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.

PEG LEG LOVE FACEBOOK- UNDER THE SUN

















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!!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

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