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The 50 Best Albums of 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, December 18, 2015 07:40pm | Post a Comment

50 best albums of 2015

1. Tame Impala - Currents

tame impala currents lpTame Impala’s Kevin Parker shifts gears a bit for his third album, drawing as much from ’80s soul and disco as he has from prog-rock and psychedelia. Though such a change could threaten to derail a good thing, Parker is the consummate perfectionist, and Currents’ various strands are braided together without a hair out of place. Opener “Let It Happen” builds from a proggish uphill chug into a psychedelic freakout and finally hits its stride with a silky disco beat. “Eventually” relies on rock dynamics but uses fat synthesizers to achieve its booming changes. And a tune like crystalline psych-funk jam “The Less I Know the Better” seems to marry all of Parker’s influences into a perfect amalgam, calling to mind everything from Michael Jackson to My Bloody Valentine. Through it all, Parker is the same chill knob-twiddler he’s always been, but he’s come out of his shell a bit more—it takes confidence to command a song like “’Cause I’m a Man,” which gloriously oozes ’70s cheese, akin to Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” or 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love.” From the get-go, Parker himself seems to be reflecting on the change—“Something’s trying to get out/And it’s never been closer,” he sings on “Let It Happen.” It’s confirmed by the time we get to “Yes I’m Changing,” ostensibly a breakup ballad but it seems more pointedly about an introvert accepting accidental stardom (“Curse indulgence and despise the fame/There’s a world out there and it's calling my name”). This lyrical theme, the sense that Parker is coming into his own as not only a songwriter and performer but human being, gives Currents a unity that even the superb Lonerism didn’t have. In every way, Currents is a complete triumph, both as a fascinating headphones album for production junkies and as a set of immaculate psych-pop songs that feels endlessly giving.

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10 Last Minute Gift Ideas From Amoeba

Posted by Amoebite, December 14, 2015 12:15pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba is always a great place to find a gift for that person who’s hard to shop for, whether they’re a film buff, music nerd, toy collector or book fan. But if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own gift set from stuff we sell at Amoeba. Allow us to give you a few ideas on how to make your gift from Amoeba extra special.

Star Wars Gift Set

star wars pop up shop

Right now, we’ve got a Star Wars pop-up shop happening at Amoeba Hollywood, where we’ve collected all the T-shirts, toys, posters, movies and more that we sell, in celebration of the upcoming release of The Force Awakens. Snag a T-shirt, Funko figuring of Boba Fett and Force Awakens soundtrack (out Dec. 18) for a killer gift pack.

 

Cat LPs

lil bub lp
Not one, but two recently released LPs are designed for the cat lover. First, there’s Lil Bub’s Science & Magic: A Soundtrack to the Universe, a trippy set of cosmic synth adventures inspired by Instagram cat celebrity Lil Bub. And for that elusive hip hop fan who’s also into felines, there’s Meow the Jewels, a version of Run the Jewelscritically acclaimed Run the Jewels 2 album made entirely from cat noises. They’re both perfect for any hipster cat fan with a healthy sense of irony.

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"Better Call Heller" is the N.W.A "Straight Outta Compton" Biopic Spin-Off Series Just Waiting To Be Made

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2015 11:48pm | Post a Comment

Since its release three weeks ago the F. Gary Gray directed N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton has garnered a ton of press and generated newfound interest in not just the subjects of the film but in the whole history of West Coast rap. Everywhere you go over these past days there's some N.W.A related thing unfolding; from Ice Cube and Dr. Dre on the cover of Rolling Stone, to N.W.A getting heavy radio rotation (a quarter century later) on retro/throwback stations such as San Francisco's Q102, to N.W.A themed "Straight Outta Oakland" Oakland Raiders T-shirts (simultaneously bootlegging both the copyrighted logos of the football team and the gangsta rappers) being hawked by the roadside near the Oakland Coliseum this past Sunday when they hosted the Arizona Cardinals.

