We recently had the pleasure of having modern garage rock band (and former Amoebites) Allah-Lahs here at Amoeba Hollywood. That's right, not only are they one of the coolest bands around town, but three of the four members are Amoeba alums! When asked what record he was always looking for while working at the store, drummer Matthew Correia answered, "I was always imagining the day when I was gonna find some original Spacemen 3 records." That day never came, but the guys did find some other great albums on their latest visit.
Allah-Las consisit of vocalist/guitarist Miles Michaud, guitarist/vocalist Pedrum Siadatian, bassist/vocalist Spencer Dunham, and drummer/vocalist Matthew Correia. In 2011 the quartet released their first 7", "Catamaran/Long Journey," featuring production by old school soul-inspired singer and guitarist Nick Waterhouse. A year later, the band released their self-titled debut for Innovative Leisure, which was also produced by Waterhouse.
If there's one thing an appreciation of music micro-genres has taught me it's this: work in a record store long enough and you'll eventually get into everything. Being predisposed to an appreciation of all things nautical by nature and developing a fondness for "theme" restaurants during my formative years it was only a matter of time before I would incur an full-on addiction to Exotica. At first I admit I mostly overlooked the jazz elements inherent to the genre, however pleasantly tropical, but obsession has a funny way of broadening ones taste for the far flung and curiously obscure. While I cannot trace my collection back to one single acquisition I can proclaim without a doubt that this squaw has stalked the warpath for Exotica, in all it's varied and as-yet-unconfirmed aspects, for quite some time. I'm so hot for it I'm on fire and, with that admonition out of the way, I'm pleased to report that a vinyl reissue of Eden Ahbez's seminal contribution to the genre, Eden's Island: The Music of an Enchanted Isle (out on Moi J'Connais/Black Sweat via Mississippi Records), is once again gracing the selections in Amoeba Music's Lounge section at long last!
A beach-bummin' beatnik guru by nature, Eden Ahbez was famous for three things: penning the pop/jazz standard "Nature Boy" (made famous by one Nat King Cole), looking a lot like Jesus (both on the original Eden's Island cover art, circa 1960 above on the left, as well as the updated screen-printed jacket housing the current reissue pictured above right), and thriving on a diet consisting of raw fruit and vegetables, living outdoors with his family beneath the first L of the Hollywood sign in the grassy Los Angeles wilderness. His music is a strange arrangement of piano, flute, and exotic percussion instruments fused with nature sounds (rolling surf, the creak of a wood-masted sailboat, squawking birds, breezy gusts of wind), and features a mixed chorus or Ahbez's own cheesy vocal musings, waxing poetic about a snake-chasing mongoose, living in an old shack by the sea, fires on the beach, and knowing "the thrill of loneliness" -- charming, to the last.