Amoeblog

50 Essential Albums Released in 2014

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2014 09:20am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for ten years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. Here is my extensive list of new essential listening, released in 2014. There is a wide range of genres and artists represented here because musical passion should not be static.





1. Swans - To Be Kind (Young God)
To Be Kind, Swans’ 3rd LP since their 2010 reformation (and 13th overall,) is an unlikely triumph after 2012’s seemingly unmatchable masterpiece, The Seer. Any trepidation one might have about the sprawling triple-LP’s intimidating track lengths should evaporate under it’s hypnotizing ebb-and-flow of mental blues, super-honed grooves, manic clatter and hushed passages; all of which are eventually crushed by monolithic waves of majesty. Nothing short of classic.



 2. Carla Bozulich - Boy (Constellation)
Boy is Carla Bozulich’s (of Ethyl Meatplow, Geraldine Fibbers and Evangelista-renown) 3rd solo affair, but in a lot of ways it feels like her first. Bozulich pours her famed, devastating whiskey-voice into a cocktail of funeral country, death blues and industrial noise that sticks to your guts. Carla herself refers to this LP as her “pop record,” and if that's a true description, we could sure use a whole lot more “pop” albums like Boy. Don’t overlook this one.

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Gift Ideas: Music DVDs

Posted by Amoebite, November 25, 2014 02:18pm | Post a Comment

Gift Ideas music DVDs

Music DVDs can be a great gift idea for a music fan, particularly one who already has the newest album or an entire artist's catalog. They're a way to go behind the scenes, gain new insight or watch an artist performing at the height of their career. Check out 10 recent music DVD releases to consider giving this holiday. 

The Beatles a Hard Day's Night

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night [Criterion]

Just one month after they exploded onto the U.S. scene with their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, The Beatles began working on a project that would bring their revolutionary talent to the big screen. A Hard Day’s Night, in which John, Paul, George, and Ringo play slapstick versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Directed with raucous, anything-goes verve by Richard Lester and featuring a slew of iconic pop anthems, including the title track, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “If I Fell,” A Hard Day’s Night, which reconceived the movie musical and exerted an incalculable influence on the music video, is one of the most deliriously entertaining movies of all time.

Dip Your Toes into Classical Music with Our Handy Conversion Chart

Posted by Amoebite, November 17, 2014 03:56pm | Post a Comment

Classical Music Conversion Chart

There is a type of customer at Amoeba Music that remains one of my favorites. Those brave souls who sheepishly make their way to the deepest, most remote area of the store: The Classical Section. They look vulnerable but hopeful, curious but intimidated. They come, knowing they want Classical music, but unsure how to find something they’ll like.

I’ve found the most efficient and fun way to lead folks is to learn about the other forms of music they love, and then use that to inspire selections. For every contemporary artist on the scene today, I assure you that there’s a composer in the Classical section with parallels. Beyond that, after working in record stores for over a decade, I’ve learned that people who enjoy certain acts – such as, let’s say, Black Sabbath – typically will also enjoy the string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich.

It’s these interactions that led me to create the following "conversion chart." While no means infallible, think of it as a fun way to find a starting point in your adventure into the Classical music genre. But remember – no chart can replace a living, breathing, Amoeba Music employee. Don’t be afraid to come in and ask for suggestions. We love that!

The best time to come explore the Classical section will be November 28-30 when we're having a huge Classical blowout at our stores over Black Friday weekend. All red and green tag Classical CDs and vinyl will be 50% off! Sale details here.

Album Picks: Morrissey and Jungle

Posted by Billy Gil, July 15, 2014 10:48am | Post a Comment

Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business (LP, CD)

morrissey world peace is none of your business lpWorld Peace Is None of Your Business might be Moz’s angriest album yet. Full of bitter political cynicism and social commentary, the album has the feel of a knowing screed by someone who’s seen it all and whose attitude mostly feels justified. Whether he’s detailing the death of a beat poet (“Neal Cassady Drop Dead’s” “everyone has babies, babies full of rabies” line is priceless) or bemoaning the futility of human connection (“you fail as a woman and you lose as a man” he sings in “Earth Is the Loneliest Planet”), Morrissey’s in classic sardonic mode, while musically the band lays on touches of flamenco guitar, a digitized beat here and a harp there, to form a more lush version of the hard-hitting rock sound he’s employed for the latter half of his career. I can't say that I love the title tracks, in which Morrisey's frustration is understood, but its “each time you vote you support the process” seems insensitive to the places and people that have fought long and hard for this right. Still, it’s hard to resist when he’s in his finest form, on tracks like the extended “I’m Not a Man,” in which Morrissey places his militant vegetarianism and pacificism front-and-center as a new form of manhood, reminiscent of his classic line “it takes strength to be gentle and kind,” (from The Smiths’ “I Know It’s Over”) amid glittering synthesizers and glam stomp. For anyone who’s unfairly labeled Morrissey a miserablist in the past, World Peace shows Moz as an elder statesman with his fists clenched and plenty of piss ‘n’ vinegar left in his system. Also, don't forget—Morrissey just had one of his best albums, Vauxhall & I, re-released last month, get that shit.

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Morrissey vs. Justin Timberlake

Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2013 10:14am | Post a Comment




















Recently when over at Amoeba Berkeley and up front near the new releases section of the Telegraph Ave. store chatting with both E-Lit and Amoeba Marc I couldn't help but notice how the cover photo art of the new Justin Timberlake album 20/20 2 of 2 was a little reminiscent of Morrissey's first solo album Viva Hate.  (Note the LP cover as distinct from the CD cover art which is different). I asked both Marc and E-Lit if they also saw the similarity. They weren't sure so I dashed over to the M section of rock in Amoeba to find said Moz album just be sure and to hold them up next to each other - and sure enough (Marc and E-Lit agreed) there is a definite similarity in the artwork alright - both captured in shadowy black and white, in somber poses looking downwards. Then I began pondering other possible similarities that the two might share, beyond the likeness of their album covers (both above): both were born in cities that begin with the letter M (Manchester and Memphis), broke away from famous groups (The Smiths and 'N Sync) to remain equally famous as solo artists. Also, I thought, that Timeberlake must be around the same age now as Morrissey was back then when he released Viva Hate (his first post Smiths solo album). Actually Morrissey was a few years younger. He was 28, two months shy of his 29th b-day, when Viva Hate dropped - just six months after The Smiths released their farewell album Strangeways, Here We Come. Meantime Timberlake was/is 32 years old upon release of his latest - his fourth solo album. Another similarity between the two is that both have new projects out at this time - each getting a lot of attention. In the case of the 54 year old Morrissey it is his newly published (long awaited) autobiography that has made headlines for not just the content but the fact that the author insisted that the publisher put it out on their Penguin Classics division. (in an unprecedented move they somehow agreed.) And over the weekend there were reports of Morrissey been in an not too serious auto accident - read report from yesterday via Pitchfork.

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