They Sing Sea Songs Down by the Seashore -- Vegetarian Sea Shanties of a Sort

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 17, 2015 09:03am | Post a Comment

Their Only Harvest by Colin Hunter (1879)

I wrote a guide to sea vegetables over at my blog. As a companion piece here at the Amoeblog, I thought I’d compile a guide to modern day sea shanties by vegetarian (or former vegetarian, in some cases) songwriters or bands with vegetarian members.

Seaweed Gatherers (1926) by Harold Harvey 

Belle & Sebastian - “Ease Your Feet in the Sea”

Blur - "This is a Low"

Bob Marley And The Wailers - “High Tide Or Low Tide”

The Church - “An Interlude”

John Lennon: Love Songs

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2013 10:20am | Post a Comment

John Lennon "Oh My Love"

When you think about it nearly every pop song is about love in some form or another. Most songs on the topic are either about celebrating being in love or alternately mourning falling out of love and wanting to get back there. Of the literally millions of songs on love I think John Lennon wrote and recorded some of the most touching and poignant ones - two of which I have included here on this Valentine's Day. Above is "Oh My Love" with Lennon on piano and George Harrison joining him on guitar. The song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and first appeared in 1971 on Lennon's album Imagine on which George Harrison contributed to several songs in addition to this one. "Oh My Love" can also be found on Wonsaponatime: Selections from Lennon Anthology 

Then below is the simple but powerful Lennon song "Love" (with lyrics in the video) that was first released on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. As anyone who has that album knows the piano part at the beginning (and end) is really quiet but builds in volume. So you will notice that the version below is the later remix of the song with the sound levels more equalized on these two parts. The posthumous version of "Love" below appeared a dozen years after the initial release on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and later appeared on such other collections as the John Lennon Anthology box set.

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thenewno2's Dhani Harrison Answers Questions Before Performing at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, July 31, 2012 02:23pm | Post a Comment
The first time I heard thenewno2 was in my car, listening to KCRW. Their song “Make It Home” was on, and I was immediately taken with its unusual, insistent melody. It was enough to get me Shazamming the song immediately and discovering who this band was. This method of discovery is appropriate enough, given the band's fusion of electronic experimentation, programmed sounds and rock hooks. I was surprised to find out the band’s singer is Dhani Harrison, son of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. But not only does he look like his father, his voice bears a pretty strong resemblance as well. The now Los Angeles-based (formed in London) band, which includes Grammy-winning sound engineer Paul Hicks, as well as Jonathan Sadoff, Jeremy Faccone, Nick Fyffe and Frank Zummo, will perform at Amoeba Hollywood today at 6 p.m. and sign copies sold at the store of their second album (which is out today), thefearofmissionout. Harrison even mentioned the performance on Conan — sweet! I caught up with Harrison a bit before their performance.

PST: What did you try to do differently on this time around compared to the last album?

Harrison: Write better songs. Work with more people. Get more a group vibe going, more of a collective, different heads in the game, more creative, more players on the pitch. Mash it up a bit more. The last one was being like a lonely astronaut. This record kind of like a big gang.

PST: Who were some of the influences this time around?

Harrison: I went back to listening to a lot of blues, so, like Howlin’ Wolf. Obviously, Thom Yorke has been a big inspiration to me. I love Bjork. Paul’s really into Burial. We like Amon Tobin, Squarepusher.

thefearofmissingoutPST: Can you talk a bit about the concept behind thefearofmissingout?

Harrison: Everyone suffers from some degree of FOMO and it can affect your life, detrimentally. I think I’ve tried to therapize myself from the different stages of FOMO with this record … and it’s helped to a certain extent, and it created new forms of FOMO in a way as well, but change is like the opposite of FOMO. So change can be used as an agent to help you deal with your FOMO. If you’re experiencing change and you’re going with it, then you shouldn’t be too connected to the things that you’re afraid of missing out on.

PST: How did RZA become involved for “The Wait Around”?

Harrison: We did that song four years ago in my bedroom, and it’s been waiting around … hence the name. He’s always been a big influence as a team leader, specifically … the way he put the Wu-Tang together and the way he produces and just the way he’s an all-around inspiring, genius kind of guy. I see a lot of RZA in thenewno2, in the way that it’s structured, so to get him involved seemed like a natural fit from the beginning and that’s why he was into it … because it was.

PST: Was there always the plan to feature rapping on a track?

Harrison: Yeah. I’ve always loved Wu-Tang and this is experimental music. We’re trying to see where things cross over. Blues and rap and hip-hop and guitars … where does it all meet up? There’s a place somewhere where it does, and some might think it works and some might think it doesn’t. I happen to think it works. Experiencing different stuff, that’s what it’s about.

