Amoeblog

September 30, 2013: Don Jon

Posted by phil blankenship, September 30, 2013 11:17pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Sponsors The Drop: Linda Thompson at the Grammy Museum Oct. 15

Posted by Billy Gil, September 30, 2013 05:52pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music is proud to be a sponsor of The Drop at the Grammy Museum featuring folk legend Linda Thompson on October 15th at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available here.

Thompson rose to prominence in the mid-’70s with a run of albums recorded with her then-husband, former Fairport Convention member Richard Thompson (recorded as Richard & Linda Thompson). Following the dissolution of their marriage, Thompson was diagnosed with a rare condition known as hysterical dysphonia, causing her to lose her voice. She returned in 1985 with the solo album One Clear Moment, then largely disappeared from the public eye until returning in the early 2000s with a pair of solo albums. In 2007 she released Versatile Heart, with guest appearances by Martha Wainwright and Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, among others.

Her latest album, Won’t Be Long Now, will be released on October 15th, the same day as her appearance at the Grammy Museum, where she’ll appear with vice president of The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Scott Goldman to discuss her music and the new record.

Lucien Levy-Dhurmer -- Artist, explorer, and autumn son

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 30, 2013 02:52pm | Post a Comment
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer was a Symbolist and Art Nouveau artist who was born on this day in 1865. In France, he is still celebrated in some quarters for his work -- which includes paintings, drawings, ceramics, furniture and interior design -- but he remains obscure, especially outside the Francosphere. Even though there aren't any films about him that I know of -- or even any books that I've found -- I'm hopefully wrong. In that case, let me know so that I can add them to this entry and tell fans to seek them out. In any case, he's also a great artist to look at because he was born in autumn, died in autumn, and most of his most recognizable work has a great, autumnal, crepuscular quality which is perfect for viewing as the nights grow longer and summer fades.


CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION

Lévy was born 30 September, 1865 in Algiers (then part of occupied French Algeria) to Salomon Lévy and Pauline-Amélie Goldhurmer. In 1879, when he was fourteen years old, Lévy began studying drawing and sculpture at École communale supérieure de Dessin et Sculpture in Paris. He first exhibited in 1882 at the Salon de Paris, where he showed a ceramic piece, La Naissance de Vénus, d'après Cabanel -- a reference to painter Alexandre Cabanel). 

EARLY CAREER 


After school Lévy first worked as a lithographer. Then, from 1887 till1895, he worked as a ceramic decorator in the studio of Clément Massier, in Golfe-Juan. Though Jewish, much of Lévy's early ceramic work bore the more obvious influence of Islamic Moorish art that had surrounded him during his childhood in North Africa.


In 1892 he became the artistic director of Massier’s studio and as such, began signing his pieces "L. Levy." Throughout his stint at the studio he continued using oils and pastels and exhibited some work produced with them at 1894’s Peintres de l'âme collective exhibition alongside artists Edmond Aman-Jean, Émile-René Ménard, Alphonse Osbert, Carlos Schwabe, and Alexandre Séon.


In 1895 he returned to live in Paris to pursue a career in painting, where he met the poet Georges Rodenbach, whose portrait he painted shortly after in a style that, as with other works from the period, suggests the strong influence of Symbolist painter, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. 

 
                              Portrait de Georges Rodenbach (ca. 1895)                                                 La Silence (1895)

After a visit to Italy, Lévy's work revealed an increased interest in German and Florentine Renaissance -- resulting in paintings that fit in well alongside those of the English Pre-Raphaelites.

La Bourrasque (1896)


La Femme à la Médaille or Mystére (1896)


Portrait de Pierre Loti or Fantôme d'Orient (1896)

In 1896 the artist had his first solo exhibit of his work, billed as “Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer," which added part of his mother's maiden name (Goldhurmer) to his given family name. The exhibit included two sanguines, five paintings, and sixteen pastels and was shown at Georges Petit’s gallery. Success quickly followed and his prominent admirers included occultist writer Joséphin Peladan and artists such as Emile Bernard and Gustave Moreau.

In 1897, in the tradition of the Grand Tour, Lévy-Dhurmer began extensively traveling in Europe, Africa, and Asia -- visiting Britain, Holland, Italy, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey. His work from this period began to increasingly focus on landscapes, albeit subjectively idealized ones, and he also depicted the inhabitants of the places through which he passed in portraits. As the fin-de-siècle transitioned into the début-de-siècle, Levy-Dhurmer continued to focus on landscapes and portraits that syncretized the styles of Claude Monet and James McNeill Whistler.

Beautés de Marrakech (1901)

LATE CAREER

Levy-Dhurmer continued to exhibit his work in group exhibitions, salons, and solo shows. Also, between 1910 and 1914 he designed the Wisteria Dining Room at the home of Auguste Rateau (now preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art). In 1914 he married Emmy Fournier (Jeanne Marie Marnière), editor of the feminist newspaper La Fronde.

The Wisteria Dining Room

Levy-Dhurmer's wife, whom he nicknamed "Perla," died in 1944. Levy-Dhurmer died close to his 88th birthday, on 24 September, 1953.

*****

Breaking Badfinger - Music from Breaking Bad's Finale

Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2013 01:50pm | Post a Comment
Badfinger's 1972 hit "Baby Blue" closed the final episode of Breaking Bad last night on AMC

Spoiler alert if you have not already seen the final Breaking Bad episode. After last night's final episode of Breaking Bad, fans of the award winning Vince Gilligan television series will likely be showing up at Amoeba Music this week in search of specific songs and releases by Marty Robbins, Groucho Marx, and especially Badfinger - all of whom were prominently featured in last night's nail-biting finale of the five-season, five-star television show. Fans will also be tracking down both Breaking Bad (Music From The Original Television Series) that includes the Dave Porter main title theme, and the full Dave Porter Breaking Bad (Original Score From The Television Series) - not to mention, of course, all the Breaking Bad DVDs/Blu-Rays available from Amoeba such as Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season (All Hail The King) DVD that was released back in March and includes the first half of the final (two-part) fifth season. Clocking in at a stunning 375 minutes, the DVD set includes such special features as Episode 504, shot by Vince Gilligan and narrated by the Breaking Bad Writers, Prison Stunt Rehearsal, Jesse Plemons & Laura Fraser Audition Footage, The Cleaner: Jonathan Banks as Mike, and much more.

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Album Picks: Haim, Justin Timberlake, Yuck

Posted by Billy Gil, September 30, 2013 10:16am | Post a Comment

HAIM - Days Are Gone (CD or LP)

L.A. sister trio HAIM have seemingly been around so long, it’s hard to believe Days Are Gone is only their debut LP. That’s due to the band trickling out singles throughout the year that that have gotten better and better, all of which are included here. “Falling” moves on an echoing drum pulse and middle sister Danielle Haim’s husky, breathy vocals, falling somewhere between Christine McVie and Fiona Apple, and careful, creeping guitar riffs. “Forever” moves on an ’80s R&B shuffle, while the sisters’ back-and-forth vocal aerobics and harmonies employed Este, Danielle and Alana Haim showcase their greatest strength—the inborn chemistry fostered by playing in a band together since childhood. Their best song yet, “The Wire,” is bold enough to get called a Shania Twain knockoff by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow—they must be doing something right. Its Gary Glitter strut allows Danielle to really vamp and play the relieved ex-lover with glee, while youngest sister Alana steals the show with her swaggery second verse. The rest of Days Are Gone isn’t as strong as that dynamite opening, but even when the songs feel overstuffed, the sisters’ boundless energy makes the entire thing such an entertaining ride that you won’t mind the occasional whiplash. The details really make it worthwhile—the way the guitars pulse like they’re emulating synthesizers on “If I Could Change Your Mind,” the crazy, warped Miami Sound Machine-style vocals on the title track. We haven’t had a pop band like this in years, one with both the smarts and technical capability to call to mind classic pop acts from Fleetwood Mac through Destiny’s Child in one feel swoop. And Days Are Gone will no doubt make young women everywhere ask for guitars and pull their sisters into jam sessions. For that alone, we’re thankful for HAIM.

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Breaking Bad Maintained Course and Didn't Get Lost

Posted by Charles Reece, September 30, 2013 08:34am | Post a Comment

I found every final showdown Walt had, including with himself, to be emotionally satisfying, maintaining a consistency in characterization to the very end. I'm sure some will say it was all too pat and wrapped up, but the show was never big on narrative realism (it was, however, great at the psychological variety). Besides, the opposite criticism was made of The Sopranos, so there's no way Vince Gilligan and team could satisfy everyone. Also, was the final shot a big raspberry blown at the most notoriously disappointing finale in TV history? To wit:


Manu Chao Vinyl Out Now!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 29, 2013 11:09pm | Post a Comment



  I can't tell you how many times people ask for Manu Chao music on vinyl. So it's my duty to inform you that  Because Music out of France is re-releasing most of Manu Chao catalog on LP. All the early Manu Chao's catalog on CD as well as the original LPs have been long out of print and sell for collector's prices. Six of his titles, Clandestino, Promxima Estacion: Esperanza, La Radiolina, Radio Bemba Sound SystemBaionarena, and Siberie M'Etait Conteee, his all French language album that was never released on LP, will be released November 12th. All releases are double LPs (Baionarena will be a triple LP) that will come with a CD version of the album.

Clandestino was Amoeba Hollywood's best selling World Music title up until Virgin Records discontinued the CD. Proxima Estacion is also out of print and has his contains his biggest hit, "Me Gustas Tu" La Radiolina and 
Baionarena were released a few years back on Nacional Records. Both LP versions of those albums are now out of print.

Although the release date is scheduled for November 12th, we just might get these a little earlier. Stay tuned! OUT NOW!

Happy Oktoberfest!

Posted by Kells, September 28, 2013 05:33pm | Post a Comment
 
September is nearly over which means that Oktoberfest, the world's largest fair, is in full swing in Munich, Bavaria, Germany (and pretty much everywhere else cold beer is appreciated). Now, I've never really fully indulged in the Oktoberfest thing but this year I'm going for it like a Griswold on vacation. Well, not exactly like the Alpen (or something like it) fever dream pictured above, but more like this:


Glücklich Oktoberfest!  SaveSave

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 09.27.13: Amoeba Top 5, Terrace Martin's "3ChordFold," Jay-Z and Kanye's Ranting Distracts From The Music

Posted by Billyjam, September 27, 2013 09:23am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Top Five Week Ending 09: 27:13


1) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

2) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)

3) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)

4) Terrace Martin 3ChordFold (Empire Dist.)

5) A$AP Ferg Trap Lord (RCA)


As he makes headlines this week over his humorless Twitter rants against Jimmy Kimmel's jokes,  Kanye West's latest album Yeezus on Def Jam continues to sell well at Amoeba. Undoubtedly a most talented artist Kanye is at his best when he sticks to simply making music or overseeing his GOOD (Getting Out Our Dreams) music label. Personally I prefer when artists stick to simply making music and not making war with fellow artists as seems to be increasingly more common these days with examples including rapper turned savvy entrepreneur Jay-Z whose acclaimed latest/twelfth studio album Magna Carta Holy Grail on Def Jam is still charting at Amoeba nearly three full months since it arrived in the store. Jay-Z's recent verbal feud targets have included Harry Belafonte (who last month accused Hov of not being active enough in uplifting his race) and more recently Yoko Ono who he raps negatively about in a verse on the new (soon to drop) Justin Timberlake album The 20/20 Experience #2 that arrives in Amoeba early next week (read story here). In olden days feuds between artists would inspire creative response battle rap records. Nowadays they typically result in negative, nasty, name calling, Twitter rants.  I miss the old days!

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Weekly Roundup: Michael Vidal, Tropic of Cancer, Cold Beat, Turbo Lightning, Wymond Miles, Spaceships

Posted by Billy Gil, September 26, 2013 05:45pm | Post a Comment

Michael Vidal – “Dreams (Come Back to Me)” – Free Download

michael vidal dream centerThe members of L.A. darkwave rockers Abe Vigoda have recently been focusing on other projects, including dream pop bands Roses and Dunes. Now lead singer Michael Vidal has unveiled a gorgeous collection of songs called Dream Center. “Dreams (Come Back to Me)” hums along on muted guitar and Vidal’s swooning baritone, sounding a bit like a Christine McVie-led Fleetwood Mac track until the groove goes full-tilt with a gleaming guitar rush at the end. Download it free from Amoeba.

 

 

 

 

Tropic of Cancer – “Plant Lilies at My Head” video

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New Cloud Control Green Room Session & Exclusive Free Download

Posted by Amoebite, September 26, 2013 03:38pm | Post a Comment

Cloud Control

Cloud Control exclusive download

Cloud Control just released their second album, Dream Cave (Votiv), last week. From track to track the album gently unfolds like a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer. Well crafted songs at times layered with lush synths and polished vocal hamonies take you from dark and lonely to bright and fuzzy. The songs are big but not overly produced, which makes for easily listening. Cloud Control has a cinematic feel that will definitely find them on many soundtracks to come.  

To help celebrate their new album, the Australian quartet performed an exclusive set for the Amoeba Green Room Sessions series. The stripped down performance was nothing short of stellar and when a band rocks in the green room, you know they've got magic! As a special treat for the fans, Amoeba and Cloud Control are offering an exclusive free download of their song "Dojo Rising" recorded live in the Hollywood green room. Download now.

Come Record Digging With Us 10/6 at the Pasadena City College Flea Market & Record Swap

Posted by Amoebite, September 26, 2013 02:11pm | Post a Comment

Pasadena Cit College Record SwapAmoeba returns to one of the biggest and best record swap meets in the LA area, the Pasadena City College Flea Market and Record Swap, on Sunday, October 6, 2013. 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 from 7am-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."

More info HERE.

PCC October 6

Atoms for Peace Stop By Daily Show For Interview & Performance In Advance of US Leg of World Tour

Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2013 10:40am | Post a Comment
Atoms for Peace "Default" (live on The Daily Show, 9/15/13)

Atoms for Peace fans as well as fans of Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in for a treat last night when the group formed by Thom Yorke with Flea on bass stopped by the Daily Show on Comedy Central last night for both an interview and performance in which they did killer sounding live versions of the songs tracks "Default" (latest single off the band's current album Amok that was released back in February of this year by XL Recordings and for which the current tour is in support of), and "Harrowdown Hill" (off Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser from 2006, also on XL). Last night's performance was the first US set by the side-project supergroup originally formed four years ago in LA when they performed publicly for the very first time at the Echoplex in Los Angeles in early October, 2009.

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New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 9/25 - Jessy Lanza, Delroy Edwards, Boddika and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, September 25, 2013 11:04pm | Post a Comment

Jessy Lanza - Pull My Hair Back

 

Jessy Lanza

Pull My Hair Back CD

Pull My Hair Back LP

Hyperdub 

Stately electropop from the Canadian chanteuse. Her running collaboration with Jeremy Greenspan seems to free the Junior Boys producer to explore odder aspects of his lush production. Against The Wall has  driving synth bass but buries the snare and drifts into ethereal synth wobble at points. Lanza shines. She typically chooses to provide hooky, ephemeral counterpart to the chilly base, yet when she flexes her soprano, as she does on the chorus of the album's title track, its apparent she would sit atop an alternate Top 40 for the lonely.

Buy Pull My Hair Back CD

Buy Pull My Hair Back LP

 

Delroy Edwards - Untitled

Delroy Edwards

Untitled 12"

LA Club Resource

Delroy continues a meteoric 2013 by seizing the means of production for himself. No nonsense, no press, LA Club Resource presents a functional new sound from the Southland.  The first track, at 120 BPM, is slow compared to his recently preferred ghettohouse tempo, but introduces a fractured funk to the palatte. Two minimal synth lines, a simple double-snare hit and an unpredictable kick are all you need to move a floor. The B veers closer to the acid maze Funkineven travels. The vocal sample concluding the record is in-line with the cutty, street imagery associated with the label. Available in select few US brick and mortars. 

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37 Years! Celebrating (or at least thinking about) VHS

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 25, 2013 06:37pm | Post a Comment
The inaugural Cassette Store Day took place this past 7 September. On that day, over 50 audio cassettes were released by major musical acts like The Pastels, The Flaming Lips, and Suicidal Tendencies. Unfortunately for video cassette fans, Cassette Day was a strictly audio observance. For whatever reason, Cassette Culture (or the cassette underground), which lovingly embraces audio cassettes for whatever reason treats the word “cassette” as if it only applies to the audio variety. As if that weren’t offensive enough, just two days after Cassette Store Day was the 37th birthday of the VHS VCR. Now that a couple of weeks have passed and the sting has subsided a little, perhaps we can do a bit of reflecting on the video format that dominated the 1980s and '90s (but was born in the '70s). 



The year 1976 was marked by several serious technological milestones. The year of the US' bicentennial saw America land Viking 2 on Mars and introduce the first space shuttle -- the Enterprise OV-101. In the computer world, IBM introduced the first laser printer -- the IBM 3800 -- and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched Apple.



On 9 September, Chairman Mao passed away in China and across the East China Sea in Japan, the first VHS video cassette recorder (or VCR), the JVC HR 3300, was introduced. It wasn’t the first example of magnetic videotape technology -- that had first been demonstrated in 1951. AVCO had introduced the pre-recorded tapes of their Cartrivision system for sale and rental in 1972. In 1975 Sony had launched the Betamax recording system but it would be VHS that would conquer the home video market.



Although I'm not sure how it was chosen for the honor, the first theatrical film to be commercially released on VHS was a South Korean drama, 청춘교사 (aka The Young Teacher), which had been released to theaters in 1972. It was directed by Kim Ki-duk -- the one who made the daikaiju classic, Yonggary, Monster from the Deep as well a less-well-known-outside-Korea adolescent films like Barefooted Youth (1964) and not the Kim Ki-duk who helmed such internationally acclaimed films as Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003), 3-Iron (2004), Address Unknown (2001), and Time (2006).



The VCR wouldn't come to the US until 4 June, 1977, when it was introduced at a press conference before the Consumer Electronics Show starts in Chicago. Despite Betamax having better picture quality than JVC's VHS, Betamax tapes could only hold an hour's worth of recorded material whereas the capacity of JVC's standard T-120 doubled that. Furthermore, whilst Sony maintained tight control of the Betamax format, JVC immediately licensed out its technology to companies like Sharp and RCA. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, JVC embraced porn, which Sony shunned. By the end its first year, VHS had eroded 40% of Betamax's market share.




When my father bought our family's VCR in 1978, he chose RCA's SelectaVision. Its heft and fake wood grain paneling matched the aesthetics of our living room TV. It didn’t quite have a remote control -- there was a portable control panel connected by maybe a ten foot long cable. The machine also had a dew indicator because supposedly humidity could make it stop working although I don't remember that ever happening even in the swampiest Missouri summers of my childhood.




VHS surpassed Betamax in sales in 1981 -- the same year the doomed, phonograph-like CED (Capacitance Electronic Disc) was released after fifteen years of delay. Other rival technologies would follow. VCD (Video Compact Disc) debuted in 1993 and quickly became the format of film producers and consumers in the developing world. In 1997, a popular weather drama, Twister, was the first Hollywood film made available on DVD. The awful and evil DIVX (Digital Video Express) was introduced in 1998 (and had its plug pulled none-too-soon the following year). All of these formats boasted potentially superior image and sound quality to that of magnetic tapes (although VCDs often looked worse and LDs (LaserDisc) often trumped all other contemporaneous formats).




VHS still had at least one major leg up on the competition – the ease with which it allowed users to record (and re-record) content from their video cameras and televisions. Who among those alive back then didn’t amass a collection of home movies, soap operas, episodes of Manimal, and collections of music videos? My music promo compilations – laboriously culled from programs like MuchMusic’s City Limits and RapCity, BET’s Rap City, and MTV’s 120 Minutes and Yo! MTV Raps (and interspersed with selected TV ads) remained among my prize collections for many years. Digital Video Recorders like TiVo were introduced to the market in 1999 but were slow to catch on. By 2006 were still only present in 1.2% of households.




And, as with audio cassettes vs CDs, there are still thousands (maybe millions if you consider porn) of films that have never been released on digital formats – classics like Captain Eo (1986) and Walk Proud (1979) (which, of course, can both easily be watched online as can most others). Finally, if it weren’t for VHS, there would probably be no TV Carnage, no Future Schlock, and no Everything is Terrible!, and no Tim and Eric Awesome Show ...no Nam June Paik!



HD DVDs and Blu-Ray hit the markets in 2006, pleasing people who felt that the problem with movies was that their resolution wasn't high enough -- but far more ground-breaking and detrimental to the popularity all physical was the Internet and the launch of YouTube and Dailymotion in 2005. Although in their early days, shared video content was regularly taken down as quickly as it was put up, over time they and other video-sharing websites were part of the rise of online streaming. In 2006, advertising-supported free porn hosting service websites based on the YouTube appeared.




In 2006 the Canadian film History of Violence was the last “Hollywood” film to be released on VHS. In 2008, JVC produced its last standalone VHS VCR. Then, signaling that there was at least nostalgia for the format, promo copies of the independent House of the Dead (2009) were released on VHS to giddy response. So how about it Cassette Store Day people? Maybe next year exclusive video cassette releases!

*****

Enter to Win Tickets to CBGB Movie Premiere and Afterparty

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2013 05:11pm | Post a Comment

Now's your chance for you and a guest to attend a screening of CBGB October 1st at the Hollywood Arclight Theater as well as an afterparty with the cast and a special musical performance.

Enter to win at Amoeba, Hollywood (contest entry box is on the 2nd floor) or send an email to [email protected] with your name and phone number included. The winner will be notified on September 30th by phone, so include your daytime/best contact number.

CBGB covers the founding of legendary punk club of the same name in New York in 1973 and its run hosting many of the most important bands of the punk era. It stars Alan Rickman as CBGB founder Hilly Kristal, Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry, Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop, Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith, Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome and Caleb Broom Mc Cotter as Wayne County, among others.

The soundtrack, due October 8th, pulls classic cuts from 20 artists who performed at the venue (preorder on CD or LP from Amoeba). The first LP pressing from Omnivore will be a 2xLP pink vinyl release. Purchase the soundtrack at Amoeba Hollywood and get a free movie poster (while they last!).

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #49: Global Citizen Festival, B-Boy/B-Girl Summit, Improv Everywhere's "Conduct Us" Mission + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 25, 2013 03:23pm | Post a Comment


Here in New York City this week the big happening is the  United Nations General Assembly:General Debate of the 68th Session that takes place at the United Nations at 787 1st Ave, New York, NY 10017 and is being streamed via YouTube. Beyond the reports of what is happening at the newsworthy global conference inside the U.N. building, such as yesterday with both Obama and new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaking out for a resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations, outside in the streets of New York City the immediate meaning for everyday New Yorkers and tourists in town of the General Assembly is that traffic is screwed up on the East Side midtown and slowed down elsewhere across town. One friend of mine who foolishly took his car into Manhattan from Queens yesterday reported that just going 2 blocks took an hour in his attempt to get to the Queensboro Bridge with all the closures First Avenue is closed from 42nd Street up to 48th Street, and 44th, 45th and 46th streets are each closed to traffic between First and Second avenues . This means that for most of the city driving or taking taxis is not a good idea since those closures have a domino effect crosstown with gridlock everywhere. Good time to cycle or walk (weather if perfect this week here in NYC) or alternately take the subway. For more on the U.N. General Assembly click here.

