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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Meanderings: Been Working Like A Madman, Used Cars and "Cool" by Sleeptalk out of New Jersey

As of late, I have been working like a fucking madman. I don't have very many vices but one certainly is being a bit of a workaholic. I lose my balance between family and work, fun endeavors (like blogging) and work and in the end lose myself. That has been happening lately as my day job has ostensibly overtaken much of my life like a stubborn creeping ivy that takes over a house.

To top it off, organization is not my strong suit either. Since we moved out here to Georgia (from California) we have been dealing with only one car and I have been searching for a used car and slowly losing my mind. The thing is this: now most cars that are advertised as "sold by owner" are not. They are sold by car brokers who pick up vehicles at car auctions. This doesn't necessarily mean they are bad cars but all the talking to the owner to ferret out the history of the vehicle and to figure out what is truth and what is not is gone. All that is replaced by carfaxing and such but dealing with people who have only had a car for a month is frustrating. It is also impossible to find a car with low miles at a fairly low price in fact it is not uncommon to find cars with 180,000 miles still fetching 4 grand.

So that has been my life lately, working gobs and gobs of hours at my day (creeping into night) job and looking for a second used car. No time for playing music, no time for starting the T-shirt company and no time for blogging. Yes, I am full of excuses and I am trying to change that.

This morning I found a cool track in my email named appropriately "Cool" by Sleeptalk, a trio from New Jersey and based out of greater NYC. That is all I know as I don't have time to do more research on these guys. I do like the song alot. It is kind of 90's dancy, kind of Brit poppy circa late 80's and kind of now too. Besides the sparkly guitar, the bass line really caught my ear. I like the way it moves. It has a definite groove but is not bouncy, rather it hits heavy notes and then lets them hang in the beat. Very strong, sultry and, yes, cool. The vocals are pretty lush. The guitar lead break and then jammy end is sweet as hell and portends a rockier sound  (on other tracks maybe?). The atmosphere feels like night drives or clubbing in dark places with beautiful people. Check it out below. You can all do some research on Sleeptalk while I do.

Take care
I have to get off to work, ha.
Robb Donker

Saturday, November 22, 2014

King Washington- Emotionally Crafted Songs that Span Genres- Catch them LIVE - (Remaining Tour Dates)

King Washington is an L.A. band that certainly can jam when a jam is called for but it might me the lush sweet harmonies that can erupt into gritty wails that is their musical calling card. Creating emotionally crafted songs that span genres and feel like they span generations, they are a musical affair you will want to get all wrapped up in. The boys have been tearing it up on their 7th Tour starting in November. Do try to catch them at one of their remaining dates below.
Robb Donker

Remaining Dates:

11/24 MINNEAPOLIS, MN @ Turf Club
11/30 NEW YORK, NY @Rockwood Music Hall
12/2 NASHVILLE, TN @ The Basement Nashville
12/3 LITTLE ROCK, AR @ Juanita's Cantina
12/5 DALLAS, TX @ Opening Bell Coffee
12/9 PHOENIX, AZ @ The Rogue Bar
12/11 RIVERSIDE, CA @ Romanos Concert Lounge
12/13 LOS ANGELES, CA @ The Hotel Cafe
 — with Billy LeeGeorge Krikes and Tyson Kelly.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Matthew Squires and The Learning Disorders release "Echo" from the Upcoming Album "Where The Music Goes To Die"

The brand new single "Echo" from Matthew Squires and The Learning Disorders bristles with percolating bright guitar lines and Squires celebratory vocals. Squires often turns his verbose lyrical melodies into a carnival mirror of sorts, his meanings bent and twisted at will. A term of endearment can morph  into a sharp bite, a fond memory into a sardonic parable. "Echo" is the first look at his upcoming album "Where The Music Goes To Die" due to drop on December 2nd.
Robb Donker


The Photographer Who Shot Kurt Cobain - "The Last Session" by Jesse Frohman - LIVE BOOK signing Nov. 20th at the Spare Room, Hollywood

Jesse Frohman is known by some as the photographer who shot Kurt. In August of 1993, Frohman was commissioned by the London Observer's Sunday Magazine to photograph Nirvana in New York prior to performing at the iconic Roseland Ballroom. The photo shoot was supposed to last 5 hours at several locations throughout the city but when Frohman arrived as scheduled Cobain showed up notoriously late and not in the best condition. They set up a make shift studio in the basement of the hotel and in a relatively short amount of time Frohman was able to shoot the band there before heading up to the Roseland where he continued shooting the rehearsal. The now iconic images of Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl posing, greeting fans and performing were there last formal photography session before Cobain's untimely death about 10 months later.

