Amoeblog

My Picks for the 50 Best Records That Came Out in 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, November 29, 2013 04:26pm | Post a Comment

Doesn’t end-of-year-list time always sneak up on us? It’s the time to reflect and realize that a lot of really great music did come out throughout the year. Here is my list of 50 best records that came out in 2013. I limited it to albums that were physically released. But it’s only the end of November, so feel free to leave a comment and tell me why I’m dumb for leaving out such-and-such record and I’ll give it a listen!

jagwar ma howlin cd amoeba50. Jagwar Ma Howlin’

Just ’cause these guys ripped off the Madchester sound isn’t any reason to write them off. Listen to Howlin’ and try to get these songs out of your head.

49. Julianna Barwick Nepenthe

Non-verbal cries echo out into infinity and give life to your unconscious while listening to Nepenthe. She’s like our generation’s Enya, only a million times cooler (actually Enya is kind of rad, nm).

48. Sky Ferreira Night Time, My Time

What if Kelly Clarkson really dug My Bloody Valentine and dated the dude form Diiv? What if Taylor Swift shot up heroin, posed nude for some crazy German director and actually ended up making interesting music? Night Time, My Time seeks to answer these questions you never knew you had. Even though Night Time, My Time couldn’t possibly live up to all the blog hype/hate/press Sky Ferreira got this year, it’s still a great, if fragmented pop record.

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Sandra Vu of SISU and Dum Dum Girls Talks 'Blood Tears'

Posted by Billy Gil, October 9, 2013 02:33pm | Post a Comment

sandra vuSandra Vu has been the cool presence behind the drum kit in a number of bands, both on record and live. She's helped propel such bands as Dirty Beaches, The Raveonettes, Midnight Movies, Boredoms and, most often, as the drummer for Dum Dum Girls.

Now she has her own project named SISU. Judging by her resume, SISU's debut album is somehow both comfortingly familiar, drawing from influences such as girl groups and noise pop, and something entirely new. The strange tones that strike across the skies of songs like "Counting Stars" and pulsating beats under songs like "Harpoons" draw more from krautrock, industrial and experimental music than contemporary shoegaze, while Vu's vocals range from disaffected and alien to front-and-center pop vocals. Blood Tears is a delight throughout, atmospheric and cool, yet catchy and immediately memorable.

I took a minute to speak with Vu about her new project and how she came into making music on her own.

 

 

Me: I hear SISU is the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.” Why did you choose that name?

Vu: Originally, "SISU" stems from my name, but we later found out that it was a Finnish word. I like the meaning though so we've adopted it, respectfully.

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My 10 Favorite Albums of 2013 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, July 2, 2013 11:15am | Post a Comment

Plenty of great music has been released in 2013 already. It’s always staggering to look back at the halfway point and realize what has come out, what you need to give another listen to, and so on. This is a list of my personal faves that also have garnered substantial critical acclaim. I know there are lots of other great albums from this year, so why don’t you comment and tell me about them huh?! If you really want to know what else I thought was great for some reason, click through to my album picks for each week’s releases.

 

Kanye WestYeezus

kanye west yeezusThis has to top my list, as I’m sure it does for many others. Despite its numerous problems in the lyrics department, namely a badly used Nina Simone sample, its industrial grind and Kanye’s manic delivery trump all. There’s just no other music like this around — now or ever.

 

 

My Bloody Valentinembv

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Album Picks: Sean Nicholas Savage, The Pastels, Tijuana Panthers, Dirty Beaches

Posted by Billy Gil, May 28, 2013 10:50am | Post a Comment

Sean Nicholas Savage - Other Life

sean nicholas savageCD $12.98

LP $19.98

Download $9.98

It may sound like he’s kidding at first — Sean Nicholas Savages’ casio keyboard chords and shivering falsetto sounds like mall music beamed in from another planet on “She Looks Like You.” But beneath the chintzy set up are great songs sung by an aching voice. Other Life sounds like re-created memories of Simply Red, but its modest creation only adds to the songs’ charm. The title track’s lyrics radiate with the same nostalgia as the music, only it’s for life recently lived and chances not taken (“All I do is reminisce laying in my bed with a cigarette/Opportunities fading, crazy feelings staying only feelings/And if I go back now, how many nights till I go wild again?”). Savage perfectly captures the pain of entering adulthood and realizing life is finite, and wild nights can’t go on forever. Savage isn’t quite Prince — his attempts at romanticism on “Lonely Woman” come off as awkward, though endearingly so. But when that acute pain and awkwardness is paired with soft-rock hooks on a song like “More Than I Love Myself,” Sean Nicholas Savage’s brand of instant nostalgia rings truer than 1,000 Instagram posts.

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10 Record Store Day Picks

Posted by Billy Gil, April 19, 2012 06:55pm | Post a Comment
Record Store Day is great for any number of reasons — supporting record stores and the music community, hearing DJ sets from the likes of Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning. But in the end it’s all about the exclusive and new releases. Here are 10 picks from the many releases coming out April 21. (Read a more comprehensive list here, and download the full list here.)
 
animal collectiveAnimal Collective – Transverse Temporal Gyrus
 
Ripped from elsewhere on the Amoeblog: In March 2010, Animal Collective and visual artist Danny Perez put on an installation called "Transverse Temporal Gyrus" at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. For the audio, each member of the band made individual sounds and songs. Over the course of two 3-hour performances, the basic tracks were fed into a computer program that randomized the track order, and sometimes randomly combined stems from one track with stems from another. The program also panned the music in various directions around a 36 channel surround sound system that ran through 36 speakers set up from the top of the Guggenheim's ramp to the bottom. The music on this 12" is a collage made consisting of the original tracks, as well as live recordings made inside the Guggenheim before the doors were opened to the public. It will be the only physical format on which any of the music will be released.
 
Plus it’s new Animal Collective!
 
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II
 
Arcade Fire’s Blondie-ish “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” was undoubtedly the highlight of The Suburbs and showed the band still has some tricks up its sleeve. The Soulwax remix included here tastefully gives it the dancefloor feel it calls for without just throwing a house beat over the song and calling it a day.
 

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