Saturday, February 24, 2018

Airships On The Water is Solo Project of Take Shapes Drummer Russel Hensley

Airships On The Water is the solo project of Take Shapes drummer Russel Hensley and the track When You're Caught and from album "Beneath A Thousand Branches" while much more than just a vehicle to show off the tastiest of drumming still does that.

The pearly sounds feel like tentative steps around fragile things of beauty that have to be steeped around while the bass hold a mannerly cadence of an almost majestic minuet. Yes it sounds a bit math rockish in repose but it also has storytelling lines to follow.
-
Robb Donker



Place yourself in Tiger Darrow's "Hands"

Place yourself in Tiger Darrow's Hands and you will feel the ebb and flow of her emotional storytelling. Your breath may mirror the rush and lull of her lyrical cadence. Her voice sounds perfect for this kind of musical wrap all done up with beautiful bows. Deep grooves and pop hooks in this one.
-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES: 
Tiger Darrow is a pop singer/songwriter hailing from Brooklyn. Influenced by the likes of Lana Del Rey and others, Tiger makes heartfelt alternative pop music. In the past, she has opened for the Zoe Keating, Edie Brickell, Erykah Badu, and others. On her new single "Hands," Tiger tells the story of a broken family life from the point of view of a child. "Hands" alludes to a bad childhood circumstance and music's cathartic relationship to those emotions. The song was co written and produced by Lars Söderberg.

The Titos Out of Atlanta-- LISTEN, LISTEN to this track IDWTBA (I Don't Want To Be Alone) The Vocals alone are worth the price of admission


















The Titos are from Atlanta and churn out densely cool blues rock with such killer vocals. On the track IDWTBA (I Don't Want To Be Alone) it just jams in every way- feeling so ernest, real and unpretentious. Check yourself at the door and turn this up!
-
Robb Donker

Alex Lotito- Guitar and Vox 
Ian Mastrogiacamo- Bass and Vox 
Daniel Kirslis- Organ 
Zack Falls- Drums


"Candy Hearts" by Hugh Hart - Americana Rock and Roll

Hugh Hart lives in Los Angeles by way of Chicago and on the track Candy Hearts he churns out this really cool roots rock and roll thing in that kind of early Elvis Costello sort of way.

Really dig this song. Yeah, I still say "dig" - check it out you will dig it too.
-
Robb Donker


Hear "Damned If You Do" by The Boy Jones- and definitely read his poster

All I know about The Boy Jones is what is splattered on his own poster about him.

It is full of humor and charm and describes accurately about the things he sings about like songs about love, hope, fear, pain, marijuana, polygamy, perserverance, isolation and whatever else the human condition can offer that day. Fuck. I like this guy already and I truly love the artistic aesthetic on the song Damned If You Do especially because it doesn't feel or sound like an aesthetic or at least a thought out kind of sound. It just sounds, I imagine like Weston Pietrobon.
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Robb Donker


Einleit - (Jun Suzuki) Electronic Pop Noire- track: Colourblind

Out of Paris: Einleit is the self-described electronic pop noire project led by Jun Suzuki, half French / half Japanese former opera singer.

The track Colourblind has deep indie pop grooves but it also veers into elements of dance and industrial pop sounds too.

Check out the official video below-
Robb Donker


Labasheeda- punk forward sounds from the Neatherlands- Hear "Head"
























Head from the Changing Lights Album by the Netherlands' Labesheeda is just so punk forward. Just no denying the reality of that statement. The entire album is solidly constructed with such a raw penetrating sound. Singer, guitarist, violinist Saskia Van Der Giessen push and pulls hard and soft and everywhere in between.
-
Robb Donker

There are many sides to James-- hear "Jimmy" by "Jimmy"

There are many sides to James...

The happy piano and performance feels kind of like caberet, kind of spacey and all artistically wrought and crafted but with some cracks in the make up.

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Robb Donker


"Look Back" from "Distant Mountains" out of San Francisco

LOOK BACK- from Distant Mountains - feels vast and sweeping. Sweet sounds-

Robb Donker

New single from SF based trio Distant Mountains.
Vocals/Guitars/Piano - Scott Lord
Bass/Synth/Vocals - Paul McCorkle
Drums/Percussion/Vocals - Ben Manning
Engineered by Rob Shelton @ Tiny Telephone San Francisco
Mixed by Brian Howell
Mastered by Golden Mastering

The Bobby Lees- porch blues punk - "Jitterbug Perfume" from the "Beauty Pageant: album

Listen to Jitterbug Perfume (from the Beauty Pageant album) while driving down a desolate road in rural Georgia and you might get freaked out a bit and if a deer darts out in front of you then you might shit your pants. This is because this track by The Bobby Lees is at once very cool and retro chic but also kind of haunting and dare I say dangerous sounding, even so edgy as to be creepy in the Rob Zombie sort of way.

