Record Store Day 2011 Brings Throngs to Amoeba Berkeley!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 19, 2011 02:32pm | Post a Comment

Photos by Kaitlin Layher and Ryan Stark
Words by Spenser Russell-Snyder

record store day berkeley amoeba

At 8am on Saturday, April 16th, crowds began to line up in front of the Berkeley store. They came to get their hands on the hundreds of new and exclusive records released on this year's 4th Annual Record Store Day.

In the first hour of being open, the "Broadway" aisle of the store was jam packed with people picking up 7-inches, LPs and even select 10-inches from the likes of 13th Floor Elevators, Big Star, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Grinderman, Phish, Wild Flag, The Beach Boys, as well as countless more from the hottest names in music, past and present.

berkeley record store day 2011

But Rock 'N' Roll wasn't the only thing Amoeba Berkeley brought to Record Store Day this year. We also debuted a GIGANTIC used Jazz collection, filled with near mint original pressings from Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean and literally thousands more! No matter what kind of music you were into on Saturday, we had what you wanted!

record store day 2011 berkeley

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Tricked Out and Fully Treated: Rocktober is over but the Halloween high remains...

Posted by Kells, November 6, 2009 01:31am | Post a Comment

When I was in fifth grade staying up late enough to catch Dave Letterman's Top Ten was a personal goal of mine every weeknight (on Saturday nights it was staying up late enough to make it through Saturday Night Live in its entirety, but I always conked out right about the time Dennis Miller wrapped up his Weekend Update). I like to think that I became a lover of lists and listing things because of that after-hours fixation of mine, but who cares? The fact is that I do love a list and this year's Halloween happenings were so fabulously choice that I've got to work it out herein, Late Night Top Ten style:

10: Students of San Francisco State University protesting budget cuts on Monday by turning the quad into a graveyard for courses felled by a lack of state education funds. The many headstones featured names of "dead" classes and mourners honored them dutifully in Dios de los Muertos style with candles, flowers and gorgeous little treats. A very clever and seasonally satisfying display of discontent!

9: Rammstein's timely release of their new album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. Now, I count myself as an accidental Rammstein fan (and there's a good lengthy yarn I could spin about the who, what and why-fors about it), but a fan I am nonetheless ---especially as their machismo-soaked yet obviously Depeche Mode influenced electro-opera-industrial rock always seems to find a place on my annual Halloween mixtape! Not to mention that these German rockers consistently crank out quality music videos that remind us that there once was a time when the medium was viewed as an elevated art-form. Their video for the 1995 single Du Riechst So Gut is perhaps their most romantic (despite the fact that the imagery delves into bestiality, transvestitism and baroque dance routines) and very Halloween appropriate (despite the fact that nearly all their videos could be specified as "Halloween appropriate"). Oh Rammstein, why must thy art be so misunderstood? Maybe it's a European thing...

8: Realizing my costume. I'm one of those crafty types who loves to construct a guise from scratch every year and half the fun is coming up with a good idea to roll with. Initially I thought I'd dress up as a Tiki this Halloween, but that eventually morphed into a Hawaiian Tiki cocktail, or a Mai Tai. I would have liked to think I could pass my tiki-mug-with-skewered-fruit-and-purple-paper-parasol ensemble as a Zombie cocktail just to put a little pun in the mix, but I'm just glad that most people "got" what I was. 

7: All those pumpkin-flavored seasonal treats --- yes, please! Three stand-outs this year were the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Peet's Coffee (more spicey and less sugary than the competitors offerings), Hershey's Pumpkin Kisses (which I thought would be gross, but they're more yummy than they should be) and Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancake mix, which has enjoyed top billing at every Sunday breakfast in my household since discovery. Enjoy them while you still can.

6: The achievement of this fabulous Wayang-esque Jack 'o Lantern. Biggest of big ups to the pumpkin-carving master who created this exquisite piece --- can you even imagine how frustratingly painstaking it must have been to create? It paid off in pure breathtaking Halloween-ness. Eat your craft-biting heart out, Martha!

