Tor Lundvall's Latest Spectral Masterpiece; Plus Hollywood's Goth / Industrial New Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 15, 2010 06:45pm | Post a Comment

Tor Lundvall
, famous for his outstanding paintings, has a very haunting style. The figures in his gorgeous landscape paintings are at once ghostly and earthly, ethereal and organic. The feeling one gets when staring into his soft but rich work is isolation, but not loneliness. It’s a remoteness with Spirits, a communion with nature where a gateway to shadowy unknown worlds exist. No surprise then that his work as a musician seems to perfectly score his stunning visual art. Though he made a limited private press album of Industrial music in 1997,  Lundvall's first big waves in music came in the form of a 1998 collaborative effort with Tony Wakeford (of Sol Invictus and Death in June fame), entitled Autumn Calls. The album, though equally billed between the two artists, was mostly a Lundvall affair with some minor embellishments from Wakeford and other guests. Autumn is full of  the warm yet effecting dark ambient soundscapes that Tor has continued to mine with increasingly finer results with each successive release. Recently, his exceptional 10th full-length, Sleeping and Hiding (via Dais Records), made our Best of 2009 and our Best of The Decade lists and now his just released CD collection, Ghost Years, is likely to make 2010’s.

Ghost Years collects B-sides, unreleased outtakes, and compilation tracks from 1995-2005 and, much like Sleeping and Hiding, this collection focuses on Lundvall’s delicate vocal-centered songs. The fact that the album’s tracks were recorded years (sometimes a decade) apart is completely unnoticeable, though it did aid in creating the variety of sounds within the LP’s tracklist. His earliest track on the disc, “Grey Sunday,” is the most structured and “pop” of the bunch with an almost danceable beat and bouncy bassline, whereas the most recently recorded track, “Alienor,” drifts along in ambient washes and spectral voices. Fans of late period, blissed-out Slowdive ala Pygmalion will find much to love here.

While Lundvall’s music is essentially “ambient” and works well as mood music, one benefits from deeper listening as the textures, layers and accents here all have transportive qualities, much like Lundvall’s paintings. Lyrically, Lundvall is very much rooted in nature, albeit a nature that is surrounded by but maybe secluded from modern living and all its trappings. Seasons and their signifiers (rain, leaves, snow, flowers) abound not as metaphors, but simply as themselves to provide a landscape for the supernatural moods and memories they can invoke. Obviously, Lundvall writes much like he paints.

Listen: "Grey Sunday" from Ghost Years

Amoeba Hollywood has quantity available of the Ghost Years CD now, as well as just few copies left of the super-limited and superb Sleeping and Hiding LP.
New Goth / Industrial Releases This Week, Amoeba Music Hollywood

Divine Muzak Maison Skinny [Punch] CD Import
Here we find plastic drumbeats, cruel analog synthesizers, retro organs, kinky guitar strings, weeping musical saw and theremin tears, isolated accordion keys and departed acoustic instruments, along with emotional and deep girlie vocals. Divine Muzak is reaching its highest by creating a personal recipe for a bizarre medicine made of electronica, lounge, industrial, cabaret, post-modern psychedelia, dark pop and looney poetry. You are invited to experience it under the name of "hospital-pop" while taking your unsafe seat in Divine Muzak's Maison Skinny.

Loveliescrushing CRWTH (Chorus Redux) [Line] CD
The original release of Chorus itself was inspired by a challenge... to make a Lovesliescrushing album abandoning Scott Cortez' trademark guitar work and using only the voice. Chorus was created by taking vocal tracks, deconstructing them via minimal processing, and turning them into new compositions. CRWTH is a completely re-edited take on the material, not merely a remix album, but an alternate version of Chorus, a redux. CRWTH (Chorus Redux) is even more spectral, spacial, and hushed.

Wumpscut Siamese [Metropolis] CD

Siamese harkens the elements that made Wumpscut’s Embryodead such a cult classic. Brooding vocals, destructive percussion, ominous synths, and captivating sequences. Tracks “Boneshaker Baybee” and “Loyal To My Hate” are destined to be club favourites with their acidic beats and sticky melodies.

Mt. Sims Happily Ever After…Again [Punch] CD Import
Like the sequel to a novel, Mt. Sims (Matt Sims) returns with his magnum opus entitled Happily Ever After...Again! as the final response to his previously released album Happily Ever After. Once known as hedonistic “electroclash” noise maker Mount Sims, Sims has since shaved off some letters form his moniker, moved to Berlin, collaborated with The Knife and has now moved onto chillier musical terrain that mines classic-era 4AD and the industrial dancefloor. Win!

out this week 4/6 and 4/13...jonsi...manual...the school...MGMT...

