Warpaint’s The Fool was a great slow burner of a record, one that grew on you with each successive listen such that it continues to sound great years on. Now, four years later, the ladies of Warpaint return with their long-awaited second record. As is their way, Warpaint unfolds at an unhurried pace, relishing in subtleties with songs whose meanings or melodies you might be able to place right away, but whose impressions lasts much longer than instant gratification-style pop songs. They’re sort of the spiritual successor to the band Slowdive, the shoegaze greats who encountered as much acclaim as derision during their time, due to their milky, washy music, but who have since been ensconced as one of the most beloved bands of the ’90s The effect of Warpaint’s music is similar, washing over you in spurts and leaving streaks. With a band like this, it’s generally tough to name singles or easy entry points, but Warpaint has some moments that stick out, namely “Biggy,” a great, trip hoppy pop song along the lines of Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac period, while “Disco // Very” sees Emily Kokal’s vocals getting distorted and nasty over, yes, a disco beat, recalling some of the disco-rock of the ’00’s, only with a dirtier, dubbier tone. In these songs, Warpaint sees the band stretching their wings a bit, while fans of the first album will find much to love in the album’s dark, atmospheric corners. It’s altogether a fantastic, well-considered second album that proves the rewards of patience.
Kiwi singer-songwriter Connan Mockasin started his Jan. 17 set at Amoeba Hollywood with a set of loose instrumental jams punctuated by strange synth bursts. He cooed along to a smooth space groove before picking things up in an upbeat showcase for Mockasin's gloriously woozy guitar work, which got steadily more frantic until bombing out into a druggy outro.
He played the first part of the five-part "It's Your Body" suite, taken from the excellent Caramel album, which is a sumptuous soul jam apart from its four other, disparate parts. Mockasin paused to speak positively about L.A., saying he had been feeling sick and intimidated by city previously. "You hear all the stories ... and it's not true," Mockasin said of his first visit down. He asked for audience participation to hit the high notes on the next song. That ended up in a weird, warbling audience singalong mid-song.
He next played the Princey "Caramel," which burrows its way into your head via a catchy, repeated synth part. Mockasin sang soulfully, hitting those high notes perfectly and subtly warping his voice to match some of the effects on the record. The band exploded for Caramel standout "I'm the Man, That Will Find You," making great use of curling guitar riffs and its slightly-creepy-when-you-think-about-it titular chorus. The song sounds a bit like a warped 12" played at half-speed of a punk cover of a Motown hit that never existed. So try picturing that!
Whoa too much music released this week. Here we go …
together PANGEA – “Badillac”
The new album by L.A. garage greats together PANGEA is called Badillac, which is amazing. And so is the song, a more laid-back song for the band showing off their melodic side. Get excited for Badillac, which is due next week, Jan. 21, on Harvest (they’ll be at The Smell that day, too). Hear it at Soundcloud.
New Bums – “Black Bough”
Ben Chasny is a busy guy, having released scores of music as psych-folk act Six Organs of Admittance, with acid-rockers Comets on Fire and others. Now he’s teamed up with Donovan Quinn of Skygreen Leopards as New Bums. The first taste, “Black Bough,” is a beautiful little ditty with some orchestral brushes and amazing acoustic guitarwork. Voices in a Rented Room is due Feb. 18 on Drag City.
The Downtown Flea Market is back this year, happening weekly starting Jan. 26.
Now taking place every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it boasts antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, and crafts and clothes by independent designers. New additions this time around include Latin-Jewish fusion truck El Nosh and burgers 'n' hot dogs truck Son of a Bun.
Amoeba is a proud sponsor of The Downtown Flea Market. Mention Amoeba at the doors and receive $1 off admission!
The market takes place in two parking lots in Downtown Los Angeles, at 3rd St. and S. Spring St. Admission is $3, or $2 online. Kids under 12 get in for free. Pick up tickets at the entrance to the Yellow Lot (246 S. Spring St.), on the east side of Spring at the corner of 3rd.
Parking can be found for $5 in nearby lots. Downtown Flea Market recommends parking in the six-story lot on the east side of Spring, between 2nd and 3rd. Better yet, take the Metro there!
Check out an interview with founder Phillip Dane below.
Connan Mockasin’s Caramel was one of the more intriguing records of 2013. As syrupy and sumptuous as its name would suggest, the native New Zealander’s second album is a trip, yawning awake with spacey love songs, delving into psychedelic soul singles (the irresistible “I’m the Man, Who Will Find You”) and moving into a five-part, mind-bending suite called “It’s Your Body.” Even among underground releases, it’s a strange bird, and an album that stays with you. I sat down with Mockasin to ask about the record as he prepared to play in San Francisco. He’ll be at Amoeba Hollywood this Friday Jan. 17, performing at 6 p.m.
There’s a really interesting quality to the album that the whole thing feels kind of warped and disorienting, but you get used to it as the album goes on. Was that part of the idea, to create a sort of all-encompassing sound world?
Mockasin: I didn’t really think about it too much. I just wanted to make what a record that was called Caramel would sound like. That’s just what I had in my head.