Amoeblog

Total BFF: Blonde Redhead w/ Thee Oh Sees at the Independent courtesy of the Bicycle Film Fest.

Posted by Kells, July 22, 2009 05:44pm | Post a Comment

Two years ago when Blonde Redhead performed on the Amoeba stage in San Francisco, they graciously agreed to sit down with me and submit to a few questions. I remember the experience as one of the most awkwardly delicious moments I've ever winced my way through, however giddily. From the first listen I've loved Blonde Redhead's melancholy music in all its precious, tragic beauty; to me they are the snow white choking on the poison apple of "indie" rock. And so there I was, sitting across from this trio of "damaged lemons," three persons whose music had so phenomenally impacted my life in ways I could barely discuss without donning a veil of embarassment (nerd alert!), trying to be cool, calm and collected. The silence in the room was uncomfortably palpable, until drummer Simone Pace cracked a joke.

I have adopted from a friend a habit of cataloguing my music according to the weather or the seasons of the year. For example, a band like the Descendents, with their anything goes punk rock songs about life, love and fishing ("and stuff") could only be categorized as summer music, whereas something like Blue by Joni Mitchell would be played habitually during the winter and/or on brisk, rainy days. I asked Blonde Redhead where they thought they'd place their music within the confines of such a classification system and, after Kazu explained her way to the conclusion that perhaps winter favored their "cold" sound for all its detatchment and sadness (anyone could agree with that, I feel), Simone offered with a sigh, "c'mon guys, we've been trying for that summer hit for years!" The moments that followed flowed free of tension, with a good amount of laughter. That interview, however clumsily conducted on my part, was a pleasure that I'm as likely to never forget, as Blonde Redhead is capable of ever cranking out a number one summer jam, but I could be wrong.

Or I could be right. Last week the Bicycle Film Festival sponsored a show at the Independent where Blonde Redhead played nothing but sullen, sober "winter" jams from their latest two albums (plus two hits from their fifth record, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons) without packing anything like a heat wave inducing rocker or hippy hippy shaking big bopper of a punch. Local band Thee Oh Sees, on the other hand, who opened the show for Blonde Redhead, totally slam dunked a summer-sweat dripping set of fuzzy, fuck-off rock rattlers --- nothin' but net! Having listened to their new record Help to the point of fatigue, I found it hard not to get excited about their live performance. Their stage presence is perhaps best described as geeks pogo-ing the border between self-destruction and pro-active party crashing; or, what you get when you pay whatever you think a 100% f-u-n rock n' roll show is worth. Plus they "rode their bikes" to the venue that night --- way to be supportive ya'll, A+. And Blonde Redhead, on their part, designed one of a kind Bicycle Film Festival t-shirts especially for the occasion, A++.

So, in conclusion, Bicycle Film Festival: they put together killer events (thanks guys)! Thee Oh Sees: absolutely fantastic live rock show; see them soon or whenever you possibly can because why? It is so worth it. Blonde Redhead: I've said it repeatedly in the past and I'll say it again, I can't wait to see them again when they come round next time. I'm still holding out for a slice of their possible summer sounds even if the pursuit is fruitless, and I'll champion them 'til the end regardless. Hopefully when they return they'll have a new album beneath their wings and a penchant for playing some of their older songs which, sadly, I have to say, have been absent from their live set lists for more than long enough. Suimasen.



The Employee Interview Part VI: Miss Kelly

Posted by Miss Ess, June 16, 2007 02:34pm | Post a Comment
Miss Kelly
3 years employment
International Rock Goddess/Cashier


Q:  What music was playing your house when you were a kid?

Miss Kelly:  Like Ratt and Prince.  I had a brother and sister that were 12 and 13 years older than me and my brother was practicing drums all the time.  He was in a band, a metal band.

Oh yeah, lots and lots of Madonna too. My sister once performed Madonna's "Lucky Star" at the food court in the mall and she won the contest and got lots of money.  She had this black lace bustier that she looked killer in and she used to make all the ladies salivate at the lady bars because she was in a lesbian band called Upside Down and Inside Out.

Wow.  Where is she now?

She lives in Virginia with her girlfriend and all of their baby animals.  She plays ukelele now.  We all kind of picked up the ukelele at the same time in the last few months.  We have this fantasy that when we meet up at the family reunion this summer we are all gonna play ukelele together.  It's kind of Uni's fault.