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 15, 2010 01:22pm | Post a Comment
It seems like a recent trend for singers of big huge bands to want to go off and make a solo album! I guess it always happens at some point but it seems like there have been more than normal the last couple of years. Thom Yorke from Radiohead went off and made a solo album called The Eraser in 2006. Julian Casablancas from The Strokes put out Phrazes For the Young last year. Sometimes is a just a new collaboration that ends up coming out. James Mercer from The Shins just put out an album as The Broken Bells with Dangermouse. Alex Turner from The Arctic Monkeys also went this direction and started a new band called The Last Shadow Puppets. Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley has put out two solo albums. Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes has put out solo albums and is a member of the super group Monsters of Folk. Singers need breaks from their bands. Or maybe the bands actually need breaks from their singers! Maybe the singers just have big egos and want to go off on their own and show their fans that they can be just as good as a solo artist. Billy Corgan should just really be going by BIlly Corgan now. As far as I am concerned, Smashing Pumpkins broke up a long time ago! It is basically just him and a bunch of teenagers in the band now! Doug Martsch from Built To Spill even went solo in 2002 with Now You Know. Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star has put out a couple of solo albums as well. Even Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl is getting in on the solo action with a new album out next month on Merge. And Kele from Bloc Party also has a new solo album around the corner! I am sure we will soon see solo albums from Beth Ditto, Karen O, Brian Molko, and Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon. It's just the way the industry goes, I guess.

Most of the artists in the adult contemporary genre were once in bands as well -- they have just been solo for so long that we might have forgotten! Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting, Glen Frey, Robert Wyatt, Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel, and of course Paul McCartney all came from big bands. I guess Thom Yorke and James Mercer will become the adult contemporary artists of the future. Maybe the radio station KOST will have to change their format or just adapt to the time. Phil Collins and Sting will then be played on the oldies stations. And Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst with be soft rock!

Jonsi from Sigur Ros has now joined the solo bandwagon and put out an album of his own. You can see him perform live at Amoeba San Francisco on Record Store Day, this Saturday! With this new record, he is following the footsteps of his fellow Icelandic native Bjork. Bjork was once in The Sugarcubes, in case you forgot. Jonsi has been hugely successful as the lead singer in Sigur Ros. They have made some amazing albums and I am sure they will make some more. This solo album just seems to be another outlet for Jonsi. He writes a lot of songs and I am sure he just had a bunch extra that he thought made more sense as a solo album. It still sounds like Sigur Ros -- he has not drastically changed anything. More of these songs are in English but it is not really that easy to tell the difference. The songs are still big and dreamy and the album will easily fill the room. It is atomospheric and beautiful just like any Sigur Ros record. The music and lyrics are dramatic. Some of my favorite concerts have been Sigur Ros shows so I really hope that I will get to see some more, but I am also sure he will not disappoint with his solo tour. I will always love Jonsi and I love the album too! It makes me happy but it does have me missing Sigur Ros a bit. It is just hard to improve on something as magical as that band. I guess it is probably how Glenn Frey fans feel.

the new album Go by Jonsi.

Another one of my recent favorites is the new album by Manual. Azure Vista from 2005 remains one of my favorite albums. This new album is called Drowned In Light. He has put out an album nearly ever year of this past decade. He fits into a genre somewhere in between IDM and shoegaze, two of my favorite genres. Just imagine shoegaze without the vocals. His albums are beautiful and I can't get enough of them. He is obviously influenced by Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, and The Cocteau Twins. He is also similar to Syntaks, B. Fleischmann and Ulrich Schnauss. His first couple of albums were on the label Morr Music. Darla has released his last couple of albums. Drowned in Light is a pretty good name for the album, but you are not blinded by the light. You are not hit over the head with it. Instead, you are sort of soothed and comforted by it. This music calms me down and makes me happy. It is my new age music. Manual is really Jonas Munk from Denmark. It reminds me of the reasons I love the Cocteau Twins. Jonas should really get together with Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins and put out an album. It would be amazing.

Buy the new album Drowned In Light by Manual.

I also have a new favorite this week -- I had not even heard of them until a couple of days ago. They are called The School. Loveless Unbeliever is their debut album on Elefant Records. They are a new twee pop band from Wales who occupy the same musical space as Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura. Their record is for people who are not afraid of pop music or of the adorable and cute! The music sort of sounds like a 60's girl group. I always need to balance out my musical life with a group like this. They make me happy! You should let them into you life too!

the new album Loveless Unbeliever by The School.

also out 4/6...

