Trying to narrow down my favorite 2012 "What's In My Bag?" videos is a little bit like asking me to choose my favorite children. Each one is special and unique in its own way. But 'tis the season of "Best Of" lists, so here is my attempt at naming the top WIMBs from 2012, listed according to date posted because, really, picking 10 was hard enough.
We kicked off 2012 with a monster of a WIMB featuring DJ, producer, Stones Throw founder and Amoeba regular Peanut Butter Wolf, who had so many items he renamed the episode "What's In My Boxes." Missed some of his selections? Check out his full list here.
The guitarist and co-founder of They Might Be Giants, John Flansburgh, did a "show and tell" at Amoeba Hollywood, selecting reissues by The Zombies, Blossom Dearie, and The Hollies, plus California funk by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Band. After posting the video, we found out that half of John's picks from this Amoeba trip, and other records he'd picked up while on tour, were unfortunately burned in a trailer fire. See John's full list of picks here.
I count myself among those blessed (cursed?) to be an avid life-long record collector and I have long considered my collection of approximately 10,000 records to be a hell of a lot of vinyl. But truth is that my total number of records constitutes a modest collection compared to a lot others out there. Regardless, I have long dreaded the day that I might have to pack up and move my records. Just the thought of it is daunting in itself. But recently I got a taste of what that job might be like (only times three and with help) when I had the task of packing and shipping the vast 30,000 unit record collection from a Queens, NY private collection that Amoeba recently acquired.
My task was to pack up this entire collection and safely ship it cross country back to Amoeba Hollywood where this vast eclectic record collection (including lots of rarities) will go on sale July 21st. The 30,000 records (plus several boxes of CDs and cassettes) all made the 3,000 mile journey to Amoeba in LA safely and, in the process, I learned all the intricacies of what goes into packing and transporting vinyl. It's not quite as simple as it at first appears.
This expansive record collection occupied two big rooms of the fifth floor Queens, New York apartment owned by a sweet lady named Lola, a former singer from the Bay Area, that I got to know over the course of the week it took to pack up this vinyl treasure trove. The records were the lifelong collection of her late husband Eddie who kept most of them in shrink-wrapped, mint condition. The task of packing and preparing them for shipping back to Amoeba was something that took quite a bit of pre-planning. And for a novice like myself, that meant extra homework in the art of packing records. Luckily Amoeba Marc and Kent from Amoeba Berkeley (both of whom had flown out to NYC for three days to appraise the collection) gave me some invaluable guidance since they had done this task numerous times before.
King Tuff has released a new record on Sub Pop, and all I can say is OMGGG. King Tuff is looking to be the garage banger of the summer. You should definitely pick this one up, and you can even preview it on YouTube for the time being. Check out a stream from Sub Pop below, and order the album here.
Up-and-coming L.A. pop band Kitten is releasing a new EP called Cut it Out on Aug. 28th. Teenage frontwoman Chloe Chaidez sure sounds like a star in the making on this buzzy electro single, which has the post-punk feel of Metric while upping both the catchiness and shoegazey sonics. I feel like we’ll only be able to claim Kitten for so long before they move on to bigger and better things, so check them out while they’re still local!
Shows This Weekend
This is a big weekend for local singer Nite Jewel, who recently released her fine album One Second of Love, which manages to be dancey (check out the title track) and cool, with atmospheric and experimental electronics throughout, while remaining classy, with Ramona Gonzalez’s sultry voice more reminiscent of classical pop singers like Barbra Streisand and Diana Krall. Tonight Nite Jewel headlines a krautrock-themed show titled “Krautrock Classics: A Night of German Cosmic Music,” presented by Dublab and the Goethe Institut. It will take place at the Ford Amphiteatre, with Nite Jewel performing a classic of the genre, Kraftwerk’s Computer World, with help from friends like Stones Throw Records’ Peanut Butter Wolf. The show also will include performances from the likes of Sun Araw, Dntel and Daedelus. Starts at 8, all ages, $15, get tickets online here.
Then, on Saturday, Filter Magazine holds its Summer Sessions series at the Original Penguin Store (8215 Melrose Ave.) from 2-6 p.m., featuring a performance by Nite Jewel. RSVP here.
On Sundays it’s usually hard to beat Part Time Punks at the Echo, and this Sunday is certainly no exception: Violens, whom fellow Amoeba-ite Brad also loves, will play alongside Capured Tracks band Catwalk and Surf Club, which features members of Craft Spells. Slumberland's Violens play blurry swoony guitar pop much in the same vein of their labelmates, but they stand out from the back with their strong melodic songwriting (check out the beautiful "Sariza Spring") and the fact that they bother to rock out once in a while (watch the "All Night Low" video below). Their album True is one of the best of the past couple of months. It's a whole lot of shoegazey, guitarry goodness for only 10 bucks. Get advance tickets here or in store at Ameoba.
4) Philthy Rich & Messy Marv Neighborhood Superstar Part 3 (Town Thizzness)
5) Matthew Shipp/Beans/William Parker/HprizmKnives From Heaven (Thirsty Ear)
6) Raashan Ahmad For What You've Lost (PID)
Big ups to Luis at Amoeba San Francisco for this latest hip-hop chart that includes in the number one slot the anticipated new release from one of hip-hop's most buzzed about (albeit under the radar) artists these days, New Orleans's underrated rap talent Curren$y and his sixth studio album, Weekend at Burnie's. The album, which is named after the 1989 comedy movie of the same name, is Curren$y's second full length for Warner since his exit from Def Jam. A fuill decade in the rap game Curren$y has the distinction of being simultaneously incredibly well known by a large segment of the hip-hop community (who've followed his career via the free mixtapes and official releases he's been dilegently cranking out) but relatively unknown on a mainstream level. This could all change with Weekendwhich packs a lot of crossover ready material.
Over the last few years, Amoeba Music Hollywood has stocked a slew of obscure but quite excellent and endlessly exciting limited-edition vinyl reissues of DIY European and North American dark and minimal analog synth-based music from the 1980’s -- all thanks to the stellar underground label Minimal Wave. Originally these recordings were released in ridiculously small quantities either on cassette or vinyl by the bands themselves or by equally-unknown labels local to the band. Albums by the likes of Spanish Industrial pioneers Esplendor Geometrico, the Belgian Linear Movement (featuring Peter Bonne of New Beat progenitors A Split Second), and French New Wavers Martin Dupont have all recently seen the light of day on quality vinyl pressings via the loving care of the Minimal Wave label.
Minimal Wave’s label head/überfan Veronica Vasicka struck a deal late last year with Peanut Butter Wolf’s Stones Throw label to issue a series of “best-of” compilations featuring choice cuts from the MW roster and beyond. Recently, the popularity of new minimal synth-based bands like Cold Cave and Xeno & Oaklander has heightened, making this the perfect time to issue the first in the series of Minimal Wave/Stones Throw team-ups,The Minimal Wave Tapes, Volume One (available on CD and 2LP). It is a wonderful thing to hear these rescued gems and decades-old transmissions mostly recorded in isolated bedrooms miles away from any bustling cityscapes. Volume One very much invokes a familiar nostalgic feeling, like a mixtape would from your way-cooler friend or older sibling did in your formative years. Vasicka functions here as that cooler friend or sister and thankfully, she doesn’t mind spreading her cool around -- making us ear-opening mixes from her even-cooler record collection.