Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blog Diary: "Golden" Live: An Affirmation Song Pretty Good To Brush Your Teeth To

Oh fuck, I did not want to get up this morning for the normal reasons. Tons of stress at work, behind on those things others are depending on. Those spreadsheets, finding a car so we don't have to rack up bills on the rental, getting to that podcast and mixing and mastering AND finish recording tracks for my EP, AGE OF DINOSAURS that is due out in a month from now.  All that and my heart is full of thoughts about my loved ones some who are nearly 3000 miles away.

It is funny. Some moves in your life don't seem pivotal at the time you are making them but looking back at certain periods you think maybe that those precise decisions were like shifting a Jenga puzzle and those shifts result into things crashing down. Things that effect others. I guess I feel this in a cosmic sense not in a "I am shit an to blame" sort of way.

Heres to building the Jenga puzzle back up with care and compassion and consideration.

Cheers-
Robb


Monday, November 13, 2017

Album Review: Los Doggies : "Ear Op" Proggy Indie Rock Will Move You


























When Los Doggies aren't expounding on their fashion (see Facebook vid) they are crafting proggy indie rock somewhere in New York. The three piece band latest release is called Ear Op available on 12" vinyl and digitally via Bandcamp and is their first studio effort with local producer, Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Swans) in upstate Gardiner pounding out sounds in a crusty old barnyard of a studio with a "reverb silo" out back. The EP is inspired by / about in large part Evan Stormo's childhood ear tube operations. He plays plays drums and sings in Los Doggies along with brother Jesse who mans guitar / vocals) and Matt Ross who drives the bass. The three have been making music for a decade.

As I listened to Ear Op with it's both frenetic and kinetic style with syncopated edges that seem to intricately shift in and out of beats in a progressive personal way I thought of bands like Pavement and Built to Spill. The sound is dramatic and freewheeling. The track S'Long is intensely jammy. There is a lead section with ride cymbals highlighting the way that is exquisitely tight (as is the entire track). This song like others seems to meander in an improvisational sort of way and it is cool to follow the boys find their way if that is indeed what is happening.

The title track Ear Op has thick jubilant bloodstreams flowing through it and in this case it is fun to know the back story on the EP and this song and put the lyrical puzzle pieces together. The guitar sounds are bright but attacking and just work so well with the vocal performance. Often times the Stormo brothers sing together and it seems to me to be a part of their sound, a really good part. Los Doggies do not go for conventional compositional styles, don't expect verse verse- chorus- verse- chorus bridge yada yada. Their sense of building songs feels more like a trek down a road and they take you on the adventure. Love the fun sense of this track.


The track Baetyl has an almost majestic air. There is a sense of 70's rock twisted into the proggy indie. It is a good time to describe the general sound on this album. It is pretty stark, big but not over produced. The approach is minimalistic which for me is so KEY here. I mean Los Doggies is a three piece band so when Baetyl explodes into a delicious lead break I appreciate just hearing heavy ass bass and drums holding those notes up on display. NO need for an overdubbed rhythm guitar here. Producer Kevin McMahon makes it heavy as hell but bright too. Great sound here.

There is something about As It Were So that feels somber and uplifting too. The vocal melody style like getting words out before someone shuts the door on you in contrast to the mid tempo open beat works so well. Midway the song becomes quiet only to cry out musically deepening any wounds in such a heavy lovely way.  Would love to hear this track live. It would be such an amazing emotional closer as it is on this album.
-
Robb Donker



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Improvisational Songwriting: Dipping Into The Jibberish Of The Creative Mind




















As a songwriter I routinely utilize improvisational sessions to sort of jumpstart the creative process. This always involves sequestering myself away in my basement where I record. I have a busy schedule which for me kind of helps stimulate the ideas that eventually become the fodder for my music. I personally thrive on the urgency of having to create within a fixed time. For me that time is usually late at night during the work week and the fact that I do not have the luxury to write or play for hours and hours seems to distill my creativity into a kind of furious compression of feelings and thoughts. I am someone who needs a reason to do something and oftentimes I will force myself and maybe trick myself into just being able to write a minute of music so I can post an improv on Instagram. This forces my creative hand and usually some piece of music do happen and more times than not results in full fledged songs.

