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Show Recap: Tanlines, SISU and Roses at Sayers Club

Posted by Billy Gil, August 22, 2014 05:48pm | Post a Comment

Tanlines headlined a trio of dreamy indie-pop bands for the latest Red Bull Sound Select show, which happened Aug. 20 at Sayers Club in Hollywood, curated by Amoeba.

roses sayers clubL.A. trio Roses came out bouncing around on stage with a set of new wavey tracks, about half of which could be found on their new EP, Dreamlover. After a couple of upbeat new ones, they got slow and dreamy for “The Fog” before returning to a bobbing dance beat for “Florence Girls.” Guitarist Juan Velasquez remarked that the couch-laden venue felt like MTV Unplugged, something I’d noticed upon entering (or perhaps “VH1 Storytellers”?), and the band finished with a new song that combined Cars-style palm-muted guitars with frontman Marc Steinberg’s intoning vocals.

 

 

 

 

 

sisu fluteSISU came on next, the project from Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu. In SISU, she’s on guitar and vocals, singing “stash a secret deep in you heart” like it’s a command over thumping krautrock on “Blood Tears,” the title track to her excellent album. Sometimes sultry and hazy, other times crushing with pulverizing guitars, SISU struck the right balance on songs like “Harpoons,” which pairs a grim tone and eerie effects in its verses with a sweetly sung, romantic chorus. A friend said it reminded him a bit of Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins sung by a woman, while I was thinking a lot of Curve—both great comparisons in my book! A flute by the mic was the cause of much speculation/excitement, which Vu brought out for a quick flute solo before returning to more tasty shoegaze crunch.
 

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SISU Chats With the Amoeblog Prior to Show at Sayers Club Aug. 20

Posted by Billy Gil, August 19, 2014 12:05pm | Post a Comment
sandra vu dum dum girlsSISU aka Sandra Vu has been a favorite of ours since releasing her debut album, Blood Tears, last year. Whether singing and writing with her shoegaze-pop project or behind the drum kit for Dum Dum Girls, Vu doesn't seem to sit still for long. We caught up with her prior to her next show, along with Tanlines and Roses, Aug. 20 at the Sayers Club as part of Red Bull's Sound Select series. The show is curated by Amoeba Music and is only $3 with an RSVP.
 
Hi Sandra! I just have a few questions since we last spoke. I heard you're already writing and recording the follow-up to Blood Tears. How far along are you? What's the process been like for you?

It’s coming along but since I have to work in spurts, it’s been going slowly. I’m pretty sure I’m experiencing ‘second record’ jitters but I try my best not to think about it! I am playing around with some different gear (drum machine, synth, software), so there’s been that bit of learning curve, and seeing if these pieces stick. It can be like growing another limb. They’re not only just different sounds, they can change up your whole process. 

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Sandra Vu of SISU and Dum Dum Girls Talks 'Blood Tears'

Posted by Billy Gil, October 9, 2013 02:33pm | Post a Comment

sandra vuSandra Vu has been the cool presence behind the drum kit in a number of bands, both on record and live. She's helped propel such bands as Dirty Beaches, The Raveonettes, Midnight Movies, Boredoms and, most often, as the drummer for Dum Dum Girls.

Now she has her own project named SISU. Judging by her resume, SISU's debut album is somehow both comfortingly familiar, drawing from influences such as girl groups and noise pop, and something entirely new. The strange tones that strike across the skies of songs like "Counting Stars" and pulsating beats under songs like "Harpoons" draw more from krautrock, industrial and experimental music than contemporary shoegaze, while Vu's vocals range from disaffected and alien to front-and-center pop vocals. Blood Tears is a delight throughout, atmospheric and cool, yet catchy and immediately memorable.

I took a minute to speak with Vu about her new project and how she came into making music on her own.

 

 

Me: I hear SISU is the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.” Why did you choose that name?

Vu: Originally, "SISU" stems from my name, but we later found out that it was a Finnish word. I like the meaning though so we've adopted it, respectfully.

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Album Picks: Sebadoh, Crystal Stilts, Blouse, SISU

Posted by Billy Gil, September 17, 2013 09:16am | Post a Comment
Sebadoh - Defend Yourself (CD, LP or download)

sebadoh defend yourself lpAmid the countless recent reunions of '90s bands, the timing seems perfect for the return of Sebadoh. While he's been toiling beneath the din of J Mascis' guitar heroics in the reunited Dinosaur Jr. for years, Lou Barlow's second-fiddle position in that band hasn't given enough of an outlet for Barlow's own songwriting. Thus Barlow sounds hungry on Defend Yourself, the first Sebadoh album since 1999. "Can you tell that I'm about to lose control?" he asks on the outset of the album on "I Will," over a serviceable melodic jangle. That statement proves true, as things get more interesting as Defend Yourself progresses. The stuttering "Beat" provides ample room for Barlow to shred both his guitars and vocals. It sounds as though Barlow's world is coming apart in the rumbling "Defend Yr Self"—an understandable position, given the end of his marriage, which provides bitter fuel for Barlow's fire on this album. Songs like "Oxygen," an upbeat indie pop-rocker, and "Once," a tentative instrumental, provide respite (though "Oxygen's" typically caustic lyrics remind us that even the shiniest apples from Barlow are laced with arsenic). But Barlow's at his manic best in songs like "Inquiries," which heaves into a nauseating (in a thrilling way) final portion, or "Final Days," which pairs headlong, full-band rush with world-doubting lyrics ("it's all made up and a waste of time" Barlow sings under his breath). With a mouthful of bile, Barlow spits out the songs of Defend Yourself. The resulting record feels as crucial and relevant as anything he's been a part of.

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Weekly Roundup: Banks, SISU, Superhumanoids, Death Grips, Coachwhips

Posted by Billy Gil, August 29, 2013 02:17pm | Post a Comment

Banks – “Waiting Game”

banks singerL.A. singer Banks makes longing sound sexier than the main event with “Waiting Game.” The song is produced by Sohn, who throws a nice, thick digital shroud over the whole thing partway in. Banks’ drowned-out vocals and style are reminiscent of The Weeknd, with whom she’s touring, and it reminds me a bit, too, of a grimier cousin to L.A’s Rhye. Best line: “I wanna lean on your shoulder.” Sweet.

 

SISU – “Harpoons”

sandra vuIt seems like everyone in the Crystal Stilts/Dum Dum Girls/Vivian Girls vortex of great noise-pop bands has a side or solo project. The lastest is Dum Dums’ drummer Sandra Vu, whose solo project, SISU, sounds like a fun splatter of caustic pop judging by “Harpoons,” which gets its shuffling chorus lodged into your head only after hitting it with a little chaos, as softly pounding drums and light oscillating sounds accompany Vu’s sing-speaky vocals in a kind of creepy sound collage. Hear it on Soundcloud. She’ll be at Part Time Punks at La Cita Aug. 30 with Whirr and Nothing at 7 p.m. Look for her Light Eyes EP at Amoeba, and her first full-length, Blood Tears, is due Sept. 17 on Mono Prism.

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