Death Grips Out Now

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Piano & A Microphone 1983 features songs recorded at his home studio and is available now.

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MATATU Presents Saul Williams at Oakland's Grand Lake Theatre 9/26

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Music We Like

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The Big Bad Blues (CD)

Billy F. Gibbons

The Big Bad Blues , as the title suggests, focuses on ZZ Top frontman Gibbons' lifelong love of the blues and rock & roll, showcasing the blues-influenced vocals and guitar licks that have served as the foundation for his numerous hits over the past five decades.

The Click [Deluxe Edition] (CD)

AJR

The songs on The Click [Deluxe Edition]  are impeccably crafted radio-worthy nuggets, full of clever sonic tinkering, and EDM-flourishes. Every tune jumps from hook to hook, with a sound that deftly combines disparate elements, seamlessly blending dubstep-influenced bass breaks with soaring, falsetto choruses.

Starcrawler (CD)

Starcrawler

It's rare to see a band release a more confident and sure first album than Starcrawler has. Not only that, but it's incredible to think that in a band where the oldest member is twenty-one, there's this real love and understanding of rock with sprinklings of glam production, 90s indie cynicism, and some real bad-vibes psychedelia. Starcrawler is a real heavy headbanger that seems pissed off about the influx of modern soft rockers and delivers shredding guitars and stoic, tough vocals along with it. Henri Cash's guitar parts are solid clean and catchy, Tim Franco's bass rhythm trots and marches with some pure Black Sabbath thudding, and Austin Smith tears into those drums, but there's no way to not bring up Arrow de Wilde's stage presence. She's like a teenage version of Stooges-era Iggy Pop with her ferocious and wild stylings. She channels this Bowie-ish vocal style at times, but her insane and frenetic movement makes her look like she's being exorcised on stage (complete with body distortion!). But this isn't to distract from the tunes themselves! Though "I Love LA" shares its title with the Randy Newman song that's played a dozen times at each Dodgers game, Starcrawler's tune seems to be a song about social disconnect in Los Angeles. Each thought and passage seems like a question without an answer that then quickly jumps into a chorus that feels exhausted and even bitter about Los Angeles. Plus there's a beautiful freak-out solo half-way through the track that temporarily spirals into hypnotic bliss. "Let Her Be" owes a bit to T. Rex and dense glam rock production. But then toward the finale, the song gets warped into outer space for a brief moment with some distorted and waning sounds that could've come right out of a 70s Hawkwind album. Starcrawler's debut is a lesson for anyone who thinks they want to start a band. One listen to this, and it's like the perfect reexamination of rock to start off 2018, with pure, unpretentious simplicity and most importantly: fun.

Ruby (CD)

Macy Gray

Nobody makes music quite like Macy Gray. Ruby is the raspy-voiced singer’s tenth album and it’s packed with her signature smart, vivacious brand of retro-tinged R&B/soul. Lead single “Sugar Daddy” is a fittingly sweet and seductive walk through the candy shop — it’s a sophisticated, innuendo-laced late night jam. Also of note is guitarist Gary Clark Jr.’s appearance on the excellent “Buddha.” There’s something for everyone here, from uplifting, feel good strummers to lush throwback soul and jazz to outspoken, politically topical ballads.

1922 [OST] (CD)

Mike Patton

Never one to rest on his laurels, Faith No More/Mr. Bungle/Dead Cross vocalist and experimental artist Mike Patton has added another film score to his discography, taking its rightful place alongside A Perfect Place , Crank High Voltage , and A Place Beyond the Pines . 1922 , a Netflix film of a Steven King novella, is perfect material for Patton to flex his muscles, full of unnerving tones and sounds crossed with haunting strings and percussion. A mesmerizing and welcome addition.

Ta13oo (CD)

Denzel Curry

Denzel explores topics including molestation, the presidential election, fame, hatred, paranoia, revenge, love, the current state of music, and personal tales of his own near death experiences. Sonically, the album ranges just as widely as its subject matter, making this his most groundbreaking musical performance to date.

