Amoeblog

Sixx's Most Unholy 'Sister Devil'

Posted by Aaron Detroit, January 11, 2010 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Von, Sixx, Sister Devil Art
Recently highlighted in Black Light District’s 2009 year-end lists, Sixx’s Sister Devil is a starkly excellent yet nearly-forgotten Deathrock recording from 1991 by the members of San Francisco cult (and largely considered America’s first) Black Metal band, Von. After the release of their Satanic Blood demo, the members of Von started Sixx as a side project. While decidedly taking a turn towards Deathrock, the group recorded 8 tracks as Sixx that retained the lo-fi bleakness and Satanic bent of Von’s now infamous and highly influential demo recordings. Sister Devil has threads of early Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Samhain, early Xmal Deutschland, and The Cure. The LP likely would have been an immediately celebrated record had it been properly distributed and promoted on its initial release in ’91; however, the band only ever released a handful of cassette demo copies. The album -- now featuring brand-spanking-new mastering by James Plotkin (Khanate/Khlyst) -- was finally and properly issued on CD and LP this past November thanks to Von/ Sixx’s very own Goat and NWN! Productions and though it took 18 years to properly release, it will now likely be rightly considered a Deathrock classic.

Stand-out track “Black Ride” sounds like it could be an early demo for the Sisters’ First Last and Always LP had Andrew Eldritch been more of the goat-sacrificing ilk, while Von, Sixx, Black Metal“On The Dead” is Only Theatre of Pain-era Christian Death meets Peter Murphy on some-sort of pill-popping bender. The lo-fi atmosphere and an almost tentative approach to the songs are complimented and tied together by creepy spoken interludes by frontman Goat (taken from his 1993 zine -- a facsimile of which can be obtained in the special “die-hard” edition of the LP) that sound like ‘found’ recordings of a killer’s last confession.

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out this week 9/8 & 9/15...xx...kid cudi...muse...the feelies...health...

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 17, 2009 04:41pm | Post a Comment
xx
From the moment I first heard the single "Crystalized" by the XX, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the album. That song just got deep down inside of me. It is such a fantastic song and is the kind of song that really affects you emotionally. It made me cry I think the first time I heard it, and yet I keep going back to it and can't get it out of my head. It is like the best day of your life that is now only a memory. It becomes tinged with sadness since you know you will never experience that day again and it will only be a memory. I love being nostalgic and I often put experiences too quickly into my memory. Sometimes I make them into memories as they are still happening. When I am having a really great day or experiencing a really magical part of life, I immediately start thinking about how I will remember this moment before it is even over. I know that we often make our memories better than the actual event so I try to reflect on the moment as it is happening to make sure my memory is more accurate. I don't know if all this makes sense, but I am basically comparing this song, this band and this whole album to the greatest memories of the greatest experiences that you have in your life. They are fantastic memories but also have a hint of sadness and tragedy because they are just memories.

The new self titled album by the XX is as good as the single. There is not a bad song on the album. It is XX by XXactually a pretty simple album. There is really not a lot of stuff going on here. The songs are structured simply and most have male and female vocals trading back and forth. It just comes together beautifully somehow. I have always loved R&B and the darker side of New Wave music, but rarely do the two genres meet. They often couldn't be more different. But XX manages to somehow combine the genres into one magical style of music. I would never call the XX a Goth band but they might appeal to fans of Goth music. They will for sure appeal to anybody who likes Dark Wave or Dream Pop. Fans of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins, Piano Magic, & For Against will not be disappointed. The music often sounds like The Cure or Joy Division. Maybe like Blonde Redhead's version of Joy Division. But the songs also have the feeling of a really good R&B ballad. Imagine R. Kelly or Aaliyah singing along to a Joy Division song. They totally make it work and I totally have fallen in love with this band. But beware! These songs are not going to make you get up and dance. I doubt they will put a smile on your face. The album is on the dark side. XX is made up of four friends from South West London who are all in their very early 20s, but they seem to have already experienced the whole range of emotions that most of us will ever go through. The album is released on the label Young Turks which has quietly been putting out albums and singles for the last couple of years. This might be the best record it has put out so far.

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Cold Cave: Love Comes Close to Perfection

Posted by Aaron Detroit, July 27, 2009 06:30pm | Post a Comment
cold cave
Wesley Eisold
has garnered cult status among many young malcontents for his work in hardcore/noise-punk groups like Give Up The Ghost and Some Girls. So to some it came as bit of a shock when Eisold unveiled his latest project: Cold Cave, a synth-heavy Pop-Industrial group also featuring the likes of Caralee McElroy of Indie-Pop-Noise Experimentalists Xiu Xiu and Noise/Power Electronics Guru Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient.

Early Cold Cave recordings (collected on the CD compilation Creamations, released earlier this year) feature Eisold, mostly solo, building the skeleton for the group. Those tracks lean more towards the noisy and atonal side of things. However, on two now-out-of-print 12" vinyl singles released in late 2008
(The Trees Grew Emotions and Died ) and May 2009 (Etsel & Ruby) the project slowly began to lift its more oppressive atmospheres and mine and expand its dark retro/futurist pop-scope as more members fell into its ranks.