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Win a Gretsch Guitar and More From Amoeba Music

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2013 01:03pm | Post a Comment

This latest Amoeba Music giveaway is a doozie—are you ready for it?

Now through October 19th, enter to win a Gretsch Electromatic Club Jet "outfit" (a $1,000+ retail value) from Truetone Music, Gretsch, Amoeba Music and Lux Lives L.A.

The beautiful Gretsch G5425 is jet black, has a fully carved top-chambered body and is part of the newly revamped Gretsch line. Truetone Music is including a case, tuner, set-up, guitar cable, Gretsch strap and T-shirt, plus other extras. It's free to enter, and the winner will be announced at the Lux LivesLA event at the Redwood Bar on October 20th, celebrating the life and music of legendary garage punk band The Cramps with performances, a prize wheel, Cramps collectibles and more. Tickets are on sale for that event at Amoeba Hollywood for $20 (plus a $2 service charge).

Enter to win at Amoeba Hollywood through October 19th. While you're there, please consider supporting our friends at Best Friends Animal Society with a donation. Best Friends works to eliminate the killing of animals in shelters through implementing spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return programs, as well as its no-kill Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and working with a network of animal shelters and rescue groups. Ticket sales from Lux LivesLA will also benefit Best Friends. Read more about the organization at bestfriends.org.

 

best friends

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Maria Bamford

Posted by Amoebite, September 25, 2013 12:14pm | Post a Comment

Maria Bamford

No one can turn family dysfunction and manic depression into a joke better than Maria Bamford. Known for her left field brand of comedy that includes impersonating her mother and video skits with her two dogs on a couch, Bramford has definitely carved out her own niche. She's been featured in two Comedy Central Presents specials, made multiple late-night appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel Live. You might also remember Maria from the popular Target commercials where she played an over achieving holiday shopper often referred to as, "the crazy Target lady." From Adult Swim shows to The Sarah Silverman Program to Variety's Top Ten Comics to watch, Maria has been one busy comedian.

BamfordBamford is currently on the road touring her latest release, Ask Me About My New God! (Comedy Central Records). The tour hits Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco October 22, followed by a stop in So Cal at Flappers Burbank November 15/16. Bamford is a must see, with her live show teetering on performance art and stand up. She's hilarious!

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September 24, 2013: Prisoners

Posted by phil blankenship, September 24, 2013 09:58pm | Post a Comment

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Overview of 1990's Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
The 1990's was an amazing decade for hip-hop music: one which enjoyed the second half of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop, the birth & proliferation of the indie hip-hop movement, the end of the Afro-centric movement and, propelled by the success of the early decade success of the G-Funk Era, the commercialization of the gangsta rap style that continues to this day.  So for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I present a broad overview of the  decade that was the 90's. A by no means inclusive of that very prolific decade this look at the decade merely scratches the surface, selectively highlighting a handful of releases and events (with each year getting a mention) that helped shape the 1990's in hip-hop.

In 1990 revolutionary, militant and Afro-centric hip-hop was in full effect and looked like it would be around forever. Examples included such popular socially & politically charged albums released in that first year of the decade as Public Enemy's third full-length album Fear Of a Black Planet, Ice Cube's first post N.W.A./solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment,X-Clan's To The East, Blackwards, Brand Nubian's One For All, Poor Righteous Teachers' Holy Intellect, Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It, Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum's self-titled Marley Marl debut, and Lakim Shabazz's Lost Tribe of Shabazz.

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The 56th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Wrap-Up!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 24, 2013 01:30pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music once again had the honor to be an official sponsor of the Monterey Jazz Festival this pastamoeba music monterey jazz festival weekend (September 20 - 22nd) and to be on-site at the Monterey County Fairgrounds with a mini-Amoeba store! It was our third year in attendance, offering signings with many of the festival's most exciting acts in our Amoeba tent.

The festival, in it's 56th year, was ablaze with eight stages and 500 acts ranging from emerging artists like Roberto Fonseca and Davina & The Vagabonds, to jazz vets such as David Sanborn and Bob James, to superstars such as Gregory Porter and Ravi Coltrane. From Friday to Suday evening, we held 12 signings in the Amoeba tent and -- thanks to Monterey Jazz Festival Talent Coordinator Bennett Jackson -- we even got to sit down for a few short interviews. For full coverage of each signing, check out all of our Monterey Jazz Fest blog posts HERE. Below are the highlights from our whirlwind weekend of way-out jazz signings.

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Albums Picks: Drake, Chvrches, Mazzy Star, Frankie Rose

Posted by Billy Gil, September 24, 2013 10:19am | Post a Comment
Drake - Nothing Was The Same (CD or Deluxe CD)

Drake has gone from sensitive Canadian kid actor to the most popular MC in hip-hop. The worst you can say about him is that he’s not the best pure rapper out there and lacks street cred; that’s still true. But as songwriters go, they don’t get much better. Drake is a new kind of hip-hop star, one less concerned with a hard image than he is with making interesting music. Barring the debatable “Wu-Tang Forever,” this is some of his best material yet. “Started From the Bottom” take a cue from his bud The Weeknd with a relentlessly bleak backdrop and a weary tale of success, like he’s reached the top of the mountain barely breathing—it’s a hell of a way to start a blockbuster album. “Hold On We’re Going Home” has been all over radio, with good reason, like a hip-hop version of Daft Punk’s latest album, all throwback funk and good time vibes, with Drake’s typically lovelorn lyrics. Despite the flak Drake gets for his rapping, Nothing Was the Same features some of Drake’s best rhymes yet, only including a handful of guest spots (2 Chainz and Big Sean add some welcome outside voices on “All Me”) and instead delving deep into Aubrey Drake Graham’s psyche and insecurities. “I hate that mom’s cooped up in her apartment, tellin’ herself that she’s too sick to get dressed up and go do shit” he says on the wrenching “Too Much.” Drake breathlessly delivers “The Language” in triplet cadence and lightens the mood (“She just wanna smoke ‘n’ f*ck, I said, ‘girl that’s all that we do’”). By the time he delivers the line “just give it time, we’ll see who’s still around a decade from now” on epic closer “Tuscan Leather,” Drake’s got little left to prove. If the haters provide fuel for his fire, haters keep hatin’ cause Nothing Was the Same is a beautiful smackdown.

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Notes From a Grumpy Old Man: The Real Zombie Apocalypse is Dull and Ordinary

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 23, 2013 08:38am | Post a Comment

Los Angeles has sure changed.

Some have been welcomed changes and others are hard to get used to. I’m constantly reminded this when I deejay in spots in Echo Park, Hollywood or Highland Park. Those parts of town were once considered the scourges of the city. It was riddled with gangs, drugs, homelessness, crime, earthquake damage and rows of buildings for lease. Ten years later, it’s now it’s a playground for the dull and ordinary. The argument of hipsters no longer applies here, because there is nothing hip about the people that play here. At best, they are in college; at worst they are former frat boys who have come to roost now that the area is safe.

When I used to tour for a living, the best thing about coming home to Los Angeles was getting away from the countless generic college towns that most of the venues  were located. Much like the Wilson Pickett song “Funky Broadway” , where every town has a "Broadway and a Broadway women", the college town had the same restaurants, coffee houses, record stores, frat bar, alternative bar and everyone looks the same. Ethnicity as a whole was slim to none, as people of color were always relegated to the “other” parts of town. Being Chicano, I always felt I was in the wrong part of town when as well.. Places with diversity, such as Chicago and New York, were always welcomed stops on the road because I felt I could take a breather from the generic college town. I was never one to wonder why Los Angeles couldn’t be like Austin, Olympia or Chapel Hill. I liked Los Angeles the way it was. It was spread out, not connected by trains so you can play tourist in someone’s barrio. It was damaged and a place for the strong to thrive and the weak to avoid. It short, it was great.

Much like most of America, the economic downturn of seventies and eighties turned many big cities into slightly controlled wastelands. But because of it, the music thrived. Los Angeles gave us great punk bands such as X, The Bags, The Weirdos, Black Flag, The Minutemen, The Gun Club, The Germs, just to name a brief few. Amazing roots rock in The Blasters and Los Lobos. Even Psyche got a re-hash, with The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade and Opal, who soon became Mazzy Star. Weirdo outsider metal from Jane’s Addition and as much as I abhor hair metal, Guns N’Roses and Motley Crüe  has to be given their due, They owe everything to L.A. Rap music? N.W.A. and Freestyle Fellowship, just those two groups spawned a million imitators, all with attitude. If  you are new to Los Angeles and you think L.A. is rough now. Listen to all these groups and hear what it was really once like.

There was once a push to preserves culture and not co-op. The World Stage in Leimert Park and people like Billy Higgins, Dwight Trible and Horace Tapscott went in the tradition of John Coltrane in preserving black culture and not turning it into smooth jazz or pseudo-classical dribble that most modern jazz sounds like today. Chalino Sanchez made his career in the clubs of South Gate. He was already widely popular with the Mexican immigrant community before he started to make the news with violence at his shows. Then there were all the bands from East Los, such as Ozomatli and Quetzal, who took risks in their incarnations by mixing traditional music with modern music. They brought culture and pride to kids that had no idea what that meant and they brought fresh sounds to traditionalists who were stuck in the past. They received a lot of crap from purists and hipsters alike but because of them, now anyone can mix Son Jarocho with Hip-Hop regardless if they are any good at either style and everyone thinks they’re geniuses. Let us not forget the many underground bands, party crews, back yard punk gigs, warehouse parties that have all their own history in Los Angeles as well. It's not to say that all music from L.A. from the back in the good ol'days is better than the music that comes out now, it's just different. I feel it said more.

Now there are parts of L.A. that feel like a college town, and its sad. I see things that make my stomach cringe. I saw a barefoot girl walk into a once seedy dive without anyone telling her to put her damn shoes on. Knowing my Los Angeles history, I can still feel the filth of these places underneath my feet and I’m wearing shoes. The entitled, they just don’t seem to care. They walk back to their cars from the clubs drunk and screaming, waking up people who have to work early the next day. It's nothing new, especially if you live by a club, but now there are neither policeman or gangsters in sight to regulate the neighborhood. As I get older and the audience that I deejay in front of gets younger and seemingly more naive, I feel the guilt that I’m facilitating someone’s future nightmare by contributing the soundtrack to it. I watch as frat boys shove drinks down young ladies throats so they can take them home because “They paid for the drinks” It’s not to assume it wasn’t always like this, but the entitled make it so overt, so obvious, that it’s hard to ignore.

The record stores and bookstores all have the same things. Used Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours LPs are suddenly at collector’s prices and the dull and ordinary don’t argue, they just pay the price. The coffee is served in a beaker and it costs a small paycheck, almost everywhere. The menus have changed. The Mexican restaurants have vegetarian options, without the scorn from the waitress when you try to explain that you are vegan. Salsa is served on the side instead of being put inside a burrito as to cut cost from all the returned food because ii's too spicy for bland palates. Everything is easy for them because let’s face it, they have money. It’s beyond gentrification; it’s the zombie apocalypse and it’s boring.

So after a rough night in the college town once known as Los Angeles, I started to think about all these thoughts in my head. I was too tired to write them out and quite frankly, it was late and I just needed some brain eraser. For some reason I started to think, “What would Black Flag and N.W.A. do if they took a time machine and were transported into future Los Angeles in the boring zombie apocalypse of 2013?”

Yes, I had no clue what they would do either.

So instead, I transplanted myself into a Black Flag show from 1982 via YouTube and rediscovered the virtues of Black Flag. The noise they made during that show could kill a thousand zombies today. The line-up from the gig I watched was astonishing. It consisted of Greg Ginn and Dez Cadena on guitar, Chuck on bass, Henry on vocals and the short-lived line-up concluded with former D.O.A. and future Danzig drummer Chuck Biscuits on drums. The video was horrible quality. The audio was absolutely unlistenable, but it relaxed me like a lullaby. Soon I curled up in a ball and fell fast asleep with Rollins screaming on the top of his lungs while Biscuits pounded the drums with complete recklessness. I was soon far, oh so far, from the dull and ordinary zombie apocalypse.








 

Sunday Night at Monterey Jazz Fest: Along Came Betty, David Sanborn & Bob James, Tammy Hall, and Davina & The Vagabonds

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 22, 2013 10:02pm | Post a Comment

The last night of the Monterey Jazz Festival is always bitter sweet. We hate for it to end, but we leave bursting full of positive experiences, the memory of amazing music, and a couple of fried artichokes. Sunday was a full day at the mini-Amoeba tent with signings from Joe Lovano (see previous blog post), Along Came Betty, David Sanborn & Bob James, Tammy Hall, and Davina & The Vagabonds

Along Came Betty celebrates the spirit of hard-bop, a seminal movement of '50s and '60s jazz music. But the quintet has become much more than a homage to an important era of jazz history. Pianist and prolific composer Biff Smith's sophisticated yet highly accessible compositions blend elements of that era with modern sensibilities. The rich sound of harmonized sax and trumpet backed by the classic piano, bass, and drums rhythm section result in fresh, straight-ahead jazz.

along came betty amoeba music monterey jazz festival

Next we welcomed not one but two legends to our signing table, alto saxophonist David Sanborn and keyboardist-composer-arranger Bob James, who were celebrating their second creative collaboration Quartette Humaine (available on CD and LP). This collaboration comes a quarter century after their first, the million-selling GRAMMY® Award-winning Double Vision.

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Sunday at Monterey Jazz Festival: Joe Lovano

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 22, 2013 05:10pm | Post a Comment

It's the last day of the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival and the eight stages are blazing with the sounds of jazz throughout the Monterey Fair Grounds. We have a full schedule of signings today at the mini-Amoeba tent...five to be exact!

We just had the honor of sitting down to a signing and interview with GRAMMY Award-winning saxophone giant Joe Lovano. Since 2009, Lovano has been with Us Five, a dynamic young band that features drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and pianist James Weidman. His latest album Cross Culture is an 11-track tour de force that presents ten of Lovano’s original compositions along with a stunning interpretation of the Billy Strayhorn ballad “Star Crossed Lovers.” Augmenting his core group with the daring West African guitarist (and fellow Blue Note artist) Lionel Loueke, Lovano delivers his most fully realized representation of a career-long quest to explore the notion of universal musical language. MJF talent coordinator Bennett Jackson spoke with Lovano today:


Stay tuned for updates on our signings with Along Came Betty (4pm), David Sanborn & Bob James (4:30pm), Tammy Hall (5:30pm), and Davina & The Vagabonds (7:30pm).

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Sunday Plays: an Autumn Equinox mix

Posted by Kells, September 22, 2013 05:08pm | Post a Comment


Sundays are conducive to relaxed habitual activities like alfresco brunches, bible study and bingo.
However, I choose to spend most of my brunch money on records and my Sunday School days are behind me. Plus, I'm pretty certain I'm immune to the bingo bug thus I spend my Sundays catching up on the records I've acquired during the week or otherwise play curator to my personal wax museum. I usually get the coffee or tea brewing and then select four albums at a time, because that usually adds up to two and a half hours, and play them in the order seems to best fit the feel of the day's mood. Then you brunch or check your email or write your blog or roll around on the floor or whatever -- that's your business.

Anyway, the enjoyment that comes of listening to records on a lazy Sunday morning/afternoon is, for me, the very definition of creature comfort. This Sunday being the Autumnal Equinox I'm reluctantly ringing in fall with these selections:

Staying Alive - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

This year my dumb ass didn't really get around to reveling in the splendor of Summer until it was almost over. Somehow, like magic, listening to this soundtrack is making it all okay. On the one hand I am so completely bummed to see Summer go, but I've also always been such a ho for Autumn, this film and the music that completes it. For me, right now, it's the remedy to all my Summer woes. Especially the breakdown part of "(We Dace) So Close to the Fire" where it claws it's way into a sexy, fragmented downtempo beat set against a corny gasping vocal, repeating "dance... fire... BURN!" signaling Finola Hughes' slinking she-devil entrance in the dance piece within the film, Satan's Alley (see the vid below). Who knew Sylvester Stallone's brother Frank was so musically gifted? I mean, "Moody Girl" is a criminally overlooked smooth soul jammer in my opinion. 

Listening to this first thing was the best idea I've had all day.





Next up I went with the kinder, gentler submission to the turning of the seasonal wheel...

Dead Can Dance - Aion

I'll never forget the first time I heard Dead Can Dance, their sound totally changed the way I thought about mood music. It was around the same time that I was reading Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles which really worked for me. This album is the only one of theirs that I own in my wax museum and listening to it only makes me want to add to the family. Of all their records, however, I feel like I can get behind this one the most for a Summer-to-Fall transition piece. The second track on side A, "Saltarello," is an exemplary modern medieval romp that brings to mind blurred visions of courtesans, dressed as men, cutting it up at a harvest masquerade -- just like Wikipedia said.

Dead Can Dance - "Saltarello"


and now for something completely different...

Bell, Book and Candle - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I got this the other day on a whim, just because. I'm always on the prowl for crazy, kooky, sexy, cool sounds for the lounge.
Well, there's nothing for it now: I need to see this movie. I'm more than a little miffed that I haven't seen it before now because this soundtrack just plain rules. There is plenty of kitschy bongo beats and and lush jazzy tones that adds as much mystery to my interpretation of what this film is all about based solely on the soundtrack as it, in theory, enhances the witchy woman vibes I assume the makers of this movie aimed to achieve. Aside from the vague insertion of the melody from "Jingle Bells" in the opening suite (I feel like it's been popping up now and again as I make my way through the record, back to front) I 'm beginning to think this might make a more appropriate yet sinister transition listen from Hallowe'en to Christmas, nevermind Thanksgiving.

Here's a little visual!




Last, but most effing definitely not least:


Also known as Snowblind or Children of the Grave, Black Sabbath Vol. 4 always kind of seemed like such a dopey title (no pun intended) for a mammoth album so great that signified a turning point not only in my life but also, as I've come to understand, for the band as well. As much as the music of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath will forever be linked to the dark arts and Hallowe'en, the lead-off track "Wheels of Confusion" seems to me like a regurgitation of my own personal "innocence lost" after school special, which is probably why it feels so deliciously gloomy yet embarrassing and infinitely revisitable. Not my favorite Sabbath track (that honor goes to "A National Acrobat"), but I love Wheels so much it might just be my ultimate, Side One, Track One.

Black Sabbath - "Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener"

Saturday Night at Monterey Jazz Festival: The Relatives and Ravi Coltrane

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 21, 2013 11:20pm | Post a Comment

Saturday night ended big at the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival with signings from The Relatives and Ravi Coltrane at the mini-Amoeba tent.the relatives amoeba music monterey jazz festival

Fresh from their electrifying set on the Garden stage, The Relatives (dapper in lavender suits) sat for a signing and meet & greet at the Amoeba tent. The Relatives were formed in 1970 by veteran Dallas Gospel singer Rev. Gean West and his brother Tommie. Their sound bridges the gap between traditional Gospel, Soul, and Psychedelia. In the early 1970s, they recorded three obscure singles and a previously unreleased session — all of which are compiled on the acclaimed 2009 anthology, Don’t Let Me Fall. The release of the anthology brought The Relatives back together as a band, planting the seeds for their 2013 Yep Roc release, The Electric Word, which was recorded and produced by Jim Eno of Spoon, and is their first recording in 30 years!
 

Born on Long Island in 1965, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is the ravi coltrane amoeba music monterey jazz festivalsecond son of John and Alice Coltrane. His father (who recorded the landmark Blue Train for Blue Note in 1957) died when Ravi was only two. Alice, a renowned composer and pianist, raised Ravi on the West Coast and proved a strong role model in her own right.

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Contemporary Irish Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 21, 2013 07:03pm | Post a Comment
      
                    Rob Kelly "Jack The Ripper" (2013)

Since its humble beginnings in the 1980's Irish hip-hop has gradually grown and developed to its current vibrant state.  From starting out as a predominantly derivative genre hip-hop in Emerald Isle has, over the years, clearly found its own voice and distinctive style. And while this identity first took root in the 90's, with acts like Scary Eire showcasing a unique Irish take on the genre, it is really only in the past five or six years that Irish hip-hop has become a most distinctive sub-genre of the global hip-hop movement with more artists than any previous time in its short history contributing to the art form.

As an Irish born hip-hop fan, who left the country just as hip-hop was taking root there, upon each return visit I have been actively following hip-hop in Ireland and can report that it is currently enjoying its healthiest & most innovative state with a slew of excellent new songs and albums been released over the past twelve month period alone - many from artists who just arrived on the scene in the past half decade. Over the past few decades it has been interesting to watch this Irish strain of the American born musical genre go through its slow but steady development. For this Amoeblog I have selected a brief sampling of Irish hip-hop videos from the past year or so to give an overview of the scene over there.

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Saturday Afternoon at Monterey Jazz Festival: Signings with The California Honeydrops, Claire Daly, and Big Sam's Funky Nation

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 21, 2013 07:03pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music is on the scene at the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival with our mini-Amoeba tent full of great deals and amazing signings with some of the festival's best musicians. Friday night was a blast with signings from Roberto Fonseca, Gregory Porter, and Snarky Puppy, and today (Saturday) has been epic indeed as we got to sit down for signing with The California Honeydrops, baritone sax player Claire Daly, and Big Sam's Funky NationLater tonight, we'll welcome The Relatives and Ravi Coltrane!

Digging deep into the roots of American music, The California Honeydrops embrace the traditions of blues, gospel, Second line New Orleans jazz, and early R&B. Plus, they're a hilarious bunch. We captured some of the fun on video:

 


When we caught up with Claire Daly and North Coast Brewing's Doug Moody, we discussed Baritone Monk, which was released by North Coast Brewing in October of 2012.
 

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King Arthur lives (and procures a shrubbery) this Sunday at the Castro Theatre in SF!

Posted by Kells, September 21, 2013 03:48pm | Post a Comment
 
This Sunday the dark sensuality and brutal magic of John Boorman's Excalibur collides with Monty Python's excessively silly, low-budget quest for the Holy Grail as San Francisco's own Castro Theatre hosts a double feature comprised of two of the best loved interpretations of Arthurian Legend ever committed to memory...I mean celluloid film. With two showings of each film, the latter offering free coconut shells while supplies last, this cinematic concurrence is just one of many Castro two-fers that has really got me feeling thrilled to go out to the movies again (not to mention that these double feeches are two movies for one low price, dig). If you happen make it out to either of the late showings beware of yours truly, the geek that chants entire spans of dialogue in hushed tones (especially the Charm of Making) or otherwise forgets that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not the Rocky Horror Picture Show (cue coconuts). 

Below I honor those who share my enthusiasm for these films by sharing not original, but rather very lovingly recut, fan-made trailers for both Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. [huzzah]
 
EXCALIBUR shows at 1:45, 6:30...




 
...and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL shows at 4:25, 9:05*


 
*free coconuts! 

Gregory Porter, Roberto Fonseca, and Snarky Puppy at the Amoeba Monterey Jazz Fest Tent

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 20, 2013 11:47pm | Post a Comment

The opening night of the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival is coming to a close and the final notes of Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club's set are drifting through the crisp sea-side air from the Jimmy Lyons stage to our mini-Amoeba tent.

It's been an action-packed day of celebrity signings at our tent, starting with pianist Roberto Fonseca, who opened the festivities today on the Garden stage.