5: All ten and a half minutes of Tommy heavenly6's "Lollipop Candy Bad Girl" video. You know, I could stop right here and flip-flop into an auxiliary list of the things that I love about pro-alter-ego Jpop artist Tomoko Kawase, but I'll can it for now and say that A: I love that she, or at least one of her alter-egos, adores Sweet Valley High (what self-respecting bookish bitch doesn't have a Sweet Valley High loving alter-ego?) and B: I love that her absolutely absurd Halloween-flavored music video suggests that the way to make Halloween cake is to drop several jack o' lanterns and whole bottles of Jose Cuervo into your oversized witches' cauldron: duh!

4: Gugug's rendition of "Bela Lugosi's Dead." So there are these guys, more specifically two guys and sometimes their friends, in Scotland who call themselves Gugug and play experimental-ish music live on YouTube (and on one of YouTube's most subscribed channels, just so ya know). Besides being super-talented, ukulele playing, melodica-wielding over-achievers, they provide free tutorials and tips for uke enthusiasts to take total artistic control of their medium and whip up genius-grade covers of all manner of beloved tunes with such regularity that if what they do makes you happy, like it does for me, checking in with Gugug can be deemed therapeutic. And this year's "Halloween Special" from Gugug effing hit the spot, seasonally:

3: Trick-Or-Treating on Belvedere Street. There is, in a sleepy residential corner of San Francisco, a quiet avenue that becomes for one night a year a mash-up of every over-produced and unlikely trick-or-treating scenario ever imagined for and depicted on celluloid. The residents of Belvedere Street in Cole Valley are so completely committed to creating the ultimate Halloween wonderland experience en masse that it makes me wonder if they have to make absolutely sure that any potential new-comers to the area are fully capable of "bringing it" before they are permitted to move in. It's pleasantly clear by the gathered crowd that many folks count on this little nook for their annual family-funtime Hallow's Eve fix. It seems one is never too old to trick-or-treat on Belvedere Street and surely one may never tire of listening to children strategize various methods of trick-or-treating while padding about gazing in awe at costumed kids of all ages, not to mention house after over-dressed "haunted" house lining the blocked off corridor. In short: it rules!

2: Amoeba San Francisco's annual costume contest! The one thing above all that I treasure about Halloween is the scope and depth of the looks that come out and play for the day each year. Of course, dressing up at work isn't always about functionality, which always provides some titillating, old-fashioned juxtaposition in an otherwise visually over-stimulating environment. My favorites were Garth (from Wayne's World --- party on, Garth!), Robert Smith, Alice Cooper, the Blue Jay, "Hey!" Kool-Aid himself and one usually chatty employee who took his Chaplin costume so seriously that he said next to nothing all day. Now that was scary indeed!

1: Bob Saggeth live at Amnesia! In terms of the holiday-time continuum, whatever stays the high becomes the most fondly remembered nostalgia nugget in my world. This Halloween I had to pour a little out for my friends (Amoeba mainstay and man of many talents Josh Pollack and Amoeba alum and "best drummer in SF" Warren Heugel) and friends of friends who, no doubt, practiced extensively to bring their heavy hitting, one-off Black Sabbath cover band to Amnesia Bar, thus slaying all in attendance with back to back sets of face-melting stoner jams a-plenty. All my favorites were performed deftly, fog machine a-fogging and all, and I went home Halloween night --- on one of the strangest bus rides of my life --- with an ear to ear goofy grin on my face and ears that rang from Saturday night 'til Tuesday noon. "Allllllllllllright now!" --- thanks Bob Saggeth for properly punctuating one of the best seasonal reasons to peel your ass off the couch and see what all the fuss is about! Happy Halloween, everyone!

