Wednesday, September 20, 2017

London Electro-Pop Outfit Crooked Teeth's Release "Mirrors" And Yet Unreleased Songs Portend A Stunning Debut

The mainstays, the meat and potatoes of rock and roll are guitars, drums, bass and vocals from the heart and soul. Obviously and orchestra of instruments stimulate that heart and soul and when the Mellotron and Moog synthesizers arose in the 60's minds were blown. The critical mass of synthesizers in popular music was and may always be the 80's and since then there are bursts of synth based bands now and then. Amid the guitar fueled indie bands, the sometimes over saturationg of the same thing those synth bands can feel like the circus is coming to town. Electronic strains, synth dreams and robotic beats can still, if done right, feel like the future and nostalgia as one at the very same moment. There is something particularly trancy and sinisterly cool. If done right there is a deep tone of romance and hope too. When it is done right it can feel like pop gone awry in a good way. The 3 piece band that call themselves "Crooked Teeth" out of London get is so right.

Their relase Mirrors is so lush and infectious fueled by pumping synth engines and dreamy drones of sound. Robert Armstrong's vocals are incredibly cool and yet drenched with an almost aloof sense of sadness. This song kills because it exists in that vacuum of time when your heart is either going to swell with love or be broken into a million pieces whether in a highschool gym shaking under a glitter ball or under the lamplight of a seaside pier in the embrace of middle age. Cool stuff.

As engaging as this track is I am blessed to have heard some yet unreleased tracks. One that is rumoured to be named "Sand and Stone" in it's emotional complexity is just drop dead gorgeous. It does everything right in such an utterly understated way. The lyrics are wistful and cinematic. Seeing as these UK boys sing about the "American Dream" I wonder if it is with derision or a sense of glory or something in between. However you take it, the result lyrically but more importanly melodically is very moving:  "Bless these walls with pace, you bless the American Dream for you. Blistered by the screen, salute the lone star’s what you do boy. Southern by demand, you god speed your John Glenn for you boy. Hit and hope in hell, you bless the American Dream for you boy."

The track Oh Toronto Nearly Done feels more chill and cagey. There is a sense of wanderlust tool. Of travel and movement. The track Lungs has an uplifting new romantic wave come over you.

Yes, the circus has come to town and it is grand.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

American Pancake Podcast #9 - F.U. IRMA Edition - Brunch, Flesh World, Adult Books, Phoebe Bridgers, Bauhaus, and Much More

As Tropical Storm Irma reaches it's tentacles into Georgia- I podcast under an umbrella and the AP sunroom and bring you incredible music while watching huge trees swaying and shaking like they are angrily animated. Thanks to Jack Bacon from Tuckshop Community Radio and Hoxton FM for turning me on to Brunch. They are so awesome I play not one but two of the songs off their "Useless" album. Also kudos to the track Motion Sickness by Phoebe Bridgers whose trajectory is at a sharp angle to the top. Her lyrics have always been so special and pointed really. Rosetta out of Philadelphia make their sludgy metal space rock so incredibly beautiful. I share one track of my Dying Star album up on Bandcamp expound on Bauhaus and struggle with the possessive of Buzzcocks. There is the total surprise track Glow Buddy by Lovely Bad Things and the incredible super cool Flesh World out of San Francisco. And more-- you gotta check it out and make me happy.
What else would make me happy is if you donate to help the poor people who are suffering from this natural disaster.
Robb Donker

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Warp / The Weft Hold A Mystical Swagger In Their Tales On The Album "Mapping The Absence"

The Warp / The Weft out of Poughkeepsie, New York twist old folk and old world frames creating their own earnest kind of chamber rock tableaus. Their is a definite homage to old styles via classic progs and licks in the same way that standard blue licks remain constant to some degree in all blues song but it is the way they torque and twist the aesthetic down coalescing it into an almost heavy metal gothic theater. Theater is the key word as Shane Murphy's commanding, trembling vocal performance holds sway squeezing all the storytelling out of the songs. His performance feels like it is at a full tilt leaning over the footlights and staring into your eyes. The performances, the songs have a tone that feels fable-esque even when they rock out. Step into the fog and check out Briars and if a chill runs up your back step further and check out the entire album. My guess is that the bands mystical swagger will wrap around you soon enough.
Robb Donker

