Murder on the Oriental Rock n' Roll Express

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 31, 2017 05:58pm | Post a Comment

Orient Express

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

"His breakfast was his Amber Moon. He never rose until it had had its full effect."
- Mr. Beddoes, Butler of Samuel Ratchett, in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

First, what is an Amber Moon you ask? To make this morning cocktail, crack an egg in a highball glass Murder on the Orient Express(with the yolk unbroken), add two shots of whiskey and a few dashes of Tabasco, then send it down the hatch! Of the many movies that hit the big screen in 2017 (The Shape of Water was my favorite), the one major stink-bomb let down for me was Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express...not only because this egg drop cocktail was not featured, but because, let's face it, David Suchet is the only actor that should ever play Hercule Poirot (and Kenneth's mustache was more awful then the bread rolls at Tommy's Joynt). Regardless of how Hollywood murdered Murder on the Orient Express, Johnny Depp's acting as Samuel Ratchett was totally superb and I truly Murder on the Orient Expresshave not liked a Johnny Depp movie since The Ninth Gate. His character was the diamond in the rough of the cast.

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Amoeba SF & Berkeley's Top 10 Most Amazing In-store Performances of 2017!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 31, 2017 04:54pm | Post a Comment

By Brent James

Amoeba’s live shows and events are the icing on an already impressive cake, and anyone who’s ever been to one can attest to the energy, excitement, and pure feeling of community they bring! We here in SF have noticed listening parties have started to become popular, as well as good old-fashioned “meet and greets” and album signings. 2018 is already looking like a banner year for our in-stores. To hold you over, here’s a look back at the most thrilling shows of the past year!

10. Summer of Love Celebrations - Amoeba SF - June 10 & July 28, 2017
Has it only been 50 years?? Well, we had no shortage of celebrations this past Summer to answer that question and pay tribute to the most tumultuous and artistic eras ever! And it all happened RIGHT HERE. We had 30 ft. projection screens, flowers in our hair, great local food, and, most important, the MUSIC that fueled a VERY different San Francisco.

Amoeba SF Summer of Love

9. Matisyahu - Amoeba SF - Thursday, May 25 2017
The return of Matisyahu to the Amoeba SF stage saw a much more relaxed set this time around. In support of the amazing Undercurrent, we had a sweet little weeknight show that, if I recall, came with perfect San Francisco weather. It’s always a pleasure to host Matis.


8. Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Amoeba Berkeley - August 4, 2017
One of the first acts to test the boards of the revamped Berkeley stage, CRB brought the house down with an acoustic set that could be felt all the way around the world. Guest guitarist Neal Casal was on hand to add to the magic!

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Eleven Excellent Electronic Albums from 2017

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 31, 2017 03:05pm | Post a Comment

By Michael Henning

In 2017, there were a number of excellent releases with electronic beats that captured my attention and kept me moving to their machine rhythms. I find that music like this is great for writing emails, reading, making art, or for doing chores at home. They are also good for when you are on the go... So, whether you are walking, running, cycling, or driving around, let these 11 great rhythmic electronic albums be your soundtrack and enjoy the ride!

The Future Sound of London

11.  The Future Sound of London - Archived : Environmental : Views  (

Very nice collection of work from this long-running and highly influential duo. The CD version is a whole new album of previously unreleased material, while the 3-LP set compiles most of the material on the CD with some other work they released digitally over the last several years. That being said, the vinyl is probably only for diehard fans, but the CD is among their best material to date, making it a must for even casual fans, and also a great place to start for the curious minds who want to take a sonic trip with these UK legends.
Taballah II

10. Andy Haas - Taballah II (Resonant)

The Top 20 Vinyl Reissues of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 28, 2017 05:14pm | Post a Comment

Top 20 Vinyl Reissues of 2017

A bumper crock of quality vinyl reissues rocked our world this past year. A steady stream of (sort of) new and improved LPs from heavy hitters kept our turntables spinning, as did a nice selection of cleaned up soon-to-be-classic releases from some of our recent favorites. The top sellers at our stores in 2017 were an intriguing mix of eternally cool masterpieces, revered releases by the dearly departed, and long out-of-print rarities available for the first time on vinyl. Read on for the good, the bad (in a cool way), and the super ultra expanded editions that made a splash at Amoeba over the past twelve months.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

20. Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes [180-gram White Vinyl]

Back in September 2014, Radiohead's Thom Yorke released his second solo album as a bit torrent bundle. The record was summarily downloaded several hundred thousand times and is now on its third vinyl pressing. The album is a sonic manifestation of what trying a new avenue would sound like. Yorke sounds very playful in this ambient glitch atmosphere he has created. It is in that spirit of playfulness where the record shines. There is little expectation having been almost 10 years since his last solo outing and therefore there is no grave preciousness attached. Refreshing and flighty, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is a piece from Thom Yorke that questions ownership. His or otherwise. 

my top 50 albums of 2017

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 28, 2017 03:30pm | Post a Comment


#50 Shout Out Louds - Ease My Mind (Merge)

These guys first got me under their spell more than 10 years ago when Our Ill Wills came out. I am now a fan for life and always find it comforting to drift back into a new Shout Out Louds album. This music soothes the soul and lulls you into a different place. At least it does that for me. I don't know how else to describe it other than being Swedish indie soft rock.


#49 Soccer Mommy - Collection (Fat Possum)

This was not the best year for band names. But I really think all the good band names might be taken. But you really should not judge a band by its name. I really don't like the names of at least half the new bands that I like. This band reminds me of the indie rock jangly twee days of K Records. Which always makes me happy. They are like Veruca Salt meets The Softies. I am still forever stuck in the '90s and there are plenty of bands still playing music like the '90s never ended.

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Wooden Wand

Posted by Amoebite, December 27, 2017 03:14pm | Post a Comment

Wooden Wand at Amoeba Hollywood

"I'll probably take some guff for this," predicted singer/songwriter Wooden Wand (aka James Toth) as he pulled out Windham Hill: The First Ten Years from his Amoeba shopping bag. He went on to explain how he gets into arguments with other guitarists about the mostly acoustic, instrumental music label, considered by many to be an early proponent of "new age" music. "I think William Ackerman and Alex de Grassi made some incredible, incredible guitar records. In some ways every bit the equal - obviously very different - but every bit the equal of Robbie Basho and Fahey's early records." What was not up for debate was Toth's extensive music knowledge, as he went shopping for a wide range of genres, happily giving his personal take on each record in our latest What's In My Bag? episode.

Wooden Wand Clipper ShipFreak folk artist James Jackson Toth, better known as Wooden Wand or sometimes just WAND, first made his name as a member of the early and mid-'00s era New Weird America scene of psych, folk, and indie artists. Since then he has continued to evolve and experiment as an artist, dabbling in outlaw country, free jazz, acid folk, noise rock, and Americana-influenced rock 'n' roll. The prolific Toth has put out an eclectic mix of self-released singles, CD-Rs, cassettes, compilation albums and more traditional studio albums.

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The Best Albums of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 26, 2017 05:51pm | Post a Comment

The Best Albums of 2017

As 2017 winds down, we've taken stock of our favorite albums this year and gathered them here to share with you. Staff members from each of our stores have narrowed down their Best of 2017 picks and detailed what makes them the best. Join us as we take a stroll through the fantastic music of this past year! And here's to the exciting new releases that the New Year will bring!

