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New Smashing Pumpkins Album ‘Oceania’ Up for Preorder at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, May 29, 2012 05:36pm | Post a Comment
Smashing Pumpkins OceaniaOceania, the upcoming “album within an album” from The Smashing Pumpkins, is now up for preorder on Amoeba.com. The album is part of Billy Corgan’s ongoing Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project, which has included two physical releases thus far, Vol. 1 and 2.
 
It’s been a tricky thing to navigate Billy Corgan’s post-breakup of the original Smashing Pumpkins career. For every good to terrific release — from the unfairly maligned, Cocteau Twins-esque Machina and especially Machina II, to the too-short-lived Zwan and its sole release, Mary Star of the Sea, to his promising Depeche Mode as shoegaze solo debut, TheFutureEmbrace — there’ve been missteps — the largely underwhelming Zeitgeist (save a few choice crazy guitar tracks), the pretty bad American Gothic EP, tossed off digital singles. Of the newer songs, released after the departure of longtime drummer and sole other original Pumpkin Jimmy Chamberlain, I’ve only really liked a few. The psych-ballad “A Stitch in Time” knocks me on my ass when I hear it and leaves me hoping Corgan will continue pursuing more experimental territory, like he did to such success (at least in my mind, and that of a devoted cult) on Adore.
 
From what I’ve heard of Oceania so far, I’m cautiously optimistic. Though Pumpkins songs never sound the same on record as they do live, recent Pumpkins recordings have sounded increasingly stripped-down, which isn’t a problem, as long as the songs are strong. So just going by songs, then, the live tracks I’ve heard on YouTube from Oceania, as they’ve yet to release an official single from it, rock pretty hard, and do, as Corgan has alluded, sound like Siamese Dream, Gish and, actually, especially, Pisces Iscariot, their B-side album from the early era that’s at least as good as Gish. So far, opener “Quasar” reminds me a lot of “Geek USA,” one of my favorite songs from Siamese Dream —and ever, really — with its stop-start heavy riffage. The recording of “Panopticon” I heard has the kind of harmonic guitar playing that gives me goosebumps, kind of like Zeitgeist standouts “7 Shades of Black” and “Starz,” but with a better melody, like “Rocket.” “Pinwheels” aims for the heartstrings with its plinking keyboards and classic harmonic riff, sort of like a mellower “Today” or “Glynis,” one of my favorite Pumpkins B-sides.
 
So, we’ll see, fellow Pumpkins-heads. The album could end up being really awesome. Like most people for whom the Pumpkins are their all-time favorite band, or top 5 at least, I’ll definitely be getting it and there will be at least a few songs that renew my love for the band. But from what I’ve heard so far, this could be the return to form we’ve been hoping for.

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Seasons Take Us By Storm, One Season at a Time

Posted by Billy Gil, January 23, 2012 04:04pm | Post a Comment
The first time I heard Highland Park's Seasons was a song called “Light, Lost,” from their Winter EP, released in June 2010. I was immediately taken with its languid guitar-work and gorgeous melodies, not to mention the way the song takes a sharp left near the end and picks up into an indie-dance gem — sucker for tempo changes, right here.

 
But what really gets me about Seasons is the passion they clearly put into each song. Through their three released “season” EPs — Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn, the last one just released this month —  Seasons aren’t afraid to change things up sonically or thematically. So what you get is a landscape painting of a band across its releases rather than a portrait. Though overall I might classify the music as epic spacefaring rock of the variety you don’t see too often these days — Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins and, more recently, The Arcade Fire come to mind — there’s also a strong twee vibe running throughout, echoing Sarah Records and C86 bands, not to mention an electro streak that keeps things vibrant.


The band consists of longtime friends who like to go by their first names — John sings and plays guitar and keys; Nik does the same; Adam plays bass and guitar; Erik plays drums; Ray handles beats, keys and bass; and Kaitlin, violin and vocals. During the day, these people occupy such various jobs as teacher, florist, Trader Joe’s team member and Grammy Museum usher.
 
In the summer of 2006, they came up with the idea to do a set of EPs each with a mood to set the tone for feelings that arise during a particular season.
 
“We let the climate changes and the way people and ourselves reacted to each season inspire us to write each one, with the intention of releasing them when we were finished even if they season they were written in was over,” John explains.
 
