Amoeblog

50 Essential Albums Released in 2013

Posted by Aaron Detroit, November 30, 2013 02:45pm | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for nine years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. Here is my extensive list of new essential listening, released in 2013. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion shouldn't be static!

1. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
   


After a seven-year hiatus (not including 2010’s collaborative opera with Matt Sims and Planningtorock,) the Swedish sister/brother duo crafted something utterly singular with this sprawling, conceptual, yet immensely thrilling triple-LP. Habitual lyrically challenges gender constructs and unchecked privilege against visceral (and sometimes monstrous) techno that also refuses any box you throw over it. 

 

These New Puritans Field of Reeds



2. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
   
 No guitars, no dubstep breaks, no angular post-punk posturing. Jack Barnett & Co. look to 20th century composers and Fado for inspiration on their third LP. Woodwinds, brass, field recordings, a magnetic resonator piano and additional vocals from Portuguese vocalist Elisa Rodrigues move TNP into a whole other category of artist, far away from the faceless NME hordes they once mingled with. 
 
3. David Bowie - The Next Day
 
 David Bowie The Next DayQuite honestly, it’s his best since his last great LP --33 years ago--Scary Monsters. This isn’t anything but Bowie being himself, but the emotional weight of his lyrics give the new tracks a vitality missing from much of his work in the previous decade. It’s exhilarating throughout, with most of his famous tropes (Space!!) sounding somehow fresh. New classics like the title track, “Dirty Boys,” the Scott Walker-nodding “Heat,” plus the stellar Bowie-doing-Morrissey-doing-his-best-Bowie moment on “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die.” 
 

Holden The Inheritors

 4.
Holden - The Inheritors
 
  Like The Knife, James Holden took a 7-year sabbatical before unveiling this wonderfully odd auditory landscape…with no sign of a dancefloor anywhere. Mystical and emotive electronic trips from the earth to the stars – complete with modular synth, saxophone freakouts and pagan chants. 
 

5. M.I.A. - Matangi
  
I’m completely mystified by folks’ general reaction to this album. By my estimation, this is a perfect balance of everything M.I.A. has done up until now with one foot forward. Its sequence focuses on keeping the party going, while Maya’s taunts, one-liners and rhymes are sharper than ever. Modern music needs M.I.A.!
 

 
 


 6. Pharmakon - Abandon Pharmakon Abandon
   
 Intense, confrontational and instantly classic power electronics/industrial from NYC’s Margaret Chardiet. The maggots on the LP jacket should warn you that Pharmakon is not everyone’s type of racket. Somewhere in a neighboring universe of Throbbing Gristle, early Diamanda Galas, and Prurient.
 
 
 

7. Vår - No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers
    Vår No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers
A romantic post-punk and melancholic industrial-pop LP from members of Iceage, Sexdrome, and Lust for Youth. An aural salute to young manhood and male bonding with nods to mid-80’s Coil and early The Cure. 
 
 






Forest Swords Engravings
8. Forest Swords - Engravings
   
Brit producer Matthew Barnes’ aural universe on Engravings is all at once creepy, dreary and lovely.  Dubby beats, spidery (and occasionally doomy) guitar-lines, glitchy and ghostly voices make this your new essential rainy day listening.
 
 
 
 
 

The Body Christs, Redeemers
9. The Body - Christs, Redeemers
 
  Portland-based two-piece The Body create a soundtrack for some sort of celestial hell; that is, music perfectly evocative of its time and space - Armageddon music, y’all. Desperate shrieking, angelic choirs, and sinister samples weave around cavalcades of riffs, drones, weighted pounding and tribal drumming. Once again includes help from members of The Assembly of Light choir.
     



10. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band - Take Me to the Land of Hell
     
If your opinion on Yoko Ono is of the Boomer-constructed variety --Yoko Ono Take Me to the Land of Hell the antiquated B.S. that she broke up the Beatles and her music is just “a bunch of screaming”— this particular list is NOT for you. Now, if this album would be your first foray into the musical world of Ono, then it’s a really great place to start. Despite the LP’s sticker big-upping her various collaborators here, it’s a Yoko album through-and-through (though co- producer Yuka Honda – of Cibo Matto - clearly understands Ono’s strong suits.) Hell easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of her 1970’s work when she first took the avant garde to pop audiences. From angular and punky workouts to chilling personal ballads to funky political polemics, this is (just like Bowie) her best album in 30 –odd years. Very few really have the ability to so successfully straddle the line of profundity and absurdity like Yoko, and Hell demonstrates that quite well.
 

11. My Bloody Valentine - mbv
   My Bloody Valentine  
A year heavy with vets, but no one had anybody more excited than My Bloody Valentine (this guy included.) The logical follow-up to Loveless – 22 years later – and it’s a total stunner.  mbv is MBV doing what they do best, and quite certainly, it was worth all those delays and the epic wait. It has familiarity that’s instant, but still pushes guitar rock into new terrains like no one else can.



Grouper The Man Who Died in His Boat
 
 

12.
Grouper - The Man Who Died in His Boat
   
 Gorgeous, ethereal hymns. Liz Harris’s companion piece (of sorts) to 2008’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill… is her most accessible work to date and her most infectious while maintaining Grouper’s aural haze and dark themes (The title track is based on a true story of young Harris finding a dead body.)
 
 

13. Humanbeast - Venus Ejaculates into the Banquet
     Humanbeast
This gender-subverting Rhode Island duo formerly dealt mostly in brutal sonics. Now they have traded-in the ear-splittin’ for body-movin’ to brilliant results. Most surprising here are the gorgeous slow burner beat-laden ballads. The house diva on a bed of nails or the gospel singer wrapped in dirty, dirty sheets!






 John Grant Pale Green Ghosts
14. John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
     
On his sophomore solo album, John Grant teamed up with Biggi Veira from Gus Gus to craft  an album that rockets him far above the heights of  his solo debut and his work with his former band, Czars. Dark orchestration, synths, and his always confessional lyrics propel the standout title track, but elsewhere he mines some 70's AM Gold while getting his hateration on with ‘I Hate this Town.’ Alternating on the axis of “ wry” and “soul-crushing.”
 

 15. Primal Scream - More Light
     Primal Scream More Light
Bobby Gillespie & Co. made one of their finest LPs of their career with More Light. It’s a very fine-tuned LP that succeeds at the cohesive weave of all Primal Scream’s disparate parts and genre-hopping form year’s past. The album easily stands next to career high-points like Xtrmntr and Screamadelica, Urgent political electro-rock with noice Psych furs-esque sax hooks and awesome guest spots from Mark Stewart of The Pop Group.
 

Cakes da Killa
 
 

16. Cakes Da Killa - The Eulogy
     
The Eulogy’s opening verse (after a crazy, pitched-up ‘MacArthur Park’ intro) is hard! Much in the same way Lil’ Kim announced herself to the world at the front of Hardcore. An important artist for the 21st Century; just getting started.
 

17. Factory Floor - Factory Floor
       
I know everyone was busy groovin’ to Daft Punk, but Factory Floor’s debut full-length was the album that induced body-spasms in my household. Think: Chris & Cosey with a little speed in their tea.
 






Death Grips
18. Death Grips - Government Plates
     
 As with their major label contract-killing  LP, No Love Deep Web,  Death Grips  released a new LP in November  with no lead-up hype and as a free download. Government Plates opens with the sound of a bottle breaking, signaling that the LA Based-duo is about to cut your throat. Like M.I.A.’s Matangi it’s a challenging first listen due to its uncharted electronic terrain full of twists, sharp, sharp turns and dead stops, but it’s a far, far darker ride. It inevitably leads you to obsessive listening as the tracks reveal their glitchy, sneaky and unconventional hooks. The vocals are more chopped, pitched and fucked-with than ever before, yet the album feels like the most cohesive statement the band has made thus far. There is no blueprint here, Death Grips are obliterating everything in front of them to form their own path. 
 

19. Jessie Evans - Glittermine
Jessie Evans Glittermine
     
It’s been a few years since Evan’s solo debut, Is It Fire?. She has spent the time globe-trotting, relentlessly playing shows, and honing her craft which her sophomore solo record, Glittermine, readily showcases. Snaky horn sections glide over icy-synth stabs, roller-disco, dubby & jazzy grooves and Evan’s sexy and optimistic beckoning. 
 


Teeth of the Sea



20. Teeth of the Sea - Master
     
Master is the perfect title for this ferocious untameable beast, UK quartet Teeth of the Sea’s ’s 3rd and definitively best album. A sprawling collage of sounds including eerie synthed-out Krautrock, Sci-Fi jams, ambient drone excursions, blasts of white noise and metallic riffing -sometimes all within the same song. 
 
 
 
21. Merchandise - Totale Nite
   Merchandise Totale Nite
Lengthy, sometimes psychedelic, somewhat nebulous, but always meaty rock tracks laced with crooner Carson Cox’s languid lyric swallowing. Sort of like listening to 1980’s college radio with fuzzy reception, Ian Astbury's and Morrissey's vocals blending together over some JAMC jam coming in from a different station. 

 




No Bra Candy
22.  No Bra - Candy
     
There has been a long hiatus in output from performance artist Susanne Oberbeck aka No Bra. 2006’s club hit “Munchausen” and  its follow-up album,  Dance and Walk, were ironic and wry minimal wave. This year’s “Candy” was somewhat of a surprise release after the long absence, but also a revelation since Oberbeck has adopted a more traditional guitar-bass-drum set-up for the lumbering no-wave sound on the album; most likely influenced by her new adopted city of New York. No Bra lets you know what you’re in for on the album’s stand-out track, “Date With The Devil”: “The Devil said ‘Sing me one of your songs’ I said, ‘Well, they’re not really songs, more like shouting!”  The one Arthouse-sex-horror-comedy-industrial-no-wave album you need this year.
 

23. Prurient - Through The Window
    
The sister album to 2011’s Bermuda Drain. Dominick Fernow’s own instuctions for his foray into late-night techno: “Listen at night in the hills watching as headlights approach.” 3 Tracks, 32 minutes. Perfection. 
 
 







24. Le1f - Fly Zone / Tree House
     
For me, hip-hop this year was all about Cakes, Mykki Blanco and NYC’s Le1f. He’s crazy prolific, having released two full-length “mixtapes” this year. (I put mixtapes in quotes because in the world of queer hip-hop the mixtape has become shorthand for “free album.”) Fly Zone is the slightly fiercer of the two.  Breezy rhymes over subterranean grooves that are as experimental as they are ear-worms. "I am whatever you say I am/ Stop worrying about how gay I am."
 

25. Kirin J Callinan - Embracism
    Kirin J Callinan   
Embracism is confusing as it is infectious.  It’s part tongue-in-cheek piss-take, part serious artistic statement.  Aussie guitarist/vocalist Callinan distills all the famous frontmen from his homeland (from Cave to Hutchence) into a wickedly affecting brew--sneer and smirk alike. 
 
 

Boards of Canada Tomorrow's Harvest





26. Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
     
Boards of Canada’s long, long-awaited Tomorrow’s Harvest is a doomsday soundtrack that makes you excited for the inevitable future days of the Arizona Bay.  Evocative of all the sci-fi, apocalyptic and horror films of your youth, giving nostalgic pings with its front-and-center Carpenter-esque synth work. 
 

 27. Leila Abdul-Rauf - Cold and Cloud
     Leila Abdul-Rauf
Grey weather listening.  Abdul –Rauf normally makes racket in much heavier projects (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune, Saros, Amber Asylum) but on Cloud, she employs piano, brass and ethereal vocals to make the perfect soundtrack for a dreary day, even if that weather is just in your head. 
 


Stara Rzeka



28. Stara Rzeka - Cie? chmury nad ukrytym polem
   An EPIC blend of folk, kraut, black metal and Nico worship. You will not hear anything else like this in 2013, and likely not after…unless it’s from this Polish one-man band. 
 

29. Deerhunter - Monomania
      Deerhunter Monomania
Monomania is the first LP by Deerhunter since they revamped their line-up, and so it makes sense that this is a slightly different animal than their previous offerings. It’s noisey as hell and blatantly queer yet still manages to be their most consistently accessible LP to-date. 
 
 
 
 



Lisa Germano No Elephants

30. Lisa Germano - No Elephants
   
Germano’s 10th full-length was quietly released early in 2013 by Badman Recording Co. (She’s only on the coolest of labels – previous homes for her earlier releases were 4AD and Michael Gira’s Young God) to almost no fan-fare. Germano has never sold-out the house or gone platinum, but has consistently put out exciting, innovative and experimental LPs for over 2 decades. No Elephants is no different; its motif is built around iPhone ringtones and the random buzzing created by amps or PA speakers when a cellphone is placed too near. Her voice weaves through the sounds in its delicate rasp. It's unlikely you'll hear such magical and interesting pop music elsewhere. I deeply hope Germano is making music for more decades to come. 
 

31. Miles - Faint Hearted
      Miles Faint Hearted
Miles Whittaker --one-half of Demdike Stare but also known for his work with Andy Stott in Millie and Andrea—made exactly the sort of electronic record I’m a total sucker for; culling inspiration from my favorite early 90’s heavyweights Aphex Twin and Plastikman as well as occasionally throwing-in some Krautrock & Neoclassical flavors. 
 

 


Autre Ne Veut

32. Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety
     
Autre Ne Veut, the off-kilter electronic-soul project of NYC’s Arthur Ashin, seemed like it initially existed to deconstruct R&B-flavored pop or maybe even as a slight piss-take. But Autre Ne Veut’s second long play revels in the genre rather than pulling it apart. Ashin’s falsetto often reaches beyond its boundaries. It's enough to make the listener blush; as if we you had just caught him in front of the mirror –hairbrush microphone in hand --  singing along to R. Kelly at the top of his lungs. 
 
 
33. The Heliocentrics - 13 Degrees of Reality
    The Heliocentrics
  UK Psych-Jazz collective that take cues from Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane and the like but add their own modern magick for our paranoid, post-9/11 world. 
 



Nick Cave Push the Sky Away




34. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
   
  Warren Ellis And Nick Cave’s prolific soundtrack work seems to have heavily seeped into The Bad Seeds, breathing a welcomed new icy-cool atmosphere into the beloved institution. 
 
 

35. Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My TimeSky Ferreira Night Time, My Time
    
You really won’t find another straight-up pop record from 2013 this friggin’ good. Big, BIG Benatar choruses juxtaposed against new-wave riffing, pulsing Suicide-esque rhythms and production notes cribbed from Bowie’s Low. Apparently, it took some 5 years to convince her label to record and release this album. The label then inexplicably shelved any plans to release the album physically (though plenty of “promotional” CDs are floating around) instead Ferreira’s pop masterpiece got a soft digital release. Regardless of format, if you need a big pop sugar-rush -- Ferreira’s got the hook-up.
 

Author & Punisher
36. Author & Punisher - Women & Children
       
Killer one-man industrial havoc ala Godflesh and Skinny Puppy from mechanical engineer Tristan Shone.  When I first heard his music, I wondered why it sounded so fresh to me even though its influences are so obviously pulled from the era when metal and industrial were forging their first unholy unions in the fiery pits of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Turns out, Shone makes the music on his albums with self-fabricated instruments that give his tracks those unique layers of sound. 
 

37. Dalhous - An Ambassador For Laing
 Dalhous
Dalhous’s debut LP is a great companion album to BOC’s Tomorrow’s Harvest. It conjures up much of the same apocalyptic imagery, but with it’s own path through the eroding landscape; a complex and exciting patchwork of samples and breakbeats.
 

 



The Asphodells
38. The Asphodells - Ruled By Passion, 
Destroyed By Lust
   
  Most would likely remember Andrew Weatherall from his popular early 90’s remixes for acts like Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine. The Asphodells is Weatherall’s collaboration with Timothy J. Fairplay and it’s not all that far removed from those heyday mixes; New Order-esque melodic funk, Acid squelches, WaxTrax! Beats, dubby bass, BLISS!
 

39. Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady
   Janelle Monae  

Monae continues her far-out Sci-fi-Soul Metropolis song-cycle; following the continuing saga of "archandroid" Cindi Mayweather on Suites 4 & 5: The Electric Lady. She enlists some serious help from like-minded heavy-hitters (Prince, Erykah Badu, Miguel and Solange ) with infectious results. Her duet with Badu, “Q.U.E.E.N.,” is easily one of the year’s best singles. 
 


Melt Yourself Down



40. Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down 
     
 Pete Wareham’s MYD is a hot stew of North African rhythms, no-wave skronk, optimistic sloganeering and electronic peppering. 
 
      

41. The Haxan Cloak - Excavation 
     The Haxan Cloak

Music made to listen to alone in the dark. Bobby Krlic’s soundscapes are sinister but somehow inviting all the same.  
 
 


 



42. Throwing Muses - Purgatory/Paradise 
     
Their first album in a decade and it’s a monstrous 32 tracks. All the more to love. This is some of Kristin Hersh’s strongest studio work in years and despite its intimidating tracklist size, it’s a consistently gripping spin. Packaged in a lovely hardback book with essays by Hersh and graphic design by drummer Dave Narcizo.
 


43. Mazzy Star - Seasons of Your Day
    Mazzy Star
  Like MBV, Mazzy Star pulled off a supernatural comeback with a didn’t-miss-a-beat LP after a near two-decade absence. Hope Sandoval’s voice is the warm blanket it’s always been while David Roback continues to construct blue-tinted daydreams with his guitar.  
 
 
 



 
Satellit Transister44. Satelliti - Transister
      Italian synth/drums duo’s experimental jazzy krautrock (or is that Krautrock-y jazz?) tangents. Great, mind-melting companion listening with The Heliocentrics and Melt Yourself Down. 
 
 

45. Asia Argento - Total Entropy
 Asia Argento
   If you’re the sort of pop culture personality that Asia Argento is – actress, director, DJ, Giallo royalty etc. – this is exactly the sort of album you should make. A super fun and weird genre-hopping ride (from dancefloor to Lee & Nancy-style duets to psychedelic ballads) with lots of established collaborators; not unlike like recent efforts by Charlotte Gainsbourg, but maybe with a little bit more of a punk sneer. 

 


Holograms
46. Holograms - Forever
     
Bigger and better second LP from cherubic Swedish dudes putting a charming, romantic spin on the ol’ Killing Joke blueprint. 


47. Savages - Silence Yourself 
   Savages Silence Yourself
  This record was a grower for me. Its  influences (The Banshees, Joy Division, Patti Smith) so obvious at first that they were a distraction from the album’s ferocity and vital juices. Sure, innovative it is not but it’s passion and idealism is refreshing and exhilarating in the current pop music sea of nihilism and brand pushing.
 






48. Raspberry Bulbs - Deformed Worship
     
Rasberry Bulbs is Marco del Rio from Bone Awl’s project, so it often gets mislabeled ‘Black Metal.’ But Deformed Worship has more in common with late ‘80s Sub Pop singles: Lo-fi, raw, aggressive and influenced by metal as much as it is by The Stooges, Joy Division and Black Flag. 
 

49. Dva Damas - Nightshade
     Dva Damas
Reverb-drenched guitars that give off a campy-but-dark Cramps-vibe, detached-but-sexy vox, and minimal electronic beats make-up this much-welcomed debut from LA duo Dva Damas. 
 

 





Tropic of Cancer
50. Tropic of Cancer - Restless Idylls
 
 Ghostly ethereal, buried vocals move languidly through icy post-punk, captivating shoegaze and funeral hymns on Camella Lobo’s first proper LP. 
 
 
 


Honorable Mentions (Other worthwhile listening):
 
 
People at Parties
 
 
 
TOP 15 EPs:

 

1.                     Mykki Blanco Betty Rubble: The Initiation

2.                               The Body Master, We Perish
3.                                Katie Gately Katie Gately
4.              John Foxx and The Belbury Circle Empty Avenues
5.                                     Zebra Katz DRKLNG
6.                               NCW vs. Piss Golden Lands
7.                                   Soap&Skin Sugarbread
8.                                        Rainer Veil Struck
9.                       Pye Corner Audio Superstitious Century
10.                                             Anika Anika
11.                              Joey Casio Daybreak / Ignite
12.                              Pale Sketcher Just Won’t Sing
13.                                            Worn Feminist
14.                                             Moin Moin
15.                                        Miles Unsecured
 

My Picks for the 50 Best Records That Came Out in 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, November 29, 2013 04:26pm | Post a Comment

Doesn’t end-of-year-list time always sneak up on us? It’s the time to reflect and realize that a lot of really great music did come out throughout the year. Here is my list of 50 best records that came out in 2013. I limited it to albums that were physically released. But it’s only the end of November, so feel free to leave a comment and tell me why I’m dumb for leaving out such-and-such record and I’ll give it a listen!

