Monday, May 20, 2019

The Spiral Electric's psyche rock explosion - "Hole In My Soul"

Hole In My Soul by San Fran's The Spiral Electric is an ecstatic psyche rock explosion. When the sharply barbed synth (or guitar?) lick hook happens early on and throughout I cannot help but smile. This is the biggest sound I have heard the band produced (I thought of Ty Segall and Butthole Surfers a bit) and I love it. They do beautifully fall into a kind of lovely lull in the middle and it is heartfelt and leads into an audaciously rad crescendo that has so many evocative sounds throughout- the song at this point still heavy as hell takes on an almost art rock motif and I actually thought of Radiohead. Love this song. 

Robb Donker


The Spiral Electric initially began in San Francisco as a psychedelic guitar duo consisting of Clay Andrews (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Nicolas Percey (lead guitar), and has shifted through various lineups over the years, venturing through acid rock with flavours of surf, post-punk, british goth and indie, noise, drone, and stoner rock. Between 2012 and 2018, they have gathered a dedicated international following and toured up and down the US west coast from Seattle to Los Angeles and played festivals like the Desert Stars Festival in Pioneertown CA, Starry Nites Festival in Santa Barbara, Gathering of the Tribes Festival in San Francisco, CA, and the Portland Psych Fest in Portland, OR. They have recorded two EPs at Skylab Studio in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree with producer Tommy Dietrick-- "Upon Your Shore" (released April 2015) and "Ask The Sky" (released December 2016), and are recording a new double-LP at Wiggle Room Studio in Los Angeles with new members Michael Summers (bass) and Matias Drago (drums), and producer Steve Kille (Dead Meadow / Xemu Records).
The sound of The Spiral Electric is one part soaring melody, one part face-melting guitar, one part orbiting synth, one part danceable groove and a heavy dose of west coast psychedelia, shaken not stirred. Drink it straight, no chaser!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Forever On The Fence" by Aadams is a gorgeous alt folk song that might just quietly blow your mind

One minute inside the lovely dreamy track Forever On The Fence by New Jersey based singer-songwriter Aadams I thought instantly of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Aadams' self harmonies are drop dead gorgeous and maybe it is the way he crafts his melodies that made me think of that iconic folk quartet. There is more too like though, it is the almost shoe gaze folk feel, touches of ambience and experimental pop tones, bending vocals electronically in a few spots and a seriously kind of hyper realistic ending pushing the folk envelope even further. Not sure if Aadams self produced this but if he did then he better add another hyphenate to his singer-songwriter descriptor. Amazing work. 

Robb Donker

"Too Close" by The Modern World fuses romance wave, soul and jazz with an iconic sounding vocal performance

Too Close by The Modern World, the music project / vehicle for London based songwriter / producer Oli James. This beautiful song has so many elements that make you fall in love with it. The guitar work feels glides like slow motion drops of rain on a body of water. The cadence is easy and combined with a bass is the loveliest slow dance. Strings swell and backing vocals sooth in an R & B way... but most of all it might be the soulful vocal performance here that oddly enough made me think of a blend of Andy Bell (Erasure) and Alison Moyet (Yazoo).

Robb Donker 


The Modern World is the vehicle for the songwriting of London based producer/songwriter Oli James. Oli was born in London and began writing songs after his family relocated to Spain when he was ten years old. He honed his craft whilst studying English at University College London, and after a two year stint playing the blues scene in Moscow, Russia, Oli returned to London to form a crew of misfits and musical prodigies that make up The Modern World.
Often producing music alone at home, or in snatches of late-night studio time in friend’s studios across London, The Modern World have been recognized for their exhilarating fusion of guitar-pop, soul and jazz, gripping live shows and distinctive visual identity. They have hosted shows in nightclubs, churches, rooftops, and living rooms, and they plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saint Germain's "Find A Way" psychedelic reflections on this indie rock gem

Find A Way is the third track release by Saint Germain this year. The song rides on psychedelic guitar lines, switched up drum patterns and Germain's evocative vocal strains. Steeped in a kind of forlorn indie rock sound, the musical bridge gets even more dreamy before erupting into an even bigger chorus with a broad pop sweep as well. The only thing wrong with this track is that it seems to end much too soon. 

Saint Germain (Luc St Germain) is from Orangeville, Ontario Canada and Find A Way was recorded with Mike Tompa at Dreamhouse Studios in Toronto. 

Robb Donker 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

"Remember" by Ian Terry is darkly beautiful

Remember by singer songwriter Ian Terry is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Within the acoustic strains, banjo and layered melodies their are dark metaphors of a dead relationship and haunting images painted within the lilt of Terry's vocal performance. 

Ian Terry records and self produces his lo-fi lovely creations somewhere in Delaware. He has over 20 songs available on Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. 

