Amoeblog

The 25 Best Albums By California Artists Released in 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

best california albums blog

From L.A. and S.F.’s garage rock scenes to Compton’s blossoming rap artists, California artists represented well in 2014. Here are 25 of our favorites from the year, in alphabetical order.

Allah-LasWorship the Sun

allah-las worship the sun lpOn Worship the Sun, L.A.’s Allah-Las get some dirt on their boots by scuzzing up their sunny surf-garage sound with some rattling guitar solos, stonery grooves (“Buffalo Nickel”) and head-spinning psych-rock tunes (“501-405”).

 

 

Cherry Glazerr Haxel Princess

cherry glazerr haxel princess lpCherry Glazerr had the debut record of the year for Burger Records, moving unstoppably on the strength of its garage riffs and singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy’s teenage caterwaul.

Continue reading...

New "What's in My Bag?" Episode With Katy Goodman of La Sera

Posted by Amoebite, May 28, 2014 11:04am | Post a Comment

La Sera

Katy Goodman went from bassist/back up vocalist of indie rock band Vivian Girls to lead vocalist/front woman of the dream-pop band La Sera. Three albums in and Goodman shows no signs of slowing down. In 2011 (while still gigging with Vivian Girls) Goodman moved back home for two weeks, bought a guitar, a tiny practice amp, and wrote some songs. A few weeks later, she realized she had "sort of written an album by accident." The result was a solid 12 track self titled record produced by longtime friend and Vivian Girls' video director, Brady Hall. In 2012, La Sera returned with Sees The Light (Hardly Art) and critics took note of Goodman's progress in songwriting and vocal delivery. Buzz around La Sera started to grow and hasn't stopped since.

La SeraLa Sera now completes the trilogy with Hour of The Dawn (Hardly Art, 2014). The new record finds Todd  Wisenbaker handling producer and guitar duties. Expect to hear songs that are faster, louder, and more aggresive than previous releases with lots of great catchy vocal lines. La Sera keeps evolving and Goodman is quickly becoming a master of her craft, creating songs that resonate with fans of Vivian Girls and new found La Sera die hards. Hour of The Dawn is a testament to Goodman's star power and her steady rise to the mountain tops of rock & roll!  

Continue reading...

Album Picks: Swans, Amen Dunes, La Sera, Little Dragon, Sean Nicholas Savage

Posted by Billy Gil, May 13, 2014 10:48am | Post a Comment

Swans - To Be Kind (LP, Two-CD Set, Deluxe Two-CD/DVD Set, Download)

swans to be kind lpSwans records are more like happenings, unforgettable experiences you have to sit down and pay attention to. The two-hour To Be Kind, released 21 months after the similarly epic The Seer, is no exception. Sounds wriggle, writhe and heave on the hilariously titled “Screen Shot,” but Swans also seem to have more control than ever—these sounds are speaking to one another, albeit in some unspoken language, not creating a cacophony. The effect can be paralyzing. Listening to “Just a Little Boy (For Chester Burnett)” feels like staring into the darkest night, accompanied by a country sway and Michael Gira’s chants, which grow suddenly violent—“I’m just a little boy!” he cries repeatedly, while the guitars bellow and sigh with increasing pronunciation and sampled laughter ups the creep factor into Lynch territory. Gira growls “I need love” like it’s a threat. Meanwhile, “A Little God in my Hands” is Swans’ version of a pop song—thumping percussion (think Tom Waits) meets multiple voices singing over each other, while eerie backwoods instrumentation and sudden noise explosions burst out of nowhere but somehow still leave you bobbing your head along as Gira repeats evocative adjectives (“forever hateful, forever beautiful, forever needing, forever reaching”). It’s easy to attribute pagan imagery to Swans’ music and say it sounds like a séance or something, but the 34-minute “Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Overture” really does sound like the soundtrack to a sacrifice, or at least some wicked feast. Its slow, long build demands patience, but Gira’s always charismatic voice makes it worth the trip.

Continue reading...

Weekly Roundup: La Sera, Thee Oh Sees, Wartime, Christopher Owens

Posted by Billy Gil, March 7, 2014 11:10am | Post a Comment

La Sera – “Losing to the Dark”

la seraWhoa, Katy Goodman’s La Sera project has really kicked it up a notch. “Losing to the Dark,” the first taste from Hour of the Dawn, out May 13 on Hardly Art, is a lot more fierce than the bubblegum-flavored, lovelorn power pop we’ve come to know and love from her. Goodman said in press material that she wanted the new record to sound like “Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag.” Think she nailed it.

 

Thee Oh Sees – “The Lens”

thee oh sees drop lpFollowing the shortest breakup in musical history, Thee Oh Sees have been pretty busy preparing the release of their umpteenth album, Drop, out April 9 on Castle Face. Contrasting with the super heavy, psychedelic “Penetrating Eye,” “The Lens” is a slow-burning classic pop number with touches of “Hey Jude.” Maybe all of that breakup stuff was just a ruse to get our attention for their best album yet. Listen over at Pitchfork.

Continue reading...

Vivian Girls Officially Break Up; Slowdive Getting Back Together?

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2014 11:14am | Post a Comment

Vivian Girls AmoebaOne of our favorite modern bands, Vivian Girls, are officially breaking up. They'll play two last shows, one of them here in L.A. at Highland Park's new Church on York venue, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. You can get tickets here. Or if you're in New York, you can see them at Death by Audio March 1; tickets for that show are here. Both shows are all-ages.

I made this Vivian Girls Family Tree a while back to note the myriad other projects that spring from the band. As far as the members of the band go, Cassie Ramone will continue with The Babies, along with Woods' Kevin Morby; Katy Goodman will have a new La Sera album out later this year; and Ali Koehler continues with her new band, Upset. You can read interviews I've done with Goodman and Upset.

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  >>  NEXT