Upon digging in crates of early eighties hip-hop today, I was pleasantly reminded of just how socially aware and outspoken so many of those early era hip-hop records actually were. It wasn't all "party over here, party over there, say hey" structured escapist rap, at least not from this period of the early 80's onwards. Of these 12" records, I picked out three to pop on the platter and listen closely to and present here via their YouTube clips: Divine Sounds' "What People Do For Money," Kurtis Blow's "8 Million Stories," and Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & Furious Five's 1982 Sugar Hill single "Message II (Survival)." As the title of the latter implies, the record was the sequel to the pioneering hip-hop crew's hit "The Message" from earlier that same year. [Both are found on the group's Best Of collection CD]. An international hit, it held a mirror up to the decay and neglect of the inner city told in catchy memorable rhymes on the stark reality of living in poverty in urban America. The antithesis of a rap party anthem, "The Message" was a cold slap in the face forcing all to look at the everyday struggles of living amidst poverty and violence. On the record Duke Bootee and Melle Mel traded such famous observatory rhymes, "Rats in the front room, roaches in the back. Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat. I tried to get away but I couldn't get far. Cos a man with a tow truck repossessed my car." "The Message" and its widespread success is regularly cited as the original "conscious rap" record and held responsible for kick-starting a sub-genre of hip-hop that would play a key role in the genre up to the present. However many over the years have protested this label, citing it as too limiting and restrictive a pigeon hole to fit an artist into. Most notable of late is talented hip-hop star Vince Staples who has vocally and mockingly rebelled against and dismissed the term "conscious rap" that he protests has been unfairly applied to his work.
Record Store Day is coming April 16, bringing loads of exclusive records to record stores around the country. You can see everything that’s coming to Amoeba here and everything we have in store for the day thus far here, including sales, DJs and more. Here are 10 releases we’re looking forward to picking up on RSD.
David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World [Picture Disc]
David Bowie’s unfortunate passing has left us all with a thirst for all things Bowie. Some of his best-loved albums were recently re-released on vinyl, and the latest to get the reissue treatment is his third album. It’s best known for the title track, especially after being covered by Nirvana on their Unplugged LP, but The Man Who Sold the World represents a turning point in Bowie’s career as his music turned heavier and lyrics darker, setting an important precedent for goth rock, among other influences the album would have.
The lineup for this year's FYF Fest was just announced today and it features a diverse and amazing roster including headliners Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, LCD Soundsystem, and Grace Jones. Not to mention Air, Grimes, Charles Bradley, Father John Misty, Todd Terje, and Vince Staples...
Tickets go on sale Friday, April 1 at 12pm. You can buy 2-day general admission weekend passes in-store at Amoeba Hollywood starting Friday at noon for $212 total. Limit of 4 tickets per person, cash or credit cards accepted (except for American Express). Store credit cannot be applied to ticket sales. (Single day and VIP tickets will also go on sale at the same time, but you'll have to buy those online.)
See the full lineup below:
-- By Brett Stillo
Sherlock Holmes is alive and well today, but you won’t find him at his bee farm in Sussex Downs. He’s still on the case, solving mysteries on the BBC (Sherlock), American television (Elementary) and on the big screen (Mr. Holmes). Crime fighters come and go, but Mr. Holmes is a constant. The master detective has been with us for nearly 130 years and shows no sign of taking “His Last Bow” any time soon. This is truly an exciting time for this legendary character and his legion of fans—but it’s not the first time.
Universal’s Sherlock Holmes movies of the 1940’s were adventure-mysteries fueled by the pulp magazines of the era. The more staid, literary, murder-in-the-drawing-room stories of Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave way B-Movie thrills: diabolical plots, fiendish masterminds, nefarious enemy agents, and horrific death-traps, all set in embattled World War II London. These films reside in a macabre realm of shadows and intrigue that lie on the border of two cinematic worlds: Universal’s classic horror movies of the '30s, with their Hollywood-Gothic sets and expressionistic camera angles, and the foreboding dark streets of classic Film Noir of the late '40s. They are bound together by curling tendrils of fog constantly pumped out by studio smoke machines.
Joss Stone has a real knack for finding great R&B covers, and we're not just talking the classic '60s and '70s covers she recorded on her debut album The Soul Sessions, we're also talking great LP album covers. On her recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood she found two such "brilliant" covers in the soul section. "Another thing about vinyl...you get to see it and enjoy it," says Stone as she beams over Marvin Gaye's Super Hits. But of course it wasn't all about the cover art, and Ms. Stone had much to say about what all her picks meant to her.
After The Soul Sessions went platinum in 2003, Joss Stone released Mind, Body & Soul, consisting of mostly original or co-written songs, topping the UK charts and cementing her place as one of the biggest names in modern soul. Not only did the album grab three Grammy Award nominations and two BRIT Awards but also landed her spots on the Super Bowl, London's Live 8, and Bonnaroo.
|Killer bunny? From Gorleston Psalter, 14th-century manuscript.|
Happy Easter! Even though I grew up Jewish and had no idea what a Resurrection was, I knew I liked bunnies, chocolate, treating eggs like an art project, and finding buried treasure in foliage. I was sold on the whole Easter thing. As I matured at some point in the not too distant past, I realized that there was a whole lot more to Easter than baskets full of candy and huge hats. I learned that it was also about birth and rebirth. The symbolism of eggs, Jesus's triumphant return from the dead, and bunnies multiplying like, well, bunnies all lead us to appreciate the foundation of it all: Spring Equinox, the renewal of life on earth. I'm not sure where the chocolate fits in, but I'm not going to question a good thing.