50. Jagwar Ma Howlin’

Just ’cause these guys ripped off the Madchester sound isn’t any reason to write them off. Listen to Howlin’ and try to get these songs out of your head.

49. Julianna Barwick Nepenthe

Non-verbal cries echo out into infinity and give life to your unconscious while listening to Nepenthe. She’s like our generation’s Enya, only a million times cooler (actually Enya is kind of rad, nm).

48. Sky Ferreira Night Time, My Time

What if Kelly Clarkson really dug My Bloody Valentine and dated the dude form Diiv? What if Taylor Swift shot up heroin, posed nude for some crazy German director and actually ended up making interesting music? Night Time, My Time seeks to answer these questions you never knew you had. Even though Night Time, My Time couldn’t possibly live up to all the blog hype/hate/press Sky Ferreira got this year, it’s still a great, if fragmented pop record.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 11.29.13: Dom Kennedy, Black Friday Record Store Day @ Amoeba, Nasty Nas, Brand Nubian + more

Posted by Billyjam, November 29, 2013 08:08am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Chart Week Ending 11:29:13


1) Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

2) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)

3) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)

4) Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)

5) Deltron 3030 Event II (Bulk Recordings)

This week's hip-hop top five chart from the Hollywood Amoeba store confirms something that I had mentioned in my recent year end/best of 2013 in hip-hop Amoeblog about how several 2012 releases, most notably Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city album that originally dropped 13 months ago back in October of last year, have been carrying over and keep re-charting this year due to a steady continued interest in these popular albums. Other chart entries this week include other albums that likely will have long shelf lives too such as, the current number one on both the Billboard albums chart and at Amoeba,  Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP2, and Drake's Nothing Was The Same. The other two chart entries are the Dan The Automator produced Deltron 3030 Event II that also comes in an instrumental version and Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely which is doing real well at the LA emcee's hometown Amoeba branch.  The album from the  Leimert Park district of Los Angeles raised artist, who since he started out just five years ago with his first mixtape (25th Hour) has steadily risen in popularity and demand (by fans and other artists who want to collaborate with him)  is truly the feel-good rap recording of the year and proof that we will be hearing a lot more from Dom Kennedy in 2014 and beyond. Other recent hip-hop releases at Amoeba that have been in demand include Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic)'s  Bend But Don't Break on Weightless Recordings, the dope Stones Throw Records "rap" release from Jon Wayne Rap Album One, and Anticon co-founder/producer/MC Jel's Late Pass on Anticon.

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New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 11/27 - RVDS, Magic Touch, Kyle Hall and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, November 28, 2013 02:01pm | Post a Comment

RVDS - Moon on Milky Way

 

RVDS

Moon on Milky Way 12"

Smallville

Brilliant new record from the oddball house producer. Warm analog soundbaths for all hours of the day and night. Monday Rain is a relaxed warm-up track with playful 303 and Juno strings. Winter Moonness takes classic square-wave Chicago bounce into a psychedelic, keyboard mashing solo. 

Buy Moon on Milky Way 12"

 

 

Kyle Hall

Boat Party Bonus 12"

Wild Oats

Cool companion piece to KMFH's fairly epic Boat Party  LP. This one's aimed at the djs. The A-side contains a couple of soul-sample jams roughed up to the point where they become something else, a mutant railroad dub. The B-explores Hall's other fascination - twisted drum beatdowns. 

Buy Boat Party Bonus 12"

 

 

Magic Touch - Nothing More

 

Magic Touch

Nothing More EP 12"

True Romance

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Pseu Pseu Pseudio - Pseudonymous Musical One-Offs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 28, 2013 10:49am | Post a Comment
In thinking about and working on a post covering one-album-wonders, I was reminded of a few single releases that were pseudonymously attributed to otherwise non-existent performers. Of course many musicians release music under stage names and a list of their releases would include the entire catalogs of  everyone from David Bowie, to Elton John, to Elvis Costello and 99% of dance artists and rappers

I'm talking about weird one-offs. So far I've only thought of two (updated since with contributions from readers) of these releases but I'm sure that there are quite a few for so help me out, please. Hopefully the more suggestions that are made, the more I can clarify what it is, exactly, that I'm talking about.

*****

I'm not including The Four Seasons because although they also recorded as The Wonder Who?, they weren't a one-off, having contemporaneously released four singles over three years. Similarly, although The Pretty Things also released music as The Electric Banana, it wasn't a one-off, as they did so across two decades.

Although Thin Lizzy formed in 1969, they were hardly overnight successes. In fact, their 1970 single, "The Farmer" b/w "I Need You" sold just 283 copies. In order to make some extra Irish pounds, they recorded an album of Deep Purple covers as Funky Junction for German businessman Leo Muller. It wasn't exactly a one-off though because the vocals were provided by Elmer Fudd's Benny White and not Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott

I'm also not including The Dukes of Stratosphere, XTC's alter-ego, because they released both the 25 O'Clock and Psonic Psunspot albums under that name (and intended to release Oranges & Lemons as a Dukes album). I'm torn over whether or not to include the many noms des disques of Kool Keith because his discography is a tangled mess to sort through, many of his aliases aren't one-offs and are characters who appear and reappear on other releases.

*****


BIG CARROT - "BLACKJACK" b/w "SQUINT EYE MANGLE"

By 1973, the glam rock scene was populated not just by Ziggy Stardusts, Roxy Musics, and T Rexes but also Alvin Stardusts, David Cassidys, and lots of little Osmonds. T Rex's Marc Bolan admitted in an interview that sometime around the writing of "Truck-On (Tyke)" that perhaps he'd started relying a bit too much on formula... and remembered that he'd begun his music career aspring to be a Dylanesque poet of the folk underground. His apparent dissatisfaction with T Rextasy, which was akin to Beatlemania in the UK at least, and the glam rock that he'd helped create was made increasingly obvious by a number of Bolan's actions.

In 1974 Bolan declared that glam rock was dead and released Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August, which he described as "cosmic soul." He'd wanted to release the album as A Creamed Cage in August and credit it to Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow but instead T Rex's fifth studio album would be credited for the first time to "Marc Bolan & T. Rex" (in case, I suppose, people needed to be reminded who the leader of the most popular British band of the era was). 

It wasn't Bolan's first attempt to release music under a different name. In early 1972, during the recording of Tanx, Bolan had recorded "Blackjack." It was released in August 1973 (between the #4 "The Groover" and #12 "Truck On (Tyke)") as a single credited to Big Carrot. The version that I was told was that Bolan wanted to see how well his music would do if the T Rextstatic record-buying public didn't know it was from him... but I doubt this version of the story since it sounds exactly like T. Rex, was released by Wizard Artists Limited on EMI... oh, and credited Marc Bolan as the songwriter. It was a flop, however, as the BBC completely ignored it.

Listen to Big Carrot's "Blackjack"
 

Listen to Big Carrot's "Squint Eye Mangle"




SUPERMARKET - "SUPERMARKET"

In 1992, Saint Etienne's then-new label, Icerink, released its fourth single, a moving, icy, almost-instrumental synthpop song -- it's only lyric was word "supermarket," repeated in a distant, robotic voice. The sleeve notes stated "Supermarket are two young boys from Denmark." 

It was, in fact, Lawrence Hayward (or just Lawrence), formerly of Indie legends Felt. Although he'd begun recording material for what would become Denim's debut in 1990 (Back in Denim was finally released in November 1992), "Supermarket" was his first peep in the new decade. The heavily processed vocals were done by his ex-girlfriend/Saint Etienne's singer, Sarah Cracknell. I suppose that it could be said to be Supermarket's only release rather than a pseudonymous release but it's all really Lawrence and the song later turned up on Denim's Novelty Rock -- in much the same was as most of Denim's final, unreleased album Denim Take Over later surfaced on two Go-Kart Mozart records, Tearing Up The Album Chart and On The Hot Dog Streets.

Listen to Supermarket's "Supermarket"


Listen to Supermarket's "Supermart" (Ray Keith Mix)"


CHRIS GAINES - GREATEST HITS

Chris Gaines Greatest HitsIn 1999, Garth Brooks released one album as Gaines, Greatest Hits (also packaged as Garth Brooks in.... The Life of Chris Gaines). Whatever you think of Garth Brooks's slick "hat Country" (which in retrospect seems positively gritty compared to what passes for Country today), you have to admire the inspired craziness behind his rock alter ego, Chris Gaines.  


Chris Gaines was born 10 August, 1967. He was Australian and wore a soul patch -- still de rigueur facial hair for the soulful bro. His story was going to be told in a Paramount film, The Lamb, that sadly was never made. He was the subject of an episode of the VH1 series, Behind The Music and was the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Garth Brooks. Most of the songs were written by professional pop R&B and Country songwriters including Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, and Tommy Sims, who all three collaborated for the single, "Lost in You" which, at odds with Gaines' broody bro image sounded a lot like the pop R&B and Country that the songwriters always churned out.



Even more insane was "Right Now," a 1991-esque riff on The Youngbloods' "Get Together."



So please let me know about more pseudonymous releases and I'll add them to this blog entry!

Happy Thanksgiving from the 87th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Posted by Billyjam, November 28, 2013 09:00am | Post a Comment


Happy Thanksgiving 2013 from a chilly (37 degree) but dry morning here in New York City where the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade now in its 87th year, that began at 9am uptown at 79th Street before slowly snaking its way downtown here to the Herald Square area by Macy's flagship store, is well underway with thousands upon thousands of spectators (a great many of them tourists visiting New York for the holiday) clogging the police barricaded streets on either side of Sixth Avenue to catch glimpses of the floats with exhibits and performers such as Joan Jett (the PETA supporting rocker who got bumped from the meat-proud South Dakota float and moved to another one), giant balloons including a huge inflated Snoopy with Woodstock and a giant Spiderman. This is good news for all since, due to previously forecast heavy wind gusts of up to 30 mph that might cause some big balloons to be grounded, so far nothing has been cancelled. Like New Year's Eve or any other huge scale event here in NYC, that blocks streets and grinds traffic to a halt, the crowds that turned out this morning are truly overwhelming, dozens deep packing sidewalks for the entire route from the Upper West Side on Central Park West at 79th Street and downtown via across Central Park South to Sixth Ave and slowly down the Avenue of The Americas to 34th Street where Macy's original big store stretches one long city block across to 7th Avenue.

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November 27, 2013: Insidious Chapter 2 + Escape Plan

Posted by phil blankenship, November 28, 2013 12:12am | Post a Comment

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Chelsea Wolfe

Posted by Amoebite, November 27, 2013 12:58pm | Post a Comment
Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe has been churning out her own brand of Goth Folk music for quite some time now. With her fourth studio album, Pain Is Beauty, Wolfe utilizes many different elements including Rock, Experimental, Folk, Goth, Metal and a little Synth pop to create a well rounded album. Her vocal talent is on display as she easily moves from breathy melancholic lines to angelic harmonies. Violins and guitars are nicely stacked to create plush layers of  sonic beauty.  The overall album is tightly produced but still manages to have an organic aesthetic. She has something for everyone on here!

Chelsea Wolfe took some time out of her busy schedule to shoot another cool episode of  What's In My Bag? She has some really nice picks, such as Black Sabbath Vol. 4 and a couple Townes Van Zandt LPs including Live At The Old Quarter. A big fan of Hank Williams, Chelsea snags 20 Of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits on vinyl. Chelsea also digs through our World, Classical and Soundtrack sections. See what else she likes!

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LA Jazz Great Chico Hamilton Dies At Age 92

Posted by Billyjam, November 27, 2013 10:30am | Post a Comment

Chico Hamilton Quintet - "Blue Sands (live)"

This week the jazz world lost one of its greats when jazz drummer Chico Hamilton died Monday (November 25th) as reported yesterday by the New York Times who noted how back in the 1950's the drummer and bandleader  helped put California on the modern-jazz map, was instrumental in shaping the smooth Los Angeles modern-jazz style, and how the 92 year old Los Angeles born Hamilton, who got his start in jazz while still in his teens touring with Lionel Hampton’s big band before touring with Lena Horne’s backup band, been an original member of Gerry Mulligan’s quartet, and then forming his own highly revered cool jazz quintet, had remained musically active up until last year.

Read the full Peter Keepnews penned NYT obit here. Meanwhile, look for Chico Hamilton's music at Amoeba including such releases as budget priced Seven Classic Albums (seven LPs condensed onto 4 CDs for only $14.98 from Amoeba!), and Chico Hamilton: Man of Two Worlds - both released earlier this year, or such other Hamilton albums as Different Journey, NomadHamiltonia, Montreux Festival, The Dealer, El Chico, and The Film Music Of Chico Hamilton [Sweet Smell of Success / Repulsion]. The above clip, culled from the documentary Jazz On a Hot Summer's Day, is of the Chico Hamilton Quintet performing "Blue Sands" live while the video immediately below is of Hamilton and his quintet from the 1957 film Sweet Smell of Success

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Roots of Oakland Rap and The Birth of Bay Area Hip-Hop in the 1980s

Posted by Billyjam, November 26, 2013 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Motorcycle Mike
Today's richly vibrant, prolific, and diverse Bay Area hip-hop  scene, with thousands of artists currently making a broad range of styles, humbly began in Oakland 32 years ago back in 1981. It was early in that year when the very first Oakland rap release (also the very first known Bay Area rap release) dropped: Motorcycle Mike's single "Super Rat." The record arrived in a time when hip-hop or rap music was still considered an East Coast/New York artform that, for some odd (elitist?) reason, could not hail from the West Coast. This belief was challenged with releases like releases like Motorcyle Mike's debut 12" rap single. That record by the artist, who was also known as Motorcycle Mike Dappa, was entitled "Super Rat" and was produced by Gerald Robinson and released on the tiny indie Hodisk Records -- the label run by Nicky Moore that also relToo $hort Don't Stop Rappineased the Numonics.  Born Phil Lewis and influenced by Bootsy Collins as much as the Sugarhill Gang,  Motorcycle Mike was, not surprisingly, a motorbike fanatic. Pro-Black in its message, "Super Rat" featured the early Oakland rapper drawing an analogy between the then much talked about Norwegian "super rats," who could not be killed by poison but instead got stronger, and the underdog black man in Oakland and other American urban areas who could not be kept down. Motorcycle Mike's original Oakland rap record was followed up later that same year from the East Bay city by the 12" single “Tally Ho!” on Walker Star Records from Steve Walker - an artist who would re-emerged some years later to record under the name Biscuit.

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VUM Plays December Monday Residency at The Echo, Talk 'Psychotropic Jukebox'

Posted by Billy Gil, November 26, 2013 12:08pm | Post a Comment
Photo by Angel Ceballos

L.A.'s VUM create a dawn-to-dusk soundtrack of moody organ tones, dirty drum machine sounds and Jennifer Pearl's deep, ghostly voice on their new album, Psychotropic Jukebox (vinyl out Dec. 3). To celebrate the release of the album, the trio, made up of Christopher Badger and Amoeba alumn Pearl and Scott Spaulding, is playing The Echo in Echo Park every Monday in December. The residency shows are free and start at 8:30 p.m. The shows will run as follows:

12/2 with The Parallelograms, HOTT MT, Conway

12/9 with Lo-Fang, Globelamp (Member of Foxygen), Galaxy Electric

12/16 with Fang Moon, The Present Moment, Black Mare

12/23 with Death Valley Girls, DJ Mahssa (Mount Analog)

12/30 with Intimatchine, Net Shaker

We caught up with Pearl prior to VUM's residency to talk about their terrific new album.

How did your approach to making this record differ from your previous recordings?

vum albumChristopher [Badger] and I write and record all of the VUM material ourselves in our house, often times only using one or two mics to track the whole record. One of us will bring an idea to form and we hash it out through either the live or recording process, or both. In that sense, the approach to this record was the same as Night Sun or Strange Attractor. I think what changes, is us. Our ideas, influences, stories and cells are always in flux so we inevitably make a somewhat different sounding album each time. Another big difference is we have Scott Spaulding adding live drums to our sound on this album.

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Amoeblog Hip-Hop Best of 2013

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2013 03:30pm | Post a Comment

For me, a lifelong hip-hop fan, 2013 was another great year for both new hip-hop releases and hip-hop in general - a vibrant genre that humbly begun four decades ago and that for much of the first half of its lifespan was considered a passing fad by a large segment of people. Sure some begrudgers today might argue that there are no new hip-hop classics - a la golden era hip-hop circa 88-93 - being made these days and/or that today's hip-hop is lyrically one-dimensional and musically just not exciting. I think I know what they mean but honestly but am guessing that they are simply referencing certain artists among the pop/Top 40 spectrum of today's hip-hop; the hip-hop that dominates the airwaves and popular culture. Simply put they are not looking at the big picture of the endless amazing hip-hop releases (a great many of them on small indie labels) being quietly but steadily released nowadays. The positive reality is that there is a vast and most diverse wealth of hip-hop being made today: so much that it is impossible to keep up with it all. There is hip-hop spanning more musical ground and cross-pollinating with other genres than in any previous time in the genre's forty year history (just peep the list below of 2013 releases from Amoeba hip-hop charts over 2013 that, note, are listed in no particular order).

Speaking of that 40 years of hip-hop, August 11th, 2013 was the officially recognized date of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop music and culture when hip-hop's recognized creator/godfather DJ Kool Herc kickstarted the genre/culture with a party in the rec room of the South Bronx building located at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. back in August 11th, 1973. To celebrate the occasion Herc did two big anniversary shows in New York City - both of which were reported on here on the Amoeblog: one on Saturday August 10th in Manhattan's Central Park with such performers as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Red Alert, Roxanne Shante, and Grand Wizzard Theodore, and the second the following day on the actual anniversary date, Sunday August 11th, at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens where, along with Marley Marl from nearby Queensbridge, played music all afternoon for dancers and celebrants of the culture. Graffiti artists at 5Pointz did some nice pieces - like the one above - to mark the occasion. Sadly, as reported here more recently, the 5Pointz location has been whitewashed of its art and will soon be bulldozed to become new luxury condo buildings.

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Album Picks: Shearwater, Destroyer, Kevin Morby, Gap Dream

Posted by Billy Gil, November 25, 2013 11:15am | Post a Comment

Shearwater - Fellow Travelers (CD or LP)

Shearwater’s latest is a set of covers and one original that pay tribute to bands they’ve toured with. It may seem like a strange way to round up a set of covers, but it mostly works, and serves as a nice follow-up to last year’s Animal Joy before the band regroups to record new material. It’s a kick to hear them take on Xiu Xiu’s “I Luv the Valley OH!!” and hear Jonathan Meiburg intone “my behind is a beehive.” They make Coldplay more tasteful on their rendition of “Hurts Like Heaven.” And while some covers remain faithful, like their version of Folk Implosion’s mid-’90s rock radio hit “Natural One,” they take a different melodic tack to St. Vincent’s “Cheerleader,” making the song their own, and give a more humanistic sense to Clinic’s “Tomorrow” while retaining that band’s rhythmic thump. Fellow Travelers pulls a neat trick for Shearwater, a band who is distinctive in its own right but whose moody indie-rock sound is difficult to pinpoint, by showing how that sound applies to the music of others. And it ends up a nice showcase for the bands they cover, highlighting some of the lesser-known bands they’ve toured with, on lovely renditions of David Thomas Broughton’s “Ambiguity,” for instance, while shedding new light on bigger bands like Coldplay. It’s a winner, all-around.

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Dr. Who, who? Mystery Science Theater 3000 turns 25 today!!!

Posted by Kells, November 24, 2013 09:22pm | Post a Comment


In a not-too-distant past -- twenty-five years ago A.D. -- there lived a guy named Joel, not too different from you or me. It doesn't matter what he did to eat and breathe, crappy movies had sealed his fate, because the comedy world was changed forever on this day in 1988... when Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered on KTMA in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One hundred ninety-seven episodes and a movie later, the show continues to swell its "tape circulating" fanbase despite having been off the air for fourteen years. With the popularity of follow up ventures Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax ever growing, as well as this years' return of the annual
Thanksgiving Day marathon, it would seem that the past twenty-five years has kindly aged nothing if not the timelessness of Mystery Science Theater 3000. And so:

Happy Birthday MST3K!!! 

I feel like celebrating -- let's!

Here's a short list of some of my favorite episodes (heavily influenced by my access to dubbed VHS tapes of episodes recorded from televised broadcasts over the years) -- any of these would be a great place to start for anyone new to the charms of Mystery Science Theater 3000, beginning with the most beloved:

Space Mutiny (season 8, episode 20)

Ask any MSTie what their absolute favorite MST3K episode is and I guarantee if they don't reply with a hearty "Space Mutiny!" they'll at the very least mention it, ponderously.

