Amoeblog

Show Recap: Tanlines at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, May 20, 2015 05:18pm | Post a Comment

tanlines amoeba hollywood

Tanlines have always stood out among the crowded field of electro-pop bands. Their 2012 debut, Mixed Emotions, was clever without being pretentious, cute without being cloying, and hooky as hell to the point that we'd go see them play live years after the fact and without a new album.

tanlines highlights lpNow, with a sturdy new album finally under their belts, the reliably fine live band came out to Amoeba Hollywood May 19 to play a set from the just-released Highlights. The duo (live, a quartet) launched into their first-ever Amoeba set with countryish ballad “Invisible Ways,” a bold choice since it’s one example of how Highlights hops genres and strays from the electro-pop mold, but it’s also one of the album's best songs and a chance for singer Eric Emm to do his best Bryan Ferry over jangling chords.

“We’re not used to seeing this many CDs in the audience,” bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Jesse Cohen said before diving into the surf-rocky new wave of “Slipping Away.” “I love that song!” he said as they tended to their sound and intro’d Mixed Emotions’ “Brothers,” awash with synth and ratcheting forward on live electronic drums. The moody “Bad Situations” followed, again nicely featuring live electronic drums and Emm’s breaking croon.

Continue reading...

Show Recap: Death Cab For Cutie at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, April 1, 2015 04:02pm | Post a Comment

death cab for cutieDeath Cab For Cutie closed down the store at Amoeba Hollywood March 31 on the day of the release of their new album, Kintsugi.

Just before the band starts its tour in support of the album—and now without longtime guitarist and producer Chris Walla—the band could’ve been unsure of its footing. But they pretty much crushed it, starting with the album’s thumping opener “No Room in Frame.” “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” saw the band pick up the energy while still employing moody guitarwork and ghostly effects to good measure.

death cab for cutie kintsugi lpBen Gibbard paused a moment to introduce new band members Dave Depper and Zac Rae (both on keys and guitars) before launching into the three-guitar “Little Wanderer.” It’s easy to forget what a great guitar band Death Cab can be, and honestly, the guitars threatened to overtake Gibbard’s star power on that song. But the song’s catchy chorus brings it all back, and Gibbard still stood center-stage on  “Black Sun,” shaking his head through the song’s biting lyrics amid dusty organ and languid guitarwork.

Death Cab at times could be thought of as more of a solid and enjoyable band than a dynamic one, but they’ve seemingly sought to incorporate more variety to their introverted indie-pop on recent releases as their audience has grown, and live, their skill at juggling different sounds is even more pronounced. On the cowboyish “El Dorado,” Gibbard’s voice rang clearly over a sturdy gallop and wallowing guitars, while “Everything’s a Ceiling” is closer to an ’80s prom ballad and had the crowd clapping along to its stuttering beat and glowing synths.

Continue reading...

Deerhoof Unveil Crazy 'Paradise Girls' Video, Kick Ass at the Troubadour

Posted by Billy Gil, November 18, 2014 11:25am | Post a Comment

deerhoof troubadourDeerhoof played a typically destructive set at the Troubadour in West Hollywood last night, starting off with tracks from their excellent new album, La Isla Bonita. Satomi Matsuzaki irrepressibly chanted to the cute “Paradise Girls” (“Girls…who play the bass guitar!”) and skronky “Last Fad” (“Baseball is cancelled!”) while John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez braided sneaky guitar lines around her. “Exit Only” sounded a lot fiercer live, while drummer/madman Greg Saunier traded instruments with Matsuzaki for La Isla Bonita’s pulsating, chaotic closer, “Oh Bummer.” A well-selected sprinkling of older material meshed well with the newer stuff, from the crashing “Dummy Discards a Heart” (from Apple O’) to the thumping “Twin Killers” (from The Runners Four) and riff-stuffed “Fresh Born” (from Offend Maggie). Saunier’s drumming remains a barely contained tornado to which the rest of the band somehow hangs on; the band stays tight even when he flies off the rails, making everything exciting, unpredictable and yet always masterful. Matsuzaki let loose for insane closer “Come See the Duck” (from the Green Cosmos EP), goading the audience into an off-beat call-and-response of “Come! Come! Come see the duck!” and teasing us when we got it wrong. Who can guess how 12 albums and 20 years in, Deerhoof are as energetic and thrilling to experience as ever. If you’re in S.F., they’re at the American Music Hall tonight with Crystal Skulls and Go Dark. Don’t miss it.

Continue reading...

Show Recap: Jhene Aiko at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, September 12, 2014 04:48pm | Post a Comment

jhene aiko amoeba hollywood

For an artist who was essentially just releasing her first LP, Jhene Aiko certainly came across as a star when she performed at Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 10.

Aiko, of course, is not unknown; she has guested on numerous hip-hop tracks, perhaps most notably singing the heartfelt opening to Drake’s “From Time,” off of one of the biggest albums of the past couple of years. Still, despite her apparent rolodex of big-name artists, Aiko herself has remained curiously in the shadows.

Until now, that is. Her first full-length LP, Souled Out, is an elegant collection of breathy L.A. soul with just the right hip-hop touch. It’s an album that puts her front-and-center, unlike her .sailing soul(s). mixtape and Sail Out EP, which drew on such high-profile guest stars as Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. This time, save for a last-minute guest spot from Common, Aiko’s pretty much sailing alone. That seemed just fine with the line of fans who stretched around the block at Amoeba for the chance to see her:

Continue reading...

Show Recap: Spoon at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, August 8, 2014 02:33pm | Post a Comment

spoon britt daniels amoeba hollywoodI was curious to hear how Spoon’s sonically brilliant new album would come across live. Though they’ve always been a solid, rhythmically interesting band, producer David Fridmann gave the band an extra something special on this new album that made them really come alive on record.

Live, the album’s varied songs really popped, from the workmanlike “Rent I Pay” to the thumping yet introspective “Inside Out.” Clearly, the band is as enamored of their new songs as are critics, as the band counted off songs gleefully and seemed to up the volume of the groove every time for maximum impact.

spoon they want my soul cdThough they’re an engaging live band, Spoon are also knob twiddlers at heart, and by the third song, the space-Motown of “Rainy Taxi,” their sound had been perfected, erupting into a noise break at the end. Britt Daniels was reliably on throughout, his gritty vocals cutting through a loud mix.

It was great to hear the band bust out “I Turn My Camera On” (from 2005’s Gimme Fiction), the song’s carefully cultivated beat serving as a nice counterpoint to their noisier new material, as well as the comparable “Small Stakes” (from 2002’s Kill the Moonlight). The songs served as a reminder of Spoon’s many strong albums—remember the Beatlesesque “Don't Make Me a Target,” from 2007’s excellent Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga? It sounded great, even if Daniels seemed frustrated for a moment while on his knees wailing on the guitar (funny, since he could just stand still, looking and sounding perfect and people would be happy).

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  >>  NEXT