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.”

Monday, May 22, 2017


PODCAST #4 is up and despite that I left the "s" off of cigarette and should of written "The Black Tambourines" so while I get things wrong I hope I get enough things right when I post these podcasts. It is super hard to get listeners and I know it will take months, even years to build up a sizable base of listeners if that is even possible but I hope anyone who listens get something out of the show.

This week the show felt somber and reflective at times. Of course this had to do with the untimely death of Chris Cornell. I think it also had to do with the current state in the world and the feeling that "idiocracy" is fully here in the White House.

I am trying hard to secure interviews with a whole bunch of people who for now will remain nameless because I think that eventually that will be the direction of the podcast. Like half interview, half music. Thanks to those of you who have been so kind to message or text me and give me love and support. AND special thanks to Jack Bacon of Tuckshop Community Radio. I love, really love contributing to his show each and every week.
Robb Donker

Wall of Ears - Video for Floating Off The Line and Their "Hello Beautiful Nothing" West Coast Tour

When I first heard the name Wall Of Ears I thought of Wall Of Vodoo (Mexican Radio) the late 70's / 80's L.A. band whose front man, Stan Ridgeway, had roots in the film scoring business. Sonically these two musical outfits have nothing in common except the fact that they possess the ability to make great music.

Wall of Ears are out of Seattle and the thick psychedelic pop stew is cooked up by CW Lott. The aesthetic is soundscapes that sway and move in a lush sort of way. An immersive sound with beautiful flourishes that can border on eerie and are abstract and are kind of mind bending and can flow into sultry flavors. It is a dance of sorts and Wall of Ears are not afraid to mix it up. CW Lott's voice is perfect as the provocateur and he slides nicely into full falsettos. It would be hard for me to put any past band or artist on them as a descriptor but when I heard that song Mind Moves I thought of Mac DeMarco mixed with Roxy Music mixed with Tame Impala mixed with the Beach Boys. Yeah, weird huh(?)

They are supporting their "Hello Beautiful Nothing" release that drops June 16th with a West Coast Tour (can't believe they are playing the Dollhouse in Anaheim, CA.) and if you are able you MUST go see them. You will not be disappointed.  Check out the video for Floating Off The Line -

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why? Chris Cornell Dead at 52. He Will Be Missed

Chris Cornell dies at 52 while on tour. Amid the shock and sadness one wonders why and how (?) but it is too soon to know any details. He possessed a great voice and I loved his work with Soundgarden and Audioslave. From all accounts a truly lovely family man.

Brian Bumbery, Cornell's representative released this statement:

"Chris Cornell passed away late last night in Detroit, Michigan. His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause of death. They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time."

And we will...

RIP Chris Cornell-
Robb Donker

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

American Pancake Radioshow / Podcast #3 - Featuring an Interview with Thomas Marolda of "The Toms", Jack Bacon from Tuckshop and Cool Music

Podcast #3 features an extensive interview with Thomas Marolda and a great, great contribution by Jack Bacon of Tuckshop Community Radio. Love that guy and hope to get out to London soon enough and buy him a beer or ale or something(?)  Check it out below. If you enjoy it please be sure and share it around on Facebook and Tumblr and everywhere. The more listeners I get then the easier it will be to encourage other interesting people to come on board to be interviewed.

Thanks for all your support-
Robb Donker

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Gianna Gianna Brings Out the Straight Razor in "Carnal Jazz Cry", "Crown" and "Anvil Chorus / Orange"

Photo by Ryan Bussard

As one part of the sibling trio BLOK who since 2008 blended hip hop, underground rap and an avant-garde art punk aesthetic garnering OC Music Awards and spreads in Spin (USA) and Nylon (Japan) as well as sharing stages with Peaches, Major Lazer, Yelawolf, Reggie Watts, Andrew WK and more- Gianna Gianna has cut her own path as well as a poet and solo artist. 

The statuesque avant-garde provocateur is often an art piece herself and I don't just mean on stage where her ebb and flow of explosiveness and steely stare can make you freeze in your tracks. Even entering a room and not necessarily being the center of attention you might find your eyes just automatically drawing to her. Her anti-pastiche style of dress blends eras and her look feels like 1950's Italian glamour, meets 80's urban, meets Blade Runner. As with all avant-garde laced music / art I admit I don't always get it. Seeing and hearing Gianna Gianna pushing envelopes has, for me, it's share of WTF moments. 