Once I start playing and set myself on a chord structure and tempo my self imposed rules are simple: power through with melody and words or sounds even and just keep going from verse to chorus to verse and if I feel adventurous a bridge as well. It is a funny and tenuous exercise that feels as much as making up a spur of the moment story like I used to do when my kids were small or telling an entertaining thing that happened over a weekend to friends. The music dictates the atmosphere which in turn dictates the emotional tone of the melody and improv lyrics and when successful wonderfully builds on itself.

If the made up words moves in one direction those words trigger the path of the lyrical content in my mind and because I want it to make melodic sense and lyrical sense and I am recording the live performance there is that sense of instant creation of kind of bullshitting too in that "I meant to do that" sort of way. By the way, in improvisational songwriting you must, MUST, record at all times because the creations are so fleeting that you can easily lose them. I also try to shoot them on video if possible because more than once I have written and recorded songs that I cannot figure out weeks later. I am not one to write chord structures down and simply recording the improv with a camera can save you hours and hours of frustration later.

Songwriting and Live performing on the fly results in a fair amount of jibberish too. I am fine with that as the melody and sounds of words made up or not is what fuels the emotional edges of the song. Once the song is created and whether it contains musical deadends or sentences or words that make no sense whatsoever it can serve as a template for a finished composition. It is funny how the jibberish contained in some of my improvs sound like a foreign language. I have to admit that part of me wants to create an album of improv songs with no editing whatsoever. The jibberish will become part of the art form.

 In the song "Pieces" which I improved back in October the fervent pace of the guitar progression to me lent itself to a kind of internal dialog like someone talking to one self, an introspection that could veer into neurosis. The resulting improv flowed the whole way through. Sometimes this is not the case and I will stop and jot down the lyrics as I go. The cadence like a train just kept going and one passage of words or sounds built on itself.

One of the constants in my songwriting seems to be finding oneself, emotional and passionate connections and battling ordeals in life, overcoming pain and such so it is no wonder that the first line "You said you caught a scientific mind" would be followed by "of the romantic kind" as the edgy guitar dictated the tone and romance and passion and the vocal cadence of "scientific" and "romantic" seemed to fit like puzzle pieces.

"You're coming in a controversy" exited my lips without thinking and to be quite honest, "coming" at the time in my mind was sexual as in "cumming" and the following passage, "the look cannot shake a modest thing" inexpicably followed without thought. The sense of opposites, the explicitness of cumming bookended with modesty is interesting. The nature of saying all these words on the fly makes me wonder about the subconscious and conscious mind.

I could venture a guess on where the direction and words come from but something are too private to share. Nevertheless improvisational writing can feel at times like laying on a therapist's couch and spilling your guts. Sometimes the song can move and out run the mind and this is where the jibberish part of improv enters the picture. When words will not do, fake words, sounds have to stand in for the real actors to play the parts later. Also, syntax and grammar take a back seat and in the same way that I will trade dead on on key singing for passiong and feeling, grammar is less important to me then the tonal sounds of words and phrases and how those sounds may (or may not) convey emotional feeling and more importantly emotional cues. My ultimate goal in songwriting is not to display my emotions as much as pushing buttons in those who listen to my songs and making them feel things.

The improved song can exist as an exercise to fuel creativity or to fuel the end product itself. The lyrics and melodies can be massaged and honed. The jibberish can be turned into real poetry or can stand as an advante garde structure itself. Even a foreign word or set of words can make you feel something.

Below you can listen to a live raw performance of "Pieces". The short song is a rare example of a totally improved piece of music from start to finish with not one word or phrase jotted down prior to the performance. Totally off the cuff full of flaws, sounds and made up words, bad grammar and all. It is quite possibly a little car wreck of a song that I hope you will feel the need to crane your neck and check out as you drive by. I haven't decided if it is one of my improvs that I will dress up with real words and such or if I will track record with the jibberish intact. I may not even track record or develop. Maybe it is what it is and nothing more.

The EP - AGE OF DINOSAURS by Donker
Drops on December 15th.

-
Robb Donker






Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Big Changes Ahead For Bülow : Hear Her Debut Single "Not A Love Song"






















Megan Bülow, a 17 year old singer from the Netherlands has just released her first single Not A Love Song from her EP "Damaged Vol. 1"-  

2018 will herald a year of change. Graduating from highschool. Moving to Canada and fully devoting herself to music. She posseses a disarming voice, pop smarts and besides Not A Love Song I am really liking the track Lines. The melody (to me) feels like driving down the California coastline with the top down. 

https://www.bulowmusic.com/

-
Robb Donker



Clip of Lines on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/BulowOfficial/videos/298790723940037/

Monday, November 6, 2017

Larry David on SNL: "I consistently strive to be a good Jewish representative."






















