Amoeblog

Passing of The Specials Drummer John Bradbury Ends A Year Filled With Many Musician Deaths

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2015 02:02am | Post a Comment

It's been a rough year for music with so many artists in rock, hip-hop, and jazz dying during 2015. It seemed like every week brought more sad news of some other musical great passing. This week alone began with the shocker that beloved hard rock bad-ass Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead and Hawkwind had died at age 70.  Also on that same day news circulated that Stevie Wright, lead singer of the sixties rock n roll band The Easybeats, had died at age 68. The Easybeats, who scored the 1966 hit "Friday On My Mind," was one of the first Australian pop bands to make an international breakthrough in the 1960s. More sad news came on Tuesday morning when it was announced that drummer John "Brad" Bradbury of the legendary UK ska band The Specials had died at age 62. "It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to our great friend, the world's greatest drummer, our beloved Brad. RIP," came the Tweet from the official Special's Twitter account. So far there is no word on the cause of death of Bradbury.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: 1985 LL Cool J & Cut Creator Goes To Maine To Explain Hip-Hop, Rapping and Scratching

Posted by Billyjam, December 29, 2015 02:43pm | Post a Comment

LL Cool J and his DJ Cut Creator school the young Maine audience in hip-hop (June 1985)

"I'm from New York City. I have a house in Brooklyn. I live in Queens. And I got my man Cut Creator; he lives in Manhattan," LL Cool J tells the unlikely audience at one of his early shows on June 21st, 1985. This week's Amoeblog Hip-Hop History Tuesdays rewinds back three full decades to an unlikely locale for hip-hop history -- a small college hall in Waterville, Maine. There at an all ages show the less-than-full auditorium crowd was made up of mostly young school age kids with seemingly little or no familiarity with the still young genre of hip-hop (although I bet that this show changed the musical tastes of many of those in attendance.). It was at that Maine town's Colby College that a most articulate 17-year-old LL Cool J, along with his DJ Cut Creator, brought the gospel of hip-hop to a seemingly unschooled audience. This LL did in a perfectly balanced concert meets lecture session - covering scratching and beatboxing, as well as rapping. It's important to note that at this time, it would still  be years before YO! MTV Raps would bring the Bronx-born music and culture of hip-hop directly into households across the nation.

Not only was hip-hop new to the much world at this stage in time but so too was the future superstar hip-hop artist (and actor) whose name stood for Ladies Love Cool James.  Back in the early summer of 1985 the only record by LL Cool J was his debut single "I Need A Beat."  That Def Jam rap single may have been a hit for the new rapper but, judging by the lackluster reaction of the crowd when he and his DJ performed it, most at this Maine show were unfamiliar with it and its maker.  It would be another five months before the talented teen from Queens, NY would release his huge hit debut album Radio that last month celebrated its 30 year anniversary (Radio available in LP format). But regardless of how unknown he may have been to this audience or how little most seemed to know about hip-hop, nothing deterred LL Cool J.  Young but a true professional, he meticulously broke down and explained all the components of hip-hop in a easy to follow method that was bound to make his audience curious to seek out more. And as such I think this is one of the greatest hip-hop videos from this time period.  I only recently learned of this clip when a friend of the son of concert organizer/producer Mike Starr forwarded it to me via WFMU. She did so to inform me that Starr, who went by the radio DJ name of DJ Time Bomb, had just died (Rest In peace). Reportedly the late Maine DJ/promoter had organized LL to travel to the college to perform and had paid him $500 for the show.  But because LL would be the only only rap act on the bill, the artist was concerned it would a be short performance. So Starr shrewdly suggested he use the opportunity to educate the audience in the elements of hip-hop; particularly scratching, and beatboxing in addition to rapping. This he ably did and more;  even leaving the young impressionable minds with the message of don't do drugs and stay in school! Below is the Krush Groove clip featuring LL Cool J's "I Can't Live Without My Radio" found on both the Krush Groove soundtrack and on LL Cool J's  album Radio.

Rest In Peace, Lemmy Kilmister

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 28, 2015 05:25pm | Post a Comment

Lemmy at Amoeba Hollywood

One of the last great charismatic and hard-living frontmen, Lemmy Kilmister, passed away today at the age of 70 "after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer," as just confirmed on the Motorhead Twitter feed.

Let us remember this giant of hard rawk with an iconic song from each of Lemmy's iconic bands: Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" and his early '70's space rock venture Hawkwind's "Silver Machine." Plus, scroll down for the "What's In My Bag?" video Amoeba shot with his supergroup HeadCat (with Danny B. Harvey of Rockats and Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats).
 




Amoeba Curates January Red Bull Sound Select Show With Rapper Dizzy Wright

Posted by Amoebite, December 28, 2015 01:42pm | Post a Comment

red bull sound select dizzy wrightAmoeba is curating the next L.A. Red Bull Sound Select show on Jan. 7 with rapper Dizzy Wright.

The show takes place at the Bootleg Theater, and it’s $3 with an RSVP or $12 at the door. The show is 21+, and doors are at 8 p.m. The first 50 fans in line will also receive $10 Amoeba gift certificates.

Dizzy Wright grew up in Las Vegas and released several mixtapes before being signed to independent label Funk Volume, which released his debut studio album, SmokeOut Conversations, in 2012. This year, he released his sophomore album, The Growing Process, which reached No. 47 on the U.S. Billboard Chart and featured an appearance by one of his inspirations, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Wright also has said that a project with rapper Logic is in the works.

Watch his video for “Floyd Money Mayweather” below:

Continue reading...

Top 30 Hip-Hop 2015 Hit Albums

Posted by Billyjam, December 27, 2015 07:47pm | Post a Comment

With its number one album being the critically acclaimed Kendrick Lamar modern classic To Pimp a Butterfly, this Top 30 Hip-Hop Hit Albums in 2015 list is one of three Amoeblog hip-hop year-end lists. This list's results are compiled by drawing from various sales figures of the year's top-selling albums, while also taking into consideration overall critical response. The factors included are first week sales on the Billboard Top 100 chart, overall sales at Amoeba, plus Metacritic ratings. A lot of the time, both sales figures and critical ratings are equal, but on some occasions they were not (hence why some albums might rate higher on this chart than lists based solely on sales). Still, overall the Top 30 that made the list is reflective of the most commercially well-received albums in 2015. With a few exceptions and regardless of the order, this top 30 includes most of the top 30 best-selling albums of the year. Exceptions would include Dom Kennedy's By Dom Kennedy and Drake & Future What a Time to Be Alive because both 2015 albums were digital only and unavailable through Amoeba. The list is also reflective of a lot of the artists whose album tracks received major radio airplay in 2015.

Continue reading...

SF Sketchfest Presents Rock Solid with Pat Francis, David Wild, Kyle Dodson and Special Guest Sammy Hagar

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 27, 2015 04:55pm | Post a Comment

Rock Solid with special Guest Sammy Hagar

The San Francisco comedy festival SF Sketchfest is back for its 15th year and runs January 7-24 at various venues around the City. This year the fest features over 200 shows with some of the top comedians and best up-and-coming talent around. Amoeba Music is proud to co-sponsor Rock Solid with Pat Francis, David Wild, Kyle Dodson, and special guest Sammy Hagar on Saturday, January 9 at the Swedish American Hall (2174 Market Street) at 3pm.

Hosted by Pat Francis, Rock Solid is the comedy/music podcast that brings you music, both new and classic, with lots of laughs and musical guests. Joining the fun are Producer Kyle Dodson and Pat’s hilarious rotating co-hosts. For the SF Sketchfest edition, Pat will be joined by Rolling Stone contributing editor and author David Wild. They are thrilled to welcome iconic Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Hagar from Van Halen, The Circle, Chickenfoot, Montrose, and The Wabos.

Tickets are on sale now HERE!

Christmas 2015 White House Mixtape

Posted by Billyjam, December 25, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

Destiny's Child "8 Days of Christmas" (2001): 1 of 14 songs on 2015 White House Holiday Mixtape


Yesterday the White House, via a published Spotify playlist, unveiled the playlist (left) chosen by the president and First Lady (The First Playlist?) for this 2015 Christmas/holiday season. Descriptively entitled Holidays with the Obamas, the virtual mixtape noticeably does not include any hip-hop by the man dubbed by many as the "first hip-hop president." Not even Run-D.M.C.'s ubiquitous holiday hit "Christmas In Hollis" (slightly devalued IMO by its use in a car commercial) that was first released in 1987 when the president was 26 and Michelle was 23 and they were both reportedly fans of hip-hop & rap. Also absent are such hip-hop friends and guests of the current White House as Common and Jay-Z. But then come think of it, neither recorded Christmas songs that I am aware of. However Hova's wife and fellow former White House performer Beyonce did make the current playlist, as part of the female trio that catapulted her to fame.

A live version of Destiny Child's "8 Days Of Christmas" (video above) from the 2001 album of the same name ranks along with such other soul-fueled holiday classics as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (just reissued on 10" picture disc), and Stevie Wonder’s “Someday At Christmas.”  Also here is The Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (audio below), which was initially released on the 1970 full-length Jackson 5 Christmas Album (one of three albums released by the group that year). Released a decade before they were even born, but remaining a Christmas classic ever since, is Eartha Kitt's 1953 recording "Santa Baby." The song has been covered over the decades since by other artists such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande.

New Orleans-born Bay Area soulstress/actress Ledisi's version of "Silent Night" is included as are Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men’s “Let It Snow,” and the late great Luther Vandross' 1995 recording "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (audio below).  As with any music list compiled by any person (especially POTUS), people will find fault and question why such a song was included or why another was not. My critique was, why no rap?, while another's was how come "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto" by James Brown was not included? It's all subjective so we can wonder all we want. However, more telling will be future Barack Obama Christmas playlists after he no longer holds the office of president and will be free to really let loose and include anything he truly wants. I'm visualizing a hardcore rap Xmas playlist featuring songs like the recently reissued Eazy-E "Merry Muthafukin Xmas." But we'll just have to wait and see.

