Amoeblog

10 More Albums to Look for in Early 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, January 26, 2015 10:33am | Post a Comment

bjork 10 albums blog

A little while ago, we called out 10 albums to look for in this nascent new year (some of them are out now, and they’re great!). Here are 10 more that we’re excited about.

 

Nite Fields Depersonalisation 

nite fields depersonalisationOut Feb. 3

Available on LP and CD

These nocturnally minded Australians set themselves apart from post-punk pack with creeping, atmospheric songs that seem to exist in a netherworld between sleep, dreaming and waking life. Songs like “You I Never Knew” lurch forward with jangling guitars and pounding beats before resting back into woozy, cloudy textures, on tracks like “Pay for Strangers.” Definitely a band to watch for 2015.

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Amoeba Contest Winners Share the Love

Posted by Billy Gil, June 11, 2013 03:03pm | Post a Comment

she and him contestWith all the happenings at Amoeba, it’s easy to miss some of our contests, but we’re always holding some sort of contest. In fact, right now we’re holding two — enter to win tickets to see She & Him June 23 at the Hollywood Bowl (enter by June 17; more info here) and enter to win a pair of passes to the First City Festival Aug. 24-25 in Monterey, Calif., with Modest Mouse, Beach House, Passion Pit, MGMT and more (enter by June 24; more info here).

richard amoebaOur recent winners have been enjoying their spoils from various contests. Richard E. recently won tickets to see Mumford & Sons at the Hollywood Bowl. Says Richard: “The show was great! I was only really familiar with Mumford & Sons from their Grammy appearance, but my wife has been a fan for quite a while. Her enjoyment was really infectious and I’ve found myself humming songs since the show. We had a fantastic time. I have always been a person that would see any kind of live music, and this show really paid off!”

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"What's In My Bag?" Won a Webby Award

Posted by Rachael McGovern, April 30, 2013 07:24pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba won a Webby AwardOur "What's In My Bag?" series won a Webby Award today for Best Online Film & Video: Variety Show! We were up against some brilliant, funny, and thought-provoking shows by SoulPancake (who won the People's Voice Award in our category), Conan O'Brien, MIT and Fandango. It's amazing that our little series - of which we are so incredibly proud, don't get me wrong - would be nominated with those folks, let alone honored by the Webby judges with the win.

If you're not familiar with the Webbys, it's an annual international award that's been dubbed "the Internet's highest honor" by the New York Times. Some of the other winners this year include The Onion which won its 18th and 19th Webby for Best Humor Website; The Creators Project which won a Webby (and a People's Voice Award) for Best Art; Pinterest which won a Webby (and a People's Voice Award) for Best Social Media; and Dumb Ways to Die which won for Best Viral Video. Additionally, the Webbys have named Amoeba faves Grimes the Artist of the Year and Frank Ocean as the Person of the Year. See all the winners here

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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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Album Picks: Veronica Falls, Björk, Zola Jesus

Posted by Billy Gil, October 12, 2011 12:29pm | Post a Comment
Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
 
While listening to Irish Grimestep or whatever genre happens to be unfathomably cool at the moment is great and all, sometimes you need meat and potatoes. In my case, that would be C86, shoegaze, college rock and that sort of thing, and Slumberland Records keeps serving up bands like sloppy joes that fulfill this particular hunger. Their latest band is Veronica Falls, which, despite their late-‘90s CW Network show sounding name, are actually a great garage pop band in the vein of Slumberland alumn Crystal Stilts, Girls Names and Black Tambourine. “Right Side of My Brain’s” bouncy pop gets C86 so right that it could have been on the original tape that spawned that genre. “The Fountain” is delectable guitar goth pop that displays one of the band’s best and at first easily overlooked tricks — pristine harmonies. “Beachy Head” injects a welcome bit of surf-rock meanness to an otherwise well-mannered album. It’s pretty much candy all over.
 
Björk – Biophilia
 
With all the hubbub surrounding Björk’s latest album (corresponding iPad apps to songs, a street date delay and rejiggering of sound), it may be easy to dismiss the album beneath it all. That would be a shame, because Biophilia is as brilliant as anything in Björk’s catalog, but that brilliance is quieter and takes repeated listens to understand compared with some of her previous efforts. Whereas she tried to recreate the violently happy turns of Debut and Post in 2007’s Volta, here she’s back to forging new sonic territory, using newly invented instruments (such as the gameleste, which combines Indonesian gamelan instruments with the key-based celeste instrument) and employing iPad-made music and programmed beats. Of course, none of that matters if it doesn’t end up sounding great, and you probably don’t need to know any of that to enjoy the songs on Biophilia, but it helps to understand the otherworldly nature of a song like “Crystalline,” which relies on the strange gameleste to build atmosphere before breaking into a hyper-intense hardcore breakbeat section. That that song and “Cosmogony,” a musical cousin to Björk classics like “Isobel” and “Bachelorette” that builds beautifully before disintegrating into a sea of descending vocals, are the most accessible songs tells you more. At its core, Biophilia is a wildly strange, even disturbing album, from the dissonant and gibberish-laden “Dark Matter” to the blood-curdling electronic sounds and ghostly vocals of “Hollow.” Then there’s “Mutual Core,” in which Björk tosses her fans a bone (although one on which the meat is tough and sinewy) with more typically “Björk” musical movements and more overtly clubby beats. But there’s something new to uncover with each listen, despite a somewhat hollow-sounding veneer, such as unusual time signatures, haunting lyrics and hidden, loping melodies. Biophilia really sounds nothing like anything else Björk has done, or anything anyone else has done, for that matter, and will probably upset some fans and detractors alike. For its gutsiness alone, it’s great; and for its more inspired moments, it’s something no music fan should miss hearing.
 
Zola Jesus – Conatus
 
For those who were expecting Zola Jesus aka Nika Roza Danilova turn around from last year’s winning Stridulum II with an album of glossy pop, think again. Sure, Conatus is her most accessible statement yet, but the album is still teaming with the experimental electronic music and ethereal vocals on which she built her name, only with slightly more of an emphasis on the electro balladry she exhibited so well on Stridulum’s “Night” and “Lightstick.” “Hikikomori” begins with throbbing synths and Danilovato’s yearning vocals intoning “blisters on my hands,” underpinned by subtle strings. On this track and several others on Conatus, you can hear the effort Danilova has put into carefully considering the album’s every movement, building songs gradually and deliberately, pulling at the heartstrings but always from afar, sometimes coming through clearly, sometimes unintelligible in a vocal styling reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. Her best songs manage to do it all at once, such as in the soaring “Seekir,” in which she aims for the gut (“Is there nothing left of the mess we made?” she asks in a moment that clears the sonic din to cut through) as well as the dance floor, although the result, with intertwining, ghostly backup vocals, is too complex to simply label a dance song. You sometimes long for more moments like that on Conatus (the epic choral build of “Lick The Palm Of The Burning Handshake” being another), but its balancing act of restraint and putting it all out there makes for intriguing listening that will keep fans happy and pull in plenty of new ones.
 
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