Wednesday, August 24, 2016

James Corden Gets The Best Birthday Present Ever- Sings "Nothing Compares 2U" With Coldplay at the Rose Bowl

As I watched James Corden perform Prince's Nothing Compares 2U with Coldplay in front of a massive, massive crowd at the Rose Bowl a couple things popped in my mind:

1. At this special moment James officially has eclipsed Jimmy.

2. When Chris Martin lovingly interjected Jame's name in the lyrics it made the song a bit cheeky and goes against my standing rule that you do not ever change the lyrics when you cover a song.

3. Who are the (as of the time of this posting) 356 mother fuckers on Youtube who gave this video a thumbs down (hmmm, could be die hard Prince fans I suppose).

4. James Corden is one hell of a sexy fat man.

Check out the video below and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Happy Birthday James!
Robb Donker

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mozes and The Firstborn - Official Video for "Crawl" Gets Cinematic On You

Mozes and the Firstborn's new track "Crawl" has this big rock ballad sound and for whatever reason I thought of Oasis a bit and of Tired Pony and of Howard Hughes by Ride and during the chorus the melody faintly reminded me of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. Sound and production wise it swings wide and should appeal to a wide demographic. This can always be a blessing and a curse in the indie world but I wish them the best of luck.

Now the video which I must say is top notch film making seems to be a morality play (or not) that breaks down to the basic credo of all 80's slasher movies: If you are young and have sex you will die. Again, this video is so well shot and acted although the male love interest is a bit creepy (serial killer vibe) but for me the imagery enhances the imagery not really the song. Mozes and the Firstborn themselves have a lot of charm and I like seeing them more in their videos. Awww but what do I know.

Great track though- and if it brings a wider audience to Mozes and the Firstborn then that is all that really matters because they deserve it.
Robb Donker

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mendez -"Phone Records" Stark, Weird, Beautiful Stories Recorded via Cellphone in a West Village Tenement

The plaintiff Try from Mendez's Phone Records album available on cassette from Some Weird Sin Records is a tiny slow waltz. It feels immediate and intimate, is stark and beautiful and as perfectly spontaneously poised and unrehearsed sounding as Gregory Mendez's deep choking breathes between phrases. I could only guess what the poetry, what the story of the song is about but, to me, it feels like it is about feeling the death of something, anything so you can move on.  Sister has this kind of voguish 60's psychedelic groove with a lovely stair stepping melody. Control creates a lot of layered emotional tensions with soaring vocals.

One of the pleasures of Phone Records is not knowing which songs are those in embryo and which ones are born and fully realized. Gum Trash feels like it might be a kind of immediate creation that was sewn up quickly. I may be wrong on this but that raw feeling hinged on the acoustic guitar lines that are the glue of this song feel like they are drawn out of pure inspiration that was glossed up a bit.  Mendez as singer songwriter clearly puts himself out there, exorcises demons and that is the best kind of writing. In Daddy which is maybe the most expansive song on this album there is this wonderful sense of wanderlust, of city views soaring past a train window. The bulk of the song feels like an epic emotional crescendo of a personal family story,

Stained Glass Boys has this amazing lush cool vibe. The deep pearly bottom of the song combined with the hushed drone of sound and reflective lyrics shows another side of Mendez. The aesthetic is more British sleek with an almost Morrissey aloofness. Hangover also has a measure of cool or a cigarette dangling from pursed lips. It also has a smart pop sense softening the edge. A beautiful and sardonic ode to minimum wage I Won't Be Home For Christmas with it's dense vocal presentation pulls you in close by the shirt collar but ends too soon. The most strange and cheeky track The Drug Trafficker's Daughter with these kind of orchestral electric guitar lines feels like a twisted love story. It is a trip or a drug trip. I don't know.

Phone Records is an amazing piece of work even more so when you fully realize that all these songs were essentially recorded on a smartphone. There are obviously other artists who have shared songs that were recorded and even produced via cell phone but Mendez's treatment of this device seems less to do with novelty than necessity and emotional readiness. I applaud the fact that he followed through producing an entire album done in this way. He reflects on the chronology of Phone Records:

"I owe most everything to the mid-late 2000s Philadelphia music scene, where I came of age as a songwriter. I played in a few bands and played solo shows and recorded quite a number of songs but in my late teens and early twenties had a lot of trouble keeping anything together.  I would busk on the streets between crappy jobs and moved back and forth between Philly and New York for years, even spending a few months in the hellhole that is Harrisburg, PA working at an auto recycling factory. I crashed on many friends' couches. In the fall of 2015 on a whim i moved once again to New York City to stay on my Aunt's couch.  I quit doing all drugs and within a few months had a decent paying job and a girlfriend.  I got my first ever smartphone in 2015 and immediately started recording one song a week in my girlfriend's (who is now my wife) bathroom in a small West Village tenement.  I tracked bass, drums, and electric guitars ion random practice rooms at The Sweatshop practice space in Brooklyn.  These are some of those songs."  

