Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Javelin Fade" by Daniel Isaiah feels like something between a hymn and a hidden conversation between secret lovers

The terribly intimate sadly beautiful Javelin Fade by Daniel Isaiah feels like something between a hymn and a late night hidden conversation between secret lovers on top of the phone beneath bed blankets. Isaiah's vocal performance so upfront creeps seductively into your brain like propaganda. It is mesmerizing and the upfront nature of the production, drums way upfront, vox, and other synth sounds, bass, what sounds like pedal steel guitars even fade up in volume or fade back in such a dreamy way. The melodies shine too and in the end the whole production feels so moving while at the same time feeling like a psyche art rock piece. The theatrical artifice with drum snare rolls that sound like thunder amps up the dreaminess and art rock feel. Wow. 

Javelin Fade is the lead single from Isaiah's upcoming album "Only One Left". The album was started in 2016 and as the press notes indicate: 


The creation of this album was book-ended by the saddest and happiest events in Daniel's life; he started writing it during the last weeks of his mother's life, and the album was mastered the day before his wedding. In between, Isaiah travelled for nine months – to Turkey, Greece, Italy, England, France and The Netherlands – taking with him a Nord synthesizer that he used to compose most of the album.
Only One Left is an album of endings and beginnings, rooted in Isaiah's native Montreal, but also the countries where he travelled, a drifter in unfamiliar places as an outsider looking in. The music itself signals a new phase in the career of this artist – ever searching and deeply committed to the old craft of songwriting and experimenting with new forms of musical expression.

I am so moved and impressed with Javelin Fade. I can't wait to dive into what is sure to be an emotional deep album in "Only One Left."

-
Robb Donker



Friday, November 16, 2018

Hydromag cuts a beautifully sad deep groove eulogy on "P.J.R"

P.J.R  by Hydromag (the project of Falmouth (UK) based producer and multi instrumentalist Josh Best Shaw) instantly cuts a cool deep groove with airy guitar flavors, a gut punch bass and dreamy synth lines on top of potent beats. The music breathes to cradle cool vocal harmonies that feel languid and have a sense of forlorn romance. The beauty and coolness belie the inspirational reason for the song which was penned in memory of a Shaw's close relative who took their own life. Of the track he says, "It was not easy task to write this song, it took a lot out of me and I spent far longer on it than any other song I’ve written. I’m still not sure that I’m fully happy with it, but it was a good way to address the issues I had locked away."

P.J.R is from Hydromag's forthcoming "This Is Fleeting" EP.

-
Robb Donker



Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Family Knife out of Dublin, Ireland and the hazy dreamscape of "Golden Soundz"

Golden Soundz by The Family Knife feels dreamy with stacked vocal harmonies and guitars creating this ghostly fog of sonic images. I really don't know anything about these brothers from Dublin, Ireland. They seem to like to be kind of hidden right now. That is alright. Just keep making music.

-
Robb Donker

The Family Knife are a band from Dublin, Ireland. Purveyors of sometimes hopeful tunes, tinged with sadness. Brothers. And competing heirs to the Knife Family dynasty. 'The Family Knife' is a collection of 12 organic and electronic driven tracks, influenced by everyone from Deerhunter and Yo La Tengo, to Stereolab and The Beta Band.

"Oh Dead On Oh Love" by Lisa Papineau - instantly pretty moves deep inside - hear, feel, see (official video)


























The track Oh Dead On Oh Love, the first single / video and title track from Lisa Papineau's 4th solo full length due out Feb. 15th (2019) is instantly pretty as pearly guitar and comforting bass lines float like blown bubbles in the air. When Lisa's voice comes in with a declarative wide eyed performance it feels intimate but artistic like something between bedroom confessions and a full on Broadway musical. The theatricality of the vocal performance, this aesthetic doesn't break down or dissipate the emotion which can happen some times but instead makes it more so in a sort of whimsical magical way. The effect feels pained but elegant, sweet but fractured. I can't wait to hear the album.

Again, the album Oh Dead On Oh Love is due to drop on Feb 15th, 2019. The official video conceived and made by artist Betsy Kenyon recently premiered on Parade.

