Amoeblog

out this week 6/1 & 6/8...ariel pink...the cure...wild nothing...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 17, 2010 01:08pm | Post a Comment
Every once in while an album comes along that just absolutely blows your mind. It seems to be happening more often than not this year! I am talking about the kind of album that you just can't stop listening to...the kind of album you want to live inside of...the kind of album you want to call in sick for so you can listen to it over and over again...the kind of album I have in my car, on my turntable and in my cd player all at the same time! I am seriously considering making a cassette tape of this album so I can carry it around with me everywhere I go...I did just say cassette, because the album I am talking about does not really make sense as a digital file. It would make more sense on a cassette or 8-track. I am talking about the new album by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti! Ariel Pink has found a new home with 4AD records and has put out one of the best albums of the year. I just don't think any other album is gonna be able to compete with it this year. The new
album is called Before Today. I will be the first to admit that I don't own any other Ariel Pink albums. I obviously know who he is and have been hearing things about him for years, but I just always figured he was a bit too weird for me. I sort of put him with the whole Devendra Banhart genre and thought it was best to stay away. I'd like to think that Ariel Pink got sick of me ignoring his albums and made this album just for me. He made the exact kind of album that I was going to fall in love with -- the kind that seems like it came directly out of the 70s, like it was 1975 all over again and you just happened to turn on the radio and hear this amazing album. Think about your favorite songs from Hall & Oates, Asia, Bread, Ambrosia, Todd Rundgren, Chicago, The Carpenters, Michael McDonald, Billy Joel, The Climax Blues Band, 10CC, Al Stewart, and Manfred Mann's Earth Band; and then imagine them all mixed up together and then the best things about them created into new amazing songs. This is sort of what you get with this new album!
ariel pink's haunted graffiti before today
Ariel Pink was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, which makes me love him even more. I know that there are a lot of us born in LA. but it seems that very few of the artists that I fall in love with end up coming from LA. He has been putting out music since 1996, it just took him this long to get into my life. I know I am not alone in my recent discovery of the genius of Ariel Pink. This album is for sure a bit more accessible and well-produced. He has a full real band playing with him now also! This is some seriously good stuff. You need to go pick up this album and discover it for yourself. But don't worry if you're already a fan -- there's still some weird stuff. The songs often get a bit crazy and end up going places you would never find a normal pop song exploring. This album is full of fantastic songs and as it plays out they just keep gettin better! One of my favorites is "Bright Light Blue Skies." "Fright Night" is amazing! "Can't Hear My Eyes" is probably my favorite of them all, though. Thank you, Ariel PInk! This album is full of the perfect summer jams -- what a great start to the summer! Perfect for those warm Los Angeles Summer nights. I will be exploring some old Ariel PInk albums for sure as well, but I have a felling that they will all be leading me back to this amazing new album. It just can't really get any better than this!

Buy
the new album Before Today by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

I was also happy to learn that Ariel Pink is a big fan of The Cure. It all makes sense. I, too, am a huge fan of The Cure. How can you not be? Here is my sort of recent blog from almost two years ago about my love of The Cure. They have been one of my favorite bands since I can remember really liking music. If you add up all the hours that I have spent listening to music in my life I am sure that The Cure takes up a pretty good chunk of that time. They are for sure the albums that I have listened to the most, and Disintegration is at the top of the list of the albums that I have listened to the most. It is hard to believe that it has been 21 years since it was released in 1989, but it's true! Along with Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode, this has to be one of my favorite albums ever. I owned them both on cassette and ended up wearing them both out -- I had to actually replace the cassettes. I, of course, now own them on CD and Vinyl as well. I can't the cure disintegration reissuereally even begin to describe what this album meant to me but I think it is equally important to most of us of that generation. The album was nothing short of brilliant. It was really something that had never existed before. This was our Dark Side of the Moon, our Exile On Main Street or Revolver. "Fascination Street," "Lullaby," "Prayers for Rain," and the title track remain some of my all time favorite songs. I really can't get enough of the whole thing though -- it is just nice for The Cure reissues to finally make it up to this album. The new reissue is a 3 disc set and it is magical. I now await the Wish reissue. I know that the Cure catalog really ends for a lot of people at Disintegration, but take "Friday I'm in Love" off of Wish and it really is an amazing record. For a more detailed review of this reissue check out Aaron's blog right here. I am listening to the new reissue on vinyl right now and it really does sound amazing. This album is dark and intense just like you remember but I don't know why people always think this album is depressing. I for sure listened to it many times when I was depressed but I think it always made me feel better. It always made me think that everything was going to be OK. I love it still just as much after 21 years!

Buy
the new reissue of Disintegration by The Cure


Another one of my recent favorites is the new album from Wild Nothing. The new album is called Gemini and was released a couple of weeks ago on Captured Tracks. It is really nothing short of amazing and is breaking my heart every day that I listen to it. Phenomenal! It is sort of lo-fi shoegaze dreampop fantastic. Just please do me a favor and give it a listen. It is currently fighting it out with Ariel Pink for album of the year on my list, and I know it is only June -- still six more months to go in 2010 -- but I really do think I have found my two favorite albums of the year already.




