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50 Essential Albums Released in 2013

Posted by Aaron Detroit, November 30, 2013 02:45pm | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for nine years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. Here is my extensive list of new essential listening, released in 2013. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion shouldn't be static!

1. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
The Knife Shaking the Habitual    


After a seven-year hiatus (not including 2010’s collaborative opera with Matt Sims and Planningtorock,) the Swedish sister/brother duo crafted something utterly singular with this sprawling, conceptual, yet immensely thrilling triple-LP. Habitual lyrically challenges gender constructs and unchecked privilege against visceral (and sometimes monstrous) techno that also refuses any box you throw over it. 

 

These New Puritans Field of Reeds



2. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
   
 No guitars, no dubstep breaks, no angular post-punk posturing. Jack Barnett & Co. look to 20th century composers and Fado for inspiration on their third LP. Woodwinds, brass, field recordings, a magnetic resonator piano and additional vocals from Portuguese vocalist Elisa Rodrigues move TNP into a whole other category of artist, far away from the faceless NME hordes they once mingled with. 
 
3. David Bowie - The Next Day
 
 David Bowie The Next DayQuite honestly, it’s his best since his last great LP --33 years ago--Scary Monsters. This isn’t anything but Bowie being himself, but the emotional weight of his lyrics give the new tracks a vitality missing from much of his work in the previous decade. It’s exhilarating throughout, with most of his famous tropes (Space!!) sounding somehow fresh. New classics like the title track, “Dirty Boys,” the Scott Walker-nodding “Heat,” plus the stellar Bowie-doing-Morrissey-doing-his-best-Bowie moment on “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die.” 
 

Holden The Inheritors

50 Essential Albums Released in 2012

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2012 11:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for eight years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2012 releases that I fell in love with or had serious affairs over the past 365 days. 2012, for me, was a surprising and amazing year in music. Nearly all 50 releases here could have been a Top-Ten contender almost any other year, and the Top Ten is full of records that could easily have been #1.



50 Essential Albums of 2012


1.  SCOTT WALKER Bish Bosch (4AD) 

The 6-year-long wait was well worth it, as is usually the case with Walker. This isn't the latest indie background music du jour - It's an Absurdist's symphony. Melody is eschewed for repetition, but you still walk away with the damned thing in your head. E-bows, machetes as percussion and disturbing (as well as amusing) scatological metaphors are some of the unlikely ingredients that make up this terrifying (and weirdly infectious) beauty. There's really nothing else like it, so enjoy figuring it out for the rest of your life.  






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50 Favorite Albums of 2011

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 18, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. As you may know, I've worked in Hollywood for 8 years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2011 releases that I fell in love with or had hot and heavy affairs with this year.

50 Favorite Albums of 2011



  1. Wild Beasts Smother

In 2008, Brit quartet Wild Beasts released their shaky-legged -but- stunning debut, Limbo Panto. In the four years since, the band has released two thoroughly dazzling masterpiece full-lengths of deceptively delicate indie rock, lyrically bent towards looking in the dark recesses of the heart and libido, largely sung by co-vocalist Hayden Thorpe in his trademark falsetto. Smother finds the band adding a new restraint to their arrangements that allows the tension in the lyrics to hit with hair-on-end chills. It is a singular LP by a singular band that I expect will eventually reach a Radiohead-level stratosphere. 

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Current 93 Celebrates Its 28th Year with a New Album and Three Box Sets

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 30, 2010 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Current 93
began a new revitalized era with the release of last year’s quite exceptional Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain. The long running project helmed by the forever impish David Tibet introduced dark swirling pools of amped-to-11 guitars to its starry-eyed mix of esoteric tripping and psychedelic visions alongside Tibet’s more recent languid and typically pensive compositions. Mountain also marked a new C93 era in that it is the first full-length release to fully delve into Tibet’s most recent obsession: apocryphal Christian texts written in Coptic. Tibet used his inspiration from these ancient texts to write his fever dream poetry that is, as with most C93 albums, the focus of Mountain. This month welcomed the release of Aleph’s follow-up, Baalstorm, Sing Omega. Baalstorm sees the happy return of Mountain collaborators and Tibet’s post-Michael Cashmore wingmen James Blackshaw and Andrew Liles (as well as many other co-conspirators). The heavier elements on Aleph are replaced here by some light Eastern percussion, creepy-yet-playful outbursts of children’s voices (either real or made to sound childlike via a pitched-up Tibet), and Liles’ atmospheric electronics. Like its predecessor, Baalstorm is a journey best taken all at once, but unlike Mountain it is a journey much more easily traveled courtesy of its majestic and less oppressive atmosphere.


The Cure Celebrate 20 Years of Disintegration

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 16, 2010 05:45pm | Post a Comment

“[On
Disintegration] they thought I was being 'willfully obscure', which was an actual quote from the letter [received from the band’s label at the time, Elektra]. Ever since then I’ve realized that record companies don't have a fucking clue what The Cure does and what The Cure means."
- Robert Smith, from the book Never Enough: The Story of the Cure by Jeff Apter

Twenty (and some change) years later we know that The Cure’s label bosses were indeed wrong; Disintegration is celebrating its 20th anniversary (a year late actually – the album was released in May 1989) with the release of a remastered 3-CD deluxe edition and remastered 2LP. Today, the album remains in the unique position of being both widely considered the group’s masterpiece among fans as well as their most commercially successful LP (containing their biggest US hit, “Love Song," which peaked at #2 on the Billboard chart).

There haven’t been a multitude of complaints over the years about the mastering of the album, so no surprise here that the main disc is just a bit louder than the original. The real appeal of the 3-CD set is the bonus material…and there is a lot of it! The second disc of rarities is compiled by Robert Smith himself (who was the only original member left in the band by the time Disintegration was released --Lol Tolhurst having been booted by group consensus before its completion) and is largely made up of his instrumental home demos and band rehearsals for the album. It seems like a superfan-only venture with these lo-fi takes sans vocals, but these tracks reveal themselves to be a cohesive and seamless vision even in their infancy; The vocal-free band demo for the title track reveals an even more urgent forward flow than the album cut, with drops of synth gently shimmering in an ocean of flanged-out bass. “Esten,” a previously unissued demo of a never-before-released song (of which there are 4 here), is a bit more lively and feral than its siblings that eventually found a home on the album, perhaps a bit more like their 'willfully poppy' tracks from the Head on the Door-era. The absolute stand-out from the Rarities disc, however, is a solo home demo by Smith covering Wendy Waldman’s “Pirate Ships.” It is a gorgeous lilting sea shanty-like lullaby with ocean sound effects, harmonium and a lovely understated vocal from Smith. With the refrain of “Far away/Far away child,” the track could be culled from one of the several rumored-but-never-surfaced children’s albums Smith has allegedly recorded.

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