Amoeblog

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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50 Favorite Albums of 2011

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 18, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. As you may know, I've worked in Hollywood for 8 years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2011 releases that I fell in love with or had hot and heavy affairs with this year.

50 Favorite Albums of 2011



  1. Wild Beasts Smother

In 2008, Brit quartet Wild Beasts released their shaky-legged -but- stunning debut, Limbo Panto. In the four years since, the band has released two thoroughly dazzling masterpiece full-lengths of deceptively delicate indie rock, lyrically bent towards looking in the dark recesses of the heart and libido, largely sung by co-vocalist Hayden Thorpe in his trademark falsetto. Smother finds the band adding a new restraint to their arrangements that allows the tension in the lyrics to hit with hair-on-end chills. It is a singular LP by a singular band that I expect will eventually reach a Radiohead-level stratosphere. 

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out this week 1/27 and 2/3....grouper....franz ferdinand...paul mccartney...barbra streisand...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 5, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment
kelly clarkson
This year really flew by. I mean that 2008 really flew by. You might be thinking...it is already 2009, but I am still sort of living in 2008. I am now almost ready for the new year to start. I figure I will be ready by about March. I just moved back to Los Angeles last January and it has already been a year! I was barely done uppacking and settling down when we decided to move again. But I really did sort of fall back in love with Los Angeles this year, so we are still here for a while I think. It was just time to move again. Now that 2009 is officially underway to the rest of the world, the music is starting to come out again. I worry every once in a while about the state of the music industry. But I do get some faith back in it every time I fall in love with a new album. I just get excited thinking about all the new albums that are going to come out this year -- all the bands that might not even be bands yet that will put out fantastic little albums in the next couple of years. The albums are out there. You just have to look for them. The year might be getting off to a slow start but those new albums are coming. Just in case you don't have it already, please go buy the new Antony & the Johnsons. It is called The Crying Light and it is magical! I have also been obsessed with the debut album from Empire of the Sun. They are from Australia and sort of sound like MGMT. It is just an import right now but I am sure it will come out domestic soon.

There is something coming up for everybody, don't you worry. All you Kelly Clarkson fans out there don't have to wait too much longer, I swear. I don't really know how that Doolittle lady from american idol managed to get an album out, but it is true-- Melinda Doolittle has an album out this week. I try to avoid american idol as much as I can. I don't even think it deserves to be capitalized in this blog. But it does have an amazingly powerful hold over the country. They manage to find some of the grouper dragging a dead dear up a hillmost unattractive and worst musicians in the country and some how make people obsessed with them. Seriously, those are some magicians over there producing that show! But that Kelly Clarkson, there is just something about her. Maybe I have given into American Idol just a little bit. I never watched a single episode that she was on but somehow she got some power over me. I told you -- those producers have some crazy magical powers. Somehow those catchy pop songs get a hold of me sometimes. I do love listening to the radio though. Maybe that is my problem. So the new Kelly Clarkson is out March 17th and that is all I am going to say about it. Enough with my super guilty pleasure! But I feel like I have to give in to popular music every once in a while or I will explode or something. Some pop culture is good for you in moderation. To balance that out a bit I have been listening to this Grouper record a bunch lately. It came out last year, but my coworker Chris recommended it to me and I finally bought it and am now a bit obsessed. If you want some weird folky dark lady music than I highly recommend it. The album is called Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill. It is worth it alone for the amazing album cover. I seriously can't stop staring at it. I dare you to try and stop staring at it. I still can't figure out if it is a doll or an actuall girl.
fran ferdinand tonight
Last week was the week of Bruce Springsteen and Franz Ferdinand. Two completely different generations but I imagine that I am not the only one that was interested in both albums. I have loved the Franz Ferdinand ever since I first heard "Take Me Out" about 6 years ago. I will admit that I am probably one of their older fans. Seems like their fans just keep getting younger. We went and saw them at Bill Graham Civic for the last album and the crowd was mostly 18 year olds. But they just did an instore at Amoeba last week and the crowd did mostly seem to be more like 13 and 15 year olds. But it made me happy -- not all 13 year olds just listen to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. I don't think I will be turning into a musical grandpa quite yet this year. But it might be getting close to that time. I still love Franz and that show was great and super high energy. Bruce was too busy performing at inaguration parties and super bowls to stop by Amoeba, but maybe someday he will stop by for a little instore. Also out last week was a new album from Andrew Bird and Amoeba's Secret by Paul McCartney finally came out on CD.

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