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Summer-centric Cinema: Amusement Parks in the Movies!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, July 1, 2017 11:17pm | Post a Comment
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Greetings thrill-seekers and family fun-loving Amoeblog readers! Summer's officially here for half the planet which means it's amusement park season. Whether you get your kicks at a globally branded monolith of a theme park or bravely risk those rickety rides at your local fairgrounds, I heartily recommend everyone indulge an amusement park interlude before Summer's end. If you can't make it happen, don't let the dog days get you down—let the movies take you there! Here's a fat list* of fifteen flicks featuring amusement park themes and scenes for your Summer-centric movie marathon consideration. Feel free to let me know if you think I missed anything essential and keep in mind that some of these titles may be found in used condition on our stores, perhaps in VHS format for all you tapeheads out there. Check the links to our online store or give us a call to see if we have what you're looking for and we'll do our best to hook you up. Now, hold on to your butts and enjoy ride!

amusement theme park movie list summer cinema Rollercoaster 1977 kings dominion Ocean View Amusement Park Six Flags Magic Mountain
Rollercoaster (1977)

With a story that plays out like proto-Die Hard script with somewhat made-for-TV production values, Rollercoaster is a "disaster movie" era thriller that may have fallen through the cracks of time (which is completely understandable given that, box office-wise, it had the likes of Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit to contend with), but is nevertheless worth watching for the quality and quantity of its amusement park footage. Filmed extensively at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA), King's Dominion (Doswell, VA), and the now defunct Ocean View Park (Norfolk, VA), it's arguable that shot-for-shot this flick packs more visual theme park punches than any other film. What's more, the band Sparks makes a cameo appearance near the end of the movie that lasts long enough to include two songs ("Big Boy" and "Fill-er-up" off Big Beat (1976). Apparently Sparks agreed to appear after KISS turned down the gig, however, fun fact: KISS went on to film KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain a year later (#choices). Anyway, if you've been to these parks and long for days of yore, or if you fancy suspenseful depictions of thrill ride terrorist acts, and/or Sparks, Rollercoaster is the movie for you!

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Worry Me: Horror Folk/Pop weirdo Grace Sings Sludge returns with new album Life With Dick

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 7, 2017 11:26pm | Post a Comment
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Back again with another batch of demented home recordings from her very own twilight zone, former Sandwitches and Fresh & Onlys siren Grace Cooper, a.k.a. Grace Sings Sludge, continues to bleed out her uniquely brooding singer/songwriter stylings via Life With Dick, her new confessional LP/CD out courtesy of Empty Cellar Records, thus ensuring that all things strange and amazing haven't entirely vanished from the Bay Area.

Evocative of intimate interiors and a labor for love, or "the weariness of a woman giving in to a love requited" as Empty Cellar so perfectly puts it, the self-produced sound of Life With Dick is neither crunchy nor polished, but seems to teeter on the edge of a reality that alternates between ominous assertion and a sultriness so creepy it'll make you check your six if you dare listen to it alone, headphoned, in the dark (recommended!). Sometimes the vibe tilts toward the otherworldly as raw, layered melodies drift and amble in and out of sonic focus as if attempting to haunt every moment they're allotted—pianos echoing here, guitars heaving there, with now-and-then hallow drum lines (courtesy of Nick Russo) sauntering along beneath Grace’s emphatic vocal clips, plaintive wails, and whispered half-breaths. There is also a pervasive after hours type of jazziness that slinks in and around almost every song, coloring Grace's achingly bare vocals a deep rouge (a darker, redder version of the opening credits for the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes immediately to mind). 

