With all the hubbub that surrounded Death Grips’ third album—how about that original cover art?—it was easy to overlook the actual music. The album itself has somewhat been eclipsed by the band’s early leaking of the album and Epic’s subsequent dropping of the band, but now given a proper physical release on Harvest Records, No Love Deep Web proves itself as essential listening, nonetheless. Death Grips are one of the most exciting bands on the planet right now, both for their music and attitude, as shown by one listen to album opener “Come Up and Get Me.” Zach Hill (who’s also played with Hella and Marnie Stern) and deliver Andy “Flatlander” Morin deliver digital sound stabs while Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett performs like a desperate man, sing/screaming “fuck the world, fuck this body” like it’s the apocalypse. “No Love” uses a singular drum knocking like an unwanted visitor, an atonal synth riff and mechanical noise to create plenty of uneasy atmosphere; Burnett, as if letting the song simmer, eases into it, delivering a more minimal performance that’s all the more effective for the eerie space that creeps in between his tirades. The innocuous sounding title “World of Dogs” reveals pelting beats and the repeated lyric “it’s all suicide,” while “Deep Web” turns up the aggression to its maximum, as Burnett cries “don’t make me take my face off” among digital gunshots and bombshells of sound. No Love Deep Web doesn’t share the sonic diversity of its predecessor, the superior The Money Store, and it doesn’t have anything approaching a single. Yet it’s the clearest, most uncompromising statement from a band who has built their name on never standing down. As the band leaks yet another album online, here’s hoping they never change.
|Elliott Smith performing live at Amoeba SF, 1998|
Elliott Smith was easily one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. His songs could be pissed off and bitter or hopeful and idealistic, eloquently expressing the seemingly inexpressible with a quivering, hushed voice and immaculately crafted acoustic songs.
While his absence is still felt in the music community 10 years after his death, he’s certainly influenced leagues of his contemporaries and newcomers with both his music and philanthropy, as he played many benefit shows during his lifetime. In commemoration of what would have been his 44th birthday Aug. 6, several of his musician friends are coming together for a series of benefit shows for various organizations.
During the month of August, Amoeba will be donating a portion of the proceeds of any of Elliott Smith’s catalogue (including digital) to Free Arts For Abused Children. Free Arts is a volunteer organization that has delivered arts programs to abused and neglected children for more than 30 years. To find out more or to volunteer, check them out at www.freearts.org.
The concert series, called “No Name #1: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Elliott Smith,” will include more than 100 musicians playing shows in Portland, L.A., Austin and New York. First up is Aug. 4 at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge, with director Gus Van Sant and Grandaddy, benefitting homeless youth organization Outside In; L.A.’s show takes place Aug. 6 at Largo, hosted by Jon Brion and benefitting Free Arts For Abused Children; Aug. 9 Austin’s show takes place at the Scottish Rite Theater with members of Grandaddy and more, benefitting The Sims Foundation, which provides mental health services to musicans; and Aug. 10 New York’s Bowery Ballroom hosts Rhett Miller, Chris Thile (of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek) and Mary Lou Lord, benefitting New Alternatives for LBGT Homeless Youth. Visit "No Name #1's" Facebook page for tickets.
Today L.A. indie pop heroes So Many Wizards take the stage as a four-piece rather than a three-piece band for the first time, opening for wonderful britpop weirdos Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The show's at 8:30 and it's 10 bucks. Buy tickets here.
Frontman Nima Kazerouni started So Many Wizards as a solo project in Long Beach around late 2008. Drummer Erik Felix from neighboring San Pedro came aboard shortly thereafter and the two recorded an EP together, the Tree EP.
Since then, the band added third member Warren Woodward and now have added Geoff Geis of local goodies Pizza! and Big Whup. It's a long way from back in 2009, when Kazerouni played live while old TVs rigged with LCD screens played his backup parts.
“The vintage TVs really threw people for a loop, which was cool, but it got old fast (super fragile and hard to set up),” Kazerouni explains. “These days, as the bands grows with members and hence new sonic possibilities, focusing on honing those possibilities is the primary goal.”
*Special Note – FYF Fest tickets are going on sale at Amoeba at exactly noon today! Amoeba’s got a bunch of ’em, so be sure to pick up your weekend passes at Amoeba Hollywood. They’ll put you out $105 ($99 ticket fee, plus a $3 venue fee and Amoeba’s $3 fee). If that sounds like a lot, familiarize or refamiliarize yourself with the mind-bogglingly great lineup, catch your breath and then buy that damn ticket.
Shannon and the Clams – “Into a Dream”
Shannon’s sweet snarl leads us through a tunnel-of-love melody and ’50s pop arrangement. The gloriously lo-fi production and Shannon and her Clams’ disorienting harmonies make the whole thing a fun, woozy ride. Dreams in the Rat House is due out May 21 on Hardly Art (preorder on CD or LP). Listen or download for free from Amoeba. Check ’em out at Amoeba San Francisco Thursday May 23 at 6 p.m.!