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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Opeth

Posted by Amoebite, September 24, 2019 03:15pm | Post a Comment

Opeth - What's In My Bag?

We were very excited to have Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish Progressive metal band Opeth do some shopping at Amoeba Hollywood and share some of his favorite albums and artists, including Belgian prog band Univers Zero. "I don't know how to describe this music, it's insane," he told us, calling them, "highly skilled musicians." Though the challenging, dark prog group are largely obscure in most places, Åkerfeldt, pointed out that in Belgium finding a Univers Zero records is like finding an ABBA record in Sweden. "Definitely worth a listen if you're tired of the regular radio FM rock," he stated, continuing, "you're gonna die, pretty much."

Swedish progressive metal band Opeth was founded in 1989 by guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt and original frontman David Isberg with the intention of creating the "most evil band in the world." The band has gone Opeth - In Cauda Venenumthrough several lineup changes over the course of its three plus decades of existence, with& Åkerfeldt becoming Opeth's lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist after Isberg's departure in 1992. Opeth released their debut LP, Orchid, in 1995. Two years later, the group headed back to the studio to record a follow up, Morningrise. In support of the LP, Opeth embarked on a UK tour as well as a lengthy Scandinavian tour alongside Cradle of Filth. The success of the album won the attention of Century Media Records; the band signed to the label and Century Media released their records for the first time in the US.

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Brightwell's Top 10: 1968

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 15, 2015 10:54am | Post a Comment
In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME "Best of 1990" on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.


May 1968 riots (source unknown)

The closest I came to experiencing 1968 was watching The Wonder Years, the first season of which was set in that year. From what I can tell it was a tumultuous year not just in the fictional Arnold household but throughout much of the world. There was the War in Vietnam, Black Power, Richard Nixon became president, the Prague Spring, Mai 1968, 68er-Bewegung, the Rote Armee Fraktion, the 日本赤軍, the Zodiac Killer, the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and the attempted assassination of Andy Warhol. In music both Red Foley and Frankie Lymon died prematurely; Hair debuted on BroadwayThe Beatles created Apple Records; and a whole lot of good music was released. 


10. Donovan - "Hurdy Gurdy Man"



Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" has a descending melody and tells that tale of a meaningful encounter with a stranger -- rather like The Small Faces' "Green Circles," released the previous year. Turn up the heavy psych, add a dash of tanpura and lines like "histories of ages past" though, and you have a winning and sufficiently different formula.

9. Jeannie C. Riley - "Harper Valley P.T.A."



"Harper Valley P.T.A." was written by Tom T. Hall and first offered to fellow Kentuckyian Skeeter Davis, who shockingly passed on it. That it sounded more than a little like Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe," a hit the previous year, didn't seem to work against it and Jeannie C. Riley, had a big hit.

8. Glen Campbell - "Wichita Lineman"


My favorite Jimmy Webb composition is this song which has the magisterial tone of the best songs by Lee Hazlewood or Scott Walker. For younger readers, ask your grandparents what linemen and telephones were. 

7. Jimi Hendrix "All Along The Watchtower"


Bob Dylan
's constipated-man-shouting-into-a-bucket singing style has always, for me, been an insurmountable stumbling block to enjoying him. Luckily, more musically inclined musicians like The Byrds or, in this case, Jimi Hendrix, were capable of polishing them into something precious. I especially love the fantasy rock lyrics of this one which are are pure proto-prog pretension and apparently inspired by the Book of Isaiah.
6. Dionne Warwick - "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"


Composed by Missourian Burt Bacharach with his most celebrated lyricist, Hal David for the musical Promises, Promises, the soundtrack of which I discovered amongst my mom's records as a kid (although the plot of the musical for me remains a mystery). Whatever the context, the song is Brill Building Pop at itsmost perfect, wonderfully sung by future psychic hotline hostess Dionne Warwick when she was still a paragon of class and fashionability. 

5. The Doors - "Hello, I Love You"


Baseless arguments made by humorless haters require that the boors making them conveniently ignore the fact that in 1968 no American band was as handy with the two minute pop ditty as The Doors. "Hello I Love You" dates back to 1965, when they first recorded it as a harmonica-driven garage rocker. In 1968 it was re-recorded as a Seeds-ish, fuzzed out garage rocker. For all the criticism of Morrison's admirable lyrical ambitions, here was a number one hit written about a very serious subject, being interested in a pretty woman strolling through Venice

4. Leonard Cohen -- "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye"


Leonard Cohen
's "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" was the B-side to the similarly-wired "Suzanne" and maybe my preference for the former stems mostly from the fact that it's slightly less overplayed... and over-covered. When it has been covered its been by the likes of Ian McCulloch and Michael Monroe -- two more points in its favor.