PST: Songs like “I Won’t Go” and “Make It Home” are catchy enough to stand alongside bands like Muse on rock radio but they’ve also got really interesting sounds and ideas fitted into the radio-ready melodies. Is that a goal with thenewno2, to create something that is widely appealing but has an experimental quality as well?

Harrison: It’s always good if your music is widely appealing, especially if it’s experimental music. Bands like Pink Floyd achieved that with experimental, deeply experimental music … and The Beatles too, experimented with studio records that became highly popular and part of society. So, ideally, all music that you make you want it to be readily consumed by everyone. I don’t mind making pop music and occasionally you accidentally make something catchy.

PST: I’ve read the unusual nature of the band name was in part to have the band stand on its own apart from your background. Was it important, too, to have the band not sound “Beatlesesque” for lack of a better term? Or does that worry not come up?

Harrison: What is Beatlesesque? They went through so many different styles of music. I’m sure at some point every band can sound Beatlesesque, other than, you know … Magnetic Man.

PST: The band name and album name and way they’ve been presented also make me think they are commentary on modern language and technology, sort of the condensing of words and dropping of space and punctuation you see on social networks. It also seems to fit the band’s music and presentation as this sort of post-modern idea of rock music. Did that enter into the conceptualization of the band?

Harrison: Yes. The whole thing was started as a collective. Eventually we’ll have to write everything with no punctuation, spelling, spaces … everything now is hashtagged. I gave the band this name back in 2001, so I think that, ironically, you’re starting to realize it now. I just happened to see the way that it was going and I chose a long view.

PST: Is Fistful of Mercy (Harrison's band with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur) still active?

Harrison: If and when the opportunity presents itself to do another record, I would. But right now we are all deep into our own projects so it’s not happening for awhile.

PST: What are the long-term plans for thenewno2?

Harrison: Lots more collaborations. Lots more records. A lot of festivals. We’d like to play a lot of festivals this year and get the music to the people that actually will appreciate it. We just recorded an acoustic EP which is going to come out, so just continuing to show the varying different styles of thenewno2. Building on top of what we’ve done, working with lots more great artists. We look forward to working with Shephard Fairey again, and Ben Eine, and look forward to working with new people that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Happy Birthday Alan Aldridge -- The Man with the Kaleidoscope Eyes

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 1, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Today is the 69th birthday of English artist, graphic designer and illustrator, Alan Aldridge (click here to visit his site). His distinct airbrush work adorned numerous books and albums in the 1960s and '70s and helped define the aesthetic of the era -- equal parts whimsy and menace.

Aldridge appeals to me, in part, due to the way he draws upon older artists from very different traditions. The grotesque, fantastical characters echo the febrile visions of Dutch Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. The invasive, sometimes threatening vegetation reminds me of the vegetable portraits of Italian Mannerist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The soft, velvety folds and textures of clothing remind me of French Neoclassicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres's almost single-minded focus on mastering the technique of depicting textiles.
As a young child, when I was first exposed to Aldridge, I hadn't yet heard of any of those artists. I don't remember ever even asking who Alan Aldridge was, but it was clear even that his particular synthesis of influences and ability to simultaneously captivate and repulse was immediately recognizable as the work of one artist, whatever work it adorned.


Aldridge was born in East London in 1943. One of his first jobs as an illustrator was for The Sunday Times. He was hired in 1965 by Penguin Books' chief editor, Tony Godwin, to serve as art director after impressing them with his freelance covers. Examples of his work can be seen on numerous science-fiction revised editions c. 1967 and The Penguin Book of Comics (1967), and The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (1969).

Trip Down Memory Lane Via Rock Album Billboards of the 70's Along Sunset Blvd

Posted by Billyjam, February 29, 2012 09:51am | Post a Comment

Of interest to anyone into rock albums from the seventies and of particular interest to folks in LA into recent era history is the excellent collection of Billboards on Sunset Blvd 1974-5 flickr page by Larry The Frog that features photos of billboards shot in those two years of the mid 1970's along Sunset Blvd. in the  vicinity of the Hollywood Amoeba store.  The majority of these shots are ones advertising new album releases or concert dates from such acts as Poco, Loggins & Messina, Barbi Benton, Donovan, The Who, War, Joni Mitchell, Billy Preston, Neil Sedaka, Greg Allman, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Mahogeny Rush, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Rolling Stones, George Harrison, The 5th Dimension, Steppenwolf, Rick Derringer, and many more.

These great shots were all photographed by Larry The Frog when he lived a block off the Sunset Strip back in the 70's.and were recently lovingly restored by the photographer utilizing photoshopping from scanned 35mm slides and negatives. There are over a hundred shots in this engaging collection that, like rummaging through the old 70's album dollar bins at Amoeba, will unveil a whole bygone era - only better than merely album cover art since they also capture the time and place so well. View the full collection here

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