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The 10 Best Albums of 2015 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, July 1, 2015 06:38pm | Post a Comment

best albums of 2015

Now that the year is officially half over, we’re checking back over the albums that have been released thus far in 2015. Maybe all of this will change in six months, but for now, here are the albums I’ve been most excited about this year. We’d love to hear some more under-the-radar albums that came out this year that haven’t been as covered by the blogosphere, so please leave a comment and suggest some more picks.  

1. Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear

father john misty i love you honeybearThe former Fleet Foxes drummer has put out the most emotionally manipulative album of 2015, and that’s a good thing. Songs like “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” are all sweeping melodrama on the surface, horns and strings and Southwest jangle decorating Joshua Tillman’s sonorous voice, but his words destroy the superficial veneer the handsome troubadour puts out on first blush, sneaking snarky lines into a love song to his new wife (“I wanna take you in the kitchen/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”). Songs like “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.” and “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow” dismiss young would-be groupies with borderline arrogance (the oft-quoted “She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes/And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream”), Tillman’s use of detail flip your impression of him from douche to annoyingly charming dude who’s just telling it like it is. And as the album progresses, Tillman’s observations turn more self-effacing, and his pathos makes for some brutally candid moments—“Bored in the U.S.A.’s” white people problems are played for literal laughs, and the self-loathing present beneath the beard transcends its trappings and becomes entirely relatable. It’s also a great love album because it’s romantic but doesn’t sugarcoat shit, starting semi-sarcastically using the pet name “honeybear” and later featuring the line “Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity/What I fail to see is what that’s gotta do with you and me.” There have easily been more sentimental singer/songwriter releases in 2015, but Tillman’s cynicism feels like the most honest thing I’ve heard this year.

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17 Songs To Shake Off That June Gloom

Posted by Amoebite, June 9, 2015 05:55pm | Post a Comment

17 songs to shake off june gloom

Close out the spring with this eclectic mix of dance-pop gems, hot hip-hop tracks and indie-rock favorites.

Crocodiles - Boys


Crocodiles - “Peroxide Hearts” from Boys

On the fifth album from the Boys from San Dog, this great krautgaze dreampop duo gives more of what you love -- tough, taut, fuzzed-out, soaring, unstoppable gems, a little bit Primal Scream, a little bit J&MC, but with plenty of their own energy and oddball vibe.

 

Peaking Lights - Cosmic Logic


Peaking Lights - “Hypnotic Hustle” from Cosmic Logic

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Album Picks: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Thee Oh Sees

Posted by Billy Gil, May 26, 2015 10:43am | Post a Comment

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

unknown mortal orchestra multi-love lpUnknown Mortal Orchestra continue their transition into the best funk band from another dimension with Multi-Love. The title track sounds like Stevie Wonder on a space-rock kick, as frontman Ruban Nielson raspily sings of polyamorous affairs over proggy movements and danceable beats. “Like Acid Rain’s” disintegrated R&B dazzles and melts in your ears. “The World Is Crowded’s” lockstep groove accompanies lush soul vocals singing quizzical lyrics, asking “did she blow my brains out?” like a robot waking up from a one-night stand. And “Ur Life in One Night” takes the psychedelic-leaning funk and soul of the ’70s and making it sound truly interstellar, as though Curtis Mayfield and Funkadelic records were transmitted via satellite to an alien galaxy, and this was the responding message. But however proudly UMO wave their freak flag, Multi-Love is still rooted in reality. “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” begins on a film-noir opening, with cinematic horns, booty-shaking jungle drums and 007 riffs growing into curious melodies that curl into an earworm chorus on perhaps their best song yet. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s particular universe is perplexing only until you get your footing; then you’ll never want to leave. It’s one of the best things we’ve heard all year.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Posted by Amoebite, November 19, 2014 01:16pm | Post a Comment

Unknown Mortal Orchestra What's in My Bag

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is the brainchild of New Zealander Ruban Nielson (formerly of the Mint Chicks). After relocating to Portland, Oregon, Nielson met future bandmates Jacob Portrait (bass) and Riley Geare (drums). In 2010, Nielson released a self-produced home recording of the track "Ffunny Ffriends" on the music site Bandcamp. With virtually no info on the band or music, bloggers and digital music diggers started sharing the song and word of the band started to spread. In the summer of 2011, the band released a self-titled album on Fat Possum Records. Check out what Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh) had to say about UMO's debut album in his "What's In My Bag?" episode here. In 2013, Unknown Mortal Orchestra signed with the Jagjaguwar label and released the album II . 

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Last First Fridays of the Season Will Host Unknown Mortal Orchestra, De Lux and More June 6

Posted by Billy Gil, May 30, 2014 09:39am | Post a Comment

unknown mortal orchestra

It’s the last First Fridays of Spring, and they’ve saved one of the best shows for last.

On June 6, the Natural History Museum will host New Zealand psych-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra with L.A. dance-rock band De Lux, synth maestro Tobacco and S.F. psych-pop band Painted Palms. The mini-fest of sorts will take place outdoors on two stages from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be bought here.

Before that, an indoor tour and discussion at the museum will cover “Tracking and Trapping L.A.’s Insects,” followed by the discussion “Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles and Around the World” with Dr. Noah Wilson-Rich. And outdoors, KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Garth Trinidad will keep things moving throughout the night.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra has two albums out, their self-titled debut and last year’s II, which injected their lo-fi psych rock with classic soul stomp. De Lux just released their debut album, the excellent Voyage, the art-disco revivalism of which makes LCD Soundsystem’s departure easier to bear. Tobacco also just released a new album, the intoxicating, freaky synth-funk opus Ultima Massage II. And Painted Palms released their debut, Forever, this year, full of buoyant beats and spacey, Beach Boys-inspired melodies.

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