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50 Essential Albums Released in 2012

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 5, 2012 11:00am | Post a Comment

Aaron Detroit, Buyer at Amoeba Hollywood. I've worked in Hollywood for eight years, but started my time with Amoeba - way back in 1998 -  at the San Francisco store. This is my extensive list of 2012 releases that I fell in love with or had serious affairs over the past 365 days. 2012, for me, was a surprising and amazing year in music. Nearly all 50 releases here could have been a Top-Ten contender almost any other year, and the Top Ten is full of records that could easily have been #1.



50 Essential Albums of 2012


1.  SCOTT WALKER Bish Bosch (4AD) 

The 6-year-long wait was well worth it, as is usually the case with Walker. This isn't the latest indie background music du jour - It's an Absurdist's symphony. Melody is eschewed for repetition, but you still walk away with the damned thing in your head. E-bows, machetes as percussion and disturbing (as well as amusing) scatological metaphors are some of the unlikely ingredients that make up this terrifying (and weirdly infectious) beauty. There's really nothing else like it, so enjoy figuring it out for the rest of your life.  




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.

'Out of a Black Cloud' Comes a Great Album: Ruby Throat's Sophmore Triumph

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 12, 2010 08:15pm | Post a Comment

Last week, I posted details
about the new limited deluxe vinyl edition of Folk-Noir duo Ruby Throat’s cult-classic debut, The Ventriloquist. This week , Amoeba Hollywood has just received quantity of Ruby Throat's sophomore full-length recording, Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird. The album was released in a limited Special Edition CD run in November 2009, but has now been issued in this standard digipak CD edition.

Ruby Throat vocalist KatieJane Garside became quite prolific this past decade with three separate musical projects running in tandem  with each other (as well as a one-off LP with Hector Zazou - R.I.P); the long-running Queenadreena with former Daisy Chainsaw cohort Crispin Gray, her solo project Lalleshwari, and Ruby Throat with guitarist Chris Wittingham. While Queenadreena is a bombastic, cathartic and lustfully-charged rush bemoaning innocence lost, Lalleshwari revealed a more rudimentary, internal and transitive process of the artist. With Ruby Throat, Garside draws the characters in her songs as reflective, self-aware and with a sense to the nature of their struggles, though still very much struggling.

Black Cloud finds Garside's unsettling fairytale-stylings firmly rooted in her usual but always powerful psychosexual minefield of hushed lullabye, bluesy belting and bat-shit babelouge. Wittingham's psychedelic soundscapes and dreamy dark Americana-influenced arrangements are richer and fuller here but with the same minimalist bent and care as on the group’s debut.

The album opens with quiet murmurs over angelic harmonies and chimy picking that sets the tone and fully captures the warm yet unnerving atmosphere that most Ruby Throat songs exist inside of and which fans are now very familiar with. “Shark” lyrically suggests a solace in the feeling of being cared for, even when danger is very much present. Wittingham’s foreboding rhythm guitar adeptly mimics this feeling, while Garside’s voice slightly cracks with a knowing fear. The search for solace, wellness and stability each appear as strong veins within Black Cloud. However, Garside also paints her characters as pessimistic and as their own worst enemies. On “Beneath My Undress” she purrs:

“Same time I escape the rope / So I put it back about my throat /
Blunt, Cold, hard hit /  On angels feet beneath I slip”



And on “Bolt The Horse”:

“When someone breaks you / The terrible truth is /
You want no mending /
…I bolt the horse / I grip the gate /
I split the meat /I take the bait”


The album’s centerpiece comes in the form of a striking, if not surprising, reading of Townes Van Zandt’s classic lament “Nothin,’” which stands strongly next to the original with a shadowy blues arrangement by Wittingham. Garside’s voice clings pensively to the song’s final lines:

“Sorrow and solitude / these are the precious things
And the only words  / that are worth rememberin'”

But as the album title suggests, during great struggle is when one may find their wings– beauty, art, and love – all the things that make life worth living. On the album’s final and title track Garside’s subject finds a bird of love and hope emerging from the Black Cloud of self-doubt and emotional baggage.
"Out of a black cloud /
Came a bird / Out of a black cloud / Came a bird..."


Amoeba Hollywood has quantity of the Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird import digipak CD featuring hand-drawing artwork by KatieJane Garside at a very fetching domestic price of $10.98. The vinyl release is being planned for winter via The Lovers’ Will imprint.

Amoeba Hollywood's Featured and Upcoming Goth / Industrial Vinyl Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 5, 2010 06:00pm | Post a Comment
With a new boom of appreciation for long-playing vinyl in full swing, our cozy dark corner of Amoeba Music Hollywood where the Goth /Industrial section lies is seeing lots of great titles come through. We’ve hand-picked some recent wax new releases and reissues and are featuring them in our section this month, so crank up your turntable for some of our highlighted dark wonders.

Sturmpercht Schattenlieder (Ahnstern)
3-sided double-LP in gatefold-cover with etched vinyl on the 4th side. The masters of Pagan Folk are back with their new album Schattenlieder - eine kleine Nachtmusik für Waldteufel und Berggeister. The album features 20 diverse and unique songs full of alpine mysticism, heathen legends and tales about strange fairies and pagan rites. Schattenlieder entrains you into deep forests, arcane mountains and dark chasms and guides you to hidden places in the depth of the central European forests, where hunters meet strange creatures from dusk til dawn. The album varies between gnarled songs about creepy fairies, catchy folk hymns and dark songs dealing with alpine myths, forest tales and hunter sagas. Schattenlieder is the perfect soundtrack for misty autumn evenings as well as for dark winter nights. The album features a large variety of instruments and sounds -- obscure, strange, folky, psychedelic, but always original and weird, in Sturmpercht's very unique way. Schattenlieder is completely unpredictable -- each track a standalone, but contributing to the overall ambiance of this new benchmark within the Pagan Folk genre. Not for everyone, but a truly bizarre and wonderful release!



Ruby Throat The Ventriloquist (The Lovers' Will)
The deluxe double vinyl LP edition of the classic Folk-Noir recording The Ventriloquist by Ruby Throat. Limited to 300 hand-numbered copies in a reverse-board gatefold sleeve and including a full colour insert, this is the first time this gorgeous recording– originally self-released on CD in 2007– has been issued on vinyl by Los Angeles-based label The Lovers' Will Records & Press! Ruby Throat is a bewitching duo from London, UK and is compromised of vocalist KatieJane Garside (Daisy Chainsaw, Queenadreena) and guitarist Chris Wittingham. Garside’s voice is much like The Ventriloquist’s subject matter – riding on a dark line between the ethereal and the visceral. The album is made up of psychosexual musings, spectral visions, stark murder balladry and other transgressive tales delicately surrounded by the Psychedelic dream-wrap and pastoral strumming of Wittingham. It also holds a high spot on our previously-posted list of the 20 Best Dark Music Albums of The '00's. Recommended if you like PJ Harvey, Current 93, Mazzy Star, and WIll Oldham.



Baby Dee A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie  (Drag City)
After seeing an overwhelming response to Safe Inside The Day in February 2008, the peerless Baby Dee (a 57-year-old transgendered musician and artist from Ohio) returns with A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie. What was overwhelming about the response was the instant reaction to the purity of expression in her music. That dizzying sense of self is again an essential feature of this new music. While the last album was lit with the production fire of Will Oldham and Matt Sweeney producing, A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie glows softly with the calming presence of Maxim Moston (arranger of some standing and part of Antony And The Johnsons' touring band). In essence, this album is a prequel to Safe Inside The Day. The songs here were released in a different set of recordings and in a limited-edition book form (150 copies!) on David Tibet's Durtro label back in 2004. For most listeners, this is its first outing.


Allerseelen Cruor
The first CD-album by Allerseelen from 1993 in a brilliantly remastered version on highest-quality double-Allerseelenvinyl, with additional material! Fascinating organic Ritual-Industrial music about the blood-rituals of the Mithras cult.
Allerseelen
Allerseelen Sturmlieder
Re-release of the sold out third CD, containing 6 brand new bonus tracks! Completely remastered and re-edited for this vinyl edition. The quite excellent track, “Wir tragen ein Licht,” is dedicated to John Balance (of Coil), who died on 11.13.04; the original CD has been completely remastered and re-edited for this vinyl edition.




Upcoming NEW Vinyl Releases

current 93
Current 93/Andrew Liles Like Swallowing Eclipses
Box Set (Dirter)
For the first time on vinyl the complete highly acclaimed Andrew Liles remixes of the first five classic Current 93 albums! Andrew Liles has re-imagined Nature Unveiled, Dogs Blood Rising, In Menstrual Night, Dawn and Live at Bar Maldoror. Also exclusive to this set is a sixth LP, Haunt Invocation (Apadno) which is a remixed version of Faust and A Special Plan. These influential albums by Current 93 are regarded by many as groundbreaking and innovative; building upon this Andrew Liles has re-dreamed and re-imagined these pieces with the flare and vision that he is renowned and respected for. All the records in this 6 LP set come in individual covers and a beautiful spot varnished box and are adorned with Cold Cave Life Magazineastounding artwork by David Tibet and photographs by Simona Dalla Valle. Available early June.

Cold Cave Life Magazine Remixes (Matador)
On June 8, Matador will release the second single from Cold Cave’s Love Comes Close LP, “Life Magazine” as a limited vinyl 12″. Features a rare remix from Arthur Baker and a KILLER remix by Cold Cave's own Dominick Fernow under his noise-moniker Prurient.

A1. "Life Magazine" (The Arthur Baker’s Not Going Back Remix)
A2. "Life Magazine" (An Optimo (Espacio) Remix)
B1. "Life Magazine" (Pantha Du Prince First Flash Remix)
B2. "Life Magazine" (Prurient Remix)

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)




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