out this week 2/10 & 2/17...lily allen...lonely island...morrissey...asobi seksu...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 19, 2009 06:51pm | Post a Comment
lily allen it's not me it's you
It is getting to that point in the year where I am having a hard time keeping up with all the music coming out, so you really should not have that hard of a time finding new albums to listen to this month or the next. I keep finding a new favorite album but it is then overshadowed or replaced by some other album that I get obsessed with. The new Lily Allen album came out last week, and I do love it. If you already love her then go get this album. It is very different than her first album but you will love it for all the same reasons that you loved the first album. Her song writing is still that great combination of cute and brilliant and sassy. I can't really imagine liking any other singer that could get away with her lyrics, but she pulls it off. I might be throwing the word love around a bit too much, but I did fall in love with her voice the first time I listened to Alright, Still. I do also associate that album with Los Angeles. It was one of those albums that I listened to a bunch on trips to LA a couple of years ago, so it is now perfect that I am actually living in LA again for this new album. Lily Allen just has one of those catchy and cute voices that makes me smile. It is what all pop music should sound like. Perfect for those of us still obsessed with British music and culture and a nice pop alternative. The new album is called It's Not Me It's You. She has a brilliant way of switching around some popular phrases, as she does with "Thank You Very Much," one of my favorite tracks on the album. I saw her show for the first album in San Francisco and can't wait to see her again down here. She will be playing at the Wiltern on April 2nd. The album is just as catchy as you want it to lonely island incredibadbe. It does what it sets out to do. The album is pure pop entertainment with that signature Lilly Allen feel to it. I do have a habit of loving the artists that most people either love or hate. It is the better artists that I think have this effect on us. You should love her like I do, but I will not hate you if you don't. She is for sure not for everyone.

Also out last week was the debut album from Lonely Island called Incredibad. This is the music project of Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live. It is basically all the songs from thelast couple of years of the digital short segments with some added new songs. I know that there are many out there that think that Saturday Night Live is just not funny anymore, but Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig are two of the funniest people on television and I think have both saved the show. This is of course just my opinion, but I really can't get enough of either of them. They both started on the show in 2005 and I think they both tend to get the best material on the show but are seriously funny regardless. I will keep my fingers crossed for a Kristen Wiig album. I don't think I have every laughed so much as I do whenever she comes on the TV screen. The guys in Lonely Island have all been friends since junior high in Berkeley and are all now writers on Saturday Night Live. The humor might be a bit juvenile but I still love it. The album comes with a DVD of 8 of the digital shorts of your favorite songs like "Jizz in My Pants" and "Dick in a Box." One of my favorites is "Space Olympics." I can watch that one over and over again. I realize I sort of sound like a boy in his teens right now, but sometimes you need some silly humor in your life. They are sort of like a more hip version of Weird Al. Unfortunately, "Natalie's Rap" did not make it on the DVD, but the song is still on the album. This was one of the most brilliant and suprising moments on Saturday Night Live with Natalie Portman. Even if you think you are no longer a fan of Saturday Night Live, you need to give it another try. At least watch these Lonely Island videos. And please try and not laugh at the brilliance that is Kristen Wiig. Everything she does is absolutely brilliant.

