Shopping for Black Flag, Black Sheep, and Black Sabbath on Black Friday

Posted by Billyjam, November 23, 2012 07:35am | Post a Comment
1) Black Flag       

2) Black Sheep

3) Black Sabbath

4) Black 47

5) Black Grape

6) Black Bug

7) Black Madonna

Inspired by the wonderful Black Friday appropriation of Black Flag's famous logo (above left) I started thinking that, in addition to all of the great exclusive releases issued for this Black Friday Record Store Day that you will find today and over this Black Friday weekend at Amoeba (through Sunday Nov 25), while in one of the three Amoeba stores look out for some of the numerous other bands/artists whose names begin with the word Black because there are a lot of talented artists in that category that span different genres. Along with the punk legends Black Flag (whose T-shirts as well as music you will find in the new Amoeba Hollywood Punk Section) these include hard rock pioneers Black Sabbath * (check for such other Sabbath items as their Sabbath Bloody Sabbath poster), and golden era hip-hop trailblazers Black Sheep. - especially their albums Non Fiction and Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.  Then there's the Irish tinged rockers Black 47 whose Home of the Brave is not half bad, 90's UK rock group Black Grape featuring former members of Happy Mondays, Black Bug who released the 7" "Shard of Glass" / "Police Helicopter" on Hozac Records last year, and Black Madonna who released the 12" "Alright This Morning" a month ago. And of course at Amoeba you could also pick up Steely Dan's album Katy Lied with the opening track "Black Friday."

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Amoeba Hollywood Unveils New Punk Section! Check Out 10 Classic Punk Records.

Posted by Billy Gil, August 24, 2012 03:15pm | Post a Comment
Following the lead of Amoeba San Francisco and Berkeley, Amoeba Hollywood has debuted its own punk section. The section, located in the main room, straight back and on the left from when you walk into the store, has loads of CDs, LPs, Punk T-shirts and patches. Genres include Punk, Hardcore, Oi, Crust, Thrash, Metalcore, and more.

The video below shows some of the shirts you can find at Amoeba.

Check out a list of classic punk and hardcore records you can find in the store, many of which have their roots right here in our little corner of the country (more specifically, L.A., especially The South Bay, and Orange County).
adolescentsAdolescents – Adolescents (CD or LP)
A supergroup of sorts formed in Fullerton, with members of Agent Orange and Social Distortion, Adolescents’ first album influenced legions with a sound that remained tuneful and dynamic within the hardcore punk rock frame of mostly short songs played hard and fast. It’s difficult to imagine Orange County descendants like Pennywise, The Offspring and No Doubt solidifying the So. Cal. punk sound without this first combustible blast of a record. Plus, their first single was called “Amoeba,” so that’s awesome too!

bad brainsBad Brains – Bad Brains (CD or LP)
How to describe Bad Brains and their first originally cassette-only release? Fucking insane. Former jazz fusion guitarist Dr. Know formed the band as a crossroads between punk and reggae, but DC-based Bad Brains hardly held back from extremes, as tracks like “Supertouch / Shitfit” and “Pay to Cum” are hardcore at its rawest, with singer H.R.’s banshee wail sailing over power-chord surge, sandwiching songs like the six-minute plus straight-faced dub of “I Luv I Jah.”

black flagBlack Flag – Damaged (CD or LP)
Despite their tough image — just look at that cover art — Hermosa Beach-based Black Flag were and are so beloved because they had the best songs, catchiest riffs and most charismatic frontman in hardcore. Henry Rollins’ infectious chants and grunts make “Rise Above” the fist-pumper above all others, and songs like “Six Pack” and “TV Party” are the ultimate dude-party anthems — “I’ve got a six-pack and nothing to do!” Its effects are still felt in unexpected ways — brainy indie rock band Dirty Projectors’ breakthrough was a full-album cover of Damaged, from years-ago memory.
Circle Jerks Group SexCircle Jerks – Group Sex (CD or LP)
Of all the original hardcore bands, Circle Jerks seemed to be having the most fun. Their “Live Fast Die Young” credo still rings true today because they didn’t seem like they were so serious about it, or anything, for that matter. Formed by Black Flag’s original vocalist, Keith Morris, and ex-Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson, Group Sex churning out hard, very fast and very short (no song breaks the two-minute mark) party-rock songs that tear down L.A. douchebags (“Beverly Hills, Century City/Everything so nice and pretty/All the people look the same/Don’t they know they’re so damn lame?”) and tell the world to go right up their asses.
descendentsDescendents – Milo Goes to College (CD or LP)
If The Descendents are the nerdiest hardcore band, they’re also one of the cleverest. Milo Goes to College taps into angst from high school to college to work and relationships, kind of making everything seem shitty but also worth laughing at. From taking the piss outta rich kids (“I’m Not a Loser”) to parents who won’t shut up (“Parents”) to wanting marriage over sex (“Marriage”) to writing a punk song about not being a punk (“I’m Not a Punk”), The Descendents’ music was funny but also was poignant in some ways.

