Friday, April 19, 2019

"Silver Car" by The Flavians feels like a handwritten love letter

The Flavians' track Silver Car feels like a handwritten love letter. Organically crafted with acoustic piano sounds, tight rhythms and a lush bed of harmonies free of electronic enhancements. The track feels so exquisitely free and down to earth. The sound feels a bit like 70's chamber pop in it's honest approach and, no wonder, as The Flavians who hail from Germany draw their inspiration from bands like The Beatles, Grateful Dead and The Beach Boys blending the retro sounds of the 60's with the current sounds of Berlin. Lovely. Damn Lovely.

Robb Donker


After sharing a bunk in one of Berlin’s numerous hostels for several weeks, Joakim Jägerhult (drums) and Liam Blomqvist (vocals & guitar) began to share ideas and develop what was soon to become their next project, The Flavians. With the later addition of Anna Vaverková (vocals & keys) and Thomas Wills (vocals & bass), the band began to write together. Drawing inspiration from bands such as The Beatles, Grateful Dead, and The Beach Boys, they set out to join the warm, nostalgic sounds of the 60s with the frantic, hedonistic energy of Berlin. 
With vocal harmonies from a blend of three diverse voices, psychedelic guitar textures and lyrics discussing themes such as destitution and alienation, they walk the tightrope between the surreal and the mundane while staying grounded and focused on writing accessible, melodic, yet experimental songs.
Non Stop Fun (All I Wanted), a parody of modern life, will be released on the 2nd of November. The track was recorded over the span of a year in various spaces around Berlin, Germany and in Nässjö, Sweden using a mix of analogue and digital gear with instruments from the 60s and 70s and was mixed by Fabio Buemi (TRIXX, Berlin) and mastered by Steve Fallone (Sterling Sound, NY). As expressed by Buzz Music, LA ‘The Flavians produce a unique sound of beautiful harmonies that present us with messages of everyday struggles.’
As the end of the year approaches, The Flavians will be continuing to work on their album and develop their plans. With festivals and shows already confirmed in the UK, Scandinavia and Germany in 2019, it's shaping up to be a busy year for The Flavians.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sadgasm - "It's Better With Jonny Around" from the EP "I Don't Like To Cry" feels like a lovely punk affirmation

Sadgasm's quasi-title track, It's Better With Jonny Around, off their new EP "I Don't Like To Cry" feels surf punkish but drenched in tears. I couldn't help but think of a kind of decades blending of styles from the Cure to Together Pangea. The musical break steps up the musicality and is so fresh and jammy. The song for me (that deals with the toll depression takes) pushes such beautiful emotions on the chorus full of hope, longing for love and being saved that it itself feels like stepping back from the ledge. Great stuff. 

Sadgasm hail from Salem, Oregon and are Andy Alvarez (guitar, vocals), Nick Brink (guitar), Jonny Garcia (drums) and Austin Antrican (bass).

Robb Donker

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Frames" by Oshens (UK) feels like proto punk meets 50' doo wop

Oshen's (UK) track Frames is yet one of the singles that the band is releasing each and every Month of 2019. It has a cagey beat punctuated by effected guitar stabs and sultry post punk vocals. The song double times the beat during the chorus and it goes from proto punk tones to an almost 50's doo wop R&B shimey shake "oooh oooh ooooooh" - So captivating and, quite frankly, sexy.

Robb Donker

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The spectral track "Willow" by Northern California's Junaco holds many surprises

The spectral track Willow by Junaco feels at once transparent and dreamy but shifts in sudden ways turning up grooves and turning pages with new chapters with sounds that feel in opposition to the previous chapter. In this way, the story feels dynamic and like any great piece of art feels like a musical Rorschach test ready to soak up the personal meaning and truth from each listener. 

At it's core Junaco is Shahana Jaffer and Joey LaRosa forming in the unincorporated mountain town in coastal Northern California. It is a stunning place that will be overtaken by dense fog. It is no wonder that Junaco's music has such a thick dreamy atmosphere. Their debut EP, "Awry" displays the couples innate perceptions of human emotions. 

Jaffer reveals, “The underlying theme is about coming to terms with experiences and hardships we have faced and finally putting them out there. It’s very healing”.  