The book: "Kurt Cobain: The Last Session " offers more than 100 images of Kurt and his Nirvana band mates as well as a candid interview and introduction by music journalist Jon Savage and an essay from Glenn O' Brien.

Jesse Frohman will be doing a book signing tonight, this Thursday, November 20th celebrating the release of Kurt Cobain - The Last Session by Jesse Frohman.
The celebration begins at 9pm and includes a special live performance by The Lovely Bad Things.

Reservations suggested: reservations@spareroomhollywood.com.

Robb Donker

The following was originally posted at DAZED

Four hours late and completely stoned throughout, Kurt Cobain’s shoot with legendary photographer Jesse Frohman, just months before the frontman’s death, didn’t necessarily go to plan. Yet what Frohman achieved – even if he didn't realise it at the time – would go down in music history as some of the most iconic images ever shot of the grunge prince. Originally a cover spread for London’s Sunday Observer, after copious amounts of cigarettes, a bottle of Evian water – sprayed, rather than drunk, through the front man’s mouth – and a quick stint as a glasses-wearing, leopard fur-clad ballerina; the shoot was over. With his widow Courtney Love’s tell-all biopic looming on next year’s publishing horizon (apparently), Frohman’s upcoming book KURT COBAIN: The Last Session offers this exclusive excerpt of an interview with punk historian Jon Savage. Conducted with Cobain the night before the photographer’s now-infamous shoot, the frontman opens up on the struggles he endured with his father after his parents divorced.
Kurt Cobain: I was born in Aberdeen, Washington, 1967, and I lived between Aberdeen and Montesano, which was twenty miles away, and I moved back and forth between relatives’ houses throughout my whole childhood.
Jon Savage: Did your parents split up when you were young?
Kurt Cobain: Yeah, when I was seven.
Jon Savage: Do you remember anything about that?
Kurt Cobain: Yeah. I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents for… I couldn’t face some of my friends at school anymore, because I wanted, I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years ’cause of that.
Jon Savage: Have you made it up with them now?
Kurt Cobain: Well, I’ve always kept a relationship with my mom, because she’s always been the more affectionate one. My father, I… I haven’t talked to him for about ten years now, up until this last year, where he seeked me out backstage at a show we played in Seattle. And for a long time, I… I always wanted him to know that I, um, I don’t hate him anymore, just I don’t have anything to say to him. I don’t want to have a relationship with a person just because they’re my blood relative. They bore me. My father is incapable of showing much affection, or even carrying on a conversation, so… Just because of the last time that I saw him, I expressed this to him and made it really clear to him that I just didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. But it was a relief on both of our parts, you know? Because for so many years he felt that I really hated his guts, you know?

Kurt Cobain by Jesse Frohman
The rock legend was reportedly high throughout, resulting in playful, less self-conscious imagesPhotography by Jesse Frohman

