Amoeblog

Albums Out 10/30: The Soft Moon, Neil Young, Killing Joke and More

Posted by Billy Gil, October 29, 2012 07:00pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

The Soft MoonZeros

The Soft Moon ZerosCD $12.98

LP $15.98

Slightly more pop than his first release but still dark enough to scare off the uninitiated, the second album from The Soft Moon improves upon Luis Vasquez’s one-man goth factory sound with a bit more muscle and increased emphasis on hooks and (somewhat) intelligible vocals. Vasquez’s sound — one part Dario Argento soundtrack, one part post-punk mastery — remains relentlessly bleak throughout Zeros, creating a sort of shut-in listening experience during which no light enters or escapes. The result isn’t alienating though; rather, Vasquez carefully builds the album up and keeps it chugging smoothly, from an almost M83-like synth-epic opening, to the short ‘n’ creepy “Machines,” to the title track, the first song we get of several that fulfills the promise of his earlier work. The title track and “Insides,” which immediately follows, sees Vasquez allow his voice to step out of the shadows a bit as he gives an impassioned scream in the title track’s buzzing climax, and on single “Insides,” he sings a discernable yet ghostly melody over a Pornography-era Cure backdrop of a looping guitar riff and bassline and mechanical beats. That breathy whisper that opens the song grabs you, but Vasquez seems to know he can’t offer only atmosphere forever, and his singing, emotional and buried, is a highlight across Zeros when it pops up. On “Dire Life,” which revs its synths before kicking off with a yelp, Vasquez drives listeners down a grim autobahn. Even better is “Want,” in which Vasquez cries “I want it…you have it” over clattering, afrobeat-esque drumwork that sounds like nothing else he’s done. It’s touches like this that keeps Zeros from being a one-note album, and though he doesn’t completely step out from the shadow of his influences, on Zeros Vasquez comes dangerously close, while scratching a very specific itch for immaculately constructed goth pop.

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Hurricane Sandy Soundtrack

Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2012 12:45pm | Post a Comment

New York City, Monday, October 29th 3:45pm: Here in New York City and other parts of the Northeast Coast including New Jersey and Rhode Island we are already feeling the strong winds and rain but are still awaiting the brunt of Hurricane Sandy to hit sometime later today. The massive storm with such a friendly name is expected to wreak havoc here on the Northeast over the next day or more with the worst of it hitting later tonight/early tomorrow morning, according the National Weather Service. Already winds are up near 100 MPH on the Jersey Shore and here in Queens, where I am, some trees have been blown down. Hurricane Sandy, which is arriving  in conjunction with a separate severe cold weather system a couple of days shy of Halloween, has  been dubbed "Frankenstorm" by the media who are always, it appears, delighted to have some potential apocalyptic disaster to report upon. Most folks here in New York and New Jersey that I know are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. NYC buses and subways have been out of service since last (Sunday) evening and both JFK and La Guardia airports are shut down with flights cancelled through tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. For up to the minute news on the storm YouTube is live streaming The Weather Channel,  while Weather.Com is doing live updates online that you can get on your mobile devices.

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100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
      

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.

SONG/ARTIST PLAYLIST & AMOEBA SHOP LINK OF ALEX'S 100 GUITAR RIFFS (IN ORDER):


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

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Jonathan Demme’s "Neil Young Journeys" Opens in SF 7/6. Win a Gift Certificate to Amoeba SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 2, 2012 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Hey music and film lovers! In honor of the San Francisco premiere of Jonathan Demme's new documentary NeilNeil Young Journeys Young Journeys, Sony Pictures Classics, Amoeba Music, and Campus Circle invite you to enter to win a gift certificate to Amoeba Music. Just enter HERE at Campus Circle.

Neil Young Journeys is a look at Neil Young's 2011 solo tour to Toronto's Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. At 65, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity. Concert footage of the Massey Hall performances is interspersed with scenes from a road trip through Ontario. Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbors. As he drives past the dramatically changed landscape, Young fondly embraces his memories of the past. 

Neil Young Journeys
 opens in San Francisco at the Century 9 San Francisco Centre this Friday, July 6th!  

The Hives’ ‘Lex Hives’ Hits Stores, Band Picks Out Records at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, June 5, 2012 05:33pm | Post a Comment
The Hives Lex HivesThe HivesLex Hives is out today, and it’s maybe the band’s strongest effort since Veni Vidi Vicious. I remember being in college and all kinds of people were into The Hives during the short-lived so-called garage rock revival of the early ’00s. Mostly “Hate to Say I Told You So” was just better and louder than anything else on the radio at the time, back when people were still listening to mainstream radio to find new and exciting rock bands.
 
It’s great to hear them in good form again on Lex Hives, exuding the same bratty appeal that made them so much fun in the first place. The band continues to veer from the garagey punk of their debut toward both the new wave feel of Tyrannosaurus Hives, like the Devo-esque “Wait a Minute,” and scuffed up ’70s arena rock, especially on first single “Go Right Ahead,” which is like a punk version of E.L.O.’s “Don’t Bring Me Down.” There are still plenty of garage-punk cuts to be had, like breakneck-speed rockers “These Spectacles Reveal the Nostalgics” and “If I Had a Cent,” but it’s nice to see them mess with the formula a bit to keep things interesting — “Take Back the Toys” sounds like someone left a cassette of the band’s biggest hit out in the sun, baked into crispy lo-fi, while “My Time Is Coming” begins a blues-y dirge before tearing into it.
 
Pick up Lex Hives online or in-store, and check out their “What’s In My Bag?” below, in which the band digs into punk, blues, Neil Young and Mitch Hedberg. Frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist is 34 this year, but still somehow looks 18. What do the Swedes know that we don’t?
 

 
Some of The Hives’ Amoeba picks:
 
Mariachi El Bronx II
Mariachi El Bronx – Mariachi El Bronx II
 

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