Monday, January 21, 2019

The Red Leslies keep their punk sound simple, raw and potent on "Intercourse Weapon"

Intercourse Weapon by Fullerton, California's The Red Leslies is simple, raw, potent punk rock pushed through power pop filters. You can feel some homages here to late 70's proto punk and other punk shifts later. Luis Sanchez and Adrian Martinez became The Red Leslies in 2015 forging a friendship and musical foundation built on their mutual love of art, classic records and iconic songwriters like Lou Reed, Buddy Holly and Lennon & McCartney. Their stripped down sound filled So Cal house parties and empty swimming pools filled with skaters as well as Orange County venues (and some of my old haunts) like The Observatory, Marty's On Newport and The Continental Room. Expect their debut record to drop this year called "In White" - (single from that album below- Staring at the Wall).

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Robb Donker





Sunday, January 20, 2019

Catch Prichard - "Going Crazy" - the stuff of the dark, the light, the ghosts, the flesh

When you hear Going Crazy by Catch Prichard you might feel an actual shift happen. A shift of emotion, you might twist a bit in your chair or cross your arms. It might be because the sonic effect is a bit mind bending. The music from the onset feels like sad core folk but inhabits some other world and then when you hear the low vocal aesthetic of singer, songwriter, composer Sawyer Gebauer that other world feels darker and more gloomy. Gebauer's vocal command is as heavy as a thick wool blanket and the way in which he phrases his lyrics, hanging on syllables and pulling on them like salt water taffy is astounding and unique. As Catch Prichard, he crafts his brand of gothic folk that hangs in the air like a thick fog. The kind that pours over the coast of Big Sur and snakes through the coastal forest. Sawyer moved to Sweden from the midwest at 19 forming and fronting Brittsommar, a musical outfit that took off in Europe with members seemingly in constant rotation. Once he returned to the states, his new project / moniker as "Catch Prichard" materialized as well as an evocative five song EP called "Eskota" named after the Texan ghost town where the album was crafted. 

Going Crazy is the first glimpse of his latest 6 song EP "Utter Disbelief", the first collection of a 16 song series coalesced out Gebauer's baritone voice, out of the box drum machines, gritty Mellotron and stories built on the narratives of life, the vulnerability of the human condition. Of the new songs, Sawyer Gebauer shares: 

 “When I recorded in the past, the process was powered by my immediate surroundings - a Berlin warehouse, an abandoned synagogue hitched to a frozen lake, a broken Brooklyn flat. This new collection was mostly recorded in the late night silence at the edge of my bed. It is a musical reflection of all that influenced and fed me for so many years. Call it a personal homage to the artists and music that have been so good to me.  All the melodies and sounds that mine the secret this old world has hidden in its claws.”

"Utter Disbelief" drops 2/22/2019.

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Robb Donker




Diana Wolfpack and the high fun place of "Somewhere"

Somewhere by Diana Wolfpack (out of Liverpool) is dense celebratory garage / indie rock with a fun vibe and a vocal performance that winks at you (sorta) and I love that. It is the perfect antidote for all the fucked up shit you see on a daily basis, the people in high and low places that shit on others. Somewhere feels to me to be that place that you run off too alone or with that special person. That key surf spot or skate spot or club to see bands or wherever you go to be with open hearted friends and strangers to get away, to just be alive, free and high from the shit of life. 

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Robb Donker


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hawksley Workman's latest "Lazy" harbors echos, the good kind

Hawksley Workman's latest Lazy is classic rocker. To say it sounds retro (which I mean as a total compliment) is to echo the broad melodic appeal, guitar-centric feel and killer (tenor) vocal chops. Workman's renaissance man ethos as singer songwriter, poet, broadcaster, performer, playwright and more focuses on his individual visions as opposed to jumping on musical trends. This makes for classic sounds which in today's pop or anti-pop culture feels different and kind of mind blowing. Lazy is the new single from Hawksley Workman’s upcoming record “Median Age Wasteland", due out March 1, 2019.
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Robb Donker





The perfectly tender "Saturdays" by Simen Mitlid

Saturdays by Simen Mitlid is as lush as the woods of Os, Norway that this Nordic indie-folk artist hails from. Built around acoustic guitar and Mitlid's sadly tender vocal performance, other sounds swell and bristle around the production in an organic ambient way. Mitlid knows that less is more. His self harmonies are in and of itself something to behold. Self produced and perfect, Saturdays is the first single from an upcoming new album. His second since the critical acclaimed 2017 debut album "Everything Is The Same".