Phone Records by Mendez is a compelling blend of introspection and artistry. As I listened to these varied stories I thought of artists like Elliot Smith, Lou Reed, Conor Oberst and Leonard Cohen. Do yourself a favor and listen to these songs. If you love what you hear I hope that you would purchase this special cassette or digital files. I think you will visit them often.
Robb Donker

(photo attributed to Stephen Yang)

Echo Park Rising DAY 4 for the Diehards- From Blistering Country Tinged Rock of Down and Outlaws to the Punk Hard Meatbodies and Dutch Party, Lovely Bad Things, Wyatt Blair, Melted, Sheer, Flying Hair, Moaning, The Tyde and MORE

DAY 4 of the One and ONLY Echo Park Rising 2016 runs the gamut from country rock leanings at Cosmic Vinyl and all out mosh worthy grungy punk at the Echoplex and everything in between. This day is for the diehards who are going to savagely grab onto the last musical moments of freedom before they have to slither into work on Monday. I must say that since moving away from California which will always be my home that Echo Park Rising is one of the happenings in So Cal that I miss very much and it is a model for artistic expression that should be replicated in communities all across the country.  Free music pulling people who might otherwise not know a area of the city and all that city has to offer in terms of restaurants, shops, record stores and more is a win win for everyone involved. Echo Park Rising is rad and important. As always, whomever you choose to see today YOU will have a great time but here are my picks for DAY 4 with an unabashedly happy shout out to an intense block of sound for bands I know and love and who kill it every time (at the Echoplex - see poster below):

The Tyde at 4:40 at The Echo Stage as well as The Sloths at 5:30, Beam Bums at 6:20 and Wyatt Blair at 8 PM. On the Echoplex Stage : The Eleventh Frequency at 4:40, Barrow at 5 PM, Melted at 8 PM, Lovely Bad Things at 8:50, Flying Hair at 9:40 and Meat Bodies at 10:30.

On the Cosmic Vinyl stage- drown your sorrows with Patrolled by Radar at 4 PM and rock with Down and Outlaws at 6 and Nocona at 8 PM. Be sure and catch Moaning at 3:15 on the Little Joy Cocktails stage as well as Vug Arakas at 4:45 and Dead Dawn at 7 PM. Bodegas at 2:30, Jamie Allensworth at 5:30 and The Kidneys at 6:15 on the Lost Knight stage. At Lost Room: The Echo and the Sound at 5 PM, Ultra Violent Rays at 5:45 and Dutch Party at 6:30. Lot 1: The Red Pears early at 12:45 and Sheer at 3 PM.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

DAY 3- SAT 20TH - ECHO PARK RISING 2016- Our Picks- Adult Books, Moon Honey, The Weirdos, Ivory Deville, Bleached, Yoko and the Oh No's, Green Gerry, Bloody Death Skull, Criminal Hygiene, La Luz and MORE

Holy shit, you Echo Park Risers must be waking up with mushy brains with the sheer mental and emotional overload from all the many varied creative assaults on your heart and head not to mention the punch to the stomach from those of you who ate and partied too much or not enough. I mean that's the way it goes right at these kinds of all day beautiful affairs. You attack it with wild abandon at the cost of your stomach or you indulge in every fucking thing.

Cast any sensory and bodily damage aside because it is time for DAY 3. It is time to chill out with Drug Cabin, trip out with Globelamp, spaz out with The Weirdos, chug with Criminal Hygiene, dance with Bleached, headbang with Flames of Durga, dance (with drink in hand) with Green Gerry, dance until exhausted to Them Howling Bones, stare with quizzical wonderment at Bloody Death Skull and mosh to Adult Books and much, much more. You, my friends, have a full fucking day!

As I have said before, whoever you see today you are going to have a great day! Here are my picks for DAY 3:
At the Echo Patio: CB Brand at 2 PM, Ivory Deville at 7PM and Drug Cabin at 9 PM. Yoko and the Oh Nos at 3:30 PM, Billy Changer at 5:50 and Globelamp at 6:40 PM at The Echo. Catch The Tissues at 3:25 at the Echoplex along with Magic Bronson at 2:40 PM, The Molochs at 7:30 and the Weirdos at 9:10. At the Cosmic Vinyl stage at 8PM see Sam Morrow. On the Liberty Stage you got Criminal Hygiene at 3:40, Swimm at 5:20, Feels at 6:10, La Luz at 7:50 and Bleached at 8:50. On the Little Joy Cocktails stage - Flames of Durga at 7 PM. See Mars and the Massacre at 4 PM on the Lost Knight stage as well as Green Gerry at 7:45, Wet and Reckless at 9:15 and The Blank Tapes at 11:30. On the Lot 1 Cafe stage- Ablebody goes on at 3 PM, Polartropica at 4, Name the Band at 7 and Hammered Satin at 10 PM. You can see Them Howling Bones at 4 PM on the Short Stop stage. At Spacedust, Black Sea plays at 6:15 and Golden Animals at 7:45. Catch Bloody Death Skull at 6:30 and So Many Wizards at 9:45 at the Stories Book and Cafe. At Taix see Brit Manor at 6:15, Cellars at 8:15, Moon Honey at 9:15 and Adult Books at 11:15.
Robb Donker

