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Album Picks: Camera Shy, Titus Andronicus

Posted by Billy Gil, July 31, 2015 10:54am | Post a Comment

Camera Shy - Camera Shy

camera shy lpTwo veterans of the Bay Area shoegaze band Whirr make a wistful indie-pop record together that recalls the best of Sarah Records. Alexandra Morte’s vocals call to mind a young Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine, singing dreamily over acoustic guitars and light orchestral touches with cohort Nick Bassett. While it may not be the most original sound, Camera Shy’s eight songs are charming and sophisticated, emanating weary beauty on the rainy “Seemingly Ill” while charging through sunny environs on the jangly “Remember.” For fans of this kind of thing, Camera Shy are one of the best new bands around.

 

Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy

titus andronicusPatrick Stickles and co. return with an epic set of fist-pumping post-hardcore anthems. Centered around "Our Hero," The Most Lamentable Tragedy allows Stickles to remove himself to a degree from the narrative, and the result is that he sounds more liberated than ever, bellowing through self-effacing, existential tales of despair and coming out fighting. Despite its mammoth run-time and vague concept, The Most Lamentable Tragedy has plenty of scream-along moments, notably in the run of pub rock ballad "Mr. E Man" runs into the shake-you-by-the-shoulders fury of "Fired Up" and quick punk workout "Dimed Out" at the album's core. The only real tragedy here would be getting scared off by the album's length. It's at once an exhausting listen and one that leaves you feeling energized and ready to fuck shit up. 

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Weekly Roundup: Wax Idols, YG, Gardens & Villa, Dante Elephante

Posted by Billy Gil, July 30, 2015 09:15am | Post a Comment

Wax Idols – “Lonely You”

wax idolsOakland/L.A. post-punkers Wax Idols put out an excellent first album called Discipline & Desire on Slumberland in 2013. Now the band, fronted by the huskily voiced Heather Fortune, has unveiled the smoldering “Lonely You,” a wearily lovelorn ditty about letting go and looking up that sounds like a lost late-’80s goth-pop jam. It seems to say that sometimes you have to set everything on fire to see what’s left. American Tragic is due Oct. 16 via Collect.

 

YG – “Twist My Fingaz”

ygYG’s searingly honest tales of growing up in tough Compton were matched to catchy G-funk beats on his excellent debut, My Krazy Life. “Twist My Fingaz,” the first song revealed from the upcoming Still Krazy, has an awesome throwback feel without feeling limited, grooving effortlessly as YG does his thing, gets his drink and dance on and doesn’t sweat the trouble outside.

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Show Recap: Veruca Salt at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, July 17, 2015 05:48pm | Post a Comment

veruca salt amoeba hollywood july 13 2015

Nina Gordon and Louise Post of reunited alt-rockers Veruca Salt walked onstage at Amoeba Hollywood July 13 with smiles miles wide. The band had just released its first album with the original lineup in 18 years, the well-received Ghost Notes, after reconciling two years ago following a bitter falling out in the ’90s. Given their ability to overcome such a storied history and long hiatus, the positivity flowing from the two singer/guitarists was palpable. 

Gordon and Post held up their “set plates” (“There was no paper backstage, but there were plates,” Gordon explained) and began with the first song on Ghost Notes, “The Gospel According to Saint Me.” They looked at each other and smiled while harmonizing to the song’s autobiographical lyrics about the band’s breakup and reunion. Gordon’s lyrics about how “it’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy” may have felt ironic for an acoustic set, but they rang out to an appreciative audience of devotees who may have picked up on a small teaser to the American Thighs song “Victrola.”

veruca salt ghost notes cdThe singers’ chemistry and tension was as fascinating to watch as their performances. At one point, Post asked for less Gordon in her monitor. “I love you, but it’s just too much,” she said, but later admitted, “I miss you,” as though summing up their history.

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Album Picks: Tame Impala, Future, Camera Shy

Posted by Billy Gil, July 17, 2015 10:06am | Post a Comment

Tame Impala - Currents

tame impala currents lpTame Impala’s Kevin Parker shifts gears a bit for his third album, drawing as much from ’80s soul and disco as he has from prog-rock and psychedelia. Though such a change could threaten to derail a good thing, Parker is the consummate perfectionist, and Currents’ various strands are braided together without a hair out of place. Opener “Let It Happen” builds from a proggish uphill chug into a psychedelic freakout and finally hits its stride with a silky disco beat. “Eventually” relies on rock dynamics but uses fat synthesizers to achieve its booming changes. And a tune like crystalline psych-funk jam “The Less I Know the Better” seems to marry all of Parker’s influences into a perfect amalgam, calling to mind everything from Michael Jackson to My Bloody Valentine. Through it all, Parker is the same chill knob-twiddler he’s always been, but he’s come out of his shell a bit more—it takes confidence to command a song like “’Cause I’m a Man,” which gloriously oozes ’70s cheese, akin to Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” or 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love.” From the get-go, Parker himself seems to be reflecting on the change—“Something’s trying to get out/And it’s never been closer,” he sings on “Let It Happen.” It’s confirmed by the time we get to “Yes I’m Changing,” ostensibly a breakup ballad but it seems more pointedly about an introvert accepting accidental stardom (“Curse indulgence and despise the fame/There’s a world out there and it's calling my name”). This lyrical theme, the sense that Parker is coming into his own as not only a songwriter and performer but human being, gives Currents a unity that even the superb Lonerism didn’t have. In every way, Currents is a complete triumph, both as a fascinating headphones album for production junkies and as a set of immaculate psych-pop songs that feels endlessly giving.

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Weekly Roundup: Jessie Jones, Peacers, Dirty Ghosts, Du Blonde, Scott Bartenhagen

Posted by Billy Gil, July 16, 2015 11:00am | Post a Comment

Jessie Jones – “I Ran So Far”

jessie jonesNo, it’s not a Flock of Seagulls cover. “I Ran So Far” is the third song we’ve heard from Jessie Jones’ upcoming self-titled Burger debut. “I keep running, but I don’t know why,” she sings over a countrified gallop, her exacting diction and vocal tics helping to capture the feeling of unsettled wanderlust. Pearl Charles comes out July 28. Hear it via Spin.

 

Peacers – “Laze It” video

peacers bandS.F.’s Mike Donovan of great psych-rockers Sic Alps has a new band called Peacers, whose self-titled debut album comes out tomorrow on Drag City. Give the video for “Laze It” about half a minute before the Stones riffs and psychedelic surf imagery gets going.

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