Amoeblog

Best of 2016: Kelly's Personal Picks (now with more cat)!

Posted by Kells, December 31, 2016 02:18pm | Post a Comment
Looking back at 2016, it was a good year for music, if for nothing else. If you're reading this—hey!—you survived the ride. How did you do it? Was it the music? Without a doubt, music has saved my life, or at least my mood, as often as once a day (very probably) over this past year and for that I am thankful (most definitely). Here follows a little list of personal favorites that really came through for me in 2016. My cat may be in some of these pictures...


Tony Molina
- Confront the Truth
(Slumberland)

I never know what to expect from Tony Molina, aside from hella Bay Area bombast and great short songs, and Confront the Truth further confused matters for me (save for the short songs tip) in the best way possible. This lovely 45 is brimming with just the sort of comfortably spun, little-bit-country/little bit folk 'n roll melodies I like. It can also be said that it's brimming with conspicuous influences, namely bits n' bobs reminiscent of The Beatles, Elliott Smith, and perhaps even a little early Skynyrd (think "The Seasons"). Nevertheless, it's easy to appreciate the truth of Molina's heartfelt songwriting and superb ability to navigate a softer power as he coaxes and bends his strums and twangs 'til the bitter end on this ten-ish minutes long, eight song confrontation. Or 'til the bittersweet end, as the cherry on top is a loving cover of Thin Lizzy's wistful instrumental "Banshee" rounding out the record like a would-be bonus track. Altogether a perfect example of how beautifully moving even the most fleeting music can be.



Egyptian Lover - 1983-1988
(Stones Throw)

This 4 LP box set, along with the 1984 LP Egyptian Lover released last year, has been the most important music for me during 2016, no contest. I'm no noob to Egyptian Lover's 808 kingdom, but something clicked in me over the last 12 months that made fiend for his beats more than ever and, as such, I pretty much forced it on everyone around me (not that anyone complained). Though I have already expressed my many thanks and affection for Greg Broussard's electro alter ego and his freadky deaky machine in a previous post, I'd be remiss if I didn't include Egyptian Lover in this year end best-of post.  To quote the man himself: "What is a D.J. if he can't scratch? What is a MC if he can't rap? What is a beat without a live clap? Well, I can do it all, baby, just like that."



Dick Stusso - Nashville Dreams/Sings The Blues
(Vacant Stare)

Somewhere out there a guy is chasing his dirty rock 'n roll dreams tonight, do or die. Oakland's Nic Russo is the that guy bringing Dick Stusso's hellbent fantasies to life, maybe real life, or something like it. He may look okay, but Dicky sounds like a demented drunk branded to fail upwards
towards his hardtack escapist visions of fortune and freedom via middle America's back-country highways, one infectious, nightmare-edged ditty at a time. Part T. Rex boogie, part Gram Parsons twang, all grain alcohol down the hatch and back again, these country fried, mud-soaked porch aspirations hang loose together like plucked notes on a low string being tuned ever downwards. Featuring additional vocals by Grace Cooper (The Sandwitches/ Grace Sings Sludge), this record is pretty limited so don't sleep on it. Get some Dick asap!



Tele Novella
- House of Souls

(Yellow Year)

I got my first taste of Natalie Ribbon's penchant for dark n' lovely bygones and whip-smart singer-songwriter prowess years ago the first time I saw her perform as a part of Agent Ribbons, and I've been hooked ever since. She brings that same sinister energy and torch-bearing realness to Tele Novella, the "macabre-pop" band she joined after moving to Austin, Texas a few years ago. Her mark on their debut LP, House of Souls, is as recognizable as her distinctly smokey yet capable-of-cracking-a-marvelous-squeal vocal range. The album showcases a curio cabinet of yummy trick-or-treat compositions wreathed in dreamy harmonies and spooky jingle-jangle know-how. Another limited press best snatched asap.



Little Wings - Light Green Leaves
(Gnome Life)

Technically this is a re-issue, but it also kind of isn't. When Little Wings' Light Green Leaves was first released via K Records in 2002, the main man behind the magic, Kyle Field, recorded three versions of the record and each version was released via three formats (CD, LP, and cassette tape). The CD version was my gateway to Little Wings' trippy, lo-fi landscape, with songs like "Look At What The Light Did Now" quietly pushing that whole "Freak folk" movement towards it's zenith. Thanks to the good folks at Gnome Life, this year was the first time that the CD version of Light Green Leaves saw the needle on my turntable (yes!!). What's more, this pressing comes with added rainbows thanks to the thrilling effect of the holographic foil-stamped cover sleeve. Also, I've had the pleasure of chatting with Kyle a few times, here and here are two of those times.


Violent Change - VC3
(Melters)

VC3 is the third full-length effort from San Francisco's Violent Change, a dank basement rock band that always sounds like they're broadcasting live from some subterranean rusty-yellow iron lung via janky infernal radio channels that just won't tune in, and therein lies the appeal. This record is a bit mellower than their 2014 release, A Celebration of Taste, and brandishes a less Sex Pistol-y energy while putting the damage on some decidedly Shoes-y sounding riffs, with "Unit A" being a standout example of bandmaster Matt Bleye's ability to  cut crystal visionary pop melodies through all that fuzzy distortion. VC3 is "the lowest form of high art" indeed.



The She's/The Dry Spells split 7"
(Empty Cellar)

This cool little spit 45, housed in some fun, lens-bending 3D cover art, contains atmospheric and sonic harmonies exemplary of a very "San Francisco" sound duality, each side presented in perfect reflection by two different San Francisco bands. Side A sees The She's ripping through “Cherry Red"—a golden nugget of a California beach-ready lipstick bop reminiscent of The Breeders and Shonen Knife. Then the fog rolls in languid and thick on side B as The Dry Spells' moody, spellbound psych-folk tendrils slowly wend all over "Heliotrope," the first new music from the band since their 2009 LP Too Soon For Flowers, thus making this split effort one of the more satisfying 7-inch fixes this year.




Solange - A Seat At The Table

(Columbia)

Sisters, sisters...it's been a good year for the
Knowles sisters. Both Beyoncé and Solange released absolutely fab, extremely successful pop albums that simultaneously reinforce and redefine what a fab, successful pop album is and how it's made. It can even be argued that both albums are "important" in their own way. That said, the two records differ greatly enough that discussions on the topic can spur folks to declare one's preference for one over the other, which isn't important at all. Still, while Beyoncé's Lemonade is an audiovisual tour de force and cause for much commotion, Solange's subtle yet powerfully meditative A Seat At The Table (and the accompanying body-positive music videos) have inspired comparisons to theatrical surrealism and the nickname "the thinking man's Knowles" within my social circles, which I find amusing. Whatever, they're both splendid works and you've probably already decided you like both, no matter how you rank them. Don't hurt yourself!


Blonde Redhead - Masculin Féminin [box set]; Peel Sessions [RSD 7"]
(Numero Group)

Any year that sees a release from Blonde Redhead is a good year for me. In addition to the powered-by-various artists Freedom Of Expression On Barragán remix album, Numero launched two trips into the Blonde Redhead vaults with the Record Store Day special Peel Sessions 45 and a the gag-worthy 4 LP Masculin Féminin box set comprising the band's first two albums, singles, and demos from their early era—stuff that has been out-of-print, hard to find, or otherwise unheard until now! Even if you already have the albums and the singles, this box set is simply a must for the rarities et cetera contained within, including a heap of old photographs and two telling essays by Arto Lindsay (DNA) and Erin Osmon, altogether exploring to the source of the Blonde Redhead sauce. Did you know Blonde Redhead recorded a country song?!

Incidentally, Numero Group has, as always, been killing it with some great new releases this year. If I were made of money, I'd be all up on everything they have to offer, but aside from the Blonde Redhead stuff, two compilations in particular (pushed via their Numbero imprint) have continued to delighted and surprise my senses: the mysterious Shanghai'd Soul Episode 4 collection of bygone deep funk/soul gems mined for the adornment of modern hip-hop cuts (hence the titular tip-of-the-hat to Wu-Tang's Shaolin stylings), and the Record Store Day compilation Los Alamos Grind—a "post-apocalyptic-bachelor-pad" gyrating jukebox homage to those tattered yet titillating Las Vegas Grind comps that still filter in through the used new arrivals vinyl bin from time to time. Get into it!

Well, that about does it for my picks, save for this year's killer stack of Exotica and Exotica-adjacent releases pictured way up top (I wrote about those here) and my Burt Reynolds odyssey (saving that for another post). Happy New Year everybody! Dumpster fire or no, it's time to get a move on. 
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

An Other 'Best Music of 2016' List

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 31, 2016 01:45pm | Post a Comment

 


by Rick Frystak


Here in The Choice Bin, the wealth of superior new music that I get to be exposed to is just staggering.
The wealth of music around this whole planet is astounding, limited only by one's desires, with each new release or deep-dug reissue a shiny object for us to be drawn to. Walk into an Amoeba, an indie record store or check into some genre-specific internet radio and real college radio and you'll know what I mean. And this year was no exception for those who actively seek out new and old sounds and enjoy doing so.

