Widowspeak’s All Yours is just what we need to cool off during this hot, hot summer. The duo’s tunes are cool and meditative, evoking the feeling of watching a fading sunset over the forested hills of New York’s Hudson Valley, where the band resides. Molly Hamilton’s sweet vocals whisper over Robert Early Thomas’ dusky licks and a touch of organ on the sultry title track. The band mostly keeps things spare and dreamy, but they plug in to give tracks like “Dead Love (So Still)” a little raunch, coming off like the Velvet Underground’s third album reimagined as stoner country music. Elsewhere, Hamilton plays Nancy Sinatra to Thomas’ Lee Hazlewood on the sumptuous “Girls,” generating plenty of heat from a spacious, two-chord jam and Hamilton’s narcotic drawl, while “Borrowed World” sees Thomas take the mic for a spry duet (something the band should consider doing more often). Somehow, All Yours is both Widowspeak’s mellowest album and its most exciting. With a sharp focus on songwriting over ambiance and more room for Hamilton’s vocals to shine, they end up with their best, most distinctive album yet.
Wand – “Dungeon Dropper”
Even though the Bay Area’s Wand just released an excellent album in 2015, the heavy psych-poppin’ Golem, they’ve already got another on the way. 1000 Days hits on Sept. 25, and it’s their Drag City debut. We previously heard “Stolen Footsteps,” and now we’ve got “Dungeon Dropper,” a two-minute nimble metallic groover with a thick winding riff that squeezes out psych-rock colors like an anaconda.
Kelela – “Rewind”
L.A. R&B songstress Kelela has a new EP on the way called Hallucinogen, due on her own Cherry Coffee imprint Oct. 9. The song, produced by Kingdom, Nugget and Kelela, is a lot more forthright than those on her excellent Cut 4 Me mixtape, full of freestyle-inspired beats, full-bodied vocals and Janet-esque coquettishness.
We were saddened to hear that acclaimed horror director Wes Craven died over the weekend, succumbing to brain cancer at the age of 76. In honor of the director, whose intelligent horror films are forever burned into the minds of kids born from the ’70s through the ’00s, we’ve compiled our 10 favorite Wes Craven movies. Check out these movies at Amoeba, rewatch your old favorites or catch up on any you haven’t seen.
10. Shocker (1989; out on Blu-ray Sept. 8)
Craven’s attempt to start a new horror franchise following “Nightmare” didn’t quite pan out, but his film about a serial killer sent to the electric chair who becomes a being of pure electricity capable of possession still retains a certain cult cache. The upcoming Blu-ray includes a new commentary track and new interviews, among them with members of bands included on the soundtrack, such as Kiss, Dangerous Toys, Alice Cooper and Megadeth.
Beach House’s latest album strips back some of the pop shimmer of their last two albums while maintaining the more confident songcraft they started debuting on 2010’s Teen Dream. It’s a bold move, and one that proves to be the right one for Beach House, as they’ve kept the reins on their trajectory and integrity while furthering the quality of their songwriting. First single “Sparks” is a powerhouse shoegazer that showcases the duo’s strengths, pairing Alex Scally’s emotive guitarwork with Victoria LeGrand’s lush, layered vocals. “Space Song” is a luscious, swaying love song built on a bubbling synthesizer and sighing guitar slides. “10:37’s” deliberately chintzy drum machine keeps time like a cheap alarm clock while Legrand’s vocals and synths float by hazily like nighttime clouds. Album highlight “PPP” reimagines girl group devotion in a serpentine, whispery ballad that ranks among the band’s finest songs. You might miss some of Bloom’s bombast, but you also can’t argue with the quality here. Beach House remain the most consistently great band of their ilk on another album of uncommon, unflinching beauty.
According to L.A.-based artist Julia Holter, her new song “is about moving away from things that trap you, the scary wonder in discovering freedom.” With a Beach Boys-ish beat and a jaunty whistle, the song can’t help but feel like getting out of a bad relationship or quitting a shitty job and staring out at the ocean, finding excitement and clarity before the anxiety of what’s next hits. It’s a difficult emotion to capture, and Holter does so masterfully, capturing a difficult in-between moment. Have You in My Wilderness is due September 25 on Domino.
The Mantles – “Doorframe”
|Photo by David Armstrong|
Bay Area jangle-pop kids The Mantles are back with a new album called All Odds Ends, due Oct. 16 on Slumberland. The first song is a forlorn little ditty called “Doorframe” that throws some wonderfully gloomy synths over the band’s spirited guitar interplay, feeling like a shady cloud on a summer day. We were big fans of their last album, Long Enough to Leave, so can’t wait to hear what else All Odds has to offer.