Continue reading...

Best of 2015 Picks From The Hollywood Electronic Staff

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 24, 2015 11:07am | Post a Comment

Deepchord

CHRIS

Deepchord - Ultraviolet Music (Soma)

Petre Inspirescu - Vin Ploile (Mule)

Grad U - Redscale 07 (Redscale)

Gigi Masin - Wind (Bear On The Moon Records)

William Basinski - The Deluge (Temporary Residence)

Steve Hauschildt - Where All Is Fled (Kranky)

Celldod

KYLE

Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia - 1989 (Sacred Summits)

Civil Duty - Civil Duty (The Corner)

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: 1984 KECG 88.1FM, El Cerrrito High Radio Station feat. Talented DJs like Rhymeo Rob & Special One (RIP)

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2015 10:57pm | Post a Comment

"Jam to the sound of the Bay town; K - E - C - G" announces in rhythm over an electro beat one of the young professional sounding KECG DJs. The year was 1984 and the El Cerrito High School radio station was a place to find hip-hop on the FM dial when choices were limited on the radio dial in the Bay Area. The low powered signal (10 to 17 watts) radio station that had miraculously snagged a coveted FCC license in the Bay Area, was located all the way to the far left of the dial at 88.1FM.

You could tune in if you were in El Cerrito or some neighboring parts of Richmond, Berkeley, or North Oakland. KECG only broadcast during school hours and during the school year, but if you caught it when on the air odds are that you would be treated to some great live hip-hop mixes presented an amazingly talented crew of young DJs. In the mid-eighties I was a listener. I got to hear young mic & turntable talents such as Special K, DJ  Rhymeo Rob, and Debonair Pierre who each got involved by taking the rewarding class on their high school curriculum. Not only did these young KECG hip-hop DJ students, who displayed a raw talent and effortless affinity for mixing and scratching as well as announcing, get to learn a new skill that would stay with them forever, but they had a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

I was reminded of KECG radio recently after finding some dusty cassette recordings I had made of KECG back in 1984. With enthusiastic young hip-hop DJs growing up on the then new art form, KECG offered a great example of real hip-hop radio of the day -- whenever school was in session.  Back in that era in the Bay Area, the other limited options to hear hip-hop on the radio included community San Francisco radio KPOO, commercial radio outlet KSOL that featured lunchtime daily mixes and other slots, plus the college stations like KALX and KZSU, which would typically program blocks of hip-hop Sundays or weekends. In contrast, KECG bumped hip-hop during the weekdays. The May and October airchecks I just unearthed featured DJ playlists that included records like "What Is A DJ If He Can't Scratch" by The Egyptian Lover (plus everything else off that "Egypt Egypt" 12" single got a lot of play on KECG!), Knights Of The Turntables' "Techno Scratch," Run-D.M.C.'s self-titled debut album and all their singles up to that point, Ice-T's "The Coldest Rap," Hashim's "Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)" (aka "It's Time"), and funny man Russ Parr as Bobby Jimmy And The Critters' "Big Butt." Like other hip-hop DJs at the that point in music history, the KECG DJs also played lots of similarly BPM driven, funky music. Hence you would also hear such records as Prince's "Erotic City," or (from his movie Purple RainMorris Day & The Time's "The Bird," Chaka Khan's "Chaka Khan," and Shannon's breakout freestyle hit "Let The Music Play."

Continue reading...

Amoeba Hollywood's Best In-Store Shows of 2015

Posted by Amoebite, December 22, 2015 06:11pm | Post a Comment

best in-stores amoeba 2015

We hosted an amazingly cool and diverse lineup of artists with live shows and signings/meet and greets this year! Here are a handful of events that were especially memorable.

The One And Only PPL MVR
October 14

the one and only ppl mvr amoeba

The interstellar Yetis of The One and Only PPL MVR rocked the entire store with their animalistic, theatrical heavy glam rock. Even those who didn’t know what the hell was going on got a thrill as the band’s bigfoot and sasquatch descended the stairs and walked through the aisles of Amoeba. See their performance of “Mad” below.

 

JD McPherson
June 1

jd mcperson amoeba

 A huge crowd came out to see rock ‘n’ roll revivalist JD McPherson show us how it’s done — he and his super-tight band played a hard-driving set in June in support of his latest album, Let the Good Times Roll. Watch his episode of “What’s In My Bag?” below.

Continue reading...

The Best 'What's In My Bag?' Episodes of 2015

Posted by Amoebite, December 22, 2015 01:56pm | Post a Comment

Best What's In My Bag Episodes of 2015

Season 8 has been a pretty big year for our little "What's In My Bag?" series. We kicked off this season with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and yesterday we posted a new episode with GRAMMY royalty, legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis. In between we spoke to a Mexican superstar, a punk poet, an organ virtuoso, Juggalo godfathers, and many, many more artists.

Here is our list of the Top 10 episodes from 2015, but since we couldn't leave it at just 10 check out the honorable mentions as well. Enjoy and thanks for watching!!

10) Michael Shannon

Sometimes you must ask, “What would the man who brings to life some of our most heinous villains listen to when he’s not being creepy as hell?” Actor Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Take Shelter, Revolutionary Road) proved to be intriguingly deadpan as he opened up his bag, revealing an enduring connection to Chicago and a deep knowledge of music. 

Continue reading...

10 Underrated Albums Released in 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, December 21, 2015 05:15pm | Post a Comment

As everyone’s been putting out their top 50 of 2015 lists (including us), there are a few great albums that have been curiously missing. Here are a few albums that should have gotten more love than they did and are worth checking out.

Busdriver Thumbs

L.A.-based rapper Busdriver has never really gotten his due. His latest mixtape and follow-up to 2014’s Perfect Hair has spacey, esoteric beatwork, but Busdriver is never less than engaged—his rhymes on “Hyperbolic 2” and “Much” shake you by the shoulders and rouse you from a daze. Appearances by Anderson .Paak, Jeremiah Jae and Del tha Funkee Homosapien keep things interesting. Hopefully we’ll see a physical release of Thumbs in 2016.

 

Cold BeatInto the Air

Hanna Lew’s Cold Beat grew hookier and more ferocious on their second album, drawing inspiration from coldwave and Blondie for an enjoyably jagged post-punk ride.

Continue reading...

Best of 2015 Hip-Hop: Top Ten Collaborative Projects

Posted by Billyjam, December 20, 2015 03:44pm | Post a Comment

The ease with which hip-hop artists dotted around the globe can instantly connect with one another, along with the current music industry model, are two key contributing factors to the wealth of collaborative projects between artists these days. Compared to the old music model, the average artist today is no longer  beholden to any one record label, hence giving them freedom to act more like free agents. For the recent collaborative project between Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandmanthe promo of the free release was shared by Rhymesayers who handled the video side and Stones Throw who handled audio promo via their Soundcloud of the recording given to fans for free. The project is the five-song EP Lice with various contributing producers including Optiks and Blockhead.

In 2016, Stones Throw will do a limited run vinyl pressing. Stones Throw is the home to another excellent collaboration, Anderson Paak with Knxwledge as NxWorries . Their six-song EP Link Up & Suede is an amazing musical melding of the two talents. Fresh from collaborating on six tracks off Dr. Dre's 2015 hit album Compton, Anderson Paak joined forces with NJ to LA super-gifted prolific producer Knxwledge who got wide attention from his contribution to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, and whose May 2015 Stones Throw release Hud Dreems (also avail in 2LP format) ranks as the best instrumental hip-hop album of the year.

Continue reading...

The 50 Best Albums of 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, December 18, 2015 07:40pm | Post a Comment

1. Tame Impala - Currents

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker shifts gears a bit for his third album, drawing as much from ’80s soul and disco as he has from prog-rock and psychedelia. Though such a change could threaten to derail a good thing, Parker is the consummate perfectionist, and Currents’ various strands are braided together without a hair out of place. Opener “Let It Happen” builds from a proggish uphill chug into a psychedelic freakout and finally hits its stride with a silky disco beat. “Eventually” relies on rock dynamics but uses fat synthesizers to achieve its booming changes. And a tune like crystalline psych-funk jam “The Less I Know the Better” seems to marry all of Parker’s influences into a perfect amalgam, calling to mind everything from Michael Jackson to My Bloody Valentine. Through it all, Parker is the same chill knob-twiddler he’s always been, but he’s come out of his shell a bit more—it takes confidence to command a song like “’Cause I’m a Man,” which gloriously oozes ’70s cheese, akin to Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” or 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love.” From the get-go, Parker himself seems to be reflecting on the change—“Something’s trying to get out/And it’s never been closer,” he sings on “Let It Happen.” It’s confirmed by the time we get to “Yes I’m Changing,” ostensibly a breakup ballad but it seems more pointedly about an introvert accepting accidental stardom (“Curse indulgence and despise the fame/There’s a world out there and it's calling my name”). This lyrical theme, the sense that Parker is coming into his own as not only a songwriter and performer but human being, gives Currents a unity that even the superb Lonerism didn’t have. In every way, Currents is a complete triumph, both as a fascinating headphones album for production junkies and as a set of immaculate psych-pop songs that feels endlessly giving.

Continue reading...

my top 50 albums of 2015...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 18, 2015 05:15pm | Post a Comment

















#1 Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle (6131 Records)
These are truly the kind of albums that I live for every year. They just seem to come out of nowhere. I knew after listening to the first song that I was going to love this album. She is sort of like a young Chan Marshall of Cat Power. A beautiful and haunting voice that I just can't resist. An album I want to listen to again as soon as it ends. I have always been a fan of anything Mark Kozelek and Bill Callahan. All things dark and introspective. And she will fit nicely on your shelf next to those artists. I never find music like this depressing. There were a lot of great albums out this year but it was sort of hard to come up with my favorite of the year. But as soon as I finished this album for the first time I knew that I had found it. A perfect album.

