If you like post-punk music at all, your favorite new band will probably be Merchandise. With a bit of Pulp’s swagger, the Cure’s emotional yet economical guitarwork and the dramatic grandiosity of Morrissey’s solo work, Merchandise nail every nuance on their new album, After the End. Big, shimmering chords on “Enemy” announce their arrival with the kind of bravado that leaves you a little breathless, incredulous that this isn’t a song or band you’ve heard before. Singer Carson Cox’s throaty tenor fills the space that isn’t carved out by his bandmates nicely, on ballads like the stunning “Life Outside the Mirror.” It’s a solid listen, but After the End particularly shines on its singles, like “Little Killer,” the riff of which is catchy enough to leave you tracking back again and again to get that feeling all over again. While After the End is an immensely enjoyable album, the elephant in the room is that, however immaculately made, it’s not the most original thing you’ve ever heard—“Green Lady” is great, with its stuttering beat, big guitar riffs and sure, why not, some sitar, but it could easily be a Morrissey outtake. No matter. Originality will come in time. For now, Merchandise reach a very specific itch, that youthful feeling of discovering a new favorite band who just flat out gets it. No trickery, nothing too out of the ordinary, just some of the best pop music you’ve heard in ages.
Did you all have fun at FYF Fest? We know we did.
The next events we’ll be at will be a couple of concerts this weekend at Levitt Pavilion in L.A.'s MacArthur Park. First up is Quetzal on Friday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m., then we’ll be at La Santa Cecilia at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30. We’ll be on hand with Amoeba swag, and you can enter to win a $75 gift certificate to Amoeba just by signing up for our newsletter.
Chicano rock band Quetzal boast a mashup of Mexican and Afro-Cuban beats along with jazz, blues and rock arrangements. The East L.A. band’s latest album is Imaginaries. Check out “Dreamers, Schemers” from that album below, and find out more about the show here:
|La Santa Cecilia|
Latin Grammy-winning band La Santa Cecilia always promises an excellent show, with their fusion of cumbia, boleros, bossa nova and rock. Their latest album is Someday New. Hear “Cumbia Morada” from that album below, and find out more about the show here:
Yes, you read that correctly: The Purple One will release two new albums in September.
Both the previously announced new Prince album, Plectrumelectrum, and the accompanying album Art Official Age will come out September 30. While Plectrum has been in the works for some time now, Gigwise reports after Prince held a press conference in London at singer Lianne La Havas' home to announce the album and a tour in January, it didn't have a release date until now. Plectrum was recorded with the help of his alt-girl group, 3RDEYEGIRL, while Art Official Age is a solo album.
Hear the funkadelic "Clouds" from Art Official Age over at Complex.
Tanlines headlined a trio of dreamy indie-pop bands for the latest Red Bull Sound Select show, which happened Aug. 20 at Sayers Club in Hollywood, curated by Amoeba.
L.A. trio Roses came out bouncing around on stage with a set of new wavey tracks, about half of which could be found on their new EP, Dreamlover. After a couple of upbeat new ones, they got slow and dreamy for “The Fog” before returning to a bobbing dance beat for “Florence Girls.” Guitarist Juan Velasquez remarked that the couch-laden venue felt like MTV Unplugged, something I’d noticed upon entering (or perhaps “VH1 Storytellers”?), and the band finished with a new song that combined Cars-style palm-muted guitars with frontman Marc Steinberg’s intoning vocals.
SISU came on next, the project from Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu. In SISU, she’s on guitar and vocals, singing “stash a secret deep in you heart” like it’s a command over thumping krautrock on “Blood Tears,” the title track to her excellent album. Sometimes sultry and hazy, other times crushing with pulverizing guitars, SISU struck the right balance on songs like “Harpoons,” which pairs a grim tone and eerie effects in its verses with a sweetly sung, romantic chorus. A friend said it reminded him a bit of Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins sung by a woman, while I was thinking a lot of Curve—both great comparisons in my book! A flute by the mic was the cause of much speculation/excitement, which Vu brought out for a quick flute solo before returning to more tasty shoegaze crunch.
Allah-Las – “Buffalo Nickel”
The third track Allah-Las have previewed from their upcoming new album, Worship the Sun (out Sept. 16 on Innovative Leisure, preorder now on LP or CD),is the most pop-oriented yet, with its ba ba ba verses and easygoing vibe, though there’s a nice deserty drone beneath it. The band will be at Amoeba Music for a free in-store performance Sept. 5 at 5 p.m., come check it out!
White Fence – “Like That” video
White Fence’s new album, For the Recently Found Innocent, is so good they should throw Tim Presley in jail. In fact, that’s what happens in the video for “Like That.” And speaking of, keep an eye out for an upcoming episode of “What’s In My Bag?” with Presley.