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The 25 Best Albums By California Artists Released in 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

best california albums blog

From L.A. and S.F.’s garage rock scenes to Compton’s blossoming rap artists, California artists represented well in 2014. Here are 25 of our favorites from the year, in alphabetical order.

Allah-LasWorship the Sun

allah-las worship the sun lpOn Worship the Sun, L.A.’s Allah-Las get some dirt on their boots by scuzzing up their sunny surf-garage sound with some rattling guitar solos, stonery grooves (“Buffalo Nickel”) and head-spinning psych-rock tunes (“501-405”).

 

 

Cherry Glazerr Haxel Princess

cherry glazerr haxel princess lpCherry Glazerr had the debut record of the year for Burger Records, moving unstoppably on the strength of its garage riffs and singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy’s teenage caterwaul.

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Album Picks: Cult of Youth, Royksopp, Cool Ghouls, Dream Police, Dirty Beaches

Posted by Billy Gil, November 11, 2014 11:02am | Post a Comment

Cult Of Youth - Final Days (LP, CD, Download)

cult of youth final days lpCult of Youth’s self-described “post-industrial Pet Sounds” begins with the instrumental “Todestrieb,” its eerie synths and tribal drums setting a foreboding tone for the album. “Dragon Rouge’s” acoustic strums and Sean Ragon’s intoning vocals give the track the feel of a classic Church song or stripped-down Sisters of Mercy track, while additional touches like cello and orchestral percussion pump up the grandiosity. Elsewhere, the band plugs in and goes full-tilt, with B-52’s riffs and post-punk rhythms on “Empty Faction” and goth-jangle on “Gods Garden.” Ragon’s voice is used terrifically throughout, judiciously given echo to resonate or often without effect to let his throaty post-industrial growl run free without trampling over the gorgeousness of these tracks. He’s at his best screaming through the nocturnal desert scene set by “Down the Moon” or kicking up dust on the rollicking “No Regression.” Like Iceage’s recent Plowing Into the Field of Love, Cult of Youth’s Final Days successfully marries Americana to post-punk rooted in traditions of hardcore and industrial music. It’s an unholy union, and it’s awesome. Check out "Empty Faction" via Stereogum.

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Weekly Roundup: Sego, Cool Ghouls, Hanni El Khatib, Youth Code

Posted by Billy Gil, October 17, 2014 09:54am | Post a Comment

Sego – “Wicket Youth” video

segoThese Utah-via-L.A. Kitsune signees immediately get me for referencing Wicket the ewok from Return of the Jedi. Even if that’s not what they’re referencing, that’s not the point—“Wicket Youth” touches on familiar ’80s influences without really sounding like they’re retreading, instead infusing refreshingly plainspoken lyrics about nostalgia for youth with sparkling synth-pop flourishes. And it’s got a very ’80s, handrawn-style video to match. The Wicket Youth EP is out Oct. 27.

 

Cool Ghouls – “What a Dream I Had”

cool ghoulsHere’s the third track from the forthcoming Cool Ghouls album A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye, out Nov. 11 on Empty Cellar. It’s perhaps the most impressive track they’ve debuted yet, built on a slow, steady jangle and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” harmonies. Cool Ghouls keep the dream of San Francisco alive with songs like “What a Dream I Had.” Stream the track via Wondering Sound, and read my interview with them here.

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Weekly Roundup: Cozz & Effect, Cool Ghouls, Corners

Posted by Billy Gil, October 3, 2014 11:27am | Post a Comment

Cozz & Effect – “Cody Macc” video

cozz & effectSouth L.A. rapper Cozz & Effect is only 21 and just started seriously rapping last year, but he was good enough to land on J. Cole’s Dreamville label (via Interscope), who will release the young rapper’s debut, self-titled album on shelves Oct. 27. The video for his track “Cody Macc” sees Cozz rapping with increasing ferocity throughout an eerily empty Los Angeles, which kind of matches the solitary quality to the song’s production. Something about that combination of sounds and images makes this compelling, like he’s fighting for his life to be heard over the anonymity of an oppressively large city like L.A.

 

Cool Ghouls – “And It Grows”

cool ghoulsCool Ghouls are digging deeper into their native S.F. for the sound of their next record, mining the hippie Nuggets of yore to come up with their own garage spin on psychedelic pop. Following the excellent “The Mile,” now we’ve got “And It Grows,” which builds with thick twangy guitars and choral vocals until it unleashes a big, snaking riff over a smoldering groove. I’m lovin’ it. A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye is out Nov. 11 on Empty Cellar. Here’s my interview with them a while back.

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Weekly Roundup: Deerhoof, Meatbodies, Cool Ghouls, Girlpool, Ty Segall

Posted by Billy Gil, September 12, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

Deerhoof – “Paradise Girls”

deerhoofOK, we can officially get excited for the new Deerhoof album. The first two tracks they’ve unveiled from La Isla Bonita (out Nov. 4 on Polyvinyl) have the wily energy of their wild early work, along with the refinement they’ve picked up along the way. It’s a very Deerhoof tribute to “girls who play bass guitar” and are smart, and it’s great.

 

Meatbodies – “Disorder”

meatbodiesAnother cool track from the band Meatbodies, who are newly signed to In the Red and release their debut album Oct. 14. It’s the project from Chad Ubovich, who plays guitar for Mikal Cronin and bass for FUZZ, and his latest jam is a hot ‘n’ woozy good time.

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