Saturday, September 9, 2017

GGOOLLDD : "Excelsior Springs" Lush Synth Pop Will Embrace You

GGOOLLDD : "Excelsior Springs"

I am going to start this track review off with my strong impersonation of the "get off my porch" old man. God you should see this, it is so good.
IMPRESSION:  "Kids today with their rock and roll names. How the fuck do you say GGOOLLDD?? Whatever happened to good solid names like the Everly Brothers or the Rolling Stones!! Now those were rock band names but what the hell is a GGOOLLDD and if you pronounce it GOLD then double what the fuck!"

Thank you, thank you and I am sorry you missed the shaking pointing hand. GGOOLLDD is a 4 piece band out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their new single Excelsior Springs is a silky smooth electronic pop track propelled on lush groove of bass and synth flows and ambient noises that bring winter melting ice to mind amidst airy dance moves. Margaret Butlers vocals have an embracing quality with a romantic underbelly. The aesthetic here feels sweet but also love struck or torn like some scene out of a highschool dance in a 80's John Hughes flick with moments of sad reflection and arms outstretched to fly. Very cool track out on Roll Call Records. Check out the band on tour.

Robb Donker

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

OFFICIAL VIDEO: Bad Pop's "Other Spooky Is" Bristles With a Thick Coat Of Gleeful Psychosis

Bad Pop's new single "Other Spooky Is" bristles with a thick coat of gleeful psychosis. The Canadian trio's brand of art punk is playfully heavy (metal) and yet powerfully cinematic too. Lead singer Chris Connelly spouts his words with the whimsy of Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), the theatrics of Tommy Scott (Space) and the caterwaul of Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) all rolled up into one.

The video for "Other Spooky Is" is at once ridiculously funny as it is disturbing depending on your point of view. For me, the superimposed close up face is a bit disconcerting and I found myself just listening to the song that is just a wild ride, crazy, psychotic and powerfully fun. Of the song, Connelly says:  ‘Right from the start we always wanted  "Other Spooky Is" to be the first thing that we'd release. It always felt like a big, bold, ridiculous statement... the kind of thing that you'll either love or hate.  There's no middle ground with this song.  If you're still listening by the time the demonic robot shows up, you're probably hooked.’
Robb Donker

Press Notes:
Awe-stricken by each others' SXSW performances, Bad Pop and SuperGlu are embarking on a week-long  UK tour in mid-September. Mixing Bad Pop's dichotomous joking-intimidation with SuperGlu's self-branded bubblegum rock, the co-headlined set is sure to be a hard-partying alt-rock banger.


8th September - The Swan, Ipswich
9th September - Esquires, Bedford
13th September - Facebar, Reading
14th September - The Cellar, Oxford
17th September - Hope & Ruin, Brighton
18th September - Old Blue Last, London

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Put Your Pink Headband On and Listen to "Flicker" by The Able Bodies via their Official Video

It is Wednesday and time to get moving. During these hard political and socially trouble times I could stand to take a B positive pill. Yes, I actually wrote that. But truly while we all cannot ignore the unrest or the people hurting or the horrendous situation in Houston being engulfed with rain water, we can attack those important issues with a sense of positivity and even a sense of fun. It is afterall fun to help people. There is no better feeling.

These two guys out of Rochester, New York are spreading good vibes. Known as The Able Bodies, John Viviana, aka Vivitron (Blue Falcon / Filthy funk) and Eli Flynn aka Flynnstone (Upward Groove) blends sounds inspired by their love of synth pop, hip-hop, new wave, funk, jazz and rock coming up with kind of dreamy meets fanciful meets retro indie pop sound. Put on a pink headband and check out Flicker and move.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Weeds by Clara Strauch. This Beautiful Orchestral Pop Ballad Seems Especially Relevant Today

Is it just me or are there Weeds growing everywhere. Definitely the cultural / political climate has seemed to let weeds flourish. Everyone is at odds with each other. There are icons of hate in high places and yet we have to persevere and not be afraid to press forward and do the right thing in all aspects of our lives. Persephone is the debut album of Swedish / American singer-songwriter Clara Strauch. The album was recorded at Homefry Studios in Brooklyn, New York. Weeds offer a glimpse into this album inspired by the myth of Persephone, the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology whose fate of eternal traveling created the seasons. Beautiful, dreamy stuff.

