Amoeblog

Album Picks: Xiu Xiu, Juan Wauters, Marissa Nadler

Posted by Billy Gil, February 4, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

Xiu XiuAngel Guts: Red Classroom (CD or LP)

xiu xiu angel guts: red classroomXiu Xiu’s best album in years harkens back to their darkest early days with an uncompromising sound. Trading in the pop tones of  his last couple of albums for a palette of grays and blacks, aided by harsh (in the best way) analog synths, Angel Guts gets Jamie Stewart back into his most confrontational mode, though there are still unmistakable pop hooks (something Stewart hasn’t quite ever gotten credit for) lurking beneath songs like “Stupid in the Dark.”

 

 

Juan Wauters N.A.P. North American Poetry (CD, LP or Download)

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Album Picks: Dum Dum Girls, Sky Ferreira, Hospitality

Posted by Billy Gil, January 28, 2014 10:16am | Post a Comment

Dum Dum Girls - Too Pure (CD or LP)

dum dum girls too pure cd amoebaThe time is right for Dum Dum Girls to make their big breakthrough record, and they don’t squander the opportunity with Too Pure. Singer Dee Dee Penny is like the shoegazing version of Chrissie Hynde, turning around a cliché about an irresistible bad boy on “Too True to Be Good” and owning her own leather-and-lace sensitive bad girl image in the delicate “Trouble is My Name.” Richard Gottehrer (the producer behind “My Boyfriend’s Back”) brings the magic he brought to Blondie and The Go-Go's to gleaming new wavers like “Rimbaud Eyes,” while co-producer Sune Rose Wagner’s (of The Raveonettes) effect can be felt on songs like sinister stomper “Cult of Love.” The band’s shimmering guitarwork, Penny’s terrific, breathy vocals and her producers’ ethereal touch come together masterfully on “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” which is like a lost song from a John Hughes movie soundtrack, were it made with the noise pop knowledge gleaned from growing up on Nirvana and Slowdive. Too Pure has bite and sheen in equal doses, leaving lipstick smeared on your heart. You’ll be begging for more.

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Album Picks: Warpaint, Mogwai, Damien Jurado, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Pow!, Jeremy Jay

Posted by Billy Gil, January 21, 2014 10:49am | Post a Comment

Warpaint - Warpaint (CD, LP or Download)

warpaint warpaint amoebaWarpaint’s The Fool was a great slow burner of a record, one that grew on you with each successive listen such that it continues to sound great years on. Now, four years later, the ladies of Warpaint return with their long-awaited second record. As is their way, Warpaint unfolds at an unhurried pace, relishing in subtleties with songs whose meanings or melodies you might be able to place right away, but whose impressions lasts much longer than instant gratification-style pop songs. They’re sort of the spiritual successor to the band Slowdive, the shoegaze greats who encountered as much acclaim as derision during their time, due to their milky, washy music, but who have since been ensconced as one of the most beloved bands of the ’90s The effect of Warpaint’s music is similar, washing over you in spurts and leaving streaks. With a band like this, it’s generally tough to name singles or easy entry points, but Warpaint has some moments that stick out, namely “Biggy,” a great, trip hoppy pop song along the lines of Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac period, while “Disco // Very” sees Emily Kokal’s vocals getting distorted and nasty over, yes, a disco beat, recalling some of the disco-rock of the ’00’s, only with a dirtier, dubbier tone. In these songs, Warpaint sees the band stretching their wings a bit, while fans of the first album will find much to love in the album’s dark, atmospheric corners. It’s altogether a fantastic, well-considered second album that proves the rewards of patience.

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Album Picks: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Cherry Glazerr

Posted by Billy Gil, January 14, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Give The People What They Want (CD, LP or Download)

sharon jones & the dap-kings give the people what they want amoebaCancer hasn’t gotten Sharon Jones down. The lead singer of the slammin’ Dap-Kings has never sounded livelier or feistier than on Give the People What They Want—she’s still the hardest-working woman in show biz’, a spiritual successor to James Brown and Tina Turner. “Stranger to My Happiness” is a classic Dap-Kings groover along the lines of “Tell Me,” an ecstatic ode to moving on from whatever’s holding you back. Some of the band’s best songs have often focused on forward momentum and feminist sentiment, and that’s reflected in songs like the sassy, Led Zeppelin-esque kiss-off “You’ll Be Lonely.” But there’s almost unbridled optimism here, too, on the touching soul ballad “We Get Along,” an ode to enduring love and contender for the soundtrack to renewing your vows, if ever there was a song for that. “Making Up and Breaking Up” is classic Motown on the nose, and it’s great—you won’t be able to get it out of your head. Give the People What They Want truly lives up to its name. It’s just one jammer after another, and proof that adversity makes us stronger. Come get your copy of the album signed by Sharon Jones at Amoeba Hollywood Wednesday, January 15 at 6 p.m.!

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Album Picks: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Banks, Patrick Cowley

Posted by Billy Gil, January 7, 2014 11:02am | Post a Comment

Stephen Malkmus & The JicksWig Out at Jagbags (CD or LP)

stephen malkmus the jicks wig out at jagbags amoebaAmid all the reunions of ’90s bands, Pavement’s was an anomaly—no new material, just some shows, a best-of release and then kaput, all within the year 2010. That’s perhaps a good thing, since it gives people a chance to focus on frontman Stephen Malkamus’ work both solo and with the Jicks, which has been largely excellent—and underrated. Wig Out at Jagbags finds Malkamus and co. loose and having fun, but still writing solid songs that stick. After a couple of jammy numbers, the album picks up with the poppy “Lariat,” which funnily seems to call out Malkmus’ own fan base (“we grew up listening to music from the best decade ever!” he sings at the conclusion). Alt-rock revivalism gives way to a piano-led rock ballad on “Houston Hades.” “Rumble at the Rainbo” finds the band poking fun at its own elder status within the underground community—“come and join us in this punk rock tune/come slam dancing with some ancient dudes,” Malkamus sings. The more improvy numbers might lose some people, even if relistening to Pavement finds as much emphasis on exploration as melody, but they always come back with a catchy tune—“Chartjunk” features horns and Malkamus playing a not-jokey guitar solo, and seeming to enjoying every minute of it; “Independence Street” is a Velvets-esque, dry ballad; and “Surreal Teenagers” closes the album on an energetic high. With an album as fun to listen to as Wig Out at Jagbags, we’ll let Malkamus close the book on Pavement and move into a new era.

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