Video: Blur 'Magic Whip' Ice Cream Truck Hands Out Free Flexi Discs

Posted by Amoebite, April 28, 2015 03:33pm | Post a Comment

blur the magic whip flexi discTo kick off the release of Blur’s The Magic Whip (out today), an ice cream truck handed out free ice cream and flexi discs  around Los Angeles on Record Store Day April 18.

Lucky Record Store Day goers at Amoeba Hollywood and other local record stores received a disc with the new album’s first track, “Lonesome Street,” as seen in the video we’re premiering today. We're also giving away a handful of the flexi discs with purchase of the new album in-store at Amoeba Hollywood (while supplies last).

Blur’s much-anticipated eighth album comes 12 years after their previous album, Think Tank. Following a long hiatus in which the band pursued other projects, such as frontman Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz, Blur reunited in 2009 and have played such shows as the 2013 Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

For the uninitiated, flexi discs are playable phonograph records printed on flexible vinyl sheets that used to appear in places like cereal boxes and magazines. They’ve been around since the 1960s but are just starting to see a resurgence along with the revitalization of vinyl in general.

Watch the video below:

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Album Picks: Blur, Braids, Coachwhips

Posted by Billy Gil, April 28, 2015 11:08am | Post a Comment

Blur - The Magic Whip

blur the magic whip lpTwelve years after their last album, it’s easy for Blur to pick up right where they left off—the Britpop band never made two albums that sounded the same. “Lonesome Street” starts the album with a loopy, mid-tempo jangle, and it’s tough not to cheer upon hearing the reunion of frontman Damon Albarn’s lonely, sleepless croon with guitarist Graham Coxon’s vigorous strums, especially when he kicks up the distortion on the chugging “Go Out.” The band’s songwriting more than ever calls to mind late-era Beatles on songs like “Ice Cream Man,” a somber tune buffeted by squirrely synth noise. Magic Whip gets more experimental (and better) as it goes, as though throwing bones to longtime fans is out of the way. “Thought I Was a Spaceman” is a beautiful, searching ballad with a bossa nova feel and soft digital-tribal bounce. “I Broadcast” has the spirit of early-’90s Blur with the kind of noisemaking capabilities they now have in their arsenal, throwing in vocal samples and filling the space with extra guitar and synth sounds. Blur recorded The Magic Whip in a stopover in Hong Kong and finished it up separately over time, but miraculously, it doesn’t sound disjointed, keeping the hazy, layover feel of the original session, while the band’s experimentations are mostly folded into the music and don’t distract from the songs themselves. Though occasionally you wish for the frenetic energy of early Blur on more tracks, in their place is a laid-back tunefulness on songs like the loungey “Ghost Ship” and eerie “Pyongyang,” kind of like Roxy Music settling into their Avalon era. The Magic Whip is what you want from a reunion album: it’s the sound of a band progressing, with nods to the past that don’t hold them back in the slightest. Long may they run.

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Record Store Day 2015 Celebrations Take Over Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, April 18, 2015 05:33pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hollywood record store day

Amoeba Hollywood’s Record Store Day festivities continued on into this afternoon with awesome DJ sets, delicious food and RSD-themed activities. Read about the morning and watch our interview with the early bird collectors in line here. At noon, our friends from Family Industries started silk-screening special RSD 2015 designs onto tote bags and t-shirts, with the proceeds benefiting the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. Starting at 1pm, some of our favorite Los Angeles-based musical artists got behind the turntables to provide the soundtrack for the day. Things kicked off with dream-pop duo Puro Instinct, who took to the decks to play a set of their favorite tunes in advance of their upcoming full-length release. Next up was Knxwledge (or KNX), a beatmaker whose Stones Throw debut drops on May 5. Across the street at Space15Twenty, a special TV on the Radio RSD Art Party kicked off, with guitar player Dave Sitek DJing while vocalist Tunde Adebimpe and Seeds artist Julian Gross drew caricatures. Also at Space15Twenty, Org Music and Shinola provided free Pabst Blue Ribbon, previews of RSD-exclusive titles and a rousing set from Mike Watt + the Secondmen and EvKain.

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The 90s...the best albums of 1993...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 18, 2012 12:38pm | Post a Comment
1993 and 1994 are probably two of my favorite years of the 90s. These were the best years of Britpop. Some amazing years for British music. Suede, Blur, Pulp, & The Verve all had amazing albums out these years. I had always been into British music since I remember ever being into music. New Wave & Goth in the 80s. And now Shoegaze & Britpop in the early and mid 90s. I gave myself a couple of rules when making these lists for the top ten of each year. I made sure to only pick one album for each artist. I didn't want the list to be a Blur and Suede album every year. So I picked my favorite album from each of those artists. And for the most part my favorite album was the album that introduced me to the band. Not necessarily the bands first album. But my first album by that band. The album that I think of when I think of that band. There are three American bands on my list this year. Still outnumbered by the British bands of course. I had for the most part stopped listening to the radio in 1993. Most of the bands I found out about were from 120 Minutes or Alternative Nation. I was also heavily influenced by my friends and roommates in 1993. This was the first year that I heard Suede, Slowdive & The Verve. I think I probably saw a Suede video when I heard them for the first time. I was hooked within the first couple seconds of the video. This was the band for me. I couldn't get enough of them throughout the rest of the 90s. I was already familiar with Blur but 1993 was really the first year that I really got obsessed with them.  Saint Etienne and Catherine Wheel were probably the albums that I listened to most this year. Where You Been by Dinosaur Jr.Star by Belly just barely didn't make my top ten this year. They were also both listened to a lot by me in 93 and 94. Here it top 10 albums of 1993...

