Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Chewers - the driven off a cliff industrial art punk poetry of "Downhill Calendar" needs to be in your musical library -





















The Chewers are Travis Caffrey and Michael Sadler, a two piece kind of art punk outfit from the woods of West Virginia now based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Their current offering is the "concept album without a concept" called "Downhill Calendar" and the track Frankie's Downhill Calendar sits almost squarely in the middle of equally disjointed grungy kind of industrial, kind of avant garde, kind of poetry in hell, kind of musical experimentation. The aesthetic here is dark and nihilistic, squinty eyed almost spoken word diatribes set to tribalistic industrial drums and heavy jagged guitar lines. The result is something like NIN, Butthole Surfers, Jim Carroll, She Wants Revenge, The Normal and Bauhaus driven off a cliff and coalesced into this oddly super engaging sound. 

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Robb Donker






Moa McKay- jammy "Another Man" from the jazz neo-soul EP "Illusions Of A Dream"

Moa McKay, singer-songwriter neo-soul artist from Stockholm, Sweden is releasing her first EP "Illusions Of A Dream" in collaboration with guitarist Tristan Banks, drummer Gabriele Gabrin and bass player Per Monstad. The track Another Man blends jazz and soul tones. The song has an air of romantic mystery and trade off jammy flourishes in between McKay's storytelling with a  cool vocal performances that flows in an around horns, fluid guitar, bouncy bass lines and proggy drumming. When the song drops out and to reveal only one instrument and McKay's sultry emotional tones it is mesmerizing. 

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Robb Donker


Humble Digs - labor of love "A Portrait Of Grace" trippy blended impressions in a 150 year old farmhouse

Humble Digs latest labor of love is called "A Portrait Of Grace" and as they note was recorded in Amherst, Mass "on Southeast Street in every one's bedrooms, the pantry, both hallways, the living room and the abandoned silo out back" and fully inhabiting a space (in this case a 150 year old farmhouse) makes sense because the collection of songs feel lived in, immersed in and are, in the end, immersive transformative pieces of sound that seep into you like slow motion raindrops. You will feel this kind of organic elegance on the album's set piece called Portrait. A really special artistically wrought piece of work with orchestrations of  emotional sound  that shape shift as the song moves along. It slowly washed over me in an awe inspiring way. 

Humble Digs blend alt folk, garden rock, dreamy psychedelic rock, pushed through blues and country filters with a patina of progressive rock and jazz tones layered on for good measure. On the track Shame you hear those garden / southern rock strains and to me the song feels like dancing hippies on a large Southern porch. The first track Bloodstream is a kind of free form light folk rock affair that almost flutters around your head. There is this very evocative piano break by special guest player Charles Vadala that  feels like wandering thoughts and then the song spins up and around once more. Uptown / Inbound feels jammy and wanderlusty with blues / Southern strains. The musical break brings in progressive lead runs. The song is a bit all over the place in the best possible way. The very last song has no name. It has a nice sway and has very cool detours feeling like a stream of consciousness piece of music with a sense of experimentation and improvisation. At least that is the sense I get. It covers a lot of territory and gets playfully psychedelic and rockish. The wide eyed run down the rabbit hole is fun and a great way to end. Dive into 9 track album. Please, I implore you. It is a trip worth taking (again and again).

Humble Digs (at their core) are Jake Slater (guitar, vox), George Condon (guitar), Henry Condon (drums), Riley Feeney (bass, vox) and Matt Twaddle (keys) but the band does note that "over the past year we have featured Mtali Banda, Leland Baker and Dave Murphy on saxes, Casey Opal and Luke Tobin on vocals, Ben Young and Lily Sexton on Strings and Ben Beal on keys. We are a BIG Family."
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Robb Donker



Saturday, July 21, 2018

Nashville's The Pink Spiders new album "Mutations" and "I Can't Get Down Without You"


The Pink Spiders are back with their first full length album in 10 years called "Mutations" and one can't help but cheer them on as they have, after all, survived that music machine, an infamous tour bus fire and being signed to Geffen Records. The single: I Can't Get Down Without You has their trademark chunky power pop sound and glam rock falsettos.
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Robb Donker


Aussie dream rockers The Night reflect and declare in "You've Got It Kid"

On the track You've Got It Kid the Aussie dream rock outfit The Night wields intimate admonitions of sound and declarative statements of hope and faith. Their album "Question Everything" is not afraid to do just that and as in You've Got It Kid not afraid to sit in reflective moments of near silence only to erupt in sonic walls of passion. The 6 piece indie rock shoe gazey outfit hail from Sydney. 

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Robb Donker


Racoma's Self Titled album feels organically deep- steep in the tracks "Country" and "Howl" and then love the rest


















From Racoma's self titled 2018 EP the track Country feels organically deep like the sounds were steeped in a brew of garden rock, alt folk and porch country pushed through Americana filters. It helps that Glenn Haider (from New Jersey) possesses a kind of down home sultry voice with earnest tones and the right amount of sandpaper grit to his vocal performance. Hooking up with childhood friend Anthony Hagen (bass, keys and from Cali) and finding another Cali boy, Sean Collopy (guitar) they all collected in Seattle, Washington (eventually) along with native Eliot Stone. Loving their sound, that has no indie pretense whatsoever. It is what it is and it is wonderful. 

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Robb Donker




Meta Forrester - mines family stories from 1970's Taiwan- on "Record Store Girl"

Record Store Girl is the first single off of Meta Forrester's (Scott Hsu's) upcoming EP "FU LONG BEACH."
Hsu was born in Amherst, Mass but is currently based out of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and the EP is directly inspired by his parents living as twenty somethings in 1970's Taiwan. As Hsu (who plays all instruments) says of the album, "It's a 17 minute alt rock/power pop EP about the thrill and naivety of young love. Every song is based on a story they told me about their lives".

The track itself is spartan and the poppy vocal melody rides on opening bass line. It has charm and humor and is about Hsu's dad who dated a girl whose family owned a record store in Taipei. 
As the song expresses, his dad did not fall in love with her but did fall in love with the wealth of music they shared. 

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Robb Donker


Falaises - transient "Boy" has dangerous edges



























Paris based Falaises offer their first single Boy from their debut EP "They Are Here" due out in October (2018).  Mixed by the amazing Stephane Briat (Air, Depeche Mode) the track with it's runaway arpeggios and runaway beat moves even when the song stands still. In these movements of static silence the track feels heavy and embracing until Alice's "hey!" that sends the song reeling as if it is running towards something and from something. The track is mysterious sounding too feeling transient but with dangerous edges but other times has a dizzy jubilant tone as well.  Maybe it is running towards a savior.

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Robb Donker






Sydney based Hurst - supercharged comfort food - "On Purple and Green"


























Sydney (Aus) based Hurst has alt rock bones that veer toward the purity of that iconic 90's / 2000's sounds of bands like Superchunk or The Thermals. That sound that screams more indie rock meets power pop than punk. It is dirty and clean at the same time, guitar hook laden with infectious melodies. On Purple and Green I thought a bit of Better Than Ezra. Ana Veira and the boys seem to be making post punk sounds that charge you up like the best pizza ever after clubbing, musical comfort food that tastes brand new.

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Robb Donker




Rip Junior - alt rock steeped in summer - "One Track Mind"

Out of Jacksonville, Florida - Rip Junior  - churn out alt rock sounds with a decidedly post rock 90's style meets surf rock meets skating in pools, fucking crazy house parties and chopping up 6 foot peelers at Satellite Beach. Listen to One Track Mind and you might see your favorite summer full of fury.