Wow that's rad. So how did you start listening to japanese pop and international rock?

I used to be really into punk rock and I was in this punk rock cafe that was literally under ground and one day on the jukebox this Pizzicato Five song was on and no one knew who it was and it made me so happy.  Ever since I was a child, since I heard "La Bamba", I wanted to sing it even though I didn't care what it meant, so foreign languages have always kinda turned me on.  So after I heard Pizzicato Five I couldn't find that song again until I heard it like 5 years later on the radio at my brother's house and that's when I found out who it was. I went to the indie record store in Richmond, Va -- Plan 9-- and they had it and I got really into it.  It's kind of like this insane musical; I love the showmanship of their sound.

Who were some other artist you were into early on?

I like Buffalo Daughter and Takako Minekawa.  She's now married to Cornelius and I am sure their kids will be awesome musicians. ... and the Boredoms of course too cause they were kind of punk and I was still really into punk.

What is the best thing you have ever found at Amoeba?

OOIOO Feather Float on turquoise vinyl.

What is your favorite place to see music in town?

Great American.

What's your favorite local band?

That's kind of hard!  I think I have to say Or, The Whale right now.  Their cd is really good and i wanna go see them play soon! [Ed. note: You can purchase their cd here on the Amoeba website!]

Yeah I really like them too.  Nice guys n gals.  So I think you are maybe even over-qualified to tell me, what is the best karaoke bar in San Fran?

Do Re Mi, bring your own drinks -- sneak em in!

Do they have private rooms there?

Yes, it's box [style] and you can sing in Japanese there!  In Japan they have these happy hour specials where you can rent a room about $4 a person with all you can drink cocktails from like 3-8 pm-- it's amazing!   It's a shame we don't have that here.  But I don't know if Americans can deal with that kind of thing though!  Japan is a country where they have drink machines on the street where you can buy beer.  That would never fly here.

I can see why you are into Japan!  What is your favorite song to perform?

"Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and I also like to sing a lot of Dolly Parton and Madonna cause they are totally in my range so no matter how drunk I get I can sing em.

What are some more recent bands you have gotten into?

Agent Ribbons I really like.  I''ve been listening to a lot Stan Rogers even though he's [not recent].  It's like folky sea shanty stuff.  And the new Tujiko Noriko is really great. 

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures? You seem pretty upfront, not much into guilt.

Yeah, god I don't think I feel guilty about anything that brings me pleasure at all!  Why live if you have to be guilty about that?

What is the best live show you have ever seen?

Gosh that is really difficult.  In the last year there have been so many good ones.  Probably Blonde Redhead at the Fillmore when Buffalo Daughter opened for them because Blonde Redhead played for like 2 hours and i love them to death.  Buffalo Daughter was at their very best that I have ever seen them and I went by myself which kind of made a huge difference.


Cause you didn't have to worry about anyone else having a good time?


That and it was all on my level.  I walked the whole way home that night from the Fillmore to Chinatown.  It was one of those hot summer nights that we never have.  Everything was perfect!

Cool.

I'll tell you one more thing-- my first show I ever saw was one of the best too.  It was Aerosmith with Skid Row and I was probably as close as you could get!  I was in middle school and I saw people smoking pot openly for the first time and drinking out of pony bottles and sexy ladies in leather mini skirts.  It made such and impression on me.  I was into hair metal for a while but that's ok because....it pretty much rocks too!

What is your favorite thing about working at Amoeba?

It's like being a kid in a candy store I guess.

Thank you for your time.

blonde redhead at bimbo's!

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 25, 2007 12:16pm | Post a Comment
So I just saw Blonde Redhead last night at Bimbo's in San Francisco. As one would expect, the show was amazing. I actually missed the last tour they did cause I was sick, so it has been like 4 or so years since I have seen them. I have really been loving the album. But this show actually improved on the album. I could also not think of a better place to see them than Bimbo's.  I have already seen them at smaller places like Great American Music Hall and Bottom of the Hill, so Bimbo's had to be next. This has got to be my favorite venue in the city. It also has a great history.
 The club was originally opened in 1935, originally called the 365 Club, on 365 Market St. It moved to Columbus St. in 1951. The man who opened the club was nicknamed "Bimbo," the Italian word for boy. There has been crazy events there over the years and many people have had their weddings there. So it has a crazy history kind of feeling when you are in there. Like you can feel all the stories coming out of the walls. And unlike the Warfield, the people who work there are actually nice.

