Amoeblog

New World Music Vinyl Releases For March/April 2011

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 28, 2011 09:06am | Post a Comment

V/A-Waking Up Scheherazade Vol 2

This is the second volume of rare garage and psyche rock from the Middle East. 14 tracks from garage bands from Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan. So what is the difference between Middle Eastern groups playing garage and psyche vs. the western groups who did the same thing? Think of all the western groups who tried to mimic sounds of the Middle East in their music... Now take the musicians trained in classic Middle Eastern music and listen to them play rock. The Psyche movement owes plenty to the music of South Asia and the Middle East, that’s for sure. This is a vinyl only release. The first volume sold out quickly so you may not want to sleep on this.

Solla Solla – Maestro Ilaiyaraaja & The Electronic Pop Sound Of Kollywood 1977 to 1983 – Vol 1 & 2

Kollywood, you say? Everyone knows Bollywood and there have been a few Lollywood compilations in recent years. Kollywood is film music based in the Chennai Kodambakkam area, where films are made in the Tamil language, thus the K for Kollywood. The two separate LP releases feature the work of composer Ilaiyaraaja. Like many film composers in India & Pakistan, Ilaiyaraaja was as prolific with his music as the Indian film industry was with making films. Over the span of 1977-1983, the years that the two volumes focus on, Ilaiyaraaja recorded hundreds of scores. The music on these two LPS contains some heavy funk, dirty guitar and electronic exploration, all with Ilaiyaraaja's South Indian flavor. This is a must for any Indian Music soundtrack junkie.

Grupo Oz-S/T

This is not the most Latin or World music-sounding release; perhaps if the band were not from Mexico you would find this in the soul section. Grupo Oz was a super group of Mexican studio musicians put together by the label Discos Raff, who also released such Mexican rock bands as Three Souls In My Mind, La Cosa Nostra and El Ritual. All vocals were done in English to try to break into the U.S. market. When crossover success did not happen, the group disbanded. Their one and only album was heavy on the funk, and comparisons have been made to Funkadelic and to many of the great Chicano Funk bands of the same era. Because the original version of this album has become quite the collector’s item, Grupo Oz LPS have been heavily bootlegged over the years. Secret Stash's legit LP version comes with a download card with bonus tracks, including a version of Malo’s classic "Suavecito."

Lucho Bermúdez y Su Orquesta3 x 7”vinyl & MP3 Download card
Colombia 453 x 7”vinyl & MP3 Download Card

Two triple 7” vinyl sets from Soundways Records. The first is dedicated to Lucho Bermúdez, whose big band Cumbia is always a hit on the dance floor. Colombia 45 features a variety of Colombian artists, including the gaita of Banda 20 De Julio de Repelón and the legendary big band Cumbia of Pedro Laza y Sus Pelayeros. Both 7” sets come with a download card and are limited to 1000. A must for all the Cumbia heads out there!

A Report From Japan From Shin Miyata on Earthquakes & Music

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 15, 2011 10:49pm | Post a Comment

Shin Miyata and I have been friends for over ten years. He owns a record company called Music Camp Inc, which distributes such labels as Six Degrees and Nacional Records in Japan. But if you ask him, his true love is his own subsidiary label called Barrio Gold, dedicated to reissues of classic Chicano Rock and Soul artists as well as new Chicano artists coming out of the barrios of East L.A, San Francisco and Texas. Back in 2006, I was fortunate to go on package tour dedicated to promoting Chicano culture in Japan with the band Quetzal and writer Luis Rodriguez, author of the infamous book Always Running. It was an honor and something I’ll never forget. When Shin visits L.A., its always a great time. It’s about seeing lots of great music, going to his favorite Mexican and Japanese restaurants, having a few drinks and digging for vinyl. Truly, a man after my own heart!

Naturally, after the earthquake and tsunami hit, I contacted Shin. Even though he lives on the outskirts of Tokyo and far from the damage of the north, I was still concerned about my friend’s wellbeing, as are many of his friends across the U.S. All those horrible images on the news and the threat of nuclear fallout doesn’t help, either. After e-mailing back and forth over the last couple of days. I asked him if he wanted to do a quick interview just to let some of his friends know how he is doing. I thank Shin for taking time to do this in a very difficult time for him and all of Japan.

So where were you when the earthquake hit?


