Amoeblog

Album Picks: Brian Eno, Aesop Rock, dvsn

Posted by Billy Gil, April 29, 2016 08:03am | Post a Comment

Brian Eno The Ship

brian eno the ship lpBrian Eno’s latest album combines the minimalist approach to his ambient work such as Music for Airports with the intrigue of his more pop-oriented work. On opening track “The Ship,” individual tones, thick, thin, solid and wavering create a transfixing horizontal drone. Vocals enter after a few minutes, deeply intoning strange truisms behind some swan-diving notes and radio noise that sound like a TV left on in another room. “The time is still, the sky is young,” the voice says, and the music feels eternal while the found sound of advertisements feels ephemeral. Through its contemplative, extended tracks, The Ship is a little unsettling but ultimately gives a sense of peace, a reminder of our short time on a greater vessel that sets us free from our preoccupations. Includes a gorgeous cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free.”

 

Aesop RockThe Impossible Kid

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Album Picks: Lush, Andy Stott, Guided By Voices, Greys

Posted by Billy Gil, April 22, 2016 11:32am | Post a Comment

Lush - Blind Spot

lush blind spot epBlind Spot, the new EP from reunited shoegazers Lush, cherry picks the best sounds of the band’s three studio albums without feeling like too much of a rehash, leaning toward the sound of their earlier, stronger material. On mid-tempo opener “Out of Control,” singer/guitarist Miki Berenyi’s voice still pairs uncannily with fellow singer/guitarist Emma Anderson. Jangly guitars casually spiral over the ebbing pulse provided by bassist Justin King and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. Read more here.

 

Andy Stott - Too Many Voices

andy stott too many voices lpAndy Stott’s latest builds on his grayscale dub soundscapes with more movement and pulse, the result being songs that are full-bodied and often unpredictable, with synth-funk touches and disembodied soul vocals. Full of woozy sexuality and luxurious dread. Read more here.

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Album Picks: PJ Harvey, Kevin Morby, Cate Le Bon

Posted by Billy Gil, April 15, 2016 11:57am | Post a Comment

PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project

pj harvey the hope six demolition project lpPJ Harvey’s ninth album was recorded in sessions that were open to the public at the museum Somerset House in London. Exhibit attendees could see Harvey creating the album with producers Flood and John Parish through a one-way mirror. The results continue in her tradition of excellence, producing songs that sound lush and layered, yet loose and free, with a strong social commentary running through on songs like “The Wheel” (“Now you see them, now you don’t,” she sings of disappeared and killed children around the world). Harvey wrote these 10 songs after she traveled to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C., for inspiration, and the kind of oppression and suffering she witnessed fuels her songwriting, as she sings of “the pain of 50 million years” on “The Orange Monkey” and in “The Community of Hope,” in which her criticism of rebuilt housing projects that displaced residents who could no longer afford it drew the ire of D.C. politicians. Though the composition of Hope Six is certainly interesting and proves Harvey continues to be a firebrand, ultimately the final product is what matters most to fans. Thankfully, the music is as powerful as ever. As can attest the muscular guitars that back songs “The Ministry of Defense,” the wailing sax that tears through “The Ministry of Social Affairs,” the rousing choruses her band delivers throughout the album and Harvey’s soulful vocals that close out the album on “Dollar, Dollar,” The Hope Six Demolition Project more than delivers on its premise.

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Album Picks: Parquet Courts, Tim Hecker, Woods

Posted by Billy Gil, April 8, 2016 11:25am | Post a Comment

Parquet CourtsHuman Performance

parquet courts human performance lp“Dust is everywhere — SWEEP!” So goes the refrain of the first single off N.Y. indie-rock heroes Parquet Courts’ new album. Human Performance seems less concerned with proving anything to anyone than ever, yet finds the band settling into itself nicely and coming up with some of its most weirdly catchy songs. Since releasing the excellent Light up Gold in 2013, the band has fallen into a certain lineage of brainy New York indie rock of yore, from Talking Heads and Television through Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys. Then came Sunbathing Animal, the thorny but ultimately winning follow-up, along with assorted albums and EPs that saw them trying on various guises, with the results thrillingly mercurial but hit-or-miss as far as listening goes. Now, on songs like the Velvet Underground-ish title track; short, rhythmically clever tunes like “Outside” and “I Was Just Here”; and shoutalong slacker anthems like “Paraphrased”; and verbose Nuggets jams like "Berlin Got Blurry," Parquet Courts sound comfortable yet energized, mature but real in their embrace of the surreal and off-kilter. As it’s been somewhat both exhilarating and maddening to watch them over the past couple of years, Human Performance is that redemptive album that shows keeping an eye on Parquet Courts is well worth your time. Their best yet. Read my interview with the band a couple of years back, and check out their episode of “What’s In My Bag?” below, along with the video for “Berlin Got Blurry.”

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Album Picks: Charles Bradley, Explosions in the Sky, Bleached, Andrew Bird, Frankie Cosmos

Posted by Billy Gil, April 1, 2016 11:49am | Post a Comment

Charles Bradley - Changes

charles bradley changes lpSoul master Charles Bradley’s third album for Daptone is a knockout. Beginning with a genuine interlude of “God Bless America,” the album positions Bradley as someone who has gone though career and personal difficulty and come out on top, sounding upbeat and grateful to be alive and working. On “Good to Be Back Home,” Bradley flips things to explore the dual nature of home and what that means, singing of being back in the land where he was born, “sometimes it hurt so bad, sometimes, so good,” before unleashing a howl that better expresses the notion than any words could. That passion runs through the heartfelt and extremely affecting love songs like “Nobody But You.” Throughout, the Menahan Street Band’s expertly played and recorded horns and jazz grooves deliver the ideal backdrop, while there’s some experimentation beyond classic soul on tracks like “Ain’t Gonna Give It Up,” its moog and bass-drum-heavy groove reminiscent of krautrockers like Can. And if you don’t get goosebumps during Bradley’s cover of Black Sabbath ballad “Changes,” check your pulse. A playful flexibility within the carefully cultivated classic soul sound Bradley and many Daptone artists work within proves to be incredibly fruitful here. It’s Bradley’s best release yet from his second wind, as Bradley remains an expert at getting to the heart of soul music.

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