Amoeblog

Weekly Roundup: Crocodiles, Deerhoof, Bloody Death Skull, Kisses

Posted by Billy Gil, June 6, 2013 06:30pm | Post a Comment

Crocodiles Stream New Song ‘Teardrop Guitar’

Shoegaze guitar fans, rejoice — San Diego’s Crocodiles have a new album coming out. Following last year’s fine Endless Flowers comes Crimes of Passion, due Aug. 20 on Frenchkiss. They’re already premiered “Crimes of Passion,” and now comes the melodic rush of “Teardrop Guitar,” a perfectly named slab of classic shoegaze, vibing early Verve and Ride while maintaining their own sense of scrappy rock ‘n’ roll grandeur. It’s streaming now at NPR.

 

 

 

 

 

Deerhoof Releases ‘Breaking Songs’ Video

S.F.’s Deerhoof has released a video for its track “Breakup Songs” from the album of the same name. It at first seems like a huge bummer — I worry that “Breakup Songs” is code for the band breaking up, though they’ve had an incredible run — and the video features a crow man seeming to bring death to plague-invested peasants. How this leads to a dance party? You’ll just have to watch.

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Album Picks: Cat Power, The Fresh & Onlys, Jens Lekman, Deerhoof; Plus Albums and Movies Released Today

Posted by Billy Gil, September 4, 2012 03:35pm | Post a Comment
OK, too much amazing music was released today, but for me, the new albums by Cat Power, The Fresh & Onlys, Jens Lekman and Deerhoof shined above the rest. However, don’t sleep on great new albums by Animal Collective, Stars, Bob Mould, Two Door Cinema Club and Two Gallants, plus Blu-rays of Arachnophobia, Child’s Play, The Five-Year Engagement, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Hocus Pocus, Man on a Swing, Piranha 3DD, Safe and Umberto D., among others.
 
cat power sunCat Power Sun
 
Cat Power’s personal life — her admitted alcoholism, her erratic live shows — is a favorite topic of discussion such that it often threatens to overshadow talk of her brilliant music. Perhaps in an effort to curb that, Chan Marshall has created her least intimate, most globally accessible album with Sun. Marshall produced and performed almost everything on the album herself, but in lieu of the sort of austerity of an album like Moon Pix, we get a dark synth-pop record, spurred by Marshall’s desire to make something unlike anything she had done before. However, underneath the synths that spiral around the title track, for instance, this is still very much a Cat Power record — worry not, fans. In fact, the beginning of opener “Cherokee” begins in what sounds fairly typical for Cat Power — a simple, repeating guitar line, light piano touches and a steady beat — but it becomes clear that this is new territory as Marshall comes in with distorted, direct lyrics: “Never knew love like this.” However pop-oriented the song, with a beautiful synth melody making it sound a bit like ’80s Fleetwood Mac, Marshall’s meanings are still obscured: “Marry me to the sky … bury me upside down.” First single “Ruin” is similarly grabbing, but ultimately strange, unique; it’s piano lines and disco bassline dance up and down a bouncing beat while Marshall sings about various global locales like an indie rock “Kokomo,” but she’s singing about poverty, not vacation or the awesomeness of getting to travel while touring. It’s fun to hear her go pop-rock on “3,6,9,” which bounces along with chanted choruses and even sees Marshall take on the ubiquitous vocoder. Marshall can’t help but become increasingly personal as the album progresses, as live drums interrupt the digital beats of “Manhattan,” which glitters with heartfelt searching; “Silent Machine” returns to the bluesiness of her last few releases, but also has a startling computerized breakdown halfway through; and “Nothin But Time,” a duet with Iggy Pop, makes for the most beautiful, 10-minute Kraftwerkian ballad you’ll hear anywhere. The rock guitars and hip-hop delivery of “Peace and Love,” which closes the album, show Marshall is willing to go just about anywhere with her music if it provides new inspiration for her stirring voice and incisive lyrics; thankfully, on Sun, it nearly always does. She's signing copies of Sun today at 6 p.m. at Amoeba Hollywood for the first 100 people who buy the record!
 