As a youth I was glued to my AM and then FM radio, listening to Rock, Soul, Jazz and 20th Century Classical revelation. Some hosts would even compare hi-fi gear live on the air, using the latest LP cuts. We waited impatiently for stuff we'd heard to arrive at the 3 or 4 record stores in the vicinity. Then I rode to the record shop and bought my favorites, back then in mono for $1 cheaper, and later driving into Westwood for some small-label LP or expensive import that was a must-have. 

With the passing of many of our heroes so devastating, each moment of immersing oneself in their language and legacy is a precious one. And of course, there are the highly talented younger artists that bring a fresh, but well-informed element to their work and sometimes usher in new eras. Compelling, unfamiliar music seems to be discovered by me daily. Then to hear someone say, ''...nothing's happening musically now'', just sounds goofy. 

Continue reading...

The Top 20 Soundtracks of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 29, 2016 04:51pm | Post a Comment

Top 20 soundtracks of 2016

There were lots of soundtrack releases to choose from this year, with many limited edition color vinyl versions creating excitement and selling out fast. Soundtracks play an incredibly important role in films by directors Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, and Nicolas Winding Refn, so it's no surprise that they each had two soundtracks appear on this list. Music from Star Wars films, new and old, made it on this list as well. Read on to see what made each soundtrack release so special.

Suicide Squad the Album

20. Various Artists - Suicide Squad: The Album

Although the movie was not incredibly well-received by critics, the soundtrack - which features Skrillex, Twenty One Pilots, G-Eazy, Panic! at the Disco, Eminem & more - landed it into our top sellers of the year.

Released on CD and LP.

Noir City 15: The Big Knockover, January 20-29

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 28, 2016 07:06pm | Post a Comment
Noir City

The Film Noir Foundation's world-famous and fabulous yearly NOIR CITY film festival returns to San Asphalt JungleFrancisco's legendary Castro Theatre for its 15th year anniversary, January 20-29. This year's theme is "The Big Knockover" and the fest delivers 24 exceptional films ranging from the late-1940s to today and from all parts of the globe. That's almost 70 years of heists, hold-ups, and schemes gone wrong.

NOIR CITY 15's lineup explores the desperate lengths to which people will go to beat the system and hit the big time, charting a veritable history of the heist film from black & white Hollywood classics such as Criss Cross (1949) and The Asphalt Jungle (1950) to stunning contemporary thrillers like El Aura (2005) and Victoria (2015).

"This year's focus on heist movies provides the perfect opportunity to venture beyond the 1940s and '50s to show how noir has expanded and transformed over the decades," said NOIR CITY festival producer and host, Eddie Muller. "To me, it's one of the most exciting programs we've ever done. The movies are terrific individually, but viewed as a 66-year chronological storyline, this program is a uniquely powerful experience."

Continue reading...

1990's Promo Pics Pt V: Guru's Jazzmatazz, Dove Shack, P.M. Dawn, Das EFX, Special Ed, Mac Vo, Prince Markie Dee + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 27, 2016 11:33pm | Post a Comment

GURU's Jazzmatazz Chrysalis/EMI 1996 promo pic by Thierry Le Goues


The above Jazzmatazz promo pic by Thierry Le Goues for Empire Management was sent out by the Chrysalis/EMI publicity department in 1996 as part of the press package for GURU's Jazzmatazz Volume II The New Reality. That was the side project by Gang Starr's GURU (Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal) in which he collaborated with over 20 different talented artists including Donald Byrd, Ronny Jordan, Freddie Hubbard, Chaka Khan, Ramsey Lewis and Kool Keith. It's one of eleven photos in this latest installment of the 1990's Promo Pics Amoeblog series. The series is a tribute to artists as well as the photographers and record labels responsible for sending them out at the time. The previous posts in this series (1990's Promo Pics Part I Part II, Part III , and Part IV)  included such artists as The Roots, Ras KassA Tribe Called Quest, Tha Alkaholiks, Big Daddy Kane,  Beastie Boys, DJ QUIK, The Beatnuts, O.C.Masta Ace Incorporated and Black Sheep.  This latest installment series, featuring mostly 1995 and 1996 promos shots, includes such artists, photographers, and labels as the Mercury Records photo of Blahzay Blahzay by Sue Kwon, Profile Records pictures of both Special Ed (by Micheal Benabib) and MT (by Tim Carter), Relativity's promo shot by B+ of Mac Vo, Gee Street's photo of P.M. Dawn by Chris Cuffaro, East West's pic of Das EFX by Butch Belair, and Prince Markie Dee of the Fat Boys fame pic for Motown. Others include Panther the Apache's pic by Brian Jahn for Boom Sonic Records, The Justin Warfield Supernaut's pic by Stephen Stickler for Quest/Reprise, and The Dove Shack for the Def Jam/Rush Associated Labels (RAL).



The Best "What's In My Bag?" Episodes of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 27, 2016 03:54pm | Post a Comment

The Best  "What's In My Bag?" episodes of 2016

Season 9 of What's In My Bag? kicked off with our first double feature - one episode featuring all the members of Future Islands and a second video with the lead singer, Sam Herring, devoted to his hip hop picks. And from there we barreled headlong into the first weeks of 2016 with several of our favorite episodes, including Savages, The Internet, and Flea & Amy-Jo Albany. We had a lot of fun this season and we were fortunate enough to talk to an electronic music pioneer, a celebrated film director, a Supreme, a Japanese artist and producer, a fashion designer, and many, many more. 

Here are our 15 favorite episodes from season 9. Enjoy and thanks for watching!!

 

The Internet

The six members of LA-based soul band The Internet definitely brought the fun while sharing a few of the artists and albums that impacted them growing up. Their lighthearted goofiness and easy dynamic was pure entertainment, but their picks were genuine and from the heart.

Continue reading...

Top 10 Horror and Exploitation Blu-rays of 2016

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 26, 2016 05:24pm | Post a Comment

by Gabriel Wheeler

Most of us live in world where we can stream movies 24/7, but there are still quite a few of us who want physical copies of our favorite films, whether it’s for the artwork or the inclusion of extras like commentary, alternate cuts, behind-the-scenes photos, and more. Many amazing horror and exploitation movies found their way to Blu-ray this year, so without further ado here are my top 10 sleazy and scary Blu-rays for 2016.


Blood Father10. Blood Father (2016. Jean-Francois Richet. Lionsgate Films)

This is the only movie on the list that actually hit theaters in 2016. Mel Gibson plays John Link, an ex-biker on parole who runs a tattoo parlor out of his trailer in the desert. Out of the blue, his missing daughter gives him a call asking for money and so begins their high-octane journey full of mayhem. This is the ultimate dad film mixing elements of Breaking Bad and Mad Max. Also available on DVD.


 

Continue reading...

Rest In Peace George Michael [Christmas Day 2016]

Posted by Billyjam, December 25, 2016 11:11pm | Post a Comment

Earlier today, Christmas Day, pop star George Michael was reportedly found dead at his Oxfordshire home in England. He was only 53 years of age. According to the Hollywood Reporter, who quoted the singer's manager Michael Lippman, the former member of Wham! and solo singing superstar died of a heart attack at his Goring-on-Thames home in the early afternoon. Meanwhile Michael's publicist Connie Filippello issued a statement today that read, “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”


George Michael first came to fame along with Andrew Ridgeley as part of the dance pop duo Wham! that formed in 1981. An outgrowth of a little known, short-lived (1979 - 1980) ska quartet called The Executive, the pared down duo of Wham! scored a string of hits in their five years together in which they sold 25 million records around the world. Their hit singles (more in the UK than in the US) included "Young Guns (Go For It)," "Wham Rap," "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Freedom," "Last Christmas," and "I'm Your Man." Following the breakup of Wham! in 1986, Michael first collaborated (thanks to Clive Davis) with one of his heroes, Aretha Franklin, on the duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)." Then he threw himself fully into writing and recording what would be a more mature sound than Wham! and a an even more successful solo career (selling 80 million records!) beginning with his 1987 landmark debut solo album Faith. However it should be noted that back in 1984, while still a member of Wham!, he released his first solo single: the hit "Careless Whisper" which is sometimes also credited to Wham! as it appears on the group's 1984 album Make It Big.

