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Michael Vidal Talks 'Dream Center' Before Amoeba Hollywood Performance June 18

Posted by Billy Gil, June 16, 2015 05:10pm | Post a Comment

michael vidal amoeba hollywoodMichael Vidal is the thoughtful kind of songwriter and human being you don't encounter very often. Compared to his previous band, L.A. noise-rockers Abe Vigoda, his Dream Center EP is full of introspective tunes built on carefully constructed, textural guitars that build on where that band was headed on its last LP, the darkwave-inspired Crush. Vidal has been playing live shows now with a three-piece band as Dream Center has been recently reissued on LP and CD by Couple Skate. He'll be at Amoeba Hollywood for a performance June 18 at 6 p.m. I caught up with Vidal before the show to find out more about his writing process, Instagram art and the new album he's working on.

Are these mostly newer songs or did you originally write them with the intention of using them for Abe Vigoda? Is there a difference to how you wrote your parts of the songs with Abe and solo?

Vidal: The songs on Dream Center were all written for this new project, but many of them were written in this period of limbo and I wasn’t really sure what this new project was. It was kind of unclear what was going on with Abe Vigoda, but I had to keep writing and playing out. I knew these songs were different and were for me. The writing process of Abe Vigoda was extremely collaborative, incidental and kind of chaotic. I can’t write that way on my own. I write slowly and carefully now, which sounds boring but is actually way more fun.

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Album Picks: Jaakko Eino Kalevi, High on Fire, Part Time

Posted by Billy Gil, June 16, 2015 09:31am | Post a Comment

Jaakko Eino KaleviJaakko Eino Kalevi

jaako eino kaleviJaakko Eino Kalevi creates what could be called mystery pop. Like a distant Finish cousin to Ariel Pink, Kalevi’s dreamy tunes pulse with gently syncopated grooves, otherworldly synth bursts and a deeply intoning voice that gives his self-titled album a tinge of 4AD-style goth. Though Kalevi clearly has successfully digested albums by This Mortal Coil and Talk Talk, it’s also clear that he’s taken the time to develop his own sound, drawing from his moody ’80s predecessors, lacquering on some fashionably semi-ironic soft-rock sheen and hints of prog-rock and ’80s movie soundtracks, and coming out as a next-generation pop auteur with tunes as exotic as his vowel-friendly name. You might not know quite what Kalevi’s getting at, but his somewhat intangible nature is part of his appeal. The sultry “Say” and aerobic “Night at the Field” stand out from the crowd, but Jaakko Eino Kalevi is an incredibly warm and inviting listen from the top down. Curl up on Kalevi’s luxury sofa and let the magic happen.

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Amoeba's Top 10 Favorite Criterion Picks

Posted by Billy Gil, June 15, 2015 11:03am | Post a Comment

amoeba criterion top 10

Starting next week, we're holding a huge sale on Criterion Collection movies at Amoeba Hollywoodfrom June 18 through July 4, get 25% off all new Criterion DVDs and Blu-rays. You can read more about that sale here. To kick it off, we gathered our collective heads to pick our favorite Criterion movies on disc. Criteria varies, but generally these discs offer something special beyond the movie itself. Check out our picks below.

Band of Outsiders (1964)

band of outsiders criterion blu-rayJean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave classic gets a pristine high-definition digital transfer on both the DVD and Blu-ray, while excerpts from the documentary La nouvelle vague par elle-même offer behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Godard. And a short film by the great French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda featuring much of the Band of Outsiders cast is just icing.

 

The Battle of Algiers ­(1966)

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Weekly Roundup: Gardens & Villa, Nightjacket, Cayucas, Tijuana Panthers, Little Wings

Posted by Billy Gil, June 12, 2015 11:55am | Post a Comment

Gardens & Villa – “Fixations”

gardens & villaI caught myself Shazaming this one on the way to work. Santa Barabarans-turned-Angelenos Gardens & Villa gets slinkier and psychier on their new track “Fixations,” from their upcoming new album, Music for Dogs, due Aug. 21 on Secretly Canadian. With some help from producer Jacob Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), the band pushes the Brian Eno influence to the forefront, which nicely weirds up their enjoyable indie-pop sound with some eccentricity.

 

Nightjacket – “It’s Alright”

nightjacketFresh of playing Make Music Pasadena last weekend, L.A. dream-pop group Nightjacket has released a new song called “It’s Alright.” The jangly tune nicely features Holland Belle’s dusky vocals while the band keeps things peppy, reimagining what Slowdive or Mazzy Star might have sounded like if they aimed for the radio and throwing in some Beatlesesque breakdowns for good measure. It’s from the band’s upcoming self-released debut EP, Eternal Phase, which was mixed by Jeff Zeigler (The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile) and mastered by Joe Lambert (Wild Nothing, Deerhunter, Sharon Van Etten) and is due June 23. They’ll be at the Echo June 22 and S.F.’s Hemlock Tavern June 27.

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20 Albums to Look For in Summer

Posted by Billy Gil, June 10, 2015 03:03pm | Post a Comment

summer albums

Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but there are already many albums announced, including a few that are sure to be some of the biggest of the year.

leon bridges coming homeLeon Bridges Coming Home
Out June 23

Young soul singer Leon Bridges’s powerful voice and guitar licks have earned him comparisons to Sam Cooke and a viral hit with the sweetly swaying, vintage-R&B-style “Coming Home.” It’s one of those times when it looks like the hype is on point; Coming Home announces the arrival of a huge new talent.

 

cayucas dancing at the blue lagoon lpCayucas Dancing at the Blue Lagoon
Out June 23

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