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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Chicano Batman

Posted by Amoebite, September 20, 2017 01:13pm | Post a Comment

Chicano Batman What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

It's been a good year for Chicano Batman, having released an acclaimed record and embarking on a US tour this fall. Thankfully the LA-based tropicalia soul band had time to sit on the green room couch here at Amoeba Hollywood for a fun and eclectic What's In My Bag? episode. The band members picked a wide-ranging collection of records from genres including Brazilian soul, thrash metal, and South African disco (just to name a few). Everyone had something thoughtful to say about their choices, like drummer Gabriel Villa, who grabbed a vinyl reissue of Metallica's ...And Justice For All, which he credits as the album that got him into music and drumming.

Drawing influences from tropicalia, psychedelia, funk, indie, and soul, LA's Chicano Batman have created their own unique take on Latin alternative music. Formed in 2008, the band originally consisted of Bardo Martinez, Eduardo Arenas, and Gabriel Villa. The then-three-piece self-released their eponymous full-length debut in 2010. After the addition of Carlos Arévalo, Chicano Batman released the Joven Navegante EP in 2012.

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El Haru Kuroi-Canta Gallo

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 25, 2013 07:30am | Post a Comment

The name, El Haru Kuroi, is a cultural mash-up.It's a mix of grammatically incorrect Japanese and Spanish. They wanted to be called “Black Spring” in Japanese (It should be Kuroi Haru) and the “El” was added when people said they should have a Spanish name to their band because the band's lyrics were mostly in Spanish. Their latest release, Canta Gallo, is nothing short of brilliant. The influences that make El Haru Kuroi are not hard to pinpoint, yet put together they way they do makes for a sound that is all their own. The influence of Brazil’s Tropicalia movement weighs heavy on them, yet much like those artists involved in that movement, El Haru Kuroi adapted the music they grew up on and took the essence. The result is a haunting mixture of Bossa Nova and Boleros mixed with urgency of post-punk groups like Gang Of Four and Fugazi.

Singer/Guitarist Eddika Organista is the daughter of a Mexican musician who played in many Tropical groups. Most of the music Eddika’s father enjoyed was in Spanish, but he was also a fan of Brazilian music, Bossa Nova in particular. The sound of the Brazilian artists singing in Portuguese resonated strongly with a young Eddika, who was already fluent in both Spanish and English and playing guitar by age eleven. She found herself mimicking the sound of Brazilian singers when she sang. This led her to study Portuguese in school. She started to discover other Brazilian artists that went beyond the Bossa Nova singers that her father favored. At the age of seventeen, she is discovered the Tropicalia movement that started in Brazil in the late 60’s and in particular, her world was blown wide open by the discovery of Caetano Veloso. The influence of Veloso’s work on Eddika’s songwriting and musicianship is undeniable, but it goes beyond imitation. She manages to capture the soul of Caetano rather than his sound, the mixture of beauty and darkness that permeates her songs whether she is writing in English, Spanish or Portuguese.Organista's ability to sing in three languages creates options for the group. Language becomes part of the music, with each language chosen for what works best in the song. The rhythm section of Dominic Rodriguez and Michael Ibarra adapt to the whims of Organista’s imagination. Rodriguez imaginative percussive style works with Organista’s gritty yet breezy guitar tone. Ibarra hold them all together with a playing that resembles Charles Mingus when he played support rather than lead. It was an underrated talent of Mingus and one that Ibarra shares with him.  Lyrically, Organista’s metaphoric lyrics recall the beauty and pain of Caetano Veloso and Agustin Lara writing without imitation. Each song is pure heartbreak blues, even when decorated in sweet melodies.

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Personal Picks: Kelly's Best of 2012 Year-End Recap

Posted by Kells, December 31, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment


Well, here we are. We weren't thrust into a new dark age oblivion, the world didn't end and neither did my workaday quest for the best music for the day. This year was rife with records that just had to be snatched -- reissues, compilations, and a fair few newbies too.

Here follows my personal, "show and tell" style best-of list for 2012:  the year that didn't stop the big wheel a-turnin'. Rather than just dicing up a list of cold-cut favorites, I've included personal events and trends herein that shaped the music I sought and gravitated towards within the past year.


BEST NEW ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Jessica Pratt - JP. No contest. I have naught but the best of things to say about this disc of spun gold and I'm not alone. It seems every Barry, Rob, and Maurice in the blogosphere has been falling all over this record like autumn leaves in the rain. If you really want to know my take check out my real talk review of JP here, otherwise please do enjoy the album's opening track, "Night Faces" below.





 
BEST 2012 REISSUE: It's a tie between two (Numero related) comps: WTNG 89.9FM: Solid Bronze and & Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974 - 1984. Both platters piled high with private press oddments and rarities one could hardly go more wrong than to miss out on these two exemplary feats of the compilation arts. The former being a point of revision for many in that it is essentially a mix of largely unheard "yacht rock"/AOR triumphs of seventies song-writing sensibilities (man, is it ever sensibly sensitive) that confronts one's moral definition of guilty (listening) pleasures. The latter comp, Personal Space - a seemingly dark horse among the usual reissue fare fleshing out the the soul comps shelf space, made the rounds among Amoeba staff regularly thus enjoyed a healthy amount of in-store play as well. Chock full of rhythm-box workouts a la Sly Stone, Timmy Thomas and Shuggie Otis, it's a far-out soul/funk excavation of the highest order. Both of these are solid front-to-back listens for the home vinyl library/curio corner.