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Cornelius

Posted by Amoebite, December 23, 2016 05:27pm | Post a Comment

Cornelius What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

Japanese electronic artist and producer Cornelius (Keigo Oyamada) came shopping at Amoeba Hollywood recently and picked out several groovy and far out records, including avant-garde compositions and obscure European soundtracks. The first selection in this What's In My Bag? episode is Sesso Matto (a.k.a. How Funny Can Sex Be?), an Italian sexploitation comedy featuring a funky soundtrack by Armando Trovajoli. Oyamada reveals that some of his early beats are sampled from that record. Oyamada also picked up the soundtrack to Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult classic The Holy Mountain, as well as some cool electronic classical records from Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

But which classical composer's piece did Beck ask Cornelius to remix? And which new Danish band did his son introduce him to? You'll have to watch the video to find out:

Continue reading...

Chance the Rapper's Hella Hectic Christmas Music Week

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2016 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Topping off an incredibly successful year, that included recently nabbing seven Grammy nominations including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for his critically and commercially acclaimed 2016 album Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper threw himself into the Christmas music spirit this past week. The 23 year old Chicago born and proud rapper has had a hella productive past five days in the Christmas music spirit that began with his viral hit performance of "Jingle Barack" on SNL, included a special Christmas music DJ set (and interview) at BBC1 radio yesterday, and topped it all off today with the surprise release of a Christmas mixtape with fellow Chicago artist, the Def Jam singer/producer Jeremih. Posted to Soundcloud this morning (two days later than initially planned) under the title  Merry Christmas Lil' Mama, it's a (free) nine track mixtape of newly recorded tracks with some mic guests joining in the festive musical mix. It's a real nice laid back 32 minute mix too, which you can hear below, with such tracks as "Chi Town Christmas," "I'm Your Santa," "Snowed In," "All The Way (feat. Hannibal Buress)," "The Tragedy (feat. Noname),"  and “I Shoulda Left You (feat. Lud Foe)."

Continue reading...

Amoeba SF's Best Sellers of 2016

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 22, 2016 12:46pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba San Francisco, Best Sellers of 2016

Let's face it, 2016 has been a strange year full of political and social upheaval, and the deaths of many of David Bowie, Blackstarour cultural heroes. In the music world, we lost Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Merle Haggard, Vanity, Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), Glenn Frey (Eagles), Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane), Leon Russell, John Berry (Beastie Boys), Phife Dawg, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and too many more to list without going into a major depression.

Continue reading...

Danny Brown's "Atrocity Exhibition" (Warp)

Posted by Billyjam, December 21, 2016 09:03am | Post a Comment


  Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition LP (Warp Records) [also avail on CD]

As I wrap up final year end lists for Amoeblog and upcoming WFMU radio annual retrospective show I keep coming back to this album by one-of-a-kind hip-hop artist Danny Brown and realize that, in addition to mentions and list inclusions, that it deserves its own Amoeblog post. This is because perhaps more than any other 2016 release, Danny Brown's brilliant 2 LP set album on Warp Records, Atrocity Exhibition  [also avail on CD], truly demonstrates the sheer diversity within the broad genre that is hip-hop today. From a BPM perspective,  generally most hip-hop is on the slower laid-back beats vibe - as in 100BPM and under. A prime example would be the popular Lil Yachty track "1Night" with its slowed down hypnotic beat. Meanwhile on the opposite end of the spectrum is this 2016 album from Detroit rapper Danny Brown that dropped in September, and just gets better with repeated listens. It is really fast beats and rapping to match, and as such packs a frantic, futuristic, adrenaline-fueled, up all night on acid vibe that's simultaneously disturbingly weird and beautiful.  It's a unique style that can only be described as Danny Brown, but also owes a lot to the album's main producer  Paul White. That's the UK producer who we heard from earlier this year when he collaborated with Open Mike Eagle on Hella Personal Film Festival,  but on that album he went slow and introspective with the beats. This one is polar opposite in speed and overall vibe. With a handful of other producers fleshing things out and complimenting the UK producer's sound for Danny Brown, White produced 10 of the 15 tracks on Atrocity Exhibition. The album's title, as noted in its Amoeba description, is culled from both the Joy Division song and the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name. That review accurately describes the album's varying musical styles, courtesy of several different producers, as containing "elements of trap music, psychedelia, and experimental rap." Standout tracks include "Pneumonia," "When It Rain," "Dance In The Water" and "Really Doe (feat Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, Earl Sweatshirt)." The latter track features just a few of the LP's numerous collaborators. Others, both production and mic guests, include Kelela, B-Real, Petite NoirThe Alchemist, and Black Milk.  Below is the video for the Paul White produced album track "When It Rain." Other Danny Brown releases available from Amoeba include the mixtape that put him on the map XXX, the 2013 Fools Gold release Old (also on LP), and his 2014 album Hot Soup (also on vinyl LP)

Danny Brown "When It Rain" from Atrocity Exhibition (Warp Records) [also avail on CD]

Korla Pandit, the Grand Mogul of Exotica

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 20, 2016 05:59pm | Post a Comment

Korla Pandit

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

Kai and Korla
The author, relaxing.

"For wisdom is better than rubies, and all things to be desired are not to be compared unto it. We bring you musical gems from near and far, blended into a pattern of glorious harmony."
~ Opening monologue of Korla Pandit's Adventures In Music television show

Are you still seeking for that magical present for your favorite Auntie Zuki-Neenee? Well, seek no further, for your quest triumphantly ends here! And the gift you ask? The newly-released documentary Korla on DVD!

Directed by folk art lover John Turner and produced by Eric Christensen, this documentary takes you into the mysterious world and history of Korla Pandit (minus Korla's famous "couch-hopping" that's said he did with female fans in his later years...that ol' moochie suave smoothie). The two filmmakers even got August 20th to be officially recognized as Korla Pandit Day with a proclamation from the City of San Francisco back in 2015.

Continue reading...

The Best Albums of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2016 03:01pm | Post a Comment

Best of 2016

With the holiday season fast approaching and 2016 drawing to an end, we decided to take a look back at some of our favorite releases for the year. Staff from all three of our stores --  in Hollywood, San Francisco, and Berkeley -- shared their picks for the year's best music and movies and told us a little about what made them so awesome. So hop in the Amoeba sleigh with us, won't you, as we go on a magical holiday journey through the early months of 2016 till now, adventuring from world music to rock 'n' roll and everything in between, savoring the most memorable works from some of our most beloved artists. (It might even give you a few swell ideas for record-shaped stocking stuffers.) 

Best of 2016 - rock

Anohni Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness

I have been a fan of Anohni (formerly known as Antony & the Johnsons) for a long time now. She has another one of those distinctive voices that there is no confusing for someone else. Another great album produced by the amazing ANOHNI. The words in the songs are so full of emotion and power it is almost too much to handle sometimes. This album somehow feels like it is in the future. The songs are very set in the present. But the music really takes me to the future. Or at least makes me feel like we will be OK as long as we have ANOHNI to help guide us through the uncertain future. - Brad, Hollywood

Top 20 Vinyl Reissues of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2016 12:28pm | Post a Comment

Top 20 Vinyl Reissues of 2016

2016 was a strong year for reissues, with many now classic LPs getting dusted off and spiffed up as vinyl releases. Some of these releases were remastered, some have been out of print on vinyl for awhile, and some are just straight up excellent tributes to our late, great, favorite artists. From R&B to rock and even one very special television soundtrack, join us for a look back at our biggest sellers for the year and what makes each one essential listening.

Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me

20. The Cure - Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me

The Cure's seventh studio LP was their first album to break into the Billboard Top 40. Featuring beloved tracks "Just Like Heaven," "Hot Hot Hot!!!" and "Why Can't I Be You?," this recent 2-LP reissue is pressed on 180-gram vinyl.

Kill 'Em All

 19. Metallica - Kill 'Em All

my top 50 albums of 2016

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 17, 2016 01:41pm | Post a Comment
















#1 onDeadWaves -
onDeadWaves (Mute)
This is one of those albums that I fell in love with right away. Some albums take a while to grow on me. I have to listen to them multiple times before I know for sure that I am going to love them. But this album got deep inside me right away. I was in love after the first song. I am a sucker for dream pop or anything that reminds me of the 90s Mazzy Star or Julee Cruise. onDeadWaves are sort of like Mark Lanegan or the Tindersticks meets Mazzy Star or Galaxie 500. It is dark and dreamy but has a lightness to it that is hard to describe. It puts me in a good mood every time I listen to it. Just try and listen to the song "Blue Inside" and not fall in love with this album. I can't get enough of this album. It is always the best when an album like this seems to come out of nowhere. It makes it feel like destiny for it to find you and makes you feel all good inside.