At one point during his SNL monologue Larry David says "I consistently strive to be a good Jewish representative" and then adding "When people see me I want them to say 'Oh there goes a FINE Jew for you!" His brilliant jab at racism was a series of punchlines related to the Weinstein sexual abuse and rape charges and Larry noticing at his utter shock and dismay that many of the predators were Jewish.

The monologue which some people are calling offensive is text book Davide, offensive, daring and funny if you get it. If you are a Larry David fan. I am. You may not be but the criticism out there seems to me to be misplaced. David's humor hinges on the uncomfortable and the nature of the male psyche. A lot of the criticism being leveled at David relates to his so called "concentration camp" joke and it occurs to me that more words on social media will be spilled on decrying this comedic bit than actual Holocaust deniers.
-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

C'mon Guys Help Your Sister Out - Lydia Night of the Regrettes Attacked By Woman at the Growlers Six Festival

Let's get to the point. Some asshole apparently abused other concert goers and climbed on stage and violently pushed down Lydia Night of the Regrettes in the middle of a song at the Growler's Six Festival. Who knows why. It is so unfortunate and I really feel for Lydia. It nust of been really scary especially at these uncertain times. I am also so very shocked at the seemingly slow motion reaction of not only security but of Lydia's bandmates. Hey, I understand. Many musicians are not the agressive type, they are (as a whole) lovers not fighters but seeing them stand almost motionless during this crazy attack made my mind go numb. A band should be like a family and family members protect each other.

Feely better Lydia!
-
Robb Donker



Responding on Instagram, Night wrote: “Being a performer is one of the most vulnerable things you can do. The last thing I want to worry about during a performance is being in danger in any way. The stage should always feel like a safe space for self expression and art. Yesterday, someone invaded my safe space in an aggressive manner and that is absolutely not okay. Thank you for all of your concern and love. I am still pretty shocked about what went down, but I will be totally fine. I did not know the girl who attacked me. I was told she was on a lot of drugs and mistook me for someone else. Love you all and I’ll see you next month on the east coast.”



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sego - The Track Sucker / Saint Has a Lot of Levels to Enjoy


































As the story goes, singer / guitarist Spencer Peterson had planned on writing songs for other artists but that didn't happen. He met Thomas Carroll who was drumming in another band at a kind of battle of the bands thing in Provo, Utah where they were from. Shortly after that the two headed off to California. At some point their band became just a duo and while I am not clear if Sego was the full band that became two or if the two became Sego. Whatever the origin story is I do know that I am infinitely happy that Spencer and Thomas found each other. My introduction to Sego was the track Sucker / Saint and the attraction was immediate like the first time I saw Scarlet Johannsson on screen.

Push play on Sucker / Saint and the beginning feels like 60's Detroit rock with Southern rock guitars finding their way. Once Spencer's vox come in it feels earthy and masculine. Still tinged with an almost Woodstockian late 60's jag it stirs in pychedelic strains meets massive motor city down beats. When the "carry on, carry on" refrain start it is like Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. The track is a delicious time machine and sounds so fucking real and refreshing. Love this track from start to finish.

As my curiosity got me discoverying more about these guys on their Bandcamp it became apparent that Sego has a lot of sides. Their 2016 full length debut "Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around" has about as many flavors as a Sees Candies box (Engineer Amnesia is quietly blowing my mind). That, specific sound on Sucker / Saint is but one facet in their musical DNA. I have a lot to listen to and I hope you do too. For now check out Sucker / Saint below. Also check out Sego's latest video via the NPR Link HERE - my instagram about them below and below that a link to Sucker / Saint via their Bandcamp page. Enjoy boys and girls.
-
Robb Donker



Thursday, October 26, 2017

BLANK CITY RECORDS ANNOUNCES “SOME GHOULS EP” SPLIT HALLOWEEN RELEASE FEATURING TRUE GHOULS & SEA GHOULS Released On Strictly Limited Edition Vintage Medical X-Ray Pressing, Ghoulish Green Flexi & Digital Release On October 31st







































