Posted by Billyjam, June 6, 2007 10:08am | Post a Comment
penelope houston   
Exactly thirty years ago, June 1977, pioneering San Francisco punk band The Avengers, fronted by a very talented and very young songwriter & vocalist named Penelope Houston, emerged onto the then very fledgling US punk scene to play their first show. Over the next two years, this band, which featured Greg Ingraham (guitar), Jimmy Wilsey (bass), and Danny Furious (drums), would go on to blaze a trail of raw, adrenaline-fueled, politically charged punk rock legend, tirelessly playing a hundred-plus shows that included countless gigs at their hometown punk mecca, The Mabuhay Gardens, booked by the late, great SF punk visionary Dirk Dirkson, and sharing bills with the Dead Kennedys, X, the Go-Gos, and even the Sex Pistols for their final show at Winterland in January 1978. 

The Avengers are one of those bands of legend that most people didn't catch the first time around but learned of them after they had broken up - thanks mainly to their releases most of which surfaced after the band's demise.  In fact during their whirlwind two year existence the Avengers only released one three-song 7" record on Dangerhouse Records.  Their second record (the four-song 12" EP on White Noise) didn't drop until after they had disbanded and the record that most people know them by (the self-titled pink album) wasn't released until much later in 1983.  But none of this mattered to the legions of fans who later discovered and fell in love with such timeless Avengers songs as "I Believe In Me" "Fuck You" "White Nigger" "Corpus Christi" and "The American In Me" whose lyrics are reprinted below  along with a video clip of the Avengers performing the song circa '78 (scroll all the way down to end of thithe avengerss article). 

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Manu Chao Live @ The Sport Arena 5/2/07

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 6, 2007 04:11am | Post a Comment

The sounds of my neighborhood, Cypress Park, remind me of Manu Chao; a mixture of cultures clashing about on the streets -- police sirens, the bell ringing from a paletero’s ice cream cart, children playing in the streets, Sonidero blasting out of a big truck, teenage punk bands practicing in garages and loud TV’s trying to drown it all out. It all mixes together, creating its own symphony, much like Manu Chao's music, which is rooted in what bands like The Clash started. It is reggae influenced punk rock mixed with various influences picked up while traveling the world. While The Clash discovered America, Manu Chao found kinship in Latin America. In his music you can hear the Nueva Trova influences from South America. You can hear all the nights hanging out, drinking and playing every record from the Fania, Trojan and Disco Fuentes catalog. You can hear the influence of touring with such great bands like Tijuana No!, Maldita Vecindad and Negu Gorriak while he was in the band Mano Negra.

In all that, you can still hear his voice come through all the influences.
On Saturday, Manu Chao played The Sport Arena, located in the heart of South L.A. on MLK and Figueroa. The Sports Arena is rarely used now that the Staple Center is around a few miles away in the newly gentrified part of downtown Los Angeles. The only other show I've seen at The Sports Arena was Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) -- The Wu Tang Clan and Ice Cube opened the show and absolutely rocked the spot. When it was time for Biggie to go on, a massive fight started and LAPD came in riot gear and the show ended early. A year later Biggie was dead and I never got my chance to see him perform.

Last time I saw Manu Chao was in San Diego. It was a great show for many reasons -- the first being that I went with someone I barely knew that soon became my partner in crime for many adventures to come. The second reason was that I was saw Manu Chao for the first time and third, the show was close enough to Tijuana that many Mexicanos were in attendance. Saturday’s show was cool for different reasons. My partner in crime went with me again. I almost canceled on her because I had a really high fever and the beginnings of a really bad cold. However, the minute I walked into the venue, my sickness seemed to just disappear. I saw many people that I knew. I saw people from local bands, regular customers that shop at Amoeba and old friends I haven’t seen in a while. I missed the opening act, Mexican Dubwiser, the mash-up master from Monterey, NL, Mexico. You can check him out every Wednesday at Club Nativo! at Zanzibar in Santa Monica.

