Amoeblog

Weekly Roundup: Thee Oh Sees, Local Natives, Haim, Painted Palms, Classixx

Posted by Billy Gil, February 14, 2013 12:15pm | Post a Comment

Thee Oh Sees – “Minotaur”

Thee Oh SeesS.F.’s Thee Oh Sees are at it again, with a new album out April 16 called Floating Coffin. As Pitchfork reports, the album comes from “the mindset of a world that's perpetually war-ridden.” The track is more ominous than anything the band has released thus far from the outset, carried through with somber strings that sound amazing in their lo-fi setting, making Thee Oh Sees sound like some zombie orchestra. John Dwyer’s vocals are appealingly deadpan throughout. With having just released Putrifiers II last year and Castemania and Carrion Crawler/The Dream both the year before, Floating Coffin sounds like it’ll continue their tradition of getting better with each release. Hear it at Pitchfork.

 

Local Natives – “Heavy Feet” video

Local natives amoebaLocal Natives have unveiled an almost painfully charming video for their song “Heavy Feet,” a standout on the excellent recently released Hummingbird. It’s one of the rare videos I’ve seen recently where I immediately thought of the glory days of MTV — this shit would’ve been buzzworthy fo sho. Something about talking sandwiches, cute old people painting planes and burying a cake. It reminds me a bit of the looney Michel Gondry videos of the ’90s, though not as manic. Read my interview with the band here; see photos of their amazing Amoeba performance here.

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Show Report: Twin Shadow at Sonos with Q&A

Posted by Billy Gil, October 18, 2012 02:29pm | Post a Comment

Twin Shadow SonosTwin Shadow played a stripped-down set Oct. 16 at Sonos Studio in Los Angeles that highlighted his skills as a songwriter first and foremost rather than as a producer of ’80s-inspired indie pop. Appearing with just an electric guitar for the first few songs, Twin Shadow aka George Lewis Jr. ran through “The One” and “Run My Heart” from this year’s fine Confess album. On that album, Lewis Jr.’s dazzling production is a major draw, occasionally threatening to overshadow his honed pop songwriting and voice, which echoes ’80s pop stalwarts like Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins (but in a good way). Lewis Jr. only added minimal delay effects to the end of “The One,” and on “Run My Heart,” his voice grew truly transcendent for the song’s soaring choruses. He introduced keyboardist/singer Wynne Bennett as the “other” part of Twin Shadow, and she joined him for a slowed-down take on single “Five Seconds” which made it sound a bit like Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” than it already does, given its throbby synths and romantic vocal. She continued to play with him through “I Can’t Wait,” a highlight from his brilliant first album, Forget, before Lewis Jr. return to a solo venture for a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “The Highway Kind.” He took to the keys for the poptastic “Patient,” which sort of sounds like Prince covering Nelly Furtado (if that doesn’t sound like a great idea to you, we are just different people). He closed the show with the moody “I Don’t Care” before collaborating for a poetry performance with friend and artist Eric Green, who spoke verse while Lewis Jr. handled synth sounds. The two then engaged in a wonderfully oddball interview before screening the video for “Five Seconds,” which was based conceptually on a story written by Lewis Jr. and Green. Check out the interview below. Twin Shadow plays tonight at the Henry Fonda Theater with the lovely Haim. Amoeba Hollywood has tickets on sale for $22.50 plus $2 in service fees; inquire at the registers.

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PUSSY RIOT Benefit Show Held at The Smell With Vivian Girls and More

Posted by Billy Gil, August 22, 2012 05:38pm | Post a Comment
pussy riot benefit show vivian girls

At some point in the past few weeks, Pussy Riot became the most important band in the world. They’re not “important” in the 9.0 review on Pitchfork kind of way. Rather, Pussy Riot is a band that reminds us that music can, and does, have a very real worldwide impact.
 
I won’t attempt to re-report the tons of great coverage the Russian feminist punk band has received since reaching international attention, but here’s a summation: the Moscow-based band has held public performances wearing colorful masks and clothing while playing songs that directly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the politics of the Russian Orthodox Church. These quick concerts are filmed and then put online, having appeared in places like the band’s livejournal page. One such performance, at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, on Feb. 21, 2012, landed three of the collective’s members in jail, and after a widely publicized trial, they were found guilty of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred against the church. 
 
