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The 80s List: Part 3

Posted by Amoebite, August 17, 2011 04:31pm | Post a Comment
Black FlagOne day at Amoeba Hollywood I proclaimed that Aztec Camera's 1983 release High Land, Hard Rain was one of the best records of the '80s. This single statement eventually led to over 200 Amoebites ranking their top 10 favorite albums from the ‘80s. 

From the beginning we realized that it was impossible for most of us to condense our favorites from all genres into a tiny top ten list. So, we limited our lists to Rock/Pop and its sub-genres like punk, metal, goth, and new wave
Even so, it was a difficult selection process because not only are there hundreds of amazing records to consider, there is also the added dynamic of time. 

The '80s were a long time ago and the music has had many years to gestate. We have a deep sense of nostalgia and sentiment with these albums as our fondest memories are associated with them. These are albums we LOVE.

-  Henry Polk

P.S. We'll be posting new additions to the '80s list project from Amoeba staff members on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. See all entries in our ‘80s list series

P.P.S. The '80s List Book is available for sale at Amoeba Hollywood.


Alyssa Siegel
The ReplacementsTim (1985)
X –  More Fun In The New World (1983)
R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)
PixiesDoolittle (1989)
The FeeliesThe Good Earth (1985)
Rockpile - Seconds Of Pleasure (1980)
Nick HaeffnerThe Great Indoors (1987)
Chris StameyIt’s Alright (1987)
The Gun ClubFire Of Love (1981)
Tom Petty & The HeartbreakersHard Promises (1981)

The 80s List: Part 2

Posted by Amoebite, August 14, 2011 04:09pm | Post a Comment
The CureOne day at Amoeba Hollywood I proclaimed that Aztec Camera's 1983 release High Land, Hard Rain was one of the best records of the '80s. This single statement eventually led to over 200 Amoebites ranking their top 10 favorite albums from the ‘80s. 

From the beginning we realized that it was impossible for most of us to condense our favorites from all genres into a tiny top ten list. So, we limited our lists to Rock/Pop and its sub-genres like punk, metal, goth, and new wave
Even so, it was a difficult selection process because not only are there hundreds of amazing records to consider, there is also the added dynamic of time. 

The '80s were a long time ago and the music has had many years to gestate. We have a deep sense of nostalgia and sentiment with these albums as our fondest memories are associated with them. These are albums we LOVE.

-  Henry Polk

P.S. We'll be posting new additions to the '80s list project from Amoeba staff members on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. See Part One in the ‘80s list series

P.P.S. The '80s List Book is available for sale at Amoeba Hollywood.


Andrew Thompson
Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking (1988)
U2 - The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
The CureDisintegration (1989)
X - Los Angeles (1980)
AC/DCBack In Black (1980)
Peter GabrielSo (1986)
Nine Inch NailsPretty Hate Machine (1989)
Black SabbathHeaven & Hell (1980)
Gun’s N RosesAppetite For Destruction (1987)
The Jesus & Mary ChainPsychocandy (1985)

The 80s List: Part 1

Posted by Amoebite, August 11, 2011 06:57pm | Post a Comment
We're unashamedly big music nerds here at Amoeba Hollywood, and we love to talk and reminisce about our favorite records with each other. We also like to debate their historical relevance. Sometimes these conversations can get pretty impassioned, as it did on the fateful date I exclaimedAztec Camera Aztec Camera's 1983 release High Land, Hard Rain to be one of the best records of the '80s.

Oops...that statement was met with mild laughter and ridicule from two of my co-workers. I realized pretty quickly that it was a very tall claim considering the wealth of great music that emerged over the course of that decade. The truth is, I was forced into justifying that statement by making a top-ten list of my favorite '80s records. It was a daunting task that took a fair amount of soul searching, but it was a lot of fun. It was also very infectious, and over the next couple of days a dozen other people made their top ten lists, and within a few weeks the number grew to over 100 Amoebites.

The '80s were witness to many divergent and popular styles of music, and from the beginning we realized that it would be impossible for most of us to condense our favorites from all the genres we like into a tiny top ten list. There's just too much good stuff out there. So, we limited this list to Rock/Pop and its sub genres like punk, metal, goth, and new wave. Even so, it was still a difficult selection process because not only are there hundreds of amazing records to consider, there is also the added dynamic of time.

Top Ten of 2010 by Erin

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 10, 2010 05:08pm | Post a Comment

joanna newsom have one on me

1. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
The Wire said that this album is like an overturned jewelry box, and I would agree. So deeply felt, everything else seems shallow. See her live.

glasser ring

2. Glasser - Ring
My favorite newcomer. Innovative electronics meet radio-friendly R&B. And there's something else I can't quite put my finger on...

zola jesus stridulum zola jesus valusia

3. Zola Jesus - Stridulum & Valusia EPs 
A pretty epic talent, considering she's only 21. She must be an old soul.

girls broken dreams club

4. Girls - Broken Dreams Club EP 
More 80s jangly than their debut, but always as heartbreaking.

orange juice coals to newcastle

Continue reading...

Synthsual Seduction: Getting Intimate with Blonde Redhead's Penny Sparkle

Posted by Kells, September 14, 2010 11:00am | Post a Comment
A while ago, right here in this blogosphere, I shared a memorable, if somewhat goofy, moment I experienced in conversation with Blonde Redhead where it was determined that their signature sound is, seasonally speaking, " cold, like winter," punctuated by drummer Simone Pace's joking that they've been trying to score a "summer hit" all these years. True, there's nothing very ruddy or relaxing about the raw, malodorous roots they laid down in their hard-rocking early days, prompting fans to coin the multilingual heart-breakers as "art rock" darlings while some persnickety critics underrated them as Sonic Youth wannabes. Alas, that "certain damaged" sound that Guy Picciotto (of Fugazi and Rites of Spring fame) coaxed into the production Blonde Redhead's middle children albums (In An Expression of the Inexpressible, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and Misery is a Butterfly) is as gone as the no wave, DNA inspired D.I.Y. joie de vivre captured on the band's Steve Shelly (of, duh, Sonic Youth fame) produced self-titled debut as well as that of their self-produced, non-slump of a sophomore effort La Mia Vita Violenta and it's bewitching follow-up Fake Can Be Just As Good (sigh). However, I believe congratulations are in order as it seems that Blonde Redhead have, with Penny Sparkle --- their eighth full-length album in fifteen years, their third record for the 4AD label --- created the most lusciously polished, goth jewel of a make-out record since the Cure's Disintegration dropped in 1989.

Sonically, Penny Sparkle seems pick up where the last Blonde Redhead album, 23, left off excepting for the storm cloud of synths that drape the landscape of the record like a down comforter blanketing a snow bank, melting even those once raucous guitars into a symphony of layered, atmospheric electro-confessionals (in terms of 23, think "The Dress" and "Publisher" plus that creepy eight-minute 23 outtake "(We Are A real Team) Harry and I"). I'm guessing this shift in the band's sound morphology has something to do with producers Alan Moulder (whose finger prints linger on 23 not to mention his famed "shoegaze" connections and work with artists like Depeche Mode, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain --- make-out jams indeed) and Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid (Fever Ray) who worked with the band in Stockholm thus accounting for the slight dregs Swedish pop influence that lend extra shine to Penny Sparkle's glittery glow. Though none of the ten songs that comprise the record really stand out on their own all of them resonate in comparable, if not reciprocal, aural ensembles that flaunt the usual melange of minor chords and shadowy progressive elements that have endeared Blonde Redhead to their expanding fan base. But, goll-ly day is it synthy!

Overall, I 'm going to continue to push this record as a the make-out record for 2010. Who knows if Blonde Redhead will ever catch up to said "summer hit" that seems somehow out of their reach (I suppose a meeting with Cee-lo wouldn't hurt). At least they've proven they can make a classy "synth" record that not only doesn't sound like it was sugar-coated for mainstream consumption or polished for awards ceremonies, but also seems to, along with current artists like Zola Jesus, herald the return of goth as a sexy trend to be indulged passionately, in darkened dens, with the cutter you love. If that doesn't sound appealing to you just give it a good seasonally synced listen, after all, you can't get more goth than that time of year when autumn meets winter, and winter is their season.

Blonde Redhead performing the single "Here Sometimes" from Penny Sparkle (4AD Session):

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