Best Coast - Fade Away (CD, LP or Download)
Best Coast's new EP marks a confident start to a new era for the band. Their previous album, The Only Place, featured more mature songwriting as Bethany Cosentino grew more confident in her voice, yet Jon Brion's smooth production didn't always jibe well with Cosentino's rough around the edges approach to confessional pop. The first release on her own label, Jewel City, Fade Away takes back some of the reverb and distortion of her early material but keeps the assurance she displayed on The Only Place. The result plays out as the most refined version of Best Coast yet. Cosentino sounds pissed in opener "This Lonely Morning," a rocker about a dude who won't stick around. "I Wanna Know" is one of her best girl-group jams yet, all desperation buried beneath sunshine and "Be My Baby" drums. Several songs take on quarter-life crises ("Who Have I Become," "Fear of My Identity"), while her heartbreak songs are equally riddled with introspection, as on the great Mazzy Star-ish ballad "Baby I'm Crying." One of Cosentino's best tricks is sneaking existential dilemmas into songs and lyrics that are on the surface straightforward and simple. By the end of the seven-song Fade Away, you're emotionally exhausted, as Cosentino gives it her all throughout. With Fade Away, she's given fans more than just a stopgap release, and one that leaves fans hungry for what's next.
Best Coast - Fade Away (CD, LP or Download)
Flea markets are just a bunch of people selling their unwanted junk and old ladies rumaging through dusty trunks, right? WRONG. The Downtown Flea Market is an event all to itself, a much hipper cousin to your grandmama's swap meet of yore.
The Downtown Flea Market was started this year by Phillip Dane, a veteran of flea markets. In 1991 Dane created the popular Fairfax High Flea Market. This new Downtown market boasts antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, and crafts and clothes by independent designers. In addition, there's a "chill out" area and local bands, DJs a wall climb and beer.
Amoeba is a proud sponsor of The Downtown Flea Market. The event takes place every fourth Sunday of the month, with this next event taking place Oct. 27. The market takes place in four parking lots in Downtown Los Angeles:
Yellow Lot: 246 S. Spring Street
Purple Lot: 253 S. Main Street
Green Lot: 243 S. Spring Street
Red Lot: 236 S. Broadway Street
MellowHigh – “Extinguisher”
The Odd Future trio MellowHigh (formerly a duo known as MellowHype) are generating much salivation for their first, self-titled album. One listen to the old-school-flavored “Extinguisher” and it’s not hard to hear why. “Hip-hop is back” one of them says near the end of the song. No doubt. The album’s due on Halloween via Odd Future.
Tera Melos – Live at Amoeba video
Nor. Cal.’s Tera Melos are one of the coolest guitar bands around, wrangling their guitar necks around each other with much interlocking riff mayhem. See how they do it with a video of their performance at Amoeba SF below. Read my interview with the band here, and check out their album X’ed Out.
There are some shows at Amoeba that get the staff tickled to pieces, and Gary Numan's show at Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 16 was one of them. Employees turned into starstruck kids when Numan showed up, looking vampiric in a black vest, red tie and dyed black hair.
He took the stage with his band to promote his recent release Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind), which portrays a harder edge to the new-wave star. I was listening to it on the way to the store and found myself driving really aggressively along to the music (well, that and the Waze app was yelling at me from my phone, but that's another story).
He opened with Splinter's "I Am Dust," the industrial rage of which could have started those who showed up expecting the synthy sounds of "Cars." But the sizable crowd that showed up seemed to dig the new tunes, bobbing their heads along when the drums and distorted guitars came in hard and enjoying the new ride one of their musical heroes was taking them on.
By the second song, I felt a little hot from the noise, a sexy, noisy blend of guitar and synth more akin to Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Smashing Pumpkins than Numan's early records. His gothy howl was occasionally muffled by the overdriven guitars. This wasn't a problem when he broke into a couple of classics—"Are Friends Electric?" and "Cars," which had everyone cheering and uncontrollably singing along.
Cass McCombs' latest record is a confident double-length album that shows his growth over seven albums into one of the foremost singer/songwriters of our generation. Big Wheel takes its time to get going, moving gently from one track to another. As such, even with its hour-plus length, it's an easily approachable album with great variety within a pretty straightforward setup. "Big Wheel" is a bluesy rumination on manhood—"A man with a man, how more manly can you get? I may be five-foot-one, but you're all wet" he sings in a memorable couplet. He pairs lyrics of a sexual love affair in "Morning Star" ( "wring my neck under your thighs" he sings suggestively in the chorus) with gentle country-folk that sounds like the first thing you want to hear upon waking. Perhaps the biggest highlight is "Brighter!," a song included twice, the second time with the late Karen Black taking lead vocals for a sweet, sad farewell. Some of Big Wheel's tracks veer into dad-rock territory, but even then there's usually something more interesting than what meets the eye on deeper listens, like the insane horns that pop up in "Joe Murder" and "Satan Is My Toy" or how "Everything Has to Be Just-So" begins gently and breaks apart into avant-garde atmosphere. Big Wheel and Others needs a few spins to sink in, but once it does, the album reveals itself to be an indelible listen.