Sunday, May 22, 2016

Radiohead : A Moon Shaped Pool - A Musical Wake Full Of Fond Remembrances And Emotional Eulogies

The latest artistry from Radiohead, "A Moon Shaped Pool" feels (to me) more like a collection of deeply heartfelt songs than a single focused album. This does not mean that it doesn't feel like a whole thing or that it isn't a cohesive project but because it does mix in some older material including True Love Waits that originated in 1995 it almost feels like a farewell of sorts. You also have Burn The Witch from the Hail to The Thief sessions, The Numbers (formerly Silent Spring) and Desert Island Disk (that both oddly have a Led Zeppelin-ish garden rock quality to it) performed live last year, Present Tense performed at the 2009 Latitude Fest and Identikit and Ful Stop performed during their 2012 tour.

The glue that holds the brand new material with the older songs is a thoroughly engrossing palette of sounds and an aesthetic that, even for Radiohead, veers so very somber and utterly introspective. It is as if we are all at a musical wake of sorts and fondly remembering passages of time with a heavy patina of loss drenched over every memory. Some writers are wondering if this album is Radiohead's final farewell, others including myself have the feeling that this dark and sad tone has more to do with the fact that Thom Yorke and his wife / partner Rachel Owen of 23 years separated last year. This, of course could be me projecting but nonetheless I haven't heard Thom sound quite this emotionally bare.

Daydreaming built on one sad piano line that stair steps downward with an occasional rise. Every second is deeply emotional. Yorke who more often than not comes up with lyrics that feel from another planet actually utters common phrases like "point of no return" and "the damage is done" but massages the words in such a way that they hold his own original emotional weight. The sounds push and pull and the feeling is desperate and forlorn until the build up succumbs to electronic sounding snores.

Deck Darks feels like it could be tied to Ok Computer. It has that proggy 90's post rock tone. A beautiful almost foggy beginning with spartan piano giving away to full on awe. Lyrically it almost feels like a wide world alien abduction. Beautiful bass work throughout with a wonderfully controlled tone on the many guitar sounds.

Glass Eyes feels very much like an orchestrated inner conversation and could grace an emotional stage play. With lush piano and swelling strings evoking loss, sadness and uncertainty.

Ful Stop has always felt Kraftwerk-esque gone beserk. The droning sounds and endless beat and Thom's words can invade your head and put you in a trance if you let it. When it jams it feels so relentless.

Identikit plays like a stream of consciousness, heavy on bass, percussion and guitar work that is so compelling. The big swell of sounds and opposing voices is so dramatic. The sense of emptiness inherent in humankind which is an ongoing theme in Radiohead songs is heavy here.

As a complete piece of work, A Moon Shaped Pool feels part opera, part smoky rock (jazz) fusion club and part camp fire songs. Tinker Tailor Soldier Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief with dashes of abstract textures, dream like sense of paranoia takes your head into a dozen places (at least). It can feel scarily bloated too. You go from this mysterious fluidly large tone to the final track True Love Waits and you run from crazily askew to starkly real.

I have always deeply loved True Love Waits over the years but this version here is a total devastating heart breaker. The piano lines feel lost and looking for each other while the same time clumsily stepping on each other's feet. The cadence feels lost too. Thom stretches out the phrasings as if each line is a mournful plea. When he passionately asks "Just Don't Leave" and the piano ends with it's sustain, the pain is as real as the answer.

In the end, A Moon Shaped Pool might just be that. A stunning end to something remarkable. Only time will tell.

Robb Donker

Secret Arcade- These Tracks / Videos from "Quarter Century" Will Elevate You - "Suspect" and "Fall For Me"

Full disclosure: Found a sweet submission in my email from Planetary Group (thanks Kyle) concerning Secret Arcade which is the music moniker of Babak Govan who according to his Facebook is a fiction writer and a Portland, Oregon transplant. It is funny, I don't know anything about his writing or if that is his sole occupation. I don't know if he works as a manager at Dennys for his real job or if he is a top software designer. I don't know even know if Babak Govan is his real name. What I do know is that he is a pretty snappy dresser and as Secret Arcade he released his debut album Quarter Century on April 26th. I also know that the two tracks from that project as videos are truly engaging.

Suspect hooked me in right away and it's not only because I (in a past life) dreamed of being a member of Depeche Mode and Flock of Seagulls. The electronic sounds and guitar lines pulsating around Babak's icy vocal delivery works on every level. Great sounds that at once are deeply embedded in that 80's futuristic vibe and the future itself. I think it feels sci fi and thus kind of timeless. Great track- check out the video below.

Fall For Me is equally cool but in a more beautiful way. The sweet sway while still feeling a bit electronic in tone is really closer to having a blues heart. It is a slow dance in a church and hinged on that gravelly Babak vocal that veers a bit into Nick Cave, no.... Nick Cave in space. There is something in the tone, the organ that feels spacey and ties nicely with Suspect.

