Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Wise Words by Tay and the JangLahDahs is a trip of many colors

Wise Words by Tay and the JangLahDahs feels like a contradiction in styles, a spinning kaleidoscope of different decades of music all at once. If you close your eyes while listening you might get tipsy. The imagery might involve both gypsies and psychedelic hippies partying on a wide variety of intoxicants in a 1920's speak easy. There are so many styles in the multi colored spiked punch bowl. A fanciful time machine, a vision dressed up in sequin dresses, 70's bell bottoms and steam punk glasses. Folkish, jazzy, soulful, proto punkish, experimental stuff to behold from the bands "Bloomin" EP.

Tay and the JangLahDahs hail from the Bay Area (of course) and Tay Gersbach (Vocals, Drums, Banjolele), Greg Fogg (Guitar, Violin, Vocals), Eric Wilson (Keys, Guitar, Vocals), Mike Tiura (Bass, Mandolin) Matt Beard (Drums, Guitar, Alt. Percussion) and Andrew Byars (Vocals, Horn)- with Dani Robison (of Sapphire Lung) on Bass on the album and Wise Words Music Video which just premiered on the Broke Ass Stuart website : https://brokeassstuart.com/ny/2019/01/12/tay-and-the-janglahdahs-debut-stunning-new-video/


Robb Donker

Monday, January 14, 2019

"Two Hands" from Midnight In England - a lavish alt rock puzzle

The track Two Hands from Midnight In England's latest 2 track release "Real Cinema" is a lavish alt rock puzzle of a song. Double time bass lines, dynamic drums and stirring pearly guitar lines fitting so perfectly together. The vocal performance sounds lovely too within all the sonic heaviness and  tenderness. Within that vocal performance I feel a slight, very slight hint, lilt of Morrissey that is very cool. There is a tightly wound progressive way in which Midnight In England craft their sound while still feeling loose and passionate and I like that. 

Robb Donker 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Gregory Ackerman reflects deeply on the alt folk serenade "All This Thinking"

Gregory Ackerman's latest public offering is a demo recorded in his garage called All This Thinking. The L.A. based singer songwriter has an easy style but his alt folk aesthetic feels like his view is through a skewed prism giving the songs a bit of a sad maybe even slightly dark edge. I can feel questions, big ones about life inherent in between the lines. Those kind of questions that if you think about too long you might end up in the fetal position on the floor, that is... if you feel too much. Ackerman feels life and writes songs about those feelings

Last year his debut full-length "And Friends", via V2/Munich, album produced by Rilo Kiley bassist, Pierre de Reeder was released. "And Friends" showcases Ackerman’s warmth, opening with his own immersive double- tracked vocals, guitar and piano playing, along with the sincere contributions of Ackerman’s actual friends.

Robb Donker


Heavy Hands' "Spark" feels like a heavy lullaby

Boston Mass - Heavy Hands' latest offering Spark is a spartan alt rock song that holds it's emotion in the organic tones, sonic guitars, sad drumming, plaintiff vocals but also in the empty spaces. The song slow burns to a dramatic conclusion. In the end it feels like a heavy lullaby that cries itself to sleep.

Robb Donker

Sarsaparilla - dreamy bedroom pop delivers in a big lovely way on "Postcard"

Post Card by Sarsaparilla is just so damn lovely. Their is a lot of Bedroom pop out there and because the genre conjures up a computer leaning on the edge of a bed and a creative person creating their own dreamy masterpiece in Garage Band maybe with an electric guitar plugged directly into some little interface box or someone creating entirely in the box (computer), you get a wide array of music, of fidelity and of dreams in embryo and / or fully realized. I don't know if Post Card was, indeed, created in a bedroom or in a grand studio but it is so exquisitely crafted and full of surprises. It has the sad reverb washed ennui we expect out of these kinds of songs but other emotional textures as well. I could feel my mouth start to smile a teeny bit 20 seconds in but when the guitar break / riff came in my smile exploded and what followed pretty much captured me like a great song should. This song will clearly be on my top songs of 2019 list, clearly. 

Sarsaparilla aka Shannon Betty is a bedroom producer and songwriter. I
n 2018 she teamed up with singer/songwriter Rubaiyat Howlader (Slowships) and producer Pete Holz (Gang of Youths, Peking Duk) to bring their songs out of the bedroom and into the world. Together the trio are working on an EP which is due out in early this year 2019.


Robb Donker

Irish post punk alternative outfit City Victim and the lush rock sound of "Out Of Sight"

City Victim is an Irish post punk / alternative rock outfit based out of Galway and (while they are a bit of a mystery to me) their latest offering Out Of Sight is a lush bass heavy indie rocker with a dreamy aesthetic and a kind of 80's new wave patina with 90's big post rock bones. The band call out The Cure, Sun Kil Moon, Thom Yorke and The Smiths as influences. More to come...

