Amoeblog

The Art Of The LP Cover- Tile, Tubs & Toilets II

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 17, 2012 10:15pm | Post a Comment

Check out my 1st round of bathroom themed covers from 2009, click here.

(Wherein Spring Fever takes over the jukebox.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 28, 2011 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Well my little dreamlets, we’re ten days into Spring, and it’s already clear to me what music is going to carry me through into Summer – it’s all about synthetics. Synthpop, that is, of the late 70’s and early 80’s variety.

This amuses me, because for much of my life I detested a lot of the music I’m going to celebrate here. A lot of the hatred stemmed from being so unhappy in the 1980’s; by association, the music “sounded” like unhappiness. Think of it this way: When was the last time you were taking a shower and felt like listening to the soundtrack to Psycho? Exactly.

Some say that synthpop began when Giorgio Moroder teamed up with Donna Summer and created the hit single "I Feel Love." Calling this the “start” of synthpop is convenient, but an over-simplification, because so much came before that informed it. What can be said is that the song was influential, both in terms of inspiring artists who would go on to develop the synthpop genre, and give mainstream audiences a taste for it.

What follows are some synthpop songs that bring me joy. Many can be claimed by other sub-genres of music, but they're all related. Some are guilty pleasures – the sonic equivalent to a Snickers bar, in that they are bad for me, but make me feel great for the duration I’m imbibing – and others I stand by as solid accomplishments. I’m also putting a spell on them: listening to these songs will make you feel a little ticklish in the deepest part of your brain, which will result in your not hating your fellow man as much (even though they totally deserve your hate). Enjoy!

Continue reading...

(In which we consider Vince Clarke.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 22, 2008 10:49am | Post a Comment

Vince Clarke, worshiping in his own way.

Oh! Something I meant to tell you: The other day I was talking on the phone to Vince Clarke about Yazoo (or Yaz, for those few of you who live in the quaint li’l province of The United States of America). He’s on tour right now with the indomitable Alison Moyet. For those of us who discovered the two, flawless Yaz albums in youth and remained loyal to the duo long after they weren’t to each other, this reunion tour is nothing short of a miracle.

Corey and I saw them perform recently and I’m telling you now, kids – find out when they’re playing near you, buy your tickets fast and GO! I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a concert more.



Because I signed away all legal rights (I wasn’t using them anyhow) I can’t post my chat with Mr. Clarke on the Amoeblog, but you can read it by clicking on the sentence below:

This sentence serves no purpose other than providing a convenient link upon which you may click with your (rather dirty and in need of cleaning) mouse.

In other news, a bunch of we Amoebites went to the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night to see Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Feist, but I’m not going to report on it until Logan sends me the [insert cuss word here] pictures.

So, what does this blog entry have to offer you besides promises of reports elsewhere available?

Well… um… how about this?



No, but that’s not good enough. Last I checked, Amoeba Music isn’t selling baked goods (although there’s rumors that we might replace our Freestyle section with a smoothie stand).

My mind is still with Vince Clarke. He’s brilliant. My favorite Depeche Mode album is their debut, Speak & Spell, for which he did the music.



He then quit the band and formed Yazoo, which (sadly) only produced two albums: Upstairs at Eric’s (Eric being E.C. Radcliffe, one of the producers) and You and Me Both, which has the distinction of having my favorite cover album art of all time (at least, I think so – don’t hold me to that).


From 1983 to 1985, Mr. Clarke formed The Assembly, which was more a project than a group. The concept was that Clarke would write music that different vocalists would sing for. Very little output came out of this, though it did produce one UK hit, “Never Never.”



After that came Erasure. I remember, in high school, being backstage at our production of Camelot in which I played Tom of Warwick (which meant I spent two hours backstage and, at the finale, running on stage dressed like a cross between Gidget and Bea Arthur and screaming precociously to King Arthur). One of the techies, a pretty girl named Star, was listening to her Walkman. I asked if I could hear her music and she offered it to me. It was their album Wild! and I thought it was keen, but for whatever reason I could not manage the name Erasure.

“It’s Erasure,” she informed me.

“A razor?” I asked.

“No, Erasure,” she said again, unjustifiably annoyed and taking the Walkman back. But I still didn’t hear correctly and for the next year I thought my new favorite band was called Your Asia. Which isn’t a bad name for a band, actually. Any of you readers who’ve recently formed a music group but not yet decided on a name, might I suggest you call yourselves Your Asia? It’s yours for free, but please do give me props in your “special thanks” section.

It’s rare these days to find anyone outside the GLBT community who’s willing to take Erasure seriously, which is a shame. Their lyrics are unabashedly vulnerable and romantic, and certainly go against the grain of what we collectively signed onto when we looked to the Seattle grunge scene to determine what was proper etiquette for cool.


The in sound from way out.

I’m no exception. At a certain point I decided they were “too” something and stopped listening, but recently I’ve been re-investigating their catalogue and secretly enjoying them. I’m still sometimes embarrassed by Andy Bell’s gushing, emotive vocals, but their ability to craft a catchy pop song is undeniable. They rival ABBA in their understanding of what makes a song stick in your head happily. Someday, when you’re not feeling so cynical, you should give them another chance.