#2 Merchandise - A Corpse Wired For Sound (4AD)
I really fell for these guys after their last album from two years ago. After The End was an album I spend a lot of time with in 2014. So I had high hopes for this new album. I just love the singer in this bands voice so much. It has got such a cool dark tone to it. Sort of like the cool British dudes I fell in love in the 80s and 90s from bands like Felt, Modern English, & Cindytalk. This is another album that I kept going back to this year. "Shadow Of Truth" was the song that really got me on this record. 4AD is the perfect label for this band. I could totally imagine them performing a song on one of the This Mortal Coil albums.



#3 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed LTD.)
It is really great to have an artist like Nick Cave in your life for so long. I have bonded with so many friends over the years over him. I feel like all of us Nick Cave fans are bonded together for life. I have seen him live a bunch of times over the years and always look forward to hearing a new album from him. When his son died before this album was recorded it was something we all sort of felt. This album is intense. But his albums never get me depressed. The songs are always so great that they sort of take you away to another place. This album totally grew on me over the months and I started liking it more and more with every listen. I am not sure how Nick Cave & Warren Ellis found time to put out this amazing album and a couple of soundtracks this year. But I am sure glad that they did.

#4 The Weeknd - Starboy (Republic)
The Weeknd has become another artist that I always look forward to. I just know his albums are always great and so worthy of repeated listens. There are always little gems hidden in his albums that will keep you coming back for more. This album really feels like Michael Jackson at his Thriller and Bad peek in the 80s. I am talking "Billie Jean," "Dirty Diana" and "Smooth Criminal" era. And who else can pull off a sample of The Romantics "Talking In Your Sleep" and make it sound so cool. There were tons of great R&B albums like this in the 80s ad 90s but we just don't get them like this anymore. I just hope The Weeknd inspires a new generation like Michael Jackson inspired so many back in the 80s.




#5 Jherek Bischoff - Cistern (Leaf)
I spend a lot of time every year listening to film scores. They always make me fall in love with a movie and are great to revisit to recapture that feeling you had when you first saw the movie. This is not a film score. But it somehow takes you to that place a great film score can. It is a fantastic instrumental orchestral album. It has this beauty inside it that really gets me. I always need a couple of albums like this every year to sort of calm me down. This album is like a really good therapy session. Classical music is an overwhelming genre at times. But artist like Johann Johannsson, Max Richter & Jherek Bischoff make it easier to get into.




#6 Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked For Death (Sargent House)
I somehow missed Emma Ruth Rundle's last album Some Heavy Ocean from a couple of years ago. I only discovered it this year when this new album came out. So I spent a lot of time with Emma Ruth this year while listening to both of these albums. I think I even listened to both of these album multiple times in one day. Emma has worked with Marriages and Red Sparowes. I really loved those Red Sparowes albums so it is no surprise that I love this album. It is a dark & heavy album. It has a sort of goth folk feel to it. Everything I love.




#7 Miranda Lee Richards - Echoes of The Dreamtime (Invisible Hands)
I really don't understand why more people don't love this new album like I do. But I was not really expecting to like it as much as I did. It is not exactly the kind of album that I usually fall in love with. Her first album The Heretherafter came out way back in 2001. This new album has a breezy sort of 70s folk feeling to it. But mix that up with a 90s dream pop album and you sort of get what this album sounds like. Miranda has one of those magical and  soothing voices. This is an album I really needed to help me get through the end of this year.





#8  Miserable - Uncontrollable (Native Sound)
Miserable is Kristina Esfandiari from the bands King Woman and Whirr. This album is sort of miserable. But miserable in the good way. It is full of emotion and despair. But like all good music it doesn't leave you feeling miserable. It is like she goes to the dark places for you to somehow help you through it. This album is for the goths and shoegazers of the world. The album is at time a slow burn. But give it some time and it will work its way into being one of your favorites. At least that is what it did for me. "Best Friend" is the song that I listened to the most on this record. But I did listen to this album almost every day for a while after it first came out.



#9 Marissa Nadler - Strangers (Sacred Bones)
I would describe Marissa Nadler's music as somewhere between goth and country. Or maybe dark dream pop folk. I am just not sure how you can't fall for this album. Marissa really cast me under her spell after listening to this album for the first time. I could not get enough of this album. Sacred Bones usually gives us a a couple really great albums every year. And Strangers is one of those albums that I won't soon forget. It gets under your skin for sure. She has one of those great ethereal voices. Combine that voice with some great dreamy music and you get an album that is pretty close to perfect.



#10 Amber Arcades - Fading Lines (Heavenly Recordings)
This is just a really great pop record. Super catchy and addictive. Not like any sort of pop music you might hear at the gym or on the radio. But more the pop music I gravitate to. I usually like my pop music from England, Norway or Sweden. Or in this case the Netherlands. At times this album seems like it could have been released on K Records in the 90s. But sometimes it sounds like a much bigger record than that. One of the albums that made me happy this year to have in my life.




#11 Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker (Columbia)
I have never really been a fan of Leonard Cohen's earlier folk beginnings. I have tried. But I sure do love I'm Your Man and The Future released in 1988 and 1992. It makes sense for me of course since this is one of my favorite periods for music. The first time I heard him might have honestly been in Natural Born Killers. But I was hooked on him right away. There is nobody like him. Nobody will ever have that distinctive voice like him. Hard to believe he made this album at the age of 82 and that he is no longer with us. But the album is brilliant and sad and everything you would expect from him. He of course has those distinctive backing vocals that make the songs so perfect. One of the best.


#12 ANOHNI - Hopelessness (Secretly)
I have been a fan of Anohni (formerly known as Antony & the Johnsons) for a long time now. She has another one of those distinctive voices that there is no confusing for someone else. Another great album produced by the amazing ANOHNI. The words in the songs are so full of emotion and power it is almost too much to handle sometimes. This album somehow feels like it is in the future. The songs are very set in the present. But the music really takes me to the future. Or at least makes me feel like we will be OK as long as we have ANOHNI to help guide us through the uncertain future.





#13 Blood Orange - Freetown Sound (Domino)
I am a big Dev Hynes fan and loved his previous band Lightspeed Champion. I loved the first Blood Orange album Coastal Grooves from 2011. Somehow I didn't really love his last album but he got me back with this one. I can't resist his catchy songs. He really is a great songwriter. "Hands Up" and "Better Than Me" stand out as two of the most catchy and addictive. I hope he keeps writing songs for himself and others forever. We need more people like Dev Hynes around the world.





#14 S U R V I V E - RR7349 (Relapse)
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein got a little famous this year for doing the Score for the TV show Stranger Things. But this is their band. I was one of the many 80s pop culture fans that was cast under the spell of Stranger Things this year. I loved it. And the score did really help make the show what it was. Sort of like how the soundtrack to the movie Drive really made that movie what it was. If you like the Stranger Things soundtrack you will like this album. It is that futuristic sound that sounds like it came from 70s or 80s. A super fun album to listen to.






#15 Steve Hauschildt - Strands (Kranky)
Another great retro futuristic sci-fi sounding album brought to us by the great Steve Hauschildt. I basically love anything this guy does. I loved his band Emeralds. This album if more ambient sci-fi than horror soundtrack. A great new age sort of album that would fit nicely next to your Blade Runner soundtrack. It is easy to sort of fall in a trance when you listen to this album. Or to fall off into a nice relaxing blissful sleep.








#16 Justice - Woman (Because Music)
It is hard to believe that Justice unleashed the album Cross on us almost 10 years ago. Where did those 10 years go! This album is pure fun. It could easily soundtrack your 70s themed wedding or your late night yacht ride around the world. We will hopefully get another Daft Punk or Holy Ghost! album soon. But this more than fills the void this year. Happy to have these guys back in my life.









#17 Wild Beasts - Boy King (Domino)
Wild Beasts is another band I go through phases with. Sometimes I love them and sometimes I don't. But this is for sure one of those years where I love them. "2BU" was listened to over and over by me this year. Wild Beasts is sort of like a more modern version of Bronski Beat or Erasure. Great electro pop songs.










#18 Public Memory - Wuthering Drum (Felte)
I don't think I can ever get enough of this genre of music. You can call it dark wave or goth experimental electronic music. This is an album that I love to lose myself in. The album opens up with one of the best songs on the album. The sounds and textures on this album are great. They would fit perfectly in the background of some of the songs on Disintegration by The Cure.







#19 Flyying Colours - 
Mindfullness
 (Shellshock)
There are not really that many modern bands that can pull off the shoegaze sound of the early 90s. But these Australians got it right. It might be too obviously influenced by bands like Ride And Slowdive for some. But I am always glad to have another album like this in my life. I can never get enough shoegaze.







 
#20 Vow - Kind Eyes (Native Sound)
I have never really stopped listening to this album since a coworker recommended it to me a couple of months ago. They remind me of 90s bands like Curve or Lush. Or maybe it is just those doll heads on the cover of the album that make me think of Curve. Vow are like the catchier pop side of shoegaze songs. "Over and Over" is one of my favorite songs on the album. But there are many great songs to choose from.