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Best of 2017 Hip Hop

Black Moon - Enta da Stage

Black Moon - Enta da Stage: The Remixes

Dropping several weeks after Fat Beats reissued Black Moon’s 1993 hip-hop classic Enta Da Stage on vinyl (also as a 2LP set), was the Enta Da Stage: The Remixes LP set by the influential Brooklyn crew. Both vinyl releases are essential for any hip-hop library. The Remixes LP features remixes and alternate versions previously released in non-album format (incl. M.W. Smooth's mix of "Who Got Da Props?" and DJ Evil Dee's remix of "How Many MC's") as well as previously unheard material such as Buckshot's new vocal version of "Shit Iz Real.” - Billyjam, Hollywood 

Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part III: Top Ten Selling Hip-Hop Albums of 2017

Posted by Billyjam, December 24, 2017 10:03am | Post a Comment

Note this 2017 top ten includes some 2016 releases because of the structuring of data tabulations. The third installment in the Hip-Hop themed Best Of 2017 Amoeblogs. Examining various aspects of the four-and-a-half decade old genre, with some lists been opinion based while others (like today's) are statistically based. So too is the Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Hip-Hop Albums of 2017 and Top 10 2017 Charting Hip-Hop Singles (Video Version).

Still to come are the Top Ten Producer Albums of 2017, Top 10 Female Hip-Hop Artists, Top 20 “Lil” Rappers of 2017, and Top Ten  Selling Artists in 2017  that is based on a Forbes study comparison. Similarly today's Top Ten Selling Hip-Hop Albums of 2017 is also monetary based.

This Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part III: Top Ten Selling Hip-Hop Albums utilizes the Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Year End charts as its yardstick. It is compiled by Nielsen Music and based on multi-metric consumption of blending traditional album sales tallying the top hip-hop album sales on the Billboard Top 200 Albums (that includes all genres of top selling albums) and including streaming services data of albums via the various major online streaming platforms.

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Tribute to DJ Pam The Funkstress [1966 - 2017] + Info on Candle Light Vigil For Pam [Thursday Dec 28 @ 7:30pm]

Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2017 11:38am | Post a Comment

The world has just lost a truly beautiful spirit: Bay Area DJ Pam “The Funkstress” Warren died yesterday, reportedly from organ failure following a recent liver transplant. Next Thursday evening, Dec 28th in Oakland there will be a Candle Light Vigil For Pam an artist and individual who was widely loved in her native Bay Area and beyond (scroll down for details). Even though this news of Pam's passing comes on the heels of the artist's sudden serious health scare last month, as reported on the Amoeblog, when she was rushed into a San Francisco hospital's ICU where she would undergo a surgery procedure that was a success, most believed (and prayed) that Pam would make a full recovery.

This was after all the hard-working, always positive and energetic Pam The Funkstress who would overcome any obstacle and who had triumphed and accomplished so much in life: from her beginnings as an 80's Bay Area battle DJ, to her membership from the early 90's of the world renowned political hip-hop crew The Coup, to her successful career as an in-demand party rocking club DJ whose skills were so impressive that Prince chose her to be his tour DJ (as Purple Pam) for what would be his final tour. And let's not forget Pam's other dual career of many years as a gifted chef running her own successful Bay Area business: Piccadilly Catering & Event Solutions. And all of this she ably accomplished as a strong independent black woman: armed with a positive outlook and an inbuilt sense of confidence and ambition. 

Best of 2017: Kelly's Personal Picks

Posted by Kells, December 22, 2017 07:45am | Post a Comment

sometimes the past burns itself down

This year has been, in a word, unbalanced. Thankfully there was a wonderful array of music and movies to take the edge off the chaotic instability. Here are ten or so of my personal favorite new releases that got me over and through this year's peaks and troughs...

Once & Future Band - Once & Future Band
(Castle Face Records)

This molten monolith of masterful musicianship dropped back in January and, dammit, it is without a doubt the best record of the year. Sounding a little bit like a bygone vision of future sounds, I like to think of this album as the melodic equivalent of going thirty years into the future and replacing the plutonium fission reactor on your homemade time machine with Mr. Fusion before returning to 1985. You could wear yourself out trying to dial-in the potential influences that inform the shifting paradigm of sonic cues, fluid syncopation, beyond-the-friend-zone journal excerpts et cetera at work here, or you could just let go and let this progressive psychedelic jazz-rock splitter take the wheel. Either way, you'll be totally taken in by this beast. It rules!

Check out this trippy rainbow Rorschach sponge art video for "Rolando":

Grace Sings Sludge
- Life With Dick
(Empty Cellar)

I've already said a lot of what I wanna say about the wrapped-in-plastic, trauma-folk singer/songstress stylings of lady Grace Sings Sludge earlier this year in my review of Life With Dick right here, but I wanna reiterate my love for this spooky-ooky mood record by urging everyone to creep up on it and let it smother you with its provocative freakouts and unabashed bedroom devotionals. Sounding not too, too far from her contributions to The Sandwitches (RIP), Grace's solo works harbor a larger, almost uncomfortably huge, betrayal of her competence for crafting ominous pop dirges and unchained melodies that shatter whatever home-recording confines she commits herself to.

Here's the second music video from Life With Dick, "Everlasting Arms"—a single-take shot and directed by Chiva MF of Tirando Terror (Mexico):

OOIOO - Gold & Green
(Thrill Jockey)

This is has been one of my “desert island” records since the very first time I heard it nearly seventeen years ago. It still sounds fresher than fresh today, in a delightfully almost alien way, as if it were the kind of music weather would make if it could stop shifting Earth’s elements long enough to galvanize an improv rock band for a interstellar open mic gig. From the opening clarion call of “Moss Trumpeter” to the moment “I’m A Song” bursts wide open into concentric sonic layers, Green & Gold plays as much like a visionary “headphone album” as it feels like a guided navigation of pulsating terrestrial rhythms, atmospheric river melodies, and electric celestial sorcery. Thankfully available for the first time as a proper and complete vinyl release (the very limited 2001 edition was available only in Japan or at some international shows and didn’t include the full album or it’s extensive lush artwork), this is probably the pinnacle of OOIOO’s output to date and a great place to start for anyone curious about Japanese underground rock and the wonderful women who continue to lend their experimental musicianship to the genre. Fun fact: I named my little corner of this here Amobelog after a song on this record because it rules so hard("Grow Sound Tree"—see the vid below). Bonus fun fact: The Flaming Lips found a muse in OOIOO founding member Yoshimi P-We and named their 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots after her.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

(Death Waltz)

This year there were not one, but two reissues of this devastatingly essential masterpiece of a motion picture soundtrack composed by Angelo Badalamenti (with David Lynch), and this "Black Lodge" styled 2LP set is the one to get if you've already splashed out on the "White Lodge" companion package Death Waltz created for their reissue of the original Twin Peaks soundtrack last year. Having been haunted by the mysteries of the music created for Fire Walk With Me since my best friend gave me this soundtrack on cassette as a Christmas gift in 1992, I'm almost at a loss for adequate words to describe how these songs have impacted and inspired me over the years. Simply put, it is a beloved piece of work that continues to move me deeply (with real indications spurring longing urges for nighttime drives of yore). Also, Criterion bestowed Fire Walk With Me with its patent deluxe DVD/Blu-Ray treatment (including crucial bonus content) for new release earlier this year which, altogether with Mark Frost's Dossiers and Twin Peaks' return to the tube in what is likely the most unbridled televised art-moment to date, makes 2017 one helluva twelve-month for Peakers, or I don't know—what do TP nerds call themselves?

Anyway, I wanted to button-up this blurb by including a video for "The Pink Room", but the best one I could find is essentially the entire scene from Fire Walk With Me that occurs while said song is playing and, movie spoilers aside, it features a little too much rude nudity so here's a barely there video for "Sycamore Trees" instead (RIP Jimmy Scott).

Speaking of films... 

