Amoeblog

today is 10/16 and this is what is coming out...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 15, 2007 10:29pm | Post a Comment

After a couple of crazy new release weeks, today is a bit slower. Beirut came out on top last week. At least for us at Amoeba. I am still thinking Jens Lekman has the best album out this year. But I know its now a new week. And the Christmas releases are continuing to come out. The Michael Buble "Let it Snow" EP is finally out at retail stores. I know most people really hate the Christmas music. But I sort of get a sick pleasure out of it. I may not be excited by Michael Buble but there are plenty of great christmas albums. I am actually getting excited that we will soon be putting out our Christmas section. I am not really sure what is wrong with me. But don't worry. I'll be doing some Christmas blogs in December. But my plan was to do all sorts of Halloween blogs as well. But somehow it is already the 16th of October. But I still have a couple of weeks to go. The Halloween sections are up at all the Amoebas right now. So go buy all your favorite Halloween music soon. I really do love October. When I think about October, I think about horror movies and the magical Elvira. Unfortunately, it is a rare treat for an artist to do a whole Halloween album. It is just not the same as Christmas. Try to imagine how great it would be to hear a whole album of The Carpenters singing Halloween classics. Or how about Aretha Franklin or Dolly Parton. Almost everybody does a Christmas album at some point in their career. Even Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have Christmas albums. But who besides the great Elvira puts out a whole album of Halloween songs. You really need to check out some of those great B movies hosted by Elvira that have been coming out on DVD. Amazing stuff. Her jokes are still hilarious. But I guess if you never liked her then you still will not like her. I grew up watching those Elvira movies and really thought that she was the coolest thing ever. She actually still is. Her reality show "The Search for the Next Elvira" just started a couple of days ago. I have not had time to watch it yet. But all I know is that it is a four part series and I will be watching and talking about it very soon. It on the special Fox Reality network. If you live in the Bay Area and have Comcast cable, that is channel 159. I seriously had no idea that this channel even existed until I was searching for her new show to record.

There have been some amazing reissues coming out lately. I'm not just talking about Depeche Mode and Joy Division. But some more obscure bands are finally getting some fancy reissue treatment. The Delta 5 got their fantastic reissue last year. This year it is time for a great little band called Pylon. It is a nice week for this to come out. They come from the land of Athens, Georgia. The little town that brought us R.E.M. and The B-52's. R.E.M., who were influenced by Pylon, also have an album out today called "R.E.M. Live." I was a big fan of the new wave music of the 80's. But I was not really old enough at the time to discover the more hidden obscure bands of the period. I was only 16 when the 80's ended. So I pretty much only listened to what I heard on KROQ or saw on MTV. I was a very big B-52's and R.E.M. fan back in junior high. I loved them. But it really was not until I moved to San Francisco that I actually heard of Pylon for the first time. Pylon started playing music together in 1978. They released "Gyrate" for the first time back in 1980. It is now reissued by DFA with some bonus tracks and has been renamed "Gyrate Plus."                                     

The band were all art students at the University of Georgia in Athens. The band was made up of Randall Bewley on guitar, Michael Lachowski on bass, Curtis Crowe on drums, and Vanessa Briscoe on vocals. They were not together for that long but had a huge influence on a lot of punk and new wave bands. Both the B-52's and R.E.M. were big fans and supporters. Pylon toured with both of them and also Gang of Four. They opened for U2 on their first U.S. tour. The band broke up in 1983. They later reunited and put out an album in 1990. They have got back together a couple of times over the years to play reunion shows. They even played a show this year in celebration of this reissue.

The Love of Diagrams covered the first track on this Pylon album called "Cool." And it is on their album that came out this year that I talked about months ago on my blog here. This new reissue will hopefully get Pylon a new group of fans. I think a lot of people will claim to have liked Pylon forever. I can imagine some kids who were born after the band broke up claiming to have been a fan for years. But some people will be very excited to discover this new band that they knew nothing about. The album only took 27 years to come out on CD! Some fans will be excited that their favorite band is finally getting the credit and respect they deserve by a reissue. But others will be upset that their little secret band is now exposed for everyone else to listen to. Those rare albums and 7"s might not be as valuable today now that this reissue is out. But that stuff might even become more valuable as more and more people discover Pylon. Hopefully it is not too late for them. It is sort of great that they have been preserved for so long. Because the album still sounds amazing. They don't sound at all like R.E.M. or The B-52's. Sort of more like Siouxsie singing for Gang of Four. But they really also remind me a lot of Romeo Void. I think Pylon was the Romeo Void of Athens. And Romeo Void was the Pylon of the Bay Area. They were both around at the same time and played a similar style of New Wave. But Romeo Void got much more exposure. I heard "Never Say Never" and "Girl In Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)" many times on KROQ in Los Angeles. Pylon really only got exposure on college radio. But it is fantastic that we can now be exposed to them. If you want to listen to them just go here. There is another great reissue coming out next week from the band known as the "Sisters of Mercy of Denver." Smooch reissues a 2cd set of the "Soul Merchants."

also out today...