#21 Douglas Dare - Aforger (Erased Tapes)
I fell hard for the debut album from this dude a couple of years ago. I feel like I am still recovering from my obsession with that album. He has one of those voices that will stay with me for my entire life. His voice has a sadness to it that I can't get enough of. Another beautiful and captivating album. For fans of all things British and melancholic sad love songs. 









#22 Ice Choir - Designs In Rhythm (Shelflife Records)
This album fits perfectly with my 80s nostalgia and love of all 80s British music. They sound like a mix of Human League, Depeche Mode, OMD & The Style Council. I need albums like this to balance out the rest of what I listen to throughout the year. I love escaping into this album. This could have been the soundtrack to my favorite 80s themed Black Mirror Episode "San Junipero." I can't get enough of this album. Super fun and addictive.






#23 Wild Nothing - Life Of Pause (Captured Tracks)
Wild Nothing and all things Captured Tracks will always have a special place in my heart. Wild Nothing is like one of my old best friends. I can go years without seeing or hearing from them. But it is always the best when you get to see them again. You can relive those memories of when you first met. Wild Nothing gives us another great album of gorgeous dream pop. Dreamy and otherworldly. 






#24 DIIV - Is The Is Are (Captured Tracks)
While Wild Nothing is more the dream pop side of Captured Tracks. DIIV (formerly Dive) are a bit more rough around the edges. I never get bored with these albums. They are like my comfort music. I feel like I can just put this album on and listen to it forever. Like a dream pop version of Dinosaur Jr. or Ned's Atomic Dustbin. 









#25 Nite Jewel - Liquid Cool (Gloriette Records)
Nite Jewel has been making music for almost 10 years now. But this was really the first album to get me into her. This new album sounds like it could fit next to any of the Italians Do It Better artists like Glass Candy and Chromatics. This is a pop album. But the kind of pop music you could imagine David Lynch listening to. Like a dark and moody lounge singer singing in some retro bar in the future.







#26 Johann Johannsson - Orphee (Deutsche Grammophon)
I pretty much like everything this dude puts out. I have certainly loved the last couple of soundtracks he has put out. He worked beautifully with the director Denis Villeneuve on the score to Prisoners, Sicario & Arrival. This new album is also great and just as cinematic. A nice album to put on when you need some alone time with your thoughts. 







#27 Pye Corner Audio - Stasis (Ghost Box)
I got pretty addicted to their album Sleep Games from 2012. This album is supposedly the sequel to that album. I am always looking for any albums with a 70s or 80s synth sound. And especially anything reminiscent of John Carpenter. This album is sort of like a mellowed out John Carpenter movie. Another album that is easy for me to get lost inside of. 








#28 The Blessed Isles - Straining Hard Against The Strength Of Night (Saint Marie)
This is one of those albums that I knew I was going to like as soon as I listened to it for the first time. These guys are like if The Book Of Love put out an album on Sarah Records. Similar to artists like Slowdive, Secret Shine and The Field Mice. But like the more pop side of those artists. They are exactly what dream pop sounds like. Dreamy songs that make you feel good inside. 







#29 Chasms - On The Legs Of Love Purified (Felte)
This album is for those who like their shoegaze a little more experimental and rough. A great beautiful album. But more industrial and dark than your typical shoegaze. They are from San Francisco which makes me love them just a little bit more. Dark and moody. This album may not lull you off into an easy deep sleep. But it is the the sort of album that you won't soon forget.







#30 Shura - Nothing's Real (Universal)
It makes me happy every time I find a new artist like Shura. She sings 80s tinged pop songs in the style of Kylie Minogue or Ladyhawke. This album is super fun and catchy. Better than pretty much every other pop album out this year. She really should be a much bigger deal than she is.











#31 Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony (Fat Possum)
If the name of this band is a bit too ridiculous and cute for you then this band might not be the album for you. But they do fit right next to your other similarly named 90s bands like The Smashing Pumpkins and The Cranberries. This is one of those catchy albums from earlier in the year that has stayed with me. It is another great 90s sounding jangly indie pop album.







#32 Night School - Blush (Graveface Records)
I would have probably been obsessed with this album in the mid to late 90s. Back when I was listening to everything K Records and loved bands like the Softies and Heavenly. It is one of those perfect little twee albums. Sort of dirty and grungy but still very much twee. A great album full a catchy adorable pop songs.








#33 Preoccupations - Preoccupations (Jagjaguwar)
The band formerly known as Viet Cong found a much better name in Preoccupations. And I actually really like this new album much better than their first. They are sort of like my Future Islands for this year. The Canadian version. The lead singer has a crazy deep voice that I love. Sort of like Joy Division meets Psychedelic Furs.







#34 Umberto - Alienation (Not Not Fun)
This album is way more mellow than their Confrontations album from 2013. But I am OK with that. Like the soundtrack to a mellowed out sci-fi John Carpenter road movie. I am sure I could easily bond with any lover of new age over an album like this. Weird and synthy. And they even have some Blade Runner style vocals on the track "White Night."









#35 Lust For Youth - Compassion (Sacred Bones)
I am always excited when my favorite Swedes have a new album. Another great album from Lust For Youth and Sacred Bones. I really needed this album this year. Especially without new albums this year from bands like Trust or Cold Cave. Dark synth in the style of the greats like The Human League or Clan Of Xymox. 








#36 Samaris - Black Lights (One Little Indian)
This album brings me back to the late 90s. Back when the female driven electronica bands were so popular. Bands like Portishead, Moloko, Morcheeba & Lamb. Samaris sounds similar to a 90s Bjork. Dreamy and ethereal. Samaris are from Iceland and they are on One Little Indian. So the comparisons to Bjork are expected. It is a pretty album though. And I never mind going back to the 90s.






#37 Trentemoller - Fixion (In My Room)
I am always going to like any album that sounds like the darker more experimental side of Depeche Mode with Siouxsie Sioux vocals. Another dark and synthy album that helped me get through the year. I totally needed this album. The album features vocals from Jehnny Beth from the band Savages. 










#38 Black Marble - It's Immaterial (Ghostly International)
Black Marble is no longer a duo. It is now the solo work of Chris Stewart. But Black Marble still has that dark 80s introspective sound. I can never get tired of this music. I always need more of it in my life. A great album for driving around at night to. Or hanging out in your room alone and being angsty to when you are too old to be angsty. Or maybe you are the exact right age.







#39 Vatican Shadow - Media In The Service Of Terror (Hospital Productions)
None of us really knew how this year would end up. But this album was the perfect album for 2016. I obviously really do like a lot of my music on the dark side of things. And this album will take you there. No vocals necessary for Vatican Shadow. I can listen to that song "More Of The Same" over and over again. And Vatican Shadow sort of read my mind by putting the song on the album twice. 







#40 Loscil - Monument Builders (Kranky)
I have been a long time fan of Scott Morgan and the minimal electronic music of Loscil. I pretty much love everything Kranky puts out. Grouper, Stars Of The Lid, Tim Hecker, Mirrorring, Steve Hauschildt, Low, Deerhunter & Jonas Reinhardt have put out some of my favorite albums over the years. This guy should really be doing soundtracks along with dudes like Johann Johannsson & Max Richter. A great moody and atmospheric album.








#41 Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing (Bayonet Records)
So yes she is the daughter or Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline. And yes I am jealous that those are her parents! And this really is reason enough to listen to this album. This album is another great twee inspired albums that will take you back to the days of K Records and bands like Heavenly. I will always love Phoebe Cates for giving us Gremlins and now we have her to thank for Frankie Cosmos!








#42 Japanese Breakfast - Psychopomp (Yellow K Records)
I have been obsessed with this dreamy album since I first heard it back in April. This albums make me think of the indie bands coming out of the UK in the 90s. This album would fit perfectly next to the Sarah Records albums that I was into back then. Maybe like Sarah Records meets Slumberland. 








#43 Minor Victories - Minor Victories (Fat Possum)
There was no way that I wasn't going to like an album featuring Rachel Goswell of Slowdive. The band also features members of Mogwai and Editors. This album met my expectations and became one of my favorites of the year. "A Hundred Ropes" is as addictive as you can get. It is a beautiful and messy shoegaze album. I will always welcome Rachel's voice back into my life.







crescendo#44 Crescendo - Unless (We Were Never Being Boring)
It is always great to find a new band that can do shoegaze right. This LA band is I am sure young enough to be the children of the bands that they sound like. But that just makes me excited for the future. They are sort of a mix of indie bands like Blueboy or Secret Shine and the shoegaze greats like Lush or Pale Saints. A fantastic band and such a great impressive album. "Haunted" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. But it is a solid album and highly worthy of repeated listens.