Pumps by Growing

Hippies by Harlem

I Learned the Hard Way by Sharon Jones

Sticky & Sweet Tour by Madonna

Steal Your Face by Mi Ami

Extra Wow by Nice Nice

Fear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies the Answer by Red Sparowes

And Then We Saw Land by Tunng

also out 4/13...

Little Window by Harold Budd & Clive Wright

And In the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees
by Johann Johannsson

Drowned In Light by Manual

Congratulations by MGMT

The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man On Earth

Loveless Unbeliever by The School

The Big Pink and A Place To Bury Strangers Heart Feedback

Posted by Aaron Detroit, September 22, 2009 05:00pm | Post a Comment
If the gentlemen of London’s The Big Pink and New York’s A Place To Bury Strangers are to have their way this fall – you will have a serious case of tinnitus by Winter Solstice via their dark-veined noise-pop. Both bands love the volume loud, worship at the alters of 80’s Gloom-Pop and early-‘90’s Shoegaze, and both have new releases out in the next month. While both bands paint with Kevin Shields’s and Daniel Ash’s brush-strokes each band shades their canvas quite differently and uniquely.

The Big Pink signed to cult-label 4AD this year. The team-up couldn’t have been a better fit as the duo’s tunes could slide in nicely in a playlist alongside tracks from the label’s 80’s and 90’s roster of ethereal and gothic-leaning releases. They also share with their predecessors a keen eye and love
for packaging their music -– a dying art form for sure --adding dimensions to the music and an additional keyhole into the universe the band has created within their sound. The band’s pre-4AD releases of dead-sexy lo-fi electro vs. feedback bliss-outs were accompanied by homoerotic and ethereal sleeve artwork by Dennis Cooper (The duo also borrowed the title for their song “Frisk” from Cooper). The band’s newly polished, less-amorphous and refined sound (courtesy of major league mixing-czar Rich Costey) featured on their debut LP, A Brief History of Love, is issued with a murky, blurred and slightly unsettling cover photo of a bare-chested woman - insinuating and helping inject a similarly subversive sexual tone of their indie releases into the hazy pools of stoned reverb and romantic wistful grooves of the new album.

There has been some debate amongst critics and fans about the band’s credibility and authenticity due to the band’s big-time connections; Singer Robbie Furze is a former paramour of Lily Allen and spent time playing guitar for Digital Hardcore Founder, Alec Empire. Milo Cordell (who plays everything Furze doesn’t) comes from a music biz family. Cordell’s Father is Producer Denny Cordell, most famous for producing Moody Blues’s first album and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Also, prior to establishing The Big Pink, Cordell founded the label Merok Records, which released some of the earliest rumblings by hipster magnates Klaxons and Crystal Castles. Ultimately, the band delivers fully on the promise of their stellar pre-album singles and one would be best served to ignore the members’ pedigree and associations for one true, full spin of the LP, a wonderfully rewarding listening experience, especially for fans of the “classic” 4AD-era.

Brooklynites A Place To Bury Strangers’ approach to their Shoegaze-y Pop Psychedelia is much more aggressive, in-the-red and less doped-out than Big Pink’s turn. APTBS release an outstanding follow up to their most excellent self-titled debut next month. Exploding Head, their first full-length for Mute, has a justified title as it is a taut set of 10 high-strung sonic assaults and dripping-wet-in-a-cave songs in just under 43 minutes. The band can shift seamlessly between intense “You Made Me Realise”-esque moments to murky JAMC slink and jangly New Order-informed pop. The track “Everything Always Goes Wrong” creates a sinister and menacing atmosphere that evokes a lo-fi but melodic Death Rock or Black Metal song played by a fired-up Spacemen 3, all before serving up a bouncing Cure bass line for the title track. APTBS also share the “whole-package” approach with Big Pink; Exploding Head’s cover art looks like a pixilated aerial scan of terra firma busting apart. The minimal image’s suggestion plays well with the ear-scorch of the band’s relentless attack. Unlike The Big Pink, there is no controversy about the APTBS’s legitimacy. Mainman Oliver Ackerman spent time in a Virginia-based neo-Shoegazer band called Skywave
with a small but loyal cult-following (whose other members went on to form the similarly noisy and wonderful Ceremony) and spends his down-time from APTBS selling his increasingly successful line of hand-wired effects pedals, Death By Audio.

The Big Pink’s A Brief History of Love is in stores today (9/22) and A Place To Bury Strangers’ Expoding Head follows in two weeks on October 6th. Be Sure to pop in to Amoeba Hollywood for the limited vinyl edition of Brief History which boasts a bonus colored 12” featuring the Gang Gang Dance remix of Big Pink’s gorgeous single, “Velvet.” These will likely go fast!

