Amoeblog

Album Picks: Ty Segall Band, Diiv, Flaming Lips, A Place to Bury Strangers

Posted by Billy Gil, June 26, 2012 06:09pm | Post a Comment
ty segall band slaughterhouseSo much great stuff was released today. First of all, Ty Segall Band's Slaughterhouse is blowing my mind right now. When I talked to Ty Segall earlier this year, he said he’d be releasing an album with his backing band that would sound like “totally heavy, fuzzed-out Sabbath, Blue Cheer-like noise rock kinda stuff.” Turns out that was no bullshit; Slaughterhouse, the second of three planned releases this year from Segall, is a pure blast, and might be his best record yet. Opener “Death” starts out with squealing feedback like Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” or The Vaselines’ “Son of a Gun” before tearing into a yes, very Nirvana-esque blast of heavy, melodic guitar pop. You’re just going to want to track back and listen again the second it’s over. It’s just so much fun to listen to because Segall knows just when to unleash, firing furious riffery at the very end of “I Bought My Eyes.” His keen sense of what works and what does extends past the concepts of hooks and choruses, as the minute-and-a-half screamery of the title track is one of the most memorable pieces on the album. But you’ll still be humming the weird melodies of songs like “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” and “Muscle Man” because they find something fresh within seemingly well-worn territory. (The CD is out now; preorder the LP, due July 17, here.)

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Album Picks: Fiona Apple, King Tuff, Grass Widow, Liars

Posted by Billy Gil, June 19, 2012 07:27pm | Post a Comment
fiona apple the idler wheelToday Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel … was released. The first time I spun the album my jaw dropped. I grew up listening to Fiona Apple. She was one of my favorite artists in high school, and I’d followed her since the Tidal days, through her more “mature” albums When the Pawn … and Extraordinary Machine. I’d always still liked her, but my fervor had subsided a bit since those awkward teen years when her brand of super-confessional experimental pop really hit home. Well, this is something wholly different. As great as her previous three albums were, The Idler Wheel is the gutsiest thing she’s put out yet. Even more so than on Extraordinary Machine, Apple sounds uninterested in storming the radio with The Idler Wheel. She’s after something bigger here. Lyrically, she exposes her greatest wounds and digs at them with extraordinary candor and self-directed venom. “I root for you, I love you, you you you you” she sings on one of her lovelier tunes, “Valentine,” but even then, that devotion has a desperate tone that makes it hard to take at face value. Similarly, on “Jonathan,” lines like “I like watching you live” are accompanied by a fairly dissonant arrangement, deranged drumwork by collaborator Charlie Drayton and musique concrète that makes the whole thing sound like a ship coming apart. Vocally, Apple has never sounded stronger, scarier and more assured, frequently unleashing shiver-inducing cries, growling and singing with unchained vibrato within the same breaths, on songs like the searing “Left Alone.” And just when things get too grim, she closes the album with a jazzy, sexy ode to a guy who cuts through her like a “hot knife.” From start to finish, across its jagged edges and soaring heights, Idler Wheel is an exhilarating, simply astonishing listen.
 
king tuffI’m a big fan of garage rock but not necessarily of its sometimes limiting factors — guitars and vocals have to have just enough care balanced with slop, that sort of thing. So it’s nice to hear a couple of great up-and-coming albums from bands who subscribe to garage rock aesthetics but not “surf rock fun times” generic modes. King Tuff’s self-titled album is a real riot, from its opening track “Anthem,” which delivers perfectly delivered riffery the likes of which is pretty rare these days. Along with like-minded peers Ty Segall and the late Jay Reatard, King Tuff write songs first and foremost, and the ground covered here becomes more apparent upon repeat listens, which isn’t hard to do with an album that’s this much fun to listen to. “Alone & Stoned” has terrific ascendant vocal lines and a cool ’80s vibe under its garage veneer. “Unusual World” is a touching garage ballad that doesn’t shy away from varying its instrumentation, with synths and vibes adding nice touches to Tuff’s Marc Bolan-esque delivery. What I’m most taken with on King Tuff is that it delivers catchy garage pop tunes while refusing to adhere to one tempo and one sound like so many albums of a similar ilk. My personal favorite: the Vaselines-ish “Stupid Superstar.”
 