One of the most exciting albums of the year is out this week: That would be the new album by Morrissey. The album is called Years of Refusal and is released by Lost Highway. I hope that by now those of you that have turned your back on Morrissey are ready to let him back in your life. I never really understood how people claim to be hugemorrissey years of refusal Smiths fans but have never bothered getting into Morrissey as a solo artist. I have some friends who I am very jealous of who actually saw The Smiths live. I was just a bit too young to really even know who they were when they were still a band. But I grew up with Morrissey and he was for sure one of my first obsessions. My obsession has not always stayed as strong as it was in the late 80s and early 90s. I know I have talked about all this before -- it really came back with this new group of solo albums starting in 2004. He may be getting older but he is just as talented and relevant as ever, and his fanbase seems to be growing once again. There are those of us still obsessed with him since Viva Hate first came out in 1988. 20 years later we still love him as much as ever. There are also those who were fans back then but then gave up on him but are now back in love with Morrissey. But I do love all the new younger fans -- the fans that were born in 1990 when Bona Drag came out just turned 18 last year! I really do love it that he is getting new fans with every album. He is not losing fans and fading into obscurity. He remains a totally huge old school cult status singer but also is managing to grab the attention of a whole new generation. I don't even know what else to say about this guy. I love him and the new album is fantastic. But maybe I wouldn't feel that way about the album if I was not so blinded by my love of Morrissey. It is hard for me to be subjective about a album by him, but I gaurantee you that there are some great songs on here -- although this album is another one of those albums worth buying for the cover alone. The baby he is holding is apparently a digitally created baby that sort of looks like what his baby would look like. Or maybe he actually has a secret baby! The album is strangely familiar. I already know all the words somehow. "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" is currently my favorite track on the album. I love having Morrissey back in my life every time there is a new album. But if you grew up a Morrissey fan he has probably never really left your life. He is just waiting on the sidelines for some of us, waiting to be let back in.

My new favorite of the week is the new album by Asobi Seksu. It is hard to compete with Morrissey, butasobi seksu hush this album puts up a good fight. Asobi Seksu sort of reminds me of the band Lush. I was obsessed with Lush for many years and still put them up very high in my all time favorite bands list. Try to imagine Azure Ray mixed up with Lush. There is obviously some shoegaze influence on this New York group. The band is basically Yuki Chikudate on keyboards and James Hanna on guitar. Yuki does most of the singing on this new album but James helps out on a couple of tracks. They have actually been recording albums for a couple of years now and this is their third album. But I am new to the world of Asobi Seksu, which apparantly means "casual sex" in Japanese. I don't really know much about them. The new album is called Hush, which even sounds like the band Lush. I have become totally addicted to this album. It is one of those albums that makes me happy but also makes me want to cry the whole time, just like the way I feel when I listen to Maria Taylor or Azure Ray. Speaking of, Maria Taylor has an album out next month that I am very much looking forward to. The other half of Azure Ray, Orenda Fink, also has a new album out next month for a project called O+S. Azure Ray fans like me have a lot to look forward to next month! But I really do highly recommend this new Asobi Seksu album. It is also one of those albums that manages to be cute and sort of dark at the same time, which I guess is why it makes me happy and full of tears at the same time. This is sort of what shoegaze does to me. If you have any doubt whether you will like this album just listen to track 9, "Glacially." It sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine. Fantastic. The album will grow on you as it has me. Like a really good movie it stays with you and you long to experience the feeling you had again. Get some Asobi Seksu in your life. It will make you feel better -- but just a little bit sad as well.

also out 2/17...

beirut march of the zapotec

March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland by Beirut

m. ward hold time

Hold Time by M. Ward

dark was the night

Dark Was the Night by Various Artists

Tight Knit by Vetiver

To Be Still by Alela Diane

For the Whole World to See by Death

Cranes by Cranes

lindstrom where you go i go too

Where You Go I Go Too (special edition) by Lindstrom

Choral by Mountains

abe vigoda reviver

Reviver by Abe Vigoda

Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made by Fol Chen

(In which Job... well... just read it if you wanna know.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 18, 2007 03:26pm | Post a Comment
I was enjoying my usual Wednesday afternoon – a walk to the park with a small picnic lunch. I have a favorite spot beneath a chestnut tree with sprawling branches which remind me of my Dad’s strong arms and how they seemed to be able to do anything – swing an axe, knock a ball out of the park, bruise the side of my face and neck for forgetting to put the lid back on the jelly jar…

Anyway, I sat in my favorite spot and began my standard ritual: eating the first half of my baloney sandwich, sipping a strawberry Crush soda-pop, and crying. Just crying. Sobbing uncontrollably, like, to the point where even the homeless people look at me with faces that say, “Man, that dude has it bad.”