3. Pink Floyd -- "Remember a Day"


One of the last instances where The Pink Floyd were able to approach the brilliance they'd known under the guidance of English rock's greatest genius, Syd Barrett. Tellingly, it wasn't written by either Roger Waters nor David Gilmour but organist Richard Wright. Also, it was relegated to the B-side of Waters's enjoyable but frankly inferior "Let There Be More Light." 

2. The Zombies - "Time of the Season"


The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle is a brilliant album whose classics like "Brief Candles" and "Beechwood Park" should've been massive singles. Instead their label made strange choices for singles with "Friends of Mine" and "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" which, as with "Time of the Season," were all flops. "Time of the Season" would become a massive hit when re-released, though, after which The Guess Who recorded their derivative (and best) song, "Undun," and the psychedelic jazz-rock classic would go on to be used to convince consumers to purchase Tampax, Fidelity Investments, Sprite, Nissan Tiidas, and Toyota RAV4s.

1. The Small Faces - "Mad John"


In 1968 The Small Faces released "Lazy Sunday," "Mad John," and "The Universal" as singles. "Lazy Sunday" would probably win in a landslide over the other two (does anyone really love "The Universal"?) but "Mad John" gets my vote as the best single of 1968. It's not an obvious single, taken from from the band's psychedelic Finnegans Wake-esque quasi-concept album, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake and bookended with Stanley Unwin's strange recounting what happened when a large fly brought Happiness Stan to a hermit so that he might learn the cause of the moon's waning. Whenever I attempt to prepare myself for the possibility of one day becoming homeless it pops into my mind. It was only released as a single in the US, on Halloween.

Other great songs of 1968: Brigitte Bardot et Serge Gainsbourg - "Bonnie And Clyde," Deep Purple's cover of "Hush," Hugh Masekela's "Grazing In The Grass," Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life," Classics IV's "Spooky," Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride," The Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke," The Turtles' "Elenore," Iron Butterly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," and Tommy Roe's "Dizzy." Let me know what songs would you add to the list.

*****

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

12 Exclusive Releases to Look for on Record Store Day, Plus Highlights From the Rest

Posted by Billy Gil, March 18, 2015 09:40am | Post a Comment

Record Store Day 2015 is upon us, taking place Saturday, April 18. The list of limited edition releases coming out exclusively on Record Store Day is up now (download the full list here). While there’s tons of great stuff to choose from (while supplies last, of course), here are 12 highlights to look for. 

Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Neko Case released her best album in 2006, a perfect distillation of her country-meets-indie-rock style, featuring the ethereal and confessional “Hold On, Hold On,” ’50s-style ballad “That Teenage Feeling” and Biblically inspired “John Saw That Number.” The long-out-of-print LP comes on red vinyl with a Record Store Day slipmat.
 

 

Johnny Cash – Koncert v Praze (In Prague Live)

Relive the Cold War as Johnny Cash plays his greatest hits behind the Iron Curtain in 1983, reissued on Soviet Red 180-gram vinyl.

The Best 'What's In My Bag?' Episodes of 2014

Posted by Amoebite, December 22, 2014 06:34pm | Post a Comment

Best What's In My Bag Episodes of 2014

2014 has been a big year for our "What's In My Bag?" series. All of our episodes are now captured and presented in gorgeous full HD and inscribed with a rad new hand-drawn logo. With our new tools we are continuing to try and step up our game creatively and seek out guests as interesting and uncommon as the items that are found in each episodes. This year we featured a Belgian pop star, a godfather of hip hop, an ace baker, a pair of British psych pop legends, a child star, an '80s icon, and not one but two Flaming Lips.

Here is our list of the Top 10 episodes from 2014, but since we couldn't leave it at just 10 check out the honorable mentions as well. Enjoy and thanks for watching!!
 

10) Michel Faber

Dutch-born author Michel Faber (Under the Skin, The Crimson Petal and the White) visited Amoeba San Francisco where he picked up an eclectic and esoteric selection ranging from folk to rock to experimental and beyond. He also waxes poetic about the beauty of vinyl packaging and the idea of an album as a book.

Michel Faber - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube

15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Posted by Amoebite, December 11, 2014 11:44am | Post a Comment

15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Music is always a great gift, but even when it's gift-wrapped, a new LP or CD isn't fooling anyone with its distinctive shape. Why not surprise the music lover who has everything with one of these unexpected items? Some of them are kinda fun, while others are more practical, but they are all definitely not your typical music gift.

Bad Brains Hot Sauce

Bad Brains - Fire Burn Babylon Hot Sauce

Hot sauce seems to be a thing that a lot of bands create (i.e. BastilleJoe PerryThe Offspring's Dexter Holland's line of hot sauce, Gringo Bandito). The punk rockers of Bad Brains created their own hardcore hot sauce that combines sweet and heat, just like they do.

Best Coast Snack Plush Cat

Best Coast - Snacks Plush Cat

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