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A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Into Thievery Corporation

Few electronic acts hold as strong a legacy as Thievery Corporation. The duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have released music together for over two decades. Their discography spans multiple continents, and their extravagant live shows have dazzled millions.

While hard to identify, their genre finds appreciation for all cultures. Though they mainly rotate between reggae, middle eastern, and trip-hop.

This Friday, they’re bringing their Treasures from the Temple tour to the Joy Theater to promote their latest album. It’s an incredible performance that can’t be missed.

If you’re new to the Thieves, jumping in can be intense. Ten full-length records, multiple compilations, it’s a big commitment. But we promise it’s worth the effort. Because we love you so much (and we’re just that nerdy) we created the Beginner’s Guide to Getting into Thievery Corporation.

All albums are listed in suggested consumption order, not by release date. If you’d like to stay up all night preparing for their show tomorrow – we wouldn’t blame you.

The Mirror Conspiracy

Ok, maybe we will start at the beginning. While not their first album by technicality, The 2000 release Mirror Conspiracy was their first big success in the U.S. After debuting in the mid 90’s, they were forced to postpone the album’s release by a year when they lost the tapes in a mugging. They distinguished themselves with their eclectic blend of mid-tempo “electro lounge” beats. One of their biggest singles, “Lebanese Blonde” also comes from this album.

Culture of Fear

Fast forward to 2011. Culture of Fear expands on they guys’ love for acid jazz and modern hip-hop. The album comes from their label ESL (named after their favorite D.C. nightclub). In 20 years the band has always operated independently. They’ve denied multiple lucrative record label opportunities in the name of creative freedom. Boy does it show.

Radio Retaliation

2008’s Radio Retaliation is a protest album. Putting the group’s adamant anti-war stance on blast, the record uses Afro Beat and traditional Middle Eastern melodies. Thievery Corporation has always been advocates for human rights, performing at protest shows and speaking out on human injustices.

The Temple of I and I

For The Temple of I & I, the group relocated to Jamaica to fully explore dub and reggae. Their latest album, Treasures from the Temple features extra tracks and remixes from these Jamaica sessions.

Richest Man in Babylon

This was my first Thievery Corporation experience after a friend recommended it to me in a record shop. 2002’s Richest Man in Babylon highlights the group’s interest in traditional middle eastern music. It’s also a good example of the wide language variety of their singers. The group has recorded in languages varying from French and Hindi to Romanian, Persian and Italian.

Cosmic Game

Cosmic Game is the group’s 2005 turn towards dark psychedelia. It features more well-known appearances like David Byrne and Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips. It’s the perfect late night (early morning) album to round out your evening listening party.


2014’s Saudade is the perfect early morning, Sunday stroll type of album. With French pop and bossa nova feel, this album hits the sweet chill out spot.

Get tickets for Thievery Corporation’s show at the Joy here.

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