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10 More Essential Records from 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 8, 2014 06:20pm | Post a Comment

Last week, I posted my top 50 albums of the year. Cause 50 just ain’t enough, here are another 10 essential records from 2014:

Fear of Men Loom

fear of men loom lpFear of Men imagine a world where The Cranberries stayed good, The Sundays really got their due and Belly didn’t flame out. Led by singer/guitarist Jessica Weiss, the band calls to mind alternative/dream pop bands of yesteryear, and Weiss’ vocals call to mind the ethereality of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser crossed with the heartiness of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. The band’s muscular indie-rock can move in graceful lockstep (“Tephra”) or set a pretty, yet never sappy backdrop over which Weiss can breathily intone, as on the lovely “Seer.” On the album’s most thrilling moments, Weiss will stretch her voice into territory that goes beyond the expected, singing into a lo-fi mic on the gorgeous “Descent” or looping into dizzying layers on standout “Waterfall.” One of the most promising debuts of the year.

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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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Album Picks: The Fresh & Onlys, Craft Spells, Lust For Youth

Posted by Billy Gil, June 10, 2014 09:33am | Post a Comment

The Fresh & Onlys - House of Spirits (LP, CD)

the fresh and onlys house of spirits lpThe Fresh & Onlys continue to move away from the reverb-drenched garage rock of their early records and toward something more grandiose on House of Spirits. From the outset, it’s clear they mean business, with more precise songwriting and cleaner production than ever before. Tim Cohen’s lyrics take a darker turn—he sings like Rosemary’s Baby grown up on the rollicking “Who Let the Devil,” claiming Satan bottle fed him with blood, fitting in nicely with co-singer/songwriter Wymond Miles’ typically gothier songs, such as the country-Cure style “Animal of One.” The band turns in one of their loveliest songs ever with “Bells of Paonia,” a throbbing, fuzzed out shoegaze ballad with a dreamy romanticism that suits the band nicely. Mostly, these updates work for the band. Occasionally you miss the early rock stuff, though they go balls out on “Hummingbird,” and the lack of reverb reveals some weakness to the vocals. Still, I’ll take earnest and scrappy any day over easy or lazy, as the band leaps past the tired garage-rock moniker that has previously tailed the band and lands in exciting new territory.

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Stream Songs From Record Store Day Releases Before They Come Out

Posted by Billy Gil, April 17, 2014 09:27am | Post a Comment

Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 19. You can see all of the records that will be available here, and be sure to check out my 10 to watch blog. To whet your appetite further, check out these songs that will be released on Record Store Day but that you can stream now. And be sure to come to Amoeba stores on April 19—read about what we’ll have going on in-store here.

Ex-Cult – “Ties You Up”

ex-cultWhile this track will be on the upcoming Midnight Passenger album, this version (not found on the album) is produced by garage-rock wunderkind Ty Segall, giving it that extra oomph.

 

Lust for Youth – “Illume”

lust for youth sacred bonesWe’ve been fans of Sacred Bones signees Lust for Youth for some time now, but they seem to really be coming into their own with the cleaned-up and poppy “Illume.” It’ll appear on their new album International (out June 10), but before that, you can pick it up on Sacred Bones’ compilation Todo Muere Vol. 4, with other gothy goodies from Zola Jesus, Marissa Nadler, David Lynch and more.

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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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