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Light In The Attic Releases first Anthology for their Japan Archival Series

Posted by Kells, October 27, 2017 11:56pm | Post a Comment

Record shopping in Japan is an incredible and humbling experience and, when in Tokyo, I enjoy exploring as many record stores as possible, regularly testing the limits of my willpower wallet while discovering one long-sought gem after another. What's more, records in Japan are more often than not found in great if not near mint condition and almost always come crisply wrapped in those snazzy resealable outer sleeves. Whether you're digging through one of Japan's many mega music emporiums, curated record boutiques, or any old hideaway/warehouse situation stuffed windows-to-the-walls with miscellaneous wax, the scope of excellently kept, hard-to-find vinyl stocked in record stores here never fails to amaze. That said, scoring coveted original releases by Japanese artists at a "nice price" can be surprisingly tough, which means acquiring the same prized/pricey titles stateside can be doubly difficult and hardly worth it (itinerant flippers be damned). Enter the warm glow of Light In The Attic Records...

Since announcing their Japan Archival Series last April, the Seattle-based label has finally brought their inaugural release for the project to US ears with Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the "first-ever fully licensed compilation of this music to be released outside Japan". This collection of nineteen tracks spans an era when Japan's youth culture shifted from championing the Surf instrumental (think The Ventures) Eleki trend and the Beatles-inspired Group Sounds (G.S.) movement that dominated Japanese pop culture in the 1960s to more poignant, living room singer/songwriter sounds reminiscent of Bob Dylan, mellow Laurel Canyon boho vibes, soft psychedelia, and miscellaneous Americana (à la The Band and Neil Young). Fueled by mass student protest demonstrations and an underground ("angura") movement bent on subverting long-standing stuffy traditions, young musicians rejected Beatlemania replications in favor creative authenticity, giving birth to fresh genres like the aptly named New Music and Kissa Rock (literally "Café Rock, so-called due to the venues they frequently played). Some of Japan's most beloved and influential music-makers made a name for themselves during this crucial period, and many of those heavy-hitters whose early works are featured on this comp would go on to further enrich the fabric of music history in Japan and beyond long after the angura movement's hippie heyday. For example, Haruomi Hosono, who lends his distinct James Taylor-esque vocals to two tracks on this compilation (both as a member of influential Folk Rock band Happy End and with a track from his 1973 self-titled solo debut), would later form the innovative electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi (whose Sadistic Mika Band bandmate Kazuhiko Kato also has a solo track featured on this comp). This example is by no means representative of the extent of Hosono's legacy as one of the most important figures in Japanese music history and his career trajectory is but one slippery slope of many rabbit holes one can fall into exploring via this compilation. Plus, aside from being a lovely aesthetic object featuring original artwork by illustrator Heisuke Kitazawa, the total package includes extensive liner notes and bios (put together by compiler/producers Yosuke Kitazawa and Jake Orrall) that dig deeper into this music that has been, as Light in The Attic puts it, "tantalizingly out of reach for decades" while setting the stage for overlaps and other points of interest that'll surely connect this particular anthology to forthcoming releases and reissues for the Japan Archival Series.

Stay tuned for the next two announced anthologies Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1975-1985 and Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 in addition to "dozens" of other as-yet-unspecified "special projects" and more exciting things to come from this LITA label series. No doubt this noble effort won't make shopping original Japanese pressings by artists featured on any of these anthologies and reissues any more affordable, but it will extend the reach of these works to a broader audience at a price point that definitely guarantees more bang for your buck. That is until you realize that each song in the sequence comes from records that are pretty much all killer/no filler and you find yourself in a catnip-like state of obsession hellbent on a quest to acquire them all at any cost because record collecting. But seriously, kudos to Light In The Attic for embarking on this journey to bring some wonderful fully-licensed music from Japan to the US. Keep on keepin' on, I can't wait to get more of it on my turntable!
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Hip-Hop Rap Up: 09:22:17: Macklemore, Apathy & O.C., Lacrae, Rock, DJ Kay Slay, Lil Debbie, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

Posted by Billyjam, September 22, 2017 01:48pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hip-Hop Top 5 [09:22:17]


1: Macklemore Gemini (Bendo/Warner)

2: Apathy + O.C. Perestroika (Dirty Version) (also avail in Vinyl/2LP set)

3: Lacrae All Things Work Together (Columbia/Legacy) (also avail in Vinyl/LP)

4: Rock Rockness A.P.: After Price (Digital Deja Vu)

5: DJ Kay Slay The Big Brother (Streetsweepers Ent.)


