Amoeblog

2014 Rap Up with Mad Skillz and Timothy DeLaGhetto

Posted by Billyjam, December 31, 2014 06:53pm | Post a Comment

Call it a comeback, and a most welcome too. Skilled emcee Mad Skillz is back after hanging up the mic two years ago for his wonderful and anticipated annual Rap Up raps that he had been diligently delivering every year-end since late December 2002.  Perhaps it was due to public pressure from those who missed his always on point "Rap Up" series in which he would neatly summarizes the news events from hip-hop and sports, to politics, and beyond. Or perhaps it was that Skillz was feeling the heat from those who had stepped into his shoes such as DeStorm who did one the past couple of years (but not this year so far) or NorCal's Timothy DeLaGhetto (aka curator of the popular YouTube Channel Traphic Musik) who did a killer one this year (uploaded four days ago) out of reverence to Mad Skillz. Both Skillz and Timothy DeLaGhetto's accurate summaries of the year are below and both are well worth listening to. With many overlapping topics between the two of them they pretty much cover all the main events in current affairs, national and world news, and pop culture with naturally several rap related items touched upon.  Between the two, of which Skillz is the better (in fact his best ever!), they cover everything from Isis to the Ice Bucket Challenge, Bill Cosby to Ebola, the World Cup to Seattle winning the SuperBowl, Pharrell's hat to Dr. Dre's headphones making himi a billion bucks, weed legalization to the rise of the protest movement against police brutality with references to Mike Brown and Eric Garner and "I Can't Breathe," the Suge shooting to Kim and Kanye's antics, and the death of Robin Williams to Solange Knowles elevator outburst. Even the recent North Korea related SONY hacking got included. Check both 2014 Rap Ups out for the ultimate summation of the year we just had. Wishing you a Happy New Year and prosperous 'n healthy 2015! (Thanks to Jorge Fabel Pabon for use of his wonderful 2015 graphic above).
 

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20 Great Vinyl Reissues From 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 31, 2014 03:44pm | Post a Comment



Our Best Of 2014 extravaganza ain’t quite over yet. Here’s a list of 20 excellent records that were reissued on vinyl this year. (Out of stock? Add the item to your wishlist and we’ll notify you when we have it in.)

Erykah Badu - Mama’s Gun

Erykah Badu’s second album is a neo-soul touchstone that represents her transition from her earlier work to her wilder 2000’s output. Features the hit “Bag Lady.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BeatlesThe White Album

The mother of all rock bands/albums. The Beatles’ albums (all of which are pretty much essential) were reissued on vinyl this year. You gotta own this one on mono vinyl, the way it’s meant to be heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belle & Sebastian If You’re Feeling Sinister

I wrote an essay about how important this album was for me; read it here. Also check out the twee band’s reissues of The Boy With the Arab Strap, Push Barman to Open Old Wounds, The Third Eye Centre, Tigermilk, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, The Life Pursuit, The BBC Sessions, Write About Love and Dear Catastrophe Waitress.   

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Experimental Artist Mika Vainio

Posted by Amoebite, December 31, 2014 11:00am | Post a Comment

Mika Vainio

Mika Vainio is a Finnish experimental musician based out of Berlin. During the 1980s, Vainio played Mika Vainio drums and electronics in the Finnish industrial/noise scene, eventually making a name for himself as one half of Pan Sonic, an electronic duo inspired by Throbbing Gristle and Suicide. Vainio is also an accomplished solo artist, releasing solo work both under his own name and under the O alias. He has collaborated with iDEAL Recordings label boss Joachim Nordwall, Sunn O))) leader Stephen O'Malley, Autechre's Sean Booth, Alan Vega of Suicide and Fennesz. Vanio's most recent solo releases are 2013's Kilo and 2014's O recording Konstellaatio. After a long hiatus, 2014 saw the release of Pan Sonic's album Oksastus

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Weekly Wednesday Steal: Austra's 'Olympia'

Posted by Amoebite, December 31, 2014 09:18am | Post a Comment

austra olympia lpThis week's Weekly Wedensday Steal is Austra's Olympia, regularly $22.98 and on sale for $10 on vinyl.

The synth-pop trio's second album is a favorite here at Amoeba. Amoebite Andrew says: "Olympia departs from the darkwave feel of its previous release, Feel It Break, and ventures into more dance and house sounds, while still maintaining the mystical feel from all of Austra’s songs."

A bit about our Weekly Steal: A new item is featured on Amoeba.com every Wednesday for $10, while supplies last. It's limited to one per customer, and the deal is only available on the website. As always, there’s free shipping on all music and movies you buy on Amoeba.com throughout the United States.

Watch the video for "Forgive Me" below:

 

Kelly's Choice Albums (and So Fourth) of 2014

Posted by Kells, December 30, 2014 03:15pm | Post a Comment
This is it, we made it to the last Tuesday of 2014. With nothing but a new year's worth of new release days ahead, here's to looking back over the past three-hundred sixty odd days filled with sonic revelations and reverberations. With that in mind, I've complied my very own short stack of yummy black plastic pancake picks -- my favorite records released this year. Mmm, pancakes....

1. Once & Future Band - Brain EP

Listening to this sprawling progressive precipice of a rock record for the first time was like slipping backwards over a ledge built by everyday mundanities and falling. Falling but never bracing for impact, maybe never touching Earth again. Just like "looking ahead with no backwards glancing," as vocalist/keymaster Joel Robinow puts it in the nearly nine minute eponymous opening track, I was besotted and entirely overcome with feels. I mean, as much as it urks my nerve when folks misuse and overstate things as "literally" being or doing this or that, I can state without hesitation that this record literally blew me away. Well, in a figurative sense. Add to that the fact that this sweet baby is obviously a passionate labor of love, deftly crafted by a couple of local backyard Bay Area wizards, and GAH! my esteem for this band couldn't be any more swollen. These guys are pretty much the best band around right now.





2. Cold Beat - Over Me

Existing somewhere between cold Summer in San Francisco and the dark side of planet Pop, this band is more than just another notch in SF local visionary (and Grass Widow bassist) Hannah Lew's ever-prolific timeline of creative projects. Described by NPR as representing "the best of new wave — in title, metaphor and roster of influences alike", Cold Beat has made an utterly sincere record in Over Me, and it kills the competition with controlled aggression in the form of pretty vocal harmonies, tense rhythms (courtesy of Erase Errata's Bianca Sparta), and fetching melodies. Choosing a standout track among an albums-worth of two-ish minute long choice cuts is difficult, but I tend to gravitate towards the songs that bear the influential mark of Lew's affection for Science Fiction, like "Rumors", "Year 5772", and "UV" (see the dark n' strobe-y music vid for "UV" below). This band rules so hard.




3. Various Artists - Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles

Some folks might balk at counting compilations in their year end tally of besties, but this little elemental gem of ineffable heaviness shalln't remain untold nor uncounted here. Like a wizard's spellbook drafted by NWOBHM acolytes in the smokey, basement recesses of a nearly forgotten realm (late seventies/early eighties middle America), this compilation of little known underground rockers, made by chaotic neutral antiheroes, fueled by their love of the halfling's leaf, and achieving the sort of arrested development forever associated with Dungeons & Dragons, is perhaps one of Numero Group's greatest collections to date. With stand out tracks aplenty, this record dominates its dusty niche of a bygone genre with delightfully half-baked riffs and lyrical oubliettes, some of the best of which can be found in "Warlord" by Wrath, as featured in the promo vid below. Don't sleep on this one, it's a knife in the dark.







Perhaps the prettiest of all the records I've had the pleasure of spanning time with this year, Barragán continues to lend me life in loosely measured increments and sparse, atmospheric beauty. I can't begin to understand why this record received so many tepid, if not just plain bad reviews. Such bitchy, dismissive responses to the trio's ninth studio album could've been generated by a lack of understanding, but at this point in the Blonde Redhead timeline what kind of fan would have calculated expectations? And anyway, I believe the gorgeously detailed album artwork and packaging (stickers!) are dripping with enough symbolism that any clueless hipster with an actual attention span that takes the time to sit down with it and give it a spin might run the risk of actually "getting" it. That said, this record is made possible by familiar palette of post-Melody Blonde Redhead sounds (both guitars and keys this time), and incorporates generous splashes of everyday found sounds, field recordings, experimental improvisations, and a structurally stretched out approach to composition that seems to say, "no one told us we need to worry about how these songs end so we're not gonna," hence the horse fetus. In short, this may be a slow-grower, or whatever, but it's worth the wait for its infinite listenability.

The video for "The One I Love" presents a pleasant visual companion to the quiet pleasure-of-everyday-things vibe that I found so enthralling about listening to this record repeatedly. Sometimes it's the simple, fleeting moments that makes a lazy day feel like time well spent. Check it out below:


Bonkers, off-his-rocker, Willy Wonka cruising through the psychedelic fudge tunnel, commercial breaking at Sir Saves-A-Lot and stoking grey poop-on levels of top 40 kitty litter is how I envision Ariel Pink shaking off his Haunted Graffiti short shorts and covering his bum one jegging at a time for his umteenth record thing, pom pom. Pink's pop-savant savoir-faire oozes like Tiger Beat nectar from this Pepto slab of AWATS-era Rundgren-esque romp of a party record. He can be so horrible sometimes, but his ability to consistently sow kitchen sink genre kitsch, glamorized street trash, and a can of your own ass into a bumper crop of enjoyable tunes, in this case a whole album's worth (I rank it right up there with The Doldrums and Before Today), makes loving his music in spite of the man okay for another day. My favorite track at the moment is "Dinosaur Carebears" because the insane juxtaposition of duck-quackin' barnyard samples sandwiched beneath Gregorian chanty bits ragging on the City of Industry or some such plus its randomly heavy "oriental" intro riffs and final steppin' out with a "you're no good" reggae vibration finish makes me laugh like Santa Claus on Jello jigglers. Drugs are a hell of a drug. Here's a so-crazy-it's-very-un-crazy video for the perhaps the most dangerous song of all the rides in the pom pom theme park, "Put Your Number in My Phone":




6. OOIOO - Gamel

OOIOO has achieved in Gamel two great tastes that taste great together. Specifically, the patent flavor-spectrum and singular scale that Yoshimi P-We and company have brought to each and every one of their recordings plus the equally-singular and similarly flavorful spectrum and scale of one of the world's most magical music-making devices ever, well, devised: the gamelan -- a wondrous ensemble/orchestra of Indonesian percussive instruments. An album seemingly dedicated to this musical match-up doesn't completely come as a surprise given that the ladies have performed with gamelan more than a few times since 2012, often giving beloved favorites like "Moss Trumpeter" and "Be Sure to Loop" an awesomely live gamel-ing, but digesting this new chapter in OOIOO's creative congression only makes me hungry for a second helping.




7. Grace Sings Sludge - Red Light Museum

There's a lot I could say about this little album, but I feel I've said too much already. No really, you can read my lengthy review of Red Light Museum here. But, for the benefit of anyone driving by this here Best-of post, Red Light Museum is a hauntingly haunted collection of recent solo works and private recordings made by Grace Cooper, local ghost hunter and member of beloved SF trio The Sandwitches. Like any great singer-songwriter, pinioned by an aversion to modern methods and the lusty limitations of one's mortal baggage, she can be something of an elusive creature 'round these parts. That said, you can sometimes find her swaying behind a stack of go-backs on the main floor of Amoeba Music's SF salesfloor, singing almost soundlessly to herself in witchy warbles as she shuffles about her business between the aisles. Here's hoping we see more of her, even if she's difficult to luv.






I fell for this in an instant, as soon as "Preface" rushed in with a chant to grind. In some ways, this record makes me cringe at the teenaged feelings that still live on inside me, deep down in a dark place that shines and pulses not unlike the electric sex-vibe that permeates pretty much every song on LP1. It's a sensuous, teasing sort of odd-beat laden electronica that sounds a lot like any Tujiko Noriko album, but plays more like a blanket Prince nod or a series of Betty Davis shout outs punctuating a forty minute masturbation session, in a good way. Though I find "Lights On" to be a tad disturbing, like a modern anti-incarnation of Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait A While", the record as a whole has me hyped for future audiovisual kicks from this tiny dancer formerly known as Tahliah Debrett Barnett. The vid below for "Video Girl" includes "Preface" from LP1 as well as a whole lotta Ms. twigs' sick body motion. 



Speaking of Tujiko Noiko, the very aptly named My Ghost Comes Back (or, 帰って来たゴースト) marks the return of Ms. Tujiko after quite the lengthy hiatus. Here she seems to remain grounded by her usual unusual approach to weaving sonic tapestry (what with the jagged, staggered rhythms, shimmering electric flickers and ethereal vocal whisps long beloved by vigilant fans) while stretching out to incorporate pleasing acoustic elements like guitar, mandolin, viola, koto, and musical saw, among others. This makes for a perfectly fitting gathering of apparatuses because has there ever been a more suitable instrument for expressing ghosts or the spiritual beyond in song than the musical saw? Immediate standouts include the oddly titled "Minty You" and the delightfully melancholic and world-weary banger "Under the White Sheets".


Tujiko Noriko - "Under the White Sheets"




11. Violent Change - A Celebration of Taste

In a world where music-based product continues to routinely receive golden rewards for achieving universal appeal and pop cultural "relevance", it remains a comfort to dig into a low-flying record made by some real-ass small-time punkers that key the car of commercial viability ever so lovingly. One listen to a track like "Malleable Love" or "Faster" from their 2014 Celebration of Taste is all it takes to understand Violent Change has never truly given a fuck about making, breaking, or even faking it when it comes to any kind of bottom line. For them it's clearly all about fucking your couch and submitting to loudness, which is to say it's all about the Sex Pistols, and the Bee-Gees, and a total disregard for any criticism whatever, be it pointed at their wonderfully maligned celebration of taste, or the bored, gored, and grinded appropriation of the commercial sludge their rock 'n roll forebears begrudge them.





12. Takako Minekawa and Dustin Wong - Savage Imagination

Takako Minekawa and Dustin Wong must be on a roll or really into each other or both because it had be take a special someone or something that coaxed an artist like Minekawa out of a thirteen-year hiatus to make an album, Toropical Circle, only to follow that up with another album, Savage Imagination, less than a year later. If anything, these albums are indicative of their compatibility and their collaborative imagination must be savage indeed to have produced two albums back to back like that. The latter of the two is similar to the first with it's playful electropop experiments, but Savage Imagination offers an ever more vibrant picture of their sonic marriage in that the duo have achieved a higher level of seamless stitchery in combining vocal threads, samples of Minekawa's incomparable keyboard magic and Wong's inventive guitar loops.






13. The Geneva Convention - Hundred Nights

I've only just lately gotten my ears around this fiendish piece of experimental summoning. The genesis of this record is rooted in a soundboard grab of an entire performance of recent rock-musical Hundred Days (as given to the guitarist for the production, Josh Pollack). The entirety of said recording, however, includes naught but the isolated drum mics, specifically the drumming of one Geneva Harrison, as well as some of Pollack's own lead/textural guitar and precious little else (ghostly vocals, etc.). Using this seasoned canvas, Pollack proceeded to recorded a wholly other, synth-shadowed album over it. The end result is a series of neon-lit nighttime vignettes fit for a soundtrack, or two (think Michael Mann's Manhunter or John Carpenter's They Live). I liiive!





Reissues and Compilations that ruled my world in 2014:

Ned Doheny - Separate Oceans
Malibu singer-songwriter Ned Doheny's Separate Oceans is beyond essential for any Yacht Rocker or AOR nerds and, speaking of nerds, Numero Group never fails to kill it in the pressing, packaging and presentation department when it comes to any gem in their ever-growing catalog of treasures. The 2LP collection of songs, exploring ten years of Doheny's easy, breezy SoCal marina-rock compositions, features demos, photos, and details aplenty (what with the 8,000 word essay) which is cool and all, but it's the additional limited edition Record Store Day release of Ned Doheny's “Get It Up For Love” (b/w a demo of “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me” recorded with AWB) that really does it for me. Done up as a pretty little 45 rpm nugget housed in a  black, white, and blue Japanized sleeve, it makes for an aesthetically pleasing yet unassuming outfit for one of the hottest, slow-burnin' late night summer jams ever.


Ned Doheny - What Cha' Gonna Do For Me (demo with AWB)



Feelin' hot, hot, hot, hot...
Ahhh, comps. I love comps. Comps can make a cold day seem like it's ninety degrees in the shade and make a lonely night indoors feel like a grade-A pool party safari. All my life I've been romanced by themes and a desire, nay, a need for escape and compilations sometimes supply where books and films can fall short of the sort of sensory diversion I require. These four collections in particular have given me the fever of the flavor of a world I wish I could remove to at will. A world without overwrought American Idols and overpriced boxed sets. Just a quick flip on the turntable and I'm swaying in the arms of Carlos Molina's "Karabali" or shaking my daquiri to "Cup-E-Co" by The Journeymen.

Thus I raise my glass to toast Soul Jazz Records' first volume (of what is sure to indicate many more installments to come) of New Orleans Soul: The Original Sound of New Orleans Soul 1960-76. Here's a sampler platter mix thing:



And cheers are also due to Jazzman Record's second volume of Jukebox Mambo: Afro Latin Accents In Rhythm & Blues 1947-61. Lastly, but certainly not in the very least-ly, my sweatiest of thank yous to the fine fine folks at University of Vice for both Voodoo Party Vol. 2 and Poco Loco in the Coco Vol. 3 -- may your well never run dry.

Featured on Poco Loco in the Coco Vol. 3, here's "Cup-E-Co" by The Journeymen


Good golly, there are so many others to cover it almost feels like this could go on indefinitely. As I am starting to recount my summer-long rekindling with two of the Luaka Bop reissues that dropped back on Record Store Day, namely Los Amigos Invisibles' Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space as well as their West African collection extraordinaire World Psychedelic Classics, Vol. 3: Love's a Real Thing, I also recall Numero Group's most excellent and extremely limited one-off riff on those low-rider comps, South Side Story Vol. 23 and, from there, my mind begins to slowly clog with number twos.


No, not poop, but good shit like Sheila B.'s "dream list" revisited/second helping of her wondrous Nippon Girls compilation, Nippon Girls 2: Japanese Pop, Beat & Rock 'N' Roll 1966-70, and Light in the Attic's double-down on their Country Funk thing, the aptly titled Country Funk 2 -- it's all too much! And then there's that raw n' rowdy San Francisco is Doomed cassette comp that Hannah Lew shepherded via her new Crime on the Moon label (pretty much in tandem with the stellar Cold Beat rec mentioned above), a real pisser of a number-one collective response to the great SF Tech Invasion from Bay Area bands that continually struggle to stay rooted in a town where hoards of newly minted "brogrammers" are effectively evicting the local art/music scene. Which is just a good a note as any to end this post on: 2014 - the year the music didn't die.

