Amoeba Electronic's 2013 Best of LPs

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 19, 2013 02:58pm | Post a Comment

Thanks for supporting Amoeba and reading the Amoeba Electronic blog in 2013. Like us on Facebook for daily updates and feel free to hit us up with any requests/feedback. Without further ado, here are our Best LPs of 2013, compiled by Oliver, Matt and Jordan. 


ADR - Chunky Monkey LP Cover20. ADR - Chunky Monkey

Hippos In Tanks

While visual artists have been quick to adapt to the internet's Babel of information, musicians have been slow to comment directly on the vast digital buzz. Hippos In Tanks, as a label, has admirably pushed this conversation forwards while also displaying a fierce devotion to the traditional mediums of CD and vInyl. James Ferraro's "Farside Virtual" (Hippos In Tanks, 2011) was seen as a comment on emerging personality types in the face of rampant technoconsumerism, but in retrospect, can be seen as Ferraro's first step out of the cassette underground into sleeker rnb/hip-hop influenced production Gatekeeper's "Exo" had them abandoning the Carpenter-esque VHS aesthetics of their previous releases, even hiring internet artist Tabor Robak to create a playable game for reach song. The most successful effort in creating a musical analog to endless internet-meme driven communication is ADR's "Chunky Monkey". 

The record succeeds first and foremost because Aaron David Ross (1/2 of the Gatekeeper) is a completely badass producer. I woudn't be suprised if legitimate pop production is in his future based off of the seemingly effortless genre tourism on display here. Opener "Casual Friday" places  samples of sitcom saxaphones against a loping 303 and eerie processed piano that could be lifted from a Prologue release. "Sumo" seems to be an oblique comment on 90s boom-bap, while "What It Takes" could be lifted from a sinister Sprite commercial. "Stray Dog Strut" could be seen as ADR's reading of Sly and Robbie digidub, but in this tune, the comment on internet culture is palpable. In the midst of innocuous and expertly produced genre-exercises, ADR is prone to interrupt with unsettling samples (e.g. a screaming chorus of roller coaster riders) to fray the edges. The effect has an uncanny resemblance to cruising through life with 15 tabs open.

Continue reading...

Pseu Pseu Pseudio - Pseudonymous Musical One-Offs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 28, 2013 10:49am | Post a Comment
In thinking about and working on a post covering one-album-wonders, I was reminded of a few single releases that were pseudonymously attributed to otherwise non-existent performers. Of course many musicians release music under stage names and a list of their releases would include the entire catalogs of  everyone from David Bowie, to Elton John, to Elvis Costello and 99% of dance artists and rappers

I'm talking about weird one-offs. So far I've only thought of two (updated since with contributions from readers) of these releases but I'm sure that there are quite a few for so help me out, please. Hopefully the more suggestions that are made, the more I can clarify what it is, exactly, that I'm talking about.


I'm not including The Four Seasons because although they also recorded as The Wonder Who?, they weren't a one-off, having contemporaneously released four singles over three years. Similarly, although The Pretty Things also released music as The Electric Banana, it wasn't a one-off, as they did so across two decades.

Although Thin Lizzy formed in 1969, they were hardly overnight successes. In fact, their 1970 single, "The Farmer" b/w "I Need You" sold just 283 copies. In order to make some extra Irish pounds, they recorded an album of Deep Purple covers as Funky Junction for German businessman Leo Muller. It wasn't exactly a one-off though because the vocals were provided by Elmer Fudd's Benny White and not Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott

I'm also not including The Dukes of Stratosphere, XTC's alter-ego, because they released both the 25 O'Clock and Psonic Psunspot albums under that name (and intended to release Oranges & Lemons as a Dukes album). I'm torn over whether or not to include the many noms des disques of Kool Keith because his discography is a tangled mess to sort through, many of his aliases aren't one-offs and are characters who appear and reappear on other releases.



By 1973, the glam rock scene was populated not just by Ziggy Stardusts, Roxy Musics, and T Rexes but also Alvin Stardusts, David Cassidys, and lots of little Osmonds. T Rex's Marc Bolan admitted in an interview that sometime around the writing of "Truck-On (Tyke)" that perhaps he'd started relying a bit too much on formula... and remembered that he'd begun his music career aspring to be a Dylanesque poet of the folk underground. His apparent dissatisfaction with T Rextasy, which was akin to Beatlemania in the UK at least, and the glam rock that he'd helped create was made increasingly obvious by a number of Bolan's actions.

In 1974 Bolan declared that glam rock was dead and released Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August, which he described as "cosmic soul." He'd wanted to release the album as A Creamed Cage in August and credit it to Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow but instead T Rex's fifth studio album would be credited for the first time to "Marc Bolan & T. Rex" (in case, I suppose, people needed to be reminded who the leader of the most popular British band of the era was). 