 ”Weeds”, which is a pop ballad on piano, featuring sincere, strong vocals accompanied by ethereal strings and trumpet. ”Weeds” is a song about dealing with what we’ve been trying to avoid — "where the weeds grow" — and how petrifying, yet inevitable, it is to break free from a lie. Our sorrows can be portals to our strengths. For Strauch, this especially resonates with coming out of the closet. ”Weeds”
Robb Donker


Clara Strauch leads a life of contrasts. She grew up on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, where she befriended the piano at age five, and began songwriting and guitar playing in her early teens. At eighteen she moved alone to her father’s hometown of New York City, to study acting and singing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. During this time, she released the EP Doda, played shows in both North and South America, and was featured on Swedish national radio. After five years of hectic city life, she felt the need to return to her peaceful island, and she now splits her time between the two countries — like Persephone. This ongoing bi-cultural smörgåsbord feeds her poetic, sincere, storytelling songs in which her warm, wide-ranged voice explores playful ways of songwriting and singing. Her lyrics often tell stories of loss and the process of letting go of past illusions in order to come home to oneself, such as ”Weeds.” With a background in theater, Strauch has composed scores for the plays Love’s Labour’s Lost at Romateatern — Sweden’s biggest Shakespeare theatre — and The Tempest at Smith Street Stage in Brooklyn, NY. For the latter she was nominated for Outstanding Original Music at The NYITAwards. With Romateatern, she has recently developed a theatre and music program for integration of refugees in Sweden. Strauch has also written the folk musical Wayward Home - A Musical Folktale in collaboration with playwright Maizy Scarpa. Inspired by Noah’s Ark and migration stories, it has been produced at Hubbard Hall and Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, and The Stonington Opera in Maine.

Friday, August 25, 2017

OFFICIAL DROPS- Lovely Bad Things - "Teenage Grownups" via Burger Records AND Together Pangea's "Bulls and Roosters" via Nettwerk- HEAR Both Here.

What a day. The Lovely Bad Things - "Teenage Grown Ups" (via Burger Records) is finally seeing the light of day. Teaser tracks have been seeping out since mid last year. Also officially out (via Nettwerk) is Together Pangea's "Bulls and Roosters".  It is a lovely thing as both bands have been close to my vest and I am fond of Jonny Bell (Crystal Antlers / Jazzcatz Studio) who recorded Lovely Bad Things and Andrew Schubert who co-produced Bulls and Roosters with the Together Pangea. Congrats to all.

Reviews and more coming up on both but for now hear them both via Youtube streaming:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tess In Venice - "Show Me Summer" Is Pop Induced, Sparkly and Teary At The Same Time

Oh so cool to hear an early peek from Tess In Venice (Tess Cunningham) - in her new video release for "Show Me Summer" shot in Australia, Ireland and London. The single's official release is September 1st via Midnight Cat Records.

This particular track veers into a more pop vein than Once Upon A Time (that felt more like 90's post rock and darker) that I reported on last year.

I have always liked that Tess explores different flavors to her art and Show Me Summer has a strong free pop framework and (dare I say) I thought a bit of early, early Madonna (my favorite Madonna) because it doesn't feel over thought just care free, dreamy and, yes, with a patina of somberness too like the summer sway is peppered with pieces of a broken heart. Lovely stuff. I love this song.
Robb Donker

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Eclipse Days and I Apologize For....

WHOA! Just wanted to say "Happy Eclipse Day" and please be careful especially with all the wee little ones who might not have their glasses on properly and damage there eyes.

Big apologies to those submissions that are stacked on my virtual table and in dire need of attention. There are many and my blog duties have taken a bit of a back seat as I am currently working on 3 new songs for the upcoming "Donker" EP (Age of Dinosaurs) due out December 1st. Apart from that writing some pieces for my Medium Page and curating for the Podcast. This while juggling a very busy day job and personal life too.

