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The 10 Best EPs of 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, December 19, 2013 10:33am | Post a Comment

Oft lost in the great “best albums of the year” rush are EPs, those unimposing 18-minute-or-so releases that artists release between albums, to try stuff out or to unload extra songs. While you don’t get the whole enchilada of a full-album statement, EPs are like a great appetizer that leave you wanting more, and 2013 was full of delicious bloomin’ onions. Here are 10 that I liked, in no particular order.

BurialTruant / Rough Sleeper

burial truant rough sleeper amoebaWilliam Emmanuel Bevan makes the kind of music Thom Yorke dreams about, dark, brooding electronic music that blends subgenres like dubstep (the good kind) while sounding like its own thing, future-seeking yet emotional and grimy. He hasn’t had a full-length album since 2007’s great Untrue, but he released several EPs this year, including the recent Rival Dealer 12” and, earlier this year, this release of two 10-plus-minute tracks, the first entrancing and inviting, the second morose and restless. 

 

 

Best CoastFade Away

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Top 40 California Albums Released in 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, December 10, 2013 03:31pm | Post a Comment

Through my Weekly Roundup series every Thursday (returning in 2014), I listen to a lot of stuff from California-based artists. Here’s a list of 40 great albums that were made by artists based in this great state. There were lots more, so just consider this my own personal list, and let me know if there’s anything I missed!

 

40. FRONDSFRONDS

fronds fronds lp amoebaEpically beautiful seafaring pop from the dude formerly of The Mallard.

 

 

 

 

 

39. Kisses Kids in LA

kisses kids in la amoebaThe cute electro-pop duo get dancier with freestyle sounds on their second album.

 

 

 

 

 

38. Tyler, the CreatorWolf

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Weekly Roundup: Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast, Bleached and More

Posted by Billy Gil, October 31, 2013 03:24pm | Post a Comment

Too much great stuff this week and it’s Halloween!

Dum Dum Girls – “Lost Boys and Girls Club”; Announce New Album

dum dum girlsWhoa, what’s going on with Dum Dum Girls? The band, started by singer Dee Dee in San Diego, began as a lo-fi post-punk project, like someone left their Supremes and Siouxsie & the Banshees records in the sun and spun the melted result. From there, they’ve gone more toward Pretenders territory, producing shimmery jangle-pop, but this first taste of their newly announced album, Too True, due Jan. 28 on Sub Pop, recaptures some of their early darkness with their newfound sheen intact, emanating darkness and sensuality with a slow-moving shoegaze pop throb. Uhh, it’s very sexy. Richard Gottehrer (who has produced Blondie and The Go-Go's) and The Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, who both produced the band’s Only in Dreams and He Gets Me High EP, are back behind the boards. And way to go, H&M, for promoting your crappy clothes (which I buy) with actual cool music.

 

Best Coast – “I Don’t Know How” video

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Show Recap: Best Coast at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, October 23, 2013 09:59am | Post a Comment

best coast amoeba hollywoodBest Coast came to Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 22 for a set of songs culled laregely from their rad new EP, Fade Away. The band showed scrappy confidence in the new songs, which return to the heavier sound of best coast fade away epher first album, Crazy For You. Frontwoman Bethany Cosentino's emotive voice shone through the fuzz as girls shouted her name, singing along to songs of loneliness and mid-20s dread. Cosentino gushed about playing to a large crowd (who lined up around the block to get in) at a place she frequented as a teen, and urged fans not to knock over the CD racks. Though the band played most of the new seven-song EP, they threw in a few choice songs from the first two albums—"The Only Place," "Boyfriend" and "Crazy For You," featuring some J Mascis-style shredding from Bobb Bruno. The whole setlist is below. See more photos from the show here.

 

Setlist:

"This Lonely Morning"

"Who Have I Become?"

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Album Picks: Best Coast, Omar Souleyman, Black Hearted Brother

Posted by Billy Gil, October 22, 2013 10:56am | Post a Comment

Best Coast - Fade Away (CD, LP or Download)

best coast fade away lpBest Coast's new EP marks a confident start to a new era for the band. Their previous album, The Only Place, featured more mature songwriting as Bethany Cosentino grew more confident in her voice, yet Jon Brion's smooth production didn't always jibe well with Cosentino's rough around the edges approach to confessional pop. The first release on her own label, Jewel City, Fade Away takes back some of the reverb and distortion of her early material but keeps the assurance she displayed on The Only Place. The result plays out as the most refined version of Best Coast yet. Cosentino sounds pissed in opener "This Lonely Morning," a rocker about a dude who won't stick around. "I Wanna Know" is one of her best girl-group jams yet, all desperation buried beneath sunshine and "Be My Baby" drums. Several songs take on quarter-life crises ("Who Have I Become," "Fear of My Identity"), while her heartbreak songs are equally riddled with introspection, as on the great Mazzy Star-ish ballad "Baby I'm Crying." One of Cosentino's best tricks is sneaking existential dilemmas into songs and lyrics that are on the surface straightforward and simple. By the end of the seven-song Fade Away, you're emotionally exhausted, as Cosentino gives it her all throughout. With Fade Away, she's given fans more than just a stopgap release, and one that leaves fans hungry for what's next.

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