Thursday, July 19, 2018

Somewhere in the UK Matthew Barton creates cool bedroom pop like "Costume"

Somewhere in the UK Matthew Barton creates cool bedroom pop recorded to 4 track tape. The song Costume percolates around a simple acoustic folk progression that sounds a bit like Laid by James turned on it's head. Evocative lyrics and vocal performance set this song on fire. 

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Robb Donker



Pardans wide eyed musical debauchery on "(Hookers with ) Hidden Depths"


























Put yourself smack dab in the middle of the beautifully off-kilter (sometimes seemingly discordant) jazz punk sounds of Pardans' latest offering (Hookers with) Hidden Depths from their upcoming full length "Split And Image" album (due out in October 2018) and you feel stuck in parallel planes of time and space. It feels like a intoxicated walk through dark streets in and out of smokey clubs in Germany or New York in another time (maybe 1947 or 1978) encountering deviations of sound and maybe deviants too.  The cagey, mysterious stalking nature of the bass line, bent and twisted lines of sax and guitar patterns while keys and drum stage alternate parties and Gustav Berntsen spews out a vocal performance as provocateur at a carnival or burlesque stage. It is a fun tightrope and I thought of Talking Heads, Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, Frank Zappa tones and copious amounts of Vodka tossed in a blender and put on puree.

Of the album Gustav says:

“Spit and Image revolves around dirty deeds and wishful thinking of adolescence” explains Gustav. “I think it contains some quite dramatic characters, some in and out of love, some of privilege, lacking integrity, some on the edge of moral decline appearing as depraved monsters overwhelmed by debauchery; some insecure about their skin, some learning about intimacy and trust, to love and respect by the guiding hand of a patient partner. Some are frustrated with the current state of our world making sail for a better place, leaving their peers behind. They hold their breath collectively, while some dance with rapture.”

Pardans hail from Denmark and are: Gustav Berntsen (Vocals), Oskar Dinesen (Drums), Rasmus Hastrup (Bass), Patrick Rathbun (Viola, Piano, Guitar), Daniel Honore (Saxophone). On Spit & Image Rasmus Skovmose is also contributing on guitar.

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Robb Donker


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ExWives - three piece punkified alternative rocker "In The Other Room"

The track In The Other Room by Oklahoma City's ExWives and from their EP "You Called Me" is a punkified alternative rocker that instantly feels down and dirty. It is an addictive track and the 4th time around you hear nuanced elements like layered guitars, piano keys hammered on and ambient synth sounds giving the track an even wilder abandon. I also love the over modulated lead vox and sonic guitar licks. Cool stuff. 

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Robb Donker


Lenny Zenith - trans punk artist still making waves on "Suddenly Someone" from the "What If The Sun" album

Suddenly Someone from the album "What If The Sun" by trans punk art rocker Lenny Zenith pulsates with a kind of late 70's proto punk meets 80's new wave with deep pop hooks around the edges. If I have to cast out one respectful critique it is that the song ends much too soon. Still absolutely love the aesthetic here.

Zenith's three decade career as a trans punk artist is an inspiring one. Fronting punk band RZA in the early 80's who opened for the likes of U2, The Replacements, Iggy Pop, XTC, Gun Club, X and more as well as fronting the acclaimed noise-pop band Jenifer Convertible in New York in the 90's (James Murphy recorded three of their songs at DFA's original Plantain Studios (pre-LCD Soundsystem!), which were released as the bands' Car Song 7 inchZenith has been able to shape shift as an artist while shifting attitudes in the process. 


Check out Zenith's solo full length "What If The Sun" and a memoir "Before I Was Me" is in the works. 

This man does not stop.