BLANK CITY RECORDS ANNOUNCES “SOME GHOULS EP” SPLIT HALLOWEEN RELEASE
FEATURING TRUE GHOULS & SEA GHOULS 
Split EP To Be Released On Strictly Limited Edition Vintage Medical X-Ray Pressing, Ghoulish Green Flexi & Digital Release On October 31st


Los Angeles-based X-Ray Record Label specialists, Blank City Records, will release its latest EP, Some Ghouls, featuring local Los Angeles “Rock’N’Roll Ghouls” True Ghouls and Sea Ghouls as a very limited edition split release pressing on used medical X-Rays, Ghoulish Green Flexi & Digital on Halloween October 31st 2017. Pre-order the digital version of the record now for only $1.99 at iTunes: http://apple.co/2zmckS7.   

True Ghouls is Lauren Andino, Derek Mabra and Wesley Thatcher. Friends playing respectively in their own shoegaze and darkwave bands in Brooklyn, circa 2010 they decided to combine forces in revisiting their teenage punk rock skateboarding roots to create True Ghouls. Now reunited in Los Angeles they are releasing a new witches cauldron concoction of skuzzy sludge rock to move your skeleton bones to in the track “Muscles And Bugs”.

Sea Ghouls formed in South Gate, CA in the spring of 2013. The group has been driven by a collective commitment to short memorable songs and raw production values. “We feel this is a direct reflection of our influences, a few of which include the Gun Club, Rolling Stones, Violent Femmes, Hank Williams, Lee Hazlewood, the Velvet Underground, and the Stooges,” says Sea Ghouls frontman Max Fields. “The songs ‘Warren’ and Sunday Afternoon’ were chosen for this release because they are the best representation of what we try to do as an ensemble.”

BCR003X X-Ray & BCR00F Flexi release info featuring two tracks – one from each band:


Release Title: Some Ghouls EP Digital Tracklisting:
1. True Ghouls - Muscles And Bugs
2. Sea Ghouls - Warren
3. Sea Ghouls - Sunday Afternoon

4. True Ghouls - Muscles And Bugs ("Empty Grave" Remix by IYEARA)

i. True Ghouls “Muscles And Bugs”
Music and lyrics written by True Ghouls.
Recorded & Produced by Travis Pavur & Aaron Zee at Golden Beat Recording studios.
Additional Production by Noah Harmon at Blank City Records in Los Angeles, CA.
Mixed & Mastered by Erik Wofford.

ii. Sea Ghouls “Warren”
Written, produced and mixed by Sea Ghouls.
Recorded by Alvin Gonzalez. 
Mastered by Erik Wofford.

The first 13 copies of the X-Ray edition of the release will come with a limited edition deluxe “13 of 13” Halloween treat bags of candy and Halloween goodies and special green ink artwork.
The physical release also comes with a dropcard featuring the full digital release of the EP that includes a remix of True Ghouls’ “Muscles And Bugs” by IYEARA, a new UK electronic three-piece formed by The Duke Spirit guitarist Toby Butler, producer Malcolm Carson, and singer Paul O'Keefe.








































Live Dates
True Ghouls and Sea Ghouls will be playing live as Blank City Records presents a special Halloween show at Harvard & Stone on “Devil’s Night’ Monday October 30th featuring special ghoulish guests, True Ghouls, Sea Ghouls and Dead Dawn PLUS all vinyl Blank City DJs.
Monday “Devil’s Night” October 30th 2017 - Blank City Records presents… @ Harvard And Stone, Los Angeles, CA. 8pm to 2am

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fever High Premieres "Good Advice (ft. Jeff Goldblum)" at Interview Magazine Adam Schlesinger-produced Album FHNY out 11/10

YES, it's come to this-
Robb Donker 

On November 10th, Brooklyn's FEVER HIGH will release their long-awaited full length album, FHNY, which expands further on the danceable, retro-tinged sound that The Guardian described as "iridescent and infectious." Today Interview Magazine premiered the album's second single "Good Advice (ft. Jeff Goldblum)," which they called a "fizzy blast of electro-pop."



The duo - multi-instrumentalists Reni Lane and Anna Nordeen - made their debut with last year's critically acclaimed All Work EP. They found fans in places like NPR MusicBitch Media, and Nerdist, who said who said "if it doesn't make you flex your butt cheeks and swing your hips wildly from side to side, then you should probably consult a physician." 

