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Desert Daze 2014 Tickets Available Now at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 5, 2014 04:40pm | Post a Comment

The lineup for this year's Desert Daze festival was just announced this week, and it looks to be the biggest and best one yet! Blonde Redhead and The Raveonettes are headlining, plus Liars, Autolux, Vincent Gallo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Allah-Las and many more will descend upon the Sunset Ranch Oasis (69-520 S. Lincoln St Mecca, CA 92254), just a few hours outside of Los Angeles, on Saturday, April 26.

Tickets are on sale now at Amoeba Hollywood for $45 (+ $2 service charge) or you can buy them online. If you want to camp while you're there, check out the ticket bundles (available online only) that include camping passes in addition to festival entry.

Desert Daze 2014

 

Watch a recap of last year's Desert Daze Festival:

Sandra Vu of SISU and Dum Dum Girls Talks 'Blood Tears'

Posted by Billy Gil, October 9, 2013 02:33pm | Post a Comment

sandra vuSandra Vu has been the cool presence behind the drum kit in a number of bands, both on record and live. She's helped propel such bands as Dirty Beaches, The Raveonettes, Midnight Movies, Boredoms and, most often, as the drummer for Dum Dum Girls.

Now she has her own project named SISU. Judging by her resume, SISU's debut album is somehow both comfortingly familiar, drawing from influences such as girl groups and noise pop, and something entirely new. The strange tones that strike across the skies of songs like "Counting Stars" and pulsating beats under songs like "Harpoons" draw more from krautrock, industrial and experimental music than contemporary shoegaze, while Vu's vocals range from disaffected and alien to front-and-center pop vocals. Blood Tears is a delight throughout, atmospheric and cool, yet catchy and immediately memorable.

I took a minute to speak with Vu about her new project and how she came into making music on her own.

 

 

Me: I hear SISU is the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.” Why did you choose that name?

Vu: Originally, "SISU" stems from my name, but we later found out that it was a Finnish word. I like the meaning though so we've adopted it, respectfully.

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Show Report: The Raveonettes and Melody's Echo Chamber; Diiv, Violens and Cold Showers; Grimes

Posted by Billy Gil, October 12, 2012 01:40pm | Post a Comment

Melody's Echo ChamberBack on Monday night, I checked out The Raveonettes’ show at The El Rey Theatre. Although I like their latest album, Observator, more than some critics did, I admit I mostly went to check out opener Melody’s Echo Chamber, my favorite new band of the moment. The young band came out quietly, two girls and two guys dressed in paisley apparel befitting their swirling psych sound, akin to Broadcast plugging in with Tame Impala, whose Kevin Parker produced their excellent self-titled record (as well as his own new album, the amazing Lonerism, seriously check out both of these albums now if you haven’t yet). They played most of their sole record, starting with standout “Endless Shore,” which reminds me of Lush as much as any other artist, putting them firmly in line with classic shoegazers. Even without a drummer, piping in those titanic drums found on the record, the quartet played through most of the record pretty flawlessly, once stopping a song when a loop didn’t come in right or something like that. While witnessing the music press try to make sense of this hot new band, I’ve realized that a lot of times describing a new female-fronted band becomes an exercise in naming other well-known female-fronted bands from the last 20 years — there are only so many, given the tendency for female artists to be presented as solo artists society’s favoring of male-fronted bands — and that tends to be limiting. Melody’s Echo Chamber are a very good band; they do sound a bit like Broadcast and Stereolab, and if you have a problem with that, you’re nuts.

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Album Picks: Thee Oh Sees, The XX, The Raveonettes, Plus Albums and Blu-rays Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, September 11, 2012 05:45pm | Post a Comment
thee oh seesThee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II
 
S.F. psych-rockers Thee Oh Sees’ cult seemed to overflow with two great albums released last year, the scuzzy lo-fi pop of Castlemania and its more acid-tinged follow-up, Carrion Crawler/The Dream. Putrifiers II works off that momentum and delivers on its promise, scaling back the noise of their more rambunctious moments to offer hypnotic, low-key psych-pop. “Wax Face” features some of Thee Oh Sees main man John Dwyer’s idiosyncrasies, with wacked out harmonic guitarwork and echoing, screechy vocals, but with that familiarity out of the way, the album’s next two songs feel new for Dwyer, as “Hang a Picture” is nostalgic, even sweet jangly pop, and “So Nice” takes a Velvets-inspired trip through stately drone. “Flood’s New Light” sounds like a cleaned-up version of the off-kilter Turtles-style garage rock the band previously produced, and with its cleaner production, Dwyer’s pop songwriting smarts come through more clearly, as does his way of subverting his pop arrangements with slightly atonal melodies. As the album’s noise-and-space epic title track flows into the ethereal, strange ’60s pop of “We Will Be Scared,” it becomes clear this is Dwyer’s strongest material to date. For all his prolificacy, Putrifiers II is remarkably consistent and a fine statement of purpose moving forward for Dwyer.
 