I remember years ago when I first saw the 1929 short Un Chien Andalou directed by now surrealist darling Luis Bunuel with conceptual help from Salvador Dali. The short 16 minute film that opens with the infamous eye slicing scene and then is followed by a series of unrelated imagery. The result is total weirdness because each scene are out of context to something larger or maybe not. Some are shot with a sense of beauty but contain disturbing things. In short, Un Chien Andalou has plenty of WTF moments. Bunuel and Dali were trying really trying to skewer surrealism and challenge the French elitist avant-garde mindset of the day but in the end the class of people they were trying to give the artistic "fuck you" to embraced the film. To this day I still wonder whose hand that was the woman was poking with the stick (?). Surrealists always seem to have a penchant for the grotesque and I won't even begin to skim the surface of Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Gianna Gianna's video's and musical artwork does, to me, have many musical eye slicing moments and while she doesn't dabble that much in the grotesque there is a feral nature to her movements offset by her red blooded beauty and raw eroticism. The sounds and prose perplex me in that "mommy, we are not in Kansas anymore" and in many of her art / vision / sound pieces I do get the sense that there are feminist and anti-feminist themes and maybe even a challenging of the feminist bourgeoisie. Oh, and yes, plenty of WTF moments. What does it all mean?  Maybe it doesn't really matter because music and all art is more of a Rorschach test for our creative soul now isn't it?

In the end it is best not to talk about the avant-garde but just to show it.
Check it out below-
Robb Donker

Saturday, May 6, 2017

American Pancake Podcast / Radio Show #2 - Interview with Wyatt Blair (The Broken Hearts / Loli-Pop Records), Contribution from Jack Bacon from Tuckshop Community Radio and GREAT MUSIC

The American Pancake Podcast / Radioshow #2 is up early!! So while the podcast usually posts on Tuesday nights I am posting this Saturday because I will be traveling most of the week. On this podcast I interview co-founder of Loli-Pop Records and multi-talented musician Wyatt Blair and find out about his obsession with Thin Lizzy and his new incarnation The Broken Hearts. This podcast also features the first contribution from Jack Bacon of Tuckshop Community Radio out of London.

Enjoy and let me know what you think of the show.
Cotillon, Fidlar, Fruit Bats, The Broken Hearts, Interview with Wyatt Blair, The Toms, Magic Potion (contribution by Jack of Tuckshop Community Radio) and Radiohead

Friday, May 5, 2017

IN RETROSPECT: 2011'S "Two - Way Mirror" Album by Crystal Antlers - A Complex Twisted Pretzel of Psych Rock


As I have been curating songs for the American Pancake Podcast I have been delving into some old albums which made me then delve into some old reviews. Sometimes it is fun to re-post past reviews because every time I do I get emails from readers who have discovered an older album and thus open themselves up to new sounds which ping pongs them to another band and so on and so forth. Back in 2011 when Crystal Antlers' sophomore album Two Way Mirror came out the reviews were mixed. Pitchfork had some nice things to say and some snide things to say as always and gave it a 7 which in Pitchfork's world is not bad. Alex Young over at Consequence of Sound gave the album a startling D which is utterly baffling and in my mind that nullifies Alex's opinion of any album or song. In fact, if he suggested a place to get a pizza I probably would not go there. In any event, every opinion is valid but my opinion is that both blogs got it wrong. I don't do number ratings or any kind of ratings because to me they are kind of high school but in point of reference Two Way Mirror is an A- / 8.5. So there. Now I kind of feel like I am in high school again. - Robb Donker

Originally Posted July 17, 2011

Burnt Pixels Debut "The Hollow Down By The Flare" Is A Dreamy Stylistically Diverse Bit Of Soul Searching

The Hollow Down By The Flare is the debut album by London based dynamic duo Burnt Pixels. It is a remarkable piece of work hand crafted over a year's time by Ian Brzozowski and Ben Hooper friends for 15 years whose paths have musically crossed in various bands the most notable being 23 Frames. You could call these songs bedroom recordings but you wouldn't know it listening to the 13 tracks that stylistically feels cohesive despite displaying a wide array of flavors. All of them are art pieces painted with layers of guitar sounds over solid bass and drum foundations. Whether it be sustained sounds or staccato licks or pearly rhythm embellishments it is Ian's and Ben's ability to strike the right balance that makes this album so damn captivating. The songs overall feel like a blend of noise and art rock pushed through various filters resulting in a rich tapestry of sounds.