Buy
the new album Gemini by Wild Nothing


also out 6/1...






Chaos by The Futureheads












Bride Screamed Murder by The Melvins












Other Two & You reissue by The Other Two












Treats by Sleigh Bells












Memory Is Better Than Nothing by Television Personalities











Wake Up the Nation by Paul Weller







also out 6/8...






Force by A Certain Ratio












Non Stop by Andy Bell












Destroyer of the Void by Blitzen Trapper













Some Friendly reissue by The Charlatans UK











Cats & Mice by Kristin Hersh












LP4 by Ratatat










Shape of Punk To Come reissue by Refused












Shadows by Teenage Fanclub












No Snare by Tender Forever












Champ by Tokyo Police Club


The Cure Celebrate 20 Years of Disintegration

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 16, 2010 05:45pm | Post a Comment

“[On
Disintegration] they thought I was being 'willfully obscure', which was an actual quote from the letter [received from the band’s label at the time, Elektra]. Ever since then I’ve realized that record companies don't have a fucking clue what The Cure does and what The Cure means."
- Robert Smith, from the book Never Enough: The Story of the Cure by Jeff Apter

Twenty (and some change) years later we know that The Cure’s label bosses were indeed wrong; Disintegration is celebrating its 20th anniversary (a year late actually – the album was released in May 1989) with the release of a remastered 3-CD deluxe edition and remastered 2LP. Today, the album remains in the unique position of being both widely considered the group’s masterpiece among fans as well as their most commercially successful LP (containing their biggest US hit, “Love Song," which peaked at #2 on the Billboard chart).

There haven’t been a multitude of complaints over the years about the mastering of the album, so no surprise here that the main disc is just a bit louder than the original. The real appeal of the 3-CD set is the bonus material…and there is a lot of it! The second disc of rarities is compiled by Robert Smith himself (who was the only original member left in the band by the time Disintegration was released --Lol Tolhurst having been booted by group consensus before its completion) and is largely made up of his instrumental home demos and band rehearsals for the album. It seems like a superfan-only venture with these lo-fi takes sans vocals, but these tracks reveal themselves to be a cohesive and seamless vision even in their infancy; The vocal-free band demo for the title track reveals an even more urgent forward flow than the album cut, with drops of synth gently shimmering in an ocean of flanged-out bass. “Esten,” a previously unissued demo of a never-before-released song (of which there are 4 here), is a bit more lively and feral than its siblings that eventually found a home on the album, perhaps a bit more like their 'willfully poppy' tracks from the Head on the Door-era. The absolute stand-out from the Rarities disc, however, is a solo home demo by Smith covering Wendy Waldman’s “Pirate Ships.” It is a gorgeous lilting sea shanty-like lullaby with ocean sound effects, harmonium and a lovely understated vocal from Smith. With the refrain of “Far away/Far away child,” the track could be culled from one of the several rumored-but-never-surfaced children’s albums Smith has allegedly recorded.

The third disc of the set is an expanded, remixed and remastered version of Entreat, a live mini-album recorded at Wembley Stadium in July ’89 and features renditions of songs culled from Disintegration. Entreat Plus (as it is titled here) is a very different beast when compared to the original version; the mixes on the 12 track Plus disc reveal a fatter sound with some studio spit-shine, whereas the 1990 8-song release’s mix had more of the brisk, airy quality one might expect from a live stadium show recording. The fan and the completist alike can happily hold onto both releases without any guilt.

The truly most exciting thing about this anniversary re-release is that the album finally has a proper vinyl edition. The original 1989 vinyl LP release had songs excised from the tracklisting  supposedly in order to fit onto one LP, however the running time of the original press still clocked in well over the recommended and standard limit of 19 minutes per side, thus completely ruining the quality of the finished product. Rhino’s 2LP remaster, just released this week, wonderfully restores the full 12 track sequence and stretches the tracks over two LPs for remarkably improved sound.

For the überfans for whom 3 discs is just not enough, Smith has compiled a set of  20 "Alternative Rarities," featuring even more demos and alternate outtakes, that is streaming for free via a special website for the reissue. Now please, in celebration, enjoy all four of the album's singles in video form.










Amoeba Music Hollywood has quantity of both the Disintegration 3-Disc set and 2LP.

Forget Chillwave; Wild Nothing's 'Gemini' is Heartfelt Dream Pop

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 3, 2010 02:00pm | Post a Comment
Wild Nothing Gemini
Chillwave” in 2010 is as embarassing a genre tag as “Shoegaze” or “Grunge” was in 1991. It sounds more like a vile blue-colored slushy drink from a convenience store than a musical genre. I feel bad for the contemporary Dream Pop bands that have to endure being cast as such. Chillwave is the new Nu-Rave, i.e., nothing more than loosely similar bands being forced into corners by lazy bedroom bloggers. While many young bands, as of late, have been heavily borrowing sonic textures, recording aesthetics, and ideas from those bleary bands of the late ‘80’s and early 90’s, Virginia’s one-man band of Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, has succeeded in making a record that pings the right amount of lilting and forlorn nostalgia via its familiar Dream Pop haze yet is complex enough not to fatigue attentive ears. Gemini, released this week, has all the shimmer of early Cocteau Twins, the bounce of mid-era Cure, and the rough charm of a C86-era mixtape. This is the sort of record I wish Beach House would make.

