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I'm Gonna Meet You on the Astral Plane

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 31, 2019 04:00pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


Astral projection, also called astral travel, is a term used in esotericism to explain an intentional out-of-body experience. In some far away tribes, men would use these abilities to fly over the jungle forests to look for the perfect tree to chop down to carve into a canoe. For me, I wanted to revisit the Mark Twain Saloon in Virginia City to see the paintings on the walls again, but my jalopy truck broke down before the trip, so that night I laid in my bed and let my spirit travel the astral plane over the state line. Folks, with practice, this is the cheapest way to take a vacation.

Perhaps the most famous song about traveling the astral plane is..."Astral Plane" on The Modern Lovers first album, which came out in 1976. And those who love the dreamy, soft voice of Valerie June from Memphis have probably heard her sing of dancing on the astral plane. But let's get more freaky with the 1970 song with the same title by the acid folk band Influenza.



In fact, in music, books, movies, and comics of the 1970s to early '80s, astral projection was the talk of the town...if you lived in a weird town. My Uncle Fred who lives down in Mexico practices astral projection. I'll never forget my aunt once asking him what he looked forward to doing when he got home after a family visit and he said, "Oh, just leaving my body and going where I wanna go."

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The Best "What's In My Bag?" Episodes of 2018

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2018 11:28am | Post a Comment

The Best "What's In My Bag?" Episodes of 2018

Season 11 of What's In My Bag? kicked into high gear with an episode featuring the lively sister trio HAIM and we kept right on going into this past week when we spoke with legendary record producer Tony Visconti and artist Daphne Guinness. We had so much fun this season and, as always, learned a ton from our guests.

Here are our 10 favorite episodes from season 11. Enjoy and thanks for watching!!

 

Death From Above

Sebastien Grainger went on a whirlwind shopping trip through our Hollywood store taking pride in his Canadian countrymen, including the likes of Leonard Cohen and Glenn Gould, and waxing poetic about the kinds of artists whose greatness elevates them to a plane of existence that can only be defined as alien.

 

Valerie June

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and native Tennessean Valerie June picked up some classic records by artists from her home state, including Big Star, Otis Clay, and Patsy Cline. Another important theme for Valerie was spiritual music and she talked about the power of listening to the Grateful Dead and Alice Coltrane. We couldn't help but be charmed by Ms. June and her eclectic, earnest picks.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Valerie June

Posted by Amoebite, September 10, 2018 06:36pm | Post a Comment

Valerie June - What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

We were delighted to have singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Valerie June visit Amoeba San Francisco for a What's In My Bag? episode. A native Tennessean, June found some classic records by artists from her home state, including Big Star. "They say sometimes that music coming out of Memphis can only make it so far," she told us, "and that story kind of became a thing with them. To me they're (as) big as The Beatles." Not only does she feel connected to the music, but she also has recorded at Ardent Studios, where Big Star recorded some of their most beloved tracks. June had much to say about all of her eclectic choices, making for an insightful and sincere video. 

Valerie June began her music career at the age of nineteen. Based in Memphis, she first attracted attention through her solo work, which draws on elements of gospel, Americana, blues, folk, soul, Valerie June - The Order Of Timecountry, and bluegrass. In 2010, she recorded the Valerie June and the Tennessee Express EP with the help of Old Crow Medicine Show. She launched a Kickstarter to fund the album that would become her breakthrough, 2013's Pushin' Against a Stone. The LP was recorded with assistance from The Black KeysDan Auerbach and record producer Kevin Augunas.  

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Billy Bragg & Wayne Kramer

Posted by Amoebite, January 7, 2014 04:32pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg

In the world of politically charged rock and roll, Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer are iconic in their own right. The two musician/activists came together in 2009 to form Jail Guitar Doors, a non-profit organization that provides musical instruments and opportunities to help rehabilitate prisoners. Their name comes from a 1977 song by The Clash called "Jail Guitar Doors," which detailed the imprisonment of their hero, the MC5's Wayne Kramer.

Mr. Bragg and Mr. Kramer recently brought their Jail Guitar Doors show to Amoeba Hollywood. For their charity work, the two were presented with a certificate of recognition from the city of Los Angeles. Needless to say, they rocked the house. After their performance, the two sat down with our crew for another episode of What's In My Bag?.

Billy Bragg kicks off his "shit you can't find in England" list with Valerie June's Pushin' Against A Stone and Neko Case's The Worst Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. Kramer picks up some Jazz with Grant Green's Grantstand record and drops a fun fact about Grant's love for the classic B3 organ. The two have some great picks from Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Vol. 10  to soulstress Merry Clayton's Best Of compilation to Cliff Martinez's Only God Forgives soundtrack. These are two cool guys, who on their own would have entertaining episodes, but we were lucky enough to get them together, making it a must see for any fan. Enjoy! 

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Show Recap: Valerie June Live at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 20, 2013 06:09pm | Post a Comment

Valerie June started her Sept. 19 set at Amoeba Hollywood with little fanfare, playing guitar steadily and humming hypnotically to a stripped-down version of the title track to Pushin' Against a Stone (on CD or LP), the title track to her fourth and breakthrough album. On record, it's a fuzz-guitar laden soul number; live, June appeared solo, strumming her guitar and allowing her voice to grow slowly over time, moving from low and earthy to high and keening like Joanna Newsom's. "I ain't fit to be no mother" she sang on "Workin' Woman Blues," the album's awesome opener. Though her playing style was rudimentary, she got her point across, playing rough blues riffs and strumming open notes for a droning effect.

Even with a big name producer on her album like The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Valerie June isn't an artist who's been polished to a professional sheen. She still came off as an eccentric, saying little and hiding behind sunglasses. While she sometimes played furiously and sang her heart out, it seemed as though she was playing to herself, alone in a room—something that didn't hurt her performance, but rather made it all the more curious.

She strummed a banjo for the stunning "Somebody to Love," really belting and letting her voice break deliberately on the high notes, making the song's yearning sentiment quite literally felt. Soundwise it was tricky—her voice goes from a whisper to a yelp so quickly that she was sometimes barely audible, sometimes piercing. This wasn't exactly the kind of performance you could listen to idly; June demands your attention, which she received to rapturous applause on that song.

She pulled out an older song, the sweet "Rain Dance," and added country shuffle to the song by playing a tambourine with her foot. She showed some chops on banjo on another song, building a drone from a repeated riff that ebbed louder and quieter along with her voice.

"Everybody's got great hair around here," she joked, adding that often touch her dreadlocked mane "like a puppy dog." "As long as your hands are clean, I don't care," she said before playing her last song, a Loretta Lynn-esque number and one of her loveliest, with hard-hitting lyrics—"men are born strong, then broken down," she sang.

See more photos from the event here.

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