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Redd Kross' Steve McDonald Talks to Amoeba About "Researching the Blues"

Posted by Billy Gil, August 16, 2012 04:02pm | Post a Comment

Redd Kross have been the quintessential underground band for the past three decades. The band has nearly always eschewed both pop and indie convention by staying true to its sound, likely angering as many pop fans with its snottiness and random references to Tatum O’Neil and Shonen Knife as they would indie purirsts with its insistence on lacing its acidic songs with undeniable pop hooks.
 
From Hawthorne, Calif. and based around the duo of brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, Redd Kross first released music in 1980 with a self-titled EP, after opening for Black Flag as teenagers for its first gig. Other musicians came and went as the band released records throughout the ’80s and ’90s, hitting their stride with 1987’s Neurotica and 1990's Third Eye. Following 1997’s Show World, the band all but disappeared, with its members occasionally surfacing for other projects — Steve McDonald famously added bass parts to The White StripesWhite Blood Cells, redubbing it Redd Blood Cells, which saw thousands of downloads and press hubbub. The brothers McDonald separately produced albums by other artists as well.
 
The elusive band returned in 2006 to play a set at REDCAT in Los Angeles covering the band’s entire catalog, featuring the Neurotica-era lineup of the McDonalds, Robert Hecker and Roy McDonald. They toured and played a killer set of the entire Born Innocent album opening for Sonic Youth, who played all of Daydream Nation (I was there! Yessss.), at the Greek Theater in L.A. In 2008 they played Coachella, among numerous other festivals and appearances over the past few years. Now, finally, Redd Kross have released an album of new material, entitled Researching the Blues. The album has seen some of the band’s best reviews, garnering an 81% on reviews aggregator Metacritic, and it’s not hard to see why, hearing the enlivened swagger the band displays on songs like the title track (download free here), while maintaining the dynamism that has always set the band apart, also including shimmering power-pop ballads like “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Winter Blues.”

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100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
      

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.

SONG/ARTIST PLAYLIST & AMOEBA SHOP LINK OF ALEX'S 100 GUITAR RIFFS (IN ORDER):


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

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Happy Birthday Alan Aldridge -- The Man with the Kaleidoscope Eyes

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 1, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Today is the 69th birthday of English artist, graphic designer and illustrator, Alan Aldridge (click here to visit his site). His distinct airbrush work adorned numerous books and albums in the 1960s and '70s and helped define the aesthetic of the era -- equal parts whimsy and menace.

Aldridge appeals to me, in part, due to the way he draws upon older artists from very different traditions. The grotesque, fantastical characters echo the febrile visions of Dutch Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. The invasive, sometimes threatening vegetation reminds me of the vegetable portraits of Italian Mannerist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The soft, velvety folds and textures of clothing remind me of French Neoclassicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres's almost single-minded focus on mastering the technique of depicting textiles.
 
As a young child, when I was first exposed to Aldridge, I hadn't yet heard of any of those artists. I don't remember ever even asking who Alan Aldridge was, but it was clear even that his particular synthesis of influences and ability to simultaneously captivate and repulse was immediately recognizable as the work of one artist, whatever work it adorned.

     

Aldridge was born in East London in 1943. One of his first jobs as an illustrator was for The Sunday Times. He was hired in 1965 by Penguin Books' chief editor, Tony Godwin, to serve as art director after impressing them with his freelance covers. Examples of his work can be seen on numerous science-fiction revised editions c. 1967 and The Penguin Book of Comics (1967), and The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (1969).

  

In 1968 he started his own graphic design firm, INK, who ended up designing a number of iconic album covers through the 1970s, as well as the graphics for Jane Arden's play, Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven in 1969.

 
My sister owned a copy of the picture book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast (1973), an amazing children's book illustrated by Aldridge full of beauty and a creepiness that eludes description. My mother owned a copy of Elton John's concept album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975). I gave it a few curious spins but his music never did much for me. The artwork, however, again the work of Aldridge, held me spellbound. Although I didn't realize it, when a couple third grade classmates and I attempted to provide a literal illustration of The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," we were probably unknowingly influenced by Aldridge (and probably a bit of Heinz Edelmann and Milton Glaser) although it goes without saying that our results were slightly less accomplished.

The Who's A Quick One (1966), Andy Warhol   George Harrison's Wonderwall Music (1968) 

A few of the iconic designs Aldridge was behind include the cover for The Who's A Quick One (1966), Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey's Chelsea Girls (1966), George Harrison's Wonderwall Music (1968), and later albums like Tears for Fears' Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004) and Incubus's Light Grenades (2006). 

    

He also illustrated The Ship's Cat (1977) and two sequels to The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's FeastThe Peacock Party (1979) and The Lion's Cavalcade (1980).
*****

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Would You Believe...Beatles 78s?

Posted by Joe Goldmark, April 26, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment
To check out extensive LP label and price guides plus cover art, head to the Vinyl Beat website!


78s were totally discontinued in the States by 1960, but not so in other parts of the world. Unbelievably, many Beatles 78s were released in the Philippines and India from 1963-1965, mainly for juke box plays.  There were also a few titles released in South America in Columbia and Argentina. The site Cool78s features all known issues, including 17 from the Philippines and 24 from India. Beatles collectors pay from $500 - $1,200 each for these sides depending on condition and scarcity. Tell your Pilipino and Indian friends to check with their music loving relatives to see if they have a goldmine stashed away in their attic.



What Do You Want for Xmas (Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus)? A Few Ideas from Around the Interwebs

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 16, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
xmas christmas space baby jesus alien rocket ship ufo christ
Tis the season to freak out about what to get our loved ones.

It seems to get harder every year, as -- thanks to the internet -- the world becomes smaller and choice becomes more vast. How can you find that perfect gift for someone that not only has everything, but can get whatever they want online in a matter of minutes?

Here's the answer: outsmart them. Use this guide to scoop them on their own desires. They may not yet know they lust after these amazing items, but with the Amoeblog's help, you will reign victorious as this year's King / Queen of Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus /  Winter Solstice.  

For your old school punk:
San Francisco’s seminal punk band Crime was  formed in 1976 Crime band shirt merch Johnny Strike San Francisco punkand ripped post-hippie San Francisco a metaphorical new one when they released their first (and many say Punk’s first) single“Hot Wire My Heart / Baby You're So Repulsive.” They mixed a rebellious and sexually-charged image (they were most often seen flaunting their vampiric, just-outta-rehab good looks in tight leather, regulation police uniforms, or old-time gangster duds) with their unique blend of intellectual and furious lo-fi rock and roll. Crime found local refuge at the now legendary Mabuhay Gardens, but became nationally notorious after playing a gig at San Quentin Penitentiary in full police uniforms. (Read more about them on the Amoeblog.)

Now, after many years, you can purchase official Crime merch directly from original member Johnny Strike and his business partner Faustino Mendonça. Bootleggers be damned! Get some stunning shirts, posters, and pins from the source!

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