE!
The latest in epic pop albums comes from Justin Timberlake, whose first album in seven years is an hour-long tour de force that aims to put Timberlake firmly back on top as one of the top entertainers of his generation. Following grandiose albums from some of his peers — Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE, to name the most noteworthy — Timberlake goes big with The 20/20 Experience. Though nearly each song stretches past six, seven, even eight minutes in an apparent bid for every track to hit like Ocean’s huge “Pyramids,” 20/20 thankfully mostly avoids the excess of, say, Beyonce’s I Am… Sasha Fierce and doesn’t pander to his audience of now-grown-up, former teenyboppers, actual teens and “serious music fans.” Producer Timbaland, with whom Timberlake previously collaborated very successfully, shows up to produce 20/20 with Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon (Jay-Z, Chris Brown). Timberland and Harmon keep things relatively mature and redolent of classic soul and R&B, wisely avoiding the sort of europop faddism that has drowned recent efforts by Madonna and Rihanna. “Pusher Love Girl” is funky and spare, allowing Timberlake to unleash the high-end vocals he first debuted on “Cry Me a River” and showing the strongest bit of the Stevie Wonder influence that crops up all over the album. First single “Suit & Tie” moves from slo-mo, tripped-out hip-hop of the classic Timbaland variety before morphing into a swirling, orchestral soul jam and then back again for an unflashy but welcome spot from Jay-Z. The longer song lengths works for Timberlake when the songs have something to say — despite its confectionary name, “Strawberry Bubblegum” is a glorious pastiche of the sort of psychedelic soul pioneered by Shuggie Otis and ’80s radio R&B, shifting its beat several times and sounding inspired throughout. When they’re less inspired, the songs drag as Timberlake occasionally goes too low-key. But for the majority of 20/20, Timberlake and Timbaland keep things equal parts interesting and entertaining, like on “Let the Groove In,” which can only be described as a futuristic version of Debarge or the Miami Sound Machine. On “Mirrors,” an appealing, sweet radio ballad in the vein of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” or Rihanna’s “What’s My Name,” Timberlake delivers the goods that have thrilled kids since the late ’90s. It’s hard not to let your inner 12-year-old squeal.
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles returns to its home at ArcLight Hollywood from April 9th - April 14th. For the 11th year in a row, the fest features the best in critically acclaimed independent cinema, Bollywood kitsch, shorts from exciting new filmmaker voices, and so much more. On Saturday, April 13th, Amoeba Music will be on-site with a booth, so come by and say hi!
Festival highlights include the opening night gala screening and Los Angeles premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur and the closing night gala screening and Los Angeles premiere of Deepa Mehta’s Midnight's Children.
Other films presented at the festival include Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a political thriller based on the New York Times bestseller with a star-studded cast; Miss Lovely by Ashim Ahluwalia, a dark look at the seedy underbelly of Bollywood C-movies and soft-porn during the 1980s; Peddlers, Vasan Bala’s directorial debut, which is a crime thriller following the desperation of young drug runners who are merely looking to survive; Shahid, based on the true story of Shahid Azmi - a human rights activist murdered in India in 2010, directed by Hansal Mehta and produced by Guneet Monga and Anurag Kashyap; and Sundance and Berlin favorite Salma, directed by Kim Longinotto, a documentary about one South Indian woman's courageous journey in the face of mass oppression.
Singer/songwriter and Amoeba favorite Rachael Cantu has a new digital release called Covers, available at Amoeba.com March 18. Cantu's career first took flight when she opened for Tegan and Sara on multiple tours, so it's no surprise to see a version of their song "Alligator" appear on this new album. Additionally, Cantu covers songs by artists as varied as Modest Mouse, Queen, Justin Bieber and Ben E. King.
Listen to “Baby Mine,” a cover of a song from the animated classic Dumbo — in Cantu’s own words, “from possibly one of the saddest moments in any movie...” Just thinking about that song gives me the chills. Don’t pretend you don’t want to cry even picturing it! Listen below and shed those baby elephant tears.
"Your God gave you the gift of the Gun. The Gun is good. The Penis is Evil." - Zardoz
Sick of honoring Saint Patrick's Day by celebrating your Irishness or affinity for Irish culture by going out to drown your innards with copious amounts of Irish spirits? Stay indoors, save some green money, tuck into your own whiskey stash while marveling at the natural beauty of the Emerald isle as framed by British filmmaker John Boorman in such films as Excalibur(1981) and Zardoz (1974) -- could two films made in the same location, directed, produced and written by the same person be more different? I think not.
Gabriel Byrne and Nichol Williamson as Uther and Merlin in Excalibur
And yet one gets the impression that even in within the context of Boorman's adaptation of Arthurian legends the sword Excalibur represents a goodness not unlike that of Zardoz's "God-given gun" while the "evil" penis serves naught but to wreak havoc upon Camelot's carefully constructed peace what with all that adultery and incest going 'round the round table. But Zardoz is one of those films that I find myself thinking about more than I probably should, perhaps that's because no matter how many times I've seen it it completely freaks me out. It is such a strange film that it's almost impossible to believe it actually exists.