However you feel it- the sound is captivating as shit. Call it punk blues, or skiffle punk or whatever I love the girl / boy vocals and the punk X Billy Zoom frozen smile aesthetic.
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Robb Donker


Put on a white dinner Jacket, tight pants, grab a martini and listen to "Origami Heart" by Hollowlove

The track Origami Heart by Hollowlove feels kind of retro like the romantic new wave of Bryan Ferry / Roxy Music circa 79 to 87-- but not. The synths feel a bit more shifty, spartan and askiew. Still the allure is here. Slick back your hair, put on a dinner jacket with skinny pants and dance with a martini.
-
Robb Donker-

PRESS NOTES:

Hollowlove is moody electropop from Vancouver Canada. 

Hollowlove producer Keith Gillard and vocalist/illustrator Ryan Slemko have collaborated since 1999. Until 2009, as Fidgital, their eclectic (schizophrenic) releases appeared frequently on international electronic and dance charts. They were joined for their live shows by percussion-ninja Craig Burdes, and Brian Rex Barry on bass. In 2004 the group was honoured with a Canadian Independent Music Award.



Mike Green- personal stories about first crushes and more - "Always"
























Always by Mike Green percolates on sweet guitar picking lines as his voice holds sway telling a personal story of a first crush turned into much more. I spend a lot of time in tougher musical genres but you never get tired of honest lovely storytelling. 
-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Mike Green is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer. Since graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2009, Green has garnered attention in the music industry, having performed for artists such as Mick Jagger, John C. Reilly, Wyclef Jean, Maroon 5, Jamie Cullum, and more. Green could easily be labeled a "young veteran" in today's music scene. He has had music placed in film and television shows, performed in 30+ countries with international events band The Phly Boyz, as well as provided session guitar and vocal work for many LA-based musicians with world-class credits. Although his style has been compared to artists like John Mayer, Dave Matthews and Coldplay, Green has found a way to plate his sound differently. His music is a dish of versatility, garnished with powerful choruses and moody grooves. In 2018, his single “Always” is a promising first installment from an artist who clearly has the writing, playing, and singing chops to get the material out of his heart and into a song.


Ryan Dunlap - "Miss Oklahoma" and "All In" on Spotify

Country tinged indie folk sung with a crisp biting vocals Ryan Dunlap plays clubs telling his stories and has a lot of his tracks up on Spotify--

Essential tracks:
Miss Oklahoma
and
All In
-
Robb Donker






Friday, February 23, 2018

Blushing from Austin - Dream pop / Shoe gaze Squared - Hear the "Weak" EP

The track Hidden Places from the "Weak" EP by Austin Texas's dream pop / shoe gaze band Blushing is not only appropriately dreamy but full of melodically rich centers. It veers into tones that feel kind of surf punky in spots too then explodes in to shoegazey heaven. Blushing also pushes heavy pop elements and I actually thought of the Cranberries a bit during parts of this luscious track.

I know a lot of bands as a music writer and many musicians say a band is really like a marriage so to complicate things further Blushing is comprised of two husband and wife combinations. I guess that is like marriage squared.

Check out the track below and some more about Blushing via press notes.
-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:
Blushing is an Austin, TX based dream pop / shoegaze quartet comprised of two husband and wife pairs that originated in the summer of 2015 when Michelle shared a few songs with long time friend Christina that she had been writing on guitar. A friendship quickly became a musical partnership as Christina, a classically trained vocalist, picked up a bass and together they evolved those rough songs into fully formed compositions. They then enlisted the talents of their spouses, Jake on drums, Noe on lead guitar and shortly after self-released their debut EP "Tether" in January of 2017.
Energized by positive reception, a growing fan base and a grip of new songs they headed back into the studio as soon as possible. They recorded their follow-up EP “Weak” at Bad Wolf Recordings in Austin, TX. The album encompasses influences from all of the bands they collectively share a deep affection for such as Lush, Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, etc. “Weak” will be released digitally, on cassette and 12” vinyl January 26th 2018 on Austin Town Hall Records. Vinyl pre-order available now via their Bandcamp.

