Monday, July 24, 2017

In The Valley Below - "Bloodhands (Oh My Fever) Rocks

In The Valley Below's new video for "Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)" is dripping with a gothic Hammer Films uncomfortableness. Like 70's British horror where everyone acts so properly insane there are kids playing with voodoo dolls, a stately manor and guests who seem to be engaging with either their fears or their secret passions. The song is just plain delicious with a bit of an 80's Eurythmics tone but a hell of a lot beefier. Embedded in the rock tones are deep soulful grooves. Jeffrey Jacobs guitar hooks are just that and Angela Gail's vocal performance (along with Jacobs) feels kind of detached but beautiful like the song demands. Very cool. I haven't heard the Elephant EP that this track comes from but will soon enough especially after hearing Bloodhands (Oh My Fever).

- Robb Donker


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Night Talks - In Dreams Floods Your Senses

When I listen to Night Talks' songs Jungle or Green there is a certain melodrama to their sound. Their songs play like movies with a sense of seething emotions whether it be betrayal or envy. This with their almost torch song meets prog rock pop aesthetic I would describe their sound as pop noir. Their track In Dreams while more chill, more melancholy, still possesses an over reaching cinematic tone in the story telling. Front woman Soraya who can deliver a bite when needed instead tempers her formidable vocal chops with beautiful longing. Enjoy below.
Robb Donker

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wall Of Ears' "Hello Beautiful Nothing" is Really Something

When I interviewed C.W. Lott (the mastermind behind Seattle's Wall of Ears) several weeks ago he talked about surrealism and his obsessions with "alien" consciousness and UFOlogy and how his three year labor of love (the album) "Hello Beautiful Nothing" was written with the mantra of embracing the void. He talked about trying to clean his mind of all thoughts during the writing process and when sounds, ideas and lyrics came to him that while these trinkets were probably in his subconscious it was (for him) fun and mystical to think that the creative fodder might actually come from a higher level transmitted to him through the fabric of space and time from who knows where. It is trippy thinking full of possibilities and even taken as a pure exercise to foster creativity can feel mind blowing. It is no wonder that "Hello Beautiful Nothing" bristles with and oftentimes explodes with  a trippy vastness that feels at once down to earth and organic but also like from the great beyond all the while dripping with a lush psych pop-ness.

From the get go Sea Legs with it's trippy organ and cool embracing beat you know you are going to take a journey. C.W. Lott's falsetto fills in the voids perfectly carried on a chill bass line and washes of vocals and trippy guitar. There is an unmistakable world cadence and tone to Ray Gun. It is sultry and soaring "you change me... I feel you transmutate my blood... making me stranger" and as multicolored as an Indian Tapestry. Apart from the spaciness on the album there is a solid very Brit 80's pop feel on some of the tracks and We Go Outside feels in that mode. I thought of Duran Duran and it oozes a cool black leather vibe. Mind Moves is just plain delicious as funky pop and stoned cool as Mac DeMarco but also has dashes of Roxy Music. Put Mind Moves on repeat for an hour and feel your stress level dissipate so much that you could literally slide under a lock door (or at least imagine it).

When Talker comes on it feels like such a heady experience. You are carried off somewhere to another place and time. It feels vast and vampy too like a cagey escapade through a safari through Marrakesh. The lead guitar is so exquisitely fun.  Floating Off The Line is super lush and the chorus refrain "I've been floating off the line of what's real... do I feel how X feels" leaves questions unanswered and open to a myriad of interpretations. The way I like it. Lyrics can be poetic or not. Some might read like a diary. People's lives gutted and on display. C.W. Lott's words (at least on this collection of songs) for me feels like bright imaginings. Emotions carried in bits of science fiction on static filled screens. That doesn't mean that they don't say anything and in fact this type of songwriting sometimes says everything. Scattered thoughts that the listener can pick through and take for themselves.

Balloon In The Sky feels surf rocky at times and also feels coyly like a song on a Grindhouse flick.
C.W. Lott expressed his absolute love with Brit rock and the slight British accent when he sings is amplified in Don't Ya Know which feels a bit like The Kinks circa 1970. The psych rock tone of Ooze Out leans heavily toward the hippie side of things. The song itself feels like a movement steeped in a Timothy Leary high.

My favorite song on "Hello Beautiful Nothing" is Brain Thaw. It is a big lush slap of art rock. Blended in this romantic Brit-pop psychedelia is a bottom heavy back beat of 50's doo wop flavors that feel like Americana rock in that Phil Spector or Springsteen vein. This heartfelt blend is what makes this song so very special. The wall of sound, the early rock piano and vocal melody has a starry eyed optimism to it. Something that we all need to swim in from time to time and soak in especially at these crazy unpredictable times.  Get "Hello Beautiful Nothing" push play and immerse yourself.

Robb Donker

See Bandcamp link and link to the C.W. Interview below:

Friday, July 7, 2017

...Spilled Wax Making a Rorschach Pattern On The Floor. But What Does It Say?

