Amoeblog

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.

Top Albums of 2012 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, June 28, 2012 05:27pm | Post a Comment
It’s that time of year again — time for best of music lists. No, it’s not December yet, but I don’t care. It’s Thursday and I want to make a list. Pick up all of these if you haven’t yet.
 
beach house bloom
1. Beach House - Bloom
 
Song for song, Beach House’s Bloom is the most consistently great album that’s been released this year. The band sounds more energized than ever, grasping the pop brass ring with songs like “Lazuli” and “Other People” that match hookiness for sheer beauty. If Beach House are this generation’s Cocteau Twins, this is their Heaven or Las Vegas.
 







fiona apple the idler wheel
2. Fiona AppleThe Idler Wheel
 
Fiona Apple is no less mad or maddening than before on The Idler Wheel…, but her venomous lyrics have a new sting, her vocals are more accomplished than ever, and her arrangements are as bravely tangled and unafraid of ugliness as her lyrical content.
 

Continue reading...

Enter to Win Beach House's "Bloom" on Glow-in-the-Dark Vinyl! Only at Amoeba San Francisco!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 4, 2012 05:42pm | Post a Comment

Head down to Amoeba San Francisco to enter to win Beach House's new album Bloom
on glow-in-the-dark vinyl!

Wowsa! This two-LP set is extremely limited! 
Beach House Glow in the Dark Record LP Vinyl Bloom

Album Picks: Beach House, Best Coast, My Bloody Valentine

Posted by Billy Gil, May 15, 2012 06:08pm | Post a Comment
Beach House BloomAnticipation has been high for the new albums from Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House and Cali-cool pop-rock duo Best Coast, and luckily neither disappoints. Beach House continues the upward trajectory set by their previous three album — the haunting, murky lo-fi of their self-titled debut, the more grandiose Devotion and its modern classic follow-up, Teen Dream —with an even fuller, more confident statement on Bloom. The album jumps from the springboard set by Teen Dream’s “Norway” into more definitively pop territory, albeit the sort of cerebral goth-pop pioneered by Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins. Like that song, “Lazuli” emits a sky-searing chorus of Victoria Legrand’s cloudy vocals that is simply glorious, the kind of thing directors dream about hearing in their film’s opening sequences, eliciting sudden and unspeakable emotion. The band combines this with verses that are more mysterious and harder to recall — it’s a perfect example of the band’s strength in fusing archness and pop structure, retaining their intrigue while delivering hooks. Every song on Bloom is a highlight, as the album moves from the cascading keys and chiming guitars of opener “Myth” to propulsive “The Hours” and “New Year,” perhaps their clearest stabs yet at radio-ready pop-rock, through closer “Irene,” which stretches its music-box arrangement to epic proportions, boosted by Alex Scally’s hauntingly spare yet melodically uplifting guitar lines. Every song on Bloom somehow sounds strange and new, yet somehow feels intimately familiar upon first listen. Listening is like unearthing someone else’s memories, each song like a glittering diamond that has just been waiting to be found.
 
Best Coast The Only PlaceMeanwhile, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino documents the process of entering adulthood and looking for lasting love the way few singer-songwriters can on The Only Place. Her sophomore full-length album is a more grown-up affair than the anxiety-pinned sunshine pop of Crazy For You, aided by springy, shimmering production from Jon Brion, but luckily Cosentino hasn’t changed too much. The longing Cosentino communicated in songs like Crazy For You’s “Boyfriend” is still present in songs like the swaying countrified ballad “No One Like You,” asking “if I sleep on the floor, will it make you love me more?” The simplicity of her lyrics belies their cleverness, as she pleads with her subject by offering to leave in order to make him stay. Throughout The Only Place, Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno reference ’50s and ’60s country starlets and girl groups, creating Phil Spector-style melodrama with crystalline guitars and lyrics yearning for individualism within codependence in songs like “How They Want Me To Be.” Throughout, Bruno and Brian keep things chugging along nicely in order to allow Cosentino’s personality to shine and not wallow too much in sentimentality, giving the haunting, Julee Cruise-style ballad “Dreaming My Life Away” some nice propulsive drum work, an improvement from an earlier, sparer recording, while “The Only Place” and “Let’s Go Home” burn with college-rock energy to spare. And Cosentino has never sounded better, her voice now brimming with confidence and pulling the heartstrings directly rather than from behind a shield of reverb and lo-fi sonics. It’s impossible not to be affected as she sings simple lines like “I wanna see you, for ever and ever” in the show-stopping “Up All Night.” She makes us feel the simplest sentiments as deeply as the first time we felt them, a hallmark of a truly great songwriter and performer. (The LP comes with a free bonus 7" while supplies last.)
 
My Bloody Valentine Loveless And I would be remiss not to mention the reissues of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Isn’t Anything and EPs 1988-1991, including songs released between those two albums, plus previously unreleased songs from that era. I’m not the biggest reissue person — often seems like a money grab with few good unheard songs and tweaks only an audiophile can hear, but this is My Bloody Valentine we’re talking about. The band’s two shoegaze classics sound better than ever, as only the most delicate nob twiddling has taken place at the hands of Kevin Shields. Anyone who doesn’t own these two albums, two of the best ever in my humble opinion, should get these import CDs right now. Even if you don’t buy CDs anymore. It’s time. Meanwhile the EP collection is a no-brainer for any fan of the band, as My Bloody Valentine’s throwaways tend to be better than most bands’ entire catalogs. Superfans may have the material Tremolo and You Made Me Realise EPs already, all excellent of course, but not songs like “Good For You” and “How Do You Do It,” terrific jangly pop songs gnarled by shuddering noise that sound nearly as good as anything on Isn’t Anything.

10 Record Store Day Picks

Posted by Billy Gil, April 19, 2012 06:55pm | Post a Comment
Record Store Day is great for any number of reasons — supporting record stores and the music community, hearing DJ sets from the likes of Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning. But in the end it’s all about the exclusive and new releases. Here are 10 picks from the many releases coming out April 21. (Read a more comprehensive list here, and download the full list here.)
 
animal collectiveAnimal Collective – Transverse Temporal Gyrus
 
Ripped from elsewhere on the Amoeblog: In March 2010, Animal Collective and visual artist Danny Perez put on an installation called "Transverse Temporal Gyrus" at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. For the audio, each member of the band made individual sounds and songs. Over the course of two 3-hour performances, the basic tracks were fed into a computer program that randomized the track order, and sometimes randomly combined stems from one track with stems from another. The program also panned the music in various directions around a 36 channel surround sound system that ran through 36 speakers set up from the top of the Guggenheim's ramp to the bottom. The music on this 12" is a collage made consisting of the original tracks, as well as live recordings made inside the Guggenheim before the doors were opened to the public. It will be the only physical format on which any of the music will be released.
 
Plus it’s new Animal Collective!
 
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II
 
Arcade Fire’s Blondie-ish “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” was undoubtedly the highlight of The Suburbs and showed the band still has some tricks up its sleeve. The Soulwax remix included here tastefully gives it the dancefloor feel it calls for without just throwing a house beat over the song and calling it a day.
 

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  >>  NEXT