Amoeblog

(In which Job engages in back-breaking work.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 1, 2009 01:55pm | Post a Comment

Does the glowing spine make me look fat?

The crippling pain hasn’t exactly ruined my week. My new toy has, after all, given new life to my hobby: collecting all music in the world… except for maybe Van Halen. Let me back up a bit…

Ha! “Back up.” You see, five days ago my back gave out while I was in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, battling La Alianza Triángulo de Oro – more specifically, I was in the middle of a back-alley shoot-out with that rascal, V.C. Fuentes (or, as I like to call him El Caca Bigote, which just drives him nuts!).

As we all know, you never want to fire your M4 carbine with your weaker arm, but it was past lunch time, I hadn’t eaten, and an orphaned child I had just rescued from the local orfanato offered me a fresh sopaipilla which I wasn’t about to let go stale; so I was mackin' on that with my right arm, shooting with my left and, just as I was about to send Fuentes to see his own fatal plastic surgeon, I felt a spring go loose in my back.

“Uh-oh,” I thought, and I was right.

So, for the last half-week I’ve been popping Advil like they were Skittles and walking like I was 99. My boyfriend, sensitive care-giver that he is, has taken it upon himself to make endless jokes about my situation, just to make sure I keep laughing. At least, I think that’s why he does it.


Does this statue of Æthelswith make me look fat?

My new toy is an external hard-drive with something like 99 hergozapazillogabytes of memory (give or take 2 hurquatzobytes). This will, hopefully, be enough to contain what can only be described as an obscene CD collection. In addition to this, I have recently purchased a portable turn-table (from, eh-hem, Amoeba Music) with a USB component which will allow me to transfer all my vinyl into a digital format, just as soon as I get written permission from any and all applicable copyright owners of the music. (Eh-hem again.)

As most of you know, in addition to lording over the Soundtrack Section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, I work as a freelance writer (hence the blog you are now reading which is enabling you to  procrastinate – but don’t worry, your secret is safe with me). The hope is that someday, someone with money and power recognizes how really, really, really, really, really, good I’m at writing stuff and, you know, things, and stuff and they hire me for some rad TV show or film or simply to sit next to their pool and come up with entertaining stories for their personal lifeguard – whatever. I imagine that, even then, with new-found wealth at my fingertips and enjoying a jet-set lifestyle, I will probably still have to maintain some working hours at Amoeba Music simply because I cannot survive without constant access to its inventory. I am hooked. I have an employee-discounted musical monkey on my back. Where’s my support group?

In transferring my CD collection onto my new hard-drive, I am sometimes struck by certain selections I felt compelled to bring home in the past, and I thought I'd share some of the odder albums with you.
Evita – The Japanese Cast Recording

If you thought Madonna was a far-fetched casting as Argentina’s notorious First Lady, consider 野村玲子. I did. And you know what? Madonna is still more far-fetched.



[untitled demo] – Agnès Mrugalski

I wish I could share this with you, because it’s f-wording brilliant. I plucked this vaguely packaged disc from the library music section of Amoeba. It contains 32 tracks of sample advertisements which serve to showcase actress Agnès Mrugalski’s diverse capabilities for radio commercial work. Boasting such titles as “Fabergé (voix sensuelle, complice)” or “United Airlines (voix hôtesse, fraîche, accueeillante),” each selection is a faux commercial with a description of the “type” of voice she’s using.


Internet research on said actress yielding next to nothing. I did find this one, heavily pixilated photograph. Mme. Mrugalski, if you’re out there, please supply us with more information. Nous t'adorons!

God is a Moog – Gershon Kingsley


This is a 2006 release from Moog pioneer Gershon Kingsley, best known as half the team Perrey & Kingsley, whose 1966 release The In Sound From Way Out, is considered one of the first mainstream electronic albums.

God is a Moog is a compilation of Kingsley’s Jewish music; much of it is sacred. There’s something both spooky and hilarious about the incongruous mix of Hebrew prayer intoned over (antiquated) space age sounds.

I couldn’t find a sample on YouTube, but here’s Kinglsey’s most famous composition, “Popcorn”…


He’s Able – People’s Temple Choir

This is a grisly affair, released in 1973 by Brotherhood Records, which was created by the Peoples Temple, under the directorship of Rev. Jim Jones. Taken out of context, it is a typical, home-grown, 1970’s gospel album. It sounds like most any church’s effort. When considered within the broader scope of the Peoples Temple’s fate, however, it becomes a wince-worthy, chilling listen. The first track features a chorus of children singing:

Welcome, welcome all of you!
Glad you are with us!
Shake hands! No need to be blue!
Welcome all of you!


And so on. Not recommended for cocktail parties. Or bar mitzvahs. Or anything ever.


Into Outer Space with Lucia Pamela – Lucia Pamela

This is a gem – one of those sweet moments when, in ignorant curiosity, I took something home simply because I couldn’t guess what it would be. It turned out to be nothing but sweetness.