Bonus slice of 2014 year-end, best-of, you-made-it-to-the-bottom-of-this-list celebratory ridiculousness: this year marked the return of DJ Hennessy Youngman's CVS Bangers series Kicking down the doors of Valhalla...

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Rare 1990 Chuck D Interview with DJ Chuck Chillout on "WDEF"

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

For this week's installment of the Amoeblog's Hip Hop History Tuesdays I rewind the clock back 24 years  to December 1990 when Def Jam mailed out to journalists, DJs, and other media folk on their press promo list a cool complimentary "Merry Christmas" mixtape by DJ Chuck Chillout that was supposedly the NYC radio station "WDEF" and its show "The Rush Hour." But while both the radio show and the radio station were imaginary the cassette and all the interviews on it, including EPMD, BWP, and Pubic Enemy's Chuck D (featured here), were all very real and conducted as if on the air live by the recording artist/radio DJ who was on KISS FM at the time.

The Rush Hour
name referred to the Russell Simmons overseen artists - most on Def Jam - that were showcased on the mixtape that was a nice balance of artist interviews and music - a lot of two turntable beat juggle routines. Out of all the tape's interviews the interview with Chuck D (on behalf of Public Enemy)  was the best one and hence, when I uncovered this long lost tape in past week, decided to upload it to YouTube to feature here on the Amoeblog Hip-Hop History feature. Note that the actual Chuck Chillout/Chuck D interview would have been recorded at the end of Summer/ start of Fall 1990 - right after PE got off tour in support of their then current album Fear Of A Black Planet (their third studio album that was released on May 10th, 1990).

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California Fool's Gold Guide to Ice Skating in Los Angeles

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 29, 2014 11:32pm | Post a Comment
Outside of the high mountains and high desert, we don't typically get a lot of ice and snow in the Chaparral-dominated landscape of Southern California. For some this is all the necessary proof that there are no seasons in California -- and most certainly no winter.


In reality, all climates have their own sorts of seasons and the short days and long nights should be a dead giveaway that it's no longer summer, even if you don't have frostbite. Additionally, the heavy rain and blooming buckwheat, California pipelines, manzanitas, snowberries, and Toyon should clue in the reasonably sensitive (or those cursed with allergies) that both change and pollen are in the air. Unless you subsist on a diet of junk food you should also hopefully notice the proliferation of blood oranges, cardoons, kumquats, leeks, mushrooms, pomelosradicchiorutabaga, satsumas, and sweet potatoes, which are hopefully making their way from gardens, orchards, and markets to your dining room table. If you've looked up anytime in the past few weeks, you've surely noticed the millions of geese, mallards, pintails, teals, and wigeons flying overhead on their way to wintering grounds in the Central Valley. Out in the ocean, you might notice gray whales arriving off the coast.


Thin Ice (1937) movie poster

If none of that is enough to get you into the winter spirit perhaps some ice skating will help remind you of those winters from your youth in the Middle West or Northeast which you consider to be the only true form of winter. Since 1997, winter in Los Angeles has included outdoor pop-up ice skating rinks, both made with real ice and the ersatz kind. In recent years they've been the subject of many an interchangeable listicle but none seem to acknowledge our handful of indoor skating rinks, which have been around at least since 1939. 
Here's my list to all ice skating opportunities in Los Angeles County, so go get your skate on now and throughout the year!


*****



CHILL - The Queen Mary
(Queensway Bay, Long Beach)


From 9 December until 4 January (and again from 8-11 January) Long Beach's RMS Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner (now a glamorous nautical hotel) hosts CHILL (all caps... although apparently not an acronym of anything), an annual event featuring ice sculptures, ice slides, ice tubing, and other ice-centric amusement including a 600 square meter skating rink.

CHILL - The Queen Mary is served by Long Beach Transit's free Passport line.



Holiday Ice Rink -- Pershing Square
(Bunker Hill, Los Angeles)


Image credit: Miss Traffic

When it began operation in 1997, the 400 square meter pop-up ice rink in Pershing Square was known as Downtown on Ice. Now that the City Department of Recreation and Parks and has handed over operations to a private operator, Willy Bietak, it's been renamed Holiday Ice Rink -- Pershing Square: A Willy Bietak Production (which I guess is slightly better than "The Ice at DTLA" or something like that). The rink, located in front of Schultze and Weaver's beautiful Beaux Art Biltmore Hotel, is in operation from 13 November - 19 January and there are special events including DJ Spotlight Nights, Wicked Wednesdays, and Polar Bear Skate, in which skaters are asked to don their gay apparel (i.e. swimsuits).

Holiday Ice Rink - Pershing Square: A Willy Bietak Production is served by LADOT's DASH Downtown B and Commuter Express lines; Metro's 2, 4, 10/48, 14/37, 16/316, 18, 28, 53, 55/202/355, 62, 70, 71, 76, 78/79/378, 81, 83, 90/91, 94, 96, 442, 460, 487/489, 707, Rapid 728, Rapid 794, Purple, Red, and Silver lines; Foothill Transit's 770 line; OCTA's 701 and 721 lines; and Torrance Transit's 4 line.



ICE at Santa Monica
(Downtown, Santa Monica)


Image credit: Downtown Santa Monica
The 750 square meter ICE at Santa Monica rink first opened in 2006. It operates from 1 November until 19 January. There's a concession stand on site and an enclosed rink for the under six set called "Tot Spot." 

ICE at Santa Monica is served by Big Blue Bus's 2, 3, 3M, R3, and 4 lines.



Iceland Ice Skating Center
(Van Nuys, Los Angeles)


Image credit: Christine D.

Iceland Ice Skating Center operates year round but shortly before Christmas they do present an Iceland Holiday Show. I'm not sure what year it entered operations as a skating rink but the building was constructed in 1950 and from the sound of the reviews, it looks it.

Iceland Ice Skating Center is served by LADOT's DASH Van Nuys/Studio City line, and Metro's 154, 156/656, 233, 236/237, Rapid 740, Orange, and Valley-Westside Express lines.



LA Kings Holiday Ice at Nokia Plaza LA Live
(New South Park, Los Angeles)


Image credit: Time Out

LA Kings Holiday Ice at Nokia Plaza LA Live (can't they stick one more "LA" in the name?) operates in an outdoor mall dubiously promoted as "the most entertaining place on the planet." Having been there two or three times and having never seen more than remotely entertaining (including first part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit fan fiction trilogy) I can imagine that the dull assortment of standard mall shops are LA enlivened by the addition of a skating rink. The 500 square meter LA Kings Holiday Ice at Nokia Plaza LA Live rink is open from 29 November until 31 December.

LA Kings Holiday Ice at Nokia Plaza LA Live is served by LA DOT's Commuter Express and DASH Downtown F lines; Metro's 81, 442, 460, and Blue, Expo, and Silver lines; OCTA's 701 and 721 lines; and Torrance Transit's 4 line.



LA Kings Valley Ice Center
(Panorama City, Los Angeles)


Image credit: Come On Feel the Nuys

The Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center makes the more modest claim of being "a place for friends and family." Not only are its two rinks places for ice skating but (as is the case with most rinks) hockey, and more unexpectedly, curling. 

LA Kings Valley Ice Center is served by LADOT's DASH Panorama City/Van Nuys line and Metro's 156/656 and 233 lines.



Paramount Iceland
(
Downtown, Paramount)


Image credit: Difabu

Frank, Lawrence, and Pete Zamboni opened Iceland all the way back in 1939, right next door to their Zamboni Bros ice plant. In 1949, the Frank J. Zamboni & Company introduced their now-famous ice resurfacing machine, just one year after the communities of Hynes and Clearwater were joined together as Paramount. Paramount Iceland also boasts the presence of a mighty Wurlitzer organ, installed in 1941.

Paramount Iceland is served by Metro's 258 line.



Pasadena Ice Skating Center
(Civic Center, Pasadena)



Image credit: Stevens

The Pasadena Ice Skating Center is located in the Pasadena Convention Center, where it opened in 2010 after having operated nearby in a former ballroom since the 1970s. In addition to public skating the center also hosts the annual Pasadena Open Figure Skating Competition.

Pasadena Ice Skating Center is served by Foothill Transit's 187 line; LADOT's Commuter Express 549 line; Metro's 177, 180/181, 256, 267/264, 687/686, and Gold lines; and Pasadena ARTS's 10, 20cc, 20cw, 40, 51, and 52 lines.



Pickwick Ice
(Rancho Equestrian District, Burbank)


Image credit: Pickwick Gardens


Pickwick Ice is the skating rink at Burbank's Pickwick Gardens, which also includes a banquet hall, a bowling alley, and gardens.

Pickwick Ice is served by the Los Angeles River Bike Path and Burbank Bus's Metrolink to Media District line.



The Rink in Downtown Burbank 
(Downtown, Burbank)


Image credit: Ice-America

Burbank's seasonal outdoor skating rink (stylized as "THE RINK IN DTN BUR") is located in front of Burbank's city hall from 28 November until 19 January. The rink's events lean heavily on irony and include special nights like Ugly Sweater Mondays, '80s Night Wednesdays, and Thursday Night Fever.

The Rink in Downtown Burbank is served by Burbank Bus's Empire to Downtown line, Metro's 92, 94, 96, 155, 183, 292, and Rapid 794 lines; and Metrolink's Antelope Valley and Ventura lines.



The Rinks - Lakewood ICE
(Lakewood Mutuals, Lakewood)

Image credit: The Lakewood Scoop

Founded in 1996 as Glacial Gardens Skating Arena, the venue was renamed THE RINKS - Lakewood ICE in 2013 after it was added to The Anaheim Ducks' The Rinks Presented By Honda network of skating venues which also includes THE RINKS - Westminster ICE, THE RINKS - Yorba Linda ICE, THE RINKS - Huntington Beach Inline, THE RINKS - Irvine Inline, and THE RINKS - Corona Inline -- all in Orange County.

The Rinks - Lakewood ICE is served by Long Beach Transit's 21, 22, 101, and 103 lines.



The Skating Edge Ice Arena
(Harbor City, Los Angeles)


Image credit: Jean Y.

The Skating Edge Ice Arena opened as Olympic Ice Arena in 1962 and operates year round. The facilities include a rink, a concession stand, and Vic's Pro Shop. Even if you're unwilling or unable to travel to the Harbor District, the arena's dazzlingly Angelfire/Geocities website is worth a visit.

The Skating Edge Ice Arena is served by Torrance Transit's 7 and 9 lines.



Woodland Hills Ice
(Warner Center, Los Angeles)


Image Credit: Any Tots

Woodland Hills Ice first launched its pop-up 650 square meter rink in 2008 at the Westfield Topanga, an otherwise unmemorable mall which is not located in the community of Topanga but in Warner Center -- a '70s futurist, walkable, mass-transit oriented planned community developed with sleek Late Modern office towers and a bit like the Valley's miniature version of Century City. Woodland Hills Ice operates from 14 November until 19 January.

Woodland Hills Ice is served by Metro's 150/240, 161, 164, 165, 169, 245/244, Rapid 750, and Orange lines.

Wintertime (1943)


*****
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Amoeba's Top 50 Favorite Albums of 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 29, 2014 04:24pm | Post a Comment



All we do at Amoeba is listen to music and talk about music. Take advantage of how nerdy we are with this comprehensive best-of list from the year, which compiles new records from the best albums of 2014 lists made by Aaron Detroit, Brad Schelden, Oliver/Matt/Jordan, Billyjam and myself (click to see invidividual lists).

 

1. FKA TwigsLP1

FKA Twigs LP1 was one of those cross-genre, unclassifiable albums that everyone seemed to love. Not only the best debut record of the year, perhaps the best, period.

“There is miles of ink about Ms. Twigs already, and for good reason – her debut album, LP1, wlessly melds a bonkers electronic experimentalism with mainstream R&B and pop with spellbinding results.” —Aaron

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DJ Earworm's 2014 Mix, Another Accurate Representation of The Past Year In Pop Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 29, 2014 08:48am | Post a Comment
    

Once again as the year comes to a close DJ Earworm has unveiled his annual year-end/best-of megamix, better known as the renowned San Francisco based mashup DJ/producer's annual United State of Pop that he's been diligently producing (audio and video) for the past six years which he uploads at the beginning of each December - hence his one year period generally begins the twelfth or eleventh month of the previous calendar year. This year's mix includes such 2013 released songs as "Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz, "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha,"Happy" by Pharrell, "Story of My Life" by One Direction, and "Let her Go" by Passenger. Titled United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do) Earworm's latest annual mega-mix mashup is another pitch perfect production that incorporates "25 of the biggest hits during 2014 in the US" and hence are as good/bad as one thought the year's pop music to be. Included are such ubiquitous songs of the year as Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," Ariana Grande's "Problem" featuring Iggy Azalea (one of three song's the Australian born artist has in this 2014 mix), and Sam Smith's hauntingly beautiful "Stay With Me" off the soulful UK singer's album In The Lonely Hour. Other artists featured in the mix include Hozier ("Take Me to Church"), John Legend ("All Of Me"), Lorde ("Team"), Maroon 5 ("Animals"), and Taylor Swift ("Shake It Off").

Documentary "Records Collecting Dust" Plays Balboa Theatre in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 28, 2014 06:33pm | Post a Comment

Records Collecting Dust, Balboa TheatreRecords Collecting Dust, a documentary film about the music and records that changed our lives, premieres in San Francisco at Balboa Theatre on January 29th! Written and directed by San Diego based musician and filmmaker Jason Blackmore, Records Collecting Dust documents the vinyl record collections, origins, and holy grails of alternative music icons Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys, Alternative Tentacles), Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag, SWA, Wurm, SST Records), Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Off!), John Reis (Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu), Lisa Fancher (Frontier Records), and over 30 other artists.

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Book Signing for Peter Richardson's "No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead"

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 28, 2014 02:30pm | Post a Comment

Book Passage and Amoeba Music welcome Peter Richardson to Book Passage Corte Madera to sign his new book No Simple No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of The Grateful Dead, Peter RichardsonHighway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead on January 28th at 7pm.

For almost three decades, the Grateful Dead was America's most popular touring band. While their albums sold well over time, the group never had a number one song, and they cracked the top ten only once—more than two decades after their formation. Why did they become one of the world’s most legendary bands?

Now, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the band’s creation, No Simple Highway is the first book to answer this deceptively simple question. Drawing on new research, interviews, and material from the Grateful Dead archives, No Simple Highway vividly recounts the Dead's colorful history, adding new insight into everything from the acid tests to the band's formation of their own record label to their massive late career success, while probing the riddle of the Dead's vast and durable appeal.

More info HERE!

10 Albums To Look For in 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, December 26, 2014 05:15pm | Post a Comment

The year’s coming to a close, and it’s time to look ahead. There are already several sure-to-be great albums on the horizon. You can already preorder the ones below.

 

Panda BearPanda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Out Jan. 13

Available on LP, CD, Deluxe LP, Deluxe CD

Experimental pop auteur and Animal Collective member Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox is back with his fifth solo album and first in four years. Like his last album, Tomboy, it’s co-produced by Peter Kember, and it features two songs that have already been premiered, the woozy “Mr Noah” and mind-bending “Boys Latin,” for which you can watch the mesmerizing video below. “Mr Noah” has been already released on a four-song EP of the same name, which includes three more songs; those three extra songs will also be available on the deluxe editions of the album.

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Amoeba Hollywood's Best In-Store Shows of 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 26, 2014 09:42am | Post a Comment

 

SKY FERREIRA, Wednesday, February 19

Sky Ferreira’s show at Amoeba Hollywood was one of those great zeitgeisty shows where we knew we were all seeing a huge new star at the height of her hype and acclaim. Ferreira was charming and cool, engaging with the tons of young fans who came out to see her and pulling out a surprise by coming back to the stage to sing her breakthrough song, “Everything Is Embarrassing.” Read my review of the show here.

 

DEAP VALLY, Tuesday, May 13

The duo of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards pulled out blistering fuzz-rock guitars and caveman stomp with hair-flying abandon at this punchy performance of tunes from their debut record, Sistrionix. Troy and Edwards easily worked the crowd into a froth and left them wanting more.

 

BOB MOULD, Tuesday, June 3

The legendary Bob Mould of Husker Du and Sugar plugged in for a passionate set of electric rockers from his latest release, Beauty & Ruin. The staff couldn’t help but get excited for this one, too, as Mould is easily one of our musical heroes.

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Merry Christmas, Christmas Realness!

Posted by Kells, December 25, 2014 12:25pm | Post a Comment
Merry Christmas everyone! There's nothing like waking up on Christmas morning and getting all dolled up for the ultimate day of zenith-level holiday season revels! Here are a few of my favorite Christmas looks from some of my all time favorite famous people. 

Joan Rivers
' oversize sweater worn for the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (also starring Grace Jones, k.d. lang and Cher) is everything! Though our one and only Joan exited life's temporal stage this year, her spirit continues to entertain all us Earthbound couch potatoes. Check out those shoulder pads! It's like she's smuggling stollen in there!

Sometimes I think the Christmas Realness category as we know it was invented by, and for, Dolly Parton. With numerous Christmas specials, collaborations, albums and look after look of very merry material ensembles built on holiday cheer, Dolly has embodied the reason for the season time and time again throughout her career, her flirtationship with Mr. Kenny Rogers offering some of the best looks.

Christmas chalet realness...



Santa's workshop realness...




Christmas at the food court in the mall realness...


Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer realness...


Checking your sass in her Smokey Mountain Christmas special realness...

Dolly is the best, and I feel RuPaul would agree, though she has her very own Christmas realness to serve...
A fierce and fabulous holiday to all, and to all a very merry Rupaul's Christmas Ball -- if you can find it. That's the name of her hella rare 1993 holiday special starring Boy George, La Toya Jackson, Eartha Kitt, Nirvana, Elton John and many others. Be sure to check out Ms. Ru's holiday music too, henny. 
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Amoebapalooza Berkeley, January 15

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 24, 2014 01:43pm | Post a Comment

Amoebapalooza is Amoeba Music's annual tradition of musical mayhem featuring bands comprised of Amoeba employees & friends. Join the employees of Amoeba Berkeley for the East Bay edition of Amoebapalooza on Thursday, January 15! The festivities will be held upstairs at Legionnaire Saloon in Oakland from 9pm to close.

Amoebapalooza is always free, always open to the public, and always awesome. Featuring Amoeba staff-helmed bands Decapitata, Chymical Nvptials, The 801, Bandulu, plus stand-up comedy from Keith Swiggart, and DJs too.
 

