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

Download New Mikal Cronin

“MCIII,” the third album from Mikal Cronin features lush arrangements & deeply personal lyrics.

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Amoeba + Converse Exhibit in Hollywood April 30 – May 6

Join us for an exhibit featuring custom Chuck Taylors by musicians including Patti Smith & our own Marc Weinstein, one week only at Project Gallery. View

SF International Film Festival

Amoeba sponsors films about Cibo Matto, Brian Wilson, and The Residents during the San Francisco International Film Festival April 23 – May 7. View

See Gurrumul Live in Los Angeles 5/6

Amoeba presents Aboriginal folk singer Gurrumul at the El Rey Theatre Wednesday, May 6. Tickets on sale now at Amoeba Hollywood. View

Midnites for Maniacs Tribute to Penelope Spheeris in SF

Join us for a triple feature of Penelope Spheeris films and a Q&A with the director in San Francisco Friday, May 8 at Castro Theatre. View

Yuna Performs in San Francisco May 9

Malaysian singer/songwriter Yuna performs at SF’s Nourse Theater Saturday, 5/9 for CIIS Public Programs & Performances. View

Tickets For Sale at Amoeba Hollywood

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Shooter Jennings covers Dylan and Waylon in a short Amoeba set while paying tribute to his hero, George Jones with an orignial number from...

Belgian pop superstar, Paul van Haven (AKA Stromae) spoke with us about his musical...

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Harvest Of Gold (CD)

Gossling

Australia's Gossling (aka Helen Croome) presents a debut LP with lush textures and vocal hooks that deftly weaves complex emotional themes throughout. The gorgeous pop songcraft has already garnered much notice.

How Do You Feel Now? (CD)

Joywave

Aptly named Joywave are leading the charge of a genre-less, pretentious-less, alternative pop era. The sound lies somewhere between the unapologetic body shaking of Hot Chip and the cinematic appeal of Bleachers, the latter being current tour-mates. The appeal of Joywave however is the outright denial of the placeholder conformism of such comparisons. Case in point they have wryly claimed their music is a mash up of Pitbull and Coldplay. After receiving critical acclaim from underground mixtapes, culminating in a feature spot on Big Data’s hit single "Dangerous," Joywave found an audience. They dropped the  How Do You Feel  EP a year later to an outpour of media attention. Several months and a couple of viral music videos later, the boys from Rochester are back to ask  How Do You Feel Now?  The album continues in the same vein of the EP. In fact, all four tracks remain on the album including the danceable savage single “Tongues.” Curveballs include the Generation Y dirge “Traveling at the Speed of Light” and the robotic hip-hoperatic closer “Bad Dreams.” Exploration aside, the pop spirit of  How Do You Feel Now?  is what drives the record and the group itself. That spirit, akin to the joyful ecstatic hum of a young festivalgoer’s experience awaiting climax. That is what Joywave has to offer. And there is no doubt that, with the release of this record, they will soon provide said festivalgoer with one hell of a payoff.

Rebel Heart (CD)

Madonna

Faithful Madonna followers, rejoice.  Rebel Heart  is the return to form we were hoping for. It’s a classic Madonna album that keeps up with modern trends without chasing them in the way  MDNA  did, calling to mind  Like a Prayer -era Madonna in the way it commands the dance floor. “Living For Love” is her best single in years, as Madonna delivers a confident lead vocal over a gospel-infused Diplo house production. On powerhouse “Iconic,” Madonna steps into the ring with a Mike Tyson intro and delivers some inspiring lines that move into a huge chorus of pounding beats and funhouse synths. She still courts controversy, of course. “Devil Pray” sees Madonna reciting a laundry list of intoxicants. “Illuminati” has her turning a favorite hip-hop subject into a nasty club banger that calls out everyone from Lady Gaga to Oprah. “Unapologetic Bitch” takes its vocal cues from Beyonce and M.I.A. and sees her delivering kiss-off lyrics over swaying dubstep that can’t help but read as missives to ex-husband Guy Ritchie (“You never knew how much you loved me ‘til you lost me, did you?”). It doesn’t always work—Nicki Minaj barely saves the jarring “Bitch I’m Madonna”—and there are some throwaways here and there that could’ve been trimmed for length. But it’s great to hear her being a firebrand once again, experimenting and trying different things out. With  Rebel Heart , Madonna proves that musically speaking, she’ll never go gentle into that good night—she’d rather flip us off, have a good laugh and entertain us all the while.