Montreal's Everett Bird's "Bucket Of Dark Meat" is a twist of dreaminess of Revolver meets Pink Floyd meets a thousand daiseys

























Everett Bird (Everett, Liam, Mikey and Booty aka Splat) are out of Montreal, Canada and want you to hear their single Bucket Of Dark Meat from their upcoming debut album (yet untitled). The track moves so well on top of attacking synths, fluid bass lines and shuffling drums that gives way to dreaminess and almost Revolver meets Pink Floyd-esque vox. The musical changes are many and oh so very cool and dreamy. LOVE this track.
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Robb Donker




Alex Rand's mind and time bending "My Mettle Changes" experimental pop

























From the upcoming EP "Sundial" the track My Mettle Changes moves and metamorphosizes from indie pop cagey beats ala Atoms of Peace to giving way to industrial symphonic flourishes that seems to make time and space bend ala Drab Majesty if they were on barbiturates. And then.... all musical hell breaks loose and heaven too. It is this push and pull that is alluring and mind shifting. All these fever dreams are created by Montreal based songwriter and producer Alex Rand who likes to craft a diverse array of experimental pop sounds. A former member, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for art pop outfit Look Vibrant, his debut EP called "Sundial" crafted with former band mate Matthew Murphy will be released soon through Indianapolis based label Jurassic Pop.
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Robb Donker


Gareth Inkster- "Misfire" - a beautifully somber mirror "chemical's misfiring deep in my mind"




































Gareth Inkster's moving track Misfire from the upcoming 7 track album "Last Year" asks tough questions. When he waxes poetic about his own life, about himself and about his deep connections with others that might be showing deeper cracks you feel universal questions and (finally) when during the evocative bridge that gives away to beautifully moving orchestrations he asks "is there something wrong with me" you may feel tears on your soul and they may be your own. Misfire is beautifully somber and feels (in the end) like a stunning mirror.
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Robb Donker


Transport yourself to "New Mexico" by The Western Front

From the "Between The Moon" EP transport yourself to New Mexico and the quiet intoxicated slumber of The Western Front's three piece sound. Pearly guitars, long haired dreams in a sleepy town and cool beets at night and maybe something a little stronger on Saturday nights.

The Western Front exist with no overt pomp and circumstance and I mean that in the best possible way. They are hubbed out of Austin Texas by way of of Iowa City and feature members of Tomar and the FCs and the Wandering Bears. The self described genre is rock pop soul country. The band members are David Earl on keys, guitar, recording- Mitch Fischels on bass guitar and Drew Fischels on guitar and vocals. The album also features Paul Kresowik on drums and Tony Rincon on pedal steel.  Get back to New Mexico below as well as the entirety of "Between The Moon"-

Robb Donker

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Beerwine King- single "Dusty Valley" chug it down

Beerwine King out of Oakland and their single Dusty Valley from their Treason Album chugs along so heavily as the vox have a kind of psychedlic flowery sway. The guitar breaks are big with punchy drums and noise rock overtones. The downbeats feel at once familiar like that one beer at that one spot that looks over the city lights with that one person on that one fantastic day. -

Robb Donker



The Echo Bombs - "Pistachio Pudding" is chunky fun

























The track Pistachio Pudding by Phoenix Arizona's The Echo Bombs is like a punk movie as directed by Joel and Ethan Coen after they were beat up by Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard high on bath salts. Contraty to popular belief, punk is grand theater and from the sounds of it The Echo Bombs are the finest of actors. This track brought to mind bands as diverse as The Dead Kennedy's, No Parents, Melted and early Pangea (before they became Together Pangea). Cool stuff.
-
Robb Donker

Pistachio Pudding is the first single off of their upcoming sophomore album "Pleb" due to drop in April of this year (2018).


"Honest" by New Zealand's "The Leers" Has got a deep groove and deep pop hooks too





















Love the groove and vibe in this track Honest by The Leers.
-
Robb Donker


The Leers are a new band from Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand that sounds like The Arctic Monkeys meets The Glass Animals and present "Honest" single from their U.S debuted EP Time It Takes that released on January 12th, 2018.

