10 Great L.A. Indie Albums from 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 19, 2012 04:25pm | Post a Comment

In all the end of 2012/the world list-making, smaller releases tend to get ignored in favor of the ones everyone knows about. So I decided to do a list, in no particular order, of my favorite albums by L.A. artists this year that were released on small labels or were self-released — and which didn’t get as much press as others. That means no Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Best Coast or Ariel Pink, even though the releases by those people are great and you should listen to them, too. (Read my top 50 albums of 2012 here, with more L.A.-based artists like Miguel and Julia Holter.) All of these are great up-and-coming artists, seek them out!


Kim FreeAngel Shadow (LA’s Fine)

Kim Free’s minimalist bass playing, ethereal voice and starkly beautiful violin playing come together to cast an entrancing spell on Angel Shadow. See her live to witness her virtuosic looping at work. Check out photos from her Amoeba Hollywood performance here!




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New Amoeba Presents Show: The Growlers, Plus Amoeba Presents Revenge of the 80s

Posted by Billy Gil, November 30, 2012 10:49am | Post a Comment

Amoeba has been teaming with Goldenvoice to present some shows in Los Angeles, and the latest is one I’m pretty excited about: locally bred garage-rockers The Growlers are playing The Fonda Theatre Dec. 28. The band’s following has been steadily growing, following the release of two great, ramshackle records that strew together garage, surf and psych influences into a sound dubbed “beach goth.” They have a new album due in early 2013 called Hung at Heart. They’re joined on this date by another local band I love called Dirt Dress, a similarly surf-influenced band with more of a post-punk bent, as frontman Noah’s vocals are reminiscent of Talking HeadsDavid Byrne, while the band’s uneasy, angular way with a surf-rock track is anything but typical. Also appearing are The Abigails, who mine classic outlaw country for their analog-soaked lo-fi sound, as well as Sam Flax, whose sound is a blast of psyched out new wave-influenced lo-fi pop — this guy is seriously good, seek his stuff out.


Tickets for the show are $19, plus a $2 service fee. The show starts at 9:00 p.m., doors are at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are general admission, and it’s all-ages.

Tickets are limited to quantities on hand, until they sell out. Amoeba stops selling tickets for a show at 5 p.m. on the day of that show. Please call the store at 323-245-6400 for current availability or to purchase/hold.

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Local Stuff: Videos from Trash Talk, Army Navy, ESP. Tracks from Particle Kid, Sam Flax, Fresh & Onlys

Posted by Billy Gil, August 31, 2012 11:56am | Post a Comment
Trash Talk – “F.E.B.N.” video

In the spirit of Amoeba Hollywood’s new Punk section, I’ll post about Sacramento hardcore band Trash Talk and the first video, “F.E.B.N.,” from its upcoming album Odd Future Records, 119, on Oct. 9. Odd Future’s Tyler, The Creator directed this bit of black-and-white mayhem in some sort of parking garage. Everything about this music/video is probably upsetting to lots of people. Which means of course that it’s pretty great. The song is less than two minutes long and somehow builds unbearable anticipation in its extended intro — all you want to do is turn it up and face the noise you’re about to hear head on.


Army Navy – World’s End video
L.A. indie pop band Army Navy have a video for the song “World’s End.” I had never listened to this band before; I only knew I might like them because their band name shares a name with a Camera Obscura album. And I do! The song is really nice, kind of sounds like “Blue Bayou” but is less dramatic, more morose, and there’s a key change, which I am a sucker for. The video is awesome for a number of reasons — it’s an old fake talk show, which is a done premise but is done funnily here, as this bizzaro, kind of bleak ’60s swinger thing, and features Freaks & Geaks Martin Starr, who I had no idea could be kind of sexy. The singer also kind of looks like Steve Carell. You have to watch it on Entertainment Weekly’s; I guess this band is getting pretty big. The song appears on a seven-inch with a B-side cover of Yaz’s “Only You,” which is awesome, duh. Their new album is due early next year.

ESP – “Serenade” video

Who is this? Oh it’s a new band. ESP are a trio from Los Angeles whose singer sounds quite a bit like Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, while the music is dark electro-pop surging on analog synths and Gang of Four-style live beats. The video’s pretty throwbacky, too, with its dawn-of-the-music-video-age bright colors and cheesy effects, plus Grace Jones/Howard Jones style of dress. Apparently it’s an update/homage to Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Rydeen” video. Does anyone have a problem with any of this? I sure don’t.


Their ESP EP is out now. No idea if they’ll have an album anytime soon. All I get from googling “ESP Los Angeles” are conventions full of terrible people in L.A. who believe in ACTUAL ESP.
Particle Kid – “Mosquito”
This lo-fi folk track buzzes and whirs like the bugs J. Micah Nelson sings about. Sometimes these reviews just write themselves. Kind of Neutral Milk Hotel, but darker, dirtier. The So. Cal. singer’s Shapes EP is out now. Oh yeah, he’s also Willie Nelson’s son.

Sam Flax – “Child of Glass”

S.F. electro-pop artist Sam Flax named this track after a super-scary if you’re a kid ’70s TV movie called “Child of Glass.” I had this Disney video as a kid that had a trailer for “Child of Glass” and that alone scared the Mary Poopins out of me. Thankfully, this song is a lot more fun than that. Age Waves is due Sept. 17 from the Sweet Sounds of Nothing and Burger Records.

The Fresh & Onlys – “20 Days & Nights”

The Fresh & Onlys also released a new song from its upcoming new album, Long Slow Dance, “20 Days & 20 Nights.” They also released a new music video this week; read about it on BillyJam’s blog. Why would I write about this band again? This album effing rules, that’s why. It’s out next week.

This weekend is FYF Fest! Look for tickets at Amoeba Hollywood, they only charge $4 for a service fee. Set times are up now. Check out my interview with White Arrows, Allah-Las, The Soft Pack and Redd Kross, who will all be at the festival.