Amoeblog

From "Give Peace A Chance" to "Fuck Donald Trump" - Top Ten Protest Songs

Posted by Billyjam, April 11, 2017 02:10pm | Post a Comment

 
"War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again" - Edwin Starr "War" (1970 Motown) *
The above sentiment of Edwin Starr's popular anti-Vietnam protest song was right about war but with one key exception. War, along with other periods of serious social unrest, historically trigger some of the best reactionary art of all schools including music and some of the most powerful protest songs. Even before last Thursday's bombing of Syria and the inevitable future fallout it will cause, the Trump era had already helped kick start the latest renaissance of revolutionary protest music.  Like Edwin Starr's Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong penned 1970 single, recorded during the counterculture era, the latest wave of protest music is a form of artistic expression born out of passion and necessity. Traditionally protest music acts on two primary levels. It's the soundtrack to the actual protest / rebellion / revolution, as well as being as a medium to vent and share feelings of discontent. As well as being a catharsis for its creators offering listeners some sense of relief or bonding, good protest music can also provide a message of hope during historically challenging times. Since the beginning of time history has a habit of repeatedly presenting its citizens challenging times, with war and social injustices being recurring themes.

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Close To The Ledge: Top Ten Suicide Songs

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2017 06:35pm | Post a Comment

First up, if you are currently feeling suicidal or simply need to talk to someone, call the 24 hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK [8255] where you will be forwarded to a counselor in your local area. Secondly this Top Ten Suicide Songs list (songs dealing with suicide from first and third person perspectives, and/or the mindset surrounding the subject), while intensely emotional, are in fact uplifting songs that have been known to both distract from and alleviate self-destructive feelings. Much like the power of blues music, these songs can similarly begin to lift those feeling low and depressed out of their deep funk.

As with any limited music list that attempts to cover a wide range of recordings on a specific topic, this top ten does not include a lot of great/worthy songs on the subject of suicide. A Top 50 list would have included many deserving songs that unfortunately were omitted in this top ten. Hence I have referenced these "honorable mention" songs in the honorary mentions paragraphs below as well as throughout the text of this Amoeblog. But please post any other worthy songs not included in the comments section, thanks.

I chose the Amoeblog title "Close To The Ledge" because of the fact that so many songs about suicide reference, both literally and figuratively, the ledge that people jump to their death from. This recurring theme appears in such songs about suicide as Frank Turner's "Song For Josh" and Stacy Barthe's "My Suicide Note  (both in top ten below), the Paul Westerberg penned "The Ledge" by The Replacements from their 1987 album Pleased To Meet Me (also on vinyl/LP),  Third Eye Blind's deceptively peppy sounding 1997 hit "Jumper" with the refrain "I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend," and The Dead Ships' "Citycide." The title track off the LA band's 2015 album Citycide refers to the ledge of the San Francisco side of Golden Gate Bridge that singer Devlin McCluskey, who lost his best friend to suicide, was referring to upon learning that the majority of jumpers off the GGB (the subject of the dark but nail-bitingly engaging 2006 documentary The Bridge) "jumps off the City side."

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Jazz on Film at the American Cinematheque Aug. 20-23

Posted by Amoebite, August 7, 2015 04:49pm | Post a Comment

Jazz on Film at the Aero Theatre

American Cinematheque presents Jazz on Film, a weekend of classic jazz films Aug. 20-23 at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

The first three screenings will feature giveaways of jazz CDs, courtesy of Sony Legacy recordings, and Amoeba gift certificates. Each screening starts at 7:30 p.m.

The series begins with Diana Ross' electrifying performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues Thursday, with an appearance by jazz musician Corky Hale. It continues on Friday with the shorts program Jazz on a Spring Day and Stormy Weather, which features singing from Lena Horne, Fats Waller and Cab Calloway; film noirs Anatomy of a Murder and Odds Against Tomorrow on Saturday; and Latin jazz films Cachao...Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos, directed by Andy Garcia (who will be there in person for a discussion, time permitting) about original mambo king Cachao, and performance film Calle 54.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Avant-Garde Composer Nils Frahm

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2015 05:00pm | Post a Comment

Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm is a Berlin-based Avant-Garde composer and pianist known for his Nils Frahm Spacesunconventional approach to Classical piano. Frahm creates a unique style of classical and Jazz-influenced electronic music by utilizing a grand piano, upright piano, Juno 60 keyboard, Rhodes and a drum machine.

Frahm has gained recognition for his trance-inducing live shows where he's known for painstakingly sustaining notes over a long period of time. On his tenth studio release, Spaces (Erased Tapes), Frahm delivers layers of atmospheric sonics while displaying his ability to create meticulous compositions. Many of his pieces paint broad pictures and can easily be used as film score. Nil Frahm's work satisfies Jazz listeners, electronic fans and those who enjoy avant-garde. Spaces does not disappoint.   

Nils Frahm dropped by Amoeba Hollywood recently and picked up some choice vinyl from our Jazz Room. Once Nils starts talking about albums, it's clear he is a true connoisseur who takes his record collecting very seriously. He also explains the importance of being patient when hunting for harder-to-find records. A huge fan of classic Jazz, Nils finds a copy of Billie Holiday's Songs For Distingue Lovers. He follows that up with another rare copy of Thelonious Monk's Thelonious Himself. Frahm finds some amazing records and his genuine appreciation for Jazz makes you want to fire up the record player and chill out to some Miles Davis or John Coltrane.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Macy Gray

Posted by Amoebite, November 5, 2014 06:11pm | Post a Comment

Macy Gray

Easily recognized by her natural afro, reminiscent of a young funky Betty Davis, Macy Gray is unmistakable. In the spring of 2000, Gray went from single mother of three, studying film at USC to international mega star. The world was introduced to Gray's trademark raspy vocals by her smash hit Macy Graysingle, "I Try." The song topped charts around the globe helping her debut album, On How Life Is (Epic Records), go triple platinum in the United States and sell seven million copies worldwide. Gray went on to launch a successful acting career co-starring alongside A-listers like Denzel Washington and Tobey Maguire. Six Grammy nominations later (winning 1), with multi-platium record sales and a bonafide acting career, Macy Gray continues to be as productive today as she was a decade ago.     

Aftr releasing The Sellout in 2010, Gray is back with her 6th studio album, The WayFor her latest production Gray partners with a revolving cast of collaborators, including the legendary Booker T Jones. The new album is out now on Gray's own label, Happy Mel Boopy Touring Co., and  is available on CD and download at Amoeba.  

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