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Robb Donker


"Dark Matter" by blendo rockers The Pleasant Tense is dense and rich and tastes so good

The single Dark Matter from the recently released album "I Haven't Been Feeling Like Myself As of Lately" by Nashville's (by way of Columbus, Ohio) The Pleasant Tense is stacked full of celebratory sounds blending rock, R&B, Neo Soul, post punk, funk, jazz and fusion into a heady mix. Dreamy piano flourishes dance in and out of dissonance, bass side stepping and filling in the spaces, drum shifts and soulful vocals. IF this wasn't enough to satiate you it all feels kind of filtered through an avant garde sense of experimental rock fusion and a broad cherry picking of influences from the 50's (maybe even 40's) to now. I thought of iconic artists from Roberta Flack to Curtis Mayfield to May Blitz to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings to Radiohead.
The Pleasant Tense centers around songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Skubak and singer -writer Marnee Richardson. The creative relationship runs deep growing out of Skubak's solo projects and dense self produced work (check out the bio here).  Look for "I Haven't Been Feeling Like Myself As of Lately" on Itunes, Bandcamp, Spotify and other digital platforms.

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Robb Donker


Catch A Dinosaur- chill psyche rock on "The Ride"

The Ride is a dreamy ride with chill mellow psyche rock tones, and a lush guitar break by Catch A Dinosaur. 


Detroit based Paint Thinner descent into rock heaven on "Distortion" from "The Sea Of Pulp"

Distortion by Detroit based Paint Thinner is one of those songs that cast imagery in your head. Descending big heavy chords feel both theatrical and foreboding. The jagged construction, the time traveling nature pulling musical tones from 70's psych rock and post punk muck, that good heavy muck that hangs on your shoulders after you exit that fog drenched club. Distortion resides on Paint Thinner's latest offering, the album "The Sea Of Pulp" available on vinyl and digitally. They are currently teasing our ears and minds with not only Distortion but with Soft Features another trippy affair with potent tactile bass lines, audaciously cool guitar breaks, Moon-esque drum fills and god awfully captivating vocal performance and that time traveling thing. Fuck yes.

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Robb Donker


Friday, January 18, 2019

O Mer's askew art pop of "Semi-Automatic" will get it's hooks in you






















Semi-Automatic by art pop auteur O Mer is instantly trippy and almost subversively captivating. The sounds from the percolating static mind warp tones (that feel right out of the German Expressionism of Metropolis- if the movie wasn't a silent one), to the almost hollow vocal presentation (O Mer's cooler than cool vox feel intimately deeply centered between and like 6 inches in from of your eyes but also kind of behind you too). The attention to these kind of askew details, the fluttering base, transient guitar lines and sparing use of auto-tuning as effect not need is subtlety brilliant. While the song can be taken as commentary on America's bipolar attitude, love / hate of guns, the song also feels very internal and self aware. A reflection in a broken mirror. O Mer based out of Brooklyn emerged from the Tel Aviv underground. An accomplished multi genre producer, singer, guitarist and producer, his "Refugee" EP released last year has been lauded by Pigeons & Planes, BBC, NYLON, and Ones To Watch.

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Robb Donker




Classic tone of Marlene Oak on the wistful "Come Home"

The song Come Home by Stockholm based singer songwriter Marlene Oak feels like it could exist in any decade since the 50's. Oaks earthy, sultry, passionate vocal style has emotional gravitas and character like a twisted blend of Patsy Cline, Ane Brun and Amy Winehouse. It veers toward the contralto tones with a rough grit in the back, burned throat sound like one two many bourbons on one of those nights. This character is what give Oak a classic folk / chamber pop sound. I swear I even hear the slightest tinge of Nashville drawl in her Swedish voice. 

Oak started busking on the streets early on in the Swedish capitals old town then graduating to pubs and then festival stages across the country. Influenced by her idols Bob DylanJeff BuckleyJoni MitchellNina Simone and Janis Joplin, Of Come Home she says: “‘Come Home’ is about a lifetime of seeking for that one soul that you’ve always been longing for. It can be frustrating and sometimes painful to wait for that person. But once you’ve found each other, it’ll feel like coming home. When you find that missing part, it will make everything feel complete.”

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Robb Donker