Then GRAMMY-nominated jazz and soul singer Gregory Porter graced the mini-Amoeba signing table between his two shows (Jimmy Lyons stage and Dizzy's Den). He charmed fans and signed autographs on his major label debut, Liquid Spirit, which is out now on Blue Note Records. This year we are lucky to once again have the help of Monterey Jazz Festival talent coordinator and musician Bennett Jackson, who jumped in and conducted a swift interview with Porter before Porter had to dash off to his next set. Check it out:
 


And as a special bonus surprise, Snarky Puppy dropped by for an unplanned signing! Genre-busters for sure, Snarky Puppy lands somewhere between a garage band and a collective, with over 25 players in regular rotation. Bennett Jackson sat down with the three core members (including award-winning bassist/guitarist/composer/arranger Michael League) and talked insider tips on Texas, New York, and their new album Family Dinner.
 

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Opening Night at Monterey Jazz Festival and Amoeba is on the Scene!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 20, 2013 07:35pm | Post a Comment

Greetings from the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival at the beautiful Monterey Fair Grounds! We are Amoeba Music Monterey Jazz Festblogging LIVE from the Mini-Amoeba tent and will be here everyday of the festival (September 20 - 22), while offering rare and popular CDs and vinyl, special edition jazz t-shirts, books, posters, AND signings with some of this year's line-up of amazing artists!

Tonight, Friday, is opening night of the festival and the shows started roaring at 6:30pm. We have two stellar signings at the Mini-Amoeba tent tonight, so stop on by and meet these jazz luminaries!

Signing at the Mini-Amoeba tent tonight:
Roberto Fonseca – 8pm

When pianist Roberto Fonseca plays, the music seeps from yo roberto fonsecaevery pore in his body, at times on stage he stands and hammers the piano as if it were a percussion instrument or he grabs a drum and transforms his group into a comparsa – the Cuban carnival groups that parade the streets once a year . YO, Fonseca’s new album, continues this party like never before. Recognized as a major influence on modern Cuban jazz, and jazz in general, he proves that his horizons are not limited by the subtleties of jazz, nor to just the Caribbean.

gregory porter

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Show Recap: Valerie June Live at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 20, 2013 06:09pm | Post a Comment

Valerie June started her Sept. 19 set at Amoeba Hollywood with little fanfare, playing guitar steadily and humming hypnotically to a stripped-down version of the title track to Pushin' Against a Stone (on CD or LP), the title track to her fourth and breakthrough album. On record, it's a fuzz-guitar laden soul number; live, June appeared solo, strumming her guitar and allowing her voice to grow slowly over time, moving from low and earthy to high and keening like Joanna Newsom's. "I ain't fit to be no mother" she sang on "Workin' Woman Blues," the album's awesome opener. Though her playing style was rudimentary, she got her point across, playing rough blues riffs and strumming open notes for a droning effect.

Even with a big name producer on her album like The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Valerie June isn't an artist who's been polished to a professional sheen. She still came off as an eccentric, saying little and hiding behind sunglasses. While she sometimes played furiously and sang her heart out, it seemed as though she was playing to herself, alone in a room—something that didn't hurt her performance, but rather made it all the more curious.

She strummed a banjo for the stunning "Somebody to Love," really belting and letting her voice break deliberately on the high notes, making the song's yearning sentiment quite literally felt. Soundwise it was tricky—her voice goes from a whisper to a yelp so quickly that she was sometimes barely audible, sometimes piercing. This wasn't exactly the kind of performance you could listen to idly; June demands your attention, which she received to rapturous applause on that song.

She pulled out an older song, the sweet "Rain Dance," and added country shuffle to the song by playing a tambourine with her foot. She showed some chops on banjo on another song, building a drone from a repeated riff that ebbed louder and quieter along with her voice.

"Everybody's got great hair around here," she joked, adding that often touch her dreadlocked mane "like a puppy dog." "As long as your hands are clean, I don't care," she said before playing her last song, a Loretta Lynn-esque number and one of her loveliest, with hard-hitting lyrics—"men are born strong, then broken down," she sang.

See more photos from the event here.

Six Shooter -- The Radio Western Starring Jimmy Stewart Debuted 20 September, 1953

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 20, 2013 02:16pm | Post a Comment


On this date (20 September) in 1953, one of my favorite old time radio Westerns debuted on NBC -- Six Shooter. It was created and written by Frank Burt, who'd also written for The WhistlerThe Man Called X, and The Unexpected. It was produced by Jack Johnstone (Buck Rogers, The CBS Radio Workshop, Richard DiamondSomebody KnowsYours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and others). The music director, Basil Adlam, arranged and conducted the theme,Ralph Vaughan Williams’s "The Highland Lament." The announcers were Hal Gibney (and John Wald), who introduced each episode with the words "The man in the saddle is angular and long-legged. His skin is sun-dyed brown. The gun in his holster is gray steel and rainbow mother-of-pearl, its handle unmarked. People call them both "the Six Shooter."

The only recurring character was Britt Ponset – played with greatness by Jimmy Stewart, who'd been interested in starring in a radio drama for some time before Six Shooter. Other actors that frequently appeared on the series included Parley Baer, Virginia Gregg, Harry Bartell, Howard McNear, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy, Alan Reed, Marvin Miller and William Conrad (though often credited as "Julius Krelboyne" since, at the same time, he was starring on Gunsmoke over at NBC's rival network, CBS).


ADULT WESTERNS

Six Shooter is one of the finest examples of the Adult Western (no, I'm not talking about Bareback Mountain or How the West Was Hung). Unlike their juvenile counterparts in which a quick-draw sheriff in all white nearly always disposes of the villain in all black in a duel, Adult Westerns were more concerned with inner turmoil and moral gray areas, leading some to call them Western Noir.

The subgenre first arose in the 1940s with radio westerns like Hawk Durango (1946) and Hawk Larabee (1946) and films like I Shot Jesse James (1949). In the early 1950s, when TV began to erode the audiences of both film and radio with family-friendly fare, both film and radio responded by offering more examples of Adult Westerns with movies like Winchester '73 (1950) and High Noon (1952) and radio series like Frontier Town (1952) and best of all, Gunsmoke (1952).


JIMMY STEWART

Six Shooter had something in its chamber that most radio programs didn’t – a movie star – in this case, Jimmy Stewart. As Britt Ponset, Stewart portrayed the wandering gunslinger as a reluctant, yet highly efficient, ronin cowboy. As is still mostly the case, even then film, radio, and TV stars rarely dabbled in more than one format (as they were and are competitors). Stewart was primarily a film actor, having built a reputation on films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and It's a Wonderful Life (1946), among others.

His first adult western film had been Destry Rides Again (1939). Beginning with 1949’s Winchester '73, Stewart also began a fruitful collaboration on a series of noir-influenced adult western films with director Anthony Mann which continued with Bend of the River (1952) and Naked Spur (1953) before coming to radio.

Six Shooter
wasn’t Stewart's first foray into radio.  He'd previously graced anthology programs like Lux Radio Theater's The Screen Guild Theater as well as Screen Guild Theater, Theater Guild of the Air and others with his widely-imitated, slow, fumbly, South Midland drawl. He also appeared numerous times as a guest on radio variety shows. Six Shooter, however, was his first and only starring radio role. 


THE PRECURSOR AND AUDITION 

On 13 April, 1952, NBC's Hollywood Star Playhouse anthology series aired an episode called "The Six Shooter" that -- like the series to come -- was written by Burt, directed by Johnstone, and starred Jimmy Stewart. A subsidiary of MCA-TV called Revue Productions expressed interest in fleshing out the episode into a series and reunited its participants. 

The following year the group produced an audition script with guest stars William Conrad as Sheriff Ed Scofield, Ben Scofield as the sheriff's son, Parley Baer as Fred Wilmer, and Herb Vigran as 'Heavy' Norton, the town blacksmith. 


SERIES PICKED UP



Less than a month later, Coleman Home Heaters became the series' sponsor. It debuted on 20 September and ran for 39 more episodes. The episodes veered between tense action and light comedy, sometimes in a single program. In most, Ponset found himself drawn into a situation that he often ended up reluctantly shooting his way out of. It seems that the series was popular but Stewart probably found starring on a weekly series and continually making films too time-consuming. Although I haven't seen any reputable sources to confirm it, by most accounts Coleman oddly dropped their sponsorship and Liggett & Meyers stepped in but Stewart was unwilling to star in a show hawking Chesterfields. It seems to me that, since the program was possible, some other sponsor could've been found if Stewart really wanted to continue doing the show. Whatever the reasons, it ended but luckily for modern fans, all episodes of the series remain in circulation today. 


MORE
 SIX SHOOTER

Six Shooter moved to television in 1957, re-titled The Restless Gun, and without the involvement of Stewart or Johnstone but with Burt on board for its two year run as consultant. Instead of Britt Ponset its protagonist was Vint Bonner -- played by John Payne.

Stewart revived the Ponset character for two 1957 episodes of the television anthology series General Electric Theater -- "The Town with a Past" and "The Trail to Christmas" (although in the latter his name was for some reason changed to "Bart"). Two years later, the anthology Startime, based the episode "Cindy's Fella" on Six Shooter's "When the Shoe Doesn't Fit" although in it Stewart played an unnamed character rather than Ponset.


AFTER RADIO

Stewart continued making films (including adult Westerns with Anthony Mann) like The Man from Laramie (1955 -- co-written by Frank Burt), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and many more. In 1989 Stewart published a collection of poetry titled Jimmy Stewart and his Poems that I used to own a copy of although sadly seem to have long ago lost or misplaced. 


*****

Big thanks to the incomparable old time radio researchers at Digital Deli Too. Old Time Radio programs are located in Amoeba's Spoken Word section.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 09.20.13: 2 Chainz, LNMO, Big Sean, Arsenio Hall

Posted by Billyjam, September 20, 2013 10:19am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Top Five Week Ending 09: 20:13


1) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

2) LMNO After The Fact (Up-Above)

3) 2 Chainz B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME (Def Jam)

4) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)

5) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)

Included in the latest hip-hop top five chart from Amoeba Hollywood is 2 Chainz' B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME which is the winner of the "#1 Next Level Album Title (September, 2013 - Associated Amoeba Website Album Reviewers Association)." This latest  from 2 Chainz - the ever popular Atlanta-based rapper formerly known as Tity Boi is accurately described by this website as "super classy melancholy vibe which has 2 Chainz doing his pretty specific list-rapping (potentially equivalent to the one-liner stylings of someone like Steven Wright or Jack Handey?), which always manages to be both unbelievably laid back and unbelievably urgent." and is well worth picking up at each Amoeba store or online here (Note; free shipping in USA). Another recommended new entry on this latest Amoeba Hollywood hip-hop chart is local SoCal artist LMNO's brand new album After The Fact (Up-Above) that finds the Long Beach, CA artist in killer form with a rhyme flow that is smooth and engaging from the get go with the album's top notch production courtesy of Evidence who also graces the mic. Other collaborators among the album's well chosen guests include Rakaa, and MED. A must get for fans of that timeless 90's flavor hip-hop.

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Weekly Roundup: Cass McCombs, Glasser, Obliterations and More

Posted by Billy Gil, September 19, 2013 04:16pm | Post a Comment

Cass McCombs – “Brighter” (feat. Karen Black)

Actress Karen Black died from cancer last month. Before she passed, she recorded this great song with singer Cass McCombs, who also dueted with Black on the memorable “Dreams-Come-True-Girl,” the opener to 2009’s Catacombs. In this song from the upcoming Big Wheel and Others, Black takes the lead, her voice sounding lively and wild. For fans of Black, this posthumous release is a beautiful gift. The 22-song Big Wheel and Others is due Oct. 15 on Domino, listen to “Brighter” below and “There Can Only Be One” here. McCombs will be at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown Nov. 12, L.A.’s The Echo Nov. 14 and S.F.’s Great American Music Hall Nov. 15.

 

Glasser – “Design” video

The video for the second single from L.A.-based Glasser’s upcoming Interiors album (preorder on CD or LP) features Glasser’s Cameron Mesirow in a futuristic Mad Men dress dancing with an animated sculpture. It reinforces the message: This is electro-pop fit for a museum, not just the dancefloor. Interiors is due Oct. 8 on True Panther/Matador.

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New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 9/18 - Shed, Lawrence, Tiedye, Leisure Connection and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, September 18, 2013 11:34pm | Post a Comment

Gersteffalen - Old Villagers

 

Gersteffalen

The Old Villagers 12"

M>O>S>

Excellent outre acid from Aroy Dee's MOS_DEEP imprint. These tracks strike a delicate balance between gritty acid lines and more contemplative pads. The instrumental  break in Game On Major feels like the chilled-out section of some lost Hacienda classic.

Buy The Old Villagers 12"

 

Shed - Dirt/Fluid

Shed 

Dirt/Fluid 12"

50 Weapons

Shed comes correct with his third release on Modeselektor's 50 Weapons. Amazing, retro-tinged tracks with echoes of both the producer's Wax and Head High project. Both Dirt and Fluid trade in earworm synth themes comprised of two or three chords. Dirt's 909 kick and analog wind make for a track equally suited for djs and home listening. Fluid pairs a nostalgic organ riff with a massive breakbeat.

Buy Dirt/Fluid 12"

 

 

 

 

 

Black Sites - Prototype

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September 18, 2013: Riddick

Posted by phil blankenship, September 18, 2013 10:31pm | Post a Comment

Show Recap: Islands at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 18, 2013 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Islands took the stage at Ameoba Hollywood Sept. 17, the day they released their fifth album, Ski Mask (on CD, LP or download). The band mostly played songs from that album, portraying a more mature, subdued version of Islands than we've previously seen. However, Nick Thorburn is still a beast and a ham onstage—"We're Islands, it's true—oh shit," he said, distracted by something, then went to start a song on keys before returning to holding the mic and strutting through "Wave Forms," Ski Mask's buoyant opener. "Death Drive" introduced cool analog keyboard sounds and a subtle hip-hop feel to the set. For Ski Mask's best song, "Becoming the Gunship," Thorburn took to playing a beautiul white guitar—he and his band all looked pretty dapper, btw, but that's neither here nor there—and his bandmates offered solid harmonies. They reached back to 2008's Arm's Way for the discoy "Creeper" before returning to the newer material, proclaiming "Contractually, I'm obligated to ask you to buy [Ski Mask]" before launching into that album's “Winged Beat Drums,” a funkier song akin to Spoon with nice dynamics and sunny lines like "life's not a gas, it's a gas chamber." Thorburn picked his guitar alone in the opening of the sad-sounding "Here Here," while "Hushed Tones" saw bigger, Who-style ringing chords, with a soft underbelly of watery synths. Thorburn appeared to get annoyed with someone in the audience and invited the guy onstage to air his complaints—that guy ended up being rapper Subtitle, who joined the band to deliver his rap on Return to the Sea's "Where there's a will, There's a whalebone." Even as they've mellowed out, Islands couldn't resist throwing a bit of mayhem into the mix. The band stuck around for a signing session that included all members of the band biting into one of their records—perhaps to authenticate it as real, like people did in the olden days with gold coins.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Everything Is Terrible!

Posted by Amoebite, September 18, 2013 12:48pm | Post a Comment

Everything Terrible

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Especially if we're talking about old VHS tapes and most definitely if we're talking to the collective known as Everything Is Terrible!

Everything is Terrible! is a comedy website that features footage from VHS tapes spanning the mid '80s to early '90s. The collective scour thriftstores, yard sales and bargain bins searching for  forgotten VHS gems. They then compile somewhat of a "best of the worst" and create hilarious mashup pieces of brilliant art. Sometimes it's a potty training video for kids or a PSA on drug use mashuped with Christian porn intervention and work safety tips. The result is outrageously funny. EIT also tours, putting on live psychedelic stage shows featuring puppets, video screenings, comedy, music and projections. They do it all and have legions of cult like fans to praise their genius.

Everything TerribleEverything Is Terrible! has set out to amass the largest collection of Jerry Maguire VHS tapes in the history of man. Under their "Maguire Wach" campaign, EIT accepts mailed in VHS copies of  the movie. Fans can also bring copies to their live shows and there is a leader board keeping tally on their website. Anyone who donates 10 or more copies gets their name on the leader board!

If you or somebody you know has a VHS copy of Jerry Maguire that needs a loving home, please donate it to Everything Is Terrible! at:

Everything is Terrible!
P.O. Box 47924
Chicago, IL 60647 USA

Nick and Dimitri of EIT recently visited Amoeba Hollywood for another memorable episode of What's In My Bag? and they managed to dig up some very crucial findings.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exporing Culver City, The Heart of Screenland

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 17, 2013 06:24pm | Post a Comment
ALL ROADS LEAD TO CULVER CITY



Imagine for a moment that you are a contestant on the game show Jeopardy and you were presented with the answer, "This community's slogans have included 'The Motion Picture Capital of the World,' 'The Heart of Screenland,' and 'Where Hollywood Movies are Made?'" If you're like me you'd probably ask, "What is Hollywood?" with some confidence. If you did, however, Alex Trebek would make that slightly pained and disappointed expression and tell you that "the question we were looking for is "What is Culver City?" And again, if you're at all like me, you'd probably go, "Huh?" By the way, Jeopardy! has been filmed in Culver City since 1994.

Artwork in Culver City highlighting Hollywood

Culver City is, in fact, both currently and historically a major hub in the production of mainstream American Cinema (you know, the ones usually referred to as "Hollywood" films) but for whatever reason -- and despite the best efforts of many Culverites -- it has been far less successful than the Hollywood neighborhood in connecting its name to the entertainment industry in the global public's mind. In fact, I'd wager that more tourists and Angelenos associate Burbank, North Hollywood, Studio City, and Universal City with "Hollywood" film production than they do Culver City.


I'm not really sure what makes a city a "Motion Picture Capital of the World." For years now, both Mumbai, India and Lagos, Nigeria (Bollywood and Nollywood) have annually surpassed the entire USA in film production (and tellingly, as with Kollywood, LollywoodTollywood, &c, signal their film-centricity by using a portmanteau that incorporates their own city or language with "Hollwood" and not "Culver City"). Meanwhile Culver City officials and other boosters continue to remind everyone of their city's place in the celluloid world at almost every conceivable opportunity. I even saw a sign for an apartment complex under construction which announced that it will be "debuting" rather than opening in 2014 (although "debuting" makes it sound like it's a teenage Filipina). 

Admittedly, even though I consider myself a fairly informed guy, it wasn't until researching this piece that I learned of Culver City's filmic importance. I've had a few friends that have lived in Culver City in the past and my impressions of the place had more to do with its small town atmosphere, its amazing diversity of restaurants, and the unpretentiousness of its populace rather than movie production. Then again, although I'm a film fanatic, the first thing I think of when I hear "Hollywood" is Thai food.

*****


CULVER CITY'S CHARACTER

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the Westside

Culver City is by most definitions (a small group who live west of the 405 would beg to differ) a community in Los Angeles's Westside (although like Santa Monica it's its own city). Compared not just to other Westside communities but Los Angeles County as a whole, the population of Culver City is highly diverse. As of 2010 the population was roughly 60% white (primarily German and English), 23% Latino (primarily Mexican) of any race, 15% Asian (primarily Filipino), 10% black, and 1% Native American.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Culver City

Although the Culver City's area is only about 13 square kilometers, the fact that it's shaped something like a Starfleet Type-2 phaser (the result of 42 strategic annexations) has resulted in its being neighbored by a large number of communities including Baldwin Hills, Cameo Plaza, The Culver City Arts District (which is mostly located outside of Culver City), Del Rey, La Cienega Heights, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Playa Vista, Venice, West Adams (not to be confused with the West Adams Historic District), Westchester, and Windsor Hills.

Culver City neighborhoods sign

Culver City is comprised of many neighborhoods of varying size. Their borders, names, and even status as neighborhoods isn't universally agreed upon. Some are descended from old tracts and others are little more than condominium developments. Anyway, in my research I found the following communities listed by at least once source as a neighborhood of Culver City: Blair Hills, Blanco (aka Blanco Park aka Beverlywood West), Carlson Park, Clarkdale (aka Tellefson Park), Culver City-90066, Culver City Terrace (a trailer court), Culver West, Culver Crest, Downtown Culver City, Emerald Estates (a gated community), Federal Park, Fox Hills, the Hayden Tract, the Helms District (aka the Helms Bakery District aka the Helms Design District), Heritage Estates, Jefferson, Lakeside Villa, Lakeside Village (a gated community), Lindberg Park, Little Culver, Lower Crest (aka Lower Culver Crest), Lucerne, McLaughlin, McManus (Culver City-East), the Nolan Tract, Park East (a gated community), Playa Pacific (a gated community), Raintree (a gated community), Rancho Higuera (aka Higuera), Regent Square, Studio Estates, Studio Village, Sunkist Park (aka El Marino), Tara Hill, Veterans Park (aka Park West), Washington Culver, and Windsor Fountains.

Downtown Culver City

Most of Culver City is comprised of low-profile residential neighborhoods comprised mainly of single family homes and most of what would likely of interest to visitors is likely located within and around Downtown Culver City, the Hayden Tract, the Helms District, or adjacent but actually within Los Angeles.


NOT IN CULVER CITY 

If Culver City officials and others are unhappy that the community is widely overlooked for its contributions to cinema they seem to be just as happy to allow Culver City to be associated with a number of attractions that aren't actually within the city as they appear on tour maps and Culver City directional signs. Ivy Substation (and The Actors' Gang), Carbon, most of the Culver City Arts District, the Hobbit HousesMedia Park, the Museum of Jurassic Technology are all in Los Angeles -- not that that should preclude Culverites' promotion or enjoyment of them.


*****


ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE AREA

It isn't known who the indigenous people of the Westside were nor what they called themselves. They may've been ancestors of the Chumash or speakers of a Hokan language. They probably arrived around 15,000 years ago. Some time later, around 8,000 years ago, they were displaced by or absorbed into a population whose ancestors migrated from the Sonoran Desert, a people who're today commonly referred to as Tongva. One of Tongva villages, Saa'anga, was located a little west of present day Culver City, near the mouth of Ballona Creek on Santa Monica Bay. There were other, smaller villages located around the watershed as well. 


THE SPANISH ERA 

In 1542 Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed what he believed to be the Island of California for country of Spain. In June 1769, Gaspar de Portolà embarked upon an overland expedition from San Diego, stopping near present-day Santa Monica on the 3rd of August. It was the prelude to the Tongva and other Native peoples' subjugation within the California Mission System.


THE MEXICAN ERA

Mexico began its war of independence with Spain in 1810 and finally achieved it in 1821. That year the 12.65 km2 Rancho de los Bueyes was granted to Bernardo Higuera and Cornelio Lopez. To the east was Rancho Las Cienegas and Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera. To the west was Rancho La Ballona.  Augustín Machado and Felipe Talamantes had earlier been granted permission to graze cattle on Rancho La Ballona in 1819, around which time the Machado built an adobe on the banks of the creek which soon flooded and washed away the structure (Ballona Creek was paved by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1935 to prevent further flooding). In 1821, Augustín's brother Ygnacio and Felipe's son Tom came on board the operation. In 1834, Ygnacio Machado built the Centinela Adobe in what's now Inglewood.