In honor of everyone who can appreciate longer and brighter days, the rejuvenation of all life on earth, and deadly killer rabbits, I bring you this non-denominational Easter-time movie list for all...
Rebel Without A Cause
Nicholas Ray's 1955 magnum opus of teen angst is considered by most to be the first sensitive and realistic look at troubled, misunderstood youth. Would we have those heart-breaking scene's of Bender (Judd Nelson), Claire (Molly Ringwald), and the gang discussing their troubled home lives in The Breakfast Club without Rebel Without A Cause? I think not. The opening scene in Rebel is set in a police station on Easter night where three high school kids -- Jim Stark (James Dean), Judy (Natalie Wood), and Plato (Sal Mineo) -- meet and an unlikely friendship is born. Much drama and generation gap struggles ensue, ultimately leading to one of the character's death by the hands of the police. Rebel remains James Dean's most celebrated film. It was released a month after his death at the age of 24, thus immortalizing him as a beautiful youth forever.
With this week's release of the latest Open Mike Eagle album Hella Personal Film Festival, Mello Music Group (MMG) continue their role of curating some of today's best and most progressive hip-hop. Last year the Tuscon, Arizona-based indie label unleashed hip-hop gems from such artists as Semi Hendrix (Ras Kass and Jack Splash), L'Orange with both Jeremiah Jae and Kool Keith, Apollo Brown, Oddisse, and Open Mike Eagle. That was 2015's A Special Episode Of Open Mike Eagle: Split Pants at Sound Check. However Mike considers his just released album, that was recorded in London, to be a continuation of where his critically acclaimed 2014 Mello Music release Dark Comedy left off. With this new album, which will be celebrated with an Amoeba Hollywood in-store on April 5th, both the record label and gifted LA based wordsmith knock it out the park. For that thanks go to Mike's always impressive clever wordplay and the rich production of the new release.
Live music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 for non-members. Amoeba will be on hand with our booth and $20 gift certificates for $10; stop by and pick one up! (Limit two per customer.)
With Guided By Voices’ disregard for fidelity and an uncommon wit, passion and tunefulness, Car Seat Headrest’s Teens of Style was a highlight of last year, a compilation of early tracks recorded by Will Toledo in the backseat of his family’s car in Virginia. His next album, Teens of Denial, is due this year. Hear “Something Soon” for an example.
Night Beats’ maximum R&B is informed by the likes of The Rolling Stones, James Brown and definitely The Who — the name of the Seattle band’s latest album, Who Sold My Generation. But with attitude, soulful vocals and chops to spare, the band pulls off its retro sound exceedingly well. Check out “No Cops” for a taste.
Bob Mould’s 13th solo album might be the fiercest thing he’s put to tape since his days fronting Husker Du. Though the guy who practically invented alt-rock never really softened with age, songs like “The End of Things” are shockingly fast and furious. Mould displays the energy of a man less than half his age on songs like the breakneck-speed “Hands Are Tied.” Though less concerned than ever with anything constituting a shiny pop song, his sense of melody is as strong as ever on catchy songs like “Hold On” and “Pray for Rain,” which sound like lost Alternative Nation hits. His returning backing band of bassist Jason Narducy (Split Single, Verbow) and drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats) keep things excitingly full-throttle over unfussy arrangements on songs like the shoegazey “Lucifer and God” and the brutal “Losing Time.” Who needs a Husker Du reunion when Mould’s solo career is still going this strong?
Hear Country auteur Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (out April 15th on CD, vinyl, and blue vinyl) at Amoeba SF on Friday, April 8th at 5pm -- a week before release date! Enter to win special limited edition t-shirts, canvas tote bags, and more! Plus, partake in some Sturgill cake! What's Sturgill cake? You'll just have to come on down to Amoeba SF and find out.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth spans the globe, musically and lyrically. Sail through diverse musical waters with Simpson, across styles and genres, with stops in Motor City and Music Row, Harlem and Stax, Berlin and London. He combines '70s Motown soul, R&B, classic rock, and some of that good ol' Nashville countrypolitan sound. Did we mention his haunting cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom," because we'd be remiss if we didn't. It's certainly something only a soulful and complex country performer like Simpson could pull off with flying colors, complete with down-home fiddle and Stax-style brass.
Indie folk singer-songwriter Aoife O'Donovan recently visited Amoeba Hollywood to play a selection of songs from her latest album, In the Magic Hour (Yep Roc). In this intimate Green Room Session the Massachusetts native, backed by her band, sings her unique brand of American-tinged folk rock in a brief but stirring performance. With a crystal clear, dulcet voice and simple melodies, O'Donovan's live show calls to mind Alison Krauss, who is a fan and has previously covered a song by the young singer.
O'Donovan starts her set off with the track "Detour Sign" before segueing into the bucolic beauty of "Magic Hour." Things take a turn for the upbeat on "Stanley Park" before she closes with "Hornets." O'Donovan's sparse, intriguing arrangements belie her special strain of songwriting informed by her Irish roots, American upbringing, and her time studying contemporary improvisation at the New England Conservatory. Take a listen; it's the perfect soundtrack to welcome in the coming of spring.
You can see Aoife O'Donovan on tour through July, including several summer folk and bluegrass festival appearances.
Today the RIAA revealed numbers showing that vinyl sales made more revenue than ad-supported free streaming services, such as YouTube and Spotify’s free models.