 cb brand 2pm

Ivory Deville 7pm

drug cabin 9pm

 billy changer

globelamp 640

magic bronson 240

 the tissues 325

the molochs 730


criminal hygiene 340

swimm 520

feels 610

la luz 750

bleached 850

mars and the massacre 4pm

green gerry 745

wet and reckless 915pm

theblanktapes 1130pm

ablebody 3pm

name the band 7pm

hammered satin 10

them howling bones 4pm

golden animals 745pm

bloody death skull 630pm

so many wizards 945pm

moon honey 915 pm

adult books 1115 pm

Friday, August 19, 2016

Echo Park Rising - DAY 2 American Pancake PICKS-- for you Echo Park Risers- Rudy De Anda, Chicano Batman, Winter, Mating Ritual, So Pitted, Colleen Green, Bloodboy, Walter, Thee Commons, Batwings Catwings MORE

So now that all you Echo Park Risers have had one day of this expansive music extravaganza under your collective belts I am sure you have gotten the lay of the land down a bit. You know which bar to head into to chill for a drink, where to eat, how best to navigate from the Echo down to Loli-Pop Records to catch the buzz or what is the most efficient way to snake over to Taix by foot or when to succumb to a late night Uber call. You got it down and you are getting your mind in the indie fray and with each passing day of killer bands you will be in this glorious head space of fun and even inspiration. I truly believe that whomever you see perform will be a great time but I do want to offer my picks for Friday, August 19th DAY 2 of Echo Park Rising.

Hope you can check out Walter at 4:40 PM- So Pitted  at 5:30 and Chastity Belt at 6:20 (The Echo) - Mating Ritual at 7 PM  and Dear Boy at 9:30 both the Echoplex. Winter at 5:05 PM, Thee Commons at 7:50  PM and Chicano Batman at 8:50 all at the Liberty Stage.  On the Lost Knight stage - Bedbugs at 8 PM as well as The Knitts at 9:30 PM. Check out Maxie Dean at 10:15 on the Lost Room stage along with Miles Tackett at 11 PM. On the Spacedust stage - Pipe Dreams at 4:45 PM, The Blank Tapes at 7:45 and Rudy De Anda at 8:30 PM. Casandra Violet at 9 PM on the Semi Tropic stage. At Taix: Bloodboy at 9:10, Roses at 10 PM and Collen Green at 11 PM. And at Lot 1 stage : Young Lovers at 7 PM, Batwings Catwings at 8 PM and Cutty Flam at 10 PM.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Echo Park Rising - Thursday Picks- Aug 18: The Eleventh Frequency, Pocket Rockets, The Regrettes, Sad Girl, The Fights, The Vivids, Egrets on Ergots

Oh how I loved to go to Echo Park Rising. I remember finding parking was always as hard as hell but once you snaked a spot you were literally in indie heaven and able to see tons of bands for free. Most of the venues are inside, some outside and in a few you could even grab up some free eats and drinks. Now I don't know if these perks will be available this year but the line up is amazingly huge and awesome and while traversing between venues will might get you a little sweaty and provide a good burn going in your thighs, in the end it will be all worth it. You might even make friends and you will certainly find some new musical addictions. I truly believe that whomever you see perform will be a great time but I do want to offer my picks for Thursday, August 18th.

Hope you can check out The Eleventh Frequency at 6 PM (Lot 1 Cafe) - The Pocket Rockets at 7 PM (Lot 1 Cafe) - or at the Echoplex, The Regrettes at 5:50 PM, Sad Girl at 6:40 PM and The Frights at 7:30 PM and at the Short Stop: The Vivids at 8 PM and Egrets on Ergot at 9 PM

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Most Epic Part of The Wrecking Ball ATL Festival: Deerhunter's Bradford Cox Going Off

There were a whole lot of magical moments at this years Wrecking Ball ATL Fest held this past Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 13-14) and each and every special moment was automatically magnified by 100 because the iconic Masquerade, the home of the WBF will soon be reduced to a pile of rubble (at least most of it will be). In fact, last I heard the tentative plan was to relocate to the new expansive building at 1421 Fairmont Ave this coming weekend.

