Amoeblog

(In which we write this.)

Posted by Job O Brother, September 6, 2010 01:39pm | Post a Comment

I love everything.

For whatever reason, I am suffering from a rare case of writer’s block. This is my second attempt at writing an Amoeblog today, the first being a page-long history of the adoption of our second cat, Maybe. By the time it had devolved into a story about how she had murdered my family, I finally put a stop to it. I hate cute stories about cats – psychotic or otherwise.

But it leaves me at square one, which is totally my least favorite square. Square eight is the place to be. It’s the one with lemonade.


Here's a picture of lemonade to look at with your eyes. (You're welcome.)

Even though I have no idea what to write about today, since this is the Amoeblog, I know I must introduce music, film or TV into the subject matter, so let’s start with these things:

Yes, that is Phylicia Rashad, (then Phylicia Allen) singing a song from her album, Josephine Superstar, a disco-concept-album merging the music of Josephine Baker with dance beats. I don't actually have an opinion on this one way or the other, but I thought you were old enough to know about it.

But here is something I really love:

Continue reading...

out this week 9/8 & 9/15...xx...kid cudi...muse...the feelies...health...

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 17, 2009 04:41pm | Post a Comment

From the moment I first heard the single "Crystalized" by the XX, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the album. That song just got deep down inside of me. It is such a fantastic song and is the kind of song that really affects you emotionally. It made me cry I think the first time I heard it, and yet I keep going back to it and can't get it out of my head. It is like the best day of your life that is now only a memory. It becomes tinged with sadness since you know you will never experience that day again and it will only be a memory. I love being nostalgic and I often put experiences too quickly into my memory. Sometimes I make them into memories as they are still happening. When I am having a really great day or experiencing a really magical part of life, I immediately start thinking about how I will remember this moment before it is even over. I know that we often make our memories better than the actual event so I try to reflect on the moment as it is happening to make sure my memory is more accurate. I don't know if all this makes sense, but I am basically comparing this song, this band and this whole album to the greatest memories of the greatest experiences that you have in your life. They are fantastic memories but also have a hint of sadness and tragedy because they are just memories.

The new self titled album by the XX is as good as the single. There is not a bad song on the album. It is XX by XXactually a pretty simple album. There is really not a lot of stuff going on here. The songs are structured simply and most have male and female vocals trading back and forth. It just comes together beautifully somehow. I have always loved R&B and the darker side of New Wave music, but rarely do the two genres meet. They often couldn't be more different. But XX manages to somehow combine the genres into one magical style of music. I would never call the XX a Goth band but they might appeal to fans of Goth music. They will for sure appeal to anybody who likes Dark Wave or Dream Pop. Fans of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins, Piano Magic, & For Against will not be disappointed. The music often sounds like The Cure or Joy Division. Maybe like Blonde Redhead's version of Joy Division. But the songs also have the feeling of a really good R&B ballad. Imagine R. Kelly or Aaliyah singing along to a Joy Division song. They totally make it work and I totally have fallen in love with this band. But beware! These songs are not going to make you get up and dance. I doubt they will put a smile on your face. The album is on the dark side. XX is made up of four friends from South West London who are all in their very early 20s, but they seem to have already experienced the whole range of emotions that most of us will ever go through. The album is released on the label Young Turks which has quietly been putting out albums and singles for the last couple of years. This might be the best record it has put out so far.

You really need to experience the XX yourself to properly make up your mind about them. I have not had the chance to see them live yet but I will be going to see them as soon as I can. The album has 11 tracks and it is really hard to pick my favorite song. They all sort of blend into each other to make up one simply perfect album. I probably love "Crystalized" more than anything, but "Heart Skipped A Beat" and "VCR" are also fantastic. "Shelter" and "Night Time" are also two of the better songs on the album. They are for sure two of the darker songs on an album full of darkness. I know I keep saying it, but all the songs are amazing! "Shelter" could easily be a song by Portishead. I always love the contrast of the male and female voice. Some bands just get it perfect. The contrasting voices on this album are often not so contrasting. They are both dark and on the deeper side, but it still works. I am gonna go back and listen to some more XX right now. I can usually only take the album about once a day. It is sort of like the Carpenters...I love them more than anything but their music can sometimes get me down and I can really only handle that about once a day. But don't let that scare you away from listening to this album. The best things in life often come with a bit of heartache, and what is the point of life without the risk of some heartache? This album is for sure worth it. I love it.

here is the video for "Crystalized" by the XX...



and here is the video for "Basic Space" by the XX...




also out this 9/8..