Vinyl sales climbed 32% last year to $416 million, which is the highest they’ve been since 1988, according to the RIAA, which was around the time CDs overtook vinyl and cassettes as the dominant medium for music sales. By contrast, free, ad-supported streaming rose only 31% to $385 million in 2015. The news spurred a number of "Vinyl is back!" headlines once again, although vinyl still only makes up 6% of the music retail sales.
But these numbers only tell part of the story. Even if you include paid subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal etc., artists don’t see much of that money. Spotify themselves admit to paying only between $0.006 and $0.0084 to labels and rights holders per stream (this number combines all paid and unpaid user streams and also takes into account the share labels take). Once labels take their share, an artist might make only $0.001128 per song, according to the Guardian. And these services aren’t even profitable yet.
While streaming might pay out decently for the likes of someone popular like, say, Kendrick Lamar or Katy Perry, who get tens of millions of streams, the payouts are paltry for mid-level and independent artists. Numbers vary as far as how much artists actually make per physical album sold — it can be around 11% when you factor in deductions, according to Rollingstone. But while a nice piece of vinyl can sometimes feel like a splurge, it’s always worth remembering that buying an album physically is a better way of supporting the artists making the music than streaming.
The first time I heard "Cities in Dust," the lead single off Siouxsie & the Banshees' seventh studio album, Tinderbox (1986), I was hiding (once again) in my room from the horrors of being a weird adolescent in Midwestern suburbia and half-listening to a grainy distant college radio station. It was a Sunday afternoon, springtime, and I remember being in a good mood for once, because the weather outside was slowly turning into spring which meant that in another year or two I'd be on the verge of my long-planned escape to college in the big city.
The song starts off quietly, with what sounds like running water before segueing into some glittering yet ominous chiming. The drums pick up and that angular guitar attacks and Siouxsie starts singing some pretty obscure yet threatening lyrics which turn out to be about the destruction of Pompeii, if you look them up on the internet and then think about it for like, literally a second after watching the official music video. Some critics consider the song a harbinger of the band's still-to-come, more pop-center releases, but come on--this is still a deeply weird song, especially taking into account that it was a hit on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart.
Siouxsie & The Banshees - "Cities In Dust"
"You on point, Phife? All the time Tip! Well then grab the microphone and let your words rip!"
- from "Check The Rhime" classic hip-hop vocal interplay between A Tribe Called Quest's
Q-Tip and the late great Phife Dawg who just died at age 45.
Hip-hop fans awoke to some truly tragic news this morning with the announcement of the death of rapper Phife Dawg of renowned hip-hop crew A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ). According to an early morning post today to DJ Chuck Chillout‘s Twitter feed, consequently confirmed by several other noteworthy sources, the beloved golden era hip-hop artist passed away yesterday at the young age of 45. Although no exact cause of death has been announced so far, the hip-hopper born Malik Taylor reportedly had been battling Type-I diabetes for more than half of his lifetime. In an interview in the excellent 2011 Michael Rapaport directed documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg (aka Phife Diggy, aka The Five-Foot Assassin) addresses his diabetes and dependence on sugar calling it "a sickness" and likening it to "straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar." Part of Phife's ongoing battle with the disease included receiving a kidney transplant from his wife eight years ago.
Amoeba is proud to sponsor two films at the 14th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, which takes place April 6-10 at the ArcLight Hollywood. Tickets are $15 each, plus a service fee of $1.74. Pick them up here.
As part of our longtime support of this unique festival, Amoeba is sponsoring Ruchika Oberoi's Island City, which screens April 7 at 7 p.m. The film, which combines absurdist comedy and realist drama, explores three stories in the sprawling city of Mumbai: an office drone selected by his company for a day of “fun”; an oppressed wife and mother who finds solace in a popular soap; and a woman in a loveless arranged marriage who begins to receive love letters from an unknown source.
We’re also sponsoring IFFLA alum Kranti Kanade's CRD April 9 at 3:05 p.m. The experimental film is reminiscent of French New Wave as it tells the story of an aspiring young writer who enlists a group of misfits to act against his college’s official team.
IFFLA is a nonprofit dedicated to fostering the appreciation of Indian cinema and culture. The festival takes place each year at the ArcLight, just next to our store in Hollywood.
German DJ and label owner Rodhad was at Amoeba Hollywood recently and we got a chance to sit down with him and check out his picks. By hosting his own techno parties in the late '90s, Rodhad built a reputation in Berlin as one of the most exciting DJs in town. In 2009 he began hosting DYSTOPIAN, a series of regular club nights at famed Berlin venues such as Arena Club, the Tape Club, and Horst Krzbrg. Now, with his own label, also named DYSTOPIAN, he's an international DJ with multiple EPs and an album to his name, garnering accolades from such scene luminaries as Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Luke Slater, Dave Clarke, Laurent Garnier, and Sven Vath.
Though most of his picks are on the electronic side, Rodhad starts off with Kings of Leon's first album, Youth & Young Manhood, stating that in the case of most rock bands, "the first album's always the best." Next he picks up his own remix of Howling's Signs, which he himself never received a copy of, and talks about the challenge of remixing a track outside the techno world for the first time. He also finds himself in the movie soundtrack section where he grabs an LP of the It Follows score by Disasterpeace, as well as Lost Themes by director and soundtrack composer John Carpenter.
Amoeba is proud to sponsor Friends of the San Francisco Public Library’s 6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale, which runs March 30 - April 3 at Fort Mason Center's Festival Pavilion. Don't miss your chance to browse over 250,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and vinyl records in 75 categories. Children’s lit, Science Fiction, Cooking, Art, and so much more! This is a sale that is not to be missed.