Gemini’s success as a great Dream Pop album is also highlighted by what it is lacking. Tatum avoids the cloying cutsey tweeness of last year’s retro-darlings The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and instead delivers a breezy melancholy. Sincerity is a breath of fresh air here as well -- while essentially postmodern because of its pastiche, Gemini obviously springs from Tatum’s heart, carefully avoiding the irony so many young bands rely on and hide behind. On the slow-crawl of “Pessimist,” Tatum wears it on his sleeve with the line “Boys Don’t Cry/They Just Die” without a hint of a grin. However, the album is never oppressive or dreary, even when Tatum is bummed out; it truly is a great feat to make a record that plays perfectly on a summer drive to the beach or home alone on a rainy day.


Wild Nothing’s Gemini is available from Amoeba Music Hollywood now on CD, with hopefully some LPs forthcoming. Make sure to pick up Wild Nothing’s 7” single Cloudbusting as well for Tatum’s heartfelt lo-fi rendering of the Kate Bush classic.

(In which Job does the least he can do.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 19, 2010 09:34pm | Post a Comment
I have a tummy ache. Do you think it’s the weather? The volcano? Or maybe that I decided to conclude my late lunch with a third of a pack of butterscotch chips?


Even the word “butterscotch” is delicious to me. Having a crush on both butter and scotch helps. But take it from me: there’s more to making this delicious concoction than merely mixing butter and scotch together. I learned the hard way.

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you found this blog entry both educational and entertaining. Bye!


…I’ve just been informed that the above paragraphs weren’t enough to qualify as proper Amoeblog entry. Apparently my editors think that, so long as they’re paying me to write a blog about media and art, that there should be more to an entry than a quick cautionary tale about mixing dairy and booze. I’d tell them to lump it, but I really need the money to buy butterscotch with.

Well, as a music addict, pretty much any subject can lead to tunery. For instance, after writing the word “butter” five times in this entry, I now have a song stuck in my head by 1980’s act Martika, perhaps more famous for not being Madonna than anything else. Most of us know her one-hit wonder single "Toy Soldiers," but the song that’s playing in the jukebox in my brain is…

Okay, before I tell you, let me explain: This is one of those songs it’s so easy to mis-hear. You know the type: a song who’s lyrics are obscured or sung in such a way that it allows you to sing the wrong words, sometimes for years. In the case of the following song, I always hear her singing about butter. And honestly, maybe because I’m not what you could call a Martika fan, I think this song is improved if you think she’s singing about butter.

“Like butter! How could I do without you?” the chorus goes.

So listen now, and imagine that that’s what it’s all about…


And now, because Martika always makes me think about Madonna, I can’t help but mention my tampering with her song "La Isla Bonita," a ditty I’ve always hated, except for the dumb thrill I get in singing along with it incorrectly. According to me, the opening line of the song is:

“Last night I dreamt of some bagels…”

This is followed not long after (as the sun rises in the video) by:

“Young girl with eyes like potatoes…”

Madonna doesn’t want me to post her videos on the Amoeblog. She’s held a grudge on me ever since I used her roite bindele to floss my teeth. DENTAL HYGIENE IS IMPORTANT, MRS. CICCONE! Anyway, you can still see the video by clicking on this rather wordy link I have constructed right here where you’re currently looking with your eyes.


L'Chaim!

I wonder – have I written enough yet? I feel like I’ve covered a lot of important territory, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with information. It’s important to know your threshold for new data.
[10 minutes later]

I just went to ask my boyfriend what I should blog about. First, he suggested I talk about flagellum.



Flagellum. Really. Well, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m willing to bet you want to hear about flagellum about as much as I know about it. Which is not at all. What an unhelpful boyfriend!

His second suggestion was that I post a photo of our new kitten, Maybe. I told him I didn’t think the Amoeblog was an appropriate venue for posting pictures of pets; that’s the sort of thing one does on Facebook so your boring friends get the chance to give you a “thumbs up” and feel like they’ve stayed in touch. But he got insistent!

“Post a picture of her and then add some songs about kitties!” he squealed. And for a moment, blogging about flagellum didn’t seem like such a bad idea, after all.

But because I love him and because this entry is kind of hackneyed anyway, here you go, Earthlings…


This is Maybe. She looks cute but she laughs at racist jokes and leaves the toilet seat up. Just sayin'.

























I’m pretty sure all this qualifies me for a least enough paycheck to buy more butterscotch. Here’s hopin’.

Warnings & Brags

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 26, 2010 10:00pm | Post a Comment
A great collection of promotional stickers. I'm still pondering what exactly a "quivering classic" is...

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