"Pieces of Peace" by Pieces of Peace











"R.E.M. Live" by R.E.M.











"Oblivion with Bells" by Underworld












"Rare & Unreleased" by Aretha Franklin










"Chase this Light" by Jimmy Eat World











"Heresy & the Hotel Choir" by Maritime

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx

Posted by Whitmore, October 2, 2007 06:25pm | Post a Comment

Several years back I went to a Halloween party dressed as Groucho Marx, specifically as his character Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the eccentric and barmy president of Huxley College from the classic 1932 film “Horse Feathers.”  I wore the cap and gown, a pair of baggy trousers, an ill fitted shirt, worn leather shoes; I painted on the moustache and the eyebrows. I did it up right. When I arrived at the party I found myself milling around the bar looking for some whiskey. Nearby was a crowd in their late 20’s or early 30’s dressed to the absolute nines. I suspect “glamorous perfection"  (rented perfection?) was the concept behind their costumes, whatever it was, they hit it right. I sort of knew them from another party; I also knew they worked as grammar school teachers. I said hey and hello, they said hey and asked me about my costume.  

“Are you a professor of some sort?” one of them asked.
“I’m dressed as Groucho Marx” I replied, cigar in hand.
They all blinked and dimly asked, ‘Who’s Groucho Marx?”

One of the saddest and most preposterous nights of my life, right at that moment I knew there wasn’t going to be enough whiskey or conversation or beautiful women to keep me at this shindig for long, or this pin-brained world. Soon I said my adieus and I wandered back home dazed, stunned by it all … and I wonder why I’m depressed sometimes!

Anyway, today, October 2nd, is the birthday to a comic cultural icon, and the inspiration behind those novelty glasses, Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx.  Happy 117th birthday Groucho!

rob zombie's halloween

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 6, 2007 06:45pm | Post a Comment
I have been obsessed with Halloween and the Halloween movies for as long as I can remember. This holiday and the original 1978 film will forever be intertwined together in my memory. John Carpenter is absolutely without a doubt a genius. He created the most successful independent film of all time with his original Halloween. This movies remains brilliant to this day and still manages to be scary. It really reinvented the horror movie and sort of set up the rules for the horror movies of the 80's. The second Halloween film was almost as good but the following sequels became worse as time went on. I saw every one and quickly realized the franchise was getting ridiculous with the last couple films. I remained loyal but it was really time for the series to be reinvented. They needed to go back and start all over again. But before the original even started. Similar things have been happening with other film franchises lately. Both the Batman and Superman movies had become ridiculous. Really only the first couple of both were good. Both Batman and Superman were reinvented in the last couple years. It worked amazingly well with the Batman franchise and "Batman Begins." The film gave a completely new look to the series with a great new storyline. It kept what was good about the story and just built on that. This did not work so well for "Superman Returns." I am still waiting for the deluxe version of the entire Halloween series to be released on DVD like they did with Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th. There is a box available as an import but nothing yet domestically.

Many horror films have also been remade in the last couple years. It seems to never work. These original films, The Omen, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wax Museum, etc., hold such importance in our eyes as horror movie fans. We grew up with these films and have every detail about them memorized. It is a hard task for a director to go into such sacred ground and try and update and reinterpret these original films. Horror movies have never been the same lately. Never as good. Never as scary as they once were. So when I heard that Halloween was getting remade this year, I was very excited but also very worried. I thought Rob Zombie was the perfect director to try and reinterpret this brilliant original film. But I was also worried for him and the response he would get from those crazy dedicated horror fans. The movie opened over labor day weekend as the most successful movie for that weekend ever. But of course many fans are really upset that Rob Zombie has ruined their Halloween. But I wonder how many of these people have actually seen the movie. I saw it on Monday and I was more than impressed. And it was scarier than anything I have seen in the theater in a long while.

I think a lot of people went into the movie knowing already that they wanted to hate it. It is easy to focus on what the movie got wrong if that is what you are looking for. But I went into the movie excited and wanting to like it. But I also was well aware that I might come out of the movie a bit disappointed. But I really loved it. I am already planning to see it a couple more times. It seems that Rob Zombie had John Carpenter's blessing. John just wanted him to make his own take on the story. To reinterpret it and not just simply to try and copy it. Zombie takes the story back much farther into Michael Myers childhood. Almost half the movie shares with us his tortured family and school life. It is even more scary that I had that exact same costume as a kid. It becomes frightening when you realize that thousands of kids grow up with a very similar childhood. Michael Myers is not some fantastical super being. He is just sort of a normal kid. The movie is more of a classic serial killer coming of age story than just another teen slasher film. I thought he captured a brilliant little portrayal of 70s suburbia life. The horrible life of Michael Myers growing up. And then later, the sort of ideal life of Michael Myers grown up sister Laurie Strode and her high school friends in the same town. Zombie used similar locations so the film had the same sort of feel as the original.

