Marissa Nadler’s latest is one of her best yet, adding a little warmth to her haunting rendition of goth-Americana. Whether she’s playing vague with evocative line, as in “Divers of the Dust” (“the waves were screaming/city streets/you look out the window to see/seven lines of stunted trees”), or singing directly, as in “Katie I Know” (“it’s hard to know when to let go/cause I can bury this heart of mine”), Nadler’s words and voice cut deep. Musically, Strangers is a blend of old and new sounds, but the mixture works. “Hungry Is the Ghost” effuses spectral beauty, with slowcore guitars and swelling cosmic sounds, balancing out a song like “Skyscraper,” which is full of spare acoustics and medieval flutes. Though the feel is wintry as per her usual style, “All the Colours of the Dark” is actually one of the sweetest sounding songs Nadler has put to tape, full of genteel fingerpicking, Southern sounding strings and layered organ and piano. Wading through the album’s melancholia, which is pleasurable in its own way, it gives way to the sighing steel guitars of the title track, as well as perhaps her best song yet, “Janie in Love,” in which her swooping, birdsong voice calls out in shudder-inducing beauty, “you’re a natural disaster, and I am watching you blow up everything, you touch and the earth will crumble.” Though bleak, Nadler’s previous albums have never been short of stunning. This time, the music offers not just commiseration but light at the end of the tunnel.
The last First Fridays of the season happens June 3 at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, featuring indie-rock bands HEALTH and YACHT. Amoeba is proud to be a sponsor, and we’ll be on hand with goodies and $20 gift certificates for $10 (limit two per customer).
Tickets for the event are on sale now for $20. Being that this is one of the most high-profile First Fridays this year, you’ll want to get your tickets early!
Headlining the show are L.A. noise-pop band HEALTH, who rose from the breeding grounds of the scene surrounding The Smell in the ’00s and gained notoriety through various remixes of their songs, including “Crimewave,” as included on Crystal Castles’ first album. The band also scored the video game Max Payne 3. Their latest album, Death Magic, is their most palatable yet, taking their chaotic aesthetic to festival-stage proportions. Watch the hedonistic “New Coke” video below.
Philly hardcore dudes Nothing dive deep into the shoegaze pool on their latest. Tired of Tomorrow hits hard, with cymbals crashing into textured walls of guitar on opener “Fever Queen.” Their grounding in hardcore gives added oomph to dreamy power-pop tunes like “Vertigo Flowers.” Songs like “A.C.D.” and “Curse of the Sun” recall the best of heavy ’90s alt-rock (pre nu-metal), reminiscent of bands like Helmet and Smashing Pumpkins. Nothing are very indebted in particular to Slowdive and Chapterhouse, but they’re in on the joke — one song is even called “Nineteen Ninety Heaven.” And with touches of violin and piano on ballads like “Everyone Is Happy,” or the Morricone riff and desert sway of “The Dead Are Dumb,” Nothing’s second album is varied and balanced. While some bands remain allergic to distortion since the ’90s, Tired of Tomorrow is a big, fuzzy embrace of distorted anthems.
First up is Prince’s seventh album, Around the World in a Day, which comes out June 21. The album followed his hugely successful Purple Rain album and saw Prince experimenting with more psychedelic sounds on songs like “Raspberry Beret.”
Out July 19 is Parade, Prince’s eighth album and soundtrack to the film Under the Cherry Moon. Though the film wasn’t a hit, its soundtrack was, winning him critical acclaim for its minimalist funk jams like “Kiss.”
Due Aug. 23 is Sign o’ the Times. The double album is considered by many to be Prince’s best, including socially and sexually provocative material, with sped-up vocals representing his female alter ego, Camille, on songs like “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”
Radiohead recently revealed a couple of new songs and then promptly dropped information on the release of their ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, which will come out June 17 on LP, limited color vinyl and CD. You can preorder from Amoeba now.
Here's a breakdown of what recently went down in the world of Radiohead. First, the band deleted its online presence May 1, leading to speculation about a new album. Then, May 3, the band released a new single and stop-motion animation video, "Burn the Witch," which you can watch below. Then, May 6, the band released another video, from The Master director Paul Thomas Anderson, for the song "Daydreaming." Both songs feature a symphonic sound more in line with guitarist Jonny Greenwood's recent soundtrack work and less like the more digital sound found on the last Radiohead album, The King of Limbs, as well as Thom Yorke's solo work and supergroup project, Atoms for Peace. Then the album was released digitally over this past weekend, and the band announced details for the physical album, which brings us up to speed.