Sunday, July 24, 2016

PIXIES Peek At New Songs - The Pixies Phil Spector Song: "Classic Masher"- 90's Post Rocker: "Head Carrier" and the Blood Curdling Punk Metal Scream of "Baals Back"






















The Pixies new album "Head Carrier" is due out September 30th and during their current European Tour they have been playing some new songs set to be on the album. This month Pitchfork shot some video at Portugal's NOS Alive Fest and captured 3 new songs including "Head Carrier's" title track.

"Classic Masher" feels a bit like a Pixies Phil Spector song. The melodies feel romantic and Joey's guitar big and dramatic. It feels 60's ballad like. It has a sock hop punk aesthetic.

"Head Carrier" with it's chunky guitar and what feels like a sub and main chorus feels like 90's story / road rock. It is a fist in the air kind of anthem made to play live.

"Baals Back" with it's heavy rock prog (that is reminiscent of Tommy Tutone or Blur or The Hives) feels blisteringly heavy and then shifts / goes to some unexpected places. Black Francis can still scream and I thought of his youthful insane razor blade chorus shriek of Tame (from Doolittle) but in "Baals Back" the song is one long blood curdling scream and it simply kills. It is full charge, full tilt rock and in it's fury it just might signal the battle cry that the Pixies are back (in a big way).

While I was already eager to hear the new album after hearing these 3 songs I simply cannot wait to wrap my senses around "Head Carrier"-
-
Robb Donker




The Regrettes - Not Just Another Pretty Face - "A Living Human Girl" Video and Full Set At SXSW




















Lydia Night has basically kicked ass her entire life. She has been playing guitar since she was six years old and formed her first band at 7. There are videos of her at (I would guess) around 8 performing acoustic songs at Pappy and Harriet's. At 11 she was a member of the Dead Man's Bones (Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields) choir and also started a two piece outfit called Pretty Little Demons that played at Lollapalooza, SXSW and other festivals and now at 15 years her new garage pop band, The Regrettes  (that has been signed to Warner Bros. Records) just released their first Official Video for "A Living Human Girl" starring Lydia's best friend Alithea Tuttle (pictured above).

When I first listened to "A Living Human Girl" I was turned off by the cheekly lyrics. It is charming, yes, it is kind of comic and it is slick but I am one of those people who don't gravitate to music to laugh or smile because something is witty. While the track is done well, is drenched in fun and has a positive message, I couldn't find anything that sonically engaging here. It sounded like rock for grammar school kids or something you would hear on a School of Rock event. I later found out that the rest of The Regrettes all met at School of Rock (not that there is anything wrong with this institution at all). But knowing that record companies always seem to release the song that has a hook (sometimes over musical substance) I delved deeper and I am glad I did.

I found a video of The Regrettes playing a full set at SXSW and they are, well, pretty damn great and their songs don't just float in the shallow pool of garage pop. Some of their stuff runs deeper and they can play and perform. First and foremost, Lydia is confident and engaging in her guitar playing and singing. Maxx Morando at 17 is a killer drummer and, in fact, he reminds me a bit of Clem Burke. Genessa Gariano (19) plays some very sweet licks throughout the set although you do not get this sense on "A Living Human Girl" and 18 year old Sage Nicole composes perfect bass bottom lines. The SXSW set impressed me because the band kind of come off (at first) as a kind of Aquadolls meets Shannon and the Clams with a little hint of Bleach and while there is nothing wrong with that those bands kind of occupy their respective places just fine. Along 1l.45 minutes in, the Regrettes perform a song that has a different vibe. Love the melodies and tone, the guitar break is so good and it doesn't follow that garage / punkpop / surf rock thing. It just feels like mid tempo rock and the emotional underbelly is there too. Great stuff.

The Regrettes is very much Lydia's band. She is a singer songwriter and some of the blogging verbiage around this band use the word project. This band might be a stepping stone for her. I could see her going the route of a Taylor Swift (whose music I personally abhor) but I hope she veers less pop. In any event, Lydia will undoubtedly have a long career ahead of her in whatever capacity she chooses.

Check out The Regrettes new video and then check them out at SXSW live too.
By the way, the amazing bnd photo is by Jen Rosenstein and from a Noisey piece on the band which you can check out here.

-
Robb Donker



Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Echo, Dirty Laundry TV and Penniback Records Present Dirty Penni Fest - TODAY- Place to BE in LA- Cherry Glazerr, No Parents, Mike Watt and The MissingMen and 16 Other Killer Bands


































This is happening today folks!! Brought to you by The Echo, Dirty Laundry TV and Penniback Records you will see some killer bands, as of last count 19 bands for like 25 bucks at the door or $18.50 advance. You also got vendors, Food Trucks and Djs. From the lay of the land I would guess the Food Trucks will be in the Echoplex parking lot so that might be the place to hang. Running up to the Echo is easy and while it should get packed and toasty you should be able to see a slew of bands.

