Amoeblog

Album Picks: Frank Ocean, Blanche Blanche Blanche, Jeff the Brotherhood, Plus Albums Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, July 17, 2012 04:18pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks:

Frank Ocean Channel OrangeFrank Ocean’s music touches such a raw nerve because it’s the rare album that fully appeals on a here-and-now pop level while referencing classic pop — in this case, pop and soul maestros like Stevie Wonder and Elton John — and offering something else entirely. This something else is that human, overexposed, heart-and-mind-on-sleeve content that firmly roots Channel Orange in the social network era. I was late to the game; the first time I heard “Thinkin Bout You” was the day before Ocean very publicly came out of the closet. That happenstance was strange for me — the thing that first struck me about the song, aside from its obvious craft, the kind of instantly memorable hit that combines a suave, easy to follow melody and arrangement with dagger-in-the-heart lyrics, was an indescribable “third” quality beyond music and lyrics that I usually find with my favorite music, whether it’s The Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles or, perhaps more relatedly, morose ’90s/'00s R&B hits like PM Dawn’s “Die Without You,” Fabolous & Tamia’s “So Into You,” Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor” and so on. It’s that sort of feeling that hits you immediately and reminds you of all the stupid unrequited crushes, moments of indirection, and fleeting feelings of serenity in youth. That Ocean possibly wrote the song about his own unrequited same-sex love made sense to me, since that’s pretty much what the song reminded me of. But beyond any personal affiliation with the song, the ability to communicate such universal but difficult to pin down feelings so instantly is quite rare, and so thus should be treasured in the way rave reviews have been pouring in for Channel Orange. Indeed, I think “Thinkin Bout You” is the best song anyone will release this year, and Channel Orange likely will be the album of the year. Beyond that opening instant classic, Channel Orange brims with power. Take the lush Marvin Gaye-meets-How to Dress Well-meets-Kanye West depiction of new parenthood in “Sierra Leone,” its lyrics offering a welcome balance of vagueness and detail devoid of judgment, communicating feelings of joy and trepidation. He celebrates and also exposes the lives of privileged black youth in a seemingly realistic way, beyond the bling-style fantasies of much of hip-hop, in songs like “Sweet Life” and the brilliant “Super Rich Kids,” which sounds like a hip-hop “Benny and the Jets” playing over an episode of the similarly revelatory reality show “Baldwin Hills.” He creates an sprawling, Kanye-style centerpiece with “Pyramids,” an epic track buoyed by raunchy synth riffs that turn glittering in the song’s sweetly disintegrating second half. And he continues to explore his evolving sexuality on a trio of closing ballads, in which he sounds as comfortable and natural singing about love between men, and between men and women. Though that doesn’t at all overshadow the rest of the album, which has more merits in spades to stand on its own, it can’t be ignored, either, as a huge moment for hip-hop — for all music — as a knocking down of barriers in music, sexuality and male image through some of the most dazzling, yet thoughtful pop music being made today.

Continue reading...

Local Stuff: Chelsea Wolfe, John Maus, Everest, Ariel Pink

Posted by Billy Gil, June 22, 2012 01:07pm | Post a Comment
Chelsea Wolfe
Chelsea Wolfe – "Flatlands
"
 
Chelsea Wolfe has a new, all-acoustic album due in October on Sargent House. Here’s the first track, a spare and haunting departure from the more densely layered, dark folk you’ll find on 2011’s Apocalypsis. The track features Andrea Calderón on violin, Ezra Buchla on viola and Ben Chisholm also on guitar.
 

 

John Maus
John Maus – "Bennington"

 
John MausWe Must Become the Pitless Censors of Ourselves was a fun trip through the sort of cerebral art pop of Klaus Nomi or Kraftwerk but with goofy lyrics and sturdy hooks. “Bennington” is no different, boasting a raunchy synth groove and lyrics like “I miss those funky eyes.” A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material, collecting 16 tracks recorded over the past decade or so, is slated to come out July 17 on Ribbon Music. He’ll be at FYF Fest Sept. 1 (tickets go on sale at Amoeba today at 5!). I never realized what a babe John Maus is till today.
 

 

Continue reading...