From the artist:

After fleshing out the world of the album, Papineau was able, to her great joy and contentment, to collaborate with many longtime musical partners: Tyler Bates, Jam Da Silva, Juan Alderete, Matthew Embree, and Koool G Murder to name a few. The album artwork is by renowned visual artist Andrea Mastrovito, who also provided the cover for her album Red Trees. “It is always a bit frightening for me each time I crawl out from the rock I’ve been hiding under, holding on a little too tight to my fistful of songs... but the experience of once again working with people I love, people who are hysterically fun but whose drive and creativity also push me, makes the coming together of everything on this record a true gift.”

-
Robb Donker





Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Intimidated" by talker is a perfect grunge pop song that feels like a big beginning

The track Intimidated by talker the moniker for singer-songwriter / musician Celeste Tauchar (Tauchar- talker, get it?) is a lesson in pop economy. I mean every second is used to full effect. Starting as what feels like an alt folk rocker and building on nice acoustic rhythms and youthful indie pop tones the song shifts into garage rock guitars and Tauchar showing her vocal chops. Once the "grunge pop" strains and fist in the air rock motif begins it sadly ends. Again a smart pop economy perfectly suited for the young. Intimidated is a super catchy and commercial song that will undoubtedly drive Tauchar places. At 23 she has a great character to her vocal performance and emotes with a deep well of feelings. I (respectfully) can't wait to hear her fully let go to the point of not sounding so so perfect.

-
Robb Donker



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Dead Inside" by Younger Hunger has a smile behind the cool goth post punk pop tones. From the self titled album dropping December 7th.

Dead Inside by three piece Younger Hunger percolates on thick percussive sounds dipped in goth post punk tones and framed in this kind of aloof proto punk sort of way all the while being a pop song, well a "haunt pop" song as the trio describes their sound. The production is catchy and the vocal performance is come on sultry and poised with a smile behind the cool. Younger Hunger is Tony Davia, Lou Connor and Lauren Potts who solidified their musical outfit status after a night of playing Nintendo 64 and drinking milkshakes in Long Beach, California.

About Dead Inside, Davia says:

 "We were all at this party and I was having a bad night. So we all left to go hang out at our studio and play some N64. We ended up jamming and that's when we wrote the hook over an old cowbell loop. We wanted all of the synth tones to sound like Street Fighter II style arcade sounds to commemorate the night. The whole thing came together really quickly, and it does a good job of representing our EP."

Their debut EP "Younger Hunger" (pre-order) will drop on December 7th. Produced by Adam Castilla (The Colourist) and mastered by Joe LaPorta (David Bowie, The Weeknd, Beach House), the group takes inspiration from artists such as The Teenagers, The Smiths, and MGMT. 


-

Robb Donker


Monday, November 12, 2018

Draag's "Your Better Half Is Dead" from the "Nontoxic Process" EP - unabashed pop pulled inside out lies between Pretty In Pink and Twin Peaks

Los Angeles based Draag began as a kind of reawakening of songwriter / musician Adrian Acosta (in 2013) delving into songs he recorded on a dual tape deck karaoke machine when he was only 10 years old. Fast forward about to 2017 after many musical self discoveries and Draag expanded to a 5 piece band. While dreams of a full length album were diverted by illness and other personal challenges the band's EP "Nontoxic Process" became "an answer to everything artificially driven and a need to feel something other than sickness." 

The track Your Better Half Is Dead riding on pearly guitar lines while waves of dissonant synth drones tug at the sweetness pulling it off balance. The vox melodies have a romantic forlorn new wave tone. I mean this song falls somewhere in between a soundtrack of Pretty In Pink and Twin Peaks, unabashed pop pulled inside out in an off kilter sort of way. The last vocal hush leaves the romance intact though. For me the vox are a bit buried in the haze but I guess that is part of the allure, noise pop with the lyrical heart to be discovered. Draag in the end are terribly romantic albeit sad. Just listen to the albums devastatingly haunting goosebumps inducing Tired Like Before. At over 6 minutes long you don't have to hear every word to be deeply touched to tears. Other songs drive on cool dynamic beats like Lavender Hole which again feels to me to be in that mid 80's new wave pocket (Psychedelic Furs meets the Cranberries). Sorry (Dispensa) is a heady and terribly cool beautiful blend of new wave sounds with a big grungy post punk guitar driven chorus and breaks that feel oddly interruptive in a machine takes over kind of way. The EP "Nontoxic Process" is not to be missed, NOT to be missed. 

