Amoeblog

20 Essential Records You Need on Vinyl

Posted by Billy Gil, April 10, 2013 09:21am | Post a Comment

In honor of the upcoming Record Store Day 2013, I decided to make a list of 20 records I think everyone should own on vinyl. Take this Record Store Day to build a nice foundation for your record collection. I picked this list based on pretty arbitrary criteria, including what critics generally think are great, what I think is great, what I think particularly sounds good on analog-warm vinyl, and what you won’t have to pay $100 for or scour for (e.g. no hard-to-find ’90s vinyl or things out of print). I also left it to one album per artist. These aren't in any particular order. Send any omissions to this list to idontcare@makeyourownlist.com. Or just leave a comment!

 

The BeatlesRevolver

The Beatles RevolverIn my mind, The White Album is the greatest Beatles album, but you can’t beat the utterly perfect one-disc punch of Revolver. It should go without saying that every Beatles album is essential and is worth owning on vinyl yadda yadda, but if you have to start somewhere, do it here. Their catalog was recently reissued on vinyl in stereo mix, so you should have no trouble finding them if you’re just starting out — and you should have no trouble finding quality replacements, if your old Beatles LPs are worn out.

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Album Picks: Real Estate, Twin Sister, M83

Posted by Billy Gil, October 18, 2011 02:10pm | Post a Comment
Real Estate DaysReal Estate – Days
 
Real Estate have helped usher in a contemporary appreciation of bands with clean guitars and hushed vocals, perfect for a summer day or autumn night. But Real Estate still do it better than anyone, as they prove on Days. From opener “Easy” and on, Days floats on breezy simplicity of melody and atmosphere that you could explain away as through line of Byrds by way of R.E.M. jangle pop informed by reverbed-out, dream pop aesthetics, but that would paint Real Estate as a throwback band when really their sound is their own. Country hues underpin even the spaciest of tracks, like the way winsome sliding guitars sway beneath the shivering, tremoloed star-shooting guitar lines of “Green Aisles,” and more obviously so on tracks like the springy, Smithsy “It’s Real,” which works some clever chord changes into a straightforward guitar-pop setting. Singer Martin Courtney’s voice is always plaintive but never intrusive, and the whole thing moves with subtle evocation, like a sepia-toned suburban home movie reel. It’s no coincidence a great, sunlit song on the album is titled “Wonder Years.”
 
Twin SisterTwin Sister – In Heaven
 
Twin Sister’s debut full-length delivers a band still emerging from chrysalis (their average age is now about 23, so says Wikipedia) but born with some pretty impressive power already. Roughly, Twin Sister are an indie pop band fronted by some froggish, androgynous vocals (singer vocalist Andrea Estella and guitarist-singer Eric Cardona both sound a little like the spawn of Sigur RosJonsi and St. Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell, the latter band of which they also sound a bit like on the lite-jazzy “Stop”). They touch on chillwave (the shimmering and strange chords of “Kimmi in a Rice Field” is the album’s absolute highlight) without committing to it, seemingly more interested in vibing late ’80s indie and video game music — the gentle “Luna’s Theme” has Sega Genesis written all over it, something that might be playing in some anime space station. But whatever Twin Sister ends up doing —be it cool Britpop, neo-futuristic electro or something else entirely — it ends up sounding great, if not entirely unified.
 
M83 Hurry Up We're DreamingM83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
 
After a decade’s worth of brilliant albums that have been increasingly epic in scope, Anthony Gonzalez of M83 has delivered the masterpiece he has hinted at for years. Gonzalez builds off the life-embracing yet ’80s nostalgic pop of 2008’s Saturdays=Youth across this double-album. Taking a hint from the Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Gonzalez sweeps through childlike wonder (the children’s story as Kraftwerkian computer-pop of “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire”), adolescent angst (the two and a half minutes of skyscraper-sized orchestral rock in “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea”) and young adult excitement (Gonzalez cries “The city is my church!” in the neon-backlit “Midnight City”) to capture the wide-eyed energy and naiveté of youth. There’s newly an emphasis on the kind of shuffling ‘80s funk-pop of the likes of Huey Lewis & the News and Hall & Oates in songs like “Claudia Lewis,” but it actually feels less throwback-ish than some of his previous work, perhaps in part due to contemporaries like Toro y Moi and Neon Indian similarly fusing such sounds with shoegazer aesthetics. Indeed, with the kinds of sonic dreamscapes of albums like Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts and Before the Dawn Heals Us also in tow on songs like “This Bright Flash,” Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming presents us with all of Gonzaelz’s best tendencies, all at once, and at their utmost potential.

R.E.M.'s Short Film for "Every Day Is Yours To Win" Now Showing Online

Posted by Billyjam, April 26, 2011 03:41pm | Post a Comment
               

R.E.M. have just posted the above new film on YouTube for their song "Every Day Is Yours To Win" as part of R.E.M.’s ongoing Collapse Into Now film project (in conjunction with the band's album of the same name, released last month by Warner Brothers) in which they stream a piece for just 24 hours. The Collapse Into Now album-inspired film project is a selection of short films set to the music from the new LP and each film was directed by notable artists and filmmakers, all curated & overseen by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. The list of directors includes renaissance man James Franco; filmmaker, photographer, and conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood; and documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles. The "Every Day Is Yours To Win" short above was directed by Jim McKay, Chris Moukarbel, and Valerie Veatch. For further info on this R.E.M. project visit REMhq.com. Pick up the new R.E.M. album Collapse Into Now online from Amoeba!

RANDY BEWLEY, GUITARIST WITH ATHENS, GA BAND PYLON DIES

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2009 07:32am | Post a Comment
       Pylon live at Hurrah (1981)

Randy Bewley, the guitarist with influential Athens GA band Pylon, died late yesterday afternoon. Bewley had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack while driving in Athens on Monday when the van he was driving drifted off the road and tipped over, according to bandmate vocalist Vanessa Hay in an email message sent out to fanpylon gyrates of the band.

Considered the seminal group of the Athens music scene (later groups included B-52's who cited Pylon as influences and R.E.M. who later covered the Pylon song "Crazy"), Pylon formed in 1978 when all four members (Bewley & Hay -- then Brisco, bassist Michael Lachowski, & drummer Curtis Crowy) met up while attending the University of Georgia. A year later they released their debut and continued recording and performing up until 1983 when they temporarily disbanded. While they reformed in 1989 for two years and once again more recently five years ago, their most important years remain 1979-1983. 

When R.E.M. was chosen by Rolling Stone as "America's Best Rock And Roll Band" in 1987, R.E.M.'s drummer Bill Berry dismissed it famously, saying at the time, "We're not the best rock'n'roll band in America," and insisting that Pylon, who had been broken up for four years at that point, was much more deserving of the honor than his own group.

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