Wilder Mind (CD)

Mumford & Sons

Recreating yourself isn’t easy when you’re one of the biggest bands on the planet. But  Wilder Mind  sees Mumford & Sons successfully shift from “Civil War”-style folk rock to a more wide-reaching rock sound boosted by synthesizers and light orchestration. It’s a similar feat that Kings of Leon pulled when it added ’80s guitars to its Southern Rock or how Killers looked to Springsteen for inspiration. Songs like “Tomkins Square Park” and the title track offer spacious grooves for Marcus Mumford’s never-better vocals to emote over, while “The Wolf” goes full throttle with huge, crunching guitars. Touches of synthesizer wriggle their way into songs like “Snake Eyes,” which moves from a spare, heartfelt opening into a swift gallop. Mumford’s voice sounds wearier (and better) than it did on 2012’s  Babel , which suits his lovelorn lyrics well, and he’s learned how to rein it in for maximum impact on tracks like the anthemic “Believe,” giving Bon Iver a run for his money. Not all Mumford & Sons fans will like the changes the band have made, but in doing so, Mumford & Sons have proved themselves to be a better, more interesting band than their detractors have given them credit for, risking it all for a more layered, produced sound when they really didn’t have to. For those who miss the old style, the album’s second half offers folksier tunes like the lovely “Cold Arms.” With  Wilder Mind , Mumford & Sons have gotten wilder indeed, and they’re all the better for it.

Untethered Moon (CD)

Built To Spill

If you thought Built to Spill’s first album in six years would be some somber collection reflecting the band’s elder statesman status, think again.  Untethered Moon  roars right out of the gate, on “All Our Songs.” Doug Martsch lives up to his indie guitar hero mythos with fluttering space cowboy licks and cosmic solos, singing lines in a creeping whisper that could be self-deprecating or sarcastic, but it’s tough not to feel a thrill when he sings, “rock and roll will be here forever.” “New Zoo” builds on that momentum, as new guns Steve Gere (drums) and Jason Albertini (bass) prove their meddle with a steadily building groove over which Martsch drapes intricate guitar lacework, opening up into an R.E.M.-inspired melody. There’s a sense of futility to Martsch’s lyrics that can be funny at times or a drag at others—one song is called “Some Other Song”—but the irony is that  Untethered Moon  brims with energy and melodic ideas (for the record, “Some Other Song” is one of the album’s catchiest tunes). However exhausting the journey may be playing with the same band for more than 20 years, it’s clearly refined Martsch’s craft to the point that  Untethered Moon  feels effortless and powerful.

Damogen Furies (CD)

Squarepusher

In 2015 the overload of the senses is rather hard to impress upon humans. As information flows freely at a breakneck pace, anesthetized youths engage in a barrage of cultural and emotional assaults on the daily. There seems to be an infinite capacity to the modern humans’ sensory intake. Enter Tom Jekinson AKA Squarepusher. IDM’s antidote to the sonically apathetic. In Damogen Furies Squarepusher has concocted a Free-Jazz inspired unity with the current sound of EDM. The unifying qualities however tend to sound more like an affable acknowledgement of the times backed with an uppercut of unpredictable drill and bass. This unpredictability is due to the spontaneous recording techniques at Jekinson’s disposal. A setup that he created on the road to imitate his home studio, which allows him to record and mix everything in one take. Once that fact comes into view the epic club banger vibe of the opener “Stor Eiglass” or the proficient build of the '80s synth-scape “Exjag Nives” all the more impressive. The bombastic spontaneity of Damogen Furies is equally as innovative as Squarepusher has known to be in the past, with a brutality that matches the current landscape. Brace yourself.

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.

Tuxedo (CD)

Tuxedo

The prolific and diverse hip-hop producer Jake One has teamed up with blue-eyed soul singer Mayer Hawthorne for a new collaboration entitled Tuxedo. Their alter egos - Aquarius (Mayer Hawthorne) and Taurus (Jake One) - are dressed up in tuxedos and presented by Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf (a man known to dress up himself) as descendants of the one-word moniker family of funk, where you will find groups such as Chic, Shalamar, Plush, and Zapp. It's a retro disco funk record that will have you busting out your own tuxedo and dusting off those dancing shoes.

