Amoeblog

Album Picks: Diiv, Lucinda Williams, Rihanna, Cavanaugh, Lissie

Posted by Billy Gil, February 12, 2016 09:41am | Post a Comment

I missed last week since I was on vacation, so here are my picks for the past two weeks!

DiivIs The Is Are

diiv is the is are lpBrooklyn’s Diiv are back after four years with an album that delivers on the promise of their debut, Oshin. Musically, Zachary Cole Smith and co. still dole out shimmering guitar-pop nuggets that surf on waves of reverb and atmospheric distortion. Songs like “Under the Sun” offer a pure rush of new wave beats and summery melodies, even as Smith’s lyrics delve into his struggle with addiction. It follows one of The Cure’s best tricks: sounding lively even at their bleakest. Songs like “Dopamine” are far from numbed out — Smith’s jaunty vocal is as close as he’d let himself get to Tom Petty, while still encased in a fog of reverb. Is The Is Are is a bit sprawling at 17 tracks, and after a dynamite opening, some of its shorter tracks in the middle don’t sink in, compared with the relatively taut Oshin. But that also gives Is The Is Are room to roam and the feeling of some alt-rock record of yore, like a Guided By Voices or Sonic Youth album (speaking of the latter, Smith’s girlfriend, Sky Ferreira, shows up to play Kim Gordon on the breathy “Blue Boredom”). Smith also should get credit for expanding his guitar palette while keeping things trim and stylistically consistent, adding My Bloody Valentine-style bends and distortion to his crisp, Felt-ish tones only when necessary. As layers of heavily distorted riffs close out “Waste of Breath” like interlocking corroded piping (epic by Diiv standards at nearly six minutes), Smith’s talents are firmly re-established.

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James Supercave Chat Before Amoeba LA & SF Performances

Posted by Billy Gil, February 9, 2016 03:33pm | Post a Comment

james supercaveAfter a few years of hype in the L.A. music scene, indie-pop band James Supercave are finally ready to drop their debut album, Better Strange. After breaking through onto local radio with the song "Burn" in 2014, the band (yes, it's a band, not a guy), which consists of frontman Joaquin Pastor, keyboardist Patrick Logothetti and guitarist Andres Villalobos, set about recording their debut. But perfection, particularly that of Pastor, meant that it took a couple of years, as the band told Noisey.

Now that it's finally here, Better Strange proves to be worth the wait. Songs like the title track roll along taut disco grooves and dreamy synth tones. Pastor’s highwire vocals can go from delicate to glammy in a heartbeat, calling to mind Marc Bolan and Jeff Buckley as his voice bounds through the hairpin turns of pounding indie-rocker “The Right Thing.” The band seemingly uses influences like LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, The Shins and Brian Eno as a grab bag without taking too much from one place — at times the record is evocative, but it never lingers in one place. It's more focused on hooks than homage, and while the album is plenty catchy, its attention to detail is also immediately apparent and rewards on repeated listens.

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Psych-Soul Trio KING Chat Before Amoeba Performance Jan. 28

Posted by Billy Gil, January 27, 2016 10:39am | Post a Comment

KING band

L.A.-based KING bring their uniquely stirring brand of swirling psychedelic soul to the Amoeba Hollywood stage for a free show Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. They'll also have their debut LP, We Are KING, on sale that day at Amoeba prior to the album's official release on Feb. 5.

KING consist of Anita Bias and sisters Paris Strother and Amber Strother. Paris is the primary producer and instrumentalist of the band, while Amber and Anita's breahty vocals hopscotch over Paris' jazzy concoctions. Together they produce a sound that doesn't skimp on complexity but also exudes warmth, using horns and unabashedly synthy keys for a sound that weaves together classic soul, synth-funk, dream pop and certain something undefinable that gives KING its own essence.

The group has drummed up a vocal fanbase on Twitter even before dropping its first album, one that includes none other than Prince, who asked the group to open for him one night during his 21-night residency at the Forum in Inglewood in 2011. Unfortunately it's also part of their story that as a trio of women writing and producing their own soul music, A&R folks have suggested the group alter their image and essentially dumb down the sound, as they told LA Weekly. I asked them about all of that and more when I caught up with them before their Amoeba show.

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Preorder PJ Harvey's New Album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project'

Posted by Billy Gil, January 25, 2016 10:02am | Post a Comment

Pj Harvey press photo

Photo by Maria Mochnacz

PJ Harvey is set to release her new album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, April 15 via Vagrant. You can preorder it now on LP and CD.

The album was recorded in sessions that were open to the public at the museum Somerset House in London, as Pitchfork has reported. Exhibit attendees could see Harvey creating the album with producers Flood and John Parish through a one-way mirror. They also yielded this amazing photo of Harvey playing the saxophone!

pj harvey the hope six demolition project lpI have to admit to being a bit skeptical of the process. Having been a fan for years, I have always loved how meticulously created and recorded her albums are, not least of which was her last album 2011’s Let England Shake, one of the strongest of her career. This approach seemed interesting but bound to distract, no?

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Album Picks: Savages, Shearwater, Chairlift, The Besnard Lakes, Charlie Hilton

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2016 09:24am | Post a Comment

Savages - Adore Life

savages adore life lpSavages take all the nonsense that comes with being a much-hyped buzz band and pummel it into the ground on their intense sophomore album. Love and its various manifestations fuels these songs — “if you don’t love me, don’t love anybody,” androgynous frontwoman Jehnny Beth sings over a grinding riff on “The Answer.” The jagged post-punk groove of a song like “Husbands” returns on “Evil,” though it’s darker and more drawn out, as the band knows it can command attention without having to shake it out as it once did. Though many of these songs go for the jugular, restraint serves the band well on “Adore,” a slow-burner that clears the way for a Beth’s singular refrain, “I adore life,” a statement of purpose that drives the band into a fearless crescendo. It takes that kind of conviction to overcome the bullshit of being in an all-female band and both held to an unfair standard and knocked down by anyone tired of the hype — as if the breathless coverage of the band’s live shows and prior album, Silence Yourself, was at all their fault. It doesn’t matter, anyway —the band’s follow-up album is endlessly intriguing and, despite lacking obvious hooks, grips you the more you listen. Simply allow the band to exist on its own terms, and you won’t be disappointed by Adore Life. Watch their episode of "What's In My Bag?" below.

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