Amoeblog

Show Recap: Red Bull Sound Select Featuring FIDLAR, Cherry Glazerr and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 28, 2014 07:16pm | Post a Comment

Red Bull Sound Selects February show, curated by Amoeba Music, went off like a firecracker doused in whiskey Thursday night, with kids lining up along Glendale Blvd. all the way to Echo Park Lake for the chance to see FIDLAR and others at The Echoplex for three bucks.

red bull sound select amoeba fidlar

Isaac Rother & The Phantoms opened the show with a set of songs inspired by classic rock ‘n’ roll, early blues and “Monster Mash”-style novelty songs of the ’50s and ’60s. Rother’s sneering, shivering delivery helped sell campy lyrics about phantoms and such, with Rother sporting a shock of afroed hair and a black robe that made him look like a cult leader. Now a Los Angeles resident after moving from Olympia, Wash., Rother’s new backup band impressed as well, offering heavy, thumping blues rock accompaniment and powerful female backup vocals from on songs like standout “My Cryin’ Eyes.”

Cherry Glazerr came next, playing fizzy female-fronted alt-rock jams like “Haxel Princess,” a single from their excellent, recently released album of the same name. They followed with the minor-key “Trick or Treat Dancefloor,” and the crowd showed they were just as comfortable swaying to Cherry Glazerr’s dreamier numbers as they were moshing to songs like frothy rocker “Whites Not My Color This Evening.” Credit to Cherry Glazerr for not just speeding everything up given the size of the show, staying true to themselves and displaying impressive, Pixies-ish dynamics. They ended with “Bloody Bandaid,” a stream-of-consciousness-style dream-popper that another band might fumble but that Cherry Glazerr, young as they are, spin into youthful gold.

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Weekly Roundup: Pink Mountaintops, OFF!, FUZZ, Vertical Scratchers

Posted by Billy Gil, February 28, 2014 10:44am | Post a Comment

Pink Mountaintops – “Ambulance City” video

pink mountaintopsL.A.-based Pink Mountaintops have a new album due April 29 called Get Back (Jagjaguwar). Main man Stephen McBean (also of psych-rockers Black Mountain) is joined by a who’s-who of L.A. musician, including J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr., also he lives here? Time 2 stalk.), Rob Barbato (Darker My Love, The Fall), Steve Kille (Dead Meadow), Annie Hardy (Giant Drag) and Gregg Foreman (Cat Power, Delta 72). They’d already released “North Hollywood Microwaves,” a funny ditty featuring Hardy rapping, and now they’ve got a lovably low-rent video for kraut-rocker “Ambulance City.”

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Fred Armisen Fans Rejoice - With a Bird on It, Of Course

Posted by Amoebite, February 27, 2014 04:55pm | Post a Comment
Fred Armisen

If Fred Armisen becomes any busier, he's going to have to be cloned! The actor is widely known for his comedic roles on Saturday Night Live and, more recently, for co-creating the sketch comedy series, Portlandia, but did you know that Fred Armisen is a bonafide rocker? Yes, it's true! To solidify his rock and roll credibility, Fred Armisen has now added "bandleader" to his resume. Armisen has assembled The 8G Band as the house band for the new Late Night with Seth Meyers television show. This reunites Armisen and Meyers, who both recently left longtime roles as cast members on Saturday Night Live. Armisen admirers might be surprised to learn he dropped out of visual art school to pursue a career as a drummer. He played drums in the band Trenchmouth, which was signed to East West Records in the '90s. Late night TV has never been so punk!

Being named band leader of Late Night would be the highlight of any musician's year, but it doesn't stop there. Portlandia is back! Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein kick off Season 4 tonight airing on the IFC network. Armisen wears many hats, including starring and writing for Portlandia!

Portlandia Season 4

Last year, we caught up with Fred while he was shopping at Amoeba San Francisco. He gave our cameras a sneek peak into the musical tastes of a funny man. He's got some great punk and rock selections on vinyl and he tells a very cool story about using tour money to buy records at Amoeba in the '90s!  

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USA (United Songs of America): US States Broken Down by Preferred Pop Artists

Posted by Billyjam, February 27, 2014 10:03am | Post a Comment

The Music Machinery website recently posted a popular state by state map of the USA that showed distinctive artists preferred by each state, and today followed up that map with a USA map broken into favorite artists on a state per state basis. Both maps, which are shown here or can be seen on MusicMachinery.com, take a look at the popular music preferences of the past year in the US based on certain online music listening (tracks played) habits. The map above of favorite artists broken down by state illustrates the most played artist in each state over the last year. It's compilers note how it is interesting to see "the regional differences in favorite artists and how just a handful of artists dominates the listening of wide areas of the country" - with the above map clearly showing a mere handful of artists - Drake, Daft Punk, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Imagine Dragons, Eminen, Alt J, and (Eastern United States clear fave) Jay-Z - dominating national music tastes. Meanwhile the map below, which was the original map drawn up and published by Music Machinery, is of distinctive artists broken down by each individual US state; meaning the recording musicians listened to most, both proportionally most frequently, in a specific US state versus the rest of the country with electronic/dance artist Bonobo ranking highest for California and New Jersey proud rocker Bruce Springsteen ranking (not surprisingly) highest in the Garden State. According to the researchers of the maps their contributing information was "drawn from an aggregation of data across a wide range of music services powered by The Echo Nest and is based on the  listening behavior of a quarter million online music listeners."

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Bid on Tickets to See The National, Sharon Jones and More at Amoeba's Charity Auction March 1

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2014 03:55pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba’s monthly charity auction returns March 1 at 4 p.m. with comedian Brently Heilbron.

The comedian has previously worked for Amoeba, serving as emcee during our Paul McCartney and Mighty Boosh shows, among others. Check out a video of Heilbron’s work the last time he hosted one of our auctions in the video below:

This month we’ll have a number of concert tickets available to bid on as well as gift certificates and other goodies. The list of bid items is as follows:

Tickets:

 

Franz Ferdinand

Gary Numan at The Mayan 3/6

The National at The shrine 3/25

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings at The Wiltern 3/25

Franz Ferdinand at The Wiltern 4/29

Charles Bradley at The Fonda 5/17

 

Gift certificates:

The Cat & Fiddle

Urban Outfitters

Trader Joe’s

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New "What's In My Bag?" Video With Kid Ink

Posted by Amoebite, February 26, 2014 01:12pm | Post a Comment
Kid ink

With a brand new album to kick off 2014, Kid Ink goes from Do It Yourself  indie to major label artist. 
Much like his rap contemporaries - Tyga, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar - Kid Ink released a series of well received mixtapes that helped propel him out of the underground. In 2012, XXL Magazine Kid Inkfeatured Kid Ink as part of their "Freshman Class" alongside Macklemore, Hopsin, and Future. On January 4, 2013, Kid Ink announced he signed with major label RCA. In January of 2014, RCA released My Own Lane. The album features several collaborations, including the Chris Brown assisted single "Show Me." The song has earned Kid Ink his first Gold plaque for sales of over 500,000 and has peaked at #17 on the Billbaord Hot 100 chart. Kid Ink is definitely doing it major!

Our What's In My Bag? crew caught up with Kid Ink on a recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood. He grabs a copy of the Batman Anthology on DVD. This is definitely a must have for all Batman fans, especially those who grew up in the '90s! He also finds a couple of iconic posters of Notorious B.I.G. and Bob Marley. See which Adventure Time vinyl figures he finds and what album Kid Ink says is the best ever.

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Remembering Paco de Lucia

Posted by Rick Frystak, February 26, 2014 12:45pm | Post a Comment

Today, the world lost a giant of music, as Maestro Paco de Lucia passed away, at 66 years young, from a heart attack at a resort in Mexico. “Paco lived as he wished and died playing with his children beside the sea,” said a statement from de Lucia’s family published on the websites of Spanish newspapers.

Paco took the Flamenco style and tradtition of the elders in the genre and blasted off into his own universe, to some early criticism, owning every note of his huge legacy and backing up all his moves with incredible chops and technique. I had many unforgettable chances to see Paco in person doing his thing, each a unique and unpredictable experience, except for the sheer technical mastery of his instrument always present. I also took away from these shows Paco’s palpable confidence, his air of “badass”-ness that deservedly asserted his own internal awareness of what he was doing in the moment. I lament his passing, and will miss him tremendously. Adios, Paco.

Fortunately we have much in the visual and audio realms  to see and hear Paco, and to mark the absolutely inimitable place that Paco held in the music landscape. The 2-CD set, En  Vivo Conciertos, won a Grammy and is a most enjoyable album, displaying Paco’s genius live, and represents the last tour he did almost exactly. Amoeba has some true gems of Paco’s here.

(photographer unknown)

Amoeba Hollywood Holds Sidewalk Sale 3/8

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2014 11:50am | Post a Comment

amoeba sidewalk saleAmoeba Hollywood is holding another Sidewalk Sale March 8 from 12 to 5 p.m., just outside the store, with lots of DVD and boxed set deals.

Bargains will include:

  • DVDs for $3 (or buy three, get one free, excluding DVD box sets)
  • DVD box sets at $7, or two for $10
  • Blu-rays at three for $12
  • Half-off CD box sets
  • Classical CD and LP bargains
  • And more!

If that wasn't enough, Hubert's Lemonade will also offer free lemonade to shoppers.

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 amoeba march 8

 


 

Amoeba Sponsors La Santa Cecilia at The Grammy Museum March 5

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2014 10:09am | Post a Comment

Amoeba sponsors THE DROP: La Santa Cecilia at the GRAMMY Museum on March 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available here.

The show will be hosted by Scott Goldman, vice president of The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, and will include a discussion with the band in which they answer audience questions, as well as a performance of select songs.

Los Angeles-based Mexican-American band La Santa Cecilia have built a solid reputation on their thoughtful blend of many traditional Latino forms of music, from cumbia to bossa nova and boleros, with influences from American musicians like Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin. Featuring the throaty, emotive vocals of lead singer Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez, the band is also known for their terrific live shows, having graced the stage of Amoeba Hollywood in 2012. You can watch the entire performanc here.

The band recently won the Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album Grammy for their first EP, Treinta Dias, released last year—they dedicated that win to the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in the United States, a subject they passionately cover in the video for their song "Ice El Hielo."  The band is set to release its first full-length Someday New March 3; you can preorder it on CD now. The album includes seven newly penned tracks plus new versions of older songs and covers, including a Spanglish rendition of The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever."

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Join Amoeba at First Fridays March 7 With San Fermin, wild Up, Son Lux

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2014 09:36am | Post a Comment

Join Amoeba Music for March's edition of First Fridays! Once a month, Los Angeles's Natural History Museum stays open late and features live music, exciting scientific discussion, and behind-the-scenes curatorial tours as part of the First Fridays program. Amoeba is excited to sponsor this fabulous series of live music, discussion, concessions, tours, DJs and more.

Join us on March 7 from 5-10 p.m. for live performances from San Fermin, wild Up and Son Lux starting at 8 p.m., with DJs Anthony Valadez and DJ Wisacre starting at 5:30, and tours with Dr. Greg Pauly and Dr. Brad Shaffer and a discussion with Shaffer before the show!

Look for the Amoeba booth, where we'll be handing out free swag and selling Amoeba merch. Plus, we'll have Happy Hour gift certificates for sale at the booth. You know, our killer deal where you can buy a $20 Amoeba gift certificate for just $10 (limit 2 per person).

San Fermin is a New York-based orchestral pop band who released their self-titled debut last year, featuring the brilliant songwriting of Ellis Ludwig-Leone and powerful, operatic female vocals. They're paired with wild Up, a raw, neo-classical collective from Los Angeles, and Son Lux, aka New York-based Ryan Lott, who crafts alternative pop flavored with post-rock and hip-hop elements, exemplified on the recent Lanterns LP.

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We just tell it how we see it, nothing more, nothing less -- Neue Sachlichkeit in film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 26, 2014 06:12am | Post a Comment

Albert Renger-Patzsch's Hochofenwerk Herrenwyk, Lübeck (1928)


Germany
's interwar Weimar Republic may've existed amidst political chaos but it was an incredibly fertile time for the arts. German Expressionism, although it first developed around 1900, only flowered on the screen during the interwar period. Emerging Fascists enjoyed the themes of  Arnold Fanck and Leni Riefenstahl's Mountain Movies. Less well-remembered today was the New Objectivity, an movements whose chief practitioner in film was G.W. Pabst, whose debut film, Der Schatz (The Treasure - 1923), opened in theaters on today (26 February) in 1923.


August Sander's The Architect Hans Heinz Luttgen and his Wife Dora (1926)

German Expressionism, the best known cinematic expression of the culture and era, first arose in poetry and painting but ultimately made its way to the screen, exemplified by excellent and still widely-enjoyed films like Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague), Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem), Der müde Tod (Destiny), Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu), Schatten, Eine nächtliche Halluzination (Warning Shadows), and Der letzte Mann (The Last Laugh). The Mountain Movies, or Bergfilm, are generally viewed less seriously as art and are undoubtedly interesting to modern audiences primarily for their fascist themes and frequent involvement of Leni Riefenstahl.


Hans Finsler's Der Sternenhimmel der Zukunft (1932)

The New Objectivity, or Neue Sachlichkeit, arose as a response to both the old objectivity (which is apparently how they viewd Jugendstil) as well as the febrile chaos of Expressionism. The movement was influenced by the contemporaneous Surrealists but its practitioners attempted to approach their subjects with cold, deliberate, and sober detachment where the Surrealists attempted to be automatic, unconscious, and random. The New Objectivity developed at roughly the same time on the page, canvas, and screen – in the late 1910s -- although most of its adherents were painters or photographers. The movement was given its name in 1923 by art critic and historian (and then-director of the Mannheimer Kunsthalle) Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub for an exhibit, Ausstellung nach- expressionistischer Kunst (Post-Expressionist Art).


Still from Die Büchse der Pandora

Painters closely associated with the movement include Albert BirkleAlexander Kanoldt, August Wilhelm Dressler, Bernhard Kretzschmar, Carl Grossberg, Christian Schad, Conrad Felix Müller, Franz Radziwil, Georg Schrimpf, George Grosz, Herbert Böttger, Karl Rössing, Otto Dix, Richard Oelze, Rudolf Dischinger, Rudolf Schlichter, and William Schnarr Berger.


Still from Tagebuch einer Verlorenen 

Photographers associated with the movement include Albert Renger-Patzsch, August Sander, Karl Bloßfeldt, Hans Finsler, and Hein Gorny. Grosz described the movement, or at least his aim, as removing the supernatural God and angels and allowing viewers to see unfiltered reality. Despite their aims and claims of objectivity, the focus on the ugly, and harsh side of life was almost always calculatedly grotesque and exaggerated, especially evident in the paintings and films of the scene.


