Amoeblog

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Death from Above

Posted by Amoebite, May 1, 2018 01:55pm | Post a Comment

Death from Above What's InMy Bag? Amoeba Music

Death from Above's Sebastien Grainger couldn't help but show some Canadian pride on a recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood, picking up records by two legendary fellow-countrymen, Leonard Cohen and Glenn Gould. "You know, Glenn Gould is a Toronto guy, I'm a Toronto guy," Grainger wryly points out. Holding up a copy of the Goldberg Variations, Grainger notes that the eccentric concert pianist "totally shreds on this, like Satriani style shredding, but on piano." It wasn't all Canadian nationalism for Grainger, who had an eclectic stack of records, as well as a lot of great insight and personal anecdotes about each one for our What's In My Bag? episode.

Canadian duo Death from Above (formally known as Death from Above 1979) formed in 2001, setting themselves apart early on as one of the loudest and most aggressive acts in what was then termed Death from Above Outrage! Is Now"dancepunk." The band consists of drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F. Keeler. Their first EP, Heads Up, landed in 2002, followed two years later by the Romantic Rights EP, which served as a teaser to their acclaimed debut LP You're a Woman, I'm a Machine.

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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with AIR

Posted by Amoebite, November 7, 2016 06:40pm | Post a Comment

AIR Nicolas Godin What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

"I've never wanted to buy any live albums before. For me live was live, records were records...This one makes me change my opinion," says Nicolas Godin, of the French electronic duo AIR. He is talking about Roseland NYC Live by Portishead, a band he explains is very influential to his own music. Godin had sincere and interesting insight into his shopping picks during a recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood, and he also revealed which artist's music career he most wishes he had.

AIR Twentyears Amoeba MusicNicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunkel formed AIR in 1995, at the peak of the French electronic scene's popularity. However, with influences ranging from '60s easy listening to Italian film soundtracks and the work of Jean-Michel Jarre, the duo didn't entirely fit in with the French Touch sound prominent at the time. Instead, with the release of AIR's Moon Safari in 1998, Godin and Dunkel ushered in a new downtempo sound that would be emulated by scores of artists. In 2000, the band teamed up with filmmaker Sofia Coppola for the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides, launching a collaboration that would extend through the band's contributions to the soundtracks to Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette.

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Dip Your Toes into Classical Music with Our Handy Conversion Chart

Posted by Amoebite, November 17, 2014 03:56pm | Post a Comment

Classical Music Conversion Chart

There is a type of customer at Amoeba Music that remains one of my favorites. Those brave souls who sheepishly make their way to the deepest, most remote area of the store: The Classical Section. They look vulnerable but hopeful, curious but intimidated. They come, knowing they want Classical music, but unsure how to find something they’ll like.

I’ve found the most efficient and fun way to lead folks is to learn about the other forms of music they love, and then use that to inspire selections. For every contemporary artist on the scene today, I assure you that there’s a composer in the Classical section with parallels. Beyond that, after working in record stores for over a decade, I’ve learned that people who enjoy certain acts – such as, let’s say, Black Sabbath – typically will also enjoy the string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich.

It’s these interactions that led me to create the following "conversion chart." While no means infallible, think of it as a fun way to find a starting point in your adventure into the Classical music genre. But remember – no chart can replace a living, breathing, Amoeba Music employee. Don’t be afraid to come in and ask for suggestions. We love that!

The best time to come explore the Classical section will be November 28-30 when we're having a huge Classical blowout at our stores over Black Friday weekend. All red and green tag Classical CDs and vinyl will be 50% off! Sale details here.

(In which we continue paying tribute, expensive though it may be.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 18, 2011 01:36pm | Post a Comment
Last week I shed some dark on the subject of beloved counter-culture cutie Tiny Tim, with promises to continue.


The look of love

Having proved once and for all that Tiny Tim was not responsible for the Hindenburg tragedy, I’d like to explore his adolescent years and early success as an adult. Limited as I am by your computer, I will be forced to convey this with words and pictures, and without my shadow puppets and ice sculpture gardens – an unfortunate task, yes, but not insurmountable.