I was at the train station, just about to get on a train to get to work. The train started to sway, so I rushed to get out because the station is currently under construction. It was really scary. Once I got out of the station, I realized that it was a big quake because there were so many people out of the buildings and out in the street. I did not get hurt and no one got hurt around me. After the quake, all the trains were shut down. I went back home and rode my bike to my office to see if there was any damage.
 
What were your thoughts when it was happening?


I thought to myself that this must be the big one, the one that [was] expected to hit Tokyo for some time.

When did you become aware of the damage that happened in the northern part of Japan? Do you have any ties to that region?

I didn’t realize how dire the situation was until I returned home and watched the news. There was a live satellite feed from the coast that was near the quake’s epicenter. The news showed an unbelievable big wave that rushed the port. Some of my friends are from that region. It took one friend a few days just to find out that his family was safe.

What was the damage to your business and home?


My home was fine. My CDs and books fell from the shelves, but nothing major.

How often are the rolling blackouts? How has business been affected by the earthquake & tsunami? Are people panicking about the fate of the nuclear power plants?

All business is slow, due to all the trouble from the nuclear plants. The power company started rolling blackouts in the greater Tokyo area, section by section. It affects the transportation system and many offices and stores have closed down since employees cannot get into town. We do not complain because we know it's helping people in the damaged areas. Today we went home earlier because a blackout was scheduled for our area, but it was canceled. Of course, they announced it after the time it was supposed to start! We are forced to cut down electric usage, so now is not the right time for entertainment. The group Los Amigos Invisibles, which my company distributes in Japan, was supposed to perform in Japan this week. They were booked for an event in Tokyo, but  it was cancelled. Also, this week we are releasing two titles: Legendary East L.A. soul singer Ruben Guevara and Turkish belly dance/dub group Baba Zula. We are just trying to keep our business going.

We just had another aftershock two hours ago. It was happened in nearby Mt. Fuji [which] is very far from the northern area, but it shook Tokyo hard. I woke up from a nap and ran to the nearest escape just in case. The aftershocks continue and there are so many of them. People are starting to get used to it.

The tremendous damage caused by the earthquake and Tsunami, followed by the fear of the nuclear fallout are getting people real nervous. People are panicking a bit. People are running to get food and gas. There was a big line of housewives around the bakeries and supermarket this morning.
 
What do you think is next for you and for the country of Japan?

I do not know yet, but I hope this tragedy will change our society both spiritually and financially. Mostly I think that people need to establish a new social and business system independent from nuclear power. It will be a main theme, I think. Even people in Japan not in northern region are exhausted by this situation. I realized how much of our lives are full of joy and peace. 

Is there any music you are listening that helps you forget about everything going on around you?


Yes. Last night I got two 7-inch singles from the USA in the mail. One is by Hank Crawford on CTI label and the other is by Ismael Quintana accompanied by Eddie Palmieri on the Coco label! Both are so good, and it helps me to forget this crisis. But again, it is not the right time to use electric power. But I think that God will forgive me for playing just two singles!

Again, people are really frustrated by this chaos. Music is a necessity to get out from this reality. People in Califas, Pray and Play for us!

Acid Rumba: Spanish Gypsy Grooves 1969-1976

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 13, 2011 09:59pm | Post a Comment


It took me a long time to warm up to flamenco music. My interpretation of Flamenco music came from living in the U.S. To me, Flamenco meant those awful guitar duos with white puffy shirts playing at restaurants or soft jazz instrumentalists such as Struntz & Farah or Willie & Lobo, who played what most Americans considered Flamenco. Then, there are The Gypsy Kings; do I really need I say more? On top of that, most Mexicanos have some sort of grudge against The Spanish for being one of our many oppressors. Even though I am first generation, I still held the grudge of my indigenous ancestors.

I soon discovered that Flamenco came from Spain’s Moorish roots and not from the awful Christians who conquered the Americas. In fact, the Christians hated it. The music was mostly improvised and lyrically has lots to do with love, life, death and sex, but mostly sex. Most Mexican music I love (Son Jarocho and Son Huasteco) has the same African and Arabic roots. I soon embraced Flamenco and dove into a much needed Flamenco listening session. My taste grew and I became a fan of Manolo Caracol, La Niña de Los Peines, El Agujetas, Camaron De La Isla and Paco De Lucia. I also became a fan of the new school flamenco: Buika, Radio Tarifa and Ojos De Brujo.

