Albums Out 10/30: The Soft Moon, Neil Young, Killing Joke and More

Posted by Billy Gil, October 29, 2012 07:00pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

The Soft MoonZeros

The Soft Moon ZerosCD $12.98

LP $15.98

Slightly more pop than his first release but still dark enough to scare off the uninitiated, the second album from The Soft Moon improves upon Luis Vasquez’s one-man goth factory sound with a bit more muscle and increased emphasis on hooks and (somewhat) intelligible vocals. Vasquez’s sound — one part Dario Argento soundtrack, one part post-punk mastery — remains relentlessly bleak throughout Zeros, creating a sort of shut-in listening experience during which no light enters or escapes. The result isn’t alienating though; rather, Vasquez carefully builds the album up and keeps it chugging smoothly, from an almost M83-like synth-epic opening, to the short ‘n’ creepy “Machines,” to the title track, the first song we get of several that fulfills the promise of his earlier work. The title track and “Insides,” which immediately follows, sees Vasquez allow his voice to step out of the shadows a bit as he gives an impassioned scream in the title track’s buzzing climax, and on single “Insides,” he sings a discernable yet ghostly melody over a Pornography-era Cure backdrop of a looping guitar riff and bassline and mechanical beats. That breathy whisper that opens the song grabs you, but Vasquez seems to know he can’t offer only atmosphere forever, and his singing, emotional and buried, is a highlight across Zeros when it pops up. On “Dire Life,” which revs its synths before kicking off with a yelp, Vasquez drives listeners down a grim autobahn. Even better is “Want,” in which Vasquez cries “I want it…you have it” over clattering, afrobeat-esque drumwork that sounds like nothing else he’s done. It’s touches like this that keeps Zeros from being a one-note album, and though he doesn’t completely step out from the shadow of his influences, on Zeros Vasquez comes dangerously close, while scratching a very specific itch for immaculately constructed goth pop.

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New Preorders: Ty Segall, Muse, Bat For Lashes, Taylor Swift and More

Posted by Billy Gil, September 19, 2012 04:50pm | Post a Comment
flying lotusFlying LotusUntil the Quiet Comes – Oct. 2
The latest from the L.A. sound maestro features contributions from Erykah Badu, Laura Darlington, Niki Randa, Thundercat and Thom Yorke.


the vaccinesThe VaccinesCome of Age – Oct. 2
The second album from the NME-touted Brit punks.

MuseMuseThe Second Law – Oct. 2
The Britpop group turned arena rockers’ next album may have an electro edge, given its first single, “Madness.”

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Weekly Roundup: The Soft Moon, Horrid Red, Oh No/Chris Keys, Paw City; Videos from Julia Holter/Nite Jewel, Ty Segall, Luna is Honey

Posted by Billy Gil, September 14, 2012 01:24pm | Post a Comment
The Soft Moon – “Insides”
More new Soft Moon! “Insides” is gloriously creepy, with its sustained, Gremlin-style whispered vocal hovering in the background like a ghost, while the foreground finds piercing new wave sound and Luis Vasquez stepping out of the shadows just a bit with a wordless sounding but emotive vocal. Along with the recently debuted “Die Life,” Zeros sounds like a winner; it’s out Oct. 30 on Captured Tracks (preorder here). Boy, all this great goth from S.F. Isn’t it like beautiful and everyone is nice there?

horrid redHorrid Red – I’m Terribly Hurt

I don’t know much about S.F.’s Horrid Red, but I’m incredibly intrigued after hearing “I’m Terribly Hurt,” a goth pop song that hits both sides of the coin thanks to that droning organ and soaring synths and breathless vocals both creepy and romantic. Nightly Wreaths is due Oct. 9 on Terrible Records.

oh no chris keysOh No/Chris Keys – “Devastation” (ft. Guilty Simpson and Montage One)
This is awesome — producers Oh No (who is Madlib’s brother) and Chris Keys pair up for Ashes, which comes out Oct. 23 on Heavy Keys. “Devastation” gets some guest appearance from Cali brethren Montage One and Detroit rapper Guilty Simpson, who offer pretty psychedelic rhymes about ligers and Santeria over paranoid production and vocal imitations of guns and helicopters — then there’s a random outro about a volcanic eruption, which is sure to lead into the next track, whetting our appetites for the rest of Ashes. The track premiered over at Pitchfork.

GRMLN – “Stand By Me”
Kyoto, Japan-born and Southern California-raised Yoodoo Park recently released the excellent, Beach Fossils-ish “Coral,” from the upcoming Explore EP, due Oct. 23 on Carpark Records. Now he’s releases a pretty straightforward cover of “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. The beguiling lo-fi surf take on the classic sounds like a perfect end-of-summer mixtape track, and when taken with “Coral” speaks to the potential of this young artist.