#45 The Goon Sax - Up To Anything (Chapter Music)
Awkward indie jangly pop from Australia in the style of Beat Happening. This record totally won me over this year. It is a charming little pop record full of ridiculously sweet songs. And the band features the son of Robert Forster from The Go-Betweens! I wish I had this band to listen to when I was in high school. But somehow I can still relate to this album. The song "boyfriend" is the best. 






#46 Nils Bech - Echo (DFA)
Nils Bech is like our modern day version of Jimmy Somerville from Bronski Beat. And I am talking specifically about Jimmy Somerville as the angel in the Tilda Swinton movie Orlando! Please go watch that movie right now if you have not seen it. This dude has a beautiful angelic voice. A great super synthy and weird pop album. You will either love or hate this record. But I am super into it. It just makes me so happy that somebody made this record and that it exists. 







#47 LUH - Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing (Mute)
LUH features former WU LYF vocalist Ellery Roberts and Ebony Hoorn. He apparently likes all CAPS. The album is produced by The Haxan Cloak. So it is a bit weird and dark and introspective as you would expect. It is the sort of album that I could imagine two artists like Nick Cave & Yoko Ono bonding over. Ellery's raspy intense voice sort of works perfectly against Ebony's lighter voice. There is a definite beauty that exists beneath the surface of this album.





#48 Shield Patterns - Mirror Breathing  (Gizeh Records)
It is impossible to not compare the vocalist in Shield Patterns to the great Kate Bush. I also just listened to Kate Bush's new live album so her voice was already whisping around my head. This album is mysterious and dreamy. Sort of the perfect album to go along with Twin Peaks and the David Lynch universe. 








#49 Bent Shapes - Wolves Of Want (Slumberland)
I always have room in my top 50 for a band like Bent Shapes. They are like a Boston version of Versus and Los Campesinos! They sort of remind me of Shout Out Louds as well. I have always loved Slumberland and they always bring me great records like this.








#50 Roosevelt - Roosevelt (City Slang)
Roosevelt is Marius Lauber. He gives us a super fun album of German electro disco songs. Sort of like Holy Ghost! or Classixx. Addictive and sugary electro pop songs. "Sea" & "Heart" are the songs I keep on repeat from this album. I needed a feel good album to end my list on this year. And this was that album! Thanks for reading if you made it this far. 










The Jungle Echoes of Chaino

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 15, 2016 06:02pm | Post a Comment

Chaino, Jungle EchoesBy Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


Are you planning your next loincloth-clad romping weekend in the Jungle Rock Room at the Madonna Inn but don't feel you have the right tunes for your portable record player? Are Martin Denny and Eden Ahbez just a tad too mellow for the primitive thoughts you have swirling in your mind? You have Frank Hunter’s White Goddess album already, but you need more raw, mating-ritual music? You need Chaino.

As the story goes, long ago in the Congo, there was a hidden tribe that possessed extraordinary mental and physical powers and could even communicate with the wild animals. Then one day, a nearby jealous and hostile tribe attacked the secret tribe’s village, killing everyone but one little boy named Chaino. Found and saved by a passing Chaino, Night of the Spectremissionary, Chaino was brought to the United States to be “educated” and it was discovered that he had percussion talents from beyond this world.

Practicing 17 hours a day, Chaino would soon master 7 drums at a time. Although it was said, that he was quiet and reserved away from his drums, his "savage" beginnings seemed to resurface when he would play his music, allowing his primitive spirit to project through his drums. This, my friends, is the story Omega Records tells you on the back of Chaino’s record.

Continue reading...

Best of 2016 Hip-Hop Lists: Top 7 Lists of Albums, Female MCs, DJ Releases, Reissues, Monalisa's Top 7 Album Picks + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 14, 2016 01:42pm | Post a Comment
Top 7 Hip-Hop Albums of 2016 by Billy Jam


1:  A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here,... Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)

2: De La Soul and the Anonymous Nobody (A.O.I. LLC) (also on 2 LP vinyl)

3: Homeboy Sandman Kindness for Weakness (also on LP) (Stones Throw)

4: E-40 The D-Boy Diary Book 1 + The D-Boy Diary Book 2,
           (Heavy On The Grind)

5: Mr. Lif Don't Look Down (also on LP) (Mello Music Group)


6: ElZhi  Lead Poison (also on LP) (Glow 365) 

Continue reading...

Shohei Imamura's "Vengeance is Mine"

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 13, 2016 01:22pm | Post a Comment

Vengeance Is MineBy Nazeeh Alghazawneh

At least once a month an elderly woman approaches me and tells me that I remind her of her son, either in the way that I look or because of my demeanor or simply because of my age. They’re very sweet and a little bit sad but most of all, full of nostalgia, which is always more sweet than sad until you think about it too much. They love to tell me about them. These mothers love to tell me about the love they have for their sons - an unconditional, boundless love that’s familiar and intimate at the same time but mostly uncomfortable. However, I nod my head and I listen because a heart is speaking to me and that’s the best thing about mothers: they always speak with their hearts.

It’s 1979 and Japanese New Wave director Shohei Imamura releases his first feature-length fiction film, Vengeance is Mine (available on DVD and Blu-ray), after a decade of making documentaries. For 140 minutes we’re introduced to Iwao Enokizu (played by Ken Ogata), a textbook sociopath with a penchant for murdering innocent people for reasons he couldn’t explain. Based on the real life serial killer Akira Nishiguchi, the film depicts the 78-day killing spree with faithful objectivity; Enokizu’s exploits aren’t glorified or celebrated, but they are fully realized. Imamura’s camera hangs low and aloof behind our protagonist, following him with that lecherous sense of dread and paranoia that a hunted murderer on the run probably feels. Ogata’s performance finesses a presence on the screen that is volatile, dripping with an anxiety that ultimately makes you feel uneasy, but dedicated to him nonetheless. The worst part is just how charming he is. It’s a concoction of Kit’s (Martin Sheen) aimless nonchalance from Terrence Malick’s Badlands and Bronson’s (Tom Hardy) gleeful desire for violence from Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. Enokizu lacks any regard for anyone in his life, including himself, which appears to fuel his desire to kill; he seems to be angry that he’s even alive.

Continue reading...

Gift Ideas: Vinyl Box Sets

Posted by Amoebite, December 13, 2016 11:34am | Post a Comment

gift ideas vinyl box sets

If you're searching for the perfect holiday gift for the post-punk completist or the music fan who has everything, never fear! We've compiled a roundup of some of the most impressive, comprehensive, and just straight up awesome slash interesting rock box sets to hit our stores this year. Many of these releases have never been on vinyl before. Some had been on vinyl long ago, back in the day, and were going for crazy prices on the resell circuit -- until these reissues dropped. From alternate takes to oral histories, here's why we think these box sets will make delightful gifts for the music lovers in your life.

Skylarking

XTC - Skylarking

This comprehensive box set features two 200-gram vinyl LPs plus two CDs, a booklet with song notes from the band, a lyric sheet, and two record sleeves -- the original proposed design and the iconic Skylarking design. 

New Order - Singles

New Order - Singles

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Greg Anderson of Sunn O)))

Posted by Amoebite, December 12, 2016 06:40pm | Post a Comment

Sunn O))) Greg Anderson What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

What was the first thing Sunn O)))'s Greg Anderson picked up during his recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood? That would be the super deluxe edition of Black Sabbath's seminal sophomore album, Paranoid. "This is (an) incredibly important band and album," says the guitarist and co-founder of Southern Lord Records, who also comments "everything kind of starts and ends" with Sabbath for him.

Sunn O))) Kannon Amoeba MusicSunn O))) formed in the late ‘90s, becoming legendary figures in the metal scene through their innovative incorporation of elements from doom, drone, ambient, noise rock, and black metal. Founders Stephen O'Malley (Khanate, Burning Witch) and Greg Anderson (Goatsnake, Engine Kid) originally teamed up as a Los Angeles-based Earth tribute band before honing their unique sound and releasing their debut full-length ØØ Void in 2000 via Hydra Head. The duo’s next offering was 2002’s 3:Flight of the Behemoth.

Continue reading...

Amoeba SF Stage Transformed Into Winter Wonderland

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 12, 2016 06:06pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba San Francisco

By Brent James

You've been to the shows. You've seen the artists. You've always wanted to be on the Amoeba stage. NOW is your chance!

Running now until December 31st is our indoor sidewalk sale we're calling the Bizarre Holiday Bazaar! We've dug through the darkest, deepest recesses of the building and put all the choice merch out for sale. Best part? It's actually located ON the world famous Amoeba San Francisco stage!

