Lots of shows in recent days. The Milk Carton Kids recently took the stage at Amoeba Hollywood, giving fans a healthy dose of their acoustic, Simon & Garfunkel-influenced story-folk. Though still relatively unknown, the band has cultivated a healthy following for the Eagle Rock-based duo, garnering fans of like-minded L.A. venues Largo and Hotel Cafe. Their soft, mellowed-out sound contrasts with their comedic, center-stage personalities, inviting you to come sit by their campfire and hear them spin a yarn and sing a tune. Milk Carton Kid Joey Ryan regaled the audience with the history of the ampersand, much to the delight of a few fawning girls in the front, proving that a cute guy with a guitar can literally discuss typographical history and young girls will swoon. They sang the countryish “Honey Honey,” with Kenneth Pattengale really going to town on his miniature acoustic guitar, with the top of it wrapped in a cloth napkin for maximum intimacy. Ryan bragged about his quick fingerpicking and delivered it with finesse on a bluegrass-colored song. He said the band grew up shopping for records at Amoeba, and it was now “quite an honor” to be playing at the store. Pattengale mocked Ryan’s consistently deadpan tone, saying, “Guys, I’m so f*ckin’ thrilled.” “That’s not a good impression,” Ryan quipped back. They sang a few morose tunes to close the set, joking that everyone thinks they’re from Michigan because of their melancholy folk sound. They’ll be at the Largo Theater May 8 and 9. See more picture of their performance here.
Weekend Releases “Mirror,” Album Due in July
Bay Area shoegazers Weekend have a cool album and couple of EPs under their belt, but they look to take it to the next level with their next release, Jinx. Contrary to their prior quick-hitting, Jesus & Mary Chain-inspired guitar squalls, the slow-burning “Mirror” takes more than a minute to get going and unfolds at a gentle pace, with vocals only appearing after two out of its five minutes. But it’s anything but boring; rather, it hypnotizes you from the outset with droning, ethereal synths so its nuances hit even harder, like that cool heavy-guitar chorus, eerie background synth and krautrockish beat and bassline. Increased depth and confidence go a long way here toward expanding and improving their sound without dramatically changing it. Jinx is due July 23 on Slumberland.
Western Lows Unveil “Icicles,” Album Due in June
L.A. indie pop band Western Lows thankfully go for subtle on “Icicles,” a track from their forthcoming album Glacial, due June 4 on Jaxart. It’s the kind of song that doesn’t slam you with hooks or tricks but gradually gets under your skin, making it infinitely more intriguing than a lot of indie pop. The sound touches on shoegaze and new wave, with a Robert Smith-esque vocal delivery and a heavy, rolling bass, but they also seem intent on paving their own way and using the aforementioned genres as mere entryways. I’d say it was cool, if that wasn’t an accidental, awful pun. They’re at the Satellite April 15, The Redbury May 15 and the Jubilee Festival June 8.
This Friday, April 5, Amoeba will be on hand at First Fridays at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. We’ll be selling $20-for-$15 gift certificates (limit four per person) and giving away other goodies. The first 30 people who come to our table and say “boogaloo” get a free Amoeba T-shirt!
The show this Friday features electronic composer Dan Deacon and art-rockers Japanther, as well as talks on the periodic table, with hands-on activities and discussions as to how the periodic table relates to the arts, history and mythology. The discussions start at 5 p.m. and run until 7 p.m., while the performances go from 8-10 p.m. Meanwhile the DJ lounge will feature KCRW’s Anthony Valadez and a DJ set from L.A.-based indie pop duo Kisses from 5:30-10 p.m.
Pre-sale tickets for this event are sold out, but a limited number of tickets will be available at the Museum’s South Entrance the day of the event starting at 5:00pm.
Amoeba Hollywood has tickets to DJ competition the 2013 U.S. National Finals, hosted by Red Bull Thre3Style. The 21+ show takes place Friday, April 5, at Hollywood club LURE, located just around the corner from the store. Tickets are available at Amoeba Hollywood for only $20 (with no service fee).
The competition will feature six acclaimed American DJs, will be judged by DJs Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip and A-Trak, and will also feature a DJ set from producer and performer Mark Ronson after the competition. The winner of the competition will go on to represent the U.S. in the Red Bull Thre3style World Championship in Toronto, Canada, in November.
The DJs featured in the competition and their city of origin are as follows: Trentino (Chicago), DJ Phish (Philadelphia), Konflikt (Miami), Donnie Dee (Dallas), DJ Scene (Las Vegas) and Aroc (Orlando). Their sets will consist of one 15-minute performance apiece, with a minimum of three genres per set. DJs are judged based on track selection, creativity, mixing skills, stage presence and crowd reaction.
Tyler, The Creator has always been an artist and persona as divisive as he is undeniably talented, so why expect (or want) that to change? Sprawling tracklist, angry, occasionally homophobic lyrics and all, Goblin was affecting in its ugliness. The Wolf builds on the Odd Future kingpin’s sound with more manageable beats and R&B touches, but he’s the same troubled joker at heart. The Wolf’s opening title track is a slowed-down, reverbed-out R&B track not totally unlike something Frank Ocean or How to Dress Well might produce, provided they told everyone and everything to fuck off for the entirety of the song. “Jamba” finds Tyler teaming with Hodgy Beats for a good ol’ fashioned angsty, nasty Tyler track as he raps about cussing out Siri and Hodgy Beats raps about getting his scrotum on the news, saying “you can drink piss and eat a dick in a few.” However, Tyler has a knack for slipping in heartbreaking detail into his songs (“brain cancer ate my granny up” he says with razor precision near the opening of the deep, dark “Cowboy”). It may not hit with the same menace as previous single “Yonkers,” but Wolf’s “Domo23” gives Tyler the chance to display his wit (and ability to manipulate his audience), taking haters and admirers to task, rapping “came to Pitchfork with a couple Jada pickett signs and said I was a racist homophobic, so I grabbed Lucas and filmed us kissing” in a jumpy cadence that drops the machismo. It’s a brave move, given hip-hop’s glacial pace on the subject, though it doesn’t quite explain the frequent f-bombs, especially given cohort Frank Ocean’s coming out; he gets more sympathy from the funny tirade against the father he never met, “Answer.” Musically, The Wolf gets funkier the further it goes, on tracks like the lush, dirgey medley “Partyisntover/Campire,” featuring Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, combined with “Bimmer” featuring Ocean, in a seeming bid to rival Ocean’s epic “Pyramids” that intrigues for its strangeness, even if it doesn’t fully come together. Tyler’s angry love song “IFFY” (“I fuckin’ hate you”) gets props for having the worst way to tell someone you like them (“The sky is fallin’, bitch let’s try to catch it”), with Pharell’s soothing presence confounding Tyler’s threats of strangulation. Overall, The Wolf is slightly bloated with a few too many experiments and random guest spots that don’t work; when it does, you’re thankful for Tyler’s abrasive presence in the hip-hop world. For instance, “Trashwang” starts with forty seconds of gunshots and screams that continue to interrupt the proceedings and undercut an otherwise seemingly straightforward hip-hop crew track, with Tyler declaring “I want the black kids to like me for this one.” That loaded statement speaks to part of what makes Tyler both divisive and special. His refusal to capitulate to norms of any kind, societal or hip-hop, are a large part of his appeal. You might not celebrate everything Tyler says or attempts musically on The Wolf, but he never feels less than brutally honest and enormously expressive.