Amoeblog

Albums Out Feb. 12: Veronica Falls, Lisa Germano, Pissed Jeans and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 12, 2013 12:23am | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen

Veronica FallsCD $12.98

LP $16.98

Veronica Falls make a huge songwriting leap on their second album for Slumberland Records. Where their first self-titled album was sweet and catchy, Waiting for Something to Happen explodes with teenage energy, overflowing with emotion and honesty. Frontwoman Roxanne Clifford is no belter, but she knows how to land a line, singing “driving late at night, I’ll let you listen to the music you like” in a way that digs into you with unforced adolescent earnestness on “Teenage.” Musically, Veronica Falls touch upon ’80s jangle and ’60s garage rock without falling prey to forefather worship — their easiest comparison for influence is early R.E.M., constructing straightforward guitar pop that wear honesty and naivete as badges of pride. Similarly to that band in its early incarnation, Veronica Falls sound like a gang of close-knit misfits, with Clifford’s cohorts surrounding her smooth voice with harmony and melodic counterpoint on a song like “If You Still Want Me,” wringing new energy out of a chord arrangements older than sin played as though it were entirely new. The band’s confidence and ability to guide a song smoothly carries them through simple arrangements until you’re completely sold — witness how the band makes “Everybody’s Changing” into their own “Everybody Hurts,” with a handful of chords, simple statements and the panache to carry it off. While it may have been tempting to enjoy Veronica Falls as merely one of the best bands to recreate a beloved old sound, they make the case for being as strong as several of their forebears on Waiting for Something to Happen’s strongest moments. When Clifford sings “You’re a broken toy, it’s true/But I am broken too” on “Broken Toy,” the teen angst in you will come flooding right back. Don’t resist the urge to give in.

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Albums Out 2/5: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jim James, Grouper and More

Posted by Billy Gil, February 5, 2013 10:50am | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II

Unknown Mortal OrchestraCD $12.98

LP $14.98

Lo-fi psych-pop band Unknown Mortal Orchestra grow and refine their sound by leaps and bounds on their second album. While the band’s fine self-titled debut reveled in its Syd Barret-inspired weirdness, II ups the ante by funneling its odd turns into pop songs that seem to activate new nodes in your brain. “From the Sun” makes like a White Album demo, stuffing its rich arrangement into the washing machine — it comes out with colors mismatched but intact. “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” is high-flying indie-pop that doesn’t have to ask to make itself at home on loop. By the time you’re three songs in, with the soft vintage soul of “So Good at Being in Trouble,” II becomes remarkable rather than merely enjoyable. From space-rock (“No Need for a Leader”) to glammy soul (“Secret Xtians”) to Madchester-style Britpop (“Faded in the Morning”), Unknown Mortal Orchestra seem to have digested decades worth of bargain-bin records and made the sounds their own on II.

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Albums Out Jan. 22: FIDLAR, The Growlers, Toro y Moi and More

Posted by Billy Gil, January 21, 2013 08:55pm | Post a Comment

It’s the first big release date of the year, with tons of much-anticipated albums hitting shelves.

 

Album Picks:

FIDLAR - FIDLAR

FidlarCD $12.98

LP $19.98

FIDLAR’s long-awaited debut album is a Pabst-soaked party record with strong songwriting anchoring its punk attitude. Pulling from hardcore, surf rock and pop-punk, and with the immediacy of The Clash’s first record, the foursome, made up of singer/guitarist Zac Carper, Brandon Schwartzel (bass), and brothers Elvis Kuehn (guitar) and Max Kuehn (drums), sing about being young and dumb and getting fucked up in songs with names like “Cheap Beer” (the chorus of which consists of the shouted lyrics “I DRINK CHEAP BEER SO WHAT FUCK YOU!”). But all the funny lyrics in the world wouldn’t mean a thing if the songs themselves didn’t captivate you, and they do, across FIDLAR’s 14 tracks. There’s nary a hint of cynical sneer, and though they play with sloppy punk abandon, their hooks are tight as a six-pack ring. FIDLAR sing about who they are and what they do, whether that’s waking, baking, skating in mechanical hedonism on the ferocious “Wake Bake Skate” or reflecting that said young hedonism can “kind of suck,” on the exhausted-sounding closing track. That’s a telling moment — for all of FIDLAR’s gleeful celebration, the record’s honed hooks are the sound of very hard work, and it pays off in spades.

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Albums Out Jan. 15: Yo La Tengo, Christopher Owens, A$AP Rocky and More

Posted by Billy Gil, January 14, 2013 01:35pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Yo La TengoFade

Yo La TengoCD $12.98

LP $16.98 [out 1/29]

Deluxe LP $20.98

Digital $9.98

Even within their warm, now familiar sound, we’ve seen many guises from Yo La Tengo over the years, from grounded noise rockers to Burt Bacharach enthusiasts. This latest incarnation of the band on Fade, their 13th album, pulls from several of these but is most in line with their mellowed out 2000 album And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. This is great news for fans, as that was one of the band’s classics. Fade begins typically with a long, contemplative piece entitled “Ohm” that sets things up for a subdued affair. The next couple of tracks are consummate minimalist pop pieces, but the band turns up the guitars for “Paddle Forward,” a gorgeous slice of indie guitar pop that reminds us why young bands like Yuck and the Slumberland clan pull liberally from Yo La Tengo. By the time we’re halfway through the album, the droning, breathtaking “Stupid Things,” it’s clear we’re listening to one of the better Yo La Tengo albums, an improvement over 2009’s Popular Songs. Its release couldn’t be better timed, either. You just want to curl up with Fade like an electric blanket and relish in its radiance. Catch Yo La Tengo at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.

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New Preorders: Jim James, Beach Fossils, Veronica Falls and More

Posted by Billy Gil, January 9, 2013 07:17pm | Post a Comment

Read below for preorders recently made available at Amoeba. I've linked to vinyl LP on all of these, but they're all available to preorder on CD as well. See all of the albums up for preorder here.

 

John Paul White - The Long Goodbye

John Paul WhiteOut Jan. 22

The Civil Wars man is embarking on a solo release. Check out The Civil Wars' live show at Amoeba here. Download the performance here.

 

Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love

ra ra riot beta loveOut Jan. 22

The latest from the indie-pop band features the melancholy synths and vocoder jam "When I Dream."

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