Amoeblog

Seth Bogart Talks L.A. Losers, S&M Songs and New Self-Titled Album

Posted by Billy Gil, February 18, 2016 08:21pm | Post a Comment

Seth Bogart hunx

Photo by JJ Stratford

Seth Bogart made a name for himself calling out lame boys who don’t like rock ‘n’ roll with bubblegum garage-pop gems in Hunx & His Punx. Since taking a break from releasing music (his last was Street Punk in 2013), Bogart has kept plenty busy. He moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area in 2012 to focus on his visual art and open a store based on his own clothing line — if you’ve driven down Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, you’ve probably seen Wacky Wacko, an explosion of bright pinks with a Pegasus head that looks like it’s screaming adorning the top.

But at the same time, he’s also still been recording music. For this outing, Bogart hooked up with longtime friend and producer Cole MGN, who’s also worked with such fine folk as Julia Holter, Ariel Pink and Dam-Funk. Bogart’s first solo release under his own name, out this Friday on Burger, mostly ditches the guitars for deliberately chintzy synths and drum machines on a weird, wild glitterbomb of an album, with help from friends like Chela, Cherry Glazerr’s Clementine Creevy and Tavi Gevinson. Check out the video for the song “Forgotten Fantazy” that was released today, which features Bogart dominating himself (!) in a hot clip that puts that “50 Shades” bullshit to shame.

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Album Picks: Diiv, Lucinda Williams, Rihanna, Cavanaugh, Lissie

Posted by Billy Gil, February 12, 2016 09:41am | Post a Comment

I missed last week since I was on vacation, so here are my picks for the past two weeks!

DiivIs The Is Are

diiv is the is are lpBrooklyn’s Diiv are back after four years with an album that delivers on the promise of their debut, Oshin. Musically, Zachary Cole Smith and co. still dole out shimmering guitar-pop nuggets that surf on waves of reverb and atmospheric distortion. Songs like “Under the Sun” offer a pure rush of new wave beats and summery melodies, even as Smith’s lyrics delve into his struggle with addiction. It follows one of The Cure’s best tricks: sounding lively even at their bleakest. Songs like “Dopamine” are far from numbed out — Smith’s jaunty vocal is as close as he’d let himself get to Tom Petty, while still encased in a fog of reverb. Is The Is Are is a bit sprawling at 17 tracks, and after a dynamite opening, some of its shorter tracks in the middle don’t sink in, compared with the relatively taut Oshin. But that also gives Is The Is Are room to roam and the feeling of some alt-rock record of yore, like a Guided By Voices or Sonic Youth album (speaking of the latter, Smith’s girlfriend, Sky Ferreira, shows up to play Kim Gordon on the breathy “Blue Boredom”). Smith also should get credit for expanding his guitar palette while keeping things trim and stylistically consistent, adding My Bloody Valentine-style bends and distortion to his crisp, Felt-ish tones only when necessary. As layers of heavily distorted riffs close out “Waste of Breath” like interlocking corroded piping (epic by Diiv standards at nearly six minutes), Smith’s talents are firmly re-established.

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James Supercave Chat Before Amoeba LA & SF Performances

Posted by Billy Gil, February 9, 2016 03:33pm | Post a Comment

james supercaveAfter a few years of hype in the L.A. music scene, indie-pop band James Supercave are finally ready to drop their debut album, Better Strange. After breaking through onto local radio with the song "Burn" in 2014, the band (yes, it's a band, not a guy), which consists of frontman Joaquin Pastor, keyboardist Patrick Logothetti and guitarist Andres Villalobos, set about recording their debut. But perfection, particularly that of Pastor, meant that it took a couple of years, as the band told Noisey.

Now that it's finally here, Better Strange proves to be worth the wait. Songs like the title track roll along taut disco grooves and dreamy synth tones. Pastor’s highwire vocals can go from delicate to glammy in a heartbeat, calling to mind Marc Bolan and Jeff Buckley as his voice bounds through the hairpin turns of pounding indie-rocker “The Right Thing.” The band seemingly uses influences like LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, The Shins and Brian Eno as a grab bag without taking too much from one place — at times the record is evocative, but it never lingers in one place. It's more focused on hooks than homage, and while the album is plenty catchy, its attention to detail is also immediately apparent and rewards on repeated listens.

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Psych-Soul Trio KING Chat Before Amoeba Performance Jan. 28

Posted by Billy Gil, January 27, 2016 10:39am | Post a Comment

KING band

L.A.-based KING bring their uniquely stirring brand of swirling psychedelic soul to the Amoeba Hollywood stage for a free show Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. They'll also have their debut LP, We Are KING, on sale that day at Amoeba prior to the album's official release on Feb. 5.

KING consist of Anita Bias and sisters Paris Strother and Amber Strother. Paris is the primary producer and instrumentalist of the band, while Amber and Anita's breahty vocals hopscotch over Paris' jazzy concoctions. Together they produce a sound that doesn't skimp on complexity but also exudes warmth, using horns and unabashedly synthy keys for a sound that weaves together classic soul, synth-funk, dream pop and certain something undefinable that gives KING its own essence.

The group has drummed up a vocal fanbase on Twitter even before dropping its first album, one that includes none other than Prince, who asked the group to open for him one night during his 21-night residency at the Forum in Inglewood in 2011. Unfortunately it's also part of their story that as a trio of women writing and producing their own soul music, A&R folks have suggested the group alter their image and essentially dumb down the sound, as they told LA Weekly. I asked them about all of that and more when I caught up with them before their Amoeba show.

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Preorder PJ Harvey's New Album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project'

Posted by Billy Gil, January 25, 2016 10:02am | Post a Comment

Pj Harvey press photo

Photo by Maria Mochnacz

PJ Harvey is set to release her new album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, April 15 via Vagrant. You can preorder it now on LP and CD.

The album was recorded in sessions that were open to the public at the museum Somerset House in London, as Pitchfork has reported. Exhibit attendees could see Harvey creating the album with producers Flood and John Parish through a one-way mirror. They also yielded this amazing photo of Harvey playing the saxophone!

pj harvey the hope six demolition project lpI have to admit to being a bit skeptical of the process. Having been a fan for years, I have always loved how meticulously created and recorded her albums are, not least of which was her last album 2011’s Let England Shake, one of the strongest of her career. This approach seemed interesting but bound to distract, no?

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