It's is going to be fucking hot!! So HYDRATE a lot. Be safe and have fun. IF I was in California this is where I would be.

-
Robb Donker


Purchase advance tickets HERE

From the Insomnia Files- Lauren from The Lovely Bad Things Cover of Smudge's "Little Help"

I like when bands / artists cover songs. The best covers are more like transformations of the original. Changing up the emotional or musical tone. Adapting  a different sensibility or cadence. Indie / punk / punk pop band, The Lovely Bad Things posted up a Soundcloud link last night of Lauren doing her take of Aussie rock band Smudge's song 'Little Help' which is from their 1994 debut record "Manilow" [via Domino in the UK  and Half A Cow records in Australia and Canada (also re-released in 2006 via the same Half A Cow label)].


Smudge is one of those early 90's indie seed bands whose influence has helped sprout thousands of other bands and their songs. Not to mention Tom Morgan's collaboration with Evan Dando and his band the Lemonheads, Smudge (for me) falls into that indie category inhabited by The Lemonheads (of course), Miracle Legion / Polaris, R.E.M and Dinosaur Jr. All bands whose songs are often times propelled by electrified open folk chords and whose aesthetic is deceptively heavy on emotional subtexts.

Lauren strips down the original and slows it down creating something beautiful.

-Robb Donker

Band pic by Samuel Dorian Perez courtesy of xytio



Friday, July 22, 2016

"The Sad Soundtrack To Ur Summer" by Sushi Twin Is Like That High School Party When That Girl Broke Up With You and That Guy Puked On Your Shoes

Marshall Mulkey has a lot to say. The depth of what might depend on your age or if you are on the way to realizing your dreams or chasing them as they are rushing so far and fast that you will never reach them.

The songs on "The Sad Soundtrack to Ur Summer" on one hand can feel kinda jokey and on the other hand will feel totally real to legions of angst ridden kids or young adults who may or may not have things figured out. The music is stripped down and basic and in some ways feel a lot like a dirtier grungier version of Blink 182. Yeah I said it Blink 182. If you challenge me on this just listen to Headbang Your Feeling Away. Sushi Twin kinda is like Blink at their most sardonic bent, like Blink from the shitty part of town. They are better than Blink 182. Why the fuck am I talking about Blink 182 so much? While I am at it I thought of Diarrhea Planet too while listening to Disdain, Dat Dain I guess because if it was beefier it has a similar aesthetic. Sushi Twin feels more emo-grunge-ish but also have that sense of fun like Diarrhea planet. Oh by the way, Disdain, Dat Dain might be (for most people) their best track on the album and has the best use of "dick" in a song. They need to make a video for this song and not a shitty video but take some time and make a good story-ish one.

While you may think that this album is merely about teen angst and the everyday things of life and party life then Prom Chips pops up. It is a break up song and full of true barbs and feelings and it feels real. It is like one long run on sentence with passages like  "And I ask you a million questions of how this could end like that and you just looked at me with your beautiful eyes that live inside your skull and you've got such an ugly face but you got such a beautiful soul... and how am I supposed to take that" that slowly hook you into a story that might be familiar to many, that is rooted in reality and is universal. As the song gets musically heavier, Marshall starts belting out the refrain repeatedly drifting in and out of tune. Now, quite frankly, he drifts out of tune a lot but it is buried in this emotion kind of track and for me that offsets the in or out of tune issue because the singing feels more like sounds of pain. He, in fact, belts out in the first track Lily so he can stay in tune. Not sure if I am making any sense but I guess I am saying that I like the honesty here, the fact that Sushi Twin decided to leave the blemishes in this track.

Lets Talk About Pizza has nothing to do with pizza but it may have to do with an unplanned pregnancy. Fullest House moves really well and feels like a house party song. Pay A Buck, Hear Me Whine is a moody mid tempo diatribe with a hooky guitar hook. It has this kind of look at the stars talky quality that made me think of Counting Crows. I like this track. Lily is like a more hardcore Better Than Ezra song, it has some cool part and I bet this is a crowd pleaser live.

In the end, Sushi Twins' "The Sad Soundtrack to Ur Summer" like the dispossessed youth it might appeal to the most might not set the world on fire.... yet,  but maybe we should all listen to what it has to say.

These guys are Marshall Mulkey (guitar, vocals), Mitchell Mulkey (bass, vocals) and Chris Corbo (drums) and are based out of Currituck, North Carolina.