Home recording and producing can be a daunting task. The ability to realize your own vision without a studio clock ticking or producer over your shoulder can be a blessing or a curse depending on your work ethic and ability to render the creative details that you want. Ian who penned all the songs, sang lead, played all the lead lines and 50% of the bass parts and Ben who played drums (the only instrument not played in the proverbial bedroom) 50% of the bass parts and added guitar and backing vocals managed to not lose sight of the end game. I take special pleasure in a project like this that has so much of the artists in the tracks. I have heard all too often true creative bright lights dulled by record producers. Now, onto some of the songs.

Joy Is Sinister is darkly cool with a running beat. The edgy guitar lines makes me think of a spy caper or a government gone bad. The title track The Hollow Down By The Flare is searingly wistful with sparkling guitar and sustain lifting you up on a mournful plane. Between The Devil and A Rock with an upfront sand paper-ish effect and proggy rock pattern has a touch of funk indie rock. Polite Fiction is cagey with a shimmery tropical punk gate and beautiful guitar work and vocal melodies. Nina Kulagina feels like post rock 80's pushed through a 60's Mersey Beat Mod filter and then pushed through a 70's psych rock filter. Interestingly New Colour with it's sense of wanderlust of train hopping and country sides (at least in my brain) had me thinking, oddly enough, of Van Morrison not in sound but emotional tone. Such a cool chill track.

Another surprisingly chill track is Vertical Achipelagos that has that same sense of movement propelled by acoustic guitars and dancing sounds with sweet melodies and (in my mind) I was cutting up small waves in the fog. As I mentioned before all these songs are Ian and Ben. One beautiful exception is Jane Ritchie's backing vocal performance on A Lie To Tell The Truth a dreamy affair that made me think of the band Ride although this veers a bit more abstract. Burnt Pixels display another side on The London Medicine which to me somewhere in the tones feels like Southern Goth meets 90's grunge in that drug laden Stone Temple Pilots way. Psychoplasmics is very cool art rock with swelling majesty in the vocal melodies that suggested a dramatic theatricality to the band. It could be the opening to an art rock opera.

Between A Hard Place and The Deep Blue Sea opens with what I think is a well known vintage broadcast TV key note and then transitions into Ian's vocals through a tinny filter like a radio transmission or old style phone. All the while there is dreamy guitar playing and evocative smooth bass runs and sustain notes. It is all dreamy and a bit surreal. It is Burnt Pixels falling down the rabbit hole. I will gladly follow them on the unique personal journeys they create.

Ian Brzozowski says that the title "The Hollow Down By The Flare" comes from Charles Dickens' last novel Our Mutual Friend (1864-65) referencing the characters Charley and Lizzie Hexam who cannot read so they stare into the fireplace for inspiration to inject into their stories. Ian expands:

"In the album and song, it's a metaphor for the creative spark, the source and nature of creative inspiration and expression. The album has a general theme of finding your way back to art and inspiration after becoming jaded by a lack of success, and realizing that it doesn't matter, that you need to do it for your own soul instead - that you thrive on it."

It sounds like Ian and Burnt Pixels are making music for the right reasons and we get to revel and benefit from them crafting such amazing songs. 
Robb Donker

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Howell Dawdy Asks Important Questions About: Iguanas

When I first listened to "Iguana" by Howell Dawdy I got really pissed off because it all seemed so stupid and so totally unnecessary but the more I listened my cynical cloak of pretentiousness started falling off me and I was like "Damn, these are important questions about Iguanas!"