It wasn't Bolan's first attempt to release music under a different name. In early 1972, during the recording of Tanx, Bolan had recorded "Blackjack." It was released in August 1973 (between the #4 "The Groover" and #12 "Truck On (Tyke)") as a single credited to Big Carrot. The version that I was told was that Bolan wanted to see how well his music would do if the T Rextstatic record-buying public didn't know it was from him... but I doubt this version of the story since it sounds exactly like T. Rex, was released by Wizard Artists Limited on EMI... oh, and credited Marc Bolan as the songwriter. It was a flop, however, as the BBC completely ignored it.

Listen to Big Carrot's "Blackjack"

Listen to Big Carrot's "Squint Eye Mangle"


In 1992, Saint Etienne's then-new label, Icerink, released its fourth single, a moving, icy, almost-instrumental synthpop song -- it's only lyric was word "supermarket," repeated in a distant, robotic voice. The sleeve notes stated "Supermarket are two young boys from Denmark." 

It was, in fact, Lawrence Hayward (or just Lawrence), formerly of Indie legends Felt. Although he'd begun recording material for what would become Denim's debut in 1990 (Back in Denim was finally released in November 1992), "Supermarket" was his first peep in the new decade. The heavily processed vocals were done by his ex-girlfriend/Saint Etienne's singer, Sarah Cracknell. I suppose that it could be said to be Supermarket's only release rather than a pseudonymous release but it's all really Lawrence and the song later turned up on Denim's Novelty Rock -- in much the same was as most of Denim's final, unreleased album Denim Take Over later surfaced on two Go-Kart Mozart records, Tearing Up The Album Chart and On The Hot Dog Streets.

Listen to Supermarket's "Supermarket"

Listen to Supermarket's "Supermart" (Ray Keith Mix)"


Chris Gaines Greatest HitsIn 1999, Garth Brooks released one album as Gaines, Greatest Hits (also packaged as Garth Brooks in.... The Life of Chris Gaines). Whatever you think of Garth Brooks's slick "hat Country" (which in retrospect seems positively gritty compared to what passes for Country today), you have to admire the inspired craziness behind his rock alter ego, Chris Gaines.  

Chris Gaines was born 10 August, 1967. He was Australian and wore a soul patch -- still de rigueur facial hair for the soulful bro. His story was going to be told in a Paramount film, The Lamb, that sadly was never made. He was the subject of an episode of the VH1 series, Behind The Music and was the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Garth Brooks. Most of the songs were written by professional pop R&B and Country songwriters including Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, and Tommy Sims, who all three collaborated for the single, "Lost in You" which, at odds with Gaines' broody bro image sounded a lot like the pop R&B and Country that the songwriters always churned out.

Even more insane was "Right Now," a 1991-esque riff on The Youngbloods' "Get Together."

So please let me know about more pseudonymous releases and I'll add them to this blog entry!

Don't Knock the Rock 2013 is coming

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 18, 2013 09:00pm | Post a Comment
Don't Knock the Rock is a film festival that's taken place now for ten years. Each year filmmaker Allison Anders (Gas, Food Lodging, Grace of My Heart, and Mi Vida Loca) and her daughter, Tiffany, curate probably the best film festival of its sort in Los Angeles, focusing on rare or new music documentaries about personality-driven cult bands and under-exposed music movements and scenes.

Last year I attended the screening of Jobriath A.D. (2012). The year before I was at The Beat Is The Law: Fanfare For The Common (2010), the sequel to 2001's Made In Sheffield -- about the independent music scenes of Sheffield, UK. All screenings take place at The Silent Movie Theatre in Fairfax Village (on the border between the Fairfax District and Beverly Grove) and are hosted by Michael Des Barres of the TV series MacGyver.


This year there are two films showing on the opening night (30 August) for which I've already procured my tickets and will quite likely be first in line -- and additionally violate my own rule against watching two films in the same day AND break my  strict 10:00 pm bedtime -- Lawrence of Belgravia and Autoluminescent.


The first film is Lawrence of Belgravia, a 2011 documentary directed by Paul Kelly (of Birdie and East Village -- not the Aussie singing/songwriting institution) about Lawrence of the bands Felt, Supermarket, Denim, and Go-Kart Mozart (as well as songwriter for Shampoo). For those unfamiliar, Lawrence is -- without exaggeration -- one of the greatest things to come out of England ever.

It took Kelly eight years to complete and isn't available on any sort of video currently. For fans wanting more about Lawrence, seek out the David Cavanagh's The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry for the Prize (2001) and Will Hodgkinson's Song Man: A Melodic Adventure, or My Single-minded Approach to Songwriting (2006), two books which have graced Amoeba's shelves in the past. 7:30 -- 86 min.


Autoluminescent is a 2011 documentary directed by Richard Lowenstein (Dogs in Space) and Lynn-Maree Milburn about Rowland S. Howard, a beautiful, bat-like waif who was my favorite (I'm putting The TriffidsEvil Graham Lee in a separate category for "Aussie steel guitarists") guitarist to come from Australia.