fear the recordFear – The Record (CD)
Led by wild man (and Clue actor!) Lee Ving, Fear weren’t particular fond of being tasteful with songs like “Fuck Christmas” and lyrics that weren’t so nice to gays, women or anyone. However, confrontation is Fear’s M.O., and playing into aggression in order to expose it is a brilliant part of that — take “Foreign Policy’s” lyrics: “Hatred is purity! Weakness is disease! Where we bury you! It’s manifest destiny!” Fear also sang a lot about beer and trying to get laid. This record is full of bile but also some really well-written songs — “I Don’t Care About You,” “I Love Livin’ In the City.”

The Germs – M.I.A.: The Complete Germs (CD)
My favorites. The Germs always seemed to me like a punk band for the rest of us, maybe because frontman Darby Crash was gay and was more interested in hating himself than gays or women (self-mutilation; suicide), and bassist Lorna Doom was a girl and had a cool name. They could barely play their instruments at first and yet produced some of punk’s most idiosyncratic and cool music, like the infectious “Lexicon Devil” and beautifully doomed “We Must Bleed.” They only really had one album, G.I. (available on LP); for a collection that includes nearly all of their recordings, M.I.A. is startlingly consistent and crucial.

nofxNOFX – Punk in Drublic (CD)
NOFX remained quintessentially punk by avoiding major labels and staying true to their ska-tinged post-hardcore pop-punk sound, reaching its zenith on this 1994 album. White high school kids in So. Cal. love this shit like no other!


rise againstRise Against – The Unravelling (CD or LP)
Many emo bands could do right by returning to listen to Rise Against’s The Unravelling. The band was one of the best to update Husker Du and Rites of Spring’s fusion of hardcore sensibilities with pop melodies without the former just being a badge of honor — Tim McIlrath’s vocals shred on true hardcore gems like “Great Awakening” while opening the sound to radio-friendly choruses.

youth of todayYouth of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (CD)
Viscerally demanding second-wave straight edge purveyors Youth of Today helped make not eating meat or drinking alcohol seem cool. They recently reunited for shows, so listening to Can’t Close My Eyes needn’t be an exercise in nostalgia — hopefully you can see them live or maybe get some new Youth of Today some day soon!



Video: Mariachi El Bronx Live at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, May 17, 2012 06:09pm | Post a Comment
Mariachi El Bronx stopped by Amoeba Hollywood to play their uniquely American take on traditional Mariachi music. Bedecked in black mariachi garb and with horns in tow, the band played a set of tracks from their 2011 album Mariachi El Bronx II.

Mariachi El Bronx started as post-hardcore band The Bronx before incorporating mariachi elements for this side project, which began when the band was asked to do an acoustic version of the song “Dirty Leaves” from The Bronx’s self-titled second album for a television show and they turned it into a mariachi dirge.

“We never wanted The Bronx to be a soft, quiet band,” says frontman Matt Caughthran, “but this freed up a whole new realm. Sometimes you don’t realize the barriers around yourself until you step outside them. It was a big moment in our career, breathing new life into the band.”

Band members Caughthran, Joby J. Ford (guitar), Jorma Vik (drums) Brad Magers (trumpet), Ken Horne (jarana/guitar), and Vincent Hidalgo (guitarrón) then studied up on YouTube, no less, while touring with The Bronx to make Mariachi El Bronx happen. Learning all the mariachi styles, such as norteno, jorocho, juasteka, bolero, and corridos was essential.

“Mariachi has rules,” Caughthran says. “We learned everything we could out of respect, especially as we’re a bunch of white guys — well, except for Ken, who’s Japanese.”

The band eventually came to include Ray Suen on violin and satellite members Alfredo Ortiz on percussion styles and guitarrón player Karla Tovar. Caughthran says the merge of styles isn’t so strange to him, having grown up in the gringo minority in East L.A. neighborhood Pico Rivera.

“My two favorite bands were always Black Flag and Los Lobos, so it all makes sense,” he says.