Of course, enough time has passed for even you hard-hearted Hannahs to enjoy their 80’s catalogue. If nothing else, you can shield yourself in the cloak of irony which is so fashionable these days. (Just be certain to accessorize appropriately.) And if anyone gives you grief for rocking out to some Erasure, just point out the ridiculous amount of Journey in their iPod and tell them to feck right off.
 

out today 7/8...yaz!!!

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 10, 2008 02:05pm | Post a Comment

I still remember the first time that I ever heard Yaz. My cousin was driving me and my brother back home from my grandparents' house. It was 1982 and I was 8 years old. She was playing the Upstairs at Eric's cassette on her tape player. I immediately fell in love with the album even though I had never heard of them before. I had to ask her what it was. Luckily I was only 8 years old and didn't yet get embarrassed about not knowing the name of a band. I think I made my mom buy it for me as soon as I could find it. I really wasn't old enough to have seen them in concert anyway, but they never\ came to the U.S. for a tour anyway. Yaz put out a second album, You and Me Both, in 1983. They broke up before they even had a chance to tour the UK with that album, so the world has really been waiting 25 years for this reunion! A couple years later I became a huge fan of both Depeche Mode and Erasure. I soon realized that Vince Clark was in all these bands and he quickly became one of my musical heroes. Not only did he help to create Depeche Mode and their debut album Speak \and Spell, but he also went on to help create all of the Erasure albums with Andy Bell. I will go so far as to say that the world of new wave and electronic dance music might be a bit different if it were not for Vince Clark. He influenced tons of Industrial and electronica artists, even if they may not want to admit it. 

So the rumors are true. No, Alison Moyet is not a man...although a couple of my friends did have me convinced that at one point she was. But it is true: Yaz has reunited! Yazoo, if you live in England. They just played a show at the Paramount in Oakland which I most definitely would have been at if I still lived there. I love that theater and it is the perfect place to see them. I will be seeing them tonight at the Orpheum in Los Angeles, which is just as great. I really can't wait. 25 years of anticipation. I am also curious to see the crowd. I imagine that I will be one of the youngest there. I expect a mostly mid to late 30s and early 40s crowd, but maybe a whole new generation of younger people will be there. I hope so. In celebration of their reunion, Mute has just released an amazing Yaz 4 disc box set. I am assuming that reissues of the single albums will soon follow. This box set includes remastered versions of both their 2 solo albums. It also includes a disc or remixes and b-sides. The 4th disc is a DVD that includes a new short film with interviews with both Alison Moyet and Vince Clark. It also includes videos for "Don't Go," "The Other Side of Love," "Situation," "Nobody's Diary" and "Only You." I am excited to see the videos. I seriously can't even remember any of these videos.

Both Yaz albums have been a part of my life since they first came out. Even after 25 years, they still remain fantastic albums. They don't even sound outdated at this point, at least to me. I still know all the words to all the songs. And they remain albums that I own on cassette, CD, and vinyl. With this new box set I now own these albums in 4 different formats-- 5 if you count the digital files that I have of both of them. But I need all these formats just for the memories attached to them. I also just got a car so I now have a reason to listen to the cassettes again. This is how I first heard these albums so it is only appropriate to listen to them this way again. I still also remember hearing their song "Situation" used in the 1990 TV movie Exile. I remember being so excited to hear the song used in the movie. This was before I became cynical about hearing the same 80s songs used in movies over and over again. I guess it is a different situation when talking about actual movies in the 80s using songs from the 80s. And we all know that 1990 was still really part of the 80s. Exile was way before Lost, but I think show like Lost might owe something to this movie. It starred Corey Feldman and Kiersten Warren. It was sort of like the D-list brat pack. It was about a group of teens on a study abroad program that crash on an island. They are forced to live off the island in "exile." I was obsessed with Lord of the Flies and Swiss Family Robinson as a kid, so I already had a great "lost on an island" fantasy. This movie just helped develop it. Unfortunately Exile is not yet out on DVD, but for all you Corey Feldman fans out there, Lost Boys 2: The Tribe is coming straight to DVD on July 29th.

Just in case you forgot, Upstairs at Eric's includes the songs "Situation" and "Don't Go." It was sort of hard to avoid these songs in the 80's, but I never got sick of them. They were for sure picked up by alternative radio in the U.S. but were also played all over the clubs. I love this whole album. The album also includes "In My Room," "Too Pieces," "Bad Connection," "Midnight," "Goodbye Seventies," "Winter Kills," and "Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)." It also includes the tearjerker "Only You." Like "Somebody" by Depeche Mode, this was the song that all the girls absolutely loved -- which of course included me as well. "Only You" remains one of my favorite songs of all time. I know some people think of the new wave songs of the 80's as a period in music that should be forgotten. It is sometimes thought of as music that is sterile and mechanical. Still, this music had such a deep effect on me and many others. Even though the music was all very electronic and futuristic, it somehow spoke to me and helped me develop my feelings about myself and life. I do love my new wave. And the 80s would not have been the same without some Yaz. I am just so glad that they have decided to give back to their fans and finally come to share their live show with us.


also out today...






Skeleton by Abe Vigoda











Modern Guilt by Beck











Como Te Llama by Albert Hammond Jr.











Nude with Boots by The Melvins











Turn by Alison Moyet











LP3 by Ratatat











Coral Sea by Patti Smith and Kevin Shields