Georg Wilhelm Pabst at work

Bohemian director Georg Wilhelm Pabst was born in Raudnitz, Austria-Hungary to a railway worker. During World War I he was interned near Brest, France. After working in the theater he began making films, first with Der Schatz. Many of Pabst's films were concerned with the role of women in society and took – as a New Objectivist – an accordingly grim view. Some of his best known films are Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street - 1925), Geheimnisse einer Seele (Secrets of a Soul - 1926), Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (The Loves of Jeanne Ney - 1927), Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box - 1929), and Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (Diary of a Lost Girl – 1929). The latter two films starred the always excellent Louise Brooks. Pabst continued making films until 1956's Durch die Wälder, durch die Auen (Through the Forest and Through the Trees) and died in Vienna, aged 81, in 1967.


Still from Die Verrufenen

Other filmmakers associated with New Objectivity include Berthold Viertel, Ernő Metzner, and Gerhard Lamprecht. Some of the principals of the New Objectivity would be employed Staatliches Bauhaus. Later filmmakers in whose work I detect the movement's influence include Ernst Lubitsh, Ingmar Bergman, the documentarians of the Cinéma direct and Cinéma vérité movements, and perhaps contemporary cinematic sadists like Lars von Trier and his torture pornographer kin.


Still from Die Unehelichen

Films available from New Objectivist filmmakers (but not necessarily in that style – which ended around 1932) on VHS, DVD, or Blu-Ray include Der Schatz (The Treasure – 1923), Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street – 1925), Die Verrufenen (Slums of Berlin – 1925), Die Unehelichen (Children of No Importance – 1926), Geheimnisse einer Seele (Secrets of a Soul 1926), Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (The Loves of Jeanne Ney – 1927), Abwege (The Devious Path – 1928), Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera – 1928), Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box – 1929), Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (Diary of a Lost Girl – 1929), Die Weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü (White Hell of Pitz Palu - 1929), City Girl (1930), Vier von der Infanterie (Westfront 1918 – 1930), Emil und die Detektive (Emile and the Detectives – 1931), L'Atlantide (The Mistress of Atlantis - 932), Don Quixote (Adventures of Don Quixote - 1933), A Modern Hero (1934), The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935), Rhodes Of Africa (1936), Le drame de Shanghaï (The Shanghai Drama – 1938), Paracelsus (1943), Irgendwo in Berlin (1946), La voce del silenzio (The Voice of Silence – 1953), Es geschah am 20 (Jackboot Mutiny – 1955), and Der Letzte Akt (The Last 10 Days - 1955).


Der Schatz in its entirety with German intertitles and Portuguese subtitles


*****

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #69: Beneath The City That Never Sleeps

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2014 04:38am | Post a Comment

         

For this special installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog series I am presenting an array of videos and film excerpts that take you underground into the tunnels of the New York City subways - something that I have always been fascinated by from hearing tales from old school graffiti writers to photographers who follow them, to watching documentaries like Dark Days (with soundtrack by DJ Shadow). The video clips I've chosen include the above wonderful 2011 piece Undercity (New York City urban exploration) with daring urban explorer Steve Duncan and filmmaker Andrew Wonder. For more on these two adventurers' escapades visit undercity.org

Below is a short excerpt from the aforementioned Dark Days as well as an excerpt from two other documentaries on the same subject of "mole people" - those who live underground in the train tunnels where they etch out little homes for themselves - Beneath by Katja Knoll and Subway Cops and The Mole Kings. The other video (immediately below) was done by the folks at WNYC radio during a legit (as distinguished from the unauthorized underground tour by Steve Duncan above) walking tour of an abandoned "lost subway tunnel" over in Brooklyn. For more info.

 

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Looking Back With Bas One To 1980's Hip-Hop In The Bay Area

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2014 12:34pm | Post a Comment
       

Everybody knows the story of New York and hip-hop, stresses Bas One (aka Bas-1), but the Bay Area story really needs to be told so for this edition of Hip Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I invited the longtime Bay Area hip-hop artist (left is cover art of his 2001 album For The Mentally Astute: Theory Of A Throw-Up) and hip-hop fan to take us back to the decade that he fell in love with hip-hop as a young guy growing up in the Bay with a passion for breaking and graf art, DJing and MCing - when it was all new and fresh. So I met up recently in Berkeley CA (off Telegraph Ave. - not far from Amoeba Music) to have Bas One do an exclusive interview for the Amoeblog Hip-Hop History series to share his memories and insights on hip-hop in the 1980's from a Bay Area perspective. In the above video interview, conducted on the Berkeley sidewalk in the late afternoon after the sun had just set and twilight was setting in, the ever knowledgeable hip-hopper for life takes it all the way back, recalling a myriad of things from the 80's in the Bay Area. Throughout the 14 minute interview he name checks such things as the Demons of The Mind break crew (AKA Medea Sirkas), the Royal Rockers breaking crew, CJ Flash, Dug-One (Doug Cunningham) and the TMF crew, DREAM and the TDK crew, Reaganomics, the crack epidemic, MC Hammer, and the long gone iconic "Oakland Is Proud" burner piece (see below and scroll over for more info) that was over by East 12th Street and was featured in a ton of music videos, photo shoots, and even in the opening credits of Mark Curry's sitcom Hangin' With Mr Cooper.  The above Bas One video is well worth watching/listening to for fans of hip-hop in general, but especially those in the Bay Area.

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Album Picks: St. Vincent, Schoolboy Q, Beck, Wild Beasts, Neneh Cherry

Posted by Billy Gil, February 25, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

St. Vincent - St. Vincent (LP or CD)

St. Vincent’s absolutely breathtaking new album begins, as Annie Clark’s previous albums have, like some unearthly musical. Clark seemingly touches down from another planet, asking “am I the only one in the world?” on opener “Rattlesnake” amid all manner of alien guitar and strange percussive squelches. “Birth in Reverse” similarly paints a vivid picture, starting with the lines “Oh what an ordinary day …  take out the garbage, masturbate.” “Birth in Reverse” explodes into an extraordinary, paranoid chorus of restless glee. Clark’s way with words has never been more cutting, as on “Prince Johnny,” which manages to be strikingly specific while keeping its deeper existential meaning vague (“Remember that time we snorted/That piece of the Berlin Wall you extorted?” is her best rhyming couplet yet.) Even her ballads bite—“I prefer your love to Jesus” is a thoroughly loaded line repeated on “I Prefer Your Love,” giving depth and conflict to what’s on the surface a beautiful, Kate Bush-inspired love song. Musically, Clark employs everything from decaying choruses (“Prince Johnny”) to hip-hop synths (“Huey Newton”) to Prince-esque atonal funk (“Digital Witness”), but it’s a remarkably cohesive listen, as though each element has been thoroughly considered and sanded down to perfection. As implied by naming her fourth album simply St. Vincent, it’s an album that seems to be about truly knowing oneself—or the thrilling discoveries that come with a lifetime of seeking that knowledge.

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(Wherein I begrudgingly mumble the Body Electric.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 25, 2014 10:07am | Post a Comment


Bollocks.


I hope you won’t think less of me, dear reader, but I’ve started going to the gym regularly. But wait – it gets worse – I’ve been going there to exercise.

I realize this sort of behavior doesn’t gracefully jive with my established persona; I live my life and make choices guided by the principle: What would Mrs. Dalloway do if Laurie Anderson was scripting her fate? If someone’s going to cast an actor to play me in a film, I aspire for the obvious choice to be Liv Ullman, or – if the film’s merely going to focus on my nervous breakdown, circa 1996 – Mink Stole, please.


"I can neither live with this crushing depression, nor tolerate anymore cheap, turquoise jewelry."
- Mink Stole as the author in his early 20s


None of these women would be caught dead wearing the sweatpants and V-neck undershirt I don for my workout routine, nor subject themselves to my Sisyphean Stairmaster set – though the look on my face when I approach the scale in the men’s locker-room does, I think, parallel certain expressions Ms. Ullman crafted in some of the darker scenes of Ansikte mot Ansikte.


Exercise is boring. It rivals sleep for my title of Most Boring Thing I’m Obligated to Do if I’m Going to Stay Alive on this Impertinent Planet Against My Better Judgment. (I’m sure you can imagine the glittered sash for this honor looks obnoxious.) I sometimes wonder if I don’t burn more calories procrastinating gym-time; regardless, if I’m going to have any meaningful self-respect, I simply cannot kid myself into thinking that – instead of heading for the treadmill – it’s a “real priority” to wash the lids of my spice-rack… again.

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Come Record Digging With Us at the Pasadena Flea Market March 2

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2014 04:48pm | Post a Comment

Pasadena Cit College Record SwapAmoeba returns to one of the biggest and best record swap meets in the LA area, the Pasadena City College Flea Market and Record Swap, on Sunday, March 2, 2014. With over 500 vendors, the Flea Market features antiques and collectibles, records, tools, clothes, toys and much more, not to mention food and good company. And admission is always free!

The Flea Market and Record Swap is from 7am-3pm. Look for the Amoeba booth located in the Bonnie St. parking structure (Lot 5) on the third level. We always have a great selection of vinyl, from dollar records to collectibles in every genre. Come out and enjoy your Sunday with us!

The LA Weekly calls the show "the best source for used records in all of Southern California."

More info HERE.

PCC March 2

February 23, 2014: Omar

Posted by phil blankenship, February 23, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

Archivalist / Filmmaker Rick Prelinger To Premiere "Lost Landscapes of Oakland" At OMCA

Posted by Billyjam, February 22, 2014 11:00am | Post a Comment

East Bay history fans should make note that this afternoon at the OMCA (Oakland Museum of CA) there will be a premiere screening of Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes of Oakland, with live narration by the filmmaker, and followed by a Q+A session. This Oakland themed production is part of the writer/archivalist/filmmaker's ‘Lost Landscapes’ series of archival compilation films on the history of San Francisco (Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, eight annual films, 2006-2013, and Lost Landscapes of Detroit, three films, 2010-2012.) Today's East Bay themed presentation is about "highlighting the hidden histories of Oakland" with a montage of "rarely-seen film clips of life in Oakland, captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen, and industrial filmmakers" according to OMCA curators. The fact that Prelinger will do accompanying live narration himself is an added bonus. Plus, like so many of the wonderful events that OMCA produces, this too further breaks down that wall between exhbiti and museum goer. Those who attend today will undoubtedly be mostly local residents who know Oakland and the East Bay first hand. They are encouraged to participate and share stories about their own memories of Oakland and the East Bay. Event from 3pm to 5pm. All ages. Admission to screening/lecture included in general museum admission. More info

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.21.14: Step Brothers, Dag Savage, Kendrick, Childish, Wu-Tang, Equinox Saints + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 21, 2014 11:56am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five for Week Ending February 21st 2014


1) The Step Brothers Lord Steppington (Rhymesayers  Entertainment)

2) Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)

3) Dag Savage E&J (Dirty Science)

4) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

5) Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) (RCA)

Show Recap: Sky Ferreira at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, February 21, 2014 11:11am | Post a Comment

A line stretched around the block Feb. 19 to see Sky Ferreira play at Amoeba Hollywood. Walking out looking like some starlet from a Gregg Araki movie in a leather jacket, plaid schoolgirl skirt, sunglasses and a goofy cap, Ferreira exuded oddball, outsider charm as she lauched into a handfull of tracks from her excellent debut album, Night Time, My Time. She started with the Janet Jackson-meets-Zola Jesus style "24 Hours," a highlight of the album that perfectly captures her melancholy, hedonistic youth aesthetic. Following was "Ain't Your Right," with its gender-bending lyrics and industrial beat. "You're Not the One" let Ferreira show off her smoky, soaring vocals. Ferreira looked like she was having a great time, giggling and throwing a water bottle into the crowd, and decided to stay for one more song, pulling out a surprise with early breakthrough single "Everything Is Embarrassing," from the Ghost EP. For those of us who didn't get to see her open for Miley Cyrus, the show felt like a special treat, a glimpse of an emerging talent on the verge of exploding.

See more photos from the show here.

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Stories start in many ways -- a look back at old time radio's Night Beat

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 20, 2014 02:45pm | Post a Comment
In the Golden Age of Radio, NBC produced some of the medium's best crime dramas, programs like The Adventures of Philip MarloweThe Adventures of Sam Spade, ConfessionDragnet, and Tales of the Texas Rangers. Another -- although sadly not well-remembered today -- was Night Beat, which debuted on 6 February, 1950 and aired not just in the US, but Australia and South Africa as well. 

The plot of Night Beat revolves around a reporter named Randy Stone who works for the fictional Chicago Star newspaper. In the process of writing his human interest column, "Night Beat," Stone passes in and out of the lives of night owls, underworld figures, lost souls, and other denizens of an improbably noir Chicago

Night Beat's first audition aired in May of 1949. Taking a grittier approach than is found in the final product, it starred the well-known celluloid tough guy Edmond O'Brien (A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob, An Act of Murder, White Heat, D.O.A.), was directed by William Rousseau (Pat Novak... for Hire), and written by Larry Marcus (Backfire, Dark City, and a few years later, Witness for the Prosecution).

By then radio was then rapidly losing its audience to television. Although NBC television programming began in 1940 with Meet the Wife, it wasn't until 1948 -- when the Milton Berle vehicle Texaco Star Theatre debuted -- that NBC seemed to lose all interest in its radio programming. As television raked in the dough by focusing increasingly on children's programing and family-friendly fare, radio attempted to remain relevant by producing innovative and intelligent programming that television had no room for.

Nonetheless, eager to please skittish network executives unsure about radio's future, the National Association of Broadcasters self-imposed a curfew on crime dramas, relegating them to later time slots than other sorts of programs. Sponsors had to be pleased and using the same script, a second audition for Night Beat was produced under the direction of Bill Karn (Gang Busters, Dangerous Assignment, and Ma Barker's Killer Brood) and starring Frank Lovejoy. The softer version was OKed and the program was sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and Wheaties

Frank Lovejoy was a seasoned radio and film actor who'd earlier starred on Gang Busters and played the Blue Beetle (one of the few, almost completely-forgotten Golden Age of Comic Books superheroes) on the radio program of the same name. He was born Frank Andrew Lovejoy, Jr. in the Bronx in 1912 and grew up in New Jersey. Lovejoy's portrayal of Stone wasn't just more audience (and sponsor) friendly, it was sensitive and nuanced, balancing Stone's hard-boiled toughness with sensitivity, compassion, and likeability. 

Stone was equal parts reporter, crusader, and nocturnal flâneur. Week after week Stone somehow finds the strength to fight battles in an unwinable moral crusade, get into all sorts of trouble in the process (often ending up worse for wear as with his detective peers), and type up his piece in time to yell "copy boy" so that it can go out with the early edition. 