Band Members
Matt Bidois
Jack Furniss
Jacob Buchan
James Kippenberger


Swerve - out of L.A. -- "Lose Control" mines classic gold

Hearing the track Lose Control by indie rockers Swerve made me think of late 70's / 80's iconic L.A rock ala The Plimsouls and similar such bands like The Knack or the Nerves. It was a pristine time for this kind of rock that was like indie rock now but referred to as new wave. Swerve has some of those touches and in Lose Control you hear those earmarks. Clean guitar strains, upfront clean yet gritty vox and the double time snare beat popping up during the chorus. It is a sound that give me fond memories. -
Robb Donker

Press release stuff down below:

Swerve is a four-piece indie rock band based in Los Angeles, CA. Crafting melodic, guitar-driven tunes, singer-songwriter Gregory Mahdesian leads the band with a vision of staying true to the foundations of alt-rock. Together with local musicians Ryan Berti on guitar, Brandon Duncan on bass, and Mark Gardner on drums, Swerve creates songs reminiscent of the Britpop and Grunge movements with a modern sensibility and a healthy dose of their Californian personalities. Swerve made their official debut last fall with a self-titled EP release which lent to rave reviews; “the band has quickly created a memorable sound,” describes PureVolume. Swerve is currently performing locally while recording a second EP, expected for release by the end of this year.

SWOLL's Self Titled Album Has An Immersive Sway- Dense Dreams With Ocean Deep Grooves - Read my words and hear : "Slow"


































One of the best things about being a music blogger is finding little presents in your email box. A sonic piece of candy that just tastes so sweet. Today it is a self titled album by SWOLL the synthalicious bottom heavy thoroughly engaging electronic project of Matt Dowling who has played bass for a bevy of DC bands over the last ten years like Deleted Scenes, the Effects, Paperhaus, Joy Buttons and more. 

One of the most difficult thing for an artist to do is to define themselves with a sound. As a singer songwriter myself it can be frustrating creating songs with somewhat varied styles and NOT always a cohesive sound. SWOLL does not have this problem at least on this collection of songs. For the most part the sound is a stunning mix of heavy and light and over-modulation and drone is an entrancing way. I listened to the album all the way through and here are my immediate thoughts.

Back To You: It has such an immersive sway. It feels like a hyper slow dance under an umbrella of a million disco ball lights. Kind of somber but lovely too. In the end it feels like a tear stained love story. 
Shake is cagey but happy with such a heavy bottom end set off with high synth down beats amid an ocean deep groove.
Settle Up The Road might be the records novelty song but still brilliant and fun.
Budge feels emotionally wrought and wrung out. The over modulated sound vocally and instrumentally work against each other like arguments over a backyard fence. Conflicts of sound give it drama. 
Stars: The longest track at 4:48 oddly made me think of Peter Gabriel ("if looks could kill it probably will" or something like that) and as such has a serious gravitas about it. It has a wicked bass line but feels a little soap boxy.
Snow: For me it pushes the over-modulated vox one click too far but the chorus is undeniably catchy and pop infused. 
You've Gone Away is the most carefree and youthful sounding track on the record. It is it's sonic smile and will grow on me forever. Love this track. 
Stranger: That deep voice is back lie on Settle Up the Road. My apologies but this feels like the throw away track on this record.
Slow: The plodding beat and a downbeat as dour as breaths that are hard to take. It feels incredibly sad and mysterious and feels like a tapestry for a thousand gray sad movies.

Final take: SWOLL is a collection of dense and trippy songs fused with emotions and lovely melodies. The vox and instrumentation almost feel as one as they are glued together in a haze of sonic grit. Dreamy stuff that push retro buttons in your brain.
-
Robb Donker

SWOLL drops on March 9, 2018 on Blight Records 
(the label has threatened to cut my balls off and kidnap my first born if I share most of the tracks but I can share one....... so enjoy



Andrew Ryan: "Caladiums" and "City Lights" from the album "Across Currents" - Settle in and take a listen.

When Andrew Ryan tells his stories in songs like Caladiums and City Lights, two truly evocative spartan folk / garden rock tracks from his debut album entitled "Across Currents" his voice feels down turned or turned inward remembering lost hopes and dreams. Ryan a successful St.Louis based producer has worked on albums for Oh Caledonia, Casey Reeves, and Drug the Kids. A graduate of the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, he later interned with Steve Albini at his Chicago studio, Electric Audio. As musician and songwriter, Ryan mines deeply personal stories into his alt country / folk / indie rock songs. The 12 song album written and mixed by Ryan was later cut to vinyl by six time Grammy award winning producer, Jeff Powell and is available up on his Bandcamp page.