10 Record Store Day Picks

Posted by Billy Gil, April 19, 2012 06:55pm | Post a Comment
Record Store Day is great for any number of reasons — supporting record stores and the music community, hearing DJ sets from the likes of Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning. But in the end it’s all about the exclusive and new releases. Here are 10 picks from the many releases coming out April 21. (Read a more comprehensive list here, and download the full list here.)
 
animal collectiveAnimal Collective – Transverse Temporal Gyrus
 
Ripped from elsewhere on the Amoeblog: In March 2010, Animal Collective and visual artist Danny Perez put on an installation called "Transverse Temporal Gyrus" at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. For the audio, each member of the band made individual sounds and songs. Over the course of two 3-hour performances, the basic tracks were fed into a computer program that randomized the track order, and sometimes randomly combined stems from one track with stems from another. The program also panned the music in various directions around a 36 channel surround sound system that ran through 36 speakers set up from the top of the Guggenheim's ramp to the bottom. The music on this 12" is a collage made consisting of the original tracks, as well as live recordings made inside the Guggenheim before the doors were opened to the public. It will be the only physical format on which any of the music will be released.
 
Plus it’s new Animal Collective!
 
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II
 
Arcade Fire’s Blondie-ish “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” was undoubtedly the highlight of The Suburbs and showed the band still has some tricks up its sleeve. The Soulwax remix included here tastefully gives it the dancefloor feel it calls for without just throwing a house beat over the song and calling it a day.
 

Continue reading...

Amoeba's Youtube Playlist of the Best Music of 2011

Posted by Amoebite, December 26, 2011 06:41pm | Post a Comment
Youtube asked us to create a playlist of our favorite music of 2011. That's a pretty big task given how much music we all loved this year. We tried to keep it as close to 20 videos as we could (but we ended up with the random number of 22 faves). Check out our little intro video and then dive into our playlist...



Zola Jesus
Zola Jesus
Conatus
Sacred Bones

Conatus
 continued Zola Jesus' evolution to full-fledged goth pop star, with dance beats and hooks underpinning her freaky awesome voice.


Tinariwen
Tinariwen
Tassili
Anti- / Epitaph

Malian Touareg band Tinariwen are joined by Kyp and Tunde from TV on the Radio on this beautiful single.




Girls Father Son Holy Ghost
Girls

Father Son Holy Ghost
True Panther Sounds

Continue reading...

out this week 6/14 & 6/21 & 6/28...bon iver...john maus...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 30, 2011 11:46am | Post a Comment
It is hard to believe that it has been over three years since the first Bon Iver album came out. For Emma, Forever Ago was released by Jagjaguwar in February of 2008. This was just a month after I moved to Los Angeles. I will be the first to admit that I did not immediately fall in love with this album. It took a while. It just didn't hit me over the head and make me fall in love with it. I l know it had this effect on many of my friends. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it. Or I was trying to resist the cult of Bon Iver for some reason. But it slowly made its way into my heart. I never didn't like it. I just didn't love it. But it did grow on me over the year and the year following. I would find myself going back to it every once in a while. And I was strangely excited for the release of his new new album. It had been a while and I was ready for more Bon Iver. I also love that everybody has a different way that they say Bon Iver. Some people say boniver like it is one word. Others say Bon Iver like Bon Jovi. It is a bit confusing. It is based on the french phrase "Bon Hiver" which means "good winter." But I guess he didn't like the H and didn't want people to mispronounce it. But he should have spelled it "Bone E Ver" since that is really how it is pronounced. I instantly fell in love with the Bon Iver cover of "I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt. You can find this track on the new 12" for the single Calgary. It was also on an EP that wasbon iver calgary given away with the album on release date. I never thought that Bonnie Raitt would make me fall in love with Bon Iver. But I think this is what really did it. You might first think that a Bon Iver cover of Bonnie Raitt would be amazing. But it is. I am hoping that Bonnie Raitt, who seems to be in some sort of semi retirement, also loves the cover. How can she not. Maybe this will pull her out of retirement. Maybe she will cover a Bon Iver song! Maybe she will appear with Bon Iver on SNL!

Continue reading...