#2 Tamaryn - Cranekiss (Mexican Summer)
This is the third album by Tamaryn but my favorite by them so far. And it is really rare to make an album this good on your third try. A perfect album for fans of anything dream pop or shoegaze. Tamaryn often sounds to me like 90s shoegaze greats like Cocteau Twins, Cranes or Curve. I have spent a lot of time with this album this year. The perfect album for long drives home from work. I can never get enough of this genre and am so happy that bands keep putting out albums like this.






#3 Jessica Pratt - On Your Own Love Again (Drag City)
I am so happy that Jessica Pratt found her way to Drag City. This is just the perfect place for her. This album was one of my favorites from the first part of this year. I listened to it almost every day for a couple of months. It is really an album that feels like it is from another era. It just completely takes me over when I listen to it. I sort of feel like I am watching some British 60s folk art film when listening to this album. She has a amazing and unique voice. Super talented lady. I am so impressed by this album.





#4 Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon (True Panther Sounds)
I really got obsessed with 70s soft rock a couple of years ago. I couldn't stop listening to Jim Croce, ELO, 10cc, Harry Nilsson and Al Stewart. Then along came Tobias Jesso Jr. who seriously sounds like all those dudes. This is another album that I fell in love with before the album had even finished. It will transport you right back to the 70s. I was too young to really remember the 70s. But I have listened to enough music from the era to know this is what it felt like musically at least. I have no problem with all the artists these days obsessed with the 80s and 90s. But it is nice to find someone actually going back a bit further and doing something different.



#5 Grimes - Art Angels (4AD)
This is the fourth album by Grimes. But really the second album for most of us. I still have not had a chance to listen to her first two albums since they were reissued. But this is a bit of a departure from her last album Visions. It is still very much Grimes. But more pop and accessible. Sort of her take on 90s pop music. Imagine if Britney Spears or Kylie Minogue were Canadian and a bit weirder. Grimes is the first of many Canadians on my list this year. That video for "Flesh Without Blood" is seriously one of my favorites of the year. However Kill V. Maim is my favorites song on the album. This is one of the funnest albums of the year. But you should probably avoid it if you like your music less fun.




#6 Ryan Adams - 1989 (Blue Note)
I really did not expect to love this album as much as I do. I never listened to the Taylor Swift album that this is a cover version of. However Taylor Swift is unavoidable and I somehow knew most of the songs already. But Ryan Adams strips down the sugary sweetness of Taylor Swift and makes 1989 something totally different. I have always been a big fan of Ryan Adams. But he is seriously the best when he is doing covers. I still think his cover of "Down In A Hole" by Alice In Chains is one of the best covers ever. Every time I listen to this album I love it even more. And it has not really made me want to go listen to Taylor Swift. But it certainly has made me realize she writes a really good pop song. I am hoping this trend continues and PJ Harvey covers the Miley Cyrus album Bangerz next year. It could be amazing.


#7 Small Black - Best Blues (Jagjaguwar)
This album is for fans of dreamy and synth pop from bands like Washed Out or Wild Nothing. While everyone else was listening to Tame Impala I was getting more and more obsessed with this Small Black album. It is a brilliant little album that will probably fall under most peoples radar. But it is addictive. If you get addicted to things like dream pop. Like a drugged out more dreamy New Order or Human League. Or like a New Wave version of The Verve. 








#8 Nite Fields - Depersonalisation (Felte)
This is another album that I spent a lot of time with in the beginning of this year. The album is super dark and dreamy. This band is sort of Australia's 2015 version of Joy Division. They are a mix of post punk and electronic jangly dream pop. The album cover is super goth but they don't exactly sound like that album cover might make you think. They are more Chameleons than Chris & Cosey. But fall somewhere in between. 








#9 SOAK - Before We Forgot How To Dream (Rough Trade)
Any of these album in my top ten this year could have easily been in my #1 spot. It just really depends what mood you found me in or what month of the year it was. This album falls into the Julien Baker category of modern dark folk. Her voice is another one of those fantastic haunting voices that gets me every time. Hard to believe this album came out of an Irish teenager. An excellent and haunting debut album. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.






#10 Max Richter - from Sleep (Deutsche Grammophone)
I have been a long time fan of Max Richter since Blue Notebooks came out in 2004. So I am always excited to hear whatever he puts out. Sleep is an 8 hour album he released this year that is meant to lull you off to sleep. I actually have not tried that yet. But definitely plan on it. from Sleep is a shortened 60 minute version of Sleep. The album is fantastic and haunting classical music. Track 2 "Path 5" on this album is the one that I keep going back to. One of the most beautiful and haunting songs that I have ever heard.




#11 The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness (Republic)
Please don't judge The Weeknd for appearing on the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack. The Weeknd has given us another great R&B album this year. I totally fell hard for his last album and am probably now a fan for life. There was a point in the 80s and 90s when I was a really big fan of R&B. But in my opinion there are just not any more great R&B albums that come out these days. But every once in a while we get artists like Frank Ocean and Abel Tesfaye. He is sort of like the Canadian R. Kelly. "Often" could easily be a 90s R. Kelly song. But with a more modern futuristic sound.




#12 Beach House - Depression Cherry (Sub Pop)
I am always happy to have a new Beach House album in my life. But this year Beach House gave us two new albums in one year. Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars are both great additions to the dreamy Beach House Catalog. But I honestly had not even spent enough time with Depression Cherry when the second album came out. This one might be my favorite but that could all change once I spend more time with Thank Your Lucky Stars. I saw them perform these songs live recently and it really made me fall in love with these albums even more.




#13 Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (Ashtmatic Kitty)
I am still waiting patiently for Sufjan to continue his albums about each state series. But I am starting to realize it will probably never happen. But part of me is really keeping hope alive that he is secretly working on them and will someday release a 50 CD box set. But for now we thankfully have the beautiful Carrie & Lowell. Every time I listen to Sufjan it takes me back to the first time I heard him. I am truly in love with that voice of his. And I always love his lyrics. He was also fantastic like always performing these songs live earlier this year.




#14 Pure Bathing Culture - Pray For Rain (Partisan Records)
Some bands only have one good album in them. And I honestly expected this band to be one of those bands. I really loved their album Moon Tides from a couple of years ago. But this new album is just as good. This bands is clearly Portland's version of Cocteau Twins. But a more modern pop version of Cocteau Twins. It is hard to combine fun pop music with dreamy shoegaze. But Pure Bathing Culture has somehow figured out how to. This is one of those albums I love escaping into. 






#15 Jamie xx - In Colour (XL)
I really loved that first xx album like most of us did. But I was a bit disappointed by their second album. Which was probably just because that first album was so good. So I didn't really expect to be loving this album. It for sure goes places that an xx album would never take you. And the songs I love the most feature the vocalist from the xx. But the album is super fun and dancey. A sort of 90s house music version of the xx.









#16 Braids - Deep In The Iris (Arbutus)
This really is the year of Canada for me. I am thinking I might just need to get up and move there. This album felt so familiar when I first put it on. It is like visiting an old friend and then remembering how much you love them. This album sits somewhere between dream pop and electronic twee. This is the bands third album but this is the one that finally made me a super fan.








#17 Colleen - Captain Of None (Thrill Jockey)
I was a big fan of Thrill Jockey back in the late 90s. Trans Am, Tortoise & The Sea & Cake were all among my favorites. This label still manages to surprise me and put out an album like this every once in a while. This album is somewhere between electronica and classical. It reminds of the background music of an older Bjork album. Her vocals are like little whispers and breathing intertwined with the music. A nice album to escape into.






#18 Roman a Clef - Abandonware (Infinite Best)
I really do love this album. It is like some long lost Sarah Records band. They at times sound like Belle & Sebastian mixed with the Human League. Or The Style Council mixed with Momus. This is such a fun quirky album. It puts a big smile on my face every time I listen to it.








#19 Joanna Newsom - Divers (Drag City)
The world is always a better place with a new Joanna Newsom album. I had resisted the genius of Joanna Newsom for many year. But she turned me into a fan when Have One On Me came out in 2010. I went to see her play live for that tour and loved her even more. You really either get her or you don't. Her voice is certainly not for everyone. But I can't get enough of her now. I love this album cover too.







#20 Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm goin down... (Matador)
Kurt Vile is another artist that I look forward to whenever he has something new. I love everything that he does. His voice is seriously like catnip to me. It is smooth and twangy at the same time. I don't really understand how you can't love this dude. He is like the Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen of indie rock.








#21 Miguel - Wildheart (RCA)
It is hard to take that album cover seriously. I sort of love it and think it is ridiculous all at the same time. This album is not your typical R&B album. He travels through genres. I really can't get enough of these songs. Especially "Coffee" and "Waves." This album is super sexy and fun. I really wish more R&B albums still sounded like this. We really need more artists like Miguel in the world.









#22 Chvrches - Every Open Eye (Glassnote)
This is the second album by this Scottish electronic synthpop band. I was really obsessed with their first album. And this second album gives us more of the same. They know how to write a good and addictive pop song. They really are like the new wave bands of the 80s or the teen pop bands of the 90s. The songs get under your skin. They either annoy you or you fall for their sound.







#23 Active Child - Mercy (Vagrant)
Active Child put out a great album back in 2011 called You Are All I See. I actually forgot how much I liked it until I revisited it this year. This is another band I am happy to have back in my life. Pat Grossi reminds me of Boy George and Antony & The Johnsons. Or those new wave bands that mixed soul and new wave like Jimmy Somervile and Bronski Beat. He really has an amazing voice. And like his first album there are a couple of songs that stand out way above the rest. "Never Far Away' is that song that you will want to keep listening to over and over again.






#24 Georgia - Georgia (Domino)
This album is sort of all over the place. But it reminds me of those 90s bands that mixed hip hop and R&B with house music and electronica. Imagine Neneh Cherry singing with Deep Forest or Massive Attack. "Nothing Solutions" is for sure the stand out track on this album. I love albums like this. You don't really know what you are listening to as you journey through this album for the first time. It feels like the future while feeling like a 90s trip hop or dance record all at the same time.