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Robb Donker





Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Swine Tax - emotionally rich indie rock on "Thorns"

Swine Tax hail from Newcastle upon Tyne (England) and their latest offering Thorns is such an awesome piece of free spirited indie rock. It is so stuffed full of musical emotions it feels like a celebration of sorts. Sometimes 3 piece bands ironically feel the most dense and this is the case here. The ultra active base lines and drumming that is constantly erupting in fills around exuberant post punk guitar lines is something to behold. Not to mention the vocal performance that is cool but passionate (if not a bit pained). For whatever reason (and other sounds may come to you) I thought of elements of varied bands spanning different eras like Human Television,  Pavement, the Replacements, Sonic Youth and (oddly enough) Built To Spill because of some of the delicious potent guitar lines. I fucking love this song. 

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Robb Donker


Monday, July 16, 2018

Starry eyed feel to "Midnight" by Gina Cimmelli

Midnight feels like something between a 60's tortured teen pop ballad and kind of dream punk strains. It is big and intimate at the same time. Has big hopeful admonitions but a broken heart too.

Gina Cimmelli is from Brooklyn and Midnight is from her 5 track EP "My Little Lies."
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Robb Donker


The Little Miss - chasing the "American Dream"

There is something strange about The Little Miss (the moniker of Hayley Johnson) or maybe to be more clear something strange about her music. Her aesthetic on American Dream which is this kind of 60's folk / country and western meets the American songbook (or something like that) is done with such an earnest tone it is hard to discern if she is embracing that time or shooting barbs at it. Her vocal presentation is engaging but again pulls in retro tones. It is the kind of yearning for simpler times although from a Geo-political aspect, from a Civil Rights aspect those times were not so rosy and let's not even get into how women fared. There was darkness behind some of those white picket fences and part of me thinks that The Little Miss taps into the irony of it all. It is that kind of parallel shift that would make it feel right at home in a Wes Anderson movie or even as a song in Handmaid's Tale to punctuate the utter horror presented. Maybe I am looking way too deeply. I do love her sound and aesthetic so much. Maybe I should just enjoy The Little Miss's  American Dream. In it she is still, after all, chasing freedom.

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Robb Donker


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Lauren O'Connell- big bite on "In On The Joke" from the "Details" album

Lauren O'Connell is based out of San Francisco by way of Rochester, New York and her band's brand of alternative country pushes indie rock buttons and it has bite. On the song In On The Joke she sings, "If I told you I thought you were the son of God...you would spit in my face with a wink and a nod... let everybody know how you shrugged it off.... but holy shit how good you would look on a cross." The song's big down beats have a 90's post rock vibe and coupled with the smart sardonic words I thought of the band Miracle Mile a bit. This is my first introduction to Lauren O'Connell and I cannot wait to dive deeper into her artistry which is rounded out by band members Olivia Lee and Lauren Grubb. 

In On The Joke is from the 2018 album "Details".

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Robb Donker


Pastis - indie rock with 80's Brit punk pop flavors on "Amazon"

























Pastis hails from Helsinki, Finland. Their indie rock sound brings to mind 60's Brit pop, 80's New wave / Brit punk pop and 90's post punk all kind of blended together. Last year they released the well received EP "Four Stories" and are set to release their debut full length this fall. Check out the track- Amazon. Pastis is Markus Nymalm (guitar, vox), Emil Inberg (guitar), Sakari Palmroos (guitar), Henrik Vuoksenmaa (bass) and Kelle Valkama (drums).
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Robb Donker

Out of Norway: Teddy and The Love Gang- explosively cool "Island Universe" from the EP "Kid Forest- Sanctuary"

























Some of the music coming out of Norway lately makes we want to move there for a while to be absorbed in the post punk indie scene over there. I just need to buy some warmer clothes. Take for instance, Teddy and The Love Gang and the track Island Universe which is from their 4 track EP "Kid Forest - Sanctuary." At barely over 3 minutes it wastes no time. It is a full frontal attack of post punk sounds with falsetto vox backing up the over modulated front vox, snappy lead licks and synth melodies that will plaster a big smile on your face. Love this track. Teddy and the Love Gang consider what they do as "weird pop" and are Erlend Kartvedt, Trym Westbye Syversen, "Teddy" and Theo Saenger who says about the track that he found inspiration from a sentence of Aldous Huxley's essay, 'Doors of Perception' : "every person is their own island universe."

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Robb Donker