It's completely free to get in and then the prices just can't be beat: hardcovers are $3, paperbacks are $2, and all other media is $1. On the last day of the sale (Sunday, April 3) EVERYTHING is just $1!
Stashed among the colossal array of items on sale, are gift certificates to the City’s most sought-after restaurants, museums, and destinations (like AMOEBA SF). Shoppers who crack daily clues on Facebook and Twitter will sail away with hundreds of dollars of prizes, in addition to vintage and best-seller items! All proceeds support learning and literacy at the San Francisco Public Library.
Friends of the San Francisco Public Library members are invited to attend the Member Preview Sale & Reception on Tuesday, March 29. Members will receive first access to all the goods while enjoying wine and snacks. Join Friends today to attend this exclusive preview event!
This month Too $hort, the Godfather of Oakland rap/hip-hop, will be playing two concerts at Oakland's Fox Theater at 1807 Telegraph Ave. in the Uptown district. After quickly selling out the original sole scheduled hometown show, taking place this Saturday March 26th, a second Fox Theater date was added at the same venue for next week, Thursday March 31st. Both are 8pm shows. Buy tix here: $39.50 and $49.50 + fees. Both Oakland concerts will feature a live band backing Too $hort, along with opening acts Zion I, The Grouch & Eligh and DJ Fresh.
The two Oakland concerts by the consistently active rap artist born Todd Shaw are part of the veteran hip-hop artist's ongoing celebration of thirty years in the rap game. These have included recent concerts in Las Vegas and last week in Austin during SxSW. But of all his recent concert dates across the US, it's $hort's hometown shows that have gotten the overwhelmingly best response. Clearly Too $hort fans in Oakland and the greater Bay Area outnumber fans everywhere else, even in LA where he was born, and currently lives, or Atlanta where he had previously relocated to for a period. In Bay Area hip-hop circles both fans and fellow hip-hop artists, from hardcore rap to conscious hip-hop and turntablism, totally love their Too $hort! They not only love his music but also his rich legacy as a West Coast rap pioneer. That includes his early days primitive but profitable "custom made" tape recordings, and his (and manager Randy Austin's) trailblazing "out the trunk" approach to grassroots distribution. Plus the fact that, in a genre that most artists are lucky to make to ten years in their careers, that he's into his third decade as a relevant hip-hop artist. More importantly he's done it all on his own terms.
Fans of film scores and vinyl records, rejoice! A whole bunch of classic film soundtracks have been reissued on vinyl recently and given the deluxe treatment, including Waxwork Records' release of Friday the 13th Part 3 , from the classic 3D slasher flick, which was the first in the series to feature Jason's iconic hockey mask. Not only has every musical cue been re-mastered from the original analog tapes by composer Harry Manfredini, but Ghoulish Gary Pullin has created new artwork for the gatefold cover, including an illustration of the un-used final scene. But that's not all: this deluxe soundtrack comes in two variants: one with the standard cover and blood splattered, 180-gram vinyl, and one featuring a lenticular 3D cover (you know, that scratchy, plastic-y 3D that used to come in card packs), and colored, 180-gram vinyl (one red and one cyan, like the colors of 3D glasses). And in case you're wondering: yes, it does include the infamous "disco theme."
Check out these other killer soundtrack vinyl reissues:
On Saturday, March 19th we celebrate Earth Hour, a one-hour event in which participants are encouraged to “power down” for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m in their local time zone, to help raise awareness about climate change.
We'll participate by turning off our neon signs at all three stores for the duration of the hour. We'll have regular store hours, so you’re still free to come in.
Everyone can join in for Earth Hour. It can be as simple as turning off the TV, non-essential lights and playing a board game by candlelight with friends and family. Any small way you do it, you can’t go wrong.
The event is organized by WWF and volunteer organizations around the world. It famously began in 2007 with a lights-off event in Sydney and has since grown to include more than 172 countries and territories worldwide. Find out more at earthhour.org.
Watch a video highlighting last year’s participants in Earth Hour, which includes such famous landmarks as the Eiffel Tower turning off their lights for one hour.
Seemingly, all manner of ’90s nostalgia already has come up. But HAELOS find a new place in the hallowed decade to mine, and they come up with gold on their debut record for Matador. Stringing together bits of trip hop and crossover new age (think Enigma), Full Circle forges a unique blend out of forgotten sounds that sounds utterly contemporary — imagine The xx if they were more concerned with upbeat grooves than breathy dramatics. The immediate thing that hits you about tracks like “Pray” are those delicious, turn-of-the-’90s house-inspired beats, but Lotti Benardout’s reverbed, soulful cry and Arthur Delaney and Dom Goldsmith’s hushed whispers keep you around. HAELOS are preternaturally adept at layering sounds together, like the dueling vocal harmonies of “Earth Not Above” and warbling synths in the title track. But they also temper that with space to let the songs breathe, like the heart-stopping breaks in “Dust.” Full Circle is completely enchanting and easily stands strong beyond its influences. Sexiest album of 2016? It’s not too early to call it.