So I guess I should talk about the show. They played most of the new album, "23". It sounded beautiful. Their shows are very intense. The songs and lyrics really come alive at their shows and get inside your soul. The songs have probably already made their way into your soul simply by listening to the record. Seeing them live just makes them stay a part of you forever. I can seriously remember the exact feeling I had the times I have seen them before. It all came back to me last night. I always want to get to Bimbo's early so I can get a table. But that did not happen last night. But the shows are still enjoyable. It is fun to move around and view the show from different positions and angles. Did I tell you about the bathrooms. While they may just look like a cleaner and fancier version of your high school bathroom. They actually have bathroom attendants. Amazing!

Blonde Redhead doesn't really jump around or do anything amazing at their shows. They  don't really tell jokes between songs. Their shows are serious events. Like most shows, the focus was on the new album. But I actually like the new album, so it was exciting to hear it all live. The highlight of the evening was for sure when they played "Spring and by Summer Fall" from the new album. I love Kazu, but sometimes Amedeo steals the show. This was one of his songs and it sounded amazing. Seriously. They also played some old songs as well. They played my favorite from Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, "In Particular." Great show! I seriously loved it. Also, I might have to go to Israel to see them. They are opening up for Depeche Mode on August 3rd!

this is what is coming out today...4/10...blonde redhead...bright eyes...

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 9, 2007 10:18pm | Post a Comment
OK...there are some exciting new release out today for you all...


First up is the new Blonde Redhead "23" and it has nothing to do with that horrible new Jim Carrey movie that already disappeared.  It's been about 3 years since their last album "Misery is a Butterfly." This is their second album for 4AD. However, it has much more in common with the album before "Misery" which was "Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons." "Misery" was a bit forgettable. Still good, but it did not remain in my head for days later after listening to it.  I still can just think of "Melody" for just a second and conjure up all the great amazing and tragic memories all tied up with that album. I seriously listened to that album every day for months. It was just that good.


Blonde Redhead has always been good. The band is made up of Kazu Makino and the scary twins Simone and Amedeo Pace. I only say scary, because twins tend to scare me, although I am also strangely intrigued by them.  The band is usually made up of just vocals, drums, and guitar.  The vocals are amazing on their albums.  I often have to go read the lyrics to be able to follow along.  The songs alternate between male and female vocals,  kind of like a combination of Versus and Dead Can Dance. It's amazing to have an album this good, seven albums into their existence. Again, I find myself addicted to Blonde Redhead. I can't stop listening to this album. It quickly draws you in and there is really no going back.

This band also replicates their albums beautifully live.  The most exciting thing about a new album by them means a new tour!

also out today...


"Cassadaga" by Bright Eyes
. So I will admit, I never really liked Conor Oberst. Something about him always made me want to punch him. But like most people who don't like him, I also never really bothered to listen to his albums. A couple of years ago my boyfriend was listening to him all the time. It was right before the 2 albums came out in 2005. I knew that I either had to get in fights with him and be upset having to listen to Bright Eyes all the time, or, just give in and make myself like him. After going to see him live about 10 Times in 4 different cities and listening to his 2005 albums, "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" and "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" over and over again, I actually started to appreciate him. I quickly realized, he wrote some damn good songs. It'sdifferent then what I usually find myself listening to. But it sort of made its way into my life and sort of into my heart.  This is about his 6th album, and while he still looks about 16 he has matured as a musician. One thing I do respect a lot about him, is that he has stuck with his label Saddle Creek through all his success.

This album feels very full of life, there is a a lot going on. He has made a great indie rock country album with some great sing-along choruses. His last album had Emmylou Harris on it and on this one he got Gillian Welch. Maybe he can get Willie Nelson to be on the next one! His songs are often introspective and depressing, but there is optimism in there if you look a little harder.


also out today...

"Grinderman" by Grinderman...this is basically a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album with a couple less Bad Seeds. And it sounds more Birthday Party than he has in a while.
                                                                                            
                   

     "Life Is a Grave & I Dig It" by the Nekromantix





"Remixed and Covered" by Xiu Xiu


                                                                                            
      

                          "Adventures of Ghost House & Still Born" by Cocorosie

                                            



"Heartland" by Client


                                                                                           


                                                         "Night of the Furies" by the Rosebuds





 "Judgement" by VNV Nation






                                                                       "Mosaic" by Love of Diagrams
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