Space Mutiny is everything an awesomely fully-realized sci-fi crap-tacular can and, in the case of MST3K, should be. The story follows a space ship called the Southern Sun where, supposedly, a some kind of mutiny is afoot, or something. However, the plot loses focus during the course of the film as at least one person is killed only to appear soon after in a subsequent scene very explicitly and inexplicably alive, apologies are issued for "scanty" information, the leading lady is forever 21 in a GILF-y way and the hero has all the charisma of a poorly cooked steak. Add to that the fact that all the space-battle footage was directly lifted from the TV series Battlestar Galactica (1978) and inserted into the flabby folds of Space Mutiny as if to "borrow" some credibility. The usual bag of film-specific running gags provided by the Satellite of Love's crew only further gilds David Winter's guilty conscience. Relive the malarkey magic with this here highlights vid:




Pod People
  (season 3, episode 3)


While I can't remember exactly but Pod People may have been my gateway Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, it is without a doubt the one that I've watched the most.

Like most films bestowed with the MSTreatment, Pod People is incredibly bad which, in a way, means it's a pretty mesmerizing watch to begin with. But when it comes to making raspberry preserves out of bloody pulp, Joel and his robot friends make it rain with tears of laughter and face-palms a plenty. Plus, this is one of the episodes where all the sketch comedy bits are absolutely on point. Featuring music by various Bay Area Artists and not a small amount of stop-action fuckery. I find it difficult to believe that anyone could keep a cut of highlights from this fried turd under fifteen minutes, however I must offer my kudos to whoever put together the below video. p.s. "It stinks!"


[spoiler alert] "His last words were, 'Huzzah.'"


Cave Dwellers (season 3, episode 1)

I have a sentimental soft spot for the Fantasy genre and whenever I'd tune in to MST3K to find that the night's episode would feature a Fantasy flick I'd think, "what have I done to deserve this?" -- in a good way. And then I'd go play the lotto.

Ator (the Invincible?) is a skilled hero, swordsman, healer, scientist and hang glider with a penchant for skimpy animal skins and samurai-inspired hair styles. He roams the "edge of the Earth" during what I suppose is the great time-collusion between Japan's late feudal era and the medieval retro craze of 17th century Europe -- you know, back when hub caps doubled as ladies' breast plates. Fraught with anachronistic inaccuracies and countless other continuity crimes, Cave Dwellers scores extra points for being, at the very least, rewatchable -- a miracle made totally possible by the good folks of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Mystery Science Theater 3000, alone. Here's another one of those "best of" reels, below. Sometimes I find that watching these fan-made vignettes in a pinch when times are tough is enough to give me the strength and good humor to carry on.


Jack Frost (season 8, episode 13)

Faerie tales can come true, even with Mystery Science Theater 3000! Jack Frost ain't no faerie tale I'm familiar with I can only suppose that this film is pretty faithful to whatever story it's adapted from based solely on the fact that it is batshit crazy in a very un-Disney way. Jack Frost, the man himself, doesn't even show up until the film is nearly half over but there are plenty of distractions along the way in the form of bears, a magical little mushroom man brandishing a tree branch with bells, a house with stumpy tree trunk legs inhabited by a hillbilly witch and bonus b.s. in the form of a magical pig-sled that may or mayn't have been previously barbecued. Man, that sled really books it! At the heart of it all is a young man sporting a patent Prince Valiant 'do and a doe-eyed Cinderella prototype that tread through the most ridiculous nonsensical scenarios to finally solidify their A-type faerie tale relationship. Eat it, Shelley Duvall! See snippets video, below.





Prince of Space (season 8, episode 16)

Starring Japanese martial arts cinema fixture Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba, Prince of Space is almost as preposterous as it's villains' torturously long scenes marked by bouts of extended "diabolical" laughter that sounds more like he's attempting to clear his nasal cavity with his diaphragm. Perhaps that's how it's done on the planet Kankor. Unluckily for the Karnkorians and their leader, Phantom, there is a Prince of Space on planet Earth and their weapons simply won't affect him harmfully or otherwise, not that this deters them from fighting the Prince again and again and again. Some scientists are kidnapped and some kids are put in harms way but, you know, Prince of Space, so, everything's okay.


I could keep going with this list, perhaps I'll add more later. But if you've read this far you're likely already in the club, and so, say it with me:
"WE'VE GOT MOVIE SIIIIIIGN!!!"

Best Thanksgivukkah Gifts for 2013 (You Have 70,000 Years Till the Next One)

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 24, 2013 07:38pm | Post a Comment

This year, the first day of Hanukkah (25 of Kislev) happens to fall of Thanksgiving. It’s a big day for latkes hanukkah chanukah cat memeAmerican Jews and the people who love them (and their food). We might as well go all out this time because this fortuitous collision of dates apparently won’t happen again for another 70,000 years, and we may be busy then.

So here we are in a double bind: Thanksgivukkah meal extravaganza to plan (sweet potato latkes? Matzo stuffing?) AND eight crazy nights of gifts for the fam! Zorg zich nit, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few gift ideas you can pick up at Amoeba or order online at Amoeba.com (free shipping to the U.S.)!

 

For the Music Lovers:

-- Anything on the Idelsohn Society label, particularly Twas The Night Before Hanukkah. This two-CD set celebrates the duel role of Hanukkah and Christmas music. With songs by Woody Guthrie, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, Dinah Shore, The Klezmatics, Sammy Davis Jr., Mickey Katz, and so many more.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 11:22:13: E-Lit, Bun B, Death Grips, Jasiri X, Necro & Kool G Rap, Deltron 3030 + more

Posted by Billyjam, November 22, 2013 09:20am | Post a Comment
       

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Chart Week End 11:22:13


1) Bun B Trill O.G.: The Epilogue (Rap-A-Lot)
 
2) Latyrx The Second Album (Latrymid)

3) Jel Late Pass (Anticon)

4) The Godfathers Once Upon A Crime (Psycho & Logical)

5) Death Grips No Love Deep Web (Universal)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for the above latest top five chart and accompanying video of the hip-hop fan/KALX DJ/Amoeba hip-hop buyer running down the latest batch of new/recent hip-hop arrivals (CD and vinyl) into the Telegraph Avenue store where things, in terms of new 2013 releases, are slowing down to a halt now as we rapidly approach the end of the year / holiday season when traditionally only major labels release new albums while most labels wait until the new year to drop new releases if not already out by now. Of this week's new chart entries and new releases included are the return in stock of Denmark Vessey & Scud One's Cult Classics, Anticon co-founder and member of numerous groups and collabs including Themselves, and Subtle, Jel's excellent new solo album  Late Pass, and Latyrx's The Second Album (read the Amoeblog interview with Lateef and Lyrics Born I did earlier this week). Also charting this week at Amoeba are The Godfathers (not the 90's UK rock outfit of same name) - the unlikely duo of Kool G. Rap and Necro who just dropped Once Upon A Crime via Psycho & Logical, and Sacramento's in-your-face hardcore, noise-making, hip-hoppers Death Grips with their brand new No Love Deep Web album. Below is a new video from the talented pair - albeit from the also recently released Government Plates for the song "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for." 

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Numero Group's forthcoming Lost '70s Rock comp feat. amateur D&D art is giving me life...

Posted by Kells, November 21, 2013 02:40pm | Post a Comment
+                 =

This past Halloween marked a break in the fog obscuring yet another exciting prospect from the deep diggers and detail sticklers at Numero Group. The past few years has seen the label expanding the scope of their offerings and this one is set to be quite the departure from their former fare, so much so that one might even be tempted to inquire after what they've been smoking. If the above cover art and the amateur Dungeons & Dragons campaign sketches promised to be incorporated into the overall packaging are any indication, I'd wager they got a hold of some good ol' stuff! Slated for a February release, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles is compilation of lost 70s smokers I can really do with already, like, twenty years ago.  I'm chuffed to bits for their Purple Snow Minneapolis Sound comp dropping in early December, but this sixteen-sided die seems just as destined for niche-interest veneration as their WTNG 89.9: Solid Bronze collection.

Get hyped via this promo vid featuring "Warlord" by the female-fronted and positively pagan-sounding Wrath:


SaveSaveSaveSave

New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 11/20 - Axel Boman, DJ Harvey, Jovonn and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, November 21, 2013 01:35pm | Post a Comment

Axel Boman - Family Vacation

 

Axel Boman

Family Vacation LP

Studio Barnhus

Outstanding full-length statement from the young Swedish producer. The record maintains a melancholic, bittersweet tone reminiscent of classic Kompakt releases, while maintaining the adroit, joyful sample work of Detroit house. The record's first single is the excellent Fantastic Piano, which bears out the Cologne/Detroit connection, yet the album's clever pacing and dynamics include moody Rhodes on Barcelona and the sad carnival music of Animal Lovers. A  fulfilling journey.

Buy Family Vacation LP

 

DJ Harvey

Sarcastic Study Masters Vol. 2 CD

Sarcastic

Reissue of the 2001 mix that positioned Harvey as the fearless and rightful heir to Danielle Baldelli's cosmic legacy. What's fascinating about revisiting this record some 12 years later, is the Venice dj's unquestionable role in the revival of many of the track's contained. Antena's Camino Del Sol emerges early in the mix with its lackadaisical brilliance. Holger Czukay and other legends whose late period work is well-suited for moonlight beach parties appear throughout. Transportative. 

Buy Sarcastic Study Masters Vol. 2 CD

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Weekly Roundup: Gardens & Villa, Kevin Morby, Gap Dream, Qui

Posted by Billy Gil, November 21, 2013 08:57am | Post a Comment

Gardens & Villa – “Bullet Train”

It’s not too early to get excited for music in 2014. This new track from Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa is a winner, flying high on falsetto harmonies and a deep, thumping groove, like a hipper, more psych-oriented Hall & Oates. The band’s second album, Dunes, is due Feb. 4 on Secretly Canadian.

 

Stream ‘I Need You Bad’ and Preorder Now

Sonny Smith’s curated compilation I Need You Bad collects some of the finest Bay Area bands and artists around, featuring local young guns like Warm Soda, Pure Bliss and Jessica Pratt. Listen to the whole thing here, and preorder the LP from Amoeba, due Nov. 25 from Polyvinyl.

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Bay Area Musician GYREFUNK Teams Up with Mitch Manchild to Build Cool New Guitar Based Instrument

Posted by Billyjam, November 21, 2013 08:27am | Post a Comment

What do you do if the exact type of musical instrument you want to play music on does not yet exist? If you are GYREFUNK - the diversely talented Bay Area guitarist, studio musician, producer, DJ, visual artist, and teacher - you create your own instrument. That is exactly what  GYREFUNK, who I first met earlier this year at the San Francisco DMC Regionals DJ battle where  the multi-instrumentalist beat out about 15 other DJ audience members in a fun informal scratch battle that followed the actual competition. Also at that same event was Mitch Manchild who, at that time was working with the company DJ Techtools who custom made DJ auxiliary gear (things like sound pads that trigger and loop various effects) but since has set up his own design company: a manufacturing brand called Lookwright. Manchild and GYREFUNK teamed up to execute GYREFUNK's vision of a new guitar styled instrument and make that vision it a reality. Since that time, about six months ago, the pair have been busily working on or "steadily attacking" this new instrument as GYREFUNK told me this week when I reached out to him again. "It's cut and gutted and being worked on and hopefully to be completed in a few months," he reported. "I'm hella juiced about this contraption. It's literally gonna change my life; allow me to put food on my table," he chuckled enthusiastically. Scroll down, immediately below a video of GYREFUNK jam session of him playing a myriad of instruments, are more in-depth answers to questions I posed to GYREFUNK about this new musical invention.

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Participate in Amoeba's Charity Efforts this Holiday Season

Posted by Billy Gil, November 20, 2013 06:25pm | Post a Comment

We’ve had a great year for donations through our monthly charity auctions (the last one of the year is Dec. 7). But we’re not done yet.

At Amoeba San Francisco, we’re joining forces with the San Francisco Food Bank to collect canned goods and nonperishable items for singles and families in need through Dec. 23. Additionally, you can make a monetary donation to the San Francisco Food Bank online. For each $1 donated, the SF Food Bank is able to distribute $6 worth of food. The need is especially great now, as 1 in 4 residents of San Francisco and Marin County are in need of food assistance, and the need in both areas has grown by nearly 20% since 2008, according to SF Food Bank.

As a thank you for your donations, you will receive a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more at Amoeba SF.

 

At Amoeba Hollywood, we’ll be collecting holiday gifts for Five Acres, an organization that promotes safety and well-being for children by connecting them with permanent, loving homes. To donate, please bring in a new, unwrapped toy for a child age 4–16.

For your donations, Amoeba Hollywood will offer a coupon for $3 off your purchase. The toy drive runs from Nov. 25–Dec. 19.

 

Thanks again to all of our customers who have donated to charity!

California Fool's Gold -- A Channel Islands Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 20, 2013 02:49pm | Post a Comment
WHO WOULD FLOAT ME TO MY ISLAND DREAM? -- THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

Foggy Day (Image credit: Lee Shurie for California Kayak Friends)

On planet Earth there are at least two archipelagos known as “The Channel Islands.” Frankly, I'd be somewhat surprised if there aren't more. One is located in an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates France and the UK known in English as “The English Channel” or simply “The Channel.” It's traversed (or is it subversed) by the Chunnel. Its eight Channel Islands are home to about 168,000.



The other Channel Islands are in an arm of the Pacific Ocean called the Santa Barbara Channel. Being located in California they are are often distinguished from their Atlantic counterparts by their being referred to as the Channel Islands of California. There are also eight islands in this archipelago although they’re only home to about 4,000 people. In some ways they have more in common with another archipelago, the Galapagos Islands of South America. Both developed in relative isolation which allowed for an independent evolutionary processes. In the Channel Islands' case, that process led to the development of at least 145 endemic species.

Last year my New Year’s resolution was to visit one or more of these islands. As with moth New Year's resolutions, I failed to meet it (just remembering it distinguishes it from most that I've made in the past). I changed my resolution with less than a month left of 2012 to the easier task of learning how to tie a bow tie in time for New Year’s Eve. This year, on my birthday, I visited Santa Catalina, which although often treated as somehow distinct from the Channel Islands, is in fact one of them. Here's hoping (but not resolving) that I visit more soon.


GETTING THERE AND BACK

Tomol Crossing Sunrise (Image credit: Robert Schwemmer for Channel Islands Chumash)

I’ve wanted to visit the Channel Islands ever since learning of their existence -- probably around the time that my mother read Island of the Blue Dolphins to me. Whereas most of Los Angeles County (two of the Channel Islands are part of it) and Southern California are easily accessible by a variety of means including pubic and private transit, the Channel Islands are a bit more tricky (unless you have readily have in your possession a boat, helicopter, hovercraft, dirigible or other craft). Most people visit the islands via commercial and private boats, airplanes, or helicopters.


THE NORTH AND SOUTH

The California Channel Islands are generally divided into two groups, the Northern Group (consisting of Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa) and the Southern Group (consisting of San Clemente, San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, and Santa Catalina). They are also split among the jurisdictions of three bailiwicks – er, counties: Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. Their combined landmass is 896 square kilometers. Rather sadly, in most maps of those counties, these magnificent gems are either removed entirely or confined to disconnected corner boxes disconnected at reduced scale in a similar fashion to Alaska and Hawaii on maps of the USA.


PRE-HUMAN HISTORY

Channel Islands Pygmy Mammoth sculpture at the California History Museum (Credit: Rhino Design Studio)

During the last ice age, because of lower sea levels, the four northernmost islands were conjoined into a single island separated from the mainland by a mere 8 kilometers. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of flightless geese, giant mice, and pygmy mammoths. The Channel Island Fox is believed to have rafted to the northern islands as early as 16,000 years ago and unlike the previous examples, isn't extinct. The foxes were likely brought to the southern islands by Native Americans, who arrived perhaps a couple of thousand years later.


THE CHUMASH ERA

Arlington Springs Bones (Image credit: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History)

In 1960, several bones from a 13,000 year-old skeleton were discovered and nicknamed the Arlington Springs Man (and sometimes the Arlington Springs Woman due to questions about their owner's sex). As early as 11,000 years ago a band of Chumash settled in the northern Channel Islands and possibly the southern as well. The Chumash also traditionally made their home coastal plain between Morro Bay and Malibu (the name of which is derived from the Chumash name Humaliwo meaning “the surf sounds loudly”). The island-dwelling Chumash were known to the mainland Chumash as the Michhumash or “the makers of shell bead money.”


THE TOMOL

Chumash tomol (Image source: Chumash Maritime Association)

Along with the Mapuche in Chile, the Chumash were one of the only Native Americans nations known to possess deep ocean-faring boats, which they called tomol. Tomol are plank canoes that were up to 30 feet in length and carried about ten people. A tomol-building Chumash organization known as The Brotherhood of the Tomol disbanded in 1834. A newer group of tomol-makers formed in 1976 and their craft, the ‘Elye’wun, which made its first trip to Santa Cruz Island in 2001.



Some have theorized that both the Chumash and Mapuche learned the craftt of building plank canoes from the Austronesian people who colonized most of the Pacific. In the Western Hemisphere, sewn plank canoes are known only in the Pacific Islands, Chile, and the Channel Islands. Pacific Islanders reached both Hawaii and Rapa Nui from, most likely, the Marquesas as early as 300 CE. Around the same time, similar technology appeared in the Americas.

The evidence is intriguing but hardly incontrovertible. That theory may well bear out but I am always suspicious of how seemingly whenever ancient Native Americans have shown high levels of technological sophistication, someone will invariably suggest that everyone from Africans, to Europeans, to Melanesians, to Pacific Islanders must've had a hand in it. Of course then there are the nutty (and even more insulting) theories perpetuated by the always ridiculous History Channel that people traveled across the galaxy to meddle in human history. On the other hand, our improving understanding of DNA in recent years has radically challenged perceptions about the Pre-Columbian Era, suggesting that it was far more interconnected than previously thought.


THE TONGVA ERA

Maritime Village (Image source: Keepers of Indigenous Ways)

The Tongva (also sometimes referred to as Kizh) people arrived from the Sonoran Desert to the Los Angeles Basin sometime in the vicinity of 7,000 BCE years ago. They almost certainly learned to make plank boats from the Chumash, which they called ti’at, and used them to settle the southern islands. Evidence suggests that the Tongva may’ve wrested control of the islands from the Chumash through violence, as there is evidence on San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands of several deadly, ancient battles.


SPANISH ERA

In 1542, the first Spaniard, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, passed by California and claimed the islands for Spain. In 1602 another Spanish explorer, Sebastián Vizcaíno, again “discovered” the islands. After that, from 1602 till 1769, there was no recorded contact between the Spanish and Native Channel Islanders. Despite their claim on them, Spanish did little to prevent other nations from exploiting the islands and in modern times Aleuts, Americans, Chinese, and Russians all freely pursued their interests on them, in the process greatly reducing the Native populations with both disease and killing. In the 19th Century, the Spanish forcibly relocate the remaining Chumash and Tongva people to the mainland Missions, which were essentially labor camps.



Though many of the captured Natives died, it would be wrong to assume that both people are extinct. Today there are several thousand people who identify as Chumash . The Santa Ynez Band is federally recognized Chumash tribe. There are other bands who have yet to gain federal recognition but who, in several cases, are attempting to. The first Chumash dictionary was published in 2008 and there is a documentary available titled 6 Generations: A Chumash Family History




There are also somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 Tongva alive today but no Tongva band has thus far been granted federal recognition. There is a subsection of Amoeba's Documentary section called Native America which is where one can find documentaries about indigenous people of the Americas from Chile's Diego Ramírez Islands in the south to Kaffeklubben Island, Greenland in the north.


EARLY AMERICAN ERA

Catalina Civil War Barracks (Image: White, William Sanford &Steven Kern Tice's Santa Catalina Island)

In 1848, the US defeated Mexico (who'd gained independence from Spain in 1821) and conquered all of California, including of course the Channel Islands. For a century, the islands were used primarily for ranching and hunting, resulting in the extinction of some species and widespread environmental devastation. Santa Catalina began to be developed as a tourist destination in the 1890s but during World War II, all of the Channel Islands were placed under the control of the US military. Military installations were built on several islands and San Miguel was used as a bombing range.


