Amoeblog

50 Essential Albums Released in 2014

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2014 09:20am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for ten 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 2014. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion should not be static.





1. Swans - To Be Kind (Young God)
To Be Kind, Swans’ 3rd LP since their 2010 reformation (and 13th overall,) is an unlikely triumph after 2012’s seemingly unmatchable masterpiece, The Seer. Any trepidation one might have about the sprawling triple-LP’s intimidating track lengths should evaporate under it’s hypnotizing ebb-and-flow of mental blues, super-honed grooves, manic clatter and hushed passages; all of which are eventually crushed by monolithic waves of majesty. Nothing short of classic.



 2. Carla Bozulich - Boy (Constellation)
Boy is Carla Bozulich’s (of Ethyl Meatplow, Geraldine Fibbers and Evangelista-renown) 3rd solo affair, but in a lot of ways it feels like her first. Bozulich pours her famed, devastating whiskey-voice into a cocktail of funeral country, death blues and industrial noise that sticks to your guts. Carla herself refers to this LP as her “pop record,” and if that's a true description, we could sure use a whole lot more “pop” albums like Boy. Don’t overlook this one.

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Composer Carl Stone's Personal Record Collection For Sale at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 3, 2014 01:01am | Post a Comment

Carl Stone LP Collection

Amoeba Hollywood has purchased one of the finest record collections that I have ever set eyes upon in my record store days (and that's about 13,870 days)!! Here we have obscure gems aplenty, many I've only seen perhaps once in my life, but here they are, side by side with records I've never ever seen before, and ones previously only legendary. In other words, a wonderful, rare collection!!!

Yes friends, I have negotiated a mutually satisfactory agreement that has allowed Amoeba to obtain the personal record collection of Mr. Carl Stone himself. Yes, THAT Carl Stone, composer and electronic sound artist extraordinaire, 21st-Century cultural icon, and truly a connoisseur of recorded sound in the left-of-center areas of many genres, and they are all here in the collection for sale in Amoeba's Hollywood store beginning the weekend of October 11 & 12: Avant Garde, Electronic, Musique Concrete, Experimental, Renaissance, Baroque, Medieval, Classical, New Music, World music, Jazz, No Wave, New Wave, Power Pop, Punk rock, Post-Punk, Industrial, and various "roots" musics.  All are original 1st pressings of mostly small, independent labels with loads of private pressings and imports.

Just, like, two words: mind blowing!!

This array of breathtaking LPs reflect Carl's usual pattern of being dead-center, ground zero, really at the apex of "what's happening" in music, never more true than in the pre-CD days of  this collection...a forward-thinking and quite wide-minded person's...one that doesn't come along very often. Don't think for a second that Professor Stone hasn't been feeding a constant, perhaps life-sustaining hunger to hear for himself the latest, most creatively interesting and challenging music (and in his case, even the sound of a big-piped sports car or machinery), from all over the world and across all genres. I presume he always has, and this collection of vinyl reveals that fact in every liner note and cover spine. Collectors like this are searchers, never quite satisfied with what is, what was, or even what "shall" be, barely trusting word of mouth and the writing on the walls. We collectors shake down anything that could offer that special chord combination, the emotional rush, the personal spirituality button pushed, or a memory bubbling over God-knows-how and why. Often these elusive platters make just a brief appearance in our airspace, only to become a faded memory, "Yeah, I saw that once at Amoeba…", or more likely, a 3 a.m.-tossing-and-turning-I'm-going-back-first-thing-in-the-morning-I-hope-it's-still-there angst-filled moment. Carl looked high, low, in, out and around for significant records. Carl got beaucoup promos sent to him. Carl had people hold things for him. Artists sent Carl their records out of the blue. Carl impulse-bought. Good record labels covered Carl. Carl special ordered records. Carl travelled the world and bought records as meals for his soul.