-
Robb Donker



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Oxen's tropical punk flavors on the totally infectious pop of "Postpone"




































photo courtesy of Fredrik Stål

Postpone by Swedish the indie pop outfit Oxen with it's tropical punk flavor pushed through 80's new wave filters that brings to mind Culture Club, Bow Wow Wow, Abe Vigoda and current indie pop meets punk acts like The Drums and Vampire Weekend (but not.) In the end Oxen stand on their own in a cool, cool way. 

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


Oxen is a journey of intense foosball-games and striving towards the perfect song. Oxen started out, as every great story, of boredom. Two childhood friends trying to make something extraordinary out of the ordinary. In a quirky studio on a demolition lease, located in a Stockholm suburb called Årstaberg, Erik and Stefan began writing what would become their first singles ‘Only Forever’ and ‘Luck’. In the same space as where Mando Diao recorded “Bring ‘Em In”, the friends met daily to write whatever music they felt like, one day being inspired by Beatles and the other by MGMT. Their first two singles quickly reached 200k respectively 100k streams on Spotify followed by some festival gigs in Sweden as well as club gigs in London. Following their initial EP-release they started to write and record their new album ‘Postpone & Forget’ in the mythical Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg together with up-and-coming producer György Barocsai. During 2018 the band has released two singles ‘Limbo’ and ‘Soulmate’ and are about to drop two more before their debut album is released in the end of November. Until then Oxen will do a brief tour in Germany and continue to look for the perfect song.





Lac Belot and the wanderlustful art pop of "Unspectacular" from the "Abracadabra" album (out now)

From the Abracadabra album out on Solina Records, Lac Belot's (Helsinki, Finland) wanderlusful art pop track Unspectacular with it's vast orchestral sound anchored by Belot's wise beyond years vocal style is a song on the move. Just listening to it's heartfelt evocations you can almost feel scenery speeding by on the periphery. 

-
Robb Donker



Frederick The Younger's sonic Polaroid on the hazy muted love of "Everybody Wants To Take You For A Ride"

I don't know why some forms of art feel tied to past decades but I do know that the track Everybody Wants to Take You for A Ride by Louisville, Kentucky indie rockers Frederick The Younger has (for me) a decidedly 60's / 70's sound. It is something about the composition itself and maybe lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jenni Cochran's vocal style that feels part aloof and fatalistically dour in that "I really don't give a shit when I die as long as I really live" sort of way and while Everybody Wants to Take You for A Ride is (for the band) a slower departure even on their more cagey and upbeat songs they simply possess that pivotal older sound. Very organic, very blues rock based pushed through a bit of psyche / hippie rock which I have always referred to garden rock. Frederick The Younger's aesthetic feels like a sonic Polaroid, cool and groovy and earnest. Much Love.

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jenni Cochran grew up loving music. Going as far back as third grade, Cochran had a fire to write songs. Years later, while living in Vietnam, Cochran knew that she had to keep following music, that she needed her adventures to continue.
Growing up in Louisville, Aaron Craker learned to play guitar and keyboard at an early age. Eventually forming the band Dr. Vitamin, so named for his grandfather who discovered vitamin’s A and D, Craker dedicated himself to his craft. Running into Cochran at an improv acting group, the two hit it off and have stuck around since.
The rest was history. They spent time together. They wrote some songs, then a record, and then a few more. They worked with some friends before finding their drummer Dave Givan in 2015. Jake Hellman came in just last summer to carry the bottom end on bass, and brought a new found energy to the group. The band is their bond, formed on rock and roll through the lens of psychedelic garage pop, the Kinks or Beatles modernized with the hint of Western music teasing at the edges. 
There is an earnestness to their newest songs that rings true, the kind of sincerity born from experience. These songs feel alive and well-lived, tragic, beautiful, and contemplative, all with a solid hook. Frederick the Younger will haunt your memories, lodging themselves into your brain and refusing to let go. They will hold your hand and dance, and talk to you afterwards. These are the friends you didn’t know you had, singing to you in the dark, and guiding you to the light.