The Bandit (2016)
dir. Jesse Moss

I fell in love with this documentary in 2016 and now it's finally available on Blu-ray! That is, it is available as a bonus feature included with the Smokey and the Bandit 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (which makes perfect sense because even if you're buying it to own a hard copy of the doc, you're gonna wanna see the OG Smokey and the Bandit movie). Although created for and funded by CMT, San Francisco-based film maker Jesse Moss' motivation to make the documentary was the relationship between actor/wanna-be stuntman/star of Smokey and the Bandit Burt Reynolds and his best friend/stuntman/wanna-be actor/director of Smokey and the Bandit Hal Needham. From this key moment in their careers, Moss' documentary takes an archivists' dive into the lives of Needham and Reynolds, following their trajectories from humble upbringings to the titular buddy/road movie that solidified their status as 1970s superstars and beyond. What's more, the film conceptually explores the past, present, and future of "the Bandit" as a character (a part originally written with country music super-picker Jerry Reed mind, but it's all good 'cause he ended up in the movie in more ways than one), a car (specifically the iconic 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am), a look (apparently Reynolds bit Needham's personal style pretty hard in his portrayal of Bo "Bandit" Darville in the film), and an American cultural artifact (as Paul Williams says in the sneak peak video below, "you know, in the South they think of Smokey and the Bandit as a documentary.").

Chock full of incredible footage, photographs, interviews, and insights, The Bandit is more than a documentary about the making of a definitive buddy/road movie, it is itself a buddy/road movie defined by a creative union the likes of which we may never see again (not outta Hollywood anyway). I only wish some of the loose ends that lend a bit of mystery to all this sweet tea could have been explored a more thoroughly, even if they couldn't be completely tied up due to those who passed on before this doc was made (namely Needham, Reed, and Jackie Gleason) and those who apparently passed up on being included (Sally Fields). Still, it's an entertaining viewing experience overall, and super dank cross-section of high seventies culture made possible in large part by Reynold's contributions (you can almost smell the Florida funk on the artifacts and ephemera featured throughout the film) and Moss' skills and interests as a deep-diggin' documentary filmmaker.

- The Blood of Gods
(Metal Blade)

After all the feces GWAR has faced in the last few years, the simple fact that they managed to release a new record during these feculent times is proof that 2017 hasn’t been a total flush. The Blood of Gods is a tribute to founding member Dave Brockie, who also portrayed GWAR’s lead vocalist Oderus Urungus until his death in 2014 and whose influence clearly lives on despite his untimely passing. That said, the big question remains: this being the first record released after the death of their fallen leader, does this shit shred like a GWAR album ought to?

While I miss the uniquely raspy, round depth of Oderus’s voice, current GWAR vocalist Blothar the Berserker (Mike Bishop) possesses a bellowing vocal vigor that really suits these new tracks, especially catchy single “I’ll Be Your Monster”. It seems the band is attempting a nostalgic return to 90s GWAR sound, which is rad, and each song delivers a lot of fans might expect from any GWAR record: pristine guitar-work amid heavy riffage with plenty of political satire (“El Presidente”), humorous social commentary ("Death to Dickie Duncan"), anti-humanity anthems (“Fuck This Place”, "Swarm"), and a grand continuation of the GWAR saga (“War On GWAR”). So yeah, this shit shreds, but there’s also a closing dirge/tribute ballad for Oderus/Brockie called “Phantom Limb” that punctuates this curiously satisfying new chapter in the GWAR epic with grace. Actually, the real closing track on the album is a cover of AC/DC’s  "If You Want Blood (You Got It)" which really shows off Blothar’s 70s hard rockin' Bon Scott-like vocal capability, but ultimately serves as a reminder that GWAR is best experienced as a live show (so they can drench you in blood during this song) therefore this last banger feels more like a bonus track than a part of The Blood of God's total package. All told, GWAR lives! Rest In Power Dave and Cory.

Cold Beat - Chaos By Invitation
(Crime on the Moon)

Ever since Oakland-based visionary artist/musician/filmmaker Hannah Lew (Grass Widow, Bridge Collapse, Generation Loss) founded Cold Beat to channel her, uuh...”cold beats” into, the band has consistently delivered cool, catchy, icy-glazed dark waves of contemporary post-punk computer goth fantasy for your nerve despite any shift in creative contributions, style, or direction. This third LP of theirs may begin (and end) with a quasi-standalone transmission of blown out gossamer synths accentuated with subtle yet driving basslines (see the video for "In Motion" below), but it perfectly bookends the record's inner spacial shifts from dreamy hypno pop smog to danceable electro art punk static and back again as Lew's crystalline ethereal vocals soar over every swerve along the way.

Speaking of inner spacial shifts...

Earth Girl Helen Brown - Mercury, Mars, and Saturn
(Empty Cellar Records)

Described as limited edition "seasonal series" and initially offered on "100% post-consumer recycled cassette tapes", Earth Girl Helen Brown (aka Heidi Alexander from The Sandwitches) has thus far released three really great mini-album EP thingies with the enlisted assistance of a veritable mega-group of musicians known collectively as the Earth Girl Helen Brown Center for Planetary Intelligence Band (featuring a lotta earthlings from Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Sonny & The Sunsets, Citay, Mikal Cronin, and The Fresh & Onlys and so many more it's as if the band idea came second to establishing a roadside artists colony). Beginning with Mercury last April, Mars in August, and Saturn this past November, each installment tributes, tackles, or aspires towards a bounty of Earthsongs focused on universal issues via fuzzed out twangy outsider pop abstractions n' things. I don't know what it is about Ms. Brown's vocalizations, but I've had noting but time for her melodies, harmonies, and spoken word treks since I picked up Story of an Earth Girl way back when. Here's hoping the series continues and Venus or whatever is ready for lift off.

Peep this video for Mercury's "Earth Elevator" (directed by Ryan Browne):

Speaking of Earth elevators...

Various Artists - Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition
(Ozma Records)

"Experience the historic interstellar message for extraterrestrials the way it was meant to be played," says the kickstarter campaign created by Ozma Records to get the historic Voyager Golden Record recordings from the original tapes (that sat untouched in an underground warehouse since the Voyager launched in 1977) into the hands of the humans that need these kinds of things—who doesn't need more records?! This mega-deluxe 3LP box set includes all of the same music (from Bach and Beethoven to Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong, Navajo Indian chants to Gregorian chants, Japanese shakuhachi to Solomon Island panpipes), spoken greetings (in 55 human languages and one whale language), and other sounds of our planet (weather, birds, insects, animals, tools, transportation, etc.) contained on the original golden phonograph records as curated by a visionary committee lead by astronomer and science educator Carl Sagan before being mounted to the two Voyager spacecrafts launched by NASA forty years ago. That's nearly two hours of audio attempting to tell a brief yet comprehensive story of life on our planet, can you dig it?

The set also includes a bunch of other great Golden Record relevant goodies, but considering that Voyager I is currently the farthest human-made object from Earth, chilling somewhere in the interstellar medium, I can't get over the simple quiet thrill that comes with putting on this record, hearing a song like Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was The Night" and knowing it's somewhere out there floating like a message in a bottle, inching ever farther into deep space. Pardon the idiom, but it'll hit you right in the feels.

Various Artists - Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht 
(Numero Group)

I'm a sucker for a conscientiously curated compilation, and 2017 was not short on great collections of various artists. This year was so good in fact I could make a whole other Best of 2017 blog post focused entirely on comps (maybe I will?), but whittling all the top contenders down to one, this "wreck-diving the private American AOR ship graveyard" effort released by Numero Group, a label well-known for sorting treasures from trash with the masses in mind, is golden. For more love on this jam check out my blog post from earlier this year here, or peep the preev below for a taste, or take a dive and come all aboard this sweet collection of breezy n' smooth soft rockin' deep cuts by pickin' up your own copy cold turkey. My favorite track in the cut is still "One More Time" by Salty Miller (a.k.a. Nelson Miller of The Monzas—I'm eternally a sucker for anything remotely Carolina Beach Music related).