#25 HEALTH - Death Magic (Loma Vista)
HEALTH had a really great song a couple of years ago in the Max Payne video game. So I have been patiently waiting for this album since then. This band always sounds like what you would think the future was supposed to sound like. The future as seen in movies like Blade Runner or The Terminator. They make super dark electronic music. But their songs always have a catchy beauty underneath all of that.








#26 Pictureplane - Technomancer (Anticon)
This is the third album by Travis Egedy and it has been 4 years since his last album. I loved his first two records so much so I was preparing myself to not really like this album. I didn't think he could do it again. But he managed to create another fun album. He somehow mashes up Freestyle and 90s R&B with 90s rave and electronica and makes it sound new and cool. Some of the songs sound like early Moby mixed Snap! and The KLF. I love this dude.







#27 Purity Ring - Another Eternity (4AD)
Yes this is yet another Canadian electronic pop band with elements of new wave and synth pop. But I know what I like and bands like this give me just what I need in my pop music. This is their second album. And I was of course a big fan of their first album. And they managed to put out another album of great hooky pop songs.  Her vocals really remind me of 90s bands like Frente! and The Cardigans.







#28 Camera ShyCamera Shy (Run For Cover)
I need bands like this to give me my supplement of twee while bands like Camera Obscura are not around anymore. I was a big fan of The Softies and all things Rose Melberg. So I am always excited to find a new band that sounds like them. This band feature two members from the shoegaze band Whirr which I am also a fan of.  But they really sound nothing like that band. But they are everything I love about 90s twee. The songs are sweet and adorable indie pop.






#29 Ben Browning - Turns (Yelllow Fear)
Ben Browning is the dude from Cut Copy. So this pretty much sounds like a Cut Copy album. If you like Cut Copy then you will like this album. Another fun album of pop dance music. This album would fit right next to your soft rock new wave albums by Howard Jones, Icehouse & Modern Talking. And there is nothing wrong with that.








#30 jennylee - Right On! (Rough Trade)
Everyone is going solo this year. You may recognize jennylee from Los Angeles band Warpaint. You may also recognize her as the sister of Shannyn Sossamon who was also in Warpaint. This album for sure has elements of new wave and goth like you would expect from somebody in Warpaint. Imagine a combination of a band like Slant 6 mixed with some Xmal Deutschland. I can always get behind some dark and dreamy female vocals.







#31 U.S. Girls - Half Free (4AD)
I dare you to watch the U.S. Girls video for "Window Shades" and not fall in love with Meghan Remy. I rarely actually watch music videos anymore. But I was so pleasantly surprised when I found this one. This album is super addictive and I was clearly caught underneath her spell. The vocals are from another era. Meghan Remy is U.S. Girls and she is of course based in Toronto. Since Canada is where everything I like these days comes from. Imagine if artsy goth music existed back in the glamorous days of Hollywood. I could see her hanging out with Joan Crawford or Jean Harlow. But most certainly Louise Brooks!




#32 Empress Of - Me (Terrible Records)
I am not sure why an artist like Bjork can't put out an album like this. But it is always great to find a new artist putting out an album like this. This is another album of catchy electronic pop. But it is so much more. Lorely Rodriguez has an amazing voice. She crosses some genres while mixing up some R&B style vocals with songs you would find on a Julia Holter or Holly Herndon album. "How Do You Do It" is her irresistible song on the album.







#33 Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Style (Matador)
Not the best named band of the year. But I sure do love this record. They sound as if The Strokes put out an album of Beach Boys covers. FIDLAR mixed up with Pavement and Jay Reatard. You can really only sound like this if you are in your 20s. But its fun to revisit that feeling of being so young. These guys are great and I look forward to what they come up with next.







#34 Keep Shelly In Athens - Now I'm Ready (Friends Of Friends)
I was highly anticipating this new album since I loved their album from a couple of years ago. Keep Shelly In Athens is one of the best band names. And yes they are from Greece. And yes they are dream pop. You could probably figure it out from the album cover. I could seriously listen to these guys all day long. I am in my car a lot in LA so I listen to a lot of music in my car. And this is another great album to drive home to. This is not sleep dreamy dream pop. This is electro dream pop. It will keep you up.





#35 Soley - Ask The Deep (Morr Music)
I am always hoping I will find another Icelandic musician to get obsessed with. And I was happy to find something on Morr Music I liked so much. I loved this label many years ago but honestly have not been paying much attention to what they have been putting out lately. This album is beautiful and haunting.










#36 Deerhunter - Fading Frontier (4AD)
I usually end up liking everything Bradford Cox and Deerhunter put out. But I sort of take them for granted. I have not really spent the time with this record that it deserves. The last couple of Deerhunter records are always so comforting to me for some reason. They make me feel good but I can never quite explain it. There is always something a bit weird about these records. But they are also so pretty and catchy.







#37 Title Fight - Hyperview (ANTI-)
I always have to find something a bit Emo to listen to every year. I miss the days of The Get Up Kids and Sunny Day Real Estate. I seriously had a period in my life where I listened to Sunny Day Realy Estate almost every day. And I usually like my Emo with a bit more darkness and shoegaze. So this new album is perfect for me. Putting on this record feels like putting on one of your old favorite albums.







#38 Cheatahs - Mythologies (Wichita)
There was really no way that I was not going to love this record. It was made for people just like me.  It sounds like early 90s great days of shoegaze. This could be a long lost record by Chapterhouse, Swervedriver or Pale Saints. It really is that good. And it only gets better the more that I listen to it.









#39 EZTV - Calling Out (Captured Tracks)
This is my jangly power pop album pick of the year. This album is seriously dreamy. Like the boy or girl you had a crush on in high school. This is another album that I spent a lot of time with this year. It could easily be higher on my list. It probably should be. But there were just too many good albums this year.










#40 Ceremony - The L-Shaped Man (Matador)
I am sure that the punk fans of this bands earlier albums may not all be in love with their current post-punk Joy Division sound. But I could not be happier. The songs all sound urgent. Like they are actually living in late 70s and early 80s days of Joy Division and A Certain Ratio.








#41 Steve Hauschildt - Where All Is Fed (Kranky)
Steve Hauschildt is part of the group Emeralds. I really liked that last Emeralds record. So was curious about this album. This album is a more new age version of Emeralds. More ambient and background music. But such a great record. This is also one of those records I can just put on repeat and listen to over and over again all day. Sort of like a mellower Blade Runner soundtrack. A really beautiful album. I just want to get lost inside this record whenever I put it on.






#42 Mark McGuireBeyond Belief (Dead Oceans)
Mark McGuire is also a former member of Emeralds. And he is also fantastic.This album is a perfect companion piece to the Steve Hauschildt album. This album would absolutely be considered new age if it had been releases in the 70s or 80s. However this album is a bit louder and darker than you might expect. It at times turns into a prog rock jam session. But there is nothing wrong with that.







#43 Sarah Bethe Nelson - Fast-Moving Clouds (Burger)
Burger Records has been putting out some great albums the last couple of years. I was super happy to come across this one. This album is straight up Juliana Hatfield as if she was on Saddle Creek Records. Like Juliana Hatfield "So-Called Angels" on My So-Called Life. And sometimes I need a little Juliana Hatfield in my life.








#44 Nic Hessler - Soft Connections (Captured Tracks)
I actually only have two albums released by Captured Tracks on my list this year. And Nic Hessler is one of them. He had formerly recorded as Catwalk. I love this record. I have serious love for this record. It is the janglier side of Captured Tracks. A very catchy album that deserves much repeated listening.








#45 Helen - The Original Faces (Kranky)
Helen is the shoegazey project of Liz Harris of Grouper. This album took a while to really grow on me. It subtly sneaks up on you. It is dreamy distorted pop. Not an album for everyone but like all things she does it is worth the effort you put into it.











#46 Heathered Pearls - Body Complex (Ghostly International)
This album reminds me of an Aphex Twin album. It is an ambient album that you can dance to. It is like a John Carpenter soundtrack made for a dance party. This album is addictive and always puts me in a sort of trance.









#47 Express Rising - Fixed Rope (Numero Group)
I am still not absolutely convinced that this is a new album. Numero Group is usually a reissue label so when I first listened to this record I figured it was some long long new age record. Maybe a long lost Angelo Badalamenti score. This album is basically a new age ambient jam session. But I love every minute of it. It soothes the soul.







#48 Low - Ones & Sixes (Sub Pop)
I could not forget about my old friends Low. I often revisit their old albums. There is just nobody quite like them. They always take me back to my early years in San Francisco back in the late 90s. I have to say this this band can still put out an excellent album. I love me some slowcore and they are the masters. Another hauntingly fantastic album from Low.








#49 Jaakko Eino Kalevi - Jaakko Eino Kalevi (Weird World)
Jaakko combines elements of R&B, folk and synth to create this album. His song "Deeper Shadows" is like Sade meets New Order. A great little album from this dude from Finland. It gets weird and experimental at times. But this album just great.









#50 Beach Slang - The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (Polyvinyl)
It is always nice to find a band that can bring you back to the way you once felt. And I really do love the name of this album. This album could be a serious contender for 90s alt rock album of the year. Full of punk rock anthems. This album could also be an old Cursive or Los Campesinos! record. This album is better than most of the bands that try to have this same sound. A great record in a really great year of music.







 

10 Gift Ideas for Kids at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 16, 2015 05:30pm | Post a Comment

Some people think of Amoeba stores as a giant playground for music and film lovers. And fittingly, we've got a ton of great stuff that would make a good gift for children, either at the holidays or all year round. Check out 10 of our picks below.

Books & Comic Books

Amoeba has a children's book section where you can get inexpensive books that are used but in great shape. We've also got a healthy comic book and graphic novel section for the superhero fan.

comic books

T-shirts

Some of our band T-shirts and Amoeba gear also comes in children's sizes, and we've even got adorable baby onesies!

