Sunday Plays: an Autumn Equinox mix

Posted by Kells, September 22, 2013 05:08pm | Post a Comment

Sundays are conducive to relaxed habitual activities like alfresco brunches, bible study and bingo.
However, I choose to spend most of my brunch money on records and my Sunday School days are behind me. Plus, I'm pretty certain I'm immune to the bingo bug thus I spend my Sundays catching up on the records I've acquired during the week or otherwise play curator to my personal wax museum. I usually get the coffee or tea brewing and then select four albums at a time, because that usually adds up to two and a half hours, and play them in the order seems to best fit the feel of the day's mood. Then you brunch or check your email or write your blog or roll around on the floor or whatever -- that's your business.

Anyway, the enjoyment that comes of listening to records on a lazy Sunday morning/afternoon is, for me, the very definition of creature comfort. This Sunday being the Autumnal Equinox I'm reluctantly ringing in fall with these selections:

Staying Alive - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

This year my dumb ass didn't really get around to reveling in the splendor of Summer until it was almost over. Somehow, like magic, listening to this soundtrack is making it all okay. On the one hand I am so completely bummed to see Summer go, but I've also always been such a ho for Autumn, this film and the music that completes it. For me, right now, it's the remedy to all my Summer woes. Especially the breakdown part of "(We Dace) So Close to the Fire" where it claws it's way into a sexy, fragmented downtempo beat set against a corny gasping vocal, repeating "dance... fire... BURN!" signaling Finola Hughes' slinking she-devil entrance in the dance piece within the film, Satan's Alley (see the vid below). Who knew Sylvester Stallone's brother Frank was so musically gifted? I mean, "Moody Girl" is a criminally overlooked smooth soul jammer in my opinion. 

Listening to this first thing was the best idea I've had all day.

Next up I went with the kinder, gentler submission to the turning of the seasonal wheel...

Dead Can Dance - Aion

I'll never forget the first time I heard Dead Can Dance, their sound totally changed the way I thought about mood music. It was around the same time that I was reading Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles which really worked for me. This album is the only one of theirs that I own in my wax museum and listening to it only makes me want to add to the family. Of all their records, however, I feel like I can get behind this one the most for a Summer-to-Fall transition piece. The second track on side A, "Saltarello," is an exemplary modern medieval romp that brings to mind blurred visions of courtesans, dressed as men, cutting it up at a harvest masquerade -- just like Wikipedia said.

Dead Can Dance - "Saltarello"

and now for something completely different...

Bell, Book and Candle - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I got this the other day on a whim, just because. I'm always on the prowl for crazy, kooky, sexy, cool sounds for the lounge.
Well, there's nothing for it now: I need to see this movie. I'm more than a little miffed that I haven't seen it before now because this soundtrack just plain rules. There is plenty of kitschy bongo beats and and lush jazzy tones that adds as much mystery to my interpretation of what this film is all about based solely on the soundtrack as it, in theory, enhances the witchy woman vibes I assume the makers of this movie aimed to achieve. Aside from the vague insertion of the melody from "Jingle Bells" in the opening suite (I feel like it's been popping up now and again as I make my way through the record, back to front) I 'm beginning to think this might make a more appropriate yet sinister transition listen from Hallowe'en to Christmas, nevermind Thanksgiving.

Here's a little visual!

Last, but most effing definitely not least:

Also known as Snowblind or Children of the Grave, Black Sabbath Vol. 4 always kind of seemed like such a dopey title (no pun intended) for a mammoth album so great that signified a turning point not only in my life but also, as I've come to understand, for the band as well. As much as the music of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath will forever be linked to the dark arts and Hallowe'en, the lead-off track "Wheels of Confusion" seems to me like a regurgitation of my own personal "innocence lost" after school special, which is probably why it feels so deliciously gloomy yet embarrassing and infinitely revisitable. Not my favorite Sabbath track (that honor goes to "A National Acrobat"), but I love Wheels so much it might just be my ultimate, Side One, Track One.

Black Sabbath - "Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener"

King Arthur lives (and procures a shrubbery) this Sunday at the Castro Theatre in SF!

Posted by Kells, September 21, 2013 03:48pm | Post a Comment
This Sunday the dark sensuality and brutal magic of John Boorman's Excalibur collides with Monty Python's excessively silly, low-budget quest for the Holy Grail as San Francisco's own Castro Theatre hosts a double feature comprised of two of the best loved interpretations of Arthurian Legend ever committed to memory...I mean celluloid film. With two showings of each film, the latter offering free coconut shells while supplies last, this cinematic concurrence is just one of many Castro two-fers that has really got me feeling thrilled to go out to the movies again (not to mention that these double feeches are two movies for one low price, dig). If you happen make it out to either of the late showings beware of yours truly, the geek that chants entire spans of dialogue in hushed tones (especially the Charm of Making) or otherwise forgets that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not the Rocky Horror Picture Show (cue coconuts). 