Sean Connery in Zardoz
It does exist, of course, and looking past Sean Connery's adult diaper-looking red short-shorts, matching bandoliers and thigh-high leather boots costume -- not to mention the plenitude of naked women that flesh out the cast -- to digest the core of the penis vs. gun debate in this most extravagant of dystopian science fictions is only half the fun. But I digress, and I really shouldn't attempt to mold Excalibur to its freaky, art house contours. Though both of these films were made in Ireland, largely filmed on Boorman's own estate (must be nice!), Zardoz doesn't pack the same atmospheric punch that Excalibur does, but then Excalibur isn't trying to sell viewers on the concept of giant stone God heads that fly around distributing arsenals of firearms to the people down below by ejecting guns by the dozen from it's gaping mouth-hole. Excalibur's magic is a softer, more subtle stuff. Personally, I think it's the best movie of it's kind ever made.
Nicholas Clay and Cherie Lunghi as Lancelot and Guenevere in Excalibur
There is a seemingly excessive use of green lighting used to fantastic effect throughout Excalibur, highlighting what I've always assumed to be the suggestion of magical elements at work within the story (see the green glint on the sword pictured above), and spotting the use of unnaturally green light throughout the film seems worthy of a drinking game. Unlike Zardoz, Excalibur's more unbelievable moments are enveloped within an oft-told mythological narrative so well known that when when the audience is presented with, say, an awkward, huffy-puffy sex scene between a nude actress (Boorman's own daughter, Katrine as Igrayne of Cornwall) and a fully-armored knight (Corin Redgrave as Cornwall, or is that Gabriel Byrne again?) it's not all that surprising. Shocking? Maybe a little, but plausible. Just about as plausible as the Lady of the Lake (featuring Boorman's other daughter, Telsche), whose scenes not only make an argument for her existence showcase some of the more beautiful of Excalibur's Irish locations.
Nigel Terry as King Arthur approaches the Lady of the Lake
All in all, there are plenty of other fantastic fantasy films made in Ireland (Princess Bride is a standout favorite) so if you're stuck inside the house this St. Paddy's Day, or are just plain loath to go out and mingle with the greenery, get a little Irish film fix with either of these Boorman classics. Also, be on the lookout for the Excalibur documentary, Behind the Sword in the Stone, currently in production and featuring interviews with Boorman himself and many cast, such as Nigel Terry, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Cherie Lunghi and Charley Boorman who played young Mordred in this so-called "Boorman family picture." Check out the trailers for both Excalibur and Zardoz (if you dare) below.
Some years ago, my then-roommate and friend Seth and I dreamt up the Doo-Wop Challenge. I don't exactly remember what the impetus was although the catalyst was undoubtedly cannabinoid. The challenge in question was primarily a test of almost pointless endurance and stubbornness, like a quiet contest. Who can go the longest only ever listening to Doo-Wop when playing music. But we were both genuine fans too, not masochists. I, for one, always got excited when a Doo-Wop act would appear at the no longer extant Be-Bop Battlin' Ball held at the no longer extant Rudolpho's inSilver Lake.
The Moonglows - I Knew from the Start
Of course music is inescapable and a participant in the challenge would hardly be expected to leave a party, movie theater, restaurant, &c just because something other than Doo-Wop wasn't playing. But what would happen if every time you put a dime in the jukebox, chose an mp3 or sang a tune it was Doo-Wop? Would you start dressing differently, speaking differently, being differently? In Jeannot Szwarc's Somewhere in Time (1980), doesn't focusing thoughts on a penny allow for Christopher Reeve's character to travel through time to stalk his fetish?
We've caught neither peep nor lead regarding a follow up to Joanna Newsom's 2010 Have One On Me triple LP the future Mrs. Andy Samberg has been making news recently, case in point. Last year a couple of new songs, "Look and Despair" and "The Diver's Wife", were caught during two live different live performances in San Francisco and subsequently released into the wild, as happens more often that not in this increasingly borderless world of oversharing we live in (no complaints here). After dangling the carrot that was the announcement of a video shoot to showcase the jaunty, up-beat "Good Intentions Paving Company" music video in June of 2011 and later, in March 2012, the shaved vignette of a preview for the clip (as one comment sardonically pointed out, "this video is practically the indie Chinese Democracy") it feels good to finally see something new from Lady Jo, even if the newness is a "fashion video" for the Fall/Winter 2013 collection of Los Angeles based clothing line Wren, and the song is not new material but rather a Sandy Denny cover (again, no complaints whatsoever).
It’s been 10 years since French legend Pepe Bradock has released music on any label outside of his own Atavisme. From the start of “Lifting Weights”, the a-side off Acid Test 07 (the themed offshoot of LA’s Absurd Recordings), it’s clear that Bradock finds the label’s dedication to neo neo acid liberating. Those expecting the Pepe responsible for so many restrained masterpieces can keep looking: “Lifting Weights” starts with banging 909, quickly tempered by hazy guitar. At two minutes, the requisite 303 slices through the carefully constructed atmosphere. After a shrill, circuitous lead synth line does its damage, Bradock enters the more contemplative territory of “Ghosts” and “Deep Burnt”, dwelling on a bittersweet bassline to conclude the track. “Mujeres Nerviosas” starts out sounding like a Pierre track, but the nervous acid is soon countered by a bouncy French Touch piano vamp. Around the four-minute mark on the epic track, Pepe drops into a hypnotic, simple bassline, working an ambient arpeggiated synth against the 303 while using hi-hat filter sweeps to full-effect in what is perhaps the most efficient, utilitarian section of the two-tracker. As the track ends, you can see the master producer conducting the Roland orchestra, using the ingenious internal communication of the classic machines to bring new visions to life. Essential release from one house music’s most respected auteurs. Limited edition with silkscreened cover art painted by Pepe Bradock. Pre-order.