The second half of the film started off where the original film started. It only became a little less scary because we already knew what was going to happen. I have seen the film far too many times but I still find it scary in parts. Zombie managed to actually still make this new version scary and frightening. The shots of the young Michael Myers, played brilliantly by Daeg Faerch, wearing the too large adult mask are horribly frightening.  He also changes up some of the end sequences so we don't know exactly what is going to happen even if we think we do. The adult Michael Myers is a giant. He towers over his guards in the asylum. It makes sense how he could overpower them simply because of how large he his. The  whole feel of the film was perfect. It started off slow and really developed most of the characters.

Rob Zombie obviously loves his horror movies. The movie is worth seeing alone for the amazing cast he puts together. For the larger more important roles he used virtually unknown actors. But for the supporting cast and even smaller roles he cast some amazing stars from the horrors movies and b movies  that we all grew up on. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Cat People) stars as Dr. Loomis. It is hard to match the brilliance of Donald Pleasence. But Malcolm does a great job playing the doctor and sheds light on the relationship of Michael and Loomis. Brad Dourif (Child's Play, Body Parts) plays the Sheriff. Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) is amazing as trucker Big Joe Grizzley. Tyler Mane (X-Men) plays the adult Michael Myers. Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy 1-7) is one of the cops who Michael escapes from. Udo Kier (Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, My Own Private Idaho) plays the head of operations at the sanitarium and Clint Howard (star of every Ron Howard film) plays Michael's doctor. Richard Lynch (Bad Dreams) plays the school Principal. Even though he only has one line and is in the film for less than a minute, he still managed to freak me out. Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 and 5, Roseanne) plays Annie Brackett. It was a nice little touch for Halloween fans to see Danielle Harris, who played the niece of Michael Myers in the fourth and fifth Halloween, now playing one of Laurie Strode's friends. Dee Wallace (Cujo, Howling, E.T., The Hills Have Eyes, Critters, Popcorn) plays Laurie Strode's Mom. She is perfect and brilliant as always.  Sybil Danning (Chained Heat, Reform School Girls, Amazon Women on the Moon, & Howling II) plays Nurse Wynn. Micky Dolenz (The Monkees) plays the gun shop owner. AdrienneBarbeau (The Fog, Swamp Thing, Escape from New York) and Courtney Gains(Children of the Corn) are also supposedly in the film but I couldn't find them. Maybe there scenes were cut.  Zombie also used much of his cast from House of 1000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects. His wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, is excellent as Michael Myers troubled striper mom. Sid Haig plays the cemetery employee. William Forsythe is also cast perfectly as Michael Myers dad. Bill Mosely, Lew Temple and Danny Trejo all play security guards. The whole sanitarium is basically run by the cast of Devil's Rejects.

Zombie did not ruin a classic. He paid tribute to it by reinterpreting it and making another great classic horror film. After leaving the film I was seriously proud of Mr. Zombie. The original Halloween remains one of my favorite films of all times and it would have been easy for me to be disappointed. But I really loved all the character development of the young Michael Myers. I thought the whole cast was fantastic. Those with the smallest roles took their part seriously and really made an impact on the feel of the film. It almost makes me want to see a Halloween 2 with this whole new cast. Unfortunately most of them died in this film. I will be seeing this film a couple more times before the actual date of Halloween comes around. And I really hope the film continues to do as well as it did this first weekend. You should go see it.


the best movies of the 70's

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 26, 2007 09:36pm | Post a Comment
In continuing my best of lists, here is my list of the best films of the 70s. In case you missed my list of 80s films, you can go back here and check it out. Since I was born half way through the 70s, I did not see most of these films in the theater. But through the magic of cable TV and the VCR, I watched and fell in love with these movies. The 70s still remains my favorite time for film. The style and sound of these films is something that could only be captured in the 70s. Many of these movies have been remade or are in the process of being remade. But they never live up to the 70s originals. Dawn of the Dead, Stepford Wives, The Omen, Superman, Assault on Precinct 13, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, King Kong, Poseidon Adventure, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, The Amityville Horror and The Hills Have Eyes have all been remade. There is obviously something magical about this period in cinema that Hollywood tries to recreate. I am really hoping that Rob Zombie creates a brilliant reinterpretation of Halloween. I know that versions of Logan's Run and The Warriors are already being worked on as well. Nothing can really come close to what these films are and the memories that they have created in all of us.

