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My Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:24pm | Post a Comment

50. Purity RingShrines

purity ring shrinesPurity Ring make Cocteau Twins­-style dream pop by way of Salem’s hard-hitting witchhouse on an album more notable for its smooth blending of related genres than for its actual songwriting, but they’ve got a sweet sound nonetheless.

 

 

49. Cold ShowersLove & Regret

Cold Showers Cold Showers’ short and sweet debut heralds the arrival of a great new L.A. band, beaming shoegaze guitars over darkwave synths and goth-style vocals. (Read my review of Cold Showers' show here.)

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Album Picks: Melody's Echo Chamber, Chris Cohen, The Soft Pack, Lavender Diamond, Plus Albums Out Tuesday

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2012 04:30pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks:
 
Melody's Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo Chamber
 
My favorite new band out right now is Melody’s Echo Chamber, whose enchanting self-titled debut is a study in ebullient dream-pop perfection. The story goes that Melody Prochet hooked up with Aussie psych-rock greats Tame Impala, calling on the band’s Kevin Parer to beef up her beauteous, French-pop-inspired arrangements with the kind of soaring sonics employed by that band. What comes out is indeed a perfect marriage. It’s one of those records where the cover perfectly captures the mood: mysterious, colorful and ethereal, you get lost in the folds of this record and don’t want to come out. Fans of Broadcast and Blonde Redhead, take note. The only downside is that aside from a few strong standouts, like the garage rocky opener “I Follow You” and lush (and Lush-esque) “Endless Shore,” the record blurs together. No matter — for fans of this kind of thing, you won’t know where the time has gone. As with like-minded peers A Sunny Day in Glasgow, the emphasis is more on album as experience, following dissociative dream logic in which melodies and arrangements are allowed to meander and linger and flow into one another in a singular happening. In a word, divine.
 
 
Chris CohenChris CohenOvergrown Path
 
Chris Cohen is one of the great underappreciated guitar players of our generation — listen back to Deerhoof records from when he was in the band for proof of his and John Dieterich’s insane riffery and interplay. Since leaving that band, he’s spent time with projects such as Cryptacize, but now on his first solo album and John Cale Paris 1919 moment, we get to see what a strong singer, songwriter and arranger he is, as well. “Monad” opens the album with the sort of skewed guitarwork that will make early Deerhoof fans squeal, but that quickly fades into a brisk, smart soft-pop track punctuated by splashy drums, not unlike one of Yo La Tengo’s more ornate songs. Cohen packs his intricate guitarwork into skilled compositions, such as the Latin-psych vibing “Caller No.99,” in a way that was never as apparent in his flashier Deerhoof contributions. Though his voice is unremarkable, its nice-guy pleasantness carries listeners swiftly through mellow but tricky compositions, avoiding the sort of fussiness that could have resulted with punchier performances. By the time you arrive at the sweet “bum bum bum bums” of the irresistible “Optimist High,” you’re floating on a cloud of contentment and ready to follow Cohen just about anywhere. Overgrown Path is really the perfect fall album, cozy and warm and subtly, almost magically, life-affirming.
 

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Weekly Roundup: The Soft Pack, Cold Showers, Chelsea Wolfe and More

Posted by Billy Gil, September 21, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
the soft packThe Soft Pack – “Bobby Brown”
 
Sweet song from The Soft Pack’s excellent new album, Strapped, coming out next week! Preorder it here. Love the chantalong vocals and reggae swing, but the best part is easily the psych-sax solo breakdown in the middle.
 

 
cold showers
Cold Showers
– “Violent Cries”
 
The second song from L.A.-based Cold Showers’ upcoming debut album, Love and Regret, oozes cool blue menace from beneath a synth-rock veneer. Love and Regret is due Oct. 9 from Dais. It’s streaming over at Stereogum.
 





 
gangiGangi – “Gold”
 
This new song by L.A.-based Gangi starts out mellow and psychy and catchy and just keeps getting better as it goes, with fuzzed out guitars and warbled gospel-style backup vocals that make the “put your hands up” lyrics sound like a religious plea. The folks at Filter have it up to stream. Their album Gesture Is comes out digitally Oct. 2; if you like what you hear, help them out at their Kickstarter to get a physical release and distribution! They’ve also got the following upcoming local shows:
 

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Local Stuff: The Soft Pack, Pinback, Ariel Pink

Posted by Billy Gil, August 24, 2012 12:14pm | Post a Comment
soft packThe Soft Pack – “Tallboy”
 
Every taste we’ve gotten thus far of the new Soft Pack album, Strapped, has been an indication that the album presents a leap forward for the band in terms of songwriting and production. “Tallboy” is no exception, with its gently tugging melody and subtle horns that come in halfway through. Strapped is out Sept. 25 on Mexican Summer (preorder here). They're also playing FYF Fest Sept. 1-2; tickets are still on sale at Amoeba Hollywood!











 

 
 

pinbackPinback – “Proceed to Memory”

 
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Pinback, since their last album, Autumn of the Seraphs, in 2007. I grew up loving this band and am excited to have them back with a new song and album, Information Retrieved, out Oct. 16 from Temporary Residence Ltd. The same elements I fell in love with before are still intact — great guitar and vocal interplay, intimate sparseness — but I haven’t heard a soaring chorus like the one on “Proceed to Memory” before in a Pinback song. Leaves me hungry to hear the rest of the new album!
 

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Local Stuff: Ariel Pink, Ty Segall, Puro Instinct, LOL Boys, Starred, Soft Pack

Posted by Billy Gil, July 13, 2012 02:29pm | Post a Comment
So much West Coast goodness coming our way this week, I’ll just get right into it …
 
New Ariel Pink – “Only In My Dreams”
 
Ariel Pink debuted a new song this week from his upcoming Mature Themes, the regal-sounding “Only In My Dreams.” Loved the “Baby” cover, but it’s great to hear that his new originals are great, too. Mature Themes is due Aug. 17 on 4AD.
 

 
Ty SegallNew Ty Segall Coming — Again
 
Won’t I ever shut up abou this guy? Not when he’s making such great music so consistently. On the heels of his White Fence collab Hair and his searing Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse comes a new album just credited to the king of SF garage himself, called Twins. It’s out Oct. 9 on Drag City. The next time he’s close to this neck of the woods is Oct. 14, at the Treasure Island Festival.
 
New Puro Instinct – “Dream Lover”
 
Speaking of Mr. Pink, his friends in dreamy duo Puro Instinct have a new song, “Dream Lover.” It’s not a Mariah Carey cover, although I bet that would sound amazing. This song finds them branching out, getting bigger than the sound they debuted on Headbangers in Ecstasy. Sounds like My Bloody Valentine by the pool. It’ll be on an EP later this year.
 

 
LOL Boys – “Changes” [ft. Heart Streets]
 
Originally hailing from Montreal, these guys make sort of lo-fi jazzy house music. And they are called LOL Boys, which is pretty good, although I feel like it should have been LOL Boyz. I’m pretty bewildered by the whole thing in a good way. Their debut Changes is out July 17.
 

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