I, in fact, have never heard of Howell Dawdy and all I can say is that "Iguana" made me smile and even laugh so for that I thank this strange, strange man.
Robb Donker

Monday, May 1, 2017

AMERICAN PANCAKE RADIO SHOW NUMBER 1: "Yellow Pills" - You Will Like This!

Please check out the very first true AMERICAN PANCAKE Radio Show podcast. I have been having a blast contributing to the Tuckshop Community Radio Show which airs weekly on Thursdays our of London and decided to start sharing my musical tastes, views and interviews on my own show.
First one is kinda rough but it will only get better and I just found out that Jack Bacon from Tuckshop will be contributing a song each and every week so I am so totally stoked and honored about that.
On and upward and if you are a band or solo artist or whatever let me know about your passion, your work, your music, your art and it might just end up on the show. I would also appreciate if you share the show link to your friends so I can build up an audience.

Thanks for the support-
Robb Donker

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tuckshop Community Radio Is A Heavenly Place To Be

So it has been so absolutely rad to be contributing to a little radio show / podcast out of London called Tuckshop Community Radio. This is my fifth go at it and I would say it has become one of my favorite things to do like eat pizza and write songs and discover new music. I am going to post a more in depth about TCR in the upcoming weeks but for now check out the links below and become a listener and thanks Jack!!
Robb Donker

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lovely Bad Things Official Video for "Hiding to Nothing" Stays True Premieres on Ghettoblaster

On March 31st Lovely Bad Things released the most effervescent 13.06 minutes of blissfully DIY deep post rock indie sounds in the EP "Homebodies" via Burger Records and today, on Lauren's birthday, the video for the second track "Hiding to Nothing" has premiered on Ghettoblaster.
The video like the EP is a handcrafted love affair. Long time friend and cinema artist Allyson Hernandez who directed the video taped tinged 90-ish "Teenage Grownups" video on "Hiding to Nothing" went for a shiny sheen glitter filled pristine look amping up an off kilter tone with close ups that feel too close and a post card look that feels kind of 80's on yellow pills meets M.C Escher.

The shots look all so artificial in a purposeful way with the band  (Lauren, Camron, Brayden, Tim and Wesley) looking a little lost and sad as if they are stuck in some other world in the Twilight zone. This tone only highlights the lyrical content full of disjointed feelings. On their Facebook page the band expands on the meaning of the song title and song:
(Hiding to Nothing) "is kind of our ode to our struggle in trying to get things moving the past few years. The title is from an idiom, on a hiding to nothing that describes feeling like you're bound to lose, no matter how hard you try. Despite the negative connotation, we're actually trying to be positive here, honest! Cause even when the odds are stacked against you, you can still beat those odds by realizing that sometimes the world is spouting total bullshit that you can't make room for anymore. It's a song about finding strength to be true to yourself and keep on going, even when you don't know where to begin."
Robb Donker

Hiding to Nothing
Lyrics by Lauren Nicole Curtius

Oh, what can I do?
All I do is hide
Revisit the old news.

A light, is a light, is a light.
A light I need to shine
On the self that I don’t mind, right now.

I spent too much time
Pulling things out of their place.
Making space, for lacking order.
And I need to face the way-- the way we are.

Why, why am I buying
Into all the lies
I tell myself daily?

And why, why am I dwelling
Dwelling on delusions
And getting nowhere, lately?

I spent so much time
Wondering if I’m crazy.
And I don’t try to make it better.
If I could, I would, and I should… but I don’t know how.

I spent too much time
Pulling things out of their place.
Making space, for lacking order.
And I need to face that--

I spent all my time
Wondering if I’m crazy (pulling things out of their place)
And I don’t try (making space)
To make it better (for lacking order)
If I could, I would, and I should… but I don’t know how.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Did I Offend You" by Lauren Ruth Ward - Is A Storyteller's Song Spun With A Crazy Great Voice

Within 11 seconds of hearing "Did I Offend You" you are hooked because at that precise moment Lauren Ruth Ward's voice grabs you by the throat. Her tone part sagely, part wounded bird, with a hint of gravel captivates. It is the way bends her sentences, her pronunciation of simple words molding them into something else and those razor blade pipes that can soar one minute and get very internal the next all the while spitting out words, stories that you want to hear and feel. I will always contend that apart from a great song it is the lead singer's vocal performance that elevates it to something special. Great voices like Neil Young, or Dylan or Sam Herring or Bowie or Nick Cave or Janis Joplin or Chrissy Hynde and more can shape, sculpt songs. Lauren Ruth Ward has one of those kinds of voices.