Only Yesterday (1991)
dir. Isao Takahata

Saved the best for last! I'm not much of an anime nerd, but I absolutely adore Studio Ghibli's works, especially the films written and directed by Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata (the Yin to Hayao Miyazaki's Yang). When it was announced some years ago that Disney had acquired the worldwide distribution rights to all Studio Ghibli films I was worried that some of their best movies (i.e. Takahata's films) would be shelved indefinitely for being too culturally anchored, not kid-friendly enough, or, even worse, suffer heavy editing to make them more appealing for global consumption or something. Over the years, however, Studio Ghibli's high quality filmworks have slowly surfaced one by one and now finally, finally, Takahata's 1991 masterpiece Only Yesterday is available in North America, something I never thought possible because, aside from it being an animated feature film, it is realistic drama that seems to be specifically made for an adult female audience.

In Japan in 1982 an unmarried woman over the age of 25 is considered past her prime, but 27 year old Taeko, a Tokyo professional tired of her office job, is too busy planning her upcoming vacation to the countryside to help harvest safflower at family friend's farm to fuss about guy troubles. The one thing she didn't count on was meeting the hunky farmhand man of her dreams along the way—just kidding! No, the one thing she didn't count on was unpacking a constant stream of vivid memories of her fifth grade self while embarking on her agri-tourism getaway. The seamless mashup of Taeko's mid-1960s flashbacks within her real-time traveling to and working in rural safflower fields makes for a meditative sort of storytelling that is effectively heart-warming and melancholy in the best way. And yeah, okay, maybe there is a guy, but don't get it twisted. This movie is about adult issues, processing childhood memories, embracing nostalgia, and facing your truths in order to live your best life.

The English dub ain't half bad and features the voice talents of Daisy Ridley (speaking with an American accent for some reason) and Dev Patel (who's rockin' some sort of decidedly non-American accent), but I find that so much of the nuance and tone of the original dialogue is lost in the English versions of Ghibli films (Spirited Away being one of the most difficult English dubs to endure). That said, I'll take what I can get. Check out the trailer for the English dub new release below, and have a happy new year everybody! xoxo

Ten Great World Music Reissues & Previously Unreleased Archival Gems of 2017

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 20, 2017 05:10pm | Post a Comment

By Michael Henning

Baba Zulu

10. Baba Zula - XX (Glitterbeat)

Excellent compilation of psychedelic bellydance dub jams from Turkey. If you need more reasons to check this out despite reading that description, then perhaps the fact that Mad Professor produced some of this record will help convince you to investigate. Comes as a 2-CD set (2nd disc is of dub versions) or with the material from the first CD spread out over a nice 2-LP set, plus a CD of the dub versions. Truly innovative global fusion of the highest order, these folks should be way more popular than they are here in the USA, and here's your chance to help remedy that.
The Photographs of Charles Duvelle

9. Charles Duvelle & Hisham Mayet - The Photgraphs of Charles Duvelle - Disques OCORA and Collection PROPHET (Sublime Frequencies)

Top Ten Posthumous Releases of 2017

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2017 11:45pm | Post a Comment

10: The upcoming year-end December 23rd 2017 release of King Capital is the most anticipated of
the year among Pro Era hip-hop fans. Avid followers of the Brooklyn hip-hop collective's late founder, who committed suicide half a decade ago while still in his teens, have been patiently awaiting Capital STEEZ's posthumous debut studio album since the Brooklyn artist born Courtney Jamal Dewar, Jr.'s tragic 2012 self-inflicted death seven months before his 20th birthday. And now thanks to such friends as Joey Bada$$, who announced the release during the third annual STEEZ Day Festival, the late artist's long overdue album is finally going to drop.

9: Easystreet
Into The Stars (no label). A little over exactly one year ago the Bay Area underground arts/music scene suffered a devastating blow with the deadly fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse that took the lives of 36 people: most local artists who died from smoke inhalation. These included Chelsea Faith Dolan (aka KALX DJ and Not Not Fun record label artist Cherushii) and Travis Hough, aka the electronic dance duo of Velvet Chang and Michael Blitzen, whom together made up the Italodisco act Easystreet. Since the December 2016 deadly inferno, good friend and frequent music collaborator of Dolan and Hough’s, Eric Bateman painstakingly produced the posthumous seven song Easystreet mini LP Into The Stars. This he meticulously did by culling various digital media sound file components uncovered in the two late artists’ archives of demos, rough takes, and live concert recordings. Additionally for the duo’s unfinished piano balled “Places (I Will Never Go),” Bateman assembled about a dozen singing friends of the artists who, dubbing themselves the “Easystreet Choir,” held a successful recording session at Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios. That session completed Bateman’s posthumous production of Easystreet’s Into The Stars which was released last month as a lovingly made, albeit very underground, release with no label and only 100 copies pressed up.

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Ten Great New International Music Releases from 2017

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 19, 2017 07:15pm | Post a Comment

By Michael Henning

Tony Allen, The Source

10. Tony Allen - The Source (Blue Note)

Now 77 years old, Allen still plays with the vigor of someone 50 years younger, managing to sound both extremely tight and also suitably loose on this new record. He doesn't miss a beat, carrying the eclectic array of compositions with his fantastically funky rhythms. On top of that, he somehow manages to make his extraordinary playing sound effortless, like he is barely trying. The tunes themselves range from Afrobeat stompers to more laid back, jazzy grooves.


antibalas, where the gods are in peace

9. Antibalas - Where The Gods Are In Peace (Daptone)

Brooklyn's now legendary Antibalas are probably the best known and most successful of the modern crop of Afrobeat bands, and for good reason. They've been at it for almost 20 years now, and have released six excellent studio albums along the way. Their new one, on the always reliable Daptone label, is another high mark for them, with some of their most impassioned playing yet, and their politically and socially conscious lyrics resound even more in these troubling times.


The Top 20 Soundtracks of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2017 06:58pm | Post a Comment

The Top 20 soundtracks of 2017

2017 has been one wild and weird year but fortunately, there's one thing we can all agree on: we got a bumper crop of amazing soundtracks. Works of art in their own right, the year's best soundtracks are atmospheric and evocative, heart-stirring and haunting. (Of course, some of 'em are also chock full of with non-stop-action party jams!) There really are some very strong mixes represented in our Top 20 picks that will appeal not only to fans of the films but to music heads looking for a well-curated collection of tunes. Read on to rediscover some recently-remastered and revitalized classics and to encounter some new and intriguing favorites, just in time for the holidays.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Fight Club

20. Fight Club (OST) - The Dust Brothers

Available on wax for the first time in fifteen years, the Fight Club soundtrack features legendary production duo The Dust Brothers serving up bleak industrial and dark techno. Available on pink vinyl.

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Waxahatchee and Allison Crutchfield

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2017 06:25pm | Post a Comment

Waxahatchee & Allison Crutchfield What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

Though twin sisters and ex-bandmates Allison Crutchfield and Katie Crutchfield (aka Waxahatchee) have gone their own ways musically, the two are still on the same wavelength when it comes to buying records. During a recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood, the two musicians had a lot to say about both their own selections and the albums the other one picked. Holding up the self-titled album by Lucinda Williams, Katie calls it "the greatest record cover of all time." The album art features a black and white photo of Williams, who is clad in a black biker jacket, and the album title written in red cursive. "Lucinda Williams is a whole thing for Allison and I," Katie continues. "She's probably my favorite songwriter of all time."

