Saturday, January 20, 2018

Review: L.A. Law : LAW & ORDER - Gap Dream and Jessie Jones Collab Is An Addictive Mix.

When Star Cup, the first track off of L.A. Law's Law & Order album, starts with it's percolating synth arpeggios the Net Flix show "Stranger Things" came to mind. Then the solid bass groove kicks in and finally a sultry vocal with sax like sounds and the whole thing shifts into something alluring but also somehow into something retro and even soulful and geekish all at the same time. In fact, Star Cup could be the song that Napoleon Dynamite dances into the next talent show. The blend of genres and social cultures is not wacky but smart and that is just the beginning of this trippy album.

L.A. Law is a collaboration between Gap Dream (Gabe Fulvimar) and Jessie Jones. I haven't seen Gap dream since I saw them live way back in 2014 at Burgerama 3 and Jessie since her Feeding People days well before her shift from indie / psych rock to her solo psych pop rock of her well received 2015 self titled album. Jessie has always possessed an intimate earthy vocals sound mining a myriad of styles that always have a blues / folk / garden rock center. Gap Dream mines synth laden shiny almost retro meets futuristic pop like Kraftwerk meets Giorgio Moroder meets Devo meets the Beach Boys.

A seemingly oil and water mix works so well. It turns out that whatever genre Jessie steps into her intimate vocals  still shines bringing a magnetic presence to L.A. Law.  In songs like Breakman and Teknomancer her self harmonies can feel like an Andalusian / Post Apocalyptic blend cut with disco pixie dust. Shivers and Hiatus feel more casio-fied and fun making me think of hovering vehicles and rainbow cast roller skating at the same time. Gap Dreams makes the music potent and interesting and while Jessie sounds more emotionally aloof than I have heard her before that kind of distance makes sense.

Dracula's Rib is a stand out, so much so it ends to quickly. To me the beat feels the most live in an almost Phil Selway sort of way and all the disparate electronic parts a askew in such a cool way. Jessie's vocal spread, dissonant with a barbiturate cloudy coolness is the glue that holds all these trippy sounds together. It is my current addiction. Athena's Grease feels like a weird proto punk late 70's concoction in a good way. Happy Alteration recalls the dance punk of Glass Spells.

The very last track, Tunnel Vision feels like a futuristic German indie flick starring a 28 year old Rutger Hauer, nuff said. I don't know if the L.A. Law collab will bear more multicolored fruit but I hope so. In any event Law and Order is an alluring sonic sci-fi-ish romp and a hell of a lot more fun than than Luc Besson's Valerian flick.
Robb Donker 


Monday, January 8, 2018

"Prague Spring" by Willie Breeding featuring Caitlin Rose Plays Like A Romantic Dime Store Novel

Featuring guest vocals from Caitlin Rose, Nashville's Willie Breeding's new track "Prague Spring" stirs cinematic images in your head supported by stately strings and Breeding's and Rose's earnest vocal harmonies that embrace you when the music gets quiet. 

Written by Breeding and Rose (with a last line by Breeding's wife) the song plays like an indie folk minuet or a dime store novel read wearing trenchcoats in a foggy European cafe. I am not sure if the song at it's core is fictional, factual or a blend of both but it appears to have personal ties to Breeding's wife. He explains: "One night in Prague, 1962, the son of the Italian ambassador met an actress they called, “The Czech Bridgette Bardot”.  Their adventures were like a black and white noir. Bullets were drunk out of martini glasses. Official diplomatic vehicles were stolen.  14 years later, my wife was born"

Breeding's debut album "Big Sky" will drop early this year.
Robb Donker

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jessie Jo Stark's "Deadly Doll" (LIVE) Darkly Sweet Hallucinogenic Candy

Jessie Jo Stark's latest "Deadly Doll" performed live is staged and produced with a lush soft touch by Jason Lytle (Grandaddy, Band of Horses). There are elements that pop up in my mind as I swayed to this lullaby. Hints of Lana Del Rey, hints of that sultry James Bond gone bad soundtrack vibe too. Stark co-wrote with Chris Garcia (Lana Del Rey, Demi Lovato) and I like this "side" of her.

Stark says, "At the time, I felt like 'Deadly Doll' was my alter ego. It still is, depending on my mood. Lyrically, you can interpret it many different ways. I love combining these spooky elements and soft, eerie country tones into a beautiful anthem. The song got me through a tough time. I hope it does the same for listeners."

Stark's look in the video feels like something between Sean Young's Rachel from Blade Runner and a 1940's Jazz torch song singer. The skeleton bones suits on the band feel a bit much but who cares about that, the song is like dark sweet hallucinogenic candy.

Robb Donker