The Fresh & Onlys Long Slow DanceThe Fresh & Onlys Long Slow Dance
 
The Fresh & Onlys were are always good, but Long Slow Dance takes the S.F. garage rockers to epic heights, with a newfound clarity to their vocals and straightforwardness of songwriting. “Yes or No” is divine romantic guitar pop, stringing a beautiful upward melody along a chugging backbeat that develops into a swooning chorus. The title track is the kind of campfire-friendly indie pop that bests the Shins at their game. “Presence of Mind” swirls around a picturesque college-rock backdrop but loops in perfect surf-rock riffs and another irresistible chorus. Every song seems to have some “how can that be new” moment, whether it’s a memorable line like “Dream girls don’t know what they’re doing/They go around doing anything they want,” or some elegant guitar riff, or laying out yet another perfect guitar ballad with “Executioner’s Song.” You just don’t want Long Slow Dance to end.

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out this week, 9/13 & 9/20: the drums...wild flag...girls...neon indian...jens lekman...veronica falls...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 13, 2011 01:01pm | Post a Comment
Hello! Welcome back to my new release blog. I am so sorry that I have been neglecting you. It has been a busy two months of new releases! Maybe you didn't notice...but it is already October. Not sure how that happened. It is already October 13th actually! This is absolutely one of my favorite months. I wish it was October every month!  Although I was not exactly enjoying the warm weather yesterday. Although we did not really have a crazy hot Summer this year in Los Angeles. So I can't blame Summer for trying to squeeze a couple of more days into October. But October is most certainly here and November is quickly approaching. All of the music labels are rushing to get their best new albums out to you before the end of the year. And all the movie studios will soon be rushing to get their best movies out before the end of the year! So lets go back in time and catch up a bit on what has come out the last couple of weeks. Then we can actually move onto October! First up is the week of 9/13 and 9/20...

I fell in love with The Drums when they put out their Summertime EP last year. How could I not love this band. It was the perfect pop record. Brilliantly pop friendly songs heavily influenced by The Smiths and Joy Division. But adding more modern sounds and synths. I fell in love. They also released their debut self titled full length album last year. Which was also fantastic. And now they have unleashed their second album called Portamento. You can never capture that excitement of a first record. But I am still loving this new album. The songs are catchier than anything and they just make me happy. A nice way to end my summer for sure. If you have still not joined the cult of The Drums. You should start with their first album The Drums or the Summertime EP. You will not be disappointed.

Check out the video for "How It Ended" by The Drums from the new album Portamento...




Neon Indian have also just released their second album. The new album is called Era Extrana. They put out their debut album Psychic Chasms in 2009. That album was also reissued in 2010. This new album is simply a super fun album. The songs are catchy and electronic and will keep you coming back for more. I compare them to bands like Human League and Pet Shop Boys. Maybe a more dreamy and ethereal version of those bands. Somewhere in between Cocteau Twins and Spandau Ballet.  Everyone will obviously not like this band. Some people will think the songs are ridiculous and not real music. Some people might make fun of you for listening to this band. But that only makes me like them more. These songs would not be out of place on the soundtrack to Drive. But I will get to that later. Era Extrana is exactly the kind of album that I want it to be. Nothing more and nothing less. Neon Indian has created the perfect second album.

Check out this video for "Polish Girl" by Neon Indian from the new album Era Extrana. This is of course not the actual video but a clip from the amazing movie Breakin'. I highly suggest that you pick up a copy of this new album by Neon Indian and that you also watch the movie Breakin'. It is just as amazing as you remember it to be....



There are many more albums that came out on 9/13 and 9/20. A fantastic new little EP from Jens Lekman. Everyone's favorite Swedish genius songwriter is back! An Argument With Myself is exactly what you would expect from Jens Lekman. He is witty and funny and ridiculous but super talented and brilliant. I just can't get enough of Jens Lekman. And I can't wait for his next full length album! We also get new albums from St. Vincent, Ladytron, Toro Y Moi, Shimmering Stars, Tori Amos, Wooden Shjips, Patton Oswalt, Nurses, Wild Flag, & Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Something for everyone. Almost too many albums for me to keep up with. I still have not given my final verdict to the debut album from Wild Flag. I love Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney and I love Mary Timony from Helium. So it is great to see these amazing ladies back in action. But I really am just waiting for the next season of Portlandia and hoping that Wild Flag makes a guest appearance at an instore at the women's book store. This debut album is fun and playful and I think they sound great on it. If nothing else, this new album has made me go back and listen to my old Sleater-Kinney and Helium records. It has made me remember why I fell in love with them in the first place!