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Ten More Recommended Picks for Record Store Day 2017 (for folks who don't know what to get)!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 18, 2017 09:11pm | Post a Comment
Ever felt lost at Amoeba or so overwhelmed by the selections that you forget what you're looking for? Or, worse yet, you don't even know what to get?
record store day 2017 staff picks what should I get recommendations
Generally speaking, it can be tough to stay focused at Amoeba, and on Record Store Day, what with the increased scope of releases both in terms of limited RSD offerings and other freshly stocked new arrivals, not to mention the scope of the crowd, the struggle can be all too real. Each year come Record Store Day we do our very best to provide everyone with personal copies of our comprehensive RSD product list as well as directions to where these items are stocked in the store, and we always try to accommodate all individual queries, quandaries, and quests with safety and fairness. Sometimes this is as simple as recommending something to someone who doesn't know what they want, but knows they definitely want something because it's what? Record Store Day! With that in mind, I've created a list of RSD product picks especially for those folks who don't know what they want, but surely want something.

For more Record Store Day recommendations, please see the links at the bottom of this post. Happy hunting everyone thank you for continued support!

johnny cash childrens album record store day 2017
Johnny Cash - The Johnny Cash Children's Album (LP)

Best of 2016: Kelly's Personal Picks (now with more cat)!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 31, 2016 02:18pm | Post a Comment
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Looking back at 2016, it was a good year for music, if for nothing else. If you're reading this—hey!—you survived the ride. How did you do it? Was it the music? Without a doubt, music has saved my life, or at least my mood, as often as once a day (very probably) over this past year and for that I am thankful (most definitely). Here follows a little list of personal favorites that really came through for me in 2016. My cat may be in some of these pictures...

tony molina confront the truth 45 slumberland
Tony Molina
- Confront the Truth
(Slumberland)

I never know what to expect from Tony Molina, aside from hella Bay Area bombast and great short songs, and Confront the Truth further confused matters for me (save for the short songs tip) in the best way possible. This lovely 45 is brimming with just the sort of comfortably spun, little-bit-country/little bit folk 'n roll melodies I like. It can also be said that it's brimming with conspicuous influences, namely bits n' bobs reminiscent of The Beatles, Elliott Smith, and perhaps even a little early Skynyrd (think "The Seasons"). Nevertheless, it's easy to appreciate the truth of Molina's heartfelt songwriting and superb ability to navigate a softer power as he coaxes and bends his strums and twangs 'til the bitter end on this ten-ish minutes long, eight song confrontation. Or 'til the bittersweet end, as the cherry on top is a loving cover of Thin Lizzy's wistful instrumental "Banshee" rounding out the record like a would-be bonus track. Altogether a perfect example of how beautifully moving even the most fleeting music can be.

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Egyptian Lover: Into the Future

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 30, 2016 08:11pm | Post a Comment

Always timeless, it comes as no surprise that electro hip-hop pioneer The Egyptian Lover - aka L.A. native Greg Broussard, aka chief 808 seductor supreme - keeps moving forward masterfully with his patent "throwback" sound, conquering the dance floor one ass at a time. By any reckoning, it seems like 2016 has been a good year for Egyptian Lover. He's been consistently killin' it on the road in support of his latest full-length LP 1984 (Egyptian Empire), he released a 4 LP anthology, 1983-1988, and a super dope pyramid-shaped 7-inch reissue of Egypt, Egypt (both on Stones Throw), and lately he has been offering up some seriously rad hand drawn custom 12" art covers in addition to droppin' new music videos (like the vibetastic "Into the Future" above, complete with TRON meets Pole Position visuals). He even rustled up a late night, cure-all infomercial for his new box set featuring clips from some of his best videos for folks suffering from some serious new music fatigue (like me):


If that doesn't make you feel all good deep down inside, then perhaps, sadly, The Egyptian Lover isn't your medicine man. Personally speaking, I don't know that I could have made it through this bumpy year without Broussard's past and present old skool stylings, and I've preached the benefit of tuning out any and all modern cacophony by turning on some Egyptian Lover at length to anyone who will listen, for all of my life I've been a freak, doin' what I want to seven days a week. Seriously, if it weren't for the his music, this year might have brought me so far down there'd be no future to get into. Here's to enjoying the past by looking ahead with The Egyptian Lover—today, tomorrow, and always—because in these times of hate and pain, we need a remedy...in fact, we need a freak:

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