Jesse Luscious' 13th Annual Joe Strummer KALX Radio Special

Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2014 07:13pm | Post a Comment

For the past dozen years longtime KALX DJ Jesse Luscious has been programming his annual Joe Strummer Show radio special and tomorrow morning (Christmas Eve, Wednesday 12/24 from 6AM to noon Pacific time) the DJ/musician/politician, who was profiled here on the Amoeblog six years ago, will roll out The 13th Annual Joe Strummer Show for which he promises to play well-known and rare Joe Strummer tracks from his recordings  with The Clash, The 101ers, and the Mescaleros and others. Additionally this year's special will include a recently unearthed thirty year old Joe Strummer interview  on KALX. Aired live in 1984 on the UC Berkeley radio station it was conducted by DJ Bikini Babs, aka Mindela Ruby, who herself recently published a novel about punk entitled Mosh It Up.

Tomorrow's six hour Strummer special will be broadcast live on KALX and can be heard at 90.7 FM in the Bay Area and at this online link everywhere via live streaming. However there will be no archive so tune in live. It will be well worth it. I've caught previous specials and really enjoyed them. Today I caught up with the KALX DJ to ask him about the KALX special and about the great late Joe Strummer who unexpectedly died almost exactly twelve years ago on December 22nd, 2002 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect at age 50.

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December Album Picks: Charli XCX, D'Angelo, Nicki Minaj

Posted by Billy Gil, December 23, 2014 03:30pm | Post a Comment

December often doesn’t have the same number of big new releases as other months. But in this age of Beyonce-ing albums at the end of the year, there are still a few winners that slip into the end of the year.

 

D’Angelo Black Messiah (CD, LP out 2/10)

The long-awaited Black Messiah caps off 2014 as the year’s best soul album. But to call it soul or R&B would be reductive. Even more so than D’Angelo’s previous two albums, the excellent Brown Sugar and neo-soul masterpiece Voodoo, Black Messiah eschews any preconceived notions of what R&B, pop, music in general should be. Black Messiah draws upon a rich history of black music, notably blues, jazz and gospel and funk, and blows them out into billowing, smokey jams that seep under your skin, work their way into your veins. “Ain’t That Easy” rides hard on The Vanguard’s hip-hop beat and raunchy funk chords, while D’Angelo delivers an impassioned vocal and conciliatory lyrics like a sleek modern-day update of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” “1,000 Deaths” lays out Black Messiah’s other theme, starting with a powerful passage by an African American preacher that rails against the presentation of Jesus as a white savior. Over The Vanguard’s stuttering, skronking beat, D’Angelo’s multitracked vocal paints a harrowing picture but makes its most memorable couplet a rallying cry for the oppressed (“A coward dies a thousand times/But a soldier only dies just once), ending in an ecstatic, Prince-worthy cry and Hendrixy guitar explosions. Like Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah albums, or (aesthetically) like Kanye West’s Yeezus, Black Messiah is remarkably adventurous throughout. “The Charade” shuffles along a beat reminiscent of Radiohead’s “There, There,” dazzles with springs of sitar and builds to a thick climax. Similarly, “Back to the Future (Part I)” and “II” breaks up a future-funk suite about breaking up, keeping you engaged with its heady groove. Black Messiah’s more accessible moments make for some of the loveliest songwriting D’Angelo’s put to tape, with lush devotionals like “Till It’s Done (Tutu)” and “Really Love” and the jaunty alien jazz of “Sugah Daddy” making for perfect mixtape material. D’Angelo definitely kept us waiting a while for this one, but his remarkably consistent catalog to this point shows that the best things come to those who wait. Truly, Black Messiah is a densely layered soul masterpiece.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Revisiting Short Lived 1990's Slammin' Rap Video Magazine

Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2014 11:52am | Post a Comment

24 long hip-hop years ago, way back in the year of 1990 (a time before the Internet with its instant access to everything) there were relatively few ways to hear rap news and new hip-hop music. Back then there was  Source magazine and a few other hip-hop print publications such as RapMasters or the UK published Hip Hop Connection monthly mag. Compared to nowadays when a news item can be published worldwide within seconds of it taking place, things sure moved slowly back in 1990. In that bygone print age, the turnaround from when a national monthly's contents were written and photographed and ready for publication then finally hit the newsstands was typically a two month period. That rendered much of the "news"  old by the time it was read - although rap fans back then didn't seem to care. Besides, they had few options to get their hip-hop fix.

A little more timely back at the beginning of the '90s were the weekly rap radio shows around the country, aircheck cassette tapes of which were often dubbed and re-dubbed and shared. Then there were the select weekly or monthly rap video shows on TV that ranged from small regional ones playing national rap music videos and showcasing local talent to the big national Yo! MTV Raps, which was then two years strong and a lifeline of hip-hop music and news to those in areas outside of big cities.

In addition to these media outlets was the novel hip-hop video magazine,  Slammin' Rap Video Magazine, which was a one-hour VHS videocassette tape published by BMG that retailed for $12.98. Often billing itself as material you would "not seen on MTV," the one-hour video production was hosted by Alex Winter (actor then famous for his role alongside a young Keanu Reeves in 1989's silly-but-fun comedy Sci-Fi Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure). Slammin' was an ambitious, well-executed production that presented engaging artist interviews and showed music clips with the best hip-hop acts of the day. The premiere Vol. 1 1990 edition (see below in full) included KRS-One, MC Hammer, Queen Latifah, Tone-Loc, Special Ed, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Ice-T and his extended Rhyme Syndicate crew that included a young pre House of Pain Everlast, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Lakim Shabazz, Salt 'N' Pepa, Kid 'N' Play, and Roxanne Shanté among others. That's a pretty darn impressive line-up for a video magazine! But for whatever reason, the shortlived Slammin' video magazine series never took off in a huge way and only lasted for a handful of editions produced and published between 1990 and 1991. Along with Vol. 1 you can also see in full Vol. 3 of Slammin', which starred such hip-hop artists as LL Cool J, Too $hort, Schoolly D, Eric B & Rakim, D-Nice, and  Big Daddy Kane below. Both are really entertaining and educational in my opinion. And look in the used VHS bins at Amoeba for the occasional copy of the Slammin' video magazine series that shows up from time to time.

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The Best 'What's In My Bag?' Episodes of 2014

Posted by Amoebite, December 22, 2014 06:34pm | Post a Comment

Best What's In My Bag Episodes of 2014

2014 has been a big year for our "What's In My Bag?" series. All of our episodes are now captured and presented in gorgeous full HD and inscribed with a rad new hand-drawn logo. With our new tools we are continuing to try and step up our game creatively and seek out guests as interesting and uncommon as the items that are found in each episodes. This year we featured a Belgian pop star, a godfather of hip hop, an ace baker, a pair of British psych pop legends, a child star, an '80s icon, and not one but two Flaming Lips.

Here is our list of the Top 10 episodes from 2014, but since we couldn't leave it at just 10 check out the honorable mentions as well. Enjoy and thanks for watching!!
 

10) Michel Faber

Dutch-born author Michel Faber (Under the Skin, The Crimson Petal and the White) visited Amoeba San Francisco where he picked up an eclectic and esoteric selection ranging from folk to rock to experimental and beyond. He also waxes poetic about the beauty of vinyl packaging and the idea of an album as a book.

Michel Faber - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube

Noir City 13: 'Til Death Do Us Part

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 22, 2014 05:41pm | Post a Comment
Noir City

The 13th edition of the Film Noir Foundation's yearly film festival Noir City returns to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, January 16–25, 2015. This year's schedule is overflowing with 25 extraordinary titles depicting the darker side of marriage. See characters who crave a perfect and permanent union, those who'll stop at nothing to preserve it, and those who will do anything to escape it.

The program runs the gamut from revered cinema masterpieces such as Luchino Visconti's les diaboliquesOssessione and H. G. Clouzot's Les Diaboliques to daffy delights such as Doris Day's absurdly entertaining Julie and Douglas Sirk's sensational (and silly) Sleep, My Love. The shadows are shed briefly to present the most perfect marriage: William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles in a holiday double bill of The Thin Man and After the Thin Man. Several subsets of films will be presented, honoring the work of creative talents such as Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan, Barbara Stanwyck, Douglas Sirk, and 1950's husband and wife filmmakers Virginia and Andrew Stone.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up: YG & Nicki Minaj's new movie shorts, Ghostface Killah, J.Cole, Phryme

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2014 01:15pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week End 12:22:14


1) YG  Blame It On The Streets (Def Jam)

2) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation)

3) Nicki Minaj The Pinkprint [Deluxe Edition] (Cash Money)

4) Ghostface Killah 36 Seasons (Tommy Boy)

5) Prhyme Prhyme (Prhyme)

In the latest Amoeba Music hip-hop chart's number one slot with a bullet is YG's brand new Blame It On The Streets on Def Jam that was released one week ago to coincide with the online release on that same day of the film of the same name. The Blame It On The Streets soundtrack CD is an EP length, nine track release that's a nice follow up to his March 2014 hit debut album My Krazy Life. It even includes a few tracks off My Krazy Life including a remix of "Bicken Back Being Bool" and a live in the Bay version of "BPT."  Meantime the movie version of Blame It On The Streets (which you can see in full below) is directed by Lucky Rodgers and Alex Nazari. It is a ghetto gangsta tale that, while not totally original, is well made with good acting and production values. In fact it could have even run a bit longer than its well paced but tad too short thirty minutes. And likely there'll be a sequel in the works since the overall response by fans to the film has been overwhelmingly positive. Not to mention that it acts as a nice promotion tool for the new release. Similarly Nicki Minaj, whose brand new The Pinkprint [Deluxe Edition] c/o Cash Money is this week's number three chart entry, has just released a corresponding movie short. Also featured below Minaj's movie runs about a quarter hour and is a co-promote of both her album and Beats By Dre who bankrolled/produced the project that is technically actually a long form music video of four songs than a movie. As for the album it promotes - the The Pinkprint [Deluxe Edition] explicit version CD that arrived into Amoeba this past week care of Cash Money Records - it boasts 19 tracks including the unavoidable current pop hit "Only" that features guest shots from Drake, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown. The album features other big name guests too including Beyoncé (on "Feeling Myself"), Ariana Grande ("Get On Your Knees"), Meek Mill ("Buy A Heart"), and Skylar Gray ("Bed of Lies").

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Chef Duff Goldman

Posted by Amoebite, December 22, 2014 12:58pm | Post a Comment

Duff Goldman

Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman is the executive chef of Charm City Cakes, a Baltimore-based shop with an outpost on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The Food Network reality show Ace of Cakes focused on the staff and daily operations of the East Coast shop. Goldman and his work have also appeared on Iron Chef America, Food Network ChallengeMan Vs. FoodOprah, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Goldman's new cake competition show, Duff Till Dawn, premieres January 29, 2015 on Food Network.

Duff sat down with us - literally, on the floor of the electronic music section at Amoeba Hollywood - to talk about some of his favorite music and movies. He kicks off this episode of "What's In My Bag?" with an all-time Hip Hop classic, Eric B. & Rakim's Paid In Full. Next Duff picks up Barakaa documentary film with no narrative or voice-over, but which includes a powerful piece of music featuring "bagpipes on top of Tibetan chanting, on top of Tibetan cymbals." A longtime fan of punk rock, Duff picks up the seminal self-titled debut by Minor Threat, a definite must have for any hardcore enthusiast. Duff also chooses the '90s comedy My Blue Heaven and explains how you simply do not throw Martin Sheen off a building.

California Fool's Gold's Guide to Los Angeles's Revival Cinemas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 22, 2014 10:34am | Post a Comment
 

Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003 (image credit: Hiroshi Sugimoto)

No city on Earth is more closely associated with motion pictures than Los Angeles. 10% of all movie theaters in the entire country are located in California and Los Angeles County is home to over 100 of them. Although most of Los Angeles's theaters, like those throughout the country, showcase only the latest Hollywood product, there are also specialty theaters which show art films, adult films, classic films, experimental films, foreign films, independent films, revival films, &c. I've previously written about Southern California's drive-in theaters (For Ozoners Only) and overlooked commercial foreign language cinemas (Los Angeles's Secret, Foreign Language Movie Theater Scene). This is my guide to the repertory cinemas or revival houses. 

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"Jingle Bell Rocks!" Documentary - Screening in LA Today & Avail on DVD - Features Scene At Amoeba Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 21, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment
  

In time for the holidays is this weekend's Los Angeles screening of the acclaimed documentary about some of the world’s most diehard alternative Christmas music fanatics Jingle Bell Rocks! in which film director Mitchell Kezin poses the question “Why, when Christmas rolls around, are we still stuck cozying up with Bing Crosby under a blanket of snow?"  Then Kezin, with a cast of fellow Christmas music fanatics including John Waters and Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, proceeds to fully and entertainingly answer his own question in the must-see 94 minute film which was first released to festivals last year but was just released recently on Black Friday on DVD as well as being screened this week in select cinemas around the  country including in Los Angeles this weekend including later today.  Coincidentally the LA screening takes place at the Arena on N. Las Palmas in Hollywood (screening today, Sunday December 21st, at 4pm) which is only a little over half a mile away from the Hollywood Amoeba Music store where the opening scene of the documentary was shot.

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20 Gift Ideas for $20 and Under

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2014 04:08pm | Post a Comment

20 Gifts Under $20

It’s the holidays, and you’re strapped for time and money. What to do?! We’ve got you covered with 20 gift ideas for under 20 clams*. (*Amoeba does not accept clams as currency.)

pop toys game of thrones

Toys

Amoeba is full of toys from various TV shows, films, comic books and bands, including these POP! toys featuring Star Wars characters like Yoda; Game of Thrones characters like Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow; Adventure Time characters like Fionna; Star Trek characters like Spock; and Guardians of the Galaxy characters like Rocket Raccoon.

Price: Toy prices vary, but POP! figurines are $12.98.

skullcandy ink'd headphones

Skullcandy INK'D Headphones

We've got a variety of headphones, but these INK'D earbuds offer a lot of bang for your buck.

Price: $19.98

Tony! Toni! Tone! Kick Off 8-Show Hometown Concert Series Tonight At Yoshi's Oakland

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2014 01:04pm | Post a Comment

It's only fitting that Tony! Toni! Toné!, who back in the day along with En Vogue and MC Hammer led Oakland's thriving urban music scene, would hold down a eight concert, four-night residency at their hometown club of Yoshi's Oakland - starting tonight, December 19th, through Monday December 22nd. The internationally successful neo soul RnB group scored such hits as "Little Walter" off their 1988 debut album Who? and a string of hits of their hugely successful follow-up album, 1990's The Revival that spawned the hits including "Feels Good," "It Never Rains (In Southern California)," "Whatever You Want," and "The Blues." As group members pursued individual projects - most notably Raphael Saadiq and the hard working D’Wayne Wiggins who has collaborated with countless artists over the years - the group's popularity as a whole slowly waned and they stopped working together as a group.  But then a decade ago the Tonys regrouped sans Raphael Saadiq when Wiggins and Timothy Christian Riley, along with their cousin Amar Khalil performing lead vocals, got the group back together and started touring. In addition to excitement to shows such as their hometown series that kicks off tonight at Yoshi's Oakland there is also much anticipation for the new Tony! Toni! Toné album (the first since 2011's Icon) getting ready to drop that features collaborations with such stars as Beyonce Knowles, Keyshia Cole, Rhymefest, and Slick Rick.   

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Watch King Tuff Perform from 'Black Moon Spell' at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2014 06:52pm | Post a Comment

king Tuff at Amoeba Hollywood

Back with his follow-up to 2012's self-titled debut for Sub Pop, Black Moon Spell finds King Tuff amping up the fuzz and cranking up the volume. Kyle Thomas has a knack for crafting catchy gems reminiscent of '70s power pop, but gone are the days of the lo-fi, low budget aesthetic that seem to permeate early recordings. This is not a bad thing! Black Moon Spell falls somewhere between the fat, dirty, guitar crunch of T. Rex and the tongue-in-cheek power pop assault of Cheap Trick. What we get are riff heavy songs with superb melodies that would satisfy Beatles fans, coupled with stellar production thanks to producer Bobby Harlow's magic touch. Go pick it up asap!

Kyle Thomas and the rest of King Tuff cast their Black Moon Spell from the Amoeba Hollywood stage by way of a massive Marshall stack, hook laden riffs, and a thunderously beating heart of rock and roll. Check out the video below of the band performing the title track live at Amoeba. You can watch more from this performance on Amoeba.com.

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The Sacramento / European Hip-Hop Connection: JR & PH7 X Chuuwee

Posted by Billyjam, December 18, 2014 11:51am | Post a Comment

JR & PH7 X Chuuwee - ''Meanwhile Off Mack''(2014)

Call it a Euro-Sacto mix. The brand new video release above of the hip-hop track "Meanwhile Off Mack," that was published yesterday with a full album to follow in the new year and a single track free download available now, showcases the combined talents of Sacremento's Chuuwee with the studio skills of the two European producers JR & PH7 - who hail from Germany and Denmark respectively.

In comparison to the Euro beatsmith duo who've been putting it down for a few years now and whose track record includes working with such other US emcess as Sean Price, Ras Kass, Skyzoo, and Saigon, the South Sacramento rapper Chuuwee has been prolific on the underground scene for a few years but is a relative newcomer to most of the hip-hop world. Odds are that this will all change with the forthcoming full-length release of this Euro-Sacto collaboration to be entitled The South Sac Mack and to be released by Below System Records. It's scheduled to arrive in Amoeba in early 2015. Watch this space for more details at that time.

Best Electronic Albums of 2014 Handpicked by Matt, Jordan & Oliver

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 18, 2014 09:05am | Post a Comment

Moodymann - Moodymann (Mahogani Music)

Moodymann is a sprawling, psychic journey through KDJ's Detroit State of Mind with the protagonist revealing more about his setting and personality than ever. Like good writing, the length of Moody's tracks (or sentences) fluctuate wildly. The constant sing-speak narrative from KDJ and divergence of styles and tempos makes the record feel like a trip down the dial of a liminal radio. Moody gets an assist from Andres on future classic "Lyk U Used 2," a track that has Kenny ably playing a slightly woozy frontman over upbeat modern soul. The radio effect is amplified by likely and unlikely samples. Jeremy Greenspan appears first on "Have You Ever Been Lonely." Elsewhere, Lana Del Rey and Carl Craig's epic remix of "Delia and Gavin" is used to bear out the album's distinct, schizoid voice. Moody's serpentine 2011 hit "Freeki MF" acts as a recurring riddim before appearing in unadulterated form. KDJ's female counterparts match his idiosyncracies ("Watching U") and he even dabbles in Dennis Coffey-informed guitar psychedelia on "Sloppy Cosmic." The album, as a whole, is a lovesick ode to an unfairly maligned city, seen through the dark glasses of experience.