Tiny Tim dabbled in a few musical instruments before finally focusing on the ukulele, after failing to perceive the sarcasm of a pretty girl who told him:

“Oh yeah, ukuleles are totally the sexiest instrument. I would date any guy who played one.” This high school crush of Tiny Tim’s would, if true, grow up to be none other than America’s sweetheart, Sylvia Plath, famous for her girl-next-door beauty and charm, her sparkling wit, and culinary skill with an oven. (Rumor has it she wrote books as well, though this is probably just factual.) While Tiny Tim never managed to secure a date with Plath, the two would grow to become lifelong people, and continue living on the same planet for the remainder of their lives – sometimes close enough to call each other on the telephone whenever they wanted. (It’s an eerie coincidence that Plath would go on to give birth to two children, Frieda and Nicolas, and Tiny Tim was himself born a child.)

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(Before which the author's mother visits.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 6, 2009 02:58pm | Post a Comment

That's my Ma, milking the cow. (The cow is the one with horns.)

This past week my dear, sweet Ma came for a visit. Her time here flew by quickly; we entertained ourselves with long walks, stories from her youth, and cooking-related reality TV. I also introduced her to one of my best friends in the whole world: absinthe.

She has a new iPhone, but her fear of technology had limited her use of it to – get this – making phone calls! I mean, what’s the point of a phone if all you do with it is call people? That’s so 1990’s! So I introduced her to all the things her new phone could do: map out directions, take photos, slay red dragons, make chocolate sprinkles, cure melanoma and make other kinds of chocolate sprinkles. She was quick to learn and I expect she will soon be filling my email inbox with pictures of my nephews, her tomato plants, and chocolate sprinkles.

In honor of her visit, I have assembled the following short list of things she loves, in hopes that you, too, may find some joy in them. If you’re not interested, don’t worry – she’s very easy-going and non-judgmental, and won’t take offense. I, however, will hunt you down like a dog and slay you. With my iPhone.

Glenn Gould


Chopsticks!

One of the most famous classical pianists of all time, and still controversial, Glenn Gould was the very definition of an eccentric genius. Most famous for his interpretations of J.S. Bach’s music for keyboard, Gould also championed modern composers, such as Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg, while frequently disparaging more popular composers such as Frédéric Chopin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, finding their works often insincere and unsatisfying (a sentiment, incidentally, I share with Gould).


Gould died at age 50, leaving behind a rich and compelling catalogue of recordings and a few pairs of very rank smelling gloves.

In addition to some more traditional documentaries, there’s a film entitled 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould that provides an entertaining (perhaps more than deep) look at this musical prodigy.


He also provides the soundtrack for my Mother’s iPhone ringtone.

His Hand in Mine – Elvis Presley


Ma was raised in the church, where she played organ, piano and served as choral director. She also arranged flowers and… I dunno – probably designed the stained-glass windows, too. The church was in Florin, California, which had been mostly populated by Japanese farmers until, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government forced the Japanese into concentration camps – an event that seems remarkably absent from our consideration of American history.


Florin, California (circa what I'm talkin' about)

Anyway, at this time in Florin, there was really nothing to do but milk cows, watch the strawberries grow, and participate in church functions, which is what so occupied Ma’s time. Playing music served as one of Ma’s few truly fun activities, and her association with old hymns remains a positive one, although her belief in the traditional tenants of Protestantism has been replaced by something more akin to Shirley MacLaine’s persuasions.

If you want to see Ma’s eyes glaze over in bliss (and you know you do) I suggest spinning this album from Elvis Presley.


Carlos Montoya

Another controversial, artistic genius Ma gravitates towards is the flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya.


"Mine! All mine! Ahahahahahaha...!!!"

Montoya is renowned as much for his agility at playing guitar as he was for his ability to fly. He could fly in the air of his own volition and remains the first and only human in history to do so. It was on Montoya that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster based their superhero creation, Superman. This resulted in Montoya suing the comic writers in a case that was ultimately settled out of court, with Montoya being paid off in raisins, his favorite between-meal snack.

The following song was composed by Montoya for his wife, Lois, who would eventually divorce him, complaining that his willingness to work for dried fruit made life with the musician “crazy-making” and “mostly fucked.”


My Ma may have returned to the glorious state of Northern California, but she remains an eternal houseguest in my heart …where she is currently building a pulpit and brand-new steeple.