Amoeblog

Weekly Roundup: Nedelle Torisi, Ras G & the Afrikan Space Program, Chelsea Wolfe, The Mantles

Posted by Billy Gil, July 4, 2013 10:40am | Post a Comment

Nedelle Torisi – “Double Horizon”

nedelle torisiThis is a great song that needs no introduction, but it has an interesting one anyway — singer/songwriter Torisi, who’s also played with Sufjan Stevens and Chris Cohen’s Cryptacize, was living with Kenny Gilmore of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafiti. They could hear each other working on their individual music through the walls and eventually ended up working together. The result is sort of a beautiful, bleary digital polka, with the sorts of synths you’d find in an Ariel record and Torisi’s beautifully yearning vocals, which call to mind Neko Case a bit. Anyway, enough with the name-dropping — just listen and you’ll be digging for more from Torisi. Her self-titled, self-released album is due Sept. 3.

 

Ras G & the Afrikan Space Program – “All Is Well...”

ras gBeautiful, brain-frying stuff from L.A. producer Ras G, who put out a cassette on Leaving already this year and has a new album due Aug. 13 on Brainfeeder called “Back on the Planet.” Nice electronic Sun Ra vibes on this one.

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Album Picks: Kanye West, Sigur Ros, Primal Scream, Austra, Spectrals, The Mantles

Posted by Billy Gil, June 18, 2013 10:02am | Post a Comment

Kanye West - Yeezus

kanye west yeezus coverCD $12.98

Much as 808s & Heartbreak was a reaction to personal drama that led to a cold, mechanical album unlike anything he had previously produced, Yeezus seems to be a response to everything Kanye West has previously recorded — and to hip-hop, and popular music, in general. In short, it sounds like nothing else around, a fusion of harsh industrial production and some of West’s most aggressive lyrics to date. We had already heard the controversy-baiting “Black Skinhead,” its Nine Inch Nails-style beat giving a tribal flow to an otherwise entirely antagonistic first single. The rest of Yeezus follows suit; West as his collaborators keep you guessing what’ll happen next throughout. Listening to opener “On Sight” feels like staring into a glaring light, its synths overdriven to a digital roar, as West claims he doesn’t give a fuck, before West and producers Daft Punk drop an R&B sample that sounds like it was recorded from another room. “New Slaves” takes bling-obsessed hip-hop to task, along with private prisons and implied white privilge, ending with a gorgeous, lo-fi outro sung by Frank Ocean — it’s way too much for one song to handle, yet it’s thrilling to hear the song teeter back and forth. Ven the tracks here that don’t sound particularly interesting at their outset, like the slow-to-start “Hold My Liquor,” eventually do something that make your head spin — in the case of this song, it’s the way those sirens and West’s cadence bounce off the bubbling, ethereal synthesizers beneath. The greatest faults in Yeezus lie in West’s lyrics — heightened braggadocio and claims of manhood are nothing new to hip-hop, which is exactly the problem with some of the more repetitive lyrics about his sexual conquests, compared with their riveting delivery and the production surrounding them; furthermore, “Blood on the Leaves” questionably cops anti-racism classic “Strange Fruit” for a track that doesn’t amount to much lyrically. Yet even beyond these issues, Yeezus is so thoroughly exciting that complaints largely fall by the wayside — in fact, West’s free-for-all attitude to making music here is what fuels that burning feeling in the pit of your stomach when Yeezus is on. Even as the spectacular My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy stretched the limits of modern hip-hop, Yeezus doesn’t sound tethered to any particular time or genre, nor does it sound particularly concerned with radio airplay — even the Rick Rubin-produced “I Am a God,” one of the closest tracks here to straight-up hip-hop, seethes frustration and anger, dissolving into a series of screams and Twin Peaks-style synth strings, with nary a catchy sample or synth riff to rope in the average listener. For someone who receives (and invites) endless flack for things that have little to do with his actual music, Kanye West continues to be the most provocative and exciting artist in modern pop music with the imperfect yet undeniably brilliant Yeezus.

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Weekly Roundup: Alexander Spit, The Mantles, Sic Alps, Alela Diane, Cool Ghouls, Burnt Ones

Posted by Billy Gil, May 9, 2013 03:29pm | Post a Comment

Alexander Spit Preps Instrumentals Mixtape, Releases ‘Valet Park, CA’

alexander spitAlexander Spit released a tantalizing debut LP earlier this year called A Breathtaking Trip to That Otherside. Now the West Coast rapper/prouducer has a mixtape coming out that could make even more waves than his debut, judging by the first taste, “Valet Park, CA,” a blissed-out track with warped vocals. I doubt Valet Park is less a real place and more of a pun, but the displaced, quietly melancholic vibe he summons here calls to mind so many nowheresvilles of California.

 

The Mantles Release Second Song From Upcoming Sophomore Album

The MantlesThe Mantles sound a bit like they’re from New Zealand (home of The Clean, The Bats etc.), but they’re from San Francisco, so hurray for us! This band hits all the right jangly notes, evoking The Byrds with their harmonic singing but in a perfectly disinterested way, while their guitars have swagger in addition to the jangle. “Hello,” indeed. Long Enough to Leave is due June 18 on Slumberland.

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Weekly Roundup: The Mantles, The Soft Moon, Thee Oh Sees, Le Youth

Posted by Billy Gil, April 11, 2013 03:35pm | Post a Comment

The Mantles Release “Brown Balloon,” Long Enough to Leave Due June 18

The MantlesLovely new stuff from San Francisco’s The Mantles. “Brown Balloon” echoes a bit of New Zealand’s Flying Nun label (with bands such as The Chills and The Clean) with clean guitars dripping reverb, but the vocals are nicely left largely rough and untouched, giving it a garage feel that goes a long way to set it apart. Loving those pristine guitars that come in about 40 seconds in, as well as the power chords at the chorus — remember those? Long Enough to Leave is out June 18 on Slumberland.

 

The Soft Moon Unveils “Want” Video

The Soft MoonThe Soft Moon’s Zeros is a deeply dark, cinematic record, so it makes sense that the video for one of its best songs, “Want,” would follow suit. Feeling somewhere between a nightmare, drug hallucination and horror movie, “Want” calls to mind classic videos like Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” (and similarly to that video, “Want” is very much NSFW, so don’t click if you may be offended by drug use or brief nudity and violence).

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