It really is the year of the second album. Girls have also just released their second album. The new album by Girls is really really good. It took me a couple months to actually get into them after the first album came out. I actually saw them live and didn't know what to think of them. But the Broken Dreams Club EP from last year pushed me over for sure. I was then a fan of Girls without a doubt. This new album Father Son Holy Ghost is worth your time and money. I know there are a ton of albums this last couple of months. But this is one that you should not miss! This band is straight out of the 90's. They are sort of a mix of Sunny Day Real Estate and The Posies and the more lighter side of the grunge sound of the 90s mixed with a more British Primal Scream shoegaze 90s sort of sound. Imagine the Beach Boys if they had discovered Shoegaze or Dreampop.

Check out the video for "Honey Bunny" by Girls from the new album Father Son Holy Ghost...



One of my other recent favorites is Veronica Falls. Their debut album has just been released by Slumberland. They are a band made for people like me who still wish every band sounded like either Twee or Shoegaze or something in between. This album is still blowing me away every time that I listen to it. And I have listened to it many many times. I still get sad when I think about the fact that we will probably never get another album by the band Lush. But Veronica Falls sound very close to what I would have loved for Lush to turn into. They are a little less shoegaze and a little more Twee than Lush. But just as amazing and brilliant. You really should be loving the band as much as I do. I almost can't believe how great they are. This album is magical. It really is. I will be listening to it over and over again for many months to come.

Check out the video for "Bad Feeling" by Veronica Falls from their debut album....



also out 9/13...






American Goldwing
by Blitzen Trapper











Dreams Come True
by CANT











Portamento
by The Drums











Father Son Holy Ghost
by Girls











Credo
by The Human League











Junk Of The Heart
by The Kooks











Gravity the Seducer
by Ladytron











Years
by Memoryhouse











Earth Division
by Mogwai











Era Extrana
by Neon Indian











Green Naugahyde
by Primus











Violent Hearts
by Shimmering Stars











Paradise
by Slow Club











Strange Mercy
by St. Vincent











Freaking Out
by Toro Y Moi











Wild Flag
by Wild Flag











West
by Wooden Shjips






also out 9/20...






Night of Hunters
by Tori Amos











Hysterical
by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah











In Animal Tonque
by Evangelista











HitRECord
by Joseph Gordon-Levitt











Argument With Myself
by Jens Lekman











Megafaun
by Megafaun











Dracula
by Nurses











Finest Hour
by Patton Oswalt











Veronica Falls
by Veronica Falls











Red
by Weekend




Geoffrey O’Connor Brings His Noir Synth Pop to Hollywood Forever

Posted by Billy Gil, September 28, 2011 02:09pm | Post a Comment
Geoffrey O’Connor, frontman for Australian indie pop band Crayon Fields, released his debut record under his own name this week with Vanity Is Forever, a dark and sexy collection of new romantic pop reminiscent of Bryan Ferry and later-period Roxy Music. It’s gorgeous stuff, and tonight he’ll play it at Hollywood Forever Cemetery alongside Swedish songsmith Jens Lekman at 8 p.m. I took a minute to chat with O’Connor about his music upbringing and influences — surprise, it’s not all ’80s all the time!

PST: Can you tell me a little bit about your musical background up until releasing Vanity Is Forever?

O’Connor: I’ve been writing and recording songs since high school, which is when I started playing with Crayon Fields — we are now working on album number three. I released a solo record in 2007 as Sly Hats, but then decided to drop the name for the one my mother gave me.

PST: What are some of the influences, musical or otherwise, that got you making the music that appears on this album?