But don’t be fooled! I wasn’t sad. It was the book I was reading – it always makes me cry. Not because it’s about bone marrow cancer (it’s actually pretty upbeat and the recipes are not only delicious but good for those of us on a tight budget!). No, the reason it makes me cry is because its pages are made out of paper-thin sheets of glass which cut my hands horribly. Oh gosh, I mean, it really hurts. And the bloodier the pages become the slipperier it gets and it’s hard to get through a chapter without passing out from pain.

Did you know that if you pass out in the park people will leave you coins in your strawberry Crush soda-pop can? This is why I have hope for humanity.

But last Wednesday, something unusual happened to my usual routine. I was passed out under the tree (though not from injuries – this time it was because I had sniffed a freshly picked plumeria, only to discover that it was actually a tank of methoxyflurane) and was brought back to consciousness by a young man performing CPR on me. (For those of you who don’t know what CPR is, it’s a thing.)

Separated at birth? Plumeria flower and Penthrox brand methoxyflurane

Once I was able to speak, I thanked the man for saving my life and offered him the second half of my baloney sandwich. Having physically taxed himself from forcing the breath of life into me, he was happy to have a snack, and the two of us began talking.

He told me his name was Andy and that he was visiting from some town called New York City. Apparently it’s located in the Northeast – I guess somewhere near Accord. I asked him what he did for a living and he said he was on a television program called “Saturday Night Live”, which sounded nice, and then I began to wow him with stories about working at Amoeba Music; how we get free snacks every Saturday, how our health benefits include a free pony (after five years of full time employment only), and how our bosses, Karen and Jim, are actually snowmen that were brought to life one day when we put magic hats on their heads and sang a merry song about retail.

By the time we had finished my lunch, we were joking and laughing like old friends, which is normally a red flag for me – I mean, once you start enjoying someone’s company you only want to hang out with them AGAIN, and who has that kind of time? Never mind the fact that laughing is very bad for the complexion; it torques the pores, causing them to sag, while attracting harmful atmospheric pollutants that cake in layers inside your skin and kill you.

Don’t ever, ever laugh. I mean it. You’ll f**king die.

Medical photo showing after-effects of laughter and smiles

But I digress. We were throwing jawbreakers at each other – trying to catch them with our mouths – which was good fun until we learned why they’re called “jawbreakers”.

An ambulance took me and poor Andy over to Cedars-Sinai Hospital where we waited in the emergency room. Andy’s face was pretty busted open and I tried to keep the swelling down by poking it really hard with the turkey-baster I found under my seat, but that wasn’t working too well.

(Incidentally, why are there turkey basters under the seats of the Cedars-Sinai emergency room? And why are they shaped like seat cushions?)

Speaking of turkey – aren’t you excited about Thanksgiving? I am. My family was very poor, but we always had a special Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom would fix pain blanc avec la gelée and my Dad would let us have one glass each of his special Albertsons bourbon. Then it was off to bed, before the Thanksgiving monster comes to collect children who are awake or complaining of hunger. Ha, ha! Oh, those halcyon days…

"Why yes, you may have another slice! It'll only cost you your land, your happiness, your prosperity. Some butter?"

Andy was admitted quickly and everyone was sweet to him and treated him like a star, I guess because they found out I worked for Amoeba. I’m used to it. I wanted to stay by his side so I lied and told the nurses that I was his brother, which raised some eyebrows because, unbeknownst to me, Andy had already fibbed and said I was his gay lover. We managed to cover up our tracks by French-kissing and talking about “our” Mom.

Andy ended up having to have an operation to remove the fetus that had been accidentally inseminated in his uterus at the first hospital we’d gone to, “Bob’s Hospital ‘n’ Things”. Luckily, the good folks at Cedars-Sinai also removed the uterus that had been accidentally inserted into Andy’s guts while we were playing Frisbee.

The fetus is fine and we’ve since named him Notfood to remind us not to make the same mistake twice. We’re enrolling him into a prestigious private school as soon as he gestates himself some thumbs and spine, then it’s “look out, ladies!” Ha!

