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The Official Amoeba Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 31, 2012 06:33am | Post a Comment

It’s official: Our lists are in and we’ve compiled them to give you our combined knowledge in the form of a top 50 albums list. The following is Amoeba's top picks for 2012 based on those who submitted lists of their favorites of the year. (For world music picks, go here; for classical picks, check out Rubin's list; and see more best of 2012 fun here.)

 

1. Frank OceanChannel Orange

Frank Ocean Channel Orange

Everyone seemed to be able to agree on Frank Ocean this year, from independent purists to mainstream fans. It’s no surprise that when compiling our top lists, Frank Ocean easily made No. 1.

 

“Outside the hype, this guy is the genuine deal. Orange is a cohesive old-school album with vivid modern snapshots of moving to the city and the characters he met there.” — Aaron Detroit

 

 


 

 

2. Light AsylumLight Asylum

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My Top 50 Albums of 2012 - Part II

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:25pm | Post a Comment

25. SwansThe Seer

Swans The SeerA seer is traditionally thought of as a clairvoyant, a prophet of things to come. Whether you believe such an ability exists, has existed or never did, the 30-minute “The Seer,” the centerpiece of Swans’ excellent return album after more than a decade of dormancy, amazes for its ability to convey such a madness, either by being plagued by visions or the deception, either of self or others, that would come along with proclaiming oneself to be a seer. Michael Gira intones “I see it all” rapidly, without emotion, like someone being driven mad, exploding into an orchestral explosion that lodges itself among the year’s most affecting musical experiences. The rest of the album moves between no wave noise rendered dramatic (“Mother of the World”) and frighteningly beautiful chamber folk, such as the stunning “Song for a Warrior,” abetted by a vocal from Karen O. Though it’s a harrowing experience, The Seer feels entirely essential, even as it sometimes also feels like a thousand ancient hands pulling you into the abyss.

 

24. The MenOpen Your Heart

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Show Wrap: Animal Collective at the Hollywood Bowl; Beach House at the Wiltern

Posted by Billy Gil, September 27, 2012 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Animal Collective Hollywood Bowl
Animal Collective's crazy, toothy stage show
Two recent L.A. shows were a study of contrasts for two established and much-loved independent artists. Animal Collective played the Hollywood Bowl Sept. 23 after a set from Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison), whose Until the Quiet Comes streets Oct. 1 (preorder here). Fly Lo’s heady material isn’t exactly tailor-made for arenas (“You can stand up if you want,” Ellison quipped at one point), but with the help of spinning records from the likes of the Beastie Boys, he had a lot of the younger crowd at the sold-out Bowl standing in their seats and raising their hands. Animal Collective played a set that largely drew from their newest album, Centipede Hz. So how you felt about the show probably had a lot to do with how much you like the new album. I myself haven’t fallen for it yet, though I might — Animal Collective albums are known to be growers. But the difference was palpable when they’d play a song like “My Girls” from their much-loved Merriweather Post Pavillion vs. one of the newer songs, which hearken back to their murkier early days, rather than their more pop-leaning recent albums. The more clearly cut songs from the new album, such as the Avey Tare-sung "Today's Supernatural," translated best live. They threw in tracks like Merriweather’s “Lion in a Coma” and “Brothersport” and Strawberry Jam’s “Peacebone,” as well, but with nine-plus albums of great material from which to draw, greater variety would have been nice.
 
Beach House
Beach House's Victoria Legrand rounded out the set by headbanging her glorious curls
Their Baltimore brethren in Beach House had the luxury of having recently put out their best-received album yet (still my No. 1 of this year), Bloom. But that didn’t stop them from playing a lot of songs from 2010’s Teen Dream at their Wiltern show Sept. 26, as well as a few from Devotion (I don’t recall them playing any from the first album). It’s difficult to put into words just how efficiently Beach House move from song to song, album to album without a hitch, stopping just a couple of times to say hello and sounding virtually pitch-perfect on every song. It’s also hard to pinpoint highlights — where to start? — especially since they seemed to attack both the older and newer material with equal glee. “Lazuli,” “Wishes” and “Irene,” with its extended build and excellent guitarwork from Alex Scally, all stood out to me from the new album. Victoria Legrand grew more commanding on the songs where her drawl could be held out for extended notes, such as on Devotion’s spine-chilling “Turtle Island.” This is to say nothing of touring member Daniel Franz’s drumwork, which despite the dreamy vibe of the music could sound like a gunshot through the haze, given the John Bonham force of his beat. It’s debatable if Beach House is the best band on the planet right now, but live, they were so assured of their sound, so skilled at mining their own catalog, that it’d be hard to dispute they’re in the running.
 
To read my rundown of Amoeba’s Rock the Vote event with Murs & Fashawn and Band of Horses, click here.

Top Albums of 2012 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, June 28, 2012 05:27pm | Post a Comment
It’s that time of year again — time for best of music lists. No, it’s not December yet, but I don’t care. It’s Thursday and I want to make a list. Pick up all of these if you haven’t yet.
 
beach house bloom
1. Beach House - Bloom
 
Song for song, Beach House’s Bloom is the most consistently great album that’s been released this year. The band sounds more energized than ever, grasping the pop brass ring with songs like “Lazuli” and “Other People” that match hookiness for sheer beauty. If Beach House are this generation’s Cocteau Twins, this is their Heaven or Las Vegas.
 







fiona apple the idler wheel
2. Fiona AppleThe Idler Wheel
 
Fiona Apple is no less mad or maddening than before on The Idler Wheel…, but her venomous lyrics have a new sting, her vocals are more accomplished than ever, and her arrangements are as bravely tangled and unafraid of ugliness as her lyrical content.
 

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Enter to Win Beach House's "Bloom" on Glow-in-the-Dark Vinyl! Only at Amoeba San Francisco!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 4, 2012 05:42pm | Post a Comment

Head down to Amoeba San Francisco to enter to win Beach House's new album Bloom
on glow-in-the-dark vinyl!

Wowsa! This two-LP set is extremely limited! 
Beach House Glow in the Dark Record LP Vinyl Bloom

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