the xxThe XX – Coexist
 
The XX dig further into their shrouded corner of the universe with Coexist, an album that finds the trio even more assured in producing their minimalist, romantic sound. “Angels” opens the album breathtakingly as Romy Madley Croft’s vocal coaxes intensity with just a few simple refrains. Co-vocalist Oliver Sim pulls a similar trick on the yearning “Missing,” while “Chained” is one of the best examples yet of how Jamie Smith’s production meshes perfectly with Madley Croft and Sim’s simple yet divine vocal interplay and subtle guitarwork, its beats coming in offtime to break the spell at just the right time. Coexist works when its trio supports each other with the just the right amount effort, such as on “Reunion” and “Sunset,” in which Smith’s lush keyboards and muffled beatwork provides a perfect backdrop in which the vocalists can swim, or when Smith largely removes himself for the first half of the haunting “Tides” before coming in with his most pronounced beat of the album. At times it threatens to blow away in the wind, given its lightness of touch. But taking the view that there’s a time and place for most music, Coexist plants The XX firmly in nighttime music territory, and for such times — for sleep, romance, introspection — there’s nearly nothing better to suit the mood.
 
the raveonettes observatorThe Raveonettes – Observator
 
After spending the better part of a decade producing huge, wall-of-sound, Jesus & Mary Chain-style guitar noise, The Raveonettes continue the scaling back of their sound begun on the darker, unfairly maligned Raven in the Grave on Observator. Though it still eschews the campiness that marked much of The Raveonettes earlier work, Observator is a sunnier affair than Raven, full of sparkling guitarwork and Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo’s twinlike harmonies. The beginning songs on Observator sound like a back-to-basics approach to their sound, Buddy Holly melodies over tinny beats, but the Ride-like rush of “Sinking With the Sun” and lovelorn single “She Owns the Street” display an interest in jangle pop, without as much of the shoegaze sheen the band used to coat their songs with. This is a more melody-focused rendition of The Raveonettes’ sound, and thus its emotional quality comes through more clearly. Observator’s noise-flecked pop in songs like the glorious closer “Till the End” relay a lonely sense of wonderment, like staring at the stars alone.
 
Also released today:
 
st vincent and david byrneDavid Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
 
An old art school meets new art school dream collaboration comes to us from David Byrne and St. Vincent’s Love This Giant, which plays to the strengths of both artists with a dynamic, eclectic sound, immaculate production and deft arrangement. The Byrne-led “Who” calls to mind classic Byrne/Talking Heads with its quizzical delivery, while “Weekend in the Dust” makes St. Vincent’s Annie Clark into a worldbeat dance diva. “Dinner for Two” is a sublime duet, nicely interrupted by horn-work that dots the album and holds it together, especially coming into play on the funky pop of “The One Who Broke Your Heart,” featuring Antibalas and The Dap-Kings. “I Am an Ape” and “I Should Watch TV” find Byrne at his most satirical, while Clark shines on “Optimist,” one of her sweetest vocal performances to date. Some of the album’s middle tracks mesh Byrne’s and Clark’s styles so well, such as the clockwork sound of “Lazarus,” that a future collaboration to see how these two could get into even more interesting territory seems like a sure thing — at least we can hope, because Love This Giant already is a slyly rewarding gift from two artists, one over many years and one in just a short time, who have given us plenty already.
 
calexico algiersCalexico – Algiers
 
Calexico’s noir folk sound grows even more majestic on Algiers. The band’s eighth album finds them as confident in their sound as they’ve ever been, becoming more soulful, more embracing on tracks like opener “Epic,” which balances warm verses with a darker chorus. In particular, Joey Burns’ and Jacob Valenzuela’s vocals mesh beautifully on the propulsive “Splitter,” and Burns carries “Sinner in the Sea” through its spooky, spiritual setting of sparkling piano and minor-key guitar, suggesting the New Orleans setting the band has said helped inspire the record. Calexico have often evoked various times and places, namely the desert setting of their namesake, and Algiers can’t help but feel like the work of a band at some mysterious port-town dive, whether that be in New Orleans, Algiers or any number of Spanish-speaking cities, calling out Santo Domingo and strumming Spanish guitar in “Puerto” and going back to their mariachi-inspired roots on the Spanish-sung “No Te Vayas.” Surprisingly, Calexico’s globe-trotting, more pronounced than ever, holds together and doesn’t feel like dilettantism; rather, it helps not define Algiers by one specific time or place, instead conjuring unspeakable feelings of nostalgia and becoming lost in another culture. Wherever Algiers puts you, you know the feeling.
 
