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12 Great Comeback Albums Released in 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, December 6, 2013 03:03pm | Post a Comment

While plenty of new acts released great albums in 2013, a few heavy hitters came back with awesome records after years of either inactivity or critical/commercial depression. Here’s a list of 12 of those records.

David Bowie The Next Day

david bowie the next dayDavid Bowie had been relatively silent since 2003’s Reality. Then, out of nowhere, on his 66th birthday on January 8th, he announced a new album would be released in March. The Next Day largely blew away expectations, exceeding in quality just about anything else Bowie has done since the ’80s, harkening back to his most acclaimed phase, The Berlin Trilogy, comprising the albums Low, “Heroes” and Lodger. Romantic rockers like “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” live alongside alien funk (the title track) and searching ballads (“Where Are We Now?”). It’s classic Bowie, throughout. (See where The Next Day landed on Aaron Detroit’s top 50 albums of 2013 list.)

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2013 Mixtape: 21 Songs for the Time Capsule

Posted by Billy Gil, December 5, 2013 01:31pm | Post a Comment

Just about everyone could agree on “Get Lucky” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but there were lots of other great singles and album cuts released this year. Here are 21 you can download from Amoeba.com right now. Pretty sure these could just top out a 120-minute cassette tape, if my high school calculations are correct. Check out my top 50 albums list, too!

 

kurt vile wakin on a pretty daze amoebaKurt Vile – “KV Crimes”

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Kurt Vile's Wakin on a Pretty Daze is a great, melodically hazy stoner-rock record, but "KV Crimes" hits hard, like a song Tom Petty would kick out in five minutes and decide he was too stoned when he wrote it and leave it on the cutting-room floor for some bullshit like "Free Fallin'." Kurt Vile is like our more enlightened Petty, one who knows that off-the-cuff tracks can be the best.

 

From the album Wakin on a Pretty Daze

 

 

savages silence yourself lp amoebaSavages – “I Am Here”

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Album Picks: bEEdEEgEE, Mutual Benefit, Xiu Xiu, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Posted by Billy Gil, December 3, 2013 09:33am | Post a Comment

bEEdEEgEE - Sum/One (CD, LP or Download)

beedeegee sum/one cd lp amoebaIn Gang Gang Dance, Brian DeGraw helps make screwed up electronic music that is still somehow danceable and hooky. In his bEEdEEgEE project, he expands on the dancier side of things, weaving expansive electronic tapestries rooted in house and new wave, with the help of a couple of awesome guest singers (CSS’s Lovefoxxx, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, among others). Douglas Armour’s yearning voice makes “Empty Vases” into ace emotional electro-pop. His GGD bandmate Lizzi Bougatsos lends some of her ethereal coo to the jittery “Overlook,” which feels as close to their band as anything on this album. And Taylor makes “(F.U.T.D.) Time of Waste” a great, hedonistic party jam about having lots to do yet getting nothing done—“all I wanna do is fuck up the day” has to be one of the great all-time slacker lines, while Lovefoxx’s turn over the big, dreamy beats of “Flowers” has got to be the highlight of the entire album. Yet even with these high-profile guest spots, DeGraw is still just as dazzling on his own, spinning various distorted percussive elements into a dizzying stew on “Bricks” and creating a distinctive early house homage with “Like Rain Man.” It’s late in the year, but bEEdEEgEE is making a bid for year-end-list relevance with the stunning Sum/One.

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My Picks for the 50 Best Records That Came Out in 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, November 29, 2013 04:26pm | Post a Comment

Doesn’t end-of-year-list time always sneak up on us? It’s the time to reflect and realize that a lot of really great music did come out throughout the year. Here is my list of 50 best records that came out in 2013. I limited it to albums that were physically released. But it’s only the end of November, so feel free to leave a comment and tell me why I’m dumb for leaving out such-and-such record and I’ll give it a listen!

jagwar ma howlin cd amoeba50. Jagwar Ma Howlin’

Just ’cause these guys ripped off the Madchester sound isn’t any reason to write them off. Listen to Howlin’ and try to get these songs out of your head.

49. Julianna Barwick Nepenthe

Non-verbal cries echo out into infinity and give life to your unconscious while listening to Nepenthe. She’s like our generation’s Enya, only a million times cooler (actually Enya is kind of rad, nm).

48. Sky Ferreira Night Time, My Time

What if Kelly Clarkson really dug My Bloody Valentine and dated the dude form Diiv? What if Taylor Swift shot up heroin, posed nude for some crazy German director and actually ended up making interesting music? Night Time, My Time seeks to answer these questions you never knew you had. Even though Night Time, My Time couldn’t possibly live up to all the blog hype/hate/press Sky Ferreira got this year, it’s still a great, if fragmented pop record.

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VUM Plays December Monday Residency at The Echo, Talk 'Psychotropic Jukebox'

Posted by Billy Gil, November 26, 2013 12:08pm | Post a Comment
vum band
Photo by Angel Ceballos

L.A.'s VUM create a dawn-to-dusk soundtrack of moody organ tones, dirty drum machine sounds and Jennifer Pearl's deep, ghostly voice on their new album, Psychotropic Jukebox (vinyl out Dec. 3). To celebrate the release of the album, the trio, made up of Christopher Badger and Amoeba alumn Pearl and Scott Spaulding, is playing The Echo in Echo Park every Monday in December. The residency shows are free and start at 8:30 p.m. The shows will run as follows:

12/2 with The Parallelograms, HOTT MT, Conway

12/9 with Lo-Fang, Globelamp (Member of Foxygen), Galaxy Electric

12/16 with Fang Moon, The Present Moment, Black Mare

12/23 with Death Valley Girls, DJ Mahssa (Mount Analog)

12/30 with Intimatchine, Net Shaker

We caught up with Pearl prior to VUM's residency to talk about their terrific new album.

How did your approach to making this record differ from your previous recordings?

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