Please check this album out.
-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hear What Iggy Likes: East London's False Heads -- "Slew" from "Thick Skin" Single and "Thick Skin" Video

Slew and Thick Skin by East London trio False Heads is head banger and mosh worthy noisy rock blending elements of punk, grunge and metal. It is full tilt charged up. One second these boys make me think of Ty Segall and the other second Black Sabbath and then Iggy Pop and then Fugazi, then Danzig. This blendo style might sound all over the place but it is not. False Heads manage to make their sound cohesive and their own.

Hailed by the aforementioned Iggy Pop as one of his favorite bands and receiving much love by ex-Ramones manager Danny Fields and more, False Heads was signed up by The Libertines drummer Gary Powell to his 25 Hour Convenience Store label. Their is a buzz swirling around these East London lads.

-
Robb Donker

‘Thick Skin’ and 'Slew' are out now as a double A-side single through 25 Hour Convenience Store, available from all good digital stores.

LIVE
11 Aug - LONDON - The Black Heart
18 Sept - RAMSBOTTOM - Ramsbottom Festival
23 Sept - LEEDS - Verve Bar
26 Nov - LEEDS - Kapooza Festival



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Self Titled Album by Seldom Family Is Dreamy, Cool, Deeply Earnest and Oh So Moody - A MUST HEAR

Two man indie outfit Seldom Family (Patrick Norris: vocals, guitar and Chris Caulder: drums, bass, guitar, lap steel) out of Pennsylvania just released their self titled full length. Their musical / emotional aesthetic screams deep introspective lyrics, tortured singing pushed through this airy reverb laden filter blending noise rock, surf punk, sock hop punk and art rock all at a mostly mid-tempo to slow pace. It is dreamy and oh so moody.

White Eyes with it's almost 1950's line dance down beat sways in this elegant way with Patrick Norris' croons in the distance. The pearly guitar line are just plain delicious set against the sad bass and drum lines. Like a lot of Seldom Family's songs White Eyes is deceptive. It feels chill and cool and transforms into something deeply moving. Speedway with it coy stops and starts feels like a movie in and of itself. Something about it, maybe it is the heavy tom tom beats and spartan guitar lines, feels very 80's alt rock. Very cool. When the finger snaps and whistling happens you realize the brilliance of Seldom Family. This song is James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Interpol, the Cult, The Buttertones and Pink Floyd all smooshed together.

The third track True Blue is hands down the song that speaks to me in a big way. In an album full of unique emotional songs this one is my favorite. The sheer intensity of the melodies and the way it shifts tones is dramatic and beautiful. There is a rather long musical break that traverses it's emotional melody lines in a way that makes me think of Radiohead. The Dogs and Mine Forever, Mine Alone were originally released on Cassette #1 a while back and sonically feel right here. On The Dogs, Norris croons with a wounded passion as the bass with a plodding cadence seems to follow behind. The jangling guitar and almost muted drums that explode from time to time add to the torrid affair. It is a song that is as dark as it is sad and as sad as it is passionate. On Mine Forever, Mine Alone the emotional subtext lies more in the rhythm guitar strumming than the kind of sparse guitar lines in the other tracks. I love the way the guitar sounds swell.

Not a Singer in some ways feels less emotionally wrought than the other songs but it also feels like the kind of song that might speak to the most people. The kind of song that starry eyed kids would want to cover on You Tube. The finals track, It's Never Needless, from the very beginning has this epic love ballad tone. It's is pure unadulterated mid 60's torture sock hop stuff but the absolutely wonderful thing about it is that Norris and Caulder don't take any sort of campy approach but instead embrace the aesthetic, the pure sound head on and the result from the Silvertone spring reverb to the tamborine is deeply moving. It might even push out goosebumps out on your skin when Norris hits the high falsetto like it did to me.

In the end, Seldom Family is a work of art that I hope gets widespread attention. Apart from it just being a great album, Norris and Caulder's take on their sound feels deeply earnest. The emotional tone coupled with the darkly emotional sounds on this album cast so much imagery in your brain that any director would benefit from using some of this evocative stuff in their art. I am quickly becoming addicted to Robert Kirkman's "Outcast" and I could see a track like The Dogs or even It's Never Needless on an episode as a emotional counterpoint to the deeply disturbing narrative.

Do yourself a big favor and check out Seldom Family's self titled album and as always, if you love and appreciate what they do then support these guys with a kind word and buy their stuff. American Pancake is all about supporting great art.

-
Robb Donker


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Pocket Rockets - "The End" (Official Video)





















 The Pocket Rockets out of East L.A. are due to drop a new album soon produced by Jon Siebels (Monsters Are Waiting, Eve 6, Flybys) and Masterd by Brian Lucey (Arctic Monkeys, The Kills, The Arcs) but while you are waiting check out the video that will provide a taste of what is to come.