The plan is to eventually put up a residential / mixed use development while retaining some of the historic elements (or a wall or two) of the historic Dupre Excelsior Mill built in the 1890's. The new configuration like the Ponce Market across the way should be just the sort of place that appeals to the upwardly mobile and mostly white hipster set.

Now again, this very last hurrah for the Masquerade and the large lawn that accompanied the largest stages of the festival was full of killer performances and probably 75% of the acts eluded to the sad fact that the Masquerade would be no more.

Among all these special moments my favorite part of the entire festival was the roughly 1 minute and 42 seconds coming from Georgia's own Deerhunter and I don't mean the music as awesome as it was. The most epic part of the entire festival was Bradford Cox making some off the cuff remarks about the Masquerade's demise. His biting often sardonic commentary was not only about the demise of an iconic neighborhood club but of the cause of it's demise too. His diatribe skewered gentrification and each and everyone of us who gleefully participates in this practice despite whomever this blockbusting affects. After reflecting on some of the killer acts he saw at the Masquerade and the fact that this was the first time Deerhunter played at this venue (sort of) he said:

"Yeah neighborhoods change man, shit changes and everybody's thinking 'What's happened to my neighborhood?'  Well, it's not your neighborhood. it's not my neighborhood, it's not the Masquerade's neighborhood. It's not the families who lived here before that got pushed out so we could come in in the 70's or the families that got pushed out so those people could come in before that.

It's an endless draining cesspool. And that's just... American life. Venture capitalism, commodity fascism. The BeltLine.... Welcome to it. Welcome to the Fucking BeltLine. Goodbye Masquerade! Hello BeltLine! Hello Apple store! Yeah, hello Google fiber.

C'mon, don't forget that Coca Cola built this fucking city. You owe all of your presence here to corporations. Bow down to them right now and drink their feted cum. Take a Big gulp and then go on your Iphone and Tweet about it."

(Great more in depth and heavy article here : "With Gentrification, Black People are becoming Outsiders in their Own Communities" by David Love)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jeff Rosenstock - "Nausea" at The Wrecking Ball Fest in Atlanta 8/14/16 Turns Into A Joyful Sing-a-long

The 2016 Wrecking Ball Fest in Atlanta as a rock fest was a mixed bag BUT one thing is for sure, the line up was pretty awesome. After shooting and enjoying Dinosaur Jr on the big outside stage in pretty oppressive heat I headed over to see the remainder of Jeff Rosenstock's set. He was playing on a small outdoor stage in the shade of the iconic Masquerade building itself. His final song was "Nausea" from his 2015 album "We Cool" that erupted into a full on sing-a long. 

I hadn't seen him before and I must say I was  blown away by his energy and infectious smile. The man puts on a great live show and the band (basically) Antarctigo Vespucci another side project of Jeff and Chris Farren of Fake Problems is so damn solid. Wish I was able to see the entire set. 

My apologies as this video had some interruptions. My Lumix must of been overheated from being in the sun all day- (old cam) and it was freaking out. I still wanted to post this up because it is so much fun.

After you view the video - Check out his bandcamp:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Seabreeze Diner - 5 Track EP "For Use With Care" Is Carefree Indie Pop That Explodes In Your Mouth

The first track Anna Belle on Seabreeze Diner's latest EP "For Use With Care" has so much unbridled energy stuffed into it that it can't help but pump happy adrenaline into your heart. The double time drums and cascading guitar licks give way to a carefree indie pop explosion. Even as the song jams with a joyful lead guitar and exuberant lyrics the song does this lovely break slowing down into a more introspective moment only to explode and take off again. It is this kind of emotional dynamic tone that speaks to Seabreeze Diner's pop brilliance.

Other tracks like Above Ground and Hold My Own adopt a kind of sock hop punk jag borrowing tones from late 50's or early 60's tortured love pop songs all the while feeling jammy. The track Arkansas swings into another indie pop tone with the inspired sparkly guitar work shown in Anna Belle. The lovely melodies in the chorus are pretty lush and the pop hooks are plentiful. The musical break and time signature change and build up is glorious stuff. Great track that I would love to see it performed live. Wasted Summer swings and will inspire head bopping and dancing. It slyly seems to end and then kind of resurfaces in a stripped down acoustic version at the end as if this might be the first rendition that inspired the full on electric version.

"For Use With Care" is bright indie pop and these North Carolina boys do it well. Anna Belle and Arkansas are the stand out tracks for me. Songs for me are little plays that connect with me or do not and while all these song connected with me the musical and lyrical melodies on those tracks feel like they have a back story more than the other songs. In a way they feel a bit deeper and more personal. Overall the entire EP has a lot to offer and I hope you listen to it repeatedly.
Robb Donker