EARLY AMERICAN PERIOD

The first La Ballona School

Although the US conquered California from Mexico in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ensured that land holdings belonging to Mexicans would be honored by the victors. However, as early as 1857 the land began to change hands - first when Benjamin D. Wilson acquired a portion on foreclosure of an earlier loan to Talamantes. In 1849 Ygnacio had moved to El Pueblo (in Downtown Los Angeles). In preparation for the possibility of the the War Between the States coming to California, Camp Latham was established on the southern bank of Ballona Creek (near Jefferson and Overland) and commanded by Brigadier General George Wright. In 1865, La Ballona School was built in what was by then called the Ballona Valley -- and Augustín Machado died.



HARRY CULVER AND THE DAWN OF CULVER CITY

Harry Culver - center, 1929 (image source: Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register)

Harry Hazel Culver (born in Milford, Nebraska in 1880) began work as a Southern California real estate developer in 1910, in the employ of Isaac Newton Van Nuys. Van Nuys founded a community named after himself in the San Fernando Valley in 1911. In 1913 Culver announced his plan for his "Culver City" to be located at the intersection of three Pacific Electric Railway lines (the Del Rey, Santa Monica Air, and Venice Short lines) and "3 splendid boulevards" (National, Pico, and Washington).

Culver City in 1914

The planned community -- situated in the middle of nowhere but between Los Angeles, The Palms, and Venice of America -- was promoted with the slogan "All Roads Lead to Culver City." Ironically, Culver City's Main Street -- filed in 1913 -- was then reportedly the shortest such road in the world.

Culver City Main Street in 2013

In 1914 Culver started the Culver Investment Company. By then the instant community already boasted a train depot, cyclecar plant, and a macaroni factory. Culver City was incorporated on 20 September, 1917 with a population of just 530 residents -- all white -- as the now diverse community was at its inception a whites-only "sundown town."



THE RISE OF MOTION PICTURES

Triangle Studio in 1916 - Culver City's first film studio

In the late 1910s, Culver City arose as one of the biggest centers of film production on the west coast (rivaling Edendale, Highland Park, and Hollywood) with the establishment of three major studios -- Triangle Film Corporation, Thomas H. Ince Studios, Hal Roach Studios and their successors -- as well as smaller ones (such as Willat Studios). Two of the three studio facilities still exist and one was torn down and replaced with light industrial buildings.


TRIANGLE FILM CORPORATION

The old Triangle Film Corporation studios today

Harry Culver met producer-director Thomas H. Ince when he was filming a western near Ballona Creek for New York Motion Picture Company (who'd opened west coast studio in Edendale) and persuaded him to set up a new operation in fledgling Culver City. In July 1915, Ince -- in partnership with Harry and Roy Aitken, and filmmakers D. W. Griffith and Mack Sennett -- founded Culver City's first motion picture company, Triangle Film Corporation. The LA Times almost immediately after published an article titled "Culver City a Movie Center." By 1917 producer Adolph Zukor had taken control of the studio, which then became Paramount-Artcraft Pictures. In 1919 it was sold it to Samuel Goldwyn. In 1924, his Goldwyn Pictures Corporation studios became the property of Metro Goldywn Mayer.

The old MGM lot

Today the Greek colonnade still stands although behind it is Sony Pictures Studios (and Columbia). In 2012, a 30 meter high metal rainbow sculpture was added that's visible from outside the lot.

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Tony Tasset's Rainbow


THOMAS INCE STUDIOS

The Mansion - The old Ince Studios

In 1918 Ince purchased a new lot nearby and established Thomas H. Ince Studios. Meyer & Holler designed the building that now houses Culver Studios -- a Colonial Revival structure that was nicknamed "The Mansion." In 1922, Ince Studios merged with First National Pictures, Inc. In November, 1924, Ince was invited aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht, the Oneida, to celebratehis birthday on a trip from San Pedro to San Diego. Other guests included actors Charlie Chaplin, Aileen Pringle, Jacqueline Logan, Julanne Johnston, Margaret Livingston, Seena Owen, Theodore Kosloff and others. Ince was initially delayed due to his finalizing a production deal with Hearst's International Film Coporation and the boat set sail without its guest of honor. After concluding business, Ince took a train to San Diego where he boarded the yacht. Three days after his 42nd birthday he was dead. The official version was that he'd grown ill on the yacht and been taken home where he died of a heart ailment but the rumor mill immediately began churning out variations on a story involving infidelity and murder (or accidental shooting). The story was the basis for Peter Bogdanovich's film, The Cat's Meow.




After his death, Ince's widow Elinor took over Ince Studios for a short time. The Mansion later housed DeMille Studio (the Cecil B. DeMille Theatre was added in 1927), RKO, RKO-Pathé, Selznick International, Desilu, and Laird International Studios.

To give a since of The Mansion's importance in film -- it was there that David O. Selznick and Victor Fleming made the highest grossing film of all time -- Gone with the Wind (1939) and Orson Welles filmed what's often considered to be the best film of all time, Citizen Kane (1940). When it was Desilu its soundstages were used to film TV series including The Andy Griffith Show and Star Trek, among others.


HAL E. ROACH STUDIOS

Hal E. Roach Studios "near Los Angeles" 

Due to Los Angeles zoning laws, Hal Roach couldn't expand his studio operations and so moved to movie-friendly Culver City in 1919. His new studio, nicknamed "The Lot of Fun," was located on Landmark Street -- just south of the modern day Culver City Station of the Expo Line. The studio employed one of Culver City's first professional musical acts -- the Hal Roach Studio Orchestra. Hal Roach, of course, famously "created" the comedic Laurel & Hardy duo. To this day, a local branch of the Sons of the Desert  (The Worldwide Laurel & Hardy Society) meet weekly at the Culver Hotel.
During World War II the facilities were used to produce training films and it came to be nicknamed "Fort Roach." It was demolished in 1963 and is now memorialized with a plaque (Culver City has more historical plaques than I've seen in any other exploration). 

Leave 'em Laughing plaque



CULVER CITY SILENT FILMS

Films made in Culver City during the great era of Silent Film include: Luke's Movie Muddle (1916); Ask Father, From Hand to Mouth, The Hayseed, The Brand, Chop Suey & Co., and The Lone Wolf's Daughter (all 1919); The Penalty, His Royal Slyness, Haunted Spooks, and An Eastern Westerner (all 1920); Never Weaken, Now or Never, A Sailor-Made Man, I Do, Among Those Present, and Dodge Your Debts (all 1921); Our Gang and Dr. Jack (both 1922);



Safety Last!
, Why Worry?, Dogs of War
, and The Soilers (all 1923); He Who Gets Slapped, Girl Shy, The Wife of the Centaur, The Snob, Smithy, One Night in Rome, Zeb vs. Paprika, Big Moments from Little Pictures, Sinners in Silk, The Beauty Prize, The Dixie Handicap, Going to Congress, Barbara Frietchie, Accidental Accidents, A Tour of the Thomas Ince Studio, and The Cowboy Sheik (all 1924);

The Big Parade, Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ, The Freshman, The Merry Widow, The Unholy Three, The Monster, Pretty Ladies, The Circle, 1925 Studio Tour, What Price Goofy?, Isn't Life Terrible?, The Sporting Venus, Zander the Great, Confessions of a Queen, Never the Twain Shall Meet, Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, Big Red Riding Hood, The Haunted Honeymoon, Cheaper to Marry
, and Unfriendly Enemies (all 1925);

Bardelys the Magnificent, La Bohème, The Temptress, Tell it to the Marines, 45 Minutes from Hollywood, Along Came Auntie, Long Fliv the King, Exit Smiling, Mighty Like a Moose, Crazy Like a Fox, On the Front Page, Raggedy Rose, Valencia, Exquisite Sinner, For Alimony Only, The Fire Brigade, Monte Carlo, Dance Madness, The Barrier, Wise Guys Prefer Brunettes
, and Scared Stiff (all 1926);

and The Show, The King of Kings, Love, West Point, Chicago, Annie Laurie, The Second 100 Years , Duck Soup, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, Mr. Wu, Putting Pants on Philip, The Red Mill, Hats Off, The Battle of the Century, Why Girls Love Sailors, Sugar Daddies, Love 'em and Weep, Sailors Beware, Slipping Wives, With Love and Hisses, Buttons, The Flag: A Story Inspired by the Tradition of Betsy Ross, Olympic Games, Baby Brother, The Callahans and the Murphys, Tillie the Toiler, The Honorable Mr. Buggs, Adam and Evil, Are Brunettes Safe?, and Lovers? (all 1927).


THE HEART OF SCREENLAND TODAY

Culver City is still very active in film production. Normally I try to mention all of the films shot within a community but, at well over 11,000 there are far too many for a blog entry. If you'd like to peruse the IMDB list (sorted by date), click here.

To further emphasize how important Culver City's contribution has been I'll list just a few films made in Culver City have helped define, erm, Hollywood, including: King Kong (1933), The Thin Man (1934), The Good Earth (1937), A Star is Born (1937), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Rebecca (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Singin' In the Rain (1952), Oklahoma! (1955), The Night of the Hunter (1955), and Forbidden Planet (1956). It's also where TV shows like The Amos 'n Andy Show, The Adventures of Superman, The Life of Riley, The Abbott and Costello Show, The Great Gildersleeve, Lassie, The Thin Man, Gunsmoke, The Green Hornet, Gomer Pyle, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Little House on the Prairie and many others were filmed too.

Today Culver City is home to Sony Pictures Entertainment, the community's largest employer. It's the birthplace of film figures including Charles Herbert, Dee Dee Davis, Drew Barrymore, Gwen Verdon, Helen Hunt, and Michael Richards. Finally, it's also home to many production companies, talent agencies, studios, distribution companies, consulting firms, &c all having to do with film production.



EXPLOSIVE GROWTH

The Washington Building -- begun in 1926 and designed by Arthur D. Scholz and Orville L. Clark

The 1920s were the time of Culver City's greatest population growth -- the population increased over 1000% from just 503 to 5,669 during the decade. Prohibition, which lasted between 1919 and 1933, was somewhat ignored around Culver City and supposedly the race tracks, speakeasies, and nightclubs along Washington Boulevard were the reason Culver City annexed the area in 1924. During the Prohibition era Culver City was home to a thriving nightlife based around The Green Mill (which became Sebastian's Cotton Club -- where Lionel Hampton began his career with Les Hite), King's Tropical Inn (established in 1924), Barton's, Casa Mañana, Ford's Castle, Frank's Bar and Grill, The Hoosegow, The Hot Spot Café, and Moonlite Gardens. As a result, Culver City (along with Venice and Vernon) acquired a reputation as quite a happening and slightly lawless place. Culver City Council finally took action to prohibit gambling in 1928.


HOTEL HUNT - CULVER HOTEL

The Culver Hotel (right) and Pacific Culver Stadium 12 (left)

In 1924 the six-story flatiron skyscraper (the sky was lower in those days) Hotel Hunt was completed. Although no longer the tallest building in Culver City, it's still widely visible and is the most iconic structure in the community.At some point early on it was re-named the Culver Hotel. From 1924 until 1933 it housed Harry Culver's offices. It was later owned by John Wayne and in the past housed many movie stars including Buster KeatonClark Gable, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Red Skelton, and Ronald Reagan. Before it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, it was actually in danger of being demolished.


CULVER CITY SPEEDWAY

Culver City Speedway  1949 (image source: Auto Racing Memories)

From 1924 until 1927, the Culver City Speedway hosted auto races at a facility located near Overland Avenue and Culver Boulevard.


THE MERALTA



The Meralta was opened in 1924 by Pearl Merrill and Laura Peralta (who combined their family names to create the theater's name). The first film shown at the Will Rogers-hosted premier was Del Andrews's film, The Galloping Fish. It closed in 1983 and was demolished the following year -- replaced with a shopping plaza. 


CULVER CITYBUS

Gateway Station Post Office (built in 1940 ) includes a mural by George Samerjan (left) and CityBus (right)

Culver CityBus was founded along with Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus in 1928 -- they're the oldest municipal transit companies in the state. In 1997 a new Transportation Facility (with big urn sculpture in front) opened.

City of Culver City Transportation and Purchasing

At 2011's Government Fleet Conference, Culver CityBus was voted the 5th best fleet in North America. The regular fleet buses are green and the rapid buses are gray. In addition to Culver City its seven lines serve Century City, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Palms, Venice, Westchester, West Los Angeles, and Westwood -- covering an area of almost 70 km2.


ROLLERDROME



Rollerdrome opened in 1928 at the present location of Tellefson Park. An organ was added in 1929 and the house organist was Carl Osterloh. It was demolished in 1970.


THE CITIZEN

The Citizen Building

The Citizen Building was constructed in 1929 (the same year the older Culver City Star News merged with The Venice Vanguard). It served as the new home of The Citizen Publishing and Printing Company, first established in San Francisco in 1923 by Eugene Donovan before relocating to Southern California. The building, which mixes elements of Art Deco and Beaux Arts, was designed by Orville E. Clark and is eye-catching if a bit difficult to do justice to with photographs (on account of trees and traffic). In 1987, the Citizen Building became the first structure in Culver City to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Donvan's paper, The Citizen, actually ran a contest to rename Culver City. Entries included "Cinema City" and "Filmville" but obviously, Culver City's name remained the same after Hollywood and Culver City buried the hatchet at Grauman's Chinese Theatre



THE GREAT DEPRESSION

The Art Deco Beacon Laundry -- built in 1930

Thanks in large part to the film industry and new developments, Culver City fared relatively well during the Great Depression. The city adopted a municipal seal with the words "The Heart of Screenland" in 1936. In 1937 the city changed its slogan to "Culver City, Where Hollywood Movies Are Made." On 6 June, 1937 a measure was actually passed to change Culver City's name to "Hollywood" at which point Los Angeles responded by granting official recognition to and establishing official borders  of the Hollywood neighborhood. There were also several other key industries established in and around the city. A greyhound racing track was opened by Culver City Kennel near Lincoln and Washington Boulevards. Nonetheless, after the boom of the 1920s, population growth slowed tremendously even with the annexation of McManus Park.



HELMS BAKERY

Helms Bakery

Paul Helms's Helms Bakery was established on the border of Culver City and Los Angeles (in what's now known as the Helms Bakery District) in 1931. In 1932, during the Olympics, Helms Bakery supplied bread to the Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills. For more than forty years its fleet of delivery drivers brought bread "daily at your door" until 1969, when bakery closed shop.  In October, 2013 it was announced that chefs Sherry Yard and Sang Yoon plan to revive the bakery later in the fall.


HUGHES AIRCRAFT COMPANY

Culver City Airport and Hughes Aircraft Plant

From 1932 to 1985 the Culver City Airport and Hughes Aircraft Plant was established just outside of Culver City. Though technically located within Los Angeles; the name, proximity, and jobs it provided for Culverites make it worthy of a mention here, I think.


ST. AUGUSTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

St. Augustine's Catholic Church

In 1883, the Figueroa family donated land for the construction of St. Augustine's, the first church in what became Culver City. It was completed in 1887. The new Franco-Gothic church was dedicated 1936.


HOLY CROSS CEMETERY 

The Grotto at Holy Cross (image source: Death 2UR)

The Roman Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery opened in 1939. An area known as "The Grotto" is, as they say, the final resting place of many celebrities including: Audrey Meadows, Bela Lugosi, Bing Crosby, Charles Boyer, Dennis Day, Edmond O'Brien, Fred MacMurray, Henry Hathaway, Jack Haley, Jackie Coogan, Jimmy Durante, Joan Davis, Joe Flynn, John Candy, John Ford, Lawrence Welk, Loretta Young, Louella Parsons, MacDonald Carey, Mario Lanza, Mary Astor, Mary Frann, Pat O'Brien, Ray Bolger, Richard Arlen, Rita Hayworth, Rosalind Russell, Sharon Tate, Spike Jones, Vince Edwards, and ZaSu Pitts among others.



CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS

Chinese Elms planted in the 1940s

The 1940s saw both increasing diversity within Culver City's population and at the same time, the population growth rate began to increase again -- although it nonetheless nearly reached 20,000 by the decade's end. Prior to the 1930s, most Jewish Angelenos had lived in the Eastside in neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, City Terrace, and East Los Angeles. Toward the end of that decade and into the 1940s, many moved west to Hollywood, Midtown and especially the Westside. Culver passed away on 17 August, 1946 -- two years before the US Supreme Court banned segregation, which even more radically changed Culver City's complexion although restrictions against multiple-family housing helped retain an economic segregation. 


B'NAI B'RITH MEMORIAL PARK (HILLSIDE MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY)

Al Jolson Memorial Shrine (image by David Horan for Paul Williams Project)

B'nai B'rith Memorial Park opened in 1941 just beyond the borders of Culver City. It was renamed Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in 1950. The Al Jolson Memorial Shrine was designed by great Los Angeles architect, Paul Williams, in 1954. The cemetery was annexed by Culver City in 1964. It contains the earthly remains of Allan Sherman, David Janssen, Dinah Shore, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Jack Benny, Jeff Chandler, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Milton Berle, Moe Howard, Shelley Winters, and Vic Morrow among others.


CULVER THEATRE - KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE

Kirk Douglas Theatre fka Culver Theatre

The beautiful, 1,1640-seat, Streamline Moderne Culver Theatre opened in 1946. At some later point it was regrettably divided into a three-screen theater before being gutted in 1994. In the years since it's been renovated and transformed into a performing arts center and playhouse known now as the Kirk Douglas Theatre.


STUDIO DRIVE-IN



The Studio Drive-In opened in 1948. It was featured in several films including Grease and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. It was closed in 1993 before being demolished in 1998 and redeveloped as The Classics at Heritage Park and Eras Center. (To read about still extant SoCal drive-ins, click here).


TRAINS OUT, CARS IN



The 1950s were a decade of increasing development. Passenger rail service ended in 1953 with the discontinuation of the Pacific Electric Railway line and at the same time car dealerships proliferated -- as did bowling alleys. In 1951, the annual Fiesta Ballona began -- an outgrowth of the earlier Tom Sawyer Days festivities which had begun in the 1930s. In 1953, the Temple Akiba opened to serve the community's growing Jewish population.


CULVER CENTER (AND SHIPS)

Ships Coffee Shop at Culver Center

The Culver Center shopping center opened in 1950, one of Southern California's first malls. In its honor, Hacienda Street was renamed Culver Center Street. The first Ship's coffee shop opened there in 1956. Fearing that Culver Center's growing dominance could spell the end for Culver City's smal downtown, the city council refused to allow May Company to open a shop in the mall.


VETERAN'S MEMORIAL BUILDING 

Veteran's Memorial Center and Film Strip-USA

Veteran's Memorial Building also opened in 1950, a year after Exposition Park was renamed Veteran's Park. Its most eye-catching feature was its Tourist Tower, which offered tourists a glimpse of the nearby studio's back lots and pretty stunning views -- although its been closed to visitors for several decades now. The current Lethbridge-Garden Room was then home to the Tower Restaurant. In front of the center is a fountain and sculpture titled Film Strip-USA, dedicated in 1984 to what the plaque calls "The Motion Picture Capital of the World." 


NIGHT WATCH

Even less recognized than Culver City's contribution to film is its contribution to reality programming -- although it likewise should be otherwise. In 1954, the great (if obscure) Night Watch debuted on CBS. It wasn't the first reality show -- that would be Candid Camera which debuted in 1948. But whereas the latter was nothing more than the sort of silly prank show still popular around the world, the latter was something more interesting. Night Watch was developed and hosted by Culver City police reporter Donn Reed at a time when audiences were leaving radio for TV and radio responded by offering realism (and perhaps voyeuristic exploitation) that the family boob tube couldn't. Each episode involved Reed riding with Sgt. Ron Perkins from 6:00 pm till 2:00 am and recording everything. It ended its short run in 1955 but all 48 episodes still exist and are fascinating glimpses of Culver City life in the 1950s. You can listen to them all here.



CULVER CITY IN THE 1960s

In the 1960s, although Culver City continued to annex more territory (including, notably, Fox Hills), the population growth rate again dropped, as it has in most of the decades since. In 1964 Culver City established its first Sister City relationship with Uruapan, Mexico. Though Culver City remains comprised mostly of single family homes it was during this time that the first apartments and condominiums were constructed. The first condo complex, Studio Village Townhouses, was completed in 1965. In the next decade, more studio properties would be sold off and redeveloped into residential complexes and shopping centers.


COMPETITION MOTORS

Culver City Competition Motors (photographed by Julius Shulman)

In 1961 entrepreneur and race car enthusiast John von Neumann hired Paul R. Williams to design the new headquarters for his Competition Motors on in Culver City. Von Neumann was responsible more than any other individual for popularizing Volkswagen in the US. Consider this -- whereas in 1953 there had been no American dealers of the car, by 1962 von Neumann alone had opened 57 Volkswagen dealerships in the country. By 1964 Competition Motors moved out, having outgrown the facility. I'm not sure when it happened but it Williams's beautiful building was demolished.



MEDITATION AND MALLS  

I'm sure a great deal more of note happened in Culver City in the 1970s than what I'm writing about but that's all I've got for now. 

THE JULIAN DIXON LIBRARY AND MEDITATION GARDEN

Kaizuka Meditation Garden

In 1974, another of Culver City's sister cities, Kaizuka, Japan, created a meditation garden in front of the Culver City Library. On the day that I visited it I discovered that the garden it's relatively inaccessible due its being surrounded by a fence. What's more, no water was running in the stream and the mill wheel was motionless. Further encumbering any efforts at meditation was the loud and seemingly endless stream of traffic behind me on Overland Avenue. Meanwhile the interior of the Culver City Julian Dixon Library, as it's now known, proved much more peaceful.


FOX HILLS MALL

Fox Hills Mall opened in 1975. The Gruen Associates-designed mall was the first three-story shopping complex to open in California. It was purchased by Westfield in 1998 and renamed Westfield Shoppingtown Fox Hills (The "Shoppingtown" was dropped in 2005). Jonathan Gold wrote a complimentary review of its "dining terrace" (food court) for the LA Weekly shortly before leaving that publication. It's currently officially known as Westfield Culver City.


DECLINE AND
 REDEVELOPMENT

The 1980s were marked by the AIDS crisis, Deinstitutionalization, Crack Wars, Gang Wars, and the Central American Refugee Crisis. It almost proved to be too much for the city that had weathered the Depression with comparative ease. The city's hopes for renewal were pinned on the destruction of The Meralta theater and the replacement of it with the Meralta Plaza office building.


FILMLAND CORPORATE CENTER - SONY PICTURES PLAZA

Sony Pictures Plaza -- undoubtedly designed by Cylons

In 1986, the Filmland Corporate Center was completed (now Sony Pictures Plaza) -- another of several projects helmed by the Culver City Redevelopment Agency within a short period. The pink granite pyramid-ish atrium portrayed the Wolfram & Hart offices on TV's Angel. Interested visitors can tour the studio, with daily tours starting here.


CORPORATE POINTE

Coporate Point (image source: CoStar)

In 1989, the three tower complex of Corporate Pointe was completed -- the tallest building is twelve stories and its construction prompted slow growth advocates ro react by successfully lowering Culver City's height limit to just 56 feet in 1990.


