Weekly Roundup: Best Coast, Mikal Cronin, Antwon, The Black Ryder, Peach Kelli Pop, Male Gaze

Posted by Billy Gil, March 13, 2015 11:49am | Post a Comment

Best Coast – “Heaven Sent”

best coast amoeba hollywoodBest Coast’s upcoming third album, California Nights (due May 5), sounds like a fantasy meeting between The Verve and The Bangles, judging by its first two singles. “Heaven Sent” is more upbeat and melodic than the hazy title track while retaining its full-bodied guitar sound, like some sunkissed lost Lush song. Check out the karaoke-style lyric video below:


Mikal Cronin “ii) Gold”

mikal croninWhat’s with the song title of Mikal Cronin’s new song, you might ask? The power-pop songsmith’s upcoming new album, MCIII (due May 5), includes a six-song suite on its B-side, of which this is the second part. It’s furiously loud and melodic, as we’ve come to expect and enjoy immensely from Cronin, but also has a surprise climax with Cronin jammin’ on the Greek tzouras. Color us intrigued. He’s at S.F.’s Independent April 22 and L.A.’s Eagle Rock Center for the Arts May 1.

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Essential Records: Broadcast's 'Tender Buttons'

Posted by Billy Gil, March 10, 2015 05:07pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Broadcast Tender Buttons

Defunct British duo Broadcast has most of their catalog reissued this week, including Tender Buttons. The band’s haunting third album is undoubtedly their high-water mark. Released in 2005, it slowly but surely raised the band’s profile, landing on several year-end best-of lists, drawing more attention to their previous albums and putting them at the upper echelon of independent artists, before their career was tragically cut short by the death of singer Trish Keenan.

I first heard Broadcast while perusing said year-end lists. (Also, wow to a list of albums so good that this is only No. 22; the early-to-mid-2000s are more than due for a resurgence.) But Broadcast’s tasteful oddity of an album somehow outlasts any other record made that year.

The key to Tender Buttons’ (and Broadcast’s) continuing endurance is how unassuming it is. Fourteen trim tracks (save five-minute noise piece “Arc of a Journey”) that actually sound like they were made by two people, using instruments that sound like they were found through a year’s worth of estate sales, Tender Buttons avoids sounding pretentious because it never really claims to be more than it is, Gertrude Stein references and all. It’s a record that remains mysterious even though all of its elements are basically at the forefront. Keenan’s vocals remain clarion despite getting plenty of the reverb treatment, thanks to her erudite British diction. All those moogs that sound like they’re falling apart, stitched together by James Cargill’s web-like guitarwork and pumping basslines, even those roaring in the background, you can pretty much hear it all, yet it feels like facing mirrors stretching to infinity, given the sense of space their layering allows.

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Album Picks: Young Guv, Matthew E. White, Sarah Bethe Nelson, Soul Jazz

Posted by Billy Gil, March 10, 2015 10:08am | Post a Comment

Young Guv Ripe 4 Luv

young gub ripe 4 luv lpFucked Up fans might be surprised to learn the band’s guitarist, Ben Cook, hides a secret power-pop fetish. Ripe 4 Luv is full of gleaming guitars, tinny drum machines and immediate, Big Star-inspired melodies. Cook still lets the guitars rip on songs like the irresisitable “Crawling Back to You,” but they’re in service of spaced-out love songs rather than post-hardcore epics. So even if the Ariel Pink-ish “Aquarius” is about as far from Fucked Up as you can get, it proves Cook can wear multiple hands and do it quite well. Ripe 4 Luv is a sterling piece of charmingly lo-fi power-pop that burns brightly over its snappy eight songs.


Matthew E. White Fresh Blood

matthew e white fresh blood lpThe singer/songwriter/producer and Spacebomb Records founder returns with a second album that re-creates the American songbook D.I.Y.-style, moving from classic R&B (“Take Care My Baby”) to country-soul (“Rock & Roll Is Cold”) to gently orchestrated romantic indie pop (“Fruit Trees”), showing a master’s touch throughout.

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25 Albums We're Excited For in Spring

Posted by Billy Gil, March 9, 2015 09:42am | Post a Comment

25 albums to look for in spring

Here’s a list of records to check out that are currently scheduled for release in 2015 (dates/releases subject to change).

Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

courtney barnett sometimes i sit lpOut March 24

This touted Australian singer/songwriter writes anxiety-ridden screeds over catchy garage-rock on her breakthrough record.


Godspeed You! Black Emperor Asunder, Sweet & Other Distress

godspeed you black emperor Asunder, Sweet & Other Distress lpOut March 31

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Weekly Roundup: Kelela, Thee Oh Sees, Crocodiles, Bouquet

Posted by Billy Gil, March 6, 2015 11:36am | Post a Comment

Kelela – “A Message” video

kelelaL.A. electro-soul singer Kelela put out a mesmerizing mixtape in 2013 called Cut 4 Me that ended up on many year-end lists. Now not only is Cut 4 Me getting a physical release (due April 7 on Fade to Mind), she’s announced a new EP called HALLUCINOGEN, out May 5, as well as an official debut album in the fall. HALLUCINOGEN is produced by Arca, who you may recall also co-produced Bjork’s Vulnicura and FKA Twigs' LP1, and whose otherworldly stamp can be heard on “A Message,” on which Kelela sounds like a bizzaro world Janet Jackson, navigating romantic complications amid a jagged landscape of icy electronics and sudden space. “A Message’s” Japanese animation-style video is directed by Daniel Sannwald. HALLUCINOGEN also includes “The High,” a track she unveiled last year.

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