Thursday, May 31, 2018

Point Cove and the strange yet wonderful "I Am The Edison Phonograph"

Point Cove is the moniker for Edward Mackay who has made music spanning many genres from Gaelic to heavy rock. Originally from the Isle of Lewis, now based in Gourock, Scotland, he takes musical influences from the likes of Lemon Jelly, The Avalanches, Florence and the Machine, Hans Zimmer and Ólafur Arnalds to name a few. Using computer programs to create original instrumental music, vocals from various vintage spoken recordings are later added on top.

Check out the strange yet wonderful I Am The Edison Phonograph.

-
Robb Donker




Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Money & King - "70's Psych Americana" - hear "Draw Me A Line" from the "There Are So Many Ways To Be Alone" Album

Upon hearing the track Draw Me A Line by Brooklyn's Money & King I couldn't help but think of The Kink's 1970 album "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Part One" (Strangers, Lola).

Money & King describe the sound on their sophomore album "There Are So Many Ways To Be Alone" as 70's Psych Americana and "Americana" is key as the country meets folk meets roots rock is apparent and such an engaging aspect of their sound. It is the sound you can here in certain incarnations of Kink's Brit rock or the Canadian Americans late 60's / 70/s iconic group, The Band. It is a sound or tone that I personally refer to as "garden rock" and while the guitar twang is not always necessarily  present in this sound, there is a certain lilt to the earnest vocal performances in roots music that makes it Americana and real. You hear that heavily here.

The wonderfully Draw Me A Line serves up all that with the guitar twangs too as well as a wealth of country-fied (or fried) harmonicas, sweet guitar jams, vocal harmonies, waltz like cadence, organ and intricate counterpoised almost walls of guitar and mandolin picking. It is all so amazingly melodic and lovely and a sound I have always loved. Country folk elegance created by guitarist James Sparber and drummer Brandon Goldstein splitting songwriting and lead vocalist duties. Bassist John Loggins on bass and harmonies, Jeff Mensch on guitar and twang, Brady Bagger on piano and organ and James Sweitzer on guitar and mandolin leads.
-
Robb Donker

Check out the bands Facebook link here to find out more about the album "There Are So Many Ways To Be Alone" dropping June 1 (2018).

Bat Zuppel and their giant punkified psyche garage rock sound- hear "The Witch" from the "Dylar" album

























There is a sound at the beginning of the pile driving The Witch by Pittsburgh 4 piece rock outfit Bat Zuppel which signals that I might already like what these guys put out. It is a kind of John Dwyer-esque (The Oh Sees) lead short little slide punctuated by a kind of spring reverb. It almost sounds like a slip of the finger even though it is purposeful. After that all the punkified grungy heaviness ensues with big chunky downbeats, heavier than Heaven drums and glorious lead lines that veer though big blues rock / garden rock tones too. The lead lines are a big part of this song and as I listened a huge smile formed on my face and would not leave. I especially love the progression that comes in "duh duh duh duh" which (ok go with me) sounds kind of funky and made me think of Cameo (yes that Cameo) "Word Up".  Bat Zuppel's vocals are like bleeding in the throat vocals. The kind of "scream until you need a Chloraseptic treatment" vocals. The song is so noise rockish that you get lost in it easily and at over 7 minutes it is a heavy punk psyche rock blissful kind of thing. The Witch is from the recently released "Dylar" studio album (their second) which you need to check out.
-
Robb Donker




Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sophia Danai spins a web and a story on "Come Thru"

Come Thru by the multi-layered and talented singer-songwriter Sophia Danai pushes so many buttons in your brain. The pleasure centers are all firing when you revel in Danai passionate vocal performance which is both sweet and acidic but it is not only her vocal chops that will have you glassy eyed and feeling kind of high but the very cool musical maze that she navigates her voice around. The production blends so many sonic elements together. There are sounds that feel like vintage recordings, pearly keys of synths, electronic shifted vox that feel like memories bending.  All these interesting sounds feel like emotional cues to the story being told or referenced. A story of heart break, betrayal and maybe a touch of revenge or comeuppance and surely female empowerment. It is such a stellar passion play of a song and Danai's gritty soulful vocal performance sells it oh so well. Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, her vocal aesthetic has been likened to a blend of Nina Simone, Billy Holiday and Portishead and it is an apt description (I only wish I would of come up with it).
-
Robb Donker



Above The Moon - blistering indie rock with serious 90's post punk bones in "Fight The Sea" from their "Patterns You Create" EP

The track Fight The Sea from Above the Moon's EP "Patterns You Create" is a blistering indie rock track with 90's post punk bones. Kate Griffin on vocals and guitar has a smooth but strident vocal style supported by a tightly wound wall of sound with Shawn Murpy on lead, Chris Mangin on bass and John Gramuglia on drums. The band hails from Madison, New Jersey and have been making music together since 2016.
-
Robb Donker

Monday, May 28, 2018

"Black Rabbit" by Cedric Warner Sparkman lives in it's own Glam Galaxy

The track Black Rabbit by Cedric Warner Sparkman has a long production arc, in fact, it was percolating in Sparkman's head over five years ago and in true avant garde fashion the last third of the song was written first with creative co-hort Jason S. Matuskiewicz in April of 2013. The poetry contained in the song stems from improvisational streams and has more to do with words sounding good together than necessarily meaning anything although in my mind all lyrics mean something to someone. A full three years later the first section took shape at the behest of the electric drum kit that Sparkman had sitting around. Ultimately, the framework was glam... mindful or subconscious nods to Bowie and T-Rex opting for a more spartan spatial sound than tons of layering.

