• AP Album Review

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    PIXIES: Indie Cindy
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    Tiger Face: On The Beach

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 88 in Flowery Branch, GA.- "Cups" by TL;DR - Dining Room Table - Cute Little Kids and Dogs

It is day 88 today. That is an official 88 days since I set my feet on Georgia ground having moved from Southern California where I have lived for basically my entire life. If you are are new to American Pancake, you can read about that transition here-Farewell to My California Family: Departing Words and Melt Down From a Music Blogger in Exile.

As of late, it has been tough. Homesick is the operative word. While I wear the bravest of faces, I  miss the familiarity, places, friends, acquaintances, my brothers and sisters. The ability to roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and have a dozen places to get a breakfast burrito. Most of all, I miss my two kids. I miss them tremendously.

Since we have been in this pretty cool home in Flowery Branch we have not populated it with much furniture partly because our monetary focus has been on other things. This pretty much empty house has in and of itself made me feel less at home (I think). I am happy to report that I am typing this on our new table. New to us but second hand. We found it on Craigslist and from the back and forth emails with the seller I got a sense that he is a good guy. It may seem odd but that is important to me. Also, from the pictures I viewed, the dining room set just seemed to fit us and fit the house.

My wife and I traveled a full hour and a half to a town called McDonough. William's house was set off the beaten path as they say in an area with vast land around each property. The country house had wrap around porches and a cool rustic look. The fence that enclosed the main front and back areas had two wide gates. William saw me pull up and beckoned me around to the side gate. We were welcomed by his cute little girls and two equally cute dogs. One was a beagle and one a lab / basset hound mix. Meeting  this nice guy and his kids (however briefly) was a sweet gift. It was one of those idyllic moments that pulled me back to when my kids were that age. Of how much I enjoyed it but maybe didn't relish it like I should have. It made me want to relive those feelings again.

What was once this other family's dining room set now graces our dining room and it feel nice to sit on it's quite comfortable chair and sip my cup of coffee and type. Another thing to have this morning is a "Cup of Curiosity" which is a passage in Tow3rs' track Cups. His new album TL:DR drops on November 11th. I think curiosity is key in life. A genuine curiosity about people helps us all in be more understanding. I know it helps pull me out of the doldrums too. Enjoy the track and your day.
Robb Donker

Saturday, October 18, 2014

REVIEW: Self Titled EP by The Pocket Rockets - Deceptively Deep

As I listened to the Pocket Rockets self titled EP three things became abundantly clear. 1) Hate the name. 2) Each song became progressively better. 3) I am smiling.

This three piece outfit hail from East Los Angeles. While most people would put their sound under that general indie umbrella, to me, their is a lot more that is happening under the surface. The sound leans more power pop than punk but not so much as to sound too shiny. The music has soul and a live feel as well. They possess that hard to define quality that leans to that early 80s new wave / rock /  post punk sound of bands like Dramarama and The Dead Milkmen or the more contemporary The Drums. Some songs like "Somewhere We Can Be Alone" have an R & B heart. In this respect, Pocket Rockets also kind of remind me of The So So Glos although they have a decidedly different sound. Maybe The So So Glos stuck in a blender with Echo and the Bunnymen. Yeah, like I said a lot going on.

The Pocket Rockets are Ralph Blanco (vocals / bass) - Lyndon Miller (Guitar) and Chris Magallon (Drums). Rumor has it that it was recorded in Chris's bedroom. It was produced by Jon Siebels of Eve 6, Monsters Are Waiting, and Flybys. All the tracks shine but none more than the shimmy shaking MDNGHT. The boys weave together a dynamic track with a deep Motown groove with post punk guitar and bouncy melodies. Who Are We is sultry post punk with a touch of 80's Brit pop. Love it. If there is a "drive down Whittier Blvd in LA during the heat of summer" song it is Somewhere We Can Be Alone.