Joey Anderson - After Forever (Dekmantel) 

Loosely affiliated with the NYC crew which includes Fred P and DJ Qu, this was the year for the New Jersey building inspector and leftfield house extraordinaire. Most producers attempt to make an album that "flows" together with a solid mix of short, long, ambient and dancefloor cuts. After Forever is so memorable because it dispenses with this rulebook altogether, luxuriously spreading the wings of its own twisted logic. On the LP, nothing is at it seems. "It's A Choice" takes a worried vocal sample and lays it on an equally foreboding atmosphere. "Sorcery" is the closest thing the record has to a club track, but of course it's subverted. The convincing lead and bassline are frayed by some hyperreal percussive elements and cluster piano, like a corroded-VHS recording of a spinning top, barely hanging on in a bizarre and dramatic balancing act.




Kassem Mosse - Workshop 19 (Workshop)


Gunnar Wendel has been operating for some time now like an EU version of Omar S, quietly releasing remarkably consistent sides for Workshop. With that said, the nondescript black packaging for Workshop 19 housed one of the most anticipated releases of the year. KM's double-LP lived up to the hype, offering the absolute best in psychedelic mid-tempo house. The record starts gently, with the first untitled track focusing a nonchalant Rhodes figure and Mosse's trademark shuffling percussion. The songs are patient and hypnotic, constantly shifting, but the b-side in particular drops the hammer with some dubby, melodic future house classics. Bits of acid, Detroit, and the euro masters go in, but in the end, this pleasantly disorienting sound is all his.







Edward - Into A Better Future (Giegling)

The Giegling crew was on fire this year, with mainstays Edward and Traumprinz leading the charge. While the latter opted for ethereal dancefloor EPs, Edward, aka Gilles Aiken, presented his most realized work to date: an album which subtly intertwined krautrock influences with heady techno and house. As such, Aiken felt free to integrate motorik guitars and speak-sung vocals on "Let's Go," but by the end of the record he's dropping ecstatic funk breaks ("Skating Beats") and deadly breakbeats ("Hecstatic"). Into A Better Future is a portrait of a curious producer at the top of his game. The question isn't whether he'll continue to push it, but in which direction.





Mura Oka - Autfakt (Latency)


Just as winter approaches (for those of you on the East Coast), Latency pops up with an album perfect for shorter days, colder nights. This is deep dub techno, a paradoxical mix of humanity and cold alienation, just like the uncanny valley figure on the cover. Mura Oka prefers the slow burn--nary an assault on the eardrums here. Rather, tracks like "990933" poke around the edges of the dancefloor, perfect for the beginning of the night or a subway car zone out. Later, on "Xqdel Eit" and elsewhere, some subtle IDM moves work themselves in, the latest portent of an impending revival.









Juju & Jordash - Clean Cut (Dekmantel)


Hardware aficionados Juju & Jordash return to Dekmantel with their 3rd LP. The duo say that "Clean-Cut is tighter, more honest and there’s less hiding behind a hazy screen of FX." The album is a rollercoaster of tempos and experimentation, but somehow very coherent. The attention to detail in the arrangement and production really shines through and it's quite a journey through their marshland of machine funk.










Roman Fluegel - Happiness Is Happening (Dial) 


The stately Dial sound has been in need of an update for a little while now, and who better to revamp it than the massively talented Roman Flugel. The concept here seems to be accepting happiness, a tall order for an artist and really, anyone living through these dark times. Flugel presents a salve in mannered, playful krauthouse. "Tense Times" updates the Kraftwerk autobahn sound for today's dancefloors, while album highlight "We Have A Nice Life" rides wild leads over peaceful pads. Who says great art has to come from a place of oppression or sadness? For those going through tough times, Happiness... serves as a lovely escape.








Todd Terje - It's Album Time (Olsen) 



It was Terje Olsen's game to lose on Album Time. Naysayers complained that the sprawling prog-disco opus lacked functionality, but what would you expect from a guy who obviously holds Chaka Khan and Quincy Jones in higher regard than any modern producer. This is a capital A album, and it's better for that. The intro is a virtuosic and cheeky triumph, the hits "Inspecter Norse" and "Strandbar" appear in unedited glory, and Bryan Ferry stops in for a midnight ballad. What can't this dude do?









Cloudface - Wyre Drive LP (Going Good) / Untitled LP (Black Opal)


First released in 2012 as a very limited cassette, this eight track mini-album brought the Vancouver-based Mood Hut collective to the attention of the weirdo-dance underground. A mix of home-brewed hardware house experiments and Selected Ambient Works-period Aphex Twin.









Amoeblog Interview With True Skool's Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2014 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist has long been part and parcel of the fabric that makes up the Bay Area's vibrant hip-hop scene - even though he's not originally from California. An East Coast transplant, with a stop en route to Cali in Colorado, Ren is not only a skilled DJ with two decades of turntable experience coupled with a deep diverse knowledge of music, but he is also a revered club/concert promoter whose True Skool parties are legendary. Additionally, via his online magazine / newsletter True Skool website and its affiliated social network links - notably Twitter and Facebook, he provides a unique and invaluable source of information on Bay Area hip-hop and nightlife happenings as well as general hip-hop news and cultural/political updates - all of which demonstrate how well connected and passionate the man born Renoir Salgado is about hip-hop culture and the Bay Area at large. In addition to his own productions Ren is also in big demand at other folks' events too such opening for Wu-Tang Clan at Ruby Skye in San Francisco (photo above) in 2007, or over the summer at the Amoeba Music sponsored Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at where he was among the carefully chosen curators and also a guest lecturer. Then last month at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (YBCA) cool retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition he was an integral part of the two-day event when, among other things, he curated/DJ'ed the official CD mix of event - an excellent mix of hip-hop music from the year of '93. This week I caught up with the always busy Ren to ask him about True Skool - its history, ongoing projects, and future plans. 


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The 25 Best Albums By California Artists Released in 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

From L.A. and S.F.’s garage rock scenes to Compton’s blossoming rap artists, California artists represented well in 2014. Here are 25 of our favorites from the year, in alphabetical order.

Allah-LasWorship the Sun

On Worship the Sun, L.A.’s Allah-Las get some dirt on their boots by scuzzing up their sunny surf-garage sound with some rattling guitar solos, stonery grooves (“Buffalo Nickel”) and head-spinning psych-rock tunes (“501-405”).

 

 

Cherry Glazerr Haxel Princess

Cherry Glazerr had the debut record of the year for Burger Records, moving unstoppably on the strength of its garage riffs and singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy’s teenage caterwaul.

 

Cool Ghouls - A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye

Cool Ghouls make music like the transformation of San Francisco never happened, spinning out jangling three-minute hippie-rock nuggets that enliven their classic rock influences with youthful exuberance without getting silly like some bands of their ilk. The thinking man’s garage band.

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Exodus shocker -- the latest Hollywood Bible cartoon isn't very realistic

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 17, 2014 09:06am | Post a Comment

The other day I found out that some people are outraged by the casting in a Hollywood film -- in this case Ridley Scott's latest effort, Exodus: Days of Future Past (or whatever its full title is). They're apparently so upset that they're boycotting it, which is something I do with all but one or two Hollywood films every year although I refer to it simply as not paying to see it.

The problem that the boycotters have, it seems, is that Exodus is almost completely historically inaccurate (It's safe to guess that most of the Egyptian and Jewish characters are most portrayed by Anglo-Saxons and presumably speak Modern (if pretentious) English with a modern British accent, or approximation of one. Without having watched a trailer I'd guess that there aren't a lot of apparently Middle Eastern Africans portraying Middle Eastern Africans and the actual actors of African descent are used entirely for background color and supporting roles). 

Apparently these scandalized and offended won't-be viewers have never seen a Hollywood film before... or assumed that they'd somehow completely change their raison d'etre. Even at Hollywood's artistic peak in the 1930s, racial sensitivity and historical accuracy were not exactly hallmarks of Hollywood films -- making loads of money was, and that's what they did and they did it well. At one point Hollywood made loads of money with elaborately choreographed, brilliantly scored, escapist musicals. Nowadays Hollywood makes loads of money with loud CGI superhero cartoons. Sometimes -- rarely -- art slips through the cracks. Much more often big, dumb-looking movies like Exodus get released that look rather like the big, dumb movies that Hollywood was mostly pumped out for the last 90 years.

Sometimes these big,dumb movies made by Ridley Scott, a once-briefly-interesting filmmaker more than three decades ago made two excellent films (Alien and Blade Runner) and one not-great-but-enjoyable one, Legend. After a few years of light fun with gender (White Squall, GI Jane, and Thelma & Louise), Scott made the Gladiator, a truly old fashioned sword 'n' sandals epic in which Anglo-Saxons with British accents played sanitized, dehomosexualized Romans. It made no efforts at accuracy (no one spoke Latin, the statues were all unpainted, there was nary a priapus to be found, the meaning of thumbs up and thumbs down were reversed, &c). It was also, as a film, not good -- but it made loads of money and apparently convinced Scott that he could be this generation's Cecil B. DeMille. Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood followed -- neither of which looked any good and both of which I thus ignored, sorry, "boycotted."


So setting aside the fact that you're a grown-ass adult who apparently was considering watching a film based upon a book of the Torah, my question to the boycotters of Exodus is this: Why would you expect anything more or different from either Ridley Scott or Hollywood? Were you somehow misled? Did you see the trailer for Exodus in an arthouse, film festivalforeign language cinemagrindhouserevival housemuseum, on MUBI or somewhere else that good films are routinely screened -- or was it before some dumb, loud movie you watched in a multiplex? [I'm not not suggesting that I'm somehow above magical thinking. Every autumn morning in Los Angeles I put on a sweater somehow thinking that I'll will it to cool off and possibly snow but when it's hot by noon I curse my own stupidity and not the predictable weather.]

More importantly, If you want to see an historically accurate or artistic film set in Africa and depicting Africans then why on Earth are you turning to an industry whose best known "African films" were shot on a Culver City sound stage and starred Johnny Weissmuller? If you want African food do you go to Souplantation and wait for the chain to one day change their menu or do you go to an African restaurant? If you want African music, you go to the African music section (or store). So why, if you want racially sensitive or accurate portrayals of African history or culture wouldn't you go to the source?


If you want realistic, artistic African films depicting Africa then why don't you watch African films?
 If you really have your heart set on Biblical films, with the slightest effort you'd have come across Cheick Oumar Sissoko's La Genèse is a widely available at all finer video shops and is a good Bible film made in Africa by an African director and an all African cast. La Genèse was released on video in the US by Kino Video, who've released a lot of African cinematic masterpieces. Other widely-distributed, English-subtitled African classics are available from New Yorker Films, Facets, and Film Movement. If you live in a respectably diverse city, you could also try an African market. I'm just saying, maybe if you want to see sensitive, intelligent cinematic depictions of Africans, watch more African films than just District 9.

In case you need to be reminded, there are about 196 sovereign countries on our planet today and of them, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, ChadChile, China, Colombia, CongoCosta Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam are all have film industries and/or filmmakers who regularly produce films that quite often are more intelligent, more artistic, more honest, more insightful, and more culturally sensitive than their Hollywood counterparts. 

It is 2014 and you have options. Assuming that you're reading this on a computer and not a print-out, you have electricity which means you have internet and are not required to rely solely (or at all) on Redbox. There is no reason you'd have to watch a Hollywood film unless you're a film reviewer or your friend is involved in the production. This should be cause not for complaint but for celebration. 


*****

Follow Eric Brightwell


New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Belgian Superstar Stromae

Posted by Amoebite, December 16, 2014 05:43pm | Post a Comment

Stromae

With influences ranging from rap to '90s Eurodance to Jacques Brel, genre-bending artist Stromae is a rising global star. Born Paul Van Haver to a Flemish mother and a Rwandan architect father who was killed in the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, Stromae grew up in Brussels with his four siblings. After struggling throughout Stromae Racine Carreehis school career, he began rapping under the stage name Opsmaestro in 2000 before reversing the syllables in the word "maestro" and changing his moniker to Stromae. In 2009, he was working as a trainee at a Belgian radio station when he gave his single "Alors on danse" to the music manager who played the track on air. A year later, Stromae burst onto the international scene with his debut album, Cheese. His 2013 release, Racine Carree, has gone platinum eight times in Belgium and has stayed strong at the #1 spot in album charts across Europe. With beats that get feet tapping, lyrics that tackle topics like AIDS and absent fathers, and a modern global aesthetic, Stromae is not the typical pop star. This fall, he collaborated with Lorde, Haim, Q-Tip and Pusha-T on a track for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part I soundtrack.

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Top Ten Essential Hip-Hop Albums of 2014

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2014 11:13am | Post a Comment

10 Essential Hip Hop Albums of 2014

1) DJ Qbert Extraterrestria + GalaXXXian (Galactic Butt Hair Records)


Although only released digitally in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign (vinyl to arrive at Amoeba in 2015), this instrumental album (Extraresstria) and its rap/emcee counterpart album (GalaXXXian) rate as my top pick(s) for the best hip-hop released in 2014. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking so; Extraterrestia is up for a possible Grammy award. The stated goal of DJ Qbert's new album, which the artist considers as a Wave Twisters Part II, is to present the sound of skratch music in the future as he sees it, or - as he said upon the release of the new project - "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." The "Jimi Hendrix of the turntables" ably accomplishes both solo as producer/DJ as well as with such album collaborators as Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, and Chad Hugo, who (along with Tipsy) co-produce the album's best track - the soothing, dreamy, ethereal "Ascender (Agartha)."

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New Avi Buffalo Video

Posted by Amoebite, December 15, 2014 06:14pm | Post a Comment

Avi Buffalo at Amoeba Hollywood

Long Beach-based rocker Avi Zahner-Isenberg and his band Avi Buffalo performed a few songs from their Avi Buffalo At Best Cuckoldsophomore album, At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop), recently at Amoeba Hollywood. The new album finds Avi Buffalo building on the sound and aesthetic they crafted on 2010's self-titled debut. The first record found the young 19-year old Zahner-Isenberg and his cohorts writing songs filled with age appropriate context while showing signs of a true songwriter. Four years later and Avi Buffalo have grown up, just a little. At Best Cuckhold digs deeper into their West Coast brand of indie rock and you can hear the experience of a well oiled band seeping through the speakers. The songs are well structured and the production quality is great. You get the sense that Avi Buffalo are acting like responsible adults and then Zhaner-Isenberg reminds you not to take it too seriously with songs like, "Can't Be Too Responsible." 

In support of At Best Cuckold, Avi Buffalo played to an excited audience at Amoeba Hollywood. Watch the teaser below and check out more from this performance on Amoeba.com.

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14 Indie Rock Records That Would Make a Great Gift

Posted by Billy Gil, December 15, 2014 12:11pm | Post a Comment

There have been tons of records released under the nebulous indie rock genre this year that find new things to say within the confines of rock 'n' roll (The War on Drugs), or throw out the rules while still remaining pleasing to listen to (Ariel Pink). Here are 14 widely appealing records from this year that would make a great gift for just about any indie rock fan. 







 

The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs’ dreamy country-rock music evokes slow motion, even as its songs move at a sprightly pace. The driving rhythm behind "Under the Pressure" is caked in heavily reverbed guitars and washes of synthesizer, even as real-life guitar solos and Adam Granduciel's vocals come through more clearly than ever before. Similarly "Red Eyes" is like some lost '80s collaboration between The Highwaymen and The Cure, effusing brilliant colors with its bright synths and yelping vocals, but the most stunning moment comes in the minute or so in the middle of the songs when a third of the sound is stripped away, leaving a gorgeous, introspective bridge before Granduciel's yelp brings everything crashing back, while the rhythm stays insistent as always. Lost in the Dream invites repeat listens—atmospheric pieces like "The Haunting Idle" keep things spacious, yet the band comes back for the Bruce Springsteen-vibing "Burning" in the albums latter half. As its title would suggest, it's an album to get lost in. It feels like seeing the entire open road ahead of you, coasting yet seemingly to move in place while the sun sets and middle-of-nowhere stations play Bruce and Tom Petty in the background.

The Bay Bridged 2014 Fundraiser

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 14, 2014 07:58pm | Post a Comment

The Bay Bridged - the San Francisco-based non-profit that brings you both the Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival and The Bay Brewed: A Rock & Roll Beer Festival, plus an award-winning music blog and podcast series - is holding an online fundraiser through the end of December. All donations go towards helping them produce those amazing music festivals and enables them to continue to produce their quality stories and podcasts.

Every donation of $10 or more gets you a digital download of The Bay Bridged 2014 Holiday Compilation featuring songs from Everyone is Dirty, Cocktails, bAd bAd, Joseph Childress, Al Lover, Laura Weinbach (of Foxtails Brigade), and more. Donors of $50 or more will receive a number of additional benefits including discounted and free tickets to 2015 events and a chance to win some great raffle prizes such as an Amoeba gift certificate!

Donate today and continue to support local music!

Amoeba SF's Best In-Store Shows of 2014

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 14, 2014 05:28pm | Post a Comment

By Brent James, Amoeba SF Event Coordinator

When I took over the position of Event Coordinator for the San Francisco Amoeba store, of course I was more than thrilled to be able to work alongside many artists in the music business that i've admired for so many years. I was ecstatic to help promote and produce the amazing live shows that have become synonymous with Amoeba Music. Most of all, however, I was excited to discover new artists and acts. Things that otherwise might pass me by in the normal course of a day! The following list is compiled of the performances this year that most stood out to me. Sure, I was aware of a few of them, but for the most part I walked away from these shows with a fresh perspective of what they're trying to say and as a new fan. I'm already looking forward to writing this list next year...Cheers!


5. STRAND OF OAKS, Saturday August 30, 2014
At this very early-in-the-tour performance, SOA performed songs from their album Heal. The crowd watched with admiration as Tim Showalter and company preached with songs that were reminiscent of early Bob Seger or even Springsteen. Perfect show for a beautiful Saturday!

Strand of Oaks

4. THE DRUMS, Friday October 4, 2014
One of those days where we suddenly have a crowd of 400 screaming teenagers pogo dancing to their electronic idols! They knew all the words, they had all the records. Solid touring band, but the kids were there to see Jonny and Jacob and were NOT disappointed! The Drums worked the crowd into a frenzy and left them wanting more. Check out their newest LP, Encyclopedia.

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Slim Pickin's: the Best of the Amoeba SF Vinyl Clearance Section

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 14, 2014 02:30pm | Post a Comment

There's a new monthly DJ event happening in San Francisco and Amoeba SF is proud to be involved. DJ Johnnie WalkerThis is no ordinary DJ party. The brainchild of longtime San Francisco resident and DJ Johnnie Walker, Slim Pickin's is a celebration of Amoeba SF's Vinyl Clearance section! Viva la dollar vinyl!