Paw City – “Lonely Machine”
When was the last time you heard boy/girl vocal indie pop that managed to be this tasteful but also have like a big fucking alt-rock chorus? It helps that Paw City has Ariana Murray of Earlimart, who do that sort of thing, and her husband Michael Orendy of indie-pop group Frankel at the helm. Their self-titled EP is on Bandcamp. Listen if you love Grandaddy and cool forgotten bands of the mid-90s.

Julia Holter live at Amoeba
Nite Jewel & Julia Holter – “What We See”
As natural a pairing as you could ask for, L.A. electro art-pop artists Nite Jewel and Julia Holter team for this hypnotic outing, accompanied by a soft-focus video that looks like an impressionist painting moving. After watching and listening to this, I don’t want to do anything at all but lie in a field and stare upward. I love how the song sounds vaguely disturbing at the end, like something just broke up some perfect feeling. The song comes from a multimedia collection of artists called Dublab Presents: Lights From Los Angeles, out Oct. 23. The collection also features ESP, Dntel, Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Farmer Dave Scher, Sun Araw and more. The nonprofit Internet radio station and multimedia collective also has a 13th anniversary show Sept. 22 at Freak City (6363 Hollywood Blvd.).

Light From Los Angeles: JULIA HOLTER + NITE JEWEL from dublab on Vimeo.

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Local Stuff: Flying Lotus, Deerhoof, King Tuff, The Soft Moon, Cold Showers, Ty Segall

Posted by Billy Gil, August 17, 2012 12:30pm | Post a Comment
Flying Lotus feat. Erykah Badu – “See Thru to U”
This sumptuous, propulsive track comes from L.A. beat maestro Flying Lotus’ new album, Until the Quiet Comes, due Oct. 2 on Warp (preorder here). Expect more excellent pair-ups, such as another with Thom Yorke, on the album.


Deerhoof – “Fête d'Adieu”

So excited to share a new track from S.F.’s Deerhoof, one of my all-time favorite guitar bands. For a while there, it seemed minus guitarist Chris Cohen, the band was losing steam on the lackluster Deerhoof vs. Evil. “Fête d'Adieu” is very promising, however, employing the poppier balance of melodicism with awkward time signatures and chirpy vocals that they moved toward on the Cohen-less but still excellent Friend Opportunity. Here’s hoping Breakup Song is awesome! (Preorder the album here.)


King Tuff – “Alone and Stoned” video
As if I didn’t love L.A. garage pop dude King Tuff enough already, his video for “Alone and Stoned” from his totally great self-titled album is a lot of fun. All you really need to know is the title of the song and you can see where it goes from there. I need that girl’s cat painting.


The Soft Moon – “Die Life”
S.F.’s The Soft Moon put out a fantastically bleak, uncompromising self-titled first album in 2010 and are due back with a a second album, Zeros, Oct. 30 on Captured Tracks. Listening to that first album feels felt like driving through a dark tunnel with no end. And that rules! This sounds great too.


Cold Showers – “BC”
Been salivating over L.A.’s Cold Showers for some time now. They posted a killer Cars cover a while back. Now here’s the first taste of their first album, Love and Regret, due Oct. 9 on Dais. It’s sort of the sunnier (or at least more humanistic) side of the post-punk coin to The Soft Moon’s life of dying. “BC” really does feel like a blast of cool air during this heat wave, the way it stays calm and collected until that guitar solo dives through and makes way for shimmery guitar knives to follow. Digging all of it.


Ty Segall – “The Hill”
“The Hill” is the first single from Ty Segall’s third album of the year, Twins, due Oct. 9 on Drag City. This starts about a million miles from the rip-your-ear-off distortion of the yet-to-be-topped this year rock of Slaughterhouse, starting with a sort of electro-gospel, female led vocal before, you know, ripping your ear off again with distortion. It’s decidedly dialed back, though, from that of Slaughterhouse, instead focusing more on propulsion, dynamics and melody, as that chorus comes back filtering through the din every once in a while. It’s the most interesting thing Segall has unveiled yet. I love the sound of it so far and bodes well for the rest of Twins.

First Fridays at LA's Natural History Museum: 2/3

Posted by Amoebite, January 9, 2012 04:08pm | Post a Comment
Once a month, Los Angeles's Natural History Museum stays openlate and features live music, excitingFirst Fridays, NHM, Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, LA scientific discussion, and behind-the-scenes curatorial tours as part of the First Friday program. Amoeba is excited to sponsor this fabulous series of live music, discussion, concessions, tours, DJs and more.

Join us on February 3rd from 5-10pm for a live performance from The Soft Moon and Light AsylumKCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Mario Cotto, and a guest lectures from Dr. John Harris ("A Brief Sprint Through Human Evolution") and biological anthropologist Amy Parish  (“The New Science of Darwinian Feminism: Evolutionary Insights from Bonobo Social and Sexual Interactions”).

Find out more HERE!

The Soft Moon

Light Asylum

Dark Allies - Light Asylum from Grant Worth on Vimeo.

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