Though Shawn Lee may get more press than L.A. pop craftsman AM, his collaborator on Celestial Electric, that doesn't mean you should write off AM as a passenger just along for the free ride. Sure, Lee does his usual sweet sonic tricks and conjures up a sound that hits a happy midway point between hip-hop and laid-back power pop (without sounding much like either one), but AM adds soul and heart to the soundscape. They two artists work a kind of L.A. magic that had our reviewer calling in heavy hitters like Curt Boettcher, Beck, and the woefully under-rated Paul Williams as reference points. We agree, and also think that Celestial Electric is one of the (semi) hidden gems of the year so far.
Here's a track from the album:
AM & Shawn Lee - Dark Into Light by AMSOUNDS
And here's AM with a list of some stuff he's been digging lately:
Wanda - 1970. Barbara Loden. Great deep cut. Filmed on 16mm with a 3 person crew. Took her 8 years to raise the money to make it.
Fat City - 1972. Stacey Keach, early Jeff Bridges. Great film.
Nuggets: Luke Vibert's Selection - super dope collection of mostly French sound library recordings from the '70s. Been playing it nonstop.
Serge Gainsbourg/Jean-Claude Vannier - The Road To Katmandu Soundtrack - Shawn Lee and I went to see Andy Votel (Finder's Keepers, and the brains behind the Celestial Electric artwork) interview legendary French composer Jean-Claude Vannier in Los Angeles (Vannier had just conducted the Serge Gainsbourg tribute at the Hollywood Bowl the night before). They screened the out-of-print film The Road To Katmandu and the soundtrack was mind-blowing. Hoping someone (Finder's Keepers???) finds a way to release it.
Philz Coffee (San Francisco) - Hands down the best coffee I've ever had. Now that Shawn and I are on tour, heading to SF Philz is a must.