Each month, two DJ's spin nothing but vinyl selections found in the vast Amoeba Vinyl Clearance section at the historic Murio's Trophy Room (1811 Haight Street), just two doors down from Amoeba, from 3pm to 8pm. Sounds easy and fun, right? Well, here's where it gets interesting: the DJ's have just an HOUR before the party to pick their aural offerings. Basically knowledge, intuition, and sense of humor will dictate the vibe and flow of that day's event. At the end of the day, each DJ will receive special prizes.

Slim Pickin's is set to happen on the third Sunday of the month, but please note that December's installment is TODAY (12/14). RSVP on the Facebook invite.

The event is free and 21 & up. Stop by to be considered for a chance on the wheels of steel!?

Catching Up With Wheelchair Sports Camp's Kalyn Heffernan on New WSC Album, Youth on Record Program, and More

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2014 02:01pm | Post a Comment

In her hometown of Denver, charismatic hip-hop artist/activist/educator Kalyn Heffernan is well known. She is also much loved and respected for her talents, her warm personality, endless energy, and the passion for everything she embraces in her life. She is also an instantly recognizable figure. She may only be three and a half feet in height, weigh less than sixty pounds, and need the use of a wheelchair to get around, but the ever-active Kalyn Heffernan (who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta) is a commanding persona who always has words of wisdom and encouragement to impart with those who cross her path.

The always good-humored, weed-smoking, queer, hip-hop artist/front person of the live hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC) counts among her many admirers music fans, fellow protesters in the Denver Occupy movement, and the recent anti-police demonstrations in the Mile High City as well as all the inner-city kids at the programs she tutors (when not on tour). She also has many fans in the LGBT community won over by her out, loud, and proud positive attitude as witnessed in the WSC song "Madd" with the lyrics, "Everyone here is mad / Everyone here is queer and perfectly glad!"

The Denver Colorado artist's accolades are lengthy. She's been featured in her hometown's The Denver Post a few times, been featured in Spin, Vice, and the Huffington Post, as well as gracing the cover of the NYC weekly The Village Voice in 2011 when she only had some demos and no album yet. In September she was among the contributors in the ten-day NYC arts festival Photoville where her video piece 4TheHomies (see below) was part of the exhibit. As a teacher/mentor she works in a couple of youth empowerment programs including Youth on Record at Youth Media Studios where various areas of music production are taught with an emphasis on hip-hop and its four elements (see video interview below that I conducted with her recently at the space).

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Tortorous Tunes - CIA Mixtape Vol. 1

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

"The CIA was probably keeping detainees awake by blasting Feist," quipped Stephen Colbert during last night's broadcast of the Colbert Report in reference to the some of the disturbing torture tactics employed by the US in the last decade during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that has been revisited this week with the publication of the so-called CIA Torture Report. While the Feist reference was funny in terms of jokes about popular music in the aughts decade, the artist (her last album, 2011's critically acclaimed Metals, debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart) was actually not among the music on the CIA torture playlist of a decade ago. That music playlist included such seemingly innocent songs as the theme songs to kids TV shows Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, as well as the Meow Mix TV commercial jingle. Harder sounding guitar driven songs included AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman," which (along with Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray") is cited by the US military member in the documentary clip below. Meanwhile pop songs that made the CIA torture playlist included The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," Don McLean's "American Pie," and Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty."

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15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Posted by Amoebite, December 11, 2014 11:44am | Post a Comment

15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Music is always a great gift, but even when it's gift-wrapped, a new LP or CD isn't fooling anyone with its distinctive shape. Why not surprise the music lover who has everything with one of these unexpected items? Some of them are kinda fun, while others are more practical, but they are all definitely not your typical music gift.

Bad Brains Hot Sauce

Bad Brains - Fire Burn Babylon Hot Sauce

Hot sauce seems to be a thing that a lot of bands create (i.e. BastilleJoe PerryThe Offspring's Dexter Holland's line of hot sauce, Gringo Bandito). The punk rockers of Bad Brains created their own hardcore hot sauce that combines sweet and heat, just like they do.

Best Coast Snack Plush Cat

Best Coast - Snacks Plush Cat

my top 50 albums of 2014...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 11, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

#1 Douglas Dare - Whelm (Erased Tapes)
There are always a couple of albums like this every year. And I always just patiently wait for them. I just never know where they are gonna come from. I loved this album after the first listen. This album would clearly end up on the top of my most listened to albums of the year. Which naturally makes it my favorite. It is one of those albums that I prefer to listen to by myself since I am never sure if anyone is gonna like it as much as I do. Your favorite albums are the ones you keep going back to. The ones you want to start over as soon as they end. This is that album for me. An album I will always have close to my heart. This album is basically just Douglas stripped down bare with his songs and his piano. It is beautiful and heartbreaking. A fantastic debut album.



#2 Mac DeMarco - Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
Mac DeMarco's second album was one of my favorites of 2012. Here he is again with his fantastic third album. I am still not exactly sure why I can't stop loving this dude. I actually will forget how much I love him until I go and put on his albums again and then fall in love all over again. This new album is another perfect mellow pop album. Perfect for a lazy day. It gets under your skin and becomes part of you. There is just no denying the talent of this dude. I can't help but feeling sometimes that he has somehow tricked my into liking him. You seriously can't help but love this album. There is nothing upbeat about this album. However it still manages to make me so happy every time I listen to it.


#3 A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos (Kranky)
This is the collaboration between the brilliant Dustin O'Halloran and Adam Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid. A minimal mix of strings and piano. This could be the soundtrack to a BBC production of Twin Peaks. A mellowed out minimal version. A beautiful and triumphant album. This is another of those instrumental albums that I need in my life every year. I always get worried that I won't find them. But somehow I always do.






#4 Merchandise - After The End (4AD)
There was no way to get around the fact that I was going to love this record. It falls somewhere between Echo & The Bunnymen and This Mortal Coil. The band have changed their sound a bit over the years. They now fit nicely on their new label 4AD. Carson Cox has that perfect dark and dreamy voice. It is like new romantic soft rock. This was another album I kept going back to this year. Forgetting how much I liked it until I went back and rediscovered it over and over again.






#5 Aphex TwinSyro (Warp Records)
I never thought I would have Aphex Twin back in my life. I was very obsessed with Richard D. James and all things Aphex Twin back in the 90s. I still listen to Selected Ambient Works Vol 1 & 2 often. I was obsessed with both ...I Care Because You DoRichard D. James Album. And even I was worried we were making too big of a deal about the return of Aphex Twin this year. But I am so happy he is back. He will never ever be able to get me like he did back in the early and mid 90s with those albums. But this new album offers us some more of the same and makes me remember why I got so obsessed with him back then. He manages to mash up all the different sub-genres of dance and electronica into one seamless beautiful album. It is like welcoming an old best friend back into your life.


#6 Sun Kil Moon - Benji (Caldo Verde)
Mark Kozelek has been a busy man the last couple of decades. He created some of the most beautiful heartbreaking albums as Red House Painters & Sun Kil Moon. He also has released solo albums, collaborations, tributes, live albums and Christmas albums. Mark Kozelek is one of those artists at the top of my list of favorites. I have been a fan for a long time and seen him live many times. But I will never get over this guy. He might break your heart with every song he writes. But I can never get enough. This album is what we have come to expect from him over and over again. You sort of have to be emotionally prepared to dive into a Mark Kozelek album. I am just always so happy to have another album like this to have in my life.


#7 The Tower of Light - The Tower of Light (Felte Records)
I listened to this album a lot this year. I can't stay away from it. This is like something from the darker side of shoegaze. An album that would fit nice between your albums by The Mission and Piano Magic. It is dark and gothy with bits of dream pop. The darkness of this album can be a bit overwhelming. But it is so tempting to keep going back to this album. It is perfect for those gloomy days when you want to feel sad. Or for those days when you need an album to bring that sadness out.





#8 Sharon Van Etten - Are We There (Jagjaguwar)
Sharon Van Etten is another one of my favorites back from 2012 with a new album out this year. I was eagerly anticipating this album since I loved her last album so much. Another of my favorites with that voice that just gets me every time. This is dark and dreamy folk music. She really just keeps getting better and better with each album. Her albums are like a little musical journey you take with her. You sort of forget about everything else when you are hanging out with Sharon Van Etten.





#9 WhirrSway (Graveface)
Nick Bassett has been a busy man lately. And I keep loving whatever he is doing. He managed to put out an amazing EP by Death of Lovers with Dominic Palermo from Nothing earlier this year. And he also plays bass in Nothing. Another one of my favorites of the year. This new Whirr album is straight up shoegaze. I have no problem with albums sounding like early 90s shoegaze. Not when they are this good and dreamy. I will never get tired of these albums. I hope Nick Bassett and his collaborators keep on keeping on with these albums.






#10 Ariel Pink - pom pom (4AD)
I don't think I will ever love an Ariel Pink album as much as I loved Before Today back in 2010. But this album comes pretty close. There is really nobody like Ariel Pink. I usually don't like my music too weird but he is just the right amount of weird for me. I think most people tend to love or hate this guy for some reason. You either get him or you don't. I love how he manages to combine being a weirdo with writing really addictive new wave style soft rock sort of pop anthems. The songs are always weird and might scare off some. But I love this dude and always looks forward to see what he will do next.





#11 FKA Twigs - LP1 (Young Turks)
It took me some time to warm up to FKA Twigs. I liked the videos but I wasn't sure I was gonna really like the album or not. But it grew on me. I think I always wanted it to turn into something it wasn't. It just sort of stays where it is supposed to be. Think of her as a modern version of some mix of Bjork and Kate Bush. If those things scare you then you should probably stay away from her. But I warn you that "Two Weeks" is a very addictive song.







#12 Lust For Youth - International (Sacred Bones)
This is their third album but my favorite so far. Dark synthy pop from Sweden. Reminds me of some of my favorites like Human League or Depeche Mode. Or maybe Alphaville and Anything Box. Those were all bands that could combine the darker sides of New Wave with great pop songs. There was a point a couple of years ago when I felt like I was only listening to bands from Norway and Sweden. So I am always happy to relive those moments with bands like this.






#13 Zola Jesus - Taiga (Mute)
It really seems like it has been too long since we have had a proper album from Zola Jesus. I fell in love with Zola Jesus after Conatus came out in 2011. She has changed a bit on this new album. Her songs are bigger and fuller and maybe more powerful. I am still not sure why she isn't as popular as Bjork, Goldfrapp or Lady Gaga. Maybe she is still a bit too weird and dark. But I like her just how she is. There is really nobody out there like her.







#14 The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)
These guys always make me think of Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty. There are songs on here that sound like big anthems. The kind of songs that could get a huge crowd up on their feet. They are like the indie rock version of John Mellencamp. This is one of those perfect albums that seems put together perfectly. Adam Granduciel has one of those near perfect voices. Like Mark Kozelek or Mark Lanegan. It gets a hold of you and doesn't ever let go.







#15 Horsebeach - Horsebeach (Alone Together)
These are my favorite kind of albums. They seem to come out of nowhere and become your favorite as you are listening to them for the first time. You suddenly can't figure out how you survived without them. These guys are dreamy and jangly and just the perfect amount of everything I love. This is Manchester's version of Real Estate. I have been in love with Manchester since I first discovered Joy Division and The Smiths. But it is nice to have a reason to be in love with it again. I can't stop going back to this album. And I can't get it out of my head.





#16 Real Estate - Atlas (Domino)
Another great album by Real Estate to equal their last album from 2011. You really can't go wrong with an album by these guys. Each song is like a beautifully woven jangly masterpiece. Even their darker songs still feel fluffy and light. Smooth and beautiful harmonies. They are the Indie rock version of the Grateful Dead. Which might sound like a nightmare. But they pull it off.









#17 The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave (Fat Cat)
I sure do love this band. I get excited whenever they have something new out. I just can't get enough of that Scottish accent. There albums are always intense, dark and heartbreaking. They sit somewhere between post punk, new wave and shoegaze. I feel like they are my long lost grandfather telling me stories from a different time. But the stories are always still relevant to my own life. They are just one of those bands that I am so thankful to have in my life.






#18 Grouper - Ruins (Kranky)
Liz Harris is another one of those artists that I always look forward to. I always can't wait to here her next album. This is just more of the same of what we have come to love from Liz Harris AKA Grouper. Her albums are always so quiet that you just might miss them go right by you. But once you sit down and spend some time with it you realize how great it really is. Grouper is not for everyone. But this is what makes her so great. Those of us that love her keep coming back for more. There is always a simple beauty to these records. And there is a feeling that I get while listening to this album that I really can't get from anything else.





#19 HTRK - Psychic 9-5 Club (Ghostly International)
This band makes me nostalgic for bands like Gravenhurst or Bark Psychosis. Now imagine those bands mixed with Everything But The Girl. Moody and atmospheric. Dark and dreamy. Some of these songs are slow moving and feel like they never really get started. But I do keep coming back to this album.









#20 Dean BluntBlack Metal (Rough Trade)
This is one of those albums that honestly could have been my favorite of the year. This is another album that I can listen to over and over and never get sick of. If you played this album for somebody for the first time it would be hard to figure out when it came out. At times is sounds like an 80s dream pop record. At time like a 90s experimental twee album. A beautiful record it is for sure.








#21 Otto A. Totland - Pino (Sonic Pieces)
Totland is the piano player from Deaf Center.  Deaf Center also put out a great EP this year called Recount which you should probably listen to. This new Otto A. Totland is simply a beautiful album of piano music. Perfect minimal background music.











#22 Trust - Joyland (Arts & Crafts)
I am still recovering from the first Trust album. I just fell really hard for that album like anyone else did who heard it. Trust is back and has brought us another great album full of dark and synthy anthems. Don't be afraid of the singers dark and haunting goblin like voice. These songs are like the best of goth and 90s dance music combined into one big dance party.










#23 nothing - Guilty Of Everything (Relapse)
Another great shoegaze album in 2014. Like most great shoegaze albums I have no idea what these guys are singing about most of the time. Loud and beautiful guitars over dreamy vocals. I am always amazed when bands like this manage to somehow create catchy songs beneath all the noise.









#24 Craft Spells - Nausea (Captured Tracks)
More dreamy and catchy pop from this Captured Tracks band. I was put under the spell of these guys back in 2011 when their first album Idle Labor came out. They still have me under their spell in case you were wondering. In a year without a new Wild Nothing or Soft Moon album it is nice to have these guys around to keep me company.









#25 Hauschka - Abandoned City (Temporary Residence)
Before I even knew what a score was, I was always drawn to the music in the background of films. I often love a movie more for its score than anything. So, I always love artists like these who make their own little scores without the movie. I usually listen to an album like this at least once a week or so. I need it. I have been following the career of Hauschka AKA Volker Bertelmann for a while now. This might be my new favorite by him. It is dark and tense and beautiful piano music. Everybody needs some music like this in their life.




#26 Bing & RuthTomorrow Was The Golden Age (RVNG International)
Minimal ambient classical from this New York City Ensemble. A beautiful little album. I can never have too many of these albums in my life. They give me time to calm down for a second and reflect.










#27 White Hex - Gold Nights (Felte)
Its nice that the label Felte has given me a couple of albums to enjoy this year. Italians Do It Better has sort of put a void in my life by not releasing any albums the last couple of years. White Hex would sit nicely next to Glass Candy and Desire. Dark and synthy. A perfect album for driving around LA after the sun goes down.









#28 S - Cool Choices (Hardly Art)
This is Jenn Ghetto from the great slowcore band Carissa's Wierd. I know I say that I love a lot of things. But I love Carissa's Wierd and I love Jenn Ghetto. I love her voice. I love her songwriting. Her songs are heartbreaking. Jangly pop confessional love songs. Who needs more than that. I will wait patiently for that Carissa's Wierd reunion tour. But in the meantime I am happy to have Jenn Ghetto back in my life.







#29 Jeremy Jay - Abandoned Apartments (K Records)
I was a big fan of this dude back in 2007 when he put out A Place Where We Could Go. I think that was the first first year I moved back to LA. I couldn't be more happy that Jeremy put out this new album earlier this year. But I still can't figure out why more people don't love him like I do. Maybe they do and I just don't know it. But I always feel like he is my secret artist only I know about. There is a mellow new wave sort of vibe to this album. Combined with an artsy sort of singing style.





#30 Ashrae Fax - Never Really Been Into It (Mexican Summer)
This band is sort of what would happen if you combined Switchblade Symphony with Chapterhouse. Or maybe Siouxsie as the singer for Lush. Dreamy Gothy shoegaze. Hard to believe this band is from North Carolina and not from some rainy industrial town in England. This record grew on me real quick.








#31 Arca - Xen (Mute)
Listening to this album at times feels like you are in the middle of some dystopian sci-fi horror film. The album is frightening at times. But there are moments of beauty found throughout the album. An exciting new album by the man behind some of the production of FKA Twigs and Yeezus. And of course we are all waiting to see what he will do with the new Bjork album.








#32 Future Islands - Singles (4AD)
This is the band's fourth album but the first time most people have heard of them. If you have not heard them yet you should. Imagine Tom Waits singing with the Human League. The singers raspy voice somehow works with their dancey new wave songs. These songs are undeniably catchy.









#33 She Sir - Go Guitars (Shelflife)
Jangly pop meets shoegaze is often all you have to say to make me check out an album. I also usually like anything Shelflife puts out.  It didn't take long for me to figure out I was gonna like this one. Catchy and breezy shoegaze from Austin Texas. Real Estate meets Pale Saints.









#34 Electric Youth - Innerworld (Secretly Canadian)
I first heard these guys when their track was included on the Drive soundtrack. That song is also on this album. But there are many more to make you happy. For fans of Kylie Minogue, Goldfrapp, M83 and Sally Shapiro. Catchy synth pop.









#35 Raveonettes - Pe'ahi (Beat Dies Records)
I can always count on these guys to give me a good record. Imagine Phil Spector producing a shoegaze album. Their songs are always so addictive and catchy to me. I always want more Raveonettes in my life. As long as I have a new Raveonettes album every couple years I will always be happy.








#36 Ritual Howls - Turkish Leather (Felte)
Dark post-punk from Detroit with vocals somewhere between Sisters of Mercy, Nick Cave and Peter Murphy. This album is super dark and dreamy. It sways back and forth from industrial to dreamy goth pop. This is yet another album that got a hold of me this year and made me keep coming back for more.









#37 Alvvays - Alvvays (Polyvinyl)
Another album I couldn't resist liking. I tried but I just couldn't resist. Toronto twee in the spirit of Best Coast and Vivian Girls. Twee is often too cute and sincere for some people to handle. But I will always have a special place in my heart for these bands.