Reni explains of the Jeff Goldblum connection, “I knew Jeff through our mutual friend Vincent D’Onofrio. We bonded over our mutual love of jazz piano and stayed in touch. When we sent him ‘Good Advice’ and asked him to improvise something, to my delight he sent us an 8 minute rant of hilarious anecdotes about bad advice he’d been given in his career.”
FHNY continues the band's collaboration with Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne, Ivy) who also produced the All Work EP. Reni says, "After releasing All Work, we entered a new stage where we really honed our sound, lyrics, and mood... the new batch of songs takes everything to the next level." Adds Anna, "We want to sing about things we really feel and have fun at the same time."
New songs like “Spy” and “These Boys” find FEVER HIGH exploring new rhythmic territory while maintaining their flair for melodic hooks and lyrical playfulness. 
After releasing the All Work EP, FEVER HIGH began to play live, with Adam and drummer Brad Wentworth joining Anna and Reni onstage for a run of club shows, as well as a string of dates supporting synthpop pioneers Book Of Love. They found radio support from influential stations like Los Angeles' KCRW and Austin's KUTX, and their songs showed up in numerous films and TV shows, including the CW comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Netlfix’s To The Bone, and three songs in the 2017 film Fun Mom Dinner.
FEVER HIGH will tour in support of FHNY, starting with a record release show at NYC’s BERLIN on Oct 26th. More dates to follow.
Tracklisting:
1. Spy
2. Casting My Spell
3. All Work
4. You Rub Her the Wrong Way
5. Tantalized
6. These Boys
7. Spit It Out
8. That's So Typical
9. Good Advice
10. One of the Guys
11. In the Basement

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BURST REVIEW: The Randy Spike Conspiracy - Teenage Cancer

Meet Randy Spke from the Randy Spike Conspiracy. He is a one man band out of Long Island, New York who just released an album on Itunes and Bandcamp called Teenage Cancer. It is of the lo-fi indie variety, kind of punkish in that Burger Records vein. He mines some similar tones, progs in that punk milieu but listening longer and deeper there is a rich streak of wit and engaging vocal melodies that suck you in.

The titles spark interest. Like Becky With The Good Weed, My Girlfried Works for the CIA or Britany Spears Will Have Her Revenge On Long Island. The tracks are fun. Current Favs Dead Apples, Strange and Gotta Be run deeper blending in emotional angst. Gotta Be maybe the sleeper on this collection. Slow and heartfelt and even simply moving.

Not sure if Randy plans on supporting his music with live performances but my hope is that he gets some other players and puts this music out there on stage. The stage of any kind is were this kind of music flourishes. Do it Randy.

Check out his music.
-
Robb Donker



Monday, October 16, 2017

Project Diary: Thin Ice : Donker, Whimsy with a Dark Center, faint shades of Modest Mouse and Wes Anderson Soundtracks


NOTE: Every Monday I will post an insight into my music project as Donker until I get a Donker page up somewhere. 

THIN ICE- "Shooting columns in the sky"

I have always wanted to write a song with hand claps as part of percussive engine but never had until now. The cadence of what would become Thin Ice was part of the song from the very beginning as I dinked around on the guitar and after a folk C chord I highlighted the G note 3 times. At that moment I instantly knew that 3 hand claps would coincide with those G notes. Sometimes it is the little things that create the tone and atmosphere of a particular song and this was the case. In my mind the tone felt a bit whimsical like a mellow Modest Mouse song (oh only if it were that brilliant) and faintly resembles a song that could be in a Wes Anderson movie (I would die and go to heaven).

There are some references to Georgia where I relocated to from California a little over 3 years ago. I went from multi laned roads and freeways to a lot of two lane roads with some of the craziest ass drivers in the world. There are also trees raising to the heavens right next to our house and when storms come they sway like large hammers. I tell friends and family in the Golden state that I will be killed by either a crazy GA driver or a tree will fall on me and squash me like a bug. There is a line in the song about just that.