Robb Donker

Tyto Alba's track "Oh Pride" feels sunny but with emotional storms on the horizon

Oh Pride by Tyto Alba is a free flying sunny indie pop song that feels like memories and longing. Propelled by mid tempo beats that feel like running to something and dreamy guitars in tow. There is a romantic wave sound here pushed through indie pop filters enhanced by Melanie Steinway's vocal performance that feels dreamy, a bit forlorn and full of emotions she has swallowed whole. The band hails from Denver, Colorado rounded out by Matt Rossi, Andrew Bair and Danny Dimarchi. " After going on several tours and releasing a handful of EPs and singles, the band is currently at work on their debut LP with renowned local engineer Colin Bricker of Mighty Fine Productions, a studio with a recording roster that includes Devotchka , Tennis and Esme Patterson."

- Robb Donker

Monday, April 15, 2019

"Waiting For The Sun" by Pale Moon is oh so very dreamy and perfect from the "Dust Of Days" EP

Waiting For The Sun by the Icelandic / Russian Psyche pop outfit Pale Moon is so incredibly captivating with a lovely dreamy vibe and totally catchy chorus propelled by Natasha Sushchenko's cooly compelling vocal performance. She was raised in Siberia and her partner in crime Árni Guðjónsson was born and raised in Iceland and their journey to finding each other is better left for the intricacies of ones Press Notes (below). I am just so glad that fate brought them together. 

Their debut EP, "Dust of Days" comes out, today, the 15th of April and portends to be a stunning and dreamy piece of work. 

Robb Donker


This Icelandic/Russian Psychedelic group carved their path in music with haunting, captivating melodies and lush Neo-Psych textures that might sound as well as it came from 70s. The collaboration began in the Catalan city of Barcelona where they first met. It wasn’t until a month trip to Mexico the power duo crafted their first demos and decided it was time to pull up the sleeves and record these massive mama jams.
Inspired by the Rolling Stone album “Exile on Main St.”, they set up a recording studio in an old farmhouse in South of Iceland. Árni’s parents, who used to breed sheep and prize winning stallions there. Arni took on his own spiritual and solitary journey.
The first song he recorded in those outlawing days was the song “Exile”. Supply of new song ideas came constantly from Nata and EP started to take shape. Arnar Gudjonsson took a project of mixing EP, who is notable for work with bands like Leaves, Kaleoand and Warmland. 2018 started off on the small stages of Reykjavik, band practiced their show in Mexico with their DIY tour in 2018.
Natasha Sushchenko raised in the cold and unforgiving landscapes of Siberia. She took part in small bands, but decided to take a road in design eventually. She scored a paid scholarship in Barcelona and graduated in fashion. Árni was the one to suggest they should record her songs. Her main influences, Carole Kind, Fleetwood Mac and The Doors shaped Natasha´s songwriting style.
Árni Guðjónsson was born and raised in Iceland. He’s been playing in bands before he could speak. His first band, Royal Funclub got some local approval when he was just 13, but the breakthrough in his career happened in 2010. Raggi, his flatmate invited Árni in a new band “Of Monsters and Men” for his piano skills and it didn´t take long for their first album to become platinum around the world.
But Arni left the band due to a vicious love triangle. He participated in many projects and bands. Arni has released music with Prog-balkan band Orphic Oxtra, who performed for KEXP. One Week Wonder is another project worth mentioning. The band released one album ”Mars” in Iceland and Netherlands. In 2016 they won the “video of the year” prize in the Icelandic music awards, but that didn't last.
Their debut EP, Dust of Days comes out 15th of April. While each song tickles different themes and even musical genres, the unique voice of Pale Moon glues together into familiar yet fresh sound. They are not afraid of harmonies and juicy riffs. “I just want to make music and nothing else” says Árni, who recorded each instrument for the release.
While not recording their own music, the guys from Pale Moon run a concept store Kvartyra 49 in Reykjavik. They record their monthly music podcasts, where they interview Icelandic bands and organize concerts.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Shutups' punk effervescent "Yellowjacket" from the upcoming "Every Day I'm Less Zen" (Official Video)

In the official video for Shutups' punk effervescent Yellowjacket, singer-songwriter / guitarist Hadley and drummer Mia are white clad human projector screens and as shot and edited by Braith Miller (concept by Hadley Davis) they sit static on a white clad couch. A series of images are cast upon them in a kinetic way while they kind of stare, observe emotionally monotone. The effect is wonderfully weird and artistic and something befitting of a live art installation in some museum. The static shot even while edited dynamically feels perfectly underplayed to the song itself which is perfectly punk with power pop elements as well. The heavy guitar and potent drums are locked together like feral animals in heat and no wonder, as Shutups is after all a duo. I love Hadley's vocal performance that feels on edge. In the strain he emotes I get a sense of bravado and reticence like I am going to kill this but help me please. Hard to explain.

