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Browse this week's new music releases on CD, LP, download and more.

Culture Collide Contest

Win tickets to the Culture Collide Festival in San Francisco Oct 14-15 or LA Oct 16-18.

New Aphex Twin Download

Download “Syro,” the first new album by Richard D. James in 13 years, in MP3, M4A or WAV.

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Music We Like Contest

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Life is Beautiful Contest

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Amoeba’s Blue Note Pop-Up Shop at Sonos Studio in LA

Visit our new pop-up shop featuring vinyl from Blue Note Records at Sonos Studio in LA Wed-Sun 12-6pm thru Oct 24. View

Cassette Store Day Sept. 27

Shop special cassette releases at our stores on Sat 9/27 for Cassette Store Day! View

Mary Lambert Live in San Francisco September 27

Singer, songwriter & spoken word artist Mary Lambert performs at the Nourse Theater in SF 9/27, part of CIIS Public Programs & Performances. View

Bay Area Record Fair September 27

Come record digging at the free Bay Area Record Fair Saturday 9/27 12-5pm at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. View

Headline: Edward Colver Photo Exhibit in LA Sept 20 – Nov 22

We’re sponsoring this exhibit of punk and hardcore greats 1978-1984 at Lethal Amounts in downtown LA. View

Jazz at LACMA

Amoeba teams up with the LA County Museum of Art for a series of free jazz concerts every Friday night through November. View

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Live at Amoeba

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Check out 7 Seconds frontman Kevin Seconds play a great acoustic set of songs from his recent solo album. Off Stockton. 

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Music We Like

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This Is My Hand (CD)

My Brightest Diamond

Onetime Sufjan Stevens collaborator and now a formidable art-pop songstress in her own right, My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) pushes her songs further into accessibility with  This Is My Hand . The sound of the record finds Worden singing over playful orchestrations, wielding her operatically trained voice slowly like a great and powerful weapon. “Pressure” begins with a drumline cadence and marching band horns, drawing soul out of her sometimes austere vocals and layering them over the song’s sexy strut “Before the Words’” huge, propulsive drum beat and jazzy bassline pair nicely with her hauntingly cooed vocals. Though she mines gold at playing the witchy vamp, it’s great, too, when she climbs out of her shell. “I am a lover and a killer” she sings with growing ferocity over a muscular groove on “Lover Killer,” finding inspiration in Prince and kinship in St. Vincent. “This is what love feels like!” she sings before unleashing a desperate wolf cry in “I Am Not the Bad Guy,” with a throbbing menace reminiscent of Radiohead, or a more friskier version of  Third -era Portishead. Tracks with more open space, like “Looking at the Sun,” offer a chance for her divaesque vocals to come through beautifully, even as her words are foreboding (“wrestling with a double mine like two horses pulling both sides,” she sings creepily over Disney-level orchestration). “You never know minute to minute where I’m going” she sings tantalizingly on “Shape.” True. But that’s what makes listening to  This Is My Hand  so thrilling.

At Best Cuckold (CD)

Avi Buffalo

Long Beach’s Avi Buffalo graduates to the big leagues with  At Best Cuckold . Opening track “So What” reveals gleaming guitars and casual brattiness that shows Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg and his band cleaning up some of the psych clutter from their great debut record in favor of a streamlined sound, but they’re still weirdos at heart. Serpentine lullaby “Memories of You” softly jangles with country-rock guitars, proggy touches and funny lyrics like “bitch I’m on fire…I’m a cheeseball on fire.” It speaks to the band’s ability to reference classic bands while putting out their own vibe. It’s hard to pull off a “Here Comes a Regular”-style vulnerable acoustic-guitar song like “Two Cherished Understand,” and Avi Buffalo does it by keeping it short, sweet and ultimately unique. Part of that uniqueness comes from Zahner-Isenberg’s way with a non sequitur—“I ran over two dogs, then I ate them after,” he admits amid a fizzy Western backdrop on “Think It’s Gonna Happen Again.” And he gives the best breakup line of the year on “Oxygen Tank,” singing, “A man carrying an oxygen tank is gonna come kill me and my family too if I don’t stop seeing you.” The Flaming Lips comparison still haunts them a bit, yet these songs have personality for days, so who cares, ultimately. “These birds seem so fucking free/they're nothing compared to me” Zahner-Isenberg sings faux-sweetly on “Overwhelmed With Pride,” and it’s tough not to believe him.

