Well, here we are. We weren't thrust into a new dark age oblivion, the world didn't end and neither did my workaday quest for the best music for the day. This year was rife with records that just had to be snatched -- reissues, compilations, and a fair few newbies too.
Here follows my personal, "show and tell" style best-of list for 2012: the year that didn't stop the big wheel a-turnin'. Rather than just dicing up a list of cold-cut favorites, I've included personal events and trends herein that shaped the music I sought and gravitated towards within the past year.
BEST NEW ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Jessica Pratt - JP. No contest. I have naught but the best of things to say about this disc of spun gold and I'm not alone. It seems every Barry, Rob, and Maurice in the blogosphere has been falling all over this record like autumn leaves in the rain. If you really want to know my take check out my real talk review of JP here, otherwise please do enjoy the album's opening track, "Night Faces" below.
What is Carolina Beach Music?
Like other regional Oldies/Soul sub-genres, think Lowrider Oldies or Northern Soul, Carolina Beach Music (or just plain Beach Music if you're in Carolina, nothin' could be finer) developed from various musical styles of the 40's, 50's, and 60's that became closely associated with a fancy, footwork-heavy style of dance known as the shag, or the Carolina shag (which, fun fact, is also the official state dance of both North and South Carolina).
Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, white youth in the Jim Crow South could not easily access the compelling music of primarily black R&B artists in their home towns and, in some communities, this remained in effect even after racial integration was implemented in the region. But the kids, as kids are always wont to do, found ways of flocking to the bars and band shells of the Carolina beaches where the shag was the fad and R&B ruled the jukeboxes and R&B artists sometimes performed live (see: Bo Diddley's Live Beach Party Album, recorded live in concert in July 1963 at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina). Those college students and vacationing teenagers of Beach Music's early years went on to ween their young'uns and their young'uns young'uns on the The Tams, The Embers, The Drifters, The Tymes, The Platters, Ernie K-Doe, Bob & Earl, General Johnson & The Chairmen of the Board, and Major Lance just to name a few.
In other words: Beach Music is a guaranteed party, people! So get to fixin' this Wednesday, July 11, by hittin' up your local S'leven, secure your Slurps and come on up to Amoeba Music SF from 6-9pm for Hold Back The Night 2012: a proper Beach Music get down spun by two genuine Carolina Girls, I suwannee!
Hey Bay Area! June is LGBT Pride Month and in San Francisco that means it's time to party! Amoeba Music is a proud Pride sponsor of Hard French Hearts Los Homos Pride 2012 on Sunday, June 24th at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. This year's celebration is an inter-generational extravaganza that pays homage to soul music and ushers in a new era of queer performance.
Featured on the main stage will be Bay Area's living soul and rhythm legend Sugar Pie DeSanto, indie Queer electric darling magic weirdo SSION, and bounce magician BeyondaDoubt!
Throughout the day, groove to sets by some of the hottest queer DJ’s and parties from San Francisco and up and down the west coast. And plan on all the regular Hard French fixings like sweating it out to hours upon hours of your favorite 45s from our house DJs Brown Amy and Carnita, smoking-hot dance moves from the Jiggalicious Dance Babes and Magic Capturing by notorious Photo Booth, which will be benefiting a local queer non-profit.
Amoeba Berkeley recently bought a large LP collection from a Bay Area collector of mostly Rock and Oldies (with some Soul and Jazz) going back as much as 50 years. It includes many unusual titles and deep catalogue all brought at very fair prices. It's a collection for the imagination to run wild. These titles hit the floor for the first time on Black Friday (November 25) at Amoeba Berkeley!
"This collection is somewhat of a time capsule in nature. A mostly rock collection that I might have seen in the early '80s. Lots of interesting/unusual items that were probably passed by at that time, but now hold intrigue. Some wall items are mega-rare, mostly in the rock/psych rock arena." - Amoeba Kent
Aloe Blacc - "Loving You Is Killing Me"
Click here to buy a copy of Aloe Blacc's Good Things from Amoeba Music today and get free shipping (until March 31st)!