It's a great place for photo ops, on Friday nights you'll be on stage WITH a guest DJ, and you'll find last-minute stocking stuffers such as a Tom Petty hiking bag or a Santana picnic blanket. Not your thing? How about your choice from over 100 different carded Star Wars action figures? Or maybe a KISS action figure?

In any case, there's something for everyone at Amoeba Music. With a different selection every day, you'll never see the same thing twice!

Happy Holidays from Amoeba Music!

De La Soul, Bowie, Ennio Morricone, Sturgill Simpson, & "Compton" OST: Top 5 Reasons 2017 Grammys Don't Completely Suck

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2016 02:17pm | Post a Comment

One of five Grammy 2017's "Best New Artist" nominees Anderson .Paak (above Feb 2015: Amoeba Hollywood following the release of his album Venice)This year the neo-soul singer/producer/musician from Oxnard (FKA Breezy LoveJoy) released both the solo album Malibu (nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album) & collaborative Yes Lawd! (on LP) with Knxwledge as NxWorries.

Predictably within moments of the public announcement of the nominees for the 2017 Grammys been made last Tuesday (Dec. 6th) disgruntled music fans swarmed social media to vent their outrage over why they felt the Grammys sucked. While many positive music fans agreed with such choices as Beyoncé (nine nominations in all!) or Sia (two nominations), or the inclusion of such relative newcomers as Anderson .Paak and BJ The Chicago Kid (both friends of Amoeba), typically it was the voices of discontent who were the loudest and that dominated the discussions.  These critics were the quickest in expressing their disdain over the picks and, more importantly, the omissions or snubs from the listed nominees for the music biz's biggest annual event: the 59th Grammy Awards to take place on February 12, 2017. "I can't believe that so-and-so [insert their fave artist here] was not included once but that Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West each got eight nominations! What the F.." was a stereotypical response by those of the many unhappy music fans to the Grammys announcement. But being incredulous at the lack of new creative alternative music in a mainstream music event doesn't accomplish anything. It's like Trump whining about how "unwatchable" SNL is while still religiously tuning in each week.

Continue reading...

The Return of Noir City Xmas, December 14

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 11, 2016 02:53pm | Post a Comment

Noir City Xmas

Noir City wants you to get dark for the holidays. On Wednesday, December 14th, our friends at the Film Noir Foundation present Noir City Xmas, their 7th annual holiday double feature, at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Tossing aside Christmas treacle for a headlong dive into a double bill of danger and darkness, this year's noir-stained noel flicks are Quentin Lawrence's Hammer Film Cash on Demand (1961) and Harold Ramis's neo-noir The Ice Harvest (2005).

In addition to the screenings, host Eddie Muller will reveal the theme and complete film schedule for the eagerly anticipated NOIR CITY 15 festival, coming to the Castro Theatre January 20-29, 2017. NOIR CITY 15 Passports (the all-access festival passes) will be available for sale that night as well on the Castro mezzanine.

They will also have collection bins for both the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program and the SF-Marin Food Bank at the event. The San Francisco Firefighters are looking for toys for kids (infants through 12 years old). Toys must be un-gift-wrapped. The SF-Marin Food Bank needs the following: peanut butter, low-sugar cereal, whole-grain rice, pasta, oats, low-sodium soups and stews, tuna and other canned meats, and canned fruits and vegetables. Please no glass, opened items, perishables, or items past their "use before" date.

Continue reading...

Watch the New Amoeba Green Room Session with Youth Code

Posted by Amoebite, December 9, 2016 05:41pm | Post a Comment

Youth Code Amoeba Green Room Session

LA industrial duo Youth Code recently performed a blistering Green Room Session at Amoeba Hollywood, just two days before their show at The Toubadour with Tribulation and Horrendous. Playing songs off their latest release, Commitment To Complications (out now on Dais Records), the combination of Sara Taylor's pummeling vocals and Ryan George's darkly driving beats turned the usually intimate and cozy green room into a sinister madhouse.

First up is "Avengement." With its funky bass lines and collage of sounds Sara Taylor's voice tears the room apart. Next is "Anagnorisis," which starts off like a Cliff Martinez soundtrack but soon turns into something more akin to a Trent Reznor track. Ryan George joins in on the chorus screaming, "This is a trigger, this is despair!" The set ends with "Transitions," a pulsing scorcher that'll make you want to find a mosh pit. 

Youth Code will be starting off the new year with a U.S. tour. Catch them in San Francisco, Jan 27 at Thee Parkside and in Los Angeles, Jan. 28 at Union Nightclub.

Continue reading...

With 3 New Albums On Billboard's Top 200, E-40 Continues Work Ethic Developed Decades Ago, As Reminded in Rare 1992 Interview

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2016 03:17pm | Post a Comment

"I was born with a rusty spoon. Now I'm a tycoon," raps E-40 on his new album track "Savage (feat. Jazze Pha & B-Legit)" accurately summing up the longtime Vallejo rapper's unique, consistently illustrious and prolific hip-hop career. Spanning three decades as solo artist, member of The Click, and frequent collaborator with countless other artists, E-40's remarkable career culminated this past week with his three new simultaneously released albums all charting on the Billboard Top 200 chart. The D-Boy Diary Book 1, The D-Boy Diary Book 2, plus The D-Boy Diary Books 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition not only made the Billboard's Top 200 chart, but also charted on the Top 20 of Billboard's Indie and R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, plus the Billboard Rap Top Ten Chart. While most rappers fade away after a couple of albums or within a handful of years, three decades on the Bay Area rap icon seems to be more popular and well known than ever. Very few others have accomplished this. One who has come close is fellow Bay Area rap veteran Too $hort, coincidentally an artist with whom E-40's collaborated with many times including on two albums.

Continue reading...

Vintage, Original Rolling Stones 'Licks' Memorabilia & More on Sale at Amoeba + Chat With Designer Craig Braun

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 8, 2016 11:06am | Post a Comment
Exquisite, Original, Vintage 1971 Licks Silver/Enamel Belt and Buckle
Available in sizes X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
 
The record business is home to many people who are a kind of hero to me, often behind the scenes in unspoken nine-to-fives. I have my heroes of album cover design: Tadanori Yokoo, Reid Miles, Jim Flora, Dirk Rudolph, and Barbara Worjisch to name a few.

Add to this list a Mr. Craig Braun, a quintessential ''Man Behind the Curtain," a luminary of mostly-unsung parts of the music establishment of the 1960s and '70s. And even more paramount than Craig's resume and bone-deep knowledge of the record business is that he's a refreshingly witty, wonderful human being with umpteen stories to tell.

The Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 7, 2016 12:51pm | Post a Comment

Top 10 Criterin Blu-ray of 2016

Film fans rejoice! It's been an exciting year of releases for Criterion, the primo purveyors of classic, foreign, and arthouse films. 2016 saw the release of much sought after cult flicks, bonafide classics dearly in need of restoration, as well as contemporary films that are poised to be classics in future years. This year's list of top ten selling Criterion Blu-rays features two films by American auteur Robert Altman and two by the acclaimed genre-satirists Joel and Ethan Coen. While the list was heavy on American films this year, there were, as you'd expect from Criterion, a few foreign pictures in there too.

10. In a Lonely Place
Directed by Nicolas Ray, 1950
Release Date: May 10, 2016

Nick Ray's romantic noir remains one of the quintessential films about the gin-soaked underbelly of Hollywood. Humphrey Bogart, in one of his greatest performances, stars as a washed up screenwriter suspected of murder. Neighbor Gloria Graham backs his alibi, and in the process a romance develops between the two, only to be threatened by her suspicion that he may not be innocent after all. 2K digital restoration. 

9. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1964
Release Date: June 28, 2016

Oakland's Ghost Ship Fire: List of Fund Drives & Bay Area Benefit Concerts

Posted by Billyjam, December 6, 2016 06:11pm | Post a Comment
The Ghost Ship

As everywhere across the Bay Area and beyond, we here at Amoeba Music are still reeling in shock from the news of the devastating, deadly Ghost Ship inferno. At this time our solemn thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends. Located in East Oakland's Fruitvale district the warehouse was described as a home, studio, venue, and safe space for local artists, filmmakers, painters, musicians, dancers, and their families. The tragedy at the space occurred late last Friday night, during the beginning stages of an all night electronic dance party that was a show for 100% Silk, the dance music imprint of the Not Not Fun record label. One of the record label's artists Cherushii (33-year-old San Franciscan Chelsea Dolan who was also a KALX Berkeley DJ) was among the victims of the fatal blaze. Tragically she was just one of four volunteers at the UC Berkeley radio station killed in the fire. The others were Griffin Madden (aka DJ Laura), Vanessa Plotkin, and Jennifer Morris.