Perhaps the frequency with which Stone became deeply involved in murder, mayhem, Tong wars, et cetera and the speed and facility with which they're wrapped up is, well, ridiculous but unlike most series of its sort there was a measurable degree of continuity from episode to episode. At it's worse Night Beat was formluaic but above average -- at its best it's among the best of the genre.

From the beginning, Larry Marcus stayed on the series with Mary Marcus, both serving as editors. Warren Lewis (Cavalcade of AmericaFour Star PlayhouseYancy Derringer) was brought on as director. Frank Worth composed the timpani-fueled intro and wonderfully Gershwin-esque score. The announcer was Donald Newton Rickles (The Whisperer, The Great Gildersleeve, and The NBC University Theatre). Supporting actors included many of radio's biggest and most-prolific talents including Ben WrightHoward McNearJack KruschenJeff CoreyJoan BanksLawrence DobkinLurene Tuttle,Martha WentworthParley BaerPaul FreesPeter Leeds, and William Conrad

Radio being the "theater of the mind," a lot of series' artistic success hinged on the show's wring and the writing on Night Beat was usually top notch. The pictures it created are vivid and, in the case of Stone's journalism, enjoyably florid but never quite over-the-top. Some of the series' best writers were E. Jack Neuman (Suspense and The Adventures of Sam Spade), Kathleen Hite (CBS's first female staff writer and later writer for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Gunsmoke), and Russell Hughes (The House Across the StreetCustoms Agent, and later, Them!). Other writers include David EllisIrwin AshkenazieJoel HuntJohn Bagni and Gwen BagniJohn RobinsonLarry RomanLou RusoffMarty WilkensonMerwyn GerardRussell Bender, and Selig Lester


NBC seems to have never believed in Night Beat and for most of its run was happy to bounce it around various nights and time slots. There were about 104 episodes and roughly 74 are currently in circulation. The final episode aired 25 September, 1952. Night Beat was adapted for television with an episode of the anthology series, Four Star Playhouse titled “Search in the Night.” In it, Lovejoy resumed his old role and it aired on 5 November, 1953. It's possible that it was produced as a pilot for a television series but whatever the case, that didn't happen.

Ironically, after he was replaced by Lovejoy, O'Brien went on to play the truly bland (and therefore much more popular) title character on Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar -- a radio drama whose conclusion in 1962 is usually viewed as the end of old time radio. Lovejoy went on to appear on Suspicion and star in Ida Lupino's The Hitch-Hiker. He died on 2 October, 1962 from a heart attack at his residence in New York City. Recordings of Night Beat and other Old Time Radio shows can be found in Amoeba's Spoken Word section.

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New Vinyl/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 2/20/14 - STL, Lucy, Gigi Masin and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, February 20, 2014 12:26pm | Post a Comment

jSTL - At Disconnected Moments

STL
At Disconnected Moments CD
Smallville

Masterful dub techno full-length from STL, aka mysterious German producer Stephan Laubner. To date, Laubner has never released a full-length on a label other than his own Something imprint, though the austere art direction of Hamburg's Smallville label make it a good home for Laubner's atmospheric music. "Amelie's Dub" waits until halfway through its 10-minute runtime to introduce abstract, wintry piano over propulsive synth stabs and hissing field recordings. "Ghostly Ambit" begins inauspiciously as a simple delayed pattern over a symphony of crickets; eventually a kick drops in, the pattern is blurred and a mournful viola heightens mood and tension. On "One Day" STL demonstrates his mastery of clean, emotional mixing - the drums, bass, distant synth and woodwinds burrow into their own sonic space, isolated, yet as a whole, capable of enveloping the listener. For fans of DeepChordand Basic Channel.

Buy At Disconnected Moments CD

 

 

Lucy - Churches Schools and GunsLucy 
Churches Schools & Guns LP
Stroboscopic Artefacts

Varied full-length from the Berlin producer, who seeks to bend techno into new forms while maintaining a clear sense of history. After The Horror's uneasy, droning intro, Lucy quickly jumps into blackened Sandwell District-informed sound design. Lucy takes varying paths towards creepy territory. On Follow the Leader, Tuvan throat singers contribute to an unholy techno ritual. The Illusion of Choice is among the album's most traditional, 90s-rave influenced compositions. Even here, Lucy drops some brilliant free-jazz saxophone atop to keep the listener guessing. On closer Falling, the producer works with vocalist Emma for a wistful, wind chime folk number that is at odds with the album's dark mood, serving to demonstrate Lucy's wide emotional range and gift for narrative.

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Rickey Vincent Discusses "Party Music" - His New Book on the Black Panther Party House Band, The Lumpen

Posted by Billyjam, February 20, 2014 11:00am | Post a Comment


Rickey Vincent
- the veteran Bay Area funkateer, radio DJ, University of California-Berkeley professor, and author of the bible of funk music (Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of The One (St. Martin's Press) is back with a new book that beautifully melds two of the author's passions - the history of local music and politics - and this month has doing some readings in San Francisco of his book. Next week he will be at the Main Public Library on Wednesday Feb 26th. "Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers' Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music" - recently published by Chicago Review Press is the story the short-lived five member funk band The Lumpen who, back in the late 60's/early 70's in Oakland, were the Black Panthers house band. Little known for many years after the fact the Lumpen were a close knit collective of activist musicians who used music and song as their medium to deliver their revolutionary ideology with the record "Free Bobby Now" about Bobby Seales. Even Vincent, a scholar on funk and local music, did not know about The Lumpen until he randomly found out about them about. Vincent instantly knew he had to learn more about the Lumpen, their music, and their historical impact, and to share this information with the public at large. The result is Party Music which neatly ties together the black music tradition with the black activist tradition. This week I caught up with Rickey Vincent to ask him about his new book, the significance of its content, and what to expect at his San Francisco book reading next week.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With KCRW's Garth Trinidad

Posted by Amoebite, February 19, 2014 01:12pm | Post a Comment

Garth Trinidad

He's got the magic voice for radio and the golden ears for spotting classic songs. Garth Trinidad is one of LA's favorite tastemakers. His musical sensibilities come highly recommended and have been influential in shaping the modern musical landscape of Los Angeles. Not only is he a voting member of the Recording Academy, his radio show was the basis for the Grammy category "Best Alternative Urban Performance." Utilizing DJ residencies, event production, music supervision, and journalism,
Trinidad has help to break artists such as Little Dragon and Janelle Monae. 

Paying his dues while studying art in college, Trinidad hustled his way to the mountain top of radio. After countless hours volunteering in the KCRW front office, cutting his teeth assisting host Liza Richardson, Trinidad was given his chance to shine. That was 20 years ago. Since then, Trinidad has amassed a loyal listener fan base, received many awards, and built an impressive resume along the way. In the early 2000s, Trinidad's show, Chocolate City, gained rave reviews and was voted Best Radio Program by LA Weekly several times. He has worked on hit TV shows and documentaries, including Entourage and Made In America. 

Amoeba's What's In My Bag? crew caught up with Garth Trinidad  during a recent vinyl dig. His first stop, the dollar vinyl bin! Garth gets nostalgic and finds a copy of Macho Man by The Village People. This record was the first LP his parents bought him! He follows that up with Rufus & Chaka Khan's Camouflage and Barry Manilow's Even Now. A connoirsseur of Jazz, Garth digs deep to find Horace Silver Quintet's Song For My Father and McCoy Tyner's Asante. There are plenty of other cool albums Garth picks up, including some big cuts by Kenny Loggins. Watch and enjoy!   

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #68: Snow City, NYC Rat Map, JT @ MSG + Other Concerts/Events

Posted by Billyjam, February 19, 2014 12:40pm | Post a Comment

While Californians have been stressing over the drought and lack of water, back in New York City the opposite scenario has been playing out with people here praying for a reprieve from the seemingly never
ending barrage of extreme weather - with one snow storm after another hitting the area. In fact so extreme and severe has this weather been that for the first time in 36 years the normal  alternate-side parking street parking rules (very rigid in NYC whereby you have to move your car parked on street several times a week for street cleaning) have all been suspended for a total 19 day stretch (as of today), making it the longest New York City five borough wide snow and freezing temperature weather-related suspension of parking rules since 1978. The good news though is that the weather is about to get better (temperature wise) here in NYC with temps expected in the lower 50's by Friday - however rain is expected to hit NYC for the next few days.

Another thing that distinguishes New York from most other US cities is its large out of control rodent population with thet age old estimate being that there are four rats to every person in New York City - meaning approximately 32 million rats dwell throughout New York. Hence it is not surprising to see them scurrying anywhere in NYC - not just in subways and parks - but near (or inside) eateries too sometimes. Hence many here in the Big Apple were happy to learn about, via the Gothamist site this week, about the rat map of New York that was created by New Yorker Steven Melendez who, based on data from Health Dept. restaurant inspections, drew up his map of what places to avoid - provided you do not wish to visit restaurants that have received  fines/citations for "evidence of rats or live rats" or even mice. Based on citations from 2013 his map is broken in to zip codes for places with citations and gradings by the NYC Health Dept. Note that a restaurant that was cited for mice and/or rats in its most recent graded inspection will have a C grade. His unsettling but informative rat map shows that some areas, such as the NY 10128 zip code on the Upper East Side where huge construction is underway for the 2nd Avenue Subway, have a serious rodent restaurant problem. The Queens Village/Bellaire area of Queens also has a lot of rodents with a shocking 61% of its eateries having being cited for rat or mice infestation. Yikes! NYC Rat Map left with the darker shades indicating zip codes with higher density of eatery rodent citations.

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February 18, 2014: Vampire Academy

Posted by phil blankenship, February 18, 2014 10:08pm | Post a Comment

(In which we actually exist!)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 18, 2014 02:05pm | Post a Comment

Was (Not Was?): Elvis Presley, Hitler's brain, Jimmy Hoffa, the author


You guys, I’m not dead. I know – like I’d ever get that lucky!

It’s been around 8,888 years since my last post here on the Amoeblog (give or take 8,888 years), which begs the question: What have I been doing?

Well, maybe it doesn’t beg the question. Maybe it just prompts you to politely inquire so I don’t feel unwanted and insecure. I’ll take it! Beggars can’t be choosers.

Actually, that’s not factual. Beggars can be choosers. In fact, it’s in a beggar’s best interest to consciously prioritize a great many things the rest of us FANTASTICALLY WEALTHY people take for granted.

For example: I’m often faced with a choice between whether I want to buy organic cilantro, versus non-organic cilantro. While I normally prefer organic produce, cilantro raised without chemical black magic is, in my experience, always filthy – and not “Oh, this potato needs to be rinsed first” dirty; organic cilantro requires a scrubbing akin to a Karen Silkwood workplace shower, which the culinary herb’s delicate leaves do not endure well.

Conventional cilantro? Always sparkling. Like, so clean you could eat off it.


Fragrant and edible joy – or – what Satan's sneezes smell like

I only have this issue with cilantro (or, for my dear readers outside the USA, coriander). What up, organic farmers of cilantro (or, for my dear readers outside the USA, coriander)? Why so much solum on my coriandrum sativum?

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Looking Back To 90's East Coast Hip-Hop Via Music Videos c/o DJ Shortkut

Posted by Billyjam, February 18, 2014 10:20am | Post a Comment
       

      SK-90's HIP HOP video mixtape from Shortkut on Vimeo.

Today's Hip Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog installment comes courtesy of West Coast DJ legend, turntablist extraordinaire DJ Shortkut (Beat Junkies, Triple Threat, Invisibl Skratch Piklz) who, in addition to regularly spinning a richly diverse mix of music in clubs all over the world, also does video mixing as in the above jaw-dropping 48 minute hip-hop mix. For the above mix, in which the accomplished DJ scratches and blends and mixes on video just as he would on audio only, DJ Shortkut focuses on the golden era period - primarily (but not exclusively) early to mid 90's NYC hip-hop - showcasing such hip-hop talents as the late great Big L, Gang Starr, Da Youngstas, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Nas, KRS-One, and Common.

And what does Shortkut see as the one major difference between hip-hop videos back then and the ones being produced nowadays? "
Videos then were on some hip-hop, not rap shit," he replied without missing a beat. Since Shortkut regularly incorporates videos, like the ones in his Vimeo video mix above, when out in the clubs I wondered if club-goers/hip-hop fans often get so disrtracted by the cool visuals of these classic videos that they forget to dance? No he assured me, adding, "Thats why on my rider I make it mandatory to have the screen directly in back of me so they can put the two together." Before letting him go, I asked the hardworking DJ Shortkut of the golden era videos/songs in his above mix, which ones were his personal top three faves?

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Album Picks: Angel Olsen, Phantogram, New Bums

Posted by Billy Gil, February 18, 2014 09:24am | Post a Comment

Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness (LP, Colored Vinyl, CD or Download)

“If you still have some light in you, then go before it’s gone,” Angel Olsen sings on the harrowing “White Fire,” the slow-burning centerpiece of her stunning new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness. Olsen doles out hard-won truths and tragicomic observances in a voice that splits the difference between Emmylou Harris’ sweet coo and Cat Power’s smoky drawl, sometimes coming through just above a whisper, though she can wake the dead when she wishes, reserving her power for choice moments, belting at the core of the Velvetsy “High & Wild.” The former member of Bonnie “Prince” Billys band seems to have poured every inch of herself into her breakthrough album, going for a full-tilt rock stomp on songs like “Forgiven/Forgotten,” referencing Hank Williams on gleeful ode to loneliness “Hi-Five” and virtually fading into the ether on beautiful songs like “Dance Slow Decades,” begging you to sit closely. Burn Your Fire For No Witness is one of the best albums of the year thus far, an emotional trip that leaves its mark.

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Buy a Turntable at Our Stores through Feb 25 & Get $25 Gift Certificate for Used Vinyl

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 17, 2014 12:17pm | Post a Comment

Turntables at Amoeba

When you buy a turntable from any Amoeba store through Tuesday, February 25 you'll score a gift certificate for $25 worth of used vinyl to jumpstart your collection! Plus, you'll receive a free goodie bag with an Amoeba slipmat, record cleaning cloth, 45 adaptor and more.

$25 gift certificate for used vinyl

To help determine which turntable is right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself before you purchase and some handy factoids that might help with that decision.

To DJ or Not to DJ
If you want to DJ with your turntable, you need a Direct Drive turntable. This means that you can scratch, mix, cue up your records, and do everything else DJs do without ruining your record player or the stylus.

If you don't plan on using your turntable for DJing, a Belt Drive Turntable will work perfectly well for you.


How Are You Going to Hook Up Your Turntable?
Do you have a component system already? Do you have a receiver? If so, does it have a "phono" input selection? If your receiver doesn't have a phono input (and a lot of them don't these days), you will need a pre-amp.