Yes, not enough hours in the day. I was thinking about that when in the middle of the day I was sawing up a couch in the garage that no one will take and has a date for the dumpster. What a life, huh??

I posted an incomplete song on the AP Facebook page- check it out-- Will it make the EP cut? I haven't decided, it sure is a bit different for me. Some info on the post about how I ended up putting images from the Virgin Suicides with it.

Thanks for all you who are supporting the blog, the podcast and my music.
Love you-



Monday, August 14, 2017

American Pancake Radioshow PODCAST # 8: Athen's Pop Fest and Juggling Too Many Balls

It has been a couple of weeks since the last Podcast as my busy life seems to have gotten even more busy. It has been a combination of longer hours at the proverbial day job that can spill over into less time to work on songs for the new Donker EP set to drop before Christmas which then spills over into not keeping up with submissions to this here blog which then spill over into certain such home life chores as in taking care of certain car repairs to purchases that are time sensitive for recording Daws upgrades to taking care of actual important Governmental concerns to then circle back around to delaying some day job work thingies that I could better do at home!  A vicious revolving circle to time death. And time is so fleeting as it is. But enough complaining.

On to the Podcast. On the heals of seeing Blondie, Garbage and Deep Valley several days ago at Chastain Park Amphitheatre I also attended DAY 3 of the Athen's Pop Fest which is just a cool event in a very cool town. When you are in Athen's you must visit and purchase vinyl over at Wuxtry Records which has been helping to shape the music scene since 1976 and was voted in the top 25 of the best record stores in the country by Rolling Stone magazine. Grabbed great drinks and food at the Globe, got literally soaked to the bone by a typical Georgia torrential rain downpour so much so that I had to change clothes and missed the first band and then finally got over the historic iconic Georgia Theatre that quickly became my favorite venue of it's size ever. I also feature the luscious psych rock of Leaf, the amazing deep hooks and narrative of Sarah Bethe Nelson, the Indie pop prowess of Real Estate and a big fat shameless plug for some of my musical stuff!

Seeing Superchunk, meeting Kelly Deal and more-- so awesome. Check out PODCAST #8- (great for listening at work too!!)
Robb Donker

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Canto- "Say It Out LOUD" Dark Surf Psych Rock contains Emotional Magic

Say It Out Loud- those words conjure up many things steeped in emotional magic. Like the mere saying of something like "I love you" or "I will drive your sister to San Francisco" will make it set in stone, will make your intentions so real that if you are not telling the truth dire things can happen. It also makes me think of horror movies when the utterance of something will bring dark consequences. And, now it makes me think of Canto, three brothers out of Pasadena, California who are in sync when it come to their potent dark surf / psych rock. Say It Out Loud is from their latest EP release called Limbs.

Seamus (lead vocals/ guitar), David (drums) and Aidan (bass) have been making music together for years. Limbs has different flavors but they all possess pearly guitar, lushs bass runs and evocative vocals. Sad Dreams is appropriately dream with the guitar lines floating so cooly, Violence is so jaggedly sharp and edgy, I'll Never Know is sultry in it's rock persona and Say It Out Loud is, well, you decide for yourself. Look for Canto on tour this month and you can learn more about them at

Robb Donker

Friday, August 4, 2017

BANDCAMP Will Donate 100% of Sales to The Transgender Law Center This Friday, Aug 4th- I Invite All Bandcamp Artists To Double Down This Friday


As a new member of the Bandcamp family I am so incredibly proud of Bandcamp as a company when they announced that this FRIDAY, yes, this FRIDAY Aug 4th Bandcamp will be donating 100% of their share of every sale made. So this is a grand opportunity to support artists whom you love as well as the Transgender Law Center (you can read more about their important mission below). I encourage Bandcamp artists to double down on Friday by donating their share of any sale of any specific song or album of theirs. To do my part I will give 100% of any Bandcamp revenue of Shadow Box Butterfly, a song dedicated to those in the LGBT community and anyone else who is fighting to be their true-self in a world that can sometimes not be so accepting of who they are, to the Transgender Law Center not only on Friday but for the entire month of August. I will also give 50% of the sale of my album Dying Star to the cause as well for the entire month of August. I encourage YOU to do the same. Please check out the important information in the Bandcamp Press Release Below.


