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Album Picks: Future Islands, Lavender Country, Liars, Caetano Veloso

Posted by Billy Gil, March 25, 2014 09:23am | Post a Comment

Future Islands - Singles (LP, CD, Cassette or Download)

future islands singlesIt’s a gutsy move to call your album Singles, but in the case of Future Islands, their fourth album and first for 4AD, it’s appropriate. The album is packed with songs that are both immaculately written and catchy as hell, as Future Islands mine new wave and pop-rock for all they’re worth. Just as lead singer Samuel Herring’s dynamite performance style and swingin’ dance moves have won people over (David Letterman, famously), the band gives it their all on songs like “Seasons (Waiting On You).” Herring’s emotional, throaty tenor, which can warp into a growl in an instant, is given the perfect backdrop of stargazing new-wave rock that should bring together fans of everyone from Bruce Springsteen to The Cure to The Killers with lighter-waving glee. The synths of “Spirit” bring up memories of B-Movie's “Nowhere Girl,” but Herring’s unique voice keep Future Islands from ever veering into purely nostalgic territory. “A Song For Our Grandfathers” is dreamy yet packs an emotional punch. Herring seems to get more and more insistent over the sprightly “Light House,” almost completely out of step with the band, yet it works so much better than it would have if he played it straight, getting in your face and making it impossible to merely have the song on in the background. On “Like the Moon,” a sexy, pulsating groove gives Herring the chance to kill it vocally, crooning romantically. But his best vocal performance comes next, on “Fall From Grace”—over a simple waltz, Herring goes deep into the bowels of his voice to deliver a performance somewhere between Tom Waits, The National’s Matt Berniger and a black metal singer. Charisma like his doesn’t come around all the time, and as a band, Future Islands are smart enough to stay out of the way while crafting terrific songs that stand on their own. Before you know it, you’ve listened to Singles like five times and still can’t wait to hear it again.

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Desert Daze 2014 Tickets Available Now at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 5, 2014 04:40pm | Post a Comment

The lineup for this year's Desert Daze festival was just announced this week, and it looks to be the biggest and best one yet! Blonde Redhead and The Raveonettes are headlining, plus Liars, Autolux, Vincent Gallo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Allah-Las and many more will descend upon the Sunset Ranch Oasis (69-520 S. Lincoln St Mecca, CA 92254), just a few hours outside of Los Angeles, on Saturday, April 26.

Tickets are on sale now at Amoeba Hollywood for $45 (+ $2 service charge) or you can buy them online. If you want to camp while you're there, check out the ticket bundles (available online only) that include camping passes in addition to festival entry.

Desert Daze 2014

 

Watch a recap of last year's Desert Daze Festival:

Local Stuff: Chelsea Wolfe, John Maus, Everest, Ariel Pink

Posted by Billy Gil, June 22, 2012 01:07pm | Post a Comment
Chelsea Wolfe
Chelsea Wolfe – "Flatlands
"
 
Chelsea Wolfe has a new, all-acoustic album due in October on Sargent House. Here’s the first track, a spare and haunting departure from the more densely layered, dark folk you’ll find on 2011’s Apocalypsis. The track features Andrea Calderón on violin, Ezra Buchla on viola and Ben Chisholm also on guitar.
 

 

John Maus
John Maus – "Bennington"

 
John MausWe Must Become the Pitless Censors of Ourselves was a fun trip through the sort of cerebral art pop of Klaus Nomi or Kraftwerk but with goofy lyrics and sturdy hooks. “Bennington” is no different, boasting a raunchy synth groove and lyrics like “I miss those funky eyes.” A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material, collecting 16 tracks recorded over the past decade or so, is slated to come out July 17 on Ribbon Music. He’ll be at FYF Fest Sept. 1 (tickets go on sale at Amoeba today at 5!). I never realized what a babe John Maus is till today.
 

 

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Album Picks: Fiona Apple, King Tuff, Grass Widow, Liars

Posted by Billy Gil, June 19, 2012 07:27pm | Post a Comment
fiona apple the idler wheelToday Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel … was released. The first time I spun the album my jaw dropped. I grew up listening to Fiona Apple. She was one of my favorite artists in high school, and I’d followed her since the Tidal days, through her more “mature” albums When the Pawn … and Extraordinary Machine. I’d always still liked her, but my fervor had subsided a bit since those awkward teen years when her brand of super-confessional experimental pop really hit home. Well, this is something wholly different. As great as her previous three albums were, The Idler Wheel is the gutsiest thing she’s put out yet. Even more so than on Extraordinary Machine, Apple sounds uninterested in storming the radio with The Idler Wheel. She’s after something bigger here. Lyrically, she exposes her greatest wounds and digs at them with extraordinary candor and self-directed venom. “I root for you, I love you, you you you you” she sings on one of her lovelier tunes, “Valentine,” but even then, that devotion has a desperate tone that makes it hard to take at face value. Similarly, on “Jonathan,” lines like “I like watching you live” are accompanied by a fairly dissonant arrangement, deranged drumwork by collaborator Charlie Drayton and musique concrète that makes the whole thing sound like a ship coming apart. Vocally, Apple has never sounded stronger, scarier and more assured, frequently unleashing shiver-inducing cries, growling and singing with unchained vibrato within the same breaths, on songs like the searing “Left Alone.” And just when things get too grim, she closes the album with a jazzy, sexy ode to a guy who cuts through her like a “hot knife.” From start to finish, across its jagged edges and soaring heights, Idler Wheel is an exhilarating, simply astonishing listen.
 