If you have powered speakers (speakers that have their own power source), you can connect your turntable directly to the speakers if you want (and skip the receiver altogether). 

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Complete with Excellent Soundtrack, HBO's True Detective Fills Void Left by Breaking Bad

Posted by Billyjam, February 16, 2014 09:54pm | Post a Comment

As it has for the past four weeks, tonight's installment of True Detectives, HBO's new excellent noir murder mystery set in the deep south starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey , will kick off, what is sure to be another nail-bitingly engaging episode, with its eerily moving opening main title theme song "Far From Any Road" by The Handsome Family (Carrot Top Recods). The track, which is available as a download from Amoeba.com, is not just an excellent song by itself but it has the distinction of being one of those perfectly chosen TV show theme songs. That's thanks to the show's music supervisor, musician T-Bone Burnett. For last week's crazy amped-up, adrenaline-fueled show (no spoilers here in case you are a latecomer to this TV series) that followed three slower-paced story-setting episodes, Burnett handpicked more excellent accompanying songs from a wide array of artists from blues to rap and rock, including Slim Harpo, Melvins, Bo Diddley, Boogie Down Productions, Primus, Wu-Tang Clan, and (Nick Cave's) Grinderman (the manic sounding "Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars)").

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Pizza Underground (with Macaulay Culkin) Delivers to the Neck of the Woods in SF, 3/5

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 16, 2014 07:38pm | Post a Comment

All the things that matter most in this world: the music of Velvet Underground, pizza...well, that about covers pizza undergroundit.

By now, it's well-known that Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin has grown up into an adventurous and mature actor, artist, New York man-about-town, and has joined a pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band called the Pizza Underground. Yes, they re-write all your favorite VU songs to contain a healthy dose of the 'za: "I'm Waiting for the Delivery Man," "All the Pizza Parties," "Take a Bite of the Wild Slice," just to name a few.

Pizza Underground has been active in the NY anti-folk scene since 2012 with members Matt Colbourn, Phoebe Kreutz, Deenah Vollmer, and Austin Kilham. Culkin joined up sometime last year and recorded the band's live demo at his house. Culkin is credited with percussion, kazoo, and vocals.

But do they deliver? Find our for yourself on Wednesday, March 5th at San Francisco's Neck of the Woods. Amoeba SF favorites Windham Flat and Brooklyn's Toby Goodshank open!
 



February 16, 2014: Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts A & B Programs

Posted by phil blankenship, February 16, 2014 05:17pm | Post a Comment

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.14.14: Top 5, Qbert Galaxxxian Review, 206 Zulu, ILLEST DJ/B-Boy Battles, Valentine's Day Rap + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2014 07:07pm | Post a Comment


The photo above (as all other pics of show by James Mak of Joysco Studio for the Amoeblog) was taken last night at the Mezzanine in San Francisco with DJ Qbert joined by emcee A-Plus (Souls of Mischief) - one of the several artists that would join the DJ/producer throughout his hour long set that featured artists who appear alongside him on his soon to drop new album Galaxxxian (the rap counterpart to his other new album the instrumental Extraterrestria).  Others included emcees  P.E.A.C.E.  (Freestyle Fellowship), Bambu, Z-Man, and Unity, producer Dan The Automator, and "scratch guitarist" The Genie who like most of the night's guests had collaborated with Qbert. The night, which kicked off at 9pm with a nice hip-hop set from DJ Hard Rich from Thud Rumble, also featured individual sets from P.E.A.C.E. and Bambu (whose 20 minute solo set featured Jus Jones as his DJ), two incredible sets from Qbert's longtime friend collaborator and fellow Invisibl Skratch Piklz (ISP) member DJ Shortkut  who killed it with richly diverse sets that ranged from electro fueled new hip-hop to golden era classics, reggae and new UK garage, plus some nice beat juggling and scratching - including an impromptu quick session with Qbert.

7" Fix: Blonde Redhead - 10 Feet High b/w Valentine

Posted by Kells, February 14, 2014 02:36pm | Post a Comment

Wishing oceans of love --  sweet, fuzzy, flawed, moody, or otherwise imrov'd love -- to everyone on this Valentine's Day. For me, no other band embraces the tragic romanticism of the human condition quite like Blonde Redhead. Without a doubt one of the best live bands still playing today, their sound ever continues to strike the just right chords, conjuring intense feelings and visceral love vibes that have, over the years, served as both cause and cure, effectively igniting and extinguishing many a lovelorn soul's heartache symptoms at once. Their 1995 7" single "10 Feet High" features something of a playful antidote of a b-side in "Valentine" -- a meandering surge of Violent Life dissonance that literally has Kazu giggling in her lah-las before the song is even half finished.

Blonde Redhead - "Valentine"



Here's a pretty great live video from 1999 featuring songs from three of their first four albums La Mia Vita Violenta, In An Expression of the Inexpressible, and Fake Can Be Just As Good -- check it out!




Also, I made this because I'm a dork, and I love.

New Vinyl/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 2/13/14 - Patricia, Todd Terje, Dancemania and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, February 14, 2014 11:21am | Post a Comment

Patricia - Body Issues

Patricia

Body Issues LP

Black Opal

LP issue of the terrific 2013 cassette from the shadowy New York producer. Unlike many straight to tape 4/4 experiments, the forms here are remarkably close to classic techno/dub techno templates; that said, the lo-fi quality that many us producers are employing out of necessity or fashion is in effect. Not a bad track here, yet Josephine is notable. Pastoral pads and tape hiss drift over brittle drums before an ascending bassline sputters out of the garage like an old sedan on a snowy day. On Plural, Patricia dwells on a terrifically mournful synth motif while techno drums rumble underneath. Recommended.

Buy Body Issues LP

 

Dancemania - Hardcore TraxxVarious Artists

Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997 2x12" LP

Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997 CD

Strut

Dancemania, the regional label that could, is experiencing a massive resurgence based on the pure jacking functionality of the label's music in a landscape focused on raw, unstudied sounds. This cleverly sequenced comp traces the label's progression from more traditional house sounds to the lurid, bug in the bassbin jams it's most often associated with. Victor Romeo's Love Will Find a Way is soaring vocal house - the heavy drum machine programming is what sets it apart from a King Street release. Likewise for the Burrell Brothers influenced I Dream You, an ethereal Vincent Floyd t rack. Later, Paul Johnson, Arnaldo and Dj Deeon burn it down. High quality versions, essential.

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Weekly Roundup: Cheatahs, Thee Oh Sees, Bart Davenport, Pyramid Vritra, Bleached

Posted by Billy Gil, February 14, 2014 09:45am | Post a Comment

Cheatahs – “Get Tight” video

Cheatahs are the latest announcement for the upcoming Red Bull Sound Select show we’ve curated at Amoeba, which takes place Feb. 27 at The Echoplex (RSVP here for $3 tickets) and also features FIDLAR, Cherry Glazerr and Isaac Rother & The Phantoms—click on those links for interviews with each band. We’re excited to have Cheatahs on board—“Get Tight” is a shoegazey little slice from their self-titled debut, out now, with a trippy ass video to boot.

 

Thee Oh Sees Are Back Together! Stream “Penetrating Eye”

Thee oh sees drop lp amoebaWell that didn’t last too long, thankfully. With frontman John Dwyer moving to Los Angeles from S.F., Thee Oh Sees were going to hang their hats after releasing many excellent albums over their run. Now they’ve announced a new LP, Drop, releasing April 19 (Record Store Day!) on Castle Face. After all, why call it quits when the band continues to put out such skin-melting goodness?

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Red Bull Sound Select Interviews: FIDLAR

Posted by Billy Gil, February 14, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

FIDLAR headline the Red Bull Sound Select show at the Echoplex Feb. 27, curated by Amoeba. The L.A. garage-punk band had a hell of a 2013, releasing their acclaimed, self-titled debut record and touring around the world, including with a little band known as The Pixies. They even made the time to stop by two Amoeba stores and playing blistering sets at Amoeba Hollywood and S.F.

The band plays with Cherry Glazerr, the newly announced Cheatahs and Isaac Rother & The Phantoms. It's $3 with RSVP and $12 without. Doors are at 8 p.m.

We caught up with the band before their big performance.

When I last talked with you guys, you were just about to release your first album in stores. Since then, you’ve played everywhere, including touring with the Pixies! Are you psyched to be back home and playing shows? Does it feel like a homecoming in a way?

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Watts

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 13, 2014 11:07pm | Post a Comment
MORE THAN JUST RIOTS AND TOWERS -- WATTS


It seems to me that reputation of Los Angeles's Watts neighborhood is based almost entirely on two things – the Watts Rebellion and the Watts Towers. Results of a Google search for “watts” can be divided into three categories: photos of the towers, black and white images of burning buildings, and people with the family name of Watts (i.e. Naomi, Charlie, and Reggie). Pop culture and the media almost never present Watts in a positive light – usually they don't mention it at all. 


Metro Blue Line heading to Los Angeles

Watts is, however, a community of 37,000 Angelenos – most of whom probably don't sell drugs, aren't in gangs, and probably spend many days not dwelling on half century-old riots or neighborhood folk art – impressive and important as both are. With that in mind, my friend Bruce and I met at 7th Street/Metro Center in the Financial District and headed down the Blue Line to Watts. 

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Watts


LOCATION OF WATTS 


Detail of a map showing Watts's location from a piece about the Green Line for KCET


Although Watts is often talked about as if it's its own city, it's technically a neighborhood of Los Angeles. It's located on the Eastside of South Los Angeles – neighbored by unincorporated Graham to the north; the cities of South Gate and Lynwood to the east; unincorporated Willowbrook to the south; and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Century Cove, Harbor Gateway North, and Green Meadows to the west.



EARLY HISTORY OF THE AREA 

What's now the Southland was largely inhabited at least 13,000 years ago by a people who are theorized to have been the ancestors to the modern Chumash people. Some 3,5000 years ago, the Tongva arrived from the Sonoran Desert and became the dominant nation, establishing numerous villages (such as the nearby Huutngna) throughout the area. The Tongva supposedly referred to the area in which modern Watts is located as Tajáuta.



SPANISH & MEXICAN ERA

Spaniard Gaspar de Portolá led an overland expedition through the area in 1769 that set the stage for the subsequent Spanish Conquest. The Spanish first established a mission in the Whittier Narrows region in 1771 and in 1776 moved their mission to its present location in San Gabriel, about 23 kilometers to Watts's northeast. In 1781 the Spanish founded El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Añgeles, the town which evolved into Los Angeles, about fourteen kilometers to Watts's north.



RANCHO LA TAJUATA


Detail of Gerald Eddy's Spanish and Mexican ranchos of Los Angeles (1937) (source: Big Maps Blog)

Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. The land on which Watts is situated was granted as Rancho La Tajauta to Anastasio Avila in 1843. The 3,560 acre (14 km2) cattle ranch remained in the possession of the Avilas after the US defeated Mexico in 1848. A claim for Rancho La Tajauta was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852, and the grant was patented to Anastasio's son Enrique Avila in 1873.



WATTS JUNCTION


Detail of Map of the Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles, California (1920) (source: Big Maps Blog)

Shortly thereafter the land began to be sold to settlers including Charles H. Watts, a Pasadena resident who purchased a 220 acre (.89 km2) parcel in 1886 and began using it to raise alfalfa and cattle. Hoping to spur development of the area, Watts donated ten acres of his property to the Pacific Electric Railway (PE), founded in 1901 by Henry Huntington and Isais W. Hellman. As the map above shows, Southern Pacific Railroad also passed through the area and today it's successor, Union Pacific, continues to.



WATTS JUNCTION AND WATTS STATION


Watts Pacific Electric depot ca. 1942

PE's first major project was a line to Long Beach, which was constructed in 1902. The Victorian Watts Station was constructed in 1904 and was one it subsequently served as a model for similar train stations in Covina, Glendora, and La Habra. Other lines that branched off at Watts traveled to Santa Ana, San Pedroand Redondo Beach


The old Watts Train Station today

Watts Station remained in use as a train station until PE's Red Cars stopped running in 1961 (the shorter Watts Line ended service in 1958). The station was one of the few structures on 103rd Street to survive the Watts Riots in 1965 and four months later was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #36. In 1980 it was re-opened by the LADWP as a customer service office who seem to be occupying it still. 


Willowbrook - Rosa Park Station

In 1990, the old Long Beach Line right-of-way was re-purposed by the Metro's Blue Line, the Watts Station of which is located very near the old one. There's also a Blue Line and Green Line stop a little further south, Willowbrook – Rosa Parks Station – which is where Bruce and I got off of the train. I'd intended to check out Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts before further exploring but they're located beneath the Imperial Highway which isn't exactly pedestrian friendly. (The can also be approached by East 115th Street, it turns out).

In addition to the Green and Blue Line, Watts is currently served by Metro bus lines 55, 117120, 202, 254, 355, and 612 as well as LADOT's DASH Watts line. It's worth mentioning that in 1967, the black owned Blue and White Bus Company was established in Watts to serve its people and surrounding areas. The successful company was acquired by SCRTD (the precursor to the modern LACMTA) in 1971. 





WATTS IN THE EARLY 20th CENTURY

Looking east down Main Street (later 103rd) in 1912

The land in Watts was low-lying, prone to flooding, sandy, and therefore cheap. Unlike 95% of Los Angeles, it also wasn't off limits to non-whites and so-called “not-quite-whites.” Many of Watts's early residents were connected to the rail. Many of the traqueros were Mexican-American and most of Southern Pacific's Pullman porters and waiters were black. Other early residents were largely of German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, or Scottish backgrounds and engaged in raising sugar beets. Watts was nicknamed “Mudtown,” a nickname which stuck well into the 20th Century when many of the dirt roads were still yet to be paved. Officially, however, it incorporated as Watts in 1907.


ARNA BONTEMPS


Although the first Great Migration primarily involved southern blacks moving to the Northeast and Midwest, some families headed west – including that of Arna Bontemps. Bontemps's mother, Maria Carolina Pembroke, was a school teacher and his father, Paul Bismark Bontemps, was a bricklayer. The migrated to Watts from Louisiana. Arna later became a prominent poem associated with the Harlem Renaissance.



EARLY WATTS MUSIC SCENE


Advertisement for performance at Leak's Lake (also spelled Leake's Lake) (image source: Doctor Jazz)

Located beyond the city limits of Los Angeles, Watts was exempt from that city's midnight curfew on dance clubs. That, in addition to its diverse, working-class population (and during Prohibition, its bootlegging), helped foster a thriving night life by the mid-1910s. South Central Avenue extended south from Los Angles's South Central neighborhood to Willowbrook and in that era, numerous venues sprang up in Watts including Baron Long's Tavern (later renamed Jazzland and finally, The Plantation Club), the Watts Country Club, Leak's Lake (later renamed Wayside Park), and at least by the 1920s, The Chateau, The Little Harlem, and Villa Venice.



