Purity Ring make Cocteau Twins-style dream pop by way of Salem’s hard-hitting witchhouse on an album more notable for its smooth blending of related genres than for its actual songwriting, but they’ve got a sweet sound nonetheless.
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.
Massive new ep from Steve Moore which hits hard straight from the get go, as the title track Panther Moderns sees Moore moving into bleaker, mid-tempo musical territories with this brutally haunting, sparse, yet, funk ridden cut. Beyond Tykens Rift is the light at the end of the tunnel with its melodic and uplifting techno/new age leanings while the b-side's Ancient Shorelines I., which opens with heavy arpeggios and a plodding kick, creates desolate landscapes of still to be discovered planets as the song's dramatic narrative unfolds.
Many electronic artists are entering a compelling new phase of progression and evolution, like Andy Stott, Rene Hell, Demdike Stare, Raime, and the Sandwell District roster -- and have crafted out their own hauntological niche in the modern music world. Brooding, visceral, and encompassing like a thick veil, sounding of a darkness that speaks psychically to the lonely silhouette of a dancer in the shadows of a warehouse party long after the crowd has dispersed. Slow, syrupy syncopated beats that are swirling in some sort of autoerotic blackhole, something like a VHS of loops thrown into a compression chamber. This music might slowly shut down your nervous system before transcending into brightly gaseous atmospheric bliss. Andy Stott mines in the deepest voids of sound and texture to craft what is at once real yet incredibly uncomfortable and subconsciously recessed in the depths of our emotions. Bondage wrapped electronica for those who wish to explore those existential darkrooms.
This experimental techno free-form jam makes for one of this years best electronic albums. Recorded in only two days Rabih Beani has created a masterpiece that oozes with emotion and strays from traditional production methods and styles. The result is 10 tracks of abstract techno filled with dark kraut influenced bliss. Essential listening.
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
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.