Amoeblog

Sandy Babes: The Sandwitches play Duck Duck Goose!

Posted by Kells, June 30, 2010 03:50pm | Post a Comment
 
There are many things to love about The Sandwitches and their latest release, the Duck Duck Goose! EP (on Empty Cellar/Secret Seven Records), serves as further proof that these ladies are not only gilding a most devastatingly alluring and emotional totem pole of a discography, but they are also among the very sagest of storytellers, which is, when you think about it, just about as artistically primal as witch's tit in a brass bra. It takes courage to create an album this dark for kids, yet it's not clear if the wee ones are really who the Sandwitches are lulling here. If storytelling, besides being the earliest of mediums in that it's the way cultural and familial values are communicated, parent to child, grants us a means by which we may overcome and deal with overpowering fears --- fear of the dark, fear of the unknown --- then there is nothing cowardly or immature about the eerie compositions that permeate this limited run, one-sided vinyl 12". Clearly the Sandwitches are not about to soften their punches, no matter how bewitchingly thrown.

Duck Duck Goose! begins with the cooing, protracted "Stardust" --- a lush and dreamy original number that at once lives up to the descriptive "heartbreaking acoustic lullabies" label affixed to the record sleeve. In fact, it is a lullaby so heartbreaking that it seems meant to comfort a terminally ill child fearlessly into eternal sleep: "nothing to fear going into darkness/ we'll be nearer to each other." What follows is the first of two aural vignettes (the reprise closing out the recording, accordingly) wherein the echos of ghostly rounds of duck duck goose are played against the sound of nursery rhymes tapped hastily on a distant spectral piano, thus upping the spook-factor enshrouding the sessions captured for this EP, achieving an overall don't-even-think-of-exploring-that-abandoned-school-house vibe. Then "Rock of Gibraltar," a haunting cover of a Tim Cohen song that appeared as a bonus track to the excellent Two Sides of Tim Cohen album, segues into a impressionistic rendition of the bravest little Disney tear-jerker of all time, the Oscar nominated "Baby Mine" (check out the video below) . If you haven't settled down snugly into the darkness by now, or at least stopped the record to call your mom for love's sake, the Sandwitches' own "Song of Songs," another sweet 'n' simple ballad (yet less heavy than the preceding pieces), lights the night with its own slow burning wax and wick. It's enough to remind one of what it feels like to be a child, a young person guided though his or her terror by comforting voices and lilting melody. And when the ghosts appear again the heart is less anxious, the mind less afraid.

Duck Duck Goose! is a far cry from the jaunty shoreline jams "Back to the Sea" and "Relax at the Beach" that shine on the Sandwitches' How to Make Ambient Sadcake LP. Little similarity can be drawn from these recent forlorn lullabies to the delightful weirdness of "Beatle Screams;" the b-side on the "Back to the Sea" 7" single; or the more girly, coy or downright romantic strains of "Tarantula Arms," "Kiss You Feet," or "Crabman" that make the aforementioned debut record so essential and addictive, worthy of repeated listening in all kinds of weather. However, Duck Duck Goose! seems to be made up of more intimate and saturated textures than any previous Sandwitches record, like the watercolor artwork depicted on the album's sleeve --- a medium more inherently allusive than the rigor and realism of oils; the brush and the stoke may be the same but the wash this time is rich enough to drown in, willingly.

Duck Duck Goose! was recorded and produced by Wymond Miles (Fresh & Onlys) and the initial pressing is limited to 500 copies, available now at Amoeba Music San Francisco.

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(In which the author returns from the hospital.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 30, 2010 01:53pm | Post a Comment

I'm too sexy for my Intravenous therapy.

Well, dear readers, I have returned to you after an opposite-of-glamorous stay at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where I was hospitalized for five days. In the words of French philosopher Ferdinand de Saussure, “Je n'ai pas aimé cela.”

(In which Job does the least he can do.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 19, 2010 09:34pm | Post a Comment
I have a tummy ache. Do you think it’s the weather? The volcano? Or maybe that I decided to conclude my late lunch with a third of a pack of butterscotch chips?


Even the word “butterscotch” is delicious to me. Having a crush on both butter and scotch helps. But take it from me: there’s more to making this delicious concoction than merely mixing butter and scotch together. I learned the hard way.