THE TOWERS OF SIMON RODIA


The most recognizable icon of Watts are the Watts Towers, built between 1921 and 1954. Their architect was Simon “Sam” Rodia, born Sabato Rodia in Serino, Italy in 1879. Rodia and his brother moved to the US in 1895. He moved to Watts in 1920 and work on his folk art masterpiece the following year. The tallest tower reaches 99 and a half feet (30 meters) into the air, just under Los Angeles's then-100 foot height limit. After he moved to Martinez, it's believed that he never returned to revisit his handiwork but by then they were already celebrated and Rodia participated in a 1957 documentary about them, The Towers – which Bruce and I watched at the Watts Towers Arts Center.




In 1963 the towers were designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #15 (the only folk art LAHCM is the Hermon Car Wall in Hermon). The Watts Towers Arts Center opened in 1961. In 1990 the towers were designated both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark

The Watts Towers Jazz Festival was instigated in 1976. The Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival followed in 1981 and the Day of the Drum and Jazz Festivals still takes place the last week of every September. Past performers have included Alaadun, Clayton Cameron Old School Swing, Cuauhtemoc Mexica Dance Group, Futa Toro, Get Lit Players, Greg Wright, Jalaludin Nuriddin (Last Poets), JMP All StarsKevin Richard & Creole Journey from Santiago Cuba to New OrleansKishin Daiko, La Palabra y Calle 6, Ron Powell's LA Samba, Ultra Sound, and Wadada Cultural Soul World Beat.




Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center

In 2008, next door to the Arts Center, the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center opened and offers piano lessons and animation classes in collaboration with CalArts and Sony


Watts Towers Art Center 

We visited the Watts Towers Art Center and met the center's director (and documentarian/actress/singer) Rosie Lee Hooks. We also met Compton-based artist Charles Dickson and after checking out his one man show, checked out the garden and turtle pond -- part of the community garden created in 2009 referred to as the Garden Studio. One of the women (I believe that her name was Norma) working in the garden gave me a packet of Peaches & Cream Hybrid Corn kernels which I planted today.


Watts turtle pond

Other documentaries about the towers or arts center and available on DVD include: I Build the Towers (2006), A Tribute To Charles Mingus: Past, Present, and Future (2009), Fertile Ground: Stories from the Watts Towers Arts Center, and Trading Dirt with Simon Rodia and Allan Kaprow.



DAVID STARR JORDAN WATTS HIGH SCHOOL


David Starr Jordan High School (image source: Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy)

David Starr Jordan High School was established in 1925 and named after a naturalist and president of Stanford University. Five of the campus's structures were built between 1925 and 1927. After the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, the buildings were renovated with a unifying Streamline Moderne-style, designed by Sumner P. Hunt.


WATTS CONSOLIDATION

In 1926, Watts seemed to be on the verge of electing a black mayor and city council and the Ku Klux Klan clandestinely attempted to infiltrate the town's politics at every level. Watts was consolidated with Los Angeles in 1926, in part to ensure that a black municipality didn't neighbor Los Angeles. 



THE SECOND GREAT MIGRATION – WATTS IN THE 1940s

Watts experienced significant growth in the 1940s, when many more Southern blacks – especially from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas – headed to Western cities. The US entered the World War II in 1941 and many war industry jobs were to be found in places like Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles. In Watts, four housing projects were constructed to provide housing for the booming population of both immigrants and returning vets – Hacienda Village, Imperial Courts, Jordan Downs, and Nickerson Gardens.



HACIENDA VILLAGE – GONZAQUE VILLAGE


The chief architect of Hacienda Village was Paul Revere Williams, the first black member of the American Institute of Architects. Williams collaborated with Richard J. Neutra, Walter Wurdeman, and Welton Becket on 184 units, which were completed in 1942. The landscape architect was Ralph D. Cornell and, for projects, there's quite a lot of landscape surrounding the units. Priority on the units was originally granted to defense workers. In December 2000, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) renamed the project Gonzaque Village to honor neighborhood advocate Ozie B. Gonzaque.



JORDAN DOWNS

700-unit Jordan Downs was named for David Starr Jordan and Samuel Elliot Downs. Completed in 1944, it was the US' first Veterans Housing Project. In 1955, HACLA converted it to public housing, shortly after mayor Norris Poulson put a stop to all new public housing in the city due to pressure from right wingers who suggested that public assistance to anyone – even veterans – was Communist and anti-American. The lead architect on the renovation was James R. Friend and the landscape architect was Hammond Sadler. The most famous former resident of the project was track and field athlete, Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith-Joyner. Just a couple of blocks west is Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School. Jordan Downs has been the home of rappers including Aktiv, Bad Lucc, Blacowt, Dre Vishiss, G Boy, G Tah, Gutta L, Ice Breezy, Kanary Diamonds, Lil Money, Pipe Da Snipe, RiQ G, Sumu, T-Dogg, Twist Downz, V0$k!, Watts Guerillaz, Wolfcat, and Yung Jay R.



IMPERIAL COURTS

The 498-unit Imperial Courts housing projects were completed in 1944. They were renovated in 1955 under the guidance of architect John L. Rex. A memorable scene in the hugely-entertaining but frankly over-the-top film Training Day was shot there.



IMPERIAL COMPTON – NICKERSON GARDENS

Paul Williams also designed the Imperial Compton housing project, competed in 1955. It was renamed Nickerson Gardens in honor of William Nickerson, Jr., the founder of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company. The landscape architect was again Ralph D. Cornell. The 1054-unit housing project is the largest project west of the Mississippi River. It was the home of rappers Jay Rock and the 1990s group, O.F.T.B.



POST HOUSING COVENANTS

In 1948, the US Supreme Court ruled that the enforcement of racist housing covenants was unconstitutional. After that, blacks and other minorities were free (on paper at least) to live wherever they could afford to buy or rent a home. Almost immediately the black population (theretofore mostly confined to South Central proper, South Park, and Central-Alameda in the north and Watts in the south) grew together and spread to South Los Angeles's Westside and the Mid-City area of Midtown to form one, large, contiguous, black majority region and as a result, “South Central” began to be applied to a much larger region and is still done so by many today.



THE WATTS REBELLION 


On 11 August, 1965, a young man named Marquette Frye was pulled over on the suspicion of drinking and driving by California Highway Patrol. That seemingly quotidien occurrence proved to be the catalyst for the five days of civil unrest which left 34 Angelenos dead, 1,032 injured, and 3,438 arrested.



Even thought the arrest took place in Harbor Gateway North, the $40 million dollars of damage was spread across eleven square miles (more than four times the size of Watts), and the estimated 50,000 Angelenos involved in the chaos was about twice the number of the entire population of Watts, it was labeled the Watts Riots (or Watts Rebellion) and to be sure, Watts was hit particularly hard. 103rd Street, Watts's main thoroughfare, was nicknamed “Charcoal Alley” because nearly every structure along it was burned to the ground. 49 years have passed since that event and yet Watts is a place still seemingly more associated with a particular conflict than a geographic space... like Vietnam. In City of Quartz, Mike Davis even called Watts-Willowbrook “the Mekong Delta.” However, even though it's less acknowledged, just as the riots were seen as the end of an era, they also marked a new beginning. 



WATTS WRITERS WORKSHOP


The Watts Writers Workshop (image source: the LA Times)

Screenwriter Budd Schulberg organized the Watts Writers Workshop, which was composed primarily of black authors from Watts and neighboring communities. Early writers in the program included Eric Priestley, Herbert Simmons, Johnie Scott, Ojenke, Quincy Troupe, and Wanda Coleman. Unfortunately, it was burned down by an FBI operative, Darthard Perry, in 1975.






THE WATTS PROPHETS


Another graduate of the Watts Writers Workshop was the proto-rap group, The Watts Prophets. The Watts Prophets were formed as Watts Fire by Richard Dedeaux, Father Amde Hamilton (born Anthony Hamilton), and Otis O'Solomon in 1967 (notably, before Harlem's better-known Last Poets). As The Black Voices they released On the Streets in Watts in 1969. Two years later they returned with 1971's Rappin' Black in a White World (recorded in 1970). It wasn’t until 1997 that they released their third album, When the 90's Came.





WATTS LABOR COMMUNITY ACTION COMMITTEE



Ted Watkins and four other volunteers co-founded the Watts Labor Community Action Committee in 1964 to provide jobs and social services in the aftermath of the rebellion. Watkins was born in Mississippi and passed away in 1993, aged 71. From the outside, WLCAC looks inconspicuous -- a bit like a strip mall, a collection of warehouses, or maybe a SNF.


WLCAC and an old train car

I saw the WLCAC logo on a building and Bruce and I began to explore and take pictures of the statutes and what looked like an old train car. At that point, a guy on a bike (EJ, I believe he introduced himself as) rode up and asked us what we were up to. After introducing us to someone in charge and shortly after giving us a tour. I also got filled in a bit on WLCAC's mission by Ronald Preyer -- member of soul act The Young Hearts (a fact which he didn't mention).


Nijel's bronze Mother of Humanity sculpture

Touring WLCAC's campus was moving and mind-blowing. It's a bit like a museum, sculpture park, event space, cultural center, bazaar, school, atelier, and theme park all rolled into one incomparable space. Although it's currently on hiatus, until recently there was a monthly event with food and music called "Bones and Blues." There's really too much to mention here so just check out their website, WLCAC.org.


A Hopi katsina with glasses


Phoenix Hall


The Blues stage at WLCAC's Delta Row 


WATTS SKILL CENTER – MAXINE WATERS EMPLOYMENT PREPARATION CENTER

The Watts Skill Center, since renamed the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, opened in 1966. It was renamed after the congresswoman, Maxine Waters, in 1989.


WATTS HEALTH CENTER


Watts Health Center was founded in 1967 as one of the first Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) neighborhood health centers. 



WATTSTAX


A few years after the uprising, the Wattstax concert was organized by Stax Records and the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. It was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park on 20 August, 1972 and has often been described as the black Woodstock.




It featured performances from the likes of Albert King, The Bar-Kays, Isaac Hayes, Johnnie Taylor, Kim Weston, Rufus Thomas, and The Staple Singers. Mel Stuart filmed a documentary of the event and later injected pointed social commentary from Richard Pryor and The Love Boat's Ted Lange, scenes filmed around Watts, and footage pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement. In 2004, a restored version of this amazing film was rereleased in theaters and I watched it a couple of times.



KILLER OF SHEEP

 

Perhaps even more critically-acclaimed than Wattstax and more closely associated with Watts is Charles Burnett's poetic, neo-realist film, Killer of Sheep. Burnett wrote, directed, produced, and shot the film primarily over the course of 1972 and '73. After shooting additional footage in 1975 he submitted the film as his Master of Fine Arts thesis at the School of Film at UCLA in 1977. The film concerns the existence of a man named Stan who works at a slaughterhouse and his family. For many years it wasn't widely seen because the rights to the music used in the film had not been secured... until 2007, when a restored print was shown in movie theaters and released on DVD. You can find it in Amoeba's Black Cinema section. 



MARTIN LUTHER KING SHOPPING CENTER

The MLK Shopping Center opened in 1984. In 1992, the MLK Jr Monument was dedicated by Mayor Tom Bradley. The MLK Jr. Monument was designed and created by Charles Dickson – the same artist whom we met at the towers and whom we were asked if we'd heard of at WLCAC. Dickson really pushed for us to check out the monument, adding that he was really proud of it, but we forgot. Hopefully next time I'm in Watts.


LATINIZATION – WATTS TODAY



Like most of what was historically the Black Eastside, Watts today is primarily Latino. After the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, many more black residents of the area relocated to more distant communities including in particular those in the Antelope Valley, the Inland Empire, the San Gabriel Valley, Orange County, the San Joaquin Valley, and beyond. At the same time, Latinos, primarily with origins in Mexico and Central America, filled much of the void created by the departure of the previous population. Shortly before the riots, in 1988, Watts was 86% black and 13% Latino. By the mid-1990s the populations were roughly equal. In 2000, the population of Watts was roughly 62% Latino and 37% black. Nowadays it's closer to 72% Latino and 27% black. 34% of current Watts residents were born in another county – in most cases either Mexico or El Salvador.


Maya Obelisk on Santa Ana Boulevard


CRIME IN WATTS

Unfortunately, the perception of Watts as a dangerous place still sadly frightens off many would-be visitors. The violent crime rate in Watts is lamentably high – but then all violent crime is lamentable in my opinion. Watts currently has the tenth highest violent crime rate of Los Angles's neighborhoods but those more violent (Chesterfield Square, Green Meadows, Vermont Knolls, Athens, Gramercy Park, Vermont Vista, Harvard Park, Manchester Square, and West Compton) seem to benefit from their obscurity whereas the Watts name continues to strike fear into the hearts of many.

In 2012, Los Angeles had the 56th highest violent crime rate of cities in the US with populations of over 100,000 -- beneath places like Portland, San FranciscoMinneapolis, and Omaha. In other words, it is extremely unlikely that a visitor to Watts (or any Los Angeles neighborhood) is going to become the victim of a violent crime. In fact, I'd rank Watts as one of the friendliest places that I've visited -- and the only one where someone gave me a seed packet.



STAYING IN WATTS


Comfort Inn in Watts

There are several motels in Watts, including the Hills Villa Motel, the Mirror Hotel, and the Crown Hotel. The Mirror Motel, built in 1964, has the most appealingly 1960s exterior and sign but any traveller knows that such superficialities are rarely accurate indicators of room conditions. My suspicion is that all three are budget motels -- the sort that charge both hourly and weekly rates, depending on a lodger's need. An online review of Hills Villa simply states “It was firme.” Probably more appealing to most tourists is the Comfort Inn, comfortably situated on the WLCAC campus and fairly modern looking. There's also Airbnb.



WATTS MUSIC

In Watts, it seemed as if there was almost always music playing wherever we went. Although Bruce had something with him called a Jammy Pack, he left it unused. Many other folks were less shy about playing their music on phones, and even radios hanging from their wearers necks. No one seems to bother with headphones and it reminded me of the 1980s, when people traded in their inward-oriented Walkmans for outward-projecting boom boxes. In other parts of Los Angeles I routinely see death-wish-having cyclists deafly racing through traffic with their ears blocked by earbuds but in Watts, even the lowrider bicycles have speakers. The musical highpoint of the day came when a car crept by us bumping B.G.'s "Don't Talk to Me" off of his best post-Cash Money album, Life After Cash Money.