Robb Donker

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Spinning Plates" by Smiling At Strangers and from their self titled album (out now) blends styles in wonderful ways

Smiling At Strangers are a British alternative pop rock project centered around singer/ songwriter Marc Halls and their self titled debut LP was just released (May 13th). The track Spinning Plates with it's almost drunken guitar lines, tightly would drums and bass and Halls emotive vocal melodies that dance around it all is multi layered with musical influences. The chorus is big and sweeping, each element filling up the spaces like moments of organ sounds and backing vox that stir the pot in such lovely ways. The sounds, tones have touches of blues, gospel, faint patina of honky-tonk and indie rock all combined in this blendo kind of indie pop sound. Not easy to describe and hard to forget. 

Robb Donker

Smiling At Strangers' Self Titled Album is available on ALL Streaming platforms:
Get a Free Download when you follow on Spotify.

1. States Of Being
2. Edie
3. On My Mind
4. Colourblind
5. Silent Showman
6. Spinning Plates
7. Who I Am
8. Everything After

Jordan Sommerlad is full of ethereal and rockish twists and turns on "Shake Me"

Shake Me by singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Jordan Sommerlad has such dreamy tendencies, ethereal and airy with dramatic tension. At first it feels as if Beach House and Caveman had an offspring, I can see images in space, images tinged in a Polaroid patina told in layers of sounds. 

From the onset, Sommerlad creates tensions and drama. A cagey percussive framework for a smooth silky vocal performance. Those aforementioned ethereal tendencies fall way to a rockish chorus with a big pop sway-- for some reason I thought of the old school "new wave" broad pop of Tears For Fears when they would swing wide. Such a trippy cool track. When it goes acoustic for a brief moment that hooky melody grabs you by the shirt collar. The breath and scope of this song just makes me smile with joy as it rocks out once again. 

Robb Donker


“As a teen, I used to stay up late at night in my room to work on music with my four-track recorder. I still do the same thing today, recording here in my apartment. Music has always been therapeutic for me—it’s a way to separate from the worries of the day,” the New York-based indie artist Jordan Sommerlad shares.

After years of honing his craft as an indie songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and bedroom producer visionary, Jordan now announces his first official solo album, playfully titled Your Favorite Palindrome. The 10-song collection will be preceded by the lushly-layered single, Shake Me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Bisou Bisou" by Swedish art rock duo Tella Viv cuts an avant garde pop groove with a punk attitude

Bisou Bisou by Swedish art rock duo Tella Viv is unabashedly drenched in a deep indie pop sound with a power art pop undercurrent. The song from the onset cuts a deep kind of rock dance groove and never lets up, the bass jams, guitars attack and then step back, synth flourishes and cagey drums set up a thick lush sound for the gritty vox that snarl but are have fun at the same time. Bisou Bisou for all it's pop-ness has a decidedly punk attitude. 

Tella Viv is Carl Hjelm and Benjamin Lavén. The art rock duo have a love of avant garde pop. Of Bisou Bisou they offer:

"Pardon our french. This song is a road trip to the underworld, dealing with goodbyes, adieus, call it what you like. An eloquent way of saying “*** ***”. Welcome change, but first give me that tiny kiss you promised.
We spoke of Bisou Bisou as a garage rock song in the form of a french garden. Trimmed, exact and wild. We wanted to see if we could combine our love to the messy, with precision. The result came kissing us."

Robb Donker

Monday, May 13, 2019

Homme de Fleurs featuring Emmalee Madden - beautifully collide on "Contact"

The song Contact opens with the vocal performance by Emmalee Madden, somber and effected with a hint of herself ghosting in such a sad core self aware way is quite mesmerizing and becomes more when Homme De Fleurs' (the alt-folk project by Canadian artist and producer Jason Zerbin) voice steps in to hold hand. The two as one entity is so beautifully captivating and embraces you throughout the entire song elevated by the spartan production. It is the emptiness of the song that feels heavy. I love, absolutely love how Madden voice spikes into falsetto in surprising ways. Love the percussion that supports at the right moments and the vocal melodies that lift you up.

Press notes reveal that the song was written on an island in Canada's West Coast which must of seeped into the bones of the song, the undercurrent of loneliness, the vacuum of longing. 


Robb Donker

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sid Steppes' "I'd Like To Go Away From Here Again With You" languid and beautifully dark psychedelia

I'd Like To Go Away From Here Again With You by Sid Steppes and from the recently released "Trails" album feels like a hazy sad core darker almost grunge version of 60's artists like Donovan or Status Quo. I am loving the languid sound, the lush bass line and forlorn vocal performance. The retro sound sounds less retro than possessed by former times. 

From Southern California, Sid Steppes creates his sounds in makeshift bedroom studios. His debut DIY album "Trails" is available on Bandcamp. A Neo-psychedelic dream pop album honed by a decade of crafting emotions and sounds. 

Press notes reveal that: 

Trails is inspired by heartache, depression and the path towards rehabilitating the mind, as well as a deep bond and connection for psychedelic music from the 60s and 70s. “I listened to a lot of John Lennon during a hard time in my life and was inspired by the vulnerability and honesty in his lyrics. I had never written about my emotions before but listening to Lennon eased the fear of opening up and exposing myself.”

Robb Donker