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Albums Out April 23: No Joy, Phoenix, Junip, Young Galaxy

Posted by Billy Gil, April 23, 2013 04:35pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

No JoyWait to Pleasure

No Joy Wait to PleasureCD $10.98

LP $16.98

A mistake some neo-shoegaze bands make is avoiding the loud guitars the genre is partially based upon without making up for it in melody or some other distinguishing feature. Not so with No Joy, whose debut Ghost Blonde was slathered in distortion and reverb — so much so, in fact, that it did tend to wash them out. Not so with follow-up Wait to Pleasure, which ratchets up the songwriting without sacrificing much in the way of pulverizing guitar power, in a way previewed on their Negaverse EP last year. “E” tunnels along on the strength of a heavily distorted bass that gives anchor to Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd’s guitar feedback and cooing vocals. “Hare Tarot Lies” crushes through with heavy power chords and femme vocals that recall the best of ’90s female-led alt-rock bands (underrated acts like Lush and Veruca Salt) while paying homage to their usual checklist of influences, such as Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine. With the sonics in check, No Joy seem to feel free to explore their pop side on the rest of the album, on the church-like melodies of “Prodigy” and Strawberry Switchblade-esque '80s pop of “Lunar Phobia.” Not all of their gambits work, as they miss a vocal cue on “Slug Night” that could have made it a single, and “Blue Neck Riviera’s” rapping is questionable, even if the song is saved by a melodically charging second half. But even these foibles are mostly endearing, as Wait to Pleasure never wears out its welcome across its 11 tracks. They sound like a band secure in their own sound and trying out new things here and there, occasionally coming up with a power-pop gem like “Lizard Kids,” featuring sweet vocals akin to Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval over muscular, bass-driven riffs. One expects them to continue tinkering with their sound; Wait to Pleasure suggests No Joy can become a great pop band. For now, they’ll have to settle for being one of the best shoegaze bands around.

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Record Store Day Countdown: Phoenix 7"

Posted by Amoebite, April 10, 2013 07:36pm | Post a Comment

Another Record Store Day exclusive! Brand new anthemic stomp from beloved French synth-poppers Phoenix, their new single "Entertainment" on grey swirl wax with an exclusive b-side. This tune busts out with one of the biggest hooks in recent memory, with a full choir and the band pounding away frenetically. Pure pop ice cream that will have dancefloors and festivals shakin'. See you at Amoeba for this and other limited RSD delights available only at indie record stores on Saturday, April 20!

Download our menu (.pdf) of exclusive Record Store Day titles available on April 20, 2013.

See our list of events and happenings at all three stores on RSD.

Phoenix Record Store Day

Album Picks: Daniel Rossen, Julia Holter, The Men, Tanlines

Posted by Billy Gil, March 20, 2012 02:20pm | Post a Comment

daniel rossen silent hour/golden mileDaniel Rossen’s Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP came out today, and true to form for Grizzly Bear’s Rossen, it doesn’t disappoint. Though he’s perhaps the lesser-known entity of Grizzly Bear (the other being gravy-voiced Ed Droste), everything Rossen has released to this point, both within the band (his gorgeous “Deep Blue Sea," for instance”) or without it (as part of Department of Eagles) has born an unmistakable stamp. It’s a tribute to his talent that you can say that without being able to describe just what that stamp is. It’s a certain mysteriousness that is part of what makes Grizzly Bear so alluring, where you’re very much hearing folk-rock with a kind of doo-wop vocal delivery — sounds simple enough — but everything is curiously out of reach. Lyrics are more suggestive than descriptive, intimating nostalgia and loss without really being forthright about it, and arrangements tend to spiral out rather than circle back to where they’ve started. Silent Hour/Golden Mile is actually more direct than some of Rossen’s other work. “Up On High” wouldn’t be out of place on a Grizzly Bear album, while “Silent Song” and “Golden Mile” are relatively straightforward rock songs that still spin off from typical construction, with spindly guitars and high, cooing vocals that remind me a bit of mid-period Radiohead without actually sounding anything like that. Both songs also benefit from hummable moments — not something Rossen is always known for — as well as the kind of high, lap steel guitar lines found famously in Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk” or George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” At five songs, Silent Hour/Golden Mile leaves you wanting for much more, which I’m guessing we’ll get in the form of the next Grizzly Bear or Department of Eagles album, but the EP is far from a departure or indulgence. It’s more like a treat, an appetizer for something bigger.

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Remixes Are the New Black

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 29, 2012 08:02pm | Post a Comment
We've been getting so many great remixes offered as free downloads on Amoeba.com lately. It makes sense from a business standpoint: remixes raise awareness of an artist and their music through something generally unavailable on the album, while simultaneously helping to further interest in the studio versions. (This is my totally unscientific, un-researched hypothesis.)

One of the things I like about remixes is that they can bring new life into a track, make you hear it in an entirely different way. Remixes, like anything else, run the gamut and with the omnipresence of the remix these days there is a good chance of running into some crap ones too. But when they're good, they can be delicious. In fact, over the last few years I've come across a few remixes that I now prefer over their original tracks.
2 Hearts and Chemicals remixes
I'm in love with a new remix from LA/NYC band 
2 Hearts and Chemicals. Their "Coming Home" track was remixed by Miadis, a Dallas remix artist. I love what he did with the song, creating space, manipulating the vocals, and playing with the beats. The song has a different flow now, dipping and climbing like a sine wave. Download "Coming Home (Miadis Remix)."

Active Child Johnny Belinda RemixAnother example of a new remix I prefer over the original is a White Arrows remix of Active Child's "Johnny Belinda." The original track, from You Are All I See (Vagrant, 2011), has a completely different tempo and incorporates the faint stirrings of a choir of monks throughout. The remix maintains Pat Grossi's vocals, but alters the other elements completely. Download "Johnny Belinda (White Arrows Remix)."