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you found this blog entry both educational and entertaining. Bye!


…I’ve just been informed that the above paragraphs weren’t enough to qualify as proper Amoeblog entry. Apparently my editors think that, so long as they’re paying me to write a blog about media and art, that there should be more to an entry than a quick cautionary tale about mixing dairy and booze. I’d tell them to lump it, but I really need the money to buy butterscotch with.

Well, as a music addict, pretty much any subject can lead to tunery. For instance, after writing the word “butter” five times in this entry, I now have a song stuck in my head by 1980’s act Martika, perhaps more famous for not being Madonna than anything else. Most of us know her one-hit wonder single "Toy Soldiers," but the song that’s playing in the jukebox in my brain is…

Okay, before I tell you, let me explain: This is one of those songs it’s so easy to mis-hear. You know the type: a song who’s lyrics are obscured or sung in such a way that it allows you to sing the wrong words, sometimes for years. In the case of the following song, I always hear her singing about butter. And honestly, maybe because I’m not what you could call a Martika fan, I think this song is improved if you think she’s singing about butter.

“Like butter! How could I do without you?” the chorus goes.

So listen now, and imagine that that’s what it’s all about…


And now, because Martika always makes me think about Madonna, I can’t help but mention my tampering with her song "La Isla Bonita," a ditty I’ve always hated, except for the dumb thrill I get in singing along with it incorrectly. According to me, the opening line of the song is:

“Last night I dreamt of some bagels…”

This is followed not long after (as the sun rises in the video) by:

“Young girl with eyes like potatoes…”

Madonna doesn’t want me to post her videos on the Amoeblog. She’s held a grudge on me ever since I used her roite bindele to floss my teeth. DENTAL HYGIENE IS IMPORTANT, MRS. CICCONE! Anyway, you can still see the video by clicking on this rather wordy link I have constructed right here where you’re currently looking with your eyes.


L'Chaim!

I wonder – have I written enough yet? I feel like I’ve covered a lot of important territory, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with information. It’s important to know your threshold for new data.
[10 minutes later]

I just went to ask my boyfriend what I should blog about. First, he suggested I talk about flagellum.



Flagellum. Really. Well, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m willing to bet you want to hear about flagellum about as much as I know about it. Which is not at all. What an unhelpful boyfriend!

His second suggestion was that I post a photo of our new kitten, Maybe. I told him I didn’t think the Amoeblog was an appropriate venue for posting pictures of pets; that’s the sort of thing one does on Facebook so your boring friends get the chance to give you a “thumbs up” and feel like they’ve stayed in touch. But he got insistent!

“Post a picture of her and then add some songs about kitties!” he squealed. And for a moment, blogging about flagellum didn’t seem like such a bad idea, after all.

But because I love him and because this entry is kind of hackneyed anyway, here you go, Earthlings…


This is Maybe. She looks cute but she laughs at racist jokes and leaves the toilet seat up. Just sayin'.

























I’m pretty sure all this qualifies me for a least enough paycheck to buy more butterscotch. Here’s hopin’.

Disney's Counter-Aesthetic: The Abstracted Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Posted by Charles Reece, April 11, 2010 10:07am | Post a Comment


Couch Art





















The Magic Kingdom











Maleficent












SOUNDTRACK SERIES #3

Posted by Job O Brother, February 28, 2010 12:35pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.

For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:

The other day, while I was counting my number collection, I was interrupted by a knock on my front door. As is customary in my country, I went to see who it was. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be none other than myself.

“Oh!” I said with a start, “How did you get out there?”

“You mean,” I said with a sly grin, “How did you get out here.”

“That’s exactly what I said,” I retorted.

“But not what you meant,” I corrected.

I slammed the door in my face and went back to my numbers. I don’t have to take that kind of snarkiness, you know – not even from myself.


Hours later I was eating some broccoli that the Lord My God made, when a second knock came – this time at the back door. Worried that I was up to my own tricks and hoping to avoid another awkward confrontation with myself, I peaked out the kitchen window to see who it was.

