Amoeblog

Interview With Tony Thaxton of the Bizarre Albums Podcast

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 24, 2020 06:55pm | Post a Comment


 

Tony Thaxton by Brian Keith Diaz
Tony Thaxton by Brian Keith Diaz

By Audra Wolfmann

If you're at all like me (and I have a strong suspicion that you, dear record collector, might be), then you enjoy a deep dive into the dark corners of music history AND you also love a good Novelty album. You grew up cherishing your Dr. Demento collections and World Wrestling Federation LP, but you also burned with questions about that Leonard Nimoy album your parents had next to the hi-fi in the living room. Well, there's a place for us and, of course, it's on the internet in the form of a podcast called Bizarre Albums. Hosted by drummer Tony Thaxton of Motion City Soundtrack, Bizarre Albums serves as a sort of VH1's Behind the Music for the novelties, oddities, and the just plain strange in the wide world of weird records. Since nothing could be farther up Amoeba's alley than celebrating the unexpected vinyl find, we tracked down Tony and asked him about his show and his own record collection.

Amoeba: What makes an album “Bizarre” by your standards?

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7 More Days Until Walrus Day!!!

Posted by Job O Brother, October 1, 2011 08:48pm | Post a Comment
Delightfully baffled? Follow this link, sexy human!




Easy does it.

Posted by Job O Brother, February 7, 2011 06:14pm | Post a Comment

One of the most rewarding and confounding things about being an Earthling who loves music is watching my tastes change with time, or better said, watching them grow – I don’t think there’s very much music I once loved I no longer do. My first favorite acts (at age 3) were The Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, and The Chipmunks, and I still adore them all today.

More surprising to me is how much I’ve come to cherish music I would have once loathed. 2010 became the year I “discovered” easy listening, both light music (which can be found in Amoeba Music's classical section) and lounge music (which can be found in the coincidentally-named Lounge section).

It all started with a bandleader named Robert Farnon. I was drawn in by his album covers, which evoked lush, darkly romantic landscapes and liaisons reminiscent of a Douglas Sirk film.

Perhaps it was city living that led me to lust for light listening – a kind of escapism from the constant soundscape of waves of traffic, the bling and bursts of cell-phones, and the startling pitch of people’s dreams breaking into billions of bits. For whatever reason, impulsively, I gave an album of Robert Farnon’s a spin while I worked, and found myself enveloped in ease – my imagination drifted into sweet scenes as each suite seemed to sweep me off my feet – I was a fourteen year old girl writing of new, naïve love in her totally boring diary.

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.

(In which brave employees face dire visions.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 15, 2008 12:01pm | Post a Comment

10.30 AM - Time to open Amoeba.

I’ve been working at Amoeba Music for over three years now (although I often still feel like a newbie) but it wasn’t until last Thursday that I had co-workers over to my house for the first time.

The reasons for this are many, and complicated. For one, whenever you have humans over to your house to visit, there’s all sorts of things one must do, like… talk to them… and… well, talk to them. It’s daunting! Nevermind the fact that my cat, Fangs, is only one moment away from figuring out how to eat someone.


My cat Fangs. (It's always hard to get him to be still long enough to get a good picture.)

You’ll remember (unless you won’t) that some time ago I blogged about the film crew of “Alvin & The Chipmunks” using the front of Amoeba Music Hollywood for a shoot, for which I was an extra (cast as a bouncer).

Charlie, who works in the classical music department, and Smithy, who works soundtracks (with me) and pop vocals, and I had tried to goad each other in going to see the movie in the theatres to find out if either Amoeba or I were actually in it, but none of us were willing to pay the huge (if justified) price of an ArcLight Cinema ticket, especially considering the film looked painful.


Me, relating the preview I saw of the movie in question.

We decided, therefore, that when the movie came out of DVD – which it recently has – we would congregate at my apartment, drink enough booze to buffer any psychological damage that watching Jason Lee interact with CGI rodents could have and face the beast.


Jason Lee chides the Chipmunks for messing up his kitchen.

That was last Thursday. Let me just say, there isn’t enough vodka in Russia to prepare you for this movie. It’s excruciating. Like, it should be used to the waiting room at Guantanamo Bay. I normally wouldn’t blog about something if I don’t like it, but I’ve also gotten very good at avoiding things I wouldn’t like. This was a special circumstance.

In case you’re wondering, Amoeba Music Hollywood and I both appear, yes, about forty-five minutes into the film, for about two seconds - you see a crane shot showing our front-side. If you look in front of the doors, two men in black, Amoeba-logo t-shirts, stand. One of the men turns his head. That’s me. WHERE’S MY STAR ON THE WALK OF FAME?!

We stopped watching the film a little after that. Maybe it was only forty-five minutes, but forty-five minutes in a black hole is a long time.


Me, Charlie and Smithy, deciding that next time, we'll just play cards.

Here then, for those of you unfortunates who don't know how wonderful the original Chipmunks were, are some snippets of their original TV show. Note the complete LACK of any "Chipettes."







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