Jon Savage: I’ve spent a year and a half dealing with this stuff ’cause my father died in March. It’s really serious stuff. It really fucks you up.
Kurt Cobain: Did you have a good relationship with him?
Jon Savage: No, but we made it up at the end, and I’m really glad we did. I just felt I had to do it.
Kurt Cobain: It’s really important to do that, to make amends. And if you can do it before you almost have to, you know? Like at a time where if you know that one of the… someone is going to die, it’s… At least it happened. 
Jon Savage: I’m very lucky that I had a year to deal with it, but it was very, very painful. I’m very glad it’s over now… You can’t duck it.
Kurt Cobain: It’s what I’ve done all my life though. I’ve always quit jobs without telling the employer that I’m quitting. I just wouldn’t show up one day. Same with high school: the last two months of high school, I quit. So I’ve always copped out of things all my life, so to face up to my father was… Although he chose to seek me out, you know? But it was a nice relief.
Jon Savage: Do you write about this at all? There’s a lyric about your father on “Serve the Servants”…
Kurt Cobain: Yeah. Yeah. It’s the first time I’ve ever really dealt with any parental issues. I’ve never written about—I’ve hardly ever written anything obviously personal, to myself or to anyone else, on that scale. 
Excerpted from KURT COBAIN: The Last Session, by Jesse Frohman, available from Thames & Hudson Inc. as of 10th November.
© 2014 Jesse Frohman
Text and interview © 2014 Jon Savage. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Thames & Hudson Inc.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Smashing Pumpkins - "Tiberius" - The Dreamy Hippie Heart Still Beats

Yeah, I am definitely smiling. The Smashing Pumpkins single "Tiberius" from the highly anticipated "Monuments to an Elegy" album might have some musical cues and breaks that sound too slick and mainstream to fully fuel the most die hard Pumpkins fans BUT the guitars are fuzzy and thick, the drums potent and Billy Corgan still has that dreamy hippie heart beating in his vocal performance and that makes me so happy. Yeah, I am smiling big time.
Robb Donker

Get the exclusive 'Monuments to an Elegy' sampler including “Tiberius” when you pre-order the album on LP or CD at these select indie retail stores while supplies last: http://smarturl.it/MTAEindie

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Savage Nomads : "Pinkie's Little Light" Music Video (Official) "Bloody Good"

South London's Savage Nomads say that the official music video for their new single "Pinkie's Little Light" ( single dropping November 24th) is their playful homage to directors like David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. For me, it is a Tarantino-esque Grindhouse film on acid complete with Madonna / whore complexes, a machete versus baseball bat fight to the death, trippy fever dream surgeries, a bloody heart in hand and Bad Mother Fucker's wallet. Directed by the band and Piotr Obal, it is fast moving, colorful and campy. There does seem to be some sort of narrative running through the video but for me the main narrative is fun and, I must say, the boys play their roles well.

It isn't easy to carve out your own unique sound in the indie pop world but Savage Nomads have succeeded. With flavors that feel contemporary and retro I have described them to friends as kind of like The Smiths and The Talking Heads having a baby doing tropical punk and indie pop all in one. Pour yourself a drink, check out Pinkie's Little Light and let me know what you all think.
Robb Donker


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Breaking NEWS: UCSB Police Aggravate Attendees At Mac DeMarco Concert- Mac DeMarco Detained 11/15/14

 Fans cheer on Mac DeMarco at his show at UCSB Friday night moments before he was detained on stage for crowd surfing and hanging in the venue's ceiling beams.

As reported by the Santa Barbara Independent (you can read Kelsey Brugger's words here), last night Mac DeMarco was detained by UCSB police during a concert at the hub for climbing the rafters after crowd surfing. Apparently he climbed to a second level and was detained as he was coming down the stairs. The police didn't even know that he was the performer. Amazingly, the police were on stage shining flashlights into the audience 10 minutes into the concert. I know as of late a lot of artists and concert attendees have been objecting to all the cell phone cams detracting from the concert experience well police shining flashlights in your face is about 900 buhzillion times worse. According to the aforementioned article there is speculation that the police were looking for people smoking pot. Whaaaaat???  

This is the thing. The actions of the police in this situation was the problem. At indie venues every night across the country, kids mosh, band members crowd surf and YES hang from rafters or climb on unsteady PA speakers. Kids smoke some pot too. Usually crowds at indie shows do a good job of regulating themselves. If crowd surfers get out of hand the bands shame them. If moshers get too pushy the crowd calms the situation. No police, no moms or dads needed.

This whole story is even more disturbing after all the recent stories about the increase in sexual assaults and rape at UCSB. Comments by concert goers seem to indicate that the armed police presence was severe including one officer wearing a bullet proof vest. I would only hope that UCSB police would use their resources, would shine their flashlights during campus patrols to heighten their presence in general to make the campus safe for real crimes as opposed to unruly moshers at an indie concert.

