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GOODBYE, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH. Remembering A Guitarist Like No Other.

Posted by Rick Frystak, April 20, 2017 05:48pm | Post a Comment

by Rick Frystak

On April 15, 2017, I was very saddened to be told that guitarist / violinist / composer Allan Holdsworth had passed away, leaving behind a legacy of recordings and for me, countless live performances I witnessed that will live forever in my soul. Along with being shocked, I just did not believe my brother's text that this news had happened. Fake? It was then that I was pointed to Facebook, where Allan's daughter had quietly and thoughtfully revealed her father's death.

The timing of his passing was, and is absolutely spooky. 2 weeks previously we had  seen Allan perform a celebratory gig to mark the release of a project in which I had participated in the production, and my brother Peter had provided photographs for: a huge, 12-CD box set of almost all of his albums,The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever. and a 2-CD set, Eidolon, of his ''best'' songs selected by Allan himself. I was grievously perplexed. I have to remind myself now that Allan had to be happy to see that the CD projects were on the store shelves. Dan Perloff, producer of the CDs for Manifesto Records, has said that the box set is already sold out. 

I first heard Allan while he was a member of the group Tempest., and their album Tempest. We knew immediately that this man was no ordinary guitarist. 

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The 10 Best Madonna Albums

Posted by Billy Gil, August 15, 2016 06:30pm | Post a Comment

Madonna celebrates her 58th birthday Tuesday, Aug. 16,  and to celebrate, we’re putting all Madonna items on sale at our stores! Get 20% off anything Madonna — music, DVDs, T-shirts, mugs, posters and more — in-store only on Aug. 16. (Discount not valid online.)

If you're at Amoeba Hollywood be sure to enter for your chance to win Madonna goodies, including an American Life messenger bag, test pressings, vinyl and more!

Plus, Amoeba San Francisco is keeping the party going with a special Madonna DJ set starting at 4 p.m. Direct from Hollywood, DJs Nikki Finn and Benderico will get you into the groove from 4-6 p.m., spinning all the classics, rare mixes and B-sides by the one and only Madonna! It's free and all-ages, of course.

madonna sale amoeba

 

Check out our list of our favorite Madonna albums below, as picked by Amoeba’s Billy Gil, Brad Schelden, and Brent James.

10. Evita [OST]

Sure, we can jokes about Swept Away, but let’s not forget her role as Eva Peron in the musical Evita netted her a Golden Globe nomination. “You Must Love Me,” written especially for the film, is one of her most affecting ballads, and the album as a whole features some of Madonna’s finest vocal work.

Essential Records: Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps

Posted by Amoebite, August 8, 2016 03:58pm | Post a Comment

Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps - Amoeba Music

Call it a rough patch, call it a dry spell, call it whatever, but let's just say a while ago the relationship between my guitar and me got a little stale. Now of course I loved that thing dearly but, well, you know how it is: sometimes it just seems like the two of you are stuck in the same old routine. Now the electric guitar is a tricky instrument, there are so many variations, effects, and styles, and it's so overly saturated in the mainstream consciousness that while it can be the most primal and cathartic sounding of instruments, it can also be the most horrendous, self-involved sound known to modern man. At this particular juncture, I just wasn't hearing anything new that was compelling me towards the former sentiment. In an attempt to revive our relationship I pulled out this guitar magazine I had from high school that was all about rockabilly and the late '90s neo-swing revival. In it was a picture I always found striking but was never sure why: five young men all dressed in white, wearing dark, floppy caps. I thought to myself: it's finally time I really dug into Mr. Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and His Blue Caps. I learned a couple of riffs out of the magazine, all attributed to Gene's original guitarist, Cliff Gallup, then I went to the record store and picked up their second album (thinking it was their first), Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.