But until I started working at Amoeba, I had no idea there was a movement in the seventies that merged Flamenco with Rock, Funk and Psyche. The mixture makes perfect sense to me, as there are many similarities with the music. The minute I heard it I was an instant fan. Acid Rumba: Spanish Gypsy Grooves 1969-1976 captures that moment in time in Spain where the progressive movement met its past. Every artist on this collection is immensely talented. You can tell each singer and guitarist could kill it on the traditional front. From Los Amaya’s “Bailen Mi Rumbita” to the heavy meets sweet Morena Y Clara’s “Dejé De Quererte,“ there is no denying the fusion of fuzzed-out Flamenco Rock and funky rhythms. It was also a time when established Flamenco artists stretched out, as in Dolores Vargas "La Terremoto" and El Noi’s “Zorongo Rock.”

Hundergrum Records has put out some amazing collections in the past, including the must find Atenshion! Refleshion! Spanish Psychedelic Grooves, 1967-1976, which was one of my favorite Psyche collections to come out of Spain. Like Atenshion! Refleshion!, Acid Rumba will only be on LP and it’s limited to 600 copies. We have a few at Amoeba, so don’t sleep on this!

Continue reading...

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For January & February 2011

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 5, 2011 11:00pm | Post a Comment
                                                                                      
   1. Afrocubism-S/T
   2. V/A-Rise Of Bossa Nova
   3. Celso Piña-Sin Fecha De Caducidad
   4. Serge Gainsbourg-Historie De Melody Nelson
   5. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos-Cantan En Español
   6. V/A-Psych Funk: Sa-Ra Ga!
   7. V/A-Sofrito
   8. Enrique Iglesias-Eurphoria
   9. Cristan Castro-Viva El Principe
  10. V/A-Pomegranates

Hands down the biggest world music seller over the last three months has been the Afrocubism CD. However, giving it a good chase is The Rise Of Bossa Nova compilation on Soul Jazz Records. There's a CD version, two separate double LP sets and a book (all sold separately) with all the classic original Bossa Nova tracks that DJ’s have brought back into circulation over the last ten years.

Celso Piña’s excellent in-store performance on February 17th fueled the sales of his latest release, Sin Fecha De Caducidad. Although Celso’s performance was high-octane Cumbia, Sin Fecha is an album that is both subtle and sublime, with more Son and Paseo than Cumbia. Special guest vocalists on the album include the likes of Latin Alternative darlings Natalia LaFourcade and Ely Guerra, rockero Alex Lora and even a great performance by former talk show host and Latin gay icon Laura Leon.

Speaking of Latin gay icons, Ricky Martin’s Musica+Alma+Sexo is out now and along with Enrique Iglesias' Euphoria and Cristian Castro's Viva El Principe, shows that the Latin Pop machine continues to thrive while other pop genres in World Music are quickly losing steam.

On the World Music hipster tip, the latest Soundway Records release, Cartegena!, is out now. Cartegena! focuses on the music of Colombia with vintage Cumbia and Descargas from the Discos Fuentes label. This is easily as good or perhaps even a little better than Soundway’s brilliant Colombia! compilation that was released a few years back.

Coming out on March 8th is the latest release from Portuguese diva Ana Moura, entitled Colliseu. Also out on 3/8 will be another Psyche-Funk compilation on Now Again entitled Those Shocking Shaking Days, which is a look at Indonesia’s various underground 70s musical scenes. This release is heavy duty and much better than the average World Psyche releases. Finally, March 8 will bring new Fania LP reissues from Tito Puente, Vaya Puente, and Tipica 73’s self-titled.

March 15th brings us a release from legendary Malian guitarist Boubacar Traore, Mali Denhou. Nacional Records brings us two Los Amigos Invisibles related projects; Not So Commercial is a collection of remixes and b-sides from Los Amigos Invisibles’ Commercial album, and DJ Afro, Los Amigos Invisibles' guitarist and composer, releases his own solo album, Free. DJ Afro is the best part of Los Amigos Invisibles and is known across the world as one of the best house music remixers.