Robb Donker

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The big power pop / post punk excess of "Five On It" by Spielbergs

Five On It by Oslo three piece post punk indie rockers Spielbergs is a big chunk of guitar rock packed full of youthful energy that feels like the power pop excess of bands like Japandroids, The Pixies and Weezer all smashed together. The track is from their upcoming debut full length "This Is Not The End" due to drop the first of February. 

Spielbergs are: Mads Baklien (guitar,vox, synth), Stian Brennskag (bass) and Christian Løvhaug (drums).

Robb Donker


2019 is a special time for Spielbergs as they will bring their incendiary live show to the UK on a headline tour for the first time. With numerous sold-out shows already under their belts across Norway, as well as London, this run of dates is the first that sees the band take their show outside of the capital and around the country.

The dates in full are as follows:

11.02.19 – Manchester – Jimmy’s
12.02.19 – Glasgow – The Garage
13.02.19 – Newcastle – Think Tank? Underground
14.02.19 – Birmingham – Sunflower Lounge
15.02.19 – London – Shacklewell Arms

Friday, January 11, 2019

Imp Of Perverse - "Tripping Thru A Hallway On Fire" contains twisted musical riddles

Tripping Thru A Hallway On Fire, the single from Austin (Texas) based Imp of Perverse's "Imp In Reverse" limited edition cassette via Under the Counter Tapes is a Chinese fortune cookie of proggy post punkness containing twisted musical riddles and questions as curious as the song title itself. I mean is the hallway on fire or the person tripping through on fire??

The song dances on nimble guitar lines, cagey and crisp drumming / bass lines and hushed singing by it's creator, Sean Lochridge who currently drums for Austin's favorite psych pop progressive art rock band Sherry. Lochridge is a singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist bedroom pop (experimental art rock) producer. He has just released the self recorded "Imp in Reverse" which is a massive 22 song compilation "record" on cassette tape. The collection of songs is broken up into sections and in my current state I would literally drown in the details so consider what you see below as the liner notes of this track review. Bravissimo Sean. 


Act I: "Not Getting What You Want, One Step at a Time" 
Consisting of 4 'scenes', this act is an excellent entry point to the Imp's brand of genius. Dense, yet light. Polished, but organic. This is an excellent blend of dreamy and catchy, and is likely the most accessible of the 4 acts. 

Act II: "There's Everything" 
This 5 scene act is the experimental one, particularly with regards to "Exspectra" and "Pixelated Mindfuck in the Infinite Reality Corner". Off-kilter melodies and instrumental breaks are prominent. The rabbit hole is here.

Intermission: "Chrysalis" A brand new song exclusive to this release. You're welcome. 

Act III: "togethercoloured instant" 
This is a brief but absolutely gorgeous 3 scene psychedelic folk love letter dedicated to Sean's girlfriend and muse, Lily. 

Act IV: "Who Knows" 
This is where it all began, this is where it ends. The 9 scene debut act of Imp of Perverse closes out this story. This is the most raw, heavy act. Distorted guitars, loud drums, dynamic performances, bursting with youth, vigor, ambition, and life, this is the explosive genesis of the Imp's solo endeavor. 

Whether you digest it in parts, or gorge yourself on the whole thing in one sitting, "Imp In Reverse" is an undeniable document of virtuosity and versatility. Absolutely no fan of psychedelic music should miss out on this huge collection. 

Robb Donker

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Another Version" by Chirpy feels like psychedelic dark chamber pop

The track Another Version by Chirpy (the musical moniker of Rebecca Shannon) is a multi layered musical cake. There are a lot of varied vibes going on here. The interweaving melodies and depths of sound from organic to synthetic, from 60's chamber pop to spooky horror chic pushes the song into a dark dreamy soundscape. Shannon, a singer songwriter, producer from Dublin, Ireland. She reveals:  "Another Version was written after working as a performer for a number of years. It's a song about not being true to yourself in the most basic of ways and having to look in the mirror knowing that you are fast forwarding through life as a manufactured version of yourself, created by others. When you're used as a puppet to carry out other peoples dreams - you can only blame yourself in the end" 

The video was recorded and produced by David Ferguson of Suddenly Dance Theatre Company in Canada. https://www.suddenlydance.ca

Robb Donker

RH Pioneers' folk grandeur of "Underground" from the "In The Alps" EP

Underground by Pittsburgh natives RH Pioneers feels like a big celebratory fanciful piece of indie rock with Americana and alt folk tones blended throughout. Songwriter Ryan Hoffman, singer Amy Linette and guitarist Brad Collins pulled in audiences performing at open mic nights in early 2017. By year's end the three became four adding drummer Mike Smales and recording their debut EP "In The Alps" (you can hear a free stream at their website https://ryanhoffmanandthepioneers.com/)

Robb Donker