After Robots by Blk Jks











The Good Earth (Reissue) by The Feelies










Crazy Rhythms (Reissue) by The Feelies











Friendly Fires (Deluxe Edition) by Friendly Fires











Get Color by Health











Visitor by Jim O'Rourke











In Prism by Polvo






out 9/9...





The Beatles Reissues (Rubber Soul/Abbey Road/Let It Be/Etc...)







also out 9/15...






Central Market by Tyondai Braxton











Keep In Mind Frankenstein by Grand Archives











Man on the Moon by Kid Cudi











Journal For Plague Lovers by Manic Street Preachers











Resistance by Muse











Skinny Jeanz & A Mic by New Boyz











Kamaal the Abstract by the Q-Tip











Temporary Pleasure by Simian Mobile Disco











Ashes Grammar by A Sunny Day In Glasgow











Diary and LP2 by Sunny Day Real Estate (reissues)











Manafon by David Sylvian




Photographic Memory, Part 2

Posted by Job O Brother, September 14, 2009 12:01pm | Post a Comment
This is another installment of music and/or movies that I’m reminded of when looking at old photos of myself, my family and my friends. It was brought to you by the letter E and the number 8. And through a generous donation from the Karen Silkwood Driving Academy. And from Viewers Like You.


"I hate you."

Here’s a picture of the dude that’s writing the sentence you’re reading right now. It was taken while he was in Kindergarten. The expression on the boy’s face sets the tone for the rest of his scholastic experience.

I don’t know what happened to make me look so surly in a photograph. It could’ve been as simple as the photographer telling me to “Smile!” which is an order I have never responded to well. I mean, if someone wants me to smile, they should be creative about it. Try saying something like:

“I’ve bought you 8 pints of ice cream and a spoon!” or

“I managed to destroy every last recording of the song ‘Entry Of The Gladiators!'” or

“I am John Gavin, and I’m going to kiss you.”

Something that would make me smile for reals. Don’t just bark orders at me! Especially to portray an emotion. That’s too personal. I AM NOT A LABRADOR RETRIEVER, PEOPLE!

Sorry for yelling. But I’m really not a Labrador Retriever, people. So stop throwing dirty tennis balls my way. Just because I always bring them back doesn’t mean I’m enjoying myself, you know. My tail lies.

By Kindergarten age, I was devoted to three albums: Simple Dreams by Linda Ronstadt


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by… oh, what were they called? Shoot – the name slips my mind, but they were a good band. And finally, Chipmunk Rock by The Chipmunks.


An argument could be made that all the variety I now enjoy in the world of music can be traced back to these three LP’s. That argument would be wrong, but you could make it.


This is a picture I took of Noah Georgeson in front of the now defunct South Yuba Café, then located on Broad Street in downtown Nevada City, California. Working inside the Café was his then-girlfriend who was hooking us up with free ice cream and pasties. (My adolescence would not have been possible without the girls of South Yuba Café feeding me free pasties, actually. Without them, I would have had to get a job, which would have dramatically changed the course of my entire life.)

Noah and I had been in the same freshmen P.E. class at Nevada Union High School, which may account for both of us sharing similar post-traumatic stress disorders. We were also in the same punk band for a while – a lovable little outfit called Inner Frog, which would also include Hunter Burgan on drums, amongst others.

I didn’t, and don’t, know how to play any instruments, so I was what we called “lead Betty Cooper,” that is, I played tambourine and sang back-up vocals. Usually in cut-off jeans and a vintage nurse’s outfit. Conflicts arose after the band’s lead singer (who we’ll call The Virginia Beach Open) started making wild allegations and accused the rest of us of claiming she was making wild allegations.


Noah continued developing lots of music – more than I could name by the time I finish writing this sentence. Of note, he was a member of now disbanded band The Pleased, along with then-girlfriend Joanna Newsom, whose debut album he would produce. Since then, he has also become a regular contributor to the work of Devendra Banhart.


But an album that deserves greater awareness is his solo effort Find Shelter, released in 2006. It’s a dreamy album of dark folk hypnosis. Noah’s vocals are rich, deep and commanding. Don’t be content with his impressive résumé of behind-the-scenesness – check out his album, do.


