Amoeblog

The 80s List: Part 1

Posted by Amoebite, August 11, 2011 06:57pm | Post a Comment
We're unashamedly big music nerds here at Amoeba Hollywood, and we love to talk and reminisce about our favorite records with each other. We also like to debate their historical relevance. Sometimes these conversations can get pretty impassioned, as it did on the fateful date I exclaimedAztec Camera Aztec Camera's 1983 release High Land, Hard Rain to be one of the best records of the '80s.

Oops...that statement was met with mild laughter and ridicule from two of my co-workers. I realized pretty quickly that it was a very tall claim considering the wealth of great music that emerged over the course of that decade. The truth is, I was forced into justifying that statement by making a top-ten list of my favorite '80s records. It was a daunting task that took a fair amount of soul searching, but it was a lot of fun. It was also very infectious, and over the next couple of days a dozen other people made their top ten lists, and within a few weeks the number grew to over 100 Amoebites.

The '80s were witness to many divergent and popular styles of music, and from the beginning we realized that it would be impossible for most of us to condense our favorites from all the genres we like into a tiny top ten list. There's just too much good stuff out there. So, we limited this list to Rock/Pop and its sub genres like punk, metal, goth, and new wave. Even so, it was still a difficult selection process because not only are there hundreds of amazing records to consider, there is also the added dynamic of time.

out this week 5/17 & 5/23...det vackra livet...brendan perry...robin guthrie...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 27, 2011 01:49pm | Post a Comment
det vackra livet
I finally got a copy of the new album by Det Vackra Livet. It has actually only been out for a couple of weeks now but I have been dying to hear this album! I fell hard for the Mary Onettes a couple of years ago when they released their second album Islands in 2009. Things sure seem to happen in cycles. The last Mary Onettes album came out about the same time as the first Cold Cave album and another Morrissey compilation and now all 3 have releases this month again! Maybe Morrissey just releases too many albums...but I don't think there really could ever be enough. Some might say that the debut self titled Mary Onettes album from 2007 is even better than Islands, and I go back and forth on which I like better but they are both essential albums that you should own. The band is from Sweden, which is reason enough to fall in love with the Mary Onettes! I am telling you, I just love Sweden. They mix an 80s sort of Ultravox and Pet Shop Boys sound with maybe somedet vackra livet Sigur Ros and the twee sounds of Belle & Sebastian.

The two brothers from The Mary Onettes have just released a new album in their native tongue -- Philip and Henrik Ekstrom are now known as Det Vackra Livet for this new project. It has all of the elements that I love from The Mary Onettes, just without the English. This is beautiful stuff. I have been really loving this new album which was released on the same excellent label that released The Mary Onettes albums, Labrador... which of course has my name right in the middle of it, so of course I was going to love this label! They have put out some of my favorites over the last decade from artists like The Acid House Kings, who also just released a fantastic new album, as well as my favorites Radio Dept. and The Legends. And Pelle Carlberg! And Club 8 and The Sound of Arrows! This label can seriously do no wrong. They have been so consistently awesome that I really don't even understand how they do it. But I thank them for it. Please do yourself a favor and check out this new album from Det Vackra Livet. You will not regret it.

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out this week 2/22 & 3/1...puro instinct!

Posted by Brad Schelden, March 3, 2011 11:34am | Post a Comment
puro instinct
This is really turning out to be a great year for music! So many fantastic albums are right around the corner. We will have new albums by The Strokes and James Blake on March 22nd; New Radiohead and Pains of Being Pure at Heart albums out March 29th; New Fleet Foxes album out May 3rd! And these last couple of weeks have also had some amazing albums come out. The new Adele record is fantastic, if you like that kind of thing! New records also were released last week from Toro Y Moi and Puro Instinct. I have been obsessed with Puro Instinct for a while now, but more on that later.