A lot of fables have a dark center and the center, the bridge of Thin Ice has one too. It may or may not contain a revenge fantasy and it may or may not have a very personal angle. I will leave it at that. Early on my friend Matt who lives out west felt the vibe of the song perfectly and his use of string sounds and an incredible Ebow guitar lead during the bridge twisted the sound and atmosphere once more. He elevated the sound and once again found the vision that was in my head. A lot of the time Matt and I are at once on the same wavelength but also shape each others sounds and I am so blessed to have him as a collaborator on my music. Like my debut album Dying Star he is all over key songs in the upcoming EP Age of Dinosaurs. Matt did most of the work on Thin Ice in California but also provided some sounds while living in Washington State where he lives now. I keep thinking that he will have to get used to those tall trees and roads shrouded in fog too.

I have ideas about the video for Thin Ice and it involves a lot of panels like a children's book. In discussion with a talented artist and I hope it comes to be. Too early to tell but wanted to share the song. Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom seemed to fit in a strange or at least servicable sort of way until that happens. I appreciate you all listening.

Cheers
Robb


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fader and Ezra Marcus Owe Anthony Fantano A Big Fat Apology - See Fantano's Response to Fader's Hit Piece




















Fader published a "Hit Piece" on Anthony Fantano, no not because of the content on The Needle Drop where his music reviews have blown up in recent years so much so that I suppose it was time for someone to take shots at Fantano. The writer Ezra Marcus pretty much iviscerated Fantano as a sort of  Alt-Right song and dance man and even one with racist leanings. WHAT?? Anthony Fantano??  The same Fantano who supported Bernie Sanders and who by any stretch of the imagination is about as conservative as Larry Sanders(??) Ezra's well written scalpel sliced and diced chosen excerpts from Fantano's other now defunct YouTube Channel "thatistheplan" which did swim in dark territory, in the meme culture, dark satire and dark comedy. Not for the squeamish for sure but Ezra seems (in the article) to carefully show only the ghosts in the dark with out any context and even put pointy white hats with swastikas on them.

Clearly Ezra's article, dare I say, treads heavily and his balancing act steps off the razor blade into slander. It is the kind of stuff that could cost Fantano listeners, viewers and sponsors. Because of what I know or seem to know about Fantano I was more than interested in his "response" video. In it, he clearly points out the inconsistencies and species point made by Ezra and Fader. But is the cat that is not really a cat out of the bag? AV Club, Noisy and other publications basically republished the hit piece. Lazy journalism.

Let me be clear. I know Fantano from The Needle Drop and I am not into the kind of content from thatistheplan that can only now be seen in Fantano's rearviewmirror but the point is this: Ezra clearly is not a dumb young man, he is obviously a writer trying to set the blogasphere a blaze and poised to do so having been so super prolific for a guy his age. His Fader piece as the do-gooder who shines a light and exposed the roaches seems to indicate that he, at least, thinks he has a moral compass. But is his compass pointing due north if he involves himself with such shoddy journalism?

I truly feel bad for Fantano. There is just too much evidence to suggest that he is NOT what Ezra is suggesting. Posted below is a link to the hit piece and Fantano's response. Fantano supporters are suggesting he sue Fader and Ezra for slander. I cannot see this happening and hell, it would probably be a big waste of time. On the positive note this article was, after all, just published in Fader. There is that.

In the end Fantano by publishing his response on the Needle Drop does what he does best and that is to dissect and express his opinion in a concise passionate manner. Ezra hopefully will mature as a writer and as a person. He owes Fantano an apology and I hope he is man enough to deliver it publicly.  Hell, maybe the guys should get a drink somewhere and talk it out.

-
Robb Donker

FADER HIT PIECE BY EZRA MARCUS


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Helen Culver - EP Seven Year Glitch - Part Silk and Part Barbed Wire


































Seven Year Glitch (see what she did there?) is the latest dark synth stirred EP from London's Helen Culver. The sounds are cagey and spartan. On the lush Selfish Lover the groove provided by a deep buzzy synth bass and beats stalks. The track lyrical content is delicious. A sort of tug of war from the "text book things" (sexually) to "I've made all the right noises in all the right places" to "It's my turn to be a selfish lover" and more.  On Drink By Myself the beat feels in slow motion, the head bop cadence feels dub steppish on a bong. I wanted a seriously good rapper to paint his words on this one. Very cool like driving down Hollywood Blvd on a Friday night. Culver coos vocals "you're a really nice man and you're trying to make me laugh but it doesn't take me long to zone out of every paragraph" and later, "I don't think we'll tell our kids we met at the hotel bar" but it doesn't get that far as Helen wants to drink by herself. Helen slowy sends daggers out.



