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Cocktails Talk SF Music Scene and Power-Pop Before Show at Amoeba SF Jan. 31

Posted by Billy Gil, January 23, 2015 02:17pm | Post a Comment

cocktails bandCocktails play a whimsical, harmonic, fuzz-and-synth-laced brand of power pop with boy/girl harmonies that harkens back to bands like Imperial Teen, The Rentals and that dog. They bring the catchy, garagey goods in healthy doses on their debut album, Adult Life, which is out now. Catch the band live at Amoeba SF Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. and get a FREE Converse Rubber Tracks split 7” with Windham Flat, who recently played Amoeba SF as well.

We took a minute to speak with Patrick Clos, frontman for Cocktails:

Have you guys seen the nature of the SF music scene change along with its changing demographics? Are kids still coming to rock shows?

Patrick Clos: For sure. There definitely used to be a lot more like local, scuzzy guitar rock/garage/psych type bands playing around and such, but you know how it goes—there’s no longer rooms for like $500/month and such. But still, between here and Oakland, there’s no shortage of rock bands.

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New Avi Buffalo Video

Posted by Amoebite, December 15, 2014 06:14pm | Post a Comment

Avi Buffalo at Amoeba Hollywood

Long Beach-based rocker Avi Zahner-Isenberg and his band Avi Buffalo performed a few songs from their Avi Buffalo At Best Cuckoldsophomore album, At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop), recently at Amoeba Hollywood. The new album finds Avi Buffalo building on the sound and aesthetic they crafted on 2010's self-titled debut. The first record found the young 19-year old Zahner-Isenberg and his cohorts writing songs filled with age appropriate context while showing signs of a true songwriter. Four years later and Avi Buffalo have grown up, just a little. At Best Cuckhold digs deeper into their West Coast brand of indie rock and you can hear the experience of a well oiled band seeping through the speakers. The songs are well structured and the production quality is great. You get the sense that Avi Buffalo are acting like responsible adults and then Zhaner-Isenberg reminds you not to take it too seriously with songs like, "Can't Be Too Responsible." 

In support of At Best Cuckold, Avi Buffalo played to an excited audience at Amoeba Hollywood. Watch the teaser below and check out more from this performance on Amoeba.com.

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Show Recap: Jhene Aiko at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 12, 2014 04:48pm | Post a Comment

jhene aiko amoeba hollywood

For an artist who was essentially just releasing her first LP, Jhene Aiko certainly came across as a star when she performed at Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 10.

Aiko, of course, is not unknown; she has guested on numerous hip-hop tracks, perhaps most notably singing the heartfelt opening to Drake’s “From Time,” off of one of the biggest albums of the past couple of years. Still, despite her apparent rolodex of big-name artists, Aiko herself has remained curiously in the shadows.

Until now, that is. Her first full-length LP, Souled Out, is an elegant collection of breathy L.A. soul with just the right hip-hop touch. It’s an album that puts her front-and-center, unlike her .sailing soul(s). mixtape and Sail Out EP, which drew on such high-profile guest stars as Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. This time, save for a last-minute guest spot from Common, Aiko’s pretty much sailing alone. That seemed just fine with the line of fans who stretched around the block at Amoeba for the chance to see her:

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Show Recap: Kan Wakan at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, June 25, 2014 07:18pm | Post a Comment

kan wakan amoeba hollywoodKan Wakan's sound on their recent Moving On album, a stew of stirring strings, classic rock organs, gleaming guitarwork and sensual vocals, seemed like it would be difficult to pull off in a live setting. But my first time seeing the band, June 18 at the store, showed just how skilled the band is at taking a heady and heavily orchestrated sound and making it work live. Beginning with cool polyrhythms and arpeggiating synths, singer Kristianne Bautista's vocals sounded husky and soulful one second, lilting the next, reminiscent of Bjork in their elasticity. Kan Wakan's sound is decidedly not small, playing as a seven-piece and creating grandiosity with surging crescendos, bells and tribal drums. Their songs sway and move, sultry and mysterious, oceanic amid surging guitars and crashing cymbals. The overall effect and intention seems to me to stir something up in you rather than smack you upside the head with something catchy, a nice antidote to the flood of overly excitable indie pop bands in L.A. Bautista's vocals were sometimes muffled by all the sci-fi synths and other craziness but would come through loudly every so often with a breathy forcefulness. For a band that trades in atmospherics and post-rock vibes, live, they're as gripping as a punk band.

See more photos from the show here.

Show Recap: Cate le Bon at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, May 2, 2014 06:00pm | Post a Comment

cate le bon amoeba hollywoodCate le Bon’s songs have a ragged glory, spare, yet intricate and propulsive like Television and Patti Smith Group before her, with a world-weary soul cutting through via le Bon’s swooping vocals. Backed by her sturdy, three-piece band, they launched into the clockwork shuffle of “No God,” from her most recent release, 2013’s excellent Mug Museum, at Amoeba Hollywood April 30.

Le Bon shifted gears from icy to sultry for single “Are You With Me Now,” which has the feel of a classic reggae ballad covered by a CBGBs band. The set picked up for album opener “I Can’t Help You,” its interlocking post-punk guitars and le Bon's sultry voice moving into a snarling chorus while le Bon's nimble-fingered guitarist doubled as keyboardist, playing jaunty synth organ to balance the songs jagged edges. They got playful for “Duke,” a song whose singsongy melody ends in a banshee wail from le Bon.

Her set moved from le Bon’s most immediate songs to some of her most challenging ones. “Sisters” started harmlessly enough with an upbeat jangle but ended in atonal guitar jabs and a ping-ponging bassline. “Wild,” Mug Museum’s heaviest rocker, saw some of le Bon’s wildest guitar playing as the song ended in a krautrock freakout. And for anyone not new to the le Bon fold, she pulled out Cyrk’s “Fold the Cloth,” its ornate arrangement balancing Mug Museum’s directness and ending things with eerie harmonies and spurts of carefully orchestrated guitar noise.

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