Settle in and take a listen.
-
Robb Donker


EL Mar- Hear "New Life" Off of the forthcoming "Walking With Dogs" EP





































EL Mar is singer  songwriter Joey Primero and coincidentally when I heard her the first track called New Life from the forthcoming EP "Walking With Dogs" (due to drop this spring) I thought of the 1990 Concrete Blonde's Joey off of their stellar "Bloodletting" album. Joey Primero and Johnette Napolitano vocal performances are vastly different but they both possess truly captivating voices that seem to carry the weight of their emotional experiences full of yearning, love, hope and pain. 

Penned after Primero left a career as a music publicist, New Life does have a touch that 90's post rock tone especially with the clean yet chunky guitar sound and beautiful crafted chorus that melodically draws on classic almost 70's rock heavy folk rock flavors. As El Mar Joey is surrounded by a collective of NYC based musicians and garnered much love from Billboard, Paste Magazine, Impose Magazine and more after live shows supporting their well received debut 2015 album Try To Forget. Thoroughly loving New Life and so looking forward to hearing more from El Mar.

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Robb Donker

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Somehow- from "Hidden Memories" - "Someday" and "Meaningless Thoughts In Dark Times" - Parisian Indie Pop

Somehow is an indie pop outfit out of Paris centered around DIY multi-instrumentalist Erwan Pépiot  (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboard) and Aurélie Tremblay (vocals, cello). When I listened to the single Someday from their full length album "Hidden Memories" out on Toolong Records I was taken aback from Erwan's vocal performance which (to me) felt like a blend of Matt Berninger of The National and Morrissey of The Smiths. The song itself also feels Smith-ish in terms of melodic cadence (a bit) and it's kind of free form almost improvisational sounding lyrics. When I hear a band whose inspirations whether intentional or not feel so there it can be a double edged sword that rides the line between lovely homage and copy cat-ness. Luckily with Somehow their sound which also brings to mind Joy Division does not feel heavy handed but quite natural. However you "find" Somehow's spartan sound to be it has gotten under my skin. 

Listen to Someday and Meaningless Thoughts In Dark Times to feel the breadth and scope of Somehow. Then listen to the rest of the album.
-
Robb Donker

Taste the Lo-fi Goodness of "Cake" by Zack Brooks

Oh c'mon "you've taken the cake and eaten it to so reap what you bake... and let them eat you"- this refrain (in the track Cake) is one of the tasty lyrical pieces of candy that you will happily ingest. There are other references to social media to the economy to, uh, the Branch Davidians (?) and while some of the vocal gymnastics may just be that... cool rhymes and connections it doesn't really matter as it all feels so interesting. It really doesn't matter what it means anyway but what meaning we as listeners place on it, on any song really.

I do wonder how some religiosos would interpret "Flaming Lips versus the flaming cross" -

Cake is by Zack Brooks and produced by Bier Music.
In Zack's own words:

I was born in East Lansing, Michigan and moved out to California when I was 5. I grew up listening to a lot of J Dilla, Modest Mouse, and early 90's rap/indie rock. When I started making music, I wanted to find a nice marriage between the gritty rawness of sampled hip hop beats and the instrumentality of early indie rock music. I started producing my own stuff in college and I've also had a long working relationship with Bier Music founder Bobby Bier (as well as a kick-ass friendship!). I really hope you enjoy my stuff as much as I enjoy making it.

Follies and Vices - "Statuesque" - Indie Hip Hop (Pop) And more

Follies and Vices are by their own definition an indie hip hop duo from Seattle. I guess that's a pretty good description but from a peak into their sonic psyche from their single Statuesque their aesthetic runs deeper than that description. The track has a kind of weird punk bravado in that The Garden kind of way but pop tentacles like (ok go with me) Twenty One Pilots but waaaay less emo-ish. I get the sense that Rob Auerbach and Tanner Houghton don't take themselves that serious but take the making of their music seriously.

Statuesque has got a deep groove too- hoping that these guys will have a back up band live as opposed to performing to recorded tracks. That would be sweet. I really like the last third when the song gets kind of crowd loud and anthemic and then kinda sweet. Robb and Tanner now live in Echo Park area of Los Angeles so look out for them if you live in that wonderful neck of the woods. Statuesque drops on Spotify and all digital platforms MARCH 1st.
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Robb Donker


Mendonesia's - "Fish" from the upcoming album "Spirit Van" is rock and rolling down the road.

