Saturday, December 24, 2016

Altar Eagles - "Skeletal" Brings That Vibe In Spades -


Altar Eagles' Skeletal starts with a heavy bass and drum bottom. It is a foundation that is dripping with cool and then the hooky almost circular guitar line pulls you in further. This intoxicating mix isn't what ultimately defines the track, it is Erik Alcock's voice and snarling melody. It is decidedly more poppy then, let's say, experimental but the interweaving production is masterful. By the end it is a heady swirling production of synths, climbing bass lines with a kind of emotional-indie rock vibe. Great seductive tune brought to you by I Can't Wait For Summer.

Now based out of L.A. Alcock's musical journey started in his native Toronto, Canada where he miraculously landed a job with EMI Canada at 17 years old. Quitting school to be in the biz he has hit those low spots and incredible highs. A section from his bio:



Upon turning pro, young Erik dropped out of school and got kicked out of his house. For the next two years, he lived like a refugee in a room in a jam space with a bathroom down the hall, surviving on a steady diet of drugs and rice and beans--mostly drugs. While the experience was not all that conducive to his songwriting, Erik was able to develop his chops by playing with all kinds of musicians, since he was always in the space. 

His quality of life improved substantially when he joined a band and spent the next few years living like a vagabond on tour constantly. A serendipitous encounter occurred following a show, when Erik's partner in the songwriting team, The New Royales, Grammy winning Producer DJ Khalil had asked Erik if he had ever considered writing hooks for other artists. He did so and has credits with the likes of Eminem, Kanye West, Pink and a host of others, which led to having the theme for  Mission Impossible 4, the Call of Duty video game, and Jake Gyllenhall's movie "Southpaw."


-
Robb Donker




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Brooklyn Based Erin Pellnat's EP "Dream In Color" Is As Rich As A Box Of Old Polaroids































Brooklyn based Erin Pellnat's EP Dream In Color is a strange little animal. I mean it has songs that kind of have a bossa nova jazz feel, kind of art rock tones, kind of retro art folk in that Warhol factory sort f way, kind of medieval chamber tones, kind of Irish folkish or, well, you catch my drift. It is the drift, in fact, the "sort of" or "kind of like" elements that make the sounds on this records so interesting. This sense of blending styles and decades of music really make it a kind of time machine too.

The track Forever Kisses has such a kind of 60's staid quality emotionally grounded by Pellnat's pure vocal performance. The drums, the old school measured strums and is that an accordion?? The aesthetic is charming and could be taken as kind of corny if it weren't done so earnestly. The staging here feels like it could be a track in a Sergio Leone movie. I really love the feel here. In a similar way, Stay has a very elegant folk tone. Pellnat perfectly pronounced story telling harkins back to classic folk. The violin and percussive feel again time travels you back to some uncharted western territory or hills of green in Ireland. The thematic feel here is so dense, so rich with imagery. Dream in Color feels a bit more funky, more mysterious but still seems to exist in another time. While I actually thought of 60's icons like Nico and Judy Collins even, Pellnat's voice reminds me a bit of Cecillia Della Peruti (Gothic Tropic) and Leslie Feist (Feist).

Just when I thought I had the aesthetic here figured out my ears encountered Blue Skies and Happiness which percolates with a free smooth jazz vibe. Again Pellnat's vocals shine here. Perfectly controlled and so adult. Yes I know that sounds funny but there is a maturity beyond her years here. And a maturity in the compositions which makes sense as the songs were composed by Erin's father Christopher Pellnat. It turns out that Dream In Color is a family affair.

Erin is singer songwriter who fronts the band Caretaker while her father Christopher (a long time musician and songwriter) is currently the electric guitar player in the Poughkeepsie, New York based band Warp/The Weft. I am not sure whose decision it was to come together, daughter and father, for this project or if it just happened. In the end the reasons don't matter because the results are so beautiful and interesting. One can only hope that the Pellnat's will do some live shows together as well.

-
Robb Donker


Christmas Cheer! from the Tijuana Panthers-- rendition of the Kinks Father Christmas!!


















OH YES- I am filled with Christmas cheer now after hearing Tijuana Panthers rendition of the Kinks Father Christmas!!
-
Robb Donker




Stream + Buy "Father Christmas" now: http://smarturl.it/TJPfatherxmas

Tijuana Panthers "Father Christmas" out now on Bandcamp: https://tijuanapanthers.bandcamp.com

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vienna Based Bruch- Official Video for To My Sanity from the Lottery LP on Cut Surface Records



















I am currently checking out Vienna based Bruch (aka Philipp Hanich) recently released LP Lottery on Cut Surface Records and mesmerized at the varied 13 songs that bend and blend punk and gothic dark folk and sounds that are hard to define. What is not hard to define is Bruch's evocative vocal style that instantly sucks you into his stories. Deep and haunting there is a beautiful allure to his drawl.





While I am simmering in Lottery I implore you to check out the video for a track off the album named To My Sanity. It is a eerie and stunning slow dance in some other world. Great stuff Philipp.

-
Robb Donker




Friday, December 9, 2016

Office Christmas Party Tonight (30 degrees BRR) Shows: Lovely Bad Things - Dec 10th (So Cal) , Museyroom - Dec 10th (NYC) and The Welcome Home - Dec 9th (Tonight) in Athens, Ga




























For me this weekend kicks of with the office Christmas Party. It will be outside and inside with outside temps at around 30 degrees so I will be nestled next to the fire pit in between saying embarrassing things and spouting off some karaoke. While I look forward to a night of mild debauchery I wanted to share three shows well worth catching in Los Angeles, NYC and Athens, Georgia.

Saturday December 10- Lovely Bad Things at the Hi-Hat Highland Park , California

Lovely Bad Things- the once foursome has been a fivesome with the addition of the bearded wonder Wesley. This mean less live guitar swapping but a more dense power pop punk sound and more guitar intricacies weaved into the melodies. Last reported show of 2016 playing new songs off their upcoming 2017 album - Teenage Grownups release on Burger Records. At the Hi Hat in Highland Park with Susan, Caterwall and Whaja Dew-
get tix here: Hi Hat Tix





Friday December 9th - Museyroom at the Mercury Lounge- NYC

Museyroom pack a lot of trippy psychedilia for a 3 piece band. Hubbed out of NYC with familial tentacles streching to Philadelphia their proggy ambient sound will make your mind drift off to interesting places. Check out their latest LP Pearly Whites. I love the Mercury Lounge, cheap drinks and cool bands like Museyroom. Sean Mcverry also performs.





Saturday December 10th- The Welcome Home at the 40 Watt - Athens, Georgia

The Welcome Home plays to a home audience at the legendary 40 Watt. Their EP, A Land Outside of This has a folk heart with a vast lush indie pop sound. Stories set to music. They play with Mosaic. Don't miss this show. More info here: 40 Watt


Thursday, December 8, 2016

The World Lost John Lennon 36 Years Ago Today.

The World Lost John Lennon 36 Years Ago Today.








I remember being so stunned upon hearing the news that John Lennon had been murdered outside his apartment building in New York. I drove around a bit aimlessly and finally found myself at my girlfriend's parent's house. She met me on the front lawn. We embraced and I cried in her arms. It is the first time I had cried about the loss of someone I actually did not know personally. His incredible impact as a songwriter, musician, activist, fashion icon and more obviously had seeped deeply into my heart. The tragedy also focused on the danger of celebrity, of how those creative bright stars unfortunately can attract deeply sick individuals. By the way, I married that girlfriend, we had three amazing kids and we are still together. All you need is love is right. 

Rest in Peace John-

Robb Donker