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The 25 Best Albums By California Artists Released in 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

From L.A. and S.F.’s garage rock scenes to Compton’s blossoming rap artists, California artists represented well in 2014. Here are 25 of our favorites from the year, in alphabetical order.

Allah-LasWorship the Sun

On Worship the Sun, L.A.’s Allah-Las get some dirt on their boots by scuzzing up their sunny surf-garage sound with some rattling guitar solos, stonery grooves (“Buffalo Nickel”) and head-spinning psych-rock tunes (“501-405”).

 

 

Cherry Glazerr Haxel Princess

Cherry Glazerr had the debut record of the year for Burger Records, moving unstoppably on the strength of its garage riffs and singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy’s teenage caterwaul.

 

Cool Ghouls - A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye

Cool Ghouls make music like the transformation of San Francisco never happened, spinning out jangling three-minute hippie-rock nuggets that enliven their classic rock influences with youthful exuberance without getting silly like some bands of their ilk. The thinking man’s garage band.

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Top Ten Essential Hip-Hop Albums of 2014

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2014 11:13am | Post a Comment

10 Essential Hip Hop Albums of 2014

1) DJ Qbert Extraterrestria + GalaXXXian (Galactic Butt Hair Records)


Although only released digitally in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign (vinyl to arrive at Amoeba in 2015), this instrumental album (Extraresstria) and its rap/emcee counterpart album (GalaXXXian) rate as my top pick(s) for the best hip-hop released in 2014. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking so; Extraterrestia is up for a possible Grammy award. The stated goal of DJ Qbert's new album, which the artist considers as a Wave Twisters Part II, is to present the sound of skratch music in the future as he sees it, or - as he said upon the release of the new project - "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." The "Jimi Hendrix of the turntables" ably accomplishes both solo as producer/DJ as well as with such album collaborators as Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, and Chad Hugo, who (along with Tipsy) co-produce the album's best track - the soothing, dreamy, ethereal "Ascender (Agartha)."

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14 Indie Rock Records That Would Make a Great Gift

Posted by Billy Gil, December 15, 2014 12:11pm | Post a Comment

There have been tons of records released under the nebulous indie rock genre this year that find new things to say within the confines of rock 'n' roll (The War on Drugs), or throw out the rules while still remaining pleasing to listen to (Ariel Pink). Here are 14 widely appealing records from this year that would make a great gift for just about any indie rock fan. 







 

The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs’ dreamy country-rock music evokes slow motion, even as its songs move at a sprightly pace. The driving rhythm behind "Under the Pressure" is caked in heavily reverbed guitars and washes of synthesizer, even as real-life guitar solos and Adam Granduciel's vocals come through more clearly than ever before. Similarly "Red Eyes" is like some lost '80s collaboration between The Highwaymen and The Cure, effusing brilliant colors with its bright synths and yelping vocals, but the most stunning moment comes in the minute or so in the middle of the songs when a third of the sound is stripped away, leaving a gorgeous, introspective bridge before Granduciel's yelp brings everything crashing back, while the rhythm stays insistent as always. Lost in the Dream invites repeat listens—atmospheric pieces like "The Haunting Idle" keep things spacious, yet the band comes back for the Bruce Springsteen-vibing "Burning" in the albums latter half. As its title would suggest, it's an album to get lost in. It feels like seeing the entire open road ahead of you, coasting yet seemingly to move in place while the sun sets and middle-of-nowhere stations play Bruce and Tom Petty in the background.

Amoeba SF's Best In-Store Shows of 2014

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 14, 2014 05:28pm | Post a Comment

By Brent James, Amoeba SF Event Coordinator

When I took over the position of Event Coordinator for the San Francisco Amoeba store, of course I was more than thrilled to be able to work alongside many artists in the music business that i've admired for so many years. I was ecstatic to help promote and produce the amazing live shows that have become synonymous with Amoeba Music. Most of all, however, I was excited to discover new artists and acts. Things that otherwise might pass me by in the normal course of a day! The following list is compiled of the performances this year that most stood out to me. Sure, I was aware of a few of them, but for the most part I walked away from these shows with a fresh perspective of what they're trying to say and as a new fan. I'm already looking forward to writing this list next year...Cheers!


5. STRAND OF OAKS, Saturday August 30, 2014
At this very early-in-the-tour performance, SOA performed songs from their album Heal. The crowd watched with admiration as Tim Showalter and company preached with songs that were reminiscent of early Bob Seger or even Springsteen. Perfect show for a beautiful Saturday!

Strand of Oaks

4. THE DRUMS, Friday October 4, 2014
One of those days where we suddenly have a crowd of 400 screaming teenagers pogo dancing to their electronic idols! They knew all the words, they had all the records. Solid touring band, but the kids were there to see Jonny and Jacob and were NOT disappointed! The Drums worked the crowd into a frenzy and left them wanting more. Check out their newest LP, Encyclopedia.

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15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Posted by Amoebite, December 11, 2014 11:44am | Post a Comment

15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Music is always a great gift, but even when it's gift-wrapped, a new LP or CD isn't fooling anyone with its distinctive shape. Why not surprise the music lover who has everything with one of these unexpected items? Some of them are kinda fun, while others are more practical, but they are all definitely not your typical music gift.

Bad Brains Hot Sauce

Bad Brains - Fire Burn Babylon Hot Sauce

Hot sauce seems to be a thing that a lot of bands create (i.e. BastilleJoe PerryThe Offspring's Dexter Holland's line of hot sauce, Gringo Bandito). The punk rockers of Bad Brains created their own hardcore hot sauce that combines sweet and heat, just like they do.

Best Coast Snack Plush Cat

Best Coast - Snacks Plush Cat

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