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Weekly Roundup: Poolside, The Fresh & Onlys, Captain Murphy, Cayucas, Trash Talk, Madlib, Starred

Posted by Billy Gil, November 15, 2012 03:06pm | Post a Comment

PoolsidePoolside – Seasons Change mix

The last band I expected to hear from this fall/winter was Poolside. Their Pacific Standard Time album was so perfectly suited for the sunshine that it would seem perverse for them to go wintry, but that’s just what they’ve done with their Seasons Change mix, which the LA-based duo said they put together while driving through the Northeast in October. Listen below. On initial scan, it actually sounds pretty similar in spirit to their other album’s moody electronics, making you realize the power of suggestion. Also it sounds great no matter when you put it on.

 

Fresh & OnlysThe Fresh & Onlys Film “What’s In My Bag?”

SF garage-pop greats The Fresh & Onlys filmed a “What’s in My Bag?” feature with Amoeba, and we have it up to stream now. Check out their album Long Slow Dance if you haven’t yet, one of my favorite rock ’n’ roll records released this year.

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Local Roundup: New Tracks from FIDLAR, SFV Acid, Vex Ruffin, Whirr; New Videos from Chris Cohen, Spaceships

Posted by Billy Gil, September 7, 2012 01:00pm | Post a Comment
fidlarFIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
 
Like some unholy marriage between Black Flag and The Cramps, FIDLAR’s “Cheap Beer” is pure aural fuck  — “I DRINK CHEAP BEER SO WHAT FUCK YOU.” There’s more subtlety there within than that would imply — sweet little surf riffs, excellent solo, smart dynamics, perfect production without being self-consciously lo-fi. But the thing the L.A. band offers uniquely is that clear-cut dynamite party chorus, a rarity in the days of reverb-awash garage rock. FIDLAR’s deubt album will be released in early 2013 on Mom & Pop.
 




sfv acidSFV Acid – “Ashland Slumber”

 
This nasty bit of indie electro-house comes from L.A.’s SFV Acid, who sound like they’re coming into their own with this latest slab of sublimely grimey dance music. “Ashland Slumber” sounds a bit like Detroit house blasted out of shitty speakers and garnering extra feedback and reverb in the process. I love how lush the synths are vs. the brutality of the beats. Harsh, weird fun stuff. The Neighborhood Archives EP is due Oct. 15 on UNO.
 

 
vex ruffinVex Ruffin – “Take It”
 
Gnarly, nasty one-man-band punk out of L.A. Vex Ruffin’s “Take It” rides its bone-simple riff and drum machine (I think? It might as well be.) to great heights on Ruffin’s balls to the wall vocal. It’s kind of the punk inverse of Dirty Beaches’ one-main rockabilly noir. His debut LP is due next year on Stones Throw.
 

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Album Picks: Cat Power, The Fresh & Onlys, Jens Lekman, Deerhoof; Plus Albums and Movies Released Today

Posted by Billy Gil, September 4, 2012 03:35pm | Post a Comment
OK, too much amazing music was released today, but for me, the new albums by Cat Power, The Fresh & Onlys, Jens Lekman and Deerhoof shined above the rest. However, don’t sleep on great new albums by Animal Collective, Stars, Bob Mould, Two Door Cinema Club and Two Gallants, plus Blu-rays of Arachnophobia, Child’s Play, The Five-Year Engagement, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Hocus Pocus, Man on a Swing, Piranha 3DD, Safe and Umberto D., among others.
 
cat power sunCat Power Sun
 
Cat Power’s personal life — her admitted alcoholism, her erratic live shows — is a favorite topic of discussion such that it often threatens to overshadow talk of her brilliant music. Perhaps in an effort to curb that, Chan Marshall has created her least intimate, most globally accessible album with Sun. Marshall produced and performed almost everything on the album herself, but in lieu of the sort of austerity of an album like Moon Pix, we get a dark synth-pop record, spurred by Marshall’s desire to make something unlike anything she had done before. However, underneath the synths that spiral around the title track, for instance, this is still very much a Cat Power record — worry not, fans. In fact, the beginning of opener “Cherokee” begins in what sounds fairly typical for Cat Power — a simple, repeating guitar line, light piano touches and a steady beat — but it becomes clear that this is new territory as Marshall comes in with distorted, direct lyrics: “Never knew love like this.” However pop-oriented the song, with a beautiful synth melody making it sound a bit like ’80s Fleetwood Mac, Marshall’s meanings are still obscured: “Marry me to the sky … bury me upside down.” First single “Ruin” is similarly grabbing, but ultimately strange, unique; it’s piano lines and disco bassline dance up and down a bouncing beat while Marshall sings about various global locales like an indie rock “Kokomo,” but she’s singing about poverty, not vacation or the awesomeness of getting to travel while touring. It’s fun to hear her go pop-rock on “3,6,9,” which bounces along with chanted choruses and even sees Marshall take on the ubiquitous vocoder. Marshall can’t help but become increasingly personal as the album progresses, as live drums interrupt the digital beats of “Manhattan,” which glitters with heartfelt searching; “Silent Machine” returns to the bluesiness of her last few releases, but also has a startling computerized breakdown halfway through; and “Nothin But Time,” a duet with Iggy Pop, makes for the most beautiful, 10-minute Kraftwerkian ballad you’ll hear anywhere. The rock guitars and hip-hop delivery of “Peace and Love,” which closes the album, show Marshall is willing to go just about anywhere with her music if it provides new inspiration for her stirring voice and incisive lyrics; thankfully, on Sun, it nearly always does. She's signing copies of Sun today at 6 p.m. at Amoeba Hollywood for the first 100 people who buy the record!
 
