Amoeblog

HOLLYWOOD: WHERE THERE'S GOLD IN THE STREETS

Posted by Billyjam, June 24, 2007 09:52pm | Post a Comment

So I spent this past Thursday, June 21st -- the longest day of the year -- in Hollywood. And it was just one of those perfect days. You know, one of those days you have when everything goes just perfectly? Being the first day of summer, I guess, the weather could not have been more desirable: sunny and warm but never too hot, and certainly not a trace of that smog that is so often unfairly associated with LA. But besides the weather, every single person I encountered that day in Hollywood was genuinely warm and friendly and a pleasure to be around. Even the tragic bums along Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards all seemed to have vanished for the day. Not one person asked me for money all day.  The opposite happened in fact: not once but twice, glancing down at the pavement I found money -- a quarter on Vine and a crisp new dollar bill blowing on Sunset. Damn! There really is gold on the streets here, I thought. What a perfect day. As I happily walked I couldn't help but remember in my head all of the songs about Hollywood and LA (there is even a Wikipedia page dedicated to them) that include Bob Seger's Hollywood Nights, Murs' LA, Jurassic 5's LAUSD, Kool & the Gang's Hollywood Swinging, Defari's Los Angelinos, and X's Los Angeles. And as I walked down Vine heading towards Sunset, humming Randy Newman's I Love LA, I kept a close eye on the pavement in case I might find even more money, when I noticed that Rin Tin Tin had his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Wow! Even dogs are stars here.

Shortly afterwards at 6400 Sunset Boulevard at Amoeba Music Hollywood (the main reason for my trip down from the Bay for the day) I ran into Amoebite Kara who was walking her cute and affectionate little dog. The last time I was down in LA -- several months previous -- she had just gotten the miniature pooch who she had rescued by adopting him from an unfortunate homeless woman who could no longer take care of her pet. At Amoeba Music I spent the day hanging out and meeting many Amoebites for the first time, like Irene (who works in the office and was sporting a cool Virgin Prunes t-shirt), and some that I knew from before like KP, Tim Ranow, and Ilene. It was about my sixth trip to Amoeba Hollywood since it opened and I tell you the cavernous store never fails to amaze me. It is truly a music fiend's dream! And despite the good amount of time I spent digging in the crates of the endless rows and rows and sections and sections of music, I still only barely scratched the surface of the store's seemingly never ending inventory.

Continue reading...

It's Windy: Therefore, We Have Odyssey and Oracle

Posted by Miss Ess, April 18, 2007 12:39pm | Post a Comment
I'm not for global warming at all, but aren't you all as tired of being COLD right now as I am? SF is freezing these past few days...and apparently compared to the northeast we've got it easy here.

Anyway, today since it's so blustery all I have been listening to has been the Zombies' Odyssey and Oracle. It's a fantastic record, makes me feel like it's fall for some reason (even though it's supposed to be spring right now). The Zombies had so much promise as a 60s English rock band, but they broke up soon after this record was made in 1967, I think even by the time it was released. I feel that this record is their penultimate statement though-- it's their only fully realized album. Maybe anything else they would have done would have seemed lesser after reaching such heights anyway.

The thing that is so great about Odyssey and Oracle is that every song is fantastic in its own way. It seems like all the songs on this record tell detailed stories and that's part of what sets the album apart and elevates the music. As with all favorite records, my favorite track changes often-- first, years ago, it was "A Rose For Emily," or maybe "Beechwood Park." Both songs are completely catchy and yet also melancholic. I guess that is part of why I connect this record with an autumnal feeling-- it's that bittersweetness that comes over me about every September as the seasons change. That said, there is optimism and hope on the record too, esp in "This Will Be Our Year" and "I Want Her She Wants Me," two more favorite cuts of mine. Right now and for the past year or so my favorite song on Odyssey and Oracle is the bizarro "Changes." It's got overwhelmingly huge choruses with swirly harmonies and odd yet evocative lyrics describing a girl from the past who wears "strawberry clothes"-- it's all hung together strangely and yet it works and stands out.  Clearly "Time of the Season" is the most famous track on the record, but I tend to forget it is even there, coming as it does at the very end of the whole eloquent thing. It's like a little extra treat after you've heard and digested all these other wonderfully melodic nuggets.  Yeah the Zombies were kinda obviously trying to be the Beatles (the record was made in 1967 after all, same as Sgt. Pepper)...but they did a great job of constructing a gorgeous pop album all their own.

The Employee Interview I: Zack

Posted by Miss Ess, March 31, 2007 06:32pm | Post a Comment
In following with both the fact that Amoeba hires only the most insatiable and voracious music enthusiasts, and the fact that we of course all learn from one another, periodically I will be posting interviews with staff members. In this edition, I discuss with San Fran's own Zack his musical past and present, among other things.

The Employee Interview:
Zack
4+ years employed at Amoeba
Floor dude


Q:  What was the first music you remember hearing as a kid, before you had a say?

Z:  "Back in the USSR," "Good Vibrations," and the "Monster Mash." My dad would play these while he got me dressed on the couch in the living room before preschool.

Q:  How have these songs influenced your musical likes and dislikes?

Z:  With the Beatles, it gave me a great pop foundation for discerning melodies I like and dislike, but as I got older I really couldn't take the Beatles anymore and had a long stretch of being completely over them while I explored other musical avenues. Since the birth of MY son I have embraced the Beatles once again, having had enough time off and being able to hear them again for the first time along with him.

Q:  What was your first concert?  Last?

Z:  First concert was the Kinks at the Palladium in LA, '87 and my last was the Melvins at Great American.

Q: What was the first band you heard that really inspired you to get into music?

Z: Nirvana; Dave Grohl played the drums exactly how i was trying to play them at the time.

Q: But then you must have already been into music, if you were already playing drums...

Z:  I would like to revise my answer: Animal on the Muppet Show.

Q: Favorite local band?

Z: The Finches.

Q: Favorite local venue?

Z: Great American Music Hall.

Q:  Favorite musician right this very minute?  First person that comes to mind.

Z: Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel, brother of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. I just saw him solo and acoustic at Cafe Du Nord and it was by far my favorite one-man acoustical jam I have ever heard.

Q: Favorite celeb?

Z: Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She's terrific, everything out of her mouth is like gold. [Editor's note: yes, that's sarcasm you hear, dear readers.]

Q:  Best show of the past year?

Z: Boris at Slim's. Mindbogglingly heavy. It was my first time seeing them and I couldn't believe there were only 3 people onstage. It sounded more like 20 and I could feel it in my tummy.

Q:  Favorite San Francisco Hangout? (aside from Amoeba.)

Z: Free Locals Only Night at Cafe Du Nord. $5 22oz. Newcastles-- it's a beautiful spot, and all my friends are there.

Q: Best record you ever heard, as of right now this very minute?

Z:  Serena Maneesh, s/t - shoegazer psych out, better than Dungen. Or Harvey Milk, Special Wishes -- perfect blend of Skynyrd and the Melvins, for some heavy melodic doom sludge.

Q: Favorite section of the store?

Z:  New Arrivals Vinyl.

Q:  Vinyl or CD?

Z: Vinyl.

Q:  Anything else you would like to add about your musical development and what music and working at Amoeba means to you?

Z:  The thing I like best about my job is actually putting the thing they [the customers] are looking for in their hand and seeing their smile and relief that they could actually find it in this heavenly mecca of music. I like to soothe people's intimidation factor when they walk into this store and make them feel at home because after all, it is my home.

Q: Thank you for your time.
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