Before the show, they played a couple of his new songs from his upcoming album, Radiolandia, over the P.A. Once on stage, Manu and his band, Radio Bemba, played songs off Clandestino and Proxima Estacion: Esperanza and some Mano Negra classics. Now that I've seen him twice it’s safe to say that all his shows are quite the same. In fact, if you checked his live DVD, Babylonia En Gaugua, it's pretty much nearly the same show. The power of Manu Chao comes from what he says in his songs and what it means to all of us who attend his shows. It’s not preaching to the converts. His songs are a reaffirmation of what we already know. His songs are our songs. We are the immigrants in "Clandestino," we are the wandering soul in "Desaparecido." We are those who have been constantly lied to ("Mentiras") and those who are lost in love ("Me Gustas Tu"). Everyone in the audience has a Manu Chao song that is close to his or her heart. As each song started I looked around to see the reactions of the different people around me. The college kids were psyched when "Welcome To Tijuana" came on, perhaps missing the irony behind it. During "Me Gustas Tu," all the gay, straight, interracial, immigrant and born in the U.S. couples embraced. During the Mano Negra songs, the old-school rockeros got up and started moshing in a sea of black band t-shirts. My partner in crime suddenly dragged me out on the floor to dance. One second we are skanking, the next minute we are in a Cumbia bliss followed by some pogo dancing. At the end of the show, the fever that I had forgotten about returned with a vengeance.

I spent the next two days in bed, sicker than I had been in a while. Going to the show was probably a bad idea physically, but spiritually it was needed and sometimes the trade-off is well worth it. As I laid in bed, I turned on the TV, the stereo, opened my window and let the outside sounds come in. My roommate was blasting Reggae from her room. The dogs were barking next door as my neighbor sang Baladas from the top of his lungs. The King Taco down the street was hopping with brisk Sunday business and across the street from them, the men argued about cars over some beers. After hearing all this, I closed my eyes, pulled the blankets over my feverish body and created my own Manu Chao influenced street symphony in my head. Once again my fever was forgotten.

The Ladies Club

Posted by phil blankenship, June 5, 2007 07:13pm | Post a Comment

Media Home Entertainment M864


Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2007 08:19am | Post a Comment

Call me cynical, but when I first heard about the almost two thousand strong mob of white folks* gathered in Kansas City a couple of days ago (all at their own expense) to play "Smoke On The Water" on their guitars for five minutes and then leave, the first thing that popped into my mind was that recurring line from some of my favorghost dogite Jim Jarmusch films. You know, the one uttered in both Dead Man and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai that goes "stupid fuckin' white people."

Okay, so I admit, I am cynical and you might even accuse me of being self-hating, since I, too, am white. No matter. I still think what I think. And I think that if this same level of commitment and focus were directed at, say, getting Bush out of office right now, that the country might be in a better position to gather en masse to collectively strum 'dah, dah, dah.....dah, dah, dahdah....dah, dah, dah...dah dahdah!'

In case you didn't already hear this story: on Sunday exactly 1683 guitarists all converged at the Community America Ballpark in Kansas City to collectively beat a Guinness Book of World Records record set in Vancouver in 1994 when 1323 similarly minded guitar pickers gathered to be the largest gathering of individuals to simultaneously play on guitar the familiar riff of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" (from their 1972 album Machine Head).  

And on Sunday, June 3rd, as part of a stunt organized by local radio station KYYS, the gathering of 1683 guitarists* (acoustic and electric), who traveled to Kansas City from all over the globe and who ranged in age from toddlers to senior citizens, did successfully accomplish what they set out to, collectively play that famous classic-rock riff for five minutes, and consequently made a new Guinness World Record. 

