L.A.-based dream pop band Haunted Summer cast their spell over Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 10, their autumnal music like a collective signifier of summer moving into fall. Their gorgeous “1996” saw them sending out cool waves of reverbed guitar while singer Bridgette Moody cooed an ode to nostalgia. The band moved from a four-piece to a duo of voice, guitar and synthesizers for a couple of hypnotic songs—including an even dreamier version of Animal Collective’s “Bees,” which they dedicated to the problem of honeybee colony collapse disorder—in which Moody’s voice would move from a whisper to a wail, occasionally masked with underwater effects. The band’s bassist and drummer came back for a couple more, plus their producer, who played a wicked theramin on their closing song.
The Terry Malts aren’t your typical Bay Area garage band. In fact, they’re not really a garage band or a punk band—or even a typical Slumberland Records band—at all. The band’s three members—comprising singer/bassist Phil Benson, guitarist/vocalist Corey Cunningham and drummer/vocalist Nathan Sweatt, started off in jangle-rock revivalists Magic Bullets before branching off into Terry Malts, a fast-paced, fuzz-rockin’ trio that fuses Ramones-style hooks and brevity with the deep-voiced panache of Morrissey and reverbed insouciance shared with several of their labelmates. Their second album, the Neil Young-reffing Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere (on CD or LP) is another quick and dirty delight, as was their first album, last year’s Killing Time. I caught up with the band just as they were set to release Nobody, which is in stores today. (See photos from their Amoeba performance here.)
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!
The 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
It’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.
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.
Out 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.