There is a decidedly live club sound. Sparkman's vocal performance has proto punk tones and there is an appropriate 80's artifice to the vocal posturing. The song is dressed up with peg leg pants and glitter dashed on faces. 
-
Robb Donker



Tetra and the flavorful "Weekend" off the "Chill Chill Mega Chill" album

From the upcoming album "Chill Chill Mega Chill" the Philly, PA indie rock band Tetra is sharing the track Weekend. They describe their sound as psychedelic jazz rock. When I first hear Weekend I felt a kind of The Buttertones vibe. I really hate to even raise comparisons when I talk about a band but that kind of retro post punk (in that sock hop punk vein) is there blended in with a kind of artful vocal posturing and proggy pop sensibility too. So much to like here and looking forward to hearing more.

Tetra is Zachary (guitar and vocals), Sam (bass), Tyler (guitar) and Tyler (drums).
-
Robb Donker 


Jethro Pickett sings of "Lorelei" from the "France" album

Jethro Pickett has wanderlust in his heart (or so it seems). His latest album "France" was written and recorded between Dublin, London and his Yikesville studio in Melbourne. His sound is alt folk filtered through a kind of 60's toned psychedelia with retro Brit pop sounds too. Classic and beautiful but with indie rock bones. The four piece band that backs him when playing live is the wonderful Avant Gardai which sounds like it could be the name of the next Wes Anderson film.

Listen to the somber strains of Lorelei and moments after the song begins the chord ascends in an elegant and later the progression stair steps down. The song opens up and turns on a dime and becomes intimate. It soars as a lovely musical break embraces you. The glue that holds all this together is, of course, Jethro Picketts earnest somewhat sad vocal performance that is right there over our shoulders.

Visit the JP website. It is chalked full of goodies. "France" is available on vinyl, CD and digital platforms.
-
Robb Donker


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Jason S. Matuskiewicz - a tender core but heavy pop bones in "Live Without You"

Live Without You from Jason S. Matuskiewicz's latest EP "Blue Velvet Couch" has a tender even somber core but also has heavy, heavy pop bones. Jason swings for the fences on the stirring chorus that almost begs you too hold a cigarette lighter high above your head or at least the light on your phone. Jason embraces pop sounds on the other tracks as well but at the center of all the songs are a lot of heart expressed in their melodies and Jason's battle scarred vocal performances.
-
Robb Donker



Velodrome and the Official Video for "His Physique" - a blend of baroque pop, art punk and a knowing wink of the eye

His Physique by Velodrome, the experimental rock project of UK based Queer DIY artist, singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist and drummer Katherine Christie Evans feels like something between proto punk, baroque pop and retro sock hop punk or maybe all of that blended together. Like Evans herself the song is multi faceted and gender bending. An artful exercise in coping and commenting on gender roles and stereotypes and more. For me the song is trippy sounding and while on the lo-fi side of things has that brewing experimentalism of early 70's punk that makes it so very interesting. Evans is the former bass player for Feminist punk witches Dream Nails, and toured Europe and the UK with them in 2017, performing alongside bands including LA outfit Cherry Glazerr, and punk-pop anarcuties, Charmpit. Recently Velodrome has performed live at venues including DIY collective space Chunk in Leeds with Esper Scout and Kermes; at Rough Trade with Dream Nails and Liines; at The Good Ship with Suggested Friends and Colour of Spring; and at Loud Women Fest 2017 with Petrol Girls and Grace Savage. 

In the official video for His Physique which Evans directs as well, she becomes different male protagonists from Sir Lancelot, to Narcissus, to a gay monk in a monastery, Buddy Holly, to Kirk Hammett of Metallica all with a sense of artful flair and a wink in her eye.
-
Robb Donker


ATM out of Sweden- their love for trashy indie R & B and the track "One Touch"

























The track One Touch is the first record of Swedish producers / songwriters Henrik Jonzon and Per Eklund who collectively have writen and produced global artist like Sigrid (No), Alesssia Cara (US), Rebecca and Fiona (SE) and Killian & Jo (DE). The have a love for trashy indie R & B and as ATM strike chords together. One Touch goes down easy with a beat everyone can shimy and shake too. The vocal performance is a "friend" out of London who for now wants to remain nameless which is kind of driving me crazy because she sounds so familiar. Her comely performance is flawless. Of ATM as a project / musical entity the boys say:

