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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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Gift Ideas for Hip Hop Heads

Posted by Amoebite, December 2, 2014 02:01pm | Post a Comment

gift ideas for hip hop heads

Here is our list of gift ideas culled from recent Hip Hop releases (with a few classics thrown in), plus 10 Hip Hop vinyl reissues from 2014 every fan should have.

Diabolic

Diabolic - Fightin' Words

Fightin' Words is a long delayed release from East Coast rapper Diabolic which has been in the works for four years. Originally intended to come out on Viper Records, the album instead got released via the recently founded WarHorse Records. Mic collaborators include such hard hitters as Vinnie Paz, Apathy, and R.A. the Rugged Man, while production is handled in most part by DJ Premier.

Buy CD | LP.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib Pinata 

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With White Fence

Posted by Amoebite, September 24, 2014 12:43pm | Post a Comment

White Fence

Tim Presley (no relation to Elvis Presley) first hit the music scene as "Timmy Stardust," playing guitar for American hardcore band The Nerve Agents. Known for their chaotic and sometimes violent live performances, The Nerve Agents were a spectacle to behold. After four productive years together, the Agents disbanded. Subsequently, Tim Presley and Nerve Agents drummer Andy Granelli founded the psychedelic rock band Darker My Love. Several years into Darker My Love, Presley started recording songs in his White Fenceapartment using lo-fi audio gear to capture ideas that would eventually be released under the White Fence moniker. Presley has since managed to compile an impressive solo catalog including Hair (Drag City), the 2012 collaboration with the golden child of garage pop, Ty Segall. After years of recording his music on a 4-track home recorder, Presley made the jump to an actual studio housed in Ty Segall's garage. Despite utilizing a more modern setup, the White Fence aesthetic remains intact. His latest offering, For The Recently Found Innocent (Drag City, 2014), is packed with gems and the White Fence pop style of songwriting is stronger than ever. Presely has a knack for crafting catchy songs that become the soundtrack to people's lives, and from what we've seen so far he has a lot more to share. Tim Presely has definitely become a mainstay in the Los Angeles psychedelic garage rock scene. 

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Album Picks: Shabazz Palaces, Wildest Dreams

Posted by Billy Gil, July 29, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty (LP, CD)

shabazz palaces lese majesty lpShabazz Palaces 2011 release Black Up is undoubtedly one of the best, most exciting hip-hop releases of the new millennium. So we waited with bated breath for this second release from Ishmael Butler (one of '90s alt hip-hop greats Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire, and Lese Majesty does not disappoint. The album is a sweltering blur of chilled-out beats, sparkling synthesizer tapestries and spacey rhymes that echo through your head. The 18-track album has a prog-like massivity to it, making it fun to get lost in—you can listen to Lese Majesty three times in a row on repeat and never get sick of it, nor will you fail to discover something new. But if you need a good entry point into their weird, wonderful world, I'd recommend the bizarrely catchy beats that hook you in "They Come in Gold" or the funny and fast-paced "#CAKE," with its layers of vocals and strange diversions. Now all I'm gonna do with the rest of my day is eat cake and listen to Shabazz Palaces. I wish! Back to work ... but honestly, this is one of the best things anyone's put out this year. Shabazz Palaces play Amoeba SF tonight at 6 p.m.!

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My Morning Jacket Calls Upon Fans to Curate Set List Using Twitter

Posted by Rachael McGovern, June 8, 2012 02:50pm | Post a Comment
My Morning Jacket announced two things this week: 1) new West Coast tour dates and 2) what they are calling the "Spontaneous Curation Series," an opportunity for fans to help determine which songs get played each night. MMJ will use their Twitter account before each performance to engage with fans and accept requests for that particular show.

What is a little unclear is whether Twitter fans are making suggestions for their encores or for their entire set. It may be vague because certain festival shows, particularly in Europe, can't accommodate their generally lengthy encores. But what is clear is that Fan Club members get an additional opportunity to help decide the opening song.

My Morning Jacket Spontaneous Curation Series

I really love this "Spontaneous Curation Series" idea for a few reasons. For fans who participate, it will make them feel involved in the performance far more than a "passive" attendee and each show will truly be special and unique. (Which may also drive ticket sales for fans looking to experience a different show each night.) From a social media perspective, it will strengthen their audience, certainly in terms of online engagement but also likely in total number of Twitter followers. That's akin to a social media slam dunk - reward and engage your core followers while attracting new ones in the process!

Elvis Costello WheelMMJ's "Spontaneous Curation Series" reminds me of a 2012 hi-tech version of Elvis Costello's "Spectacular Spinning Songbook." During his 1986 "Revolver Tour," Costello brought a game show style wheel with him on stage and let fans spin the giant wheel to decide the next song. Costello resurrected the concept in 2011 and recently released the Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook CD/DVD recorded over two nights in Los Angeles. Perhaps the MMJ "Spontaneous Curation" shows will lead to a live album as well...

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