Amoeblog

The Best Albums of 2014 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, June 27, 2014 04:54pm | Post a Comment

sun kil moon mark kozelekmadlibst. vincentIt is now almost exactly halfway through 2014! It’s time to look back on the last six months and see what’s it’s had to offer music-wise. There’s already been a bunch of great records released this year, including a couple of excellent ones released just this week. If you haven’t checked these out, they’re all worth getting—pick ’em all up and catch up on what you’ve been missing.

Sun Kil Moon Benji

sun kil moon benji lpSome people write memoirs. Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek write songs crammed with details, from a brutal story about a distant cousin’s death by a freak fire to mundane details about Panera bread and sports bar shit on the walls, that somehow come together to form something called a life. Just when you feel like the songs are too stuffed to keep up, Kozelek will let his breathy “sadcore” folk open up and focus on a seemingly trivial line like “blue crab cakes” in the song “Ben's My Friend,” and in doing so perfectly captures the weird things that stick out in our heads when we reflect. Simply put, listening is like attending a master class in songwriting.

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Weekly Roundup: Zola Jesus, LA Font, Joel Jerome, Woods, Cold Beat

Posted by Billy Gil, June 27, 2014 11:18am | Post a Comment

Zola Jesus – “Dangerous Days”

zola jesus ameobaIt’s been three years since Zola Jesus aka Nika Rosa Danilova’s last album of new material, 2011’s terrific Conatus. The first taste of her new album, Taiga (due Oct. 7 on Mute), shifts further away from her early goth-noise material and builds on the more pop-oriented sound she’s shifted toward since the Stridulum EP, singing clearly and boldly over a dance-pop beat but with the same paralyzing strength her voice has always commanded. It’s startlingly different but sure-footed and sounds as brilliant as anything she’s done, leaving us dying to hear the rest of what’s in store with Taiga, which was co-produced in her newly adopted home of L.A. Dean Hurley (who’s worked with David Lynch and Danger Mouse, among others).

 

LA Font – “Motor Rally”

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Show Recap: Kan Wakan at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, June 25, 2014 07:18pm | Post a Comment

kan wakan amoeba hollywoodKan Wakan's sound on their recent Moving On album, a stew of stirring strings, classic rock organs, gleaming guitarwork and sensual vocals, seemed like it would be difficult to pull off in a live setting. But my first time seeing the band, June 18 at the store, showed just how skilled the band is at taking a heady and heavily orchestrated sound and making it work live. Beginning with cool polyrhythms and arpeggiating synths, singer Kristianne Bautista's vocals sounded husky and soulful one second, lilting the next, reminiscent of Bjork in their elasticity. Kan Wakan's sound is decidedly not small, playing as a seven-piece and creating grandiosity with surging crescendos, bells and tribal drums. Their songs sway and move, sultry and mysterious, oceanic amid surging guitars and crashing cymbals. The overall effect and intention seems to me to stir something up in you rather than smack you upside the head with something catchy, a nice antidote to the flood of overly excitable indie pop bands in L.A. Bautista's vocals were sometimes muffled by all the sci-fi synths and other craziness but would come through loudly every so often with a breathy forcefulness. For a band that trades in atmospherics and post-rock vibes, live, they're as gripping as a punk band.

See more photos from the show here.

Check Out The Drop: Dirty Heads at the Grammy Museum July 7

Posted by Billy Gil, June 25, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Dirty Heads

Amoeba Music is sponsoring The Grammy Museum's music series "The Drop," the next edition of which will feature reggae band Dirty Heads July 7. The show and band interview start at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15 (they're on sale now for American Express cardholders and will go fully on sale to the public July 1 at 12 p.m. PDT).

The band formed in Huntington Beach, Calif. in 1996, by Jared “Dirty J” Watson and vocalist/guitarist Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell in their freshman year of high school, writing hip-hop songs with a punk and reggae bent. Later adding percussionist Jon Olazabal, drummer Matt Ochoa and bassist David Foral to the fold, and after an initial deal at Warner Bros. didn't come through, the band took their nearly completed first album, Any Port in a Storm, to Executive, who released it in 2008. The album's special edition included the song "Lay Me Down," featuring Rome Ramirez of Sublime With Rome, which spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Alternative Chart, more than any other artist in 2010.

The band followed up with 2012's Cabin By the Sea, which debuted in the Billboard Top 20, and then released the all-acoustic Home - Phantoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions last year. Now, the group brings their ever-evolving reggae-based sound to The Grammy Museum for an interview and performance as they're set to release Sound of Change July 8, featuring the single "My Sweet Summer" and produced by Grammy-winning producer Supa Dups (Nina Sky, Bruno Mars). The new album pops with new energy while staying true to their roots, featuring appearances by Buddah Shampoo (Ty Dolla $ign), Niles (The Cataracs), Ward 21 (311, Major Lazer reggae collaborations) and once again, Rome (Sublime).

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Album Picks: A Sunny Day in Glasgow, How to Dress Well, Kitten, Robyn & Royksopp, The Cleaners From Venus, Slint

Posted by Billy Gil, June 24, 2014 10:36am | Post a Comment

A Sunny Day in GlasgowSea When Absent (LP, CD)

a sunny day in glasgow lpOne of my favorite bands of the past few years makes their “breakthrough” record, moving the vocals to the forefront, dialing back some of the dairy farm’s worth of milky reverb and cutting some of the more atmospheric pieces in favor of straight dream pop, though newcomers to the band may still feel plenty disoriented. This is dream pop in the truest sense, moving in unexpected and imaginatibe directions, with only the minimally required regard to typical pop song structure. On songs like “Byebye, Big Ocean (The End)” and “In Love With the Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing),” ASDIG mastermind Ben Daniels builds towers of seafoam guitars and Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma’s strung-together vocals, ebbing and flowing and wafting into the background before surrounding and overwhelming you once again. It’s a wonderful experience getting lost in the album’s twists and turns—you come away half-remembering melodies and bits of guitar like some amazing dream you can’t describe, though this time the songs themselves are more concrete, easing new listeners’ entry into the band’s strange soundworld. It’s their strongest album yet, and surely one of the year’s best.

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