Apart from that captivating voice, "Did I Offend You" written by Ward and her songwriting partner Eduardo Rivera feels like a wanderlust song first moving on the rails and then shifts bigger, the cadence moving with tambourine and Wards breath as percussion. Then it really takes off, the production thickening in an almost Phil Spector sort of way. I thought a bit of Kevin Morby on steroids. Wonderful production and fuck, that voice.

Tour dates below-
Robb Donker
Upcoming Shows

April 24  The Echo, Los Angeles (Draemings Residency).
May 1 KCRW's School Night at Bardot, Los Angeles.
May 3 Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, California.
May 28 U Street Music Hall, Washington DC (opening up for LP).
May 30 Bowery Ballroom, New York City (opening up for LP).
June 12 El Rey, Los Angeles (opening for LP).
June 26 The Echo, Los Angeles (Moon Honey Residency).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

These 3 Artists Satisfy My Elliot Smith Bittersweet Tooth: Eddie Angel, Gregory Mendez, Sandy Alex G

When Elliot Smith left us there was a clear void in the universe. The exquisite way he shared the depth of his emotions through his songs was unique. There are ear marks of his sound, acoustic notes that give away to chords and then back again. Somber melodies, stacked vocal harmonies, half step progressions and building swells of sound and cascades of vocals and budding big choruses and interwoven complex musical interludes. There are also elements that are hard to discern or describe but you know it when you hear it.

Many artist's here and there reflect some of these things, these Elliot Smithisms not as copy cats but maybe just because the man's influence is so incredibly rich that everyone absorbs it in some way. As of late there are three artists who satiate my bittersweet ES tooth.
Let me say that I may be hearing these ES influences and they may not even be there really. Most of these artists in toto do not sound like ES but in some of there songs there are those delicacies that make me think of him and that makes me happy.

Eddie Angel
just released a 3 track EP called "Rise And Fall" that is cool and pure. I love all the songs and at least 2 have some of the ES tones and yet they are all Eddie. I met him some years ago in the Long Beach area of California when he was doing more of a rock thing as the forefront of a 3 piece alt rock powerhouse with a soft center. He now resides in Stockton (first pic above) raising his lovely boy and making such sweet sounds as a solo artist. Eddie's song always move me.

I first blogged about Greg Mendez at that time as just "Mendez" via last years so cool and evocative project "Phone Records" which were these stark, weird, beautiful stories recorded via his cell phone in his West Village tenement.

His latest that just came out yesterday Entitled:

¯​\​_​(​ツ​)​_​/​¯ the 7 track album out on Bandcamp. This album feels like a step up from Phone Records though you can never negate the power of that project as well. Still kind of stripped down it shows a wider scope. There is the wickedly cool Sleep that has an almost glam feel. The wide expanse of Plastic Jesus and the afflicted Gone. I hear some of the ES touches on many of the song but none more so than Real Cruel Bastard. Love Mendez.

DIY alt folk multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter Philadelphia phenom Sandy Alex G - (Alexander Giannascoli) has been turning musical minds at a quick pace his Bandcamp bedroom recordings engaging his ever growing fan base. Critical acclaim followed as his 6th album hit critical mass and multiple Best of 2014 lists. UK Lucky Number Music label remastered those bedroom recordings. In 2015 Giannascoli signed with Domino Recording Company as part of the 2015 South by Southwest showcase and in August of 2015 Giannascoli "album" album with Domino.

You can hear the Elliot Smith influence throughout Alex's sound. I really hear it on the new single Proud from his newly released album Rocket.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Burger Records WORLD SERIES -- Psychedelia and Shoe Gaze from Israel - Music Is The World Language - NOAR AVUD LABEL

Music is really the World language and Burger Records through their "World Series" is teaming up with labels and artists from around the world to expose the Burger audience to music from around the globe and conversely people from around the globe to the Burger family.

