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The Best Albums of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 26, 2017 05:51pm | Post a Comment

The Best Albums of 2017

As 2017 winds down, we've taken stock of our favorite albums this year and gathered them here to share with you. Staff members from each of our stores have narrowed down their Best of 2017 picks and detailed what makes them the best. Join us as we take a stroll through the fantastic music of this past year! And here's to the exciting new releases that the New Year will bring!

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Best of 2017 Hip Hop

Black Moon - Enta da Stage

Black Moon - Enta da Stage: The Remixes

Dropping several weeks after Fat Beats reissued Black Moon’s 1993 hip-hop classic Enta Da Stage on vinyl (also as a 2LP set), was the Enta Da Stage: The Remixes LP set by the influential Brooklyn crew. Both vinyl releases are essential for any hip-hop library. The Remixes LP features remixes and alternate versions previously released in non-album format (incl. M.W. Smooth's mix of "Who Got Da Props?" and DJ Evil Dee's remix of "How Many MC's") as well as previously unheard material such as Buckshot's new vocal version of "Shit Iz Real.” - Billyjam, Hollywood 

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Outkast's Big Boi

Posted by Amoebite, November 28, 2017 12:09pm | Post a Comment

Big Boi (Outkast) What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

Hip hop artist, actor and producer Big Boi stopped by Amoeba Hollywood recently and went shopping for records by some of his favorite artists, including British art-rock/singer/songwriter, Kate Bush. Though he found several limited edition Kate Bush LPs, he was especially drawn to the deluxe edition of Before The Dawn, a four-disc live album from her monumental residency at London's Hammersmith Apollo, which Big Boi himself attended. "It was one of the greatest concerts," he told us. "It's not even a concert. I would say it was a presentation of excellence." Quite a statement coming from someone as acclaimed as Big Boi, who was more than happy to share memories and anecdotes about the influence each record had on him.

Big Boi Boomiverse

Antwan André Patton (aka Big Boi) is known for his solo work as well as his role in the critically-acclaimed hip-hop group Outkast. Formed in 1991 while he and co-founder André 3000 were still in school together at the Atlanta-area Tri-Cities High School, Outkast burst onto the scene with their first single, "Player's Ball," in 1993. The single shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart. Their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, was certified platinum. The duo continued to rack up the hits, with chart-topping, much-hyped albums ATLiens(1996), Aquemini (1998), and Stankonia (2000). The group's 2003 release, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, was a double LP featuring the solo work of each artist: Big Boi's Speakerboxxx is Southern rap while André 3000's The Love Below is a mesh of psychedelia, funk, electro, and jazz. The pair joined forces once again for 2006's Idlewild, a soundtrack of sorts to the group's film of the same name, in which they both star.

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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with DJ Spinna

Posted by Amoebite, September 20, 2016 12:24pm | Post a Comment

DJ Spinna What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

"I'm gonna give away a little b-boy secret...this record by Cerrone, 'Look For Love,' is a very popular b-boy break," says DJ Spinna of the 7" released by the Cotillion label. But be careful, he warns us, sometimes they edit the breaks out of the singles. The accomplished and much sought after DJ was recently at Amoeba Hollywood, giving away some great record collecting advice and offering up killer recommendations.

Wonder-full LABrooklyn-born hip-hop producer DJ Spinna is a genre-bender whose work dabbles in rap, soul, funk, electronica, and jazz. He first came to prominence in the late '90s underground hip-hop scene thanks to his work with The Jigmastas. He has produced and remixed tracks for some of the biggest names in the contemporary music scene, including Mary J. Blige, Nightmares on Wax, Guru, J-Live, De La Soul, Eminem, Stevie Wonder, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Roy Ayers, and many more.