Human Voice (CD)

Dntel

Dntel, solo producer by the name of Jimmy Tamborello has long been creating soundscapes for others to put their human voice over. With  Human Voice  Tamborello has refused listeners the rights to their own language. Instead, he has created a world where connection is fleeting, melody is deconstructed, and all “voices” mechanized. An interesting proposition when the bulk of your listeners associate your music with Death Cab For Cutie’s emotive crooner Ben Gibbard. Nevertheless, the gambit pays off. Amidst the bits and grids of  Human Voice , the mechanized voices morph through layered synths and staccato beats from the unintelligible to a distinct melodic pattern and back again. After 8 tracks It gives the listener the feeling of having communicated with a being not unlike a robot Ben Gibbard.

Tribal (CD)

Imelda May

The overall brassiness of rockabilly lends itself very well to Dublin’s Imelda May. It is always a dicey proposition to attempt to reclaim a genre of a bygone era. Luckily Imelda May seems to have good intentions. Well, maybe not good intentions…but this is no cheesy throwback or retro cash grab. On her fourth record,  Tribal , May seems to have perfected her blend of contemporary rockabilly, new wave and straight-ahead bad-ass pop. The dozen tunes written by May and her husband (and guitarist) Darrel Higman swing from genre to genre with ease. From the high octane "Tribal" to the dreamy '50s malt shop inspired "Little Pixie" to the downright sleazy blues of "Wicked Way," this effortless cohesion is maintained solely by Imelda’s rockabilly sensibilities. All of which leads the listener to get a sense of the importance of the tribe to which she is referring.

Another Language (CD)

This Will Destroy You

On This Will Destroy You’s third album, the Texas band continues to refine its sound while delivering explosive post-rock tunes. “New Topia” is austere and atmospheric, until Jeremy Galindo and Chris King’s guitars erupt into heavily effected pyrotechnics, while Donovan Jones drilling bassline and Alex Bhore’s bashing cymbals drive the song downward so it’s grounded to the core. “Serpent Mound” follows suit, its synth and piano tones and guitar noises floating without a beat for half the song before the song’s sonorous second half lurches foraward—the effect is like a peaceful deep-ocean dive that turns up a mammoth sea beast. Thankfully, TWDY don’t rely on this exact dynamic too much— Another Language  works because its songs move like waves, uneven and unexpected in their swells of sound, as the seven-minute “War Prayer” holds you rapt with its builds and releases. Though they don’t quite break the post-rock mold, TWDY mine such power out of the formula that you won’t really care—and when they try, as on the marching, easily digestible “Invitation,” you find yourself trusting that this is a band that knows what works and what doesn’t. With their searing, beautiful guitars and rippling drums, This Will Destroy You make you feel like you’re floating and seeing the earth pass beneath you.  Another Language  is a fantastic post-rock trip.

This Is All Yours (CD)

Alt-J

With a sophomore record, there tends to be quite a bit at stake. All too often an act tries in vain to access the same immediacy and power that they were able to flaunt in their first release. Not to mention how much time and energy a band has had to craft their first etchings into popular consciousness. A second record is somewhat of a second chance these days to prove that you can still do that thing people liked, or at least fake it. English Indie rockers Alt-J are clearly an exception. Their second effort,  This Is All Yours , is an example of a band using their second chance as a “give ‘em an inch, take a mile” credo. Coming off the commercial success of  An Awesome Wave  the now trio is taking some chances with their already defined sound.  This Is All Yours  blends similar electronics and harmonies from the first record with sound collage ("Every Other Freckle"), folk ballads ("Choice Kingdom"), so-cal funk ("Left Hand Free"), and even a Miley Cyrus Sample ("Hunger of the Pine"). An Innovative leap from a band that otherwise could have left well alone.