I love this and while Governments are pulling strings and pulling us apart music is the one medium that transcends all cultures, all languages, all religions and political differences.

Maybe musical melting pots is the start.  I know that when I started streaming the 11 Tracks on "NACSOO1 // NOAR AVUD 1" I lost myself in the cool tracks and the sound of the lyrical melodies spoke to me even though I don't necessarily speak the language.

Noar Avud is a new cassette labely by Vaadat Charigim Frontman Juval Haring out of Tel Aviv, Israel. Haring as a promoter, publicist, touring musician and festival organizer has the ideal background to form a label with it's intent on bringing potent new music from Israel's indie scene to a wider audience.

Upcoming compilations in the Burger World series will focus on amazing sounds and scenes happening in Mexico, France, Brazil, The Netherlands and beyond!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Chainsmokers "Paris" on SNL-- Emily Warren Stole The Performance

The Chainsmokers performance of Paris was most notable for two things- one being Andrew Taggart's white jacket adorned with what appeared to be images from the Sex Pistols "God Save The Queen" record and, first and foremost, Emily Warren's performance as main back up singer. Emily literally stole the performance. Her alluring performance had a gravitational pull that outweighed everyone else on the SNLstage. She elevated the song and in the end it was a cool performance with Andrew resembling a skinny puppet at times his outstretched arms held up by invisible strings.

Now admittedly I am not a big fan of The Chainsmokers and while their music is chill and catchy and all, for me it makes better background fare at Applebees than substantive pop music.
Robb Curtius

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Peg Leg Love / The Pocket Rockets SPLIT 12 Inch Vinyl "Hail To The Outsiders" - Potent, Raw and Oh So GOOD

There is something about a live recording that I absolutely love and gravitate towards. For one thing you are hearing the band in their element unencumbered by the studio vices of click tracks and second takes. You are hearing the immediacy, rawness and ping ponging energy of musicians bouncing sounds off one another.

This month Deathwave Records has released a Spit 12 Inch Vinyl called "Hail To The Outsiders" featuring PEG LEG LOVE and THE POCKET ROCKETS. Each band supplied six songs and artwork.The Limited Edition Vinyl (ONLY 500 Available) was recorded 100% Live at Space Gallery in Claremont, California by local East L.A. legend recording engineer Manny Nieto  (Side 2 Mix) and Mastered by Ulysses Noriega - Laundry Room Recording (Side 1 Mix),  The Album also includes unlimited streaming of Hail To The Outsiders via the free Bandcamp App and high quality MP3, FLAC and more downloads.

PEG LEG LOVE'S vocalist / guitarist / organist Ilir Zeneli's punk caterwaul reminds me a bit of Justin Warfield (She Wants Revenge) and Jello Biafra (The Dead Kennedys) pureed in a blender.
The for the most part stripped down guitar, bass (Christina Ownby), drums (Rocio Galindo) is at once inner city alley punkish rock with elements of Surf punk tones. Some of the sound / songs have a kind of cold drama to them like 50's pulp detective dime store novels. and others feel like rabid dog explosive punk.


THE POCKET ROCKETS track "Somewhere We Can Be Alone" has the cagey sultry black leather pure rock tone that could very well grace a slew of commercials hipster and not. Hanni El Khatib watch out. Ralph Blanco's vocals and punch (but mournful) bass is equal parts cool guy and broken hearted loner. Lyndon Miller's Guitar work is direct with sticcatto licks and sustained chords and Christopher Magallon's drum work tightly holds it all together. I can say that I love these live sounds as much as the tracked recordings available on their Bandcamp page (if not more).

This is a great Split 12 Inch-- while The Pocket Rockets is streaming 3 of the 6 tracks. Peg Leg Love have yet to post up streams. Hopefully that will happen sooner than later. Two strong Los Angeles 3 piece bands on one piece of grooved plastic. Available on both band's Bandcamp pages and below:

Now you can Buy #HailToTheOutsiders (Our Live New Vinyl Split) with #PegLegLove & #ThePocketRockets @DoctorStrangeRecords in Rancho, and #GlasshouseRecords & #ZoinksRecords in #Pomona So Yay!!