Nice stuff Mr. Govan-

Robb Donker


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Criminal Hygiene - Lovely Bad Things - Vug Arakas - DJ Justin Gage AT Resident May 19th TONIGHT -












TONIGHT at Resident

Need I say more??  Great bands that I know and love- go see them and bring your party face.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dabble's Live Session of "Robin's Dream Sequence" Is Tender and Immersive Dream Pop

Photo courtesy of Erick Turcios

L.A.'s Dabble have always injected a tender vibe in their indie pop but their latest album veers a bit more avant garde and dreamy in such a good way. Check out the Live Session of "Robin's Dream Sequence" below in celebration of their Burger Records Cassette Release: -

I love this track and in some ways it feels kind of Radiohead-esque. Maybe it is the stellar drumming which does, dare I say, have a kind of Phil Selway ease and voracity to them. I don't know, I just love the tones and textures on this song so much.
Robb Donker

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Radiohead and Paul Thomas Anderson Form A Potent Emotional Drug In "Daydreaming"

Daydreaming the luscious tease and second single of what will be Radiohead's latest album is embodied in an appropriately dreamy music video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. As you all probably know Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood has scored Anderson's films like Inherent Vice, The Master and There Will Be Blood.

The song itself built on an emotional piano riff seeps into your head slowly but fully until it carries you away. With the bendy, transient sounds that filter in like a series of thoughts, dreams the effect is like a cascade of memories or visions from the past and the future. Radiohead's ability to transport you like a mind altering musical hallucinogen is strong here. Amazingly the song builds, kind of folds in on itself and builds more and at 5 minutes in it gets even better with some beautiful orchestration.

Daydreaming is the kind of song that will undoubtedly inspire hundreds of film makers and other artists and dare I say, will end up in a future movie as this kind of wonderful piece of emotional soundscape that will only make that unnamed movie better.
Robb Donker

Friday, May 6, 2016

What is Thom Looking for? His Cell Phone? His Car? Sanity in the World? The Release of Radiohead's New Album?

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on
In Radioheads latest Instagram post Thom Yorke is looking for something. Having lost my cell phone, I know how he feels... maybe he lost his too. - Robb Donker

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Radiohead's "Burn The Witch" Is Not Full Of Musical Surprises But is The Perfect Cautionary Tale For Today- For Right Now

Burn The Witch doesn't have some of the weird angular musical shifts that I have come to expect from Radiohead and the lyrics are not obtuse or as poetic as usual. No, this feels more like middle of the road sounds, ominous yes, foreboding and a cautionary tale to be sure. Very cool stuff that may grow on me, but from a musical standpoint not the spike of Adrenalin that usually occurs when I hear a new Radiohead track but I suppose Thom and the boys may of wanted this to be more musically accessible to a lot of people because this song is about something.

Thom has always been politically active and astute and Burn The Witch is, after all, a song perfectly suited for today. There are scads of politicians and powerful entities burning witches in order to move us to act and not in a good way. People at their worst always react to "the other" with fear and as the song tells us to "abandon all reason" to "kill the messenger" as we are moved by a "low flying panic attack".

The killer come on brought on by those who seek power is illustrated like children's fare in the video for the song. Played visually in  a David and Goliath sort of way, it tells the story of a visitor to what seems like an idyllic little town and how he is lead to.... well you will find out. Spoiler alert: He does escape in time. Maybe we all can.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Watch This / Listen To This- Summer Flake - Shoot and Score Against "Let The Right One In"

The "Hello Friends" album by Melbourne's Summer Flake is a tantalizing mix of sounds that combine the indie layers of sock hop punk, surfish garage rock, 80's new wave and dreamy pop into their own emotional thing. Whatever you want to call it, it has chunky guitars, lush vox and music that makes you sway with friends. The edge yet beauty lends itself as a soundtrack for the 2008's Swedish Romantic Horror Film "Let The Right One In. You know how it goes, mute the video and then hit play and soon after that hit play on Summer Flakes' track Shoot And Score. Enjoy.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Watch This / Listen to This-- featuring Toronto's Indoor Voices - "So Smart" (White Flashes Remix) and Scenes from "Mr. Nobody"

Toronto Dream Pop Shoegazers Indoor Voices create songs / sounds that evoke the stuff that dreams are made of. Their music inspire the macro and microcosmic emotions of life. What better imagery to cast their sound upon than Jaco Van Dormael's 2009 Sci-fi drama and mind bender "Mr. Nobody" starring Jared Leto as Nemo Nobody, a 118 year old man who is the last mortal on Earth after the human race at large have achieved a quasi-immortality. You know the concept here (we hope) by now. Just mute the video, then push play on the Indoor Voices track below the So Smart (White Flashes Remix) then immediately push play on the video. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Watch This / Listen To This: "Woman" by Divino Nino and Clint Eastwood's "For A Few Dollars More"

"Woman" by Divino Nino has a sultry stalking cadence (or gallop) that churns like a torrid Spaghetti
Western. The atmospheric guitar, Farfisa organ and delicious bass is suited for the steely eyed glare of Clint Eastwood taking down enemies.  The concept is simple, after you mute the audio push play on the "For A Few Dollars More" video and then push play on "Woman" by Divino Nino and enjoy the melding of a killer scene and a killer track.