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50 Favorite Albums of 2011

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 18, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. As you may know, I've worked in Hollywood for 8 years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2011 releases that I fell in love with or had hot and heavy affairs with this year.

50 Favorite Albums of 2011



  1. Wild Beasts Smother

In 2008, Brit quartet Wild Beasts released their shaky-legged -but- stunning debut, Limbo Panto. In the four years since, the band has released two thoroughly dazzling masterpiece full-lengths of deceptively delicate indie rock, lyrically bent towards looking in the dark recesses of the heart and libido, largely sung by co-vocalist Hayden Thorpe in his trademark falsetto. Smother finds the band adding a new restraint to their arrangements that allows the tension in the lyrics to hit with hair-on-end chills. It is a singular LP by a singular band that I expect will eventually reach a Radiohead-level stratosphere. 

Continue reading...

Amoeba Hollywood's New and Featured Goth / Industrial Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 26, 2010 05:15pm | Post a Comment

Rome
Nos Chants Perdus[Trisol] CD


Over a series of remarkable concept albums, the Luxembourgish band Rome has developed a totally unique ‘poetry of longing’ which rings out from the dark melancholic mist of rootlessness and which gives expression to a comprehensive feeling of modern forlornness. The protagonists of their music are the unintentional ‘rebels’ of Camus (L’Homme révolté), contemporaries from the turbulent epochs of the 20th century: the banished and the hunted, the despised and the misunderstood – ceaseless enemies of dictatorship. This is what the songs of Rome frontman Jerome Reuter are about, rooted firmly in the tradition of his declared heroes Jacques Brel, Léo Ferré, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. With regard to content, Rome derives inspiration from world literature and an observant listener will be able to detect references to Camus, Proust, Sartre and Jean Genet. Following hot on the heels of their EP L’Assassin, the band assiduously develops its sound further on a minimalistic yet richly textured, simple singer-songwriter album Nos Chants Perdus -- slowly leaving the apocalyptic realms behind them. Catchy melodies impress themselves on the memory and Reuter’s gothic tenor is currently peerless. Apart from the French song titles the lyrics are primarily performed in English, while the music is constructed primarily with acoustic instruments: piano, guitar, touches of strings, accordion. They have largely relinquished electronic elements, which marks Nos Chants Perdus out as a further and remarkable stride in the work of the band. Check out samples of Rome’s previous efforts here and here

Listen: Rome "L'Assassin" from Nos Chants Perdus



TriORE Three Hours [Cold Meat Industry]CD

Christian Erdmann (Triarii) and Tomas Pettersson (Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio) have given birth to a love child they call TriORE. Both participants go beyond themselves and step out of normal character, but TriORE is nonetheless the embodiment of all that which is Triarii, and all that which is Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio. The bombastic touch of Triarii is still there; the string sections, the choirs, the martial drums and much more; alongside the eloquence of Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, musically, melodically, as well as lyrically. This is what all lovers of both bands have been waiting for, a complete forty minutes of downer-but-gorgeous Art Deco Industrial Pop.

Listen: TriORE "Pleasures & Tortures" from Three Hours

 

Combichrist Noise Collection, Vol. 1 [Out of Line] 2CD

Raw, brutal and forceful! Combichrist burst into the dark Electro scene in 2003 with a massive blend of Techno, Noise, EBM and harsh Industrial sounds that were as fresh as they were brutal. Noise Collection Vol. 1, a comprehensive 2 CD anthology, explores the wild early years of one of the most loved acts in modern dark club music. Disc one contains the now-deleted debut album The Joy Of Gunz, while disc two unites the ultra-rare Halloween release "Kiss The Blade," the long-deleted Sex, Drogen & Industrial EP, two tracks from the collectible Blut Royale 12 inch-single and an exclusive song from the Industrial For The Masses Vol. 2 compilation. Noise Collection Vol. 1 is the ideal opportunity for new fans to complement their Combichrist library and serves as a nearly complete insight into the first phase this most influential band.

Listen: Combichrist  "You Will Be The Bitch Now" from Noise Collection, Vol.1

 

Tying Tiffany
Peoples Temple [Trisol] CD


Italian Electro-Goth-Pop from the perspective of contemporary decadent lifestyles. True to the roots of the Goth-Pop genre, this vampy siren delivers a lesson in Punkish attitude, revolutionary gusto and a lot of electronic reinforcement with Peoples Temple and strengthens her reputation as an exceptional tunesmith and performer.

