Amoeblog

Album Picks: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Bill Fay, Lorelei, Plus Albums Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, August 21, 2012 06:46pm | Post a Comment
ariel pinkI haven’t had any picks per se over the past couple of weeks. Truth be told there just wasn’t that much I was excited about. Then this week comes Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s new album, Mature Themes. I was concerned about this one — reports of the band breaking up, then not; an inter-band lawsuit; and a lovely yet somber cover (“Baby”) chosen as the first single. But not to worry; Mature Themes proves to be a tongue-in-cheek title, though its title track does tuck quarter-life crisis neatly into clever lines and jaunty ’70s AM Gold (“I wish I was taller than 5-foot-four/Thirty-five years old/My life spent computing it all”). Ariel Pink has a way of making even self-destruction sound amusing, bouncing lyrics like “Who sank my battleship? I sank my own battletrip” off gooey guitar riffs and organs on Mature Themes’ opener, “Kinski Assasin” (another sample lyric: “suicide dumplings dropping testicle bombs”). It’s as much fun as its predecessor, Ariel Pink’s lo-fi pop breakthrough, Before Today, but with more of a focus on songcraft. “Only in Dreams” has its fair share of neat production flourishes, but it wouldn’t need them to send its ’60s pop hooks into your brain. And with repeated listens, the breadth of bargain-bin pop and forgotten sources reconfigured through Ariel Pink’s art school lens becomes more apparent, and more bewildering. Is “Live it Up” meant to sound like the dream-pop soundtrack to an early NES game? Is “Symphony of the Nymph” both the name and theme song to a sexy straight-to-VHS ’80s comedy? Is “Schnitzel Boogie” actually a boogie, and does that mean I should learn more about boogie? With Ariel Pink, every song seems to occupy its own little sound wave, and surfing between their brilliant colors makes all others seem monochromatic in comparison.
 
bill fayAlso out today is the first album in 40 years from British singer-songwriter Bill Fay. I hadn’t heard Fay’s music previously, but after hearing the stunning Life is People, I’ll be sure to check out his earlier work. “There is a Valley” is a spiritual of sorts personifying the trees, sheep and flowers that surround humanity, detailing how they’ve born witness to the destruction caused by humanity. It doesn’t come off as preachy, but rather, when taken with the album’s title, allows its listeners to see the bigger picture of humanity as one element that impacts its environment more than any other. It helps that Fay’s voice evokes rare wisdom, like a subtler Leonard Cohen or calmer Patti Smith. While many of the songs on Life is People invite somber meditation, based around ominous orchestration, there’s also a fighting spirit that saves Life is People from too much cynicism — even as lines call to mind the struggles of the working poor on “This World,” a collaboration from admirer Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco, who covered Fay’s “Be Not So Fearful” in their documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart), the song benefits from a sunny, alt-country delivery. Similarly, “The Healing Day” is so lush that even its bittersweet tone feels comforting, as Fay sings a simple line like “it’ll be OK” and sends shivers down your spine. But you don’t have to take my word for it — listen to a full album stream below and pick up a copy of Life is People.
 

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Amoeba Holds Listening Party for The Darkness' "Hot Cakes"

Posted by Billy Gil, August 21, 2012 06:15pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood held a listening party for the release of the glamtastic new album from The Darkness, Hot Cakes. Auntie Em’s provided hot cakes of their own with its delicious mini cupcakes, and attendees were encouraged to enter into Amoeba’s Darkness contest, in which one winner gets a signed guitar from the band, an autographed CD booklet, a white label vinyl copy of Hot Cakes, two tickets to the band's show Oct. 24 at Club Nokia and a cowbell! Five runner-ups win autographed CD booklets. Winners will be chosen tomorrow. There’s still time to enter!

darkness listening party amoeba

The Darkness Guitar

Darkness listening party

Another contest will be held for tickets to the Club Nokia show closer to the show date via Twitter. Those who buy the album in store also will get a free Darkness patch while supplies last. Read more about Hot Cakes and order it here.

The Darkness "Hot Cakes" Listening Party in SF & Hollywood, August 21st!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 5, 2012 05:50pm | Post a Comment
The Darkness return in all their glam glory with the release of Hot Cakes on Tuesday, August 21st. In celebration of the band that knows the true meaning of rock and roll, head on out to either Amoeba Hollywood at 5pm or Amoeba San Francisco at 6pm for a listening party that will rock your world. Not only will you be able to revel in the majesty of Hot Cakes, but you can also enter to win some killer prizes (the only way to enter is to be there live and in person)!

The Darkness Hot Cakes
GRAND PRIZE:
Signed guitar 
Autographed CD booklet
White label vinyl
A cowbell!!!



Five runner-ups get autographed CD booklets!!




 
Darkness patch Plus, you'll get a free Darkness patch with purchase of Hot Cakes (while supplies last) at Amoeba Hollywood & Amoeba SF.
Auntie Em's Logo
And as if that wasn't enough, there will also be cake on hand in case you get hungry while rocking out to Hot Cakes.

100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
      

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.

SONG/ARTIST PLAYLIST & AMOEBA SHOP LINK OF ALEX'S 100 GUITAR RIFFS (IN ORDER):


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

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