Wednesday, September 20, 2017

London Electro-Pop Outfit Crooked Teeth's Release "Mirrors" And Yet Unreleased Songs Portend A Stunning Debut






















The mainstays, the meat and potatoes of rock and roll are guitars, drums, bass and vocals from the heart and soul. Obviously and orchestra of instruments stimulate that heart and soul and when the Mellotron and Moog synthesizers arose in the 60's minds were blown. The critical mass of synthesizers in popular music was and may always be the 80's and since then there are bursts of synth based bands now and then. Amid the guitar fueled indie bands, the sometimes over saturationg of the same thing those synth bands can feel like the circus is coming to town. Electronic strains, synth dreams and robotic beats can still, if done right, feel like the future and nostalgia as one at the very same moment. There is something particularly trancy and sinisterly cool. If done right there is a deep tone of romance and hope too. When it is done right it can feel like pop gone awry in a good way. The 3 piece band that call themselves "Crooked Teeth" out of London get is so right.


Their relase Mirrors is so lush and infectious fueled by pumping synth engines and dreamy drones of sound. Robert Armstrong's vocals are incredibly cool and yet drenched with an almost aloof sense of sadness. This song kills because it exists in that vacuum of time when your heart is either going to swell with love or be broken into a million pieces whether in a highschool gym shaking under a glitter ball or under the lamplight of a seaside pier in the embrace of middle age. Cool stuff.

As engaging as this track is I am blessed to have heard some yet unreleased tracks. One that is rumoured to be named "Sand and Stone" in it's emotional complexity is just drop dead gorgeous. It does everything right in such an utterly understated way. The lyrics are wistful and cinematic. Seeing as these UK boys sing about the "American Dream" I wonder if it is with derision or a sense of glory or something in between. However you take it, the result lyrically but more importanly melodically is very moving:  "Bless these walls with pace, you bless the American Dream for you. Blistered by the screen, salute the lone star’s what you do boy. Southern by demand, you god speed your John Glenn for you boy. Hit and hope in hell, you bless the American Dream for you boy."

The track Oh Toronto Nearly Done feels more chill and cagey. There is a sense of wanderlust tool. Of travel and movement. The track Lungs has an uplifting new romantic wave come over you.


Yes, the circus has come to town and it is grand.
-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

American Pancake Podcast #9 - F.U. IRMA Edition - Brunch, Flesh World, Adult Books, Phoebe Bridgers, Bauhaus, and Much More




























As Tropical Storm Irma reaches it's tentacles into Georgia- I podcast under an umbrella and the AP sunroom and bring you incredible music while watching huge trees swaying and shaking like they are angrily animated. Thanks to Jack Bacon from Tuckshop Community Radio and Hoxton FM for turning me on to Brunch. They are so awesome I play not one but two of the songs off their "Useless" album. Also kudos to the track Motion Sickness by Phoebe Bridgers whose trajectory is at a sharp angle to the top. Her lyrics have always been so special and pointed really. Rosetta out of Philadelphia make their sludgy metal space rock so incredibly beautiful. I share one track of my Dying Star album up on Bandcamp expound on Bauhaus and struggle with the possessive of Buzzcocks. There is the total surprise track Glow Buddy by Lovely Bad Things and the incredible super cool Flesh World out of San Francisco. And more-- you gotta check it out and make me happy.
What else would make me happy is if you donate to help the poor people who are suffering from this natural disaster.
See THE BEST CHARITIES FOR IRMA RELIEF by Business Insider
-
Robb Donker

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Warp / The Weft Hold A Mystical Swagger In Their Tales On The Album "Mapping The Absence"





























The Warp / The Weft out of Poughkeepsie, New York twist old folk and old world frames creating their own earnest kind of chamber rock tableaus. Their is a definite homage to old styles via classic progs and licks in the same way that standard blue licks remain constant to some degree in all blues song but it is the way they torque and twist the aesthetic down coalescing it into an almost heavy metal gothic theater. Theater is the key word as Shane Murphy's commanding, trembling vocal performance holds sway squeezing all the storytelling out of the songs. His performance feels like it is at a full tilt leaning over the footlights and staring into your eyes. The performances, the songs have a tone that feels fable-esque even when they rock out. Step into the fog and check out Briars and if a chill runs up your back step further and check out the entire album. My guess is that the bands mystical swagger will wrap around you soon enough.
-
Robb Donker


Saturday, September 9, 2017

GGOOLLDD : "Excelsior Springs" Lush Synth Pop Will Embrace You




























GGOOLLDD : "Excelsior Springs"

I am going to start this track review off with my strong impersonation of the "get off my porch" old man. God you should see this, it is so good.
IMPRESSION:  "Kids today with their rock and roll names. How the fuck do you say GGOOLLDD?? Whatever happened to good solid names like the Everly Brothers or the Rolling Stones!! Now those were rock band names but what the hell is a GGOOLLDD and if you pronounce it GOLD then double what the fuck!"