III (CD)

BadBadNotGood

This trio is changing the rules on improvised instrumental music and taking jazz into the future. III is their biggest project yet, ushering in the group’s newest explorations that are proving to be limitless.

Who Is The Sender? (CD)

Bill Fay

The melody that is at the heart of Bill Fay is one of resounding hope shrouded in melancholy. His records from the '70s blend elements of baroque pop, polished canyon folk and spirituality so delicately that the melodrama is all but completely washed out. In 1971’s  Time of the Last Persecution  particularly he excavated yearning, loss, and overall faith with a such blunt edged instrument that at first listen it is merely a throwaway folk rock record. A deeper listen, however, proves it to be masterful. It is that simplicity and nuance that has earned him a following of modern songwriters such as Jim O’Rourke, Jeff Tweedy, and Nick Cave. After his critically acclaimed return,  Life Is People , in 2012, Fay releases his follow up  Who Is The Sender? . Now in his mid seventies his oft used soft-spoken execution and world weariness comes off as almost prophetic, certainly larger than life.  Who is the Sender?  is above all a meditation on expression. Who is the sender in which he (Fay) is the vessel for the message? A thought which continues to reveal layers of itself throughout the record. Tracks like “War Machine” and “Order of The Day” represent the fire and drama that Fay still has burning inside of him, but instead of expressing that anger he has transformed it into an acceptance of the inevitable. Which is by no means apathetic, he is sublime in his forcefulness. With that anger and fury comes overwhelming sadness. The sadness remains so repentantly tortuous that you can hear religion in his voice. In fact you only need to hear the title of “Bring It on Lord” to know that he has come to some sort of crossroads with his spirituality. Once you hear the spiritual message that was sent through him, you will know that Bill Fay is every bit as hopeful and human as he ever has been.

Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper (CD)

Panda Bear

The new album by Panda Bear is perhaps his most accessible yet. This is not to say the music isn’t as strange and unique as anything he’s done. “Boys Latin’s” brilliant vocal pastiche gets stuck in your head but keeps your mind swimming. “Crossword” is heartfelt and gorgeous, along the lines of Animal Collective’s “My Girls.” “Come to Your Senses” swirls with slithering, shaking sounds, but percolating guitars and synths carry strong melodies to take you through it. “Principe Real” is like Wonderland funk, bouncing on handclaps and cartoonish organs. And “Tropic of Cancer” is a Beach Boys-inspired oceanic ode that crests on beautiful harp and digital whispers. While Panda Bear’s work has always been inspiring, Grim Reaper sheds any kind of shyness present in his previous releases. It’s a beautifully made, all-embracing piece of experimental pop music, and one of the best releases of early 2015.

Sound & Color (CD)

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes’ meteoric rise thankfully hasn’t tarnished what made them special to begin with.  Sound & Color  is an assured follow-up to  Boys & Girls , further defining the band’s garage-blues sound without just relying on singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s explosive voice to carry the show. The title track features some gorgeous harmonies and orchestral touches that start the album off in a classy way. But  Sound & Color  quickly proves gritty, as Howard’s banshee wail rips open first single “Don’t Wanna Fight.” “Dunes” is a deep, weird Beatlesesque track that finds Howard struggling to maintain her identity among rising fame (this one has “fan favorite” written all over it). Although it’s pretty obvious how powerful Howard’s voice can be, it reveals new shadings across the album, vacillating between a sweet coo and penetrating cry on the celestial funk of “Future People” and curling into a wild croon and big belt on “Gimme All Your Love.” About that voice—it’s impressive for sure, and Howard and co. have figured out when and where to unleash it, marking the biggest improvement the band has made. When the band does let loose on tracks like garage burner “The Greatest,” the results are all the more sublime. It’s rare when a band can capitalize on hype without succumbing to it as Alabama Shakes have; rarer still that they can avoid the sophomore slump with such aplomb. Alabama Shakes succeed with flying colors on their second outing.  

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Highlights from this week's new releases include Best Coast, Mikal Cronin, Hiatus Kaiyote & more.

Vinyl Vaults

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Two heavy Blues sides from Charley Jordan (aka The Two Charlies) sourced from a pristine Melotone 78 from the 1930s...