SONY - FILMED IN CULVER CITY

Culver City City Hall

Culver City's comeback continued in the 1990s. Sony bought MGM's old studio in 1990 and established itself as the dominant economic force in town. Beginning with 1991's films Bugsy and Hook, Sony films shot in Culver City stated in their credits that they were "Filmed in Culver City." A new City Hall was dedicated in 1995, behind the mock facade of the original city hall -- meant to suggest a film set.

Sony Pictures Imageworks

Sony Pictures Imageworks opened in 1992. This is where the visual effects and digital animation that characterize mainstream American film happens.

CULVER CITY IN THE 21st CENTURY

Construction of an Expo Line bridge and a Del Taco

In 2003, NPR West moved to Culver City. The Art Deco-styled (at least the exterior) Pacific Culver Stadium 12 multiplex opened in 2003. The Expo Line returned rail service and developers clamored to construct mixed-use transit-oriented developments. Around the same time a tribe of people calling themselves "foodies" starting visiting it. In 2009 it won Curbed LA's Curbed Cup -- basically their annual community popularity contest.


*****



GETTING TO AND AROUND CULVER CITY

Culver City Station - Expo Line train and a recently-paved parking lot (what would Joni Mitchell think?)

As already mentioned, Culver City is home to the excellent Culver CityBus system. In 2012, after 60 years without it, passenger rail service returned to Culver City (and the Westside) with the arrival of the Expo Line (which I explored both the completed section of, and the under-construction section of, for my KCET column, Block By Block). Before too long the train will go all the way to the Pacific Ocean (although it shouldn't be confused with the "Subway to the Sea," which is scheduled to take several decades to get there).

Expo Line (left) and bike lane (right)

Parallel to the Expo Line along most of its length is a bike path. There's also the Ballona Creek Bike Path that runs about eleven kilometers from near the eastern edge of Culver City to the Ballona Creek Estuary and Wetlands along Santa Monica Bay. Finally, there's the 3.4 km Culver Boulevard Meridian Bicycle Path and of course, bikes can ride on all city streets as well.

Ballona Creek and bike path

Additionally, Culver City is served by two Los Angeles Metro Bus lines (33 and 733), and Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus. And if you're the walking time, as I am, it's quite walkable. Walkscore gives Culver City a score of 79. The 90232 zip code, which includes most of the city's attractions, gets an 84 -- only one point lower than New York City and San Francisco -- the current #1 and #2 on the list.

If you want to stay overnight in Culver City there's of course the famous and highly-rated Culver Hotel as well as (in descending order of current Yelp ratings) Culver City Travelodge, Jasmine Hotel, Ramada Culver City, Sunburst Motel, Half Moon Motel, Astro Motel, Deano's Motel, and West End Hotel.



CULVER CITY EATS

What's the story with this clock? 

One of my absolute favorite things about Culver City is the diversity of the restaurant scene. There are restaurants serving Asian Fusion, Brazilian, British, Burmese, Creole, Cuban, Ethiopian, French, Greek, Hawaiian, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Mexican, New American, Pakastani, Salvadoran, Taiwanese, Thai, Vegetarian, and Vietnamese cuisine, among others.

Oddly, on the day that I explored for this blog entry and despite the amazing choices available, every single person I saw at every single sidewalk café was grazing on salad. At first I thought it was some sort of special holiday or maybe I'd walked onto the set of a commercial for lettuce or something but I think it was actually an indication of the importance of "the Industry" actually; these people were quite likely "doing" lunch (in the parlance of schmooze).

There have been a couple of hiccups with the food explosion. Until 2011 there was Westside Food Truck Central and the Culver City Food Truck Fest which may or may not return after permits are sorted out. In the past I've enjoyed meals at Café Brasil, Empanada's Place, and shojin I have also heard a lot of raving (and almost just as much dissent) about Tito's Tacos -- but have yet to check it out -- suspecting (even though I should know better)  that its fans may never have crossed the LA River to the Eastside.

Culver City Farmers Market mural

If you'd like to learn how to cook, you can attend Culver City's New School of Cooking. You can get restaurant supplies from Surfas, which has been around since 1937. The Culver City Farmers Market takes place downtown every Tuesday from 3:00 to 7:00. It was actually setting up as I left the area and headed west, stopping at and enjoying a lunch at Samosa House (East). 

Other restaurants include:

A-Frame, Akasha, All India Flavor, Aramark, Bada Bing Italian Grill, Bawarchi Indian Kitchen, Bellagio, Big Fat Pita, Big Tomy's, Bistro Laurent, Bottlerock, Brunello Trattoria, Buffalo Wings & Pizza, Café Allegro, Café Creole, Café Laurent, Café Nagomi Truck, Café Surfas, California Roll & Sushi, Campos Tacos, Cappriotti's, Cilantro Fresh Mexican Grill, Cinco de Mayo, Creme de la Crepe, The Culver Studios Commissary, Dear John's, Delhi Biryani House, Dios Union Libertad, Don Felix Meat Market,

Dragon Restaurant, E K Valley Restaurant, Ekkamai Thai Restaurant, El Baron Restaurant and Night Club, El Jacalito, El Rincon Criollo, El Rio Bravo Restaurant, El Super Taco Deluxe
, Extreme Pizza, 5i Indochine Cuisine, Food Square, Ford's Filling Station, Fresh in the Box, Fuji Wok & Sushi, Gaby's Express Mediterranean Café, George Petrelli's Steak House, Good Eatz Café, Grand Casino Bakeries, Great Khan's Mongolian BarbequeGreen Peas, Green Truck, Grey Block Pizza,

Hamakaze Sushi Izakaya,
Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken, Huddle West Café, India Sweets and Spices, Industry Café & Jazz, Jackson Market, Jasmine Market, Jerry's Market, Johnnie's Pastrami Restaurant, Joyce's Pizza & Submarine Sandwiches, JR's BarbequeK-ZO, Kabab Bistro, King's Kabob, L'Epicerie Market, La Dijonaise Café et Boulangerie, LA Spice, LaRocco's Pizzeria, Libra Brazilian SteakhouseLucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que,Lunch, Lukshon, LYFE Kitchen,

M Café de Chaya, Mandarin Dish, Marin Company Steak & Spirits, Martini's Italian Deli & Pizza, Maxwell's Café, Meet in Paris, Metro Café, Mi Ranchito, Mongrill Gourmet Mongolian BBQ, Muddy Leek, Mykonos Greek Grill, Native Foods CaféNovocento Pasta & Grill, 101 Noodle ExpressOutdoor Grill, Panda Thai Kitchen, Patio Café, Pho ShowPinches Tacos, Pitfire Artisan Pizza, The Point, Polentoni, Public School 310, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Ramen Yamadaya,

The Restaurant at the Culver Hotel, Rising Hearts, Rita Hayworth Dining Room, Rocco's Tavern, Rockenwagner Bakery, Roll 'n Rye, Royal Chinese Food & Donut, Rush Street, Rutt's Hawaiian Café, S & W Country DinerSage Oragnic Vegan Bistro, Sake House by Hikari, Sarku Japan Sushi Bar, Sharlimar Cuisine of India, Shikibu Sushi & Pastry, Signature Burger, Signature Café, Smashburger, Sony Pictures Plaza Cafeteria, Sorrento Italian Market, Sushi Karen Japanese Restaurant,

Sushi Mashiko, Swanya Thai Cuisine, Taqueria Estilo, Tender Greens, TrimanaTub's Fine Chile, Ugo Café, Vera Pizza Napoletana, Victor Jr's, Viet Gourmet Express, Villa Italian Restaurant, Waterloo & City, Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza, The Wood Café,
 Yen Sushi Lounge and KaraokeZam Zam Market, ZZ Truck, and 041 Bacaro



CULVER CITY DRINKS

For the thirsty, there are a few places to wet one's whistle in Culver City including Alibi Room, Apothecary Café, Backstage Bar & Grill, The Bar at the Culver Hotel, Bird Pick Tea & Herb, Bottlerock, Caffe Carpe Diem, The Cinema BarCity TavernCoffee Buna, Cognoscenti Coffee, Conservatory For Coffee Tea & Cocoa, The Corner Door, Cozy Inn, Al Alteno Bar, Espresso Primo, George's Coffee Shop, Island Monarch Coffee, Joxer Daly's, King's Café, The Redd Collection, The Rumor Mill, Scarlet Lady Saloon, Seventy7, The Spot Café & Lounge, Studio BarTanner's Coffee Co, Tattle Tale Room, and Ugo Wine Bar.



CULVER CITY MUSIC SCENE

There have been at least a couple of "city songs" composed for Culver City. In 1967, Doris Hechinger composed "Culver City." In 1985, Marilyn Freiden Clark composed, "Our Culver City." The Culver City Symphony Orchestra has performed since 2000. It was also formerly home to Bratton Music Publishing Company (see below)

Bratton Music Publishing Co. sheet music (image source: Songs in the Key of L.A.)

Culver City is the birthplace or home base of several performers including (I think) include Aerial Stereo, Amy's Crusade, Andy ShigekawaAnonymoose and Young Cookie, APEX, Aphex Wolf, The Bad Bad Things, Becky Stark, bikos, The Black Heartthrobs, The Bomb Camarillos, Bronwen Jones, Chorus Babblebones, Chris Clarke, Co Wave, color cycle, Confucius is Confused, Cori Jacobs, Debbie HennesseyDJ Max FactorEarly the MC, Endor, Evyn Charles, Gorgonized Dorks, Ibn Gold, IkonInfernal Assault, Michael Nhat, Puppets, Rocky George (of Pap Smear, Suicidal Tendencies, 40 Cycle Hum, Cro-Mags, and Fishbone), Strings By Reiko, Tibay, TonyMoss, TVghettoblasterman, Vedad M, Ven Olac, VerBS, Yeren, and XPlatter. I'm not sure if he was born there but KXLU's DJ Ned Learner is widely associated with Culver City. 

Local music stores include Boulevard Music (who host the Boulevard Summer Music Festival), Culver City Music Center (which offers music lessons), and Latin Music Warehouse. Furthermore, Beats By Dre's headquarters are there, the Harvest Festival of Dulcimers takes place there, and Industry Cafe & Jazz features live music and poetry open mic nights. There are also almost certainly several music studios although the only one that I noticed were Musicians Choice Studio and Sound Space Lab.



ART IN CULVER CITY (AND THE CULVER CITY ARTS DISTRICT)

In a 2007 New York Times piece titled "In Culver City, Calif., Art and Food Turn a Nowhere Into a Somewhere" the writer refers to Culver City as a "nascent Chelsea" -- comparing Los Angeles to New York is the paper's highest honor. Anyway, the article mentions The Actor's Gang, Blum & Poe, HD Buttercup, The Mandrake Bar, and LAXart Gallery -- not one of those happens to be actually in Culver City, mind you. That's right, the arts area often referred to as the Culver City Arts District is almost entirely located within Los Angeles and not Culver City.

Helms District and beyond, the strip of Arts District along Washington actually within Culver City

The narrow strip of the Arts District along Washington that actually is within Culver City is home to quite a few galleries such as Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art, Century Guild, Corey Helford Gallery, Fresh Paint, George Lawson Gallery, Indie Collective, Kinkead ContemporaryKoplin Del Rio Gallery, LeBasse Projects, Mark Moore Gallery, Prohibition Gallery, Roberts & Tilton, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Taylor De Cordoba, Thinkspace Gallery, and Washington Reid Gallery.

Harold L. Pastorius's Emerald Rings

Other art galleries that I'm pretty sure are in Culver City include Bradford Stewart, Marlene Louchheim, The Pop Studio, Royal/T, Subspace Art, Teale Street Sculpture Studio & Gallery, Whole 9 Gallery, and WWA Gallery. To see a map of galleries in the Culver City Arts Distict (both within and without Culver City) click here.

De L'Espries The Path of Life (2001)

There's plenty of public art too -- maybe too much. In 2009, construction workers mistook Jebediah Caeser's Gleaners Stone for construction materials and removed it. In my travels I noticed Harold L. Pastorius's Emerald Rings, The Lion's Fountain, and De L'Esprie's Path of Life (plus a lot of murals).


Rivers of the World mural


Postcards from Ballona


Click here
to see a map of public art in Culver City or here to see LAist's piece on a Culver City public art scavenger hunt. 



HELMS BAKERY DISTRICT

Helms Bakery closed in 1969 and in 1974 it was purchased by Walter N. Marks. It's now home to several restaurants and home décor places. It also hosts the Culver City Patchwork in which local artisans peddle their wares. The old bakery actually straddles the Culver City and Los Angeles border. At the southern end, La Dijonaise Café et Boulangerie and Lukshon are in Culver City. At the northern end, Father's Office is not. The distinction isn't totally obvious from street level although Helms Avenue becomes the pedestrian-only Helms Walk as it enters Culver City. The Helms District has also hosted LuckyRice -- one of the region's increasingly popular night markets -- and the Sunset Cinema sumer outdoor film screenings.



HAYDEN TRACT

The Hayden Tract

One of the other interesting neighborhoods of Culver City is the Hayden Tract, the city's former industrial district. Now most of them are home to offices by and studios for architects, graphic designers, new media types, software engineers, &c. Some of the newer and altered buildings in the area serve as calling cards for their creators (especially Eric Owen Moss, who should be proclaimed the Hayden Tract's honorary mayor) such as the Beehive, the Box Building, the Broadway Building, the Gateway Art Tower, the Samitaur Tower, the Stealth Building, and the "What Wall" Building. It's one of the most eye-catching collections of post-modern buildings in Los Angeles County.

Eric Owen Moss's The Beehive (1998)


Eric Owen Moss's  Gateway Art Tower (2010)

CULVER CITY PARKS

Culver City Park

Culver City is home to several parks. On one 4th of July I went with some friends to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook or Culver City Park. From up on the hill we could see the entire Westside and noticed that nowhere were there any fireworks. Thoroughly nonplussed a couple of us headed what turned out to be south, discovering in South LA that yes, there are people west of Western who like fireworks displays. Culver City is also home to Blair Hills Park, Blanco Park, The Boneyard, Carlson Park, Culver City Skate Park, Culver West Alexander Park, El Marino Park, Fox Hills Park, Lindberg Park, and Syd Kronenthal Park.



OTHER SITES TO SEE

If you like museums there's the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (focused on African-American memorabilia) and the Wende Museum (focused on Soviet and East German art). There are several book stores including Agape Quiet Mind Bookstore, Arcana Books on the Arts, Archangel Michael Orthodox Bookstore, Pauline Books and Media, and Vagabond Books. Culver City is also home to Blind Barber (a barbershop and lounge), the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center, Culver Ice Arena, Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center, A Magic Forest (a children's space), and STAR Eco Station.(an environmental education and wildlife rescue center).



CULVER CLUBS


Culver City Teen Center

If you want to get involved in Culver City, there have been a great deal of civic organizations and clubs. The Culver City Westside Barbell Club seems to be inactive but the Culver City Woman's Club (established in 1920), Culver City Chamber of Commerce (established in 1921), Culver City Lions Club (established in 1923), Rotary Club of Culver City (established in 1930), Culver Palms YMCA (established in 1944), Culver City Historical Society (established in 1980), Kiwanis Club of Culver City, Optimist Club of Culver City, and Culver City Garden Club seem to all still be around (as are many others). Teens can utilize the Culver City Teen Center (with a parent's signature).

God Bless America and Aloha -  Guan Yu and the Virgin Mary in Culver City

*****

FOR FURTHER READING ON CULVER CITY, check out Julie Lugo Cerra's (Culver City's honorary historian) Culver City, Culver City Chronicles, Culver City: The Heart of Screenland, and Movie Studios of Culver City (the latter co-written by Marc Wanamaker). For current events there's the Culver City Times, Culver City Patch, Culver City News Blog, and Culver City Crossroads. For further viewing, look for Visiting... With Huell Howser "Episode #1804 - Culver City" (classic Huell begins around 12:40).

*****
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*****

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Tracing Hip-Hop's Timeline Via Select Video Clips

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2013 10:30am | Post a Comment
      

With the recent recognition of August 11th 1973 as the official birth date of hip-hop music and culture when DJ Kool Herc threw a party for his sister in a Bronx building rec center in August of '73 that would spark an unstoppable global movement, hip-hop scholars, fans, and DJs have all been celebrating the landmark anniversary in their own ways. UK based DMC DJ champion turntablist DJ Woody, who uses both audio and video in his live sets, has come up with his own full performance that traces the four decade history of his beloved genre. Above is a trailer of DJ Woody's Hip Hop is 40 audio/visual mix that is a nice sequel to his last major mix Big Phat 90's that was presented here with an interview with Woody on the Amoeblog a year ago. Since Woody, who you can follow on Twitter and Facebook, only offers an abbreviated teaser of his full length mix in the clip above for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I have compiled a select mix of six key hip-hop videos that span the years 1977 to 1999 in the ever evolving and shifting genre's illustrious life.

With advances in technology - plus wide access to it - being a lot more advanced in the second, third, and fourth decades of hip-hop's timeline there are a lot more videos and film footage of hip-hop from the early 1980's onwards than in its first decade. For example tragically there is absolutely no film or video footage (or even photos) of the fateful day back in August 1973 that Kool Herc kick started hip-hop.  The first video below is of New York in 1977 - a time when the city was in total economic ruin - and when hip-hop was slowly growing and expanding from beyond the Bronx. The clip is part of a VH1 retrospective on NYC and hip-hop. The other selected video clips include Kurtis Blow on SoulTrain in 1980 performing his hit of that year "The Breaks," the music video for Afrika Bambaataa's classic 1983 single "Looking for the Perfect Beat," andEric B. & Rakim's "Paid In Full" single from 1987 when (even only four years later than Bam's "Perfect Beat" electro fueled record) the genre had totally shifted in style and presentation with a different emphasis on lyrical presentation, and beat-wise much slower BPMs. The other two clips I selected are both from the 90's when hip-hop had subtly shifted a bit more. They are Gang Starr's "DWYCK" featuring Nice & Smooth and Dead Prez's "Hip-Hop" - both hip-hop songs that I believe are truly timeless and will always sound amazing.

Continue reading...

Album Picks: Sebadoh, Crystal Stilts, Blouse, SISU

Posted by Billy Gil, September 17, 2013 09:16am | Post a Comment
Sebadoh - Defend Yourself (CD, LP or download)

Amid the countless recent reunions of '90s bands, the timing seems perfect for the return of Sebadoh. While he's been toiling beneath the din of J Mascis' guitar heroics in the reunited Dinosaur Jr. for years, Lou Barlow's second-fiddle position in that band hasn't given enough of an outlet for Barlow's own songwriting. Thus Barlow sounds hungry on Defend Yourself, the first Sebadoh album since 1999. "Can you tell that I'm about to lose control?" he asks on the outset of the album on "I Will," over a serviceable melodic jangle. That statement proves true, as things get more interesting as Defend Yourself progresses. The stuttering "Beat" provides ample room for Barlow to shred both his guitars and vocals. It sounds as though Barlow's world is coming apart in the rumbling "Defend Yr Self"—an understandable position, given the end of his marriage, which provides bitter fuel for Barlow's fire on this album. Songs like "Oxygen," an upbeat indie pop-rocker, and "Once," a tentative instrumental, provide respite (though "Oxygen's" typically caustic lyrics remind us that even the shiniest apples from Barlow are laced with arsenic). But Barlow's at his manic best in songs like "Inquiries," which heaves into a nauseating (in a thrilling way) final portion, or "Final Days," which pairs headlong, full-band rush with world-doubting lyrics ("it's all made up and a waste of time" Barlow sings under his breath). With a mouthful of bile, Barlow spits out the songs of Defend Yourself. The resulting record feels as crucial and relevant as anything he's been a part of.

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51Oakland Brings Music And Art Back Into The Oakland Public School System

Posted by Billyjam, September 16, 2013 08:15am | Post a Comment
       

With an  emphasis on music, art, and community and a mission statement of ensuring that, "all Oakland public school students have equal access to Art and Music education" the small but hard-working non-profit 51Oakland ("51" + "Oakland") organization has had a most positive impact since its creation a little over a year ago. Co-founder/ executive director Jason Hofmann (interviewed above for the Amoeblog) along with Yoshie Akiba  - co-owner of the famed Bay Area jazz club Yoshi's - 51Oakland is doing for the Oakland public school system what, due to continual cutbacks in funding, has been unable to do for itself; present much-needed music and arts programs in the classroom. This the charitable organization has done by working with the schools in Oakland directly and responding to their stated needs. 

As word spreads on 51Oakland more and more people in the community are getting involved. One of 51Oakland's volunteers is Oakland resident Joe Kemper who said he decided to volunteer time out of his week with the non-profit because, "I really admire how much of an impact the organization is making. Obviously bringing back music to the Oakland schools is going to have a positive effect on kids who want to learn and play, but more than that, it's significantly helping to increase overall attendance, kids who are involved in music and 51oakland are doing better in their other classes, and it's having a positive impact on graduation rates and affecting kids in their lives far beyond just musically." Kemper added that he cannot stress enough the importance of music and arts programs in schools. "Having gone through the public school system and having the opportunity to participate in music and sports programs made a huge difference for me, and to see that those opportunities are no longer there for these kids is a real tragedy," he said.

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Jorge Leal On Discos Inmigrantes 9/16/13

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 15, 2013 11:25pm | Post a Comment
On the next Discos Inmigrantes, I will be interviewing Jorge Leal, long time advocate of the music and culture of Latin America. I first got to know Jorge as Implacable, a writer and promoter of the Roc En Español scene in the early nineties. Jorge was the one first to acknowledge how the Roc En Español movement influenced the youth on both sides of the border. A few years back, Jorge was the architect behind the "Embrace Your Inner Paisa", which was an project based on Jorge’s acceptance of not just being an immigrant (Jorge was born and raised in Guadalajara, MX) but embracing all the stigmas that are attached to most working class immigrants that latter generations, well...frankly, abhor.

Currently, Jorge is a second year doctoral student in the History Department at the University of California, San Diego and hold a Masters Degree in History from Cal State Northridge.

In a conference Jorge spoke at back in 2008, Jorge lecture was entitled, "Yo Vivo Así, It's My Reality: How Rock En Español Started a Conversation Between U.S. Latino Youth and Their Latin American Counterparts” Jorge had this to say;

In the 1990s American rock music thrived in the suburbs under the alternative label, offering songs that dealt with teenage angst. At the same time, rock en español arrived in the Barrios of California and was appropriated by the Latino youth to create a sheltering space that shielded them from a hostile social climate created by anti-immigrant political initiatives such as Propositions 187, 209 and 227. With lyrics that directly denounced social injustices, Rock en español gained popularity and for the first time, generated close contacts among the "close others"; second and third generation young Latinos began a continuing conversation with immigrant Latino youths that came of age listening to this music in their home countries. This conversation created a new Latino youth subculture that considered Spanglish cool and fostered fads and trends derived from music, films, fashion, art and language that emanated from both American cities as well as Latin American metropolises.

The end result was a generation of film makers, artists, musicians and actors that broke stereotypes that existed with Non-latinos and Latinos alike, dealing with subject matters that were relevant to the day to day lives of the average Latin American immigrant as well with the generations that followed. People such as Alejandro González Iñárritu, Diego LunaGael García Bernal, Manu Chao, Toy Selectah and many others became household names for creating art that appealed to both immigrants and non-immigrants alike.


I have wanted to have Jorge as my guest since the incarnation of my radio show, but due to his busy academic schedule, its only now that it’s come to fruition. Jorge has not only becoming a powerful voice of our culture, but I consider him a vital influence on my work.

