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50 Essential Albums Released in 2013

Posted by Aaron Detroit, November 30, 2013 02:45pm | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for nine years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. Here is my extensive list of new essential listening, released in 2013. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion shouldn't be static!

1. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
The Knife Shaking the Habitual    


After a seven-year hiatus (not including 2010’s collaborative opera with Matt Sims and Planningtorock,) the Swedish sister/brother duo crafted something utterly singular with this sprawling, conceptual, yet immensely thrilling triple-LP. Habitual lyrically challenges gender constructs and unchecked privilege against visceral (and sometimes monstrous) techno that also refuses any box you throw over it. 

 

These New Puritans Field of Reeds



2. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
   
 No guitars, no dubstep breaks, no angular post-punk posturing. Jack Barnett & Co. look to 20th century composers and Fado for inspiration on their third LP. Woodwinds, brass, field recordings, a magnetic resonator piano and additional vocals from Portuguese vocalist Elisa Rodrigues move TNP into a whole other category of artist, far away from the faceless NME hordes they once mingled with. 
 
3. David Bowie - The Next Day
 
 David Bowie The Next DayQuite honestly, it’s his best since his last great LP --33 years ago--Scary Monsters. This isn’t anything but Bowie being himself, but the emotional weight of his lyrics give the new tracks a vitality missing from much of his work in the previous decade. It’s exhilarating throughout, with most of his famous tropes (Space!!) sounding somehow fresh. New classics like the title track, “Dirty Boys,” the Scott Walker-nodding “Heat,” plus the stellar Bowie-doing-Morrissey-doing-his-best-Bowie moment on “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die.” 
 

Holden The Inheritors

Music History Monday: November 11

Posted by Jeff Harris, November 11, 2013 12:14pm | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: November 11, 1968 Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is released (UK release date is on November 29, 1968). Produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, it is recorded at Kenwood Sun Room (John Lennon home studio) in Weybridge, Surrey, UK on May 19, 1968. The avant garde recording is the result of an all-night recording session consisting of tape loops combined with minimal instrumentation, sound effects, and ad-libbed dialogue between Lennon and Ono. The album will become infamous for its cover art which feature photos of the couple naked on both the front and back of the LP. This will stir up such great controversy that Apple Records' US distributor Capitol Records and UK distributor EMI will refuse to handle the album. Tetragrammaton Records will distribute it in the US, while Track Records will distribute it in the UK (limited to only 5,000 copies). Retailers outraged by the nudity on the cover will only agree to sell it if it is packaged in a brown paper bag. Though in one instance, 30,000 copies of the album are seized from a distributor in New Jersey. Treated more as a curiosity by fans, the album will be officially reissued in the US by Rykodisc in 1997. Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins will peak at #124 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: November 11, 1975Gratitude, the seventh album by Earth, Wind & Fire is released. Produced by Maurice White, Charles Stepney, and Joe Wissert (live tracks), it is recorded in Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC from late 1974 - mid 1975 (live tracks) and Hollywood Sound and Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood in June of 1975 (studio tracks). Following their huge breakthrough success with "That's The Way Of The World," Columbia Records will request another album from the band to be released in time for the 1975 Christmas holiday season. Not having enough time or new material written to record a brand new studio album, they begin recording their live shows. The finished album will be a two-LP set with three sides of live material and a fourth side with five new songs. It will spin off the hits "Sing A Song" (#1 R&B, #5 Pop) and "Can't Hide Love (#11 R&B, #39 Pop). The album will be regarded by many fans and critics as one of the best live recordings of all time. "Gratitude" will spend three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, six weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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John Lennon: Love Songs

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2013 10:20am | Post a Comment

John Lennon "Oh My Love"

When you think about it nearly every pop song is about love in some form or another. Most songs on the topic are either about celebrating being in love or alternately mourning falling out of love and wanting to get back there. Of the literally millions of songs on love I think John Lennon wrote and recorded some of the most touching and poignant ones - two of which I have included here on this Valentine's Day. Above is "Oh My Love" with Lennon on piano and George Harrison joining him on guitar. The song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and first appeared in 1971 on Lennon's album Imagine on which George Harrison contributed to several songs in addition to this one. "Oh My Love" can also be found on Wonsaponatime: Selections from Lennon Anthology 

Then below is the simple but powerful Lennon song "Love" (with lyrics in the video) that was first released on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. As anyone who has that album knows the piano part at the beginning (and end) is really quiet but builds in volume. So you will notice that the version below is the later remix of the song with the sound levels more equalized on these two parts. The posthumous version of "Love" below appeared a dozen years after the initial release on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and later appeared on such other collections as the John Lennon Anthology box set.

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Music History Monday: July 30

Posted by Jeff Harris, July 30, 2012 01:17pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: July 30, 1958 - Singer/Songwriter Kate Bush (born Catherine Bush in Bexleyheath, Kent, UK). Happy 54rd Birthday, Kate!!


On this day in music history: July 30, 1966 - "Wild Thing" by The Troggs hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Chip Taylor (real name James Wesley Voight, brother of Oscar winning actor Jon Voight), it is the biggest hit for the UK rock band. The Troggs will record the song at Olympic Studios in London in early 1966 in just two takes. The record will break in the bands' native UK first following an appearance on the television program Thank Your Lucky Stars. When "Wild Thing" is released as a single in the US, it will be the subject of a dispute over its distribution rights. It will be released simultaneously on both Atco and Fontana Records, making it the only #1 single in Billboard chart history to appear on the chart on two different labels at the same time.


On this day in music history: July 30, 1968 - The Beatles begin recording "Hey Jude" at Abbey Road Studios in London, in Studio 2. Written by Paul McCartney, he is inspired to write the song (originally titled "Hey Jules") while driving over to visit bandmate John Lennon's five-year-old son Julian and former wife Cynthia. Paul begins writing the song to console Julian after his parents have separated and are in the process of getting divorced. McCartney will later state another inspiration for the song will be his recent break up with long term girlfriend actress Jane Asher. John Lennon will also feel that Paul is speaking (indirectly) to him in the song as he has begun his relationship with Yoko Ono at this time. The master take of the song will be recorded at Trident Studios in Soho the next day. It will become the bands' biggest single, spending nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over four million copies.

Dum Dum Girls' New Video for "Coming Down" Pays Homage to Yoko Ono's "Cut Piece"

Posted by Billyjam, March 28, 2012 11:41pm | Post a Comment

The Dum Dum Girls "Coming Down" (2012)

 
This week the wonderful band Dum Dum Girls released the video for their song "Coming Down" off of their latest album, Only in Dreams, which was released on September 27th by Sub Pop.  To celebrate release day, they did a live in-store performance at Amoeba Hollywood. The "Coming Down" music video, which is directed by their new bass player Malia James, appears to be paying homage to Yoko Ono's "Cut Piece" (see below).

Dum Dum Girls are currently on tour in Europe with dates in several Italian cities over the week ahead, followed by dates in Spain and the UK through the end of April. Then they'll take the tour back to the States with numerous dates through the end of May including at the Echoplex in LA on May 18th, the Blank Club in San Jose on May 21st, Slim's in San Francisco on May 22nd, and at the Sasquatch! Festival in Gorge, WA on May 26th. In the meantime, buy Only in Dreams from Amoeba.com!
 
 
              
YOKO ONO CUT PIECE by TECHNOLOGOS
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