The new album be the Rowland fronted band's second since they most recently reformed in 2012 and released One Day I'm Going To Soar. That return followed a long extended hiatus of two and a half decades - with some low-key under the radar reunions in the in between years. If the mid '80s lineup of Dexys hadn't broken up, they likely would have recorded this album back in that period. "We had the idea to do this album in 1984 or 1985. It was to be called Irish and was to feature songs like "Carrickfergus," "Curragh of Kildare," and "Women Of Ireland," recalled Rowland. "Dexys broke up not too long afterwards, so it didn't happen." The twelve track album contains reworkings / reinterpretations of mostly Irish but some non-Irish songs too. These include "Curragh Of Kildare," "I'll Take You Home Kathleen," "You Wear It Well," "The Town I Loved So Well," and "Both Sides Now." As if anticipating the complaints of Irish trad purists or others who might expect something other from this new album based on its title, Rowland stressed that, "The album is called Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul, not Become it. We're not trying to be Irish, and we haven't used too many Celtic instruments on there. It's our sound. We're bringing our style to these songs."
The first of two "Changesbowie" comps includes his biggest singles from the first part of Bowie's career, including songs like "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Rebel Rebel." Half of the limited, 180-gram Parophone vinyl reissues comes in clear, half in black (the color's not mentioned on the sleeve and it'll be completely random as far as which will be inside).
Many of Bowie's early albums were reissued on LP last month, shortly after his death Jan. 10. They include The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, The Man Who Sold the World, Pinups, Hunky Dory, David Bowie, Aladdin Sane and Bowie at the Beeb.
Today we rewind the clock back seventeen years to late March/ early April 1999 in Bay Area hip-hop. Back then Bay Area indie hip-hop acts with shows and/or new releases included 75 Degrees, Down-N-Dirty, DJ Quest and Mystik Journeymen. Still based out of Oakland, 1999 would also be the year that the Journeymen and their extended Living Legends crew would up and relocate to Southern Cali. 1999 was the year they released their Mercury Rising EP which offered up a nice sampling of their 1999 full-length album The Black Sands ov Eternia which featured such tracks as "The Piano Lesson" (hear below). Having formed a few years previously, the hard working, proudly independent and underground duo had built a rep with their unsigned and hella broke (UHB) lo-fi, gritty, punk rock approach to hip-hop. By the time they split for LA many in the East Bay knew Journeymen members on a first name basis from seeing them hustling their tapes all over, especially on Telegraph Ave. over by UC Berkeley (pictured left) and often right out outside Amoeba Berkeley. Back then the duo now known as Sunspot Jonz and Luckyiam well known to many as simply Tommy and Corey (or BFAP and PSC). Recent projects associated with the group is the latest Luck & Lana collaborative side project. That's is the EDM/hip-hop musical collaboration of Luckyiam with Lana Shea .
-- By doubleay
Kendrick Lamar and label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), are wasting no time in 2016. He’s currently President Obama’s favorite rapper and just added four more Grammy awards to his collection. And in response to a request from NBA player Lebron James, Kendrick Lamar has delivered another album. After seeing Kendrick's powerfully provoking Grammy performance in February, Lebron James tweeted to the TDE CEO begging for the release of previously performed untitled Kendrick tracks. Within two months, TDE dropped Kendrick’s Untitled Unmastered album.
The project features eight hearty tracks ranging diversely in style and over 20 collaborators, bringing many multifarious contributions to the sound of the album. Killer contemporary hip-hop producers like Hit-Boy, Cardo, Swizz Beatz, and DJ Spinz provide booming bassy production unlike what’s heard on Kendrick's To Pimp a Butterfly album. While longtime collaborators Terrace Martin (producer, piano, and horns) and Thundercat (bass), who made key contributions to To Pimp a Butterfly, are seen on "Untitled 3." The wide array of features including Bilal, CeeLo Green, Jay Rock, SZA, and Adrian Younge aid in creating a series of wildly dynamic works.
"In 1959, 1960 James Brown dropped off the original Flames in Oakland and he left them." "Louis Jordan was here all the time." "Slim Jenkins was the premiere club in Oakland in the '50s." These nuggets of Bay Area music history are among the many sprinkled throughout a typical conversation with lifelong music loving 70-year-old Oakland native Charles Presley, who everyone knows as Buck. This particular conversation (hear the full 10 minutes in the clip below) is one of countless engaging ones that I've had over the past two plus decades of stopping by the North Oakland coin-op laundromat this music fan owns and operates. But it could be any conversation with Buck who loves music and loves to talk music. And his conversations are always from the historical perspective of his beloved hometown of Oakland, CA. Buck loves all good music from soul and jazz to gospel, but blues and rhythm and blues, the music he grew up on, remain his favorite sounds. Most new laundromat customers' conversations are inspired by the the overhead soundtrack of RnB and soul grooves Buck plays from CD collections or the music-themed DVDs he might play on the overhead TV screens. Doing laundry at Buck's is never a dreaded chore, so long as he's there.
As heard in the audio interview clip below, once Buck starts reminiscing he goes off on detailed lists of artists and shows at long gone Oakland clubs back in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, most notably Slim Jenkins Cafe at 1748 7th Street that operated from the '30s through the '60s. It was just one of several businesses owned and operated in West Oakland by the Louisiana born Harold "Slim" Jenkins who was such a successful businessman that he earned the title of "Mayor" of West Oakland. Buck fondly remembers those times like he clearly remembers the very first records he ever bought and heard. One of the first records he remembers hearing was the 1951 single "Sixty Minute Man" by The Dominoes. He caught most acts in Oakland clubs, but for some he'd travel across the Bay Bridge. Most often those would be jazz shows. In 1961, he got to see Miles Davis playing San Francisco's Black Hawk. The famed jazz club, located in the Tenderloin on the corner of Turk and Hyde, operated from 1949 through 1963.