Amoeba Baby Onesie
 

Toys

We have a ton of toys at Amoeba Hollywood, from football stars to X-men. And right now, we're highlighting our Star Wars toys at a pop-up shop at Amoeba Hollywood!

amoeba toys

Funkos

10 Music Gift Ideas for Tweens & Teens

Posted by Amoebite, December 15, 2015 08:05am | Post a Comment

10 music gift ideas

Got a tween or teenager’s to shop for? Looking to expand their musical horizons? Check out some of our music recommendations!

If they like Nicki Minaj or Iggy Azalea, check out Shamir’s Ratchet.

shamirLike Ms. Minaj, Shamir can sing, rap and makes dance music with a healthy dose of sass. Shamir’s androgynous style speaks to how kids are throwing out old notions of gender and stereotypes, thanks to teen idols like Miley Cyrus taking that bull by the horns. But Shamir’s lyrics are actually a lot less raunchy than either Minaj’s or Cyrus’, making him a better choice for younger teens.

 

If they like Lana Del Rey (and speak Spanish), check out Carla Morrison’s Amor Supremo.

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Interview With Publisher of Envelope Pushing Underground Magazine, The Booty Crack (1994 - 2002)

Posted by Billyjam, December 15, 2015 07:07am | Post a Comment

Understandably, the imagery alone of bygone Bay Area-published magazine The Booty Crack scared away some potential readers.That minority of readers mistakenly deemed the envelope-pushing magazine as just too plain "ignant" for their tastes. The rapzine's in-your-face editorial style, raw street language, and no-holds barred content was an affront to their sensibilities, and the expectations of what a hip-hop magazine should be.

Simply put, The Booty Crack was unlike any other hip-hop magazine up until that point in time. It was at the beginning of 1994 when San Jose A&R man-turned-publisher Andre Barefield put out the first issue of the controversial but popular, game-changing magazine. At that time there was a wide choice in the ever-growing field of hip-hop publishing. There were many magazines on newsstands and at record stores that covered hip-hop music as well as various aspects of the culture and interrelated topics too (b-boying, graffiti, sports and sneaker fashion, etc.). There were regional zines like The BOMB hip-hop magazine out of San Francisco and The Flavor out of Seattle. Then, of course, there were the more widely distributed national ones like the Source, Rap Pages, and Rap Sheet. The latter's tabloid newspaper style was a format shared by The Booty Crack. But all similarities between The Booty Crack, Rap Sheet, and those other hip-hop magazines ended there.

While most rap writers and hip-hop magazines at the time fawned over their subjects, The Booty Crack talked shit on them and everyone else they covered in their avidly read pages. In fact, The Booty Crack went beyond just music. It was a hip-hop themed but also about the people and the culture surrounding it - and not always the prettiest parts. Pioneering its own brand of confrontational journalism, The Booty Crack was fearless in what it published. Long before the shaming era of the internet age, The Booty Crack was shaming and calling out people publicly in its Buster of the Month and its Nympho Info columns. As a result they landed in many lawsuits with the unhappy subjects of these columns.  Naturally, those not targeted in these printed attacks loved reading these exposes about others.

Continue reading...

Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt, Gangsta Gibbs is Back with Another One

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 14, 2015 06:00pm | Post a Comment

By doubleay

Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs is back to gift us another album. Gibbs' new release, Shadow of a Doubt, Freddie Gibbs "Shadow of a Doubt"was dropped with his label ESGN, but it might not be what you’d expect if you’ve only heard his last project.

Gibbs' last album, Pinata, was released in 2014 and made just about every music reviewer’s albums of the year list. Produced by Stones Throw super-producer Madlib, Pinata has a more traditional hip-hop sound with brilliant and soulful sampling. Pinata received unanimously positive reviews, but Gibbs is not softening up in the slightest for his most recent release.

Shadow of a Doubt comes across as a more contemporary hip-hop album with its fairly ‘trap’ style production. Shadow of a Doubt features beats from Boi-1da, Tarentino of 808 Mafia, and KAYTRANADA, all of whom are considered popular and reputable producers this year. Gibbs is one of the few rappers out with the prowess to excel in many different styles. This album exemplifies Gibbs’ capability to do what all of mainstream hip-hop is doing, but simply do it better.

Continue reading...

Amoeblog Exclusive: Moogfest Dial Tones LA, Dec 20th with YACHT, Nosaj Thing, & RSVP for limited space Synth Workshop

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2015 05:29pm | Post a Comment

In following last week's Amoeblog report on the richly diverse lineup for the Moogfest 2016 happening in Durham, NC in five months, here's an Amoeblog exclusive on the related Moogfest Dial Tones event in LA. Taking place at the Downtown Los Angeles Ace Hotel on Sunday, December 20th, Moogfest Dial Tones LA will be curated by acclaimed LA producer Nosaj Thing and feature a DJ after party on the rooftop curated by YACHT, who are among the 100+ acts scheduled for next May's festival dedicated to creator Dr. Robert Moog. Left is cover art of YACHT's most recent and most ambitious release to date. The album Thought The Future Would Be Cooler (also available in white vinyl) first arrived in Amoeba in October.

A kind of warm-up to the Moogfest 2016, the international Moogfest Dial Tones series began a week ago with a kickoff event in Durham.  In partnership with Ace Hotels, the Dial Tones series is a refreshing balance of creative workshops and performances. Think daytime synth workshops and nighttime synth drone performances.

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Kamasi Washington

Posted by Amoebite, December 14, 2015 04:28pm | Post a Comment

Kamasi Washington at Amoeba Hollywood

Kamasi Washington is a Los Angeles-born jazz saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. He studied Ethnomusicology at UCLA, where he played music with faculty members such as Billy Higgins, Kenny Burrell, and Gerald Wilson. Washington’s skill as a tenor soloist in the Miles Davis/Ornette Coleman tradition has landed him on albums like Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly and he’s played alongside artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Chaka Khan, and Raphael Saadiq.

Kamasi Washington The EpicIn 2015, Washington released his debut full-length, a 3-disc album aptly entitled The Epic, on Flying Lotus's label Brainfeeder. What is even more surprising is how accessible and listenable it is across its three discs without once aiming for a cheap crossover or diminishing Washington’s talents or sound. The Epic has been named one of the best of 2015 by The New York Times and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album.

Continue reading...

10 Last Minute Gift Ideas From Amoeba

Posted by Amoebite, December 14, 2015 12:15pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba is always a great place to find a gift for that person who’s hard to shop for, whether they’re a film buff, music nerd, toy collector or book fan. But if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own gift set from stuff we sell at Amoeba. Allow us to give you a few ideas on how to make your gift from Amoeba extra special.

Star Wars Gift Set

star wars pop up shop

Right now, we’ve got a Star Wars pop-up shop happening at Amoeba Hollywood, where we’ve collected all the T-shirts, toys, posters, movies and more that we sell, in celebration of the upcoming release of The Force Awakens. Snag a T-shirt, Funko figuring of Boba Fett and Force Awakens soundtrack (out Dec. 18) for a killer gift pack.

 

Cat LPs

lil bub lp
Not one, but two recently released LPs are designed for the cat lover. First, there’s Lil Bub’s Science & Magic: A Soundtrack to the Universe, a trippy set of cosmic synth adventures inspired by Instagram cat celebrity Lil Bub. And for that elusive hip hop fan who’s also into felines, there’s Meow the Jewels, a version of Run the Jewelscritically acclaimed Run the Jewels 2 album made entirely from cat noises. They’re both perfect for any hipster cat fan with a healthy sense of irony.

Continue reading...

OAKNYE 2016: Celebrate NYE in Oakland with Three Amazing Events

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 13, 2015 05:13pm | Post a Comment

OAKNYE 2016

Haven't decided how to ring in the New Year? Well, look no further because OAKNYE 2016 has three elaborate events planned and each will be a celebratory musical experience to remember. 
 

Sinkane
Sinkane: Ahmed Gallab

The evening starts with EPIC DINNER & PARTY AT OZUMO (2251 Broadway). Co-sponsored by Amoeba Music and Uber, Epic Dinner is an all-you-can-eat Japanese feast from 7:30pm - 10pm, followed by a party (10pm - 2am) featuring a Sinkane DJ set! Sinkane frontman Ahmed Gallab has worked with musical titans like Damon Albarn, David Byrne, The Lijadu Sisters, Money Mark, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Blood Orange, Caribou, Of Montreal, YeaSayer, and many others. Also on deck are DJ Proof (Sweater Funk, Massive Selector, Wonder-Full SF, Soul Slam SF) and DJ Wazir, who has been a mainstay of the Bay Area underground house scene. 

Continue reading...

Danger Diabolik Screens at SF's Balboa Theatre

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 13, 2015 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Danger Diabolik

By Brett Stillo

Diabolik, international super-thief, jetsetter, and iconic anti-hero of the Fumetti (aka Italian comics), is Danger Diabolikcoming to town for a rare one night screening at San Francisco’s historic Balboa Theatre on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:30 pm, thanks to Super Shangri-La Show.

Danger Diabolik is an all-out assault of 1960s pop art/comic book pulp from the legendary master of B-movie exploitation-as-art, Mario Bava. Picture a 105-minute episode of the old Batman TV series, but the “Special Guest Villian” ends up being the guy you root for. John Philip Law’s Diabolik is the ideal cinematic scoundrel, a cooler-than-cool criminal mastermind fighting the system and breaking the bank for his own personal kicks. Diabolik has it all: money, cars, a swingin’ underground pad, and an ultra-sexy accomplice played by the stunning Marisa Mell.

Danger Diabolik was a low-budget production (the film had a $400,000 budget in 1967 dollars), but Bava makes it all look like a multi-million dollar epic. He keeps the action twisting and turning at a steady pace on curving Italian roads, creating a visual world that jumps off the screen like panels out of a comic book filled with heists, explosions, jaguars, gangsters, and submachine guns. The action is accented by a supercool soundtrack by the one and only Ennio Morricone. It’s silly, sexy, sleek, and stylish! In an era known for spoofs and romps, Diabolik out-romps them all.

