Amoeblog

Amen Dunes' Damon McMahon Talks Trying Not to Be Cool On New Album 'Love'

Posted by Billy Gil, June 13, 2014 06:16pm | Post a Comment

Amen Dunes Damon McMahonDamon McMahon has been making lo-fi psychedelic folk under the Amen Dunes moniker over the past decade. Several tours, a stint living in China and a few records later, and Amen Dunes are having a breakthrough moment with the recently released Love, a cleaner, more precise album and perhaps one of the best of the year thus far, full of swirling, melancholic folk-rockers with carefully considered experimental touches.

I’ve read that in the past you recorded a lot of things on your own onto tape. What made you want to go for a more produced sound on this record?

I think I’ve always wanted to make records that sounded really good, but I didn’t have the means to do so. It’s always been a solitary process, it never really worked for me in studios, but I’ve always wanted to make a record that sounded really good but I never really had the ability to do that. I had specific visions for this record. I had this idea of imagining what a songwriter record would sound like if it was backed by Pharoah Sanders. I was really obsessed with this Pharoah Sanders record called Karma, I have been for a long time. I wanted to make a record that production-wise was reminiscent of that. And I couldn’t really do that with a TASCAM four-track.  

Was it important to keep some of the immediacy of your earlier work? I’m thinking of a song like “I Can’t Dig It,” which has almost a live feel to it.

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Sandra Vu of SISU and Dum Dum Girls Talks 'Blood Tears'

Posted by Billy Gil, October 9, 2013 02:33pm | Post a Comment

sandra vuSandra Vu has been the cool presence behind the drum kit in a number of bands, both on record and live. She's helped propel such bands as Dirty Beaches, The Raveonettes, Midnight Movies, Boredoms and, most often, as the drummer for Dum Dum Girls.

Now she has her own project named SISU. Judging by her resume, SISU's debut album is somehow both comfortingly familiar, drawing from influences such as girl groups and noise pop, and something entirely new. The strange tones that strike across the skies of songs like "Counting Stars" and pulsating beats under songs like "Harpoons" draw more from krautrock, industrial and experimental music than contemporary shoegaze, while Vu's vocals range from disaffected and alien to front-and-center pop vocals. Blood Tears is a delight throughout, atmospheric and cool, yet catchy and immediately memorable.

I took a minute to speak with Vu about her new project and how she came into making music on her own.

 

 

Me: I hear SISU is the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.” Why did you choose that name?

Vu: Originally, "SISU" stems from my name, but we later found out that it was a Finnish word. I like the meaning though so we've adopted it, respectfully.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With BEAK>

Posted by Amoebite, September 11, 2013 01:08pm | Post a Comment


Beak

Portishead founder and producer Geoff Barrow is always busy making music. In 2009, Barrow teamed up with Billy Fuller (Fuzz Against Junk) and Matt Williams (Team Brick) to form the Krautrock trio, BEAK>. The group has since produced two full length albums, Beak> and Beak II, with the latter being released on Barrows' own Invada imprint.

Beak The band's named is stylized using the "greater than" symbol (>) with their second album featuring two greater than symbols on the cover (pictured right). Long live Krautrock!

Barrow and his cohorts caught up with our cameras at Amoeba Berkeley for another awesome episode of "What's In My Bag?." Right off the bat Billy pulls out a Frank Sinatra vinyl! Who would have thought the Kraughtrockers were into ol' blue eyes? Very cool! Matt picks up a CD that has a musician playing a "hurdy gurdy" on the cover, about which he says, "it just sounds amazing, it sounds like a drowning violin." Who doesn't love the sound of drowning violins? Geoff tells a great story about being sampled by the legendary hip hop producer J.Dilla and manages to dig up the soundtrack to the 1971 cult classic, Psychomania.