High-class balearia from International Feel founder and recent Ibiza transplant Mark Barrott. “Medicant Adventures” is a slo-mo deep house workout, full of 303 and lush Roland pads repurposed for island living. Things proceed on the funk kosmische tip with “Dark of the Moon”, which weaves a filmic lead melody over mellow arpeggiation. “The Paradol Chamber” ventures further down the Cluster/Harmonia wormhole, a mellow motorik workout ending with gentle waves.
Tight four-tracker from the FXHE/Omar S affiliate. Sjeren shows he knows his way around a house progression on the a-side, Lowdown. The track works a gorgeous set of chords and incessant bass to set the stage for a brief, soaring synth lead and vocal. "Trashed Funk" retains the melody but heads further into beatdown territory, recalling Terrence Parker or Claude Young’s work as Lowkey. The b-side is much more volatile, containing two tracks of uncompromising acid techno.
Nice deep/vocal house split from the KDJ collaborators. Paul Hill’s A-side will appeal to fans of the Andrew Ashong/Theo Parrish collab "Flowers" from last year - beautiful chords and perfect song structure along with Hill’s longing, slightly strained vocal make “Need Me Some You” a winner. Nikki O’s “Music” is a more uptempo cut, built on submerged Rhodes chords and Nikki’s soulful vocals.
Awesome long-form mutant synthpop, as though the stars of the Drive soundtrack attempted to score the cult film Liquid Sky instead. Ms. Vomit Terror’s vocals hold it down over complex disco/prog indebted production recalling Peter Ivers “Terminal Love”. Fellow American weirdo Carl Calm (Caboladies) turns the complex original into a spaced piece of outsider house. The last several minutes of Calm’s remix loop the original’s vocal over an impressionistic, Debussy-influenced set of chords. Italians Do It Better/New Jersey head Mike Simonetti steps up for the second remix - hey, he used to be a weird American guy as well! Simonetti puts Vomit Terror’s odd, addictive vocals over a smooth tech house track, getting weird with a pitched down male spoken word section and a trashcan ride cymbal lifted from the original.
Very cool collaborative release from the FIT and REKIDS labels pairing the Siberian underground house aesthete with some Detroit luminaries. Marcellus takes a swing at Kraviz’s “Working” first - hollowing out the sparse original even further and lending the track some signature Unirhythm machine-funk. Pittman relies on the slightest 303 burble and a deft polyrhythm for a full 3 minutes before introducing a totally insane, likely-shifted chord progression. A hint of jazzy deepness closes out the alien track, a single chord echoing like a foghorn in the night. Urban Tribe is back with his (their?) electro-influenced techno, turning Kraviz’s “Taxi Talk” into a dystopic, late-night journey. The kick varies between a Detroit pummel and deeper 808 throb - the omnipresent filtered arpeggio is supported by a recurring and futuristic melodic theme. Epic.
Cool retro-house ep from the London-based Aussie. “Your Footprints” is reminiscent of prime Nu Groove material, the longing vocal and wandering synth also recalling the legendary Knuckles/Principle team-ups. “Affirmation” keeps up the high standard - the track pairs urgent bass with psychedelic ambience in a way similar to the classic Aphrodisiac track “Song of the Siren”. Tevo Howard presents an awesome Italo take on “Your Footprints” for the B.
The Bristolian-producer, dj, mastering engineer and frequent October collaborator releases his solo debut, the first on Argot offshoot Tasteful nudes. A-side Moonlight on the Malaga works a classic square-wave bassline, bright chords and 707-claps for a lush, slightly jacking whole. The positive influence of Borai’s mastering work is apparent; the high bell-like synth lead, the pulsing mid-range chords, every sound sits unencumbered in its frequency, spokes in a perfect wheel. “Does it Bother You” is based on a funky, percussive two-chord vamp, soaring string synths and several spoken-word vocal samples. Borai samples the 1974 classic “The Conversation”, emphasizing different words with repetition, adding a slightly paranoid edge to the otherwise sunny production. Limited to 300.
Keith Worthy returns with new material under his Lamar alias, and fans of the longtime Detroit dj/producer won’t be disappointed. Title track “Guilty Pleasures” balances a heavy, midi bassline against ethereal lead synth. Eventually a dirty bassline emerges against to offset the track’s heavy groove. B-side works a similar formula, balancing all manner of atmospheric deepness around a simple set of chords and five-note refrain.
Wavves – “Demon to Lean On” (Plus Preorder Afraid of Heights!)
The second released song from Wavves’ upcoming Afraid of Heights balances its various elements well — a simple riff building to a KROQ-friendly chorus with cool, watery guitars in the verses and soaring vocals. It sounds like the best bits of my high school CD collection condensed neatly to four minutes. Buzz Clips 4eva.
Preorder Afraid of Heights on CD or LP. It’s due March 26 on Mom + Pop. Also check out "Sail to the Sun" from Afraid of Heights.