As a singer songwriter Culver does double duty as lyricist and as she says "making noise" and Liam Alexander produces the tracks tightly. Ctrl-Alt-Delete has a sweeping deep groove. The track is cool, exotic and feels both retro and futuristic at the same time. Culver's vocal performance on these tracks and specifically this track is at once sultry but aloof too. It is as if she keeps you at arms length as a matter of control and empowerment. She may want you but doesn't need you. Ctrl-Alt-Delete is my favorite track with the most sweeping and dynamic production arcs on the EP. I love the heavy handed walk into battle synths on this one.



On Red Light there is an almost Mid-Eastern tone. Once again Helen is speaking to the need and desire to raised standards in terms of "relationships", of having fine cuisine as opposed to fast food. At least that is my interpretation. In the end Seven Year Glitch is about self empowerment, not standing for anything that is subpar or emotionally cheap and who wants that. Helen Culver says it with dark grooves, clenched fists, sexy hip sways and maybe a taste of blood from biting ones tongue.
-

Robb Donker

Helen Culver Bandcamp      Facebook



Monday, September 25, 2017

OPINION: The New England Patriots Acted Like True Patriots Yesterday As Did Many Other NFL Teams In Reaction To President Trump’s Statement.


My heart swelled up with pride when the NFL in mass supported free speech, self determination and the American way yesterday in reaction to President Trump’s statement at a political rally in Alabama where he stridently raised a finger and said:
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump said. “Wouldn’t you love it? Some owner’s going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner … — they’re friends of mine, many of them — they’ll be the most popular person for a week in this country.”
Many teams including coaching staff and even some owners locked arms in solidarity. Even players who stood placed their hands on the shoulders of those who decided to kneal. “Decided” is the operative word here. America like no other country in the world is about the individual, about individual rights, individual freedom as opposed to the “group think” mentality of (let’s say) North Korea. Don’t think for a minute that anyone not saluting or standing when they are supposed to in that country would be tolerated. In deep contrast, individual rights, free speech, protest is the sinew that constitutionally holds America together.

Group Thinkers

Hand in hand with group think is pier pressure. Mob mentality is not far away and that is why I reveled in delight when San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick “took a knee” last year to protest the oppression of people of color after the wake of numerous police involved shooting involving people of color. His reason for protesting is important but even more important is that in this country he has the right to do so. In doing so he opened up a virulent strain of hate. Hate is often times a by product of group think. It creeps up and spreads like a cancer. Hate can muddle your mind, your thought processes too and cloud your perception. The hateful crowd only sees what it wants to see, what the group sees. That crowd saw Kaepernick’s protest as a slap in the face of the flag, the country and even the armed forces who put their very lives on the line in conflicts around the world while Kaepernick’s protest was / is about social justice. I argue that Kaepernick’s protest was not against the flag or country at all but instead an attempt to make this country better. It was a patriotic stance really, a defiant one. Being a patriot and having a healthy does of difiance has always gone hand in hand. This concept is hard for group thinkers to understand.
While many of those who wanted Kaepernick’s head say that politics should not be injected into a sports game, President Trump in an attempt to stoke up his supporters injected politics into sports, into private business in a big, big way. It struck me as odd. He is a business man. Most business owners do not want governmental interference and here he was telling NFL business owners what to do. Maybe President Trump was counting on the power of group thinking. He does like to play to the crowd and whip them up in any way he can. Whipping up crowds tends to turn off their brains as group think takes over. Yes, solidarity is a powerful tool and can be positive but their is a tipping point when things go south. When it tips into the aforementioned mob mentality, when the mob rules then atrocities happen. Blind obidience can lead to lynchings, to genocide.

President Trump Makes Kaepernick A Winner

In the end, I always champion the right to protest and the peaceful protester. Colin Kaepernick is the embodiment of a true American, a patriot and I couldn’t understand for the longest time why more NFL players did not support him. Why weren’t there more “think for yourself-ers”? President Trump inadvertantly opened the floodgates and in doing so has fused Kaepernick into a pivotal free speech icon.
I applaud all those NFL players, staff and owners who took a stand yesterday. It was the American thing to do.