We were out of surgery in time to catch Joanna Newsom perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Joanna’s performance was spellbinding. I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog. For now, let me leave you with some of Andy’s creations. Most of you have seen these a thousand times over, but why not watch them again? Just make certain, whatever you do, that you DON’T LAUGH. Because you will die. You will die suddenly and irrevocably. For eternity.

Andy's film "Hot Rod" will be available for purchase at Amoeba Music on November 27.

(In which Job returns from [kind of a] vacation.)

Posted by Job O Brother, September 4, 2007 11:31am | Post a Comment

Honey! I’m home…!


Whew! It is crazy hot here in Hollywood. How have you survived? I’m this close to envying the Donner Party.

[Sets luggage down.]

Where have I been? Didn’t you see the Post-It note I left on our autographed portrait of Gunnar de Frumerie?


What do you mean you were struck blind by the Lord Our God while traveling the Road to Damascus? Are you crazy?

Yes, I know Labor Day traffic on I-5 is maddening, but I hardly think a detour through Syria was good idea. And anyhow, I wrote the note in Braille, so that’s no excuse for not reading it.

[Takes off shoes and unbuttons shirt.]

Anyway, I don’t want to fight.

I’ve been in Santa Barbara over the weekend. I was at a wedding for some of Corey’s friends. It was hot there, too, but at least we were on the coast, so it was beautiful.

Oh, a funny thing happened that continues a strange theme in my recent blogs. One of the humans attending the wedding was Octavia Spencer – a total sparkplug, very quick with the one-liners – and, as she was introduced to my small group, she lowered her sunglasses at me and said:

“Whoa! You have some pretty eyes! Hoo!”

Which makes two times this week that an obscure female comedian has commented on my optical globes. I know, right? What exactly are my pheromones excreting? Too funny.

[Washes face.]


[Screams and flails madly, knocking over bottles of various vanity needs.]

What the hell? I can’t see! I can’t see!

[Runs cold water over eyes; pants.]

Why… was there… salsa… in my acne face wash bottle?

What do you mean you ran out of Tupperware? Doesn’t salsa come in its own jar?

Oh, you made it from scratch?

Why didn’t you just…

Oh, don’t. Don’t cry. Of course I appreciate that you made me fresh salsa. I just wish you would’ve, y’know, not stored it in my beauty-care products.

Forgive me. I didn’t mean to yell. It was the jalapenos burning my pupils talking.

I love you.


Do we have any chips?

Okay, so… Seeing Ms. Spencer reminded me that I’ve been meaning to tell you about my new favorite TV show, “The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman”.

It’s written by and stars Laura Kightlinger, who is most rad. She’s been a writer for Saturday Night Live (and guest-appeared on it, too) amongst other notable screen credits, plus has the dubious distinction of having dated the stupefying Jack Black.

Her show is one of two original programs produced by the IFC cable channel.

[Fixes a slightly dirty Grey Goose martini with two olives.]

Let me tell you… It is THE ANSWER to those of us who love “Absolutely Fabulous”. Anyone who loves AbFab is almost certain to take to it; there are many parallels, except that, instead of two British women who drink and snort their way through the messy world of high fashion, we have two American women who drink and snort their way through the Hollywood film industry.

It is fresh. It is funny. You never know what’s going to happen next, except you know you will laugh as it happens. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

It’s low budget, but they work that to their advantage. It’s grittiness is not only appropriate to the world they’ve created, but adds to its appeal.

If you’re like me, it will leave you wishing you could hang out with Jackie Woodman as she blithely makes her way through every bad choice and self-destructive whim with the wit and poise of a central-European countess.

[Sheds exoskeleton and lays a few eggs; sets empty martini glass in sink.]

Anyway, I insist you check it out. I haven’t been this excited about a TV show since “Deadwood”.

[Sighs sadly.]

Deadwood… Come back to me…

[Slithers into a hole in the wainscoting and listens to iPod before falling asleep to the dulcet tones of Annette Hanshaw.]
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