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out today 6/5...pelican...long blondes...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 4, 2007 06:48pm | Post a Comment
 After a very slow new release week, we are back to normal with a kind of big week. Some of my old favorites like Shellac, Neurosis, and Marilyn Manson all have new releases. I am anxious to hear all these albums. The Long Blondes finally!!! comes out domestic. And the up and coming brazillian scenesters Bonde Do Role have their debut album out. Out today is also the new album by one of my favorite instrumental doomy metal Chicago bands, Pelican.

This is the third full length byPelican. Following their excellent albums "Australasia" and "The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw." My friend Jesse first got me into this band. I remember the first day she told me about them. She came running into the office, so happy to tell me about her new favorite band. I liked much of the same music she liked, so I knew that I would love them as well. Like the band Isis, they are not really what you normally think of as metal. They do use many elements of metal but combine them with some of the post rock kind of stuff that has come out of Chicago. Imagine some of the better doomy metal bands but without the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics actually ruin some of those bands for me. Sometimes you just don't really need the lyrics. The music is sometimes more therapeutic without the lyrics to weigh it down. It allows you to sort of develop your own internal monologue while listening to it. I think I was drawn to Pelican for many of the same reasons I was drawn to the Explosions in the Sky. It is just some really beautiful music. Pelican is a harder version of the Explosions. But they do a lot of the same things with their instrumentation and song development. I guess all these bands are sort of like doom versions of a jam band. But its better than it sounds.

The new album, "City of Echoes" does not stray far from what they have done with their other albums. So I was not disappointed. But I also was not blown away by something completely different. They just do what they do very well. It is the sort of album you can loop and put on repeat and keep enjoying over and over again. It is easy to get lost into their songs. Easy to not want to leave the comfort that they give you. What also reminds me of the Explosions albums is the sense of optimism that you feel from the albums. Amidst all the doom and intensity is for sure a sense of triumph. The songs may take you on a little roller coaster to get there. But you don't finish the album feeling more depressed or beat down. They leave you with some optimism. And I do love some optimism every once in a while. And I sure do love me some Pelican.

Also out today is the domestic release of the debut album by "The Long Blondes." For those  of us that waited patiently for this domestic release, we have been rewarded with a bonus disc with 4 songs and a video for "Once and Never Again." I was tempted to pick up the import a couple times but I ended up waiting. The band is from Sheffield, England and is fronted by Kate Jackson. I wonder if her parents were big Charlies Angels fans. Or its just a coincidence.  Possibly she renamed herself after the more reserved of the angels. Or maybe she is just a big fan of "The Scarecrow and Mrs. King."

 The band seems to have a bunch of different influences. Steve Mackey, former member of the band Pulp, helped to produce the album. I really do love Pulp and you can feel his influence on the album. It does have the feel of those mid 90s bands like Elastica and Echobelly. A mix of girl group sounds and post punk and new wave and indie pop. It works out really nice to create a brilliant little album. Kate has a great voice and it really shines on the album. They are also great at creating a catchy sing along kind of song. The single "Once and Never Again" is not they only catchy song. The whole album is really consistently great. They do manage to capture that sexy vibe that Pulp captured so well. It is always nice to see a female fronted band that can pull this off as well as any dude band can.

 It is really hard to not like this album. It is just one of those albums that is made to be loved. One of those brilliantly catchy albums that you can't get enough of.  And it is seriously going to make me dig up my old Elastica and Echobelly albums. I have been craving another catchy lady in my life. These songs are not just simple pop songs. They really transport you to some late night all nighter type night somewhere in England. The album only gets better as well. I have now listened to it quite a few times and it really is getting better. The album is already almost a year old. But I saved it for this year. I knew I was gonna love it, I just wanted to postpone it until it came out domestic. It makes it a bit better for some reason. It was worth waiting for. You should love it as much as I do.

also out today...

"With Lasers" by Bonde Do Role

"Eat Me Drink Me" by Marilyn Manson

"Given to the Rising" by Neurosis

"Excellent Italian Greyhound" by Shellac
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