The Autumn EP begins with “Monday Night” (available as a free download), a lighthearted danceable ode to getting up and out at the beginning of the work week — which, by the way, you should do tonight and/or next Monday to see the band play at the Echo as part of its January residency. The EP continues with the strings-and-bells laden yet hard-charging “These United States,” which nicely features singer Nik's growling, yearning vocals. The EP’s closer, “Lazy Bones,” is sort of meat-and-potatoes Seasons, a six-minute-plus psychedelic heart-on-sleeve power ballad. Meanwhile, “Number of the Beat” is their most outward flirtation with dance music thus far, although its striking violin playing still lands it firmly in orchestral pop territory.

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New Release Preorders...Kate Bush...The Black Keys...Smashing Pumpkins Reissues...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 5, 2011 10:33am | Post a Comment
PRE-ORDER THESE NEW RELEASES NOW AT AMOEBA.COM!

RESERVE YOUR COPY OF THESE CDS AND LPS NOW AND WE WILL SHIP THEM TO YOU WHEN THEY ARE RELEASED...


AND REMEMBER...ALWAYS FREE SHIPPING IN THE U.S.!!!



OUT 11/21...  
Kate Bush

Kate Bush
50 Words for Snow


CD - $12.98
LP - $20.98
   
Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones
Some Girls


Album Picks: Real Estate, Twin Sister, M83

Posted by Billy Gil, October 18, 2011 02:10pm | Post a Comment
Real Estate DaysReal Estate – Days
 
Real Estate have helped usher in a contemporary appreciation of bands with clean guitars and hushed vocals, perfect for a summer day or autumn night. But Real Estate still do it better than anyone, as they prove on Days. From opener “Easy” and on, Days floats on breezy simplicity of melody and atmosphere that you could explain away as through line of Byrds by way of R.E.M. jangle pop informed by reverbed-out, dream pop aesthetics, but that would paint Real Estate as a throwback band when really their sound is their own. Country hues underpin even the spaciest of tracks, like the way winsome sliding guitars sway beneath the shivering, tremoloed star-shooting guitar lines of “Green Aisles,” and more obviously so on tracks like the springy, Smithsy “It’s Real,” which works some clever chord changes into a straightforward guitar-pop setting. Singer Martin Courtney’s voice is always plaintive but never intrusive, and the whole thing moves with subtle evocation, like a sepia-toned suburban home movie reel. It’s no coincidence a great, sunlit song on the album is titled “Wonder Years.”
 
Twin SisterTwin Sister – In Heaven
 
Twin Sister’s debut full-length delivers a band still emerging from chrysalis (their average age is now about 23, so says Wikipedia) but born with some pretty impressive power already. Roughly, Twin Sister are an indie pop band fronted by some froggish, androgynous vocals (singer vocalist Andrea Estella and guitarist-singer Eric Cardona both sound a little like the spawn of Sigur RosJonsi and St. Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell, the latter band of which they also sound a bit like on the lite-jazzy “Stop”). They touch on chillwave (the shimmering and strange chords of “Kimmi in a Rice Field” is the album’s absolute highlight) without committing to it, seemingly more interested in vibing late ’80s indie and video game music — the gentle “Luna’s Theme” has Sega Genesis written all over it, something that might be playing in some anime space station. But whatever Twin Sister ends up doing —be it cool Britpop, neo-futuristic electro or something else entirely — it ends up sounding great, if not entirely unified.
 
M83 Hurry Up We're DreamingM83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
 
After a decade’s worth of brilliant albums that have been increasingly epic in scope, Anthony Gonzalez of M83 has delivered the masterpiece he has hinted at for years. Gonzalez builds off the life-embracing yet ’80s nostalgic pop of 2008’s Saturdays=Youth across this double-album. Taking a hint from the Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Gonzalez sweeps through childlike wonder (the children’s story as Kraftwerkian computer-pop of “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire”), adolescent angst (the two and a half minutes of skyscraper-sized orchestral rock in “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea”) and young adult excitement (Gonzalez cries “The city is my church!” in the neon-backlit “Midnight City”) to capture the wide-eyed energy and naiveté of youth. There’s newly an emphasis on the kind of shuffling ‘80s funk-pop of the likes of Huey Lewis & the News and Hall & Oates in songs like “Claudia Lewis,” but it actually feels less throwback-ish than some of his previous work, perhaps in part due to contemporaries like Toro y Moi and Neon Indian similarly fusing such sounds with shoegazer aesthetics. Indeed, with the kinds of sonic dreamscapes of albums like Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts and Before the Dawn Heals Us also in tow on songs like “This Bright Flash,” Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming presents us with all of Gonzaelz’s best tendencies, all at once, and at their utmost potential.

Record Store Day Mania at Amoeba Hollywood!!!

Posted by Amoebite, April 21, 2010 06:15pm | Post a Comment
amoeba hollywood record store day 2010

By Daniel Tures

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