Cool songs with classic bones. I only wish I knew about the Pocket Rockets when I lived in the LA area. I am looking forward to hearing more and you should be too.
Robb Donker

"Golden Apple" Official Video by Spottiswoode and His Enemies - "A Dark Seduction"

"Golden Apple" by Spottiswoode and His Enemies is a song full of dark shadows and a sense of mystery. The ambiance floats on an accordion bed and a super catchy guitar riff that is counter played by an equally cool base line and an almost nonchalant drum pattern. The musical tone that might be described as an almost drug hazey Doors-ish sound meets hippie beach goth is fully cemented by the provocative lyrics sung by Spottiswoode with that gorgeous voice that I first wrote about a couple of years ago (see here).

"Feel the moon running through your blood... soon, soon we'll be free my love" is but one line that suggests something unearthly going on or not. Other lines hint at a lover's rendezvous or a grand escape from something nefarious or maybe even a more morbid final grand escape . The Official video feeling retro and a bit psychedelic was shot at St. John's Lutheran Church in Greenwich Village with British Council Archive footage rolling in the background. "Golden Apple" is an engaging dark seduction. Loving this sound.
Robb Donker 

Golden Apple is from this year's (2014) English Dream Album
Spottiswoode and His Enemies Official Site

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Whiskey Bitches Announce CMJ Schedule -

Whiskey Bitches had a busy summer. The band released their second EP, Never Enough, and two music videos--Cookies via Impose Magazine and Disaster via Pancakes + Whiskey

Now they're heading into CMJ with a full schedule.

Photo: David Burlacu

Wednesday, 10/22
12pm - Pancakes + Whiskey Official Acoustic CMJ Showcase
The Delancey Rooftop (168 Delancey, Manhattan)

Canon Logic, Adios Ghost, Rocket & The Ghost, The Teen Age, Frances Cone, Everest Cale, Whiskey Bitches
Facebook event

8pm - What Blog!? Official CMJ Showcase
The Rock Shop (249 4th Ave, BK)

Miniboone, Johnny Lewis, Mount Sharp, TIGER! SHIT! TIGER! TIGER! Whiskey Bitches, Kid In The Attic
Facebook event

Thursday, 10/23

1:30pm -
NYCTaper Showcase
Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St, Manhattan)

Purling Hiss, Mainland, Amanda X, Rivergazer, The Kickback, The Prettiots, Whiskey Bitches, Beach Day
Facebook event

10:30pm – Don Pedro CMJ Showcase
Don Pedro (90 Manhattan Ave, BK)

Whiskey Bitches, Faux Ferocious, Sun Voyager, Penicillin Baby, The Rizzos
Facebook event

Saturday, 10/25

2:30pm - Kick Out The CMJ Showcase
Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave, BK)
*Special Guest*, The Bottom Dollars, The Nuclears, Jeremy & The Harlequins, Whiskey Bitches, Sylvana Joyce & The Moment, We Are Stations
Facebook event
8pm- Bread + Circuses Official CMJ Showcase
Paper Box (17 Meadow St, BK)

The Living Kills, Bikini Carwash, Room Full of Strangers, Easy Peasy, Me Chinese, Bliss Blood and Al Street, Old Monk, Whiskey Bitches
Show info

Photo: David Burlacu

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Perfect Medicine - Manuka Piglet: "Dorothy" : A Trippy Sad Joy

I am in the courtship phase with Manuka Piglet, a self described folk pop band from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their Album "Brain-Damaged Toon Underworld" has had me in it's off kilter embrace for a couple of weeks. I cannot stop listening to it and a full review of this mind bending affair is percolating in my brain but for now I want to focus, tease you with track 3 Dorothy. It is the weepy song on the album. It feeds my sadness and my thirst for that sort of detached poetry that makes you want to curl in the fetal position and cry your guts out. It also goes from that kind of Radiohead-ish 90's depression to a hyper-kinetic happy feet kind of askew joy. It is bipolar. It pulls you from the depths to the surface of whatever life you are stuck with or have created for yourself.