The track Fish moves. As you hear the jammy mix of garden rock, country with seriously proggy breaks and a funky ass bottom you literally see images of all the places you have traveled by car, or train, or plane in your brain. It is this kind of party meets wanderlust meets stoner rock kind of atmosphere that is so utterly intoxicating.

Mendonesia which itself sounds like a place or state of mind are not surprisingly out of San Francisco. After forming this "project" and making bedroom recordings Tom Conneely played all around San Fran with various band members, appeared at SXSW in 2017 and toured twice up and down the West Coast. Conneely met Daniel Lavezo at the Sweetwater Music Hall where they both worked. Lavezzo interning as a sound engineer and Conneely as a waiter. Fate or a happy accident, or both, the two played with other band member doing shows from Frisco to Seattle. While other members left they remained and eventually through it all they crafted the "Spirit Van" album due out this March (2018).

From the band's Facebook page:

Spirit Van is a definitively un-hip album. These are songs about being bummed out, not having a lot of money, or much to do; while the strata of music on Spirit Van attests to the disappearance of youth and disillusionment in the age of social media. Recorded over the course of the summer and fall of 2017, Spirit Van, saw the coming and going, replacement and flux of recording studios, band members and engineers throughout its conception. But after lasting the course of the sessions, Mendonesia presents a country-tinged testament to the twenty first century. With new members Steve Jaegar and Jake Bartlett in tow, Spirit Van will be released in full March 12, 2018.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Oh my..... The National Anthem at the NBA All Star Game



GOP Leaders Say Colin Kaepernick "taking a Knee" is not that bad after hearing Fergie sing the National Anthem at the NBA All Star Game.

Oh Stacy Ann... didn't anyone tell you that turning the National Anthem into a torch song may of not been a good idea? Not one person? A publicist, or backing musician or friend or family? Anyone? I am always curious how faux pas like this occur and truthfully musically it was not as bad as everyone is saying and I do in some way admire Fergie for having the conviction to do what she wanted but still. Kudos to Shaq for kind of standing up for her.
-
Robb Donker

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Matthew McNeal - Texas Roots in "Rumorosa"

Rumorosa the first single off of Matthew McNeal's album "Good Luck" which drops this month chugs along with country rock meets indie rock strains. On the record, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, McNeal teamed up with Texas psych-country guru Israel Nash and Producer Ted Young (Kurt Vile / Sonic Youth) to record the album to analog tape.

Matthew grew up in Fort Worth, Texas in a rural town. He worked in a peach orchard and learned to play music in a church band. Eventually while still a teen he opened up his own DIY punk rock venue as a sanctuary for the town's "weird kids" to listen to all kinds of music. Music that small town values might of labelled "devils music" under their breath.

Listen to Rumorosa and you might hear the push and pull of small town Texas life between the lines.
-
Robb Donker



L.A.'s Mangled Jangles- Feel the cool wave of "Dull Dreams"

On Dull Dreams by Mangled Jangles the words move trippily along as the beat, bass percolate as bendy guitars float along like psychedelic clouds. Doubled vox, more guitars and the dream is in full swing. Elements of a kind of Mac DeMarco indie pop as well as tropical punk strobe through. It is all so tasty, fun and cool.
-
Robb Donker


Whooda Thunk - "Walk With Me" From Sweden

From Kalmar Sweden- Whooda  Thunk- (CARL GRÄNSMARK)
His influences run as wide as Korn to Aphex Twin to movies like Donnie Darko. Yeah I know.
-
Robb Donker





CHKBNS (Cheekbones) performing "Animal" on KEXP-





































From Saint Petersburg, Russia formed in 2011- Cheekbones or better known anagrammatically as CHKBNS are Aneliya, Emily aka Mila and Slava aka Gabriel. 3 EP released so far. Last year on the always amazing KEXP check out Animal. The sound is haunting, dreamy, beautiful and sparkles with an almost industrial effervescence. Love the droning syths, the noise rock elements and Aneliya's almost translucent and transcendent vocal performance.
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Robb Donker


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Nepotism- From the Free Lunch Program Mixtape-- hear the spoken word Intro and "Shots Fired"

From 2016's The Free Lunch Program Mixtape and out of South Carolina hear the spoken word Intro and Shots Fired by Nepotism, an alternative 3 piece band centered around founder Rob Kershaw. The sound is a hybrid of hip hop and post punk /funk. Along are D Younger on drums and Alex Skiro on Guitar.

