Amoeblog

the albums coming out today 5/22

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 21, 2007 07:29pm | Post a Comment
Out today is the new album by Erasure. Yes, they are still putting out albums. It seems like they are putting out a new album every year or so now. Almost as often as their best period in the late 80s and early 90s. Vince Clark, one half of Erasure, is for sure one of my heroes. After helping to form Depeche Mode and create one of the first brilliant synth albums "Speak and Spell,"  he went on to create two brilliant Yaz albums. Then  came Erasure with such brilliant albums as "Wonderland, "The Innocents," "Wild," and "Chorus." Erasure has actually surprised me a couple times over the past couple years by creating some still brilliant songs. They basically invented synth pop back in the 80s. I can't really imagine where I would be without them. They have wrote some of the catchiest songs of the period that still remain great songs.

 This new album is about their 13th full length album. Maybe their 15th if you count "Crackers International" and the brilliant ABBA cover album "ABBAesque." They have continued to make accessible dance albums over the years. However, with 13 or 15 albums there are bound to be some ups and downs. "I Say I Say I Say" really marked the end of the great Erasure albums, for me at least. Some might say it ended with 1991's excellent album "Chorus." In 2005 they ended up making a great comeback album, "Nightbird." I have to admit that I am still impressed with Erasure and their new album "Light at the End of the World." It may not have as many great songs as their albums of the past. But Andy Bell and Vince Clark still have the magic to make a catchy pop album. It is easy to find yourself singing along to most of the songs on the album. It might just be my memories of albums past that has kept me an Erasure fan after all these years. But they still have me under their spell. They created a lasting genre that has affected millions and influenced many.


Also out today is the first full length from Voxtrot. This band got me hooked the first time I heard their EP, "Raised by Wolves." I swore the band was some new twee band form London or maybe Scotland. I was a little surprised to find out they were actually just from Austin, Texas. They were obviously influenced by bands like the Smiths and Belle & Sebastian. They  created beautiful little catchy indie songs. Songs that you could sing along with the first time you heard them. Its nice that they actually are putting out an album of 11 brand new songs. None of these songs were on any of the EPs that have already been out.

 This album easily stands up to any of the other more popular album of the genre such as the Shins or Belle & Sebastian. It is one of those albums that quickly becomes your favorite new album. It makes me a little proud that some kids from my own country can create an album that I thought could only come from across the Atlantic. It just has the feeling of a British indie album. It has those catchy brilliant and intelligent lyrics that the British are known for. I have to admit my excitement about this band has calmed down a bit since I first heard them. Maybe I just listened to those EPs too much. But I am giving the album a couple more listens cause I know it will soon become one of my favorites of the year.


also out today...





"Black Rain" by Ozzy Osbourne



 







"Mirrored" by Battles












"Boxer" by The National












"So Real" by Jeff Buckley

Sissy Spacek @ No Fun Fest 2007

Posted by phil blankenship, May 21, 2007 04:52pm | Post a Comment
my roommate's band performed this weekend at the No Fun Fest in NYC.

here was their set:

TEACHING

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2007 10:39am | Post a Comment
Juan (AKA Wonway Posibul), who joined Amoeba Berkeley two and a half years ago, lives and breathes hip-hop. At the East Bay music store his title is hip-hop buyer. Outside, he is emcee Wonway Posibul with Berkeley hip-hop crew the Secluded Journalists. Additionally, the always busy artist has, over time, collaborated with many other artists on projects including the acclaimed A Tribe Called Quest tribute he recorded with Oakland Faders DJ and fellow Amoeba Berkeley employee DJ Platurn. He is also an in-demand DJ and currently spins at East Bay spots, including Kitty's and Easy Lounge. But it is the unique class that this qualified educator teaches once a week at Cell Space in San Francisco that he finds most rewarding. "Def Ed" is the exact title of the progressive course he teaches on the art of emceeing. As well as schooling his young students on how to effectively write rhymes, Juan also carefully mentors them on how to present their rhymes properly -- how to flow.

AMOEBLOG: How does teaching kids to emcee benefit you as an artist and as a person?
JUAN: I was raised by a community that consisted of family, friends, artists, activists, and teachers. I wouldn't have progressed as an emcee without them. So it's only natural I give back to the community that raised me -- especially with Hip Hop nowadays and the consolidation of images and ideas that's being presented to the youth. I feel like teaching is one little way of fighting the bullshit, and trying to establish a balance. This is my first year teaching, so just making these lesson plans, and breaking down what I feel is important to be an emcee, and for the first time critically looking at what I'm doing, I'm learning a lot and becoming a stronger writer and emcee because of it. The kids also bring an energy along with some new styles that I think are very exciting and inspirational.

Continue reading...

(In which Job becomes a star!)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 21, 2007 08:35am | Post a Comment
So, a couple days ago, I clocked in at work and noticed a flyer attached to the time-clock, informing my fellow Amoebites and I that, early Monday morning, there was going to be a film crew outside the store, shooting crowd scenes for the new film featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.


(Insert tire screeching sounds here… or, in Great Britain, tyre screeching sounds.)