Finally, here’s a picture of Carmella. I don’t have any musical memories attached to this image, but I did snap this photo in the restroom of the South Yuba Café, so it’s not without relevance. Without taste, yes, but not relevance.

More walks down memory lane to come. Stay tuned!

...Actually, don’t stay tuned. I don’t want you to waste days just sitting at your computer waiting for my next blog. As much as I appreciate your devotion, it’s important to me that you prioritize your own well-being and that of those who depend on you. So let’s just say “check in later” and leave it at that.

THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND FURTHER BROADENS FAB FOUR'S FANBASE

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment
Trailer for The Beatles: Rock Band (2009)

Everyone loves The Beatles and if there is still someone unmoved by the Fab Four, he or she soon will be once they get their hands on The Beatles: Rock Band video game, which is being released exactly a week from today on the easy to remember date of 9/9/09. That date also happens to be the same day that the much anticipated remastered Beatles catalog on CD The Beatles Rock Bandarrives in Amoeba Music. Not only will gamers of all ages take to this game, especially those who are already fans of Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but most likely people who have never played a video game in their lives will start now with The Beatles: Rock Band.

The game comes complete with 45 instantly recognizable Beatles songs, including "Get Back," "Day Tripper," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and "Back in the USSR." The game's scenes and settings include playing in the Cavern Club and at Shea Stadium! This game will convert young kids to the music of the Beatles and older Beatles fans to the world of gaming; overall, even further broadening the fanbase of the Fab Four. 

St. Louis Union

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 10, 2008 09:24pm | Post a Comment
St. Louis Union were a Manchester six piece fronted by impeccably-coifed singer, Tony Cassidy. Shortly after forming they won a Melody Maker beat contest in 1965 which scored them a deal with Decca. They were billed as "THE Group on the Northern Soul Scene." Their sound was centered around Alex Kirby's tenor saxophone and Keith Millar's electric guitar backed by some serious organ by Dave Tomlinson, John Nichols on bass and Dave Webb on the skins.

Their live set was built around "Turn On Your Lovelight," "Woke Up This Morning," "Every Day I Have the Blues" and "Get On the Right Track Baby."

Their name seems to be a reference to the St. Louis Union Station, a train station famous, like many things in St. Louis, as having been the biggest and busiest thing in its field way back when. Its archways are designed so that one can whisper into them and someone else can hear you clearly on the other end, a design feature with no apparent practical applications, save simple amusements in a simpler time. It was largely built of limestone taken from Indiana, probably just to remind the Hoosiers who's boss, as the state of Missouri is entirely made of limestone and they're the nation's leader in lime production.


Truman having a laugh at St. Louis Union Station

In the 1970s, the station was bought by Amtrak. They ended operations soon afterward and relocated their operations to a building the unhealthily train-obsessed refer to as Amshack. Now it's a mall where tourists watch the guys at the Fudge Factory put on a show and the Footlocker has a basketball hoop with the backboard autographed by the D.O.C.

While ridership of trains out of the station began to decline in the 1960s, 1966 was the Mancunian band's biggest year. Their debut single was a cover of the Beatles' "Girl," which reached #11 on the charts. A band known as the Truth also released a cover at the same time and didn't score a hit. Such was the world of British pop in mid-60s bands releasing covers of their peers. The b-side was a cover of Otis Redding's "Respect." They went on to open for him when he played in Manchester.


Their second single was a recording of slept-on genius Mancunian Graham Gouldman's "Behind the Door." The b-side was "English Tea."


They appeared in the Spencer Davis-centered Ghost Goes Gear alongside Dave Berry (singer of "The Crying Game"), The Three Bells and Acker Bilk (as the object of Modernists' disdained Traditionalist Jazz). It's not a great film, but as a relic it's fascinating and provides us with the only visual evidence of  St. Lous Union's impeccably forward fashion, timeless hair and considerable stage presence.

"East Side Story" backed by "Think About Me" failed to make the top 40 and it proved to be their final recording.

They split the following year, in 1967. Webb still plays drums, in a heavy metal band, T F L. Nichols went on to become a respected fashion photographer. Tomlinson, as Dave Formula, played with Magazine, Ludus, Visage and other bands. Millar went on to play synthesizer with many major artists and co-wrote Divine's "Think You're a Man." He died of a brain hemmorage in 2005 at just 58 years old. Cassidy, the swaggering singer, died that same year, just 57 years old.

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