Vinyl Reissue of the Week:
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five The Message LP (8th Records)


Sans longtime musical partner Ryan Lewis, with whom he won four Grammys for the Seattle duo’s 2012 debut studio album The Heist (famously and controversially beating out Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city in the Best Rap Album category), Macklemore is now back to being a solo act with the new album Gemini. Released today on the Bendo label (via Warner) Gemini is the follow up to last year’s This Unruly Mess I’ve Made by the duo, and/or the follow up to his last solo album a dozen years ago, 2005’s The Language of My World. Titled not after an inexpensive DJ mixer brand but the rapper's zodiac sign, Gemini is an improvement on last year’s somewhat lackluster release but not near as good as the album that brought him (and Lewis) widespread fame. Highlights of the new album include such tracks as “Levitate” and “Good Old Days (feat. Kesha).” Scroll down to see the hugely popular music video for the feel-good, pop-rap, new album track “Marmalade (feat. Lil Yachty).”

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Huge East Coast LP Haul Brings 4,000 Vinyl Pieces to Amoeba Hollywood June 13

Posted by Amoebite, June 3, 2015 03:07pm | Post a Comment

East Coast LP Event at Amoeba Hollywood

We’ve just acquired a choice collection of records from the New Jersey area to resell in our Hollywood store. On Saturday, June 13, we’ll be offering the first of these records for sale to the public, on sale at the Amoeba Hollywood stage.

There are some great classic records from all genres in this collection, and some obscure pieces as well. Coming to us from an iconic industry family, the collection includes well-kept original pressings, a substantial number of reggae and hip hop records, astounding test pressings, rare and import soundtracks, and one-of-a-kind items from major acts.

Check out a sneak preview of some of the pieces we’ll have for sale below:

east coast lp collection sale

amoeba east coast collection sale

So come down to Amoeba on Saturday, when we’ll be having our next Sidewalk Sale as well. Don’t miss out, as this collection will only be separately sold through Sunday.

17 Movie Soundtrack Motivationals to Facilitate your Fitness Resolutions

Posted by Kells, January 25, 2015 04:28pm | Post a Comment

It's way past mid-January, do you know where your fitness goals are? Have you found that your get-up-and-go up got up and went? Are you looking for that perfect mix to pump [clap!] you up? Whether or not the holiday pounds have still got you down, chances are you or someone you know is looking to get motivated and stay fit in '15, even if it's just for one more week. To that I say: JUST DO IT! Push those New Year's resolutions to the limit and stay physical with this list of schlocky soundtrack anthems, Scotti Bros. label classics, and movie montage motivationals! 

[note: this post is dedicated entirely to the one and only Danimal, without whom this list would not have been so inspired nor exhaustive (however incomplete) as we have, during the course of our respective overlapping Amoeba journeys, spent countless hours extolling the many wonders, peaks, and pitfalls of these storied stimu-jams!]

Frank Stallone - "Far From Over"

From the soundtrack to Staying Alive (1983), Sylvester Stallone's second ever directorial effort and follow-up to the successful Saturday Night Fever, comes this undeniable force of motivational rock courtesy of baby brother Frank Stallone. In more ways than one this track is the the leaping-point from which this film takes flight, providing a desperately high-impact canvas for the opening credits/dance-or-die audition montage. Catching up with Tony Manero's dreams of "making it" as a professional dancer in the cutthroat theater scene of the big apple has never been so sweaty, or lean.

Power lyric: "I'm diggin' in, I want it more than anything I've wanted/Save me darlin', I am down but I am far from over!"

