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Show Report: Lord Huron at Amoeba Hollywood; Tame Impala at the El Rey

Posted by Billy Gil, November 20, 2012 08:12pm | Post a Comment

Lord HuronWestern-themed rockers dressed for the part Lord Huron began their set Nov. 19 at Amoeba Hollywood with “Ends of the Earth,” the opener of Lonesome Dreams, the band’s recently released debut record. The fact that the band brought the bongos that appear on the song to the crowded stage shows what detail means for the band, who didn’t skimp on additional instrumentation beyond the typical guitars-and-drums setup. That attention paid off, as Ben Schneider and his band’s music was nicely layered without sounding cluttered. The set made the most of the band’s five-man makeup, utilizing starry guitar lines and soaring harmonies to great effect. The band turned in a splashier version of “I Will Be Back One Day,” rocking out a bit harder while making the vocals less of a priority. The sound of ocean opened to the galloping rhythm of “Time to Run,” a clear crowd favorite. “The Man Who Lives Forever” proved the band’s most impressive song live, beautifully syncopated and stuffed with gorgeous guitar work, complete with slide guitar and harmonic playing. It was amazing to hear what they could accomplish with just a handful of guitars, echoing the sounds of banjo, southern rock and Eastern-influenced tonality. See more photos of the show here. Read my interview with Schneider here.

Friday I caught Tame Impala at The El Rey Theatre. I’ve been sick for over a week with a stupid head cold that makes my eyes start to shut around 10 p.m., but I was determined to see my favorite current band — and El Rey shows end early. The first thing I noticed was that the show was packed, and not entirely with your garden-variety hipsters. Older folks and lots of BROS. But like, cool, sensitive ones. Cause Tame Impala have left their Australian lily pad of coolness with their latest album, Lonerism, which has garnered the band great widespread acclaim and support from Pitchfork, KCRW and the like. So they upgrade to The El Rey from The Echo, where I think they played the last time they were in these parts.

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Lord Huron's Ben Schneider Talks to Amoeba, Band Plays Amoeba Hollywood Nov. 19

Posted by Billy Gil, November 15, 2012 01:49pm | Post a Comment

Lord Huron Ben SchneiderOn Lonesome Dreams, Lord Huron’s Ben Schneider creates a soundtrack for travel. Opener “Ends of the Earth” finds him telling his lover “There’s an island where everything is silent/I’m gonna whistle a tune,” among other evocative lines about getting the hell out of dodge. From there his Americana-fueled journey touches on hints of the exotic — the clanging percussion of “Time to Run” calling to mind the East while he sings concurrently about finding a life way out West. Along the way he discovers the loneliness of wide-open space on the spare title track; harmonicas haunt him on “The Ghost on the Shore,” hinting at nostalgia born from hitting the edge of the land and looking back. The whole thing gallops along with country jangle, nightsky atmosphere and Schneider’s throaty, impassioned vocals, and it’s nearly impossible not to get swept in its romanticism.

The whole thing could be thought of as a travelogue for Schneider’s own journey out west, travelling from his home in Michigan to New York, around the world and eventually to Los Angeles, where while pursuing a career in visual arts, his Lord Huron project took off. Comprising songs he recorded back in Michigan at Lake Huron, where he formatively would strum the guitar in his youth, his first EP Yours, Truly gained traction in the blogosphere, and Schneider formed a band to begin playing live in 2010. His debut record, Lonesome Dreams, is out now via IAMSOUND. Lord Huron play Amoeba Hollywood Monday Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m. I took a minute to speak with Schneider about his journeys, musical and otherwise.

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Electronic Artist Thavius Beck Talks to Amoeblog Before Nov. 2 Performance

Posted by Billy Gil, October 31, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment

Thavius BeckMinneapolis transplant Thavius Beck has been making music here in LA for the past 15 years or so, first as Adlib, rapping and producing for hip-hop collective Global Phlowtations and releasing several solo albums as Adlib before releasing his first album as Thavius Beck, Decomposition, in 2004, while working at Amoeba Hollywood. His glitched-out hip-hop sound led him to production work for the likes of Saul Williams and Busdriver and a remix for Nas. He’s worked alongside Trent Reznor and Zack De La Rocha and released several more albums over the years, the most recent of which is the instrumental electronic record The Most Beautiful Ugly. Thavius Beck returns to Amoeba Hollywood this Friday Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. to perform. I spoke to Beck a bit before his performance.

Thavius Beck The Most Beautiful UglyPST: It’s impressive that you produced a full album and then had a mixtape of outtakes that was also both strong and coherent as its own set. About how much music do you typically produce before whittling it down for an album?

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Patti Smith Performs Live at Amoeba Hollywood!

Posted by Billy Gil, October 11, 2012 08:15pm | Post a Comment

Patti Smith Live at AmoebaIt was hard to believe I was watching Patti Smith live at Amoeba today. She seems like the kind of artist who doesn't exist in real life, yet here she was sounding every bit as amazing as on her landmark first album, Horses, while launching into suicide story "Redondo Beach" at the beginning of her set. She danced and smiled her way through "April Fool," the gleeful first single from Banga, her excellent most recent album, released earlier this year. "You're so quiet ... it must be the hallowed ground of the record store," she teased the audience before launching into "Fuju-san." She introduced Banga's "This is the Girl" as being about Amy Winehouse, adding a darker shade to a beautifully rendered song about the girl "who yearned to be heard."

While her bandmates played acoustically, you could really hear Smith and how gracefully her voice has matured, sounding natural and unstrained on the newer material and projecting the wisdom of years onto her classics. She strapped on a guitar for a snarly rendition of "Banga" — but not before asking why AMC dropped The Killing. "I'll be back at 2 in the morning, we'll talk about really serious stuff," she quipped on the night of the Vice Presidential debate.

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Flying Lotus Rocks Amoeba With Killer Set

Posted by Billy Gil, October 4, 2012 12:05pm | Post a Comment

Flying Lotus AmoebaThe subtleties of what goes into creating a Flying Lotus song could be seen when he took the stage at Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 1, the day before his new album, Until the Quiet Comes, was officially released. Fly Lo worked busily over a minimal setup of a couple of laptops and samplers/sequencers. He played bits from the new album, like the bass-heavy “Sultan’s Request,” but kept things moving quickly — much like his albums do — never lingering long on a particular sound or song before flowing it into the next. A large and very appreciative crowd head-bobbed furiously to the music (the beatheads’ equivalent to head banging) as Fly Lo worked the heavier side of his sound spectrum, unlike the mostly chilled-out quality of his latest album. He paused a minute from the beat assault and spinning bits of songs like Schoolboy Q/A$ap Rocky’s “Hands on the Wheel,” Jay-Z/Kanye West’s “Ni**as in Paris,” Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You,” Portishead’s “Machine Gun” and Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” to welcome the audience and later ask for Transformers 3 on Blu-ray — which he got, and held up with glee, before passing it off quickly to continue hyperactively turning knobs and setting off sequences. Watching Flying Lotus at somewhere like the Hollywood Bowl, it can be easy to dismiss the work he puts into everything. In closer quarters Flying Lotus appears as a virtuoso, animatedly hunching and bouncing over his machines and stroking them like a piano with ease. They don’t call him a beat maestro for nothing. Flying Lotus was joined by fellow artists from his Brainfeeder label Teebs and Jeremiah Jae, the latter of who released one of my favorite hip-hop albums this year, Raw Money Raps. See more photos from the performance and Flying Lotus’ signing session here!

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