Listen: Tying Tiffany "Show Me..." from Peoples Temple




Still Fresh…

Thomas Nola et Son Orchestre
Très Pathétique [Disques de Lapin] CD


New release from Thomas Nola featuring rich and moody tracks with a French bent. Très Pathétique comes in a handmade sleeve with lyrics booklet. Each sleeve is made from Indian recycled cotton rag paper with random multi-colored swirls, making them all unique. Bring it to the dancefloor or the funeral parlor.

Ruby Throat Out of A Black Cloud Came A Bird [Sleepslikewolves/ The Lovers’ Will] CD

Black Cloud finds KatieJane Garside's (Queenadreena, Daisy Chainsaw) unsettling and psycho-sexual fairytale-stylings covered in ethereal-psychedelic dream-wrap courtesy of Chris Wittingham's instrumentation. Her voice is equal parts PJ Harvey, Alison Shaw (Cranes), and Hope Sandoval -- though sometimes a bit of Diamanda's babelogue madness creeps in.

Black Light District's Best Dark Music Albums of The '00's

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 23, 2009 12:45pm | Post a Comment
Last week, I posted Black Light District's year-end best of list, which was a breeze to compile compared to reviewing the last 10 years for this week's post -- the 20 Best Dark Music Albums of The Decade. I had to whittle away many great titles, but I believe these records have proven to be or will prove to be dark classics for years to come. See ya next year, kids...

1. Coil – The Ape of Naples / The New Backwards (2005/08)


John Balance’s passing was one of the great tragedies in the music world this past decade. It was especially sad to see one of his greatest works be released posthumously. The recordings on The Ape of Naples and its (later-released) sister album, The New Backwards (collected together in the limited Ape of Naples LP box set), date back as far as 1993 when the band was briefly signed to Trent Reznor’s Nothing label, but went unfinished until 2004 when the group returned to the abandoned material for their new album. Gorgeous Funeral-Folk, third-eye electronics and captured transmissions from beyond The Threshold.

Listen: Coil "Fire of the Mind"




2. Diamanda Galas – Defixiones, Will and Testament (2003)

Diamanda has been scaring and thrilling me since I was a teenager and first heard the double-miked insanity that is Plague Mass
. Her wrath is visceral and unrelenting, and is not something I would like to incur. EVER. She once referred to her voice as “an instrument of inspiration for my friends, and a tool of torture and destruction to my enemies.” And that is exactly how she uses it on Defixiones, Will and Testament -- which not only stands as one of the best albums of the decade, but also as one of Diamanda’s ultimate masterpieces. This album is meant to give voice to those lives lost in the Armenian, Assyrian, and Anatolian Greek genocides which occurred between 1914 and 1923 via Galas’ other-worldy four-octave voice, piano, tape and minimal electronics. Harrowing, devastating, emotionally eructative, yet scholarly focused. The album, for its weight, intensity and scope, has no peers. 

                                                                  Listen: Diamanda Galas "Holokoftoma"





3. Nový Svět - Chappaqua (2001)

The now-defunct Austrian duo, Novy Svet, while largely associated with the Neofolk genre in the early part of this decade, was a truly singular band. Their post-industrial sound included bits of wonky lounge, Mediterranean folk, minimal wave, electro, krautrock, dark ambient and jazz. Their lyrics are sung in everything from English, Spanish, and German to Italian, French and even Esperanto. One’s inability to pin the duo down to one genre is a testament to their unique genius. While nearly any one of their 11 full-length albums could have made this list, Chappaqua is the first stand-out amongst their many stand-outs. It is the early masterpiece in their catalog for its unnervingly sinister ambience and dark romanticism -- sounding like nothing else in the year 2001, before, or after. 
                                                                 
                                                                  Listen: Nový Svět "En Posesion De Te"




4. The Knife - Silent Shout (2005)

Music for a David Lynch film that doesn’t exist but should from weirdo Swedish Brother/Sister Duo.
The Dreaming-style weirdly-pitched and occasional Eastern scale vocals, memorable melodies, bizarre story-telling and general eerie atmosphere make this one of the darkly defining and classic albums of the decade.