Earl Sweatshirt – “Whoa”
The second taste of the new Earl Sweatshirt album, Doris, is full of sinister sounds — a reverbed out “whoaaa” that descends into the sewer, that ominous piano that creeps up halfway through, and a reference to “ol’ 2010 shit.” Could be referencing his backstory, about being plucked from obscurity by Tyler, the Creator (who appears on this track), joining Odd Future, releasing his first album at age 16 in 2010, then being sent away at to boarding school in Samoa by his mother for getting into trouble. He’s been slowly re-emerging again, with big guest spots on Frank Ocean’s sublime “Super Rich Kids,” among other places. But from first track “Chum” and now this, Earl Sweatshirt’s past quasi-false starts and reintroduction will be a thing of the past once Doris drops. There’s no release date yet, so just keep an ear out. Am I the only one who wants to see this video made into a full film?
On Sunday, April 7th, Amoeba Music returns to one of the Southland's biggest and best record swap meets, the Pasadena City College's Flea Market and Record Swap. With over 500 vendors, the Flea Market features antiques and collectibles, records, tools, clothes, toys, and much more, not to mention food and good company. And admission is always free!
The Flea Market and Record Swap is from7am - 3pm. Look for the Amoeba booth located in the Bonnie St. parking structure (Lot 5) on the third level. We always have a great selection of vinyl, from dollar records to collectibles in every genre. Come out and enjoy your Sunday with us!
The LA Weekly calls the show “the best source for used records in all of Southern California."
Some of the coolest people visit us at Amoeba Hollywood. We had the utmost pleasure of hanging out with Sci Fi/Horror film fan favorite, Lance Henriksen. Many of you know Lance from his character Bishop, the Android he famously played in theAliens films franchise. Lance hung out and shopped around for a few things. He's got some pretty interesting picks such as the classic French drama 400 Blows, and who would have guessed Lance digs Hip Hop? See for yourself!
Not only is Lance Henriksen a staple when it comes to awesome Science Fiction films, but he is now a bonafide comic book author! Henriksen and co-author Joseph Maddrey held a special signing at Amoeba Hollywood to unveil the 5 issue series, To Hell You Ride (DC Comics). To Hell You Ride starts off by introducing the character Two Dogs, a forgotten Native American plagued by booze and his disregard for society. Two Dogs is reawakened by the spirit of his ancestors and with their guidance he is led to avenge his land and his people. There's a flesh eating curse, mad scientists, and lots of bloddy horror. Tom Mandrake brings it all together with some amazing illustrations. It's a good one! The fans came out to support Lance and his new comic and everyone had a blast! If you missed all the fun you can check out some photos of the signing below.
Come down to Amoeba Hollywood on Saturday 3/23 as we host another super Sidewalk Sale. Shop a plethora of sale items including a host of vinyl and 7 inches all priced to move. Shop a fresh stock of 7 inches at just $1! Lots of DVD box set bargains too. Noon to 5pm.
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.
Los Angeles's Byzantine-Latino Quarter is neighborhood and commercial corridor that straddles the larger neighborhoods of Harvard Heights and Pico-Union as well as the larger Midtown districts of Wilshire Center to the north and Mid-City to the south. The Quarter is centered along Pico Boulevard between South Hobart Boulevard to the west and South Alvarado Boulevard to the east.
The westernmost border of Los Angeles, as established by the Spanish in 1781, was along what's now Hoover Boulevard. The land to the west, through the Spanish and subsequent Mexican period were public lands. The land remained a mixture of pastures and farmland for decades after California became part of the USin 1848.
The latest Amoeba Presents show comes to us from electronic artist Shlohmo. In conjunction with Goldenvoice and FYF, the show, billed as a “Live A/V set,” will also include R&B artist Jeremih, with whom Shlohmo will be collaborating, as well as sets from underground songstress Nite Jewel and the Wedidit DJ Team.
The show takes place at the Henry Fonda Theatre Saturday, April 6. Tickets are available in-store at Amoeba Hollywood for $20 (plus a $2 service fee). The show is all-ages and starts at 8 p.m.
L.A. artist Shlohmo layers analog-warm samples of synth, funk, reverbed guitar and blissed-out vocal loops over one another on releases such as 2011’s Bad Vibes album and the recently released Vacation EP. His most recent release, the Laid Out EP, sees him collaborating with How to Dress Well’s Tom Krell on the ethereal track “Don’t Say No.”
See photos from Shlohmo’s Locavore DJ set at Amoeba Hollywood here.
One of the greatest guitar bands ever finally delivers a new album after 22 years of false starts and promises. If you're looking for another Loveless, move on. mbv is its own beast. It's an acquired taste, just like the rest of their records, starting with a familiar, melodic first third; turning to a more ethereal and beat-driven middle third, featuring Belinda Butcher's ever-heavenly vocals; and finishing with a punishing, noise-rock final third that explores the extreme scope of Kevin Shields' mangled-guitar sound. Within this scope, mbv delivers as many moments that will challenge its cult following as well as delight them. Opener “She Found Now” is as classic My Bloody Valentine as the album gets, with a soft focus wash of guitar sound, a gentle pulse of drums relegated to the background and whispered vocals lapping overhead, achieving a similar feel to Loveless’ “Sometimes.” “Only Tomorrow” aims for the gut, with chainsaw guitars not unlike those found on Isn’t Anything, which in retrospect rivals Loveless for innovative sound. The songs aren’t exactly poppy, but they offer new, thrilling hooks — the way the guitars halt like a bullet train at full speed suddenly stopping in “Only Tomorrow” ranks high in the band’s moments of pop mastery. “Who Sees You” rounds out the album’s first third with scenic, shiver-inducing guitars that shame any followers in their wake — plenty of bands have dissected the My Bloody Valentine guitar sound, but few have been able to wield it in the unconventional, multidimensional ways Shields does, turning odd directions, doubling back and somehow coming together in a way that can’t be fully comprehended at first, but is eminently intoxicating. The record gets progressively more difficult from there, but fans will grow to love songs like the watery “If I Am” and especially the bouncing “New You,” a shoegaze pop song in the proud tradition of Loveless’ “Soon” with a heavy fuzz-bass thud that knocks you flat. “In Another Way” grinds its guitars into a blender of sounds that emerges with a sweet, instrumental portion that sends the song sailing. “Nothing Is” loops brutal, chugging guitars with a heavy jungle beats that doesn’t relent for three-and-a-half minutes, leading into closer “Wonder 2,” which sounds like the inside of tornado. With spiraling arrangements that draw you in on multiple listens, mbv is subtly rewarding and offers new revelations with each listen.