Reportedly, the deadly fire broke out suddenly and rapidly spread throughout the below-code wooden structure, leaving few escape options for those trapped inside the fiery smoke-filled building. As of the time of posting this Amoeblog, the number reported dead stood at 36, mostly from smoke inhalation according to authorities. Many of the names have still to be officially identified, while many of the identified victims still have not been publicly announced out of respect for their families. Somewhat heartening  however was the announcement made earlier today by an Oakland Fire Dept. official that, even with 15% of the charred building remaining to be investigated, that they are hopeful and confident that the death toll figure will not rise much higher, if at all, above 36.

Continue reading...

Recap: Charity Auction for the LA Food Bank with Kurt Braunohler & Kristen Schaal

Posted by Amoebite, December 6, 2016 04:05pm | Post a Comment

Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal

On Saturday, December 3rd we had the inimitable Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal tackle the gavel duties at Amoeba Hollywood's famous charity auction. Kurt has been here many times before and helped us raise tons of money for great and worthy causes, but this was Kristen's first soiree into the fun and unpredictable realm of anxious anticipation and frenzied bidding. It didn't take long for her mad skills and silver-tongued auctioneering to come right on out. 

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Kurt and Kristen brilliantly and hilariously paved the way for one of our most successful auctions ever! They auctioned off a crazy array of concert tickets, collectibles, gift certificates from our amazing neighbors and partners, and other things you never knew you had to have (a giant 25 foot Adele banner anyone??). 

All proceeds from this month's auction benefited the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which feeds more than half a million people each month—12% of those are over the age of 65, and 25% are kids under 18. It is an amazing organization that we have had the honor of working with for the past few years. These are two of the funniest people on the planet and they rocked the crowd on Saturday!

Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen live at the VirgilKristen, who has appeared in Flight of the Conchords and is currently the voice of Louise Belcher on Bob's Burgers, graciously signed some DVDs and a FUNKO doll of her character--which then garnered big money at the auction. Kurt and Kristen were celebrating their new double LP from Kill Rock Stars, Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen Live at the Virgil. Recorded live over two nights at The Virgil in Los Angeles at their long-running comedy variety show Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen.

Best Bet For New Years Eve: OAKNYE 2017 Featuring Boots Riley & The Coup

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 5, 2016 06:39pm | Post a Comment

Boots Riley

OAKNYE is back for another New Year's party to remember! On Saturday, December 31st, OAKNYE welcomes Boots Riley & The Coup and the Kahil El'Zabar's New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble to the Starline Social Club in Oakland. In addition to these thrilling live performances in the Starline ballroom, the La Pelanga DJ collective will be playing in the lounge. But that's not all! Did we mention the three course dinner program, including oysters and filet mignon?! Get your tickets now before they're all gone!

The influence Boots Riley & The Coup have had on political hip-hop and the politics of Oakland in general can not be underestimated. This revolutionary group's presence is as electrifying as their music. The Montreal Gazette says, "Boots Riley is a consummately charismatic front man, establishing his as one of the best live rap acts going, after Philadelphia untouchables The Roots."

Kahil El'Zabar is a jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer who regularly records for Delmark Records. Kahil El'ZabarDuring the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble. The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble is comprised of Kahil El'Zabar on percussion, Corey Wilkes on trumpet, Alex Harding on baritone saxophone, and Fareed Haque on guitar. The history and depth between these master players represents the highest level of performance stemming from the 20th into the 21st century.The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble plays music endowed with an authentic pedigree that pushes the boundaries of creative music into the soulful heart of fresh expression! After over 43 years of eventful music making, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble is still reinventing itself while forging innovative pathways upon the African American musical pantheon.

Continue reading...

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with BJ The Chicago Kid

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2016 05:44pm | Post a Comment

BJ The Chicago Kid What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

"I believe most of this stuff is going in my studio," says soul signer/songwriter BJ The Chicago Kid (aka Bryan James Sledge) after his recent trip to Ameba Hollywood. BJ picked up a cool collection of records, movies and posters at the store that piqued his interest or had particular meaning to him. "It's all about the circle of the inspiration for me."

BJ The Chicago Kid In My Mind Amoeba MusicBJ The Chicago Kid hails from Chicago, IL. He released his debut album, Pineapple Now-Laters, in February 2012 before signing to Motown. In February 2016, he released his second studio album and his major label debut, In My Mind.

"I've seen everything else of Prince but this movie," says Sledge holding up the iconic singer's directorial debut, Under the Cherry Moon. Next up in his picks is the concert DVD James Brown: Live at Boston Garden. Filmed in 1968, the footage captures Brown not only during his creative peak, but also performing the night after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. While riots were starting across the country, Brown's show was broadcast live on Boston's public TV channel in an attempt to unify the city. Sledge also had to pick up a 10" reissue of Marvin Gaye's classic single "What's Going On" featuring a new duet with a name that might sound a little familiar: BJ The Chicago Kid.

Continue reading...

2016's Top 25 Pop Singles Via San Francisco DJ Earworm's Annual Mashup Megamix: United State of Pop 2016 (Into Pieces)

Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2016 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Bruno Mars
- 24K Magic( album with title track hit also avail in LP format)

Calvin Harris "This Is What You Came For (feat. Rihanna)"

D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty  "Broccoli"

Desiigner "Panda"

DJ Snake "Let Me Love You (feat. Justin Bieber)" from Encore

DNCE  "Cake By The Ocean" from DNCE

Drake "One Dance ( feat. Wizkid & Kyla)" from VIEWS (also avail on LP)

Continue reading...

Massive Attack Vinyl Reissues Coming Soon

Posted by Amoebite, December 4, 2016 03:16pm | Post a Comment

Massive Attack vinyl reissues

On December 23rd, pioneering English electronica duo Massive Attack are reissuing three essential albums on 180-gram vinyl. Formerly a trio, original members Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall changed the course of dance music, slowing it down and infusing it with hip-hop rhythms to create a musical hybrid that would establish Massive Attack as a major presence in the music world and help open the doors for collaborators/fellow travelers Tricky and Portishead. Unfortunately, the group's early albums have been hard to find on vinyl for several years, unless you were lucky enough to score a used copy or a pricey import. But that's about to change soon, and here's why we're delighted to bring each LP home and put the needle on the record.

Blue Lines

Blue Lines

With the release of their debut LP Blue Lines in 1991, Massive Attack put themselves and the whole Bristol scene on the map. Fusing elements of hip-hop, reggae, soul, and electronica, the album features classic tracks "Lately," "Daydreaming," and "Unfinished Sympathy," with contributions from Shara Nelson and Horace Andy.

Smithsonian Should Acquire CBGB Awning At Sotheby's Auction & Loan To Grammy Museum's Ramones "Birth of Punk" Exhibit

Posted by Billyjam, December 2, 2016 02:31am | Post a Comment

The awning from bygone punk mecca CBGB's, to be auctioned off next week by Sotheby's, deserves to remain in the public domain. Rather than go to some private collection, it would be wonderful if the historic  315 Bowery club awning were  acquired by the Smithsonian Institution. In turn it could then be loaned out to exhibits such as the ongoing Ramones exhibit "Hey, Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk" at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles through March 2017. More than any other act closely associated with CBGB's in its 70's heyday (Television, Patti Smith Group, Talking Heads, Blondie, Dead Boys etc.), The Ramones most epitomized the legendary punk/new wave club whose initials stood for stood for Country, Bluegrass and Blues. The late great quartet of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone were like the house band in the beginning.

Continue reading...

Concert Tickets for Sale at Amoeba Hollywood December 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2016 03:16pm | Post a Comment

Concert Tickets For Sale at Amoeba HollywoodAmoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows. Get physical tickets from us and skip the high fees!

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. 

We have a new partnership with Teragram Ballroom, an intimate venue in downtown LA. We are the only place in town to buy physical tickets (aside from the venue itself). We'll have a small amount of tickets for every Teragram show available the day they are announced on a first-come, first-served basis with our low $2 ticket service fee.

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

Continue reading...

Three Essential Beck LPs Get the Reissue Treatment

Posted by Amoebite, December 1, 2016 02:35pm | Post a Comment

Beck Vinyl Reissues

The inimitable Beck has announced he's reissuing his entire Interscope/Geffen/DGC catalog on vinyl, with the first round of releases out on December 2nd. This is great news for fans, as many of Beck's most beloved releases hit stores in the era when CDs were king, which means finding a vinyl copy of your favorite LP can get pretty expensive. That's all about to change this Friday, however, when the first three reissue albums arrive in our stores. Here's what's on the way.

Odelay

Odelay

Beck's second LP is perhaps his most famous, with classic tracks like "Where It's At," "Devils Haircut," and "The New Pollution." Not surprisingly, Odelay is Beck's top-selling album of all time and consistently ranks in roundups of the best albums of the '90s. Odelay took home the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1997, and Beck received nods for Album of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

Sea Change

Sea Change