Look for their first studio album release this year (2018).
-
Robb Donker


Paper Forest- "Dead Bugs" Off of "How To Become A Mountain" hear the experimental chemistry of youth




























Paper Forest from San Diego, California is kind of a indie folk / post punk / noise / garage rock / whatever collective or basically Sean Burdeaux and friends. It gleefully veers down a cool raw indie road and then sometimes goes off road. Lot's of flavors to enjoy steeped in the experimental chemistry of youth. So cool. Check out Dead Bugs off of the album How To Become A Mountain and then check out the entire album. You will love it.
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Robb Donker



Jesse Saint John - Elevated Pop Sound of "MOVE"

MOVE by Jesse Saint John while ostensibly an indie pop song has so many flavors blended together it feels highly designed. Jesse's pushed sideways vocals have a touch of the punk soul of bands like Fishbone and the synth and plucky bass rhythmns almost feel like a cross between the Chili Peppers, the Human League and Miami Sound Machine all the while pushed through a dance punk filter.

Jessie has written pop songs for Camia Cabello, Charli XCX and even Britney Spears but his solo stuff feels like a cool hybrid mix as musically pop expressionistic as a Jackson Pollock painting.
-
Robb Donker



Cristian James- Flying at "40,000 FT"

It is funny but the track 40,000 FT by Cristian James started quite a stir. AP usually doesn't swim in the sweet stirring tone of a song like this. The song is, in fact, not unlike many commercially grand pop ballads and has the same pop bones and sweeping romantic edges as some Coldplay songs. Not the usual fare here where the general aesthetic is more post rock, punk and more.

In the end, Cristian James youthful charm won out over harder interestes. Put it on and feel the love song. Available on Spotify.
-
Robb Donker


The Switch is Flipped- Feel "Oncoming Wave" by Heele

From New Haven, Connecticut, Heele is the project of multi-instrumentalis and producer Michael Henss. Oncoming Wave is the first single of this project which will drop sometime this year. Details are slim but the grungy bones and vast dark metal hooks pushed through an indie rock filter feel exquisite. Put on black leather and lean into this one.
-
Robb Donker


Gregory Ackerman- "Keep Falling" Feels Like An Old Friend

Keep Falling by Gregory Ackerman feels as comfortable as a bowl of warm mac and cheese on a rainy night after your heart has been stepped on. 

The multi-instrumentalist's debut album drops on May 25th via V2/Munich Records. The album produced by Rilo Kiley bassist, Pierre de Reeder recorded at the 64 Sound Studios in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles, California. A piece of recording history 64 Sound boasts a musical history and vintage gear which allowed Gregory to record on one of Neil Young's old guitars.

How cool is that?
-
Robb Donker



"Take What You Need" - Nate Fredrick- Spartan and Beautiful






















Nate Fredrick found his voice when he was unable to sing. You see at 20 after an accident that left him bedridden with a jaw wired shut he began to compose his own music. Thanks for happy accidents. On Take What You Need his voice is a beautiful calm storm raining down over spartan guitar and transients sounds that give way to building beats and simple orchestrations of hope. Based out of Nashville, Nate's debut album "Outside the Lines" dropped about a year ago and reached number 8 on the Itunes singer songwriter charts.
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Robb Donker

Quarters of Change - "Hot Blazing Sun" from their self titled EP

Quarters of Change are NYC high schoolers who rock way beyond their young ages. Crazy and good. Listen to Hot Blazing Sun off their self titled self produced album. Great vocal chops, exquisitely potent lead guitar lines and more.
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Robb Donker



Champion Electric- "Squid" has a lot going on

The track Squid (to me) by Champion Electric has plush indie pop elements as diverse as MGMT, Tame Impala, Porches and Hibou pushed through a kind of romantic wave filter.

With Ohio / Michigan backgrounds but now residing in Nashville, Hunter Feinberg, Colin Pauley and Joey Kirby share hugs and creative endeavors and damn it feels so sweet.

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Robb Donker


"Surfers" by Me Not You - so absolutely cool

The overmodulated mix of Surfers by Me Not You is full of danger, intoxication, capers and even a kind of wistful longing all the while sounding so absolutely deliciously cool. 