O’Connor: Classics like Fleetwood Mac, Lou Reed and Dory Previn are the first musical influences that come to mind. I work in a cinema and get to see a lot of free movies — often there will be a memorable scene or quote that will trigger a song idea, even in the ones I don’t like.

PST: I definitely hear a cinematic quality to your music. Have you or would you consider scoring a film?

O’Connor: Very much so — it is pretty much my dream to score a film. I often feel like my efforts making films are more to do with wanting to score them.

PST: I feel like there's been a return to sort of luxurious music of the '70s and '80s lately in underground/indie music and film. Music like Washed Out and The Field, referencing bands like Roxy Music; the movie Drive comes to mind. This sort of like, underside of "Miami Vice" thing. I see songs like "Whatever Leads Me to You" fitting alongside that to some degree. But that's just it conjures up for me, I guess. Does that sound along the lines of what you'd like to create, or is it very different for you? What imagery come up for you when you hear/make your own music, and do you see it as fitting alongside other artists of this era?

O’Connor: It’s been interesting how often the ’80s has been cited in the write-ups and reviews for the record so far. Generally it doesn’t bother me — I can see how the comparison could be drawn. I do love Roxy Music too, especially the later stuff. It’s certainly not a premeditated thing though, or an homage of any kind. I guess I’ve always liked the purity of direct, melodramatic pop music — which is typical of many ’80s classics. While I love a lot of contemporary music, a lot of it frustrates me in its lack of both lyrical and melodic conviction.
 
PST: At the same time, the music is very removed from a lot of trends. It's more deliberate and sensitive to me. Did you seek to make music that sounded like it could come have come from a number of different eras and genres?

O’Connor: To a degree I did, I always aim to make my songs sound contemporary — but I guess my approach to song writing resembles that of the ’60s and ’80s in that the melodic hooks and lyrics always come first. I’m very much into music that sounds deliberate, as opposed to being improvised — and that’s the way I go about writing and recording.

PST: Are you involved in any other projects, musically or otherwise?

O’Connor: I’m finishing a Masters in film this year, and using my time in the course to put together a series of music videos. I’d like to be more involved in film/video making, I enjoy it just as much as making music. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with it yet, though I’m toying with the idea of putting together a soap opera at some point — I’ll probably call it “Vanity Is Forever,” too. I also play in a couple of other people’s bands on guitar and bongos — Guy Blackman, Montero and Monnone Alone.
 
PST:
What's your setup for playing live?

O’Connor: I have two modes at the moment. I usually play with two other dueling synthesizer players, and then for the solo shows it’s just me with a guitar and sampler. I’m very much into making it a visual thing and I bring my own projections, lasers and smoke when I can. I think both modes work in very different ways and suit different environments — it’s always nice to have company though!


Album Picks: Dum Dum Girls, Geoffrey O'Connor, Jens Lekman

Posted by Billy Gil, September 27, 2011 01:43pm | Post a Comment
Reviews of some of my favorite albums from the past couple of weeks:


Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams (CD or LP)

Noise popettes Dum Dum Girls started out rough, all motorcycles and dingy guitars and black nail polish, on their excellent debut album, I Will Be, before expanding the lo-fi quality of their sound to brighter places with this year’s He Gets Me High EP. They continue that trajectory with their second full-length, Only In Dreams, which ups the pop ante considerably. While The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde always had been a touchstone for singer/guitarist Dee Dee’s smoky drawl, the band’s music serves as a signpost here as well, insofar as Only in Dreams combines rock toughness and girl-group melodies in a way rarely seen with such success since that band — check out “Caught In One” for one of the best examples. Elsewhere, the band sounds a bit like early Go-Gos (the jangly “Bedroom Eyes”), The Bangles (“Hold Your Hand” is kind of like an indie-rock “Eternal Flame”) or Mazzy Star (it might bother you how much “Coming Down” sounds like “Fade Into You,” if the tremoloed riffs and breakup lyrics weren’t so damn effective). While they struggle a bit to establish their own identity apart from their forebears, Only in Dreams proves Dee Dee and co. to be formidable purveyors of classic pop-rock.

Free download of "Bedroom Eyes" by Dum Dum Girls.

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