Amoeblog

The Official Amoeba Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 31, 2012 06:33am | Post a Comment

It’s official: Our lists are in and we’ve compiled them to give you our combined knowledge in the form of a top 50 albums list. The following is Amoeba's top picks for 2012 based on those who submitted lists of their favorites of the year. (For world music picks, go here; for classical picks, check out Rubin's list; and see more best of 2012 fun here.)

 

1. Frank OceanChannel Orange

Frank Ocean Channel Orange

Everyone seemed to be able to agree on Frank Ocean this year, from independent purists to mainstream fans. It’s no surprise that when compiling our top lists, Frank Ocean easily made No. 1.

 

“Outside the hype, this guy is the genuine deal. Orange is a cohesive old-school album with vivid modern snapshots of moving to the city and the characters he met there.” — Aaron Detroit

 

 


 

 

2. Light AsylumLight Asylum

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my top 50 albums of 2012...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 7, 2012 06:48pm | Post a Comment

chromatics#1 Chromatics - Kill For Love
(Italians Do It Better)

I have been waiting for this album for 6 years! I was a huge fan of their last album in 2007. Both Night Drive by Chromatics and Beat Box by Glass Candy made it into my top 50 that year. That was also the first year of the Amoeblog and my first top 50 for Amoeba. Glass Candy will have a new album out in 2013. But in 2012 we got a brilliant new album by Chromatics. These guys are from the beautiful town of Portland. They have been around for about a decade. But really became a different kind of band back in 2007. Another perfect album of dreamy electronic love songs. These songs are seriously breathtaking and they make it seem so easy. These guys can do no wrong and always manage to create exactly what I need from them.
Listen to "At Your Door" by Chromatics...


diiv#2 DIIV - Oshin
(Captured Tracks)

The band formerly know as Dive is now called DIIV. This was another album that I was highly anticipating this year. Captured Tracks has done it again this year and released another group of amazing albums. They had two albums in my top ten last year and they have two more in my top ten this year. DIIV is Brooklyn based Zachary Cole Smith of the band Beach Fossils. I actually like this project more than Beach Fossils. DIIV is exactly what I have come to expect from this label. This is shoegaze and dreampop in the year 2012. It brings me right back to the early 90s. I never really wanted to leave that period of music. So I am happy to revisit if often.

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50 Essential Albums Released in 2012

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2012 11:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for eight years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2012 releases that I fell in love with or had serious affairs over the past 365 days. 2012, for me, was a surprising and amazing year in music. Nearly all 50 releases here could have been a Top-Ten contender almost any other year, and the Top Ten is full of records that could easily have been #1.



50 Essential Albums of 2012


1.  SCOTT WALKER Bish Bosch (4AD) 

The 6-year-long wait was well worth it, as is usually the case with Walker. This isn't the latest indie background music du jour - It's an Absurdist's symphony. Melody is eschewed for repetition, but you still walk away with the damned thing in your head. E-bows, machetes as percussion and disturbing (as well as amusing) scatological metaphors are some of the unlikely ingredients that make up this terrifying (and weirdly infectious) beauty. There's really nothing else like it, so enjoy figuring it out for the rest of your life.  






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Show Review: Light Asylum at the Echoplex

Posted by Billy Gil, May 16, 2012 05:17pm | Post a Comment
LIght Asylum Echoplex“Fuck Pitchfork!” was the clearest message Light Asylum’s Shannon Funchess got across in her stage banter while playing the Echoplex on May 15th with Tearist, Chelsea Wolfeand Violet Tremors. She was referring to the so-so review of Light Asylum’s self-titled debut full-length, with which she (and many, like myself) disagreed.

That she would address the review in such a public setting with such abandon speaks largely to what is great about Funchess and Light Asylum, and why reviews of the band, either glowing or mediocre, are sort of irrelevant. The DGAF nature of her outburst or gruff addressing of the sound guy to lay off the “fucking” effects (immediately followed by a sort of apology) matches the no bullshit appeal of her delivery, whether she’s giving it all in emotional techno-ballads (“Shallow Tears,” which boldly opened the show, or their modern classic “A Certain Person,” which came next to last) or pulverizing audiences with an all-engaging persona of aggressive dancing and an awesome, sometimes terrifying growl in songs like personal fave “Pope Will Roll.”

The show was a huge improvement over the last time I saw them at the Echoplex with Salem, during which the room’s sonics washed out the sound a bit, while Funchess and cohort Bruno Caviello’s stage presence is even stronger than before. Funchess absolutely commands, singing powerfully with some combination of self-choreographed or ad libbed militaristic moves, inching toward the edge of stage and singing in people’s faces without coming off as antagonistic. The feeling gotten by listening to Light Asylum on record and watching them perform is a “bigger picture” thing that can’t be distilled into track-by-track album breakdowns — that’s what some reviewers missed.
 
Chelsea Wolfe performed her brand of brand of gothic noise-folk admirably, though her inclusion was slightly misplaced compared with the other three acts. Violet Tremors provided Minimal Wave Tapes-esque robotic pop that nicely whetted the appetite for Light Asylum’s more humanistic take later on. L.A.’s Tearist’s performance proved the closest in kinship, with singer Yasmine Kittles headbanging and lending her smoky drawl to industrial dance soundscreens, though the band still calls for clearer songs (like the skittery “Headless,” one of its best thus far, which sounded amazing Tuesday) to match their impressively theatrical performances.

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Album Picks: Death Grips, Light Asylum, Santigold, Lower Dens

Posted by Billy Gil, May 2, 2012 03:09pm | Post a Comment
death gripsLots of great new stuff came out on Tuesday, and I’ll get to that, but I need to talk about Death Grips a bit first. The Money Store is surely one of the best things anyone has recorded yet this year, a discordant fusion of early hip-hop energy and noise-rock chaos. Hella and Marnie Stern’s Zac Hill is on production duty, along with Andy Morin, and Hill brings the same mania to Death Grips as he does obliterating the drum kit. Stefan Burnett’s guttural spit cuts through but get processed and falls into the background when it needs to, pulling you in and pushing you back simultaneously. Study music, this is not. The entire album feels exactly like this moment:
 


Check out the dubsteppy “Lost Boys” and head-spinning electro-rap of “Get Got” for a taste.


 

Coming out Tuesday was the first full-length release from light asylumdarkwave purveyors Light Asylum, who floored us with 2010’s In Tension EP. Light Asylum delivers as frontwoman Shannon Funchess growls over black rainbow of electronic sound — like freestyle dance music put through the industrial meat grinder. Fuchness and collaborator Bruno Coviello are as capable of extreme aggression (the chilling “Pope Will Roll”) as they are of creating pop thrills with real bite (“IPC” and “Heart of Dust”) and genuinely affecting electro-ballads — “Sins of the Flesh” and “Shallow Tears” dig past their electronic veneers given Funchess’ operatic howl, a Grace Jones-meets-Trent Reznor monster of a voice that can break your heart just as it can make you cower. This is the real deal, an enthralling and sometimes harrowing listen, and a must-hear for any fan of bitterly great music.

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