Tourist In Town Amoeba MusicAllison and Katie Crutchfield began playing music together in their early teens before developing their own flourishing solo careers. Allison makes synth-led indie rock while Katie's band, Waxahatchee, performs indie rock with a folksier bent. Allison has contributed keys and percussion to some of Waxahatchee's recorded output while Katie has contributed vocals to Allison's solo debut, 2017's Tourist in this Town.

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Games for Gala Gatherings: Tabletop Gift Guide 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 07:52pm | Post a Comment

Tabletop Games Gift Guide 2017

By Chris Curtis

With the holidays upon us once again (yipes!), thoughts turn to gift-giving and social gatherings. How about giving a present that pulls people away from screen-staring for an hour or so? One that provokes human interaction, giggles, and cognitive function? Tabletop games (which are better than ever) provide all this and more, and when stacked against other forms of (more passive) entertainment like a night at the movies, are a real value, especially when replayability is considered.

So let’s take a look at four worthy titles all (except one) released in 2017, and none priced at more than twenty dollars. If you want to go the extra mile with your gift, check out the rules or a tutorial video online, and straightaway you’ll be ready to explain the game and join in yourself!

Sundae Split (Renegade Game Studios, designed by Nate Bivins)

Ingeniously efficient, Sundae Split utilizes a simple game mechanism and manages to create a great deal Sundae Splitof suspense, tough decisions, and lots of laughter and fun. The ultimate goal of this fast-moving card game is to have the best scoring combination of ice cream flavors and toppings, while avoiding the negative points from vegetable cards (I love broccoli but not with whipped cream and sprinkles!). If you’ve ever shared a piece of pie with a friend by slicing it into two portions and letting the friend pick one of them, then you’ll get the gist of this easy-to-learn title.

The mechanism the game is based upon is called “I split, you choose” (someone needs to come up with a catchier term!) and in Sundae Split it can be a challenge for both the splitter and the chooser! On your turn you will arrange the cards into as many piles as there are players and, starting with the person on your left, each player will take a pile until you are left with the last one remaining. Clouding the decision-making process for the choosers, several cards can be placed face down. So the splitter might hide the vegetables by turning them face down, or perhaps hide some good cards by turning them face down and having the vegetables face up to dissuade others from selecting a particular ingredient group. It’s impressive how much decision-making can be derived from such a simple concept, as it’s surprisingly tough to make your crappy piles desirable and your coveted piles unattractive.

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The Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 01:57pm | Post a Comment

Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2018

Has Criterion gone punk?? Based on the top selling Blu-rays at Amoeba this year it looks as if the primo purveyors of classic, foreign, and arthouse films found much of their success in alternative and cult-y titles by such provocateurs as Alex Cox, Terry Zwigoff, and John Waters. Perhaps it's a slight exaggeration, but based on the thin presence of films for Francophiles and classic film buffs, it seems that the prestigious label has gotten more angsty and alternative. Regardless, Criterion, as always, released a stellar collection of films in 2017. Here are the 10 best-selling Criterion Blu-rays at Amoeba.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Sid & Nancy Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music

10. Sid & Nancy 
Directed by Alex Cox, 1986
Released Aug 22, 2017

The long overdue Blu-ray release of Sid & Nancy has been one of the most anticipated Criterion releases in recent memory, and it couldn't have come at a more poignant time in lead actor Gary Oldman's career. Now regarded as a Hollywood mainstay, and garnering Oscar buzz for his recent portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hours, Oldman broke through to audiences in Cox's kinetic cult flick about the infamous, short lived, heroin-fueled relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen (played by an equally fascinating Chloe Webb), before her gruesome, unsolved death by stabbing. Packed with extra documentaries, archival interviews of the real Vicious and Spungen, commentaries by the cast and crew, and more, this is the ultimate edition of the beloved punk-classic. 4K digital restoration.
Rebecca Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 9. Rebecca 
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1940
Released Sept 5, 2017

Considered a favorite by many die-hard Alfred Hitchcock fans, Rebecca was the director's first production in Hollywood, after making a name for himself across the Atlantic. Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier star is this psychological melodrama, in which the bliss of their new marriage becomes overshadowed by the memory, and possibly spirit, of Olivier's dead first wife. Filled with visual style, atmospheric special effects, and superb performances, Rebecca signaled the arrival of a new master in Tinseltown, and took home the Academy Award for best picture. The new Blu-ray is filled to the brim with special features, including various archival interviews with cast and crew members, three radio adaptations (including one by Orson Wells), screen tests, and a new conversation by legendary film critic Molly Haskell with Patricia White. 4K digital restoration.

Hip-Hop News 12:17:17: Rolling Loud SoCal Day 2, Skratchpad Youth Skratch DJ Battle, Art Basel Miami, Black Thought's "Freestyle" +

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2017 01:46pm | Post a Comment

Yesterday (12/16) the long running Bay Area DJ skratch club Skratchpad presented their 3rd Annual Youth Skratch Battle. Held in the afternoon at the Last Stop Bar in Daly City, between the young competing DJs' turntable routines, entertainment included a showcase set by the talented longtime Bay Area battle DJ Ichythekiller who is the current Bay Area DMC regional champion. As such he traveled to NYC back in August to rep the Bay in the 2017 DMC US Finals national turntablist battle that was won by NY’s DJ Perly. Meantime back in the Bay Area yesterday at the Skratchpad battle, the 2016 2nd Annual Youth Scratch Battle champion DJ Don Don, who is still under 22 (pictured right yesterday) once again took the title for a second consecutive year at the PeaveyDJ sponsored event.

Ever since Black Thought of The Roots fame delivered his jaw-dropping extended "freestyle" this past Wednesday (12/13) on Hot 97 radio in NYC, that quickly trended as it became a widely praised viral video (scroll down to see the clip),  the positive tone of social media posts soonafter switched from complimentary to doubtful. Many began to question its validity, maintaining that it was not an actual "freestyle" (IE: off the dome & 100% made up on the spot). These doubters insisted that it was not spontaneous but rather a pre-written and prepared rap. Unhappy with this reaction to his art, the Philly rapper born Tarik Trotter  publicly voiced his case  on national TV Friday night when he sat down with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (home of The Roots) to swear that it was indeed a genuine real-time "freestyle" in the traditional hip-hop meaning (a spontaneous creation).

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Krip-Hop Nation’s Leroy F Moore Jr & Nicola McClung Present “Black Disabled Art History 101” @ University Press Books in Berkeley

Posted by Billyjam, December 15, 2017 05:56pm | Post a Comment

“I remember it was 1979. I was twelve years of age and my favorite place to be was in the basement of my family home. It was there that  my father kept his vast prized record collection and it was where I discovered so many Black blind blues musicians like Blind Willie Johnson, and blind Black soul singers on crutches such as Walter Jackson and Robert Winters. I also discovered the man who  would become my idol, Ray Charles.  I didn’t know it then but I was surrounded by my future: Black disability art history,” writes the prolific Leroy F Moore Jr in    latest publication: Black Disabled Art History 101 that that the Krip-Hop Nation founder wrote with Nicola McClung. The passage, one of several book excerpts that the Berkeley based author/activist/artist shared with the Amoeblog, acts as an intro to December 16th's presentation of Black Disabled Art History 101 at University Press Books in Berkeley that Moore will be co-hosting with McClung.

Nicola McClung is a professor in disability studies at USF as well as co-founder of Xochitl Justice Press who published the book. Moore noted how McClung along with fellow USF professor in disability studies Emily A. Nusbaum had initially approached him about the project. Originally written as a children’s book, Black Disabled Art History 101 transcends that one demographic with an appeal to readers from young children to adults.