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Local Stuff: King Tuff, Kitten, and Upcoming Shows

Posted by Billy Gil, June 1, 2012 04:05pm | Post a Comment
King TuffKing Tuff has released a new record on Sub Pop, and all I can say is OMGGG. King Tuff is looking to be the garage banger of the summer. You should definitely pick this one up, and you can even preview it on YouTube for the time being. Check out a stream from Sub Pop below, and order the album here.
 

 

KittenUp-and-coming L.A. pop band Kitten is releasing a new EP called Cut it Out on Aug. 28th. Teenage frontwoman Chloe Chaidez sure sounds like a star in the making on this buzzy electro single, which has the post-punk feel of Metric while upping both the catchiness and shoegazey sonics. I feel like we’ll only be able to claim Kitten for so long before they move on to bigger and better things, so check them out while they’re still local!
 





Shows This Weekend

 
Nite Jewel One Second of LoveThis is a big weekend for local singer Nite Jewel, who recently released her fine album One Second of Love, which manages to be dancey (check out the title track) and cool, with atmospheric and experimental electronics throughout, while remaining classy, with Ramona Gonzalez’s sultry voice more reminiscent of classical pop singers like Barbra Streisand and Diana Krall. Tonight Nite Jewel headlines a krautrock-themed show titled “Krautrock Classics: A Night of German Cosmic Music,” presented by Dublab and the Goethe Institut. It will take place at the Ford Amphiteatre, with Nite Jewel performing a classic of the genre, Kraftwerk’s Computer World, with help from friends like Stones Throw Records’ Peanut Butter Wolf. The show also will include performances from the likes of Sun Araw, Dntel and Daedelus. Starts at 8, all ages, $15, get tickets online here.
 
Then, on Saturday, Filter Magazine holds its Summer Sessions series at the Original Penguin Store (8215 Melrose Ave.) from 2-6 p.m., featuring a performance by Nite Jewel. RSVP here.
 
Also on Saturday, California acts Cass McCombs and The Entrance Band play at the El Rey Theatre.
 
ViolensOn Sundays it’s usually hard to beat Part Time Punks at the Echo, and this Sunday is certainly no exception: Violens, whom fellow Amoeba-ite Brad also loves, will play alongside Capured Tracks band Catwalk and Surf Club, which features members of Craft Spells. Slumberland's Violens play blurry swoony guitar pop much in the same vein of their labelmates, but they stand out from the back with their strong melodic songwriting (check out the beautiful "Sariza Spring") and the fact that they bother to rock out once in a while (watch the "All Night Low" video below). Their album True is one of the best of the past couple of months. It's a whole lot of shoegazey, guitarry goodness for only 10 bucks. Get advance tickets here or in store at Ameoba.
            

Shoegazers Sleeping Bags Release Debut Album, Play Bootleg Tonight

Posted by Billy Gil, September 15, 2011 12:15pm | Post a Comment
As a diehard shoegaze fan, my ears tend to perk up any time I hear the following things: echo, reverb, tremolo, washed out vocals, densely layered guitars. So witnessing the birth of a true LA shoegaze band in the form of Sleeping Bags has been a pleasure.

The band consists of brothers and Princeton members Matt and Jesse Kivel (the latter also of Kisses), on guitar/vocals and drums/vocals, respectively, plus Abe Burns on guitar, David Lewis on bass and Mark Nieto on synths and other noise. Their self-titled debut, out now on Easter Everywhere, calls to mind swirling shoegaze maestros like Ride, Chapterhouse and Swervedriver, but with more of a willingness to explore synth-laden textural landscapes, akin to modern shoegazers like Airiel, Film School and The War on Drugs. Songly like “March of Gold” create inviting aural fields of sound with lovelorn melodies before igniting them with guitar fireworks.

Burns says the band formed when he and Matt Kivel worked at Daily Variety. (Hey, I worked there too! Ages ago though.) Burns says they practiced once before their first show, writing all of his parts during that first practice. Later, they added members, fleshed out the songs with more sonic texture, with Lewis of Gentle Hands coming on board last to add low-end sound.

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