It is only natural that with all of this interest (read: more profits to be made) that there'll be a sequel movie such as Straight Outta Compton II: The Dr. Dre / Death Row Story. That's just one of many from the film that contained several story arcs that it didn't have time to fully develop in its packed 2 + half hours. In fact knowing Hollywood's love of bankable projects it could easily evolve into a franchise of seemingly never-ending sequels until it fizzles out with the final lackluster installment of Straight Outta Compton XI: Whateva Happened To Yella?

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Album Picks: Dr. Dre, Wilco, Gardens & Villa, Deradoorian, DRINKS

Posted by Billy Gil, August 21, 2015 11:27am | Post a Comment

Dr. DreCompton

dr. dre compton cdWith the release of the biopic Straight Outta Compton about pioneering hip hop group N.W.A., Dr. Dre has found himself rejuvenated as an artist. The rapper and onetime N.W.A. member has long been largely behind the scenes as a producer and businessman, but there’s still been hope he’d release something of his own, with a long-promised Detox album now shelved. That’s for the better; with an artist of Dre’s caliber, we’d rather have something polished to compare with his first two solo albums, and Compton, a companion piece to the film, doesn’t disappoint. Among A-list guest spots (Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Eminem) and lush jazz-funk production by Dre and a score of others, the album finds Dre looking back at his legacy. “Goddammit, I'm too old, I forgot I got it all/But Andre young enough to still get involved” he says on “Talk About It,” embodying his younger self to hang with the next generation he’s helped mentor. Dre tells the story of Compton’s troubled history (along with fellow Compton native Lamar) on standout “Genocide,” with dizzying production by Dem Jointz and a sick hook by Marsha Ambrosius. It should go without saying that the rapping across Compton is jaw droppingly great, not least of all by Dre himself, who raps circles around the young’uns on tracks like “It’s All On Me.” I would have liked to hear more of Dre and fewer guest spots (two tracks don’t have him at all), but taken together it’s an incredibly solid amalgam of compilation and solo album. It’s too soon to call Compton a new hip hop classic, but with countless memorable moments across the album’s 16 tracks, it’s looking that way. Certainly it’s an appropriately great finale to Dr. Dre’s rap career, though with as great as Compton is and as much acclaim as its received, hopefully it’s just the start of his next chapter as an artist.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The D.O.C.

Posted by Billyjam, April 21, 2015 06:00pm | Post a Comment
A key contributor to both Ruthless and Death Row Records' most significant releases, The D.O.C. is best known for his own landmark 1989 Dr. Dre-produced debut album No One Can Do It Better whose success, due to a tragic accident that destroyed his larynx, he would never be able to replicate. But that album remains a true hip-hop classic. The D.O.C. was born Tracy Curry (aka Tray) in Houston,TX but moved to Dallas where in 1986 he became a member of the hip-hop trio Fila Fresh Crew along with Fresh K and Dr. Rock.  Originally he went by the rap name Dr. T but later switched it to Doc T.  The Fila Fresh Crew relocated to the Compton area of LA where, through Dr Rock's World Class Wreckin Cru era affiliations with Dr. Dre, landed several of the trio's tracks on the 1987 album  N.W.A. and the Posse. This Macola/Ruthless release was essentially a compilation showcasing the talents of extended N.W.A. family (including Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Yella, and the Arabian Prince) plus the Fila Fresh Crew whose own poorly-received album, titled "Tuffest Man Alive" - featuring the same songs,  would be released on Macola a year later. Neither that album nor the single from it, "Dunk The Funk" would experience much success and the act soon disintegrated.  By this stage the D.O.C., a skilled battle emcee who displayed a superior lyrical finesse and a knack for writing memorable rhymes, had already moved on to work with the members of N.W.A. In no time he had proved himself an invaluable part of the Ruthless creative team.  In tandem with the young and talented Ice Cube (the main writer) he ghost-wrote a good deal of Eazy-E's 1988 debut album Eazy-Duz-It (the two also guested on the opening prelude track "Still Talkin'" ). Not long afterwards he got busy both ghost-writing for and contributing vocals to N.W.A.'s landmark 1988 Straight Outta Compton album on which he appeared on the track "Parental Discretion Iz Advised."  By this time he had changed his name to "The D.O.C." - apparently abbreviating "Doc" to  D.O.C. as a direct influence of N.W.A.'s use of periods between each abbreviated letter of their name.

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