Music-making has had a huge place in Watts for at least a century too. Back in the day local acts included The Woodman Brothers' Biggest Little Band in the World, Big Jay McNeely, Buddy Collette, Bumps Myers, Dootsie Williams, the Irving Brothers, Joe Comfort. In contemporary times, rap is seemingly the chosen genre for most Watts musicians and rappers born or raised in Watts (in addition to the aforementioned) include Cashola, Choc Nitty, D Ray, Glasses Malone, Jahccy, Kam, Lil' Rocc, Lorenzo Straight, and Run Russ.


The most famous jazz musician associated with Watts is almost certainly Charles Mingus, who was born in Nogalez, Arizona but raised in the neighborhood. 



Perhaps only slightly less is Sylvester, the Hi-NRG disco star who was born in the neighborhood. Watts the birthplace of another disco diva too -- Viola Wills.




Soul singer Brenda Holloway was born in Atascadero but raised in Watts. Watts-born musicians in other genres include Devan Vyasa (electronic) and Blind Boy Paxton (blues).


WATTS IN MOVIES & TELEVISION

Despite its large, long-established black population, Watts seems to have only been home to two so-called “negro theaters,” the Linda Theatre and the Largo Theatre. The former formerly stood at 1635 E. 103rd Street. It was a 669-seat, single screen, independent theater that existed at least between 1946 and 1953. The latter stood at 1827 E. 103rd Street. The 904-seat, single screen theater was designed by Carl Boller for his firm, Boller Brothers, and opened in 1923. Both were demolished long ago. 




Watts was a film location for several films, including He Walked By Night (1948), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), My Brother's Wedding (1983), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Daniel and the Towers (1987), Colors (1988), White Men Can't Jump (1992), Atomic Samurai (1993), Menace II Society (1993), Real Ghosts (1995), Dark Blue (2002), and Family (2008). 




In the Blaxploitation era alone Watts was featured in Hit Man (1972), Melinda (1972), The Bad Bunch (aka Tom) (1973), Dynamite Brothers (1974), and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976). 

Watts has shown up in episodes of the television series Robbery Homicide Division and Southland as well. Although filmed in a studio in Burbank, Sanford and Son (1972-1977) was a remake of the BBC's Steptoe and Son which relocated the action from Shepherd's Bush to Watts.

Watts has also been the subject of several documentaries including an episode of CBS Reports titled"Watts: Riot or Revolt?"(1965), and episode of ABC Scope titled “The Face of Watts” (1965), and more recently, American Drug War: The Last White Hope (2007).

The only actors that I know of who are Watts natives are Aaron Meeks and Tyrese (Tyrese Gibson). If there are others (or filmmakers), please let me know in the comments.



WATTS DINING SCENE


Jordan's Cafe 

Although admittedly my desire to eat at Jordan's Café was primarily due to the building's signage (utilizing as it did both arrows and at one point, incandescent bulbs) I lost my chance when it closed in 2010, 68 years after it opened in 1942. I guess my point it -- if you see somewhere you want to check out, don't put it off!

Still open eateries include Caveman Kitchen, Chapo's Tacos, China Bowl Express, China Express, El Burrito Loco, El Pollo MachoM & T Donuts, Puro Oaxaca Nieves y Antojitos, Sandy's Food Service, Seafood Express, Tacos La Potranka, and Tamales Elena


Watts Coffee House -- through the door on the left

One of the best-loved places to eat is Watts Coffee House, the roots of which lie in the Watts Happening Coffee House, which opened shortly after the rebellion. Bruce and I first walked right past the restaurant because it's practically hidden inside a building shared with a school. We did notice the mural, which is a holdover from the building's past as the home of the Mafundi Institute in the early 1970s. 



Wattstax and my Wattstax-inspired "font" and map

It's not even primarily a coffee house (despite the name), and secondarily a museum/shrine to Watts. The kitchen specializes in southern/soul food. We did both get coffee with our lunches, however, and it was good. After filling our waitress in on our mission, she played a DVD of Wattstax for our entertainment.


WATTS MARKETS


Mural at Geraldo's Meat Market Carniceria


Lee's Market -- the reason that the chicken crossed the road apparently

There are almost as many markets as restaurants in Watts as there are restaurants although many are little more than convenience or liquor stores. They include C & C Mimi Market, Chapala Market, Easy Market, El Ranchito Market, El Osito Nutritional Products, El Pavo Mini Market, El Rinconcito Water, El Torito Market, Family Mini Market, Geraldos Meat Market, Hammer's Market, Harris Grocery Marketa, Jay's Market, Jordan Market, Lee's Market, Lims Market, Local Market, Randy's Mini Market, Tala Market, Tommy's Liquor Market, and Watts HP Meat Market.


C & J Market -- with Mary in a case that Houdini would have trouble with


WATTS CHURCHES


St. John's United Methodist Church (source: their Facebook page)



St. Lawrence of Brindisi


Grant AME


Not unexpectedly, there are a lot of churches in Watts. Some of them are rather interesting architecturally. The Macedonia Baptist Church was founded in 1908. St John’s United Methodist Church was constructed in 1923. St. Lawrence of Brindisi was built in 1924. Bethel Baptist Church was built in 1941. Grant AME's current hangar-like home was constructed in 1954. 

There's also Beulah Baptist ChurchBible Revival ChurchChurch In God In ChristCompton Ave Church of ChristDeliverance Church of God In ChristFaith Temple Church of Christ Holiness USAThe First Saint John Missionary Baptist ChurchFirst Unity Missionary Baptist ChurchGood Faith Missionary Baptist ChurchGreat Antioch M B ChurchGreater Wayside Church of God In ChristJesus Is Delight Missionary Baptist ChurchLighthouse Church & Community OutreachMarshall M Rev Union Missionary Baptist ChurchMorning Star Missionary Baptist ChurchMt Beulah Baptist Church, New Light Missionary Baptist ChurchNew Way Missionary Baptist ChurchOlive Branch Baptist ChurchPotter's House ChurchRevival Center Triedston Church of God In Christ, San Miguel ChurchSt Peter Aoh Church of GodSweet Pilgrim Missionary Baptist ChurchTree of Life Missionary Baptist ChurchTrue Mount Zion Missionary Baptist ChurchUnion Missionary Baptist Church, and Village Baptist Church.



WATTS PARKS


Ted Watkins Memorial Park


Watts Senior Center and Rose Garden

Unfortunately South Los Angeles is a rather park-poor region. Jordan Downs, Imperial Courts, and Nickerson Gardens both have their own recreation centers. There's the 109th Street Recreation Center and Park and tiny Grape Street Pocket Park. The Watts Senior Center is home to the Watts Senior Center Rose Garden although the roses weren't doing much at the time of our visit. Located just outside of Watts is the aforementioned Ted Watkins Park (fka Will Rogers Memorial Park), where the Watts Healthy Farmers' Market - SEE LA is held on Saturdays. That park is also home to the Promenade of Prominence, aka the Watts Walk of Fame. The nearest park of any real size is lovely Magic Johnson Park (fka Willowbrook Park) in neighboring Willowbrook.



CULTURAL RESOURCES, CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS, &C

The Watts Village Theater Company was founded in 1996 by Lynn Manning and Quentin Drew. The organization produces original theater works and educational programming for South Los Angeles.


Alma Reaves Woods - Los Angeles Public Library - Watts Branch

Watts is also home to the Alma Reaves Woods – Los Angeles Public Library – Watts Branch -- which was closed because Lincoln's Birthday.


Watts House Project


YO! Watts - Youth Opportunity Center -- an old firehouse.

Local organizations trying to make a difference include East Side Riders Bike ClubFriends of St. Lawrence - Watts Youth CenterNeighborhood Youth Achievers, Operation Progress, Watts Century Latino Organization, the Watts Gang Task Force, Watts Girl Scout Troop #19785, the Watts House Project, the Watts Neighborhood Council, the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club, and YO! Watts.

If you're aware of any other resources or civic organizations that should be included (and linked to) here, please let me know in the comments.



FURTHER READING (AND LISTENING AND VIEWING)

If you'd like to read more about Watts there are several books and short pieces worth a look including Spencer Crump's Black Riot in Los Angeles: The story of the Watts tragedy (1966), Thomas Pynchon's A Journey Into The Mind of Watts (1966), Colin Marshall's A Los Angeles Primer: WattsBud Goldstone and Arloa Paquin Goldstone's The Los Angeles Watts Towers (1997), The Dapper Rebels of Los Angeles, and especially, Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles (1999).

My Neighborhood: Watts from Intersections South LA


The couple at Esotouric delved into Watts with their podcast episode, “Secrets of the Watts Towers” and the late, great Huell Howser explored a bit of Watts (and people's fear in going there) on Visiting...With Huell Howser, Episode #109.

DJ Qbert, plus Dan The Automator, P.E.A.C.E., Bambu, and DJ Shortkut + host Fran Boogie tonight in SF Promises To Be Off The Hook

Posted by Billyjam, February 13, 2014 04:58pm | Post a Comment
Some are calling tonight's star-studded hip-hop show at the Mezzanine in San Francisco with West Coast underground hip-hop icons DJ Qbert, Dan The Automator, P.E.A.C.E., DJ Shortkut, and Bambu - a comeback or (due to the first two listed acts) a kind of a Dr. Octagon two-thirds part reunion (referencing the landmark 1996 Bay Area produced Dr. Octagonecologyst album produced by The Automator, featuring Qbert, and re-catapulting its microphone star Kool Keith to post Ultramagetnic MC's solo fame). But to paraphrase the lyrics of that well worn LL Cool J song; don't call it a comeback, they've been here before. In fact they never went away. Sure there was a long gap between Dan The Automator's Deltron 3030 projects (his 2000 collab with Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Kid Koala that only enjoyed a sequel last year) and an even wider one between Qbert's last official album (1998's Wave Twisters) and his soon-to-drop 2014 two-album set Extraterrestria and GalaXXXian for which tonight's concert is a special pre-release party/concert for.

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You Down with KPP? Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's North American Tour Comes This Way Way Way!

Posted by Kells, February 13, 2014 04:33pm | Post a Comment
Watch out party people! Monster fashionista and idolatrous J-Pop sensation Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 
kicks off her 2014 Nanda Collection World Tour with a sold out show in Seattle, Washington tonight -- the first of six U.S. dates that includes stops in SF this Saturday and L.A. on Sunday [for which tickets are still available as I type this]. 

KPP, or Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu -- her full, formal stage name, started out as naught but a humble, fashion-forward blogger turned model who eventually cast her very own claim to J-pop fame upon releasing her first single, "PonPonPon", during the summer of 2011, citing such trend-setting pop icons as Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani as inspirations. While her ever changing appearance and unfathomably deep bag of look-book tricks keeps those enamored of her work in association with various niche fashion cultures hungry for all things Kyary-related, it'll be nothing if not an absolute pleasure to see Kyary and her fabulous backup dancers (because you know they're gonna be fabulous) do their thing on stage, live and in-person, this Saturday night (that is, if you're in SF, like me). 


~tour dates~
Feb 13 – Seattle / Showbox at the Market
Feb 15 – San Francisco / The Regency Ballroom
Feb 16 – Los Angeles / Club Nokia LA Live
Mar 5 – Chicago / House of Blues
Mar 7 – Toronto / Sound Academy
Mar 8 – New York / Best Buy Theater


Here's some candy, or rather "Candy Candy", or also one reason why I'm chuffed to bits for this show:


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Chabot Space & Science Center's LASERIUM Extended

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 13, 2014 02:27pm | Post a Comment

An event so electrifying, the Bay Area couldn't bear to let it go! LASERIUM® The Cosmic Laser Concert laserium chabot space and scienceand the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland are extending the classic laser light show set to the beats of such rock icons as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles! Visit the Chabot planetarium for a stunning light show that is music for your eyes.

Whether you are a fan from the past or new to the show, LASERIUM® draws you into the light. See it, hear it, experience it, again for the first time. Get your tickets HERE!

Red Bull Sound Select Interviews: Cherry Glazerr

Posted by Billy Gil, February 13, 2014 10:07am | Post a Comment
Cherry Glazerr Amoeba
Cherry Glazerr; Clementine Creevy, center (Photo by Rhyan Santos)

Playing the Red Bull Sound Select show curated by Amoeba Feb. 27 at The Echoplex will be Cherry Glazerr. The L.A. band, named after KCRW correspondent Chery Glaser, recently released its debut album, Haxel Princess, a fizzy, dreamy ode to young ladyhood typified by songs like "Teenage Girl."

The band plays with FIDLAR, the newly announced Cheatahs and Isaac Rother & The Phantoms at the show. It's $3 with RSVP and $12 without. Doors are at 8 p.m. Check back here tomorrow for an interview with FIDLAR!

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #67: Changes to The State of The City, Valentine's Day In The Big Apple, Concerts + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2014 05:04pm | Post a Comment


Under a big banner emblazoned "One New York Rising Together" new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to provide New York City residents with a "fair shot at a better life" in his first "State of the City" address earlier this week, and by so doing offering hope to a good percentage of the population of this expensive city to live in. In Monday's 43 minute speech he spoke of “a budgetary challenge that is unprecedented” and called for expanding “living wage” laws - proposing that New York City set its own (higher than average) minimum wage.

De Blasio's distinctly progressive liberal leaning speech, which further separated him politically from his two mayoral predecessors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and placed him more in line with the vision of the late NYC Mayor Fiorella La Guardia (Mayor of NYC for three terms from 1934 to 1945 - pictured right), also pushed his policies of raising taxes for the city's rich to pay for universal prekindergarten, amping up job training programs for the unskilled, and providing ID cards to those New Yorkers that are in the USA illegally. What actually unfolds and the impact of these radical changes proposed by this new mayor will have remains to be seen, but is sure to cause much local and national debate in the interim.

Ariel View Of NYC (2014)

The above video, which was uploaded to YouTube over the weekend, is a pretty impressive (albeit likely controversial) aerial view from high above the Big Apple with some unusual views looking straight down to the streets far below. Made by a camera attached to a drone that was, according to the YouTube account belonging to the camera gear company DSLR Pros, the "video was given to us from an anonymous source."  The description goes on to read that,  "As beautiful as it is we do not recommend flying in locations like NYC" and since it was posted on Saturday has disabled comments from being made which is what prompted me to imply it is likely controversial since the gut reaction from most, I imagine, would be memories of 9/11 and anything remotely related (regardless of how beautiful the footage above may be) is bound to trigger such mental connections - even 13 years later.

Amoeba Presents Run River North at The Troubadour March 3

Posted by Billy Gil, February 12, 2014 03:17pm | Post a Comment

amoeba run river north

Amoeba will present the SoCal folk-rock band Run River North at the Troubadour for their album release show March 3.

Tickets for the show are $15. They're currently sold out, but there will be day-of tickets at $17.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and doors are at 7.

The Korean-American band formed in 2011 and grew to prominence with the help of massive exposure on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show. Recently, the band had a residency at notable L.A. folk venue The Hotel Cafe. Their self-titled debut album is due Feb. 25.