With the first day of spring nearly a week away, I'm going to take the time to clean out my closet a bit and get rid of all my old T-shirts and socks with rat holes in them. Seriously. I personally know how painful it can be to get rid of an old T-shirt, but I don't want to walk around looking like a scrub come springtime.
Hey Rat! You destroyed my favorite Spin Doctors tee!
Lucky for me, this opens up a lot of space in my closet for new shirts. All three Amoeba stores have gotten in all sorts of new shirts lately that are soft to the touch on my delicate winter skin. Not just rock shirts either, but there are some hip-hop, folk, jazz, and even film-related shirts.
The San Francisco, Berkeley, and Hollywood store locations each pick their own favorites based on this criteria:
-- Home Grown artists must be unsigned
-- Home Grown artists must have a self-released project available
-- Home Grown artists must be totally amazing
Amoeba San Francisco is proud to announce their latest Home Grown artist, Eitch (pronounced "H")! She has formed a sound that is both vocally driven and atmospheric (floating somewhere between alternative, electronic, and pop), which she playfully describes as: “Altronipop.”
You can get her debut album Everything, Nothing right here on Amoeba.com. It's a collection of work she began writing and recording in 2006. Unpredictable and full of wonder, these songs reveal the scope of her imagination.
Nominate your favorite, unsigned, local band here!
Proving once and for all that I have my finger on the pulse of what youth today really want, I’m continuing my list of favorites from the so-called Golden Age of Radio. You older, out-of-touch squares can stop reading now and go listen to punk rock or trip-hop or whatever it is seniors are into these days.
Now that the fogeys are out of the (metaphorical) room, read and listen on...
Let’s consider a comedy, namely, Our Miss Brooks.
Premiering in 1948, Our Miss Brooks was an immediate success, garnering awards and a loyal fan base for its lead actress, Eve Arden.
People don’t speak of Eve Arden as much as her talent warrants. She had fantastic comic timing, capable of evoking laugh-out-loud moments with a single, monosyllabic word.
Our Miss Brooks has flimsy, unimaginative plot-lines, and you’ll never listen to it because you “can’t wait to find out what happens next.” The show is great because the cast is great, and Eve Arden delivers punch-lines with such wry deftness, it’s as if Touchstone from As You Like It has been reincarnated as a public high school teacher.
Tickets are on sale now via Brown Paper Tickets and “the fair-trade ticketing company” will donate a portion of the proceeds from the festival to the charity of the ticket purchaser’s choice. You can buy general admission passes ($35 + $2.22 service fee) or there are three additional ticket options that include camping (tent, lakeside or RV) for a bit more. Buy tickets here.
The porn debate is underscored by two fundamentally antagonistic views of the purpose of law in society. The first view, to which pro-sex feminists subscribe, is that law should protect choice. "A woman's body, a woman's right" applies to every peaceful activity a woman chooses to engage in. The law should come into play only when a woman initiates force or has force initiated against her. The second view, to which both conservatives and anti-porn feminists subscribe, is that law should protect virtue. It should come into play whenever there has been a breach of public morality, or a breach of "women's class interests.
I recently watched the French documentary Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism, which contains interviews with women who participate in and/or support what you'd think based on the title. One of the main points Virginie Despentes makes with her film is that much of the antagonism the sex trade continues to face is rooted in an old fashioned patriarchal control of women's bodies. It's as if the entire familial tradition would crumble if women were allowed to do with their bodies what they want, giving sex away for free or for cash. This same notion can be seen in pop culture in the way rape tends to be seen as the worst thing that one can do to a fictional female victim, not murder. The contamination of a woman's body, the violation of her "virtue" is too evil to face, rather just kill her and get it over with. And, despite how much I love the subgenre, the same might be said of rape-revenge films, even those with an ostensible feminist message (e.g., I Spit on Your Grave), as if the moral equation balances out with the quid pro quo of rape and murderous vengeance. But the feminist view here (at least the right one) is that a woman shouldn't have virtue forced on her, solely defined by others to have her live as they see fit. This is McElroy's quoted distinction in the two views of law, which accurately places certain feminists on the side of traditional conservatives.
Loveable L.A. garage punks FIDLAR have a new video for “Max Can’t Surf,” one of the best tracks from their self-titled debut record, built on classic-rock riffs with lyrics about Del Taco and a dude with no balance. The video follows band members on an acid trip via interstellar skateboards that look like the hoverboards from Back to the Future II. Too fun! See more pics from their Amoeba performance here, and read my interview with the band here. They’re also going on tour with Wavves, whose upcoming Afraid of Heights is due March 26 and it up for preorder; check ’em out together at the Echo March 20 and The Smell April 21.