#38 LiteratureChorus (Slumberland)
This band sounds something like a Sarah Records version of The Housemartins, The Smiths, James and The Lightning Seeds. But of course they are from Philadelphia and not the UK. Catchy and melodic twee style pop.










#39 Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
I was pleasantly surprised when I first listened to Angel Olsen. She sort of sounds somewhere between a Joanna Newsom mixed with a Cat Power. She uses her voice in a way that is both gentle and powerful similar to Chan Marshal of Cat Power. I think everyone is falling in love with Angel Olsen this year.








#40 Fear Of Men - Loom (Kanine Records)
The Cranberries are back! Actually this is just Fear Of Men. But they could easily be mistaken for the vocals of Dolores O'Riordan. The album is a sort of perfect little pop masterpiece. Takes me back to the indie pop 90s when there were more bands like this. The Sundays, The Softies, Heavenly and Velocity Girl.









#41 Lemonade - Minus Tide (Cascine)
I was also a fan of their last album a couple of years ago. I am pretty much happy when anyone decides to combine 90s dance music and 80s synthpop with 70s soft rock. The vocals are smooth and silky and the music is dancey and beachy. I love these guys and am just glad somebody is making music like this.









#42 Brett - Brett (Cascine)
Cascine has another great band in their hands. Brett is another 80s synth influence band. Like a 90s version of Human League or Erasure. Like a more ethereal version of Holy Ghost! A perfect album for summer to go along with Cascine label mates Lemonade.










#43 The Proper Ornaments - Wooden Head (Slumberland)
Slumberland rarely lets me down. These guys are like The Lemonheads combined with The Jesus & Mary Chain. A shoegaze Pavement mixed with a Psychedelic Simon & Garfunkle. It should be no surprise that this band features one of the member of Veronica Falls.








#44 Cherry Glazerr- Haxel Princess (Burger Records)
So this band is of course named after the great Chery Glaser of NPR. It is a great name and I am glad somebody named themselves after her. This might be California's version of Veronica Falls. A garage dream pop hybrid. An incredibly addictive band with a perfect name.








#45 Flowers - Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do (Kanine Records)
Angelic vocals mixed with jangly pop. A bit of shoegaze mixed with a bit of 90s twee. This band is not too different than there UK label mates Fear of Men. Maybe without the Cranberries vocals. This was the music of my college days so or course I will keep coming back to it. I just can't resist these catchy songs.








#46 VANIISH - Memory Work (Metropolis)
VANIISH features members of Soft Moon and Wax Idols. They sound like Joy Division & Pornography era Cure mixed with The Death Cult. Dark wave spooky synth rock. Another good late at night driving album.










gold zebra#47 Gold Zebra - Gold Zebra (Visage Musique)
They might be Montreal's version of The Chromatics. Dreamy breathy vocals over dark synthy electronics. A Beautiful put together album full of spooky late night songs. Most of the album is in English but there is some french dreamy vocals on some of the songs.









#48 A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Sea When Absent (Lefse Records)
I always end of feeling like I am in a druggy haze when I listen to this record. Similar to LA shoegaze pioneers Medicine. Dreamy and loopy songs that seems to take you over as you start listening to them. This is the bands fourth album and I have been following them since they started with Scribble Mural Comic Journal in 2007. Always happy to jump into one of these albums.







#49 Donovan BlancDonovan Blanc (Captured Tracks)
I really liked this album when it came out this summer but I almost forgot how much I liked it. Melancholy pop music that somehow combines a sort of 70s pop feeling with a modern twist. The songs are all beautiful and atmospheric. Another great album brought to you by the great label Captured Tracks.








#50 Sleep Thieves - You Want The Night (Minty Fresh)
A fantastic album of synthpop from Ireland. Features a super fun mix of 80s soundtrack era style songs and dark wave. Singer Sorcha Brennan could be the Irish version of Robyn or Kylie Minogue. A dream pop version of Crystal Castles.



 

Dec 12 2014 Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Ghostface Killah, E-40, Metermaids, Yung Lean, J.Cole

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2014 05:31pm | Post a Comment


Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five Week End 12:12:14

1) Run The Jewels RTJ2 (Mass Appeal)

2) E-40 Sharp On All 4 Corners 2 (Heavy On The Grind)

3) Ghostface Killah 36 Seasons (Tommy Boy)

4) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation)

5) Wu-Tang Clan A Better Tomorrow (Warner Bros)

As mentioned in last week's Amoeblog hip-hop report there's been a slew of new releases dropping recently - something confirmed by my visit to Amoeba Berkeley this week where I talked with E-Lit in the Telegraph Ave. store's hip-hop section who did a nice overview of all the latest CD and vinyl releases featured at the store. See the video clip with the hip-hop buyer/DJ below in which E-Lit breaks down such new releases, including some of the top five chart entrants above, as Wu-Tang Clan's much hyped new joint A Better Tomorrow that dropped last week, and Wu member Ghostface Killah's 36 Seasons that dropped yesterday care of Tommy Boy Records and features such guests as Kool G Rap and Pharoahe Monch. Also released yesterday is the new 13 track J. Cole album 2014 Forest Hills Drive on Roc Nation - the follow up to last year's popular Born Sinner and most likely this one will be just as popular with fans of the North Carolina born multi-talented artist. 

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8 New Holiday Releases That Don't Suck

Posted by Billy Gil, December 10, 2014 05:04pm | Post a Comment

Last year I made a list of 10 holiday albums that don’t suck. Well there’s a whole batch of new ones out now, so listen up!

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols

Indie rock firebrand Mark Kozelek, who released one of the best albums of 2014 with his Sun Kil Moon release Benji, makes a perfect fit for these churchy holiday tunes, with his cozy, crackling voice and gentle acoustic fingerpicking. The song choices are obvious, yet Kozelek imbues them with such spare beauty that it’s impossible not to be touched by classics like “Away in a Manger.”

 

Seth MacFarlaneHoliday for Swing!

What do you know? “Family Guy” and “American Dad” creator Seth MacFarlane ain’t a bad crooner. Actually I guess we all already knew that, since he sings regularly on “Family Guy” and released an album already, 2011’s Music Is Better Than Words, but it’s still remarkable to hear him play it straight, rein in the sarcasm and keep it classy—you keep waiting for him to drop an F-bomb or toilet joke, but he doesn’t. He works with a 52-piece orchestra here, singing only a couple of well-known classics like “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and picking a few lesser-known tunes from the ’50s and ’60s.Best are his duets with Norah Jones (“Little Jack Frost Get Lost”) and Sara Bareilles (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”).

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New CD and Vinyl release at Amoeba Hollywood 12/10/14 - Theo Parrish, Keith Worthy, Lady Blacktronika and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 10, 2014 02:42pm | Post a Comment

Theo Parrish

American Intelligence CD

American Intelliegence 3x12"

Sound Signature

The latest album from the Detroit iconoclast. You're pretty much going to buy it or not, the sticker price ensures that, but for those who need a description: American Intelligence, like Moodyman's 2014 effort, attempts to lay out the psychic space of Detroit for a worldwide audience. Parrish's city is far more introspective, often restrained to the fascinating rhythms of his mind. Much of the album is interesting drum + bass (but not drum 'n bass) workouts, similar to Footwork  and his 12" for Trilogy Tapes. Highlights include Welcome Home, which has Parrish subjected to racial profiling on his way home from the airport and Ah (feat. M. Pittman, Ideeyah & Duminie Deporres),  a King Crimson-style slow burn evocative of a bar with red leather booths in some forgotten neighborhood in Detroit.

Buy American Intelligence CD

Buy American Intelligence 3x12"


Lady Blacktronika - All In VainLady Blacktronika

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Weekly Wednesday Steal: Boards of Canada's 'Trans Canada Highway'

Posted by Amoebite, December 10, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

boards of canada trans canada highway lpThis week's Weekly Wedensday Steal is Boards of Canada's Trans Canada Highway, regularly $19.98 and on sale for $10 on vinyl.

The 2006 EP from the acclaimed electronica duo includes the single "Dayvan Cowboy," a dayglo wash of synths and electric guitars, as well as four more songs and a remix including "Left Side Drive," which was later covered by Solange. It was the last thing released by BOC before their most recent album, 2013's Tomorrow's Harvest.

A bit about our Weekly Steal: A new item is featured on Amoeba.com every Wednesday for $10, while supplies last. It's limited to one per customer, and the deal is only available on the website. As always, there’s free shipping on all music and movies you buy on Amoeba.com throughout the United States.

Watch "Dayvan Cowbow," which was the band's first-ever video, below:

 

Unnecessary "Quotation" Marks

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2014 07:25am | Post a Comment

You'd think that as time and innovation progresses, so too would the correct use of our language. But it's not so. The opposite appears to be the case in our current culture of social media where speed of who gets what up first reigns over accuracy of reporting and grammar. Despite all of the new technologies directly linked to language (spell-check on every device, etc.), the use (or rather abuse) of English in the written form seems to be regressing at a rapid rate. If you were to quiz any high school English teacher on the current state of students' penmanship, spelling, and grammar, odds are that they would squeeze their face into a painful look and tug on their hair as they proceed to launch into a list of today's abuses of the English language. And it is the written word, especially the typed or texted word, that tends to be the biggest victim of this current decline of the language.


These days, with typos and overuse of caps being the norm in the majority of social media posts, emails, and text messages, it is as if we are all granted a poetic license to type and spell however we feel fit. And of course this is all fine so long as the person on the other end of the two way communication can understand what the hell has been said or written. This is where the problems and fun begin. In fact, many amused bloggers have dedicated websites to the numerous abuses of the English language. One of my favorite sites - one that's been around for several years now - is the blog of unnecessary quotation marks. As its name implies, it focuses on the misuse of quotation marks and has been diligently reporting each week with photos of newly found examples of unnecessary use of quotation marks. Check out submitted photos of signs that use inappropriate quotation marks, such as "live" reindeer, "NO" parking, and chairs are for "customers" only.  Bookmark the blog of unnecessary quotation marks or simply keep your eyes open today in your travels and you likely will spot an abuse or two. 

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With The Zombies

Posted by Amoebite, December 9, 2014 06:38pm | Post a Comment

Zombies

Legendary English rock group The Zombies formed in 1962 and were first signed by renowned label, Decca Records. The band's debut single, "She's Not There," peaked at #12 on the UK charts and hit #2 on the U.S. Billboard Chart. Due to the success of their single, The Zombies were subsequently sent overseas for a U.S. tour, where they were greeted by screaming teenage girls at their first television appearance on NBC's Hullabaloo.

Zombies Odessey and Oracle

In 1968, The Zombies recorded the cult favorite, Odessey and Oracle, and the single "Time of the Season" became a surprise hit despite the album's indifferent reception. To this day, the album remains a fan favorite and continues to top "best of" lists every year. Rolling Stone gave it a ranking of 100 on the magazine's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Despite their initial break up right before Odessey And Oracle was released, The Zombies have reunited several times throughout their career. In 2014, the lineup features original members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, plus Tom Toomey, Jim Rodford, and Steve Rodford. After a busy year performing at the Austin Psych Festival and the San Francisco Stern Grove Festival, The Zombies are back in the studio recording a new album.

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Music Icon Martin Perlich, Buy Counter Enigma, Friend

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 9, 2014 10:46am | Post a Comment


MUSIC AND RADIO ICON MARTIN PERLICH HOOKS UP!
...or, How The Amoeba Buy Counter
Made Martin Perlich And Me Life-Changing Friends.
 

Here at The Choice Bin, I've been a fan of Martin Perlich's ever since I discovered him on the radio in the early 2000s. An immediate hit, I remember making the station a preset on my car radio. He was THE MAN when it came to the best musical programming in L.A. at the time for me and it was every weekday!! Avant Garde, progressive Rock and Pop mixed with gorgeous Classical, World, and Folk music in regular rotation! And his raps between tracks always drew me closer to the speakers. His distinguished broadcasting career spans almost fifty years. He rocked as a producer of ''The Midnight Special''. He pioneered experimental radio in Cleveland (Classical Radio as well as Rock Jock on WMMS in Cleveland) and KMET in Los Angeles (now KTWV); classical host on KFAC, KUSC, and KMZRT. He practically invented the "eclectic" format of mixing genres one after the other, fitting in perfectly in the early 1960's. As a radio guy, I was excited about what he would play next. His interviews with music legends are the stuff of legend, and available here!

So, I was at the buy counter at Amoeba Hollywood one day (where folks trade in their old CDs and records). "I know that voice," I thought, as this cool fellow laid out his used CDs. Of course we chatted, and when fate would put us together for a few more minutes, it was apparent to me that that not only would we be fast friends, but broadcasting was only a part of Martin's life.

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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 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.

 

Cult of Youth Final Days

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Shopping At Amoeba For That Hip-Hop Fan On Your Holiday Gift List

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2014 02:05pm | Post a Comment

While at Amoeba San Francisco over the weekend, I realized that one could easily take care of their holiday shopping for that hip-hop fan in their life merely by focusing on the wonderful Featured Hip-Hop Releases display (found at end of the section's aisle) that is currently stocked with a variety of perfect gift choices. These include Brian Coleman's excellent, exhaustively researched new book Check The Technique Vol. 2 (for which he recently chatted with the Amoeblog about the making of), a killer '90's hip-hop mix cassette (with digital download card included) laced up by DJ Spinna and J-Rocc descriptively entitled The Best of 90's Hip-Hop Flavors Mix Cassette, and a Souls Of Mischief picture disc album (with liner notes) of their latest new studio recording There Is Only Now  - a collaboration with Adrian Younge

You'll also find on this display the classic 1987 Profile Records hip-hop Christmas Rap compilation on vinyl that boasts Run DMC's classic Christmas rap track "Christmas In Hollis" (recently reissued as a limited run 7" single for Black Friday/Record Store Day) along with other holiday themed hip-hop tracks from such other old school acts as Sweet Tee, Dana Dane, and Spyder D. Also on the same rack is a must-have for any hip-hop junkie - the Wu-Tang Clan's first album, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36-Chamber ,in yellow black swirl vinyl. Don't miss the instrumental version (on vinyl) of the 2011 release Fela Soul, which is Fela Kuti vs. De La Soul and is, as you would imagine, a unique and pleasing meld of golden era hip-hop with afrobeat rhythms and funky horn riffs.

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20 Gift Ideas for Tweens

Posted by Amoebite, December 8, 2014 12:56pm | Post a Comment

Gift Ideas Tweens

We've got lots of great stuff for tweens at Amoeba, from posters of teen heartthrobs to the latest records by Ariana Grande and One Direction. Here are 20 we think would be perfect gifts for the not-quite-teenagers in your life. 

one direction four cd

For the boy-bander:

One Direction - Four

The fourth album by European boy band One Direction shows added maturity in the lads' songwriting, with help from Good Charlotte, McFly, Kodaline, The 1975, John Legend and Emeli Sande. Features the songs "Steal My Girl" and "Night Changes."

One album wonders: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 8, 2014 08:16am | Post a Comment
The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

In the early 1980s, when I was in elementary school, I remember asking my father what mental illness was. This was the era of deinstitutionalization, when most of the nation's mental institutions were emptied onto the streets which were at the same time flooded with AIDS and crack. Not surprisingly, most popular entertainment was decidedly escapist in nature.


Hey hey we're the Pistols!

I probably asked my father because I assumed he was an authority on the subject, him being a psychiatrist at the VA and also himself clearly not right in the head. To answer my question he briefly told me about the Sex Pistols, specifically their seemingly innocuous use of safety pins in fashion. I didn't come away from our conversation with even a better understanding of mental illness but I imagined that the Sex Pistols must be a very frightening bunch indeed to exemplify insanity in that insane era where our society's inevitable and impending doom was guaranteed -- probably because of satanic cults, child abductionHalloween poisoningssubliminal messages, Dungeons & Dragons, or Sigue Sigue Sputnik

By junior high I had a notion of what punk was because there were punks in my school. They certainly seemed less frightening than the jocks and preps but I didn't associate with any of them. I was listening to a lot of Dead Kennedys, Dead Milkmen, and Eazy-E -- all three of whom owed a debt to the cartoonishly outrageous spirit of 1976 and bands like the Sex Pistols but I still had no way of hearing them since they were too old for the college station I mostly listened to (KCOU) and -- not being Top 40, Classic Rock, Country or Classical -- never played on any other station. 

In those pre-internet days, there were many bands whose names but not music were familiar to me. From the school bus I'd spy graffiti advertising The Jam and The Cure on the wall of an alley. Classmates wore T-shirts and scrawled onto desks, blue jeans, and Trapper Keeper folders names like Echo & the Bunnymen, Iron Maiden, Joy DivisionMetallica, The Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, Suicidal Tendencies, and Velvet Underground. Kids wore Sex Pistols T-shirts too -- often decorated with reprinted headlines with quotes including "The filth and the fury!," "Sid Vicious Dead," "Call if filthy lucre." Others looked like ransom notes. That I didn't know what "lucre" or "bollocks" just added to the air of mystery around the punk legends of yore.

In high school a German girl let me dub her dub of the album Happy? by John Lydon's post-Sex Pistols band, Public Image Limited. It's probably not many PiL fans' favorite album by them but for me it was akin to that experienced by Marcel Proust when he first dipped a madeleine into his tea. When 9 came out, I bought the audio cassette. Buying music was expensive but rather than wait for another PiL album, my thoughts returned to the Sex Pistols. I had a rule against buying albums by bands which I'd never even heard, I had obligations with the mail order BMG Music Service, to choose more albums from what turned out to be a surprisingly limited catalogue. I'd heard Megadeth's cover of "Anarchy in the UK" and so allowed myself to make an exception and ordered the Sex Pistols' only full-length.  




When the disc arrived, I no doubt struggled with its ridiculous security stickers before dropping the laser onto the aluminum groove and my tiny apartment filled with the strains of "Holidays in the Sun," which struck me as surprisingly slow, competent, conventional, catchy, funny, smart and about as threatening as a beach party film. If my understanding of the lyrics were correct, "Bodies" was apparently a safe sex/pro life anthem. "No Feelings" sounded like the work of fans of New York Dolls, a suspicion which was seemingly confirmed by "New York." I was even more surprised by "Liar" and "Submission," the former which wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Eddie Cochran record, and the latter which sounded like early Doors or The Seeds. The Sex Pistols, I had read, were the Khmer Rouge of rock and 1976 was year zero -- so how was it that the entire album sounded like the work of a 1960s Florida garage band who'd somehow incorporated bits of T. Rex into their sound?



None of this is a complaint, mind you. I loved every minute of that record, as conventional, wholesome, and not-mentally ill as it is. At the time I was deeply immersed in the works of Joris-Karl Huysmans, Oscar Wilde, and Charles Baudelaire and I was expecting decadent villains, not Dickensian heros. When I was done listening to it, I filed it away on my record shelf, between Saint Etienne and Sandy Shaw -- which to me makes total sense. Not long afterward I was approached by a stranger who asked me what music I listened to. I told him, "bands whose names start with 'S's."