Our next Sidewalk Sale at Amoeba Hollywood is Saturday, March 19, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., right outside the store. We'll have huge bargains on the following:
- Fresh 45s at three for $1
- Buy-one-get-one-free CDs (free CD must be of equal or lesser value)
- Blu-rays at three for $10, or $4 each
- DVDs for $2 each, or three for $5
- DVD box sets at $5 each, or two for $8
- 8-tracks at four for $1
- Wine box record crates
- And more!
Come out and treat yourself to some inexpensive new movies and music from Amoeba!
All sidewalk sale items are aggressively sale priced. Therefore, we do not accept store credits, gift certificates, coupons or other offered store sales for any sidewalk sale items. Additionally, we cannot offer customer holds or mail order. All sales are final.
Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has revealed a new video with the similarly talented multihyphenate Fiona Apple for the song “Left Handed Kisses.” The song is from Bird's upcoming new album, Are You Serious, due April 1 via Loma Vista.
"Left Handed Kisses" features vocals from both artists (Who can resist a good rock duet?), so the video sees the two sitting and performing the song to one another in a very intense fashion, as Bird plays the guitar and violin and Apple the slide whistle. Not much else happens, but they’re both magnetic and good-looking, so that’s OK. Watch it below via Facebook.
You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or appreciate great Irish films. Here’s a list of 12 releases we love, in no particular order. (At Amoeba Hollywood, find our St. Patrick’s day movies and music in a special section near the stairs.)
This Irish musical/romantic drama stars stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as struggling musicians in Dublin who bond musically and fall in love. The film became so beloved that it was adapted in a Tony Award-winning play. If you’re in L.A., you can win tickets here to the show’s closing night at the Pantages Theatre March 20.
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
This fantastical drama from John Sayles tells of a young girl sent to live with her grandparents in a small Irish village near the island of Roan Inish, where selkies — seals that can become human — are rumored to reside. This combination of heart and Irish folklore makes the film a family-friendly winner.
Before her star-studded fashion show at Amoeba Hollywood in January, Stella McCartney had a chance to do some record shopping and share her picks with us. Needless to say her Autumn 2016 preview was one of the biggest things to hit Amoeba since, well, her father, Paul McCartney, played here. Being a daughter of music royalty, McCartney had some special insight into her picks, having known or met many of the artists personally, and she shares the poignancy of the albums to her and her family.
After graduating in 1995 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, Stella McCartney was soon appointed Creative Director of Parisian fashion house, Chloe. In 2001 she launched her own business, Stella McCartney, in conjunction with Gucci Group. Having expanded her brand into perfume, organic skincare, lingerie, children's clothing, and active wear lines, McCartney now runs seventeen stores located all over the world. She has received awards from Glamour, Elle, and the British Fashion Council, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2013, some 48 years after her father was appointed the same.
Famed prog rock keyboardist Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake & Palmer (and The Nice) fame died late last night (March 10th) as confirmed by the rock trio's Facebook page today. As yet no cause of death has been yet announced for the passing of the pioneering 71-year-old, British-born musical pioneer who was living in Santa Monica in recent years. An early adapter of and ambassador for the Moog synthesizer, Emerson leaves behind a legacy of recordings. His back catalog spans albums he recorded with his two main groups as well as solo and collaborative projects including soundtracks. Among albums for The Nice include the high concept, ambitious live performance piece Five Bridges. Considered by many to be the greatest live recording, it is all the more impressive when you consider that the musicians were only in the early/mid twenties. This album by The Nice was released in 1970, which was the same year of the self-titled debut by Emerson Lake & Palmer.
Clearly Emerson was a busy prolific artist. Over the career of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the band would release nine studio albums including their fourth album, Brain Salad Surgery, in 1973 with its distinctive H.R. Giger cover art (right). The original soundtracks credited to Emerson are for 1980's Inferno by Dario Argento, and the interrelated film soundtrack for La Chiesta with Italian prog rockers Goblin. The most recent Emerson album to arrive in Amoeba was the November 2015 release of the rock jazz fusion seven track CD/Miniablum by The Keith Emerson Trio. (cover below)
"I think that might be the best episode," says Russell Simins, drummer of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, of his and the eponymous Jon Spencer's recent What's In My Bag? shoot. He may have meant it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but the members of the New York City trio did prove to be very informative and humorous while showing us their eclectic picks. The featured records run a wide gamut but in a way you could whittle them down into two categories: experimental and greasy, from-the-gut R&B/rock 'n' roll.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion formed in New York in 1991 after the dissolution of vocalist/guitarist Jon Spencer's previous band, Pussy Galore. Together with guitarist/backing vocalist Judah Bauer and Russell Simins, the trio creates raucous blues rock informed by punk, garage rock, classic rockabilly, and soul. In 1993, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion signed with Matador for the release of Extra Width. Orange followed in 1994, with Now I Got Worry appearing in 1996. Over the past three decades, the band has released a steady stream of albums, touring Europe and the US regularly. In 2015, the band released their tenth studio album, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015, and are in Europe right now, finishing up a massive world tour.
In addition, the Food Bank is holding the Bruce Springsteen Fan Volunteer Day Saturday, March 19, the day of his last L.A. show. You can help the organization with such activities as sorting, boxing and repackaging donated food to be directed where it's needed most. The Food Bank will be pumping great music from Bruce & the E Street Band all day, so it's a great chance to connect with other fans as well!
