explosions in the sky...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 6, 2007 12:00am | Post a Comment
Explosions in the Sky have seriously got to be one of the best bands ever. If you like that instrumental indie rock kind of thing. I can't get enough of these guys. They have just put out their most recent album a couple months ago, and like the rest of their albums it has the possibility of changing your life. Or maybe it will just make the act of getting through your life a little better. Explosions in the Sky are great at creating a soundtrack for what goes on in your head. They seem to be able to somehow capture that feeling. Explosions also have that amazing ability to make you feel intensely sad and happy at the same time.

The Explosions in the Sky have four real albums. The first being "How Strange, Innocence" originally released in 2000. This album was reissued by Temporary Residence recently. This was followed by "Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forverver" in 2001. Next was "The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place" in 2003. This year they gave us "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone." They also did a mail order album ep thing "The Rescue" which you can buy from them at their shows. Also, in 2004, they did the soundtrack to the movie "Friday Night Lights." Friday Night Lights is now a TV show that I don't watch. I've heard good things about it, but it just doesn't fit into my schedule. I have heard that soundtrack, and it is of course, amazing. All of these albums are put out by the amazing label "Temporary Residence Limited." In addition to the Explosions albums, they also put out albums by Eluvium, Tarentel, By the End of Tonight, The Grails, and Rob Crow.

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A Perfect Day - Patti Smith at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 4, 2007 07:25pm | Post a Comment
patti smith
I can't believe this happened. I
still have goosebumps. Patti Smith, live at Amoeba.

I also can't believe she chose to do some of the very songs that have held me close in safety these past few years: "Gimme Shelter." "Perfect Day." "Hel
pless." That's weird and beautiful, scary too ... thank you, Patti Smith.

I thought after meeting Tina Turner, I could just die. Hey, life doesn't get any better
than th
at! Climax! Then Joan Baez did an instore at Leopold Records in Berkeley, and I got to meet her as well. Of course I thought: now I can die. Zenith! (I am aware that this is not healthy thinking, okay?)

Those were the records that I listened to as a child -- these were the wo
men who saved my life. How many chances do you get to look someone in the eye who stormed the world and demanded change, and damn well GOT THE CHANGE? How many chances does a person get to thank them -- in person?

But if you're digging back in the crates of time, you can't ignore that one Saturday night on NBC, I was maybe about 8 years old ... The Patti Smith Group performed. All of a sudden, I knew this was a world that I could live in, I could thrive.

(In which Job answers fan-mail.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 4, 2007 12:00am | Post a Comment
I've been getting a lot of fan-mail from you readers lately, for which I am both humbled, grateful, and confused.

Confused because many, if not most, of your mail asks me which character from "Hill Street Blues" I most identify with.

First of all, this seems to me an absurdly obtuse line of questioning. As a reference for psychological profiling, the cast of some cop show from the 1980's, now lost in a sea of copycats and time, is hardly an adequate tool. It's as equally preposterous to me as say, concluding that I must be "really romantic, a good match for people born under the sign of Aquarius, and inclined to keep trophy-cuttings from those I kill," simply because I was born in the month of October.

While I appreciate that said TV show (the first two seasons of which are available on DVD at your local* Amoeba Music store) is chock full of humanity, likeable and endearing characters, realistic police procedure and deft dialogue, I balk at your insistence that I be summed by any one of its cast. I am unique! I am an individual!

It reminds me of the episode wherein Officer Joe Coffey tries to convince fellow officer, Lucy Bates, of his true feelings for her. She doesn’t believe him and by the end of the episode he gets shot. You see? It doesn’t pay to pigeon-hole.

Is this a veiled promotional spot for “Hill Street Blues”? Could I be so square? So out-of-touch or quaint?

Well, you can have all your so-called "reality TV". None of them glitter and sparkle with the luminousness of a young Veronica Hamel's glossy kisser...

...Come to think of it, she does kind of look like me...

