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Weekly Roundup: God? Releases, Alela Diane, United Ghosts, Kim Free, Soft Metals, Deafheaven

Posted by Billy Gil, May 2, 2013 04:35pm | Post a Comment

Drag City Imprint God? Releases White Fence, Scraper Reissues

scraper white fenecThe new Drag City imprint God? is new but already pretty awesome. Their second and third releases will be a reissue of Cali’s White Fence’s self-titled debut LP and S.F.’s Scraper’s debut 7”. White Fence aka Tim Presley is rad. His latest release Cyclops Reap is out now and is a nice and trim entry point for the psych-pop singer/songwriter, even if it’s a leftovers comp of sorts. For even more out-there bliss, check out all the rest of his albums, which ramble and sway in the wind in the best way possible. His first album is full of lo-fi delicious bon bons, 16 short songs that hide their hooks in reverb, and now you can have it July 16 from God? The same day, the label releases skate punks Scraper’s first release, a six-song EP with lo-fi, talky, grimy psych-punk with song titles like “Liquid Lips.” Yummy! Look for them both July 16.

 

Alela Diane Readies New LP ‘About Farewell’

alele dianeSometimes you need a good folk record, like eating really healthy food. Alela Diane’s About Farewell, out June 25 on her own label, Rusted Blue Records. I’m a sucker for the first song she’s released from it, called “The Way We Fall.” It’s really two great songs in one, starting with a looping, soulful ballad, painted with intriguing swaths of flute, acoustic guitar and sumptuous harmonies. Then it shifts for a less-orchestrated portion that could have come off as precious if the previous part hadn’t happened; in succession, it serves to peel back the layers and reveal Diane’s lovely lilt, which is soon accompanied by those flutes again. Try not to get the shivers. Diane lives in Portland, but she hails from Nevada City, Calif., so we’ll count her as one of us. Check out an interview Diane did with the Amoeblog a while back.

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10 Great L.A. Indie Albums from 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 19, 2012 04:25pm | Post a Comment

In all the end of 2012/the world list-making, smaller releases tend to get ignored in favor of the ones everyone knows about. So I decided to do a list, in no particular order, of my favorite albums by L.A. artists this year that were released on small labels or were self-released — and which didn’t get as much press as others. That means no Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Best Coast or Ariel Pink, even though the releases by those people are great and you should listen to them, too. (Read my top 50 albums of 2012 here, with more L.A.-based artists like Miguel and Julia Holter.) All of these are great up-and-coming artists, seek them out!

 

Kim FreeAngel Shadow (LA’s Fine)

Kim FreeKim Free’s minimalist bass playing, ethereal voice and starkly beautiful violin playing come together to cast an entrancing spell on Angel Shadow. See her live to witness her virtuosic looping at work. Check out photos from her Amoeba Hollywood performance here!

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Show Report: Kim Free at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, October 26, 2012 12:27pm | Post a Comment

Kim Free live at Amoeba HollywoodKim Free started her set at Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 24 with a quick violin piece before leaving it to loop while she picked up the bass to play “I Don’t Know Why,” from her album Angel Shadow. Free builds the song beginning with its simple, Cure-style bassline, allowing that to loop while she sings hauntingly over it and adds harmonic bass notes here and there. Her “Breaking Spells” recalled the close intimacy of early Liz Phair, sans the snark and loaded with romanticism. Upon that song, she left her bass standing to unload exquisite violin, teaching a master class in the power of looping as she built towers of melody standing alone. She smiled as she quickly faded the song into a wintry violin piece, at once aching and dreamy, building a shuddering backdrop upon which she could solo with emotional precision, before fading it to a deep pool of bass and whispery vocal. The song shifted back to violin for its stunning conclusion. She then played “Ease Into Piece,” a lighter oceanic piece that allowed her to mellow out without having to shift to violin until the song's baroque climax. She closed the set with a quick, heartfelt song, the composition of which showcased one of the most endearing features of Free’s music — its combination of immediate simplicity with Free’s classical training as a violinist. See more photos of the show here; read my interview with Free here.

Kim Free Plays Live at Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 24

Posted by Billy Gil, October 23, 2012 01:15pm | Post a Comment

Kim FreeKim Free produces spacious, dark pop marked by Free’s otherworldly voice, minimalist bass and keyboards, and her striking violin playing, for which she’s been employed on Zola Jesus’ recent tour. As a solo artist, she had a number of limited-run, lo-fi darkwave releases as Black Church before stepping out on her own this year with Angel Shadow, a more starkly naked collection of songs on which Free played every instrument, as she does live. Kim Free plays Amoeba Hollywood Wed. Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. I caught up with Free before the performance.

PST: The construction of your songs is really interesting. It feels very solitary, despite the presence of other instruments in the background. Did you want the songs and the record to have a sort of intimacy? Or is that just the way you play live, and you wanted to capture that on record?

Kim Free Angel ShadowFree: I didn’t really set out with any intentions for this record. I wrote all the songs in my bedroom, based on the instruments I happened to have at the time. When I wrote the record, I was living with a lot of people, and I would always retreat to my room to kill time between work and whatever else, and Angel Shadow is what came out.

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Local Stuff: Earlimart, The Fresh & Onlys, Kisses, Thee Oh Sees, Kim Free, Wavves

Posted by Billy Gil, August 10, 2012 01:12pm | Post a Comment
EarlimartEarlimart – “97 Heart Attack”
 
Earlimart is back! You may remember the Elephant 6 associated band’s 2000s releases like Everyone Down Here and Treble & Tremble. Well the L.A. band based around singer/guitarist Aaron Espinoza and keyboardist/singer/bassist Ariana Murray is back with a lovely, somber new track called “97 Heart Attack” and an accompanying album called System Preferences, which is due on physical CD and LP Oct. 16 from the band’s label, The Ship. So glad to have them back, although they never really went away — after releasing their last album, 2008’s Hymn and Her, they collaborated with Grandaddy members for the 2010 release of Admiral Radley’s I Heart California, followed by headlining tours and a support slot on Band of Horses’ tour. The band had kept busy composing soundtrack work and producing other artists, but now they’re back in full force and will appear with Grandaddy (Who are back too? Hell yes!) at the Henry Fonda Theater Aug. 13. So into all these L.A. indie pop bands getting back into the fold. 
 

 
fresh & onlysThe Fresh & Onlys – “Presense of Mind”
 
Here’s another new track (after the previously unveiled “Yes or No”) from The Fresh & Onlys upcoming Long Slow Dance, due Sept. 4 on Mexican Summer. I liked their last album, Play It Strange, but from the sound of these two songs, this is a huge step forward for the band, with a newfound confidence in its vocals and songwriting.
 

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