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From the Vault: Julia Holter

Posted by Billy Gil, August 29, 2013 05:18pm | Post a Comment

julia holter live at amoebaI interviewed performer Julia Holter a while back, last year when she played at Amoeba Hollywood upon the release of her album, Ekstasis. Now the CalArts-bred experimental pop artist is back with a new album, Loud City Song (available on CD or LP), and it’s one of the year’s best, combining cerebral electro-pop and neo-classical orchestration, with a piano-based, singer-songwriter heart. Read our conversation below about Joni Mitchell, TLC and the vastness of L.A. Make sure to check out Loud City Song and see photos from her performance here.

 

Me: Were you always able to sing growing up, and who were some of your singing idols?

Holter: I didn’t sing much until I was—well I sang in secret—and when I was like 15, I started listening to Joni Mitchell a lot, like her later stuff that’s really cool, not just the early, folk stuff, but the weirder stuff.

Me: Like her jazz records?

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Show Recap: Pretty Lights at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, July 19, 2013 11:45am | Post a Comment
Pretty Lights Amoeba Hollywood

The kids came out in full force to see Pretty Lights at Amoeba Hollywood July 18. A decidedly young crowd enthusiastic about the rising EDM star lined every row of the store. It was tough to even get around the kids dancing in every empty space available to them.

Pretty Lights aka Derek Vincent Smith started out by playing “Yellow Bird,” the prettiest and mellowest of songs from his latest album, A Color Map of the Sun. From there, the energy to his nearly hourlong show seemed to grow exponentially.

pretty lights a color map of the sunThough his music squelches and booms like Skrillex, the methods he employs to get there are anything but simple. He composed each part to the new record and had them recorded before sampling and manipulating those sounds. Live, he played with a laptop and series of samplers, not going too crazy on them like Flying Lotus but instead focusing on getting the audience pumped, dancing and encouraging fans to raise their hands, employing judicious breaks to call out to the audience and get them riled up.

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Show Recap: Heloise & the Savoir Faire at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, July 11, 2013 01:00pm | Post a Comment

eloise savoir faire amoeba hollywoodElijah Wood aka DJ Jamie Starr began the July 10 set at Amoeba Hollywood playing obscure disco and funk beats from the likes of Benis Letin, Kiki Gyan and Betty Padgett (thank god for Shazam), throwing in a little bit of The Jets and ESG to round it out. Heloise came out dressed in head-to-toe leopard print wrapped in a pink sequined fabric, sounding great despite singing along to just a backing track on “Perelandra,” from her excellent alt-pop album Diamond Dust. “Are you wearing comfortable shoes?” she asked before performing to jagged disco song “Dancefloor Destroyer.” “elijah wood amoeba hollywoodLet the music move you” she sang on the Kylie-ish "Dive In," shimmying around like the alternative diva she is, cooing in exotic ways and then played along on an iPhone-based electric organ — no one rocks an app-based instrument like Heloise! On the last song, “Vibezz,” she whipped around her microphone wire to the song’s slow synth chords and pumped her fist when the beat picked up, belting over the backing track and owning the stage with her one-woman show.

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Show Recap: Quadron at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, June 7, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Quadron AMoeba HollywoodPerforming as a five-piece, Quadron began by starting the sutble groove of “LFT,” a highlight of their recently released Avalanche album. Singer Coco O emerged to give the song its ascendant melody. They quadron avalanchemoved into the funky “Favorite Star,” and Coco said it was a “dream come true” to be playing Amoeba. They kept things mellow, playing the sultry and emotional “Sea Salt,” one of the softer songs on Avalanche, which Coco said was one of her favorites on the album. They called out hero Michael Jackson for “Neverland,” possibly named after the King of Pop’s ranch home, while the music calls to mind smooth Jackson jams, such as “Man in the Mirror.” They finished the quick, soft set with “It’s Gonna Get You,” which nicely featured the band’s backup harmonies over the song’s mechanical groove. See more photos of the show here.

Show Recap: Laura Marling at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, May 23, 2013 01:03pm | Post a Comment

laura marling amoeba hollywoodLaura Marling visited Amoeba Hollywood May 20, on the eve of releasing her latest album, Once I Was an Eagle. Appearing solo, she demonstrated the range and power of her deep, droning strum and her voice, which she wields magnificently, going from a high, quavering coo to deeply intoned phrases that land like a dull arrow to the heart. laura marling once i was an eagle"Damn all those people who don't lose control" she sang in passionate monotone on her extended opening track, "You Know," immediately drawing in the sizable crowd gathered to see her. She pulled out bluesy riffs for "Master Hunter," which spurns a would-be lover by turning around a key Dylan phrase — "if you want a woman who can call your name, it ain’t me, babe."

Her next song belied its sweet melody and charming country arrangement with dark lyrics about depression and loneliness ("I couldn't get out of bed, I was all in my head" she sings before warning her paramour, "just don't go bleedin' me dry"). Marling expressed her excitement about playing Amoeba, saying it even surpassed playing L.A. for the first time, at acoustic music haven Hotel Cafe, and said she'd bought a psychobilly comp at the store. Her next song, a languid, prairie ballad saw her calling to mind Emmylou Harris-style heartbreak. On her closing track, Marling took listeners on a more serene journey, chanting "pray for me" over a steady jangle, channeling quiet pain into exquisitely lovely music.

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