Amoeblog

Albums Picks, New Albums Out Today: Twin Shadow, Holograms, Aesop Rock and More

Posted by Billy Gil, July 10, 2012 01:01pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks:

Twin Shadow ConfessTwin Shadow – Confess
 
I must “confess” that I was a big old sucker for Twin Shadow’s first album. One of those “I’m wired to like it” kind of things. George Lewis Jr.’s second album has some of the same slow-motion bittersweet nostalgia thing that made the first album so great, but it also comes alive with a new romantic swagger that previously was just implied by the music. His songs have lost none of their immaculate detail, though. “Golden Light” is immediately memorable for its big chorus, with Lewis at the peak of his Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel style of throaty, emotive vocals, but the verses are impeccably put together, too. First single “Five Seconds” has the same sort of “Boys of Summer” rush that Forget’s “Slow” had, but it’s no cheap retread — it sounds taken apart and put back together, as Lewis unleashes his pipes at unexpected moments, and the whole thing has such a wonderful hushed tension that it’s enthralling throughout. Confess shows Lewis can really go for it pop-wise while still engaging listeners with layered songs and well-considered production choices.
 

hologramsHolograms – Holograms
 
Really great, ferocious stuff from Sweden’s Holograms. “Monoliths” plays its goth cards early, with foreboding riffs and similarly indignant vocals that seem to call out some impending tragedy, which comes in the form of the song’s second two-thirds, a straight-ahead rush of focused guitar energy punctuated by belted vocals. “Chasing My Mind” meanwhile has an almost comically simple and upfront synth riff that the band then undermines with its weird yelp vocals and riffery — which comes out an improbably perfect concoction. Seems like this year’s Iceage. More European post-hardcore, please.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 07.08.12: Amoeba Top 5, El-P, Killer Mike, Aesop Rock, Azealia Banks, Toure, Erk Tha Jerk, Azeem & Kabanjak

Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2012 03:17pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 07:08:12


1) El-P Cancer4Cure (Fat Possum)

2) Killer Mike R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)

3) J Dilla Rebirth of Detroit (Yancey Music Group)

4) Azealia Banks 1991 EP (Interscope)

5) Oddisee People Hear What They See (Mello Music/Fat Beats)

Once again at Amoeba the number one entry this week on the San Francisco hip-hop top five chart is El-P's truly amazing new album Cancer4Cure which I have worn out from listening to over and over. The only other recently released new hip-hop album that I have played quite as much (a bit more actually) is the number two Amoeba chart entry this week - also coincidentally produced by El-P; Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music on Williams Street. On my WFMU hip-hop radio show this week I both opened and closed with selections off this all-killer album:  the title track and "Reagan" which, with a slow smoldering lead in with some Ronald Reagan samples (in which he admits his lies) is followed by one of the best critical evaluations of the former Republican prez who has been repeatedly in the news of late with so many Republicans citing hm as an example of a fine leader. Killer Mike does not share this view as confirmed with the songs closing lyrics: "I leave with these four words - I'm glad Reagan dead." Another new hip-hop track that samples Ronald Reagan is the track "Zero Dark Thirty" off the new Aesop Rock album Skelethon.  The long awaited new album from the artist, who used to be on El-P's now defunct Def Jux label, will be released by Rhymesayers Entertainment on Tuesday (July 10th) when you can expect it to be a hot seller at Amoeba. The video for this Aesop Rock track (the lead single) follows below along with such others as El-P's new album track "The Full Retard,"

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New Albums Out Today, New Ones Coming in July/August

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment
Today saw the releases of new albums by Belle & Sebastian member Stevie Jackson, comedian Doug Benson and a 7” from Animal Collective, among others. Check out what’s out today and what’s coming down the pipe:
 
Stevie Jackson
Stevie Jackson – (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson
 