The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over (DVD)

The Dave Clark Five

Features rare footage of the band plus newly filmed interviews with Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and more, along with Tom Hanks’ speech at the band’s induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Commune (CD)

Goat

The second studio record by this Swedish based Avant-Collective whose cult-like presence and mysticism indicate that the band has been operating in a far off land for the last 30 to 40 years. Their first album,  World Music , filled with fiery jams and afro dance grooves, seemed to journey through space and time, sending the listener traveling the vistas of the world in the acid wash past of the '60s.  Commune ,   by comparison, transcends space and time. The opening tribal gongs of "Talk To God" create a sense of some sacred initiation. As the gong fades the eastern guitars and hypnotic percussion tumble you forward. It isn’t until the jarring gnarl of the other worldly chant hits your bones that you notice you are part of the ceremony. Meditative pace lulls you into a thirty minute hazy trance. All at once, swept up in the dance, you conjure memories of icy Swedish witch burning ceremonies. Your primal communing of all other beings talking to god. Your God. You chant “INTO THE FIRE! INTO THE FIRE!” A gong rings. The memory fades. You have been converted.

Ices (CD)

Lia Ices

Singer/songwriter Lia Ices creates a virtual tapestry of sultry vocals, worldbeat touches and languid synthesizers on her third album. Tracks like “Tell Me” bounce on digitally smudged loops of eclectic noise and clashing percussion, while Ices’ voice chirps and coos above. Loose acoustic guitars jangle and imitate sitars on “Thousand Eyes” while Ices sings casually, vocals dripping with reverb. It’s a voice and style that recalls Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser, especially on the sublime dream-pop of “Love Ices Over.” Occasionally she drowns herself out in reverb (which usually sounds great, but also muffles a voice this soulful), and her singsongy vocals all but shake you into submission on songs like “Higher.”  Ices  is better the more it chills out—a song like the “Electric Arc” builds majestically and doesn’t ask much of you but delivers in spades and leaves its primal, exotic melodies swimming in your head. Fascinating in its construction without ever coming across as academic,  Ices  is addictively fun art-pop.

Adrian Thaws (CD)

Tricky

Trip-hop pioneer Tricky returns with his 11th studio release,  Adrian Thaws,  named after his given name. “Calling it Adrian Thaws is saying you don’t really know me,” says the artist. “So many times people have tried to put a finger on me and every album I go to a different place.” There is some real truth there. Where other artists often opt for the latest trends, Tricky has always managed to create something new without losing himself.  Adrian Thaws  is no exception. With contributions from Mykki Bianco, Bella Gotti, Tirzah, and Francesca Belmonte, the tracks here range from dark soul to experimental hip-hop to dreamy soundscapes, all combined with Tricky’s inventive production. The result is a darkly sexy and atmospheric sonic jewel.

El Pintor (CD)

Interpol

It’s great to be able to say with confidence that  El Pintor  is Interpol’s return to form. One of the early aughts’ brightest bands, Interpol’s past couple of releases found the band slipping a bit. Not so with the stirring  El Pintor , which roars out of the gates with “All the Rage Back Home,” which at first sounds like  Antics ’ stately opener, “Next Exit,” cool and atmospheric before going for it with one of their best galloping post-punk jams in ages. Similarly, standout “Ancient Ways” lets Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler spraypaint surging shoegaze guitars all over the place while Sam Fogarino keeps the swaying song afloat. The trio gets sultry for “My Desire,” masterfully layering guitars and weary vocals over Fogarino’s pulsating backbeat. “Same Town New Story” wraps a  Mad Men  episode’s worth of ennui and despair around its buoyant, jazzy riffs. That all may sound like familiar territory, and it largely is, but the quality of the songs here more than makes up for a lack of expansion in Interpol’s sound. And when they do go beyond the dour, fitful post-punk they’re known for, the results can be equally stunning, as when singer Paul Banks rises above his dark croon into a surprisingly effective falsetto on the goth Beach Boys-style “My Blue Supreme” and cathartic pop-rock of “Everything Is Wrong.” Interpol, how we’ve missed you.

Too Bright (CD)

Perfume Genius

Aptly named third album from Seattle based Mike Hadreas. With his previous output Hadreas had depended heavily on his lyrical prowess to shine through his sparse piano compositions. With tracks like “Queen” and “My Body” the lyrical dependence of dealing with his place in society as a gay man remains, but the self-effacing and fearful panic is barely contained. Instead, it is let out in focused evanescent bursts. Aided by the production of Portishead’s Adrian Utley,  Too Bright  is a perfect example of an artist catching up with his thoughts and being able to express his deeper feelings through his craft.

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The 80's wouldn't have been the 80's without the Synclavier digital synthesizer, originally developed at Dartmouth College. This record, demonstrating some of the possibilities and features of the then-new Synclavier II...