Disco Inmigrantes with Jorge Leal will air live on radiosombra.org on Monday, September 16th from 8-10 PST. The achieve edition of the show will be on the Discos Inmigrantes page on radiosombra.org at a later date,

Rock The Bells Primer For The Hip-Hop Festival's Two Days In The Bay

Posted by Billyjam, September 14, 2013 01:50pm | Post a Comment

With the summer's Rock The Bells mega traveling  hip-hop festival rolling through the Bay Area this weekend (both today and tomorrow) I thought it only fitting to salute some of the many artists performing at the artist-packed, two-day event by including (below) music videos from a sampling of some of the talents performing. These include E-40 and Too $hort, Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, Action Bronson, and Dilated Peoples. Meantime see the flyer above for detailed listing of this year's most impressive line-up of acts performing across the different stages at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View where Rock The Bells is once again this year. Note that both the late great Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eazy E will be kind of present via hologram technology a la the 2Pac at Coachella hologram. Also note that Deltron 3030's performance is tomorrow Sunday only. For Rock The Bells tickets and more info click here.

Show Recap: AlunaGeorge at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 14, 2013 11:00am | Post a Comment

One thing I love about seeing shows at Amoeba is getting to see bands perform in a different way than they normally would. British R&B act AlunaGeorge played a short, stripped-down set at Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 12, playing as a three-piece with only piano, electric drums and the velvety smooth vocals of singer Aluna Francis. They began with their single "You Know You Like It," playing it looser and jazzier than the dance-pop original. Francis danced close to the mic as she sang, gesticulating along to the lyrics. She sounded more confident than her chilled-out demeanor on record while singing on "Outlines," the opener to their excellent, recently released Body Music album (order on CD or download). You could really hear the detail and subtlety to AlunaGeorge's music on a song like the Robyn-ish "Attracting Flies," as Francis' cohort George Reid snuck in sly hooks on his piano. "Your Drums, Your Love" benefitted greatly from the minimal set-up; while the studio version is befitted with flashy studio tricks, its catchy chorus shone in this version, dressed up with jazzy improvisation and skittering beats.

See more photos from the performance here.

Show Recap: White Buffalo at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 13, 2013 06:18pm | Post a Comment

Folk rocker White Buffalo took the stage at Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 11, performing songs from his recently released concept album, Shadows, Greys, and Evil Ways (on CD now or preorder on LP). In the vein of, say, Steve Earle, White Buffalo aka Jake Smith performs americana songs with a satirical bent. His latest album details the life of a young man as he meets a woman and settles down with her, only to head to war, be shot and sent home a changed man who can't cope.

He started with "The Getaway," a waltz detailing the album's two young lovers running away together. In the next song, "Joey White," the character "finds out it's pretty fuckin' hard out there," he said, as the man joins the military seemingly without another choice. Smith had some trouble with the guitar cable during the song, during which he jokingly implored to the audiene, "talk amongst yourself, quit lookin' at me." Unflustered, he started to perform the hard-hitting song acoustically before the power came back—actually, it sounded pretty cool as his guitar sound broke apart while playing, and if anything, it added to the sentiment of things falling apart for Smith's character.

In the minor-key cowboy song "The Whistler," Smith really embodied the inner turmoil of his character, growling "don't you look at me" and painting a bleak picture of the American Dream, ironically whistling peacefully at the song's conclusion. Smith said the character "starts to swing up" in the next song, "Set My Body Free," looking for salvation through either Jesus or suicide—you know, a real uplifting message. In "Redemption #2," Smith sounded desperate as he sang of how the character only would find redemption through the woman he loves, with big strums giving off the sense that the character was fighting for his life. Before performing his final song, Smith called out to the fact that he was performing on 9/11, and indeed the antiwar message of his set hit home on that day, and as the country stood on edge of military action overseas.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 09.13.13: E-Lit with New Releases, Goodie Mob Returns, True Skool 14 Year Anniversary, Z-Man interview

Posted by Billyjam, September 13, 2013 10:00am | Post a Comment
           

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 09:13:13

1) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

2) Big Sean Hall Of Fame (Universal)

3) Damu The Fudgemunk Spur Momento Trailer (Redefinition/Fat Beats)

4) Goodie Mob Age Against The Machine (The Right Records)

5) A$AP Ferg Trap Lord (RCA)

Thanks to E-Lit, holding it down at the Berkeley Amoeba store's hip-hop department, for the latest news in recent hip-hop arrivals at the Telegraph Ave. store via the above. new top five sales chart and the video in which he runs through many of the new CD and vinyl releases - many of them indie label releases that are not always easy to find in stores. In addition to the nationally popular Earl Sweatshirt's Doris (Columbia) and A$AP Ferg's Trap Lord - both of which I wrote about in previous weeks - other new top five entries include Big Sean's Hall Of Fame, Damu The Fudgemunk's Spur Momento Trailer (via Fat Beats and also on vinyl), and the return of Goodie Mob with the album Age Against The Machine on The Right Records.  Once one of the main crews out of Atlanta’s lengendary Dungeon Family hip-hop collective, the Goodie Mob haven't done anything new as a full quartet (recording wise - they did reunite to perform) in fourteen long hip-hop years. Of course in the meantime Cee-Lo Green became a breakout bona fide pop star via his music (both solo with the huge hit "Fuck You" and with Danger Mouse as one half of Gnarls Barkley with the runaway hit "Crazy") and his TV role as a cat stroking judge on The Voice.  So is the new Age Against The Machine any good you ask? I am still not 100% sure (I like it but don't love it like their earlier work) after needle dropping my way through it twice but it appears to these ears to be recorded out of a desperation (for three of the four members at least) to score a pop hit along the lines of Cee-Lo's solo work. Hence such hook driven songs as “Power” which addresses race relations. But it is at its best when it doesn't sound like it is trying to be pop but on such songs as “Special Education” and “Pinstripes.” Below is the video for the album track "I'm Set" to give you a better feel of how the comeback album by this once very unique and influential Southern group sounds.

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Weekly Roundup: Best Coast, Crystal Antlers, The Herms, Upset and More

Posted by Billy Gil, September 12, 2013 10:20pm | Post a Comment

Best Coast’s Fade Away Up for Preorder

L.A.’s Best Coast are following up last year’s excellent The Only Place with a mini album called Fade Away. The seven-song release features two songs she released on Record Store Day—“Fear of My Identity” and “Who Have I Become”—plus five more new ones. It’ll be out Oct 22 on frontwoman Bethany Cosentino’s new label, Jewel City. Read my interview with Best Coast here.

Preorder Best Coast’s Fade Away on CD or LP! Stream “Fear of My Identity” below, and pick up the EP track "I Don't Know How" from Amoeba now!

 

Crystal Antlers – “Rattlesnake” video

We’re already loving the new Crystal Antlers song “Rattlesnake,” and now its video is here, which matches the ’90s vibe of the song with some buzz-bin visuals. Beavis & Butthead would’ve loved this. Their latest album, Nothing is Real, is due Oct. 15 on Innovative Leisure.

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New Documentary To Chronicle Boston's Garage Punk History

Posted by Billyjam, September 12, 2013 11:44am | Post a Comment

Boys From Nowhere: The Story of Boston's Garage Punk Uprising trailer 2013

The announcement over the past week via the above video trailer of an exciting sounding forthcoming documentary on the history of Boston garage / punk titled Boys From Nowhere: The Story of Boston's Garage Punk Uprising  got me thinking about all the great punk music that came out of Beantown - most of which I personally learned about via college radio and buying records like the compilation "This Is Boston Not LA." The documentary, that features the godfather of Boston punk (and punk in general) Jonathan Richman, looks like it will be really good and well worth seeing - especially for fans of music from this region. Below are a few live videos of three Boston bands featured in this new documentary. These include The Real Kids in 1982 live  on TV, the Nervous Eaters live in Cambridge, MA back in 1979 performing the songs "Degenerate" and "Loretta," and (from that same year) The Neighborhoods on a local Boston TV show when the pop hook driven band performed both "Prettiest Girl" and "No Place Like Home." For up to the minute updates on the documentary keep up on Facebook.


Nervous Eaters "Degenerate" & "Loretta" (Live, 1979)

New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 9/11 - D'Marc Cantu, Tin Man, Ron Hardy and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, September 12, 2013 10:05am | Post a Comment

Mountain Range - From You Have I Been AbsentMountain Range

From You Have I Been Absent In the Spring 12"

Aniara Recordings

New heat from the Aniara crew, this time presenting some epic compositions from Christoffer Berg, best known for his work with The Knife and Depeche Mode . The a-side is a dubby, glacial climb, somewhat similar to the material on Vertical Ascent by Moritz Von Oswald Trio. The B, Untouchable , is a bit closer to the Knife's icy, futuristic synthpop.

Buy From You Have I Been Absent in the Spring 12"

 

 

D'Marc Cantu - Alternate FrequencyD'Marc Cantu

Alternate Frequencies 12"

Creme Organization

Excellent new material from the Ann Arbor acid maestro.  The title track has the ominous pads and patient jack of prime Convextion material. Size and Shape suceeds with an 80s chicago house lead, expert synth harmonies and odd vocal sample. Elsewhere, the Hague and Midwest get all mixed up to delightful effect. 6-tracks, all killers.

Buy Alternate Frequencies 12"

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Show Recap: Haunted Summer at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 12, 2013 08:53am | Post a Comment

L.A.-based dream pop band Haunted Summer cast their spell over Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 10, their autumnal music like a collective signifier of summer moving into fall. Their gorgeous “1996” saw them sending out cool waves of reverbed guitar while singer Bridgette Moody cooed an ode to nostalgia. The band moved from a four-piece to a duo of voice, guitar and synthesizers for a couple of hypnotic songs—including an even dreamier version of Animal Collective’s “Bees,” which they dedicated to the problem of honeybee colony collapse disorder—in which Moody’s voice would move from a whisper to a wail, occasionally masked with underwater effects. The band’s bassist and drummer came back for a couple more, plus their producer, who played a wicked theramin on their closing song.

Pick up their Something in the Water EP at Amoeba Music, and listen to or download “All Around” for free from Amoeba. See more photos from the show here, and read my interview with the band here.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #48: 9/11 Anniversary, CBGB movie, New York City's Next Mayor

Posted by Billyjam, September 11, 2013 04:05pm | Post a Comment
Following yesterday's primaries New Yorkers moved closer to determining who might replace current three term NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in next month's election. Bill de Blasio, who was the most liberal Democrat in the race, racked up way more votes than any of his rivals in the Democratic primary yesterday which is significant in that the mayoral hopeful promised a totally different approach to city governing compared to the New York City of the past two decades under both Bloomberg and Rudolph W. Giuliani. His platform, which the average New Yorker can fully relate to, has been built on shrinking that increasing gap between New York's very rich and its poor, and on making sweeping changes to New York's long controversial aggressive police practices such as stop and frisk. In his campaign he personalized this issue by including his bi-racial, Afro wearing son Dante as an example of a target of racial profiling by NYPD under the current regime. In sharp contrast was the winner on the Republican side; Joseph J. Lhota whose campaign was built on a promise of continuing a tough, no-nonsense approach to both crime-fighting and city budgeting. In short Lhota would continue the tight reined  city governing of Bloomberg and Giuliani (maybe even more extreme) while de Blasio would  present a total departure and change in his running of the city. Either way it is going to be a very interesting election come November 5th.

Today, September 11th, in New York City is a most solemn day. Even a dozen full years after 9/11 New Yorkers still gristle at the thought of that devastating day when everyone across the city was somehow impacted by the tragedy that unfolded. To commemorate this twelve year anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, when 3,000 died, there are numerous memorial events - some personal, some public - taking place around the city including, naturally, downtown Manhattan at the site of World Trade Center. Perhaps the most significant of all though is the  national campaign under way that asks people to take the day to pause and reflect on what happened. It is also to help build awareness for the memorial museum, to open next year after delays, devoted to what happened that day. In that end workers are busy in their efforts to get the The National September 11 Memorial & Museum finished and open by Spring 2014. In a recent public statement the museum/memorial's director of education and public programming is author Clifford Chanin, who penned the book The Stories They Tell: Artifacts from the National September 11 Memorial Museum, said that the museum will feature hundreds of artifacts. Each one of these will capture individual personal stories of those directly impacted by that fateful day in September 2001. Due to several factors including real estate disputes and the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy the memorial/museum project, which should have been open by this year's anniversary, got delayed. To raise both funds and awareness of the project a campaign has been launched that asks people to “Take a day to remember the day that changed us forever.” Today in both the general media (TV, newspapers, websites) and on social media sites. So expect to see/hear a lot more about this today on such websites as Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube that is also asking for minimal donations to go towards the staggering $700million price tag of the new museum/memorial.  More info here.

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Kid 'N Play's CLASS ACT at Cinefamily Los Angeles This Friday!

Posted by phil blankenship, September 11, 2013 01:30pm | Post a Comment

CLASS ACT
Friday, September 13, 2013 // Midnite

Co-presented by WARNER ARCHIVE

House Party pals Kid ‘N Play make sure the party isn’t over in a fresh comedy that asks: “What happens when the school records of a brainiac dweeb (Kid, the guy with the high-rise ’do) and a street tough with attitude to spare (Play, the hip-hop style master) accidentally get switched?” It’s an urban retelling of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, you dig? These boisterous superfriends have the quick-witted dynamics, easy interplay and casual expertise of the best old-school comedy teams down pat — but with cooler clothes, and more slammin’ dance moves. Pairing the duo with a def soundtrack and hot supporting roles for Doug E. Doug and Karyn Parsons (Hilary from Fresh Prince Of Bel Air) ensures that the hip-hop flip-flop of 1992 is now the back-to-school Cinefamily jam of 2013!
Dir. Randall Miller, 1992, 35mm, 98 min.

$12, Free for Cinefamily Members
www.cinefamily.org
Cinefamily // 611 N Fairfax Avenue // Los Angeles // 90036

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With BEAK>

Posted by Amoebite, September 11, 2013 01:08pm | Post a Comment


Beak

Portishead founder and producer Geoff Barrow is always busy making music. In 2009, Barrow teamed up with Billy Fuller (Fuzz Against Junk) and Matt Williams (Team Brick) to form the Krautrock trio, BEAK>. The group has since produced two full length albums, Beak> and Beak II, with the latter being released on Barrows' own Invada imprint.

Beak The band's named is stylized using the "greater than" symbol (>) with their second album featuring two greater than symbols on the cover (pictured right). Long live Krautrock!

Barrow and his cohorts caught up with our cameras at Amoeba Berkeley for another awesome episode of "What's In My Bag?." Right off the bat Billy pulls out a Frank Sinatra vinyl! Who would have thought the Kraughtrockers were into ol' blue eyes? Very cool! Matt picks up a CD that has a musician playing a "hurdy gurdy" on the cover, about which he says, "it just sounds amazing, it sounds like a drowning violin." Who doesn't love the sound of drowning violins? Geoff tells a great story about being sampled by the legendary hip hop producer J.Dilla and manages to dig up the soundtrack to the 1971 cult classic, Psychomania.

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King Krule to Play Free Show at Space 1520 in Hollywood Sept. 14

Posted by Amoebite, September 11, 2013 08:44am | Post a Comment

King KruleUPDATE 9/13 at 1:30PM: Amoeba Hollywood is SOLD OUT of wristbands for this show.

 

King Krule is in LA for 2 sold out shows at The Echo, but you can also catch him at a special all-ages show at Space15Twenty (across the street from Amoeba) on Saturday, September 14th at 2pm!

To get into the show, purchase Six Feet Beneath The Moon on CD or LP at Amoeba Hollywood starting on Friday, September 13th and you'll get you a pair of wristbands to the show. Limit one pair of wristbands per customer, while supplies last. Or follow @space15twenty on Instagram for additional details on attending the show.

Six Feet Beneath The Moon is the long-anticipated debut album from Southeast London's King Krule (aka Archy Marshall). He broke out in 2011, at the tender age of 16, with his eponymous EP released on True Panther Sounds. King Krule's sound, a hypnotic mixture indebted to working class British songsmiths like Billy Bragg as much as to NY No-Wave and hip hop, carries a maturity and depth far beyond his years.

King Krule at Space 1520

 

Terry Malts Talk Second Album 'Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere'

Posted by Billy Gil, September 10, 2013 04:37pm | Post a Comment

The Terry Malts aren’t your typical Bay Area garage band. In fact, they’re not really a garage band or a punk band—or even a typical Slumberland Records band—at all. The band’s three members—comprising singer/bassist Phil Benson, guitarist/vocalist Corey Cunningham and drummer/vocalist Nathan Sweatt,  started off in jangle-rock revivalists Magic Bullets before branching off into Terry Malts, a fast-paced, fuzz-rockin’ trio that fuses Ramones-style hooks and brevity with the deep-voiced panache of Morrissey and reverbed insouciance shared with several of their labelmates. Their second album, the Neil Young-reffing Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere (on CD or LP) is another quick and dirty delight, as was their first album, last year’s Killing Time. I caught up with the band just as they were set to release Nobody, which is in stores today. (See photos from their Amoeba performance here.)

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: 20 Year Anniversary of Souls' 93 Til Infinity Celebrated With New Documentary By Shomari Smith

Posted by Billyjam, September 10, 2013 01:48pm | Post a Comment
       

Fittingly on the eve of the recent Hiero Day and in Oakland, the premiere preview screening of Til Infinity took place at the New Parkway Theater. Capturing a significant moment midway in hip-hop's history and a critical time in the early life of Hiero collective quartet the Souls Of Mischief the Shomari Smith directed documentary 'Til Infinity takes an in-depth look back to twenty years ago to when the Souls Of Mischief  (Tajai, Phesto D, A-Plus, Opio) released their acclaimed debut album, the 1993 hip-hop classic 93 ‘Til infinity.  Oakland born and raised filmmaker Smith, who grew up with the Hieros, presents an inside intimate look at his subject that another documentary maker may not have been privy to. From childhood stories by the many members of the Hieroglyphics collective to track by track detail of every song on the 93 'Til album, plus insights and input from a wide variety of hip-hop artists and industry folk Smith's film is both a history of the Hieros and a play by play of every detail of a hip-hop classic album that bookmarked the end of hip-hop's so-called golden era and the beginning of a new (non mob/street/player/gangsta) era in Bay Area hip-hop. Many of Smith's interviews were conducted while traveling across the country on tour with the group and the artists they met along the way such as Redman, Phife Dawg, Rakaa Iriscience, Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), and Snoop (Lion) Dogg.

As one of the many industry folk interviewed in the documentary I was among the lucky ones to get invited to last weekend's premiere screening. (I had produced a SoulBeat TV show dedicated to the Hieros back in September of 1993 upon the Souls' 93 release - portions of which are interspersed throughout the new doc). After the midday screening finished at New Parkway  on 24th Street attendees moved over to the Rock Steady on San Pablo at 18th for the after party / photo exhibit (Phesto and Shomari Smith's Souls tour photos). It was outside that venue, a part of the New Parish, that I conducted the above video interview with Shomari Smith. At the recently relocated New Parkway (which looks great by the way) Shomari addressed the audience that, along with all of the Souls and most of the Hieros, included such film interveiwees as Lyrics Born, Equipto, and Dante Ross.  "It's been an amazing journey," stressed Smith of the film that took two years to make. Like most good pieces of art the film took on its own direction and vibe based on the material Smith culled in the seemingly endless hours of interviews he conducted. The documentary clocked in at two hours he but before the screening Smith promised that the time would "go by quickly" (it did) adding how what the audience was about to view was "the directors cut" since due to licensing and other factors the film will have to go through another round of editing down and a series of alterations. 

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Album Picks: Janelle Monae, The Weeknd, Jacuzzi Boys, Joanna Gruesome

Posted by Billy Gil, September 10, 2013 09:01am | Post a Comment

Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady

CD $12.98

Janelle Monae's The Archandroid was a landmark R&B album, released in 2010 when Monae was only 24 years old and poising her to accept the baton from her predecessors. With The Electric Lady, she accepts entry into that pantheon of great soul artists, and even collaborates with several of them. Her duet with Prince, "Givin Em What They Love," is a raunchy bit of slow rolling rock 'n' roll that does the Purple One proud, with Monae giving a snarling, Karen O-like performance. She enlists Erykah Badu to collaborate on "Q.U.E.E.N.," for a jam that's both glitzy and soulful, unafraid of seeming both current and strange ("Is it peculiar that she twerk in the mirror? And am I weird to dance alone late at night?" Monae asks). But her duets fellow new guard members are equally thrilling, on the sassy title track with Solange, jazzy "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" with Esperanza Spalding and showstopper "Primetime" with Miguel. The music is remarkable and unpredictable throughout, from the loungey outro to "We Were Rock N Roll" to the Flaming Lips synths and Brazilian jazz chords of "Ghetto Woman." And impressively, with all these big names, Monae remains the star, singing and rapping like the second coming of Lauryn Hill. On her own, her songs are no less striking, singing an uplifting hymn with "Victorious" and closing things out beautifully on the reggae-tinged "What An Experience." What an experience The Electric Lady is, indeed!

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Now This Is A Young Man's Summer Vacation

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 9, 2013 11:00pm | Post a Comment

Now this is a young man's summer vacation..

To someone who works as much as I do, summer is just a mere acknowledgement than a season. For instance, It is summer because it’s hot. It’s summer because the sun is out later and it’s because people are wearing less clothing. There is no summer vacations or lightening of loads for this working guy, just a little more sweat than usual.

However, this year I did take a summer vacation from this blog. The plan was to reenergize and come up with a fresh perspective of what to write about and whether I should continue to do so. It really hasn’t worked. Almost four months later, I still struggle in front of the computer thinking what I should write about. Clearly, there are better writers than myself, not only from all the great music blogs, newspapers and magazines from around the world, but within our pool of talented writers that work for Amoeba as well. They can write about the same artists and genres that I can, and with more eloquence and detail. Still, I don’t think that most of these writers have their hands in as many musical pies as I do. I came to realize that is my strength. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m the equivalent of one of those annoying foodies that can pontificate about the wonders of food cooked with liquid nitrogen then geek out on KFC Mac & Cheese. In the end, that what keeps me writing about music, the simple love of it.

So, I made it a point to listen to more music than usual, not pigeonhole myself and just enjoy what I enjoy. The following are some releases I really dug over the summer.


James Holden’s Inheritors and Destruction Unit’s Deep Trip

I listened to lots of Hawkwind, Can, Cluster and artists of that ilk over the summer. Likewise, I listened to all the bands that followed them, such as The Damned, The Stranglers, and Magazine. When I first heard my favorite late seventies/early 80’s punk bands, I had no idea how much they were influenced by Space and Kraut rock groups until I discovered them myself. Then it all made sense to me.

I’m not into retro bands that try to imitate the bands from that era. I don’t see the point. However, I love it when artists borrow from that era to take their music to another level. James Holden Inheritors is that thought process, taking electronic music not only to the days of Cluster and Popol Vuh, but to the days where musicians were trying to link into a pre-colonial past that they never knew. Inheritors can come off as imperfect at times but that is its charm. I love Holden’s use of analog instruments that have their own agenda mixed with the technology of today to keep it from going completely off the rails. It’s hard to describe their sound without making reference to some obscure 70’s electronic group. However, Holden shares the same sense of spatial concept with groups like Boards Of Canada. That is if Boards Of Canada took acid in the forest for weeks on end.