From the new book exceprt, Moore’s continues his childhood recollections. “Since that day at age 10 in 1979 Black disabled musicians expanded to Black disabled painters like Horace Pippin (1888-1946) to 1970’s NYC graffiti artist King Kase2 who lost his right arm when he was painting in the subway tunnel but went on to become one of  well known  Hip-Hop graffiti artists of that early hip-hop era having painted graffiti over fifty MTA subway trains by 1976. Over the years my own personal library of Black disabled art history has been steadily growing.  Part of my library is the children’s book, Black Disabled Art History 101.”  The scope of Moore's book encompasses Black painters, dancers, musicians, and actors and actress with all types of disabilities dating back to the early 1900’s. As well as text the book features pictures of the artists as well as illustrations by Asian Robles. There are original poem-stories of Black disabled artists including a one by Moore who born with cerebral palsy. Born in 1967, the New York City moved west to the Bay Area many years ago, and a decade ago founded Krip-Hop Nation; the ever expanding international network of disabled Hip-Hop artists and musicians from other genres.

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12:15:17: Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums + Top 5 Hip-Hop Vinyl [G-Eazy, Qbert, N.E.R.D., Jeezy, Eminem, Pharcyde, Scarface, Slim Thug +]

Posted by Billyjam, December 15, 2017 01:40pm | Post a Comment
We may be into the middle of the final month of the year when you might imagine that things would be slowing down on the new releases front but, as you can see from the Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums and Top 5 New Hip-Hop Vinyl below, today (12/15/17) a slew of new hip-hop albums got unleashed and made their way onto the shelves of Amoeba. These include anticipated releases from such artists as  N.E.R.D , Eminem, and Berkeley CA rap star G-Eazy who will be doing an in-store meet-and-greet signing session at his hometown Amoeba on Telegraph at 3pm today. Details

Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums: 12:15:17

1: G-Eazy The Beautiful & Damned  (RCA)

Number one artist at Amoeba G-Eazy will be at his hometown record store Amoeba Berkeley today (3pm in-store) to sign copies of his brand new album has delivered his latest effort, The Beautiful & Damned, on RCA Records. It is the fifth studio album from the 28-year-old Berkeley native whose last album release was 2015’s When It’s Dark Out (also on LP/vinyl). A 20-track, double CD set The Beautiful & Damned
includes such tracks as "Charles Brown (feat. E-40 & Jay Ant)," "Summer In December "No Limit (feat. Cardi B & A$AP Rocky)" which was a Billboard 200 scoring hit, advance single released back in September. G-Eazy's Amoeba Berkeley in-store signing is at 3pm today, with space limited.

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Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part II: Top 10 Critically Reviewed Hip-Hop Albums (Includes UK Artists)

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2017 05:30am | Post a Comment
Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part II: Top 10 Critically Reviewed Hip-Hop Albums
Stormzy Gang Signs & a Prayer
#10  Stormzy  Gang Signs & Prayer (Merky Records) 

This second installment in the Amoeblog Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop series is top ten album list of the highest critically reviewed albums in 2017. Based off a Metacritic study that ranked albums culled from a sampling of critical reviews of varying numbers, the reviews' with rating systems aggregated and ranked in order. Since the critical reviews were both UK and US based, many of the albums are British hip-hop releases that most in the US slept on. The list goes in reverse countdown from ten to number one with #10 Stormzy been one of four UK artists that made this list and is one of two that could be filed under "grime" as well as"hip-hop." Talented 24 year old South London Stormzy enjoyed a most rewarding 2017. Released in late February, his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer would become both a critical and commercial hit. In the UK it topped the UK Albums Chart and in so doing became the first grime album to ever do so. That's not the first time the artist of Ghanaian descent made history. Two years ago his track ‘WickedSkengMan Part 4’ made history by becoming the first freestyle to break the UK charts. On his debut album track "Cigarettes and Cush"  Stormzy collaborated with Californian vocalist Kehlani.  UK music magazine NME gave a five star rating. Metacritic's study of reviewers resulted in an aggregate score of 82 (out of 100).

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Clark

Posted by Amoebite, December 12, 2017 04:24pm | Post a Comment

Clark What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

English electronic musician Clark visited Amoeba Hollywood recently and picked up some vinyl reissues and limited edition releases, many of which were quite dear to him, such as the debut album by Krautrock super-group Harmonia. Comprised of members of the influential groups Cluster and Neu!, Musik Von Harmonia was a big influence on Clark's record Body Riddle. "It's really warm, slowly evolving Krautrock with lots of synths," he tells us. Clark ruminated on each record he chose during our interview and found something insightful to say about them all. 

English electronic artist and producer Clark (né Chris Clark) began making music as a teenager, creating experimental works on homemade instruments. He would go on to attract attention from Warp Records while performing at one of their parties under the moniker Chris From St Albans. (Clark grew up in St. Albans, England.) He subsequently signed to the label, releasing his debut LP, Clarence Park, under the name Chris Clark.

Clark Death Peak Amoeba Music

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Where The Toys Are

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 11, 2017 07:39pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Carries Toys

By Brent James

No doubt you’ve got that one piece of vinyl in your collection that’s “worth thousands,” or maybe now that vinyl is making its “resurgence,” it might be time to sell your aunt’s dusty old records she passed down to you last Summer?

Well, it turns out she might have a few more items in her attic you might be interested in. Now more than ever is the time to check, as all those old toys and collectibles you stashed away are turning out to be worth big bucks. Beatles bucks it would seem, with a Rocket-Firing Boba Fett action figure from the early days of the Kenner Star Wars line recently snatching upwards of $17,000 at auction! And there’s no stopping it; millions of dollars are spent each year in the selling/trading world of toys. Not just Barbies and action figures but actual toys. Conventions are held monthly just for the “hunters,” as they’re referred to in the Toy Community. The little kids of the '70s and '80s and even '90s have grown up, and they have money. Lots of it.

Much like a record, an old toy can transport you to another time and place, and the sky’s the limit once you’re there. For those of us that dabble in both, the similarities are numerous. When displayed properly, a healthy collection is nothing short of a work of art. Great pride is poured into the presentation and many hours are spent on being a completist.

But just as the digital age took its toll on brick and mortar record stores, the same has happened with mom and pop toy stores. Big box chains such as Target and WalMart cut out many traditional toy shops, while Amazon and eBay wiped out the rest. Even Toys R’ Us struggled and to this day bankruptcy is rumored to be in their future. Pair that with a sometimes cutthroat market and poor distribution, and you almost find yourself wishing you ONLY collected records!

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Noise Pop 2018 Announces Phase 2 Line-Up

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 11, 2017 06:33pm | Post a Comment

Noise Pop

Noise Pop returns to the Bay Area for it's 26th year with events all over San Francisco and Oakland, February 19 - 25! This year they are unveiling the amazing full music lineup in phases and they have just announced Phase 2! Phase 2 general badges are available for $195. General badge prices will go up with the Phase 3 lineup announcement, so get your tickets now!

The festival features an array of amazing performances not only from national music acts, but also from an impressive variety of established and up-and-coming Bay Area artists.

Built to Spill (performs Keep It Like A Secret)
Waxahatchee (Solo)
The Album Leaf
Alex Cameron
Dengue Fever
Amy Shark
The Coathangers
Jeff Rosenstock
The Hotelier
Gerd Janson
Crooked Colours
Inara George (of The Bird and the Bee)
Miya Folick
Ha Ha Tonka
The Weather Station
Summer Twins
Death Valley Girls
Mom Jeans.
Oso Oso
Bat Fangs
The Flytraps
Hazey Eyes

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Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop, Part I: Top 10 Charting Hip-Hop Singles [Video Version]

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2017 06:15pm | Post a Comment

This Amoeblog kicks off an extended series of Best Of 2017 in Hip-Hop lists (mostly top tens) that will attempt to cover as many aspects as possible of the ever expanding genre from over the past twelve months. These Best-Of lists will range from underground, slept-on artists that got little attention overall in 2017 to hugely popular and financially successful artists who dominated charts and media coverage in 2017. It will also include vinyl charts; both new and reissues, female hip-hop artists, top selling albums, top critically received albums,  top ten producer albums, and a list of posthumously popular artists in 2017. The series will even include a list of the top “Lil” rappers (artists with “Lil” in their name that made an impact in 2017).