Bandcamp is a platform for artistic expression, and all manner of variance in experience and identity, including gender and sexuality, is welcome here. We support our LGBT+ users and staff, and we stand against any person or group that would see them further marginalized. This includes the current U.S. administration, and its recent capricious declaration that transgender troops will no longer be able to serve in the military. That this announcement was motivated in part to help fund the border wall exposes it as part of the administration’s cynical, discriminatory agenda.
In response, we will be donating 100% of our share of every sale on Friday, August 4th (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time) to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable. TLC does critical policy advocacy and litigation on multiple fronts, fights for healthcare for trans veterans, defends incarcerated trans people from abuse in prisons and detention centers, supports trans immigrants, and helps trans youth tell their stories and build communities.
When an Executive Order was issued earlier this year barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States, we held a wildly successful fundraiser for the ACLU. We hope you’ll join us in now doing the same in support of trans rights. To participate as a fan, simply purchase music through Bandcamp on Friday and we’ll donate our share of the sale to TLC. To participate as an artist or label, send some or all of your share of Friday’s sales directly to TLC here, and let us know your plan in the comments below so that we can help spread the word. Thank you!
—Bandcamp Staff

Thursday, August 3, 2017

AP Song of the Day: Dylan Hicks: Days of Dayton, Nights of Columbus - Listen to his Beautifully Slightly Bent Stories

Dylan Hicks hails out of Minneapolis where he hangs with his beautiful wife and child while putting his illustrious and slightly bent thoughts down or paper. Those thoughts eventually become novels, or fiction pieces / essays for numerous periodicals such as the Village Voice, the New York Times, New England Review, the Guardian and more and many of his thoughts become immortal lyrics in his songs that are too quite illustrious and slightly bent.

Dylan has a new album called Ad Out coming out in the fall (more on that in subsequent posts) but for now fall into his beautiful funk and listen to the song of the day: Days of Dayton, Nights of Columbus from his album Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Greene. After you hear the song of the day go to his Bandcamp here and push play on the entire album. It goes down easy and afterward you will be glad you listened to Hick's stories.
Robb Donker

Side Notes: Vocally Dylan reminds me a bit of Ryan Sambol (formerly of the Strange Boys)

Monday, July 31, 2017

AP- Song of The Day - "Bad Machine" by Elastic Sheep

from the Elastic Sheep Facebook Page
Dreamy Irish self described cine pop band Elastic Sheep has been on the periphery of my soundscape for a while but I haven't fully dived in. From what I have heard I need to as their blend of noise pop meets ambient rock meets arena rock meets dream pop is so inviting. Their sound is pretty, dramatic and envelopes slowly until you are immersed in the dynamic sonic fray. When I first heard the track Bad Machine I thought of Beach House on acid.

-Robb Donker

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Wild Honey Pie Presents: WELCOME CAMPERS!!! Get Your Tickets and Bug Spray!!

Summer Camp like as in a real summer camp. My memories are of 6th grade summer camp which was mandatory and which was part fun and part terrifying for a kid like me who had not really been away from my family. NOW this camp put on by The Wild Honey Pie sound amazing! I usually just don't paste up press releases but this info is just to precise to get wrong and I want to serve it up right so you can get your tickets and bug spray ready.
Robb Donker

(Brooklyn, NY) (Brooklyn, NY) The music and event curators at The Wild Honey Pie are preparing to host their celebrated, 5th annual Welcome Campers experience this upcoming September 8th through the 10th. Hailed as one of the most influential music blogs in the world, The Wild Honey Pie continues to transcended beyond the conventions of the traditional online site with a forward thinking approach to artfully executed video content and unique, intimate and thoughtfully crafted events with Welcome Campers serving as its flagship.

Returning to Camp Lenox in Western Massachusetts, Welcome Campers is a one-of-a-kind experience, eschewing the large, modern music festival model for a weekend of spotlight performances amidst an array of outdoor activities reminiscent of summers past.

