Amoeblog

The 20 Best Shoegaze Albums

Posted by Billy Gil, March 7, 2014 06:21pm | Post a Comment

Islowdivenspired by the reunion of shoegaze greats Slowdive, Amoeblogger Brad Schelden and I have compiled our list of favorite shoegaze albums.

For any who don’t know, shoegaze is a style of music rooted in the noise pop of The Jesus & Mary Chain and dream pop of Cocteau Twins from the early ’80s. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, bands took elements put forth by those bands—loud, distorted guitars, heavily reverbed vocals and emphasis on atmosphere over discernable lyrics—and came up with a new sound, first truly realized by My Bloody Valentine on their classic 1988 album, Isn’t Anything. Shoegaze (or shoegazing) was a term NME and Melody Maker in the U.K. used to describe the visual representation of the sound from bands who rose in My Bloody Valentine’s wake, depicting bands’ apparent lack of movement onstage and propensity to stare down at their numerous effects pedals. The genre hit its heyday in the early ’90s but persists today, with bands like My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver reuniting and artists like M83 and Diiv using elements of their sound (so-called nu-gaze, but I’ll avoid that terrible term). So with that lengthy explanation, here we go.

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2013 Mixtape: 21 Songs for the Time Capsule

Posted by Billy Gil, December 5, 2013 01:31pm | Post a Comment

Just about everyone could agree on “Get Lucky” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but there were lots of other great singles and album cuts released this year. Here are 21 you can download from Amoeba.com right now. Pretty sure these could just top out a 120-minute cassette tape, if my high school calculations are correct. Check out my top 50 albums list, too!

 

kurt vile wakin on a pretty daze amoebaKurt Vile – “KV Crimes”

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Kurt Vile's Wakin on a Pretty Daze is a great, melodically hazy stoner-rock record, but "KV Crimes" hits hard, like a song Tom Petty would kick out in five minutes and decide he was too stoned when he wrote it and leave it on the cutting-room floor for some bullshit like "Free Fallin'." Kurt Vile is like our more enlightened Petty, one who knows that off-the-cuff tracks can be the best.

 

From the album Wakin on a Pretty Daze

 

 

savages silence yourself lp amoebaSavages – “I Am Here”

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50 Essential Albums Released in 2013

Posted by Aaron Detroit, November 30, 2013 02:45pm | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for nine years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. Here is my extensive list of new essential listening, released in 2013. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion shouldn't be static!

1. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
The Knife Shaking the Habitual    


After a seven-year hiatus (not including 2010’s collaborative opera with Matt Sims and Planningtorock,) the Swedish sister/brother duo crafted something utterly singular with this sprawling, conceptual, yet immensely thrilling triple-LP. Habitual lyrically challenges gender constructs and unchecked privilege against visceral (and sometimes monstrous) techno that also refuses any box you throw over it. 

 

These New Puritans Field of Reeds



2. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
   
 No guitars, no dubstep breaks, no angular post-punk posturing. Jack Barnett & Co. look to 20th century composers and Fado for inspiration on their third LP. Woodwinds, brass, field recordings, a magnetic resonator piano and additional vocals from Portuguese vocalist Elisa Rodrigues move TNP into a whole other category of artist, far away from the faceless NME hordes they once mingled with. 
 
3. David Bowie - The Next Day
 
 David Bowie The Next DayQuite honestly, it’s his best since his last great LP --33 years ago--Scary Monsters. This isn’t anything but Bowie being himself, but the emotional weight of his lyrics give the new tracks a vitality missing from much of his work in the previous decade. It’s exhilarating throughout, with most of his famous tropes (Space!!) sounding somehow fresh. New classics like the title track, “Dirty Boys,” the Scott Walker-nodding “Heat,” plus the stellar Bowie-doing-Morrissey-doing-his-best-Bowie moment on “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die.” 
 

Holden The Inheritors

10 Songs to Download Now: Mikal Cronin, Hanni El Khatib, Cayucas, Classixx, Small Black and More

Posted by Billy Gil, May 14, 2013 12:29pm | Post a Comment

Starting a new feature to highlight some recent tracks available to download on the Amoeba site. Take a listen and if you like them, add them to your Amoeba shopping cart (you won’t be charged until you check out). All downloads are in the $.98 MP3 format; visit the album page to pick up higher-res M4A or WAV files.

 

mikal cronin mciiMikal Cronin – “Weight”

Starting with a stately piano and acoustic jangle, “Weight” opens Mikal Cronin’s excellent MCII on a classy note. Those Rubber Soul-style harmonies and crunching guitars at the chorus don’t hurt, either. This one’s a free download. (From the album MCII)

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ancient animalsAncient Animals – “Teen Wolf”

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Album Picks: Savages, Deerhunter, Mikal Cronin

Posted by Billy Gil, May 7, 2013 09:00am | Post a Comment

SavagesSilence Yourself

savages silence yourselfCD $12.98

LP $18.98

Savages’ primal, post-punk-inspired sound demands your full attention. From the get-go, Silence Yourself is no warm-hearted embrace of a record — its first song is called “Shut Up,” and then there’s that title. But theirs isn’t an empty confrontation; the British band delivers in spades with songs that dive into your bloodstream and live in you before you know it. “I Am Here” declares itself as a bearing for what’s to come, as if frontwoman Jehnny Beth is grabbing your hand and coaxing you toward your own future. “I am here, no more fear, no more dark shadows, let it come,” she sings chillingly in a mid-range trill somewhere between Siouxsie, Jeff Buckley and Rush’s Geddy Lee. Her band works into a froth that leads to an inevitable conclusion of Ayse Hassan’s pulverizing bass and Fay Milton’s bashing drums while Beth and guitarist Gemma Thompson trade ghostly exchanges above. Silence Yourself isn’t entirely full-throttle though; as any good post-punk devotee knows, the trick is pairing those moments with eerie, atmospheric tunes, and that’s exactly what Savages do, allowing for songs like “Waiting for a Sign,” which summons a combination of apocalyptic sound from Thompson’s guitar and Beth’s banshee wail, while Hassan and Milton keep things anchored in a glacial groove. “Dead Nature” follows, full of empty, echoing dread; these two songs allow the record to reach a midpoint of hollowed-out intensity before ratcheting back up the energy, on songs like “She Will,” which starts as the friendliest and danciest song on the record, until they make that chorus into an uncompromising sexual tirade. “Hit Me” and “Husbands” round out the album by allowing the band to play with full abandon. In the latter, Beth takes the confines of marriage and makes them into a virtual prison, crying “husbands” in frightening, alien repetition. The album’s piano-led, cabaret-esque closer, “Marshall Dear,” speaks great promise of Savages, as Beth goes lower in register and more operatic and the band tempers its great noise-making capabilities. It’s a riveting debut record from start to finish. We knew it was gonna be good judging by the advance press and last year’s I Am Here live EP, but Silence Yourself still smashes expectations and leaves you sitting in smoke, begging for more.

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