Another  Best of 2017 in Hip-Hop will be a Top Ten list of the Top Selling Artists in 2017: based on a Forbes study comparison of their pre-tax annual incomes. Somewhat similarly, today’s list is also rooted in financial statistics; namely hip-hop sales of singles based on their Billboard chart positions, as well as taking into consideration other statistics. Each entry in the Top 10 Charting Hip-Hop Singles list below is based first on chart positioning on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and then on accumulated airplay statistics including online outlets. Each single featuring its accompanying music videos, the Top Ten goes in order from Number 10 up to Number 1. Parental warning: many of these videos contain explicit lyrics and/or imagery.

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The Acid Test New Year's Eve Freak Out in San Francisco

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 10, 2017 06:28pm | Post a Comment
The Acid Test
The Acid Test with Silver Apples. Photo by Tyler Loring.

Experience the last trip of the year! A psychedelic happening featuring far-out lights and sounds! Amoeba The Acid Test New Years Eveis proud to sponsor The Acid Test's New Year's Eve Freak Out party on Sunday, December 31st at the Elbo Room with live sets from LA's psych phenom The Creation Factory and local loves The Pop Club Group. The night's DJs include The Acid Test's Steve and Noemi, San Fran's Jodie Artichoke, and Los Angeles DJs Maicol (Heavy Jelly Club) and Peri Alexandra Levin. Visuals to be provided by The Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show.

Following in the tradition of San Francisco's 1960s psychedelic underground, The Acid Test throws mind-expanding freak-out parties featuring incredible live music, DJs spinning obscure psychedelic sounds, and groovy live liquid light show performances. This New Years Eve party is destined to be a happening of epic proportions.

The Creation Factory channels the sounds of 1960s psychedelic beats. The LA-based five-piece isn't just making music they're "capturing the sort of sounds that people don’t hear anymore," says front man Shane Stots. They are creating an experience. "We're bringing sounds back from the grave, maybe better than they were before," Stots, who's also a member of L.A. rock group the Mystic Braves, says. The group uses authentic 1960s gear (and an era-appropriate look) to create blues-inflected rock designed to get a crowd's feet moving. The Creation Factory was formed in 2014 when Stots pieced together a style-infused gang of psychedelic bandits, including band members Iggy Gonzalez (also of the Mystic Braves) on drums, Neil Soiland and Gabriel Pacheco on guitar, and Peter Maffei (of The Electric Magpie) on keyboards. Stots himself provides bass and lead vocals.

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Noir City Xmas, 12/20

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 10, 2017 03:45pm | Post a Comment

Noir City Xmas

Join the Czar of Noir Noël, host Eddie Muller, on Wednesday, December 20th at SF's historic Castro Theatre for the eighth annual Noir City Xmas! This year, our friends at the Film Noir Foundation present a double-feature of rare noir-stained 1940s' films to darken your yuletide spirit. At 7:30pm, it’s Manhandled (1949) starring Dan Duryea, Dorothy Lamour, and Sterling Hayden, followed at 9:30pm by Alias Boston Blackie (1942) with Chester Morris. Read more about these films HERE!

Manhandled (1949)
Alias Boston Blackie
Alias Boston Blackie (1942)

The evening will also feature the unveiling of the full program (and poster) for NOIR CITY 16, the world's most popular film noir festival, which is coming to the Castro Theatre January 26 – February 4, 2018. And for your holiday shopping pleasure, NOIR CITY 16 Passports (10-day all-access festival passes for 24 movies, plus opening night reception) will be available for sale at the Xmas show for $120 (cash or credit card) at the FNF's merchandise table on the Castro mezzanine. These make terrific gifts!

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Top Five Hip-Hop Albums: Dec 8th 2017 Vinyl Releases: Beastie Boys, Wiki, Oddisee, The Perceptionists, Das EFX

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2017 10:50am | Post a Comment
1: Beastie Boys The In Sound From Way Out! LP  (Capitol)

The In Sound From Way Out! LP is a reissue by Capitol of the long out of print killer 1996 instrumental compilation album from the Beastie Boys. This new version is 180 gram vinyl and the cover art, while almost exactly the same, is a slightly different shade of each color which you could tell if you have the two versions of this LP side by side. A well chosen collection of instrumental tracks, they include grooves culled from their Ill Communication and Check Your Head albums (with Money Mark on keyboards). The Beasties vinyl reissue is one of three albums getting that treatment from the group this month. The others are To The 5 Boroughs and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two both of which are via Capitol Records also.

2: Wiki No Mountains In Manhattan LP (XL Recordings)

New York rapper Wiki looks set to take it to the next level with today's anticipated release of his official  debut: the two LP set No Mountains In Manhattan LP that  XL Recordings also released on CD version.  Album guests include Ghostface Killah and Your Old Droog. As diehard fans know the 24 year old rapper first emerged, while still a teen, at the start of this decade with NYC crew Ratking along with MC Hak and Sporting Life and featuring such affiliate artists as Princess Nokia.

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Louis Armstrong’s Lifelong Laxative Regimen and Wife Lucille’s Quirky Interior Design Style

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2017 06:06am | Post a Comment
Basin Street Blues LP by Louis Armstrong reissued on 180 gram vinyl last year

His mom raised him to be "physic-minded" and to do regular cleansing (IE laxatives) and that is how Louis Armstrong from 1953 up until his death embraced one particular herbal laxative product, becoming its unofficial spokesman and even giving it his own tagline, "Leave it all behind ya." I learned all of this 
upon my return visit this week to the wonderful historic Louis Armstrong House Museum (LAHM) in Corona, Queens for a viewing of the small but engaging exhibit in the mini museum by the nicely stocked gift store, plus a guided detailed tour of the house that was the legendary jazz trumpeter & singer’s home with wife Lucille for the final decades of their lives. Louis Armstrong (aka Satchmo or Pops) died from a heart attack at age 69 on July 6, 1971 with his widow surviving him by another twelve years. No one else has lived in the preserved house since that today is exactly as it was when they both lived there. It was in this house where Armstrong wrote his most famous song, “What A Wonderful World,” and where on breaks from his busy touring schedule that he would kick back and socialize with the working class neighbors on his block including the kids to whom he was a mentor of sorts.

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Trizz's New Album is a “Dark, Street Horror Flick On Tape”

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 7, 2017 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Trizz, Ashes n DustBy doubleay

Trizz hails from Los Angeles and Inland Empire, but he doesn’t believe everybody listening knows that. Trizz has developed a uniquely dedicated audience with fans scattered internationally, yet the he feels the misconception about where he’s coming from is all too common. The circulation of his music has transcended geographical bounds, but Trizz is making his origin the emphasis on his upcoming album, Ashes N Dust.

I spoke with Trizz about why he’s so motivated to make his roots clear and how he’s going to project his personal experiences for listeners with the new album.

You’ve got Ashes N Dust dropping December 15th. You’ve got G Perico on there, Robb $tone, and it’s entirely produced by AC3 Beats. Your last solo project dropped in 2016. What’s been motivating you musically since the last release?
Basically, just the way the industry has changed so much. I’ve noticed that I have to basically pump out singles every other two weeks to keep up with, you know, what’s going on because I want to stay relevant. I didn’t want to drop full-length albums so what I focused on was videos and singles. This year I dropped 13 videos. That included features I was on and, you know, building my brand and my marketing, you know what I’m saying? All building up to this moment to drop my album so I’m building a major platform.

