Amoeblog

Show Report: The Raveonettes and Melody's Echo Chamber; Diiv, Violens and Cold Showers; Grimes

Posted by Billy Gil, October 12, 2012 01:40pm | Post a Comment

Melody's Echo ChamberBack on Monday night, I checked out The Raveonettes’ show at The El Rey Theatre. Although I like their latest album, Observator, more than some critics did, I admit I mostly went to check out opener Melody’s Echo Chamber, my favorite new band of the moment. The young band came out quietly, two girls and two guys dressed in paisley apparel befitting their swirling psych sound, akin to Broadcast plugging in with Tame Impala, whose Kevin Parker produced their excellent self-titled record (as well as his own new album, the amazing Lonerism, seriously check out both of these albums now if you haven’t yet). They played most of their sole record, starting with standout “Endless Shore,” which reminds me of Lush as much as any other artist, putting them firmly in line with classic shoegazers. Even without a drummer, piping in those titanic drums found on the record, the quartet played through most of the record pretty flawlessly, once stopping a song when a loop didn’t come in right or something like that. While witnessing the music press try to make sense of this hot new band, I’ve realized that a lot of times describing a new female-fronted band becomes an exercise in naming other well-known female-fronted bands from the last 20 years — there are only so many, given the tendency for female artists to be presented as solo artists society’s favoring of male-fronted bands — and that tends to be limiting. Melody’s Echo Chamber are a very good band; they do sound a bit like Broadcast and Stereolab, and if you have a problem with that, you’re nuts.

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Album Picks: Melody's Echo Chamber, Chris Cohen, The Soft Pack, Lavender Diamond, Plus Albums Out Tuesday

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2012 04:30pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks:
 
Melody's Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo Chamber
 
My favorite new band out right now is Melody’s Echo Chamber, whose enchanting self-titled debut is a study in ebullient dream-pop perfection. The story goes that Melody Prochet hooked up with Aussie psych-rock greats Tame Impala, calling on the band’s Kevin Parer to beef up her beauteous, French-pop-inspired arrangements with the kind of soaring sonics employed by that band. What comes out is indeed a perfect marriage. It’s one of those records where the cover perfectly captures the mood: mysterious, colorful and ethereal, you get lost in the folds of this record and don’t want to come out. Fans of Broadcast and Blonde Redhead, take note. The only downside is that aside from a few strong standouts, like the garage rocky opener “I Follow You” and lush (and Lush-esque) “Endless Shore,” the record blurs together. No matter — for fans of this kind of thing, you won’t know where the time has gone. As with like-minded peers A Sunny Day in Glasgow, the emphasis is more on album as experience, following dissociative dream logic in which melodies and arrangements are allowed to meander and linger and flow into one another in a singular happening. In a word, divine.
 
 
Chris CohenChris CohenOvergrown Path
 
Chris Cohen is one of the great underappreciated guitar players of our generation — listen back to Deerhoof records from when he was in the band for proof of his and John Dieterich’s insane riffery and interplay. Since leaving that band, he’s spent time with projects such as Cryptacize, but now on his first solo album and John Cale Paris 1919 moment, we get to see what a strong singer, songwriter and arranger he is, as well. “Monad” opens the album with the sort of skewed guitarwork that will make early Deerhoof fans squeal, but that quickly fades into a brisk, smart soft-pop track punctuated by splashy drums, not unlike one of Yo La Tengo’s more ornate songs. Cohen packs his intricate guitarwork into skilled compositions, such as the Latin-psych vibing “Caller No.99,” in a way that was never as apparent in his flashier Deerhoof contributions. Though his voice is unremarkable, its nice-guy pleasantness carries listeners swiftly through mellow but tricky compositions, avoiding the sort of fussiness that could have resulted with punchier performances. By the time you arrive at the sweet “bum bum bum bums” of the irresistible “Optimist High,” you’re floating on a cloud of contentment and ready to follow Cohen just about anywhere. Overgrown Path is really the perfect fall album, cozy and warm and subtly, almost magically, life-affirming.
 

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