Grass Widow Internal LogicAlong those same lines, I really can’t get enough of Grass Widow’s Internal Logic. Starting off with its lo-fi sci-fi opener “Goldilocks Zone,” Internal Logic is a perfect example of a band perfectly executing a much-missed particular sound while adding its own peculiar flair of cool nerdy girl chic. Not to be limiting, but the album in some ways plays like a master class in post-punk girl bands: the multiple harmonic voices of Stereolab; the out-of-step tempos of Kleenex and ESG and their progeny, like Erase Errata and Electrelane; and off-kilter charm of bands like The Breeders. Fun and clever without biting off more than it can chew, Internal Logic pretty much leaves me with a smile on my face from start to finish.
 
liars wixiwLast but not least, I hope the new Liars album doesn’t get lost in the shuffle ‘cause WIXIW is every bit as good as their previous few releases, in my mind. Thought it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Drum’s Not Dead, I’m digging this new, quieter yet just as paranoid edition of Liars. WIXIW is pop in the way the Silver Apples or Portishead’s Third are pop, equal parts sinister and beautiful, with a throbbing heart underneath its digital beats. “Octagon” is disturbing, atonal at parts, yet its whole is instantly memorable, sticking mean hooks into you that feel better than they should. “No. 1 Against the Rush” sends goth down the autobahn, playing out like a krautrock variation on The Cure’s “A Forest.” WIXIW has been compared to Radiohead’s Kid A, and, listening to the title track — which disintegrates eerily under waves of oscillators and comes pulsing back for a haunting chanted chorus — it’s not hard to see why.

Local Bits: Best Coast, Ty Segall & White Fence, Derde Verde

Posted by Billy Gil, April 27, 2012 12:09pm | Post a Comment
Best Coast The Only PlaceBest Coast Covers Fleetwood Mac’s “Storms”
 
From Pitchfork, dad-rock loving duo Best Coast has covered a song by their beloved Fleetwood Mac, “Storms,” from their underrated 1979 album Tusk. For now, you have to track to about 58:10 in this edition of BBC Radio 6’s Radcliffe & Maconie show
 
Here’s the cool part: You can get the cover on a 7” that comes with The Only Place at independent record stores. Preorder your copy of The Only Place here at Amoeba and you’ll get a copy of the 7” with the moody and beautiful “Storms,” which shows off Bethany Cosentino’s growing confidence as a singer of uncommon power.
 
Ty Segall & White Fence – “Time”
 
I interviewed Ty Segall a while back about his collaboration with White Fence, called Hair, a match made in garage-pop heaven that was released this week — pick it up here. Here’s a fun psychedelic video of their song “Time” recorded for Room 205.

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Local Bits: Haim Free Download, White Arrows, Pangea Live Session

Posted by Billy Gil, March 2, 2012 12:45pm | Post a Comment
Haim offers Forever EP free.haim

This trio of sisters spins out serious pop (not pop-inflected goth or whatever) with the kind of easy, a capella style harmonies that come easy to siblings. I like to picture Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, all in their early 20s, singing along to Hanson in their parents’ car together as kids. Then, like, they grew up and moved to L.A. and started making music that references ’80s pop curios like Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. I don’t actually know their real story — I’ll have to investigate this further. For now, I can’t stop listening to their three-song EP, particularly the dancey “Forever.” Get it free here.

 

White Arrows – “Fireworks of the Sea” white arrows

White Arrows have been making it happen for a while now with superb live shows and a handful of released recordings hinting at the cool things they’d be doing down the line — I once called them “Paul Simon in space,” and I can’t really think of anything better than that at the moment to describe their sound, so we’ll just go with that. Their new song, “Fireworks of the Sea,” certainly fits that mold, with swirling synths intimating some digital acid trip over Mickey Schiff’s snaking vocal. Their debut EP hits April 3 from Votiv Music. They’ll be at the Roxy March 27. Listen over at Spin

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Ty Segall's Flying Circus to Blow Through L.A.

Posted by Billy Gil, March 1, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment
Ty SegallIn a short amount of time, Ty Segall has provided us with so much musical goodness in the recorded form that it’s hard to believe he’ll be releasing two (well, two-and-a-half-ish) albums this year. He’ll release a mini album on In the Red in June under Ty Segall Band, recorded with his touring band, which includes Charlie Moothart guitar (“He’s a complete shredder and dominator, he taught me everything I know about playing guitar,” Segall says), Mikal Cronin on bass and Emily Epstein on drums. The record will be mixed in Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios — where Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded, Segall points out — and recorded with Eric Bauer, who has recorded with Segall several times, including his most recent studio album, 2011’s Goodbye Bread.

A regular full-length also is due on Drag City under his own name in the fall. On top of all that, he’s releasing a collaboration LP with White Fence on Drag City in April, which he’s currently touring behind. Ty Segall and White Fence appear together March 3 at the Troubador.

I took some time to speak to Ty, who’s S.F.-based but was born in Laguna Beach, about his upcoming tours, release schedule, and how many songs he’s recorded.


PST: Last year, around the time Goodbye Bread was released, you said you wanted the next album to sound like Satan in Space, Hawkwind meets Sabbath and that sorta thing. Is that the direction the new material has ended up taking?

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