"We get Asian-Mumford because of the acoustic guitars and harmonies and us being pretty Asian," lead singer/guitarist Alex Hwang has said of the band's sound. "... Our only hope is that the music we make is personal enough to stay genuine and honest."

Check out our recent interview with Run River North to learn more about the band.

 

Red Bull Sound Select Interviews: Isaac Rother & The Phantoms

Posted by Billy Gil, February 12, 2014 10:02am | Post a Comment

Opening the Red Bull Sound Select show presented by Amoeba Feb. 27 at The Echoplex will be Isaac Rother & The Phantoms. The band plays a wicked rock 'n' roll inspired by classic blues, classic horror films and novelty monster songs—think "Monster Mash" and "Purple People Eater." Rother plays the star on his album The Unspeakable Horror of..., playing The Phantom, who leads his band through a howling set of Bo Diddley-style blues riffs, surf-rock touches and growling vocals.

The band plays with FIDLAR, the newly announced Cheatahs and Cherry Glazerr at the show. It's $3 with RSVP and $12 without. Doors are at 8 p.m. Check back here this week for interviews with FIDLAR and Cherry Glazerr!

We caught up with Isaac Rother as he moved his project from Olympia, Wash. to right here in Los Angeles with a new lineup.

Most L.A. people are new to your band. What should we expect from an Isaac Rother & the Phantoms show? Or do you prefer people to leave expectations at the door?

Rother: Expect the majestic spell of rock 'n' roll to be cast over thine body. Expect to be transported to a higher plane of existence where one can truly be free to experience the everlasting moment that is now. I want everyone who sees The Phantoms to be uplifted and inspired by the music because that’s what music does for me. Expect to be entertained and expect to have a good time. 

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Two New "What's In My Bag?" Episodes With The Flaming Lips

Posted by Amoebite, February 11, 2014 05:42pm | Post a Comment

Our What's In My Bag? crew had the pleasure of shooting an episode each with Michael Ivins and Kliph Scurlock of psychedelic alternative rock band The Flaming Lips. Definitely a must see for Lips' fans. 

Michael Lee Ivins (pictured in the blue shirt) is the bassist and founding member of The Flaming Lips. The band originally formed in Norman, Oklahoma with Wayne Coyne playing guitar, his brother Mark Coyne on vocals, and Ivins handling bass duties. After several years of crafting their sound, The Flaming Lips broke into the mainstream with their 6th studio album, Transmissions From The Sattelite Heart (1993), spawning the hit single "She Don't Use Jelly."  

In March 1999, The Flaming Lips were gearing up to tour in support of their album, The Soft Bulletin. The band hired Kliph Scurlock (pictured left in purple shirt) to do some heavy lifting as a roadie. Scurlock remaind on tour with the band until 2002 when the Lips were doubling as an opener and backing band for Beck. In an effort to enable multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd to play lead guitar, Scurlock was asked to play drums during the band's run with Beck. Subsequently, Scurlock went from touring drummer to full-time member and remains with the Lips until this day.      

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Album Picks: Sun Kil Moon, Tinariwen, Snowbird

Posted by Billy Gil, February 11, 2014 08:48am | Post a Comment

Sun Kil Moon - Benji (CD or Download)

The prolific Mark Kozelek has been undergoing a career renaissance of sorts. Whereas songs in his ’90s project Red House Painters were often autobiographical, if morose and romantic, if, to call his recent releases with Sun Kil Moon confessional would be an understatement. Not only is Benji a classic example oversharing in the social media age, it’s just a new classic period, the best thing he’s done since RHP’s heyday. Two songs directly address Kozelek’s love for his aging parents as he himself hits middle age (“I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love” and “I Love My Dad” are far from ironic, though they cover ground beyond what their titles suggest). “Dogs” covers Kozelek’s history with women in sometimes excruciating detail, from his first kiss at 5 to getting bathed by two women. Part of what makes Benji so masterful is how Kozelek blends rich physical details, with references to Panera Bread and Pink Floyd records, along with impressionistic accounts, such as his atmospheric telling of what caught his attention in a Led Zeppelin film (“I Watched the Film the Song Remains the Same”) and what that says about him as a person. It can be a lot to take in at once—“Micheline” at first feels like a diary dump, though it ends on a touching note about his grandmother—but most of the time, the details are funny or poignant or both, coming through clearly with little more than Kozelek’s wavering, creaking voice and reverbed acoustic guitar. “Ben’s My Friend,” which ends the album with its catchiest song (and curiosity value, due to its titular subject being Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie), is a sterling reminder of how many little things add up to the sum of our lives, making a pretty refrain out of “blue crab cakes,” throwing in some horns and flamenco guitar for good measure and tying the album up nicely with a reflective bow. Simply put, Benji is an album for fans of songwriting and storytelling, the mastery of which makes it unmissable.

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Thank You, Shirley Temple

Posted by Billyjam, February 11, 2014 05:41am | Post a Comment

Shirley Temple "On The Good Ship Lollipop" from Bright Eyes (1934) 

Thank you, Shirley Temple Black, for lifting a nation's spirits during the depression with songs and films like "On The Good Ship Lollipop" (above) from the 1934 movie Bright Eyes and "When I Grow Up" from 1935's Curly Top (these are just two of 40 film she made as a child star). Temple, who became a diplomat as an adult, died yesterday at age 85. Rest in peace, Shirley Temple, and thanks for all those movies, songs, and dance routines.


Shirley Temple "When I grow Up" from "Curly Top (1935)

JR Valrey Discusses His Second Book, Unfinished Business: Block Reportin' 2

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment

jr valreyOakland author JR Valrey has just published his powerful second book - Unfinished Business: Block Reportin 2. The author/journalist/broadcaster/activist who is also known as the People's Minister of Information will be doing two Bay Area book readings this month in celebration of this second publication in an ongoing series at both of the Bay Area branches of the wonderful Marcus Books: at the San Francisco Marcus Books (1712 Fillmore St.) on February 13th, and at the Oakland Marcus Books (3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way) on February 22nd.

Two years ago, during Black History Month 2012, JR Valrey acted as a guest Amoeblogger here and wrote an insightful piece titled The Black Experience Study Guide: My Top 7 Books, Movies, and Albums for Black History Month. That piece followed a profile/interview with Valrey from a couple of months earlier on the topic of his first book Block Reportin. This week I again caught up with the busy Oakland-based Valrey to talk about his latest book, its subjects, and some of the topics covered in it and his opinions on them.

 
Amoeblog: Is it fair to call Unfinished Business a sequel to / a continuation of your last book and does it continue that book's same format?

JR Valrey: I guess you can say that. The only continuity between Block Reportin" and Unfinished Business is that they are both books consisting of a compilation of interviews; interviews that I did as a print and broadcast journalist over the years.  The third installment of the series, which is yet to be named, will include 28 interviews so that the total number of interviews that I have put out in book form will number 100.

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10 Albums to Pick Up for Valentine's Day

Posted by Billy Gil, February 7, 2014 05:21pm | Post a Comment

Hey you! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Like it’s next week. We’ll leave the chocolates and stuff to you, but we’ve got your music covered. Pick up any of these releases to help you seal the deal. Or to just enjoy quietly on your own with some white wine. That sounds great, actually.

Tina TurnerLove Songs

This compilation CD was just released and features some of Turner’s best songs, focusing on her comeback from 1983’s Private Dancer and on. Songs include a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “The Best” and more.

 

 

SadeThe Ultimate Collection

I mean, c’mon, duh. You can’t go wrong with any Sade album, but this readily available collection has all the hits, including later period songs like “Soldier of Love.”

 

 

WarpaintWarpaint

Of course, if your taste skews newer (or if you’re all stocked up on Sade), you could try a newer band. Warpaint’s latest album is sly, nuanced and sexy as hell, moving from moody declarations (“Love is to Die”) to heated post-punk (“Disco // Very”). See also: Rhye and their singer Milosh, who is kind of like the modern-day Sade, or there’s always nighttime neo-classic the xx.

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EVERY THIN LIZZY GUITAR SOLO 1971 - 1983

Posted by Kells, February 7, 2014 02:05pm | Post a Comment


Whether you're experiencing a gumption deficit or feeling under the weather or just looking for that perfect hour and thirteen minute soundtrack to complete your daily routine this, gentle rocker, is the ultimate get up and go mix for you!

Today I learned that a friend of a friend in Detroit pieced together every, EVERY, Thin Lizzy guitar solo, roughly one hundred culled from twelve studio albums, into a career-spanning sonic tapestry and tapped it into YouTube thus gifting the masses with something of an ultimate longform Lizz fix featuring Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, Brian Roberston, Gary Moore, Snowy White, John Sykes (as well as two bonus keyboard solos by Darren Wharton) giving life to all youse rockers who love to live!

[listening to this while I type this up is testing my ability to refrain from utilizing an ALL CAPS voice].

Beginning from the top of Phil Lynott & Co.'s career -- the "peak" 1979-1980 period (I agree, these were not necessarily the best front-to-back albums but they sure serve up some of the best solos), transitioning to the early psych-folk rockin' Eric Bell years that comprise first three 1971-1973 albums and moving on to the signature harmonized twin-axe attack Thin Lizzy popularized in tandem with their rise to fame circa 1974-1977 and rounding out with their 1980-1983 "Heavy Metal End Phase" -- complete with Jailbreak bookends for good measure -- this mix is part of a complete breakfast Lizzfest! ARE YOU READY!!!

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Amoeba Presents The Drop at The Grammy Museum With Benmont Tench

Posted by Billy Gil, February 7, 2014 10:43am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music is proud to be a sponsor of The Drop at the Grammy Museum featuring Benmont Tench on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available here. The show will feature a solo performance by Tench, as well as a conversation with the artist.

Who is Benmont Tench, you might ask? The keyboardist has been called the quintessential sideman. He's a founding member of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, having played on all of their recordings, the list of other artists whose recordings he's played on represents some of the all-time cream of the crop, including Stevie Nicks, Willie Nelson, Green Day, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Dixie Chicks, The Replacements, John Prine, Waylon Jennings, John Fogerty, Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash.

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Weekly Roundup: Kelela, So Many Wizards, Tony Molina, Teebs, Tashaki Miyaki, Gallant

Posted by Billy Gil, February 7, 2014 10:33am | Post a Comment

Kelela – “The High” [Prod. by Gifted & Blessed]

We’re nuts about L.A.-based underground R&B songstress Kelela around these parts. Her debut mixtape, CUT 4 ME, was an all-around highlight of last year’s releases, featuring Kelela’s silky vocals and ace production work by a number of L.A. underground artists. Well she’s got a couple of tour dates announced, including an April 2 show at The Echo (tickets on sale Thursday at noon), and a new song with “The High,” produced by Gifted & Blessed. “I’d do anything for the high,” she sings passionately, breaking out her cocoon of chill without losing an ounce of cool. Great stuff.

 

So Many Wizards – “Daydream” video

An L.A. band who’ve been bouncing around for a while and keep getting better and better, So Many Wizards latest songs have a cool, mysterious air to them without sacrificing the songwriting intricacies they debuted early on. “Daydream” lives up to its name musically, floating pensively along like a cloud, while its video is cute yet slightly nightmarish, staring frontman Nima Kazerouni’s grandmother alongside a lot of pretty young things with scary eyes. They’re at The Echoplex Sunday night with SISU, Tennis System, Heaven and Nightmare Air for Part Time PunksMy Bloody Valentine night, you besta be there!

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.07.14: Step Brothers, Dag Savage, Dilla Day, Hip Hop, Chess and The Psychology of The Battle

Posted by Billyjam, February 7, 2014 08:08am | Post a Comment
       

Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five for Week Ending February 7th 2014


1)
The Step Brothers Lord Steppington (Rhymesayers  Entertainment)

2) Dag Savage E&J (Dirty Science)

3)
Blu & Exile Below The Heavens  (Sound In Color)

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

5) Kayne West Yeezus (Def Jam)

Trannyshack Star Search Competition: February 21 in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 6, 2014 05:08pm | Post a Comment

The search for the next "Big-Wig" of SF drag is on with the Trannyshack Star Search Competition on trannyshack star searchFebruary 21st at DNA Lounge. Yes, the epic drag smack-down returns for it's 15th year!

Trannyshack, San Francisco's infamous drag performance night club, incorporates everything from low brow trash to high brow performance art, and has become famous (or infamous) worldwide as the quintessential San Francisco experience.

Hosted by Heklina and Peaches Christ, the competition will be feature celebrity judges Honey Mahogany, Lindsay Slowhands, Holy McGrail, U-Phoria, Lady Bear, Sue Casa, and a super special surprise guest. With DJ MC2 and visuals by Vis-A-Vis .

Doors at 9:30pm, show starts at 11pm. Get your tickets HERE!

Interview with Discogs' Corey Burmeister

Posted by Billyjam, February 6, 2014 12:32pm | Post a Comment

A couple of months back in New York City at the WFMU Record Fair, I ran into the folks from Discogs who had a booth distributing info. I have known of Discogs for some time now as a go-to, reliable website and database of some of the most exhaustive lists of nearly every release out there (including lots of electronic and hip-hop). With just under 5 million releases listed on its site, Discogs provides a wonderful resource just a click away with its seemingly endless lists of recordings and releases (including promo and rare non-label releases). Discogs is owned by Zink Media Inc. and based in Portland OR. I followed up with Discogs staffer Corey Burmeister to ask him some questions about what the site does overall, the music that it covers, its history, and where it is going. 


Amoeblog: When did Discogs come about and when it first formed did it envision becoming what it is today?

Corey @ Discogs: Discogs was the result of Kevin Lewandowski's love of electronic music.  It was started in 2000, and he had no idea it would get this large.


Amoeblog: I understand that users upload content on releases but what percentage of that data has to be edited? I have heard of folks not putting in upper case when it is supposed to be that way etc.

Corey @ Discogs: The database is built and edited by our users. I don't have the percentages off hand, but the number of submissions that are not edited after they go into the database is small. We believe in a process of continual improvement, much like the way open source software is developed. Get the data out there, get as may people to see it as possible, and let them update it to make it more correct or to enrich the data.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring South Central

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 6, 2014 11:10am | Post a Comment

IS BUSTIN' A CAP REALLY FUNDAMENTAL? -- SOUTH CENTRAL


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of South Central

South Central means different things to different people. To some it refers to a vast, amorphous collection of neighborhoods and cities between the Santa Monica Bay and the San Gabriel River, north of the San Pedro Bay and south of the 10 Freeway. To others its less of a geographical space than a metaphor -- that's surely the sense in which Ice Cube used it to refer to Compton -- which is of course it's own city and thus not any part of "LA."