Although a rough recording, what you get here is an eccentric blend of swing and early rock ‘n’ roll, led by Lucia Pamela – Miss St. Louis 1926, featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for memorizing a record 10,000 songs – as she sings songs detailing her trip to the Moon and the adventures she has there.

Fans of Tiny Tim absolutely must check this out, as it features a similar sense of whimsy.


Now then, the Advil is wearing off, and there’s still thousands more albums to transfer, so I’m gonna say goodbye for now. Well, I’m gonna to type it. Well, I already did.

AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP: 04:10:09

Posted by Billyjam, April 10, 2009 07:22am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music HFloRida Rootsollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 04:10:09

1) DOOM Born Like This (Lex)

2) Flo Rida R.O.O.T.S. (Poe Boy/Atlantic)

3) UGK UGK 4 Life (Jive)

4) Jim Jones Pray IV Reign (Columbia)

5) Madlib Beat Konducta Vols 5 6 (Stones Throw)

Miami pop rap act Flo RIda is In the number two slot this week with his just released second album R.O.O.T.S. The record includes the already major hit "RIght Round" -- the unavoidably popular track that reworks Dead Or Alive's mid-eighties synth-pop hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” to which it owes its phenomenal success. Despite contributions from the likes of Ne-Yo, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Pleasure P, and Nelly Furtado, this sophomore album on Poe Boy/Atlantic, while better than Flo Rida's debut, comes off as hollow and ten years from now will most likely forgotten. The problem? Like most mainstream hip-hop, it doesn't sound like it is coming from the heart or soul but instead comes off as music manufacturejim jones pray iv reignd out of a desire to score a quick pop hit.

Meanwhile, Harlem artist Jim Jones' delayed latest album, Pray IV Reign -- his first for Columbia -- is a superior record and sounds like it is made from the heart. But it too suffers from a common problem in rap these days, the derivative factor. In this case, the former hype-man is constantly channeling 2Pac, not only copping Shakur's whole rhyme flow and inflections, but going so far as to even loot some of his trademark phrases ("Keep your head up," he spits on the new album track "Let It Out").

Continue reading...

Further Tales of the City

Posted by Miss Ess, September 11, 2007 02:25pm | Post a Comment
I'm so disappointed.  I've just finished watching Further Tales of the City and it was only one disc's worth of a show.  They have it packaged in two jewel cases, so I just assumed I had a whole 'nother disc waiting for my viewing pleasure this evening.  Imagine my heartbreak upon discovering the second disc is devoted to "Special Features" only.  What a letdown!  Not to start with the negative, though, I mean the reason I am so sad is--

I really grew attached to this series as it unfolded.  The characters were real to me, the way they become in any film/series when each person really pops off the screen and into one's brain.   I don't want to ruin any of the plot details for anyone so I can't really say much, but I will say I had nightmares last night about Mouse and Jon and what might become of them-- that's how kooky I am about this show.  I thought I was gonna get to see more of their story today but NO, that was it.  Guess I am gonna have to go get those Tales of the City books now to get my fix.

Further Tales of the City is the final installment of the Tales of the City series. I would say it's the most racy, and it's also one looooooong episode as opposed to the format of the others, which each had a bunch of hour or so long episodes.  As my boyfriend and I continued watching and watching, kinda waiting for it to end and at the same time on the edge of our couch as the stories unfolded, 3+ hours passed -- we couldn't believe it had been on that long at the end.

This installment is truly bizarre!  It's funny how the characters in the series are in so many ways so true to life, but author Armistead Maupin places them in the most insanely unbelievable situations.  One of Further Tales' most prominent storylines involves that well known cult leader, Jim Jones, who the show imagines has really not died in Guyana-- actually, he's living in a shed in Golden Gate Park, unmoved by the police!  Of course he gets himself entangled with the Tales characters, to far fetched but entertaining results.  Another storyline has Mouse off to Los Angeles to party at the home of a famous but closeted Hollywood leading man...well, maybe that one is a little more plausible!

I can't recommend this whole series enough!  I feel like the entire thing was created with so much love and so much empathy for everyone grappling their way through life.  I like this quote by Armistead about being a writer who also happens to be gay:

"One of the things that I saw as different about what I was doing was that I was allowing a little air into the situation by actually placing gay people in the context of the world at large. Most gay fiction that I was reading when I was coming out in the early 70s made me claustrophobic because it only dealt with the life of the gay bar and everybody in it was gay -- often gay and male and there weren't even any lesbians in the picture. That didn't make me feel the way I wanted to feel about life and it didn't correspond with the life that I was living in San Francisco which was wonderfully mixed up in terms of the people that came and went in my life and that was part of the enormous exhilaration of it. It felt revolutionary."

Tales of the City feels real and is so absorbing because the people inhabiting the series feel like  people we know and love.  It actually does feel revolutionary because it feels true!  Well, maybe not the whole Jim Jones thing, but whatever.