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Fleeting Phases: Falling for Once and Future Band

Posted by Kells, September 28, 2014 07:25pm | Post a Comment

Sheesh, it's been a minute since I've thrown my two cents into this here pot and I've got a lot of pennies to spend. So far, 2014 has been a damn good year for new music and I would like, if I may, to take you back to May when a local band dropped one hell of a debut EP for the ages.

Seemingly fixed somewhere between derivative approximations recalling the Crimson courtiers of Progressive Rock and master multi-part harmonizers of yore like, for example, maybe Wishbone Ash or Bubble Puppy, it could be said that Oakland's Once and Future Band has calculated dead reckoning in waters more well known than uncharted. However, this assessment is flawed. Roughly two minutes into the sprawling eponymous opening track of their debut EP, Brain, when lead vocalist, guitarist, high synth-sayer, and man behind the dream Joel Robinow (of Howlin' Rain, also wearing an exceptionally well designed OAFB tee, right over there) sings, "everyone knows ‘cept yourself that these phases are fleeting, time to take stock and face up to the path life is leading", it's time to give up and give in. The nearly nine minute saga advances not unlike said fleeting phases, progressing along most unpredictably in stone grooves, lucid pulses, transitory textures, and ascending arpeggios, executed with a passion for sound and vision so palpable that any trifling comparison made to apparent forebears would seem a dull and heartless pursuit. Considering the first track alone, it is clear that this band possesses something of a sonic timelessness, a quality that perhaps gives some credence to wanton Steely Dan-ish, CSNY et cetera Classic Rock banalogies, but is rather more a result of a fortuitous confluence of unabashed creativity and masterful musicianship. Fact: these guys make music magical, fanciful, adventurous, and valuable -- every second worth the effort. Once and Future Band simply rules. And they would still rule even if Rick Wakeman had said "no" to Yes.


bomb-ass OAFB poster by Ale Leonelli of Studio Gogogoch

The rest of the record rules too as it is teeming with appeal. Extra special gold stars are due in part for  overall multitude of tight vocal harmonies and Phil Manley's contributions as well as for the triumphant guitarmonizing solo and soaring synth sendoff that launches "Heavenly Bodies" into full orbit, closing out the album with a full on spacial delivery rather than sticking the landing. In the meantime, I'm hoping these fleeting phases are enduring and indicative of an eventual full length LP from OAFB, provided that the trio, Joel along with drummer/recording engineer Raj Ojha (also of Howlin' Rain) and bassist/co-guitarist Eli Eckert (Drunk Horse), can take stock and face up to their professed impetus for convening in the first place i.e. "performing and recording Joel's massive library of songs before they are lost to the ages after the Great Hard Drive Crash of '12".

Whatever the future holds, I am presently enjoying this EP more than ever.
There is something rather seasonally correct about these far out and fantastical extended Psych/Prog jams. They pair perfectly with Fall, particularly the brisk Autumnal awakening that follows Summer's September last stand. I've been rockin' this sweet baby on the hi-fi all summer looking forward to the satisfaction and propriety of listening to it come Fall. Which reminds me, if you're looking to catch these guys live, I suggest holding out for their upcoming Halloween show at Amnesia. OAFB will be sharing the bill with SF local Black Sabbath cover band extraordinaire, Bobb Saggeth. Which also reminds me...

Now, I'm not one of those folks who habitually shucks and jives about "you had to be there and you missed it" shows and performances, but great balls of almighty hellfire, if you missed the life-giving world premier (and very likely only performance?) of the devastatingly funky all-Betty Davis cover band FRONTBUTT (featuring OAFB's Joel Robinow on keys and all five members of Bobb Saggeth) you done bungled bigtime, bra. It was so very major.

All FRONTBUTT photographs below by Gabriel Wheeler.

Go see Once and Future Band. Buy their record at Amoeba. If FRONTBUTT ever plays again don't miss it.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! While you're down here you should totally check out this What's In My Bag vid featuring Joel Robinow + Garrett Goddard + Ethan Miller = Howlin' Rain!

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