The last time I saw Mac DeMarco was at Burgerama 3 back in March. This festival had around 70 bands and a huge police presence by the Orange County Police Department. The OC police are no nonsense kind of scary dudes and to their credit did not over step their boundaries. Their mission their was to keep the peace. At all the stages people moshed, crowd surfed and their was copious amounts of pot smoke in the air. To my knowledge their were no obvious arrests. No polices on stage shining flashlights. No police being bullies. They kept their presence to a minimum and did their job. Obviously, crowd control for thousands is a different animal than for hundred but clearly the UCSB police overstepped their bounds. Their presence on UCSB didn't make anyone feel safer, they just aggravated a lot of people who otherwise would of enjoyed some killer music and Mac DeMarco's antics.


Robb Donker 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Your Underdog - "No Swim Zone" Has a Casio Soul and a New Wave Heart

Synth laden romantic new wave has made a steady comeback ever since John Hughes' Pretty In Pink popularized it in the mid-80's or maybe it never really went away. All I know is that bands like Future Islands or Roses have stoked the synth pop fires as of late (for me anyway).

New York City's Your Underdog has just released "No Swim Zone" which percolates with a Casio soul complete with hand claps and dreamy synth lines that make you remember your first broken heart. The vocal performance reminds me a bit of Thomas Mars of Phoenix. This is my first introduction to Your Underdog and I want to hear more.-
Robb Donker

We All Know Guy Pearce Can Act but Guess What? He Can Sing Too- Hear The Official Videos for "Taste" and "Storm"

One of my favorite movies of all time is L.A Confidential. The Curtis Hanson 1997 neo-noir detective film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel was just downright riveting. In my opinion every frame is pitch perfect as is every performance by an impressive cadre of actors such as Kevin Spacey, Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger and Danny Devito. For me it was Pearce and Crowe's slow burning to scorched earth performances that blew me away. I have probably seen this movie 17 times and it still engages me every time. While I had seen Guy Pearce in "The Adventures of Priscilla- Queen of the Desert" years prior it was his stunning performance in L.A. Confidential that permanently etched in my brain. So many memorable performances followed.

Because I am such a big fan of Guy Pearce the actor, it was with some trepidation that I hit play on Guy Pearce the singer / musician. His debut album, Broken Bones, is set to release worldwide in 2015. The singles "Storm" and "Taste" have just dropped along with the official videos for both. "Taste" is a sultry power pop affair with a spartan heavy bass production. Pearce's vocal performance is a cool blend of whispers and husky grittiness. Dynamically rich, when the track builds I thought of Muse or Audioslave although Pearce steers a bit softer. Still his voice is a bit in that Chris Cornell / Matthew Bellamy box. Pearce has pipes, he really does but even more importantly he has a character / quality in his voice that pulls you in. The official "Taste" video is directed by award-winning film maker Mackenzie Sheppard. It feels both spacey and grounded as Pearce often times bracing himself in a slowly spinning compartment while slow motion Hong Kong opulence collide with urban imagery. The video is interesting to be sure but not more so than the song itself which shines more and I guess that is how it should be.

The video for Storm, directed by Melbourne based film maker Michael Shanks is surreal and mostly based in Van Gogh-ish blue. On first listen, I enjoyed the track "Taste" more. "Storm" (while it has it's share of musical flair) is less edgy than "Taste" and as such could of used less production. I would of liked to hear it more rough around the edges, less perfectly wrought. All that perfection to some degree mutes the life and passion out of it.

On both tracks I must say that Guy Pearce's vocals do shine and do make me want to hear more from him. Obviously an accomplished singer I would love to hear him do some tracks that are a bit heavier or lean toward an indie maybe even garage rockish edge. I think he has that kind of voice deep down inside.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Worlds Largest Paint Party in Atlanta- "What Has My Life Come To?"

