Amoeblog

Album Picks: Janelle Monae, The Weeknd, Jacuzzi Boys, Joanna Gruesome

Posted by Billy Gil, September 10, 2013 09:01am | Post a Comment

Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady

janelle monaeCD $12.98

Janelle Monae's The Archandroid was a landmark R&B album, released in 2010 when Monae was only 24 years old and poising her to accept the baton from her predecessors. With The Electric Lady, she accepts entry into that pantheon of great soul artists, and even collaborates with several of them. Her duet with Prince, "Givin Em What They Love," is a raunchy bit of slow rolling rock 'n' roll that does the Purple One proud, with Monae giving a snarling, Karen O-like performance. She enlists Erykah Badu to collaborate on "Q.U.E.E.N.," for a jam that's both glitzy and soulful, unafraid of seeming both current and strange ("Is it peculiar that she twerk in the mirror? And am I weird to dance alone late at night?" Monae asks). But her duets fellow new guard members are equally thrilling, on the sassy title track with Solange, jazzy "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" with Esperanza Spalding and showstopper "Primetime" with Miguel. The music is remarkable and unpredictable throughout, from the loungey outro to "We Were Rock N Roll" to the Flaming Lips synths and Brazilian jazz chords of "Ghetto Woman." And impressively, with all these big names, Monae remains the star, singing and rapping like the second coming of Lauryn Hill. On her own, her songs are no less striking, singing an uplifting hymn with "Victorious" and closing things out beautifully on the reggae-tinged "What An Experience." What an experience The Electric Lady is, indeed!

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10 Records You Need to Own in Fall

Posted by Billy Gil, September 3, 2013 04:08pm | Post a Comment

The WeekndKiss Land (preorder on CD or LP)

the weeknd kiss land lp

Out Sept. 10

Canadian indie R&B artist The Weeknd returns with a new album following his three mixtapes and their eventual compilation (Trilogy). Expect Kiss Land to live up to its name, judging by the sexy, Portishead-sampling “Belong to the World” heard below.

 

Sebadoh Defend Yourself (preorder on CD or LP)

sebadoh defend yourselfOut Sept. 17

The first album in 14 years from Sebadoh, the great indie rock band featuring Lou Barlow (also of Dinosaur Jr.), should be a hoot! Even if you’re new to the band, Barlow’s gritted-teeth delivery and brittle guitarwork are a thing to behold.

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Albums out Nov. 13: Crystal Castles, The Weeknd, Lust For Youth and More

Posted by Billy Gil, November 12, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Crystal Castles III

Crystal Castles IIICD $12.98

LP $17.98

Early interviews about Crystal Castles' stunning third album have seen frontwoman Alice Glass discussing oppression at length with Bono-ish fervor — not something typically associated with an image-conscious electronic duo known more for its antagonistic records and brawling live shows than its politics. But Glass and synth stud Ethan Kath can have it both ways, as III is another visceral attack of a record from Crystal Castles that ups the meaning behind their furor, both explicitly and implied, without losing any of their hedonistic attitude. In fact, III, while lacking some of the shock value of the first two records, is Crystal Castles’ most consistent statement to date. Tracks like “Plague” and “Wrath of God” still pack walloping beats, but they are more of mood pieces than, say, something like II’s “Baptism,” full of moody, heaving passages that draw you in and keep you rapt across the record. III is also smartly paced, keeping some of its more crowd-pleasing moments for later in the record, whereas previous albums were front-loaded. The fourth song in, “Affection,” shares a chord-scheme with MGMT’s “Kids,” though its warped vocals sound like they’re echoing from an abyss — not exactly radio-friendly material. Glass quits whispering and unleashes her trademark echoed yelps on the spare “Pale Flesh,” sure to be a live favorite, while “Sad Eyes” charges forth with unabashed club glee and hard-hitting beatwork. The album’s final quarter features some of its most remarkable moments, full of seedy club bangers, while its last song, “Child I Will Hurt You,” is a typically gorgeous closer from the band, layering Goblin-style keyboards over Glass’ haunting vocals, which often sing of pain inflicted upon the vulnerable, echoing the statement of that album cover, calling to mind suffering and comfort in equal doses. That concept isn’t as overt as it could have been, but when it does come through, as when Glass sings “I’ll protect you from all the things I’ve seen” on “Kerosene,” Crystal Castles create the aural equivalent of gunfire and a helping hand.

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New Videos, Shows: Nick Waterhouse, Hanni El Khatib, Cass McCombs

Posted by Billy Gil, May 4, 2012 02:12pm | Post a Comment
Checking in on Friday once again, this week saw new videos from LA/CA acts Nick Waterhouse, Hanni El Khatib and Cass McCombs. Nick Waterhouse’s Time’s All Gone was released this week, it’s a soul-huggin’ good time of a record with pitch-perfect production. Check out the video for the rollicking “Some Place.”
 

Nick Waterhouse - "Some Place" (Official Music Video) from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.

 
Hanni El Khatib released a video for “Roach Cock,” a B-side to a limited edition 8” he did with a cover of The Cramps’ “Human Fly.” I think this song rocks harder than anything he’s done yet. Check out his album Will the Guns Come Out for more good times rock ’n’ roll.
 

 
Dusky singer-songwriter Cass McCombs released two excellent albums in 2011, Wit’s End and Humor Risk. He follows that prolific output with a song and video inspired by alleged army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Domino has released a 7” of the song. Check out the video below.
 

 
Shows this weekend:
Friday: First Fridays @ The Natural History Museum with AA Bondy and Father John Misty (5 p.m., FREE)
Saturday: Washed Out @ The Fonda Theater (8 p.m., $20)
Sunday: The Weeknd @ The Fonda Theater (8 p.m., $32)