(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson makes a name for itself quite outside of Belle & Sebastian, coming off like the next in line of a lineage of singer-songwriters who exist on their own terms, from John Cale to Brian Eno to Elvis Costello. Far from just being twee, Jackson rocks out to a new wave beat on “Try Me,” singing “I got pills and I’m lookin’ for thrills/At the same time I want to start a family.” The distinctive, reverb-laden lead guitar he lends Belle & Sebastian is on songs like the lovely display on the Kinks-y “Richie.” And even at his most clearly indebted to Summer of Love-era rock, he creates a varied and thoroughly rewarding listen, notably on the swinging, Mamas & Papas-style “Where Do All the Good Girls Go?”

doug benson
Doug Benson – Smug Life
 
Huge pot fan and hilarious comedian Doug Benson releases two different versions of the same jokes on Smug Life, both performed on April 20 (4/20!) at the same club. It plays like a case study in how varied performances of the same material can yield such different results — in one case, you hear a comment yelled from the audience that gets incorporated into the joke in the later performance.

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Fire Chief Opens Telegraph Ave to Traffic - Amoeba Berkeley Re-Opens its Doors

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 23, 2011 04:14pm | Post a Comment

After a terrible five-alarm fire in the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street on the evening of Friday November 18, Amoeba Berkeley was able to open for business on Monday. Traffic has been rerouted and now access by foot, car and bus is a whole lot easier than it has been over the past few days.

The fire broke out about 8:45pm on Friday night, and at first did not seem all that serious. But by the time employees left the store at 10:30, it was really starting to spread. There were fire trucks from many surrounding precincts that had been called in to help extinguish what was by now a five-alarm fire. The fire was brought under control at about 3:15am, but it was clear that the building was entirely gutted, leaving only the facade. Because the facade is brick and could topple any time, the street was cordoned off for two blocks while they conducted their investigations, and unfortunately, that meant Amoeba Berkeley was closed on Saturday and Sunday. In all 39 apartments and two businesses (Raleigh's and Cafe Intermezzo) were lost, along with a lot of jobs. Thankfully, though, there have been no reported injuries or loss of life at this point.

Watch video here.

The building has been slated for demolition, which has been fast-tracked and should take place soon.

Amoeba Berkeley was able to re-open on Monday, just in time for an in-store performance by Kimya Dawson. It was a truly special event, with Kimya playing for about an hour and even bringing Aesop Rock on stage to perform a few songs together at the end of her set. See photos from the in-store.

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INTERVIEW WITH BLOCKHEAD ABOUT NEW ALBUM, THE MUSIC SCENE

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2010 01:26pm | Post a Comment
Blockhead The Music Scene
Back in the second half of the nineties, following a short-lived, unsuccessful turn at being a rapper, New York City native Blockhead turned his creative focus to producing hip-hop music. At first he worked for emcee Aesop Rock, and later for many other artists. He simultaneously began producing and releasing his own music as a solo artist for such labels as Mush and Ninja Tune.

Just recently the artist released his fourth album on Ninja Tune, The Music Scene, which he half jokingly describes on his MySpace as "the tears that fall from your emo face on to your laptop. or nordic flute music with a hip hop edge...either or... "but which is actually a recommended rich and engaging collage of sounds that utilizes literally hundreds of sound sources. I caught up with Blockhead to talk about his new album, what went into making it, and the meaning behind its title.

Amoeblog: The cover art of the new album The Music Scene, done by your friend & fellow producer Omega One, shows a futuristic deserted New York City overrun by wild animals. Is there a distinct correlation between that specific imagery and the album's theme?

Blockhead: Yeah, it just shows New York as this barren wasteland being overrun by animals. And that is kind of how I view the music scene at this point. It's a very simple metaphor. Like if you think about New York City and what it once was. I am a native New Yorker. I grew up downtown and to see what has happened to my neighborhood, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's just become something different. And the music scene is pretty much in the same boat. It was once this thriving place where people could be creative. But now if you are creative it is really not for you because it is not going to happen for you on a level like it used to. There was a time when ugly singers could be famous, when people would just get by on their talent but now it's like you have to have a market plan and it's depressing.
Blockhead
Amoeblog: Listening to the layers of sounds and samples and beat changes and overall intricate production that went into The Music Scene, it sounds like you put a lot of time and energy into producing this album. Did you?

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