A widely-accepted story tells that the South Central brand became so loaded with negative connotations of gang violence and riots that a neologism, South Los Angeles, was devised to "officially" replace it. But South Los Angeles is a geographic concept that goes back at least to the 1930s, as does South Central -- when it was coined to refer to the then-mostly-black neighborhood that arose just south of Downtown along South Central Avenue (hence the name) that is now sometimes referred to as “Historic South Central.”

As stated above, South Central is located immediately south of Downtown Los Angeles. Its other neighbors are Central-Alameda to the east, South Park to the south (the original, more than a century old South Park – not the part of Downtown which has only attempted to co-opt that name in the last decade), Vermont Square to the southeast, Exposition Park and University Park to the east, and Pico-Union to the northwest. On an alternately cool and balmy January day (yesterday in fact) I set about exploring the neighborhood with frequent traveling companion Tim Shimbles (aka DJ Modernbrit).

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New Vinyl/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 2/5/14 - Vril, Optimo, Terrence Parker and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, February 5, 2014 06:49pm | Post a Comment

Vril

Vortekz 12"

Delsin

Rattling, rave-inspired dub techno on Vril's first release for Delsin. The title track is one propulsive synth vamp orbited by corroded percussion and the occasional alarmist lead. The dub compresses the original idea into a cavernous, big room form, the bright synth lead muted in the opacity. Y7/10 hearkens back to the title track's high-strung energy and will appeal to fans of Levon Vincent's heavier productions.

Buy Vortekz 12"

 

Terrence Parker - Life on the Back 9

 

Terrence Parker

Life on the Back Nine 3x12"

Planet E

Epic set from the underappreciated Detroit house legend. Terrence does two moods here, exuberant and contemplative. Most of the tracks are catchy, spiritual piano house. It's stunning how much Parker gets out of timeless progressions - on My Virtuous Woman he bangs out the hook on three different synths, yet the track still feels short at 7 minutes 30. The album, Parker's first official LP release in 14 (!) years is paced in an adroit manner, with a moody slowdown occurring two-thirds of the way through during the Friend I Lost/Hiding In Your Love/Selah Interlude suite. There's none of the Henny breathed come-ons that made January's other Detroit LP so hot, just pure god-fearing joy. 

Buy Life on the Back Nine 3x12"

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Desert Daze 2014 Tickets Available Now at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 5, 2014 04:40pm | Post a Comment

The lineup for this year's Desert Daze festival was just announced this week, and it looks to be the biggest and best one yet! Blonde Redhead and The Raveonettes are headlining, plus Liars, Autolux, Vincent Gallo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Allah-Las and many more will descend upon the Sunset Ranch Oasis (69-520 S. Lincoln St Mecca, CA 92254), just a few hours outside of Los Angeles, on Saturday, April 26.

Tickets are on sale now at Amoeba Hollywood for $45 (+ $2 service charge) or you can buy them online. If you want to camp while you're there, check out the ticket bundles (available online only) that include camping passes in addition to festival entry.

Desert Daze 2014

 

Watch a recap of last year's Desert Daze Festival:

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me

Posted by Amoebite, February 5, 2014 01:12pm | Post a Comment

Dan Briggs

Dan Briggs is one hell of a bass player. Technically gifted and insanely creative when it comes to big bad bass licks. He has no choice but to be good, he plays in Between The Buried And Me!  

The North BTBAMCarolina group is a progressive metal outfit with the chops of a seasoned jazz-bebop quartet. They move seamessly from technical death metal to metalcore to math rock as if it were second nature. From humble beginnings back in 2002, the band went from self-releasing an EP to inking a deal with Chicago hardcore label Victory Records. Now backed by the legendary Metal Blade Records label, BTBAM continue to tour the world pleasing metal heads of all ages. With their latest release, The Parallax II: Future SequenceBTBAM give their fans 72 minutes of musical prowess utilizing jazz fusion and progressive rock. The album marks the band's sixth studio release and the second produced for Metal Blade.  

Bassist Dan Briggs recently visited Amoeba Hollywood and picked up some cool music. We got it all on camera for another awesome episode of  What's in My Bag?. Dan finds Feast Of Love by Pity Sex and Circumambulation by the band True Widow. He digs up a few releases from avant-garde composer John Zorn, including FilmWorks Vol.1: 1986-1990. Being a huge Danny Elfman fan, Briggs finds a copy of Oingo Boingo's Good For Your Soul on vinyl. It's the first time he's got it on wax! Check out the full episode for all of Dan Briggs' excellent picks. 

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Red Bull Sound Select Presents FIDLAR, Curated by Amoeba Music

Posted by Billy Gil, February 5, 2014 10:24am | Post a Comment

L.A.-based garage rockers FIDLAR headline the next Red Bull Sound Select show in Los Angeles at The Echoplex on Thursday, Feb. 27.

The all-ages show is curated by Amoeba Music and is $3 with RSVP or $12 at the door.

Red Bull Sound Select presents mothly shows in 11 cities featuring local acts, curated by local tastemakers. The last L.A. show featured Mac DeMarco. You can find out more about Red Bull Sound Select here.

See a performance from FIDLAR at Amoeba Hollywood below. You can read my interview with FIDLAR from last year here.

Opening the show will be Cheatahs and Cherry Glazerr, who recently released their debut album, Haxel Princess, full of sugary, dreamy songs of teenage-girl longing. Also on the bill is Isaac Rother & The Phantoms, featuring Isaac Rother, who recently moved to L.A. from Olympia, Wash., and reformed his band, who play a mean rock 'n' roll inspired by blues and novelty monster songs of the '60s. Check out songs by both bands below.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #66: Bringing Human Rights Home, City As Canvas, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Fashion Week

Posted by Billyjam, February 5, 2014 07:30am | Post a Comment

Tonight (Wednesday Feb 5th) Amnesty International will host a star studded event at Brooklyn's Barclays Center that will include Madonna, Tegan and Sara, The Flaming Lips, Blondie, Yoko Ono, The Fray, Lauryn Hill, Imagine Dragons, the Cold War Kids, and Pussy Riot. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina of the Moscow based feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who made news headlines in 2012 when band members were sentenced to two years imprisonment following a performance protest in a major Moscow cathedral aimed at the Orthodox Church leader's support of the election campaign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will not be performing music but speaking (via a translator) to the audience at the big event tonight where they will be introduced by Madonna who was among those championing their cause when they were imprisoned calling them "my fellow freedom fighters." The reason why the Pussy Riot members will be at the Amnesty event is, according to Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's Facebook wall because the organization did much to "Support us while we were in prison and their work is very important for activists and inmates all over the world."

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Album Picks: Xiu Xiu, Juan Wauters, Marissa Nadler

Posted by Billy Gil, February 4, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

Xiu XiuAngel Guts: Red Classroom (CD or LP)

Xiu Xiu’s best album in years harkens back to their darkest early days with an uncompromising sound. Trading in the pop tones of  his last couple of albums for a palette of grays and blacks, aided by harsh (in the best way) analog synths, Angel Guts gets Jamie Stewart back into his most confrontational mode, though there are still unmistakable pop hooks (something Stewart hasn’t quite ever gotten credit for) lurking beneath songs like “Stupid in the Dark.”

 

 

Juan Wauters N.A.P. North American Poetry (CD, LP or Download)

The Beets frontman trades in his band’s lo-fi for a refreshingly naive folk sound that echoes the melodies of classic garage-rock as if they were played by a busker sitting on the plaza steps and gleefully wasting his time away. Sometimes silly yet deceptively intriguing songs make you long for days of little responsibility.

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Oakland Public Library Celebrates Black History Month with Soul Explosion!!!

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2014 09:44am | Post a Comment

Oakland Public Library (OPL) is celebrating Black History Month in various ways at its different branches throughout this month including its soul and R&B music-themed Black History Month Soul Explosion!!! this evening (Tuesday, Feb 4th) at 6pm at the OPL Lakeview branch on El Embarcadero down by Lake Merritt. Local DJ, musician, and record store owner Ed'N'Sted will curate a "multimedia excursion into soul" by playing music and videos by such soul/R&B legends as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, The Isley Brothers, and Little Willie John for two solid hours. Tonight's FREE event starts at 6pm sharp and goes until 7:45pm. It takes place in the Meeting Room of the Lakeview branch, located at 550 El Embarcadero Oakland, CA  94610. More info by calling (510) 238-7344 or online here.

In honor of tonight's East Bay Black History Month event, below are select live videos by three of these artists. Included are the Isley Brothers on Soul Train doing "Summer Breeze," James Brown and band in concert in 1989 doing "I Feel Good," and Jackie Wilson performing "To Be Loved," "Lonely Teardrops," and "Alone At Last" on The Ed Sullivan Show in the early 60's. Also below is a really great piece on the short life (he died at 30) of the underrated Little Willie John who Marvin Gaye dubbed "the soul singer's soul singer." This excellent short documentary, entitled Fever: Little Willie John's Fast Life, Mysterious Death, & The Birth Of Soul (also the name of the book), is well worth watching if you are into the history of soul/R&B.

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NAMM 2014 Report with Shing02

Posted by Billyjam, February 3, 2014 12:38pm | Post a Comment

NAMM 2014 Digest [HD] by Shing02 for Amoeblog

For the fifth year in a row hip-hop artist/producer and product designer Shing02 took time out of his busy schedule to produce a video report exclusively for the Amoeblog from the annual NAMM trade show, which has the distinction of being the world's largest trade-only event for the music products industry. Around this time of the year via his NAMM video reports, the super-talented Japanese artist previews all the latest drool-worthy new gadgets, instruments, and sundry music themed electronic inventions months or longer in advance of when they are scheduled to hit the marketplace.

As well as keyboards, guitars, and other instruments, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) features lots of DJ-related equipment. Shing02's been attending the annual mega-scale music product trade shows annual event that takes place every January at the Anaheim Convention Center (across from Disneyland) for over a dozen years now. NAMM is closed to the general public, but Shing02's longtime relationship with Vestax (for whom he designed the unique Fader Board a decade ago and still consults for) gets him a coveted badge to attend the trade event. I have always wanted to attend NAMM and this year, thanks to Thud Rumble's (YogaFrog and DJ Qbert's company) affiliation with the DJ-Tech company, was fortunate to cop a badge to admit entrance.

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Concert Tickets for Sale at Amoeba Hollywood in February 2014

Posted by Amoebite, February 3, 2014 11:32am | Post a Comment

Concert Tix for sale at AmoebaAmoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows, with the added bonus of charging low service fees (if you are 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:

Chuck Ragan

Chuck Ragan and The White Buffalo
Fonda Theatre
May 9

Luscious Jackson

Luscious Jackson
El Rey Theatre
May 30

 

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)
Black Label Society Fonda Theatre 06/07/2014 $35.00
Black Lips El Rey 03/21/2014 $22.00
Boys Noize El Rey 03/19/2014 $30.00
Charles Bradley Fonda Theatre 05/17/2014 $25.00
Dan Croll El Rey 04/04/2014 $18.00
Cultura Profetica El Rey 03/13/2014 $29.50
Cure Convention The Vex Arts 03/01/2014 $16.00
Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr. El Rey 02/28/2014 $20.00
Daley El Rey 04/23/2014 $21.00
Dark Star Orchestra El Rey 04/05/2014 $30.00
Desert Daze Sunset Ranch Oasis 04/26/2014 $45.00
Drive-By-Truckers Fonda Theatre 04/26/2014 $25.00
Galactic El Rey 03/30/2014 $32.00
Gardens & Villa El Rey 03/08/2014 $17.00
G-Eazy (SOLD OUT) Fonda Theatre 02/27/2014 $20.00
Ghost (SOLD OUT) Fonda Theatre 04/27/2014 $25.00
Goldroom El Rey 05/31/2014 $17.00
Mike Gordon El Rey 03/17/2014 $25.00
Hopsin El Rey 03/22/2014 $25.00
Jezabels El Rey 03/26/2014 $17.00
Kodaline El Rey 02/27/2014 $20.00
London Grammar  (SOLD OUT) El Rey 03/25/2014 $22.00
Lord Huron (SOLD OUT) Fonda Theatre 02/28 & 03/01 $22.50
Luscious Jackson El Rey 05/30/2014 $30.00
Stephen Malkmus El Rey 03/28/2014 $25.00
Mavericks (SOLD OUT) Fonda Theatre 04/03/2014 $35.00
Metronomy Fonda Theatre 06/17/2014 $25.00
Notwist Fonda Theatre 06/15/2014 $26.50
Gary Numan The Mayan 03/06/2014 $35.00
OverDoz El Rey 03/23/2014 $22.00
RAC El Rey 04/15/2014 $25.00
Chuck Ragan Fonda Theatre 05/09/2014 $22.50
Real Estate Fonda Theatre 03/11/2014 $25.00
Russian Circles El Rey 03/10/2014 $20.00
Skinny Puppy The Mayan 03/05/2014 $35.00
Slaughterhouse El Rey 04/10/2014 $25.00
Smiths/Morrissey Convention Avalon 03/30/2014 $25.00
Dave Stewart
(Show postponed from 1/30 to 3/14.
All tix for 1/30 show will be honored.)
El Rey 03/14/2014 $25.00
Strypes El Rey 03/31/2014 $20.00
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
Tycho Fonda Theatre 05/08/2014 $20.00
Typhoon El Rey 03/06/2014 $20.00
Suzanne Vega El Rey 05/24/2014 $32.00
VNV Nation The Mayan 04/03/2014 $25.00
Cassandra Wilson Fonda Theatre 05/10/2014 $57.50

 

Show Recap: Crystal Antlers at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, February 3, 2014 10:23am | Post a Comment

Crystal AntlersNothing Is Real was a bit of a dark horse, released last year without as much fanfare as it could have had, given that it’s maybe the L.A. band’s best full-length to date. So it was great to see them play songs from it at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 31, showing off a focus on melodic, dynamic rock songs that fold in some of their psych tendencies in favor of directly tunneling into a listener’s ear. They sounded particularly strong on single “Rattlesnake,” with its ascendant riffs, cool tempo changes and great shout-along chorus. I hadn’t seen the band since their Long Beach days, and it made me nostalgic on a song like “Licorice Pizza,” which features blown-out sax in a call back to their earlier, freakier days. The Sonic Youth-y song “We All Gotta Die,” more of a ballad on the album, sounded full and terrific onstage. “Andrew,” from 2009’s Tentacles, sounded great amongst the new tunes, hurling forth through a washy end and into their last song, which rode a “Heroes”-style Bowie riff while singer Jonny Bell unleashed his best screams.

Check out more photos from the show here.

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The Late, Great Philip Seymour Hoffman

Posted by Charles Reece, February 3, 2014 01:25am | Post a Comment

Here's a better ending from one of my favorite films with Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Synecdoche, New York. He died of a heroin overdose.