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Twelve Great Post-Rock / Psychedelic / Jazz / Avant-Garde / Experimental Albums That Are Perfect For Thinking About Life & Other Important Stuff

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 9, 2018 07:47pm | Post a Comment

By Michael Henning

This list is a bit eclectic musically, with a number of styles and genres represented. However, the albums here are held together by a common thread: they all contain music that is excellent for thinking. Sure, you can think while listening to pretty much anything, but these 2017 releases are guaranteed to take your mind on a journey through inner space. They will undoubtedly lead you to some interesting places, so check them all out and see where your mind goes... just close your eyes, relax, and float away on a cloud of sound.

Cornelius, Mellow Waves

12.  Cornelius - Mellow Waves (Warner Music Japan)

A triumphant return for this Japanese artist, his first new proper (non-soundtrack) album since 2006's Sensuous. As the title perhaps indicates, this new one finds him mellowing a bit, but his penchant for slightly skewed pop music is still here. Some odd time signatures lead to interesting places, and his distinctly Japanese sensibilities are on full display again. Overall, this is an enjoyable and pleasant ride through the universe of quirky electronic-tinged pop we are used to from him. Although it might not be his best record, it is a very strong effort, and it fares quite well when compared to his earlier masterpieces Fantasma and Point.
Do Make Say Think

11.  Do Make Say Think - Stubborn Persistent Illusions (Constellation)

Ten More Recommended Picks for Record Store Day 2017 (for folks who don't know what to get)!

Posted by Kells, April 18, 2017 09:11pm | Post a Comment
Ever felt lost at Amoeba or so overwhelmed by the selections that you forget what you're looking for? Or, worse yet, you don't even know what to get?
Generally speaking, it can be tough to stay focused at Amoeba, and on Record Store Day, what with the increased scope of releases both in terms of limited RSD offerings and other freshly stocked new arrivals, not to mention the scope of the crowd, the struggle can be all too real. Each year come Record Store Day we do our very best to provide everyone with personal copies of our comprehensive RSD product list as well as directions to where these items are stocked in the store, and we always try to accommodate all individual queries, quandaries, and quests with safety and fairness. Sometimes this is as simple as recommending something to someone who doesn't know what they want, but knows they definitely want something because it's what? Record Store Day! With that in mind, I've created a list of RSD product picks especially for those folks who don't know what they want, but surely want something.

For more Record Store Day recommendations, please see the links at the bottom of this post. Happy hunting everyone thank you for continued support!


Johnny Cash - The Johnny Cash Children's Album (LP)

Sounding sometimes like Johnny Cash doing his best impression of Jerry Reed doing a Burl Ives record, you just can't go wrong with this lighthearted ramble into Cash country whether you're buying it for yourself or as a gift—it's good, it's weird, and it's, you know, for kids! Originally released in 1975, this sweet li'l collection features songs like "Nasty Dan" (penned by Sesame Street writer Jeff Moss—do look up Cash's Sesame Street performance of this song to an unusually enthusiastic Oscar the Grouch who refers to The Man in Black as "Johnny Trash/my kinda guy") and “I Got a Boy (and His Name is John)” written about Cash’s only son, John, and performed as a tongue-in-cheek duet with his wife, June Carter Cash. Worth it for "The Dinosaur Song" alone.



Def Leppard - The Def Leppard E.P. (45 RPM 12")

Pour some sugar on yourself all you want, but holy smokes is this very first Def Lepp effort an eon away from the bankable high-gloss of their MTV-friendly Pyromania and Hysteria. Which is to say that, despite it sounding like an obviously homespun self-released recording, this debut EP effing rocks, hard and rough! Originally sold at Def Leppard's first shows in 1976 (printed, glued, and assembled by singer Joe Elliott and his mother—aww), this reissue of a riff-laden NWOBHM rarity is a faith-restoring record of the bad as hopeful young lads treading early currents of heavy metal, all beacons lit, all engines revving and ready to cruise 'n bruise 'n have some fun. No disrespect to "Rock of Ages", but this here is real rock for the ages.



Noise Addict - 10,000 Kids With Guitars (2LP)

Chicago-based label Numero Group never pushes crap on Record Store Day so even if you aren't familiar with the totally 90s sounds teenage Aussie alt-rockers Noise Addict, this is definitely a record worth sniffing out, especially as the other two Numero RSD exclusives (Southwest Side Story Vol. 19 and the White Zombie Gods on Voodoo Moon 7”) might disappear fast. With a record cover that doubles as working chalk board, this comp spans the band's charmed career, including their darling acoustic ode to Lemonheads' frontman Evan Dando, "I Wish I Was Him", their Thurston Moore produced demo, and choice cuts from their Young & Jaded EP and Meet the Real You LP reissued during the mid-90s on the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label. File under: cuute



The Cure - Greatest Hits Acoustic (2LP Picture Disc)

This was included in a previous Amoeblog post of RSD 2017 recommendations, but the part of me that still lives in 2001 (bless!) feels compelled to also include it here/push it again because, even if you're only remotely fond of The Cure, this record is a must have (even though it's a picture disc). Back in 2001, The Cure released one of those obligatory contract-fulfilling greatest hits compilations filled with kinda predictable tracks spanning their then 25-year history plus two new songs that were just kinda okay. However, wanting to provide something different/new for their fans, they re-recorded acoustic versions of their greatest hits and bundled it with first pressings of the Greatest Hits CD. Finally, a vinyl version of that splendid bonus disc! So good.