CHANNEL ISLANDS BECOME NATIONAL PARKS

Channel Islands National Park (Image source: QT Luong)

It was only in 1980 that Channel Islands National Park was designated in the northern islands. It wasn’t until 1986 that most came into the ownership of the National Park system and the long road to recovery of the islands began.


BIODIVERSITY

 
Channel Islands Slender Salamander and Island Fox (images: Alice Abela and Callie Bowdish)

Despite years of devastation, the Channel Islands remain one of the richest marine biospheres in the world and through conservation efforts, there is considerable environmental recovery underway. DDT use in the 1950s resulted in the local extinction of Bald Eagles by the 1960s but they’ve since been reintroduced. Still extant unique species include the shy Storm-petrel, Channel Islands Slender Salamander, Channel Islands Spotted Skunk, Island fence lizard, Island Fox, Island Night Lizard, Island Scrub Jay, San Clemente loggerhead shrike, San Clemente sage sparrow, and Santa Cruz sheep. Unquire flora include a subspecies of Torrey Pine, the Channel Island Oak, and the Island Tree mallow.

In popular culture, the Channel Islands as a group have surprisingly little presence (considering what a treasure they are). A band from Chico, The Mother Hips, have a song called "Channel Island Girl" which may or may not refer to the California Channel Islands. If there are other books, movies, games or songs about the islands, let me know. Works about or relevant to specific islands are mentioned below in the corresponding sections about the islands.

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SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Potato Harbor at Santa Cruz Island

At 250 square kilometers, Santa Cruz Island is not only the largest of the islands in the chain but the largest island in all of California. It was formerly the largest privately owned island off the continental US. It contains two mountain ranges in which the highest peak is the 740 meter tall Devils Peak. There are permanently flowing springs and streams.

Map of Santa Cruz Island

Remains of ten Chumash villages have been located on the island, which is believed to have at one time supported a population of roughly 1,200. The largest known village, Swaxil, was located near the site of Scorpion Ranch. Cabrillo observed six villages and named the island San Lucas. The Chumash already had a name for the island, Limuw, which means something like “place in the sea.” Like Cabrillo, Vizcaíno apparently didn't ask the indigenous inhabitants and labeled it on his map the Isla de Gente Barbuda or, the Island of Bearded People. Legend tells of a Spanish priest's long lost staff that was presented to Gaspar de Portolà de Rovira during his 1769 expedition. It was supposedly that event which led to the island once again being renamed, this time Santa Cruz. The last of the Chumash were removed in 1822 by Mexico, the year after achieving independence. Mexico then turned it into a small penal colony for a short time. In 1839 it was granted to Captain Andrés Castillero.

Scorpion Ranch (Image source: Shannon Technologies)

In 1855, during Castillero’s stewardship, an English physician named James B. Shaw was allowed to build a ranch home and start a Merino sheep operation. In 1857 the island was sold to William Barron and by 1864, some 24,000 sheep grazed the island. By the 1880s, a Frenchman named Justinian Claire acquired the island. In 1937 his family sold most of the island to oilman Edwin Stanton but continued to maintain a sheep ranch on the island's east end. Stanton, for his part, shifted the old ranch’s focus to beef production.

Painted Cave (Image source: Santa Barbara Independent)

In 1980 the US Government designated all four northern islands a National Park. Nonetheless, descendants of Claire were allowed to continue ranching until 1984, at which time the ranch was leased to a hunting organization who hunted feral pigs and the remaining sheep. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the remaining privately-owned land was finally purchased from Claire’s descendants and the process of rehabilitation could begin.Today the responsibility of protecting and preserving of Santa Cruz Island is divided between The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service.

(Image source: Wander Melon)

There are archaeological sites from several periods of the island's history including Chumash shell middens and barns, blacksmiths, a chapel, homes and saddle shops from the ranch era. The island also has three airstrips: Unknown Airstrip, Christy Airstrip, and Santa Cruz Island Airport.


SANTA ROSA ISLAND 


Santa Rosa Island (Image credit: Callie Bowdish)

Santa Rosa Island is, at 215 square kilometers, the second largest of the Channel Islands although it's home to just two residents. The highest point is the 484 meter tall Vail Peak on Soledad Mountain. The Chumash called it Wimat, which refers to the redwood logs that floated ashore from coastal forests to the north and which were used to construct the tomol. So far the remains of eight villages have been discovered. 



In 1843, during the Mexican period, ownership of the island was granted to brothers José Antonio and Carlos Antonio Carrillo. It remained in their family until 1862, when the island was purchased by T. Wallace More and who established a ranch. The More family sold the island to Walter L. Vail and J.W. Vickers in 1902, who continued ranching and operated a private hunting reserve. It was purchased in 1986 to be included within the Channel Islands National Park.

Water Canyon Beach (Image credit: National Park Service)

Santa Rosa's landscape is characterized by rolling hills, canyons, beaches and a coastal lagoon. It’s home to at least six plant varieties found nowhere else, including a subspecies of Torrey Pine, a remnant of a once large Pleistocene forest.

Image credit: Colleen at Dave's Travel Corner

As with Santa Cruz Island there remain relics of the previous inhabitants from different periods in the form of ruins of fishing camps, ranch buildings, and military installations. A year round charter flight service is available from Camarillo Airport for visitors to Santa Rosa Island. 


SANTA CATALINA ISLAND

Catalina Island sunset

Santa Catalina Island, usually simply referred to as Catalina, is 194 square kilometers in area. Its tallest point is 648 meter high Mount Orizaba. Its population comprises 99.8% that of the combined islands. Unlike the other four southern islands, no signs of pre-Tongva use have thus far been discovered. The band of Tongva who formerly made it home called the island Pimu'gna (“place of the Pimu”) and themselves Pimugnans or Pimuvit. Their largest villages were located near the present day sites of Avalon, Emerald Bay, and Shark Harbor.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Santa Catalina Island 

Upon visiting in 1542, Cabrillo, named the island San Salvador. In 1602, Vizcaíno "discovered" it on the Eve of Saint Catherine’s Day and thus renamed it Santa Catalina Island. Mexico granted the island to Thomas M. Robbins in 1846. In 1850 Robbins sold the island to José María Covarrubias who in 1853 sold it to Albert Packard who in turn sold it to James Lick.



After the end of the Civil War, real estate developer George Shatto was the first to capitalize on the island’s potential as a tourist destination and built the island’s first hotel, Hotel Metropole, as well as a pier. His sister-in-law, Etta Whitney, came up with the name Avalon for the resort, inspired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem “Idylls of the King.” Shatto soon defaulted on his loan and ownership returned to the Lick estate.

Catalina Island Airport in the Sky

The Santa Catalina Island Company was established by the sons of Phineas Banning in 1891 with the intention of further developing the island as a resort. In addition to promoting Avalon, the Banning brothers developed inland roads for stagecoach tours and to access hunting lodges. They also built homes for themselves at Descanso Canyon and in what’s now Two Harbors. Their efforts were majorly set back when a fire destroyed most of Avalon on 29 November, 1915. In 1919 the brothers were forced to sell shares of their company.


After visiting the island with his family, William Wrigley, Jr. purchased most of the island’s shares and thus gained controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company. To drum up publicity, Wrigley’s Chicago Cubs began using the island for spring training in 1921 and stayed at the Hotel St. Catherine in Descanso Bay. Wrigley built the iconic Catalina Casino in 1929. In the 1920s and ‘30s it was a popular getaway for movie stars and other celebrities. Today, 90% of Catalina's residents live in Avalon. There are five native land mammals on the island -- a subspecies of California Ground Squirrel, the Santa Catalina Island Harvest Mouse, the Santa Catalina Island Deer Mouse, the Ornate Shrew, and the Island Fox. In addition to the fox, the most recognizable fauna icon of the island is the American Bison, introduced in 1924 for a film, The Vanishing American.

Interior of Catalina Jet (boat)

Santa Catalina is easily accessed by use of the Catalina Express. Passenger ferries depart from Dana Point, Long Beach, Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, and San Pedro. Tickets for the boat aren't cheap... except on your birthday, when they're free! Helicopters also connect Long Beach and San Pedro to the island.

Claressa Avenue in Avalon
Santa Catalina was sung about in the song "26 Miles," by The Four Preps -- which is referenced in the title of this piece. Additionally, it’s been mentioned or referenced in songs including Harry Carroll and Harold Atteridge's "By the Beautiful Sea" (1914), Al Jolson and Vincent Rose's "Avalon" (1920), Nacio Herb Brown and Grant Clarke's "Avalon Town" (1928), Carrie Jacobs-Bond's "California" (1929), Cliff Friend and Con Conrad's "California" (1930), Harold Spina's "Santa Catalina" (1946), Gorden Vanderburg's "Catalina Honeymoon" (1953), The Descendents’ “Catalina" (1982), and Modern Skirts’ “Pasadena” (2005). Every year the island hosts the Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival. It was also the recording site of John Tesh: The Avalon Concert (1997). 

To read my account of visiting Santa Catalina, click here.


SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND 


San Clemente (Image source: The Wanderling)

San Clemente Island is 147 square kilometers in area. Its highest peak is the 599 meter high Vista Point. Though officially uninhabited, at any point there are about 300 Navy personnel stationed at the island's military base.

Image source: Neil Kramer

The Island was likely first inhabited by the Chumash, whose skeletons might be among those discovered at the ancient battle sites. The island was known as Kiingkenga by the Tonva and included several villages including Guinguina and Kinkipar.



In 1542 Cabrillo renamed it Victoria. Since Vizcaíno spotted it on the Eve of Saint Clement’s Day in 1602, he re-named it San Clemente Island. The city of San Clemente in South Orange County is named after the island. Salvador Ramirez likely introduced goats to the island from Catalina in 1875. The navy acquired the island in 1934. By 1972 there were about 11,000 feral goats wreaking devastation on the island's ecosystem and in 1980 the Navy announced their intention of terminating the remaining 4,000 or so with extreme prejudice. Horrified, the Fund for Animals intervened and captured and relocated them to the mainland and the San Clemente Goat is now recognized as a distinct breed. There’s even a San Clemente Island Goat Association.

San Clemente Goats (Image source: SVF Foundation)

The island remains home to the endangered the San Clemente Island Loggerhead Shrike and the San Clemente Island Fox.


SAN NICOLAS ISLAND 


San Nicolas Island (Image credit: NOAA
 Habitat Conservation)

San Nicolas Island is 59 square kilometers. The Chumash called the inhabitants of the island Niminocotch. It was also the apparent site of deadly battles. Its highest point is an unnamed, 276 meter peak. As with San Clemente, it’s currently under the control of the US Navy who maintain a permanent presence of about 200 military and civilian personnel on the base. It’s the most remote of the islands, located about 119 kilometers from the mainland.




The island was renamed for Saint Nicholas after Vizcaíno sited it on Saint Nicholas Day in 1602. The Native population were re-named the Nicoleños by the Spanish. After a series of deadly conflicts with Aleut hunters, the padres of the nearby missions relocated them in 1835 to the mainland, where they all quickly died from diseases to which they had no immunity. One from the inhabitants of the village Ghalas-at was left behind and lived alone for eighteen years after the evacuation until she was discovered by Captain George Nidever and his crew in 1853 and taken to Santa Barbara. There she died seven weeks later and her story was the basis for O’Dell’s 1960 book Island of the Blue Dolphins. The book was the basis for the 1964 live action film of the same name directed by James P. Clark (The Sad Horse, A Dog of Flanders, Misty, Flipper, and My Side of the Mountain) which, of course, stars a white in Redface doing a weird sort of English. San Nicolas Island was also the setting of its less-known sequel, Zia. More obscurely, it was the setting for the 1994 computer game, Rise of the Triad: Dark War and was Arius’s Island in the film, Commando (1985). 



The island was grazed by sheep until their removal in 1943. Another threat to the ecosystem came when Navy officers brought cats that quickly established a feral population. Beginning in 2009 a group of organizations began relocating the cats to a sanctuary in Ramona, California. They were believed to be eradicated by 2010 and were officially declared so in 2012.

Image source: Chuck Graham for Noowshawk

Despite the degradation, three endemic plants remain on the island: Trask's milkvetch, Red buckwheat, and San Nicholas biscuitroot. There are only three species of endemic land vertebrates on the island; the island night lizard, a type of deer mouse, and the island fox.


SAN MIGUEL ISLAND



San Miguel Island is the westernmost of the Channel Islands. Its area is 38 square kilometers and it includes offshore islands and rocks, most notably Prince Island. The highest point is the 253 meter high San Miguel Hill.



The Chumash called the island Tuqan and it supported at least two villages. Nowadays it supports no permanent human population. There are natural oil seepages which the Chumash utilized for a variety of purposes including waterproofing and paving.


ANACAPA

Anacapa Island (Image credit: Callie Bowdish)

Anacapa is the only one of the Channel Islands not to have a Spanish-derived name. Perhaps it was too small – or maybe it wasn’t there when the Spanish passed through. After all, the name comes from the Chumash 'Anyapakh meaning “mirage island.” The Chumash established no permanent villages due to a lack of consistent fresh water sources but did camp there seasonally as evinced by the remaining shell middens.



Anacapa is actually composed of three volcanic islets: East, Middle and West Anacapa, sometimes referred to collectively as the Anacapas. Their collective area is less than 3 square kilometers and it’s the smallest of the northern islands. At eighteen kilometers from the mainland coast, it’s also the nearest of the islands to shore. The ranger station there is home to three permanent residents.

Anacapa Lighthouse (image source: Shannon Technologies)

In 1853 the steamer, the SS Winfield Scott, ran aground off its coast and sank, stranding a group of passengers. Although they were rescued a week later, they left behind the ship's rats,which contributed to the destruction of the ecosystem. The US Coast Guard built a light beacon in 1912 and a Mission Revival-style light station built in 1932, which still stands and includes a lighthouse, fog signal, keeper’s quarters and other structures. It was the last lighthouse built by the United States Lighthouse Service. The island's most iconic feature is a twelve meter high natural bridge known as Arch Rock.

Arch Rock on Anacapa Island (Image source: Digital Apoptosis)

Sheep were introduced in the late 1890s and rabbits in the 1910s which decimated the landscape that was previously dominated by Giant Coreopsis (a large succulent that reaches heights of two meters) and Anacapa Island desert-dandelions. The last sheep were finally removed in 1938 and the rabbits were vanquished in the 1950s. The last of the rats were eradicated by 2002. It’s still home to sixteen endemic plant species which also survived the introduction of highly invasive iceplants by the Coast Guard. The current plan is to eradicate the last of that introduced species by 2016.

Pelican nesting spot on Anacapa (Image source: Callie Bowdish)

Anacapa is home to the largest breeding colony of the California Brown Pelican in the US and another unique subspecies of deer mouse. There are two native reptiles including the endemic Side-Blotched Lizard.


SANTA BARBARA ISLAND

Santa Barbara Island sea lion rookery

With an area of just 2.63 square kilometers, Santa Barbara Island is the smallest of the Channel Islands. Its highest peak is the 193 meter high Signal Hill. The island is located nearest to the center of the archipelago and is both lumped in with the southern islands and part of the Channel Islands National Park. It includes two named, offshore rocks: Shag Rock and Sutil Island which, like it, were formed by volcanic activity. 




Lacking a consistent source of fresh water or firewood, the island (which the Tongva called Tchunashngna) likely supported no permanent Tongva settlements. It was re-named by Vizcaíno who visited the island on December 4, 1602, Saint Barbara’s Day. The island is home to the largest breeding colony for Scripps's Murrelet , a threatened species of seabird. It’s also home to a large populations of California sea lions, harbor seals, and northern elephant seals. The Santa Barbara Island live-forever is a succulent species endemic to the island. A subspecies of horned lark, orange-crowned warbler, and house finches are also endemic. The only reptile on the island is the endemic (and threatened) night lizard.

(Image source: T.C. Boyle for Smithsonian Magazine)

Feral cats led to the extinction of the endemic Santa Barbara Island song sparrow in the 1960s. After years of ranching and the introduction of nonnative plants, rabbits, and cats, the native landscape is recovering under the guidance of the National Park Service.


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So there you have it, eight more reasons that Southern California is so special. Although I haven't opened up my community explorations to Santa Barbara or Ventura Counties, that's no reason to not visit the islands that are part of them. Of course you can always vote for Two Harbors or any other Los Angeles County communities to be the subject of future entries by clicking here. To vote for Orange County communities, click here. Finally, to vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here.


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Follow Eric's Blog and check out more episodes of California Fool's Gold

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Punk Band Death

Posted by Amoebite, November 20, 2013 12:50pm | Post a Comment

Death

Some music enthusiasts and critics alike believe the band Death to be the precursors to punk rock. Jack White is quoted as describing them as "ahead of punk and ahead of their time." Mos Def says, "These dudes were pre-Sex Pistols, pre-Bad Brains, pre-all that shit, and nobody knows about them. I don't understand how the world could forget them."

Death The story of Death is the stuff of legend. It's all documented in the film, A Band Called Death, a must see for all fans of music history and punk fans alike. After uncovering master tapes in an attic from sessions in the early '70s, Death's music was finally getting its chance. In 2009, Drag City Records released a 7-song LP entitled ...For The Whole World To See. Soon after, a reformed Death took to the stage, almost 30 years after they formed. Death was alive again!

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #57: 5 Pointz Whitewashed Over, WFMU Record Fair, CitiBike Update

Posted by Billyjam, November 20, 2013 12:38pm | Post a Comment


Despite the fact that it was clear that the battle to save 5 Pointz was lost and that the demolition of the NYC graffiti mecca in Long Island City, Queens was inevitable - expected to begin early 2014 - New Yorkers and graffiti fans alike were in utter shock yesterday morning to awaken and discover that the beloved aerosol art soaked building had been quietly whitewashed over in its entirety overnight as in photo left.

On Friday last a Brooklyn judge announced to lawyers fighting for the building's preservation that he could not and would not grant an injunction to prevent demolition of the graffiti-covered factory building as soon as late December. For years owner Jerry Wolkoff had allowed, under the curation of Jonathan "MERES One" Cohen, the factory building to be completely adorned in aerosol art but now wanted to knock down the famous building and in its place build two big high-rise luxury condos.  But, despite the fact that Wolkoff and his son David (who is also on the title of the building) had graciously allowed aerosol artists to use the building as their collective canvas for many years, Wolkoff had become art enemy number one since announcing his plans to demolish what had become an internationally recognized art mecca. Obviously he knew he would continue to face strong opposition by artists and art lovers and hence why, I am assuming, the rush to whitewash the building with no pre-announcement late Monday.

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November 19, 2013: Jackass presents Bad Grandpa

Posted by phil blankenship, November 19, 2013 09:42pm | Post a Comment

Lateef and Lyrics Born of Bay Area Hip-Hop Power Duo Latyrx Talk to Amoeblog About Their Long Overdue "The Second Album"

Posted by Billyjam, November 19, 2013 02:23pm | Post a Comment

Sixteen long hip-hop years ago Bay Area duo Latyrx (Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker) released their highly innovative, critically-acclaimed full length debut The Album. And now in late 2013 the hip-hop power-duo, who've separately enjoyed highly prolific and successful individual careers over the past decade and a half, have finally reunited to record and release the long overdue follow up: The Second Album which arrived in Amoeba on November 5th.

In celebration of this recommended new album, that was released via Latyramid and is also available in vinyl format, they will be doing a special Bay Area concert tomorrow night at the Independent in San Francisco - on a bill also featuring album contributors Forrest Day and  Gift of Gab (as host), plus Aaron Axelsen. With a wide variety of producers including Amp Live from Zion I, Jel from Anticon, tUnE-yArDs, the Decemberists' Chris Funk, and Forrest Day, plus such select mic guests as fellow Solesides/Quannum collective member the Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, Zion I's Zumbi, and LA emcee Busdriver - Lyrics Born and Lateef have concocted a richly diverse album that, while sonically quite different from its predecessor (more alt-rap than roots and experimental hip-hop), is one of the better and more adventurous hip-hop releases of 2013. "It’s very eclectic, mature, nonsensical imaginative, poetic, organic, synthetic," summed up Lyrics Born of the album in a pre-release description of the anticipated new album. This week I caught up with the two busy members of Latyrx via email to ask them each four questions. Their responses appear below immediately following the video for the new album track "Exclamation Point" that was produced by and also features on vocals Forrest Day.
 