Intrepid writer Alyssa Holland and friend
DAYGLOW w/ HARDWELL: Worlds Largest Paint Party in Atlanta, November 8th, 2014

On Saturday, November 8th I attended the weirdest event of my life and, believe me, I've seen a lot of weird stuff. Having just moved to North Georgia from Southern California, I’m really lacking in the friend department. Luckily I have a ton of cool coworkers and I’ve been getting to know them over the past few months. My coworker who also happens to be from Southern California, and Orange county which is even more of a coincidence, invited me to go to a “paint party” with her. This was the first Saturday I have had off since Music Midtown, so I jumped at the chance to go to something that actually sounded quite fun. My friend and I originally bonded over our love for the British teen drama Skins, and we’ve set out to base our hangs on what they do in the show, minus all of the crazy drugs they constantly take. On Skins, they go to clubs, concerts, camping in the forest, to weddings in the rural areas surrounding Bristol, go to pool halls and get in fights, and hangout at hip cafes after school. We like to leave out all the crazy stuff that makes for good TV, but it’s fun to feel like you’re a cast member of Skins with a friend who shares that interest. However, at this “paint party,” it felt a bit too much akin to Skins.

From what she told me, she had an extra ticket, and it was a paint party with DJ’s and dancing at an 18+ venue in Atlanta. From my experience, 18+ clubs never get too crazy because it’s a bunch of young kids who just want to feel cool and they dance, usually drug/alcohol free. I brought a towel and a change of clothes, and wore something that I didn’t mind getting paint on. We show up, and there were lines along the entire building with people dressed like Andrew WK (all white, ready to party). The venue was called “Wild Bills” and it was in a shopping center. Not what I was expecting AT ALL. We waited in line for 20 minutes, moved in and it sort of looked like a trashier version of the El Rey (in Los Angeles); red velvet everywhere, covered in tarps because of the forthcoming paint, and instead of swanky looking bars, there were carts selling Gatorade, water, and $1 candy. I immediately thought, “what the hell am I doing right now? I hope this is actually fun.” People were selling tempera (water based) paint in green, blue or pink. At first, the only paint splatter was from people opening their paint bottles and swinging them in the air. The building was kept cool, so the paint would dry pretty fast. Not bad. The DJ was okay and people were dancing and having fun. Then they brought out the paint blasters, a creepy recorded speech spoken through a deep monster voice about the control of social media, and weird visuals behind the DJ’s. The paint blaster came on with a power similar to a fire hose, and drenched everyone in the pit. The paint blasters were being operated by women dressed in psychedelic body suits and white wigs like something straight out of a Kubrick film. My friend and her friends wanted to be in the pit, so I stuck around. Being stuck in a pit body to body with soaking wet paint is disgusting to say the least. I kept thinking, “I don’t know if someone just threw paint on me or threw up on me.” This thought remained in my mind for the next two hours as I grew more and more paranoid at everything going on.

My friend got pulled to the front and the Andrew WK’s wouldn’t let me through. I also kept thinking about the supposed Andrew WK controversies floating the internet about how he isn’t an actual artist, that he’s an actor hired by corporations to promote fun and partying, and the actor who plays him has been switched halfway into his career. I thought, “Is Andrew WK behind this?” and “Was that weird social media speech coming from the same people who invented Andrew WK?” while I tried to search for my friend. I texted her friend, telling her that I didn’t want to stay until 4am when this event supposedly ended because I had work the next morning. I tried to sit and wait for them to see how long I could bear the paint, the people, the weird DJ’s and the overall weird everything. Is this what my life has come to? I used to go to shows for free and hangout with my favorite bands in a cool, somewhat classy setting. Now I’m at a weird gross 18+ paint party at a place called Wild Bills in a shopping center because my friend had an extra overpriced ticket. I reassured myself that Music Midtown was amazing, and the next event I go to will be a laid back concert full of 30 year olds who just want to stand there and hear their favorite songs from their favorite band from the 90’s. I heard back from my new friends, and they wanted to stay the entire time. So I left. I could definitely see my experience on an episode of Skins, where Franky gets freaked out by a creepy paint party and gets separated from Effy and Mini and she decides to leave. But in the Skins version, she’d get attacked by her former lover on the street or something. 

Alyssa Holland