The band rose out of a past friendship and deep pain. I could not explain it any better than the Press NOTES below but the Shutups feel like both a band and a love story. The band has released four EPs and their upcoming debut full length "Every Day I'm Less Zen is out this summer. Shutups is based out of Oakland, California.

Robb Donker


Wound deep within the anthemically angular indie punk of Oakland-based two-piece band Shutups is a story of resilience and deep friendship. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Hadley and drummer Mia were college buddies pulled apart due to simple geography, but reunited after Hadley suffered a medical emergency that left him walking with a cane and hiding from the sun for two years. Three years later, Shutups seed the path to its debut, Every Day I'm Less Zen, with the album’s first single, Yellowjacket.
“It didn’t feel like a happy ending movie plot,” Hadley says of his re-emergence from medical exile and personal tumult in light of his accident. “I came out depressed and not wanting to do anything. The band saved me.”
Shutups pools from shared influences such as Fugazi, Paul McCartney and Wings, Elliott Smith, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Diarrhea Planet. "We both also like Abba. We love that large-scale, over-the-top 1970s production," Hadley deadpans. The band’s mix of lush instrumentation and imaginative arrangements stays visceral courtesy of Mia’s drumming which is both caveman and keenly attuned to each track’s jagged twists and turns.
“I'm completely untrained musically, which I think is limiting sometimes, but I'm also kind of this impressionable canvas which offers limitless opportunity,” Mia says, taking a pause. “Quite the paradox. I also hit things really fucking hard which is the only way to move through trauma and mental shit I cannot express.”
To date, Shutups has released four EPs. The pair’s debut long player is a watershed release that benefits from careful reflection and an unrushed studio schedule. Every Day I’m Less Zen was produced by Cody Votolato, the guitarist from the post-hardcore group The Blood Brothers who recently produced Dude York’s 2017 release, Sincerely.
Yellowjacket froths over with grime, knotted up feelings, snotty urgency, and post-punk arty and abrasive riffage. The track is a hermit’s anthem, and unpacks a litany of diurnal frustrations. “It’s about a few things,” Hadley admits. “I address putting art above a social life and seeing the effects of that. In it, I also talk literally about regretting haircuts, as well as being sick for an entire summer. It's lyrically not a very cohesive song, but themes of discontent reign supreme.”
Up next, Shutups will hit the road and likely return soon to the studio as a follow up album has been fully written. Reflecting on the pair’s connection throughout its rollicking journey, Mia says: “We've been through some very real personal highs and lows. It's a friendship that has persisted to a point where we know each other’s idiosyncrasies, favorite things, and we share a sense of humor. You can’t force that - it takes countless hours on the road with someone or in a studio to have that sort of connection.”

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Mirrors" by Dylan Pham is an embracing soulful slow dance and more

L.A. singer songwriter / producer Dylan Pham possesses beautiful skills despite his young years or maybe because of them. Just listen to his track Mirrors. It is a sophisticated piece of delicious indie pop, trading time signatures, elegant orchestral moves that feel like warm embraces and pop melodies that lie somewhere between Burt Bacharach and Tod Rundgren. Pham stirs in big sweeping chamber pop flourishes, soul sweays and clean psychedelia too. It is a full tilt lovely ride that can send shivers up your arm like falling in love.

Pham elicits the help of some very talented players.

Written by Dylan Pham
Produced by Dylan Pham and Kurana
Mixed by Patrick Doyle
Mastered by Howie Weinberg
Bass guitar by Mortimer
Drums by Emily Dolan Davies
Background vocals by Georgia Greene
Trumpets by Kiavi
Strings arranged by Kurana and performed by Nick Kennerly, Natalie Giordano, and Austin Shaw

Robb Donker

"Death In A Field" by Thin Lear tugs and pushes in the right way

Death In A Field by Queens (NYC) based Thin Lear, the project of singer songwriter / producer Matt Longo is an airy yet deceptively dense indie pop song with ever shifting drum patterns, beautiful cascades of keyboards and Longo's clean vocal sound. Like different paragraphs in a novel, sections of music will ebb and flow, drums dropping out completely creating emotional tugs and pushes. The guitar and or pedal steel work is pretty and wander-lustful. You don't hear a lot of this kind of pop music that feels so story based. I thought of Bruce Hornsby and the Range a bit. 

Robb Donker

Perfume by Nashville based Cates is potent and free indie rock with a side of lovely

The track Perfume by Cates, the Nashville based collaborative music project of brothers Mathew and Aaron Cates is bouncy and breezy indie rock centered around the bros vocal harmonies and jammy guitar sounds pushed through R&B filters.

Robb Donker