Listen: The Knife "One Hit" 






5. Subtonix – Tarantism (2002)

Subtonix was one of the only Deathrock bands to do it right this decade. They reclaimed the flame and moved the genre forward. Combining elements of Christian Death, X-Ray Spex, Fuzzbox and feminism with a Gothic Horror aesthetic at now- legendarily frenzied live shows, this is the one LP they left us with and it holds up with the classics from the original 1980’s Deathrock-wave.


Listen: Subtonix "Berlin 1930"




6. Cold CaveLove Comes Close (2009)


Like Subtonix were to Deathrock, Cold Cave is to Synthpop. Love Comes Close is an infectious slab of 9 inspired Darkwave and Synthpop anthems. Cold Cave couldn't have timed their debut any better either, with Synthpop bound for a big comeback with the release of BBC's stellar documentary Synth Britannia. Read my review of
Love Comes Close from earlier this year here.

                          Listen: Cold Cave "Heaven Was Full"






7. The Vanishing – Still Lifes Are Failing (2004)

After Subtonix, saxophonist/vocalist Jessie Evans (then Jessie Trashed) moved on to the more synth-heavy band, The Vanishing. Starting out with a relatively traditional Deathrock-vibe, the group eventually evolved into a more hypnotic dark electro/industrial sound, which can be found on the intense Still Lifes Are Failing. A record very much of its environment, Still Lifes funnels all the fear, war, excess and confusion of the last decade into a tight yet frenetic set that moves from the paranoid to the celebratory and back in under an hour. One of the best live bands of the decade finally was able to distill some of what made them so special live into a studio record. 

                                                                 Listen: The Vanishing "Still Lifes"






8. Wolves in The Throne Room – Diadems of 12 Stars (2006)

Epic, transcendental Black Metal that set the new bar. Folk, Goth, Shoegaze and Blackened Metal collide on the debut (and still the band's best as a whole) from the Olympia, Washington forest-dwellers. As important to American Metal’s evolution as Weakling’s Dead As Dreams.

Listen: Wolves In The Throne Room "(A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem of 12 Stars" PART 1
                                                                 
                                                                 PART 2




9. Rome – Masse Me
nsch Material (2008)

Honestly, any one of Rome’s records could have made this list, but I do believe Masse Mensch Material is the strongest of
masterstrokes from this young yet wonderfully prolific “Chanson Noir” collective. Rome built its foundation on Neofolk but has brazenly forged its own path, consistently improving and evolving on each consecutive release. They came out of nowhere and knocked all the hapless hushed neo-strummers on their asses and then kicked them into the dirt. The band further evolved on their 2009 release, Flowers From Exile (#7 0f 2009), adding poppier melodies and expanded instrumentation such as flamenco guitar to their soundscape. This definitely made Mensch the closing of the first chapter in the Rome story, and also effectively made it the band’s strongest effort as a ‘post-Industrial’ or ‘Neofolk’ outfit. Also, none of frontman Jerome Reuter’s peers can compete with his classic gothic tenor. 
                                                                
Listen: Rome "Der Brandtaucher"




10. Ruby Throat – The Ventriloquist (2007)

Stellar debut from Katiejane Garside's Folk-Noir project with guitarist Chris Wittingham. Ethereal pyscho-sexual musings to stark transgressive murder-balladry to sixteen-minute-long Apocalyptic/Psychedelic folk tracks. An amazing new peak for Garside, an already consistently powerful artist.


Listen: Ruby Throat "Lie To Me"




11.  Weakling - Dead As Dreams (2000)


Listen: Weakling "Cut Their Grain And Place Fire Therein" PART 1
                             
PART 2











12. Der Blutharsch - When Did Wonderland End? (2005)


Listen: Der Blutharsch "So Bring Your Iron Rain Down"









13. Bain Wolfkind – Music For Lovers & Gangsters (2005)


Listen: Bain Wolfkind "I Only Get Turned On..."