Dolly Parton - Puppy Love (7")

If you've ever wondered what simpler times sounded like for Dolly Parton, ponder no longer for this reissue of one of her earliest recordings (originally released in 1959—she was thirteen!) will enlighten you. Complete with packaging that is "as true to the original as we could make it", the upbeat A-side and comparatively tamer “Girl Left Alone" on the flip, a track written by Parton, her Aunt Dorothy Jo Owens, and her Uncle Bill Owens (who sound as if they may be backing up her vocals on the recording), makes this record interesting and downright adorable as it is. However, I can't help but wonder how these songs might sound slowed down to 33rpm.



Moondog
- Moondog (LP)

What is it, Jazz? Classical? Some kinda symphonic soundtrack? With spoken word? Yes, and maybe no, but surely there is no mistaking that Moondog's seminal 1969 self-titled album is one of those rare and thrilling cosmic oddities that must to be heard to be believed. If you haven't heard it, you probably don't own it, and that means that Amoeba, and the internet, has failed you. But no worries, Moondog's Moondog is getting a fresh pressing on white wax for Record Store Day this year (its first pressing in over a decade) making it a prime item to fill that Moondog-shaped void in your vinyl collection. Folks may be too hasty to declare this or that to be "everything" these days, but this record is pretty much it.




Various Artists - Sharon Signs To Cherry Red (LP)

"Darling, it's Cherry Red Records on the phone. They want you to go to London and record some songs while you're still feeling tortured and angst-ridden..." It could be argued that these two lines, spoken during a lull in the lead-off title track, are a neat summary of this compilation's many parts, but that would dismiss the multitude of reasons why this mix is exciting. Culled from a 2CD compilation of the same name showcasing "Independent Women 1979-1985" these creative and insightful female-led post-punk delights offer  varying glimpses into was happening outside the comparatively cheesy commercial pop of the time. That's not to say this mix is completely without its cheese, but it is guilt-free. 




Allen Toussaint
- The Allen Toussaint Collection (2LP)

This is the first ever vinyl release of a 1991 CD compilation of songs taken from the legendary New Orleans composer/piano guru's first four studio albums (From a Whisper to a Scream, Life, Love and Faith, Southern Nights, and Motion). I'm including this here because the first time Toussaint's music really reached me is when someone long ago played that CD comp at work and—blam!—I was completely rapt in that way that only music, and okay maybe also cute animals and inspirational landscapes, can instantly seize one's soul. Toussiant's compositions and performances themselves are like little landscapes of Soul, R&B, and Funk that maintain a distinctly New Orleansian tint, magical music that is as grounding as it is transportive.



Mungo Jerry
- In The Summertime (7")

This year's list of RSD exclusives is not short on 7-inch reissues of down 'n dirty ditties and other cruddy psychedelic garage door openers, but I predict that this one won't be flying off the shelves as fast as the others thus making it a prime target for late afternoon shoppers browsing the leftovers. I could be wrong though! Anyway, Summer is coming for half the planet soon (heck, in some places it feels like Spring barely got a day in) and "In The Summertime" is a pretty good song to have tucked in your arsenal of party 45s if you don't already have it. However, the B-side here, "Baby Jump", is where the real action's at, even if it boogies like it's wallowing in how bloozy-gross it is. Either way you play it, you got two bonafide horndog hits on your hands!



Colleen
- The Golden Morning Breaks (LP)
 
In an effort to end this list with the suggestion of a purely enchanting and ethereally beautiful album, this reissue of Colleen's long out of print and highly sought after second LP, originally released in 2005, is probably not an item you should sleep on if you're serious about getting your paws on it. But, again, I could be wrong! Pressed on gold vinyl (to further treasurise its tangibility?), The Golden Morning Breaks' melange of live instrumentation and experimental electronic interference, mixing courtly strings and music box chimes with atmospheric sweeps and intrusive bloops, marks a departure from sample-dependent sound of Colleen's debut effort. Altogether now a strangely nostalgic sound, but 2005 was good like that.

Looking for more Record Store Day recommendations? Check out this other list of RSD highlights, our RSD soundtrack picks, RSD Star Wars exclusives, Billyjam's overview of the Get On Down label's RSD exclusives, and come see about us this Saturday as we celebrate record Store Day at all three Amoeba locations! Best of luck to everyone and, again, thank you for continued support of local record stores everywhere!
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