The Soft Moon – “Insides” video
Oakland-based The Soft Moon aka Luis Vasquez has a video for “Insides,” a standout from last year’s darkwave release Zeros. Really nice effects on this, sort of looks like a graphic novel streamed through a projector and fits the gloomy nature of the song. It also puts the shy-seeming Vasquez in the center of the video, as does the song for an artist who primarily lets the music do the talking but who steps out of the shadows on this track.
The sixth annual Switchboard Music Festivalbrings its eclectic blend of performers and music to San Francisco’s Brava Theater on March 24th from 2-10pm. It's going to be a non-stop, eight-hour musical spectacle presenting composers and musicians who push the boundaries of their respective genres—be it rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop, world, or something less defined. It is a showcase for innovative local music that easily traverses disparate genres—a physical analog for a borderless, digital world. This year’s festival features groups both established and new, from the Bay Area and beyond.
The 2013 Festival features the piano duo ZOFO, whose most recent album, Mind Meld, was nominated for two 2013 Grammy awards; Subharmonic, led by Jazz Mafia’s Adam Theis; Ava Mendoza’s UNNATURAL WAYS; accordionist Rob Reich (of Tin Hat) and his quintet; and clarinetist Michael Lowenstern. The all-day festival will also feature performances by Addleds, Areon Flutes, Billygoat, Build, FutureCities, Ignition Duo, Oakland Active Orchestra, and bass clarinet duo Sqwonk.
The North Industrial District, or Dogtown, is both one of Los Angeles’s oldest and most obscure neighborhoods. It’s also occasionally referred to as either Naud Junction or Mission Junction, after two area junctions of the Southern Pacific Railroad, the entity perhaps most instrumental in the neighborhood’s development (it’s also sometimes referred to as the River Station Area). By the way, this is not the Dogtown neighborhood in Santa Monica, of Dogtown & Z-Boys fame.
Mission Tower near downtown LA. Photo by Ted Soqui (2008)
The legendary British rocker Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council) dropped by Amoeba Hollywood for some record diggin'. Weller has been crafting classic songs since he was a teen back in the '70s and he's still at it. His most recent album, Sonik Kicks (2012), debuted at #1 in the UK. At age 54, The Modfather is still bringing it!
In this episode, Weller digs deep for some late '60s Brazilian tropicalia, classic jazz, and experimental avante-garde music from Germany.
Yep Roc Records Announces Paul Weller Box Set
This year for Record Store Day (April 20, 2013) Yep Roc will release a limited edition Sonik Kicks Singles Box Set. This awesome piece of art is packed with 5 singles on colored vinyl,
an autographed Sonik Kicks poster and 2 unreleased songs.
Here's a video of the 4th in a series of 45RPM Paul Weller singles being released:
Youth Lagoon aka Trevor Powers at only 22 was the precocious new kid on the indie block with 2011’s The Year of Hibernation. Though a strong debut, the album could get a bit precious as one would expect when listening to a 22-year-old’s debut indie pop album. But if The Year of Hibernation was sugary, Bughouse is coated with codeine syrup. It’s a woozy collection of psychedelic pop, as eccentric as it is rousing. “Mute” sprawls with epic grandeur in its first minute before breaking down into spiraling sounds of broken-down toys and keyboards. Powers’ vocals climb to the top of his manic creation, which gradually becomes a psych rocker with a gorgeous guitar solo. “Attic Door” is prime Syd Barrett in Wonderland weirdo psychedelia, while “Pelican Man” takes a similar notion to Sgt. Pepper’s-style pop heights. As Wondrous Bughouse progresses, it seems to grow more assured, as mid-album cut “Dropla” makes for the album’s catchiest moment — an eyes-wide-open pop song in the vein of Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips’ finest, built on the naÃ¯ve, repeated couplet “you’ll never die.” True to its Strawberry Alarm Clock title, “Raspberry Cane” is a beautiful slice of acidic sunshine pop that moves from esoteric to a crowd-pleasing refrain that marks Powers’ most classic pop moment to date. It’s a wondrous thing to hear, indeed.
This weekend The Night Light in Oakland will celebrate its first anniversary with a big party at the Jack London Square district bar/club that is situated on Broadway between 3rd and 4th Streets in the vicinity of such other watering holes as Beer Revolution and Merchant's. At The Night Light's all day long bash on Saturday (March 9th) there'll be DJs spinning in the downstairs bar area and live bands playing in the upstairs concert space.. Artists celebrating the one-year birthday will include Warm Soda, Mahgeetah, and L3SSONS. In the twelve months since Johnny Nackley and his business partner Doug Kinsey (two vets of the local bar & restaurant and music worlds) opened The Night Light, it has built a an ever-growing, dedicated following and won many accolades.
Within a mere few months of opening it won an East Bay Expressreaders choice award as "Best New Bar." Even with such a wide variety of other clubs and bars to choose from in downtown Oakland's vibrant nightlife scene, people are drawn to The Night Light's cozy bar atmosphere and its diversity of live entertainment events. There include stand up comedy nights, live bands of all genres such as punk rock and hip-hop, and themed DJ nights including yacht rock parties when folks get decked out in captains hats, Hawaiian shirts, and beards and moustaches. On the last Friday of every month they throw hip-hop/reggae/dancehall themed DJ parties.