To my delight, it was filmmaker and performance artist, Miranda July. Most people know her from her critically acclaimed debut feature Me and You and Everyone We Know. What they may not realize is they can also find some of her albums at Amoeba Music, as I have. While not the best music to play at parties (unless you exclusively party with Yoko Ono), Miranda July’s albums are certainly an adventure, and one is never sure what will happen. They’re almost like listening to old radio dramas while peaking on purple micro-dots. (That’s a good thing.)


I quickly combed my hair and opened the back door.

“Hello, Miranda July,” I greeted, trying not to appear too excited. But then I threw-up, because I was too excited. And then I was so shocked that I’d vomited that I peed my pants, but as all this happened I pretended to be sneezing, hoping she wouldn’t catch on. I mean, a sneezing fit is embarrassing, but less so than excreting every juice the bowels have to offer from both ends of my shivering body.

“I don’t know who you think you’re fooling,” snarled Miranda July, “Unless it’s yourself!”

The full meaning of her admonishment didn’t reveal itself until she removed her latex mask and feminine attire, at which point I discovered it wasn’t Miranda July at all, but myself in disguise.

“How did you manage to find such stylish clothes in your size?” I asked, trying to appear unperturbed (which I was, of course, and very!).

“Easy,” I answered, “I had them custom made by a fantastically famous fashion designer whose name escapes me. He’s done all the great women of rock – from Polly Jean Harvey to Muslimgauze.”


“I’m pretty sure Muslimgauze isn’t considered a ‘great woman of rock’,” I corrected, popping eight pieces of gum in my mouth, the scent of which had suffered from my retching. “Anyway,” I continued, slurring for the chewy gob now lodged in my mouth, “How did you afford that? I barely have any money.”

“True,” I sighed, “That part was difficult. I’m afraid you’re gonna be receiving some disturbing letters from various credit card companies. Also, you should get tested immediately.”

I didn’t know what I was implying, but I knew I didn’t like it. I slammed the door in my face and returned to my broccoli, which was, by now, cold. This made me sad, and I wept over my plate; tears drenched the broccoli and made it salty, which made matters worse, as they’d already been perfectly seasoned with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Now it was too salty.

There was nothing to be done. I would have to prepare more broccoli. Thankfully, God made more. I put on some Annette Funicello records and set to cooking.


Most people know Annette Funicello from her critically acclaimed debut on the Mickey Mouse Club. What they may not realize is they can also find some of her albums at Amoeba Music, as I have. While not the best music to play while making sweet love (unless you exclusively have sex with Yoko Ono), Annette Funicello’s albums are certainly a delight, and one is never sure what will happen if you listen to them while locked in a cage full of tigers and monkeys.

Night came, and I put on my pajamas and brushed my teeth, making sure to use my tooth brush and not the more unwieldy chainsaw that had caused me so many dental problems in the past.


As I was pondering the magical properties of fluoride, I heard a rapping on my bathroom window. I left the underwater dungeon (where I always care for my hygiene) and went upstairs to the bathroom, only to find myself precariously balanced on the window ledge, grinning madly and looking disheveled.

I gesticulated for me to open the window, but I was hesitant. So far, every conversation I’d had with myself that day had been annoying and in some cases disturbing, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear anything more from myself, especially just before bedtime.

Against my better judgment, but worried after all that I was trapped outside, I opened the window.

“How did you get out there?” I asked.

“You mean, how did you get out here?”

I was already wishing I hadn’t opened the window.

“Well come inside, in any case.”

I tumbled onto the bathroom floor, giggling.

“Are you drunk?” I asked, furrowing my brow.

“No,” I answered, “I just remembered how funny floors are.”

I didn’t respond, because I didn’t understand what was funny about floors, and also because I felt that I was only saying things for the sake of themselves – a pretense.

Me and I went to bed, and while I’d been unhappy with my behavior, it was nice to have someone to curl up with.

“Would you like me to sing you a lullaby?” I asked.

“Why yes,” I answered, surprised at such a lovely thought.

I cleared my voice and snuggled close, and this is what I sang:


By the time I finished, I was fast asleep, dreaming that I was at a sex party with Yoko Ono. It was nice, and it only goes to show that for all the trouble I cause myself, at heart I really am supposed to pay my rent today.

The end.
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