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Albums Out Today: Reissues From Blur, Yaz, At the Drive-In, Plus New Albums and Preorders

Posted by Billy Gil, July 31, 2012 01:11pm | Post a Comment
This week sees a huge set of reissues from Blur, among others ...

at the drive-inAt the Drive-InIn/Casino/Out
Though At the Drive-In’s third and final full-length, Relationship of Command, gets more attention for being the post-hardcore band’s breakthrough, At the Drive-In’s second album, In/Casino/Out, is the best representation of the band at the height of its powers. The album was recorded live to capture the band in its native environment, as the band had begun to make their name on explosive live shows that would lead to word-of-mouth expansion of their fanbase, and true to form listening to In/Casino/Out now feels like travelling back in time to when the band was playing basement shows, before Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López’s The Mars Volta would play to massive crowds in the following decade. You see the beginnings of that band in how Bixler-Zavala crams verbiage into “Alpha Centauri” and the band makes the 3:13 song feel like an epic, but the live recording makes it feel manageable, most of the lyrics spat out quickly and its movements more memorable than the Volta’s proggy opuses. It’s also easy to forget how catchy the band could be, and a run of mid-album cuts proves this, including “Pickpocket,” with its instantly memorable, if incomprehensible screamed chorus. The band would also slow down to great effect on “For Now…We Toast,” which clips the distance between the band’s more melodic and aggressive leanings. But the album stands together as a whole, as well, with song after song coming at you with a warm assault of visceral guitar attacks and complex wordplay.
blur 21Blur Reissues

Blur releases a mass of reissues on LP today, as well as its Blur 21 box set, celebrating 21 years of the Britpop band. To these ears, the incredibly solid Parklife and relentlessly experimental 13 have always been the essential Blur albums, but I also have a newfound appreciation of Leisure, their first album. Before they were kings of Britpop, Blur were a fresh-faced band of whelps wielding shoegaze guitars and madchester beats into a neat package, no better than on the funk-inspired “There’s No Other Way” or throbbing “Bang.” Yes, Leisure is sort of Blur’s Pablo Honey, where the band was still finding its footing, but Leisure also stands on its own, thanks to the fact that Damon Albarn and co. had more personality than most of their countrymen in 1991. You saw the beginnings of Albarn’s experimentalism in the percussive elements underpinning the slow-burning alt-rock of “Repetition” and accordion riff looping under the dream-pop guitar squalls of “Bad Day.” Even at its most derivative, such as the “Only Shallow” aping riff of “Slow Down,” Leisure is still a an early ’90s time capsule of a record with plenty of pleasure to spare, and one that hinted at the heights Blur and Albarn would achieve later on. Maybe I just like it now because every song sounds kind of like My Bloody Valentine's "Soon." Regardless, all of the albums are worth checking out, including Blur, Modern Life is Rubbish, The Great Escape and Think Tank.
yaz upstairs at eric'sYaz Upstairs at Eric’s
In these days of excellent darkwave revivalists like Light Asylum, Yaz and its best album, Upstairs at Eric’s, seem more prescient than ever. The albums big hits all have a certain desperation that often underpins some of the best pop songs. “Don’t Go,” despite its memorable synth hook, boasts lyrics like “I turned around when I heard the sound of footsteps on the floor/Said, ‘He was a killer,’ now I know it's true/I'm dead when you walk out the door.” Vince Clarke, who penned early Depeche Mode classics like “Just Can’t Get Enough” before splitting for Yaz (and later Erasure), offers spare backdrop that favors tiny, interlocking synth riffs rather than big blankets of chords for Moyet to pour herself over. Moyet’s deep vocals hit hard throughout, especially on “Midnight” and the classic “Only You,” slow, sad new wave ballads that would be nowhere without Moyet offering some much-needed soul to a genre often saddled with wispy male vocals. Upstairs at Eric’s is a lot of fun, too, even with its more emotional tunes — Clarke’s synths mimic ’50s rock tropes and disco shimmer to great effect on “Bad Connection” and “Goodbye Seventies,” respectively, while Moyet’s exuberant kiss-offs and creepy laugh make “Situation” one of the best feel-good breakup songs around.

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