Amoeblog

(In which we lose our cool.)

Posted by Job O Brother, September 13, 2011 10:58am | Post a Comment

My idea of a romantic comedy!

Last night I had the pleasure of introducing the boyfriend to the 1971 film Harold & Maude. How he managed to make it to age thirtysomething without ever seeing it sooner shows an utter lack of regard from his friends and family, and we can only praise Allah that I showed up in his life.

Oddly enough, we seem devoted to cinema circa ’71 this week, as the films featured in our fetching living room all hail from that year. Before Harold & Maude was The Andromeda Strain, a movie which may well be the most boring sci-fi thriller ever to be shot, but was so beautiful we couldn’t stop looking. Oh, so boring! Imagine the longest, highest budget, fantastically designed instructional video ever, or if Stanley Kubrick had decided to make 2001: A Space Odyssey without all that pesky meaning.



Before that was Ciao! Manhattan, the enigmatic art film that accidentally became a biographical piece on tragic, subculture superstar, Edie Sedgwick. I hesitate to comment further on this particular work, because it presently consumes me in my career and I’m sure I’ll be devoting an entire blog to it someday soon. But if you’re a fan of all-things-touching Warhol’s Factory, the film is a must-see. Or if you just want to see a lot of full frontal nudity from a former Vogue model who’d recently gotten a boob job, there’s that.

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(In which Job picks his favorite album of 2009.)

Posted by Job O Brother, December 14, 2009 12:13pm | Post a Comment
Aloha, humanity! I’m back from my all-too-brief vacation on the Islands of Hawaii, about which I will tell you soon, but not now, as the time has come for my contribution to the Amoeblog Best of 2009.

As many of you know, I don’t exactly ride the cutting edge of the music scene, and most of the music I listen to was made by people who either died of a smack overdose on the balcony of some plush hotel over twenty-five years ago, or they died trying to free their brothers and sisters from Southern slavery, or they were assassinated in the French Revolution. These are roundabout ways of saying I listen to dead people.

So when I’m in a position to name my favorite picks from the current year, I’m normally a deer in headlights, hoping I can somehow convince people that Helen Kane didn’t actually die in 1966, and has just released this awesome new single…


Really! Morrissey produced it. I know, it sounds like it was recorded decades ago, but that’s because… of… things and… stuff.

This year, however, I am happy to report I have a favorite album that really was released in 2009 by someone who’s really alive and the album is really good!

The album is Get Reasonable and it was recorded by Golden Shoulders, a poetic name that cloaks the identity of Adam Kline – the brains behind the outfit.


"So delicious! And nutritious!"

Get Reasonable is the natural progression of music that blossomed from the ashes of grunge; it is rock music and it is sincere. While a huge swath of people have invested in acts that are devoutly escapist, such as Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, or the cast of Glee, Golden Shoulders has amassed a loyal following of music enthusiasts who value craftsmanship over craftiness and witty lyrics over easily learnable ones. Golden Shoulders’ sound is fresh, inventive, smart and completely devoid of so many of the production gimmicks that plague the airwaves currently.

Adam Kline’s music is at once accessible without being cliché. Obvious influences are The Kinks and pre-disco Bee Gees; he’s also influenced by the folk traditions of the Pacific Northwest, more so in instrument choices than tunings.


The aforementioned brains.

Of particular note are his words. Ever-aware that lyrics are an opportunity not to be taken lightly, he deftly warbles on matters of personal and social conscious in a way befit of master-lyricists such as Morrissey, Dylan, or Phil Ochs – in fact, I would venture to say Golden Shoulders is what Phil Ochs would sound like if he was today instead of yesterday.

This is not to say that Kline is preachy – he’s too pithy to be anything but delightful, but he doesn’t shy away from giving voice to matters more complex than cell phones or botched three-ways.

Get Reasonable covers a lot of sound-territory but remains cohesive. There’s not a single, skipable track on the record; it doesn’t repeat itself.

I recommend putting it in your car stereo and listening to it loud. It will give you better gas mileage. I don’t know how, but it does! This and the reasons above make it my favorite album of 2009. Why not see what all my fuss is about and get yourself a copy? After all, you totally love music that is awesome, d'accord?

Ask Forgiveness, by Bonnie Prince Billy

Posted by Miss Ess, November 29, 2007 07:20pm | Post a Comment
Most of this week I have been listening to the new EP Ask Forgiveness by Bonnie Prince Billy, just repeating it over and over.  It features 7 covers and one new original.


The best tracks are the Danzig cover "Am I Demon", and the Phil Ochs cover "My Life".  Yeah, there's an R. Kelly cover on there too, of "The World's Greatest", and it's funny and semi ironic and all, but I like other stuff on the cd much better. 

Bonnie Prince Billy is always both covering and writing songs about identity and struggling with that whole thing! Previous tracks "Little Boy Blue" and "Wolf Among Wolves" both are about those kind of issues.  Anyway, the Danzig track is slow and pretty and asks "Am I Demon?/I need to know".  We all get the somewhat resigned answer by the end of the song. I love when BPB ends the phrases by singing waaay up high.  It's lovely.  It's fun to hear a song about demons that's all folky and acoustic and not screamed! 

I'm a fan of Phil Ochs (See the name of my blog!), and it's great to hear someone like BPB covering him since he was such a talent and so brilliant and cutting.  His lyrics are better than about 90% of everyone else's, give or take a few percentage points, of course.  Anyway, "My Life" is a beautiful choice, and I guess it's yet another song about identity, about what life means and changes and paranoia and growing up.  I guess it covers a lot of ground!  It's really a poem:

My life was once a joy to me,
Never knowing, I was growing, everyday.
My life was once a toy to me,
And I wound it and I found it ran away.
So I raced through the night
With a face at my feet, like a God I would write,
All the melodies were sweet, and the women were white.
It was easy to survive, my life was so alive.

My life was once a flag to me
And I waved it and behaved like I was told.
My life was once a drag to me
And I loudly, and I proudly, lost control
I was drawn by a dream
I was loved by a lie, every serf on the scene
Begged me to buy.
But I slipped through the scheme
So lucky to fail
My life was not for sale.
My life is now a myth to me
Like the drifter, with his laughter in the dawn.

My life is now a death to me
So I'll mold it and I'll hold it till I'm born
So I turned to the land
Where I'm so out of place
Throw a curse on the plan
In return for the grace
To know where I stand
Take everything I own
Take your tap from my phone
And leave my life alone
My life alone.

Also included all over this EP are beautiful harmonies by Meg Baird of Espers-- 
she's kinda whispery and warble-y and flawless.  

Now that I am continuing still to listen to the songs, the Sinatra cover "Cycles" is also really genius.
Really, the whole cd is worth checking out-- I have to say I kinda love it all!  I'm impressed with BPB's 
cover choices--they really are all over the map.  Hopefully this is a sign that a full length record is not too 
far off in the New Year.