 









14. Ludicra – Hollow Psalms (2002)
 
Listen: Ludicra "The Final Lamentation"





 






15.  Piano Magic – Disaffected (2005)


Listen: Piano Magic "Night Of The Hunter"














16. Turn Pale – Kill The Lights! (2003)


Listen: Turn Pale "Lights Melt Away"

 












17. Cult of Youth – A Stick to Bind, A Seed To Grow (2008)


Listen: Cult of Youth "Torch of Man"


 










18. The Gault - Even As All Before Us (2004)


Listen: The Gault "Bright White Blind"

 












19. Spiritual Front - Armageddon Gigolo (2005)


Listen: Spiritual Front "Love Through Vaseline"














20. Tor Lundvall - Sleeping And Hiding (2009) 


Listen: Tor Lundvall "Falling Trees"











Honorable Mentions:

Nachtmystium – Instinct: Decay
(2006)

Derniere Volonte – Devant Le Miroir (2006)

Crebain – Night of Stormcrow (2003)

Of The Wand and The Moon - Sonnenheim (2005)
 
Pest - Ad Se Ipsum (2002)




(In which Job fondly recalls Ancient Rome.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 19, 2007 10:44am | Post a Comment
I don’t own a television. I can’t.

I just can’t face another TV commercial. It doesn’t matter how good a show is, if it must stop all of a sudden in order for some hopped-up, bling-bling supermodel to salaciously coax me into purchasing the latest acacia-infused douche/pudding pop, I will barf.

Maybe my resistance is low because I spent most of my childhood glued to the boob-tube. I could tell anyone what I was “going to do that day” in half-hour increments.

“Four o’clock? Well, ‘Dangermouse’ will just be finishing up, then segueing into ‘You Can’t Do That On Television,’ after which I will switch channels to Mtv to watch ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’…” ad infinitum.

(Monty Python on Mtv? Man, those were good times. ‘Just Say Julie’ and ‘Post Modern Mtv’… I weep for our losses.)


Strictly UPTOWN Julie Brown, Queen of Mtv

At some point, I switched watching copious amounts of TV for lots and lots of mind-altering drugs. So yeah, things were getting healthier. By the time I sobered up and realized that my life wasn’t going to figure itself out, I had a quick nervous breakdown and spiritual crisis, considered suicide, came back from the brink of annihilation, got a job and a girlfriend and discovered I could no longer cope with Nike ads.

Really, this could be anyone’s story.

This is my very personal and long-winded way of saying that I only watch TV shows on DVD. On my computer. In control. No swooshes.

Currently, I am enjoying HBO’s epic saga, “Rome”. I can’t say that I’m bowled over, but it’s amusing enough to watch when I scurry home from Amoeba Music for my lunch break. I’ve only watched the first four episodes, too, so there’s still a chance I’ll get addicted. It took about that long before I realized that “Deadwood” was (curse-word) brilliant.

Still, I am reminded of one of my favorite TV shows of all time. More of a mini-series, actually. “I, Claudius”, which ran on the BBC in 1976. Henceforth, it was often seen in the U.S. on public television. It garnered a slew of awards.


Is that a snake in your opening credits or are you just happy to see me?

I watched it as a fluke. I was at my sister’s house in Sacramento and had a lot of free time. Amidst all the children’s DVD’s was “I, Claudius”. Faced with watching Ariel become a human with the help of Sebastian and Flounder, or the bloody and horrific fall of the Roman Empire, the choice was a no-brainer. After all, only one of these would give me nightmares about calypso-singing sea-crabs.


"I'm going to add your severed head to my collection of whoozits and whatsits!"

What followed was two days of me glued to the computer screen, watching with mouth agape, the entire series. It was like being a kid again.

The show is masterful. The acting is superlative, and the villains are so entertaining and genuinely scary, you almost hate to see them fail, and since this is about Ancient Rome, they often don’t.


More evil and cunning than Fox News - Siân Phillips as Livia

It doesn’t have the same big budget that HBO currently enjoys. Most of it is shot on sound stages; it looks more like a play than a TV show. (Cheek to camera-right and stab him in the throat, keeping your profile in the upper-left light, please.) It’s also a British show, so you might feel a little lost at first, because they don’t take a lot of time to educate you on what’s going on; you either know already or you find the groove.


Get Into the Groove - John Hurt as Caligula

Let me tell you, it is worth the effort. I cannot praise the show enough. Luckily, it is available on DVD in its entirety. You may be delighted to see just how many British celebrities are in it. The cast reads like a who’s-who of England in the 70’s. The cast-party must have been rad. (Or, in the British dialect, “really rather rad”.)


23 years Before Christ and 2,000 years Before Ikea

If you like “Rome”, I insist you check it out. Unless the only reason you watch said show is for occasional glimpses of James Purefoy’s penis, in which case, “Dangermouse” is the more obvious recommendation.