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Album Picks: Janelle Monae, The Weeknd, Jacuzzi Boys, Joanna Gruesome

Posted by Billy Gil, September 10, 2013 09:01am | Post a Comment

Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady

janelle monaeCD $12.98

Janelle Monae's The Archandroid was a landmark R&B album, released in 2010 when Monae was only 24 years old and poising her to accept the baton from her predecessors. With The Electric Lady, she accepts entry into that pantheon of great soul artists, and even collaborates with several of them. Her duet with Prince, "Givin Em What They Love," is a raunchy bit of slow rolling rock 'n' roll that does the Purple One proud, with Monae giving a snarling, Karen O-like performance. She enlists Erykah Badu to collaborate on "Q.U.E.E.N.," for a jam that's both glitzy and soulful, unafraid of seeming both current and strange ("Is it peculiar that she twerk in the mirror? And am I weird to dance alone late at night?" Monae asks). But her duets fellow new guard members are equally thrilling, on the sassy title track with Solange, jazzy "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" with Esperanza Spalding and showstopper "Primetime" with Miguel. The music is remarkable and unpredictable throughout, from the loungey outro to "We Were Rock N Roll" to the Flaming Lips synths and Brazilian jazz chords of "Ghetto Woman." And impressively, with all these big names, Monae remains the star, singing and rapping like the second coming of Lauryn Hill. On her own, her songs are no less striking, singing an uplifting hymn with "Victorious" and closing things out beautifully on the reggae-tinged "What An Experience." What an experience The Electric Lady is, indeed!

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Weekly Roundup: HAIM, The Goldberg Sisters, Glasser

Posted by Billy Gil, September 5, 2013 04:29pm | Post a Comment

HAIM – “The Wire” (Tourist remix)

haimtouristThe singles from L.A. sister trio HAIM’s much-anticipated debut album, Days Are Gone (preorder on CD or LP), are already getting the remix treatment. This pretty/glitchy one comes from UK duo Tourist, which turns the power-pop of the original on its head. Pick up Days Are Gone Sept. 30 from Columbia.

 

The Goldberg Sisters – “Wandering I” video

goldberg sisters adam goldbergIt’s fine to carry a healthy skepticism when approaching the musical project of someone better known for their acting than music, but that can be dropped once you hear the music of The Goldberg Sisters, the musical project of actor Adam Goldberg. He produces the kind of sunsaoked, California psych-pop you could listen to all day, of the Beachwood Sparks/Dios Malos/Grandaddy variety. Still, Goldberg’s a Hollywood man, and thus he couldn’t resist directing his own video, which is hypnotic in its own right, consisting of 2,100 still images stitched together. It’s great stuff to get lost in. The Goldberg Sisters’ Stranger’s Morning is due Sept. 17.

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10 Records You Need to Own in Fall

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 04:08pm | Post a Comment

The WeekndKiss Land (preorder on CD or LP)

the weeknd kiss land lp

Out Sept. 10

Canadian indie R&B artist The Weeknd returns with a new album following his three mixtapes and their eventual compilation (Trilogy). Expect Kiss Land to live up to its name, judging by the sexy, Portishead-sampling “Belong to the World” heard below.

 

Sebadoh Defend Yourself (preorder on CD or LP)

sebadoh defend yourselfOut Sept. 17

The first album in 14 years from Sebadoh, the great indie rock band featuring Lou Barlow (also of Dinosaur Jr.), should be a hoot! Even if you’re new to the band, Barlow’s gritted-teeth delivery and brittle guitarwork are a thing to behold.

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Amoeba Presents Three Shows: Valerie June, The Vaccines and Empire of the Sun

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 01:39pm | Post a Comment

valerie juneAmoeba Presents continues with three upcoming shows. The first is singer/songwriter Valerie June, who will bring her Appalachian folk-tinged rock to the Bootleg Bar Sept. 20. Valerie June’s recently released Pushin’ Against a Stone (available on CD or LP) was produced by The Black KeysDan Auerbach, who lends some rock oomph to her blues-folk sound.

Doors are at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. It’s 21+, and tickets are $12-$15; they aren’t yet on sale but will be available for purchase here.

She’s also playing a live set at Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m., so make sure to make it out for that free show. Listen to the rollicking “You Can’t Be Told” below.

 

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Album Picks: Neko Case, Chelsea Wolfe, Holograms, The Julie Ruin, Jonathan Rado

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 09:36am | Post a Comment

Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

neko case the worse things get lpCD $13.98

Deluxe CD $19.98

LP $20.98

Deluxe LP $26.98

It’s been four years since the last Neko Case album, but one listen to her verbosely titled new album and you’ll know it was worth the wait. As on her previous albums, Case borrows from folk, country and indie rock, opening with stunning guitar atmosphere on “Wild Creatures.” On “Night Still Comes” (download or listen free), she weaves beautifully strange melodies, both highly catchy and melodic and slightly discordant. Both lyrically and vocally, Case continues to be one of the strongest of her generation, articulating the intersect of man and nature with gorgeously twisted language. “I’m gonna go where my urge leads no more … a boreal feast, let it finish me please, as I revenge myself, all over myself,” she sings on “Night Still Comes.” Over jaunty electric guitar, she forcefully sings “I’m a man … that’s what kind of animal I am” on “Man,” continuing the gender play on acoustic ditty “I’m From Nowhere” (“I was surprised when you called me lady, ‘cause I’m still not so sure that’s what I want to be,” later qualifying that statement with “’cause I remember the ’80s, and I remember its puffy sleeves”). Though her lyrics are often clever, they’re more revealing here than ever—the most striking moment here is “Near Midnight, Honolulu,” a paralyzing portrayal of casually witnessed emotional child abuse that she then turns inward. Whether she’s describing the strange, corporeal world in which we live or her own inner workings, Case is always invigorating to listen to, perhaps never more so than on The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight...

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