Amoeblog

Tuesday's Dead: Cat Stevens

Posted by Miss Ess, October 22, 2009 11:43am | Post a Comment
cat stevens

I hate to admit a commercial's had an affect on me, but "suddenly" I find myself in the mood to listen to some Cat Stevens. The fact that something that's blatantly created merely to sell something to me is backed by a song by one of the more anti-capitalism, anti-authority, anti-everything artists ever to play music is quite twisted. The irony is not lost on me, nor any of Cat's fans I am sure.cat stevens

Nonetheless, so many of my earliest memories are of listening to his music on the record player at my childhood home or on long car trips with my family. It provides a feeling of comfort to me. He's one of the artists whose impact is indelibly carved into my psyche; my connection to his music was formed practically in the womb. Maybe it sounds weird to say, but his songs effected me deeply and taught me some important things about how to both contemplate and live life even in a time before I'd either lived much or had much to contemplate. They also taught me about what great music can have at its best: integrity, melody, message, rhythm, compassion.

Later in life I reached for Cat right after September 11, I remember. It's funny, the universality of the lyrics is as interesting to me as it ever was, even when I was a small child considering, "If I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south..." Quite a shocking thought to a kid! He's very much the talented, if a bit overly serious, song writer. Not that we've all forgotten this, it's just sometimes maybe a "reminder" in the form of a horrid bit of merchandising is at least good for something anyway...Even though it feels sorta shameful all around, the music still stands.

Continue reading...

BRAND NUBIAN KEEPING IT TRUE @ CMJ SURPRISE SHOW

Posted by Billyjam, October 21, 2009 06:31pm | Post a Comment

Last night fellow Bay Area to New York transplant & former KALX  DJ Pal 58 and I were pleasantly surprised attending the Future is Frank Frank Radio CMJ Music Marathon showcase at Southpaw in Brooklyn. We caught an unannounced set by the original line up of legendary hip-hop crew Brand Nubian! Original member Grand Puba was announced in advance as one of the night's performers, along with an already impressive line-up that included Wu-Tang's U-God, Wiz Khalifa, and DJ/MC Jasmine Solano. Another surprise last minute performer was Baltimore's Spank Rock. But it was New Rochelle, NY hip-hop legends Brand Nubian -- rounded out by the other two original members Sadat X and Lord Jamar -- who stole the show with a set that included many of their hits and was nicely wrapped up with Grand Puba stopping to make a wonderful heartfelt speech about how much hip-hop means to him, and has always meant to him. He warned the audience to not become complacent now that Barack Obama is in office. The struggle, especially for African Americans, is still very much alive and well, he stressed. He also noted how hip-hop music has always been a vehicle for inspiring positve change in his community, rather than merely a tool to acquire fame and riches. Refreshing stuff to hear and witness during this annual New York music conBrand Nubianference overflowing with acts, generally speaking, whose hunger for fame far outweighs anything else.
 
Brand Nubian arrived during hip-hop's so-called "golden age" (late 80's/early 90's) and pretty much personified that oft-romanticized era in hip-hop. It was the period immediately before gangsta-rap had fully crossed over to dominate the pop-rap landscape and a time when conscious, thought-provoking and at times politically controversial, but generally well-intentioned and uplifting lyrics, all delivered over head-bobbing, funky beats & grooves, were the norm. DJ Alamo was their fourth member and when Grand Puba split the group early on the two left together. Twelve years ago Brand Nubian's original members got back together, and two years ago the three emcees began doing a series of select dates in support of their long-shelved, decade old album Time's Runnin' Out, which finally saw the light of day.

Continue reading...

Duran Duran Sandwich, or why I love "What's in My Bag?"

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 21, 2009 06:29pm | Post a Comment
john taylor hat poster duran duran amoeba intrview 
You never know who you'll run into at Amoeba. For example, I've seen all kinds of people from my childhood in Virginia, old co-workers, classmates, circus performers, models, ballers, family members and even witnessed one wedding proposal. Within the last five years I've caught sight of, personally helped, or conversed pleasantly with many a celebrity customer and I have to say it always brings me a quiet thrill. No matter how many times I've been surprised by the variety of people I've bumped into while working at Amoeba, nothing prepared me for the reality of being held in the arms of a man that at one time was nothing to me but a glossy poster on my pre-teen bedroom wall. It's just the sort of situation that I never thought I'd find myself in, but there I was in between Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, flashing my best "cherry ice cream smile" in a momentary Duran Duran sandwich. 