The new album by Beady Eye, Liam Gallagher and Andy Bell from Oasis, is out this week. You may also know Andy Bell from Ride! I was never a huge Oasis fan -- I was always more of a Blur guy -- but for some reason I am excited about this album. There is also a new EP out from The Dum Dum Girls this week. Have you heard their album, I Will Be, from last year yet? You need to. Like, right now! The new Lykke Li album is also out this week. I honestly never really paid her much attention when her last album puro instinctcame out but this new one is great! I seriously did not think that I would be liking it but it somehow cast a spell over me. The new Dustin O'Halloran album is also fantastic. It is more indie classical music from Fat Cat, the label that brought us Max Richter. There is so much to listen to! I know everyone is all excited about the new Lady Gaga and I just found out the single will be out as a 12" for Record Store Day, which is also right around the corner, on Saturday, April 16th. There are tons of great exclusive 7"s and 12"s coming out this year, but what I have been really excited about is the new album by Puro Instinct. I can't get enough of this band...

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Forget Chillwave; Wild Nothing's 'Gemini' is Heartfelt Dream Pop

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 3, 2010 02:00pm | Post a Comment
Wild Nothing Gemini
Chillwave” in 2010 is as embarassing a genre tag as “Shoegaze” or “Grunge” was in 1991. It sounds more like a vile blue-colored slushy drink from a convenience store than a musical genre. I feel bad for the contemporary Dream Pop bands that have to endure being cast as such. Chillwave is the new Nu-Rave, i.e., nothing more than loosely similar bands being forced into corners by lazy bedroom bloggers. While many young bands, as of late, have been heavily borrowing sonic textures, recording aesthetics, and ideas from those bleary bands of the late ‘80’s and early 90’s, Virginia’s one-man band of Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, has succeeded in making a record that pings the right amount of lilting and forlorn nostalgia via its familiar Dream Pop haze yet is complex enough not to fatigue attentive ears. Gemini, released this week, has all the shimmer of early Cocteau Twins, the bounce of mid-era Cure, and the rough charm of a C86-era mixtape. This is the sort of record I wish Beach House would make.

Gemini’s success as a great Dream Pop album is also highlighted by what it is lacking. Tatum avoids the cloying cutsey tweeness of last year’s retro-darlings The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and instead delivers a breezywild nothing Jack Tatum melancholy. Sincerity is a breath of fresh air here as well -- while essentially postmodern because of its pastiche, Gemini obviously springs from Tatum’s heart, carefully avoiding the irony so many young bands rely on and hide behind. On the slow-crawl of “Pessimist,” Tatum wears it on his sleeve with the line “Boys Don’t Cry/They Just Die” without a hint of a grin. However, the album is never oppressive or dreary, even when Tatum is bummed out; it truly is a great feat to make a record that plays perfectly on a summer drive to the beach or home alone on a rainy day.

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Christ Vs. Warhol's Impressive Debut Disc

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 20, 2010 01:15pm | Post a Comment
Christ vs. Warhol
Although the members of Los Angeles-based Christ vs. Warhol all sport mohawks and/or various body modifications, there’s nothing scrappy about the quartet’s debut full-length disc, Dissent. Instead, one will find this well-oiled 4-headed beast firing on all cylinders on 13 solidly produced and politically-minded tracks.

There has been a glut of silly, style-focused and, frankly, dumb Deathrock bands vying for attention for the last few years and for a genre that isn’t all that crowded, that’s a pretty sad state. Christ vs. Warhol avoids these pitfalls by mostly avoiding navel-gazing and instead delivering incendiary, topical and thoughtful lyrics bathed in cascading riffs and wet bass lines. Vocalist and lyricist Eveghost (formerly of Scarlet’s Remains) aims her firing sights at a multitude of topics, like blind consumerism, media-manufactured beauty standards, talk radio windbags and their corporate bosses as well as those
“tossing tea into the harbor/…masquerading as the voice of the working man.” 
Her voice alters between a witchy affected howl to an occasional but impressive Liz Fraser-esque swoop.

Dissent was produced by Faith & The Muse’s William Faith, whichChrist vs. Warhol probably explains some of the shimmer and gleam the album carries. His presence is certainly felt on the opening track, “A New Model of the Universe,” a dirtied Dream Pop instrumental, all tribal drums and soaring guitar effects bookended by chiming finger cymbals. “And If You Forget,” one of the few tracks concerning personal issues (here it’s a damaged lover) has a similar dreamy-lean with a swirling arrangement and Eveghost hitting the notes in her lovely upper register. The band excels on these airier tracks; it’d be interesting to see the band focus on and hone these elements for future efforts.

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