"The End" explodes from the very beginning with a heavy bass / drum groove as Ralph Blanco's vocals evoke a cool edge. The vocal performance and musical breaks feel like a kind of The Doors meets the Drums meets early Strokes and is that a punkified homage to "Black Magic Woman"???. The energy and dynamics of this track kill and beg for repeated listens. The video as as directed by Rudik Osorio takes place in shadows and a blue cast apart from the L.E.D lights adorning the drum kit. While the music is high energy, the boys play it chill and low key. The musical breaks are what show the dynamic melodic edge. Cool. Check it out.

-
Robb Donker

The Pocket Rockets are: 
Ralph Blanco - Bass Guitar & Vocals 
Lyndon Miller - Guitar 
Christopher Magallon - Drumset & Percussion 




Friday, July 8, 2016

Black Francis, Joey Santiago, David Lovering and Paz Lenchantin - The Pixies Are Whole Again- YEAH "Um Chagga Lagga" - Album "Head Carrier" and World Tour

2016 is the year that the Pixies are whole again. Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, Zwan, The Entrance Band) has joined the band as their permanent bassist. Besides the fact that she feels right and her name itself sounds like the name of a Pixies song, she rocks it. Seeing them live last year with Paz solidified it for me. She is a Pixie.

2016 will in fact be a huge year for Black Francis and the crew. A new album, "Head Carrier" due out in September and a world tour. I am crossing my fingers, hoping and praying that I will be able to see them on this tour.

I predict that "Head Carrier" (what a great title) is going to be a huge seller. Available on CD and 180 gram heavy weight black vinyl with a 24 page booklet with lyrics (and more) and the strangely engaging art work by Vaughan Oliver, the band's long time art director. There will also be a bundle of sorts featuring the deluxe box set with the T-shirt and special screen printed 12" x 12" record sleeve sized poster of the album artwork.

Track number 10 on the new album is Um Chagga Lagga. It is a mosh worthy kind of roots rocker and while it feels produced it is not overly so and has the raw stripped down earthy weirdness that is the Pixies. Other track titles (1) Head Carrier, (2) Classic Masher, (3) Baal's Back, (4) Might As Well Be Gone. (5) Oona, (6) Talent, (7) Tenement Song, (8) Bel Espirit, (9) All I Think About Now, (11) Plaster Of Paris, (12) All The Saints. I am already imagining what these songs will sound like, how they will effect me. "Oona".... hmmm, curious about that one and "Plaster Of Paris".... curious. Black Francis has one of those interesting writing filters or lack thereof and there is the allure for me. I have always gotten the sense that (like Bowie) he can on one hand make nonsense sound extremely deep and on the other can make deep things sound like nonsense. I like this "id" approach to song writing or at least that is what it has always felt like to me.

Paz Is A Pixie

There is a kind of pathetic band of Pixies naysayers who don't seem to accept or get the bands trajectory. For them, the Pixies went away when Kim Deal and the boys (and Black Francis especially) parted company. I don't get this mentality but then that might be the wrong choice of words because for the naysayers it is more about their broken hearts and I understand that but Paz feels like part of a kind of Pixies rebirth to me. Read her "press release" comments:

"I was very nervous in the beginning when I went to that first rehearsal. There were these shoes I felt I had to fill and I tried to do the best I could for the fans, to make the live performances sound true to the originals. I spent three years learning to understand what being a Pixie meant, and now, my heart, spirit, and love for their music is embedded in me and I feel like I have become a Pixie. We had been more about the history of the Pixies but now, we are going forward."

Nice to hear her use the "we" world. The Pixies are whole again, Hell yeah- "Um Chagga Lagga" indeed.
-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Petite Meller And Her Artistic Band Of Visionaries Are At It Again: "Milk Bath" Official Video





















Petite Meller and her artistic band of visionaries are at it again, The new song "Milk Bath" is a heady sonic blend of world indie music. It is pop but stuffed with cadences and beats that make you think of zydeco and mbaqanga rhythms all polished up and highly produced. The chorus is extremely catchy and sort of uplifting really. Some of the melodies feel Paul Simon-esque and not in the Graceland sort of way but in the 70's "Me and Julio Down by The Schoolyard" kind of way, which had that delicious samba feel to it and you can feel that here too.

"Milk Bath" was recorded both in and around London and Johannesburg in South Africa with the stellar instumentation performed by a cadre of talented musicians including Ladysmith Black Mambazo. As is always the case, Meller's sweeping blendo songs always include stunning video imagery and this song is no exception. Her long time collaborator Asaf T Mann shot some amazing stuff at various locations in Germany and Senegal where they shot luscious scenes at a naturally pink lake. The result is a song and video that feels vast and inspired with just the right dose of weird. Petite's aesthetic blends a whimsical sexual allure too but it is balanced here with a sense of wonder and as always there is this kind of all inclusiveness that is so engaging.

"Milk Bath" feels to me like it will have the widest reach of anything she has released before. Time will tell.-
Robb Donker