The NYC outfit of whom I know absolutely nothing about but want to says the upcoming single is about:

"a journey back to a life altering day I spent in Asbury Park. I met someone who would change my life forever"
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Robb Donker


Listen to the cold beautiful chill of Norther Heirs - "Quiet Company"

Listen to Quiet Company by Northern Heirs and it's beautiful somber tones actually might cast a chill across your skin. The indie rock outfit formed by recording Toronto artist Scott Carruthers and producer Michael Norberg to fill the creative space between the down time of their own personal projects became this lovely formidable thing. Scott's considerable backlog of material crafted between two like minds became the debut EP1. Watch out for live performances and more music this year but for now get lost in Quiet Company.
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Robb Donker


Jessamyn Orchard- "One More Time" wil require multiple listens to absorb all it's heart

Singer- songwriter Jessamyn Orchard has worn many hats: poet, high school English teacher, acoustic guitar player and more. Along with upright bassist Dustin Miller (also lead acoustic guitar, vocals) Jessamyn tells her evocative stories all the while playing her guitar, keeping time with her foot tambourine and loops she created.

Her track One More Time featuring stellar tenor sax work by Ryan Dunn takes you on a homespun journey full of tears and wanderlust. You will listen to it repeatedly to absorb all of its heart. It is from her Debut EP "Consequences" that debuted at 46 on the top 200 Itunes Singer Songwriter Album Charts and is also available on Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon.
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Robb Donker



Gareth Inkster - "Last Year" A Sweet Pop Rocks Explosion

























When I heard Last Year it's earnest and sweet pop strains felt like pancake syrup. I, in fact, joked with it's author Gareth Inkster, a 26 year old multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario Canada that is sounded like the theme song for a sitcom about a super hero. I was hearing a hokey-ness because I am such a hard cynic and then the songs tender nature started stripping all my hard edges and I (slowly yet surely) fell in love with the track. I don't know if it was the dreamy backing vocals that feel kind of Beach Boys-ish, the almost George Harrison like lead guitar flourishes or the drop dead sweet gorgeous vocal element that Gareth brings. His vocal performance feels like first love. A very cool song.

Gareth's 7 track album is in the works and I can't wait to hear it. Searching on YouTube I found Gareth doing some amazing Radiohead covers (playing guitar and piano) and there are other original songs to mine too. His musical self is varied and deep. Check out Last Year with an open heart.
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Robb Donker


Tia Gostelow's "Giants" Is A Song To Behold

Tia Gostelow's Giants is a song to behold. It's tender tone built on dreamy guitar lines and Tia's amazing vocals reminds me a bit of Sea of Bees (Julie Ann Baenziger). Her indie folk / pop leanings have garnered comparisons as wide as Fleetwood Mac and Bjork.

Last year after signing with Anti Fragile records the Australian native's single Hunger blew up reaching 500,000 streams since November. Tia and her band have toured in support of Frightened Rabbit, Bernard Fanning, Busby Marou and Husky.
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Robb Donker

Friday, February 16, 2018

Books- "Jean Shorts" Indie Pop in Chicago























Books are an indie pop band from Chicago. On their track Jean Shorts the group mines forlorn imagery and an unknown future. The tone is wistful and kind of romantic. Their EP "Novella" just debuted a day before Valentines day.... even that seems a little sad. Books is Ajay Raghuraman (Lead vox, Guitar), Alex Pieczynski (vox, bass), Kevin Sheppard (vox, lead guitar), Stephen Boi (keyboard) and Sam Hass (drums).
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Robb Donker


Jeremy Benjamin Dreams About "Cold Hard Cash"

Jeremy Benjamin is a singer-songwriter whose work blends elements of folk, pop, country and gospel.  After studying music at Redeemer University, Jeremy recorded and toured as the songwriter and leader of the internationally-acclaimed folk vocal trio Isobelle Gunn along with both his wife and his sister. In 2013, Jeremy released a commissioned work entitled Heidelberg: Songs from the Catechism to critical acclaim.  While working at the Talbot St. Church in London, Ontario, Jeremy created the Body & Soul Collective and began touring and teaching his songs in the U.S. and Canada. In 2017, Jeremy signed a record and publishing deal with Divergent Recordings, an associated label of True North Records, and is currently working on an album to be released in 2018.