An honorable mention smoothing out the angles in this Bermuda triangle of smooth sailing comps would have to be that Tim Findlay (of Groove Armada) mix for the Late Night Tales series, Music for Pleasure. Holy horse latitudes is this mix ever the very essence of a guilty, yacht-rocking pleasurecraft. I'd swear it's been a banner year for harnessing the soft, ever-lilting easy breezes of boxed-wine status AM Gold.
 

REIUSSUE RADNESS: Thin Lizzy, Takeshi Terauchi, Judas Priest, Stan Rogers, Can, My Bloody Valentine and so, so many other reissues really lit up the old hi-fi this year. Of the pack I'd say that the Light in the Attic reish of Thin Lizzy's self-titled album and Allen Toussaint's Southern Nights (out via 4 Men with Beards) have been fighting it out for turntable dominance most of this past year. I'm still digesting the Can - Lost Tapes box set and don't even get me started on the glory that is the live at the '83 US Fest DVD that comes packaged with the latest remastered reissue of Judas Priest's 30-year-old masterpiece Screaming for Vengeance. Other notable reissues include the waves of fuzzy shoegaze nostalgia imparted to the middle bit of 2012 thanks to the My Bloody Valentine reissue tsunami, the continuation of the very long overdue reissue of Canada's working man's maritime-folk troubadour Stan Rogers' back catalogue (what began last year) and the release of Nippon Guitars -- a killer comp ofering an overview of the life and work of Japan's godfather of surf guitar, Takeshi Terauchi. It's so good we can't even play it in the store on a busy without selling out by the end of track three.

speaking of compilations...

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Os Mutantes Live At Amoeba Hollywood 9/8/09

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 13, 2009 02:56am | Post a Comment

With every Brazilian Independence Day (Sept. 7th) usually comes a plethora of great Brazilian music to Los Angeles. Still, it was a shock to see Os Mutantes on the Amoeba instore calendar when it was posted back in August. I’m sure it was more of a coincidence than something planned, but In the back of my mind I thought, “How cool is that!?” To say that I’m a fan of Os Mutantes is an understatement; in fact, it's probably one of the few groups that most Amoeba employees with all our collective vast tastes in music can agree upon. Since their reunion, or rather, their resurgence back in 2006, I have managed to miss all their shows in Los Angeles due to plain old bad timing. At last, I would finally see the band that was the gateway for me and so many others to discovering Brazilian music.

In the early nineties, I read an article on Os Mutantes. They were referred to as “The Brazilian Beatles,” but that is not what drew me to them. It was that they, along with the other Tropicalistas Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso and Tom Zé were radicals and into taking all influences, whether they was Brazilian, European, Avant-garde or folk music, and putting them all together. Mutantes were the easiest to digest because they had much in common with other Psychedelic groups of that era, but after listening to them on a continuous basis, I started to notice their musicianship and songwriting was much more advanced than most groups of that time. They were the best of the Avant-garde rock bands because they could swing better than any of them. I remembering going to a record store and buying all their import CDs that I could find. From there I got into Caetano, Gilberto Gil, Tom Ze and soon started to venture out into other non-Tropicalia artist such as Milton Nascimento and Jorge Ben. From then on, the doors of Brazilian music became wide open. My discovery of Brazilian music from Jobim to Funk Carioca is due in part to Os Mutantes.

So, with much anticipation, I waited for their instore performance. Since the reformation of the group, Sergio Dias remains the only original member left. Singer Rita Lee never joined the reunion and Arnaldo Baptista, keyboardist and Sergio’s brother, left a year after the reunion in 2006. Long time drummer Dinho Leme remained in the group with a cast of new players, all which played on the newly released Haih Or Amortecedor CD. The band started show with "Tecnicolor," from the album of the same name. It's not one of their most known songs, as the album was recorded in 1971 and not released until 2001; it caught most of the audience off guard. After that they launched into several of the songs from the new album. I saw lots of confused faces and perhaps some disappointed ones that they were not the band of 1968; however, their new material they played from Haih Or Amortecedor is as adventurous as the music they put out over forty years ago. Einstein said it best many years ago, that “energy is never lost, it’s only transferred.” The new Mutantes forge forward as they always done. To go backwards would be anti-everything the band ever stood for and I commend them on that.

However, when they did play the older songs, they just blew me away. When they launched into "Ando Meio Desligado" from A Divina Comédia, I nearly flipped. I was instantly reminded of that feeling of hearing them for the first time. How I listened to them repeatedly at work, in my car and at home. I've never looked at music the same way since.

Another thing I loved about the group was the sheer joy they were experiencing on stage. I've never seen a band smile as much as them. In an era of young bands with much posturing and posing, Os Mutantes' live show was a breath of fresh air in the smoke-filled Los Angeles skyline.

For more pictures from the instore, click here!