Amoeblog

Psych-Rockers Heron Oblivion Chat Before Amoeba SF Performance March 4

Posted by Billy Gil, March 1, 2016 06:14pm | Post a Comment

heron oblivion band

You may not have heard of Heron Oblivion yet, but that’ll soon change.The psych-rock band recently signed to the venerable Sub Pop label, despite only having publicly played live just a few times prior, and have now toured with stoner-rock troubadour Kurt Vile. Part of that has to do with the band’s pedigree — guitarists Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson played in brain-fryers Comets on Fire, with Von Harmonson also playing in Sic Alps and Six Organs of Admittance and Miller in Howlin’ Rain and Feral Ohms; Charlie Saufley played in the similarly minded Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound; and singer/drummer Meg Baird has played in psych-folk band Espers as well as solo.

The rest has solely to do with the sheer power of their debut, self-titled album. Over seven songs, the bands’ axes clash like fighting wolves, tangling like the brambles and branches that adorn the album cover. Keeping all this Crazy Horse-style madness reined in is a grounded rhythm section and the heart-stopping vocals of Baird. Her voice can simmer low and quavering like a classic British folk singer and then rise to seemingly unattainable heights on songs like the climactic "Your Hollows."

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Weekly Roundup: Kelela, Wavves, jennylee, Six Organs of Admittance, Useless Eaters

Posted by Billy Gil, September 18, 2015 08:24am | Post a Comment

Kelela – “Rewind” video

kelelaSome serious Janet vibes from this new Kelela video. A co-production between Kelela, Kingdom and Nugget, the song is not only Kelela’s catchiest yet, it’s her warmest, in which we get the best sense of her as an artist beyond she of incredible production, a rolodex of brilliant co-producers and a velvety smooth voice. It’s on the much-anticipated HALLUCINOGEN EP, due Oct. 9 on Cherry Coffee/Warp.

 

Wavves – “Way Too Much” video

wavvesFor the video to their snappy power-pop gem “Way Too Much,” Nathan Williams and co. play in a basement while a bloody Underground Empire Wrestling match happens. Williams says he’s a big wrestling fan and has viewing parties at his place, but this was something else. “They had a baseball bat with duct tape wrapped around it, and thumbtacks stuck in there, and they were hitting each other in the head with it,” he tells Rolling Stone. Yikes. Watch below, and check out Wavves’ V when it hits Oct. 2.

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Album Picks: Mourn, A Place to Bury Strangers, Jose Gonzalez, Six Organs of Admittance, Ibeyi, Sonny & the Sunsets

Posted by Billy Gil, February 17, 2015 09:55am | Post a Comment

MournMourn

mourn lpCatalonian teen quartet Mourn makes a passionate racket on their debut album. Singer Jazz Rodriguez Bueno channels PJ Harvey with her raspy delivery and more cutting lyrics on tracks like “Dark Issues,” or a young Siouxsie, on the way she can play with emotions but still bring a smile to your face, on songs like galloping opener “Your Brain is Made of Candy.” Her band keeps things terse, inspired by the likes of Nirvana and The Ramones, yet their clean guitars and neat grooves on standouts like “Philliphius” and “Otitis” suggest wisdom beyond their years. A handful of tracks read as more juvenile alt-rock exercises, yet Mourn also never loses momentum, bashed out with a live-tracked, Steve Albini feel and the animated precision of off-the-cuff ideas rehearsed and captured in one raw take—Bueno’s wail at the end of bonus track “Boys Are Cunts” feels both visceral and well-timed. It’s an incredibly promising debut that puts our faith back in so-called wasted youth.

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Album Picks: Father John Misty, Punk 45

Posted by Billy Gil, February 10, 2015 10:46am | Post a Comment

Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

father john misty i love you honeybear lpFather John Misty’s fearless second record builds on his folk-rock sound with orchestral touches, genre diversions and direct, conversational lyrics that cut through singer/songwriter clichés. The title track introduces Beatlesesque melodies and weeping steel guitar to prepare you for the scope of the record. J. Tillman starts going into crooner mode with the spectacular “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” his crushed-velvet vocals singing over a sweeping, country-symphonic arrangement, but his lyrics nicely keep the romanticism from getting too gooey (“I wanna take you in the kitchen/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”). “True Affection” takes a sharp turn into MIDI-electro-dream-pop, with some Fleet Foxes-style harmonies keeping things grounded in Tillman’s wheelhouse. “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” takes another turn, this time into Velvets-third-album twinkling indie pop, while Tillman calls out an airheaded groupie (“She says like, literally, music is the air she breathes,” he sings hilariously). Tillman’s lyrics work so well because of their specificity—you feel like you’re watching him break hearts at a local bar when he sings “Why the long face? Blondie, I’m already taken,” over a sultry Southern sway on “Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow.” Such subject matter could read as self-serving, if not for the album’s more self-effacing tracks, like “The Ideal Husband,” in which Tillman admits various wrongdoings, petty or otherwise, over nervy rock ‘n’ roll; or “Bored in the USA,” a piano ballad that seems to mock Tillman’s own first-world problems of alienation and dullness (“Save me, white Jesus!” is an awesomely cutting exclamation). Tillman’s refusal to do anything in a typical way while still keeping the music highly polished helps I Love You, Honeybear to never feel indulgent. Rather, it’s an extraordinarily giving album, as Tillman’s honesty and strength as a songwriter and performer has grown immeasurably. It’s easily one of the best albums of the year thus far.