top 100 movies of the 70s



The Exorcist (73)
William Friedkin



                                                                                             Alien (79)
                               Ridley Scott
                                  











Halloween (78)
John Carpenter



                         Carrie (76)
                         Brian De Palma












Taxi Driver (76)
Martin Scorsese


              The Godfather (72)
               Francis Ford Coppola










Over the Edge (79)
Jonathan Kaplan


                       Jaws (75)
                       Steven Spielberg













Dawn of the Dead (78)
George A. Romero



                    Martin (77)
                    George A. Romero












Stepford Wives (75)
Bryan Forbes                      



                         Nashville (75)
                          Robert Altman











Amityville Horror (79)
Stuart Rosenberg


                    The Warriors (79)
                      Walter Hill











Desperate Living (77)
John Waters




                  Pink Flamingos (72)
                   John Waters











Last Picture Show (71)
Peter Bogdanovich



                       Star Wars (77)                        George Lucas















Woman Under the
Influence (74)
John Cassavetes



                Alice Doesn't Live
                 Here Anymore (74)
                 Martin Scorsese










Shivers (75)
David Cronenberg



                           The Omen (76)
                           Richard Donner














Play Misty for Me (71)
Clint Eastwood




                        Dirty Harry (71)
                         Don Siegel

 











The Muppet Movie (79)
James Frawley













A Clockwork Orange (71)
Female Trouble (74)
Mean Streets (73)
Superman (78)
Network (76)
Klute (71)
Chinatown (74)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (75)
All the President's Men (76)
Deer Hunter (78)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (71)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (72)
Five Easy Pieces (70)
Deliverance (72)
French Connection (71)
Dog Day Afternoon (75)
Assault on Precinct 13 (76)
Suspiria (77)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (70)
Rabid (77)
Looking for Mr. Goodbar (77)
Diamonds are Forever (71)
The Man with the Golden Gun (74)
The Spy Who Loved Me (77)
Moonraker (79)


China Syndrome (79)
Coma (78)
The Conversation (74)
3 Women (77)
Sunday Bloody Sunday (71)
Death Wish (74)
Coming Home (78)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (77)
Three Days of the Condor (75)
Texas Chain Saw Massacre (74)
Rocky (76)
Herbie Rides Again (74)
Airport (70)
Cabaret (72)
The Brood (79)
Deep Red (75)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (71)
Norma Rae (79)
Rock N' Roll High School (79)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (78)
Piranha (78)
The Eyes of Laura Mars (78)
The Godfather Part II (74)
Annie Hall (77)
Interiors (78)

Abominable Dr. Phibes (71)
King Kong (76)
Mad Max (79)
Lenny (74)
Opening Night (77)
The Enforcer (76)
Foxy Brown (74)
Coffy (73)
The Wiz (78)
The Hills Have Eyes (77)
Monthy Python & the Holy Grail (75)
Life of Brian (79)
Phantom of the Paradise (74)
Logan's Run (76)
Kramer vs. Kramer (79)
Poseidon Adventure (72)
Towering Inferno (74)
Earthquake (74)
Avalanche (78)
Apocalypse Now (79)
Hardcore (79)
Bugsy Malone (76)
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes(78)
Sisters (73)
Black Christmas (75)

OCTOBER: SF HALLOWEEN-HATER MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2007 12:38pm | Post a Comment
gavin newsomTrick or Treat?
Apparently San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, seen here trying on his new Halloween costume, didn't get the memo from his own office that the City of San Francisco had canceled all public Halloween celebrations in the city, including the traditional Halloween in the Castro party. As announced Wednesday by San Francisco City officials, there will be "no official Halloween celebration anywhere in San Francisco in October" (including at the downtown AT&T parking lot, which was rumored as a possible alternative party spot to the Castro). This decision is no doubt due to violence at previous Halloweens in the Castro -- notably last year when a shooting incident left nine people injured. Therefore, the normally celebratory Mayor Newsom, who just over the past few days named August "Barry Bonds Month" and named Wednesday "Virgin America Day" (as in the Richard Branson airline), could easily have named October "SF Halloween-Hater Month."

While I do not wish to see anyone hurt anywhere at any time, I think that this move by the city of SF is BULLSHIT and it reminds me of when you are a kid in school and some clown in the class would do something wrong and instead of punishing the perpetrator the teacher would, unfairly, punish the entire class. And just like in those school days, when the teacher's actions merely frustrated and aggravated the law-abiding majority, so too will this action by the city officials of SF merely frustrate the average Bay Area resident who wants to enjoy a San Francisco tradition -- Halloween in the Castro. It is also not unlike the move several years ago by the leaders of the city across the Bay, who voted to shut down Oakland's famed traditional Festival at the Lake (Lake Merritt) due to many young black males "cruising" in their cars and incidents of violence in the surrounding neighborhoods (not even at the Lake).  And did the Oakland police action curb violence in the East Bay city? Not at allbarry bonds

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