Amoeblog

Show Recap: Lust for Youth and Pharmakon at The Complex

Posted by Billy Gil, June 21, 2013 11:55am | Post a Comment

Holy shit, I love this place. Besides that it’s in Glendale, which is weird and cool, it smells like a gay bar (deodorant free) and it’s basically one room with a bar and that’s it. It’s like a really nice warehouse, and that’s awesome. The Complex was just opened last year by John Giovanazzi, who also does industrial/goth night Das Bunker at Jewel’s Catch One. His new venue has a lot of that same vibe, minimally decorated and with great sound.

body of light
Body of Light

The first band I saw was called Body of Light. They were a two-piece; one guy played moody synth chords and triggered primal drum machine beats while the other sang. I was really struck by the singer’s charisma. Besides being very handsome, he really owned the stage, clutching the microphone intensely and raising his tattooed arms up like he was laying back in a hammock. A couple of their songs were really catchy — one saw the singer delivering a repeating vocal with no less passion each time, over a stately four-chord part; another had a three-note bassy riff driving the song, while the keyboardist piled sound above and the singer held out long intoned notes and kneeled before the audience, raising the mic skyward. This was some real rock star stuff. The singer even came into the crowd and sang into my boyfriend’s face.

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Album Picks: Boards of Canada, Surfer Blood, The White Mandingos, Sonny & the Sunsets, Lust for Youth, Disclosure, Deafheaven

Posted by Billy Gil, June 11, 2013 09:59am | Post a Comment

Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest

boards of canada tomorrow's harvestCD $13.98
LP $24.98
Download $9.98

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, the aphorism goes. For Boards of Canada, their absence from releasing music over the past seven years has left their fans rabid for something, anything from the band. Then it came — a series of codes released through various media that, when entered into a website, revealed the release of the duo’s fourth studio album. The long wait for new music and the duo’s willful obscurity about its release isn’t manipulation; it’s warranted, as part of the greater mysterious appeal of Boards of Canada, and for the fact that Tomorrow’s Harvest features some of the band’s greatest work yet. It begins sounding like the opening of a science film on “Gemini,” pointing to their early influence from Canadian nature documentaries, but “Reach for the Dead” directly follows with more epic, ominous tones. Boards of Canada have always been able to imbue their wordless music with just enough suggestion that listeners can invoke their own meaning from the music, and as such, one can’t help but think of countless awful news stories or meaningless status updates when listening to a track like “Sick Times,” which strings ghostly recorded samples of voices speaking in the background behind minor-key tones that hint at global dread. Tomorrow’s Harvest isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Even with a name like “Cold Earth,” it still the strong scent of nostalgia that carried such releases as the In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country EP to great heights, and their cut-up beatwork on tracks like “Jacquard Causeway” entrances. Tomorrow’s Harvest is long and loaded with great tracks, like the scenic “Nothing is Real” and pulsating “New Seeds,” which both appear in the album’s final stretch, making it the kind of record you want to spin again immediately when it’s over to let its finer points sink in. With luck we won’t have to wait as long for another Boards of Canada release, but Tomorrow’s Harvest is the kind of record you can pore over for years, rich enough to rank highly with the rest of the band’s estimable catalog.

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Albums out Nov. 13: Crystal Castles, The Weeknd, Lust For Youth and More

Posted by Billy Gil, November 12, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Crystal Castles III

Crystal Castles IIICD $12.98

LP $17.98

Early interviews about Crystal Castles' stunning third album have seen frontwoman Alice Glass discussing oppression at length with Bono-ish fervor — not something typically associated with an image-conscious electronic duo known more for its antagonistic records and brawling live shows than its politics. But Glass and synth stud Ethan Kath can have it both ways, as III is another visceral attack of a record from Crystal Castles that ups the meaning behind their furor, both explicitly and implied, without losing any of their hedonistic attitude. In fact, III, while lacking some of the shock value of the first two records, is Crystal Castles’ most consistent statement to date. Tracks like “Plague” and “Wrath of God” still pack walloping beats, but they are more of mood pieces than, say, something like II’s “Baptism,” full of moody, heaving passages that draw you in and keep you rapt across the record. III is also smartly paced, keeping some of its more crowd-pleasing moments for later in the record, whereas previous albums were front-loaded. The fourth song in, “Affection,” shares a chord-scheme with MGMT’s “Kids,” though its warped vocals sound like they’re echoing from an abyss — not exactly radio-friendly material. Glass quits whispering and unleashes her trademark echoed yelps on the spare “Pale Flesh,” sure to be a live favorite, while “Sad Eyes” charges forth with unabashed club glee and hard-hitting beatwork. The album’s final quarter features some of its most remarkable moments, full of seedy club bangers, while its last song, “Child I Will Hurt You,” is a typically gorgeous closer from the band, layering Goblin-style keyboards over Glass’ haunting vocals, which often sing of pain inflicted upon the vulnerable, echoing the statement of that album cover, calling to mind suffering and comfort in equal doses. That concept isn’t as overt as it could have been, but when it does come through, as when Glass sings “I’ll protect you from all the things I’ve seen” on “Kerosene,” Crystal Castles create the aural equivalent of gunfire and a helping hand.

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