New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with Miguel

Posted by Amoebite, August 17, 2015 04:50pm | Post a Comment

San Pedro, CA native Miguel is a Grammy-winning R&B singer, songwriter, and producer. Active in the music community since he was a teenager, Miguel signed a production deal with Drop Squad in 2000. Four years later he signed with Black Ice and began work on his debut album, which was eventually shelved. In 2007, he signed with Jive and recorded All I Want Is You. The album's release was delayed till 2010 due to contract disputes with Black Ice. During this time, Miguel contributed vocals to Blu and Exile's debut collaboration, Below the Heavens, and co-wrote tracks for artists like Jaheim and Usher. Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel's second album, was released on RCA in 2012. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 within its first week of release, its lead single "Adorn" garnering Miguel's first Grammy award for "Best R&B Song." Watch a killer version of "Adorn" (see below) performed live at Amoeba Hollywood back in 2012.

Miguel WildheartMiguel released his third studio LP, Wildheart, in June 2015 and he stopped by Amoeba Hollywood for a special CD signing. Fans lined up outside the store with Wildheart and entry tickets in hand. While he was here, Miguel took a moment to sit down with our "What's in My Bag?" crew to share his finds from our racks. He began with two films, El Topo and The Holy Mountain, by Chilean cult cinema hero Alejandro Jodorowsky, explaining that he enjoys watching movies on silent while he creates. Miguel also picked up Run the Jewels' second album lauding its savageness as an aspect of hip-hop that he misses. Finally, he chose the deluxe edition of Jamie xx's newest album, In Coloursharing a story about that one time he danced with the xx.

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The 10 Best Albums of 2015 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, July 1, 2015 06:38pm | Post a Comment

best albums of 2015

Now that the year is officially half over, we’re checking back over the albums that have been released thus far in 2015. Maybe all of this will change in six months, but for now, here are the albums I’ve been most excited about this year. We’d love to hear some more under-the-radar albums that came out this year that haven’t been as covered by the blogosphere, so please leave a comment and suggest some more picks.  

1. Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear

father john misty i love you honeybearThe former Fleet Foxes drummer has put out the most emotionally manipulative album of 2015, and that’s a good thing. Songs like “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” are all sweeping melodrama on the surface, horns and strings and Southwest jangle decorating Joshua Tillman’s sonorous voice, but his words destroy the superficial veneer the handsome troubadour puts out on first blush, sneaking snarky lines into a love song to his new wife (“I wanna take you in the kitchen/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”). Songs like “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.” and “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow” dismiss young would-be groupies with borderline arrogance (the oft-quoted “She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes/And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream”), Tillman’s use of detail flip your impression of him from douche to annoyingly charming dude who’s just telling it like it is. And as the album progresses, Tillman’s observations turn more self-effacing, and his pathos makes for some brutally candid moments—“Bored in the U.S.A.’s” white people problems are played for literal laughs, and the self-loathing present beneath the beard transcends its trappings and becomes entirely relatable. It’s also a great love album because it’s romantic but doesn’t sugarcoat shit, starting semi-sarcastically using the pet name “honeybear” and later featuring the line “Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity/What I fail to see is what that’s gotta do with you and me.” There have easily been more sentimental singer/songwriter releases in 2015, but Tillman’s cynicism feels like the most honest thing I’ve heard this year.

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Album Picks: Vince Staples, The Internet, Miguel, Jaill

Posted by Billy Gil, June 30, 2015 10:55am | Post a Comment

Vince Staples - Summertime 06

vince staples summertime 06 cdOn his gutsy, double-disc debut studio album, Long Beach rapper Vince Staples introduces the world at large to a tough, world-weary persona who at only 22 has seemingly been through enough drama to fill a book. “My pain is never over, pills ‘n’ potions pick me up” he declares on the gnarled beats of “Pick Me Up.” Atonal sound wails in the background of “Norf Norf” as Staples offers slice-of-life tales of growing up in gritty North Long Beach (“I ain’t never run from nothin’ but the police,” he says tellingly). There’s a nihilistic slant to everything Staples puts to tape, which extends even to more decadent party jams like “Loca” and “Dopeman” and love songs like “Lemme Know,” pairing lyrics like “I’ll be fightin’ for you” with “I love to see you cry.” Everything in Summertime ’06 sounds strangely disembodied and cynical, yet it’s not lacking in energy, as with single “Senorita,” on which No I.D.’s creeping production offers the ideal space for Staples’ grim verses and Future’s motoring chorus before morphing into an ’80s horror film-style breakdown. The album’s second disc is mellower, reveling in No I.D. and Clams Casinos immersive production work; “Get Paid” and “Hang N’ Bang” are lively highlights. Though it’s a double-disc, Summertime ’06 doesn’t feel the slightest bit overstuffed, and we never lose sight of the man behind the rhymes.

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20 Albums to Look For in Summer

Posted by Billy Gil, June 10, 2015 03:03pm | Post a Comment

summer albums

Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but there are already many albums announced, including a few that are sure to be some of the biggest of the year.

leon bridges coming homeLeon Bridges Coming Home
Out June 23

Young soul singer Leon Bridges’s powerful voice and guitar licks have earned him comparisons to Sam Cooke and a viral hit with the sweetly swaying, vintage-R&B-style “Coming Home.” It’s one of those times when it looks like the hype is on point; Coming Home announces the arrival of a huge new talent.


cayucas dancing at the blue lagoon lpCayucas Dancing at the Blue Lagoon
Out June 23

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My Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:24pm | Post a Comment

50. Purity RingShrines

purity ring shrinesPurity Ring make Cocteau Twins­-style dream pop by way of Salem’s hard-hitting witchhouse on an album more notable for its smooth blending of related genres than for its actual songwriting, but they’ve got a sweet sound nonetheless.



49. Cold ShowersLove & Regret

Cold Showers Cold Showers’ short and sweet debut heralds the arrival of a great new L.A. band, beaming shoegaze guitars over darkwave synths and goth-style vocals. (Read my review of Cold Showers' show here.)

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