Destruction Unit has than Hawkwind lineage without trying to sound like them. In fact, their lineage comes from all the bands that were influenced by Hawkwind throughout the years. The former members of The Reatards that make this group lay it on heavy. It’s bad trip music but oh so good at the same time. The songs drone without boredom, like an amphetamined Spaceman 3 with layers of wah-petal and distortion. The best thing about Destruction Unit is that at the core, the music t is punk. While the psychedelia lies thick, the punk is there to slap you awake from a psychedelic slumber.

Matias Aguayo The Visitor  CD/ LP

I loved Aguayo’s last album, Ay Ay Ay and his style of sampling his own vocals to create his own sound. This time around, it’s less of the vocal sampling experimentations and more sounds of his environment. I’m not taking about nature sounds, but sounds that one hears on the urban streets everyday. I can help to think that moving back to South America has shaped his last two albums become less Eurocentric and more about the Americas. Still, much like The Meridian Brothers, who studied experimental music in Europe and now mixes it with the sounds of their native Colombia, it’s best not to shed all the layers of experimentation in order to be pure. The Visitor shows Aguayo complexities as a person. One who listens to traditional music. One who likes the band, Suicide. A person that likes mainstream pop music as well as hits from the hood. Someone who can take all those influences, mix them up and make for a great party record, albeit a party for weirdoes, freaks and nerds. I seriously not liked an album like this as since Manu Chao’s Clandestino, and that’s saying a lot.


Quantic & Ana Tijoux - Doo Woop (That Thing) / Entre Rejas (Sold Out)

Allow me to talk crap about the company that writes my check. Every year, Quantic comes out with something cool and limited. Every year, Amoeba only gets a few copies and then we get a billion phone calls asking for it. Before I get a ton of grief from the buyers, I do know in some cases, there are limited numbers each store can carry worldwide and there is nothing we can do about it. But when you get only three copies and one of them is the copy I will buy, then the chance of someone else getting it is now down 33.3%. By noon of release date, it’s “tough luck kid, sold out.” I figure we could throw out our, “Hey, we are Amoeba, we are the biggest record store in the world, send us more than three copies!” card and perhaps get more. But I digress.

I know the Lauryn Hill cover is all over the Internet and it’s quite good, but it’s the b-side, “Entre Rejas” which just slays me. It’s probably my favorite of all Lisandro Mesa’s songs, now with classic Hip-Hop beat and Ana Tijoux singing and not rapping, the lyrics. Already a great MC, Tijoux’s vocals has gotten stronger over he last few years. Natural phrasing is something that all MC should have. It’s that lineage to jazz vocalists and in the case of Latin American rappers, a link to the great Cumbia, Trova and Jarocho singers that improve just like Jazz singers. Had Mercedes Sosa been born in the time of Hip-Hop, maybe she would have been a MC? Anyways, if you can find the single, get it.

Steely Dan Aja

So this is my KFC Mac & Cheese segment. All summer while doing the mundane task of pricing used CDs, I listened to Steely Dan’s Aja on repeat. Part of it was to listen to something familiar to complete the task in hand. When I listen to something new, I want to dissect it and the next thing I know I’m listening and not working. Aja is exactly forty minutes long. By the time I get to the song, “Home At Last”, I better be rapping up a bin of priced world music CDs.

It wasn’t like I didn’t have thoughts in my head, but the thoughts in my head ended just as soon as the song did. Thoughts like, “I wonder what the women Donald Fagan sang about in the song, “Black Cow” looks like? I pictured her as a brunette with deep sunken eyes. Other thoughts, “I wonder what kind of car Deacon Blue drives?” “What does Peg’s 8”X !0” glossy promo picture look like? How is she posed?” “What the real name of the angular banjo instrument they talk about in the song, “Aja”?” I bet it’s not a Chinese instrument, it a Japanese instrument! Somehow I pictured Josie living in Jersey.
Whatever the case was, I soon was done with pricing the CDs and I was off to my next task.

A few weeks ago on a whim, my friend Jeremy and I decide to get tickets to see Steely Dan at The Nokia Theater the day of the show. I didn’t know it at the time I got the tickets, but they were going to play the whole Aja album in its entirety. When I found out, I was pretty jazzed. It was like it was meant to be. From the first notes of “Black Cow,” the first track off the Aja album, I was stoked. The musicians were amazing, as you would expect and Fagan’s voice hung strong. But after awhile, I didn’t know what to do without my pricing gun. All I knew is that after forty minutes or so, this experience will be over and I couldn’t hit repeat. I struggled with the “hits” portion of the program, as I’m not much of a fan of their earlier material. However, I felt a cleansing, like I quit cigarettes, coffee, booze and drugs at the same time. I felt I didn’t need that crutch of Aja to get through the day. When I return to work, I took the Aja CD out of the CD Walkman and I was ready for the next adventure. Maybe Chicago’s Greatest Hits??

Mosaic Artist Daud Abdullah Gives Oakland's City Trash Cans Makeovers

Posted by Billyjam, September 9, 2013 09:19pm | Post a Comment
     

Despite all of the galleries and museums in the Bay Area displaying some incredible art oft times the best  art on display is that work that is never restricted to business hours or entrance fees. I am talking about the street art - commissioned or non-commissioned - that you can find all over from city back alleys to main thoroughfares. My personal favorite public space street art is one that utilizes an existing functional item but transforms it into a piece of beauty. Case in point are the many city trash cans around the city of Oakland, including the ones dotted along Telegraph Ave. in the Temescal district of North Oakland, that have been transformed into beautiful art pieces for the public to enjoy and appreciate as more than mere garbage recepticals.

The artist responsible for many of these East and North Oakland art trash cans, including one that is located outside the Temescal Oakland Public Library, is self-described East Bay "mosaic artist" Daud Abdullah who, as well as his passion for mosaic art, has a love for music (particularly jazz). Hence why some of his mosaic pieces include images of musical instruments. I caught up with the artist, who in addition to North Oakland also has a series of pieces out in East Oakland including on High Street,  MacArthur, and Seminary. I  asked him a few questions about his craft and what goes into it (see video above) and his latest art projects of transforming bikes with glass. You can see his work if you are in East or North Oakland. You can also see his work, including his photography, by visiting his Flickr page under the tag Brookdaledude that includes several pics of the bikes that the artist who started out as a photographer talks about in the Amoeblog video interview.   For exact locations of his public pieces or more info contact the artist directly via email at [email protected]

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Chuck Palahniuk & the SF Cacophony Society: Creating Culture from Mayhem, 9/23

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 9, 2013 06:43pm | Post a Comment

Ever wonder how Chuck Palahniuk came up with the idea for Fight Club’s secret society of recreational fighters? Or how a giant wooden “man” ended up on fire in the desert, inspiring one of the world’s most radical gatherings? Welcome to the Cacophony Society, an underground group of pranksters whose antics have helped shape the contemporary zeitgeist for the past three decades. Now -- from flash mobs and SantaCon to groups like Improv Everywhere and the Yes Men -- new generations of instigators are taking a page out of the Cacophony book, driving pranks and events with social media tools.

On Monday, September 23rd, immerse yourself in the full Cacophony experience at the Castro Theatre as society founders and celebrated members (including Chuck Palahniuk, John Law, Carrie Galbraith, and Brad Wieners) take you through the society’s origins, the importance of play in adult life, and how to kick-start your own culture. Plus, check out some society spinoffs including: bartending robots from RoboGames, a blessing from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, “Hugging Machines” from artist Kal Spelletich, Art Cars, Doggie Diner heads, video shorts, and more!

Get your tickets HERE!

tales of the cacophany society

Help Save the Historic Balboa Theatre in San Francisco

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 9, 2013 05:30pm | Post a Comment
Balboa 1941
Balboa Theatre, 1941

Many small theaters have adopted the rallying cry of "Go Digital, or Go Dark," and though that sounds dramatic, it is all too true. After 100 years of movies being screened from film, Hollywood is converting to digital. Every theatre must upgrade its projectors and associated equipment by the end of this year.

The Balboa Theatre opened in 1926 and has served San Francisco's Richmond district continuously since then. Every year, thousands of residents of all ages visit the Balboa for screenings of new films and well-curated programming such as music documentaries, classics, and "Popcorn Palace" kids fare! But now they need your help.

The Balboa is raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign so they can upgrade the projection and sound equipment in both of their two auditoriums. It will cost close to $150,000 to do both. They have just raised enough to convert one auditorium, but you can help them reach their stretch goal so they can go all the way. With digital projectors in place, they will be able to keep the Balboa alive offering a modern, first-class movie experience in a classic neighborhood theatre. Plus, they are giving away some great reward incentives. Donate now!

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Recap: September Charity Auction to Benefit Free Arts

Posted by Amoebite, September 9, 2013 01:12pm | Post a Comment

Kurt Braunohler Amoeba AuctionOn Saturday, September 7 we had the amazing and suave Kurt Braunohler return to host our auction at Amoeba Hollywood and sign copies of his new comedy album, How Do I Land? – out on Kill Rock Stars.

Don't tell me you don't know about comedian Kurt Braunholer?? He's been seen on BUNK (IFC), Chelsea Lately, Bob’s Burgers (FOX), Delocated (Adult Swim), Comedy Central Presents, Jon Benjamin Has a Van (Comedy Central), The Heart She Holler (Adult Swim), Assy McGee (Adult Swim) and Human Giant (MTV). He can also be heard on the radio on This American Life, telling a story which he is currently developing for television for HBO.

Kurt was recently named one of Variety’s “10 Comics To Watch.” He’s also featured in Time Out New York's list of 50 Funniest New Yorkers, named as a "Comic to Watch" by Comedy Central, the New York Comedy Festival and TimeOut NY, as well as “Best Male Stand-Up” by the ECNY and “Best Unscripted Host” by the New York Television Festival. The man is funny!!

People came out to bid on concert tickets, gift certificates, collectibles, a special Kill Rock Stars “Kurt Pack” and so much more. The store was abuzz, and the heated bidding wars drove the temperature even higher than the record-breaking Los Angeles heatwave. Kurt is a natural at making people laugh while they dig deep in their pockets. Plus, he was a smooth criminal when it came to sliding the bids up and up and up...

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San Francisco Summer Jams: Kelly Stoltz's "Kim Chee Taco Man"

Posted by Kells, September 8, 2013 12:45pm | Post a Comment

This year there seems to be more confusion than collusion when it comes to determining the borderline between Summer's end and Autumn's dawn. Recently, I made a break from San Francisco's foggy cold summer to spend some time basking in the high August sunshine on the Carolina coastline. It was with much distress that before I had even returned to California I couldn't help but clock the sudden emergence of all things Halloween on my Summer radar. Browsing the beer aisle had become an exercise in dodging pumpkin brews, hitting the local corner store for a sunblock re-up meant traipsing through a spooktacular displays replete with bulk candies, even a beloved backroad farmer's market had transformed itself, within the span of a week, from sunny Summer fruit central into a homespun Halloween headquarters. What [expletive] gives?

All this is leading up to the total relief I felt upon seeing the merry music video for "Kim Chee Taco Man" earlier this week, the first bit of music released from Kelley Stoltz's upcoming album Double Exposure (drops 9/24 on Third Man Records). The video, co-starring Grace Cooper of The Sandwitches, is enjoyably humorous and all but what really struck me is the breezy, endless summer vibe of the track mixed with the familiar voices, faces and places indicative of a fully made in San Francisco production. What's more, I feel that the timing of this little ray of light has restored my faith in the season. We may not enjoy much in the way of a visual display of change as the wheel of the year turns, but just like the Kim Chee Taco Man's disciples in the video, we relish, with gusto, those goodies bestowed to us from on high, whether they be gifted from gourmet gurus or simply the results atmospheric stability. In any case, from September to October, I've got to give it up for Summer in San Francisco!

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Return Of The Return Of The Cassette

Posted by Billyjam, September 7, 2013 02:40pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Berkeley's E-Lit shows some of the cassette tapes at Telegraph Ave store

Everything comes round again, and sometimes more than once, including the long dismissed but never fully forgotten cassette tape format. Yes, once again the old analog cassette, once a symbol of listening to music on the go in the 70's or 80's (on Walkmans, in the car, or on boom-boxes) is currently enjoying yet another re-resurgence in popularity and/or curious interest by music collectors and small music labels. Even in the six years since I wrote a previous Amoeblog on the topic (Return of the Cassette that tackled the state of the cassette revival in 2007 and tied in with Thurston Moore's Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now NYC exhibit at the time) interest in cassettes has increased substantially.

Attention to cassettes in the media has grown too. Two years ago the Wall Street Journal did a nice piece on their renaissance. And for the past few years there has been a growing number of small indie specialty labels putting out cassette only releases. Among these are such Bay Area labels as MegaKut  and Sanity Muffin (run by Amoebite Billy Sprague) and New Jersey punk label Baldy Longhair Records (see magazine ad for the label right). Blogs have been popping up all over on various aspects of the cassette tape including one how to repair a broken cassette.

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Happy Cassette Store Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 7, 2013 12:52pm | Post a Comment

Cassette Store Day merchandise available here

First there was Record Store Day which began in 2008. Now, 2013 brings the first Cassette Store Day (7 September). Stores across Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America are on board with the latest celebration of a format that most consider obsolete. There are events taking place and totes and Ts (natch) commemorating the day are for sale. Although it’s not called Audio Cassette Store Day, that seems to be what it more properly is (sorry valorizers of Betamax and VHS). It's also Cassette Store Day, not merely Cassette Day -- is there such thing as a store that exclusively sells tapes? Even Tape World carried CDs and records.


Image source: Pimp Your Kitchen

A part of me winces at what seems at first like a twee joke. Does anyone genuinely prefer the sound of music on cassette or is this just nostalgia or worse -- obsoletism? Back in 1994, after I heard that Pearl Jam had released a song titled “Spin the Black Circle” my immediate reaction was to pen a song -- “Turn the Wax Cylinder" -- and vinyl is genuinely and justly still loved. It just struck me as this sort of luddite snobbery -- which Mr. Show hilariously skewered with one of their best skits -- “The Last Donut”  -- in which an insufferable prick scoffs at CDs and states that he only listens to music on a “Mini Victrola.” In other words, it all seems a bit Portlandish. What’s next, festivities memorializing piano rolls, 78s, reel-to-reel, or 8-tracks?
Quiet Doing Cassette Wallet Cassette iPod case
A couple of Quiet Doing's (canvas and vinyl) cassette motif products 

Then again, there was a time in the CD era when cassettes seemed like a DIY/punk alternative to the corporate CD world. The 1980s saw the rise of Cassette Culture and even in the 1990s several primarily (and in some cases exclusively) tape-friendly labels arose (especially in the Pacific Northwest) like Apraxia Music Research, Brown Interior Music, Burger Records, E.F. Tapes & CD-Rs, From the Wheelchair to the Pulpit, Gnar Tapes, Happiest Tapes on Earth, K Records, and Ladd-Frith.

What's more there were also countless bands who since the audio cassette's introduction recorded tape-only albums -- and not just hopelessly obscure ones; the celebrated Triffids never bothered to release their first seven albums on any other format. Finally, long after tape decks disappeared from most homes, a lot of people I know held on to their tapes because their cars had (or have) cassette decks.


Cassette Stall - source: Warren Hill

Though I shun pretentiousness, I am highly susceptible to nostalgia and I do have some fond tape-centric memories. As a kid I used to tape the radio (usually KCOU) and then dub the songs I liked onto a second tape (using my brother’s boom box). I also used to hold a tape recorder up to the TV to record great themes like those for Miami Vice and Perry Mason. I remember the first tape that I bought (Peter Gabriel’s So) and even my first dub (The Queen is Dead, Happy? and most of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me onto one tape). Tapes were fragile and when my brother was angry at me he tore my copy of Beelzebubba. However, for those motivated to, cassettes could and can easily be repaired with a bit of tape, some scissors and maybe a small screwdriver.  Try doing that with a destroyed CD or vinyl record! I even remember being sassed by a classmate who, after I asked her to repeat herself barked, "I didn't mutter, utter, or stutter! I'm not a tape! I don't rewind!" 





When CDs came along and cassette values plummeted, they allowed me (and presumably others) to take a chance on bands or records that I hadn't heard for a cheap price. I remember picking up two Severed Heads albums, a Steve Kilbey solo record, and two Wire cassettes – all for a quarter each – at a Camelot Music. In the pre-Shazam era, finding unlabeled dubs could introduce the listener to a mysterious collection of songs and figuring out who the artist(s) were amounted to a life-changing quest. When tapes became even less valuable they were frequently discarded by stores and I’d tape over the two square-shaped holes on top and make mix-tapes (usually based around a genre or mood) on them -- goodbye Bobby Brown hello mix of cowboy music. Personally, I think a laboriously-constructed mix-tape (hopefully with nice packaging) was one of the greatest gifts that one could give or receive. 

Cassette stall in Badung, Indonesia - image source: Jacqueline Chang's Life as a Hairdresser

Tapes were never my favorite format and though their technical merits were relatively few, there is a bit more to their appreciation than just nostalgia and obsoletism. In the developing world they never really went away (which is perhaps why Cassette Store Day seems to be either going unnoticed or happening everyday in Africa and Asia). If it weren't for cassettes, a lot of great music would be lost and to me that's what makes tapes most valuable -- by some estimates, 50% of recorded music has never been released on CD. Roughly 1% of all recorded music is available on iTunes. Far less than 1% is available on Pandora or Spotify. When a teenage neighbor of mine bought a wallet with a cassette design, I asked her if she know what it was or if she simply thought it looked cool and she surprised my (given this BBC piece) by knowing what it was an elaborating that many luk thung (ลูกทุ่ง) recordings circulate between her parents and their friends.


Still from John Smith and Graeme Miller's Lost Sound

Finally, there is perhaps no more poetic evocation of the charms of cassettes than experimental filmmaker John Smith's Lost Sound (collaboration with Graeme Miller – 1998-2001, 28 mins. Color. Sound. Video).  It consists of shots of discarded bits of tapes found around East London and played accompanied by their recovered audio.

So dust off those tapes, try to find a tape player, and have a Happy Cassette Store Day.

*****

New Arcade Fire 12" Available Sept 9 at 9pm at Amoeba Hollywood, SF/Berkeley Sept 10

Posted by Amoebite, September 6, 2013 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Arcade Fire ReflektorArcade Fire is releasing a very limited 12" single from their upcoming album, Reflektor (due out October 29 on Merge Records). The "Reflektor" 12" will be available for sale at Amoeba Hollywood on Monday, September 9 at 9pm. Amoeba San Francisco and Berkeley will have it for sale starting Tuesday, September 10 at open (SF opens at 11am, Berkeley opens at 10:30am).

Quantities are very limited so it's first come first served, limit one copy per customer and you must be in the store to purchase it. No phone orders, online sales or holds allowed.

We'll also be playing the new single at Amoeba Hollywood on Monday, 9/9 at 9pm so come down to the store for a chance to hear the new track before anyone else.

In typical Arcade Fire, mum's the word when it comes to everything about the release and the 12" single. Artwork for the 12" has surfaced online, but we can't confirm yet that this is accurate. To further complicate the mystery, the back cover also features a track listing of 14 songs. But it is reportedly just another trick by the band. We'll all have to wait and see on Monday!

Arcade Fire Refektor

 

Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood Saturday, September 14

Posted by Amoebite, September 5, 2013 08:29pm | Post a Comment

Sidewalk SaleAmoeba Hollywood's next Sidewalk Sale is Saturday, September 14 from 12- 5pm! We always have tons of great bargains just outside the store during our sidewalk sales and this one will be no different. (Of course there are some pretty stellar deals inside the store too, but you already knew that.) If shopping all of these awesome deals works up your thirst, the kind folks at Hubert's Lemonade will be on hand offering free lemonade to our lovely customers.

Sale items to look out for at this month's sidewalk sale include:

  • All DVDs are $3 and buy one get one free (excluding DVD box sets)
  • DVD box sets just $7 each or 2 for $10
  • Classical CDs are buy one get one free
  • Grab bags of ten 45s for only $3
  • Posters 3 for $10

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

Huberts Lemonade

Weekly Roundup: HAIM, The Goldberg Sisters, Glasser

Posted by Billy Gil, September 5, 2013 04:29pm | Post a Comment

HAIM – “The Wire” (Tourist remix)

haimThe singles from L.A. sister trio HAIM’s much-anticipated debut album, Days Are Gone (preorder on CD or LP), are already getting the remix treatment. This pretty/glitchy one comes from UK duo Tourist, which turns the power-pop of the original on its head. Pick up Days Are Gone Sept. 30 from Columbia.

 

The Goldberg Sisters – “Wandering I” video

It’s fine to carry a healthy skepticism when approaching the musical project of someone better known for their acting than music, but that can be dropped once you hear the music of The Goldberg Sisters, the musical project of actor Adam Goldberg. He produces the kind of sunsaoked, California psych-pop you could listen to all day, of the Beachwood Sparks/Dios Malos/Grandaddy variety. Still, Goldberg’s a Hollywood man, and thus he couldn’t resist directing his own video, which is hypnotic in its own right, consisting of 2,100 still images stitched together. It’s great stuff to get lost in. The Goldberg Sisters’ Stranger’s Morning is due Sept. 17.

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CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music Present The Idan Raichel Project, 10/12

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 5, 2013 04:00pm | Post a Comment

CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present The Idan Raichel Project on Idan Raichel photo by Eldad Rafaeli Saturday, October 12th at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

In 2003, an unusual song aired on Israeli radio. With its haunting chorus in the Ethiopian language of Amharic and a global fusion sound, "Bo'ee" became an instant crossover hit that catapulted The Idan Raichel Project to the top of Israel's pop charts. The song turned a young dreadlocked keyboardist and producer into a household name in his native land.

Soon, The Idan Raichel Project became known around the world for its cross-cultural collaborations. Since the release of their first international album, The Idan Raichel Project has represented a hope that artistic collaboration can break down barriers between different backgrounds and beliefs.

Idan Raichel, the architect of this unique project, is a keyboardist, producer, and composer. He has long been fascinated with the diversity of Israel and sought to celebrate his appreciation and respect for different cultures through his music. Because of its open door to immigrants from Jewish communities around the globe, Israel is home to a stew of cultures and traditions, including Jews of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Latin American, Eastern European, and African roots. There is also a large Arab community, almost 20% of the population of Israel. The music of the Idan Raichel Project draws on all these traditions.

The Idan Raichel Project's latest album, Quarter to Six, was released in spring 2013. It offers a transcontinental mix of different musical streams. The album features guest appearances by Portuguese fado star Ana Moura, Palestinian-Israeli singer Mira Awad, German countertenor Andreas Scholl, Colombia's Marta Gomez, Mali's Vieux Farka Toure, and a selection of some of Israel's top up-and-coming singers and musicians.

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Jackson Browne & David Hidalgo Perform at the Los Cenzontles Benefit Concert, 9/29

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 5, 2013 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Singer/songwriters Jackson Browne and David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos) will perform at the Richmond los cenzontles Jackson Browne David Hidalgo RichmondCraneway Pavilion on Sunday, September 29th to benefit Los Cenzontles, a nonprofit organization that also provides a music academy, a community space for youth and families, a band, and a hub for Latino artists. The Los Cenzontles touring group and students will also perform. 

