bjork live!

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 20, 2007 12:36pm | Post a Comment
So yesterday started off really good. My old friend from Long Beach Poly High School dropped by Amoeba. I had not seen Melissa in like 14 years. But of course we recognized each other and it seemed like it had only been a couple months. I didn't really realize that I miss her until we hung out a little.  The rest of the day I had little memories of all the important events I experienced with her. We had to talk about Cameron Diaz a bit. I still can't believe she has not talked about her formative years in high school drama. So I dedicate this blog to my friend Melissa. It's crazy its been so long.

Last night we had the pleasure of seeing Bjork live. For some reason I have never made it out to see her before. I kind of find it hard to believe myself. But it just has never worked out. Or maybe I've been to so many shows at this point that I am starting to forget who I have  seen.  Although it is kind of a hassle to get all the way out to Shoreline, it is kind of a fun adventure.  It's like a little vacation. Parking is just a bit of a nightmare. Even though they have hundreds of employees directing traffic, it still manages to take way longer than it should. There is also nothing really to do in Mountain  View other than work at Google or go to a show at Shoreline.  But we did manage to find In-N-Out. So did everyone else it seemed. So we ate our meatless hamburger with hundreds of other Bjork fans. I don't ever eat fast food, but In-N-Out is my one exception. Even though the employees seem to be all part of some weird religious cult, they do make good food. And it is nice that nothing is frozen. They also don't look at you weird when you order an animal style grilled cheese!

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New Moon: Elliott Smith Rises Again

Posted by Miss Ess, May 19, 2007 12:24pm | Post a Comment
I listened to Elliott Smith almost constantly for a number of years, in particular during myelliott smith lucky three jem cohen collegiate hermit era.  His music has meant a lot to me, so this week's release of New Moon was sad and happy at the same time for me.  I think that's how his music always is too, rolling opposites into one, simultaneously delicate and strong.  It's one of the best things about his songs and no small part of what makes them classics.

New Moon is a double cd length collection of songs that for various reasons never made it to full length albums. Elliott always wanted to put out a double album a la The White Album, and it's hard that this posthumous collection is as close as he got. The tracks are all from the years 1994-1997, arguably his best period.  Some of them are from singles and some are never before released.  Being a big ol' fan, I had heard pretty much all of  them before (Thanks Charlie!), but that doesn't lessen the impact of hearing them again for the first time in years and having them all together collected.  I have to say since Elliott's death in 2003 I had virtually stopped listening to his records.  I feel strange hearing his voice again on New Moon and I keep listening to it over and over and over.

The great thing about the release, aside from the amazing songs, is that it was put together by people who were really close to Elliott and who knew his aesthetic and how important it is to maintain his vision.  None of the tracks are overdubbed or messed with; they are presented in the form they were recorded, and they are as spare as any of his early releases. 
elliott smith
His songs are so unbelievably rich and evocative.  I think the detail in every aspect of every song is nearly unparalleled.  His songs are fantastic top to bottom, from the lyrics to the chords to the melody.  Even the covers he chose over the years are flawless.  One of my favorites, "Thirteen" by Alex Chilton, is included here at last.  I feel like my meager writing can't do the tracks any justice, so i don't have too much to say except that I am sad that he's not around any more and I am hopeful that more and more people will find his music.  And that you should listen to "Angel in the Snow" cause it's one of the best songs he ever wrote.  It is so funny and also telling that Elliott's throwaways are usually better than what 90% of people putting out music ever write.  He must have been very hard on himself.

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Invasion Force

Posted by phil blankenship, May 18, 2007 11:52pm | Post a Comment

A.I.P. Home Video 7043

White Stripes Style Alert! In This Edition: Jack Attempts the Duck Tail & A History In Photos

Posted by Miss Ess, May 18, 2007 11:50pm | Post a Comment
That feeling's in the air:  it's almost time for a new White Stripes record!  This one's gonna be called Icky Thump and it comes out June 19.  Part of the excitement of a new White Stripes record is always seeing what their new style will be.  I would even go so far as to say they are Beatles-esque-- between each record they disappear for a bit and come back with a totally different look.  So here's what we have this time:

white stripes nylon magazine

Woo hoo!  I gotta get me a pi....I mean, a copy of that magazine!

Despite not really being all that concerned with fashion, per se, myself, I have to give Jack White (we all know he is the mastermind of the group) credit for being such a fashion forward kind of guy.  He is always off on his own trip, whether its music or style or anything and I respect that....even if I dont always love the look!  Let's take a moment to ponder the many looks of the White Stripes, shall we?  For a band that only limits itself to dressing in three colors (red, black & white, in case you hadn't heard), they sure go crazy! 

Exhibit A, The Early Years:

white stripes

This is when they were going for that childlike thing, circa 1998.

Exhibit B, The Uber Arty Years:


Posted by Billyjam, May 18, 2007 11:49am | Post a Comment

The cassette revival seems to be well under way, albeit underground, judging by two cassette-themed events this week: "Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now" -- the ongoing Thurston Moore curated exhibition overviewing contemporary American cassette culture that opened a week ago and runs until May 28th at Printed Matter at 195 Tenth Ave. in New York City, and the "2007 Cassette Jockey Championship" -- scheduled for this weekend (May 19/20) in the Bay Area at the fun DIY-themed Maker Faire at the San Mateo Fairgrounds, in which CJs (as distinct from DJs) will battle it out on their own personally rigged cassette set-ups. 

But don't call this the cassette comeback. As those deep into the beloved analog format (mainly noise, experimental, and psych music purveyors) will point out, the popular tape format of the 70's and 80's never really went away. It just got pushed further under the radar to become more of a speciality and collectable item, just like vinyl and (more recently) even CDs. But interestingly, it is not so much hip-hop, whose whole foundation was built on the "mix-tape," that is keeping the flame burning for the cassette with a flow of new releases. (Note, these days it costs a lot more to dub cassettes than to burn CDRs.) Non hip-hop labels that rigorously issue cassettes these days include Hanson, Drone Disco, Tone Filth, and Hospital Productions, while those who specialize exclusively in cassette-only releases include  Heavy Tapes, Fag Tapes, and FuckItTapes.

Hundreds of cassettes dating back over the last few decades were on display in glass-cabinets at the "Leaderless: Cassette Culture Now" exhibit opening last Saturday. Plus, a ton of recent cassette-only releases were for sale (average price $6) and were being snapped up by eager cassette fans of all ages. I casually questioned two of these folks (both males) what they would play their new prized purchases on?  "On my cassette deck, of course!" came the indignant reply each time. Meanwhile, throughout the well-attended event, a cassette jockey (CJ) mixed music off two old old-school basic cassette decks, mixer, and effects pedals (see pic).

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