Still Crazy After All These Years: Gary Higgins & Mark Fosson

Posted by Miss Ess, May 3, 2007 09:15pm | Post a Comment

gary higginsSpeaking of radical upcoming shows, did you know that underground heroes Gary Higgins and Mark Fosson are coming to town for their first San Francisco appearances, despite the fact that their records were made oh, about 30+ years ago?  Yes, they have been revived, thanks in part to the vigilant Zach Cowie in the case of Gary Higgins, and thanks to Mark Fosson's cousin Tiffany Anders in his case, each of whom rediscovered the records that never got their due: Mark Fosson's Lost Takoma Sessions and Gary Higgins' Red Hash, and managed to get them released on the illustrious Drag City Records

mark fosson the dakota sessions
Mark Fosson's songs were recorded for John Fahey's label in 1977 but were actually never released cause the label dissolved soon after.  It's super fitting that Fosson's record was gonna come out on Fahey's label cause he's a definite influence.  He plays the 12 string guitar and his songs are all instrumentals and beautiful! 

Gary Higgins' story is a little more complicated.  In 1973 he recorded his album Red Hash, put it out on his own label, promptly got arrested for pot possession and spent a couple of years in the pen; Thus he was unable to tour or promote the record, and thus the record made pretty much no mark on the world at large.  True to its title, Red Hash is definately a stoner folk record.  There's much hypnotic repetition, lots of hippie-isms and a lotta acoustic guitar hooks. 

An American Prayer

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 3, 2007 12:43pm | Post a Comment
The other day I saw the legendary keyboardist from The Doors, Ray Manzarek, shopping at Amoeba. Seeing him brought back a flood of memories of hanging out with my stoner friends during my high school years that absolutely worshiped The Doors. They bought into the whole "Jim Morrison’s mystique" and his “Lizard King” persona. Personally, other than a few songs, I was never really into them. The record we would listen to over and over again was the posthumous An American Prayer.

American Prayer was released in 1978, a record that combined spoken word that Jim Morrison recorded in 1970 with music that the remaining members of The Doors created in 1977. It was a possible glimpse of what The Doors would have sounded like if they stuck around that long. I remember hating it. For one, it didn’t have any of songs I liked and two, I never liked Jim Morrison’s poetry. There were even a few Discoesque tracks on the album. It seemed like all the rock artists at the time were trying to play disco back then: David Bowie, The Doobie Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, all had Disco hits on the radio. For most Blacks and Latinos in the 70's/early 80's, it was our first tastes of those classic rockers because they were playing music we familiar with.
A few years back I heard L.A. DJ Garth Trinidad spin “Ghost Song” at a club. It fit perfect with other R&B tinged house tracks he was playing that night. I few days later I was at a record shop in St. Paul, Minnesota, and found a copy of American Prayer for 99 cents. After a few listens it occurred to me that American Prayer was way ahead of its time. It was an updated version of the Beat poetry records that came out in the 50’s at a time when no one was doing anything like this. Most of Jim Morrison’s poetry on this album is dated but set with the semi-funky beats the poems come off as modern club tracks.
There are a few cuts from this album I love to spin at clubs. “Ghost Song” and “The Hitchhiker” always get reactions from people. “Who does this song?” they ask me. When I tell them it’s The Doors, they then ask me, “Who did the re-mix?” My favorite track to spin is “Latino Chrome.” I always pull it out when I’m spinning the Chicano old school jams. It a perfect fit with classic El Chicano or Timmy Thomas style jams.
I feel like many musicians must have had the same experience as myself of being stuck in a room with idol-worshipping stoners listening to that album. Yet something about American Prayer left a lasting impression on the music that we would all create later. On the track “Dawn’s Highway” Jim Morrison talks about seeing...
“Indians scattered on dawn's highway bleeding,” and how the souls of the dead Native Americans penetrated his...“Young child's fragile eggshell mind.”
Whether I like to admit it or not, I guess American Prayer left a little Doors influence on my own “young fragile eggshell mind.”
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