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Six Organs of Admittance Frontman Discusses Heavy New Album ‘Ascent’

Posted by Billy Gil, September 18, 2012 04:40pm | Post a Comment
six organs of admittance ben chasnySix Organs of Admittance main man Ben Chasny is a prolific sort, logging nearly 30 releases over the past 14 years, counting seven-inches and EPs (but not compilations and collaborations). In all actuality, it’s tough to even keep track of his work, which includes psychedelic folk music (at one point called “freak folk” or any other number of silly things); experimental, drone and ambient music; as well as straight-up psych rock, which comes out in full force on his latest album — and one of his best — Ascent. Recorded with members of his much-loved psych-rock band Comets on Fire, who released a couple of awesome albums in the mid-2000s, Ascent is a trip, firing off from the Comets-style wordless guitar assault of “Waswasa” into the ’60s style psych of “Close to the Sky,” the swirling drone-based “They Called You Near” and folkier passages like the lovelorn “Your Ghost.” It’s a nice entry point for Chasny’s work, encompassing many of the sounds with which he’s been associated over the years, and signifies a reunion of sorts for that band, which went on hiatus in 2008 and which formed with Chasny over a decade ago. I caught up with Chasny as the album was releasing in August. Six Organs of Admittance play The Echo Friday, Sept. 21, with Matt Kivel (of indie pop group Princeton) and Colossal Yes.
 
PST: How do you approach a new album? Does it come from whatever you happen to be playing and writing at the moment, or do you go in with a specific notion of what you want to do?
 
Chasny: It’s usually sort of a specific notion sort of thing. This record, it just seemed time to do it. I like to do the opposite of whatever the last record was. Asleep on the Floodplain was so acoustic. I thought the best thing would be to do a more loud record. Then I realized we never did the record we would have done 10 years ago and I thought it would be the perfect time.
 
PST: What inspired the heavier rock sound of the new album? Were you inspired by anything you were listening to at the time, or was it really more a reaction to what you had previously recorded?
 
Chasny: I think, that’s always been a side of Six Organs that’s been more of a live thing but that’s never really been captured on record. So I’ve done tours with a live band that was all electric, but I’ve just never done it as a record. And I didn’t want to do a live record to capture it, I just wanted to get into the studio to do that. I just thought it was time to record it in the studio.
 
PST: Who plays on the new album and is in the live band?
 
six organs ascentChasny: On the album it’s all of the Comets guys — it’s just basically Ethan [Miller] and Utrillo [Kushner], Ben Flashman and Noel [von Harmonson]. The touring band is gonna change because everyone does so many different things all the time. If we could get everyone back together, we would probably just tour as Comets or do a Comets record. One of the reasons we don’t play together anymore is just everyone is always doing something different. On the West Coast, all the California shows are gonna have me, Ben Flashman, Utrillo on drums and Noel’s gonna be on guitar. So it’ll be three other Comets guys besides me. The Northwest will have a couple of Comets guys. When we do Europe, it will be a couple of the Comets guys.
 
PST: Did these songs mostly come from jams, from songs you had written at least part of beforehand or both?
 
Chasny: A couple of the songs are older songs that were on older records, on Holy Mountain. Before I joined Comets, all the Comets guys used to back up Six Organs, because Six Organs and Comets would play shows together, but Comets would always play in reall loud bars and no one could really hear the acoustic guitar, so we were doing sort of loud, electric versions before I joined Comets. So we took that idea for the older songs, and then I wrote a bunch of the newer songs in December and sent the guys the demos, and then we worked on those before we recorded.
 
PST: The album does have a live, sort of freewheeling feel. How many takes did you usually do? Did you record it live and/or use overdubs?
 
Chasny: It was all recorded live. There are some overdubs on a couple of songs just to beef it up, some of the slower pieces have overdubbed guitar solos. Most of the tracks were recorded live, and all the guitar solos were record live. I’d say anywhere between four and seven takes on some of the songs. It was pretty spontaneous. We had them all down. It’s not like the songs have hyper complicated time changes or key changes or anything, so it was more about getting a really good feel to the songs.
 
PST: What inspired putting “Your Ghost” on the record, this acoustic number amongst the heavier, live-band material?
 
Chasny: When I was doing the demos, I did all the demos on acoustic guitar anyway. We just transferred them to an electric thing. It was everyone’s opinion that maybe that one should just be acoustic. We were kind of fooling around with it different ways, and we just thought it might kind of break up the record a little bit if we kept it solo acoustic.
 
PST: I really love “Even If You Knew” on the new album. Was the goal with songs like that one and “Waswasa” to just have a great forum to be able to let loose and explore band interplay?
 
Chasny: “Even If You Knew” was a song we used to do 10 years ago. That’s the one song that has co-credit writing for all the Comets guy. Ethan came up with bassline when I lived in Santa Cruz. We all wrote the song together a long time ago. It’s never been recorded. And then “Waswasa,” I wrote when I was at a friend’s house in England, and he had his guitar tuned really strangely in a tuning I’d never used before. I picked it up and that was the song that came out of it. I kind of thought this should be a rock song kinda thing. That was one of the pushing points to make the whole record more of a rock record. I came up with the riff on this acoustic guitar and thought the record should have more of this rock kind of sound. That’s why it’s first on the record and kind of key to it being loud.

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