Amoeblog

This Mistletoe Belt's For You: Christmas Rapping with the Yule Logs!

Posted by Kells, December 10, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment


You don't have to love the holidays to love the Yule Logs, but for me it was love at first listen! Seeing them headline the annual "Christmas is the Best!" bonanza last year was an absolute blast and just thinking about their show coming up this Sunday at Amnesia in San Francisco (festivities begin with holiday crafting and shitty gift giving at 7pm, show at 9) has got me all worked up like a little insomniac on the night before Christmas --- baby, I can't wait! Making spirits bright since 2005, vocalist Marty Parker, bassist Kirt Lind, guitarist Maurice Spencer and drummer Jake Specher dole out hit after original hit of Christmas and Hannukah jams and spruced up traditional holiday classics with such contagious enthusiasm and flawless four-part harmonies that one cannot help but drink their kool-aid. With a good-time party sound that recalls British Invasion class, California surf-rock sass, pop savvy hooks and non-stop borscht belt humor the Yule Logs'll have your shoes off and your socks twistin' under your feet dancing their "Hannukah Mambo," fist-pumping to their "Runaround Rudolph" (featuring guest appearances by presidents William Howard Taft and Richard Nixon, along with Elvis "the King" Presley) and swooning for their rendition of Wham's "Last Christmas." Recently I rapped with the boys from Chico, California about their music, their muses and their state of holiday affairs, and their status as a "the world's premier Christmas and Hannukah rock 'n roll band;" here's what they had to say:

First off, how did such a cute band of dudes like yourselves come to be, as you put it, the "hardest working band in snow business"?

Marty: I look around the tour van and see nothing but repulsive, hairy ogres, but I thank you for calling us cute. In answer to your question, I love the mythology of Christmas, everything from Ebenezer to the Nativity. I love the sensory experience; pine and nutmeg is enough to bring you to your knees -- no? I wanted our music to be delicate and evocative of a tinkly little claymation soundtrack. And then the other Yule Logs started rocking their hairy ogre balls off and I was forced to follow suit.

Jake: I don’t appreciate being labeled an ogre…I’m much too svelte.

I'm sure most folks would be hard put to hate on what the Yule Logs do musically --- you're such a high impact party band! Aside from the obvious influence of the season, what are some of the Yule Logs' musical influences?

Continue reading...

(In which we reunite, even as we bid a fond adieu.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 3, 2010 01:12pm | Post a Comment
Well, it’s the middle of September and there’s nothing novel or interesting about this week.

No, no – of course we’re standing at the precipice of a new decade as a fresh millennium dawns and everything’s fraught with poignancy. I get it. But just for a second, wasn’t it nice to hear otherwise?

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, which is a sure-fire way to get people to forget about me. By now my regular readers have probably been reduced to the Amoeblog staff, my Mom, and myself (and I’m just barely skimming them).

Chalk it up to an action-packed holiday season, kiddies. Since last we met, I shot the footage for an upcoming webisode series with the fantastically rad Elizabeth Keener. Once it’s up and running I’ll let y’all know about it.

Also freelance articles, while hardly pouring in these days, are vying for my time. I just finished writing an article for Gourmet Magazine for their “traditional dishes of Indonesia” series. My piece focused on the Åland crisis and its impact on the League of Nations in the wake of the First World War, and how the Islands’ current Finnish loyalties but Swedish-speaking majority stand as a metaphor for modern Scandinavian policy. What does that have to do with Indonesian food? Nothing. But it’s all in how you spin the article.

Välsmakande mat som du kan äta med din jävla mun!

Also, the boyfriend’s parents were here for a week to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with us. They’re from Texas, so in cooking for them I had to make sure to restrain myself from culinary flourishes. Example: Spaghetti & meatballs are fine, but in lieu of Italian herbs, why not use fresh-roasted cumin seed and Walla Walla sweet onions caramelized in aged balsamic vinegar?

No. Back away. When cooking for Texans, resist the urge to decorate salads with edible flower petals, eschew spices with more than two syllables (“How come no-one’s using the cardamom gravy?”) and for the love of Pete, never never use or try to explain ghee.


It was a lovely holiday, though. The boyfriend, in a gallant effort to halt my developing a stress-hunchback, gifted me an electric foot massager, which now sits here at my desk. Wanna see?