This concert is just the kick-off for Los Cenzontles' Supporting Roots Campaign, which will raise funds to expand and renovate its facility, and expand its renowned cultural arts programming.

Los Cenzontles (Nahuatl for The Mockingbirds) is a factory of musical culture based in California. Deeply rooted in tradition, its professional musicians and mentors redefine Mexican American culture with a contemporary voice. 

Get your tickets HERE and find out more about the Supporting Roots Campaign HERE

New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 9/4 - Bookworms, Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Population One and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, September 5, 2013 01:25am | Post a Comment

Bookworms - Japanese ZelkovaBookworms

Japanese Zelkova 12"

L.I.E.S.

Bookworms, the nom the plume for New Yorker Nicholas Dawson, stormed into the national consciousness with his pizza-emblazoned white label, African Rhythms. The track's psychedelic, sample-driven shuffle, was one of the early tracks (along with Terekke's Damn and Legowelt's Sark Island Acid) the put L.I.E.S. on the map. A little over a year later, L.I.E.S. is 50 releases in, Dawson looks after the Confused House label/night and African Rhythms is a 70 dollar record. Most post-white label material has been work completed in concert with fellow cosmonaut Steve Summers, so new solo material is highly anticipated - Japanese Zelkova doesn't disappoint. This is moody, machine funk of the highest order. The title track has a drifting pad and a rhythmic element that sounds like an old Xerox machine. Malfunction is a slow, filtering arpeggio jam, finding several unlikely sweet spots and emphasizing the unpredictability of analog machinery. 

Buy Japanese Zelkova 12"

 

Greg Beato

PMA 12"

L.I.E.S.

LIES unleashes a mini-epic from the Miami producer. As demonstrated on his recently reissued Apron debut, Beato is admirably unconcerned with traditional dance structures. That said, the young talent works in pockets of seasick improvisation onto more gridlike patterns on PMA, making the diversions even stranger in context.  These tracks feel like a chaotic ride through the black of night punctuated by placid sunrise. The title track's distorted lurchto life eventually dissolves to contemplative string pads. Hawo is truck idling dub house, while Gimme a Light  takes an idiot savant synth lead into what sounds like a seriously lo-fi version of early Orb material .

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September 4, 2013: Now You See Me & The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Posted by phil blankenship, September 5, 2013 12:32am | Post a Comment

Our 300th "What's In My Bag?" Episode With DJ/Producer Pretty Lights!

Posted by Amoebite, September 4, 2013 04:38pm | Post a Comment

Pretty Lights

We are thrilled to announce the 300th episode of our What's In My Bag? series! We have definitely come a long way in our six seasons and we are so very grateful to our faithful WIMB supporters and fans for watching, commenting, and sharing our videos. We've discovered a lot of new music and learned a ton through the series, and from what you say to us on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, it's clear that you guys have too. Thank you to all of you who love "What's In My Bag?" just as much as we do! 

Pretty Lights

To help celebrate this milestone, our 300th episode features DJ/Producer Pretty Lights, aka Derek Vincent Smith of Fort Collins, Colorado. Known for his sample-based electronic hip hop productions, he is one of the most talked about producers in the scene. Smith is currently on tour promoting his fourth album, A Color Map Of The Sun, with dates across North America and the United Kingdom. In addition to performing under the PL moniker, he also runs his own label, Pretty Lights Music, which is home to seven artists including fellow Colorado native Paul Basic and PLM co-founder Michael Menert.

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Euro Disco star Lian Ross is coming to Orange County and Texas!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 4, 2013 01:34pm | Post a Comment


Lian Ross
, whose Euro disco hits include "Fantasy," "It's up to you," "Say you'll never," "Scratch my name," "You're my soul" and others, is performing two upcoming shows this month -- on 20 September at R3 Social Lounge in Stanton, Orange County and on 21 September at Red Velvet inHoustonTexas. Both events will be DJed by DJ BPM and hosted by TQ.

If you're at all familiar with the European pop scene then you probably suspect that Lian Ross is a stage name -- if so then you're correct. Ross was born Josephine Hiebel, on 8 December 1962 in Hamburg, Germany. Throughout her career, Ross's partmer both in music and marriage has been Luis Rodriguez-Salazar, himself distinguished by an impressive musical career.

Rodriguez was born in Fuente el Fresno, Ciudad Real, Spain in 1948, and as a young man played bass and guitar in Los Esclavos -- a Spanish group who played the clubs of Hamburg, the German city where Rodriguez would later make his home. His first single, "Rose von Valencia" b/w "Es kommt die nacht," was an Hispano-Teutonic ballad. More solo singles followed but it was as an arranger, co-producer, engineer and mixer (usually employing the pseudonym Bobby To) with artists like Modern Talking and C.C. Catch that Rodriguez would first truly make his mark.






Rodriguez's wife and collaborator first recorded as Josy, releasing "Do the rock" b/w "What'd you say" and "I know" b/w "Gimme more" (both 1981), and "Mama say" b/w "Stop and go" (1983) for Hamburg's Master Records.



Her last release on the label was 1984's "Magic" b/w "Who said you were the one" which also represented the couple's first collaboration with arranger Fauntleroy Skeete Davis aka "Leroy Skeete."






















In 1985 Hiebel adopted the stage name to Lian Ross and, continuing to work with Rodriguez-Salazar 
and Skeete, released "Say you'll never" and "Fantasy" b/w "Saturday night." In 1986 Ross released"It's up to you" and "Neverending love." In 1987 she released "Oh won't you tell me" b/w "Reach out" and a cover of Sylvester's "Do you wanna funk?" In 1988 she released "Say say say." In 1989 she released "Feel so good." During the same period, though uncredited, she contributed vocals to Loco Loco's "Hey Mr. DJ," Chicano's "Tengo tengo," and Don Luis y Compania's "Viva el amor." 

As was the case with many Euro disco recording artists of the 1980s, Ross/Hiebel spent most of the 1990s lending her vocals to a various dance projects including Bass of Spades, Boom Boom Club, Cherry, Dana Harris, Divina, Dreamscape, Exotica, Happy House, Hi-Q, Jay Jay, Jobel, Joelle, Shona, Stockholm Underground, Tears N' Joy, Teeko X, and 2 Funky.



During that decade, only 1994's "Keep this feeling" was credited to Lian Ross.





In 2005, again as Lian Ross, Hiebel released "I wanna" and "Never gonna lose." That year she also released a collection of hits -- The Best of and More was released in 2005. In 2009 she released "Young hearts run free."



In 2012, Ross and Alan Alvarez released their version of "Minnie The moocher" which was included on her debut album, 2013's I Got The Beat (Weiss Records). 




Tickets (limited to just 200) for the Stanton show are $30 in advance, $35 at the door (order here). More information about the Houston show soon.

***

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #47: End Of Summer Big Apple Photo Blog

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2013 06:06am | Post a Comment



For this photo special, end of summer New York State of Mind Amoeblog, I present a short series of photos taken around New York City over the past few months - in a summer that flew by way too fast. Of course the good weather does continue in NYC into this month and next - sometimes in late October you can have days with temps in the upper 80s. But, as of now, summer is officially over in New York City.  If you scroll your mouse icon over the photos here, such as the one above of Bryant Park the day after the final Monday night HBO movies on the lawn summer series ended, you can read text on the content of each respective image on this Amoeblog.




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Thinking of Matthew Africa on the One Year Anniversary of His Death

Posted by Billyjam, September 3, 2013 04:43pm | Post a Comment

Exactly one year ago today - September 3rd, 2012 - avid East Bay DJ/music collector, former Amoeba Berkeley employee, and KALX DJ Matthew Africa was killed in a car accident while driving with his wife coming back from Reno, Nevada to their Oakland home. At yesterday's Hiero Day in Oakland, a lot of folks I ran into were thinking of Matthew and recalling this time last year when the shocking news of his death began circulating 'round the Bay. Here is link to an Amoeblog post written at that time that's worth re-reading, Remembering Matthew Africa Through The Music He Loved. The post includes input from many friends touched by this man's life that was fueled by the music he loved so much.

10 Records You Need to Own in Fall

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 04:08pm | Post a Comment

The WeekndKiss Land (preorder on CD or LP)

Out Sept. 10

Canadian indie R&B artist The Weeknd returns with a new album following his three mixtapes and their eventual compilation (Trilogy). Expect Kiss Land to live up to its name, judging by the sexy, Portishead-sampling “Belong to the World” heard below.

 

Sebadoh Defend Yourself (preorder on CD or LP)

Out Sept. 17

The first album in 14 years from Sebadoh, the great indie rock band featuring Lou Barlow (also of Dinosaur Jr.), should be a hoot! Even if you’re new to the band, Barlow’s gritted-teeth delivery and brittle guitarwork are a thing to behold.

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Fall at The Fillmore 2013 Line-Up Announced!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 3, 2013 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Fall at The FillmoreAmoeba Music and San Francisco’s historic music venue The Fillmore are pleased to announce the annual Fall at the Fillmore concert series. With over 40 concerts, there's something for everyone! Tickets for these amazing shows go on sale this Sunday, September 8th HERE!

Follow @AmoebaSF on Twitter for Fall at the Fillmore ticket giveaways!

Here's that Fall-tastic line-up:

9/3: SUPERCHUNK with Mikal Cronin

9/4: ZZ WARD with The Wild Feathers, James Bay

9/5: ENANITOS VERDES with Bang Data, DJ Danny G

9/6: THE MICKEY HART BAND

9/7: AUSTRA with Diana Saturday

9/11: JIMMY CLIFF with Ethan Tucker

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Amoeba Presents Three Shows: Valerie June, The Vaccines and Empire of the Sun

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 01:39pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Presents continues with three upcoming shows. The first is singer/songwriter Valerie June, who will bring her Appalachian folk-tinged rock to the Bootleg Bar Sept. 20. Valerie June’s recently released Pushin’ Against a Stone (available on CD or LP) was produced by The Black KeysDan Auerbach, who lends some rock oomph to her blues-folk sound.

Doors are at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. It’s 21+, and tickets are $12-$15; they aren’t yet on sale but will be available for purchase here.

She’s also playing a live set at Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m., so make sure to make it out for that free show. Listen to the rollicking “You Can’t Be Told” below.

 

Then on Sept. 22, Amoeba Presents The Vaccines live at the Mayan Theater, with The Chain Gang of 1974 and Bad Suns. The English band fuses Britpop songwriting with Strokes-style energy on their latest album, Come of Age (available on CD or LP).

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Album Picks: Neko Case, Chelsea Wolfe, Holograms, The Julie Ruin, Jonathan Rado

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 09:36am | Post a Comment

Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

CD $13.98

Deluxe CD $19.98

LP $20.98

Deluxe LP $26.98

It’s been four years since the last Neko Case album, but one listen to her verbosely titled new album and you’ll know it was worth the wait. As on her previous albums, Case borrows from folk, country and indie rock, opening with stunning guitar atmosphere on “Wild Creatures.” On “Night Still Comes” (download or listen free), she weaves beautifully strange melodies, both highly catchy and melodic and slightly discordant. Both lyrically and vocally, Case continues to be one of the strongest of her generation, articulating the intersect of man and nature with gorgeously twisted language. “I’m gonna go where my urge leads no more … a boreal feast, let it finish me please, as I revenge myself, all over myself,” she sings on “Night Still Comes.” Over jaunty electric guitar, she forcefully sings “I’m a man … that’s what kind of animal I am” on “Man,” continuing the gender play on acoustic ditty “I’m From Nowhere” (“I was surprised when you called me lady, ‘cause I’m still not so sure that’s what I want to be,” later qualifying that statement with “’cause I remember the ’80s, and I remember its puffy sleeves”). Though her lyrics are often clever, they’re more revealing here than ever—the most striking moment here is “Near Midnight, Honolulu,” a paralyzing portrayal of casually witnessed emotional child abuse that she then turns inward. Whether she’s describing the strange, corporeal world in which we live or her own inner workings, Case is always invigorating to listen to, perhaps never more so than on The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight...

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Tickets For Sale at Amoeba Hollywood in September

Posted by Amoebite, September 2, 2013 01:03pm | Post a Comment

Tickets at AmoebaAmoeba Hollywood regularly sells 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. We take cash and credit cards for all ticket sales. Store credit and coupons cannot be applied to ticket sales. Limit 4 tickets per person.

Please note that on the day of the show, we will stop selling tickets for that show at 5pm.

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

JUST ADDED SHOWS:

Supersonico

Supersonico
Shrine Expo Hall
October 11
Cafe Tacuba, Calle 13 & more

Fool's Gold Day Off

Fool's Gold Day Off
Shrine Expo Hall
October 12
A-Trak, Danny Brown & more

Hiero Day 2013 in Oakland Promises to Be Off the Hook Today

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2013 11:00am | Post a Comment

Now in its second year Hiero Day, happening today from 11am to 6pm at 95 Linden Street in Oakland promises to be an off the hook affair and, despite earlier reports of the free event being "sold out" (meaning they had given away all the advance tickets), the latest news is that there is now plenty of room for everyone to get in. This positive turn of events happened over the last few days when the  Hiero Day  organizers, who realized that the demand far outweighed supply for entrance to Hiero Day, redesigned the entire area at the  Linden Street Brewery so that it can accommodate the large numbers who want to get in to see all the great artists performing today at the all ages event.

Note that those who got the original tickets from the online lottery should still bring their printed out tickets and everyone should be prepared for some delays and wait in getting into event. Also make note that there is no parking and that the street outside will be blocked off. Attendees are advised to cycle, take BART (West Oakland BART is within walking distance), and (if you are coming from the other side of the Bay) the ferry at Jack London Square is also within walking distance. For more info on the event and directions visit Hiero Day website. Meantime as a preview of the acts playing today (see flyer above right) below are videos from a select few including members of Oakland hip-hop ensemble The Hieroglyphics themselves plus Murs & Fashawn, Strong Arm SteadyMystic, and Erk Tha JerkEnjoy and see you at  Hiero Day today.

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His Mother's Voice: Only God Forgives' Feminism

Posted by Charles Reece, September 2, 2013 06:10am | Post a Comment

"In the beginning, in the uterine night, was the voice, that of the Mother." [p. 74]

That line is from Michel Chion, borrowed from Kaja Silverman's The Acoustic Mirror, since it could easily have served as the epigraph for the psychodynamic plot of Nicolas Refn's Only God Forgives. In Bangkok, Julian (Ryan Gosling), a man-child, is all seething impotency under matriarchal oppression (Crystal, played by Kristin Scott Thomas), yearning to be punished by patriarchal law (Chang, aka the Angel of Vengeance, played by Vithaya Pansringarm). Julian is without a father figure, since he murdered him at Crystal's insistence some time prior to the current story. Her maternal control is a smothering totality that's produced this one son who can't make any decision without mother's approval and his older brother, Billy, who proves his virile independence by brutalizing and killing adolescent prostitutes. The Oedipal theme could hardly be more explicit as she incestuously traces the muscles on Julian's arm or discusses with his dinner date how he has the smaller cock of the two brothers. After Billy is killed at Chang's insistence for the murder of a girl prostitute (the police commander actually makes the father of the girl do the deed), Crystal demands that her surviving son exact familial revenge, regardless of what Billy might've done. This seems to keep with Chion's description of the uterine voice of the mother as an "umbilical net," which he considers "a horrifying expression, since it evokes a cobweb."

Refn expresses this uterine trap through Lynchian styled oneiric cinematography: a voyeuristic camera follows Julian's imaginary wandering down sanguine hallways without an exit. It's not the male gaze that haunts his dreams, however, but his mother's. Despite being trapped in this seemingly endless tunnel, he also desires a reconnection with with the womb as he moves forward, reaching into the darkness. His hope of a maternal reconnection is cutoff when the dream image of Chang, the substitute father, performs symbolic castration with a sword that severs Julian's arm just below the elbow. This is, as Silverman might explain it, a Lacanian version of the Oedipal: the child yearns for an imaginary union with the mother, but the father says, "No," which introduces the kid into the symbolic register where laws, such as moral injunctions, operate. This original 'no' is the law of the father, a symbolic castration that "grounds" (interpretatively retrofits) all future symbolic behavior on a fundamental lack that has removed the child's feeling of being the center of everything -- i.e., that comforting blanket of squishy sonority that surrounded Julian in the womb, before he became old enough to realize what a repressive force his mother is. Thus, he has typical mommy issues, which are made more troubling by the fact that she's a treacherous drug-dealing crime lord.


By substituting the maternal voice for "the word" in John 1:1, Chion associates, as Silverman argues, the former with pure, formless sound while reinforcing the meaningful sound of words with the paternal (the absent father in this case). Although, in terms of origin story, unlike the Bible, he places the maternal voice prior to the paternal word, this hardly makes for a reconsideration of the importance of motherhood in shaping subjectivity, in placing the child into the symbolic order, since "this anteriority implies primitiveness rather than privilege." [p. 75] After the aforementioned dinner where his dick size is ridiculed, his date Mai, a prostitute he regularly hires as his only significant relationship (see Madonna-whore complex), asks why he lets Crystal talk to him like that. He answers, "because she's my mother." The sex Julian pays for doesn't involve ejaculation, only slight arousal by being tied down to a chair while he watches Mai. His only outlets from existential impotence comes in the form of rage: various violent acts and hysterically screaming at Mai the way he'd like to scream at his mother. As Silverman puts it: "Trapped within the suffocating confinement of the mother's voice, the newborn child resembles a prisoner or prey." [p. 75] And from there, predictably, a bunch of online articles decry the film as "misogynist." (How much longer before all countries follow Australia's lead in officially redefining this word as a two-bit synonym for 'sexism'?) But is it? Furthermore, is it even anti-feminist?

Contrary to the tendency in cinema criticized by Silverman where "the discursive potency of the male voice is established by stripping the female voice of all claim to verbal authority," [p. 77] the person doing most of the talking in this movie is Crystal. She controls and manipulates others through her words, by possessing a quicker wit and more commanding voice than all the men around her. Chang, the other pole of authority, is a man of few words. He doesn't have to verbally manipulate anyone since his position as police commander grants him all power he needs over others. When searching for who put a hit on him (i.e., Crystal), he isn't one for Sherlock Holmes' discursive method of deduction, instead preferring the brutal use of sharp metallic objects. Ethically, Crystal might be just as bad or worse, but she certainly fulfills Silverman's goal "to speak about a desire which challenges dominance from within representation and meaning, rather than from the place of a mutely resistant biology or sexual 'essence.'" [p. 124]  How else could she be the only verbally dominating character without being so within the supposedly patriarchal realm of the symbolic, where "representation and meaning" operate? 

Julian's situation isn't all that different from George Toles' take on Psycho's Norman Bates: "The law of the mother is the only law he has ever encountered or complied with." [p. 191] Norman killed his literal mother, but slipped into her skin by dressing like her and adopting her gaze to the degree that anything he does or sees is ultimately being controlled by this imaginary bodily reunion with her. "The tiniest assertion of a male prerogative to stare where he chooses is promptly checked [...] by the unappeasable Puritan matriarch built into his gaze." [p. 192] "Mother Bates" makes Norman feel guilty for looking at a "whore" through his peephole, whereas Crystal reduces Julian's prostitute girlfriend to a "cumbucket." It's the female gaze that follows him through those dreamy red halls. Maybe he requires being tied down while he watches sexual acts to prevent what happened to poor Marion Crane when Norman became aroused. Julian gets his chance to slip into his dead mother's skin, too, quite literally, when he slides his hand into the open wound Chang has sliced into her womb. When he goes to accept his punishment from Chang (limb removal, of course), it seems less like he's finally identified with the patriarchal voice than accepting responsibility for his family's crimes (unlike Norman who is last seen hiding behind the maternal voice). 

Goldenchyld of San Jose DJ Supergroup The Bangerz Talks with the Amoeblog

Posted by Billyjam, September 1, 2013 11:31pm | Post a Comment

Earlier this summer South Bay DJ/production The Bangerz released their stellar new album PRiSM which is the music soundtrack for the Las Vegas stage show of the same name to accompany the slick choreography of their successful longtime pals in the SoCal b-boy crew The Jabbawockeez who rose to fame as winners of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew competition. The new 14 track album by the super-talented San Jose turntablist/DJ/production crew that originally went by the name Fingerbangerz and whose membership includes Goldenchyld, Replay, Nick Ngo, Cutso, Squareweezy, and G-Wrex, is more on the modern electro / EDM tip than their more turntablist flavored 2002 debut Vi-R-Us, which initially sparked their collaborations with the San Diego based Jabbawockeez, and marks the Bangerz growth as a group. Indeed in the decade since their debut a lot has happened for the Bangerz in their atypical rise to success and fame. With their roots in the generally under-the-radar ITF and DMC DJ battle/turntablist scenes, but always displaying a talent for rich production, the Bangerz slowly but surely built and expanded as DJs and producers: their collective production experience ranges from remixes (including Chris Brown and Kelis) to video game soundtracks, and TV commercials. All the while they've built their rep as accomplished club/party DJs - again both collectively and individually. They've done tons of shows alongside major hip-hop and pop artists and toured with the likes of Z-Trip. Tomorrow afternoon (Sept 2nd) the group perform at the free Hiero Day in Oakland. But the most significant career move of all for this San Jose DJ collective was hooking up with a crew of once little known hip-hop dancers from San Diego who would go on to become major TV stars when they took the title in the first season of America's Best Dance Crew, and consequently went on to become high profile American pop stars. This week I caught up with Goldenchyld of the Bangerz to ask him about the new album and the crew's rise to fame. 

Miley Crisis: Girl Gives Twerk a Bad Name

Posted by Kells, September 1, 2013 09:15pm | Post a Comment

Just when I thought I had naught to say regarding Mileygate...

Okay, okay, okay Miss Miley. Girl can twerk, or whatever, and I take no issue with her preferred style of dance, even if she does resemble pinched trash wagging an imaginary honey stick when she does it. I have to admit, however, it bums me out that her dehydrated toungue n' tourettes performance at the VMAs last Sunday seems to have made "twerk" a household word or, at least, a generally accepted generic term for sexy ass-dancing, which, by the way, Cyrus wasn't really showcasing. Not on that night anyway. But, hey, that's fashion and my opinion matters little and weighs less when it comes to stomaching realities like this slice of Mileygate aftermath right here:




Really though, all this weak-ass sauce aside, I want to share, right here and now, some examples of real-ass twerking for anyone out there interested in gaining an understanding of why this manner of dancing could, should and has been elevated to a level of high art in expressive movement. Poppin', grinding, twerking, bounce, clap, stripper dance... check up on it and call it what you will, just don't promise chocolate milk if you're pouring watered-down Yoo-hoo. Here follows some of my favorite moments I've stumbled across in recent twerk-ish history:



 

The music video for Diplo' s "Express Yourself" (featuring Nicky Da B) has developed such a rich rash of "see Miley?" comments within the past week that it is worth over-looking the blurred lines (see what I did there) between twerking and the awesomeness that is Nola Bounce to include it here. Plus, as an added bonus, the vocal track practically acts as a literal how-to dance tutorial for those not overtaken by the sudden urge to, well, express themselves upon first listen.
 

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September 1, 2013: Short Term 12

Posted by phil blankenship, September 1, 2013 06:20pm | Post a Comment