Amoeblog

First City Festival in Monterey with Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, MGMT, Neko Case, Beach House, Toro y Moi + More!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 20, 2013 02:35pm | Post a Comment

Big news! The inaugural weekend of the First City Festival takes place at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center on Saturday, August 24th and Sunday, August 25thJoin Goldenvoice and Amoeba Music in welcoming Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, MGMT, Neko Case, Beach House, Toro y Moi, the west coast debut of Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks (featuring Dave Portner of Animal Collective), and so many more.

Two-day General Admission tickets on sale now at Amoeba SF & Amoeba Berkeley. No additional fees!

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Show Wrap: Animal Collective at the Hollywood Bowl; Beach House at the Wiltern

Posted by Billy Gil, September 27, 2012 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Animal Collective Hollywood Bowl
Animal Collective's crazy, toothy stage show
Two recent L.A. shows were a study of contrasts for two established and much-loved independent artists. Animal Collective played the Hollywood Bowl Sept. 23 after a set from Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison), whose Until the Quiet Comes streets Oct. 1 (preorder here). Fly Lo’s heady material isn’t exactly tailor-made for arenas (“You can stand up if you want,” Ellison quipped at one point), but with the help of spinning records from the likes of the Beastie Boys, he had a lot of the younger crowd at the sold-out Bowl standing in their seats and raising their hands. Animal Collective played a set that largely drew from their newest album, Centipede Hz. So how you felt about the show probably had a lot to do with how much you like the new album. I myself haven’t fallen for it yet, though I might — Animal Collective albums are known to be growers. But the difference was palpable when they’d play a song like “My Girls” from their much-loved Merriweather Post Pavillion vs. one of the newer songs, which hearken back to their murkier early days, rather than their more pop-leaning recent albums. The more clearly cut songs from the new album, such as the Avey Tare-sung "Today's Supernatural," translated best live. They threw in tracks like Merriweather’s “Lion in a Coma” and “Brothersport” and Strawberry Jam’s “Peacebone,” as well, but with nine-plus albums of great material from which to draw, greater variety would have been nice.
 
Beach House
Beach House's Victoria Legrand rounded out the set by headbanging her glorious curls
Their Baltimore brethren in Beach House had the luxury of having recently put out their best-received album yet (still my No. 1 of this year), Bloom. But that didn’t stop them from playing a lot of songs from 2010’s Teen Dream at their Wiltern show Sept. 26, as well as a few from Devotion (I don’t recall them playing any from the first album). It’s difficult to put into words just how efficiently Beach House move from song to song, album to album without a hitch, stopping just a couple of times to say hello and sounding virtually pitch-perfect on every song. It’s also hard to pinpoint highlights — where to start? — especially since they seemed to attack both the older and newer material with equal glee. “Lazuli,” “Wishes” and “Irene,” with its extended build and excellent guitarwork from Alex Scally, all stood out to me from the new album. Victoria Legrand grew more commanding on the songs where her drawl could be held out for extended notes, such as on Devotion’s spine-chilling “Turtle Island.” This is to say nothing of touring member Daniel Franz’s drumwork, which despite the dreamy vibe of the music could sound like a gunshot through the haze, given the John Bonham force of his beat. It’s debatable if Beach House is the best band on the planet right now, but live, they were so assured of their sound, so skilled at mining their own catalog, that it’d be hard to dispute they’re in the running.
 
To read my rundown of Amoeba’s Rock the Vote event with Murs & Fashawn and Band of Horses, click here.

Album Picks: Cat Power, The Fresh & Onlys, Jens Lekman, Deerhoof; Plus Albums and Movies Released Today

Posted by Billy Gil, September 4, 2012 03:35pm | Post a Comment
OK, too much amazing music was released today, but for me, the new albums by Cat Power, The Fresh & Onlys, Jens Lekman and Deerhoof shined above the rest. However, don’t sleep on great new albums by Animal Collective, Stars, Bob Mould, Two Door Cinema Club and Two Gallants, plus Blu-rays of Arachnophobia, Child’s Play, The Five-Year Engagement, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Hocus Pocus, Man on a Swing, Piranha 3DD, Safe and Umberto D., among others.
 
