Amoeblog

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 Feb. 19: Iceage, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Beach Fossils and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 18, 2013 11:01pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Iceage - You're Nothing

iceage you're nothingCD $12.98

LP $16.98

Turning on Iceage’s You’re Nothing at first feels like jumping headfirst into a cold pond. On openers “Ecstasy” and “Coalition,” the Danish band turns up the distortion to brutal levels and works itself into a frenzy of speedy hardcore riffs and singer Elias Bender Ronnenfelt’s anguished Ian Curtis-esque wail. But Iceage’s post-punk fury is no monolithic sound, as its dynamic push and pull recalls My Bloody Valentine at their Isn’t Anything roughest, allowing songs to bend and turn at will but with a strong base and memorable hooks, like “In Haze’s” sudden textured guitars and pummeling chorus. The band’s foreboding marches and chugging guitars never get too mechanical, splintering off into chaotic noise whenever possible, as how the tense near-ballad “Morals” breaks from its severe structure into searing choruses. They’re the rare band you trust to always take you somewhere worthwhile even while blowing your hair back with pure noise. Crash into You’re Nothing like an iceberg.

 

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away

Continue reading...

New Preorders: Jim James, Beach Fossils, Veronica Falls and More

Posted by Billy Gil, January 9, 2013 07:17pm | Post a Comment

Read below for preorders recently made available at Amoeba. I've linked to vinyl LP on all of these, but they're all available to preorder on CD as well. See all of the albums up for preorder here.

 

John Paul White - The Long Goodbye

John Paul WhiteOut Jan. 22

The Civil Wars man is embarking on a solo release. Check out The Civil Wars' live show at Amoeba here. Download the performance here.

 

Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love

ra ra riot beta loveOut Jan. 22

The latest from the indie-pop band features the melancholy synths and vocoder jam "When I Dream."

Continue reading...

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. 

Continue reading...

Best of 2011: PST

Posted by Billy Gil, December 14, 2011 06:30pm | Post a Comment
Oh hey! It's time for some top 50 album love.

1. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
 
Longtime devotees of Anthony Gonzalez’s M83 got to see him make good on the promises of his previous albums, all of which are great in their own way, on this unabated masterpiece. Across two albums’ worth of material, Gonzalez’s childlike ethos spreads across synth pop dreamscapes taken to arena-level sonic and emotional territory in a way that never feels trite or untrue. If he overreaches, he does it in the best way possible.

2.  Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine
 
Chaz Bundick’s second album is a light-year’s jump over 2010’s chillwave capsule Causers of This, an album that seems to take a young lifetime’s worth of backseat radio listening and picks just the choicest bits, whether its early hip-hop or psychedelic rock or cool jazz, filtering it through Bundick’s too-cool specs.
 
       3. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
 
PJ Harvey’s perfect instincts have guided her through the starkest of emotional territory with only the most necessary accompaniment. She continues that trend here, on an album reflecting on war and England’s history in a way that feels loose and not heavy-handed, aided by strangely fitting samples and tasteful effects, but still allowing for the emotional sucker punches she’s so adept at (“I’ve seen soldiers fall like lumps of meat” in “The Words That Maketh Murder” is one for the ages).

4.  Dirty Beaches – Badlands
 
Dirty Beaches’ Alex Zhang Hungtai is a master of minimalism. Over pitch-black surf riffs he plays and then samples, he breathes, whispers and cries tales of teenage longing inspired by ’50s rock ‘n’ roll (“Sweet 17,” “True Blue”), unearthing the dirt beneath the saccharine. At only eight tracks, two of them wordless, Badlands is the year’s most beguiling release.
 
       5. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
 
Hip-hop that feels worlds removed from the realm of hip-hop, this forward-thinking album manages to stay fun while its psychedelic tones intimate something more cerebral and transcendent.
 
      6. Real Estate – Days
 
While Real Estate seemed primed to take the throne as leaders of the reverb pack with their self-titled debut in 2009, this glorious jangle-pop opus puts them more in line to grab the torch from the departing R.E.M.
 
        7. Iceage – New Brigade
 
Real noise punk from Danish teens that rocks so hard it puts just about every other band alive to shame in comparison.