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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.

Album Picks: Pharmakon, Foxygen, Kevin Morby

Posted by Billy Gil, October 14, 2014 11:15am | Post a Comment

Pharmakon - Bestial Burden (LP [Blood Red Vinyl!], CD, Download)

pharmakon bestial burden lpTo listen to Pharmakon is to stare the beast straight in the mouth. Margaret Chardiet’s latest album starts with heavy breathing, panting and a buzzing synth that sounds more like an electroshock therapy machine. “Intent or Instinct” builds deliberately with an atonal loop gathering strength until she unleashes a nasty banshee wail. Free of too much digitized effect, it sounds truly bloodcurdling. It’s also immensely cathartic. And “Body Betrays Itself” feels like it takes over your very being, her most powerful musical statement to date. Not everything in such harsh surroundings works—“Primitive Struggle” is about as inviting as it sounds, full of coughing, spitting and heaving along to a digital heartbeat. But Chardiet can really surprise you, too. “Autoimmune” actually nudges closer to something resembling pop, like the dirtiest Trent Reznor would ever let his hands get. And in the incantation of the title track, Chardiet’s actual, human voice can be heard, albeit echoed out into infinity, and the result is quite affecting, given how she shreds her voice across the rest of the record. So Bestial Burden isn’t for the faint of heart. Dismiss it and you might even get a laugh out of its relentless brutality. But give it your full attention, and it just might change you. So don’t be afraid. Dive in and let Bestial Burden swallow you whole. Note: If you like her records, you should probably see her live.

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25 Cassette Store Day Releases to Look For

Posted by Billy Gil, September 24, 2014 05:34pm | Post a Comment

25 Cassette Store Day Releases

The second annual Cassette Store Day is coming this Saturday Sept. 27! We’ll have just-released cassettes at the front sampler section at Amoeba Hollywood and in front at Berkeley and S.F. Plus, 15% off all used cassettes at Amoeba SF only. Here are some releases to look for …

1349 Massive Cauldron of Chaos

An early release by black metal greats 1349! Personally, I think the lo-fi aesthetic of Black Metal sounds amazing on cassette. The LP and CD come out Sept. 30 on Seasons of Mist.

 

The Adolescents - The Complete Demos 1980-1986

Consisting mostly of tracks recorded in 1980, The Complete Demos is kind of like the punk band’s unofficial first album.

 

alvvays
Alvvays

Alvvays Alvvays; Fear of Men Loom

Fear of Men and Alvvays are great female-fronted indie-rock bands reminiscent of The Cranberries and The Sundays; two personal favorites from this year.

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21 Records To Look For This Fall

Posted by Billy Gil, September 10, 2014 03:59pm | Post a Comment

21 Records for Fall

Aphex TwinSyro 

aphex twin syro lp
Out Sept. 23

The Internet pretty much exploded when Richard D. James announced Syro, and with good reason. It’s the ambient/electronic artist’s first album in 13 years, and from the sound of the glorious “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]” (OMG vocals), it’ll have been worth the wait.

Pre-order Syro LP & CD.

 

Julian Casablancas + The Voids Tyranny 

julian casablancas the voidz tyranny lp
Out Sept. 23

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Weekly Roundup: Flying Lotus, Foxygen, Useless Eaters

Posted by Billy Gil, September 5, 2014 10:01am | Post a Comment

Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar

flying lotus kendrick lamarA hopped-up Kendrick Lamar has no problem keeping up with Flying Lotus’ jazz-inflected twists and turns in this masterful slab of head-churning beatwork. Particularly when that steady beat comes in about a minute in, this thing is intense. It might be the most propulsive thing we’ve heard from FlyLo yet. It’s definitely got us even more excited for You’re Dead, which is due Oct. 7 (preorder on LP or CD).

 

Foxygen – “Cosmic Vibrations”

foxygenCalifornia-born psychedelic pop band Foxygen have unveiled another song from the upcoming And Star Power album (due Oct. 17, preorder on LP or CD), and it’s an eerie, slow-burning duet of sorts between frontmen Sam France and Jonathan Rado, who trade spacey observations over a low-key Western backdrop. Great, gloriously wasted stuff. Then that ending …

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