Cass McCombs' latest record is a confident double-length album that shows his growth over seven albums into one of the foremost singer/songwriters of our generation. Big Wheel takes its time to get going, moving gently from one track to another. As such, even with its hour-plus length, it's an easily approachable album with great variety within a pretty straightforward setup. "Big Wheel" is a bluesy rumination on manhood—"A man with a man, how more manly can you get? I may be five-foot-one, but you're all wet" he sings in a memorable couplet. He pairs lyrics of a sexual love affair in "Morning Star" ( "wring my neck under your thighs" he sings suggestively in the chorus) with gentle country-folk that sounds like the first thing you want to hear upon waking. Perhaps the biggest highlight is "Brighter!," a song included twice, the second time with the late Karen Black taking lead vocals for a sweet, sad farewell. Some of Big Wheel's tracks veer into dad-rock territory, but even then there's usually something more interesting than what meets the eye on deeper listens, like the insane horns that pop up in "Joe Murder" and "Satan Is My Toy" or how "Everything Has to Be Just-So" begins gently and breaks apart into avant-garde atmosphere. Big Wheel and Others needs a few spins to sink in, but once it does, the album reveals itself to be an indelible listen.
Best Coast’s Fade Away Up for Preorder
L.A.’s Best Coast are following up last year’s excellent The Only Place with a mini album called Fade Away. The seven-song release features two songs she released on Record Store Day—“Fear of My Identity” and “Who Have I Become”—plus five more new ones. It’ll be out Oct 22 on frontwoman Bethany Cosentino’s new label, Jewel City. Read my interview with Best Coast here.
Crystal Antlers – “Rattlesnake” video
Youth Code – “Carried Mask”
L.A. dark synth music duo Youth Code has unveiled another song from their upcoming self-titled debut album, which will be released Sept. 3 on Dais. It’s a throbbing number reminiscent of industrial/EBM music pioneers like Ministry and Skinny Puppy, with a taut dance beat to match its grind and screeched vocals. It makes me want to go to Das Bunker and dance to darkwave all night. Can’t wait for this album!
Boardwalk – “I’m to Blame” video
Nostalgic, dreamy stuff from new L.A. duo Boardwalk. Fans of Beach House and Mazzy Star should feel right at home within the folds of this organ-fueled blanket of lo-fi dream pop. Surprisingly, their debut album will find a home on L.A.-based Stones Throw Records, which has grown and diversified from its beats-driven roots. Boardwalk is due Oct. 15.
The Second Annual Moon Block Party is coming back to the Downtown Pomona Arts Colony on Saturday, June 23rd and Amoeba is delighted to be a sponsor!
The free and all-ages event starts at 2:00pm and runs till midnight with over 30 live acts including Fool's Gold, The Entrance Band, Sleepy Sun, Crystal Antlers, Allah-Las, SuperTall Paul, Dante vs. Zombies and more. The bands will be joined by tons of live artists, handpicked craft vendors, art galleries, large sculptures, and art installations. Plus, 5% of the proceeds will go to benefit the local School of the Arts and Enterprise, a public charter high school in Pomona.
More info HERE!
RSVP on Facebook HERE!
Mr. Little Jeans’ electro-pop ditty “Runaway” was already a pretty sweet Spring surprise of a song, but the L.A.-by-way-of-London rising star has been remixed by So. Cal. in human form Nathan Williams aka Wavves. I have to say I’m digging this remix even more than the original, and I’m not really a remix guy. Williams slows down and reverbs out her vocals to sound like they’re whispering through seafoam, while adding heavy drums and, I’m gonna say, naughty Nuggets organs. I think I like this remix so much because it’s like a big welcome to L.A., stripping a song of its cosmopolitan cool and washing it in sonic warmth. We’re happy to have you, Mr. Little Jeans.
New Beach House song “Lazuli” — I don’t care that they’re not from L.A.
Does the new Beach House song “Lazuli” sound like Enya? Do I love this new Beach House song? Does this new Beach House song sound like Enya but is still somehow amazing? Do I love Enya? Do I kind of like Enya sometimes? What is a lazuli? Does Beach House spend a lot of time researching things like rare bright blue stones that sound cool and mysterious for sick song titles? (Preorder the new Beach House album Bloom now! And come to Record Store Day April 21 to buy the "Lazuli" single!)
Coachella needs me to hype them like I need to hear that terrible Fun. song again (thanks, Chevy!), but there’s still time to make it to Desert Daze, a festival that started yesterday and runs through April 22. Today the biddies at L.A. Record along with Blundertown and Burger Records are throwing a massive show with Bleached, Audacity, Pangea, Lovely Bad Things and so many more L.A. goodies. The show is only a $5 suggested donation. It takes place at a secret location near Dillon’s Roadhouse in North Palm Springs; email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a room. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if there are any rooms left available, but email them and find out before it’s too late! Unless it already is.)
Highlights from the rest of the festival:
Saturday: Moving Units, Gangi, Dante vs. Zombies (ALSO: see them live for free at Amoeba Hollywood tonight at 7 p.m.),
Monday: Allah Las, Driftwood Singers, Pool Honeys
Tuesday: The Fresh & Onlys, Crystal Antlers, Babies on Acid, Henry Clay People (hear their newly released jam “25 For the Rest of Our Lives,” courtesy of Buzzbands.la)
Wednesday: Breakestra, Funky Sole DJs Miles and Clifton
Saturday: Dead Meadow, Spindrift, Dirt Dress
Sunday: Akron/Family, Here We Go Magic, The Entrance Band