Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cats On The Beach - is what I need to hear right now- "My Heart Is In The Sea" (Video Re-run)

A blasty blast from the past- London based Cats On The Beach mine 80's tones and trumpet filled indie / power pop sounds on My Heart Is In The Sea (2013) and it sounds so good (again).

Robb Donker

London based Pushpin twist and turn progressive art rock motifs on "Sea Song"

Kingston and London (UK) based Pushpin twist and turn progressive art rock motifs on Sea Song. Elegant trancy passages transform into deep indie rock eruptions and back again. The push and pull of sounds feels dramatic and beautiful. My mind flashed on Radiohead and Sigur Ros and more. Pushpin formed at university launching officially only in October of 2018. The band gigs around London and have gotten airplay on the BBC. Pushpin are Lucas Chebib, Adam Holmes, Arther Robijns and Ed Willey.

Robb Donker

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sara Rachele's stunning love letter "Allelu (I Found You)" from her "Scorpio Moon" album

I start to write this little track review with some trepidation as it seems to me that I will not have the right words to describe the latest offering from Sara Rachele in Allelu (I Found You) from her new album "Scorpio Moon"- an ambitious "live-to-tape" vision were she had the great opportunity to record with members of the Dap-Kings as well as Binky Griptite and other members of Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones' former backing band in conjunction with Atlanta based keyboardist Spencer Garn (as co-producer) and multi-instrumentalist Kris Sampson. In the end, though it is the songwriting talents of Rachele that spin all the lovely spiderwebs and it is her voice that makes you feel every emotion she spills out. 

For me, Allelu (I Found You) marries her perfect melody with her vocal aesthetic. Rachelle possesses a voice with an authentic kind of western / country / roots meets folk meets rock meet blues tone that feels not only pure but is full of character.. full of character. It is a lovely voice full of bruises and bruises healed and it has the ability to nestle itself deep inside your heart. A voice that can make you close your eyes and feel it all. The musical combo that embraces this song and Rachelle's story is perfectly felt, crafted, played with graceful bass, drums (aww those drums), guitar and keys / organs (beautiful). 

Sara Rachele hails from Decatur, Georgia and haunts Atlanta and New York.  "Scorpio Moon" is out via Angrygal.

Robb Donker

Monday, June 17, 2019

Don't Resist - Resistance is Futile - Succumb to the Funky Bad Ass-ery of Cobra Fantastic and their album "Tales From Planet 9"

Cobra Fantastic is a "Zappa-meets-P-Funk-meets-Sun-Ra Monster Robot Groove Machine" from another planet... well not exactly another planet but they are from France. Their descriptor is spot on and their album "Tales From Planet 9" jams in amazing ways. The songs are injected with whimsy and nutty, fun diversions but when the jamming starts (for example on the fun and freakingly musically dense track My Heart is Like a Giant Robot) it is so intense that you can feel the blood in your veins start to heat up.

The slice and dice horn work on Let It Slide shakes you awake and the sultry cadence moves around you as blistering guitar work accompanies the vox by vocal provocateur "Big Daddy Fantastic." Funky and bad ass, bad ass and funky. Damn.

Cobra Fantastic is:

Big Daddy Fantastic (alias David Garlitz) : guitar & vocals
AliSunshine Fantastic (aka Alison Young) : vocals
Saralicious Fantastic (aka Sarah-Lane Roberts) : vocals
The Fantastic Merrywoodweatherson (alias Josiah Woodson) : trumpet
Prezident Fantastic (aka David Prez) : tenor sax
Thumpasaurus Fantastic (alias Simon Tailleu) : bass
Karlitos el Fant├ístico (known among humans as Karl Jannuska) : drums 

Don't Resist - Resistance is Futile - Succumb to the Funky Bad Ass-ery of Cobra Fantastic and their album "Tales From Planet 9"


Robb Donker

Sunday, June 16, 2019

"Hopeless" by Opeongo and from his debut LP "Miasma" is a wailing wall of sound

Hopeless by Opeongo, the musical namesake of 26 year old singer-songwriter Keegan Trumpour immediately pulls you into this exquisite emotional fray. The cadence is formidable. The downbeat driven mid-tempo thumper of bass, drums, dramatic guitar licks and organ stirs and moves you. It feels like gospel infused blues rock pushed through art rock filters and while the swelling background vocals and horns amp up the spirits, it is Trumpour's unique high register and passionate vox that keep your feet planted and head bobbing. Trumpour's aesthetic, his vocal character pushes his voice and phrases to the nth degree and you can feel pain at the top of your throat just listening to his gritty wail. Wow, just wow. There is nothing more to say. 

Robb Donker

picture courtesy of Connie Tsang


Opeongo is the moniker of 26-year-old singer/songwriter Keegan Trumpour. Originally from Midland ON, Keegan now resides in the city of Toronto.
Keegan is currently in the midst of releasing Opeongo’s debut LP “Miasma” recorded with producer/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Goldstein at Baldwin Street Sound. It features appearances by such noteworthy musicians as Daniel Romano, Aaron Goldstein, Aaron Comeau, Carleigh Aikins, and Arif Mirabdolbaghi. The record was mixed by the talented Christopher Stringer, and was mastered by Grammy-nominated Philip Shaw Bova.         
The songs from this record are largely characterized by their elaborate lyricism, the content of which deals with the struggles of mental health within the realms of these modern times, and the external and internal influences on such a thing. These songs were written through a period of immense change, change signified by moving from a small town to a large city, change signified by heartache, and change signified in the recognition of the times before us.  

Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners mine dreamy garden rock / alt folk tones on "A Moment"

A Moment by Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners, a folk / alt rock band based out of Colorado is a vast, dreamy piece of garden rock from their upcoming third album "Subliming". From the onset, with deep alt folk and Americana rock tones, the cadence, musical sweep and heavenly vocal performance made me think of foggy banks in Northern California and iconic organic garden rock bands like Big Star or The Band.  

Robb Donker


Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners are an independent folk/alt rock band based in Colorado consisting of longtime friends Mitch "eat a whole package of grapes in a single day" Cutts, Nic "Richy Mitch" Haughn, Jakob "Cashew" Ervin, and Ryan "Yung Craigslist" Lavallee. The self-taught band was informally founded in 2015 after Nic & Mitch got way too good at guitar hero and decided to start learning real instruments.
The band began writing their debut album RMCM in late 2016 and released the project upon their high school graduation in May 2017 after recording the album in a closet. In February 2018, their efforts continued to come to life with the release of their sophomore album Solstice. Solstice was overseen by the band's manager, Duncan Ervin, who has been called the musical visionary of the 21st century as well as the goodest boy in the world. Currently, the band members are preparing to release their third album, Subliming, which slaps harder than a navy seal on a quest for vengeance (a study at Harvard Princeton Yale University confirmed this using science).


PREMIERE: Enbers' dreamy alt folk "Just Dogs" feels as cinematic as the title. From the EP "10 Years"

Enbers is the musical moniker of one Nicholas Bryant who writes evocative folk tinged songs with his voice and his 1950's Martin D 18. On the track Just Dogs, that voice quivering in a stark, vulnerable and compelling way reveals stories and mysteries you want to fall into. The sound, the aesthetic is spartan on one hand but also produced with cinematic, dreamy flair by Bryants cohort, Producer Alex Koska who beautifully crafts a kind of orchestrated folk with dark and light tones that suggest pasts and presents.  

Enbers hails from Stauton, Virginia and Just Dogs is from the EP, "10 Years" just released on June 10th (2019).

Robb Donker

The Harmaleighs' beautiful sway on "Don't Panic" has dark undercurrents from the upcoming "She Won't Make Sense"

The song Don't Panic by Nashville's The Harmaleighs feels (to me) like a song for the times we live in. The beautiful sway of the song belies the undercurrent of darker feelings that run throughout their upcoming album "She Won't Make Sense" which is a concept album about mental illness, "specifically band member Haley Grant's deeply personal journey through anxiety, depression and mania." 

Of the track Haley says:

"I was in a constant state of worry. My relationship was falling apart, my friend group was changing, my career path was unclear and my mind was fucked. It felt like every aspect of my life was in complete and utter turmoil all at the same time. 'Don't Panic' was written in my bathroom at 3:30 am about trying to calm myself down but being fearful that panic was actually fueling my creativity. It made me question whether or not I should be seeking help or letting this type of fear run its course because it was allowing me to write these songs that I am so proud of. The last line of the chorus 'but what if that's all I'm good at' comes from me being scared I'll be unable to write if I am mentally stable." 

It takes courage to bleed on a song. To put it all out there and the thought that being mentally stable might shut off the inspirational faucet for her music is a heavy one. I mean, there does seem to be some truth to the tortured artist but then artists as talented as The Harmaleighs will undoubtedly always have fodder for their art whether the demons they reveal or chase are in the microcosm or macrocosm. There is certainly a lot to stress over out in the world and there lies the rub. I have thought for a long time that too much information bombarding our brains are shutting off the hope filled pleasure centers and we are slowly losing our minds, all of us, to worry, self doubt, feelings of not being enough and other negative thoughts. 

They want us to be like that you know. We are all easier to control that way. I will get off my soap box. 

I am a bit new to The Harmaleighs and delving into their music. Amazing, emotionally wrought stuff. I love it. 

The Harmaleighs are Haley Grant (Lead vox, guitar) and Kaylee Jasperson (bass, harmonies)

"She Won't Make Sense" is dropping on August 2nd with the ability to pre-order NOW.

Robb Donker

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Hugs' effervescent pop rocker "Love You To Death" feels like a hug

Love You To Death by Portland's The Hugs sounds like a song by a band called The Hugs. It is power poppy and cool and effervescent. The band is unabashedly upbeat indie rockers who (on this song) stay in that middle of the road place and that is ok. If they haven't already, they might be more likely to be featured in the pages of Nylon or Seventeen Magazine more so than Rolling Stone but that is fine. Even for a jaded, cynical old rock critic like me I get their sound and like it. After all I was young and optimistic once upon a time. 

Love You To Death is the title track from The Hugs new pop-rock record. 

Robb Donker

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Strap your seatbelt on and listen to "Why Now" by Algorhythm for a trippy musically high ride

Algorhythm is a progressive rock meets jazz fusion band based out of Montreal, Canada and they are here to rock your face off in blendo rockish, jazzy ways and while they can get chill when they want to, on the track Why Now, it feels like a double sided Redbull and Vodka after one too many pixies sticks. The opening feels mystical but that doesn't last long. The song charges forth in an incredibly fast rush of licks while founder, songwriter, keyboardist and vocalist Alexander Lioubimenko directs the action like a kind of jazz cabaret provocateur. The song takes wonderful diversions that allow you to catch your breath. During the musical / drum and bass break you start to chill and smile and imagine you are in some other world (maybe a version of Hell) where you are served drinks with umbrellas as you float on top of this tightly wound dense drink of music. It is such a trippy musically high ride.

Robb Donker