Wild Wild Country: Original Music From The Netflix Documentary Series [OST] (CD)

Brocker Way

Brocker Way’s original score for the Netflix docuseries Wild Wild Country is meant to reflect the outlook of each of the show’s interviewees rather than simply emphasizing their outward idiosyncrasies. Such an approach sculpts a deeply empathic auditory experience capable of standing on its own as an album.

Solo Piano III (CD)

Chilly Gonzales

Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales has performed and written songs with Jarvis Cocker, Feist, and Drake, among others. Solo Piano III completes the Solo Piano trilogy. Like its predecessors, it’s a mostly happy ending in C major, but there is more dissonance, tension, and ambiguity along the way.

KOD (CD)

J. Cole

To hear his detractors tell it, J. Cole is not cool. He’s at odds with at least a few of the eminently “it” stars of Soundcloud rap (Lil Pump and Smokepurpp, take a bow) and KOD ’s earnest admonitions against drug abuse might come across as positively D.A.R.E-esque when compared to the severely libertine attitude towards narcotics that much of popular hip-hop harbors; its fascination with Xanax, Lean, and Opiates, among others. Yet addiction is a very real thing, and J. Cole, son of an addict, understands this as well as anyone. KOD , which alternately stands for Kids On Drugs, King Overdose or Kill Our Demons, is a cynical commentary on the current hip-hop landscape, delivered with sermonized ardor by Cole. In a lyrical approach alternating between earnest pleas and satirical imitation, Cole tackles a whole manner of vices that, while not endemic to hip-hop as a whole, are at least particularly spotlighted by the genre. There are the easy scapegoats of drugs, wealth, and violence littered alongside portraits of infidelity (“Kevin’s Heart”), virtual lust as manifested by Instagram DM’s (“Photograph”), and as close to a diss track as you’ll ever catch this rapper doling out in “1985.” Musically, the album is sparse, stripped-down, and frequently foreboding, with a subtle jazzy influence throughout. The closest sonic comparison would be last year's  DAMN. , but KOD often strikes a dourer note than Kendrick’s moralizing tour de force. That’s not to say the album ain’t funky, though. “ATM,” “KOD,” and “Motiv8” turn deceptively simple beats into endlessly groovy templates for Cole to deliver his dexterous screeds over, while the boom bap of “FRIENDS” is enough to get any hip-hop purist’s head nodding. J. Cole’s KOD makes a catchy, convincing argument against the glitzy, glorified hedonisms of the modern world. Just don’t invite him to your next Bacchanal.

Redemption (CD)

Joe Bonamassa

Bonamassa continues to redefine and push the barriers of blues-rock. In these 12 songs, you’ll see the true shades of light and dark; for every trip into the tender depths of emotion there are some glorious hip-shaking moments of joy, all accompanied by Bonamassa’s masterful guitar playing.

Collapse (CD)

Aphex Twin

The latest from Richard D. James is dark, intense, and addictive. The Collapse EP is an instant classic in Aphex Twin's prolific, stellar career, featuring all the distorted beats, propulsive drums, and woozy instrumentals fans expect to encounter. This one's a little bit woozier, though, a bit more disconcerting in a sleek, seductive, spacey way. Guaranteed to scratch your itch for smart, weird, slightly wild IDM.

Proper Dose (CD)

The Story So Far

The pop-punk bliss of The Story So Far starts to approach lysergic levels on their newest album; perhaps that title is more than just a winking nod towards such. How else to explain songs like “Upside Down,” which sounds like the group leaving behind their coveted New Found Glory and Blink-182 records for the saucer eyed spaciness of Tame Impala? Even on relatively more straightforward tracks such as “Out Of It,” the production on Proper Dose features plenty of airy reverb and echo, softening these songs around the edges and giving them a hypnotic, kaleidoscopic quality. Sometimes psychedelia finds you in the most unexpected places.

Colored Vinyl


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Amoeblog


Amoebite Jon Longhi reviews recent Blu-ray releases including Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete Season One and Jack the Giant Killer.