Continue reading...

5 New Holiday Vinyl LPs That Don't Suck

Posted by Billy Gil, December 11, 2015 02:40pm | Post a Comment

When you're looking for holiday music, there are always the old reliables, but sometimes we need some fresh tunes. Just like we did last year, here are a few great new holiday albums that have just been released on LP.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-KingsIt’s a Holiday Soul Party

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings come up with a winning set of originals and classic holiday tunes, all rendered in their impeccably performed and produced retro-funk-soul style. The band strikes all the right notes, from celebratory (a “White Christmas” rave-up is an easy standout) to wistful (“Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” and “Please Come Home for Christmas” are especially touching). It hangs together beautifully as a set and would work perfectly as an upbeat backdrop to any holiday soiree.

 

Various Artists Santa's Funk & Soul Christmas Party Vol. 3

If Sharon Jones and her wrecking crew whet your appetite for more vintage holiday goodness, check out this collection of funky cult classics. It’s the third set of soul tunes for the holidays and features tracks like Joe Shinall’s mistletoe groove “Sock It to ’Em Santa.” 

Continue reading...

New Vinyl Reissues from Spoon, Earl Sweatshirt, Gary Numan, The Pharcyde & More

Posted by Amoebite, December 11, 2015 02:08pm | Post a Comment

Vinyl Reissues

Want weekly updates about new releases & pre-orders? Subscribe to our brand new vinyl email newsletter.

This week's vinyl reissues include anniversaries from Spoon, Rush, and Rancid, as well as two albums by Earl Sweatshirt appearing on vinyl for the first time. Here are the reissue highlights for December 11, 2015.

Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus Vinyl Reissue

Nick Cave - Abattoir Blues & Nocturama LPs
[180gm vinyl]

Nick Cave's 2003 release Nocturama and the 2004 double album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus are both now available on 180 gram vinyl. The vinyl transfer of Abattoir was overseen by Mick Harvey and cut at Abbey Road.
Gary Numan Pleasure Principle reissue Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle, Replicas & Telekon LPs

The Beach Boys Song "Darlin'" Gets Newfound Attention Thanks to The Big Bang Theory

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2015 09:51am | Post a Comment


The Beach Boys
song "Darlin'" has garnered overnight newfound attention after being featured in last evening's  broadcast of The Big Bang Theory.  The Sheldon character (Jim Parsons), who rarely takes an interest in music, hums the melody of the unknown song throughout the latest episode entitled The Earworm Reverberation of TBBT, until finally figuring out that it is a song by The Beach Boys. "Darlin'" was originally a 1967 single (b-side "Here Today") taken from The Beach Boys album Wild Honey  of that same year. It has since been included on such collections as The Very Best of The Beach Boys: Sounds of Summer and The Very Best of The Beach Boys.   [Spoiler Alert!] The Beach Boys song acted the main story arc in the ongoing on-off relationship of Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik).

Continue reading...

Album Picks: Grimes, jennylee, Cass McCombs, Archy Marshall

Posted by Billy Gil, December 11, 2015 08:47am | Post a Comment

Grimes Art Angels

Just released physically, Grimes’ Art Angels is a brightly colored collection of artpop magical realism. The drumline beats and sunny guitars and melodies of “California” and the title track could almost pass for something on mainstream radio, if not for Clare Boucher’s clarion voice cutting through. Similarly, the nimble “Flesh Without Blood” might not be the most original song Grimes has put to tape, but it’s the catchiest and is damn near irresistible. Yet in between those songs we get “Scream,” which has none of the safety of her more accessible tunes, between Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes’ twisting flow and Boucher’s curdled screech. The previously released “REALiTi” throws fans of her more straightforward electro-pop a bone, though it continues with the posi vibes and influences of K-pop and early ’90s house that flow through the rest of the album. Meanwhile, “Venus Fly,” her spacey hip hop duet with Janelle Monae, is a pure delight, coming off like a futuristic art-school spin on the Spice Girls, and “Kill vs. Maim” has the feel of the drama kids taking over a pep rally with Boucher’s yelp simultaneously spirited and demented. Boucher has no use for genre boundaries and is seemingly allergic to negativity, all of which gives Art Angels an unbeatable all-embracing energy. The biggest change from Visions is that Boucher’s personality is more front-and-center; whereas that album could be more cold and cerebral in its in-between tracks, Art Angels is entirely engaging, and even its most digitized moments are stained with blood. 

Continue reading...

Gary Numan, GZA, The Orb, ODESZA, Mad Professor, Sun Ra Arkestra & Laurie Anderson Among Announced Acts At Moogfest 2016

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2015 09:26pm | Post a Comment

The lineup for Moogfest 2016 (May 19 - 22) -- the annual tribute to Dr. Robert Moog that brings together music, art, and technology -- promises be a richly diverse one with performers including Gary Numan (whose first three albums are being reissued on vinyl this week) GZA, Mad Professor, and The Orb. Just announced in the video below by synth-loving comedic entertainer (and fest participant) Reggie Watts, Moogfest 2016's lineup of over one hundred musical acts will include ODESZA, Laurie Anderson, Oneohtrix Point Never, Daniel LanoisBlood Orange, Sun Ra Arkestra, DJ Harvey, Explosions in the Sky, sunn O)))Simian Mobile Disco, Ben Frost, Kode9, Lunice, Ryan Hemsworth, and YACHT. In addition to musical performances, Moogfest includes workshops, lectures, and masterclasses such as Reggae Hacker Soundsystem and Radio and the Radiophonic. Meanwhile, speakers and presenters will include former Hollywood Amoebite DJ Lance Rock (reppin' Yo Gabba Gabba!) and author Dave Tompkins (who discussed his book on the evolution of vocoders with the Amoeblog). There will also be art installations and a mini film festival. Moogfest 2016's keynote speakers will be virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier and "transhumanist activist/pharma tycoon" Dr. Martine Rothblatt.

Continue reading...

Mad Skillz Picks Favorite 2015 Hip-Hop Albums & Discusses His Popular Annual Year-End "Rap Up" Series

Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2015 10:25pm | Post a Comment
Mad Skillz' Top Three Favorite Hip-Hop Albums of 2015


1) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation) (avail also in vinyl)
  
J. Cole's still quite popular 2014 Forest Hills Drive is titled after the address in Fayetteville that the North Carolina hip-hop artist born Jermaine Lamarr Cole spent the happiest years growing up in, not the year 2014. However technically 2014 was the release of this 13 track full-length (avail in both CD and LP formats) which was released exactly one year ago on December 9th, 2014 via Jay Z's Roc Nation label. But like most popular albums released at year's end, whose sales continue far into the following calendar year, it is considered by many as a 2015 release. Widely lauded as one of contemporary hip-hop's most engaging storytellers, it is not surprising that emcee Mad Skillz would chose this album as his top pick of the past year.
   


2) Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath)
 
Executive produced by Dr. Dre and released via his Aftermath label, To Pimp A Butterfly is universally popular Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar’s third studio album and follow up to 2012's breakthrough second full-length good kid, m.A.A.d city, Upon its mid March 2015 release Amoeba.com wrote that the album, "doubles down on the idiosyncracies of good kid, eschewing club-friendly tracks in favor of those that cast a light on Lamar’s pure skills as a rapper and wordsmith—always celebrated, yet perhaps distracted by stellar production and good kid’s concept-album style—as well as his ability to put together a layered and compelling album."

Continue reading...

Star Wars Pop-Up Shop & Gift Ideas On Stage at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 9, 2015 04:29pm | Post a Comment

To celebrate the Dec. 18 opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we've got a Star Wars Pop-Up shop happening at Amoeba Hollywood full of out-of-this-world goodies for Star Wars fans of all stripes.

Come by and pick up T-shirts, posters, movies, soundtracks, lunchboxes, Funko figurines and assorted other merch from across the Star Wars galaxy. While you're here, snap a selfie with one of our cardboard cut-outs of Yoda, Chewbacca or Darth Vader!

star wars pop-up shop

star wars pop up shop

 

And be sure to check out our stage at Amoeba Hollywood, where we've got tons of gift ideas and collectibles for the holiday season!

stage amoeba hollywood

amoeba hollywood stage

Imagine No Guns: John Lennon & All The Talented Artists Senselessly Shot & Killed Might Still Be With Us Making Great Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2015 04:09pm | Post a Comment
"Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace"

New York City: By 9am this morning when I passed by Strawberry Fields on the west side of Central Park, already a substantial size crowd had gathered to pay tribute to John Lennon who was murdered 35 years ago on this date.  One guy with eyes closed intently strummed "Imagine" on his acoustic guitar as the solemn crowd around him gently sang along. Dedicated to Lennon's memory, the landscaped section of the vast city park is across the street from the famed Dakota Building. It was outside that NYC landmark on December 8th, 1980 that the beloved Beatle was fatally gunned down and killed by a deranged "fan." 

If Lennon's murder had occurred today undoubtedly there would be politically motivated, second amendment advocates, rushing to defend the use of firearms. I'd bet that they'd reason (as was the case in aftermath of San Bernadino last week) that if John Lennon had been carrying a concealed weapon that he could have defended himself.  Even back in 1980  Lennon's assassination brought forth to public discussion the issue of gun control in America. But even the cold blooded murder of the 40 year old John Lennon did not affect US gun laws, or sales of guns. In fact the sales of deadly firearms has multiplied in the years since; bringing with them the toll of human suffering. This morning Yoko Ono tweeted the image above with the disturbing statistic that in the years since the murder of her late husband that over one million people have died by gun violence. 

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with EL VY

Posted by Amoebite, December 8, 2015 04:09pm | Post a Comment

EL VY What' s in My Bag?

Longtime friends and new collaborators Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls are EL VY. The pair met a decade ago when their respective bands played small club shows on the West Coast. They just released their debut album as EL VY, Return to the Moon, on October 30, 2015.