bob dylan tempestBob Dylan - Tempest
 
Over the opening sounds of steel guitars and a bouncing bass, Bob Dylan’s ever-growlier voice comes in like a train conductor from another time and we’re whisked away to an Amierca of yore in Tempest opener “Duquesne Whistle.” Tempest is classic Dylan, full of his trademark detail and skillful incorporation of various threads of classic American styles. Dylan and his band tunnel through the country blues of “Narrow Way,” as Dylan delivers irresistible lines in his rambling fashion like “It’s a long and narrow road/If I can’t work up to you/You’ll surely have to work down to me some day.” Tempest isn’t all dusky blues, though, as its ballad “Long and Wasted Years” is one of its best, Dylan offering romantic lament (“I wear dark glasses to cover my eyes/there’re secrets in them that I can’t disguise”). Tempest’s strongest moments come in its closing tracks, the immaculately detailed murder ballad “Tin Angel,” hopeful album closer “Roll on John,” and sandwiched between them the title tracks, an already much-discussed near-14 minute tale of the Titanic “sinking into the underworld” (and also, “Leo and his sketchbook”), over a stately mix of country blues and sea shanty, buoyed by transcendent violins that give pause to Dylan’s depiction of tragedy and what it brings out of ordinary people, good and bad. Tempest ends leaving listeners with renewed interest in the complexity of humanity, as the best of Dylan’s work often stokes our desire to know ourselves and others more deeply.
 
guano padanoGuano Padano – 2
 
Along with Calexico’s Algiers, this week has seen a wealth of Western-inspired rock released. Guano Padano are an instrumental three-piece who move from nourish country (“One Man Bank”) to Middle Eastern-inspired surf rock (“Gran Bazaar”) to glitchy jazz (“Lynch”) and just about anywhere else their instruments can take them, incorporating your basic guitar, piano, bass and drums, plus banjo, eerie steel guitar, Chinese instrumentation (“Miss Chan”) and anything else that might seem appropriate while retaining their Spaghetti Western sound. Mike Patton shows up to lend his howling vocals to the dark “Prairie Fire,” and the band turns in a dreamy cover of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” but these moments aren’t even necessary diversions — Guano Padano’s cool, kitschy sound stands on its own, soundtracking imagined, unmade films and allowing the listener to explore their own interpretation or simply bask in the sound.
 
amanda palmerAmanda Palmer – Theatre is Evil
 
Amanda Palmer drops some of the theatricality of Dresden Dolls for this synthier, poppier album with backing band The Grand Theft Orchestra.
 

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out this week 4/5 & 4/12...cold cave...the kills...the raveonettes...

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 29, 2011 05:50pm | Post a Comment
the raveonettes
April is turning out to be a fantastic month for music! I think some of my favorite albums of the year are probably going to be taken from this month and the next. Two of my fave bands, The Kills & The Raveonettes, both have new albums out April 5th! It is almost too much to handle at once -- too much of a good thing. It has been hard to decide which to listen to but I really have been hitting up both of these albums at least once every day; I even listened to the new Raveonettes album three times in one day! I can't get enough. The Raveonettes have already been around for 10 years, even though it seems like just yesterday that I first heard about them. Their first album, Chain Gang of Love, was released in the US in 2003. I still think they have one of the best names. They are dark and a bit spooky, like a Raven, and sometimes they sound like one of your old favorite girl groups from the 60s -- somebody with a band name that would end in "ettes." Raven in the Grave is the group's fifth album. Over the years I have liked all of their albums to varying degrees but this new album is something fantastic and I can't get the songs out of my head. There don't seem to be as many bands coming out of Denmark as there are from Sweden and Norway (where many of my favorites come from). I don't really get why. The Raveonettes are pretty much alone in being from Denmark...along with Mew and Lars from Metallica, I guess. I love this entire new album but I have my favorite tracks, of course. Here are two of them. If you have not yet fallen in love with The Raveonettes you simply should not wait any longer. The time has come...

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