Amoeba Hollywood’s Goth/Industrial Section Featured New Releases Week of 9/22:

Spectre -
10 Pezzi Facili (Ten Easy Tunes) CD [Old Europa Cafe] .
The second solo album from Marcello Fraioli, vocalist and guitarist for cult ritual/folk outfit  AIN SOPH. Minimal orchestrations of prog , folk, new wave, Italian cabaret, and poetry collide on this tight set. Includes one Ain Soph reinterpretation plus cool covers of Franco Battiato's "Magick Shop," Francesco Guccini's "L'Avvelenata", as well as John Barry's "The Persuaders." Recommended.

Habitat -
Code Grey CD [Self-Released]
A higly recommended, extremely limited release of 100(!) copies by L.A. dark and esoteric noisemeisters/soundscapists, Habitat. Fans of Coil and Cyclobe should jump at this gorgeous sophomore release from one of Los Angeles's most promising and unique acts!

In Next Week, Amoeba Hollywood:

The long-awaited archival release from the seminal beginnings of Throbbing Gristle members Genisis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti will FINALLY be in stock by next week!

Clan Of Xymox -Emily CDEP [Metropolis]
The classic dark-wave band celebrates its 25th anniversary with this CDEP featuring an exclusive B-Side and remixes of the the group's club hit "Emily" culled from their 2009 comeback album In Love We Trust.

Still Fresh...

Psyclon Nine - We The Fallen CD [Metropolis] The Aggro-Electro act returns its darkest, most aggressive album to date. EVIL!

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult - Death Threat CD [Sleazebox]
Still dark n' sleazy after all these years! Thrill Kill Kult's 13th studio release!

6Comm - Like Stukas Angels Fall: Retrospect 1984 -1990 CD [Kenaz]
Re-recorded album of classic tracks featuring songs from the early 6Comm period and also a few tracks from his previous work in Death in June. Electro - Folk - Classical - Martial - Experimental -- 16 great songs, including new versions of "Torture Garden" and "Carousel" with new vocal sections. Nice gold foil blocked Digipak!

Jessie Evans - Is It Fire? LIMITED LP/CD [Fantomette]
Former Subtonix/The Vanishing/Autonervous member finally goes solo. Features appearances by Budgie (Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Creatures) and Toby Dammit (Swans, Iggy Pop).

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: My Bloody Valentine

Posted by Amoebite, April 7, 2009 11:04pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth
Coachella Lineup     My Bloody Valentine

Day #22 - Artist #22 - My Bloody Valentine:
My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine formed in 1984 in Dublin, Ireland, and spent a few years of metamorphosis working out the kinks with lineup changes and varying musical output before developing their innovative sound. It wasn't until 1988 that the "caterpillar" became a "butterfly," with the band releasing a pair of EPs and their first album Isn't Anything on Creation Records (future home to Oasis). My Bloody Valentine became the torchbearers of the Shoegaze style of music popular in the late '80s/early '90s that sent sparks into the alternative revolution of the 1990s. Unfortunately, by 1993 the band would unravel into a "lost period" of scrapped recording sessions by songwriter Kevin Shields (similar to Brian Wilson/Beach Boys and Axl Rose/Guns N' Roses) that lasted until the band's reunion in 2008. 

out today...4/15...m83...

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 17, 2008 12:05pm | Post a Comment

I really enjoy when the big time artists have to battle it out on street date. It is like presidential elections or the Olympics. I just really love myself some serious competition. But I don't really like sports events... maybe I secretly do down deep somewhere and just let myself enjoy them every 2 years for the Olympics. Only a couple months to go until august and the summer Olympics will be here before we know it. Let's just hope China can become a little bit nicer by the time that rolls around. Every once in a while two big releases come out to compete against each other for sales, but it really seems that most days there is always an easily predicted winner. Of course, the top seller at Amoeba and the top seller around the country are rarely the same. Belle & Sebastian or Living Legends might be our number one record while Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken take the lead across the nation. Last year Kanye and 50 Cent battled it out for the number one spot.  I was really hoping for a battle between Madonna and Mariah Carey this year. I tried to persuade Madonna's label to bump the release date up a couple weeks like they had for Gnarls Barkley -- that way Madonna could have battled Mariah for the number one spot somewhat handicapped, without as much time for promotions and advertising. But it didn't happen. We just get Mariah this week. It does sort of amaze me that she is still relevant and making hit singles. I thought she would have gone the way of artists like Taylor Dayne and Jody Watley at this point in music. They all had huge top singles and albums at one point but quickly fell off the charts. They may still put out albums and play the gay pride circuit but they just don't have that crazy staying power that Madonna and Mariah have. I also find it hard to believe that Mariah Carey has the most number one singles of any solo recording artist. Even if you are not a fan of these ladies you got to give them respect for surviving this long in the business and still putting out singles and albums that drive their fans crazy. Other than a new Mariah there is not a whole lot out this week, but I am excited I get to finally talk about my favorite album of the year. I have had a couple but this new album for sure takes over as the best of the year. The band is called M83. Please join me in loving them. They are fantastic.

