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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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Weekly Roundup: Deerhoof, Silk Rhodes, Medicine, Meatbodies

Posted by Billy Gil, November 14, 2014 08:51am | Post a Comment

Deerhoof – “Exit Only” video

deerhoofTake Shelter’s Michael Shannon stars in a new video as two guys losing their shit while listening to Deerhoof’s ferocious “Exit Only,” from their great new album La Isla Bonita, which is out now. To be fair, Deerhoof’s music does kind of make you feel like you’re losing it—in the best way.

 

Silk Rhodes – “Realtime”

silk rhodesThe second track (after "Pains") that we’ve heard from Silk Rhodes upcoming self-titled debut, out Dec. 2 on Stones Throw, is a delicious slice of minimalist, pyschedelic neo-soul. The L.A. duo are subtle, yet they immediately get under your skin.

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Album Picks: The Twilight Sad, Medicine, Useless Eaters, Bell Gardens

Posted by Billy Gil, October 28, 2014 10:56am | Post a Comment

The Twilight SadNobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (LP, CD, Download)

the twilight sad nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave lpThe Twilight Sad are masters of misery, plying heartbreak directly into their guitars on their stunning fourth album. “There’s a Girl in the Corner” is an epic breakup song, with James Graham’s repeating “she’s not coming back,” his Scottish brogue piercing through sheets of minor key noise. “Last January” is propulsive with a perfect layering of synths, displaying at how well The Twilight Sad have folded their recent new-wave leanings into their core noise-pop sound. The band also continue to show an uncanny ability to repurpose familiar influences like R.E.M., Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine and still come out with something fresh and enjoyable on tracks like “It Was Never the Same,” touching on these influences without being beholden to them, or letting Graham’s voice soar over a Suicide-style drum machine on the title track. The band has often been noted more for its atmospherics than hooks, but “Drown So I Can Watch” is one of their catchiest songs yet, with a relatively light, lilting melody that eases some of the downer mood. And they allow for more space on Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave than on previous albums, ending on a pair of spare, beautiful tracks. It’s the best thing they’ve done since their electrifying debut.

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Weekly Roundup: Flying Lotus, Medicine, Cherry Glazerr, Tijuana Panthers, Allah-Las, Kevin Morby

Posted by Billy Gil, September 19, 2014 09:53am | Post a Comment

Flying Lotus – “Coronus, the Terminator”

flying lotus amoebaFor the latest unveiled track from Flying Lotus’ upcoming You’re Dead (out Oct. 7; preorder on LP or CD), FlyLo sets the stage with some backwards instruments and rain, moving into what sounds like a sultry Quiet Storm track. Singer Niki Randa gives the song that extra sumptuousness while Flying Lotus’ subtly detailed production demands repeat listens. From the sound of this and the other tracks he’s released, You’re Dead might already be the most accessible Flying Lotus album yet.

 

Medicine – “Move Along – Down the Road”

medicine bandL.A. shoegaze legends Medicine’s second run generated the terrific To the Happy Few last year, and impressively, they’ve already got another new one on the way. With the release of the “Move Along – Down the Road,” Medicine’s Home Everywhere (due Oct. 28 on Captured Tracks) is quickly becoming one of our most anticipated new albums of the year. It sounds like two ’60s pop songs fused together, sped up and filtered through eight kinds of distortion, threatening to tear apart but always coming back to some new riff or idea.

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Weekly Roundup: Pyramid Vritra, Medicine, Tomorrows Tulips, Part Time

Posted by Billy Gil, August 8, 2014 10:04am | Post a Comment

Pyramid Vritra – “Track 3”

pyramid vritraPyramid Vritra (aka Hal Williams) is one of my favorite young rapper/producers around L.A., having released the excellent Indra earlier this year on Stones Throw. Now he’s got a new EP out called Palace, with each of its six songs representing a corridor or room in a house. I’d say “Track 3” is like an elegant living room with sun filtering through the windows. Williams’ goal with the new EP was to shift attention to his flow and storytelling abilities, which are often folded into his dazzling productions. Yet “Track 3” features some truly psychedelic rhymes and wordplay that is fun to get lost in. It’s like he says himself: “He never ever be what you predicted, listen.”

 

Medicine – “Turning”

medicine home everywhere lpWell Medicine sure don’t seem to be slowing down on their second go-around. After the L.A.-based shoegaze greats reunited and released their first album in 20 years, the excellent To the Happy Few, last year, they’ve already got another one headed our way. Rather than continue riding ’90s nostalgia waves, the band has augmented their sound with Brazilian-inspired sounds and rhythms, as can be heard on the first single “Turning,” which bounces on a rumbling rhythm but remains defiantly ’gazey and psychedelic, like a post-punk Os Mutantes. Home Everywhere is due Oct. 28 on Captured Tracks.

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