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Music We Like

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Songs Of The Plains (CD)

Colter Wall

Old school Canadian cowboy singer Colter Wall’s Songs of the Plains sounds like a long-lost find from the earliest era of country music. The album is a blend of original tunes penned by Wall plus covers and traditional songs. Wall’s work fits nicely into the evocative, now distant world of backroads honky-tonks and depression era deals with the devil but what makes his oeuvre unique is his focus on the experience of life on the wide open plains of Canada, perhaps most evident in his earnest “Plain to See Plainsman.” Fans of classic country will find this sparse, homespun LP irresistible.

Evening Machines (CD)

Gregory Alan Isakov

The dark indie rock and folk of Evening Machines possesses a dusky hue. Hushed acoustic guitar and sparse piano combine for a moody foundation that's amplified by ornate and heavy embellishments: distant electric guitars, keyboards, pedal steel, saw, percussion, strings, banjo, and some electronic drums.

Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes (CD)

John Lennon

A truly unique expanded edition of one of the most iconic albums of all time. Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes takes us on incredibly personal journey through the entire songwriting and recording process, providing a remarkable testament of the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their own words.

MassEducation (CD)

St. Vincent

Masseduction was a logical evolution of Annie Clark’s sound from orchestrally minded indie hopeful to full-fledged second coming of Prince. But, great as that album is, perhaps some fans were longing for Clark’s early days before the latex-wearing guitar virtuoso became her persona du jour. MassEducation takes us back to Clark’s roots with stripped-down renditions of Masseduction ’s synth-funk jams. “Savior” stands stark naked with staccato piano taking the place of drum-machine beats and Clark’s voice going from vamp to vulnerable with ease. Masseduction ’s already lovely “Slow Disco” become the stunning “Slow Slow Disco,” allowing us to focus on Clark’s remarkable, theatrical voice and subtly heartrending lyrics. At times, MassEducation reminds us of Tori Amos’ heyday, placing Clark’s taste for the bizarre among traditional instrumentation makes for not only a striking juxtaposition, but a reminder of just how great a singer and performer she is without the extra dressing—after all, she got her big break singing backup for rock choir The Polyphonic Spree. With MassEducation , St. Vincent adds yet another layer to what has easily become one of the most exciting careers and discographies in modern pop music.

Drogas Wave (CD)

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco’s seventh LP, DROGAS Wave , comes out swinging. It’s lengthy, clocking in at twenty-four tracks — fortunately there’s no filler on here. Lupe imagine a narrative, an alternate reality in which the slaves who died on the brutal passages overseas are reborn as underwater creatures called LongChains who guide the ocean waves, helping others to freedom. Similarly, on “Jonylah Forever” Lupe reimagines the too brief life of Jonylah Watkins, the infant killed by gunfire in Chicago, and what she would’ve done, how she would’ve made a difference in her community if she lived. Tribute is also paid to drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi on “Alan Forever.” While it may sound dark, there’s a buoyancy to Lupe’s lyrics and a wondrous dreaminess to the melodies. The experience of listening to the full album, one track after another, is a thing of heartbreaking, hope-filled beauty.

Joe Strummer 001 (CD)

Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer 001 is the first ever compilation devoted to The Clash founder Joe Strummer's solo work. Never one to shy away from incorporating new sounds and inspirations alongside paying tribute to the formative rock and roll of his roots, the set provides ample displays of Strummer's creative appetite. Containing a mix of both released and unreleased tracks, 001 is both a welcome addition to his discography for hardcore fans as well as a great starting point for those looking to begin a deeper dive after London Calling and Combat Rock .

Look Now (CD)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters

At this point, Elvis Costello has truly done it all. Out of nearly any living musician, it would be understandable for him to rest on his laurels at this point, yet the dude never stops giving us more and more. With his album count already well into the thirties, Look Now finds new ways to tweak the sound that has unquestionably become his own, which is, at its heart, a blend of Bacharach-inspired pop classicism and good old fashioned rock ‘n roll. Taking the ornate and lavish orchestration of Imperial Bedroom as a starting point, Costello modifies this formula to feature a heavy '70s soul influence, from the subtle Shaft guitars that pop on “Unwanted Number” to the Philly sound strings that grace “Suspect My Tears.” There are backing vocals all over the place, easily the most on a Costello record since the R&B-loving Punch The Clock , and they provide an authentic texture to complement Costello’s nostalgia and are a perfect counterpoint to his nasally baritone. Look Now is the sound of a genius; endlessly, restlessly tinkering with the music he loves.

Vitriola (CD)


Vitriola takes a different approach than the tightly-woven conceptual albums of the band’s past, and finds Cursive struggling with existentialism. There’s a palpable unease that wells beneath the simmering requiems and fist-shakers: at its core, the album is about a search for meaning that keeps coming up empty, and still finding the will to keep going.

Bottle It In (CD)

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile’s been doing his distinctive fuzzed out lo-fi college rock thing for a decade now. So how does Bottle It In still sound so fresh? There’s a familiarity and a warmth to lead singles “Bassackwards” and “Loading Zones,” yet they’re both so addictive that it’s hard to get enough of these charming, sprawling numbers. Kim Gordon, Cass McCombs, and Mary Lattimore all make excellent contributions to this immediately likable LP. A thoroughly enjoyable homecoming for one of indie rock’s most loved artists.

Jassbusters (CD)

Connan Mockasin

New Zealand outsider pop weirdo Connan Mockasin returns after a five-year hiatus with the sunny, ultra mellow Jassbusters . Imagine a left field take on smooth, swooning ‘80s style jams, like Ariel Pink and MGMT teaming up to sing the songbook of ABC. Sounds a little goofy, sure, but it’s mostly lovely, dreaming, and pretty entrancing. This luxuriant work might slightly freak out the squares but it definitely should garner Connan a bigger audience.

Desperate Man (CD)

Eric Church

One of country music's new crop of favorite outlaws is back with another batch of southern rock and blues tinged foot stompers. Having admitted to being stuck in a creative stalemate after dealing with near death and devastation in the time since his last album in 2015, Church comes back stronger than before with hook-filled songs that will appeal to both country and classic rock fans alike. Highlights include "Sympathy For The Devil"-inspired first single "Desperate Man" and the gospel inflected "Heart Like A Wheel."

Wasteland (CD)

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats

Kevin Starrs aka Uncle Acid and his merry band of metal mayhem makers return for a killer fifth album of heavy stoner rock anthems. “I See Through You” tears a whole through its space-rock opening with a slick Bowie-ish riff and Starrs’ Ozzyriffic vocals. Thick slabs of monolithic distortion rain down like hail on the nearly nine-minute “No Return,” while the trim and sexy “Shockwave City” gets its kicks from lacing Beatlesesque melodies with riffs that snarl like motorbikes ripping through the desert in the dead of night. Though Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats don’t reinvent the proto-metal wheel here, they’re clearly running with the crown bestowed to them from touring with Black Sabbath and taking the sound to its logical extreme without losing their lo-fi cool. All hail Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, gleeful harbingers of doom!

Amoeba Exclusive

Pre-order Sharon Van Etten's new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, on Amoeba Exclusive Translucent Violet Vinyl! Out 01/18/2019. Limited Edition of 500.

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Proceeds from our pink logo T-shirt are going to help raise money for Pink Lotus Foundation and Bay Area Cancer Connections in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! 

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