March 22nd has Reggaetoneros Alexis & Fido's latest, Perreologia, and another in the many tributes to Fela Kuti, this one by Mamud Band and called Opposite People: The Music Of Fela Kuti. Mexican bad girl Gloria Trevi returns, blonde and fierce, with Gloria, her first album since 2007's Una Rosa Blu. Fania Records will release the soundtrack to John Leguizamo’s Broadway play, Ghetto Klown: Music From My Hood that features many classic Fania cuts. Just in case you want to see John Leguizamo’s play, it currently running at The Lyceum Theatre in Manhattan.

For the last release date in March (3/29) we will have the domestic release of Hello Seahorse!'s latest, Legos: No Tan Legos. 21 year-old Corrido phenomenon Gerardo Ortiz will release a live version of last year’s hit, Morir Y Exstistir, entitled Morir Y Existir En Vivo. Lastly, there will be yet another Fania compilation, this time released by Strut Records out of England; Fania Records 1964-1980: Original Sound is a two CD/2 LP set of all the gems you come to love from the beloved Salsa label.

Coming in April, the latest from Mana, Aventura and Cachao’s final recording, The Last Mambo!

DJ Tonearm on Amoeba Hollywood's World Music Clearance Section

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 27, 2011 11:47pm | Post a Comment


After confusing our poor customers for the last three years, we settled on a home for all World Music clearance CDs. No more moving the World Music clearance sections from one spot of the section to next, or for that matter, from the top bins to the under the bins. World Music clearance is now located smack dab in the middle of the section, between where the Latin section ends and where the Brazil/African section begins. An entire row of World Music clearance CDs priced to move -- nothing over 2.99 and as low a buck! For those who do not know the drill, if you buy four red tag clearance CDs you get the cheapest one free. That means on average you can take home four CDs for around ten bucks or less.

From Aterciopelados to Zulu Spear, the section is always full. We have a big selection of known and unknown gems on such World Music labels as Real World, Putumayo, Six Degrees, Nacional, Island/Palm, Ahi-Na-Ma, Rough Guide and World Circuit. It’s a great place to find out of print CDs without having to pay the ridiculous collectors' prices listed on E-Bay and Amazon. It is also a great place to find a promo CD of a fairly new release or some obscure group that is huge in Argentina but unknown in Los Angeles. Yes, there is plenty of gold in that sea of clearance CDs, and no one knows more than L.A. DJ and promoter DJ Tonearm.

Tony Lopez aka DJ Tonearm has several residencies across Los Angeles playing World Music, House and Soul. Before I knew he was a deejay, I knew him as the guy digging through the clearance sections at Amoeba Hollywood. He often picked my brain to see if I had heard of a certain artists that he had found in the clearance section, and that’s how we got to know each other. I turned the tables on him and picked his brain at one of his residencies called Left of Center, which happens every fourth Saturday at The Verdugo.

What got you digging through the Amoeba clearance section?

It was completely by accident. I was buying some music and I ran across the clearance section and found a CD that I had paid full price at one point and said, “What?” So I started digging in the clearance section ever since.

When I suggest to people to dig through the clearance section for CDs they are looking for, they see it as a burden to go through the section. Do you feel that way?

Not at all. I like digging. That is where you find your gems. I know people like downloading but I find the Internet limiting. At Amoeba, I can find someone, whether it’s an employee or a customer, that has heard a CD I’m interested in. I like the human connection. I can pick someone’s brain to see if something is worth buying or not and from there I can get turned on to something else. Sure, I will use the Internet to listen to some tracks, but I will go to Amoeba to find them.

How often to you shop the clearance section?

Three times a week if I’m in the money and once a week if I’m short.

At this point, how much of your collection comes from the clearance section?

65…maybe 70%.

What are your five best finds in the World Music clearance section?

I found Bibi Tanga’s Yellow Gauze. Bibi is an African living in France and part of their Afro-Futurism movement. Even though I didn’t know his music I bought it because I liked the artwork and because he had a song on the album called “Talking Nigga Brothaz” and I wondered what that was all about. The album turned out to be gold and I got it for a buck! I found Sidestepper's Logozo E.P. and that is long out of print. I found a CD from a group called La Troba Kung –Fu called Clavell Morenet. They are from Catalonia and I play them a lot in my sets. I found Mc Solaar’s classic Prose Combat for 2.99 and the Outcaste label sampler Five Years for a buck. That has an early version of Thievery Corporation’s “Lebanese Blonde,” among other great tracks.

You can hear Tonearm spin at Global Gumbo along with live bands every Thursday at:

The Five Star Bar
267 S. Main Street, Downtown LA

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