Amoeblog

Worry Me: Horror Folk/Pop weirdo Grace Sings Sludge returns with new album Life With Dick

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 7, 2017 11:26pm | Post a Comment
grace sings sludge life with dick album record review empty cellar sandwitches cooper  nic russo dick stusso bay area weird pop horro folk indie psychedelic san francisco

Back again with another batch of demented home recordings from her very own twilight zone, former Sandwitches and Fresh & Onlys siren Grace Cooper, a.k.a. Grace Sings Sludge, continues to bleed out her uniquely brooding singer/songwriter stylings via Life With Dick, her new confessional LP/CD out courtesy of Empty Cellar Records, thus ensuring that all things strange and amazing haven't entirely vanished from the Bay Area.

Evocative of intimate interiors and a labor for love, or "the weariness of a woman giving in to a love requited" as Empty Cellar so perfectly puts it, the self-produced sound of Life With Dick is neither crunchy nor polished, but seems to teeter on the edge of a reality that alternates between ominous assertion and a sultriness so creepy it'll make you check your six if you dare listen to it alone, headphoned, in the dark (recommended!). Sometimes the vibe tilts toward the otherworldly as raw, layered melodies drift and amble in and out of sonic focus as if attempting to haunt every moment they're allotted—pianos echoing here, guitars heaving there, with now-and-then hallow drum lines (courtesy of Nick Russo) sauntering along beneath Grace’s emphatic vocal clips, plaintive wails, and whispered half-breaths. There is also a pervasive after hours type of jazziness that slinks in and around almost every song, coloring Grace's achingly bare vocals a deep rouge (a darker, redder version of the opening credits for the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes immediately to mind). 

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Pretty Good Year: Kelly's Best of 2015 picks...

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 9, 2016 04:49pm | Post a Comment
It seems like 2015 came to a close less than a little more than a week ago...wait, didn't it? Where does the time go? It came and went in another trip around the sun, with the seasons fully cycled and another twelve-month accumulation of art, music, and enjoyment to show for the passage. Listed below are the leaders of the pack where the year in my ears is, er, was concerned. These the repeat-listen flat plastic friends stuck with me thru thick and thin. Oh, and there's a book thrown in the mix as well! Did you dig any of these selections?

on you r own love again jessica pratt best music records vinyl of 2015 list
Jessica Pratt
- On your Own Love Again
(Drag City)


There's always one or three endlessly flip-able records that never quite stay filed away, maintaining rather an easy reach in the rotation pile nearby the home hi-fi. Jessica Pratt's sophomore offering On Your Own Love Again is one such record. Built in part of nearly inaudible ambient street sounds indicating a subtle genesis rooted in home-recordings, the layered, spacial delivery of Pratt's soft-plucked folk edged in opaque psychedelia eddies and billows in a cosmos of mellow zones, at times reaching near-exotic levels of effect, but ever retaining a familiar quality. Here and there accompanying lyrics seem to reveal something of the singer-songwriter's personal inspirations, but these revelations are islands in a stream of vocal stylings, lilting like tendrils through a tapestry of rhythmic strums, droning, hums, and filigree. A muted monument of home-spun, dyed-in-the-wool California by way of the Milky Way sound, Jessica Pratt may be compared to many a laudable singer-songwriter forebear, but she is most definitely in a league of her own.

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Cheers to Our Toast, The Sandwitches' last round

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 29, 2015 10:22pm | Post a Comment
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lovely photo of The Sandwitches by Rachel Walther

It's been many moons since we've been accorded a fresh platter from San Francisco trio The Sandwitches, and this latest release courtesy of Empty Cellar Records, looks to be their last. Since 2008, bandmates Grace Cooper, Heidi Alexander, and Roxy Brodeur have consistently honed a distinct sound that is, simply put, a little bit old-time country and a little bit roadside oddities rock 'n' roll. Their ability to seamlessly blend twisted yet whimsical girl group harmonies with unfiltered, mood-infused heavy Americana has progressed splendidly with each release, making Our Toast, their third LP, arguably their finest effort to date.
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Before you even get your ears on it, Our Toast is a thing of beauty. Housed in very fine packaging adorned with gold leaf lettering and a cover tribute to unofficial 4th member James Finch (painted by Deirdre White), the record itself (on oxblood wax if you're lucky) is sheathed by a printed inner sleeve featuring lyrics on one side (lyrics, people!) and a sad clown band photo epitaph on the other–a testament to the posthumous-ish work within. That said, there is a twinging finality vibe to this record that moves beyond the commemorative qualities of the tangible presentation. It's a feeling that lends suspicion to the pulse of each song like an omen or memento mori. And yet, regardless of any time the Sandwitches' sound has been described as "haunting", there is nothing ghostly about this energy at all. It's as if seven or eight of these nine songs are contending for the ultimate setting in sequencing crown: the last cut on side B, the swan song's swan song seat.

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Weekly Roundup: Courtney Love, Ariel Pink, The Sandwitches, Pure Ground

Posted by Billy Gil, May 22, 2015 09:27am | Post a Comment

Courtney Love“Miss Narcissist”

courtney love miss narcissistCourntey Love has a new single out on Nathan Williams of WavvesGhost Ramp label. Scoff if you want, but it’s not half bad, signaling the notorious singer may be on the road to musical recovery after a rocky past decade and a half or so. Love’s been more public as of late, speaking about the Kurt Cobain documentary she helped authorize, Montage of Heck, and appearing on shows like Empire and recording music for that show’s soundtrack. Her music’s usually been more interesting than her antics, and “Miss Narcissist” shows she’s got plenty of tunes left up her sleeve. Look for the vinyl 7” of “Miss Narcissist” and B-side “Radio Killer” this summer.

 

Ariel Pink – “I Need a Minute”

ariel pinkAriel Pink has released a new song from the film Heaven Knows What, the new cinema verite/narrative film about a heroin addict who finds love in New York City (it’s showing this Saturday at Cinefamily). Pink created more than 45 minutes of music for the film, but “I Need a Minute” ended up being what was used. The vocally warped synth ballad will be released as a 7”. Listen via Pitchfork, and watch the trailer for Heaven Knows What below. The film is directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, stars Arielle Holmes and is based on Holmes’ forthcoming memoir, Mad Love in New York City.

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Weekly Roundup: Damaged Bug, Best Coast, Ariel Pink, The Sandwitches

Posted by Billy Gil, April 17, 2015 11:48am | Post a Comment

Damaged Bug – “Jet in Jungle”

damaged bugThee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer has a solo project called Damaged Bug that produces buzzing, whirring analog electro-rock songs like “Jet in Jungle” influenced by krautrock and early electronic music artists like Faust and Can. This is the second track we’ve heard from Cold Hot Plumbs, which is out June 1 through Dwyer's label, Castle Face. Check it out via Pitchfork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Coast – “Feeling Ok” lyric video

best coastNew Best Coast songs have been trickling in from their upcoming album California Nights (which is due May 4 on Harvest, you can preorder it now on LP and CD). “Feeling Ok” finds Bethany Cosentino utilizing her uncanny ability to channel her anxiety directly into fuzz-pop songs with candied melodies and straightforward lyrics. The best we can do sometimes is say “I’m OK today” when insecurity has been getting us down; Cosentino captures that moment of clarity brilliantly.

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