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Jerry and the Dead May Be Gone But George and Parliament Funkadelic Are Still Here

Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2015 08:30am | Post a Comment

















Fans of the Grateful Dead feeling bummed about not getting to attend the final Dead series of concerts recently, might consider the alternative of going to check out George Clinton's Parliament Funkadelic who are currently on a summer tour that includes some free shows in New York City this week. As anyone like myself who has ever witnessed concerts by both Jerry Garcia's beloved band and by the Godfather of Funk's various funk incarnations (Parliament / Funkadelic / P-Funk All Stars) will attest, both share an approach to concerts that tend towards long extended jams that are related to "the One." So if you were among those Deadheads disappointed to not get to attend either the two anniversary Dead shows last month in Santa Clara, CA or this month's sold-out (and expensive) show series at Chicago's Soldier Field, where the four remaining members of the Grateful Dead - Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann - performed together reportedly for the last time, then I say honor Jerry and the Dead by going to see George and Parliament Funkadelic

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Where My Ears Went in 2012

Posted by Mark Beaver, January 10, 2013 01:33pm | Post a Comment

SANDRO PERRI Impossible Spaces
(Constellation Records)

Easily the most confounding sound I heard this last year. In all truth, this record was released in late 2011, but I didn't find any indicators pointing towards it until this year. Perri is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer from Toronto, Canada who also creates electronica under the name Polmo Polpo. On Impossible Spaces, Perri presents a light, meandering soul in a voice that sometimes reminds me of Michael Franks, sometimes Antony, sometimes Christopher Cross. It's a strange tone to hear in 2012, but it is all couched and wrapped in, levitated and nudged along by a busy production of electronica, (fretless?) bass, warped keyboards and processed saxophone that keeps pulling my ear deep into its sheer inventiveness. Guaranteed to confuse.








MOUNT EERIE Clear Moon
((P.W.Elverum & Sun)  

One of this year's two "sister" releases (with Ocean's Roar), Clear Moon, is issued, as it should be, on clear vinyl. Phil Elverum, the creative force behind Mount Eerie and its former incarnation, Microphones, is a master of mood. His albums are for headphones, for closed eyes, akin to sitting alone (or with silent friends) in the forest or on some chilled rocky outcropping from where you can see no sign of civilization and yet always aware that its there.




From the lyrics of "Through The Trees Pt.2":  

I meant all my songs
not as a picture of the woods
but just to remind myself
that I briefly live.

The gleaming stone,
the moon in the sky at noon
there is no other world
and there has never been.









TY SEGALL Twins
(Drag City)

There's truly been enough said on many, many other posts about this record and I don't have much to add. It's a clear fruition of a current Bay Area vibe that blends a brutal garage attack with savvy, almost sing-songy melodies. It gets under your skin and deep into your booty bones. After that, well, nature just takes its course.












This appearance on David Letterman shows what we're dealing with here: probably one of the most ferocious performances to hit that stage in years!






THEE OH SEES Putrifiers II EP
(In The Red)

Close akin to Ty Segall, but working the Bay Area garage mines much longer are John Dwyer and his amazing THEE OH SEES. In my opinion the greatest freak-your-butt-off-on-the-dancefloor band currently working. They keep making really, really great records and they keep putting on really, really great shows. The attack is huge, the melodies are weird and pretty and infectious and if you get in sonic range you will sprain your tail feather! They are quickly becoming my "most seen live" band. Purtrifiers definitely does not fit the traditional meaning of the term "EP," as it contains 10 songs. The track "Lupine Dominus" is a real high point in their career packed with high points and its video is great wordless, short-story film making that all film students should study: sex-sturbing!









LED ER EST The Diver
(Sacred Bones)

Sacred Bones has become a really excellent label. You can go to their stable and pretty much pick a winner with your eyes closed. Led Er Est's latest is digging through the minimal wave sound that has become the flavor with which I would most identify 2012's reigning underground trend. However, except for a few darksynth dancefloor nods ('Kaiyo Maru,' 'Divided Parallel,' 'La Lluvia Y Memoria') the rest of the album is much more Coil than Gary Numan. Brooding and beautiful collage structures for night scenes.









COSMONAUTS 
If You Wanna Die Then I Wanna Die
 (Burger)  

I saw these guys open for THEE OH SEES last year in Long Beach and was stunned. Apiece with the evening's blistering garage vibe, but with a little more of the SoCal surf vibe in the mix. Remember when Jesus & Mary Chain really knew how to drive a garage/surf anthem off the tracks? You don't? Oh, right...I'm old.