Weekend passes include free meals (plus access to food trucks), lodging, musical performances around camp and summer camp activities such as kayaking, arts and crafts, tennis, nature hikes, campfires, volleyball, basketball, kickball and more.

Be on the lookout for more announcements ahead of Welcome Campers 2017.

Partner sponsors for Welcome Campers 2017 include Way Better Snacks and AdHoc.

The Wild Honey Pie links:

Welcome Campers tickets:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Together Pangea - "Money On It" - Metamorphosize Once Again

I can feel it, I really can. Southern California's Together Pangea are on the cusp. They have been there before but now it feels more real like they are moments away from blowing up. It could be a song or two gracing a feature film (their song "Sick Shit" soundtracked a trailer for HBO's Animals), or an appearance on James Corden or some other defining moment but it will be something. Good for them. I have watched then from afar and sometimes from very close having shot numerous videos of their live shows since 2009. I have reveled in their auditory exorcisms especially the punk juggernaut Living Dummy been quietly moved by their Killer Dreams EP and simply blown away by the song Offer from 2014's Badillac. At the core of Together Pangea are William Keegan's songwriting and sandpaper voice that can be potently snarky but imbued with a deep vulnerability as well.

Their latest public offering, "Money On It", the second track off of their forthcoming record Bulls and Roosters continues the band's metamorphosis. The (dare I say) safer sound works. When I first heard it I actually thought of Kevin Morby a bit. Maybe it was the classic late 60's soul groove or the downbeat strums. Keegan's vocals feel timeless here. The guitar licks that ghost the vocals are pretty damn sweet. They have come a long way from their cum stained punk bravado of years ago but the thing with Keegan and the boys is that they can shift and move quite effortlessly between all their colors and it's all fucking beautiful.
Robb Donker

Friday, July 28, 2017

Ready For The Eclipse, Missing My Beard, Podcast #7, Fond and Plastic Fantastic, Trump Implosion

As I sit eating Cornflakes at 5:30 this morning I am contemplating the future. I am dedicating my cynical self to be positive about the future. The Trump administration is imploding in front of our (the world's) eyes and it isn't even fun to watch. It is downright painful. I am reminded of the psychologists saying that sometimes people who are in a cycle of self destruction sometimes have to hit rock bottom in order to save themselves. I figure maybe that is what the US government is doing. I think things will be ok.

Positive vibes. I am sending them and soaking in them as much as I can lately. As you face challenges and your loved ones endure pain and push through the pain to find those opportunities and dream makers out in the world remember that you have to fail many times over before you succeed. It is just part of the journey and as long as your loved ones give you hugs and kisses and support then you can make it. I know this to be true.

In my world of music and music blogging and such Podcast #7 is up. I hope you check it out and also search for Tuckshop Community Radio. Jack Bacon runs such a cool podcast and has many exciting things in the works including a regular stint on London Radio. How cool is that. I still contribute to both and feel so fortunate that he allows me to invade the program with my song suggestions and babbling talk. Going to be having some exciting things in store for Podcast #8 too.

I just released a single on Bandcamp. A-side is FOND and the B-side is PLASTIC FANTASTIC. Both songs are special to me and full of personal stories. It feels good to get them out and I included them as bonus tracks on the Dying Star album which is cool because now I feel like it is a full fledged ten song album (as opposed to an EP).

The future is today. As soon as a second approaches we experience it and it becomes a memory. Time does move incredibly fast when you think about it. As I get older I want to hold on to each precious memory. It is easy to forget that we all can touch someone's life and make a difference. Make a small difference today. Feel up not down and push closer to find what the universe has to offer.

And rock on.
Robb Donker
(please check out the links below and if you enjoy it let me know- hit me on Facebook or Instagram.

Plastic Fantastic Lyrics Video

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Song for today- "Four Portraits" by Vansire

Every now and then the talky- megaphone-ish or "on the cellphone" vocal just enamores me and it does on "Four Portraits" by Vansire. AND to be honest - this kind of vocal or not this song is so fucking dreamy and beautiful. The synths and  or guitar break at the end just lifts you up and takes you away to a big hug of a place. LOVE this track.
Robb Donker  (FYI- Vansire hails from Rochester, Minnesota- check out their Facebook.

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-