During a stop in Los Angeles for two sold-out shows at the Troubadour, Matt and Brent stopped by Amoeba Hollywood do a little record shopping. In this "What's In My Bag?" episode, the duo tells stories about their early musical influences, including dancing to Ministry on a riverboat in Cincinatti and a quest for the quintessential live version of a Talking Heads song.

Watch the full episode below:

EL VY - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube

Horror Express Screens at SF's Balboa Theatre, December 14

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 7, 2015 07:25pm | Post a Comment

Horror Express

By Brett Stillo

Horror Express, which will be screened at San Francisco’s historic Balboa Theatre on Monday, Horror ExpressDecember 14 by Super Shangri-La Show, is a grimly fiendish artifact of old-school European horror from the early 1970’s. It's the kind of movie you would stay up late to watch on the Saturday late-night Monster Movie on your local TV station.

Horror Express (1972) was a Spanish production, but it took its cues from Horror Express, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushingthe Technicolor macabre of the Hammer films of the era. Indeed, Hammer’s two greatest stars, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing (who usually faced off at opposite ends of a crucifix and a wooden stake), are teamed up here as rival Edwardian scientists up to their sideburns in skullduggery aboard the Trans-Siberian Express at the turn of the century. The train is packed with intrigue, sinister mustaches, and an ancient cosmic evil unleashed upon the unsuspecting passengers. Throw in Telly Savalas in an over-the-top super-cameo as a Cossak with a New York accent and you have an old-fashioned horror-adventure that combines elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie with Lovecraft-inspired pulp straight out of a moldy old issue of Weird Tales.

Continue reading...

Recap: DC Pierson Hosted a Charity Auction at Amoeba Hollywood for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Posted by Amoebite, December 7, 2015 02:32pm | Post a Comment

DC Pierson hosted a charity auction at Amoeba Hollywood

On Saturday, December 5th the amazingly funny author and comedian DC Pierson hosted a charity auction at Amoeba Hollywood to help us raise money for The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank! We teamed up with the awesome folks at NerdMelt for our December auction and DC Pierson offered up a vast and crazy array of concert tickets, gift certificates to local hot spots, collectibles and more cool stuff.

DC was quite simply H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S, with his zingers and deadpan delivery alternating with high adrenaline, pumping up the bids. "With all the characters at Amoeba today, we could start our own sitcom..." "Yeah, we're taking it THERE, yes we are." 

Some of the goodies we auctioned off on this "pre-holiday" auction:

All together DC and his band of bidders helped to raise $795.00! With with Amoeba Music's match, that means $1,590.00 is going directly to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank! This combined with our donation drive over the past two weeks will help feed so many people over the holidays. Thanks so much to DC and to all the people who come out to our auctions to support--it really makes a difference.

Continue reading...

Noir City Xmas Returns to San Francisco's Castro Theatre, Dec. 16

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 6, 2015 06:37pm | Post a Comment

Noir City Xmas

Noir City once again offers the dark gift of film noir for the holidays. Our friends at the Film Noir Foundation present Noir City Xmas, their 6th annual holiday double feature, on Wednesday, December 16 at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre. This year's dark holiday greetings come in the form of a double dose of Noir Noel: Max Ophuls' The Reckless Moment (1949) at 7:30 and Henry Hathaway's Kiss of Death (1947) at 9:30. Both films will screen in 35mm. Tickets for this exceptional event are only $12 for the double bill (that's less than the cost of a single holiday eggnog at any bar in town).

The Reckless Moment
The Reckless Moment
Kiss of Death
Kiss of Death

In addition to a seasonally themed double bill of vintage noir films, host Eddie Muller will be revealing the complete schedule (and scorching new poster!) for the eagerly anticipated NOIR CITY 14. They will also sell NOIR CITY 14 Passports (full series passes) at the theatre along with some brand new official Film Noir Foundation merchandise, so you can catch up on holiday gift shopping.

Continue reading...

Amoeba SF's Best In-Store Shows of 2015

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 6, 2015 05:17pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba SF's Best In-Store Shows of 2015, Scott Weiland

By Brent James, Amoeba SF Event Coordinator

It was another smashing year for live music here at Amoeba SF! Whether you came to one of our shows or attended an artist signing, there was something for everyone. While ALL of our events rock me to the core again and again, here are the top 5 that are most noteworthy to me.

5. VINTAGE TROUBLE: Thursday, September 24, 2015
A wonderful acoustic set of songs from VT's LP 1 Hopeful Road. This show was a warm-up for their opening gig for AC/DC at AT&T Park where they played for more than 30,000 people! Check them out when they come to a venue near you and have your mind scrambled. 

Vintage Trouble

4. PE 2.0: Saturday, May 30, 2015
Described as "a branch on the Public Enemy family tree", PE 2.0 came in and blew us all away with a live set of music: new tunes and re-workings of older, more obscure Public Enemy songs. Lead MC Jahi never missed a beat and worked the crowd into a frenzy during the almost hour-long showcase! Legend Chuck D watched from the wings like a proud father but didn't perform. Maybe next time ;)

PE 2.0

Continue reading...

Weekly Roundup: KING, Rangda, Kendrick Lamar, La Sera, Golden Daze

Posted by Billy Gil, December 4, 2015 02:52pm | Post a Comment

Last weekly roundup of the year! Check back in with us next year for more coverage of local music from L.A. and the Bay Area.

KING – “Hey (Extended Mix)”

king bandThis gorgeous cosmic R&B love ballad comes from L.A.’s KING. The track gently unfurls its breathy vocals and layered synths so gracefully, you almost miss the nuance that makes the song something special. It’s reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s best, turning a simple sentiment like “You were made for me, and I, you,” from trite to transcendent. The song first appeared on their 2011 EP The Story, which Pitchfork points out got them the attention of none other than Prince. This expanded version will be on their debut LP, We Are KING, which is due in February.

 

Rangda – “To Melt the Moon”

rangdaBen Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance, Sir Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls and Six Organs contributor Chris Corsano come together to craft a serpentine, snarling guitar track called “To Melt the Moon.” Chasny’s psych notes and Bishop’s African-influenced playing dance with Corsano’s steady 5/4 beat like a North African surf-rock track. Rangda’s The Heretic’s Bargain is due Feb. 19 on Drag City. Stream below via Pitchfork.

Continue reading...

Happy 46th Birthday Jay Z + "December 4th" The Grey Album vs. The Black Album versions

Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2015 09:09am | Post a Comment

Certain dates just stick in your head: birthdays, anniversaries, favorite album release dates, and songs about specific dates. "December 4th" by Jay Z is a good example for me. Titled after the rapper-turned-super-successful-entrepreneur's 1969 birth date (Happy 46th birthday, Hov!) today's date, December 4th,  for me is forever intertwined with that Jay Z song.  But it is not the original version of "December 4th" off the artist's 2003 release, The Black Album (avail in CD and LP, formats) that comes to mind. That track, which was understandably overshadowed by such other album cuts as "99 Problems," "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," and "Change Clothes (feat. Pharrell)," is totally eclipsed by the far superior remix of the song that Danger Mouse unleashed the following year off his bootleg hit album The Grey Album. 

As you may recall, that universally popular 2004 album expertly melded Jay Z's Black Album A-Capella version with sampled and looped portions of The Beatles 1969 self-titled double LP commonly known as The White Album. The Grey Album, although never legal because of all the unauthorized samples, would win fans the world over and go on to top countless critics' year-end best album lists for 2004. Indeed the album was a game changer for both the (until then) virtually unknown hip-hop producer as well as for the mash-up genre itself. Danger Mouse accomplished what some of Jay Z's own producers could not in bringing out the very best in the emcee's lyrics and rhyme flow. The Just Blaze-produced "December 4th" was a perfect example. Danger Mouse's totally different production of the song, while simpler and musically much sparser, elevated it from a throwaway, forgettable track to immediately commanding one. It made listeners want to hang onto every word uttered by Jay Z (and his mom who is featured talking in the song) in the engaging autobiographical tale.

Continue reading...

New Vinyl Reissues from The Beatles, Nirvana and More

Posted by Amoebite, December 3, 2015 07:19pm | Post a Comment

Vinyl Reissues

Want weekly updates about new releases & pre-orders? Subscribe to our brand new vinyl email newsletter.

This week's vinyl reissues include heavy-hitters The Beatles and Nirvana. We snuck in a few CD reissues from Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen just for good measure. Here are the reissue highlights for December 4, 2015.

Beatles 1 vinyl reissue

The Beatles1 LP
[180gm Vinyl]

This gatefold double-vinyl reissue features all twenty-seven of the Beatles’ number one hits, with new stereo remixes by Giles Martin, son of the Fab Four’s legendary producer George Martin. The release comes on 180 gram vinyl and includes extras like a poster of Beatles 7” inch sleeves from around the world and four art cards.

1 was also recently reissued in multiple CD formats including a single-disc CDCD/Blu-ray and CD/DVD with a disc of 27 promo videos; and deluxe edition CD/2-Blu-ray and CD/2-DVD with an additional 23 videos.

Pro-Ject Turntables For Sale at Amoeba

Posted by Amoebite, December 2, 2015 12:47pm | Post a Comment
pro-ject essential II turntable red
Pro-Ject Essential II turntable in red


Looking for that perfect gift or hoping to start a record collection? Amoeba has top-of-the-line Pro-Ject turntables in stock at all three stores, which are now lower in price.

Pick up an Essentials II turntable for only $299.98 (or $399.98 with a USB jack). We also have the Carbon turntable available for $399.98 ($499.98 with USB).

And at Amoeba Hollywood, we now have the deluxe Carbon Espirt model in stock for $599.98, featuring a built-in speed box, which gives you button control of 33/45rpm playback. The standard metal platter is replaced by the popular acrylic platter, which is known to improve sound quality (and aesthetics).

At Amoeba Hollywood, we also still carry the out-of-print Carbon USA model for $359.98. Though Pro-Ject turntables are perfect for both audiophiles and aesthetes alike, with impeccable sound and a sleek design, we also carry more inexpensive turntables, such as a Numark portable USB turntable for only $99.98.