The Fresh & Onlys Long Slow DanceThe Fresh & Onlys Long Slow Dance
 
The Fresh & Onlys were are always good, but Long Slow Dance takes the S.F. garage rockers to epic heights, with a newfound clarity to their vocals and straightforwardness of songwriting. “Yes or No” is divine romantic guitar pop, stringing a beautiful upward melody along a chugging backbeat that develops into a swooning chorus. The title track is the kind of campfire-friendly indie pop that bests the Shins at their game. “Presence of Mind” swirls around a picturesque college-rock backdrop but loops in perfect surf-rock riffs and another irresistible chorus. Every song seems to have some “how can that be new” moment, whether it’s a memorable line like “Dream girls don’t know what they’re doing/They go around doing anything they want,” or some elegant guitar riff, or laying out yet another perfect guitar ballad with “Executioner’s Song.” You just don’t want Long Slow Dance to end.

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Local Stuff: Videos from Trash Talk, Army Navy, ESP. Tracks from Particle Kid, Sam Flax, Fresh & Onlys

Posted by Billy Gil, August 31, 2012 11:56am | Post a Comment
trash talkTrash Talk – “F.E.B.N.” video

In the spirit of Amoeba Hollywood’s new Punk section, I’ll post about Sacramento hardcore band Trash Talk and the first video, “F.E.B.N.,” from its upcoming album Odd Future Records, 119, on Oct. 9. Odd Future’s Tyler, The Creator directed this bit of black-and-white mayhem in some sort of parking garage. Everything about this music/video is probably upsetting to lots of people. Which means of course that it’s pretty great. The song is less than two minutes long and somehow builds unbearable anticipation in its extended intro — all you want to do is turn it up and face the noise you’re about to hear head on.
 

 

army navyArmy Navy – World’s End video
 
L.A. indie pop band Army Navy have a video for the song “World’s End.” I had never listened to this band before; I only knew I might like them because their band name shares a name with a Camera Obscura album. And I do! The song is really nice, kind of sounds like “Blue Bayou” but is less dramatic, more morose, and there’s a key change, which I am a sucker for. The video is awesome for a number of reasons — it’s an old fake talk show, which is a done premise but is done funnily here, as this bizzaro, kind of bleak ’60s swinger thing, and features Freaks & Geaks Martin Starr, who I had no idea could be kind of sexy. The singer also kind of looks like Steve Carell. You have to watch it on Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com; I guess this band is getting pretty big. The song appears on a seven-inch with a B-side cover of Yaz’s “Only You,” which is awesome, duh. Their new album is due early next year.

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Local Stuff: Earlimart, The Fresh & Onlys, Kisses, Thee Oh Sees, Kim Free, Wavves

Posted by Billy Gil, August 10, 2012 01:12pm | Post a Comment
EarlimartEarlimart – “97 Heart Attack”
 
Earlimart is back! You may remember the Elephant 6 associated band’s 2000s releases like Everyone Down Here and Treble & Tremble. Well the L.A. band based around singer/guitarist Aaron Espinoza and keyboardist/singer/bassist Ariana Murray is back with a lovely, somber new track called “97 Heart Attack” and an accompanying album called System Preferences, which is due on physical CD and LP Oct. 16 from the band’s label, The Ship. So glad to have them back, although they never really went away — after releasing their last album, 2008’s Hymn and Her, they collaborated with Grandaddy members for the 2010 release of Admiral Radley’s I Heart California, followed by headlining tours and a support slot on Band of Horses’ tour. The band had kept busy composing soundtrack work and producing other artists, but now they’re back in full force and will appear with Grandaddy (Who are back too? Hell yes!) at the Henry Fonda Theater Aug. 13. So into all these L.A. indie pop bands getting back into the fold. 
 

 
fresh & onlysThe Fresh & Onlys – “Presense of Mind”
 
Here’s another new track (after the previously unveiled “Yes or No”) from The Fresh & Onlys upcoming Long Slow Dance, due Sept. 4 on Mexican Summer. I liked their last album, Play It Strange, but from the sound of these two songs, this is a huge step forward for the band, with a newfound confidence in its vocals and songwriting.
 

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