The only thing better than experiencing the nostalgic high that my brief, friendly encounter with John and Simon provided is the on- the-spot "What's in My Bag?" interview they both consented to. Part of what makes rubbing elbows with all walks of life at Amoeba so special is that, generally speaking, everyone who comes to the store treads a common ground built from a mass appreciation of the arts. Meeting all kinds of folks is one thing, but being in a position to peruse and discuss music, cinema, and the enjoyment of both with virtually anyone you run into at Amoeba is something of a special indulgence of mine. I like to look at the ever-expanding array of "What's in My Bag?" interviews featured on the Amoeba website as an open window for world to experience the kind of social satisfaction we, the often misjudged record store employees, encounter day after day. Please check out this excellent vignette:

Continue reading...

out today 10/6 and 10/13...a place to bury strangers...dead man's bones...built to spill...black heart procession...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 21, 2009 05:57pm | Post a Comment
a place to bury strangers
I have been anxiously awaiting the return of A Place to Bury Strangers since I first heard their first album a couple of years ago. I deeply fell in love with that self titled album and it still remains one of my favorites. I picked it as my favorite album of 2007 and I firmly stand by that decision. So of course, I could not wait to hear this new album. I sometimes go see a movie and am already thinking about buying the DVD before the movie is already over. That is just how my mind works, and this is how I feel about A Place to Bury Strangers. I was thinking about getting the new album years before it was even out. And it turns out, I do love the new album just as much as I expected to. It is currently in competition for that number one spot on my top albums of 2009. It is really hard to follow an amazing debut album -- so many artists fail at this. But it is often not even their fault. You will never ever be able to capture that feeling you had when you first fell in love with an album or new band. It just can't happen, so the follow up album often ends up never sounding as good as the first. But I think these second albums are sometimes just as good -- try to imagine if you had never heard that first album and were introduced to the band for the first time with their second album. You then get super obsessed with that second album. Then you go back and listen to that first album as if it was their second. I bet you might find that "first" album not as good as the "second" album, which was your first. This experiment would not work for every band, but it has been the case with certain bands for me. Regardless of any of this, I do love this second album by A Place To Bury Strangers. This is their first album for Mute Records, and it is called Exploding Head. There are a couple of fantastic songs on this album and everything else is also pretty great. I am in love with "In Your Heart," "Keep Slipping Away," and "Exploding Head," but really, the whole album is fantastic.

Continue reading...

Vic Mizzy 1916 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, October 21, 2009 10:22am | Post a Comment

American composer Vic Mizzy, best known for his absolutely note perfect theme songs for such iconic 1960’s television shows as The Addams Family and Green Acres, died of heart failure this past weekend at his home in Bel-Air. He was 93.
 
Mizzy’s brilliance has been indelibly etched in television history with his ability to accentuate the quirkiness of those shows with his own offbeat, clever sensibility. "They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky: the Addams family."
 
Born in Brooklyn on Jan. 9, 1916, Mizzy’s first instrument was a toy accordion, later he learned to play a real one along with the piano. When he was 14, he met fellow Brooklyn native Irving Taylor, the two began a successful writing partnership that continued while Mizzy attended New York University and through the Second World War when both Mizzy and Taylor served in the Navy. They co-wrote a number of hits, including "Three Little Sisters," There's a Faraway Look in Your Eye," and "Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes," and "Take It Easy." After the war, with another songwriting partner, Mann Curtis, Mizzy wrote more hits like "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time," "The Whole World Is Singing My Song," "Choo'n Gum" and "The Jones Boy." His songs were recorded by celebrated pop vocalists like the Andrews Sisters, the Mills Brothers, Doris Day, Dean Martin, Perry Como and Billie Holiday.
 
However, he found his greatest success in his television work. Mizzy first wrote themes for the Shirley Temple Storybook, “The Enchanted Melody,” and The Richard Boone Show, but it was his ghoulishly fun theme song for the television classic The Addams Family that won him lasting fame. Based on Charles Addams' macabre New Yorker cartoons, it starred John Astin as the twistedly dapper Gomez Addams and Carolyn Jones as his sexy and devastatingly beautiful wife Morticia Addams. Mizzy chose to play a harpsichord to help conjure up the bizarrely unconventional air; he also punctuated the rhythm with some cool proto-beatnik finger-snapping which helped to define the peculiar humor of the show. When Filmways, the production company, refused to pay for vocalists, Mizzy simply overdubbed himself singing and looped in actor Ted Cassidy, who portrayed the butler Lurch, for the "neat, sweet, petite" section. Mizzy’s underscores were as comical as his themes; he had a knack for enhancing the lunacy of the characters and the situations with just the right instrumentation, just the right melody.

The following year Mizzy composed the title song for Green Acres, the 1965-71 comedy starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. For the Green Acres theme, Mizzy used the unique combination of a bass harmonica and a little fuzz laden guitar and an electric bass clarinet to create the loopy hoedown vibe. He also flawlessly explained the entire back story in the lyrics -- definitely a lost art! -- of the wealthy Oliver and Lisa Douglas chucking away their New York penthouse lifestyle so that Oliver could live out his fresh air dreams and be a farmer. One of Mizzy’s most brilliant moves, financially speaking, was retaining the publishing rights to Green Acres and The Addams Family themes. Not only have they both been in constant reruns for over four decades, but ownership enabled him to license them for use in commercials (like the recent M&Ms ads that featured the Addams Family theme). As he always joked, a couple of finger snaps paid for a real good life in Bel-Air.

BACK  <<  1345  1346  1347  1348  1349  1350  1351  1352  1353  1354  1355  1356  >>  NEXT