Amoeblog

Amoeba's Fat Tuesday Celebration

Posted by Billy Gil, February 13, 2013 11:52am | Post a Comment

Dirty Dozen Brass Band Amoeba HollywoodA record number of people came to celebrate Amoeba Hollywood’s annual Fat Tuesday celebration. This year saw The Dirty Dozen Brass Band perform live and lead the annual Second Line Parade down the aisles of Amoeba.

The band brought New Orleans cheer to the store, getting the family-friendly audience dancing in the aisles with their influential funk-infused jazz style. Some attendees showed up in Mardi Gras costume, including a quartet of girls in white dresses spattered with fake blood — maybe it’s a True Blood thing, I’m not sure.

AMoeba HOllywood Fat Tuesday Mardi GrasWhile homemade floats, masks and beads floated around the audience, the extraordinary musicianship on display wasn’t lost on the audience. A sax solo introduced the band’s second song, breaking out into a drum solo before returning to the song and drawing huge applause. They got the audience clapping to what I thought was a standup bass but was actually DDBB’s tuba player playing a rubbery bassline. They thanked the audience and Amoeba as they capped off 36 years as a band before leading everyone through a parade while playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” up and down the aisles.

Amoeba is distributing The Congo Square Project Foundation: Sacred Ground Vols. 1 and 2, the first two of six planned volumes tracing the development of New Orleans music, with all proceeds of the sale benefiting New Orleans relief efforts. Additionally, a portion of all proceeds for the day (including sales on Amoeba.com) went to Tipitina’s Foundation, which seeks to preserve Louisiana and New Orleans’ musical heritage, and New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, which is dedicated to providing affordable healthcare to New Orleans musicians. A total of $3,000 was donated from Amoeba's revenue Feb. 12, adding to the $1,400 raised through a charity auction held at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 2 ($700 was raised from auction sales, with a $700 match from Amoeba), for a combined total of $4,400 sent to the two charities.

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Albums Out Feb. 12: Veronica Falls, Lisa Germano, Pissed Jeans and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 12, 2013 12:23am | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen

Veronica FallsCD $12.98

LP $16.98

Veronica Falls make a huge songwriting leap on their second album for Slumberland Records. Where their first self-titled album was sweet and catchy, Waiting for Something to Happen explodes with teenage energy, overflowing with emotion and honesty. Frontwoman Roxanne Clifford is no belter, but she knows how to land a line, singing “driving late at night, I’ll let you listen to the music you like” in a way that digs into you with unforced adolescent earnestness on “Teenage.” Musically, Veronica Falls touch upon ’80s jangle and ’60s garage rock without falling prey to forefather worship — their easiest comparison for influence is early R.E.M., constructing straightforward guitar pop that wear honesty and naivete as badges of pride. Similarly to that band in its early incarnation, Veronica Falls sound like a gang of close-knit misfits, with Clifford’s cohorts surrounding her smooth voice with harmony and melodic counterpoint on a song like “If You Still Want Me,” wringing new energy out of a chord arrangements older than sin played as though it were entirely new. The band’s confidence and ability to guide a song smoothly carries them through simple arrangements until you’re completely sold — witness how the band makes “Everybody’s Changing” into their own “Everybody Hurts,” with a handful of chords, simple statements and the panache to carry it off. While it may have been tempting to enjoy Veronica Falls as merely one of the best bands to recreate a beloved old sound, they make the case for being as strong as several of their forebears on Waiting for Something to Happen’s strongest moments. When Clifford sings “You’re a broken toy, it’s true/But I am broken too” on “Broken Toy,” the teen angst in you will come flooding right back. Don’t resist the urge to give in.

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Weekly Roundup: Young Prisms, The Cyclist, Hanni El Khatib, Mikal Cronin, Rhye, Kisses, Glow Marrow

Posted by Billy Gil, February 7, 2013 03:31pm | Post a Comment

Young Prisms – “Runner” video

Young PrismsS.F.’s Young Prisms have released a video for the song “Runner,” from 2012’s In Between. For the uninitiated, Young Prisms combine hushed, reverbed out vocals with pop melody, lush synthesizers and crisp, Sonic Youth-esque guitar lines They share some elements in common with S.F.’s Tamaryn, with whom they recently toured, like the pop counterpart to Tamaryn’s oceanic soundwaves. If you haven’t yet checked them out, here’s a great place to start. They’re at the Echo in L.A. March 15 and the Chapel in S.F. March 16.

 

The Cyclist – “Visions” video

The CyclistThough he hails from Northern Ireland, producer The Cyclist has joined the fold of L.A.-based Stones Throw and Leaving Records, who recently signed a distribution deal for Stones Throw to distribute Leaving Records titles. The mind-expanding “Visions” appeared on Dual Form, a cassette release celebrating the deal and Leaving Records’ catalog. It will also appear on The Cyclist’s upcoming debut LP, Bones in Motion, releasing March 26 via Stones Throw/Leaving. The song is accompanied by a dizzying array of colors and images that makes up its great video, directed by Miko Revereza.

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Show Recap: Robert DeLong at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, February 7, 2013 09:53am | Post a Comment

Robert DeLongRobert DeLong taught a master class in how to construct electronic music live, on the fly, during his performance at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 5.

He began by building layered vocal loops and electronic drum beats before singing along to a bass-heavy programmed backbeat. DeLong demonstrated his strongest points early on: his high energy and ability to combine densely layered EDM songs with the feel of a live rock band.

The songs hit hard — I felt like my skull was rattling from the bass. DeLong made up for his just so-so voice by manipulating it when necessary and singing earnestly as well, taking the Ben Gibbard heart-on-sleeve approach. “Global Concepts” best exemplified his Postal Service meets Skrillex approach to making music, combining visceral dance music with emotional delivery.

Robert DeLongThe busyness of DeLong’s music only occasionally got the best of him when his vocals would fail to rise to the occasion while he inexplicably played a maraca egg at the same time, for instance, or when the mic would drop out, perhaps overloaded with effect. The best part of the show by far was when he ditched the singing and electronic instruments to do their thing on their own while he played live drums along to the backing music. That was the moment when he did indeed make everyone “fucking dance,” as “Global Concepts” claims. Side note: Besides the novelty value of his playing drums in a one-man band setting, DeLong’s a pretty great drummer.

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Albums Out 2/5: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jim James, Grouper and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 5, 2013 10:50am | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II

Unknown Mortal OrchestraCD $12.98

LP $14.98

Lo-fi psych-pop band Unknown Mortal Orchestra grow and refine their sound by leaps and bounds on their second album. While the band’s fine self-titled debut reveled in its Syd Barret-inspired weirdness, II ups the ante by funneling its odd turns into pop songs that seem to activate new nodes in your brain. “From the Sun” makes like a White Album demo, stuffing its rich arrangement into the washing machine — it comes out with colors mismatched but intact. “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” is high-flying indie-pop that doesn’t have to ask to make itself at home on loop. By the time you’re three songs in, with the soft vintage soul of “So Good at Being in Trouble,” II becomes remarkable rather than merely enjoyable. From space-rock (“No Need for a Leader”) to glammy soul (“Secret Xtians”) to Madchester-style Britpop (“Faded in the Morning”), Unknown Mortal Orchestra seem to have digested decades worth of bargain-bin records and made the sounds their own on II.

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