My Picks for the 50 Best Records That Came Out in 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, November 29, 2013 04:26pm | Post a Comment

Doesn’t end-of-year-list time always sneak up on us? It’s the time to reflect and realize that a lot of really great music did come out throughout the year. Here is my list of 50 best records that came out in 2013. I limited it to albums that were physically released. But it’s only the end of November, so feel free to leave a comment and tell me why I’m dumb for leaving out such-and-such record and I’ll give it a listen!

50. Jagwar Ma Howlin’

Just ’cause these guys ripped off the Madchester sound isn’t any reason to write them off. Listen to Howlin’ and try to get these songs out of your head.

49. Julianna Barwick Nepenthe

Non-verbal cries echo out into infinity and give life to your unconscious while listening to Nepenthe. She’s like our generation’s Enya, only a million times cooler (actually Enya is kind of rad, nm).

48. Sky Ferreira Night Time, My Time

What if Kelly Clarkson really dug My Bloody Valentine and dated the dude form Diiv? What if Taylor Swift shot up heroin, posed nude for some crazy German director and actually ended up making interesting music? Night Time, My Time seeks to answer these questions you never knew you had. Even though Night Time, My Time couldn’t possibly live up to all the blog hype/hate/press Sky Ferreira got this year, it’s still a great, if fragmented pop record.

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Amoeblog Hip-Hop Best of 2013

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2013 03:30pm | Post a Comment

For me, a lifelong hip-hop fan, 2013 was another great year for both new hip-hop releases and hip-hop in general - a vibrant genre that humbly begun four decades ago and that for much of the first half of its lifespan was considered a passing fad by a large segment of people. Sure some begrudgers today might argue that there are no new hip-hop classics - a la golden era hip-hop circa 88-93 - being made these days and/or that today's hip-hop is lyrically one-dimensional and musically just not exciting. I think I know what they mean but honestly but am guessing that they are simply referencing certain artists among the pop/Top 40 spectrum of today's hip-hop; the hip-hop that dominates the airwaves and popular culture. Simply put they are not looking at the big picture of the endless amazing hip-hop releases (a great many of them on small indie labels) being quietly but steadily released nowadays. The positive reality is that there is a vast and most diverse wealth of hip-hop being made today: so much that it is impossible to keep up with it all. There is hip-hop spanning more musical ground and cross-pollinating with other genres than in any previous time in the genre's forty year history (just peep the list below of 2013 releases from Amoeba hip-hop charts over 2013 that, note, are listed in no particular order).

Speaking of that 40 years of hip-hop, August 11th, 2013 was the officially recognized date of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop music and culture when hip-hop's recognized creator/godfather DJ Kool Herc kickstarted the genre/culture with a party in the rec room of the South Bronx building located at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. back in August 11th, 1973. To celebrate the occasion Herc did two big anniversary shows in New York City - both of which were reported on here on the Amoeblog: one on Saturday August 10th in Manhattan's Central Park with such performers as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Red Alert, Roxanne Shante, and Grand Wizzard Theodore, and the second the following day on the actual anniversary date, Sunday August 11th, at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens where, along with Marley Marl from nearby Queensbridge, played music all afternoon for dancers and celebrants of the culture. Graffiti artists at 5Pointz did some nice pieces - like the one above - to mark the occasion. Sadly, as reported here more recently, the 5Pointz location has been whitewashed of its art and will soon be bulldozed to become new luxury condo buildings.

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Best Thanksgivukkah Gifts for 2013 (You Have 70,000 Years Till the Next One)

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 24, 2013 07:38pm | Post a Comment

This year, the first day of Hanukkah (25 of Kislev) happens to fall of Thanksgiving. It’s a big day for latkes hanukkah chanukah cat memeAmerican Jews and the people who love them (and their food). We might as well go all out this time because this fortuitous collision of dates apparently won’t happen again for another 70,000 years, and we may be busy then.

So here we are in a double bind: Thanksgivukkah meal extravaganza to plan (sweet potato latkes? Matzo stuffing?) AND eight crazy nights of gifts for the fam! Zorg zich nit, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few gift ideas you can pick up at Amoeba or order online at (free shipping to the U.S.)!


For the Music Lovers:

-- Anything on the Idelsohn Society label, particularly Twas The Night Before Hanukkah. This two-CD set celebrates the duel role of Hanukkah and Christmas music. With songs by Woody Guthrie, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, Dinah Shore, The Klezmatics, Sammy Davis Jr., Mickey Katz, and so many more.

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10 Black Friday Releases to Look For

Posted by Billy Gil, October 22, 2013 01:02pm | Post a Comment

The folks at Record Store Day have just released their list of titles that will be either exclusive for Black Friday (Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving) or will be an early release on that day. Below I picked some highlights to look for; check out the whole list of Black Friday releases that will be available at Amoeba here (.pdf). Better line up early for these!


Bob Dylan Side Tracks (Black Friday Exclusive)

A compilation of Bob Dylan tracks that have never been released formally on an album, now released on a triple-LP set. Enough said.








Track list:

LP 1:
Baby, I'm in the Mood for You
Mixed-Up Confusion (Single Version)
Tomorrow Is a Long Time
Lay Down Your Weary Tune
Percy's Song
I'll Keep It with Mine
Can You Please Crawl out Your Window? (Single Version)
Positively 4th Street
Jet Pilot
I Wanna Be Your Lover
I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (Live)

LP 2:
Visions of Johanna (Live)
Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)
Watching the River Flow
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Down in the Flood (Live)
I Shall Be Released
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
George Jackson (Acoustic Version)
Forever Young
You're a Big Girl Now
Up to Me

LP 3:
Abandoned Love
Isis (Live)
Romance in Durango (Live)
Caribbean Wind
Heart of Mine (Live)
Series of Dreams
Dignity (Alternate Version)
Things Have Changed

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