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Album Picks: Death Grips, Blood Orange, Kurt Vile

Posted by Billy Gil, November 19, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Death Grips - No Love Deep Web (CD or LP)

With all the hubbub that surrounded Death Grips’ third album—how about that original cover art?—it was easy to overlook the actual music. The album itself has somewhat been eclipsed by the band’s early leaking of the album and Epic’s subsequent dropping of the band, but now given a proper physical release on Harvest Records, No Love Deep Web proves itself as essential listening, nonetheless. Death Grips are one of the most exciting bands on the planet right now, both for their music and attitude, as shown by one listen to album opener “Come Up and Get Me.” Zach Hill (who’s also played with Hella and Marnie Stern) and deliver Andy “Flatlander” Morin deliver digital sound stabs while Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett performs like a desperate man, sing/screaming “fuck the world, fuck this body” like it’s the apocalypse. “No Love” uses a singular drum knocking like an unwanted visitor, an atonal synth riff and mechanical noise to create plenty of uneasy atmosphere; Burnett, as if letting the song simmer, eases into it, delivering a more minimal performance that’s all the more effective for the eerie space that creeps in between his tirades. The innocuous sounding title “World of Dogs” reveals pelting beats and the repeated lyric “it’s all suicide,” while “Deep Web” turns up the aggression to its maximum, as Burnett cries “don’t make me take my face off” among digital gunshots and bombshells of sound. No Love Deep Web doesn’t share the sonic diversity of its predecessor, the superior The Money Store, and it doesn’t have anything approaching a single. Yet it’s the clearest, most uncompromising statement from a band who has built their name on never standing down. As the band leaks yet another album online, here’s hoping they never change.

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The Bay Brewed 2013: Mikal Cronin, Shannon and the Clams, Beer, and More on 12/7!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 18, 2013 06:38pm | Post a Comment

bay brewedOn Saturday, December 7th, Amoeba joins The Bay Bridged and SF Brewers Guild to present The Bay Brewed 2013: A Rock and Roll Beer Festival.

This is San Francisco’s only indie rock beer festival and it's back at Public Works for a third year of great music and beer. Amoeba is thrilled that our favorites Mikal Cronin, Shannon and the Clams, Kelley StoltzGolden Void, French Cassettes, and Magic Fight are playing this beer-tastic event! And as if the rockin' tunes weren't enough, there is also unlimited local beer tasting from these great local breweries: 21st Amendment Brewery, Almanac Beer Company, Anchor Brewing, Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, Cerveceria de MateVeza, Headlands Brewing Company, Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, Pacific Brewing Laboratory, Pine Street Brewery, Pizza Orgasmica & Brewery, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, ThirstyBear Brewing Company, and Triple Voodoo Brewing.!

This is a 21+ event (of course!) and goes from 12:30pm - 6:30pm. Get your tickets nowsville HERE!

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Driven from his Soon-to-Be Demolished Home, the Bay Bridge Troll Takes Up Temporary Residence @ OMCA

Posted by Billyjam, November 18, 2013 12:36pm | Post a Comment


With the slow demolition process of the East Bay span of the Bay Bridge just begun the fate of the fabled Bay Bridge Troll, as pictured above, is no longer undetermined. The troll has taken up temporary residence at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) which recently welcomed the small guardian of the Bay to its Gallery of California History, where it will remain on exhibit through February 2014. It will be on display alongside his "brother" - a replica of the actual Bay Bridge troll now known as "Troll Senior."  Back 24 years ago during the repair work due to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Bill Roan designed and created Troll has been protecting and keeping ward on the Bay Bridge's East Bay span section.

As the curators of OMCA point out trolls, based on Nordic mythology, are master builders, metal workers, and protectors of treasure who live under bridges. Bay Area blacksmith Bill Roan is a fan of the Nordic mythology and hence designed the 18 inch tall steel sculpture - with its slightly menacing look that include two large horns and a spud wrench in hand - during the repairs to the East Bay section of the Bay Bridge following the '89 quake.  This work Roan did without any fanfare at the time as it was not officially authorized. Watch video coverage of the Bay Bridge troll installation to OMCA's Gallery of California History for more background info.  And for more museum info click here.

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I Seen It at the AFI Fest 2013

Posted by Charles Reece, November 18, 2013 08:40am | Post a Comment

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears - Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani

 
The Fake - Yeon Sang-Ho


Herblock: The Black & The White - Michael Stevens


The Unknown Known - Errol Morris


Moebius - Kim Ki-Duk


R100 - Hitoshi Matsumoto


My Dog Killer - Mira Fornay


The Green Inferno - Eli Roth


Nothing Bad Can Happen - Katrin Gebbe


Harmony Lessons - Emir Baigazin


A Spell to Ward off the Darkness - Ben Rivers & Ben Russell


Jodorowsky's Dune - Frank Pavich

Radio Sombra's Second Anniversary

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 18, 2013 06:31am | Post a Comment
 
On Saturday, November 14th, Radio Sombra celebrated its second anniversary as an Internet radio station. Radio Sombra was started by Marco Amador as an important first step in creating more autonomous spaces throughout the Chicano community. Internet radio is nothing new to the world, but it’s an important first step in the advancement of communities such as Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles in looking beyond our traditional means of expression. From Radio Sombra came Espacio 1839, an art gallery/bookstore/record store/apparel shop that houses the station. Again, nothing new to most progressive communities, but Radio Sombra and Espacio 1839 has continued to flourish without corporate sponsorship, grants, and city funding or bank loans. This enables both entities to not compromise and continue defining itself.



Radio Sombra now has over twenty shows with the archives of past shows now running 24/7 in between the live shows. All radio shows pays dues for the upkeep of the station and equipment. Each show is required to run independently, with each host getting a course on how to engineer their shows and uploading them once completed on radiosombra.org. The shows vary from social/political talk shows to music shows specializing in every genre of music imaginable. There are youth programs that teach students from local high schools how to run their own shows as well as an ongoing achieve of interviews from important voices both locally and internationally.

Saturday’s broadcast was twelve straight hours of live programming. Starting at 11 am with This Is Not A Radio Show with Omar Ramirez & Gabriel Tenorio and Ending with Heartbreak Radio with Lady Imix & DJ Phatrick at 11 pm. Other shows that participated were AF3IRM Radio, an anti-imperialist transnational feminist national women’s organization. This was followed by O Lo Siento, a 90’s noise rock revival and platform for new groups personally recorded by studio engineer Eddie Rivas. Beatific Audio followed by DJ Cezar, a mixture of jazzy funk, hip-hop and social consciousness, Small Talk From Sapo is hosted by Moises Ruiz, aka Sapo, which on that day was a tribute to all the great jazz organists, all from vinyl. Steady Beat For Lovers by Mali is exactly what the name entails, a sweet blend of Rocksteady and Lover’s Rock. Nicotina hosted by Nico Avina, always plays political fueled rock and folk in Spanish and English. I did a set for Discos Inmigrantes, an all vinyl set of my favorite jams from past shows. Social Machine Broadcast with Becky & Dewey plays mostly powerful female-led rock in the first have and punk and metal in the second half. Heartbreak Radio closed it out with a set from DJ Phatrick followed by another tearjerker set by Lady Imix.

They were other shows that didn’t participate and were missed. Art & Grooves with Reyes, Radio Discostan with Arshia Haq, Shades Of Soul with O-Dub, Barrio Roots Radio, Counterstrike and lastly, Black Beans And Brown Rice Radio with Maya Jupiter, who had her first child not to long ago.

November 17, 2013: How I Live Now

Posted by phil blankenship, November 17, 2013 02:55pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Presents Run River North at Hotel Cafe, Has Exclusive 7" From Band

Posted by Billy Gil, November 15, 2013 04:30pm | Post a Comment
L-R: Alex Hwang, John Chong, Sally Kang, Daniel Chae, Joe Chun, Jennifer Rim. Photo: Eric Ryan Anderson.

L.A.-based folk-rock band Run River North are a model for self-made bands everywhere. The Korean-American septet, who make folk-based music with soaring vocals, intricate harmonies and the occasional electric guitar, have been garnering increasing notice not just locally, but globally, thanks in part to some industrious moves. The band recorded a version of its song “Fight to Keep” live inside one of the band members’ Hondas. The clip made it to Honda’s computer screens, and the company surprised the band by taking it to play live on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” You can watch both the original clip and their appearance on “Kimmel” below.

 

The band is playing every Wednesday this month at acoustic music haven Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. Amoeba is proud to sponsor the residency. You can catch them Nov. 20, 27 and Dec. 4. Additionally the band's Fight to Keep 7” will be available exclusively at Amoeba Hollywood starting Nov. 27. The band’s self-titled debut album is due Feb. 25 on Nettwerk.

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Thank You For Supporting Our Charities!

Posted by Billy Gil, November 15, 2013 12:29pm | Post a Comment

We're dancing for joy over at Amoeba. With everyone who contributed to our monthly auctions, in-store donation jugs and off-site events, we have raised more than $60,000 this year!


Our charity auctions, in which comedians, musicians and friends auction off concert tickets, prize packages and more, take place the first Saturday of every month at 4 p.m. at Amoeba Hollywood. Some of the people involved this year were Upright Citizens Brigade, Don Barris, Kurt Braunohler, Jimmy Pardo, Beth Stelling, Matt Ingebretson and Gustavo Arellano—thank you all for hosting and helping to raise funds for various charities!

Right now we are collecting donations for disaster relief in the Philippines. Monetary donations are being accepted at the registers for Doctors Without Borders' relief efforts in the Philippines. Find out more or directly donate at their website.

Find out more about the charities we're involved with below, or pick up a “How You Can Help” pamphlet at any Amoeba Music location:

TIPITINA'S FOUNDATION

Tipitina's works to restore Louisiana's music community and preserve its unique musical cultures through childhood music education efforts, helping to develop adult musicians and working to increase New Orleans' profile as a cultural, educational and financial resource.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 11.15.13: Marco Polo, Kid Tsunami, No Bird Sing, Mad Dukez & Fresh Kils, Louis Logic, Los Rakas + more

Posted by Billyjam, November 15, 2013 11:00am | Post a Comment
      

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 11:15:13


1) Marco Polo PA2: The Director's Cut (Soulspazm Records)

2) Kid Tsunami The Chase (Head Bop)

3) No Bird Sing Definition Sickness (Strange Famous)

4) Mad Dukez & Fresh Kils gettin gatsby (Deep Thinka)

5) Louis Logic Look On The Blight Side (Fake Four Inc.)


Once again big thanks to E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley for the chart and video breakdown above, and for always being on top of the very latest in new hip-hop releases and often ones you don't always hear about in the mainstream. This week's list includes the two producers with long lists of guest emcees: Marco Polo's latest offering -  PA2: The Director's Cut on Soulspazm Records via Fat Beats, and the official debut from Perth Australia's Kid Tsunami The Chase on Head Bop which between the two of these new albums make up the perfect throwback to the nineties styled mixtape. Marco Polo deserves major props for  just alone getting Organized Konfusion together again for the first time in over a decade: the legendary hip-hop duo of Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po join forces on the leadoff album track "3-O-Clock."  The video for this sick track appears below (scroll down) along with accompanying videos to each of the other four new chart entries.  These include the Kid Tsunami produced "Bang Exclusive" off his guest heavy album with features from both emcee Sean Price and guitarist Chuck Chilla, No Bird Sing's "And War (feat Molly Dean)," Mad Dukez & Fresh Kils' album track "Sookie Sookie," and Louis Logic - along with album guest Blueprint, at his recent record release party for his new Fake Four Inc. release  Look On The Blight Side.

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Amoeba Berkeley's Own Billy Sprague's New Art Show Opening Tonight At Four Barrel in San Francisco

Posted by Billyjam, November 14, 2013 03:50pm | Post a Comment


Amoeba Berkeley's own Billy Sprague - the music and art loving, multi-talented artist, musician (Galena is his project name), photographer,  and owner of the Sanity Muffin cassette label has an art opening tonight (Thursday, November 14th from 6pm to 8pm) at coffee/art spot Four Barrel on Valencia Street in San Francisco that the artist has been "slowly and consistently building" for the past five months, he said. "It's comprised of mostly large scale drawings, and frottage: abstract and surreal with a special attention to balance and flow," he said noting that, for inspiration, that he has been, "listening to a lot of minimalist classical music like Morton Feldman and practiced my own sort of meditation before and during the production of these works. My hopes were [that] this practice would transpire into and through the images and continue to convey this energy as the pieces move on to new environments." At Four Barrel, where his exhibit will be on display through December 18th, Sprague will be selling a limited edition show catalog/zine and 11" x 17" scale full color signed and limited edition prints of three of the pieces at this evening's opening. As he busily prepared to get the exhibit all up on display the artist took a few moments to answer some questions (scroll down) about his exhibit that includes the pieces of art above and below.
 

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Weekly Roundup: Jack Name, Fuzz, Together PANGEA, Magic Trick, FRONDS

Posted by Billy Gil, November 14, 2013 01:47pm | Post a Comment

Jack Name – “Pure Terror”

jack nameYou may not know his name yet, but you know these names: Ariel Pink, with whom he’s worked; and White Fence, with whom he’s a touring guitarist. With those impressive credentials, check out L.A.’s Jack Name, a lo-fi pop wiz along the lines of the aforementioned, heavier on the psych-pop-rock side, with cool theraminny noises floating in the corners above a solid, classic arrangement. His debut, Light Show, is due Jan. 21 on Drag Citys God? imprint. Listen via Pitchfork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuzz – “You Won’t See Me” live

A while back I blogged about Castle Face’s new Live in San Francisco series, which began with White Fence’s Live in San Francisco, available now (CD or LP). The next edition, featuring Ty Segall’s aptly named Fuzz, hits Dec. 3. You can hear a cut from it now, which saw Segall and co. playing at famed gay bar The SF Eagle! Sludge rock and bears go together like actual bears and honey.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Chesterfield Square

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 14, 2013 12:12pm | Post a Comment
BLOW SOME MY WAY -- CHESTERFIELD SQUARE

Chesterfield Square signs

INTRODUCTION
 TO CHESTERFIELD SQUARE

Chesterfield Square is without a doubt, one of Los Angeles’s most obscure neighborhoods. The obscurity is somewhat surprising given the neighborhood’s longstanding and dubious distinction of having the city’s and county’s highest violent crime rate. As a matter of fact, most of the Los Angeles’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods are rather obscure – communities like Compton, South Central, and Watts aren’t even in the top ten.

Divine protection

Although I don’t in any way wish to minimize the seriousness of crime, both visitors and residents of the neighborhood are more likely to be felled by heart disease, cancer, an accident or suicide than by violent criminals -- especially those who are not or don't appear to be affiliated with a gang. Furthermore, citywide violent crime rates for Los Angeles are the lowest they’ve been since 1966. It may be rough by Los Angeles standards but it's hardly San Pedro Sula. In other words, nothing bad is going to happen to you.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Chesterfield Square

Chesterfield Square is a neighborhood located in South Los Angeles’s Westside. It is neighbored by King Estates to the north, Exposition Park to the northeast, Vermont Square to the east, Vermont-Slauson to the southeast, Canterbury Knolls to the south, Hyde Park to the southwest, Angeles Mesa to the west, and Arlington Park to the northwest. The population of Chesterfield Square is currently about 59% black (mostly of unspecified West African and Belizian origin), 37% Latino (mostly of Mexican and Salvadoran origin), 2% white, and 1% Asian.

Last week I headed to the neighborhood with filmmaker Diana Roark on what turned out to be a decidedly relaxed and slightly warm autumn day, the kind of day with enough heat to magnify the mingling scents of food cooking, weed smoking, and rose gardens.

Given the time and day of our exploration, most residents of the neighborhood were likely at work or in school but we did encounter numerous people hanging out in parks, on corners, and in lawns and on porches – most all of whom were politely friendly and some of whom shared stories that helped inform this piece. If any of them are reading this, thanks for your kindness, stories, and opinions. I hope you enjoy.


*****

EARLY HISTORY OF THE AREA

Human history of Chesterfield Square and California began some 13,000 to 15,000 years ago when the first transplants arrived after their ancestors crossed the Bering Strait from North Asia. We don’t know what they called themselves but around 3,500 the ancestors of the Tongva arrived in Southern California and displaced or were absorbed into the local population. By 500 CE the Tongva occupied 10,000 km² of land, including most of Los Angeles County.


SPANISH ERA

The first European nation, Spain, first visited Southern California in 1542 but sustained contact with the Tongva and other Native American nations only began in 1771, after the construction of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel some 27 kilometers east in the Whittier Narrows. After conquering the Natives, the Spanish divided most of the land into ranches administered by the missions although the lands that now comprise Chesterfield Square were part of an area of public lands located between the Pueblo de Los Angeles and ranchos to the west. 


MEXICAN AND EARLY AMERICAN ERA

After eleven years of war revolutionary war, Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. In 1846, when Mexico was just 25 years old, the US invaded and by 1848 had conquered California. The state was admitted to the Union in 1850. Los Angeles County was one of the original counties and then included parts of what are now Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties.


SHOESTRING STRIP ANNEXATION

Detail of map showing annexations of Los Angeles

On 26 December, 1906, after 125 years of being landlocked, Los Angeles finally became a coastal city with the Shoestring Strip Annexation that expanded the city’s borders to the southwest and, via a narrow corridor, to the San Pedro Bay in the south.


BEGINNING OF CHESTERFIELD SQUARE

In 1912, two brothers – Charles List and R.D. List – entered the picture. R.D. List was a South Pasadena-based notary public and real estate speculator and he and Charles bought and subdivided a development that they named Chesterfield Square. I haven’t found what inspired their choice of name. Was it the Earl of Chesterfield? Chesterfield cigarettes, couches, or overcoats? Chesterfield County, Virginia? Maybe they just liked the way that it sounded.

Detail of LARy map showing Chesterfield Square (solid orange lines represent Yellow Car train lines)

In 1912 the streets of the tract were paved and the Los Angeles Railway’s Division 5 carhouse was built nearby, on the southwest corner of the intersection of S Van Ness Avenue and W 54th Street. The stations yellow cars ran down 54th, 48th, Santa Barbara (now Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard) and stretches of other streets in the neighborhood.

Streets lined with Washingtonia robusta

Many of the neighborhood’s streets are still lined with towering, spindly Washingtonia robusta palm trees planted in those years.

Chesterfield Square Park

Chesterfield Square was also home to (and is still home to) Chesterfield Square Park, a small but pretty, formal park with axial walkways, mature sycamores, and a walk street – Concordia Walk – along its southern edge. There are two other pocket parks, or “parklets,” in Chesterfield Square, located at the intersection of 54th Street and S Van Ness Avenue and Slauson Avenue and S Van Ness Avenue.


HARBOR SUBDIVISION

Diana walking along the Harbor Subivision right-of-way

Chesterfield Square’s location was placed just north of the the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad’s Harbor Subdivision line, which at that time connected Downtown Los Angeles to a port in Redondo Beach. In the 1920s, to capitalize on the oil boom, it was extended to Torrance, Wilmington, and Long Beach. Although mostly used by freight trains, it also served as a passenger rail. The Harbor Subdivision was the ATSF Railroad’s (and its successor, the BNSF Railroad’s) primary route between The Harbor and Downtown until the 2002 opening of the more direct Alameda Corridor to the east.


GROWTH OF CHESTERFIELD SQUARE

Examples of typical homes in the neighborhood

A 1923 advertisement in the Los Angeles Times offered homeowners the chance to buy a “swell, new modern bungalow, built of the best materials” with “better improvements than in Wilshire District, at half the price.” Sales of homes in Chesterfield Square began to really take off in the 1920s – fueled by the real estate and oil boom of the time. Today the neighborhood is still comprised mostly of homes built in the popular styles of that era including Spanish Colonial Revival and California Craftstman homes, evidently chosen from pattern books (in many cases a street with contain several homes of almost identical design distinguished by slight, ornamental variations). Development would eventually grind to a halt when the Great Depression hit.


THE CARLTON THEATRE

The Carlton Theatre (image source: Cinema Treasures)

The neighborhood picture palace, the 1,200 Fox-owned Carlton Theatre, was formerly located at 5409 S. Western Avenue. It was around at least as early as 1924, when it announced the addition of a children’s matinee in the paper. Although the Tim Burton film Ed Wood depicted the premier of Plan 9 From Outer Space taking place at the Pantages in Hollywood, it in fact first screened in Chesterfield Square’s Carlton Theatre. Before the 1950s ended, the theater was re-purposed as a church. The building was demolished by 1972 and today the lot is still empty.


RAY HARRYHAUSEN 


Harryhausen's old home (right)

In the 1930s, inspired by the work of Willis O'Brien (the man who was responsible for animating King Kong), a teenaged Chesterfield Square resident named Ray Harryhausen began experimenting with stop motion animation in the garage of his home at 4822 Cimarron Street. When we stopped by the house, the owner was sitting on his porch. Diana talked to him about Harryhausen having lived there, which he was unaware of. 