cat power sunCat Power Sun
 
Cat Power’s personal life — her admitted alcoholism, her erratic live shows — is a favorite topic of discussion such that it often threatens to overshadow talk of her brilliant music. Perhaps in an effort to curb that, Chan Marshall has created her least intimate, most globally accessible album with Sun. Marshall produced and performed almost everything on the album herself, but in lieu of the sort of austerity of an album like Moon Pix, we get a dark synth-pop record, spurred by Marshall’s desire to make something unlike anything she had done before. However, underneath the synths that spiral around the title track, for instance, this is still very much a Cat Power record — worry not, fans. In fact, the beginning of opener “Cherokee” begins in what sounds fairly typical for Cat Power — a simple, repeating guitar line, light piano touches and a steady beat — but it becomes clear that this is new territory as Marshall comes in with distorted, direct lyrics: “Never knew love like this.” However pop-oriented the song, with a beautiful synth melody making it sound a bit like ’80s Fleetwood Mac, Marshall’s meanings are still obscured: “Marry me to the sky … bury me upside down.” First single “Ruin” is similarly grabbing, but ultimately strange, unique; it’s piano lines and disco bassline dance up and down a bouncing beat while Marshall sings about various global locales like an indie rock “Kokomo,” but she’s singing about poverty, not vacation or the awesomeness of getting to travel while touring. It’s fun to hear her go pop-rock on “3,6,9,” which bounces along with chanted choruses and even sees Marshall take on the ubiquitous vocoder. Marshall can’t help but become increasingly personal as the album progresses, as live drums interrupt the digital beats of “Manhattan,” which glitters with heartfelt searching; “Silent Machine” returns to the bluesiness of her last few releases, but also has a startling computerized breakdown halfway through; and “Nothin But Time,” a duet with Iggy Pop, makes for the most beautiful, 10-minute Kraftwerkian ballad you’ll hear anywhere. The rock guitars and hip-hop delivery of “Peace and Love,” which closes the album, show Marshall is willing to go just about anywhere with her music if it provides new inspiration for her stirring voice and incisive lyrics; thankfully, on Sun, it nearly always does. She's signing copies of Sun today at 6 p.m. at Amoeba Hollywood for the first 100 people who buy the record!
 
The Fresh & Onlys Long Slow DanceThe Fresh & Onlys Long Slow Dance
 
The Fresh & Onlys were are always good, but Long Slow Dance takes the S.F. garage rockers to epic heights, with a newfound clarity to their vocals and straightforwardness of songwriting. “Yes or No” is divine romantic guitar pop, stringing a beautiful upward melody along a chugging backbeat that develops into a swooning chorus. The title track is the kind of campfire-friendly indie pop that bests the Shins at their game. “Presence of Mind” swirls around a picturesque college-rock backdrop but loops in perfect surf-rock riffs and another irresistible chorus. Every song seems to have some “how can that be new” moment, whether it’s a memorable line like “Dream girls don’t know what they’re doing/They go around doing anything they want,” or some elegant guitar riff, or laying out yet another perfect guitar ballad with “Executioner’s Song.” You just don’t want Long Slow Dance to end.

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Pre-order Now!...Animal Collective...Cat Power...Jens Lekman...Out 9/4!

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 11, 2012 05:20pm | Post a Comment
I know that July has just barely begun and we still have the month of August ahead of us. But September will be here before we know it. And this September has some amazing albums coming out! I know that I am excited. New albums by XX, Grizzly Bear, Soft Pack, Dinosaur Jr., Calexico, Raveonettes, Killers & No Doubt are all out in September. And it all starts on September 4th with new albums from Animal Collective, Jens Lekman & Cat Power. Starting today you can now pre-order these new albums at Amoeba.com. Free Shipping in the U.S.!

Out 9/4/2012...
Pre-order Now!

animal collective centipede hz

Animal Collective
Centipede Hz

Deluxe LP $30.98
LP $22.98
CD $13.98



cat power sun

New Albums Out Today, New Ones Coming in July/August

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment
Today saw the releases of new albums by Belle & Sebastian member Stevie Jackson, comedian Doug Benson and a 7” from Animal Collective, among others. Check out what’s out today and what’s coming down the pipe:
 
Stevie Jackson
Stevie Jackson – (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson
 
(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson makes a name for itself quite outside of Belle & Sebastian, coming off like the next in line of a lineage of singer-songwriters who exist on their own terms, from John Cale to Brian Eno to Elvis Costello. Far from just being twee, Jackson rocks out to a new wave beat on “Try Me,” singing “I got pills and I’m lookin’ for thrills/At the same time I want to start a family.” The distinctive, reverb-laden lead guitar he lends Belle & Sebastian is on songs like the lovely display on the Kinks-y “Richie.” And even at his most clearly indebted to Summer of Love-era rock, he creates a varied and thoroughly rewarding listen, notably on the swinging, Mamas & Papas-style “Where Do All the Good Girls Go?”

doug benson
Doug Benson – Smug Life
 
Huge pot fan and hilarious comedian Doug Benson releases two different versions of the same jokes on Smug Life, both performed on April 20 (4/20!) at the same club. It plays like a case study in how varied performances of the same material can yield such different results — in one case, you hear a comment yelled from the audience that gets incorporated into the joke in the later performance.

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