Below I honor those who share my enthusiasm for these films by sharing not original, but rather very lovingly recut, fan-made trailers for both Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. [huzzah]
EXCALIBUR shows at 1:45, 6:30...

...and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL shows at 4:25, 9:05*

*free coconuts! 

San Francisco Summer Jams: Kelly Stoltz's "Kim Chee Taco Man"

Posted by Kells, September 8, 2013 12:45pm | Post a Comment

This year there seems to be more confusion than collusion when it comes to determining the borderline between Summer's end and Autumn's dawn. Recently, I made a break from San Francisco's foggy cold summer to spend some time basking in the high August sunshine on the Carolina coastline. It was with much distress that before I had even returned to California I couldn't help but clock the sudden emergence of all things Halloween on my Summer radar. Browsing the beer aisle had become an exercise in dodging pumpkin brews, hitting the local corner store for a sunblock re-up meant traipsing through a spooktacular displays replete with bulk candies, even a beloved backroad farmer's market had transformed itself, within the span of a week, from sunny Summer fruit central into a homespun Halloween headquarters. What [expletive] gives?

All this is leading up to the total relief I felt upon seeing the merry music video for "Kim Chee Taco Man" earlier this week, the first bit of music released from Kelley Stoltz's upcoming album Double Exposure (drops 9/24 on Third Man Records). The video, co-starring Grace Cooper of The Sandwitches, is enjoyably humorous and all but what really struck me is the breezy, endless summer vibe of the track mixed with the familiar voices, faces and places indicative of a fully made in San Francisco production. What's more, I feel that the timing of this little ray of light has restored my faith in the season. We may not enjoy much in the way of a visual display of change as the wheel of the year turns, but just like the Kim Chee Taco Man's disciples in the video, we relish, with gusto, those goodies bestowed to us from on high, whether they be gifted from gourmet gurus or simply the results atmospheric stability. In any case, from September to October, I've got to give it up for Summer in San Francisco!


Miley Crisis: Girl Gives Twerk a Bad Name

Posted by Kells, September 1, 2013 09:15pm | Post a Comment

Just when I thought I had naught to say regarding Mileygate...

Okay, okay, okay Miss Miley. Girl can twerk, or whatever, and I take no issue with her preferred style of dance, even if she does resemble pinched trash wagging an imaginary honey stick when she does it. I have to admit, however, it bums me out that her dehydrated toungue n' tourettes performance at the VMAs last Sunday seems to have made "twerk" a household word or, at least, a generally accepted generic term for sexy ass-dancing, which, by the way, Cyrus wasn't really showcasing. Not on that night anyway. But, hey, that's fashion and my opinion matters little and weighs less when it comes to stomaching realities like this slice of Mileygate aftermath right here:

Really though, all this weak-ass sauce aside, I want to share, right here and now, some examples of real-ass twerking for anyone out there interested in gaining an understanding of why this manner of dancing could, should and has been elevated to a level of high art in expressive movement. Poppin', grinding, twerking, bounce, clap, stripper dance... check up on it and call it what you will, just don't promise chocolate milk if you're pouring watered-down Yoo-hoo. Here follows some of my favorite moments I've stumbled across in recent twerk-ish history:


The music video for Diplo' s "Express Yourself" (featuring Nicky Da B) has developed such a rich rash of "see Miley?" comments within the past week that it is worth over-looking the blurred lines (see what I did there) between twerking and the awesomeness that is Nola Bounce to include it here. Plus, as an added bonus, the vocal track practically acts as a literal how-to dance tutorial for those not overtaken by the sudden urge to, well, express themselves upon first listen.

Continue reading...

Summer Jams: R. Stevie Moore's "I Like To Stay Home"

Posted by Kells, August 10, 2013 04:05pm | Post a Comment
Sometimes Summer jammin' isn't about where you go but where you hole up.

I've been on a heavy R. Stevie Moore bender of late and I reckon a good quarter slice of his massively prolific discography of eccentric DIY bedroom record-a-thons is fit for soundtracking the most sun-baked and faded of your high Summer adventures (especially if you find yourself going nowhere). We don't see a lot of previously played R. Stevie come in here at Amoeba, but I was lucky enough to cross paths recently with a used copy of Contact Risk on CD -- one of the many compilations that, what with its 21 tracks, decidedly employs a more-is-Moore approach to showcasing selected gems plucked from his cavernous catalog. But, get into this: Brooklyn based label Personal Injury has lately reissued a number of Moore's vinyl miscellany, notably Phonography (1978), Delicate Tension (1979) and Glad Music (1986), so if you're looking to go out by staying in with some old new music I can think of no better portal through which to channel your indoor summer exodus than this Glad Music banger right here: 

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