Thank you, thank you and I am sorry you missed the shaking pointing hand. GGOOLLDD is a 4 piece band out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their new single Excelsior Springs is a silky smooth electronic pop track propelled on lush groove of bass and synth flows and ambient noises that bring winter melting ice to mind amidst airy dance moves. Margaret Butlers vocals have an embracing quality with a romantic underbelly. The aesthetic here feels sweet but also love struck or torn like some scene out of a highschool dance in a 80's John Hughes flick with moments of sad reflection and arms outstretched to fly. Very cool track out on Roll Call Records. Check out the band on tour.

-
Robb Donker





Tuesday, September 5, 2017

OFFICIAL VIDEO: Bad Pop's "Other Spooky Is" Bristles With a Thick Coat Of Gleeful Psychosis



















Bad Pop's new single "Other Spooky Is" bristles with a thick coat of gleeful psychosis. The Canadian trio's brand of art punk is playfully heavy (metal) and yet powerfully cinematic too. Lead singer Chris Connelly spouts his words with the whimsy of Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), the theatrics of Tommy Scott (Space) and the caterwaul of Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) all rolled up into one.


The video for "Other Spooky Is" is at once ridiculously funny as it is disturbing depending on your point of view. For me, the superimposed close up face is a bit disconcerting and I found myself just listening to the song that is just a wild ride, crazy, psychotic and powerfully fun. Of the song, Connelly says:  ‘Right from the start we always wanted  "Other Spooky Is" to be the first thing that we'd release. It always felt like a big, bold, ridiculous statement... the kind of thing that you'll either love or hate.  There's no middle ground with this song.  If you're still listening by the time the demonic robot shows up, you're probably hooked.’
-
Robb Donker

CHECK IT OUT: 
Press Notes:
Awe-stricken by each others' SXSW performances, Bad Pop and SuperGlu are embarking on a week-long  UK tour in mid-September. Mixing Bad Pop's dichotomous joking-intimidation with SuperGlu's self-branded bubblegum rock, the co-headlined set is sure to be a hard-partying alt-rock banger.

 LIVE DATES

8th September - The Swan, Ipswich
9th September - Esquires, Bedford
13th September - Facebar, Reading
14th September - The Cellar, Oxford
17th September - Hope & Ruin, Brighton
18th September - Old Blue Last, London


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Put Your Pink Headband On and Listen to "Flicker" by The Able Bodies via their Official Video

























It is Wednesday and time to get moving. During these hard political and socially trouble times I could stand to take a B positive pill. Yes, I actually wrote that. But truly while we all cannot ignore the unrest or the people hurting or the horrendous situation in Houston being engulfed with rain water, we can attack those important issues with a sense of positivity and even a sense of fun. It is afterall fun to help people. There is no better feeling.

These two guys out of Rochester, New York are spreading good vibes. Known as The Able Bodies, John Viviana, aka Vivitron (Blue Falcon / Filthy funk) and Eli Flynn aka Flynnstone (Upward Groove) blends sounds inspired by their love of synth pop, hip-hop, new wave, funk, jazz and rock coming up with kind of dreamy meets fanciful meets retro indie pop sound. Put on a pink headband and check out Flicker and move.
-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Weeds by Clara Strauch. This Beautiful Orchestral Pop Ballad Seems Especially Relevant Today


































Is it just me or are there Weeds growing everywhere. Definitely the cultural / political climate has seemed to let weeds flourish. Everyone is at odds with each other. There are icons of hate in high places and yet we have to persevere and not be afraid to press forward and do the right thing in all aspects of our lives. Persephone is the debut album of Swedish / American singer-songwriter Clara Strauch. The album was recorded at Homefry Studios in Brooklyn, New York. Weeds offer a glimpse into this album inspired by the myth of Persephone, the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology whose fate of eternal traveling created the seasons. Beautiful, dreamy stuff.