The deluge of indistinguishable deep house, replete with “soulful” vocal samples, swung drums, and jazzy pads sometimes makes an avid listener long for a producer who hasn’t arrived fully-formed with only the most tasteful/retro influences. Barnt is that producer. Here, he follows last year’s bizarre anthem “Geffen” with four even odder tracks. “Tunsten” starts rather polite, then a maddening synth tone climbs slowly skyward and remains for a bit before coming back down and hitting on one-note as the beat picks up, a house track as carnival-ride. “Ariola” is more staid and baroque - with counterpuntal synths evoking Vangelis. "Stac" is a skewed percussion workout, with Barnt programming drums as though he’s never heard of the grid. Any cut off the record is perfect for waking up a crowd used to knowing what to expect.
A bizarre and heretofore lost document of post-punk freedom, Indoor Life is in many ways an amazing missing link connecting Patrick Cowley and Chrome, Warhol and Sylvester, freewheeling SF-punk psychedelia with the NYC 80s downtown scene. Indoor Life formed in 1980 in San Francisco - Cowley produced their first ep (Indoor Life member Jorge Socarras also performed with Cowley as Catholic). The music is similar to Pere Ubu in a way, but with the rhythm section calibrated to funk/disco rather than utilitarian rock. Songs like Madison Ave. slow things down with gorgeous delayed trombone. Essential document.
DJ Nu-Mark spun a set frontloaded with hits and gradually growing weirder Feb. 28 at Amoeba Hollywood. Through promoting his fine Broken Sunlight album, released last year, the DJ stuck with a more traditional set of blending well-known records into one another. He got the audience percolating with an “L.A., California” refrain, building a beat with booming bass and classic funk horns as a crowd of beatheads nodded on. He worked in The Jackson 5's “ABC,” The O’Jays “For the Love of Money,” Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance,” Phil Collins’ “You Can’t Hurry Love,” theBeastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.,” Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Ni**as in Paris,” a remix of Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun,” Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” Oasis’ “Wonderwall” and many other songs. The set started with big hits everyone knew and moved into more obscure sounds — an extended didgeridoo part, instrumental passages, “Kung Fu Fighting” with an underwater effect, a muzak version of “Satisfaction.” Nu-Mark worked with a minimal set-up of a laptop and two turntables, moving quickly between songs and grooving hard, keeping the energy alive even as the set grew more challenging. See more photos of the performance here.
Okay, we get it. There is no need for further evidence that Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski have developed an immortalizing affinity for all things piratical. Not that there's anything wrong with pirate fever, mind you, (I might be the only one on staff here at Amoeba Music SF that'll openly admit to being stoked about the prospect of future chapters in Pirates of the Caribbean film series) it's just that their enthusiasm for more legendary exploits of swashbuckling buccaneers, pillaging priveteers, salty sea dogs, and scurvy scallywags of yore sure has manifested itself in stranger ways than Walt Disney's theme park attraction turned multi-billion dollar motion picture franchise success story (sorry, Haunted Mansion). Of course I'm talking about their published tributes to the sea chantey arts.
Back in 2006 Depp and Verbinski had a hand in producing Hal Willner's Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys -- an unruly and somewhat drunken compilation featuring an intriguing, genre-spanning line-up of mostly high profile pop/rock artists revisiting a bounty of maritime folk and seafaring work songs, songs that were once passed down quite literally over vast oceans of time thus contributing to modern music styles in more way than one might immediately suspect. These reinvigorated renditions of antiquated rhymes that comprise Rogues Gallery serve as pleasant testaments to the durability of oral tradition, though oddball tracks buoy here and there throughout the cut, rendering some beloved chantey-man reels near unrecognizable, freakish even, challenging imbibers to sink or swim along with each tune and demanding listeners to temper their grog with a certain amount of equanimity.
On Saturday, March 2 we had the hilarious Kurt Braunohler all the way from New York host our charity auction at Amoeba Hollywood and he did a fabulous job with a very tough crowd. He drove home our reason for being there ("Hey guys, it's for Doctors Without Borders...C'MON! Doctors who have no sense of their own boundaries! "). The crowd was enjoying the show, but it was tough to get them to bid. Sometimes it's like that. You never know what the temperature of the crowd will be! But Kurt did a great job and we ended up having a very successful auction.
Trader Joe's Gift Card and California Raisins lunchbox $50.00
Passes to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles $40.00
Special VIP Amoeba in-store pass $66.00
Sundance Theater passes 30.00
Classic rock package featuring Doors documentary, Led Zeppelin and Doors t-shirts & more $70.00
Limited edition Record Store Day package $60.00
Tiny Furniture DVD signed by Lena Dunham $35.00
Super DVD signed by the cast $15.00
Ozzy and Sharon talking Beanie Babies with lunchbox and Black Sabbath pen $10.00
Beatles package featuring totes, poster, mug and more $30.00
There was a grand total of bids of $485.00, and then with our matching that meant we raised $970.00 for Doctors Without Borders, an organization which has helped tremendously with Hurricane Sandy (in addition to their work in all corners of the world). This one was great. Thanks all for the help!
Every first Sunday over the last three years and change, DJ's Reyes & Glenn Red have provided a great party called Eclectica. I have spent many Monday mornings groggy after a night at Eclectica, but it's a great way to kick of the work week.The name of the night says it all. If you like to dance to soul music from all over the world, this night is a great place to start. I've heard Reggae, Samba, Afro-Beat, Cumbia, R&B, Hip-Hop, Modern and classic Cuban music, Reggaeton, Balkan Brass bands, Bollywood classics. Its a chance for their guest DJs to stretch out and get away from the norm of weekend hits and the resident DJs always up to the challenge to match their diversity.