Just in case you were wondering  what an "M83" is, it is an intermediate spiral galaxy approximately 15 million light years away, also known as the "southern pinwheel galaxy." But it also a fantastic band from France. Saturdays=Youth is the fifth album by M83. They put out an ambient album last year called Digital Shades Vol. 1, but I have yet to hear that one. The last real album was Before the Dawn Heals Us, which came out in 2005. Mute is the brilliant label that brings us these great albums. Like most electronicy "bands" there is one main person doing most of the work. M83 is basically Anthony Gonzalez. He parted ways with his past collaborator Nicolas Fromageau for this new album. The music is of course a shoegazing sort of sound, which seems to be all that I am listening to lately.

The album is absolutely brilliant. I seriously could not like this album any more that I do right now. I listen to it at least once a day. I had to pull back a little bit because I was really worried that I was going to wear it out and suddenly fall out of love with it. But I am listening to it again right now and I guarantee that that has not yet happened. The album has elements of ambient and shoegaze. The songs are beautifully structured and epic sounding. There are definitely some sort of traditionally structured pop songs on here hidden beneath the ambient sounds. The album features both male and female vocals. The first and second single from the album are "Couleurs" and "Graveyard Girl." I really do love the whole album, but my two of my favorite songs are right at the beginning of the album. I like when an album opens up with a fantastic track. There is no point in having to wait until the middle of the album to hear the best track-- but these are not the only great songs. The whole album is solidly full of brilliant songs.

The first song is "You, Appearing." It is one of those dramatic songs that opens up with some piano playing, but the song is filled with ambient layers. It is dreamy and dramatic, and it just hooked me the first time I heard it as those female vocals come into the song midway through. The sound of the album drastically changes as the second song abruptly starts, but that first song is just sort of warming you up for the album. "Kim & Jessie" is this next song and probably my favorite. It is one of those songs that I just want to start over as soon as it ends. I just want it to be one of those songs that lasts 15 minutes. 5 minutes and 23 seconds is not long enough for this song. It transports me to that dreamy happy place that shoegaze music tends to do. If you love it than you really love it. If you don't like it than you just sort of don't like it. I can't really imagine somebody hating this music. But I guess someone out there probably does. "Skin of the Night" is the third song, and I actually love it as much as the second. It sort of combines the ambiance and piano playing of the first song with the song structure of the second song. Male and female vocals are layered over one another. I love it, I really love it. I am going to listen to the whole album again after I am done writing this. It is also the perfect headphone album-- one of those albums that just sounds better on your headphones. It will change your view of wherever you are going when you are listening to this album. I really do love my headphones. It is nice to just drown out any other noises and only have one album as your soundtrack. This album will for sure be remembered as being attached to this year and my memories of this year. The songs themselves will become intertwined with my memories. The album is barely out and I am already looking forward to my memories of my love for this album --that is just how much I like it.

I also really like the song "Up"" and "Too Late." The album gets a bit more ambient towards the end. It ends perfectly with "Midnight Souls Still Remain." Even the name of the song is perfect. This last song is over 10 minutes long. I really would have been happy with all the songs on this album being more that 10 minutes long, but it is a nice goodbye to the album. I usually take a couple minutes to think about what this album did to me after it ends, sort of like at the end of a really good movie. Or a really good, brilliant and sad movie that you know will effect you for the rest of your life. This album has already changed me somehow just from listening to it. I swear that really good music is like intensive therapy, just a lot cheaper and a lot less dangerous. Everybody has their own type of music that makes them feel this way. Some albums you just like a lot. Some albums make you happy or make you want to dance. Some albums make you happy to be alive. Some help you get through some tough times in your life. Some albums help you to fall in love. Some album motivate you to change your life or just make you content that you already love your life. Sometimes they just make you happy that you know your friends. But it is the most brilliant songs and albums that do all these things. This new album by M83 is one of those albums.

also out today...

My Bloody Underground by Brian Jonestown Massacre

Live in Liverpool by The Gossip

Konk by The Kooks

Shade Side Sunny Side by For Against

Time to Pretend by MGMT

Dazzle Ships reissue by OMD
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