The building on the left was formerly home to Harryhausen's effects studio


In 1956, Ray Harryhausen began renting a space and operating an effects studio near the intersection of Cimarron and 54th Street. It was there that he created the visual effects for 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). In 1960 he moved to London, UK and for many years was the biggest name in movie effects. He passed away 7 May, 2013.




WAR YEARS

In the 1940s, World War II helped transform Los Angeles  into an important manufacturing center. To meet the demands of the war industry, thousands of working class Southerners moved to the working class neighborhoods of South Los Angeles. Though white immigrants were able to live just about anywhere that they could afford to, blacks were confined to roughly 5% of the city’s area, mostly to the neighborhoods of Watts and South Central.


END OF RACIST HOUSING COVENANTS

In 1947, an incident in Missouri brought the case of Shelley v. Kraemer to the US Supreme Court. As a result, racially restrictive covenants were found to be unconstitutional. Homeowner associations, developers and white gangs would still pursue various methods to keep black Angelenos from moving into “their” communities including restrictions against multi-family residences, drive-by shootings, cross burnings, harassment and physical attacks. Despite all that, black Angelenos quickly spread west and south of South Central.


LEON T. GARR



One black resident who came to South Los Angeles and came to prominence was Leon T. Garr. Garr was born in 1914, in Ruston, Louisiana and moved to Los Angeles in the early 1940s after having served in World War II. After co-founding Coast Construction in 1958 he launched Garr Construction in 1963. In 1991 he transformed a failed savings and loan into Founders National Bank. Along the way he proved himself to be a major force in South Los Angeles and today several Chesterfield Square locations give evidence of his philanthropy including the Garr Child Care Learning Institute, the Garr Academy of Math and Entrepreneurial Studies School, the Leon & Mattie Garr Foundation, and the Garr Banquet Hall. In 2012, Antwone Fisher directed the biographical documentary, This Life of Mine: The Leon T. Garr Story, about Garr. On 23 March he celebrated his 99th birthday.


THE BIRTH OF BLACK CLUBS

Black clubs, in many ways the precursors to modern gangs, began to emerge partly to counter the harassment of black Angelenos at the hands of white gangs. The largest black club on South Los Angeles’s Westside was The Gladiators, whose turf was centered around the intersection of 54th and Vermont, just beyond the borders of Chesterfield Square. As whites increasingly left the region, interracial violence was increasingly replaced by intraracial violence – primarily between the many clubs of South Angeles’s historically black and poorer Eastside and the clubs of the upwardly mobile black Westside. Though there was violence, it wasn’t even close to the level that arose in later decades. Fights over girls, American football rivalries, and class resentment were rarely deadly and in 1960 there were only six gang-related deaths in the entire city of Los Angeles.


CHESTERFIELD SQUARE BECOMES A BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD


By 1960, the previously separate black populations of South Central, Watts, the black Westside and Mid-City had merged to form one large, contiguous black majority region. “South Central,” named after the neighborhood which had flourished along South Central Avenue, became increasingly accepted as shorthand for any and all black communities throughout South Los Angeles and the name “Chesterfield Square” began to vanish from the public consciousness.

Nuance and distinction between communities of South Los Angeles began to reassert itself in 1965, when residents in Watts launched a violent uprising in the wake of perceived racism on the part of the LAPD. In the wake of the unrest, which resulted in 34 deaths, the population of upwardly mobile blacks in South Los Angeles increasingly left the Eastside for the Westside, including Chesterfield Square.

THE END OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA & THE BEGINNING OF GANG ERA

The second half of the 1960s saw several key moments in Civil Rights history. In 1965, Malcolm X was was murdered. Martin Luther King Jr was murdered in 1968. Although it might sound like conspiracy theory, it is a matter of fact that the FBI deliberately created conflict between the preeminent Black Nationalist organizations of the day with their anti-dissident COINTELPRO program, hoping that they'd wipe each other out. They were certainly involved in the 1968 assassination of the Panthers’ Fred Hampton and the following year, a fight between the Panthers and US over at the UCLA campus in Westwood turned deadly.

In the wake of the disintegrating Black Nationalist movement, teenage groups like the Baby Avenues (later known as The Crips) and, in the Chesterfield Square vicinity, the LA Brims both coalesced in 1969. Like other clubs at the time such as Compton’s Pirus or the Black P. Stones in Mid-City, they initially all dabbled with Black Nationalism before quickly devolving into mere criminal gangs. 


GOOD FRED

Good Fred La Rutan mural

Frederic Douglas "Good Fred" Ellis was born on 21 April, 1946 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1954 he joined the US Air Force and served with the 49th Air Squad until 1958. While in the military he acquired the nickname, "Good Fred." He graduated from barber college in 1961 and opened his first hair salon, La Rutan, in Chesterfield Square on Western Avenue in 1968. In 1971 bought a larger location on 54th Street and began manufacturing The Good Fred Oil, designed specifically for black hair and celebrated in a jazz song of the same name by Dawn Norfleet. La Rutan's patrons included Bobby Womack, Clifton Powell, Nina Simone, Richard Pryor and others. More importantly, he was a philanthropist and positive force in the community, contributing to a variety of local causes. He passed away in 2011


GROWTH OF THE LATINO POPULATION 

Gonzalez Auto Body Shop with Aztec calendar mural

In the 1970s, much of South Los Angeles’s industry dried up or relocated. The factories that remained increasingly turned to newly-arrived immigrants from Mexico rather than the heavily-unionized black labor force. In the 1980s, as the US became involved in several Central American wars, refugees from that region began to flee to Los Angeles, often settling in South Los Angeles, eventually helping Latinos form the dominant ethnicity of South Los Angeles’s Eastside. On the other side of the 110, the Latino population grew and continues to grow but the region remains primarily black. In fact, in 2013 every black majority neighborhood of Los Angeles is located (with the exception of West Compton) in South Los Angeles’s Westside.


ANTIQUE STOVE HEAVEN

Inside Antique Store Heaven

Antique Stove Heaven opened circa 1978. Around 1988 they moved to their current location on Western. Their stoves have been featured in films including Devil in a Blue Dress, Driving Miss Daisy, Eraser, Hunger Games, and Nixon. They’ve been featured on the TV shows The Christopher Lowell Show, Hot in Cleveland, The Lynette Jennings Home Show, and Weeds as well as commercials for Blue Cross, Campbell's Soup, Carl's Jr., Jack in the Box, Kraft Cheese, Oreo Cookiesand Sunny Delight. Diana and I popped in and were shown around the facility. The stoves really are beautiful and I found myself wondering if underneath the layers of black, my own 1960s stove might actually be a thing of beauty. After looking at it again, I unfortunately don’t think so.


THE 1980s – A TIME OF CRISIS

The 1980s were trying times – especially for working class communities. The HIV/AIDS epidemic began around 1981 – the same year the federal budget for mental health was slashed and psychiatric patients were essentially dumped onto the streets. At the same time the Central American Refugee Crisis worsened considerably when the US increasingly funded right wing death squads in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Crack hit the streets around 1984 and every year from 1985 to 1992 Los Angeles’s homicide rate increased.

In 1979, the Westside Crips (founded in 1971) splintered into the rival Gangster Crips and Neighborhood Crips. In the 1980s, after more splintering, Chesterfield Park became bore witness to the development of and became home to the Rollin’ 40s Neighborhood Crips, the Rollin’ 50s Neighborhood Crips, and the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips – all of which include smaller sets – as well as the 51 Trouble Gangster Crips, the Westside 54 Van Ness Gangster Brims and no doubt others.


54th STREET MASSACRE

One of the worst single instances of gang violence that Los Angeles has witnessed in modern times was the 54th Street Massacre which took place in Chesterfield Square in 1984. Back then, Keith Tyrone “Ase Capone” Fudge’s car was allegedly stolen by a rival gang member, Percy “Buddha” Brewer. On the night of 12 October, Fudge, Harold Hall, and Fred “Fat Freddie” Knight allegedly rolled up and blindly fired 15 to 20 shots into the crowd gathered at a party at a residence on 54th Street. When the smoke cleared Brewer lay dead, but also Shannon Cannon, Darryl Coleman, Phillip Westbrook, and Diane Raspberry. All of the victims and assailants involved were teenagers at the time, some as young as fourteen years old.


GRIM SLEEPER

Many of the alleys in the neighborhood are surprisingly overgrown

At least as early as 1985, Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. is believed to have begun his reign as one of the country’s longest active serial killers, nicknamed The Grim Sleeper.” His nickname is a reference to the fact that he’s believed to have taken a 14-year break from murder after one of his attempted victims survived an attack in 1988 and he perhaps got spooked. He is believed to have begun killing again in 2002. His last known murder victim before the hiatus was of Alicia “Monique” Alexander, then 18, whose body was found in an alley near the 1700 block of West 43rd Place on 11 September, 1988 in Chesterfield Square after she’d left her home to walk to a convenience store.


MARTIN LUTHER KING JR - KINGDOM DAY PARADE

MLK mural (and Tupac painting)

All was not grim and gray in the 1980s, however. Santa Barbara was renamed Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard in 1983. That same year president Reagan signed a law declaring Martin Luther King, Jr Day a national holiday. In 1986, the first Kingdom Day Parade was organized by Celes King III and Larry E. Grant. Now an annual tradition, the Kingdom Day Parade passes through King Estates, Chesterfield Square, Leimert Park, Arlington Park, and Angeles Mesa. It’s probably the best known cultural event that takes place in the neighborhood. Grant passed away in 2012 at 86 years of age but the parade rolls on.


BOYZ N THE HOOD

Diana N the Hood

From 1 October to 28 November, 1990 a film crew shot Boyz N the Hood in Chesterfield Square. The exterior of the Furious Styles character's home is he home at 5918 Cimarron Street. Brandi’s house is 5906 Cimarron Street and the Baker home is at 5911 Cimarron. It was directed by John Singleton who at 23 was the youngest person ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Although it was preceded by 1988’s Colors, Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society came to be seen as the quintessential examples of the “Hood film.”




THE LA RIOTS

The 1980s saw the highest level of Korean immigration to the US. Although most initially moved to Koreatown, designated along Olympic Boulevard in Midtown in 1980, many opened or took over businesses in South Los Angeles. On 16 March, 1991, then-15-year-old Latasha Harlins was killed in Vermont Vista by Soon Ja Du, a Korean-American shopkeeper. That same month black motorist Rodney King was severely beaten by five white LAPD officers in the San Fernando Valley's Lake View Terrace neighborhood in an event that was secretly caught on tape. In the first case, Du was given probation, community service and fined $500. In the King case, three of the four LAPD officers involved were acquitted of all charges.

The results of the two trials are usually pointed to as the catalysts of the Los Angeles Riots which erupted just down the street from Chesterfield Square but quickly spread to it and far beyond. Over 60 people ultimately died in the uprising including 27-year-old Franklin Benavidez, who was shot and killed after fleeing from a Chesterfield Square gas station that officers claimed he’d attempted to rob. The officers, who fired at least ten rounds, also struck 19-year-old Victor Muñoz, claiming he’d brandished a handgun although it later turned out to be a beer can. Muñoz was hospitalized for two weeks and disputed the officers' account.

*****


Aftermath of a violent carrot explosion


Today Chesterfield Square -- though it still suffers from violent crime, poor schools, and other ills -- seems like a comparatively peaceful place (during the day at least). Fans of Craftsman architecture; Central American food, Mexican food, or Soul Food; or anyone simple desiring to experience the totality of their hometown should definitely check it out.

Googie car wash facility on MLK


Anthropomorphic appliances


CHESTERFIELD SQUARE EATS

Entrance to Panaderia Mi Guatemala

There are several eateries in Chesterfield Square including BBQ Express, El Arca Bakery & Restaurant, Flor Blanca Pupuseria Restaurante, Guatemalteca La Feista, Las Delicias, Master Burger, Natural Soul Food Non Profit Café, New Orleans Fish Market, Panaderia Mi Guatemala, and Sonsonate Grill.

Mel's Cafe and Bakery from across the street

Diana and I stopped into Mel’s Bakery & Café, a soul food place established seven years ago on W 48th Street initially just intending to get something to drink but the delicious aromas proved impossible to resist and Diana grabbed some of the mac ‘n’ cheese which I tried and found to be absolutely fantastic. The small eatery has a nice, relaxed vibe and customers came and went exchanging greetings and small talk that made it evident that everyone present was acquainted and friendly with one another. Across the street at Spirit of Health Longlife Adult Day Health Care Center a woman exchanged pleasantries and expressed her love for Mel’s.

Home to Foxy's Nightclub?

I couldn’t be sure whether or not there was really a bar there but supposedly a joint called Foxy’s in this rundown but not unattractive building. According to a Foursquare tip, “3-7 pm on Thursday. Domestic beers $1.75.” I didn’t see any signage outside. 


Family Market -- The clown's kite says "neighbor to neighbor"

There are a few small markets in the neighborhood including A&W Market, Family MarketSinai Mini Market, 2 & 1 Liquor Store, and West-Vern Liquor. The neighborhood’s sole supermarket is a 4 For Less, part of a national grocery store chain owned by Kroger.


MUSIC AND MOVIE SHOPS

Video 2000

The only place that I saw selling DVDs was Video 2000 at 1434 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Looking online and in the yellow pages I couldn’t even find a listing for it, however, it looked from the posters in the windows like its stock was mostly mainstream American movies. There's also a mural titled Rugrats on Wilton.

Rugrats on Wilton


Sounds of Success

I didn’t see any music stores nor did my research turn up any. There was music coming from many sources however and the old school gangsta rap of a previous generation seemed to be particularly popular. The only artist I could instantly recognize was that of Eazy-E. There was also an eye-catching purple lowrider bumping The Dramatics’ wistful classic “Hot Pants in the Summertime.” I'm sure that there are some musicians in the neighborhood. I saw a kid practicing guitar in a garage. Please let me know who they are.




CHURCHES

54th Street Seventh Day Adventist Church

In addition to the many beautiful Craftsman homes in the neighborhood, there are several churches, some of which are quite lovely. 54th Street Seventh Day Adventist Church is probably one of the oldest around as it was likely built in the earliest days of the neighborhood’s development. From the outside it rather resembles Liberty Baptist Church, another beautiful church in the neighborhood that was built in 1914.


Pilgrim Congregational Church

I’m also not sure of the construction day of the Pilgrim Congregational Church although the distinct, wood-shingled structure looks fairly aged.


Brookins Community AME Church

Brookins Community AME caught my eye with its distinctly Deco exterior. Online research gives various construction dates for buildings on the property including 1908 and 1930. A plaque in front of the church states that Kansas-born Bishop Hamel Hartford Brookins was instrumental in quelling the Watts Uprising and that in 1977 he founded the Brookins Community AME Church.

Brookins Square sign on Gramercy

In 2008 the intersection of 49th Street and Gramercy Place was designated Bishop Hamel Hartford Brookins Square and it happens to be one of the most charming areas of the neighborhood.


St. Brigid's Church

A mid-century stunner is St. Brigid's Church, which in 1955 was awarded an Award of Merit From the American Institute of Architects and also of The National Catholic Institutional Distinctive Design Award.

Religious Society of Friends meeting house

Some of the more humble churches include Church of the Nazarene, Embajada de Dios Church, Greater New Jerusalem Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, a Religious Society of Friends meeting house, St. James Community Baptist Church, St. Matthew Baptist Church, and Word of God Baptist Church.


GETTING THERE AND AROUND

Another form of transit -- a car apparently belonging to a member of Suicidas 

Though the Yellow Cars are long gone, Chesterfield Square is still well-served by public transit. There are several Metro lines including 40, 102, 105, 108, 206, 207, 209, 358 and the rapid 705 and 757 lines. LA DOT’s DASH Chesterfield Square and Leimert Park lines also serve the neighborhood. You could also pick up a new ride at Primo’s Bike Shop or Morgan’s Mini Bikes and Go-Karts

If you prefer riding trains, Chesterfield Square isn't too far from the Expo Line, the Expo/Western Station of which is located half a mile (less than a kilometer) north of the neighborhood. When the Crenshaw Line opens, it's Leimert Park Station will be located less than a mile west of the neighborhood.


STAYING IN CHESTERFIELD SQUARE


Room at the Snooty Fox (image from Snooty Fox website)

There are several places to stay in the neighborhood including America’s Best Value Inn & Suites-Los Angeles Downtown-S.W., Bronco Motel, Harvard Motor Inn, Mustang Motel, Santa Barbara Motel, and The Snooty Fox Motor Inn. The sign for the Snooty Fox is great. It depicts the titular mascot with his nose turned up holding a cane and wearing a bow tie, monocle, and derby. Be forewarned: most of them are the sorts of places that charge by the hour and several of them have rooms with mirrored ceilings.


SOCIAL SERVICES

There are several social services in the neighborhood serving people in the neighborhood. Chicago’s CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) established CORE-CA in the Chesterfield Square in 1989. Other neighborhood services include Changing Steps Treatment Center, Clean & Free, Infinity House Transitional Living for Men and Women, and Testimonial Community Love Center.

*****

I sincerely hope that you’ll check out Chesterfield Square and the rest of South Los Angeles’s Westside as its one of the most interesting but neglected areas of Los Angeles. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here


*****


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New 12"/LP/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 11/13 - Simoncino, Patrick Cowley, Xosar and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, November 13, 2013 05:36pm | Post a Comment

Dorisburg - Smuts Studs

 

Dorisburg

Smuts/Studs 12"

Boss Musik

Understated but hard-hitting house from one-half of Genius of Time. A-side Smuts is an adroit combination of low-slung disco house and ethereal dubbiness. The lessons from Genius of Time's live hardware sets are in full effect, every element is caught in a pleasing state of flux. B-side Studs is a menacing drum track not far from certain Funkinevil productions and is a gripping 7-minute journey despite lack of traditional melody. A great start for the Boss Musik imprint.

Buy Smuts/Studs 12"

 

Xosar - Wildlyfe Genesis 12"

 

Xosar

Wildlyfe Genesis 12"

Creme Organization

Ominous, minor-key jams from the Hague/SF Electribe Godess. The a-side builds up several creepy synth lines to a whirring climax. The B, Eye of the Rainstorm, is the highlight. It's longing and oceanic, John Carpenter-house. No one's sounding quite like Xosar right now.

Buy Wildlyfe Genesis 12"

 

 

 

 

 

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #56: 1970's New York City On Film

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2013 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Over the past week since the election win of distinctly left leaning liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio as New York City's next mayor with a landslide win of 73% of the vote, following 20 years / five consecutive terms of conservative Republican mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani who brought sweeping changes to the Big Apple including sharp drop in crime statistics, there has been much talk of what actually lies ahead for the city of New York under the new liberal mayor elect whose "progress" themed campaign platform was run on the promise of bringing sweeping changes (particularly in areas of inequality, most notably the racial profiling of NYPD's 'stop and frisk' policies) to the citizens of New York City. 

One thing that both supporters and detractors of de Blasio seem to share is their uncertainty as to what exactly lies ahead for New York City once the new mayor of "change" takes office on January 1st. All agree that there will be sweeping changes to the running of NYC on a day to day basis particularly in that of the NYPD - but as to what those changes will ultimately mean for New York City is up for debate. Both sides seem to agree that de Blasio will return NYC to an earlier time, but just how much earlier is up for debate. Some have suggested that New York might return to how it was in the 1970's - a time of economic upheaval when Gotham was a dingy, disheveled, crime-ridden metropolis - albeit one romanticized by many in retrospect.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Aussie Synth Pop Band Strange Talk

Posted by Amoebite, November 13, 2013 10:43am | Post a Comment

Strange Talk

After hitting #1 on Australia's Billboard charts, Strange Talk gear up for the US release of their debut, Cast Away (Wind-Up Records). The band has been hard at work touring major festivals and opening for the likes of The Rapture, Neon Indian and Marina and the Diamonds.Strange Talk

Amoeba caught up with Strange Talk on a recent visit to the Hollywood store for another cool episode of What's In My Bag?. Some might be surprised to learn the Australian synth-pop band is super into Hip Hop and Soul. From Bill Withers' classic, Just As I Am,  to James Brown's Live At The Apollo, these guys dig it all. They also pick up some very cool books to help pass the time while bored on tour: Mo' Betta Blues: The World According To Questlove by Roots drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Pharrell: Places And Spaces I've Been by producer Pharrell Williams. It's not all Hip Hop and funk either. See who picks up Queen: Days Of Our Lives on DVD and The Cure's Disintegration on CD. These guys have a lot of great picks! Be sure to check out their new album, Cast Away, when it comes out 1/7/2014.

