#1 Chromatics - Kill For Love
(Italians Do It Better)
I have been waiting for this album for 6 years! I was a huge fan of their last album in 2007. Both Night Drive by Chromatics and Beat Box by Glass Candy made it into my top 50 that year. That was also the first year of the Amoeblog and my first top 50 for Amoeba. Glass Candy will have a new album out in 2013. But in 2012 we got a brilliant new album by Chromatics. These guys are from the beautiful town of Portland. They have been around for about a decade. But really became a different kind of band back in 2007. Another perfect album of dreamy electronic love songs. These songs are seriously breathtaking and they make it seem so easy. These guys can do no wrong and always manage to create exactly what I need from them.
Listen to "At Your Door" by Chromatics...
#2 DIIV - Oshin
The band formerly know as Dive is now called DIIV. This was another album that I was highly anticipating this year. Captured Tracks has done it again this year and released another group of amazing albums. They had two albums in my top ten last year and they have two more in my top ten this year. DIIV is Brooklyn based Zachary Cole Smith of the band Beach Fossils. I actually like this project more than Beach Fossils. DIIV is exactly what I have come to expect from this label. This is shoegaze and dreampop in the year 2012. It brings me right back to the early 90s. I never really wanted to leave that period of music. So I am happy to revisit if often.
#1 Chromatics - Kill For Love
Crystal Castles – III
Early interviews about Crystal Castles' stunning third album have seen frontwoman Alice Glass discussing oppression at length with Bono-ish fervor — not something typically associated with an image-conscious electronic duo known more for its antagonistic records and brawling live shows than its politics. But Glass and synth stud Ethan Kath can have it both ways, as III is another visceral attack of a record from Crystal Castles that ups the meaning behind their furor, both explicitly and implied, without losing any of their hedonistic attitude. In fact, III, while lacking some of the shock value of the first two records, is Crystal Castles’ most consistent statement to date. Tracks like “Plague” and “Wrath of God” still pack walloping beats, but they are more of mood pieces than, say, something like II’s “Baptism,” full of moody, heaving passages that draw you in and keep you rapt across the record. III is also smartly paced, keeping some of its more crowd-pleasing moments for later in the record, whereas previous albums were front-loaded. The fourth song in, “Affection,” shares a chord-scheme with MGMT’s “Kids,” though its warped vocals sound like they’re echoing from an abyss — not exactly radio-friendly material. Glass quits whispering and unleashes her trademark echoed yelps on the spare “Pale Flesh,” sure to be a live favorite, while “Sad Eyes” charges forth with unabashed club glee and hard-hitting beatwork. The album’s final quarter features some of its most remarkable moments, full of seedy club bangers, while its last song, “Child I Will Hurt You,” is a typically gorgeous closer from the band, layering Goblin-style keyboards over Glass’ haunting vocals, which often sing of pain inflicted upon the vulnerable, echoing the statement of that album cover, calling to mind suffering and comfort in equal doses. That concept isn’t as overt as it could have been, but when it does come through, as when Glass sings “I’ll protect you from all the things I’ve seen” on “Kerosene,” Crystal Castles create the aural equivalent of gunfire and a helping hand.
OMG you guys, it’s Halloween! Kind of. Halloween is next Wednesday — read all about the puppy antics Amoeba Hollywood has in store here — which means it’s kind of like it’s Halloween for the next six days. Besides your requisite scary movies, here are some recent creepy albums to get you through the next week, and a few upcoming ones to look out for.
This one’s kind of obvious. This is a band that made an album ostensibly about the end of the world, and the post-rock outfit’s latest release starts with a 20-minute opus of crashing sound named after a war criminal. But Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! pairs its noisy parts with moments of unnerving beauty, as in the spectral “We Drift Like Worried Fire.”
Wolfgang Voigt returns to stranj for his left-of-center Kompakt label offshoot, Profan. As GAS, Voigt composed ethereal, blue-hued, deep-forest metaphysical techno 'head music', but now under his own name he injects the dance floor with a dose of well tempered madness. If you like your techno birthed out of a slightly crooked disposition, thought provoking and borderline psychotic, please check this out.
Berlin's first lady of techno drops a solid release for 2010. Her trademark razor-sharp spooky production is complete with bleeps n bells, throbbing bass house, squidgy electro tech-pop, and even what could be taken as an homage to the Exorcist theme.
Ichisan and Nakova
Between them, duo Ichisan & Nakova have toured the cream of the new disco stables with releases on Nang, Eskimo and Airtight. They present their debut album together for Nang, collecting thirteen Balkan disco grooves spiked with sparkling spacewise synths, cosmic guitar licks and dubbed basslines for the connoisseurs. Fans of Lindstrom, Ilija Rudman or Todd Terje should have a peek.
I have a confession to make...I am just now watching Arrested Development for the first time! I know you might find it hard to believe. How could I have gone all these years without watching this amazing television show? How did I even get through each day without the Bluth family? I feel somewhat personally responsible for getting it canceled. Maybe it would still be on TV if I had actually watched it when it originally aired. But three seasons might be the perfect length for this show -- I don't know how it could have possibly remained as hilarious this many years later. Arrested Development is just one of those absolutely perfect shows. I just can't imagine a better script and I can't imagine more perfect casting! The set up of the show is brilliant. It is seriously the funniest thing I have ever seen! I am just so glad that is is finally in my life. I am currently in the middle of Season 3 and I am actually trying to spread it out and make it last. I know that some of my friends are jealous of me that I am watching it for the first time -- they wish they could go back and have that experience again! I will most definitely be watching the entire series over again at some point in the future but there is just nothing like that first time. I am also sort of amazed how I didn't even really know that much about the show. I knew Jason Bateman was the star. I knew it had something to do with some rich father getting sent to prison and how his family dealt with it. I knew Ellen's girlfriend was on the show. I knew at some point Justine Bateman shows up on the show (which I am still patiently waiting for). But I had no idea that Michael Cera was on AD! I had no idea that Alia Shawkat plays the daughter Maybe! She is by far one of my favorite characters. Just absolutely brilliant! Liza Minnelli also pops in some of the best episodes as the neighbor. I had no idea the show was narrated by Ron Howard either! One of my other favorite characters is Buster. I didn't even know who Tony Hale was before the show but he is just plain perfect and hilarious as Buster. I guess I didn't even ever check out their IMDB page. I just didn't know. I am a bit mad nobody told me how brilliant this show was. Maybe I just wasn't listening. I had heard it was funny but I really needed somebody to sit me down and look me straight in the eye and say, "No, really, this show is simply the most brilliant and hilarious thing ever on television." So I am telling you now -- if you have not seen this show, you simply must watch it! Put down your True Blood and Dexter! Put aside your Glee, 30 Rock and The Office! Take a break from your Housewives and reality shows! You must watch this show!