He famously brought his song "Shivers" from his band The Young Charlatans to Nick Cave's Boys Next Door and in doing so helped transform them into something worth listening too before moving on to The Tuff Monks, Crime + The City Solution, These Immortal Souls and collaborations with Lydia Lunch, Jeremy Gluck, and Nikki Sudden. He tragically passed away at just 50-years-old in 2009. 9:40 -- 110 min.

Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!

New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood: 10/21 - Mike Huckaby, Portable, Theo Parrish, Chubby Wolf, Lawrence, Floating Points & more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, October 20, 2011 06:06pm | Post a Comment
The SYNTH Huckaby Remixes 12"
Slices Of Life

Slices Of Life presents tracks from Vladislav Delay's Sistol and Pole projects, remixed by Mike Huckaby. To start, "Keno" is transformed into an outstanding, dubby, Detroit-house masterpiece -- exclusively released as an extended version. On the B-side, Huckaby remixed a track originally produced in the same time period: Pole's "Silberfisch." In 2011, Mike Huckaby keeps the dubby and slightly melancholic, crackling atmosphere of the original, but his "S Y N T H Remix" beams "Silberfisch" straight onto the dancefloor.

Purchase Synth Remixes here

Into Infinity 2LP

On the fifth album by Alan Abrahams aka Portable, he teams up with Efdemin, Johannes Schön and Süd Electronic label-mate Lakuti, to lead us Into Infinity. During the last 15 years, Alan has lived and composed in South Africa, England, Portugal and Germany. He has released records on Background, Context, Karat, Musik Krause, ~scape, Spectral, his very own Süd Electronics label and Yore.

Purchase Into Infinity here

Continue reading...

Mahssa's Massive CD Round Up - Theo Parrish, Walls, Plaid, Lawrence, DJ Shadow & more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, October 7, 2011 05:05pm | Post a Comment

Theo Parrish
Ugly Edits
Ugly Edits 

Hello world, they're here. Unavailable for like, ever, now in one package complete with a hand-painted cover. Theo Parrish is one of Detroit’s most wanted exports especially in the past few years, but not too long ago, like many future techno-rebels that came before him, he was just another hustling Detroit DJ trying to make waves in the shadow of the city’s rich techno history. His indelible mark on the underground were highly limited, hand-labeled bootleg edit records of some of his favorite classic funk and disco tunes. The series of edits appropriately titled Ugly Edits, became highly desired rarities on the DJ and collector’s circuit. Rarities no more... as everyone should and can now hear his versions of Jil Scott, Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Freddie Hubbard, and Sylvester edits just to name a few somewhere other than YouTube. Cool.


Sure the techno mix CD might seem to some as a maligned format. But as long dope jams like these keep coming, well, better this than most. The port city of Hamburg is not only Germany's gateway to the world, but home of DIAL label boss Peter M. Kersten aka Lawrence which he runs with Carsten Jost, quality brand for all value-conscious cultivation of high-quality melancholy Techno. In a fit of celebration and after seven albums under his producer aliases Lawrence and Sten, his vision of sound (especially as a DJ) is manifested in his new mix, TIMELESS. Crafted with a kind of instinct only a seasoned producer/DJ upholds, and in flawless role reversal from spectator to participant, a romanticism of clubbing and its relation to electronic dance music as a crucially timeless sensual component is vivid and alive. Milestones of minimalized deep house are found here, cuts by Chez Damier, Ron Trent, Isolee, Rob Hood, and Thomas Melchior/Baby Ford to name a few.

Stefan Goldmann & Finn Johannsen
Stefan Goldmann & Finn Johannsen

Welcome to the first Macro label compilation, where first hand you can reap the awesomely weird fascinations of all things left-of-techno-field, as groomed by these avant-gardeners. In this world it is normal for minimal techno patterns and rhythms be paired with atonal choir chanting, or being inspired to stich 146 sections from over a dozen classic recordings of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps in order to create a "fully realized" version. Features cuts and remixes by Oni Ayhun, Elektro Guzzi, Oliver Ho, Villalobos, and Goldmann himself. Impressively at the forefront of everything stylistic, and perpetually cool, Macro has musical material and inspiration to be seriously reckoned with and celestially absorbed.

Warp Records is undoubtedly the worlds leading electronic brand of quality, and not so much quantity. And ill gladly wait 1-15 years for a new album by Seefeel, or in this case, Plaid. In this piece of sonic sci-finery, the main thing (out of all the cool things one can say about this album) is hearing how the ideas you hear in modern dubstep have their roots in and with these classic artists... old school Artifical Intelligence and UK post-techno. Its also interesting to hear how the modern dubstep sound has also influenced the old order. Generations melding. Speaking of the old order, there are also some cuts here that still runs hot with IDM in a true to from 90s Warp steez, reminiscent of not just Plaid/Black Dog's early days but also of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. Generously melodic and even poppy at times, this is a wonderful Plaid album, with chamber instrumentations and Stereolab-isms to boot.


Continue reading...
<<  1  2  >>  NEXT