Spots are limited; sign up here using the password “Bruce2016.″ Sign up before 12 p.m. PST Friday, March 11, and you'll be entered in a drawing to win free tickets to see The Boss at his March 15 or 17 show.
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 1 billion pounds of food to the needy since starting in 1973. Find out more and donate here.
Bruce Springsteen's most recent release was a 35th anniversary collection of his classic album The River, which includes the album, plus unreleased tracks, interviews and performances from the era on a CD/DVD or CD/Blu-ray set called The Ties That Bind: The River Collection.
In 1989 Public Enemy's raw rebellious rap anthem "Fight The Power" reigned supreme. An across the board hit, it was the theme driving the soundtrack of Spike Lee's classic movie Do The Right Thing. Public Enemy performing live and the striking imagery of an emotionally charged political rally set the tone for the accompanying music video. Spike Lee directed the music video, which included clips from his film Do The Right Thing. Perfect and perfectly complimentary, the Brooklyn set video captured both PE and Spike Lee at their respective creative peaks. Each used their art to reflect life in a pitch-perfect way.
Meanwhile, in real life Brooklyn of 1989, thousands of agitated protesters took to the Brooklyn Bridge. The September protest that upset traffic and authorities ended in riot cops going against protesters. "A mile-long protest march against racism and the recent killing of a black youth…a predominantly black crowd of 7,500 demonstrators breached the police lines in an attempt to cross the bridge and carry the protest into Manhattan," reported the New York Times on this "Day Of Outrage" protest. Led in part by the late X-Clan member Professor X under his Blackwatch political organization, the protest was designed to bring the city to a halt and bring attention to injustices. As well as protesting the August 23rd murder of 16-year-old Bensonhurst resident Yusef Hawkins by a gang of white youths, the protest was also about the August 22nd slaying of Huey P. Newton. The shooting of the 47-year-old former Black Panther leader occurred in Oakland, CA. Hawkins was shot and killed near his home by a bat-wielding white mob who believed he was dating a local white girl.
Hey! It’s almost spring. That means a ton of great albums are on the way. Check out this list of 20 that we’re looking forward to.
The alt-rock trio’s third album was recorded in the band’s native Wales. Check out the fun video for “The Last Thing on my Mind” below, which flips the tables on the female objectification. (It’s kinda NSFW.)
The former lead singer of Husker Du and Sugar’s latest album is a “triumph of opposing forces and properties” from “the master of balancing personal darkness with melodic brightness,” according to a press release. Watch the video for the introspective “Voices in My Head” below.
L'Orange & Jeremiah Jae - Ignore The Man To Your Right (feat. Homeboy Sandman)
For the new "Ignore The Man To Your Right" music video, Homeboy Sandman joins the collaborative duo of L'Orange and Jeremiah Jae (who teamed up for their current collaborative Mello Music Group album The Night Took Us In Like Family.) The Stones Throw, Queens, NY rapper, who recently did an in-store at Amoeba Berekely, is one of two invited guests on the 14 track album. The other guest is Bay Area legend Gift Of Gab who joins North Carolina's L'Orange and Chicago's Jeremiah Jae on the album track "All I Need." Direction credit for the new "Ignore The Man To Your Right" video is attributed to Mero, who crafts a fitting visual counterpart to the songs offbeat rhythm accentuated by L'Orange's throwback era samples and deep kick drums.
"The alchemy of Madvillain and The Maltese Falcon," was how the album was accurately billed last year. The album's choice of gangster movie (as opposed to gangsta) samples by L'Orange provide inspiration for the mood and tone of the recommended The Night Took Us In Like Family. L'Orange continues to be one of contemporary hip-hop's most adventurous producers, as well as one of its most prolific. Four months after the release of his collaboration with Jeremiah Jae, L'Orange released his equally stellar full-length collaboration with Kool Keith, also on Mello Music Group. Time? Astonishing!. Below is the music video for that album's track "The Wanderer" that finds Kool Keith in typical wild and crazy form.
Presented by HipHopForChange.org and Venus Rising, tonight's 2nd Women's Empowerment Show at Oakland's Starline Social Club promises a "celebration of Women's contributions in Hip Hop" with a showcase of the Bay Area's best talents, including co-headliners DJ Pam The Funkstress and CMG of The Conscious Daughters (TCD). These two pioneering women in Bay Area hip-hop, whose histories date back three decades, will be joined on the bill by a generation of women artists who look to them as role models in a traditionally male-dominated field. Hosted by Breathless and Charity Clay, tonight's show features Ryan Nicole, Yani, Fem Deadly Venoms, and DJ Deeandroid. While the ratio of women to men in hip-hop has always been unbalanced at least today there are more hip-hop artists overall so the number
In advance of tonight's Women's Empowerment Show, scheduled during Women's History Month, I caught up with the Bay Area hip-hop pioneer Carla "CMG" Green to reflect back on her long career and her role as a female in a male dominated field, her top favorite female hip-hop artists of all time, and other things too including one that comes to mind during this presidential political season.
The album features unreleased demos from his most recent album, the critically acclaimed (and Grammy-winning) To Pimp a Butterfly. Lamar has previewed tracks from the album on “The Colbert Report” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (“untitled 03” and “untitled “08”), according to Pitchfork. He also unveiled an unreleased verse on the Grammy Award show. Check out those performances below.