The story of the Sex Pistols after their dissolution is well known but I'll summarize anyway. Glen Matlock was kicked out of the band and quite naturally resurfaced with a power-pop group, The Rich Kids, (which also included Midge Ure of class Scottish glitter rock boy band, Slik). Matlock's replacement, Sid Vicious, died in 1979. Paul Cook and Steve Jones joined The Professionals and the latter later launched the excellent radio program Jonesy's Jukebox in 2004. John Lydon, of course, enjoyed a long brilliant, and much more prolific career with Public Image Limited -- whose best album is actually either Flowers of Romance or Metal Box. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols is still in print, often released and re-released with tweaked colors for some reason. 




*****


Follow Eric Brightwell

Get a Free Ticket to See the Smashing Pumpkins Perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2014 06:21pm | Post a Comment

Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins are performing in Hollywood on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday, December 10 and we want to give you free tickets! Purchase the new Pumpkins album, Monuments to an Elegy, in-store at Amoeba Hollywood starting Tuesday, December 9th and get a free wristband to see them live on the Kimmel outdoor stage the next day.

Quantities are limited. Limit one ticket per CD or LP purchased, limit 2 per person. You must be 16+ years old with a valid ID to attend the show and must arrive by 5:15pm.

Smashing Pumpkins at Jimmy Kimmel Live

PST's 50 Best Albums of 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 5, 2014 02:48pm | Post a Comment

This is how it always works: You think, how am I going to find 50 albums I really liked this year? Then by the end of compiling these things, you’re leaving off records you really liked and realizing that this year didn’t suck so badly after all! Here are the 50 albums I honestly felt were the most well-made, original or enjoyable this year. Check out Aaron Detroit’s list, too, for even more good shit from 2014.

 

1. Sun Kil MoonBenji

Amid the wrongheaded War on Drugs bashing and indulgent songwriting/self-mythologizing that came with it, it could be easy to forget the brilliance of Benji. But Mark Kozelek’s later-career renaissance reaches its apex on Benji. Whereas songs in his ’90s project Red House Painters were often autobiographical, if morose and romantic, if, to call Benji “confessional” would be an understatement. Not only is it a classic example oversharing in the social media age, it’s just a new classic period, the best thing he’s done since RHP’s heyday. Two songs directly address Kozelek’s love for his aging parents as he himself hits middle age (“I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love” and “I Love My Dad” are far from ironic, though they cover ground beyond what their titles suggest). “Dogs” covers Kozelek’s history with women in sometimes excruciating detail, from his first kiss at 5 to getting bathed by two women. Part of what makes Benji so masterful is how Kozelek blends rich physical details, with references to Panera Bread and Pink Floyd records, along with impressionistic accounts, such as his atmospheric telling of what caught his attention in a Led Zeppelin film (“I Watched the Film the Song Remains the Same”) and what that says about him as a person. It can be a lot to take in at once—“Micheline” at first feels like a diary dump, though it ends on a touching note about his grandmother—but most of the time, the details are funny or poignant or both, coming through clearly with little more than Kozelek’s wavering, creaking voice and reverbed acoustic guitar. “Ben’s My Friend,” which ends the album with its catchiest song (and curiosity value, due to its titular subject being Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie), is a sterling reminder of how many little things add up to the sum of our lives, making a pretty refrain out of “blue crab cakes,” throwing in some horns and flamenco guitar for good measure and tying the album up nicely with a reflective bow. Kozelek may be a cranky old man, but his lifetime of experiences made for enrapturing listening on Benji, which simply has the best songwriting of any music release this year.

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Watch the Allah-Las Get Dreamy at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2014 02:07pm | Post a Comment

Allah Las

Backed by the LA based label, Innovative Leisure, the Allah-Las have managed to take their garage/surf-rock sound to an international audience. With tour dates across Europe, Asia, and Australia, the band is racking up frequent flyer miles and growing their fanbase the good ol' fashioned way: touring, touring, and more touring. The group's busy schedule brought them stateside for a special in-store performance at Amoeba Hollywood. Playing to a packed house of devotees of all ages, The Allah-Las brought with them some extra arsenal. On stage the band featured six musicians total, including a percussionist, a keyboard player, and a slide guitar player. The result was a nice warm wall of sound that would make Arthur Lee proud. The Allah-Las are no strangers to Amoeba Hollywood. In fact, Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar), Matt Correia (drums), and Spencer Dunham (bass) were all employees during the early days of the band back in 2008!

The former Amoebites teamed up with producer and labelmate Nick Waterhouse to deliver their signature Southerrn Cali, lo-fi, surfer sonics on their sophomore effort, Worship The Sun (Innovative Leisure). The band has grown as performers and songwriters since their 2012 self-titled debut and the result is a much more mature sound on Worship the Sun.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Wu-Tang Clan, E-40, Run The Jewels, Trademark Da Skydiver, Rick Ross

Posted by Billyjam, December 5, 2014 12:30pm | Post a Comment

If it seems like an awful lot of tight new hip-hop releases are dropping right now or are about to drop, that's because there are. This is the time of the year - leading up to the holidays - when labels, especially major labels, traditionally unleash new albums, with hip-hop making up a good percentage of said releases. New, recent, and upcoming 2014 hip-hop albums include Trademark Da Skydiver's Return Of The Super Villain (Ihiphopdist); the Wu-Tang Clan's much-heralded return album A Better Tomorrow, which includes all living members the legendary Staten Island hip-hop crew; and Rick Ross' Hood Billionaire, which has been a major seller at Amoeba since its release late last month. Another recent release that continues to sell briskly at Amoeba Music is the highly-recommended second outing from El-P and Killer Mike (aka Run The Jewels), Run The Jewels 2. They just released a video for "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)," which is the second single and the best track on the album. The video appears below along with ones from the aforementioned Rick Ross, Trademark Da Skydiver ("Keep It 100"), and the Wu-Tang Clan's spanking new video for "A Better Tomorrow," which contains visuals created by Wu-Tang Clan "in the hopes of inspiring change and promoting unity throughout the world." Also below is the video for E-40's "Red Cup," which is the first single off the Bay Area legend's upcoming three-album set Sharp On All 4 Corners -(subtitled: Corner 1, Corner 2 and the Deluxe Edition). The popular party track features guests Kid Ink, T-Pain, and B.O.B.

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50 Essential Albums Released in 2014

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2014 09:20am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for ten 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 2014. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion should not be static.





1. Swans - To Be Kind (Young God)
To Be Kind, Swans’ 3rd LP since their 2010 reformation (and 13th overall,) is an unlikely triumph after 2012’s seemingly unmatchable masterpiece, The Seer. Any trepidation one might have about the sprawling triple-LP’s intimidating track lengths should evaporate under it’s hypnotizing ebb-and-flow of mental blues, super-honed grooves, manic clatter and hushed passages; all of which are eventually crushed by monolithic waves of majesty. Nothing short of classic.



 2. Carla Bozulich - Boy (Constellation)
Boy is Carla Bozulich’s (of Ethyl Meatplow, Geraldine Fibbers and Evangelista-renown) 3rd solo affair, but in a lot of ways it feels like her first. Bozulich pours her famed, devastating whiskey-voice into a cocktail of funeral country, death blues and industrial noise that sticks to your guts. Carla herself refers to this LP as her “pop record,” and if that's a true description, we could sure use a whole lot more “pop” albums like Boy. Don’t overlook this one.



3. Scott Walker + Sunn O))) - Soused (4AD)
If you’re looking for the classic Sunn O))) sound, you should look elsewhere. Soused is to its bones a Scott Walker album -- wild, weird and wonderful. Walker’s baritone swan dives into cascading riffs that eventually ebb into low hums and sudden fits of industrial noise; a perfect fit for the album’s lyrical narratives of violence and oppression. Despite all this, it is bizarrely accessible --so far as modern day Walker LPs go.



4. Andy Stott - Faith In Strangers (Modern Love)
Composer/producer Andy Stott once again collaborates with vocalist Alison Skidmore. Strangers takes us on a late-night drive through varying auditory terrains: Minimal, long, tone pieces make their way through field recordings and cut-up ethereal vocals before a beat even drops halfway into the second track. By the second half of the nearly hour-long LP, Stott eventual begins to work up a sweat. Lively and dissonant yet beautiful and otherworldly, the album rides a line between chopped-and-screwed 4AD and bonkers analogue jams but remains skillfully cohesive.


5. Mica Levi - Under The Skin (OST) (Milan)
Typically, one would not include a film score on a year-end albums list, but Mica Levi’s score for Under The Skin is quite the exception. The score does just what the title suggests: it gets under your skin. Ligeti-inspired string orchestrations center around the same three notes throughout. Sometimes they appear as a comfort after long passages of dark pulses and dry wind, but more often the notes unsettle as they sweep back in out of darkness; the herald of “something-wicked-this-way-comes.” Even without the stellar film visuals (also one of the best of the year,) the score works all on it’s own as a spellbinding piece.


6. Wild Beasts - Present Tense (Domino)
 Wild Beasts are all grown up. It sounds sort of cliché, but Present Tense makes no qualms about that point. Gone is the horny hooting and howling of Two Dancers and Smother and in its place is an emotional and existential folk that sugars it’s eccentricities with sleek pop production --the sort that Kate Bush mined on Hounds of Love.




 7. Fatima Al Qadiri Asiatisch (Hyperdub)
Fatima Al Qadiri builds a dark, grand, video game-like world on Asiatisch. The artist herself calls this sonic landscape an ‘imagined China.’ One cobbled together from modern western media perspectives of the East, commenting on its racism, villainization and exoticism. Pan flutes and gongs meet crisp digital grime production and lyrics mocking Disney. It’s an album that challenges your own enjoyment of it.




8. Perfume Genius - Too Bright (Matador)
On Too Bright, producer Adrian Utley (of Portishead-fame) helps Mike Hadreas puts some pretty sick f—me pumps on the feet of Perfume Genius’ once delicate balladry. Sometimes he dons Alan Vega’s shades or PJ Harvey’s gold lamé (Harvey collaborator John Parish appears on nearly every track.) Too Bright is a surprising, successful progression from one of the most honest and compelling young songwriters around.



9. Mirel Wagner - When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day (Sub Pop)
When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day is the sound of the Finland-based singer/songwriter Mirel Wagner mastering the style of death balladry she introduced on her striking and stark 2011 self-titled debut. Wagner embellishes her guitar/voice arrangements very little here, adding only a bit of cello & piano (courtesy of Craig Armstrong) to just two of the album’s ten darkly gorgeous, mortality-obsessed tracks.



10. Vessel - Punish, Honey (Tri Angle)
It’s not really fair to call Punish, Honey an “electronic” album -- it’s creator, Seb Gainsborough, built his own instruments and beat the holy hell out of sheet metal and guitars he crafted from old bicycle parts-- but it does owe a debt to industrial innovators like Fad Gadget, Coil and Einstürzende Neubauten. Despite its primitive instrumentation and 30 year-old influences, Gainsborough’s instinctive production and dubby flare make it thoroughly modern.


11. Gazelle Twin - Unflesh (Last Gang)
The music Brighton-based electronic producer Elizabeth Bernholz (aka Gazelle Twin) has crafted for her second LP, Unflesh, is a Cronenbergian dystopia -- one that she sees as an actual reflection, not a projection. Bernholz uses pitch-shifted vocals, industrial rhythms, and supermarket field-recordings to accompany her lyrical narratives concerning bodily unease in the face of corporate rule and global riots.




12. Pharmakon - Bestial Burden (Sacred Bones)
Margaret Chardiet's follow-up to her intense, confrontational and instantly classic power electronics/industrial debut. Burden builds on the layered electronics and primal energy of it’s predecessor and adds some accessibility à la the digital bonus track “Bang Bang,” a version of the oft-covered Sonny Bono track that features Chardiet‘s singing in lieu of her usual distorted screams (with an arrangement that sounds strikingly similar to the one done by industrial godfathers Coil.)




13. Weyes Blood - The Innocents (Mexican Summer)
Weyes Blood moves away from the lo-fi faux-vintage of her previous effort, (2011’s The Outside Room,) and into a classic lush folk that recalls greats like Buffy Sainte-Marie (“Requiem For Forgiveness”) or Bridget St. John (“Bad Magic”).




14. Lust For Youth - International (Sacred Bones)
 2014 delivered the unfortunate news of the break-up of the excellent Danish “super-group” VÃ¥r. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt went back to his duties in Iceage and Loke Rahbek returned to his work with Hannes Norrvide in Lust For Youth who then released the superb International. The album sounds like it could have been the sophomore VÃ¥r album, straying far from LFY’s previous lo-fi fare. The album keeps a punkish charm (mostly thanks to the vocal delivery) while still delivering well-produced synth-pop anthems and ballads alike (Rønnenfelt even makes a vocal cameo.)


15. The Body - I Shall Die Here (Rvng Intl.)
The unholy union of The Body and The Haxan Cloak’s production is fittingly titled I Shall Die Here. Both artists are masters at creating bleak sonic worlds, so it’s not surprising the collaboration returns in spades. Doom riffs, industrial noir soundscapes, distorted bass, insane shrieking and super-creep-factor spoken samples make up the best LP by The Body to-date.




16. The Soft Pink Truth - Why Do the Heathen Rage? (Thrill Jockey)
 A deconstruction, homage, and also a giant “fuck you.” Drew Daniel perverts black metal classics by the likes of Darkthrone, Scarfago and Venom into vogue-ball burners, sultry house jams, and gothic floorfillers.




17. Dan Bodan - Soft (DFA)
Berlin-based Canadian singer/songwriter Dan Bodan makes off-kilter electro-soul. His pillow-talk R&B delivery is impossibly sincere for lyrics that deal in such unapologetic, romantic mush but Soft’s production features so many unsettling and jarring elements, it evokes a sort of paradoxical unease not unlike first love stomach-butterflies.





 18. HTRK - Psychic 9-5 Club (Ghostly International)
 On Psychic 9-5 Club, Australian trio HTRK (pronounced Hate Rock) wrap their warm dubby atmospheres around the laconic yet sultry vocal delivery of singer Jonnine Standish. It’s resulting sound is a sort of “Sade goes witch house,” which is actually pretty infectious and thrilling.




19. Jane Weaver - The Silver Globe
(Finders Keepers)

Brit singer/songwriter Jane Weaver pulls from a basket of tricks left behind by Silver Apples and Hawkwind on her new cosmic folk-pop album, The Silver Globe. The album takes it’s name and is inspired by Polish director Andrzej Żuławski's film On The Silver Globe, which should give one an idea of the sort-of 1970’s krautrock/soundtrack-vibe contained within. Weaver’s pretty and air-light voice floats above the fuzzy synths and rumbling bass, producing some wonderful earworms.



20. Ben Frost - A U R O R A  (Bedroom Community / Mute)
Composer Ben Frost’s new LP is the darkest of his career thus far. Thor Harris (Swans) and Greg Fox (ex-Liturgy) collaborate on this monstrous slab of searing synths and heavy percussion, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that eventually gives way to beautiful, somber and ethereal textures underneath all the buzz, whir and din.


21. Grouper - Ruins (Kranky)
Recorded solely with a portable 4-track, stereo mic and an upright piano, Liz Harris’ 10th album as Grouper sheds the layers of reverb of previous work for something more intimate. Ruins is the perfect rainy-day album (of which Los Angelenos can now also accurately enjoy since it’s FINALLY raining here!)





22.
Mykki Blanco - Gay Dog Food (UNO NYC)
Mykki Blanco is one of the most important figures in modern hip-hop. His lyrical sting, leftfield genre-bending, fluid gender presentation, and bold taste in production partners are all unmatched. Blanco’s rather experimental Gay Dog Food (currently only available as a digital download, but a physical release is imminent) displays seemingly unlikely collaborators Kathleen Hanna and No Bra weaved perfectly into executive producer Gobby’s aggressive electronic patchwork.


23. Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit / Chubbed Up+ (Harbinger Sound / Ipecac Recordings)
Divide and Exit spins like the incensed rants of the bitter drunk at the end of the bar set over rollicking bass and chintzy-but-nod-worthy beats. Just about every other line is punctuated with “Fuck Off!” It’s endlessly clever and fun. The fortified singles collection, Chubbed Up+ (also released this year,) is an even better collection than the quite stellar LP itself.



 
24.
Ex Hex - Rips (Merge)
 Mary Timony (Helium, Wild Flag) returns with her best album in over a decade and easily her most accessible. Ex Hex is Timony’s smoldering trio and they play gum-snapping power pop and new wave. Rips does more than its title promises, it totally shreds.




 
25. Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love (Matador)
Iceage switch out their slash-and-burn style punk for a drunken, swaggering post-punk reminiscent of early Bad Seeds. It’s a surprising and much welcomed shift.






26. Harassor - Into Unknown Depths (Dais)
LA Local crew Harassor spew punky and raw black metal all over your stupid face; the kind that could only be conjured on the American Hellmouth known as Los Angeles. “Winter’s Triumph” is an adventurous highlight driven by a catchy Killing Joke-esque riff.


27. Black Rain - Dark Pool
(Blackest Ever Black)
No Wave/Industrial pioneer Stuart Argabright (Ike Yard, Dominatrix) had the luck of having a 1995 shelved industrial film score he composed under the moniker Black Rain finally see the light of day in 2012, due to the unearthing skills of UK imprint Blackest Ever Black. Argabright now picks up where he left off in ‘95 with aptly titled Dark Pool. Retro-future soundscapes and Bladerunner atmospheres are helped along by the spectral vocals of Zoe Zanias of Linea Aspera.



28. Myrkur - Myrkur (Relapse)
 One-woman ethereal black metal band, Myrkur (aka Amalie Bruun,), does not pioneer new ground for her debut, but she does a most excellent job playing with the template of second-wave Scandinavian black metal and imbuing it with a powerful femininity.


29. DonChristian - Renzo Piano (Camp & Street)
NYC- based singer/mc DonChristian gets extra amorous on his abstract R&B-flavored Renzo Piano. Taking cues from actual architecture in the construction of the songs, Don layers wordless but evocative vocalizations over his smooth come-ons. There’s also hot, hot production from Boody and The-Dream, plus the obligatory guest spot from Le1f.


 
30. Lucy - Churches, Schools and Guns
(Stroboscopic Artefacts)
Berlin-based producer Luca Mortellaro avoids anyone’s ideas about a sophomore slump wholly with his provocatively titled Churches, Schools, and Guns LP. Look no further than the 4/4 of “The Illusion of Choice” and its modular leads. The blanket descriptor for a whole lot of techno these days is “dystopian” and Churches mines that concept and mood quite well; it also pulls from deeper emotional wells on tracks like “Falling” with its repetitive airy vocals and “The Best Selling Show” with its
broken, eerie organ chords.

31. Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

(Prospect Park)
Major labels seem bent on keeping their most adventurous pop acts from public view and remain clueless as to what even makes them special. Last year, Capitol records finally wised up and let Sky Ferreira release her fuzzy tunes, but this year’s withheld gem had to be dropped back into the arms of its creator before the public FINALLY got to hear it. Azealia Banks’ Broke with Expensive Taste has a long and storied road dating back to 2012, which is surprising considering it’s quality and uncompromising, eclectic vision. It’s the kitchen sink of Hip Hop albums featuring everything from feisty ballroom tracks to indie surf-rock. Azealia Banks rides each track flawlessly, transitioning from her playful-but-always-fierce rhyming right into confidently singing her own damn hooks.


32. FKA Twigs - LP1 (Young Turks)
 There is miles of ink about Ms. Twigs already, and for good reason – her debut album, LP1, flawlessly melds a bonkers electronic experimentalism with mainstream R&B and pop with spellbinding results.





33. The Hidden Cameras - Age
(EvilEvil)
Joel Gibbs ends The Hidden Cameras long absence by adding dub and synth-pop to the projects' patented brand of “Gay Church Folk.”




34. Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Polyvinyl)
 It is really no surprise that the darkest of all albums Jamie Stewart has produced under his Xiu Xiu moniker was conceived and realized in Los Angeles. Don’t dance away the bad thoughts, dance to them. Xiu Xiu is Dead, Long Live Xiu Xiu!




35. Aphex Twin - Syro  (Warp)
A matured but none-the-less utterly thrilling comeback LP. As a friend of mine noted, every song in the world should have a “Syrobonkus Mix.”







 36. Meshell Ndegeocello - Comet, Come To Me (Naive)
Meshell Ndegecello has had a impeccable string of albums for two decades but she really hit a glorious stride with her first post-major label release, 2007’s The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams. That stride has continued right up to this year’s excellent Comet, Come to Me. Meshell leads her band with longtime collaborator and guitarist Chris Bruce through a killer cover of Whodini’s “Friends” into tracks that recall another one of her adolescent heroes -- Prince. There’s also chunks of trippy dub, and reggae, plus homages to jazz-era Joni Mitchell.


37. Morrissey- World Peace Is None of Your Business (Harvest)
Morrissey’s comeback LP of sorts, the fantastically-titled World Peace Is None of Your Business, had a stumbling roll-out that eventually led to the ever-surly crooner leaving the label that released it. This led to its subsequent withdrawal from the market --all within in a couple months of its release. Despite the drama, it’s a fantastic set of relevant and timely songs that embellish Moz’s classic-era sound (the subtle synths are back) with occasional Flamenco guitar and mariachi horns.



38. Blonde Redhead - Barragán (Asawa Kuru LLC)
A quiet gem like Barragán can get lost or easily discarded with the instant gratification of large MP3 libraries and streaming now the norm. It’s the sort of LP that takes its time to reveal its many treasures; repeated spins of the album’s electro-pop, shoegaze riffing and chamber-folk unveil its massively rich rewards.



39. Marianne Faithfull - Give My Love To London (Easy Sound)
This is Faithfull’s best album since 2004’s PJ Harvey-produced Before The Poison and a late career peak. The sarcastically-titled Give My Love to London features gorgeous collaborations with Nick Cave, Roger Waters and Anna Calvi that perfectly suit the beautifully ravaged and ever-wise voice of Marianne.

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Shop Our Super Saturday Sale at All Amoeba Stores Dec. 13

Posted by Amoebite, December 4, 2014 03:12pm | Post a Comment

Super Saturday Sale

On December 13, all three Amoeba stores are holding a Super Saturday Sale with deals on tons of items, just in time for all that holiday shopping you still have to do!

At ALL Amoeba stores, we'll have 20% off the following (limited to available stock):

  • Turntables
  • Used Books
  • Posters
  • Headphones
  • Used DVDs (Amoeba Hollywood only)

Not sure which turntable is right for you? Check out our handy turntable guide or come in and ask one of our experts!

Come get all of your holiday shopping done in one fell swoop at Amoeba! Need some more gift ideas? Check out our holiday gift guide for music, movie and merch gift ideas.

Please note Amoeba Hollywood will open early at 10am on Saturday, Dec. 13th. See our full holiday store hours.

amoeba super saturday sale

 

 

Nick Talbot, aka Warp artist Gravenhurst, Dead At Age 37

Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2014 01:34pm | Post a Comment

As reported by his record label Warp on their website earlier today, Nick Talbot - better known as Gravenhurst - has passed away. So far no cause of death of the English artist has been announced anywhere. The multi-talented 37-year-old musician/ journalist was about to unleash three new releases of older material via Warp on December 15th. The recently-uncovered collection of basement tape recordingsmade a decade ago are Offerings: Lost Songs 2000-2004, the ten track LP Flashlight Seasons, and the 3 disc  Flashlight Seasons / Black Holes In The Sand / Offerings that includes all three titles (note that Black Holes was originally released in 2004). 

"We are shocked and saddened to share the news that Nick Talbot, aka Gravenhurst, has passed away aged 37. An immensely talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and journalist, he will be hugely missed. Nick's family and friends request privacy at this difficult time," posted Warp Records to their website this morning.

Meanwhile, Gravenhust's longtime manager/friend Michelle Hilborne wrote that Talbot was, "The finest, most extraordinary and inspirational songwriter, singer and performer, and a remarkable producer and journalist, Nick’s work has deeply affected so many people all over the world. Outstandingly intelligent, compassionate, fascinating and witty, Nick was the dearest friend and his absence brings indescribable sorrow."

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With R&B Singer Jhene Aiko

Posted by Amoebite, December 3, 2014 12:43pm | Post a Comment

Jhene Aiko at Amoeba Hollywood

Seamlessly blurring the lines of modern R&B and pop-oriented Hip Hop, Jhene Aiko is a new brand of singer. Some have said Aiko is the female answer to Frank Ocean, while other critics have drawn comparisons to the late great Aaliyah. Starting out in the '90s as a pre-teen, Aiko supplied backing vocals for R&B group B2K. In 2003, at just 15 years old, Aiko was set to release her solo debut via Sony/Epic Records. When the album was shelved Aiko made the decision to go back to school. Eight years later, Aiko returned to music delivering her first mixtape, .sailing soul(s). in March 2011. Nine months later she signed a recording contract with producer No I.D.'s label Artium, distributed by Def Jam.  

Jhene Aiko Souled OutJhene Aiko has been hard at work since her return to the spotlight. In 2013 she released the EP, Sail Out (Island/Def Jam) and landed an opening spot touring with Nas and Lauryn Hill. In 2014, Aiko followed up with her full-length, Souled Out (Island/Def Jam). Her album titles are in reference to a record executive who once advised she must "sell out" in order to succeed in the music industry. Aiko has since been a vocalist in demand, recording tracks for rappers Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino. With a strong work ethic and a down to earth attitude, Aiko is bound to be pop music's next "it girl." She is on tour this month, playing Club Nokia in Los Angeles December 7 and The Warfield in San Francisco December 10. See her full tour dates here.

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Top Ten "I Don't Wanna" Songs

Posted by Billyjam, December 3, 2014 10:20am | Post a Comment

While walking through the subway station tunnel at 59th Street station here in New York, I heard someone across the platform loudly and repeatedly singing the refrain "I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna..." until the increasingly distant voice trailed off completely as I climbed the steps to the street at Central Park South. The song kept echoing in my head as I tried to figure out what it was. I couldn't pinpoint it, but then I realized that it could be one of countless songs that have those same three words. "I don't wanna" is something people say a lot and naturally spin into song lyrics, hence this Amoeblog post. Here are the Top Ten "I Don't Wanna" songs with those words in its title or lyrics.

This list includes heavy hits such as Minor Threat's "I Don't Wanna Hear It" (my favorite of them all, and a song that has been covered by many other artists, including Slayer). Then there's The Ramones' song "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" from their !Adios Amigos! album and the Descendents' title track I Don't Want To Grow Up, both of which are included. The Ramones recorded several other "I Don't Wanna" songs, including "I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement," "Don't Wanna Be Learned/Don't Wanna Be Tamed," and "I Don't Walk Around With You." However they did "Wanna Sniff Some Glue" - all four of these Ramones songs (some in demo format) can be found on the wonderful 2001 collection entitled The Ramones.

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Weekly Wednesday Steal: 311's 'Stereolithic'

Posted by Amoebite, December 3, 2014 08:55am | Post a Comment

311 stereolithic lpThis week's Weekly Wedensday Steal is 311's Stereolithic, regularly $24.98 and on sale for $10 on vinyl.

Stereolitic is the 11th studio album by punk-rap-reggae band 311.  It marks the band's departure from the major label system and first time they released an album on their own. It also marks the return of producer Scott Ralston, who produced the band's best-loved early work.

A bit about our Weekly Steal: A new item is featured on Amoeba.com every Wednesday for $10, while supplies last. It's limited to one per customer, and the deal is only available on the website. As always, there’s free shipping on all music and movies you buy on Amoeba.com throughout the United States.

Watch the video for "Five of Everything":

 

Is The Zombies "Odessey And Oracle" The Best Album at Amoeba?

Posted by Billyjam, December 2, 2014 03:40pm | Post a Comment

The best album in the store? Maybe. Well, that's what the sign above the 1968 Zombies classic Odessey And Oracle clearly reads, so it must be true. I spotted the sign and the accompanying classic '60's psychedelic rock album while roaming the aisles of music in the cavernous Amoeba Hollywood store yesterday. Seeing the album, which is the only proper album recorded by the short-lived supergroup, and its claim prompted me to dig up my own copy of the album once I got home and to throw it on the turntable to see if it lives up to the advertising. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't - for that's subjective and ever changing - but one thing is for sure; the album, which was overlooked upon its initial release but would years later become critically acclaimed, is one helluva rock album. I was glad to hear it again after not listening to it for several years.

The 12-track album, which includes the "surprise hit" single "Time Of The Season," has been released in over 30 versions over the years since 1968. The original album, recorded in a rushed fashion due to budget restrictions, was recorded in mono but had to be redone in stereo for the US release on Date Records - a CBS subsidiary label that released "Butcher's Tale" as the first single off the album in the US (“Care of Cell 44” was the first UK single off the album). Below are YouTube versions of the album tracks "Time of the Season," Beechwood Park," and a recent era rendition of the track "A Rose For Emily." Buy the Zombies' Odessey And Oracle at Amoeba's three stores or find it on Amoeba.com in various versions.

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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 

Essential Records: Stevie Wonder's 'Songs In The Key of Life'

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2014 02:22pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records

Songs In The Key Of Life is hailed by many as one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Music industry icons like Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Mariah Carey all sing its praises. By the time Stevie Wonder gifted the world his magnum opus - at just 25 years old - he had already released 21 albums under the famed Motown label. Amazing!  

Stevie Wonder Where I'm Coming FromOne month before his 21st birthday in 1971, Stevie Wonder released Where I'm Coming From, a definitive production that gave way to a new aesthetic, style, and sound not aligned with the polished, clean, stand up image Motown championed for its artists. In essence, Wonder was shedding his "Little Stevie Wonder" persona and declaring his musical independence. Armed with a new recording contract giving him artistic control, Wonder co-wrote the album with then girlfriend and former Motown secretary, Syreeta Wright. Together the two penned songs that showcased a new, funkier style Wonder was developing outside the confines of Motown. Digging deeper to perfect his new sound, Stevie followed with Music Of My Mind in 1972, the precursor to what became his unrivaled golden era of output. Music Of My Mind was entirely written, produced, and performed by Wonder (with the exception of a single part in two songs) masterfully utilizing Arp synthesizers, Moog keyboards, and live instrumentation. This was Wonder's first truly cohesive effort realized all on his own. The transformation from "Little Stevie Wonder" to bonafide one man production powerhouse was complete.

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Faith No More's Secret Black Friday Show at Amoeba SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 1, 2014 01:45pm | Post a Comment
Faith No More at Amoeba SF

As a special Black Friday surprise, Amoeba San Francisco welcomed Faith No More for a live performance. Their new 7" single, "Motherfucker," was released that day just for Record Store Day Faith No More, Amoeba San Francisco, Secret ShowBlack Friday and supplies flew off the shelves! "Motherfucker" is the first single from their upcoming album to be released in 2015. It will be their first studio recording since 1997.

Their secret 6pm show was announced via the internet at 2pm that day, which may seems like short notice but the store welcomed over 800 devoted fans between the announcement and show time.

Mike Patton, Bill Gould, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin, and Jon Hudson were joined on stage by a mysterious leather-clad figure known only as The Gimp. Fans were familiar with The Gimp as he had been taunting them for days with hilarious hint-dropping videos.

Faith No More played a face-melting set of five songs: "Motherfucker, "As The Worms Turns," "Spirit," "Ashes To Ashes," and "Superhero." If you don't know that last song, that's because it's from their upcoming album. Watch for it in 2015.

See more photos from the in-store performance HERE!

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Concert Tickets for Sale at Amoeba Hollywood in December 2014

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2014 12:28pm | Post a Comment

Concert TicketsAmoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows, with the added bonus of charging low service fees (if you are into saving money and who isn't really?).

All tickets can be purchased at the registers (while supplies last) for a $2 service fee. We take cash and credit cards for all ticket sales. Store credit and coupons cannot be applied to ticket sales. Limit 4 tickets per person. 

For Club Nokia shows, we only carry general admission tickets. If you wish to purchase reserved seating at Club Nokia (where available), you can buy those tickets online here.

Please note that on the day of the show, we will stop selling tickets for that show at 5pm.

Tickets are limited, so please call the store first to make sure they are available: 323-245-6400.
 

JUST ADDED SHOWS:

Gregory Alan Isakov at the El Rey

Gregory Alan Isakov
El Rey
February 24

Boyz II Men at Club Nokia

Boyz II Men
Club Nokia
March 26

One album wonders: David McComb's Love of Will

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 1, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment
DAVID MCCOMB - LOVE OF WILL


David McComb
is best known as the singer of The Triffids, unquestionably one of the greatest rock bands of all time and one which released quite a few albums over the course of their fourteen year existence. As a solo artist, however, McComb recorded just one solo record, which is the subject of this week’s One Album Wonders.

David McComb was born 17 February, 1962 in Perth, Australia to Dr. Harold McComb (a plastic surgeon) and Dr. Athel Hockey (a geneticist). The McComb family resided in the Cliffe, an historic home on McNeil Street in the posh neighborhood of Peppermint Grove. David and his four older brothers all attended Christ Church Grammar School in nearby Claremont. Nevertheless, McComb would emerge as one of Australia's greatest poetic voices.

McComb began making music with Alan “Alsy” MacDonald in 1976, who was the primary songwriting partner throughout what proved to be his too short life. The two first collaborated as part of the collective known as Dalsy, then as Blök Music, and followed by Logic, which after just one performance in 1978 changed their name to The Triffids. Despite their having released some of the best music of the 1980s and NME having gone so far as to proclaim 1985, “The Year of the Triffids,” they were never commercially successful. After one of their most musically adventurous but commercially less successful albums, The Black Swan, The Triffids called it a day in 1989.

McComb’s post-Triffids years were less prolific, in large part because of his difficulties with drug addiction and associated illnesses. After the dissolution of the Triffids, McComb and MacDonald formed Blackeyed Susans with former Triffid Phil Kakulas, Ross Bolleter, and Rob Snarski and that band released an EP, Some Births are Worse than Murders in 1990. McComb returned to London, where The Triffids had been based for several years, in 1990, and the following year he and Adam Peters contributed a cover of “Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On” to the Leonard Cohen tribute album I'm Your Fan and also released a proper single, “I Don't Need You.” McComb next formed a backing band, The Red Ponies, comprised of former Triffid “Evil” Graham Lee, Warren Ellis, Peter Luscombe, Bruce Haymes, and Michael Vidale. Backed by his new band, McComb toured Europe and released the dancey single “The Message” on Stephen Street’s Foundation label, which folded in 1991. In 1992 McComb returned to Australia to study art history at The University of Melbourne… and occasionally performed with Blackeyed Susans.



From June to August 1993, McComb recorded what would prove to be his only solo ablum, Love of Will, with a band comprised of former Triffid Martyn Casey and Phil Kakulas on bass; Peter Luscombe on drums; Barry Palmer and “Evil” Graham Lee on guitar; Bruce Haymes and Daniel Denholm on keyboards; and Warren Ellis on violin. Backing vocals were sung by Joanne Alach, Lisa Miller, and Rob Snarski. Love of Will was released in December 1993 on White Label and promo videos were filmed for "Setting You Free" and "Clear Out My Mind" -- both of which were released as singles and the latter of which was (according to McComb) inspired by Geto Boys' “My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me.” A few months after the recording of Love of Will, McComb sang back-up on Nick Cave & the Bad SeedsLet Love In and his own band’s Martyn Casey and Warren Ellis both ended up joining Cave’s. Palmer went on to join Hunters & Collectors; Lee performed with Paul Kelly, Robert Forster, and other musicians; and Luscombe, Haymes, and Denholm also went on to play with numerous musicians.

McComb launched one last band, Costar, who recorded a still unreleased EP. A planned Triffids reunion in 1994 was put on hold when McComb’s health worsened and McComb developed cardiomyopathy. Although he underwent a successful heart transplant in 1996, his continued abuse of drugs did his health no favors and after being involved in a car crash on 30 January, 1996, he was hospitalized for a night, released, and then died on 2 February, a few weeks shy of his 37th birthday. His ashes were spread under the pines at the family’s farm near Jerdacuttup


David McComb


Predictably, since McComb’s death The Triffids’ stature has grown and they’ve inspired a documentary (about the masterpiece Born Sandy Devotional), tribute concerts, and Bleddyn Butcher’s book, Save What You Can - the Day of the Triffids. Additionally, a book of McComb’s poetry was released a few years ago as Beautiful Waste. A crowd-funded documentary titled Love in Bright Landscapes: The Story of David McComb of The Triffids seems still to be in production (or pre-production), directed by Jonathan Alley. Most encouraging is the fact that every proper studio album by The Triffids has been re-released and are therefore relatively easy to enjoy. On the other hand, McComb's Love of Will has unduly suffered over the intervening years since its release from its relative obscurity. Shortly after its initial release it received a second pressing by Mushroom in early 1994 but soon after went out of print and remains so to this day. It was only produced on audio cassette and compact disc but if you find a copy, do snag it. In the meantime, you can listen to it online if you wish.


*****


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