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Death Grips Done as a Band But Live On Through Great Albums

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2014 10:52am | Post a Comment

death gripsDeath Grips have been one of the most important yet, to some, most frustrating bands to emerge during the 2010s.

The Sacramento band, made up of Stefan Burnett (aka MC Ride), drummer Zach Hill and producer Andy Morin (aka Flatlander), made aggressive industrial noise-fueled hip-hop with often little regard for fan expectation, acquiring a wider audience, their record label, physical media, basically anything and everything that wasn’t a Death Grip. And this made them one of the most exciting bands around from a non-musical perspective because you never really could chart where they were going to go next. One minute, they’re releasing their most widely appealing (and perhaps best) album to date, The Money Store, playing at Coachella and getting signed to Epic in 2012.

The next minute, they release their major label debut early, for free, over the Internet, with a dick pic as the cover and publish emails from Epic telling them to remove the downloads immediately. Apparently Epic wouldn’t release the album until a year later, pissing the band off and prompting the early release of the music. It was a weird thing where the record label didn’t look bad—not wanting to release an album in the same year as the band had already released another hardly seems like major label bullying, given the resources they’d put into promotion—but the band’s utter disregard for “the way things are supposed to be” (not to mention their own monetary stake in their art) seemed punk at a time when the concept had lost most of its meaning. And fans won by getting the music as soon as it was finished (harkening back to a time when bands releasing multiple albums per year wasn’t such a big deal), and those wanting a physical release got it when Universal eventually released the album. 

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Show Recap: Gary Numan at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, October 17, 2013 02:48pm | Post a Comment

gary numan amoebaThere are some shows at Amoeba that get the staff tickled to pieces, and Gary Numan's show at Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 16 was one of them. Employees turned into starstruck kids when Numan showed up, looking vampiric in a black vest, red tie and dyed black hair.

He took the stage with his band to promote his recent release Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind), which portrays a harder edge to the new-wave star. I was listening to it on the way to the store and found myself driving really aggressively along to the music (well, that and the Waze app was yelling at me from my phone, but that's another story).

He opened with Splinter's "I Am Dust," the industrial rage of which could have started those who showed up expecting the synthy sounds of "Cars." But the sizable crowd that showed up seemed to dig the new tunes, bobbing their heads along when the drums and distorted guitars came in hard and enjoying the new ride one of their musical heroes was taking them on.

By the second song, I felt a little hot from the noise, a sexy, noisy blend of guitar and synth more akin to Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Smashing Pumpkins than Numan's early records. His gothy howl was occasionally muffled by the overdriven guitars. This wasn't a problem when he broke into a couple of classics—"Are Friends Electric?" and "Cars," which had everyone cheering and uncontrollably singing along.

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Show Recap: Lust for Youth and Pharmakon at The Complex

Posted by Billy Gil, June 21, 2013 11:55am | Post a Comment

Holy shit, I love this place. Besides that it’s in Glendale, which is weird and cool, it smells like a gay bar (deodorant free) and it’s basically one room with a bar and that’s it. It’s like a really nice warehouse, and that’s awesome. The Complex was just opened last year by John Giovanazzi, who also does industrial/goth night Das Bunker at Jewel’s Catch One. His new venue has a lot of that same vibe, minimally decorated and with great sound.

body of light
Body of Light

The first band I saw was called Body of Light. They were a two-piece; one guy played moody synth chords and triggered primal drum machine beats while the other sang. I was really struck by the singer’s charisma. Besides being very handsome, he really owned the stage, clutching the microphone intensely and raising his tattooed arms up like he was laying back in a hammock. A couple of their songs were really catchy — one saw the singer delivering a repeating vocal with no less passion each time, over a stately four-chord part; another had a three-note bassy riff driving the song, while the keyboardist piled sound above and the singer held out long intoned notes and kneeled before the audience, raising the mic skyward. This was some real rock star stuff. The singer even came into the crowd and sang into my boyfriend’s face.

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