Amoeblog

Essential Records: The Jesus & Mary Chain 'Psychocandy'

Posted by Billy Gil, January 30, 2015 05:00pm | Post a Comment

essential albums jesus and mary chain psychocandy

Like many records whose reputations precede them, Psychocandy, the debut album by Scottish troublemakers The Jesus & Mary Chain, should be approached with caution and when you’re ready, not because someone told you to listen to it.

I picked up Psychocandy sometime in 2002 from Amoeba Hollywood, shortly after the store opened. I was going to school in San Diego at the time, and my friends and I would make trips up to Lou’s Records in Encinitas and Amoeba to binge buy used CDs. No one told me to get Psychocandy like Barry from High Fidelity, but I knew I probably should, judging by my growing obsessions with Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine.

The first time I put it on, on my shitty car stereo, I couldn’t really hear what was going on. A car full of people talking didn’t help. It just sounded like static to me, but I was intrigued. I listened later on and, of course, became full-on obsessed.

“Just Like Honey” is the obvious entry point and still a hauntingly beautiful song that is universal in a Nirvana sorta way. But the album’s next few tracks are its best. “The Living End” isn’t just a song title that Gregg Araki would nick for his great movie of the same name; its overall vibe is so underground and elusive that listening always makes you feel a lot cooler than you really are. It doesn’t matter that I’m way too chicken shit to ever ride a motorcycle. Both “The Living End” and “Taste the Floor” introduce a sonic trick that other great bands would mimic, like the aforementioned Nirvana, their inspirations in The Pixies (who themselves would cover J&MC’s “Head On”) and shoegaze followers like Lush and Swervedriver, piling added distortion on what already felt like too much to begin with, like pouring chocolate syrup all over a chocolate cake. It’s overwhelming and awesome.

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Weekly Roundup: Mikal Cronin, Bouquet, Tennis System, OOFJ, Deerhoof

Posted by Billy Gil, January 30, 2015 08:54am | Post a Comment

Mikal Cronin – “Made Up My Mind”

mikal croninPower-pop master Mikal Cronin has announced his third album, the aptly titled MCIII, which will be out May 5 on Merge. And he’s shared the first song from it. “Made Up My Mind” has one of those great rocketship riffs Cronin does so well, along with some playful piano and Cronin’s weary earnest voice offering bittersweet melodies and lyrics. Cronin played every instrument on the new album, which includes a six-song suite. He’ll be at S.F.’s The Independent April 22 and the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock May 1.

 

Bouquet – “Stacks on Stacks”

bouquetSometimes you hear just a couple of notes of a song and you know you love it. Such is the case with Bouquet’s “Stacks on Stacks,” which touches on early electronic music with breathy, romantic female vocals akin to Stereolab, Beach House or our dearly departed Broadcast. The L.A.-based duo is composed of guitarist/vocalist Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, formerly of folk-poppers The Finches, and keyboardist Max Foreman of the experimental trio Tenebre. If you’re as curious as I am about Bouquet, check out their In a Dream EP, due March 10 via Ulrike/Folktale, and/or check them out with Zola Jesus Feb. 8 at Santa Ana’s Observatory.

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So Many Wizards' Nima Kazerouni Talks Being in Four Bands Before Performance Jan. 29 at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 28, 2015 03:17pm | Post a Comment

so many wizards amoebaSo Many Wizards frontman Nima Kazerouni is easily one of the hardest working guys in the L.A. music scene. Other than SMW, his long-running indie-pop project, he has another full-time band, Crown Plaza, and two more new ones. I asked Kazerouni about how he keeps it all straight before So Many Wizards’ show at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. They’re handing out a split 7” at the show with Tennis System, as part of Converse Rubber Tracks’ free recording sessions for up-and-coming artists. They’ll also be signing their previous 7”, Night Chills, at the show.

So I heard you started a new band, Nectarine, and now you have GNTLMN, too, bringing the total to four (I think). Is that just to try out different directions, play with different people or something else?

Yeah, totally. Nectarine is a super fun new band that started with homegirl Allie Bumsted. We would just jam together and write songs on the fly in her Long Beach garage while drinking beers and coffee. It turned into a thing pretty naturally. GNTLMN, which is now officially called Others, is a two-piece electronic dream-pop project created with S.F. transplant and homegirl Natalia Rogovin. The two are totally different sounds, and I play different roles in each band. It’s a lot to juggle four bands, yes, but whatever, I love them all.

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Album Picks: Jessica Pratt, Twerps, Natalie Prass

Posted by Billy Gil, January 27, 2015 10:56am | Post a Comment

Jessica Pratt On Your Own Love Again

jessica pratt on your own love again lpJessica Pratt’s voice is something special, a breathy, elfin coo that calls to mind Marc Bolan’s spirited yelp as well as Vashti Bunyan’s inward-facing whispers, channeled through Pratt’s own wry, observational tone. “I see you standing wasted alone in my mind,” she sings directly on opener “Wrong Hand,” but such a line doesn’t feel bitter coming from Pratt’s mouth, as if it’s a gentle warning rather than a harsh truth. “People’s faces blend together like a watercolor you can’t remember in time,” she sings with precision at the outset of “Game That I Play.” Her guitar playing feels nimble yet immediate, leaving in missed notes in the one-take-sounding, stark and lo-fi “Strange Melody,” while her intriguing fingerings and tunings seem to draw inspiration from Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, though the way she contorts her voice from a floating, teetering high register to a disconcerting low feels entirely unique. The songs themselves are allowed to meander, though never indulgently; rather, On Your Own Love Again feels exceptionally well edited, its serpentine arrangements remaining relatively coiled. “Game That I Play” manages to sneak in a stunning second movement while keeping the song trim at just over four minutes. And she doesn’t overstay her welcome. At just more than half an hour, Pratt ends her second album leaving you wanting more, turning over her curious phrases and mystical voice to uncover their secrets, especially on one of the album’s final and best songs, “Back, Baby”—its pensive breakup lyrics like “your love is just a myth I devised” sting softly amid loping, seaside acoustic guitar. On Your Own Love Again is gorgeous through and through, and it’s easily one of the best albums of this early new year.

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10 More Albums to Look for in Early 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, January 26, 2015 10:33am | Post a Comment

bjork 10 albums blog

A little while ago, we called out 10 albums to look for in this nascent new year (some of them are out now, and they’re great!). Here are 10 more that we’re excited about.

A Place to Bury StrangersTransfixation

a place to bury strangers transfixiation lpOut Feb. 17

Available on LP, Colored Vinyl and CD

A Place to Bury Strangers are known for their high-volume shoegaze played with custom-built guitar pedals, but new album Transfixation is said to be more experimental. The first single, “Straight,” sounds a little like Spacemen 3 jamming with Battles, with a frantic beat and strange noises rounded out by Oliver Ackermann’s cool delivery. We’re so down.

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