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Amoeba Bloggers' 50 Favorite Albums of 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, December 31, 2013 02:20pm | Post a Comment

We've been compiling our Best of 2013 lists for a while now. Here's the combined efforts of Amoebloggers who submitted their favorite albums of 2013, compiled in a quasi-scientific fashion.

1. My Bloody Valentine - mbv

my bloody valentine mbv amoebaIt should come as no surprise that the favorite record of the year from a bunch of record store geeks was My Bloody Valentine's long-awaited return with mbv.

"A year heavy with vets, but no one had anybody more excited than My Bloody Valentine (this guy included.) The logical follow-up to Loveless – 22 years later – and it’s a total stunner. mbv is MBV doing what they do best, and quite certainly, it was worth all those delays and the epic wait. It has familiarity that’s instant, but still pushes guitar rock into new terrains like no one else can." —Aaron Detroit

 

 

2. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual

the knife shaking the habitual amoebaThe Knife's divisive fourth studio album was a favorite amongst those who were up for the challenge from the Swedish experimental duo.

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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

Albums Out 2/5: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jim James, Grouper and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 5, 2013 10:50am | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II

Unknown Mortal OrchestraCD $12.98

LP $14.98

Lo-fi psych-pop band Unknown Mortal Orchestra grow and refine their sound by leaps and bounds on their second album. While the band’s fine self-titled debut reveled in its Syd Barret-inspired weirdness, II ups the ante by funneling its odd turns into pop songs that seem to activate new nodes in your brain. “From the Sun” makes like a White Album demo, stuffing its rich arrangement into the washing machine — it comes out with colors mismatched but intact. “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” is high-flying indie-pop that doesn’t have to ask to make itself at home on loop. By the time you’re three songs in, with the soft vintage soul of “So Good at Being in Trouble,” II becomes remarkable rather than merely enjoyable. From space-rock (“No Need for a Leader”) to glammy soul (“Secret Xtians”) to Madchester-style Britpop (“Faded in the Morning”), Unknown Mortal Orchestra seem to have digested decades worth of bargain-bin records and made the sounds their own on II.

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out this week 4/10 & 4/17 & 4/24...grouper...mirrorring...unison...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 4, 2012 05:05pm | Post a Comment
grouperI became a fan of Grouper a couple of years ago when I first heard Dragging A Dead Dear Up A Hill. That was Grouper's album from 2008. Grouper is Liz Harris. And Liz Harris is amazing. Her music is not for everyone. You really need to turn these albums up and probably be by yourself when you listen to them. This is not music really meant for the radio. And you for sure will not be hearing this in any bar or club. Grouper will not be playing over the speakers at your gym.  She will most likely be playing in your house while you sit in the middle of your room crying. Or maybe just contemplating life. I live for albums like these. Luckily there are not that many people out there like Grouper. As much as I love these albums. I just could probably not take too many of them at a time. Grouper has released a couple of things over the last couple of years. She released two albums last year titled Dream Loss and Alien Observer. These were released only on LP. But they are now available together on one CD titled A I A. This is brought to us by the fantastic label Kranky. They also released another album called Mirrorring that came out a couple of months ago. More on that later.

A friend told me about Grouper a couple of years ago. I think I was hooked on Grouper before I even mirrorringlistened to the album. That cover of Dragging A Dead Dear Up A Hill is something else. I really could not stop staring at it. I had not really paid much attention to her in the last couple of years. But I am once again hooked on Grouper. The album took me a couple of listens to get into it. I listened to it as background music a couple of times. But then all of a sudden I just got super into it. The songs are haunting and super mellow. She falls somewhere between goth folk and ambient experimental. It is some beautiful stuff. It really just makes be happy to have albums like this in my life. They sort of mellow me out. It balances out all the other stuff I listen to. It grounds me somehow. 

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