The band launches its summer tour this week. Dates are below:

05/18/12 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room *
05/19/12 St. Louis, MO Firebird *
05/20/12  Chicago, IL  Sailor Jerry’s Presents * 
05/21/12  Cleveland, OH  The Beachland Ballroom * 
05/22/12  Philadelphia, PA  Sailor Jerry’s Presents * 
05/24/12  New York, NY  Rocks Off Cruise Aboard the Princess *  
05/25/12  Hartford, CT  Comcast Theatre * 
05/26/12   Buffalo, NY The Mohawk Place * 
05/27/12  Toronto, Canada  Sound Academy # 
05/28/12  Montreal, Canada  Metropolis # 
05/31/12  Portland, ME  State Theatre # 
06/01/12  Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion # 
06/02/12  Hunter Mtn, NY  Mountain Jam &  
06/03/12  Washington, DC  9:30 Club $ 
06/05/12  Charlottesville, VA  Jefferson Theater $ 
06/06/12   Asheville  The Orange Peel $ 
06/10/12   Manchester, TN  Bonnaroo % 
07/22/12   Dover, DE  Firefly Festival ^ 
* with Two Gallants
# with Gogol Bordello and Two Gallants
& with Ben Folds FiveGov’t Mule and more
$ with tUne-yArDs
% with RadioheadRed Hot Chili PeppersBad Brains and more
^ with The KillersThe Black KeysJack White and more

OFF!'s Amoeba Berkeley In-Store Show Yesterday Was OFF! The Hook

Posted by Billyjam, May 13, 2012 09:41am | Post a Comment
Just as OFF!'s Amoeba Hollywood in-store was back in October 2010, yesterday afternoon's (May 12th) energized set by the SoCal punk rock super-group at Amoeba Music Berkeley was equally off the hook (pun intended) with a sound mix that was perfect, a set list that included lots off the recommended new album (OFF! avail on LP and CD), and between song banter by Keith Morris that was at once entertaining and enlightening.

Check out the official Amoeba Music photos HERE.

As lead singer and former member of the influential and iconic West Coast punk outfits Black Flag and Circle Jerks, Keith Morris has done in the past, again at Amoeba Music yesterday he reiterated how he and his bandmates [Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless/Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt)] like to distance themselves from the term "punk" but rather consider themselves simply "human." He made that statement right before OFF! jumped into another five song set of high-energy, fast delivered, short n satisfying punk rock sounding songs. He even made a joke about how their songs are so short, typically one minute in length (like on their new 16 minute, 16 track album), that five songs take five minutes to play.

Yesterday's in-store show was more packed than I have ever seen one at Amoeba Berkeley (easily at, or close to, the 300 maximum capacity mark) and was made up of a wonderful cross-section of people of all ages from new younger teenaged/20 something fans to folks who were followers of Black Flag and the other bands OFF! were in from when they first started out - many of them bringing their kids along with them. Knowing how loud an OFF! show can get parents of some of the kids came prepared by placing muffler headphones (like the guys guiding planes at the airport wear) over the little ones' ears. This became fodder for Keith Morris in one of his many entertaining between song mic breaks when, before he would curse out loud some oppressive power, he advised parents to cover their kids' ears so as not to hear the "FUCK" word. "Oh I see they already have their ears covered," he quipped, pointing to the headphones kids in photo above. Morris, who in his October 2010 Amoeba interview noted that the band's name means "Get the fuck OFF! my back," spoke out against many issues including how the US government needs to stop policing the world and stay the hell out of other countries' political problems and wars (to applause). He had no good words to say about Republicans, but the current administration didn't fare much better either. He admonished Barack Obama, even if he is "a good guy" he said, noting how rather than working on saving the country the prez was busy down "in Studio City hanging out" with Hollywood celebrities for fundraising purposes solely.

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OFF! Play Free Show At Amoeba Berkeley At 4pm Today, Saturday May 12th

Posted by Billyjam, May 12, 2012 11:01am | Post a Comment

OFF! playing Amoeba Hollywood In-Store in October 2010

The West Coast hardcore punk super-group OFF! play Amoeba Berkeley today at 4pm but if you are a fan of this amazing band you know this fact already, probably attended their anticipated Slim's show last night, and more likely have already snagged your Amoeba wristband for today's free in-store show and signing line that follows which you got from buying the band's just released self-titled official debut album - simply entitled OFF!, on Vice Records at Amoeba (only 300 wristbands available).

Comprised of Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless/Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt) OFF! epitomize the term "super group" but unlike so many so-called super-groups who fall short of their collective parts - OFF! somehow manage to push the music to new heights. Simply put; OFF! are off the fuckin' hook! Truly an amazing band!

Around the time OFF! played Amoeba Hollywood (see concert video above + interview below of their October 2010 in-store at the SoCal Amoeba) Vice Recordings released the 4-record set OFF! The First 4 EPs (with artwork, like the just released LP, by Raymond Pettibon). I wrote about OFF! and their 4EPs for the Amoeblog at that time. And, since I am in the East Bay right now, you can bet your ass I will be over at Ameoba Berkeley today at 4pm for their in-store & signing. Note that the capacity of the Berkeley Amoeba is 300 people - hence why 300 wristbands were issued - and that, as of time of publishing this Amoeblog (11am on Saturday morning) there were still wristbands (which guarantee entrance) available.

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