Whereas I’m sure this notice was met with emotions ranging from ambivalence to eye-rolling annoyance by many, as you know from reading my previous blogs (which you have subsequently committed to memory in preparation for the quiz at the end of this term – you do realize it counts as a third of your grade, right?) I (insert the “f word” here, adding the suffix “ing” as a gerund) love the Chipmunks (insert exclamation point here, so as to emphasize the radness of it all)

I immediately e-mailed the lovely and efficient Kara, the puppet-master of such events and told her that I was the biggest Chipmunk fan and that I simply had to attend, even if it was only to hide in the corner and watch. She responded and said she’s ask the filmmakers if I could hang.

I waited with the patience of Job, which in my case always applies even if I’m not very patient at all. It’s one of the perks of having said name. Like people who’s names are, like, Yourhairlookgreatoday – they will always be told nice things about their coiffure, even if it looks bad. Or bald. Even if they have dead rats and popped eyeballs crusting in their curls and the mucus of twenty diseased boars dripping from beneath their berets, they still get told their hair looks great.

I suppose, if someone who had a name like Justkiddingyouaresouglyandewgrosstheresdeadrodentsandboogersatopthyscalp was actually embebbed in Yourhairlooksgreatoday’s bouffant, then the compliment could be discounted, but really, how realistic is it that someone’s going to cuddle in the cowlicks of animal-rennet rinsed roots?

Um.

Okay… I don’t know where that tangent came from, but I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen and move on. Hopefully you will, too.

Fast-forward to six o’clock Monday morning. I had been up the bulk of the night working on climate-change disaster-film concepts to pitch (just the kind of homework one incurs living in Hollywood), when my phone rings. It’s Kara. The film people finally responded about my request, and it was a “go”.

I had 20 minutes to go from grizzled and sleepy old man to fresh and capable young whip, and arrive at Amoeba Music Hollywood at 6.30 am. Which I did.

Kara was already on the scene, all smiles and caution as she watched teamsters turn the face of our beloved store into a façade for a huge and glamorous event that would never actually happen. “UPCOMING INSTORE: ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS” the marquee read, and colorful signs were framed by every portion of wall. Hired extras were assembling in place, made to look as though they had been camped out all night, waiting to be first inside to see the show.

It was surreal, to say the least. I ended up meeting one of the fellows in charge of the whole thing (I don’t know what his official title was, but people seemed to listen to him when he bossed them around) and he told Kara and I about some of the people who were going to be starring in the film. I never asked, nor got clearance to reveal who these actors were, (how was he to know he was in the presence of an Amoeblogger, the cutting-edge of news media) so I’m not certain if I’m even allowed to say what I learned. Instead, allow me to entertain you with random pictures of some people who I’M NOT SAYING ARE GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS MOVIE.


Anyway, boss-man and I bonded over our mutual pasts in Holland (it all started with a shared awareness and love of koffie verkeerd). Before I knew it, I was cast as an “Amoeba employee” in charge of manning the doors of our store and making sure no one got in before it was time.

This became increasingly disorienting as opening time neared, and real customers and employees began arriving, mixing with paid actors pretending to be waiting to get it. Because I was stationed at the front door, I ended up doing what I had been instructed to pretend to be doing.

Our time-clock is always littered with announcements; everything from plaintive requests for sofas to crash on, advertisements for music shows and art openings, or calls for volunteers to help distribute homes to the foodless – things like that. You can’t expect an employee to soak in all that information, so it was no surprise that many of my as-yet-uncaffeinated co-workers greeted the spectacle with confusion, astonishment and yes, a little fear.

It really did look like we were about to host a packed, high-profile in-store featuring a band consisting of fictional, animated singers. In a world of rockers rendered cynical and unshockable after the suicide of Kurt Cobain and emergence of 90’s retro (huh?) it was a rare moment of genuine shock. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it became the most gratifying aspect of my morning – seeing their befuddled faces as they neared the building.

It was a few hours of rushed and energetic standing around and doing nothing; a description that reads like an oxymoron but absolutely applies in the world of the movie extra, a job I soon realized I could never commit myself to. I’m too anxious to stand around “acting” like I’m standing around. And my existentialist self got kind of grossed out by the irony of it all.

It came time for the store to open and Kara and Jim (one of the people who claim to be my “boss” at Amoeba, though I’ve never seen any papers to prove it) made certain that the film industry was vanished in time to be replaced by real people, really waiting to get into the real in-store.

I was asked to sign a waiver and informed that I would get paid for the work I did (Really? Paid to stand around and do nothing? So this is what it’s like to be a security guard!*) I stumbled home and crawled back in bed, glad to be a part of Chipmunk history and relieved that I had something new to blog about.


That's me in the Amoeba T-shirt. Eat your heart out, Monty Clift.

*I kid. Our security guards are the hardest working people I know, and I’m not just saying so because they could blend me up in a protein shake and drink me.

Lights! Cameras! Murder!

Posted by phil blankenship, May 20, 2007 12:45pm | Post a Comment
 








Where is this film in the IMDb ???

Atlas Entertainment Corporation 5011
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