SOFT MOON Zeros
 (Captured Tracks)  

Zeros is, for the most part, an instrumental album. Even what vocals appear are there as more texture to layer on the darkness. There's a clear line of philosophy between mid-80s 4AD recordings by Cindytalk (hear "It's Luxury") and the oeuvre of this one-man band, Luis Vasquez. The bass is very Cure and the atmosphere is dark and gothy and only sometimes danceable ('Zeros,' 'Die Life,' 'Lost  Years'), and that might even be a stretch as the atmosphere is so thick. Great deep layers of bass, guitar, drum-machine and lots of electronic textures to get buried beneath. 






MERIDIEN BROTHERS Desesperanza
 (Sound Way)

Sometimes you just need something that weirds you out clear to the bone.

You can read another review by AMOEBA's World Music Buyer here: https://www.amoeba.com/blog/2012/10/los-angeles-me/meridian-brothers-desesperanza-.html

I, too, was reminded of the Latin Playboys on first listen. So playful and funny and spooky and just plain weird. The title track is a real stand-out for me, clearly revealing the traditional rhythms beneath Eblis Alvarez' near dead-pan delivery. 








HOLOGRAMS Holograms
(Captured Tracks)  

Ultimately nothing new going on on this record, but sometimes its just exciting to taste that old wine from new bottles. Joy Division, very early Killing Joke, lots of different influences that these Scandinavian kids wear on their sleeves, but the raw sparks they throw make it one of the year's better rides.















TWIN SHADOW Confess
(4AD)  

It shouldn't work. There's something very Corey Hart "Sunglasses At Night" about George Lewis Jr.'s TWIN SHADOW output.  He uses the word 'heart' more often than should be allowed and it's all so expectedly painful, these workings and mis-workings of love. But it's all handled with the right amount of swagger and brattiness and truly elegant panache. There's such balance to these songs; never too beaty, never too whispy, the tuneful balanced by the crude, the near-whispered offset by the shout. The rhythms are clearly 80's (the opening bass and drums of 'The One' seem a direct tribute to Pat Benatar's 'Love Is A Battlefield'), and Lewis clearly has a way with lyrics that find a way to retell the old story. All in all a significant accomplishment that deepens as the songs settle in over repeated listens.





 Re-Issue and Re-births:




Various Artists ITALIA NEW WAVE
(Spittle)

Subtitled, "Minimal Synth, No Wave & Post Punk Sounds From The 80's Italian Underground." OK. I'm on board. Who knew? The insipid "Days" by Jeunesse D'Ivoire is to be avoided, but otherwise not a throw-away track in the bunch. Stand-outs include N.O.I.A.'s funk-synth "Forbidden Planet,"  "Your Eyes" by State Of Art and the deep pulse of Fockewulf 190's "WeAre Colder."









TIM MAIA Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul Of Tim Mai
a (Luaka Bop)

This Vol. 4 of Luaka Bop's 'World Psychedelic Classics' series was 10 years in the making. Very little here I would classify under 'psychedelia' (other than the lyrics), but it is all super groovy latin-tinged, funk-soul, proto-disco not too far afield from Funkadelic's classic recordings. Maia's vocals have a gravelly undertone reminiscent of Taj Mahal in the lower registers and the overall thickness of his delivery, for some reason, seems of a piece with the funk. All four sides of this release are gem-studded, but the very last track, 'Rational Culture' is the stunner; a bubbling funk-disco universal consciousness realization manifesto that should be on every disco night playlist. "We're gonna rule the world. Don't you know? Don't you know?"







Various Artists PERSONAL SPACE: Electronic Soul 1974-1984
(Chocolate Industries)  

Could this be the best collection ever made?! God love the bin-diggers! It starts strong and then just lifts up and away! If Guitar Red's "Disco From A Space Show" doesn't blow you right out of the room you betta' check a pulse! Funk-eologist Dante Carfagna has compiled a masterpiece of off-kilter, early electronica-steeped funk that just gives and gives. SERIOUSLY! Hear this! 









                                                
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