In celebration of his new career-spanning box set, blues legend Bobby Rush recently took the Amoeba Hollywood stage. "I don't claim to be a young boy, but I am blessed; November the 10th, I'll be 83 years old," he told the crowd before easing into his own version of the Howlin' Wolf classic "The Natchez Burning," which tells the true story of a Mississippi nightclub that burned down, killing 209 people. In his own version Rush changes the names of the musicians involved in the fire to those of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed - all legends who have now passed. But Bobby Rush lives on, which is something he doesn't take lightly. He was sure to tell the audience how thankful he was to have them there, and to be able to live as long as he has "to see the world change, in a lot of different ways.
While Rush's music usually features a full band and rides a line between blues, soul, and funk, his performance at Amoeba was a special, intimate show; his singing only accompanied by his guitar, his harmonica, and the beat of his feet. The stripped-down set brought the very essence of the blues out of his tunes, while still infusing them with his own brand of funk and sense of humor. With his cutting (yet never rushed) guitar, his thick, howling harmonica, and his steady stomping Rush kept the audience riveted, responsive, and wanting more.
Heron Oblivion's axes clash like fighting wolves, tangling like the brambles and branches that adorn the album cover. Keeping all this Crazy Horse-style madness reined in are the heart-stopping vocals of Meg Baird of Espers. Her voice can simmer low and quavering like a classic British folk singer and then rise to seemingly unattainable heights on songs like the climactic "Your Hollows." The Bay Area band is a supergroup of sorts, with members of psych-rock groups like Comets on Fire and Six Organs of Admittance. I'm sure it's even better live, so don't miss a chance to see them, including today at Amoeba SF at 6 p.m. Read my interview with the band here.
Nowadays Friday is new release day. And last Friday, Feb 26th, was the day that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released their new album This Unruly Mess I've Made (Macklemore), which is the long-awaited follow up to the Seattle duo's 2012 release, the break-out surprise hit album The Heist. Unruly Mess's title no doubt refers to the mess as he sees it in Macklemore's life since he blew up huge and became more popular than everyone, and most likely even he, ever anticipated. In his personal life he's faced demons too, famously relapsing. The mainstream pop rap star has struggled with maintaining the respect of hip-hop fans, no matter how hard he's tried. Everyone recalls, following the 2014 Grammys in which The Heist spun a ton of awards, how the "Thrift Store" rapper publicly shared his private text to Kendrick Lamar, telling the Compton rapper he was "robbed" for not getting Best Rap Album of the year for his good kid, m.A.A.d city. That Instagram share of his text to the Compton rapper backfired in the court of public opinion. Hence it wasn't surprising when, after this year's recent Grammys in which Lamar eventually won in that category for To Pimp A Butterfly, many could not pass the opportunity to take to social media to joke how "Macklemore was robbed." Getting so much grief from hip-hop fans for not being true to the genre has to sting Macklemore since the guy obviously loves hip-hop to the core. And with the new album he has gone out of his way, it seems, to demonstrate his respect for hip-hop culture and its pioneers. This began with the new album's lead single and its accompanying video from last summer, that featured the three hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, and Kool Moe Dee on the track "Downtown." Note Big Daddy Kane was in the video but not on the track. That video ended up getting over 100 million YouTube views and has likely given more deserving shine to these hip-hop icons (especially the largely slept on Caz) that they've received in their respective careers. Of the 13 track album, another love letter to hip-hop's history is the head-nodding song "Buckshot" in which Macklemore reached out to two other hip-hop heroes of his. Hip-hop legends KRS-One and DJ Premier collaborate on this track that is an ode to graf art and hip-hop culture.
Meanwhile back in mid 1988 when Compton rapper The Game was 8 going on 9 years of age, up in the Bay Area Power Records, out of Hercules when that area code was still 415, Bay Area artist The Game released the 12" single "Savin It All For You." Boasting a total of five different versions the 12" single was produced at Richmond's Starlight Studios which was a popular spot with Bay Area artists for many years. Of course by the time the better known artist The Game first appeared on the rap scene in the first half of the 2000's the other The Game had gone. [Note The Game's latest release is the late January four LP set The Documentary 2/2.5 LP - pictured left]
You may not have heard of Heron Oblivion yet, but that’ll soon change.The psych-rock band recently signed to the venerable Sub Pop label, despite only having publicly played live just a few times prior, and have now toured with stoner-rock troubadour Kurt Vile. Part of that has to do with the band’s pedigree — guitarists Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson played in brain-fryers Comets on Fire, with Von Harmonson also playing in Sic Alps and Six Organs of Admittance and Miller in Howlin’ Rain and Feral Ohms; Charlie Saufley played in the similarly minded Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound; and singer/drummer Meg Baird has played in psych-folk band Espers as well as solo.
The rest has solely to do with the sheer power of their debut, self-titled album. Over seven songs, the bands’ axes clash like fighting wolves, tangling like the brambles and branches that adorn the album cover. Keeping all this Crazy Horse-style madness reined in is a grounded rhythm section and the heart-stopping vocals of Baird. Her voice can simmer low and quavering like a classic British folk singer and then rise to seemingly unattainable heights on songs like the climactic "Your Hollows."
Amoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows. Get physical tickets from us and skip the high fees!
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.
We have a new partnership with Teragram Ballroom, an intimate venue in downtown LA. We are the only place in town to buy physical tickets (aside from the venue itself). We'll have a small amount of tickets for every Teragram show available the day they are announced on a first-come, first-served basis with our low $2 ticket service fee.
For The Novo (formerly Club Nokia) and Shrine Expo Hall shows, we only carry general admission tickets. If you wish to purchase reserved seating at The Novo (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.