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100 Essential Albums for Your Record Collection

Posted by Billy Gil, November 13, 2013 09:40am | Post a Comment

 

Use the promo code vinyl10 to get 10% off any new and used vinyl on Amoeba.com.

Starting a record collection? Or trying to round out the one you have? Here's a list of 100 records, in alphabetical order, that most people can agree are essential listens. I picked based on two criteria: essentialness and availability. If there's no reasonable way you can pick up the album in store at any given time (and for under $40), it's not on there. If you'd like to head straight to shopping, check out this handy feature at our online store. Enjoy!

Allman Brothers Band Live


The Allman Brothers Band Live At Filmore East (1971)

Hear pretty much the best guitar playing ever.

 

 

 

The B-52’s The B-52's (1979)

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Bay Area Hip-Hop Shows 1984 - 1996

Posted by Billyjam, November 12, 2013 01:13pm | Post a Comment
          

For this Hip Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog the focus is on some select Bay Area hip hop/rap concerts from two and three decades (80's/90's) ago and their corresponding advertisement flyers - a time before social networking and free access by all to the Internet. Covering the years from 1984 to 1996, these are a selection of show fliers such as the one left from September 1989 when LA crossover rap artist Young MC was at his prime as were the Bay Area rap acts who opened for him including APG Crew at the long gone, once very active, club spot in North Oakland the Omni  ("the Bay Area's largest showcase nightclub" on Shattuck at 48th near Telegraph).

In addition to APG Crew, who were voted hottest local/Bay Area act of that same year of 1989, other acts on this bill included East Bay act Step G with M.C. Sirgeo, and two Bay Area acts that would go on to national acclaim: producer/political rapper Paris thanks to signing with (and later getting dropped over political controversy) with Tommy Boy Records and East Bay hip-hop crew Capital Tax who in the following few years would go from being on the small indie local T-Cap Productions to being signed to MCA Records.   Another time within about a year of that show, Too $hort headlined at the Omni -- doing his typical no-frills, straight up rap concert. (This was a time when another Oakland rapper, MC Hammer's stage shows were huge choreographed events -- Too $hort was the proud antitheses of that.)

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9 to 5 with Peaches Christ, Heklina, and Pandora Boxx! 11/23 at Castro Theatre.

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 11, 2013 06:16pm | Post a Comment

This Thanksgiving, working it nine to five!nine to five 9 to 5 peaches christ san francisco

Join Peaches Christ and the gang at the historic Castro Theatre on Saturday November 23rd for a screening of the 1980 camp classic 9 TO 5. Not only will you get to enjoy this Jane Fonda/Lily Tomlin/Dolly Parton classic on the big screen, but you'll be asking for overtime as this event features the world premiere of a special new pre-show production called "WORKIN'" starring Peaches Christ (All About Evil), Heklina, and Pandora Boxx (RuPaul's Drag Race).

Watch these roosters become hens before your very eyes and cheer along as the ladies take on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss in a pre-show overthrow like no other!

Get your tickets HERE!

Album Picks: Wooden Shjips, Cate Le Bon, Vex Ruffin

Posted by Billy Gil, November 11, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Wooden Shjips - Back To Land (CD, LP [green vinyl w/bonus 7"])

Wooden Shjips have always been one of the coolest psych-rock bands on the block, one that gives a good name to the concept of jam bands. But their latest, the aptly named Back to Land, reins in some of the jams in favor of more concrete songs. It’s a bold move, as the band has relocated to Portland from SF and seems to have re-energized the band, but it’s a move that likely won’t upset their fans. Songs like the great title track still are allowed to drift past the five-minute mark, utilizing simple, repeated chord structures built on fuzz guitar and organ drone, encircling the proceedings with tasteful improvisation, while frontman Ripley Johnsaon’s Alan Vega-esque drawl fades in and out, directing things like a super chill camp counselor. While the songs lengths may be shorter, there’s no shortage of variety on Back to Land, making room for fuzzy Velvets-style ballads like “These Shadows” and the kind of driving, power-chord romp they do so well on songs like “Other Stars.” Wooden Shjips may pick up a few more seafairers with the friendlier Back to Land, but there’s plenty to like for longtime fans as well. Dock up and listen.

 

Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum (CD or LP)

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Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood Saturday, Nov. 23

Posted by Amoebite, November 11, 2013 12:38pm | Post a Comment

Sidewalk SaleAmoeba Hollywood's next Sidewalk Sale is Saturday, November 23 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. 

The Library Store will also be here 12-4pm with their curated collection of gifts and books! All proceeds from the Library Store truck benefit the Los Angeles Public Library.

This month look for sidewalk sale bargains on CDsDVDsBlu-rays, bookscomic books and much more. 

  • DVDs $3 each, and buy 3 get 1 free
  • DVD box sets for $7, or 2 for $10
  • Blu-rays 3 or $12 or $5 each
  • $1 books
  • Single issue comic books 4 for $1.00
  • Star Wars vintage and collectible toys - marked down and buy one get one free
  • Cassette tapes

(Of course there are some pretty stellar deals inside the store too, but you already knew that.)

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

Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood Nov 23

 

JFK Assassination In Song

Posted by Billyjam, November 11, 2013 11:11am | Post a Comment

Steinski & Mass Media "The Motorcade Sped On" (1985)

For the past few weeks now JFK's face has been popping up on a lot of magazine covers and on TV (including the PBS documentary JFK: American Experience airing tonight and tomorrow - Nov 11th & 12th)  as we quickly approach the historic 50th anniversary of that fateful day in Dallas, TX when the 35th president of the United States was assassinated. Friday November 22th, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination so between now and then you can expect to be hearing/seeing a lot on the topic of the beloved US president. To mark the occasion there is also a free download compilation, care of Turn Me On, Dead Man Recordings, entitled Conspiracy A-Go-Go that consists of over two dozen tracks (mostly punk/garage - some new, some previously recorded) that reference the JFK assassination including tracks by the New Jack Rubys, The Droogs, Buckwheat Catapillar, Dark Fog, and The Bonnevilles. This free downloadable album, used with the permission of the artists through a Creative Commons License for non-commercial purposes, includes one of my all time favorites: Steinski & The Mass Media's "The Motorcade Sped On." I have included a video above set to that cut-and-paste masterpiece by Steinski that was originally issued in 1985 as a promo by Tommy Boy and also as a track on a various artists 7" free EP c/o NME magazine. Five years ago the song was included in the Illegal Art released compilation of Steinski's work - What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective.

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Year Of The Snake Premieres in San Francisco, 11/15 - 11/17

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 10, 2013 06:16pm | Post a Comment

Year Of The Snake -- an interdisciplinary work of music, dance, and text -- premieres in San Francisco at CounterPulse November 15th - 17th (get your tickets HERE). Conceived by Bay Area artists Jason Hoopes (composer), Peiling Kao (choreographer), and Karl Jensen (writer/visual), Year Of The Snake explores the power and process of self-transformation. As personal perspective changes, the traumatic shedding of “old skin” and the acceptance of new forms provide useful metaphors for compassionately ushering in needed societal progress -- making the personal public.

Besides the live performance, Year Of The Snake also incorporates a recording of the music (available November 15th) and a book of writing and imagery composed specifically for this work (also available November 15th). Find out how you can become part of the process by visiting the Year Of The Snake Indiegogo campaign!

 

year of the snake

 

Thor: The Dark(er) World (2013)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 10, 2013 11:23am | Post a Comment

If you'll recall, the first Thor film stirred up controversy by casting Idris Elba, a black man, as the character of Heimdall, the door man to Asgard -- not because the first black Asgardian is a door man, but only because Norse Gods are Aryan and thus presumed to be white. (I doubt it would've been the white power advocates objecting had Jarvis been made a black man, rather than A.I., in The Avengers and Iron Man.) The sequel, The Dark World, defiantly expands his role, having a lot more people, gods and various mythical beings enter Asgard, thereby keeping Helmdall busier than if he worked for a hotel in a 30s screwball comedy. The filmmakers also give the racist complainers even more whatfor by casting a lot of the Asgardian warriors as black (and one Japanese). See all those black dudes punching something or other in the background, or kneeling to the greatest of all Asgardians, Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth, a white man), after he proves his mettle in battle? I can imagine the decision made at the meeting: "this will really fuck with those white power assholes!" This is post-racial Hollywood, so I guess it doesn't matter that the servant is still black, just like Rochester, and the master who, like Mr. Benny, makes all the major decisions, is still blue-eyed and white. Perhaps simply applying black faces onto white mythology isn't the best approach to solving problems in representation.

The Dark World does actually bring up an interesting problem about representation in fantasy on film (sigh, DCP). One of the main evil dark elves, Akrim (the second in command), is played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, a black man. Keeping with the film's racial sensitivity, he's the first major character to sacrifice himself for the cause. He doesn't exactly die, but instead transforms into a giant mutant elf, Kurse, with the actor subsequently completely covered in prosthetics and, I suspect, often rendered digitally (at least, in the battles). My question is does he still count as black representation? Too bad for the actual actor, but the answer seems to be 'yes,' since (1) in the fictional narrative of a novel, simply assigning a character as black (like Rue in Hunger Games) is enough to make them black, (2) a black character in a cartoon is an example of black representation (Green Lantern in Justice League), so why not this digital creation who clearly starts off as a black man? and, relatedly, (3) if the digital creation Gollum continues to be white, because of who he was as Sméagol, a white hobbit, the same rationale applies to the black elf becoming a mutant. (Not that any of this was probably thought about during pre-production.) 

As for the story, it was created with about as much attention as the solution to racial politics. Take a crucial plot point involving Jane (the human girlfriend to the white god; played by Natalie Portman, a white woman) who for some reason is brought into an alternate dimension where she accidentally discovers the aether, a magical force that was once used by the dark elves in an attempt to destroy all the universes ... or, as King Odin (Anthony Hopkins, white man) puts it, turn them dark.  (Should I point out the parallel with what's being done to Asgard on a metafictional level? I guess I just did.) The aether parasitically invades Jane (with effects borrowed from 1984's Dreamscape) who is then taken to Asgard for some mystical medical attention. I note that this aetheric possession is enough to re-activate the dark elves from their millennia-long slumber, target who has the aether in her body, and bring them all the interdimensional way to Asgard, into the next room over from where Jane is hiding. Yet, the main dark elf, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston, unsurprisingly another white man), is fooled by the (white) queen of Asgard, Frigga (Rene Russo), into thinking an image of Jane without the aether is the real thing with the aether. The rest of the film only gets more nonsensical. The film goes through the motions until the dark elves have less success at darkening the multiverse than the filmmakers have with Asgard. Lots of shit blows up until Thor reasserts the status quo, or the status quo reasserts Thor. Maybe a 9 out of 10 for irony lovers, but a 2 for the ideo-morally and/or narratively concerned.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poster by Doaly.
Movies mentioned available on blu-ray: Iron ManDreamscapeThor & The Avengers.

November 8, 2013: Thor: The Dark World

Posted by phil blankenship, November 8, 2013 02:41pm | Post a Comment

2013 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival: Nov 8th, 9th, 10th at the Roxie Theater

Posted by Billyjam, November 8, 2013 02:30pm | Post a Comment

2013 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival trailer (Nov 8-10, Roxie Theater)

Promoting Transgender and Gender-Variant Visibility, Culture & Community is the goal of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival happening this weekend at the Roxie Theater.  The film curators are calling this, their twelfth fest, "our biggest Festival ever -- 3 days of spectacular programs and events." Tonight, Friday Nov 8th's festival Opening Night Gala at 8pm will be a program of Transgendered Shorts including Loving The Bony Lady by Scott Elliott, Gender Games by Veronica Lopez and Meg Smaker, and Performing Girl by Crescent Diamond.

Tomorrow, Saturday's program will include screenings of the shorts GRRRL by Vega Darling which is excerpts from the forthcoming Riot Grrrl! documentary, and "Happy Toilet" by Lark Buckingham - a music video with animation for San Francisco trans/queer punk band Alabaster Choad. The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival runs from today, Friday November 8th through Sunday November 10th at the Roxie Theater at 3117 16th Street, San Francisco - a wheelchair-accessible venue. Individual film tickets as well as festival passes for $50 are available from the SFTFF website. .

Weekly Roundup: Emily Jane White, So Many Wizards, Blondfire, Ty Segall, Wymond Miles

Posted by Billy Gil, November 8, 2013 10:53am | Post a Comment

Emily Jane White – “Keeley”

There’s nothing we like here at PST like sad girl music (or sad old man music, for that matter). Emily Jane White’s “Keeley” isn’t sad as much as morose, the feeling of an ancient ritual being carried out with no sense of self. White’s crackly voice adds to that feeling of helplessness over Julee Cruise-style synthesizer melodrama, singing lyrics seemingly pulled out of The Handmaid’s Tale—lines like “Oh Keeley, you’ll always be my maiden of the dawn” are strange, sensual and foreboding). Really paralyzing stuff. Blood / Lines is due Nov. 19 on Important Records.

 

So Many Wizards – “Night Chills”

Whoa, I’m digging this new sound for L.A. indie pop stalwarts So Many Wizards. It has the springy energy of their early releases with a little more sleekness for a song that doesn’t sacrifice the band’s intricate arrangements while just sounding really cool. I love how it sort of goes wild halfway through but never really loses sight of its hooks. The Night Chills 7” is due later this month; catch them at The Smell for the record release party Nov. 22. You can read my interview with So Many Wizards here.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 11:08:13: E-Lit, Eminem, Latyrx, Yancey Boys, Chill Moody, Main Attrakionz x Tynethys, + more

Posted by Billyjam, November 8, 2013 07:07am | Post a Comment
        

Hip-Hop Top Five Amoeba Music Berkeley Week End Nov 8th, 2013


1) Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

2) Latyrx The Second Album (Latrymid)

3) Yancey Boys Sunset Blvd (Delicious Vinyl)

4) Cage Kill The Architect (Eastern Conference)

5) Jel Late Pass (Anticon)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba store for the run down on the latest batch of new/recent hip-hop releases to arrive on Amoeba's shelves in both CD and vinyl formats. Not too surprisingly the much talked about brand new Eminem album, that dropped on Tuesday, is the top seller of the week at the Telegraph Ave. store. The follow up to his Recovery album from summer 2010 Eminem's brand new album, which comes in both regular CD and Deluxe CD versions but so far no vinyl even though its title is "LP," is a sequel of sorts to the 8 Mile rapper's breakout release The Marshall Mathers LP that was released thirteen and a half years ago. With even the cover art (see above and right for original) an exact continuation of that mega hit album (it has sold 21 million copies to date) Eminem is clearly trying to regain the momentum and feel of that May 2000 release and the good news is that he certainly appears to be successful in taking it back stylistically to his older rap style and vibe - even channeling his old Slim Shady alter ego on the new album. So far on social media outlets like Twitter Em fans have weighed in on the new release, that was leaked a few days early, and they seem to be really feeling it; and way more than any of his recent years releases such as the aforementioned Recovery. With executive production credits going to Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin the production and beats are distinctly up-tempo and rock-based while guests on the new album includeKendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Skylar Grey, and Nate Reuss - the lead singer of the band Fun.

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November 7, 2013: Blue is the Warmest Color

Posted by phil blankenship, November 7, 2013 05:21pm | Post a Comment

2013 Treasure Island Music Festival in Pictures

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 7, 2013 02:49pm | Post a Comment

This year’s Treasure Island Music Festival (10/19 - 10/20) was another great weekend of music held in the picturesque San Francisco Bay. Saturday consisted of more electronic-leaning artists, while Sunday featured mostly hard-lined rock acts. There were plenty of cool interactive features at Treasure Island including silent disco, art installations, and local merchant booths. Although it reached pretty cold temperatures, that didn’t stop the bands from putting on fantastic performances.

Amoeba San Francisco's resident photographer Lauren Clark captured the magic with her breathtaking photography, including shots of Major Lazer, Holy Ghost!, Lord Huron, Real Estate, Japandroids, Sleigh Bells, and more! Check it out:

treasure island music festival 2013 ferris wheel

 

treasure island music festival 2013 major lazer

Major Lazer

treasure island music festival 2013

In praise of the papoose - Happy Native American Heritage Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 6, 2013 11:58pm | Post a Comment
The term "papoose" in English refers to both young Native American children and their cradle board carriers. The word come to English from the Narragansett term papoòs. As evinced by the following historical photographs, cradle board carriers were once popular not just within the Alqonquin nation but throughout much of indigenous North America and maybe beyond. I don't recall ever seeing one in use in modern times except for in instances where Native Women wear traditional clothing such as special observances, historical reenactments (e.g. documentaries), and in Westerns. I think that they're cute.

   
  
  
  
  
  
  



*****


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November 6, 2013: The Stone Roses - Made of Stone

Posted by phil blankenship, November 6, 2013 10:26pm | Post a Comment

You're Invited to an Amoeba Green Room Session with The Fratellis

Posted by Amoebite, November 6, 2013 05:37pm | Post a Comment

The Fratellis

We're thrilled to welcome Scottish Alt-Rock band The Fratellis for a live Green Room Session at Amoeba Hollywood on Monday, November 11! You could win a spot in the audience for this intimate show! 

The Fratellis We Need MedicineThe Fratellis have just released their third album, We Need Medicine. The 11-track production is full of bluesy rock anthems. The single "Seven Nights Seven Days" is a rousing jam with a classic chorus backed by country guitars, while the title track is a gravelly, piano-led blues song that compels you to sing along.

For your chance to attend this special performance and recording session, send an email with your name, daytime contact number and the name of your favorite song from We Need Medicine to [email protected].

The performance/taping will take place at Amoeba Hollywood on Monday, November 11 at 4pm. You'll need to arrive by 3:45pm. Winners will be notified by phone on Friday, November 8th.

Our Green Room Sessions are very intimate and fan friendly. It's like having your favorite band playing in your bedroom. You are literally that close. Check out how British indie rockers The Heavy interact with their fans at a recent Green Room Sessions performance. Nowhere else can you get an up close and personal experience like this!

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Failure Reunite for LA Show - Limited Ticket Packages at Amoeba Hollywood November 7

Posted by Amoebite, November 6, 2013 01:47pm | Post a Comment

"Failure has been a huge inspiration to me. They say amateurs borrow and professionals steal. Well over the years this pro has robbed these poor saps blind. Biting their style has become second nature. But please don't tell them that." - Maynard James Keenan

Often compared to seminal bands of the '90s like Nirvana and Soundgarden, Failure were definitely an important gem of the alternative rock movement. The Los Angeles-based band signed with the now iconic independent label, Slash Records, in 1992. They went on to release three full-length albums on Slash before disdanding in 1997. Despite contributing a cover of  "Enjoy the Silence" for a Depeche Mode tribute album in '97 and releasing two compilations post-breakup, Failure has never reunited. Until now.

Failure is back and set to play its first show in over 15 years! It's all going down in Los Angeles at the El Rey on February 13, 2014. Tickets go on sale at Amoeba Hollywood Thursday, November 7 at 10:30am. Purchase a ticket and get a free limited edition 7” vinyl featuring two rarities (while supplies last). Limit 2 tickets per person and it's first come, first served. Also, please note that the vinyl will be available for pick up at the El Rey on Feb 13, and not at Amoeba Hollywood.

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New Episode of "What's In My Bag?" With Wooden Shjips

Posted by Amoebite, November 6, 2013 11:57am | Post a Comment
Wooden Shjips

The Bay Area's own Wooden Shjips has been throwing down spacey psychedelic rock since 2006. The band has been on a steady rise to rock prominence and doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. Some of their early self-released 7" vinyl, such as Shrinking Moon For Youare hot items and can go for $50 online. That's of course, if you can get your hands on a copy.

Wooden Shjips Back to LandFor those of you not lucky enough to snag the rare vinyl don't fret! You can pre-order Wooden Shjips' lateset release, Back To Land (Thrill Jockey), via Amoeba.com. The new album is a follow up to 2011's West and is the band's first album produced outside of the Bay Area. Staying true to the band's aesthic, Back to Land boasts eight tracks of colorful fuzzy psychedelia, giving the listener what they want without being boring. It's business as usual and business is good! Back to Land out 11/12/13.

Wooden Shjips' guitarist Ripley Johnson (also of the group Moon Duo) visited Amoeba Hollywood for a little record shopping. Of course, our awesome What's In My Bag? crew got it all on video!