Additionally, at Amoeba Hollywood, we are now carrying the following Pro-Ject accessories:

Brush It Anti-Static Brush: $19.98
Cork Platter Mat: $29.98
Spirit Level: $35.98
Acrylic Platter: $159.98
Phono Box PreAmp: $99.98 (also carried in S.F.)
Phono Box USB V: $299.98

Continue reading...

Kool Keith's New Video From "Time? Astonishing!" with L'Orange, Marks Latest In MC's Long & Prolific Career

Posted by Billyjam, December 2, 2015 10:47am | Post a Comment

Following last week's memorable session sitting in with The Roots on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Kool Keith this week unveils the new music video for "The Green Ray." With atmospheric music production by L'Orange, the time travel-themed track is culled from the duo's highly recommended 2015 collaboration album Time? Astonishing! Available in both CD and vinyl/LP as well as via download formats, the Mello Music Group-released full-length has been a steady seller at Amoeba Music since it arrived in the store over the summer.  While digging in the CD and vinyl bins at Amoeba for the Kool Keith collaborative album, you'll find it's just one of numerous releases from the decades spanning the artist's prolific career. 

The ever-evolving, shape-shifting lyricist born Keith Thornton, was first introduced to most hip-hop fans via his original Bronx hip-hop crew The Ultramagnetic MCs' 1988 landmark debut album Critical Beatdown. But that was just a teaser for what was to come from this truly unique lyricist who, in addition to four albums with his crew, has unleashed a bevy of solo work with a myriad of producers and varying record labels over the past two decades. Rhyming in an out of-this-world, stream of consciousness style flow, Keith has adapted many personas and aliases over the years. His many stage personas have included Dr Octagon, Dr. Dooom, Black Elvis, and Poppa Large.

Continue reading...

Marking the end of an Eight Year Venture, or, My Final Post

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 2, 2015 08:39am | Post a Comment
This is my last dispatch for the Amoeblog.

Eric Brightwell

I started blogging for Amoeblog on 26 July 2007. In that time I created a few series for the Amoeblog: One Album Wonders (profiles of bands which only released one album), Brightwell's Top 10 (my favorite tracks from the dawn of the record industry to the present), and Introduction to Subcultural Anthropology, to name a few. I may or may not continue those over at my personal website, so stay tuned and let me know if you're interested.


In the last eight years I've written extensively about holidays, all-female bands, Asian-American Cinemamusic history, interplanetary objects, New Orleans hip-hop, Vietnamese New Wave, visual arts, unrecognized nations, old time radio, film festivals, and many other topics... such as creamsicles

At my own website I have several other columns which have less to do with music or film than those which I created for the Amoeblog. But because this is the Amoeblog, I'll include a few relevant songs. Those columns are:


Huell Howser had California's Gold, in which he explored the non-"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" side of California. In homage I named my explorations California Fool's Gold... not "California's Fool's Gold" because that's too possessive. My focus, too, is more on neighborhoods and communities and less on plastic food or dog's eating avocados. 



Tom Waits's "In the Neighborhood"

*****

FASTFOOD 
UNDEAD


Discussions of adaptive reuse tend to focus on office buildings converted into residences... but what about fast food franchises converted into actual restaurants? 


Denim's "Brumburger"

*****


The streets are one of our greatest public assets. I walk them, I read them, I rep them. 

 

B.G. - "Where You Been?" 

*****


Los Angeles and the Southland is like a sea of suburbs punctuated by pockets of skyscrapers -- oh yeah, and mountains. I love a good skyscraper... and a bad one.


Suede's "High Rising"

*****


According to the 2010 Census, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim urban area is the most densely populated in the US. That's largely on account of the regions housing projects, bungalow courts, garden apartments, luxury highrises, and other multi-family residences. 




DJ Jubilee's "20 Years in the Jets"

*****

Malls and strip malls are overabundant and unromanticized -- except by the developers who give them lofty, pretentious names.. In Los Angeles they were once the fabled haunts of Valley Girls. Nowadays they're where one finds the best restaurants and markets. 



Supermarket's "Supermarket"

*****


When people talk about vertical cities they usually point to ones with the most skyscrapers. How 19th century of them. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has -- thanks to its hills and mountains -- the most varied elevation of any city on earth. Take that Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, and Tehran!



Some dwarves singing "The Misty Mountains Cold"

*****


Los Angeles is, by several measures, the most diverse city on Earth. That diversity is reflected in the presence of Cambodia Town, Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Arabia, Little Armenia, Little Bangladesh, Little Brazil, Little Central America, Little Ethiopia, Little India, Little Russia, Little Saigon, Little Seoul, Little Osaka, Tehrangeles, and Thai Town. It's also home to the largest population of Burmese, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Salvadorans, Samoans, and Taiwanese outside their home countries, in addition to many other ethnicities not represented with an enclave. 




Some people in an advertisement singing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)"

*****

Nobody drives in LA, there's too much traffic. Why would anyone when there are buses, commuter trains, ferries, light rail, bicycle lanes, kayaks, subways, trails, and about 284 days of sun? Cars are for country folk!



Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express"

*****




Perhaps it's only because I've never worked in one but I find those shiny, generic, suburban cubicle farms sat on vast, sparingly designed landscapes to be deeply mysterious and absolutely fascinating for reasons which are hard to articulate.


 

Bill Lumbergh montage from Office Space

*****
Los Angeles is the world’s great Pan-Asian Metropolis. In Los Angeles, Asians and Pacific Islanders comprise more than 15% of population and are the most numerous racial minority and the fastest growing. Recognized Asian ethnic enclaves include Cambodia Town, Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Little India, Little Osaka, Little Saigon, Little Seoul, Little Tokyo, and Thai Town. The Los Angeles urban area home to the largest population of Cambodians, Filipinos, Koreans, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese outside of their respective home countries. There are large populations Bangla, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Pakistanis, and Samoans; and substantial but diffuse populations of Afghanis, Bhutanese, Burmese, Hawaiians, Hmong, Indonesians, Laotians, Malaysians, Mongolians, Nepalis, Singaporeans, Sri Lankans, Tibetans, Tongans, Uyghurs, and Uzbeks.

*****


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography

In the course of my explorations, I draw and paint maps. You can purchase prints of them from 1650 Gallery (or originals from me). 




Los Angeles has been home to a number of industries. Most of those industries have left and we're left with a lot of industrial ruins and refineries. Although they have wrought a lot of environmental devastation, they're often quite beautiful. 



The trailer for Il Deserto Rosso

*****


Los Angeles is home to the largest park located partially within an American city (Topanga State Park), the nation's largest municipal park (Griffith Park) and a whole lot of other parks, recreation areas, wilderness areas, parklets, and pocket parks.



The Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park"

*****

SWINGING DOORS



In which I explore drinking holes of all kinds, whether alehouses
biker bars
bikini bars, bodegas, booking clubs, breweries, cantinas, cider housescocktail lounges, coffee bars, dives, fern barsgasthauses, gay bars, gin mills, hostess bars, honky-tonks, izakaya, juiceries, lingerie cafesnightclubs, pi-jiu wu, piano bars, pubs, rathskellers, roadhouses, saloons, singles barsspeakeasies, taprooms, taverns, tea houses, tiki bars, wineries, and maybe even sports bars.





California's most recognized icon might be San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. However, the Los Angeles area is home to hundreds of equally interesting bridges which span valleys, roads, creeks, rivers, train tracks, and troubled waters.



James Brown's "Sex Machine"

Los Angeles is often wrongly characterized as a desert. That mischaracterization downplays the importance of wetlands, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water that are so important to the Chaparral metropolis. 


There are quite a few famous trees in California, including the tallest, the largest, the oldest, and the most photographed. In Los Angeles there are some famous ones too. Come to think of it, People or Us Weekly should do an issue on "celeb trees."




Pulp - "The Trees"

The best sorts of walks are undertaken without much research or agenda. I notice an interesting area and then I let my nose, eyes, and ears lead my feet.



Alan Partridge's Country Ramble

*****

Sometimes I found myself traveling outside of Southern California. When I do it's never long enough to get a really deep sense of a place so I like to treat my reflections on these places as snapshots.
 


Glenn Miller And His Orchestra
featuring Ray Eberle ‎– "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)"


*****
Alan the Dingus
Also, my Siberian cat, Alan, has a Tumblr, titled What a Dingus!


*****

So as a final note I'd like to say thanks for reading, commenting, the free tickets, and the email, and please continue to keep in touch at my website, ericbrightwell.com. Sgt. Brightwellicus signing off!

Amoeba Hollywood Holds Toy Drive Through Dec. 18

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2015 04:23pm | Post a Comment

amoeba toy drive

While our food drives continue at Amoeba Hollywood and San Francisco, Amoeba Hollywood is also holding a toy drive at the same time.

Now through Dec. 18, bring in a new, unwrapped toy for children (ages 7 to teenager) to the info counter at Amoeba Hollywood and get a coupon for $2 off your purchase of $5 or more. Sorry, no violent or weapon-based toys, please.

The toy drive benefits the children of Five Acres. The organization works to prevent child abuse and neglect, and care for, treat and educate emotionally disturbed, abused and neglected children and their families in residential and outreach programs throughout LA and surrounding areas. Find out more at 5acres.org.

Concert Tickets For Sale at Amoeba Hollywood in December 2015

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2015 01:08pm | Post a Comment

Concert TicketsAmoeba 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. 

For Club Nokia and Shrine Expo Hall shows, we only carry general admission tickets. If you wish to purchase reserved seating at Club Nokia (where available), you can buy those tickets online here. If you wish to purchase reserved seating at Shrine Expo Hall (where available), you can buy those tickets online here.

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

Tickets are limited, so please call the store first to make sure they are available: 323-245-6400.
 

JUST ADDED SHOWS:

Neon Indian at the Fonda

Neon Indian
Fonda Theatre
February 24