 ”Weeds”, which is a pop ballad on piano, featuring sincere, strong vocals accompanied by ethereal strings and trumpet. ”Weeds” is a song about dealing with what we’ve been trying to avoid — "where the weeds grow" — and how petrifying, yet inevitable, it is to break free from a lie. Our sorrows can be portals to our strengths. For Strauch, this especially resonates with coming out of the closet. ”Weeds”
-
Robb Donker



The FACTS:

Clara Strauch leads a life of contrasts. She grew up on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, where she befriended the piano at age five, and began songwriting and guitar playing in her early teens. At eighteen she moved alone to her father’s hometown of New York City, to study acting and singing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. During this time, she released the EP Doda, played shows in both North and South America, and was featured on Swedish national radio. After five years of hectic city life, she felt the need to return to her peaceful island, and she now splits her time between the two countries — like Persephone. This ongoing bi-cultural smörgåsbord feeds her poetic, sincere, storytelling songs in which her warm, wide-ranged voice explores playful ways of songwriting and singing. Her lyrics often tell stories of loss and the process of letting go of past illusions in order to come home to oneself, such as ”Weeds.” With a background in theater, Strauch has composed scores for the plays Love’s Labour’s Lost at Romateatern — Sweden’s biggest Shakespeare theatre — and The Tempest at Smith Street Stage in Brooklyn, NY. For the latter she was nominated for Outstanding Original Music at The NYITAwards. With Romateatern, she has recently developed a theatre and music program for integration of refugees in Sweden. Strauch has also written the folk musical Wayward Home - A Musical Folktale in collaboration with playwright Maizy Scarpa. Inspired by Noah’s Ark and migration stories, it has been produced at Hubbard Hall and Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, and The Stonington Opera in Maine.

Friday, August 25, 2017

OFFICIAL DROPS- Lovely Bad Things - "Teenage Grownups" via Burger Records AND Together Pangea's "Bulls and Roosters" via Nettwerk- HEAR Both Here.


What a day. The Lovely Bad Things - "Teenage Grown Ups" (via Burger Records) is finally seeing the light of day. Teaser tracks have been seeping out since mid last year. Also officially out (via Nettwerk) is Together Pangea's "Bulls and Roosters".  It is a lovely thing as both bands have been close to my vest and I am fond of Jonny Bell (Crystal Antlers / Jazzcatz Studio) who recorded Lovely Bad Things and Andrew Schubert who co-produced Bulls and Roosters with the Together Pangea. Congrats to all.



Reviews and more coming up on both but for now hear them both via Youtube streaming:




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tess In Venice - "Show Me Summer" Is Pop Induced, Sparkly and Teary At The Same Time

Oh so cool to hear an early peek from Tess In Venice (Tess Cunningham) - in her new video release for "Show Me Summer" shot in Australia, Ireland and London. The single's official release is September 1st via Midnight Cat Records.

This particular track veers into a more pop vein than Once Upon A Time (that felt more like 90's post rock and darker) that I reported on last year.

I have always liked that Tess explores different flavors to her art and Show Me Summer has a strong free pop framework and (dare I say) I thought a bit of early, early Madonna (my favorite Madonna) because it doesn't feel over thought just care free, dreamy and, yes, with a patina of somberness too like the summer sway is peppered with pieces of a broken heart. Lovely stuff. I love this song.
-
Robb Donker

https://twitter.com/tessinvenice
http://tessinvenice.com
https://www.facebook.com/tessinvenice


Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Eclipse Days and I Apologize For....




















WHOA! Just wanted to say "Happy Eclipse Day" and please be careful especially with all the wee little ones who might not have their glasses on properly and damage there eyes.

Big apologies to those submissions that are stacked on my virtual table and in dire need of attention. There are many and my blog duties have taken a bit of a back seat as I am currently working on 3 new songs for the upcoming "Donker" EP (Age of Dinosaurs) due out December 1st. Apart from that writing some pieces for my Medium Page and curating for the Podcast. This while juggling a very busy day job and personal life too.

Yes, not enough hours in the day. I was thinking about that when in the middle of the day I was sawing up a couch in the garage that no one will take and has a date for the dumpster. What a life, huh??

I posted an incomplete song on the AP Facebook page- check it out-- Will it make the EP cut? I haven't decided, it sure is a bit different for me. Some info on the post about how I ended up putting images from the Virgin Suicides with it.

Thanks for all you who are supporting the blog, the podcast and my music.
Love you-

Robb

CHECK OUT THE NEW SONG ON THE AP POST HERE