IAN CURTIS WOULD'VE APPROVED

Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2009 01:54pm | Post a Comment
Joy Division
I think Ian Curtis, the late, great lead singer of Joy Division, would have approved of this Caribbean steel band cover of Joy Division's classic song "Transmission." It's by Steel Harmony and was part of Jeremy Deller's Procession from a couple of Sunday afternoons ago in Ian Curtis' hometown of Manchester England. Although, judging by the reaction, or lack thereof, by most of the crowd, I would say that this inspired cover went mostly underappreciated. 

To compare this instrumental steel band version with the original version, below is the band performing it live 33 years ago in Salford, Greater Manchester. "Transmission" was played onstage in the film 24 Hour Party People (available on DVD at Amoeba) in a scene where Curtis suffers an epileptic fit. Orginally a single, the studio version of the song can be found at Amoeba on several Joy Division releases, including the JD collections Substance and The Best of Joy Division. There are also several live versions out there, including one on Joy Division: The Peel Sessions, recorded in 1979. Over the years numerous other artists have covered the song, including UK electropop stars Hot Chip, the Minnesota slowcore group Low, and of course, most recently Steel Harmony.

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out this week 5/26...james blackshaw...phoenix...grizzly bear...blank dogs...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 28, 2009 01:45pm | Post a Comment
blank dogs
I imagine that everybody will be so busy talking about Grizzly Bear this week, they will forget about any other albums that have also come out this week. I am still trying to get into the Grizzly Bear, but it just hasn't been working. I don't neccessarily have a problem with them and maybe they will finally grow on me in the next couple of weeks. It just has not happened yet. But I imagine if you are already a Grizzly Bear fan then you will love this new album -- everybody seems to like it. Some lucky fans got to hear the album early and even buy it early on this Monday here at Amoeba, the day before the album officially came out.

But there are some smaller albums that are getting me very excited this week. First up is the new album by Blank Dogs. The album is called Under & Under and is released by In the Red Records. Blank Dogs is actually just one Blank Dog: one dude from Brooklyn. We seem to know way too much about most artists these days, so I find it refreshing when I know absolutely nothing about an artist. It just makes it all about the music, which is what it should be. This guy even goes so far as to wear masks when he is photographed. Blank Dogs have been putting out music for a couple of years but this is my first real introduction to him. I have long been a fan and will always be a fan of blank dogs under and undershoegaze...and shoegaze this is not, but it does sort of fall into the new genre -- "Shitgaze," brilliant term that makes complete sense. He basically is sort of making up his own weird distorted intrepretation of a genre. It makes it super personal and way more interesting than anything else out there. I am also forever in love with the keyboard, so when it is done right, I usually fall in love with the album. Blank Dogs sound not too different than the synth bands you might have grown up with. Elements of Joy Division, The Cure, and Tuxedomoon are easy to find in these songs. He is not really hiding his influences, but imagine a Jay Reatard type playing with those old genres and making his own sound. The album is dark and dreary but also has a hidden energy inside that make the songs have a sort of more fun, pop feel to them. This is probably the music I would have wanted to play if I had ever continued on my career in music and perfected my keyboard playing skills. Lots of good songs on the album, however, the first track is still my favorite. As much as I love Joy Division, sometimes I need a break. This album is the perfect alternative -- giving you the darkness you desire but with a little something else. Maybe if Ian Curtis had found the right medication and managed to survive the 80s and 90s, this is the sort of album he would have ended up making.
james blackshaw
One of my other favorites of the week is the new James Blackshaw. This guy has been around for a while but I have never actually gotten around to listening to him...although it is very possible that I did listen to him before and it just didn't hit me until now. I honestly always thought this guy was some 60 something Irish dude playing old timey folky ballads. I pictured him with a long white beard and maybe in a wheelchair -- not unlike Robert Wyatt. I was amazed to find out he was actually born in 1981, and he is from London...so I was not so far off on his location, just a bit off on my guess of his age. He has been putting out albums since 2004. He made his way to the label Young God for this new album called Glass Bead Game. Like the albums of Grouper and Jose Gonzalez, this album manages to break my heart a little every time I listen to it. At first it just seems like a simple little album of solo guitar and piano, but it managed to get inside me and break me all up inside. It was one of those albums that I put on not really exjames blackshaw glass bead gamepecting to like, but I was intrigued because it was on Young God. I just expected some Glenn Yarbrough style vocals over the music. I have not had a chance to explore his old albums, but I know he has crossed some boundaries and experimented with a couple different genres. I just like what he is doing right now. There is also some great piano work on this album. The Glass Bead Game is actually the last book by author Hermann Hesse, the man who brought us Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. The album features Joolie Wood on violin, clarinet, and flute; and also John Contreras playing the cello, both of whom also play with Current 93. Lavinia Blackwall also contributes some vocals, but most of album is instrumental. The album is nothing short of beautiful. While it manages to break my heart every time I listen to it, it also mangages to heal it every time. The album is sort of a spiritual classical album. It really makes me feel like I am living in a different era.

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