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #55: Next NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, NYC Supreme Court Building

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2013 09:17am | Post a Comment

New York County Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street, Downtown Manhattan


The talk in New York City today is all about the result of yesterday's mayoral election in which, for the first time in 20 years, there will be a Democrat in the mayor's office with the landslide victory of Bill de Blasio. With the odds stacked in his favor (68% to 23%) de Blasio squarely beat Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota - making him the first Democrat mayor in the Big Apple following a combined five consecutive terms for Republicans (three for Michael Bloomberg and two for Rudy Guiliani) . Surrounded by his family and supporters at a victory party in Park Slope, Brooklyn last night de Blasio said "Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together.” 

De Blasio's win is seen as a clear cry for change from the citizens of a city that are tired and frustrated with such things as the ever growing division between the rich and the poor of New York, the NYPD's over the top aggressive policing tactics (namely the controversial, racial profiling "Stop and Frisk" policy), and the increasingly large lack of affordable housing for most working New Yorkers. In short de Blasio firmly positioned himself as the mayor who would make a clean break from the Bloomberg/Giuliani years in which the city was seen as cozying up with big business at the expense of the little guy/the average New Yorker and his election win is a loud rejection to the tough, business-minded style that ruled City Hall since 1990. During that time NYC was seen as becoming "Disneyfied" or "the Mall of America" or a playground for the 1%. De Blasio, who famously as a young liberal supported the Sandinistas and more recently (albeit during the mayoral campaign) supported the staff and patients at the Long Island College Hospital that faced closure and, during that July protest, got arrested along with other protesters. This and his outspoken disapproval of the NYPD's frisking policies struck a nerve with New Yorkers who overwhelmingly voted him into office. Once he takes office he promises to effect a sweeping liberal agenda that will include among other big changes a substantial tax increase on top earners to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and improved police-community relations. Essentially de Blasio and his administration will try and turn back the clock on NYC and undo much of what the previous two mayors did. Can he do this without sacrificing too many positives remains to be to seen. And what happens over the next four years in New York City will be interesting to witness unfold. Stay tuned.

November 5, 2013: 12 Years A Slave

Posted by phil blankenship, November 5, 2013 10:22pm | Post a Comment

MANDALA presents: The Return of MANDOLLAR!

Posted by Kells, November 5, 2013 10:33am | Post a Comment

Here at Amoeba Music we love our regular in-house DJ series called MANDALA. This event features all manner of guest selectors, from Egyptian Lover to DJ Female Convict Scorpion, traversing multiple frequencies of the sound and vision spectrum, more often than not discovering new sonic sweet spots as the beat goes on. This Wednesday, November 6 from 5-7pm, MANDALA presents Amoeba SF resident "weird guy" music mavens and salient sounds selector-gurus Dan Derogatis and Julian Maestas as they peruse and play nothing but DOLLAR JAM$ from Amoeba's clearance vinyl section signalling the return of the very special "anything goes" MANDALA set we like to call MANDOLLAR! This most auspicious confluence of experimental ears, passionate bargain bin excavation and solid music knowledge will surely make for an unbridled and unpredictable 120 minutes never before heard nor heard again. The upside of shopping during this particular set will be that every record you hear will be up for grabs, immediately following play. 

Never forget: Records are your best entertainment value!

American Monomyth: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 5, 2013 09:51am | Post a Comment

It should no longer be necessary to defend Richard Fleischer's Mandingo, not after the eloquent and thorough defenses proffered by Andrew Britton and Robin Wood. Anyone who dismisses the film as exploitative trash hasn't read their essays. I say read them if in doubt about its substance. What's interesting to me about the film here is the great amount of narrative overlap it shares with the current slavery epic, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave: the brutal whippings, the race-horse inspection of prospective slaves, a castrated slave uprising, the decimation of black families by separating children from their parents across plantations, enforced illiteracy, hangings, the demeaning and ambivalent status of the house negro, the rape of a young slave girl by her master and the subsequent jealousy and violent reprisal from his wife, who is herself much abused. The latter film even suggests a Mandingo-type vengeful desire on the part of the plantation mistress, Epps, towards a slave, Solomon Northrup, through a couple of closeups (one occurs as Solomon hangs from a tree). This desire is much more than mere suggestion in Mandingo, of couse (cf. poster below), but it's the master-slave sexual attraction that's always served as the locus classicus for the dismissive reading of the film as mere exploitation.

Despite these many commonalities, 12 Years a Slave is being celebrated as a primary Oscar contender and demanding of serious respect by the majority of critics writing about it. It's a decent film, but doesn't say anything more than Mandingo did. Indeed, it says (or attempts to say) a good deal less, since Mandingo was much more concerned with exploring the structural relations of slavery to other features of American life, particularly sexual politics (as both Britton and Wood detail, the purpose of women and children are linked with that of the slave, devices by which the system ensured the spread of capital through space and time, i.e.,  the plantation and its generations of familial owners). Ownership of others is endemic to the country's development, not an evil otherness that can be put to the side as something we now reject. And that structural concern has a lot to do with why Mandingo has been largely rejected as exploitation, but the psychological analysis of 12 Years a Slave is celebrated. The latter mostly puts the model viewer into the place of the slave, Solomon, which is a morally comfortable place to be: owning others as property is something someone else would do, I (the model viewer) am on the side of the oppressed. Slavery is almost entirely subjective in the film. Mandingo, as "exploitation" tends to do, has the viewer principally identify with the morally compromised position, that of the slaver Ham, who both partakes in and guiltily rejects the advantages of his position. There is no Schindler's List sort of redemption awaiting audience identification with him. His position in the peculiar institution, although inherited, implicates all of his choices, even when he's attempting some bit of kindness as he sees it. By aligning the film with his point of view, the institution isn't pure otherness and we aren't allowed to run away from it. All actions are read through the evil of slavery.

Why is Northrup's story being used over others to explore the psychology of slavery and why is it likely being received so favorably (aside from the great craft McQueen always brings to his films)? I suggest it has a good deal to do with what might be called the 'Sidney Poitier Device for Creating Sympathy from the Status Quo':

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? was generally felt to be compromised by the fact that, skin color aside, Sidney Poitier's character was so obviously a highly desirable son-in-law, essentially an upper-middle-class, upwardly mobile, cultivated white man in a black man's skin; though it might equally be argued that this draws attention to the absurdity of color prejudice by making color the only possible objection to the union. [p. 268, Wood]

Solomon begins a free man, well-educated, beautifully handsome (will we ever see a slave film with Michael K. Williams as the star?), a talented musician, with a nuclear, Cosby-type family. His situation applies to a minuscule proportion of the slave population, with the number getting even smaller if one considers such an individual and his success in escaping enslavement. This last bit is another reason for this story's choice: it has a relatively happy ending, at least for the protagonist. Instead of using the typical tactic of many previous based-on-true-stories-of-racism movies, such as Biko, that switch the focus from the black subject of interest to a sympathizing white associate to give the audience a release at the end (the white journalist gets out to triumphantly tell of Stephen Biko's sacrifice), Solomon is a black point of identification with a built-in escape hatch. In Mandingo, however, "[t]he entrapment is all-pervasive: no leading character acts freely, none can break out of the ideological system the film defines [...]." [p. 272, Wood] Murder, torture and abjection are what's waiting at its end for the major slave characters. Dwelling on the most likely outcome of slavery is deemed exploitation. Instead, Northrup's story is more reassuring because it has all the features of what Joseph Campbell called the monomyth:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

It might seem more realistic than that other recent slave variation on the heroic journey, Django Unchained, but both share a subjective analysis of slavery, which allows for the promise of escape. Thus, one comes away from 12 Years a Slave believing slavery evil. Nothing wrong with that message, since it's true, but in addition to that, one infers from Mandingo, if it's been properly received, that the evil of the institution was structurally corrosive and the country is what it is because of this history.

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Album Picks: M.I.A., Midlake, Connan Mockasin, Ducktails, The Fresh & Onlys, Tennis

Posted by Billy Gil, November 5, 2013 09:22am | Post a Comment

M.I.A. - Matangi (CD or LP)

Worldwide stardom hasn't softened M.I.A. one iota; if anything, it's made her resolve to be the planet's most provocative pop star that much stronger. Following the all-over-the-map Maya, by comparison Matangi is laser-focused, utilizing harsh industrial noise much in the same way Kanye West's Yeezus did, though she fuses it with a worldbeat touch and heavy EDM nods. Most of all, Matangi succeeds because it sounds like an M.I.A. album, even if it's been digitally chopped up and reassembled more so than previous releases. Her opening tracks come on hard, dropping names of wartorn nations in the title track amid a digital grenade of atonal sounds, while "Warriors" drills with a minimalist hip-hop beat. "Come Walk With Me" starts like a love song, quiet with a reggae sway, before jumping off the rails with a hyperactive dancehall-house beat. Though these tracks touch on her typical subject matter of empowering the global masses, she's also having a great time, rapping like a cocky hip-hop star and subverting the formula. And the second half of Matangi is loaded with ass-shakers. "atention's" twisted beat makes it one of her sickest dance songs since "World Town." The previously released "Bad Girls" makes an appearance in all its bhangra-beat glory, and "Bring the Noize" is the album's instant classic, unleashing a brutal beat that makes most EDM sound like kid's music as M.I.A. pulls off sounding disaffected while spouting rhymes at an impressive tick. Matangi is a welcome comeback after a troubling period for M.I.A., proving her once again to be one of the most forward-thinking pop music entities around.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: DJ Flash & Captain Rapp Look Back and Discuss New "Westcoastin"

Posted by Billyjam, November 5, 2013 07:51am | Post a Comment
Lee Johnson, aka West Coast hip-hop pioneer DJ Flash who began his illustrious rap career back in the early 80's, has recently returned from retirement along with his old school 80's rap partner Captain Rapp and gotten back into music with a new label and a brand new release that recently arrived in Amoeba (in store) for sale. The new album Westcoastin features Ronnie Hudson with a slew of legendary West Coast rappers including Snoop Dogg, E-40, and Too $hort is a sort of reprise of Hudson's 80's hit "West Coast Poppin" - one that he incidentally reissued back in the early 90's when he compiled the West Coast Rap history compilation series. "A year and a half ago I asked Ronnie Hudson if he would like to re-create his 1982 Classic "West Coast Poplock" aka "California Knows How To Party" that Ronnie wrote it in the 80's the one that Dre and Pac re-did it in the 90's," Flash told me recently. The new record which began as a vague idea of reworking a West Coast classic evolved into all the original guys Ronnie Hudson, Mikel Hooks, Captain Rapp, and DJ Flash getting back together and then recruiting Zapp Troutman, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, E40, Rappin 4Tay, and Celly Cel and some others to make the original song even better  via various mixes include several re-mixes: house, dub-step, electro, and G-funk (featuring Battlecat and Richie Rich) - plus record some other new material. Below is text of a recent conversation with Flash about the new project plus, immediately below, is part of a recent video interview I conducted with both Flash and Rapp talking about their history and the history of West Coast Rap itself.

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Recap: UCB Helped Raise Money for Food on Foot in our November Charity Auction

Posted by Amoebite, November 4, 2013 02:12pm | Post a Comment

UCB Charity Auction at Amoeba Hollywood

On Saturday, November 2, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts from Upright Citizens Brigade brought the goods and the guffaws with their dry wit and nutty antics. It was mayhem and mirth on the Amoeba Hollywood stage stage as they helped raise the bids up! Several customers were overheard saying they didn't know what the hell was happening, but it sure sounded exciting.

Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Iprovisational ManualThe Upright Citizens Brigade is a comedy improvisational troupe founded in LA by Matt, Ian, Matt Walsh and Amy Poehler. The UCB Theatre is dedicated to fostering both an appreciation and education of the arts through affordable and high quality comedic performances and classes. Their new book, The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual, was borne out of years of work by the authors to provide the first step-by-step instruction manual for the art of comedic improvisation.

Matt and Ian shot several zingers into the crowd as they drove the bids up and up...

"Not bidding today is just like kicking a homeless person as you walk down the street!"

Our November charity auction beneficiary is our neighbors, Food on Foot. Since 1996 they have provided the poor and homeless of Hollywood with nutritious meals, clothing, job opportunities, and assistance in the transition to employment and life off the streets.

As always, Amoeba matches all winning bids and 100% of auction funds go straight to the charity.

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Concert Tickets for Sale at Amoeba Hollywood in November

Posted by Amoebite, November 4, 2013 12:29pm | 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:

Washed Out El Rey

Washed Out
El Rey Theatre
January 27

St Lucia El Rey

St. Lucia
El Rey Theatre
February 11

 

Here is a full list of tickets we currently have for sale at Amoeba Hollywood:

Show Name Venue Show Date Ticket Price
(fee not included)
12th Planet Fonda Theatre 12/01/2013 $20.00
The Aquabats Fonda Theatre 12/07/2013 $19.50
Bangles Fonda Theatre 12/06/2013 $40.00
Ryan Beatty El Rey 11/29/2013 $22.00
Brand X El Rey 12/19/2013 $17.00
Cat Power El Rey 12/02/2013 $30.00
Sharon Corr El Rey 02/26/2014 $37.00
Crystal Method El Rey 01/16/2014 $25.00
Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr. El Rey 02/28/2014 $20.00
Darkside Fonda Theatre 01/25/2014 $25.00
Robert DeLong El Rey 01/31/2014 $17.00
Delorean
(Show postponed to Feb 7, 2014.
All tix for 11/15 will be honored.)
El Rey 02/07/2014 $20.00
The Dismemberment Plan Fonda Theatre 12/12/2013 $27.50
Finch Fonda Theatre 12/14/2013 $27.50
Dillon Francis Fonda Theatre 12/27 & 12/28 $27.50
Galactic El Rey 03/30/2014 $32.00
Groundation El Rey 12/01/2013 $22.00
Gungor El Rey 01/18/2014 $22.00
High on Fire & Kvelertak El Rey 12/12/2013 $20.00
Jagwar Ma El Rey 12/13/2013 $17.00
John Butler Trio Fonda Theatre 02/21/2014 $35.00
Paul Kalkbrenner Fonda Theatre 12/13/2013 $25.00
King Krule Fonda Theatre 12/18/2013 $22.50
Kodaline El Rey 02/27/2014 $20.00
Less Than Jake Fonda Theatre 11/30/2013 $25.00
Lissie Fonda Theatre 12/09/2013 $24.50
London Grammar El Rey 03/25/2014 $22.00
Lord Huron Fonda Theatre 03/01/2014 $22.50
Lucent Dossier Fonda Theatre 12/21/2013 $30.00
Mad Caddies El Rey 02/04/2014 $17.00
The Maine & Anberlin
(Show postponed from 10/8 to 12/11.
All tix for 10/8 show will be honored.)
Fonda Theatre 12/11/2013 $25.00
Colin Meloy Fonda Theatre 01/16/2014 $28.50
Mikal Cronin / Redd Kross El Rey 12/03/2013 $20.00
Morbid Angel (SOLD OUT) Fonda Theatre 11/29/2013 $22.50
Mowglis El Rey 12/11/2013 $17.00
John Newman El Rey 01/15/2014 $17.00
Parquet Courts & White Fence Fonda Theatre 01/17/2014 $17.50
Pinback El Rey 01/17/2014 $22.00
Problem El Rey 12/04/2013 $20.00
Skinny Puppy The Mayan 03/05/2014 $35.00
St. Lucia El Rey 02/11/204 $18.50
Dave Stewart El Rey 01/30/2014 $25.00
Suicidal Tendencies Fonda Theatre 12/20/2013 $32.50
El Ten Eleven El Rey 12/14/2013 $17.00
Tosca
(Show postponed from 12/9 to 3/3.
All tix for 12/9 show will be honored.)
El Rey 03/03/2014 $30.00
Trombone Shorty El Rey 01/25/2014 $27.50
Volcano Choir Fonda Theatre 01/18/2014 $26.00
Washed Out El Rey 01/27/2014 $29.00
Wax El Rey 12/30/2013 $18.50

 

Morrissey vs. Justin Timberlake

Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2013 10:14am | Post a Comment




















Recently when over at Amoeba Berkeley and up front near the new releases section of the Telegraph Ave. store chatting with both E-Lit and Amoeba Marc I couldn't help but notice how the cover photo art of the new Justin Timberlake album 20/20 2 of 2 was a little reminiscent of Morrissey's first solo album Viva Hate.  (Note the LP cover as distinct from the CD cover art which is different). I asked both Marc and E-Lit if they also saw the similarity. They weren't sure so I dashed over to the M section of rock in Amoeba to find said Moz album just be sure and to hold them up next to each other - and sure enough (Marc and E-Lit agreed) there is a definite similarity in the artwork alright - both captured in shadowy black and white, in somber poses looking downwards. Then I began pondering other possible similarities that the two might share, beyond the likeness of their album covers (both above): both were born in cities that begin with the letter M (Manchester and Memphis), broke away from famous groups (The Smiths and 'N Sync) to remain equally famous as solo artists. Also, I thought, that Timeberlake must be around the same age now as Morrissey was back then when he released Viva Hate (his first post Smiths solo album). Actually Morrissey was a few years younger. He was 28, two months shy of his 29th b-day, when Viva Hate dropped - just six months after The Smiths released their farewell album Strangeways, Here We Come. Meantime Timberlake was/is 32 years old upon release of his latest - his fourth solo album. Another similarity between the two is that both have new projects out at this time - each getting a lot of attention. In the case of the 54 year old Morrissey it is his newly published (long awaited) autobiography that has made headlines for not just the content but the fact that the author insisted that the publisher put it out on their Penguin Classics division. (in an unprecedented move they somehow agreed.) And over the weekend there were reports of Morrissey been in an not too serious auto accident - read report from yesterday via Pitchfork.

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November 3, 2012: Captain Phillips + Grown Ups 2

Posted by phil blankenship, November 3, 2013 11:50pm | Post a Comment

This Guy's In Love With You

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 3, 2013 10:28pm | Post a Comment


Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass-"This Guy's In Love With You"
From the album, The Beat Of The Brass
Written By
Burt Bacharach and Hal David

This song brings back my earliest childhood memories.

 My sisters were old enough to attend school and I was still too young, even for the Head Start program. I stayed with my mother as she worked from home sewing wedding dresses for a bridal shop in Gardena. To keep her company, she would put the radio on a easy listening station that was dominated by Burt Bacharach compositions.

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Halloween Costume Contest at Amoeba SF: Mysterious, Spooky, Altogether Ooky

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 3, 2013 05:33pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco celebrated Halloween 2013 with their notoriously competitive costume contest upon the Amoeba stage. In the past, we've seen fierce competition in the form of many creatures from The Ancient Mariner to Nicki Minaj. This year proved to be another nail-biter for the three judges (Tony, David, and Gabe) as the competition brought it again! Employees and customers competed for fabulous Amoeba Gift Certificates, so a lot was at stake!

DJ Kells Bells was scheduled to DJ the spooktacular event, but much to everyone's surprise two new DJs -- Yip and Yip -- arrived instead and played intergalactic hits of the past five decades.

yip alien Muppets costume

The contestants were introduced by the mistress of ceremonies, Lobster Girl, who had just returned from fighting crime under the sea. Let's review the competition...

Amoeba employee Julian adorned himself as Lord Summerisle from The Wicker Man.

Lord Summerisle The Wicker Man Costume

Aaron of Amoeba's DVD Room showed off some fancy footwork as Speed Racer!

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Halloween Week 2013: E-Lit, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic), Casual vs Eminem, Wolf Haley

Posted by Billyjam, November 1, 2013 09:09am | Post a Comment
       


Hip-Hop Top Five Amoeba Music Berkeley Week End Nov 1st, 2013


1) Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic)  Bend But Don't Break (Weightless Recordings)

2) Quelle Chris  Ghost At The Finish Line (Mello Music/Fat Beats)

3) Jon Wayne Rap Album One (Stones Throw)

4) Ohmega Watts Pieces of a Dream (Mellow Orange)

5) Jel Late Pass (Anticon)

Above is the latest Amoeba hip-hop top five chart plus video of Amoeba Berkeley's E-Lit in costume recorded last night (Halloween) before the store closed early for the holiday. As E-Lit noted the new Jon Wayne Rap Album One (as distinct from his instrumental output) is just out on Stones Throw Records and is available on vinyl too. Other new vinyl releases include LA based longtime Detroit hip-hop ambassador House Shoes who just released the two record set "based around J-Dilla" House Shoes Presents the King Jam Version: Chapter One Verses One - Four. Ohmega Watts, whose last albums were on Ubiquity, have just released Pieces of a Dream on Mellow Orange.  The number one album is the return of Greenhouse - Blueprint and Illogic's Bend But Don't Break featuring tracks such as "Microwave America" below. 

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