The verdict has been widely criticized as overly harsh. The United States State Department, The U.S. Embassy in Russia, U.S. President Barack Obama, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, among others, have expressed disappointment or disgust with the decision. Artists including Bjork, Madonna, Tim Minchin, Zola Jesus, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney and others have expressed public indignation over the decision, while on Aug. 16 a demonstration was held in New York, where actress Chloë Sevigny, writer Eileen Myles and others read writings and court statements from the detained members of the band — Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samucevich. Vice Magazine editors got tattoos of the word “hooligan” in Russian to show their support. The Guaridan (U.K.) edited together a montage of Pussy Riot supporters with their song “Putin Lights Up the Fires.” Marches and protests have been held around the globe, with supporters donning similar attire to that worn by the band during its performances.

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Milo Greene Set to Play Amoeba With Live Webcast As Debut Record Lands

Posted by Billy Gil, July 15, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Milo GreeneMilo Greene is British. He’s well-dressed — three-piece suit and the like. He’s incredibly confident and charming, he’s well-spoken, he’s an intellectual, but also a man’s man. He’s exactly six feet tall to the millimeter, and if he were a dad, he’d be the No. 1 dad.
 
Milo Greene the man also isn’t real — they are a band, not a dude. He’s a fictional character band member Robbie Arnett invented when forming the band with Andrew Heringer. When contacting venues, Milo Greene would send the requests, and Arnett and Heringer saw their fortunes rise accordingly, getting better shows.
 
Now a five-piece who’ve taken the moniker Milo Greene as their own, in a bit of Belle & Sebastian-style alluring bewilderment, is set to release its debut, self-titled record July 17. The band plays Amoeba Hollywood the same day, at 7 p.m. with a live webcast.
 
milo greene milo greeneThe L.A.-based band’s debut record, Milo Greene, offers the same sort of intimate harmonies and natural harmonies of a Fleet Foxes or, further back, Fleetwood Mac just as Stevie and Lindsay joined the band. Written in part in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and recorded with co-producer Ryan Hadlock (Ra Ra Riot, Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, The Lumineers) at Bear Creek Studio, a converted early 1900s barn in the country outside of Seattle, it’s a beautifully crafted set of songs that makes the most the band’s five-person set-up. They offer lush harmonies on songs like “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” which sounds like a gorgeous gospel intervention. Lone girl Greener Marlana Sheetz in particular stands out on songs like “Perfectly Aligned,” in which Sheetz’s testimonial vocals are wrapped in just the right amount of gauzy reverb while the boys (who include Graham Fink and Curtis Marrero, in addition to Arnett and Heringer) back her up with swaying folk-rock, along with electric swells of sound and strident harmonies when necessary. The whole thing’s, you know, perfectly aligned.
 
I sat down to talk with Fink about what it’s like to be in a folk band in L.A. in 2012, and what records and songs are doing it for him these days (Hint: Lots of ’90s R&B).
 
Me: Truthfully it was a bit hard to find out more about you guys, and along with the whole “Milo Greene” concept, it seems to me sort of an early Belle & Sebastian situation where you want the music to stand for itself and not for any member of the collective to stand out. Is that fair to say?
 
Fink: Absolutely. This is a very collective group, and the music has always stood at the forefront. We liked the idea of just releasing some live videos early, so people could see the five of us in a room, making music. No lead singer, no gloss, music first and foremost. That being said, I'm really trying to get famous so I can be gifted courtside Clippers tickets.

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Local Stuff: New Ariel Pink, Haim and Grass Widow Videos

Posted by Billy Gil, June 8, 2012 02:06pm | Post a Comment
ariel pinkHey y’all. Every Friday I’m gonna check in with what’s popping in the LA/SF area music scenes, plus my show picks for LA. This week Ariel Pink debuted a new song — well, a cover, really — called “Baby,” from his forthcoming album Mature Themes, due Aug. 21 on 4AD. The ultra-smooth jam features Dâm-Funk on a cover of a song by Donnie & Joe Emerson. It’s pretty great, as is the original — listen to the original here and check out the amazing record sleeve. They look like Scott Baio and Corey Haim if they were conjoined twins. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti will be in SF Oct. 1 at Bimbo’s 365 Club and LA Oct. 5 at the Fonda Theatre.

 

haimSpeaking of Haim, the wonderful LA pop trio of singing sisters has a video for their summer jam “Forever.” I blogged a while back about how rad this song is, and now there’s a cool wheely-poppin’ video to accompany it. I need to find a pool right now.
 

 

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