Amoeblog

Vivian Girls Officially Break Up; Slowdive Getting Back Together?

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2014 11:14am | Post a Comment

Vivian Girls AmoebaOne of our favorite modern bands, Vivian Girls, are officially breaking up. They'll play two last shows, one of them here in L.A. at Highland Park's new Church on York venue, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. You can get tickets here. Or if you're in New York, you can see them at Death by Audio March 1; tickets for that show are here. Both shows are all-ages.

I made this Vivian Girls Family Tree a while back to note the myriad other projects that spring from the band. As far as the members of the band go, Cassie Ramone will continue with The Babies, along with Woods' Kevin Morby; Katy Goodman will have a new La Sera album out later this year; and Ali Koehler continues with her new band, Upset. You can read interviews I've done with Goodman and Upset.

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Artists Pick Their Favorite Albums of 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, December 30, 2013 02:33pm | Post a Comment

We've been compiling our own Best of 2013 lists for a while now, so why don't we ask some of our favorite local artists what they were spinning this year?

gabe fulvimar gap dream amoebaGabe Fulvimar of Gap Dream

“I really, really really did like [Daft Punk’s] Random Access Memories. I’ve seen it make it on the lists this year, but it seems like it’s not really getting too high up there. People are being kind of shitty to that record. It’s like a Rocky soundtrack or something. When that record came out this year, I was so stoked, I didn’t even know a new Daft Punk record was coming out. I know the one that came out before this last one didn’t do too well, and I knew they were kind of moving into soundtrack territory. That’s usually a clue that they’ve found their way into the golden land of making cinema scores. I was like, good for them, they’re geniuses. But I was blown away. It’s such a great blending of like modern pop music, which isn’t really that great, with classic pop music. Overall it’s just a really good pop record.”

Gap Dream's latest album is Shine Your Light.

Read my interview with Fulvimar here.

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Album Picks: Arcade Fire, Upset, Widowspeak, White Denim, Diane Coffee

Posted by Billy Gil, October 29, 2013 11:20am | Post a Comment

Arcade Fire - Reflektor (CD or LP)

arcade fire reflektorThe amazing new album from Arcade Fire proves the band was, and is, worthy of all that damn praise and hype that's been heaped upon the band since its inception. It also proves you can teach an old dog new tricks, as the band largely ditches the orchestral indie rock of their previous releases in favor of lean, mean groove-oriented jams. This isn't to say Reflektor is somehow less complex than their earlier work; the title track alone is a seven-and-a-half minute odyssey that sets the tone for an album that gives listeners a dance song while seemingly satirizing itself at the same time—are they the reflectors, repeating past sounds for the sake of accessibility? Are we the mirrors, reflecting what we want onto our musicians? It poses interesting artistic questions while giving us visceral thrills. Reflektor continues with more pensive groovers. "We Exist" pulls off a "Billie Jean" rip through "Reflektor's" staging of borrowed sounds, yet its also a silky rocker worthy of its own ripoffs, peeling into half-time chorus that that keeps listeners on their toes. The band successfully ventures into dub reggae on "Flashbulb Eyes"—no really, don't roll your eyes until you hear it—which moves into the tribal opening of "Here Comes the Night," making use of the band's many-membered setup for a dynamic, smooth jam that questions the concept of heaven in an accessible way, much as their forebears in Talking Heads did on "Heaven." "Normal Person" is like a response to The Suburbs' "Roccoco," which took hipsters to task for pretentiousness—this Robert Palmer-style rocker asks, "Is anything as strange as a normal person?" Reflektor's second half struggles for the same energy as its first, it offers the kind of sonic exploration the band perhaps hasn't always let itself undergo, like venturing into krautrock on "Porno," and more of the sort of spiritual questioning posed on "Here Comes the Night" pops up on "Afterlife," a much-wanted followup to The Suburbs' "The Sprawl II." It's a lot to take in at once, but you could listen to Reflektor ten times in a row and find a new song or idea to latch onto that you hadn't noticed before. It's the next logical step for a band who has carefully considered each release thus far, and it's also one of the year's best.

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Weekly Roundup: MellowHigh, Tera Melos, Best Coast, Upset, Mike Donovan

Posted by Billy Gil, October 17, 2013 06:01pm | Post a Comment

MellowHigh – “Extinguisher”

mellowhighThe Odd Future trio MellowHigh (formerly a duo known as MellowHype) are generating much salivation for their first, self-titled album. One listen to the old-school-flavored “Extinguisher” and it’s not hard to hear why. “Hip-hop is back” one of them says near the end of the song. No doubt. The album’s due on Halloween via Odd Future.

 

Tera Melos – Live at Amoeba video

tera melosNor. Cal.’s Tera Melos are one of the coolest guitar bands around, wrangling their guitar necks around each other with much interlocking riff mayhem. See how they do it with a video of their performance at Amoeba SF below. Read my interview with the band here, and check out their album X’ed Out.

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Weekly Roundup: Upset, Boardwalk, Radar Brothers, Flaamingos

Posted by Billy Gil, October 10, 2013 01:54pm | Post a Comment

Upset – “She’s Gone”; preorder She's Gone on CD or LP

upset bandThe new band featuring Ali Koehler of Vivian Girls/formerly of Best Coast, Jennifer Prince on guitar and Patty Schemel, formerly of Hole (and of Hit So Hard, the documentary made about her) has debuted the title track from its forthcoming album on Don Giovanni, due Oct. 29. It’s a scrappy power-popper in the vein of such bands as Heavenly, Bettie Serveert and Velocity Girl. If you have a yen for female-fronted alt-rock, you’ll love Upset. They’ll be at S.F.’s Bottom of the Hill Nov. 20 and L.A.’s Echoplex Nov. 21. You can pick up first single “Oxfords and Wingtips” from Amoeba now, or preorder She's Gone here! (Also, check out how Upset fits into the Vivian Girls Family Tree.)

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