Amoeblog

5 Under-the-Radar Albums to Check Out in August

Posted by Billy Gil, August 4, 2014 05:53pm | Post a Comment

We’ve told you about the heavy hitters to check out in late summer, but there are always exciting releases bubbling just beneath the surface that are worth your attention as well. Here are five to look out for:

Twin PeaksWild Onion

Out Aug. 5

Not that “Twin Peaks.” This one’s a kickass power-pop band from Chicago whose sophomore LP is full of smart, lean songs with a lot of heart. One taste of a song like the two-minute “Flavor” and you might be hooked for life.

 

David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights - End Times Undone

Out Aug. 5

Dave Kilgour is the frontman for New Zealand legends The Clean captures the easy, jangly charm of that band on this new album with his other band, The Heavy Eights. Listen to “Comin’ On” for some of that classic NZ sound—ahhh. Speaking of The Clean, their four-LP Anthology was also just released last month. You’re only excused from not having it yet if you’re adamant about not liking awesome music.

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The 25 Best Hip-Hop Movies

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2014 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Best Hip Hop films

The definition of "hip hop movies" is pretty darn wide as it covers a broad range of types and styles of films - not to mention differing levels of quality since, let's face it, some have been downright low-budget jenky (bad meaning bad). The hip hop movie genre as a whole encompasses such varieties as concerts films (EG 1995's The Show or 2005's Dave Chappelle's Block Party); documentaries about specific parts of the genre or individual artists (e.g. Scratch or Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme or Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest); bio-pics like Notorious or the semi-biographical Eminem acting vehicle 8-Mile; and straight up pure celebratory flicks that show love for some or all of hip hop's four elements (EG Wild Style, Juice, Beat Street, and Breakin').

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11 Albums to Look For This Summer

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2014 03:10pm | Post a Comment

Here are some of our most anticipated albums of the summer. Preorder to get your hands on them as soon as they come out.

La Roux - Trouble In Paradise (LP, CD)

Out July 22

English synthpop artist La Roux (aka Elly Jackson) broke through in a huge way with her 2009 self-titled album and its accompanying club hits like “Bulletproof.” Trouble in Paradise comes five years later, after Jackson says she was unprepared for fame and lost her voice due to anxiety and producer/collaborator Ben Langmaid left due to artistic differences. Jackson says the new album will be warmer and sexier, inspired by the likes of Grace Jones and Tom Tom Club.

Hear the smooth, downtempo “Let Me Down Gently” below:

 

Joyce Manor - Never Hung Over Again (LP, CD)

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The Best Albums of 2014 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, June 27, 2014 04:54pm | Post a Comment

It is now almost exactly halfway through 2014! It’s time to look back on the last six months and see what’s it’s had to offer music-wise. There’s already been a bunch of great records released this year, including a couple of excellent ones released just this week. If you haven’t checked these out, they’re all worth getting—pick ’em all up and catch up on what you’ve been missing.

Sun Kil Moon Benji

Some people write memoirs. Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek write songs crammed with details, from a brutal story about a distant cousin’s death by a freak fire to mundane details about Panera bread and sports bar shit on the walls, that somehow come together to form something called a life. Just when you feel like the songs are too stuffed to keep up, Kozelek will let his breathy “sadcore” folk open up and focus on a seemingly trivial line like “blue crab cakes” in the song “Ben's My Friend,” and in doing so perfectly captures the weird things that stick out in our heads when we reflect. Simply put, listening is like attending a master class in songwriting.

 

Swans To Be Kind

Let’s just say Swans’ To Be Kind isn’t an album you put on while you’re working. It’s an album where you light some candles, lower the lights, stop what you're doing and put it on in order to fully experience the moving madness Michael Gira and co. have created on the two-hour album. You’d do the same for a great film. Besides being a remarkable, if occasionally difficult and harrowing album, To Be Kind hearkens back to a time when albums were treated as events, things to be fully absorbed rather than sampled and tossed like so many records. We can thank them for reminding us of that. And don’t be afraid—To Be Kind has an oft-overlooked, David Lynch-style black humor that makes its orchestral calamity more palatable.

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The Best Albums Made By Jack White

Posted by Billy Gil, June 18, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Jack White, he of many a blues-rock band, broke records this week when it was announced his second solo album, Lazaretto, sold 40,000 copies in its first week—on vinyl alone. That’s the biggest week ever for a single vinyl album since Soundcan began recording vinyl sales in 1991, according to Rollingstone. (Lazaretto also sold 41,000 CDs and nearly 57,000 downloads in its first week.)

To celebrate that achievement, both for White and for vinyl as a medium, which White has publically championed, we’re counting down the best albums written or co-written by Jack White. We’re leaving off those he produced, since there are so damn many of them, as well as Loretta Lynn’s excellent Van Lear Rose, which White produced and played on but only co-wrote one song of, and live releases. Let us know if you agree!

12. The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers

The first album made by White and his friends in The Greenhornes and Brendan Benson is a blast, albeit a green one, sounding like a record quickly made by friends that nonetheless had some gems, including the catchy “Steady As She Goes.”

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