Amoeblog

The 25 Best Albums By California Artists Released in 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

best california albums blog

From L.A. and S.F.’s garage rock scenes to Compton’s blossoming rap artists, California artists represented well in 2014. Here are 25 of our favorites from the year, in alphabetical order.

Allah-LasWorship the Sun

allah-las worship the sun lpOn Worship the Sun, L.A.’s Allah-Las get some dirt on their boots by scuzzing up their sunny surf-garage sound with some rattling guitar solos, stonery grooves (“Buffalo Nickel”) and head-spinning psych-rock tunes (“501-405”).

 

 

Cherry Glazerr Haxel Princess

cherry glazerr haxel princess lpCherry Glazerr had the debut record of the year for Burger Records, moving unstoppably on the strength of its garage riffs and singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy’s teenage caterwaul.

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14 Indie Rock Records That Would Make a Great Gift

Posted by Billy Gil, December 15, 2014 12:11pm | Post a Comment

Gift Ideas Indie Rock

There have been tons of records released under the nebulous indie rock genre this year that find new things to say within the confines of rock 'n' roll (The War on Drugs), or throw out the rules while still remaining pleasing to listen to (Ariel Pink). Here are 14 widely appealing records from this year that would make a great gift for just about any indie rock fan. 

the war on drugs





 

The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs’ dreamy country-rock music evokes slow motion, even as its songs move at a sprightly pace. The driving rhythm behind "Under the Pressure" is caked in heavily reverbed guitars and washes of synthesizer, even as real-life guitar solos and Adam Granduciel's vocals come through more clearly than ever before. Similarly "Red Eyes" is like some lost '80s collaboration between The Highwaymen and The Cure, effusing brilliant colors with its bright synths and yelping vocals, but the most stunning moment comes in the minute or so in the middle of the songs when a third of the sound is stripped away, leaving a gorgeous, introspective bridge before Granduciel's yelp brings everything crashing back, while the rhythm stays insistent as always. Lost in the Dream invites repeat listens—atmospheric pieces like "The Haunting Idle" keep things spacious, yet the band comes back for the Bruce Springsteen-vibing "Burning" in the albums latter half. As its title would suggest, it's an album to get lost in. It feels like seeing the entire open road ahead of you, coasting yet seemingly to move in place while the sun sets and middle-of-nowhere stations play Bruce and Tom Petty in the background.

Watch the Allah-Las Get Dreamy at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2014 02:07pm | Post a Comment

Allah Las

Backed by the LA based label, Innovative Leisure, the Allah-Las have managed to take their garage/surf-rock sound to an international audience. With tour dates across Europe, Asia, and Australia, the band is racking up frequent flyer miles and growing their fanbase the good ol' fashioned way: touring, touring, and more touring. The group's busy schedule brought them stateside for a special in-store performance at Amoeba Hollywood. Playing to a packed house of devotees of all ages, The Allah-Las brought with them some extra arsenal. On stage the band featured six musicians total, including a percussionist, a keyboard player, and a slide guitar player. The result was a nice warm wall of sound that would make Arthur Lee proud. The Allah-Las are no strangers to Amoeba Hollywood. In fact, Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar), Matt Correia (drums), and Spencer Dunham (bass) were all employees during the early days of the band back in 2008!

The former Amoebites teamed up with producer and labelmate Nick Waterhouse to deliver their signature Southerrn Cali, lo-fi, surfer sonics on their sophomore effort, Worship The Sun (Innovative Leisure). The band has grown as performers and songwriters since their 2012 self-titled debut and the result is a much more mature sound on Worship the Sun.

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Weekly Roundup: Flying Lotus, Medicine, Cherry Glazerr, Tijuana Panthers, Allah-Las, Kevin Morby

Posted by Billy Gil, September 19, 2014 09:53am | Post a Comment

Flying Lotus – “Coronus, the Terminator”

flying lotus amoebaFor the latest unveiled track from Flying Lotus’ upcoming You’re Dead (out Oct. 7; preorder on LP or CD), FlyLo sets the stage with some backwards instruments and rain, moving into what sounds like a sultry Quiet Storm track. Singer Niki Randa gives the song that extra sumptuousness while Flying Lotus’ subtly detailed production demands repeat listens. From the sound of this and the other tracks he’s released, You’re Dead might already be the most accessible Flying Lotus album yet.

 

Medicine – “Move Along – Down the Road”

medicine bandL.A. shoegaze legends Medicine’s second run generated the terrific To the Happy Few last year, and impressively, they’ve already got another new one on the way. With the release of the “Move Along – Down the Road,” Medicine’s Home Everywhere (due Oct. 28 on Captured Tracks) is quickly becoming one of our most anticipated new albums of the year. It sounds like two ’60s pop songs fused together, sped up and filtered through eight kinds of distortion, threatening to tear apart but always coming back to some new riff or idea.

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Album Picks: My Brightest Diamond, Allah-Las, Lia Ices, Beach Beach, Dream Boat, GRMLN

Posted by Billy Gil, September 16, 2014 10:20am | Post a Comment

My Brightest Diamond - This Is My Hand (LP, CD, Download)

my brightest diamond this is my hand lpOnetime Sufjan Stevens collaborator and now a formidable art-pop songstress in her own right, My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) pushes her songs further into accessibility with This Is My Hand. The sound of the record finds Worden singing over playful orchestrations, wielding her operatically trained voice slowly like a great and powerful weapon. “Pressure” begins with a drumline cadence and marching band horns, drawing soul out of her sometimes austere vocals and layering them over the song’s sexy strut “Before the Words’” huge, propulsive drum beat and jazzy bassline pair nicely with her hauntingly cooed vocals. Though she mines gold at playing the witchy vamp, it’s great, too, when she climbs out of her shell. “I am a lover and a killer” she sings with growing ferocity over a muscular groove on “Lover Killer,” finding inspiration in Prince and kinship in St. Vincent. “This is what love feels like!” she sings before unleashing a desperate wolf cry in “I Am Not the Bad Guy,” with a throbbing menace reminiscent of Radiohead, or a more friskier version of Third-era Portishead. Tracks with more open space, like “Looking at the Sun,” offer a chance for her divaesque vocals to come through beautifully, even as her words are foreboding (“wrestling with a double mine like two horses pulling both sides,” she sings creepily over Disney-level orchestration). “You never know minute to minute where I’m going” she sings tantalizingly on “Shape.” True. But that’s what makes listening to This Is My Hand so thrilling.

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