I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-r-rr-r-r-r-r-r-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-w-w-w-w-w-w-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l!!!! B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s y-y-y-y-y-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u t-t-t-t-o-o-o-o-o s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-d-d-d-d-d-d-d t-t-t-t-t-t-t-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o m-m-m-m-m-m-m-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-e-e-e-e-e-e-e t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g t-t-t-t-t-t-o-o-o-o d-d-d-d-d-d-d-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-r-r-r-r-r-r w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-t-t-t-t-t-t-t I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g!!!!

✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦  ✦

On the Amoeba Music Hollywood front, yesterday was the final work day of our beloved Charlie Richards, who for some years has been caretaking our neat-o classical music section. He’s moving to Florida, presumably because he’s a masochist with a fetish for pastels. (I’m pretty sure he said that once, actually.) It is to him that this blog entry is dedicated.


Charlie Richards, circa 2004

Anyone who’s worked with Charlie knows his favorite opera is Les contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. Coincidentally, and in spite of Charlie overwhelming us with un-requested lectures of historical minutiae relating to Offenbach’s writing the work…

CHARLIE: Did you know that Offenbach wrote the opera in one night while sitting on the toilet? And it wasn’t until he finished composing it that he realized he was out of toilet paper and had to use his first draft to wipe himself, so what we know today as the opera is actually a second draft he wrote while exercising on his Stairmaster!

CO-WORKER: Charlie, all I asked is if you knew where the tape dispenser was. And what the hell was wrong with Offenbach that he couldn’t just sit at a desk like normal people?!

…the opera is also one of my favorites.

Opera is a hard sell, and I don’t expect any of my readers to go rushing out to ye olde opera-house just because I fancy the genre myself, but one thing I can recommend without reservation is the 1951 film adaptation of said work, The Tales of Hoffmann, directed by masters of motion picture art Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, most famous for their dizzyingly beautiful film The Red Shoes.

Many people know and love The Red Shoes, but I actually like The Tales of Hoffmann more. The opera’s conceit of stories-within-the-story, focused on fantasies of delusional romance and whimsical villainy, allow Powell & Pressburger unrestrained opportunities for the cinematic eye-candy they’re so revered for.


There’s also a lot of badical ballet in the movie, but again, you don’t need to be a fan of either ballet or opera to enjoy this film. It’s rather like the best acid trip you ever took, if that trip took place on an antiquated Disneyland ride.


Fortunately, the good people of Criterion selected the film for release some years back, so it’s available on DVD with their trademark excellence in… menu design and… stuff.


Anyway, in the interest of swell cinema, and for the love of Charlie, I highly recommend you bake yourself a tray of pot* brownies and commit to an evening screening of The Tales of Hoffmann.

And if you find yourself in the Sunshine State, be sure to stop by Charlie’s house to let him know how much you liked the opera. But be prepared to stay a while – he’ll undoubtedly want to explain why Offenbach’s pen always smelled of bacon fat and absinthe.


*Don’t worry – I’m not actually suggesting people use marijuana. “Pot” is just my codeword for crystal meth.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 25, 2009 01:10pm | Post a Comment


A second helping of Xmas covers. Included in this batch is the Aroma Disc Christmas album, meant to accompany your pine cone scent disc or something or another. I tried to track down an Aroma Disc ad or two but had no luck...







I did, however, find some excellent Ray Conniff Singers footage-- it really gets no squarer than this. I think that it's even stiffer than the Lawrence Welk footage on my last blog, but I have to admit that the arrangement is actually quite cool.






Ray Connif Singers
Medley

Christmas Gangs and Santa's Village

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 22, 2009 12:05pm | Post a Comment


This Lawrence Welk record inspired me to dig up a little classic LW for your viewing pleasure. It's listed as a "gang" number, a term not usually associated with these kinds of groups. I have a Bing Crosby LP that is a collection of gang songs as well. Below we have Mitch Miller, who was perhaps the most popular of said gang leaders.







The Holiday In Song LP features a great shot of Santa's Village. I have very fuzzy rememberances of visiting the village when I was very small. Check out this excellent website detailing the whole Santa's Village experience. I've included a few minutes of the K. Gordon Murray holiday classic Santa's Enchanted Village, which was filmed on location at the Riverside SV.





Lawrence Welk and the Gang



Santa's Enchanted Village

Travel Time

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 19, 2009 07:00pm | Post a Comment


I feel for any of you out there who might get stuck at the airport this coming week; lucky for me, a family visit just requires dealing with the 5 Freeway. 







I've included one boat cover because I felt that it worked well with the others in the gallery, although I doubt that many people are travelling by sea for a Christmas quickie. Here's a link to my aircraft label gallery.



BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT