Top image: Still, ‘Like Me’ (2015) Joey Bada$$
Welcome to Record Riot, our shiny new playlist series in which our pick of the world’s greatest vinyl shops make us a very special mix. We’ve butted heads with some of the maddest music obsessives out there to bring you the tunes that are rattling their speakers on high rotation – right now.
This is our ode to the record store, those sacred spaces where stale beer from the previous night’s gig substitutes holy water, stained glass windows are replaced by vintage gig posters and the altar is your discount vinyl heap. The rooms where crate digging will rob you of many hours in the sun, and boy is it worth it when you find that mega rare banned copy of God Save the Queen.
In an evolving musical landscape shifting towards intangible downloads, record stores hold an intrinsic position, in championing physical musical output they are both preservers and purveyors, functioning on a variety of different levels; so called ‘third places’ where musos can squabble, bands form and where the culture of music can be seen, heard and held in your hands. Whether it’s where you bought your first record or simply a private haven amongst the chaos of life, these places are kindred – and that’s worth celebrating.
As the world’s largest independent record store you don’t need us to tell you why Hollywood’s Amoeba Music store is a 100% must visit spot on the record store hit list. First established in 1990 by co-owners Dave Prinz and Marc Weinstein, 2015 marks Amoeba’s 25th anniversary, and its cult status surges upwards – the store is even a playable venue in the music game, Guitar Hero World Tour. Made it.
Not just a record store, Amoeba also frequently transforms into a live venue, they’ve previously accommodated free performances from Elvis Costello, Black Flag, PJ Harvey, Nancy Sinatra and Queens of the Stone Age – just to name a few. Occupying an entire city block the store boasts a staff with unparalleled encyclopaedic musical knowledge and a zealous attitude that makes Empire Records look drab.
The idea of the record shop as cultural hub resonates with Amoeba’s down-to-earth ethos, there’s no pretence here, just back to back records as far as the eye can see. In fact, Amoeba Music has actually applied to open a medical marijuana dispensary inside its Berkeley flagship store – their San Francisco location already has a weed dispensary. Now that’s what’s known as listening to your consumers.
Amoeba made us a ripper playlist and it’s called Spring Salad. Dig. In.
Peroxide Hearts by Crocodiles
“Fifth album Boys from San Dog’s great krautgaze dreampop duo is more of what you love — tough, taut, fuzzed-out, soaring, unstoppable gems, a little bit Primal Scream, a little bit J&MC, but with plenty of their own energy and oddball vibe.”
Hypnotic Hustle By Peaking Lights
“On their newest, Cosmic Logic, Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis take their interstellar dub haze to the dancefloor. Touches of early ‘80s downtown dancepunk like ESG, Bush Tetras, and a bit of Grace Jones and the B-52s too, with plenty of echo and vintage synth.”
The Story of My Love by Chhoun Malay
“The amazing new documentary Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten resurrects some incredible music from pre-Khmer Rouge ‘50s and ‘60s Cambodian rock scene. This stuff is truly vibrant, creative and strange, and deserves to live again. Fabulous soundtrack out now on Dust-to-Digital.”
Wesley’s Theory by Kendrick Lamar
“The great hope of L.A. hip-hop delivers an innovative, body-rockin’ future classic with To Pimp a Butterfly, kicking off with an unbelievably dope Flying Lotus funk beat for “Wesley’s Theory”. A conscious party for your mind body & soul.”
Space Dumper by Daniele Baldelli
“Italo disco would be inconceivable without its key figure, so Baldelli finally releases some new music to keep up with his ever-expanding status. It’s so jivin-down-the-street-like-Travolta funky that you’ll be jivin’ down the street like Travolta (only in outer space).”
Class Historian by Broncho
“Jittery, winning new tune from this Oklahoma power pop combo shows how it’s done, John Hughes soundtrack style. Catchier than anything since the Knack or Modern English, you’ll still be dancing to this one at your twenty year class reunion.”
Intro to it’s Sunny S Outside by Boof
“Enigmatic underground house legend melds a stew of freaky ingredients into his newest Boof, as only he can do. This one blends futuristic, menacing minimal Detroit with a chooglin’ jazz guitar frug and some cinematic builds. Lovely stuff.”
Hop On Down by Arthur Russell
“Modern music still hasn’t caught up with the visionary sound of cellist and songwriter Arthur Russell, who somehow infused pop and disco with the circular intonations of Terry Riley and other ahead techniques, creating music at once naive and advanced. Also instantly accessible and captivating — he called it Buddhist bubblegum, like whatcha hear here.”
Voodoo Doll by Diamond Rugs
“Putting the super back into supergroup we have Diamond Rugs, which is a party band made up of Deer Tick’s John McCauley & Robbie Crowell, former Black Lips guitarist Ian St. Pé, Dead Confederates’ T. Hardy Morris, Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin and Six Finger Satellite’s Bryan Dufresne. This is a desperate slab of Replacements-style voodoo rock with the crucial sax honk of Berlin and a delightfully random synth line.”
Deep Wound by Swervedriver
“Shoegaze kings Swervedriver got back together and made a truly tuff, chunky new album of fiery, chiming dirges, fueled by burning rhythms and walls of guitar and harmony. Like what you love but more seasoned and weathered ya know?”
Like Me by Joey Bada$$
“Yes we know he’s referencing the living crap out of golden age ‘90s hip-hop, from De La Soul to Gang Starr to Black Moon. But what exactly is supposed to be wrong with that again? I forget. We like Joey Bada$$, sure he could try to invent some wacky sound you never heard before or he could stick to what he does best, keeping classic sounds alive and investing them with something new.”
Joust & Jostle by Wire
“There aren’t too many bands that can maintain an impeccable level of quality and consistency over a 40-year career. Okay there’s just one, Wire. As dark, pulsing, enigmatic, cutting and slyly melodic as ever on their newest self-titled album, Wire lay down fractured guitar lines, disaffected slam and chug, and Colin Newman’s coldly soothing lullabies. This stuff could have come from 1977, 1987 or 2027. Perhaps never selling out has an upside after all.”