Starting on Wednesday, March 6th, Eclectica moves to every first Wednesday. For that reason, Eclectica is bringing out the big guns. Guests include DJ Sloepoke and Fresko, two deep crate diggers just waiting to be unleashed to any unsuspecting crowd. Be prepared for anything. I'm hoping the Sloepoke and Fresko are going to bust out their expansive Cumbia record collection.
Speaking of Cumbia, I'm not in the habit of recommending Rough Guide compilations. Although the people at World Music Network are no slouches to the World Music game, I often don't think about them when it comes to Latin Music. However, their latest foray into Latin Music is an absolute barn burner! The Rough Guide to Cumbia (Out now) and The Rough Guide To Latin Psychedelia (Out in April) were both compiled by Pablo Yglesias, a writer/graphic designer and DJ better known as DJ Bongohead. Yglescias has compiled collections for Vampisoul and Masstropicas and is the author of the book, Cocinando: Fifty Years Of Latin Album Cover Art. Each disc is full of classics and modern takes on the genres that work together seamlessly. Each release has a bonus disc of rare tracks by the likes of the Cumbia supergroup, Los Corraleros De Majagual (RG To Cumbia) and Peruvian Chicha masters Los Destellos (RG To Latin Psychedelia) My only complaint is that these two releases aren't slated to be released on vinyl as of yet.
Speaking of vinyl, the new Bomba Estereo, which has slowly become my favorite new release in the first part of this year, is now available on LP. Also on LP is the latest release from Cafe Tacuba, imported from Mexico. We only have a few so I wouldn't wait to long to get them.
Last Sunday marked a profound anniversary for former Amoeba staffer/talented Bay Area musician Dax Pierson since on that very same date eight years earlier (February 24th, 2005) Pierson's life would forever change following a serious auto accident. The well-liked Dax, who used to work at the Berkeley Amoeba store along with fellow members of his band Subtle, was out on the road on the band's first US tour traveling Interstate 80 in Iowa in a van along with six others. Without warning, the Subtle tour van (plus trailer in tow) hit a nasty patch of black ice causing the van to skid out of control and completely roll over. Inside the upside down vehicle, the seat-belted Dax's seat broke free from its hinges (Ford Motors were later held responsible), causing him to come crashing down on his head. The devastating accident severely paralyzed Dax, leaving him quadriplegic.
On the accident's anniversary, Dax took to his Facebook page to reflect on that fateful day in a moving status update that struck a chord with his extended circle of friends, bringing some to tears.
In the honest, heartfelt update Dax expressed how the accident had forever altered his life everyday - including the continual myriad of health issues he encounters. "My physical and emotional challenges have been many," he shared noting, despite the love and support of his mom and a core group of good friends, how he often is overwhelmed with feelings of being, "isolated and alien socially and creatively." As for what Dax sees for his future, he wrote, "Dialysis. Kidney transplant? A new home/neighborhood. Better music technology. Making music with people in the same room after 8 years of not."
Today is the birthday of English poet and Dandy, John Gray. As a writer, Gray is best-known for Silverpoints,The Long Road, and Park: A Fantastic Story. Though celebrated in his day, today he is perhaps best known for being the rumored inspiration for Oscar Wilde’s fictional character and literature's most famous Decadent and Dandy, Dorian Gray.
John Gray was born on 2 March, 1866 in Bethnal Green, London, the first of nine children. Like most people with great taste, he came from a working class background. At thirteen he quit school and began working as an apprentice metal-worker (continuing his education with evening classes). In 1882 he passed the Civil Service exams and five years later passed the University of London matriculation exams. He subsequently joined the Foreign Office and became a librarian. Gray’s evening classes had included (among other foreign languages) the study of French and he translated the work of SymbolistsArthur Rimbaud, Jules Laforgue, Paul Verlaine, and Stéphane Mallarmé into English -- some for the first time.
Boris Bunnik switches over from the dystopic electro of his Versalife project to the Conforce alias by which he's better known. Classic Delsin material here. "Nomad" sets the tone with ominous techno drones, an odd kick meter, elastic bass and big-room creepiness. "Receiver" veers closer to classic Detroit techno tropes, with insistent bells providing the atmosphere over a telltale tom. The patient and precise production of the ep’s opener is still intact, but here it's bolstered by subtle hi-hat drops that feel momentous in context. B-side "Last Anthem’s" rugged kick drum signals this 12”s diversity, ringing in the most floor-friendly track on the record. Closer "Embrace" is a deep, dub techno track with just a sliver of melody, achieving Chain Reaction-worthy hypnosis.
Laid back, eastern-tinged acid from the German producer, whose huge “Moon Oddity” (sensing a theme?) on Dial deep-house imprint Laid placed the producer alongside Tin Man in his ability to coax new, emotional sound out of classic equipment. The title track uses a busy 303 bassline against a deep Juno progression, the overall effect not unlike a more narcotic version of Max D’s Cassette Arabic (L.I.E.S.)
Thanks to our friends at TrueTone Music, contest winner Adele S. took home a brand new Gibson Melody Maker guitar. The American made Melody Maker is one of Gibson's most popular guitars. It is an exact re-creation of the 1950s Melody Makers. Have fun rocking out Adele!
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