Amoeblog

Best of 2011 Hip-Hop Albums At Amoeba

Posted by Billyjam, December 18, 2011 06:30pm | Post a Comment





















This is the first of two Best of Hip-Hop in 2011 Amoeblog posts. This post features most of the hip-hop releases that were popular at the three Amoeba Music stores over the past year while the next (more subjective) Best of 2011 Amoeblog will feature personal favorite top five or top ten lists of the year by such Amoeba folks as myself, E Lit, and Ray Ricky Rivera. As you will see from the list of approximately one hundred hip-hop albums listed (scroll down) that were popular at Amoeba Music in 2011 there was a wonderfully diverse melange of both mainstream/pop rap and underground hip-hop releases by a wide range of talented artists; some that may only be regionally popular and others that are phenomenally popular on a national and global level. 

This wide array of artists included Drake, LiveWire, The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West), San Quinn, Murs, The Beastie Boys, Curren$y, Lateef The Truthspeaker, Lil Wayne, Evidence, Talib Kweli, Wale, Dregs One, The Roots, Philthy RIch, Beans, Lupe Fiasco, Zion I & The Grouch, DJ Quik, Moe Green, Wiz Khalifa, Del Tha Funky Homosapien. Mac Miller, The Jacka, Tyler the Creator, Doomtree, Pharoahe Monch, and Ski Beatz to name but some. If you missed out on any of these releases over 2011 now might be the time to catch up. Most of them are still available, in stock at Amoeba in stores or online with their to-buy link embedded in bright blue in the long list below. Also immediately below are some randomly chosen videos with accompanying text from the past year to give a flavor of the year that was 2011 in hip-hop. Feel free to add in the comments below any of your favorites of 2011 that you think we missed.

Talib Kweli's 2011 album Gutter Rainbows was a most popular release at each Amoeba store including at the San Francisco where it landed in the number one slot with a bullet upon its release on CD. The album Talib Kweliwhich precedes the artist's anticipated Prisoner of Conscious  (to drop sometime in 2012) is "just for the fans," Kweli said in an interview. And fans approved of the album which sported cameos from several artists including Sean Price, Blaq Toven, Outasight, Chace Infinite, and Blacksmith Records (the label he co-founded/runs) artist Jean Grae. The number of producers enlisted is even greater; 13 different producers from all over worked on the album's 14 tracks. These include 88 Keys, S1 (aka Symbolyc One from Texas, who is now best known for producing "Power" on Kanye's new album), Ski Beatz (who produced "Cold Rain," the second LP single that drops online today), and Oh No (who produced the Jean Grae cameo track "Uh Oh").  E Jones produced "Friends & Family," in which he name checks a slew of hip-hop artists including the "Mystik Journeymen," who he raps, "introduced me to Top Ramen" in a humorous nod to the Living Legends low-budget early career survival techniques that included throwing Top Ramen parties. As for why Talib worked with so many different producers on Gutter Rainbows?  "I tend to want to work with a limited amount of producers but the producers for this album, they had sounds that were right for what I wanted," he told me in an interview a month before the album dropped. He then described Gutter Rainbows as a kind of "prelude" to the highly anticipated forthcoming Prisoner of Conscious.

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Best World Music Releases of 2011, Part 1

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 18, 2011 05:39pm | Post a Comment
Bomino AgadezBombino-Agadez CD/LP

My first experience with Omara Mochtar (Bombino) was on the Sublime Frequencies release, Music from Niger: Guitars from Agadez, Vol. 2, which was recorded live and sounded like something recorded in a juke joint in Mississippi. On Agadez, Bombino recorded in a studio where all the richness of his guitar tone comes through, making this the guitar album that all guitar players should own from 2011. Much like their contemporaries Tinariwen and Group Inerane, this album is heavy on the Toureg blues, with trance-like guitar drones that conjures the sound of many lonely desert nights in Niger. Soulful without effort, Agadez has led Bombino out of the desert and hopefully into your stereo.

Adanowsky AmadorAdanowsky- Amador CD/LP

With the rep of being the son of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, Santa Sangre) and being a kid that hung out with members of The Beatles, you would expect Adanowsky to be either the second coming or some spoiled kid with talent and nothing to say. (i.e. Sean Lennon) Well, Adanowsky is neither. Is Amador a psychedelic masterpiece? No. Is Amador some over-indulgent dribble? Far from it.  Amador is a heartbreak record. It’s full of pain and letting the heartbreak of broken relationship take over. From the heartfelt piano ballads to the tequila-fused Rancheras, it all stages of a post break-up. Much like John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band, it’s very minimal in instrumentation and lets emotion carry the songs. In the end, I can’t imagine Adanowsky being single for that long. Amador is too charming of an album to let that happen.

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my top 50 albums of 2011...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 18, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment
blouse#1
Blouse
- Blouse (Captured Tracks)
Last year was when I first got obsessed with the label Captured Tracks. Both Wild Nothing and Soft Moon ended up in my top ten last year. This is the year of Blouse, Soft Metals and Craft Spells. This label can do no wrong and keeps putting out amazing albums one after the other. This album continues the Captured Tracks tradition of capturing that early 90's shoegaze sound that I am still obsessed with. This Blouse album fits in more with the soft rock side of shoegaze and dreampop. It is more like Beach House than the darker sounds of label mates Soft Moon. It is a beautiful album and I can't get enough.

Listen to "Time Travel" by Blouse...


kurt vile#2
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
(Matador)

This is not his first album but it really is his first album for me. This is the year that I fell hard for Kurt Vile. I could not stop listening to this album for a couple of months. There is just something about it that really got to me. The album is on the more folky side of things. Something that I need in my life every once in a while. He reminds me of Mark Kozelek and the Red House Painters. And listening to this album makes me remember the first time I discoved Mark Kozelek and was hooked for life. It really is that good.

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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What Do You Want for Xmas (Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus)? A Few Ideas from Around the Interwebs

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 16, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
xmas christmas space baby jesus alien rocket ship ufo christ
Tis the season to freak out about what to get our loved ones.

It seems to get harder every year, as -- thanks to the internet -- the world becomes smaller and choice becomes more vast. How can you find that perfect gift for someone that not only has everything, but can get whatever they want online in a matter of minutes?

Here's the answer: outsmart them. Use this guide to scoop them on their own desires. They may not yet know they lust after these amazing items, but with the Amoeblog's help, you will reign victorious as this year's King / Queen of Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus /  Winter Solstice.  

For your old school punk:
San Francisco’s seminal punk band Crime was  formed in 1976 Crime band shirt merch Johnny Strike San Francisco punkand ripped post-hippie San Francisco a metaphorical new one when they released their first (and many say Punk’s first) single“Hot Wire My Heart / Baby You're So Repulsive.” They mixed a rebellious and sexually-charged image (they were most often seen flaunting their vampiric, just-outta-rehab good looks in tight leather, regulation police uniforms, or old-time gangster duds) with their unique blend of intellectual and furious lo-fi rock and roll. Crime found local refuge at the now legendary Mabuhay Gardens, but became nationally notorious after playing a gig at San Quentin Penitentiary in full police uniforms. (Read more about them on the Amoeblog.)

Now, after many years, you can purchase official Crime merch directly from original member Johnny Strike and his business partner Faustino Mendonça. Bootleggers be damned! Get some stunning shirts, posters, and pins from the source!

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