MAN O MAN life, as of late, has felt like a long sleepless inebriated weekend of scattered brained-ness. So many things to do, candles burning at both ends to the point of burning out with spilled wax making a Rorschach pattern on the floor. But what does it fucking say??

Hope to get back into a more healthy return of being productive on the blog, on the podcast, and yes the songs for the upcoming EP-

Hang in their with me boys and girls.

sending out good vibes and love-


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Shannon And The Clams- "It's Too Late" Will Put A Smile On Your Face and A Shimey Shake On Your Hips

I can feel it. Shannon and The Clams are about to ascend to that place that rarified place of full on public consciousness and a stint on SNL. I just get this sense that this will happen soon. It is not only that they have grown a huge following since 2009 and it is not only that Hardly Arts Records has done right with these guys it is a sense that their blend of doo wop punk and rockabilly aesthetics is needed right now when the world is going nuts and Trump is actually (throwing up in my mouth a bit) the President of these United States.

Their new song "It's Too Late" is a delicious diversion. Gritty sound. I just love it.
Robb Donker

Sunday, June 18, 2017

American Pancake Podcast # 6 - Sounds from Another Dimension

Hello boys and girls! It has been a while since I posted up a podcast / radio show, in fact I believe it has been about 2 weeks. Life got so busy and hectic but PODCAST number 6 is UP and it is a good one. I hope you check it out. I implore you to, pretty please ?!!?

It was such a pleasure shooting the breeze with CW Lott from Wall of Ears. We talked about a lot of trippy stuff and swapped thoughts on his new album 3 years in the making, "Hello Beautiful Nothing" that is so damn special. As always let me know what you think.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hear Pre-Mastered "No Matter What Planet" For A Limited Time

Dying Star, my project EP is coming out this month. For a limited time I am sharing the unlisted Semi-Mastered track for No Matter What Planet (Eclipsing Rays) through the bio link on my Instagram. See below. Enjoy-
Robb Donker

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Superet - Official Video for "Pay It Later"

Superet, they have just entered my musical consciousness. They are a rock outfit out of Los Angeles. They just wrapped up an East Coast / Midwest tour supporting DREAMCAR. They seemed to have coalesced from many past musical bands / happenings and as close friends came together last Valentine's day. They just released the video for Pay It Later. It is a dense juggernaut of amped up blendo rock with heavy glam influences and new wave infestations. As the song filtered through my brain I thought of T-Rex, Sweet, The Killers, and even Adam Ant (does anyone remember the Ant man?). I don't know more than that except that according to their press release they are coming. From this Adrenalin filled taste I look forward to more.
Robb Donker

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mr. Byrd - Feel "I'll Never Let Go" From His Upcoming Steel Cold Train EP

Woke up this morning with a million thoughts in my head. Last night was full of airport people, No Mas, hugs, tears and hopes of rebirth. Then I found Mr. Byrd. Jeremy Byrd to be exact. His EP Steel Cold Train is dropping June 9th. The song I'll Never Let Go starts easy but quickly induces chills across your skin as the weight of the melody pushes you down to your knees. Like wistful, even painful memories invading your brain the song builds to a powerful moving conclusion. Byrd carries emotion firmly in his vocal tones in a deep way. I imagine he closes his eyes when he sings and I imagine he feels everything he sings it in a real way.

Feel this song below.
Robb Donker

Nashville-based Country/Folk artist Mr. Byrd
To release debut EP, Steel Cold Train, out June 9th

(Brooklyn, NY) The story of songwriter Jeremy Byrd is that of a classic Southern upbringing, major label disillusionment and, ultimately, finding one’s voice through it all. As a member of the Verve-signed The Bridges at a very young age, along with his sisters, Byrd jammed in a lifetime’s worth of highs, lows and in-betweens all by the age of 23.

Once the dust had finally settled on the big ticket promises of The Bridges, Byrd took a job cooking at a coffee shop while keeping his guitar and family close. Joined by his sisters on gorgeous harmonies, Jeremy is now readying to share his debut release as Mr. Byrd, the Steel Cold Train EP.

“I’m from Alabama, Cold Water to be exact,” shares Byrd. “Just about 5 miles away from the Talladega Speedway. I was plucked from Orlando and dropped in nowhere Alabama when I was eleven, when my dad decided to start a church with another pastor in 2001. I never really like that town. Never really liked the people who lived there. I did find joy in my family and songs and some close friends I made who, like me, also played guitar. This became very much my life. When i was seventeen I joined my sisters band, a vocal group writing and performing original songs and hailing some attention from nearby cities; Birmingham and Atlanta. I was the drummer. We wrote prolifically. I learned structure and melody from sitting in with them while they hammered out each bar of music. I had ideas of my own, and eventually my ideas would become the fresh sound we wanted to portray. Though it did take some years.”

It was after that time that Byrd would reconvene with his sisters and producer K.S. Rhoads where the fabric behind Steel Cold Train would fall into place.

“I guess it’s funny though, I used the band that drove me to and then away from music to bring me right back into it. I just can’t seem to get away from these girls. The songs themselves come from years of sitting in the background, patiently waiting, and/or processing heartbreak.”