I love the ride it provides and the askew lyrical content that walks a tightrope between pathos and silliness. Absolutely love this song.
Robb Donker

"hold your head up high and cry instead of
existing as a washed up painting
and you'll be watched by millions in this twisted lucid
dream yourself away to a better place this evening" 

"softly sitter skip the next phase
volunteer to roll me upside down
and i see me an orphanelli
for i seem to caught inside this nightmare"  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

LA Natives, Northern American, Head East for Official CMJ Debut

Northern American Head to New York City for Official CMJ Performance

You can go ahead and thank Northern American for songs like the shimmering “Record Forever” to go with your ice-cold beer beside the pool and the bluesy “Don’t Be a Star” to go down with that warm whiskey as you look over L.A.’s nightscape. - Buzzbands.LA 
Press Release

West coast quartet Northern American is heading east to New York City for their CMJ Music Marathon debut. In addition to the band’s official CMJ performance at Alphabet Lounge on October 21st, the band will be featured on Siren Sounds’ official showcase at Williamsburg’s famed venue, Spike Hill, Friday, October 24th at 9:15 p.m. sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery.

Fresh off the successful release of the band’s latest track “Elysian,”Northern American has much to celebrate with an upcoming video and highly anticipated full album (January 2015, Heist or Hit Records).

Northern American delivers smooth, atmospheric rock that feels like a breezy summer night in Hollywood hills overlooking the bright city.

“We don’t get into the city grind, we’re more in tune with nature,” reveals singer/guitarist Nate Paul. The band’s concerns may not lie with Tinseltown but Los Angeles is buried deep within the band’s genetic make-up. More in keeping with the laid back tones of fellow California dwellers Mazzy Star, Jonathan Wilson, or contemporary peers Local Natives and Autolux, Los Angeles is a major influence on the band’s sound. Shot through with shimmering sun-kissed melodies of reverb-laden guitar, the band’s lyrics are set within the city’s ethereal, green hills landscape surrounding the bustling city lights.

While most artists have their own roles to play within their band, Northern American is a fully
collaborative project with all band members contributing lyrics, melody, and rhythm to the final product. This creative process allows for a more organic sound that truly reflects Northern American as a band.

Northern American is Nate Paul (vocals/guitar), Shane Alch (keys), Augusto Vega (bass), and Bruno Calenda (drums).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

St. Vicent Kills It at ACL 2014. Amazingly fun performance: Annie shreds on multiple guitars, climbs scaffolding and commandeers the audience's clothes (and a crutch) all in stiletto heels..

St.Vincent aka Guitar Goddess Annie Clark and her band pull off a perfect performance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival and thankfully you can view the entire event and Belle and Sebastian's set as well below. When I listen to St.Vincent I feel like I have time traveled into the future. Her songs combine beauty and true rock prowess with guitar lines are like a transcendent blendo mix of space rock, new wave electronica and classic rock combined with performance art. She redefines music and it is hard put her sound into a well defined box. I would call it sci-fi spaghetti western new wave punk at this moment and maybe something else tomorrow. Amazingly fun performance: Annie shreds on multiple guitars, climbs scaffolding and commandeers the audience's clothes and a crutch all in stiletto heels.
Robb Donker

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Gems- Music by Michael Cera, Manuka Piglet, Mr. Twin Sister, Porches, Wet Socks, Heath McNease, Places to Hide, Forth Wanderers, Dandelion Hands, Delicate Steve, Malvador, Mumblr, Laila Nur, Teen Men

For me, Bandcamp continues to be an incredible source of new music. Here are some New Sounds to me and maybe for you. I hope to provide these kind of eclectic playlists from time to time: Check it out- and have a great day!

Official Video: King Tuff - "Black Moon Spell" - Leather Clad Head Banging, Marshall Stacks and more

 The Official video for King Tuff's - " Black Moon Spell" is a spiraling scatter shot of leather clad headbanging, Marshall stacks, 70's hair, and what I could only explain as some kind of death / goth / devil / worship inspired camp. All this eye catching stuff on top of a part heavy metal part glam rocker and you have everything you need to make you smile broadly and head bang away. Besides his ability to write sexy guitar riffs, Kyle Thomas is able to shift styles at will and I like this one a lot.

Robb Donker

Some King Tuff Videos I shot in the past:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shannon and The Clams - on Last Call with Carson Daly

Having enjoyed seeing Shannon and The Clams live for years, I was so stoked to see them on TV doing their incredible brand of sock hop punk even though it was on Last Call with Carson Daly (I'm kidding). Shot at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California at a Burger Records affair complete with some shots of the omnipresent Blaque Chris groovin on stage. Enjoy!
Robb Donker