Yeah, whether we’re here for it or not, this is the rate the industry is moving at currently and everybody is racing to keep up. You either have to adjust or you're in the dust.
Yeah, for me man, I’m trying to adjust but not change myself because of this game, while still going major with it.

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Amoeba's Response to the Changes at the LA Weekly

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2017 04:23pm | Post a Comment

LA Weekly

We were as surprised as anyone to hear about the sale and layoffs at the LA Weekly this past week. Amoeba has had long-standing friendships and working relationships with the writers and editorial staff at the Weekly, and we have shared a history of commitment and passion for the creative community. Our community was rocked by these unexpected, major layoffs. These are friends and colleagues whose voices have been intertwined with ours over the past 16 years as we have all struggled to keep the creative community thriving in Los Angeles.

As an independent retailer, we have historically found the Weeklies (LA, Pasadena, and SF) to be like-minded partners that serve our community responsibly. They have also been acceptable to our advertising partners (primarily artists, music labels, distributors, and charitable organizations). Having print media visibility still carries tremendous value for us, and most of the advertising we run is through the Weeklies.

Our holiday advertising in LA Weekly was planned with our label and distribution partners months ago and has been booked through the end of this year. However, yesterday we pulled our sponsorship from their annual "Sips & Sweets" event and today we pulled a planned back page "institutional" ad for this Thursday’s issue in protest of the recent handling of staff and contractors. We will evaluate our ongoing relationship with the LA Weekly in the New Year, after determining whether or not LA Weekly is able to re-establish itself as credible, empathetic and supportive of the community it serves.


-- Amoeba Music

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Samantha Robinson & Jennifer Ingrum from 'The Love Witch'

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2017 03:05pm | Post a Comment

The Love Witch (Samantha Robinson and Jennifer Ingrum) What's In My bag?

We recently hosted a DVD signing with the cast and crew of Anna Biller's feminist cult hit, The Love Witch, at Amoeba Hollywood and we were excited to interview the stars, Samantha Robinson and Jennifer Ingrum, for a What's In My Bag? episode. Spending the majority of their time shopping our movie mezzanine, the two actresses found an eclectic selection of classic, art-house, and cult-y flicks, including What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which has received a renewed interest because of the recent FX show, Feud. "You have to see this movie if you're gonna watch Feud," insists Ingrum, going on to recount the famous feud between the two leading actresses, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Ingrum and Robinson's love for each film was very apparent as both had a lot to say about their picks, which made for a fun and lighthearted episode.

The Love Witch Amoeba MusicIn the Technicolor-hued The Love Witch, Robinson plays the titular, love-obsessed witch while Ingrum plays her occult mentor. Robinson was born in New York City and grew up in London before moving to Los Angeles to study acting at UCLA. She received a Best Actress nomination for the 2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. Ingrum is a San Diego native who has also appeared on Franklin & Bash, The Artist and CSI: Miami.

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Enamel Pins Are In at Amoeba

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2017 12:37pm | Post a Comment

Enamel Pins

Enamel pins may be small but they carry a big message -- and a very high cool quotient. Adding a pin to your backpack or jacket is a subtle yet ultra hip way to rep your pop culture obsessions, whether it's the band that changed your life, the TV show you can't get enough of, the movie that inspired you to dive into cinema --- or your all-time favorite record store, of course. (Yes, we have special Amoeba pins.) You can find an unrivaled, ever-growing selection of pins to scratch every pop culture itch at all three Amoeba stores. You can also shop a somewhat more curated selection online under Merch.

Not only are these pins are a great way to show off your personality through fashion accessories, they're just plain fun to collect. You never know what one-of-a-kind finds you'll be able to pick up or what perfect stocking stuffers you'll find for the music heads on your shopping list. Come visit Amoeba Hollywood, Amoeba San Francisco or Amoeba Berkeley and see what we've got!

Enamel Pins      Enamel Pins

Enamel Pins

Top Five Hip-Hop Upcoming December Releases: N.E.R.D., Wiki, The Pharcyde, Wu-Tang Clan (Pre-Order All from Amoeba Today)

Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2017 03:46pm | Post a Comment
1: N.E.R.D. NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES [Pre-Order Dec 15th album] (Columbia Records)

Following the lead of its successful first single “Lemon (feat. Rihanna)” released early last month, recently reunited N.E.R.D. will drop their anticipated new album NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES [Pre-Order] on December 15th. You can pre-order now from Amoeba with free shipping in US. Comprised of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley it will be the N.E.R.D.'s fifth studio album and the trio's first since 2010’s Nothing. This new album was not expected by most to drop until sometime in 2018.  Along with the Rihanna cameo track “Lemon,” the new album will feature another ten songs (some of which have already been heard) and include many more big names making appearances. These will include Ed Sheeran (“Lifting You”), André 3000 (“Rollinem 7’s”), Future (“1000”), Gucci Mane & Wale (“Voilà”), and Kendrick Lamar who will appear on both "Don’t Don’t Do It" and on "Kites" on which M.I.A. also collaborates. This album is a likely number one Billboard chart contender. Scroll down below to check out an audio preview of the album track “1000” that N.E.R.D. album guest Future published last week.

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Join Our Holiday Food Drive at Amoeba SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 4, 2017 03:42pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba's San Francisco is partnering with the SF-Marin Food Bank this holiday season. Please join us and make a difference!

Donate nonperishable food items to the SF-Marin Food Bank at Amoeba SF December 5th through January 2nd and receive a coupon for $5 off your purchase of $30 or more in store and 10% off on! Please bring your donations to the Info Counter at the center of the SF store to receive your coupon.

The most-needed food items are peanut butter, low sugar cereal, tuna & canned meat, soups & stews, rice, pasta, oats, canned fruits & vegetables, and 100% fruit juice. No glass or perishable items, please.

Concert Tickets Available at Amoeba Hollywood December 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 4, 2017 12:09pm | Post a Comment

Concert Tickets For Sale at Amoeba HollywoodAmoeba 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 $3 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 $3 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.

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Dec 1 2017: Top 10 & Hip-Hop News: Pam & Boots (The Coup), Action Bronson, Little Simz, Chali 2na, Z-Ro, Talib Kweli, Denzel Curry

Posted by Billyjam, December 1, 2017 09:58am | Post a Comment

“She’s not out the woods yet,” is the official word on the latest health status of DJ Pam “The Funkstress” Warren according to Alex Mejia. The longtime friend of Pam's followed up with the Amoeblog by phone yesterday on the medical status of the hospitalized Bay Area female DJ who suddenly fell ill in recent weeks. Pam first came to fame back in the early 90's with Bay Area political hip-hop group The Coup (with Boots Riley and E-Roc). In the past decade she has become better known for party rocking in clubs as well as being the tour DJ for the late great Prince on his final tour (hence her alias Purple Pam). As reported on the Amoeblog the DJ was recently hospitalized in critical condition and in the ICU and (as noted by Boots Riley) "fighting for her life" as she battled against a sudden illness. The exact cause of Pam's illness is still not publicly known because the artist had specifically asked for “privacy and confidentiality and we must respect her wish” said Mejia yesterday, adding that. “Pam is still fighting for her life,” he added noting how, despite the fact that Pam has medical insurance, that it does not cover all of her costs. Hence why now, currently into her fourth expensive week in a Bay Area hospital, that Pam's family had set up a GoFundMe drive with a $25K goal to offset these costs.