I put the needle on and right out of the gate the band is swaggering and in full swing. My toe's tappin', my hand's snappin' and my hair's getting greasier by the second. Gene finishes his first verse of "Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail" with the order to his band to "Rock!" and the next thing I know Cliff Gallup's guitar struts onto the scene and picks up the lead while someone lets out a banshee wail in the background. Gene comes back into the second verse, singing like he's crooning and panting at the same time, a cross between Dean Martin and that cartoon wolf from the droopy cartoons whose mouth drops to the floor at the sight of the cute redhead, and before I can finish that thought the second verse is ending and Gene calls out, "Rock again!" and Cliff's back with his plunky, shimmering, echo-y tone.

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Essential Records: "Kaleidoscope World" by The Chills

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 31, 2016 07:28pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records The Chills

In 1985, The Chills played a few nights at the very non-glamorous central Christchurch booze barn, The Carlton Hotel, and like I did for most bands on New Zealand's illustrious Flying Nun label at the time, I trudged down to check 'em out. I'd seen quite a few of their shows since their formation in the early '80s, but this one was different. They were always good, but this time I felt like something really special was happening, maybe even a kind of genius (much as I hate using that word).

This was the 9th or 10th lineup of the band, but this one - with original bass player Terry Moore back in the band, human metronome Alan Haig (later of Snapper) on drums, and colorful keyboardist Peter Allison - was the one where it all fell into place for me and the other over-capacity 500-odd people there (Fire code? What fire code?). They moved from their most quiet moments (delicate pieces of Beatles-y/Left Banke/Summer of Love-style whimsical psych) to an increasingly roaring cacophonous sound that filled the bar (and my poor ears) with awe. Where was it coming from? With only one guitarist? (There's still largely unrecorded songs from this period, like "Frozen Fountain" and "Silhouette," that would wipe away once and for all the notion that the band was the "poppy" Flying Nun band.)

Martin Phillipps was the songwriter, guitarist, and autocrat of the band, and, although he would never beFlying Nun Records accused of being the most alpha of males, was directing the traffic that night just as single-mindedly as he directed the evolution of his band (check out In Love With These Times, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd's excellent memoir, for a good take on Phillipps' rationale for the many lineup changes through the '80s and beyond). I knew Martin a little (mostly from a recent lengthy Steinlager-fueled interview at his Dunedin home, a consequence of my part-time gig as music writer for The Christchurch Press) and he was happy to admit he was fascinated by fantasy and comic books, but at the same time was fiercely adamant that The Chills were not just pure escapism...a claim backed up by the "Doledrums" 45 that addressed the dole (Government unemployment benefits) culture in NZ at the time.

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Essential Records: Suicide’s Self-Titled Debut

Posted by Amoebite, July 7, 2016 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Suicide

Originally released in 1977, NYC duo Suicide’s self-titled LP is more punk rock than the Sex Pistols, TelevisionRamones, or any other band typically identified with the era. Eschewing raucous guitar riffs for primitive drum machines beats and distorted synths, Alan Vega and Martin Rev had been making music together since 1970, long before the concept of punk was even a remunerative gleam in Malcolm McLaren’s eye. Lots of punks hated them, in fact, with an audience member at a 1978 gig supporting The Clash in Glasgow going so far as to throw an axe at Vega’s head. Rolling Stone called the album “absolutely puerile.” (The magazine later recanted and listed the LP at number 441 on their list of the best 500 albums of all time.)

The first time I heard album opener “Ghost Rider,” I was on my way home after a night out with a friend--a moment that wouldn't have been at all remarkable, except for its soundtrack. “What is this?” I asked, with a barely restrained urgency. Asking this question was no small feat; I was twenty-one, the youngest person working at my hometown’s best record store, and one of the few girls on staff. As a matter of pride, I did NOT want to admit that I didn’t know something about music — especially when everyone else seemed to already know about it. But this was more important than pride. It was inventive, bold, paranoid, intelligent, and very, very dark. It was, as my friend told me, Suicide’s first album.

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