king tuffI’m a big fan of garage rock but not necessarily of its sometimes limiting factors — guitars and vocals have to have just enough care balanced with slop, that sort of thing. So it’s nice to hear a couple of great up-and-coming albums from bands who subscribe to garage rock aesthetics but not “surf rock fun times” generic modes. King Tuff’s self-titled album is a real riot, from its opening track “Anthem,” which delivers perfectly delivered riffery the likes of which is pretty rare these days. Along with like-minded peers Ty Segall and the late Jay Reatard, King Tuff write songs first and foremost, and the ground covered here becomes more apparent upon repeat listens, which isn’t hard to do with an album that’s this much fun to listen to. “Alone & Stoned” has terrific ascendant vocal lines and a cool ’80s vibe under its garage veneer. “Unusual World” is a touching garage ballad that doesn’t shy away from varying its instrumentation, with synths and vibes adding nice touches to Tuff’s Marc Bolan-esque delivery. What I’m most taken with on King Tuff is that it delivers catchy garage pop tunes while refusing to adhere to one tempo and one sound like so many albums of a similar ilk. My personal favorite: the Vaselines-ish “Stupid Superstar.”
 
Grass Widow Internal LogicAlong those same lines, I really can’t get enough of Grass Widow’s Internal Logic. Starting off with its lo-fi sci-fi opener “Goldilocks Zone,” Internal Logic is a perfect example of a band perfectly executing a much-missed particular sound while adding its own peculiar flair of cool nerdy girl chic. Not to be limiting, but the album in some ways plays like a master class in post-punk girl bands: the multiple harmonic voices of Stereolab; the out-of-step tempos of Kleenex and ESG and their progeny, like Erase Errata and Electrelane; and off-kilter charm of bands like The Breeders. Fun and clever without biting off more than it can chew, Internal Logic pretty much leaves me with a smile on my face from start to finish.
 
liars wixiwLast but not least, I hope the new Liars album doesn’t get lost in the shuffle ‘cause WIXIW is every bit as good as their previous few releases, in my mind. Thought it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Drum’s Not Dead, I’m digging this new, quieter yet just as paranoid edition of Liars. WIXIW is pop in the way the Silver Apples or Portishead’s Third are pop, equal parts sinister and beautiful, with a throbbing heart underneath its digital beats. “Octagon” is disturbing, atonal at parts, yet its whole is instantly memorable, sticking mean hooks into you that feel better than they should. “No. 1 Against the Rush” sends goth down the autobahn, playing out like a krautrock variation on The Cure’s “A Forest.” WIXIW has been compared to Radiohead’s Kid A, and, listening to the title track — which disintegrates eerily under waves of oscillators and comes pulsing back for a haunting chanted chorus — it’s not hard to see why.

FYF Fest Tickets on Sale at Amoeba Hollywood!

Posted by Billy Gil, June 19, 2012 06:30pm | Post a Comment
FYF posterAs you may have already heard, FYF Fest announced its lineup for this year’s fest, which takes place Sept. 1st and 2nd at LA State Historic Park in Downtown Los Angeles, and it’s incredible: M83, Dinosaur Jr., Atlas Sound, Beirut, Chromatics, Liars, The Vaselines and Yeasayer, just to name a few. That’s all not to mention local heroes like The Soft Pack, FIDLAR, Warpaint, The Growlers, Nick Waterhouse and a whole lot more.
 
Amoeba Hollywood will be selling tickets starting Friday, June 22nd, at 5 p.m. (tickets are $77, and service fees are only $4 when you buy at Amoeba). Amoeba will have ONLY general admission weekend passes (not VIP tix). There’s a limited number of tickets and they’re only available at that price for a limited time, so get them quickly.
 
LINEUP:

AA Bondy
Aesop Rock
Against Me!
American Nightmare
Atlas Sound
Paul Banks (Interpol)
Baroness
Beirut
Black Dice
Black Mountain
Ceremony
Chairlift
Chromatics
Cloud Nothings
Converge
Cursive
Dam Funk
Desaparecidos
Devin
Dinosaur Jr.
DJ Coco (Primavera Sound)
DJ Harvey
Doldrums
Father John Misty
FIDLAR
Fucked Up
Future Islands
Givers
Gold Panda
Health
Hot Snakes
I Break Horses
James Blake
John Maus
Joyce Manor
King Khan & the Shrines
Kishi Bashi
Liars
Lightning Bolt
M83
Moonface
Nick Waterhouse
Nite Jewel

PAPA
Purity Ring
Quicksand
Redd Kross
Refused
Sandro Perri
Simian Mobile Disco (Live)
Sleigh Bells
Tanlines
The Allah La's
The Field
The Growlers
The Men
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Soft Pack
The Suicide of Western Culture
The Vaselines
Tiger & Woods
Turbonegro
Twin Shadow
Two Gallants
Tycho
Warpaint
White Arrows
White Fence
Wild Flag
Wild Nothing
Yeasayer


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