“This project is dedicated to the joy and spontaneity that music is, can and should be. We’re here to create a space of limitless possibilities, ideas, collaborations and friendships. One of our good friends from London lent her badass vocals to ‘One Touch’, and we plan on collaborating with a variety of interesting musicians and artists as we go. For a lot of people ATM obviously stands for ‘at the moment’, and our one and only plan is to do what we feel like in the moment. Our neon blue camel logo is as random as our minds, and that randomness and playful vibe will hopefully also be reflected in our sound and in the choice of collaborators.”
-
Robb Donker



The big stoner rock sound of Hot Knives: Bushwick, heavy metal and that guy. Hear "Dank Zappa"

In talking about Hot Knives and their track Dank Zappa (off their Static Bloom EP) I could mention that they come from the neighborhoods in Bushwick (Brooklyn, NY) or that they possess that heavy metal infused punk with touches of stoner rock, Hendrix, Sabbath, Dead Meadow in that distilled kind of Ty Segall / The Oh Sees way but really to describe Hot Knives Sound you just need to look at the intoxicated smile of this guy: 


He is either Tom or Joe or Alex and how could you not like this guy. 
-
Robb Donker


Private Victories- romance, devastation and pop collide on "Strong Enough"

Private Victories is the moniker of L.A. singer-songwriter Grant Carey and on the track Strong Enough he emotionally cuts himself open and bleeds. The refrain, "Am I strong enough" is so exquisitely relatable to every man and woman who has ever been through the hardest of times. The vocal melodies and sprite chord progressions in and of themselves (if you do not include the lyrics) have a cool vibe and while containing some somber sounds there is an almost sing songy thing happening too. The "da duh da duh da"  remind me of (dare I say) the catchy quality of a romantic fueled sitcom jingle. This comfortable romantic pop quality offset with a deeply heartbroken vocal performance and lyrical content is such an interesting emotional counterpoint. Carey reveals that the lyrics are imbued with the thoughts of someone battling depression sedated by the pain of societal traumas such as gun violence and homophobia. This somber pop song digs and runs oh so deep. Private Victories min LP "Among The Changes" will be out soon.
-
Robb Donker


Bad Flamingo will ride up on you and rob you blind- hear "Running From The Lawman"

Bad Flamingo dress in all black and they wear cool Zorro type masks. They keep their identities hidden. The track Running From The Lawman is spartan but dripping with cool sounds amid a pursed lips bass line, static drum beat with timbales in the background, pearly keys and guitars that feel like something like surf guitar with Spanish tones filtered through hazy psychedelia. The vocal performance is whispery straining into over modulation, seductive and sultry. The entire sound begs, begs.... fucking begs any music blogger to use the overused phrase "Spaghetti Western" but I am not going to succumb to something so utterly cliche. Aw fuck, I did now.... didn't I.
-
Robb Donker


Saturday, May 26, 2018

The progressive folk / Americana escapism of Baerd- hear "Crete"

























The track Crete by Boston progressive folk / Americana band Baerd is melodically lush in an orchestral sort of way. Well beyond the vocal melodies supported by harmonies pushing degrees of chromatic buttons there is both avant garde and pop sensibilities in the production arc. The dynamism and artful flow of musical and emotional lines feels like a musical stage play and rises to such a sense of free form escapism that it sounds as if Brian Wilson (Pet Sounds 1966) and George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue 1924) got together to stir things up.... and then the surprising summer rain storm abruptly stops.

I suppose the death defying stop is unmistakeably daring and maybe a mistake in and of itself but I can forgive it because of what came before but it is a personal point of contention I hope to discuss with singer-songwriter / guitarist Isaiah Beard someday. Rounding out Baerd you have Paul "Papabear" Johnson (drummer / arranger), Ben "Flapjack" Knorr (bango), Maxfield Anderson (mandolin), Victor "Ol Blue" Pacek (double bass), John Blanda (keyboardist), Ariel Loud (arranger / sax player) and Mariana Forjaz Secca (singer / arranger).


-
Robb Donker


Hungry Lake and their big psychedelic folk rock sound cuts a big swath in "Out of Line"

Hungry Lake are out of Toronto and their track Out Of Line from their upcoming album of the same name has a vast big indie rock sound for a self described psychedelic folk rock band. The bottom heavy groove is cut deep and guitar sounds ebb and flow and crescendo in big walls of sound and ambiance. There are touches of California garden rock and as I listened to the cool double guitar lead breaks I thought of surfing in Northern California amid big breaks and fog rolling in at Big Sur. The dimension to the sound is so amazing.
-Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Hungry Lake are a psychedelic folk-rock band from Toronto. Meeting at Seneca’s Independent Music Program in 2008, founding members Joe Thomas and Ryan Webb formed the Lake’s first incarnation.  The band’s songwriting has grown more progressive in recent years with the addition of drummer Josh Park and bassist/keyboardist Greg Markov.  Focusing on arrangements and recording, the four cut their teeth on their self released debut album The Overpass (2015), followed by two EPs Raccoon (2017) and Out of Line (Spring 2018).  Swirling guitars and enormous walls of sound are met with folk sensibilities to bring Hungry Lake’s sad stadium rock to the stage with force.  Plans for 2018 see the band embarking on a national tour to bring their upcoming full-length album New Destruction (Fall 2018) to festivals and smaller communities with an intense and dynamic live show.  


"The Becoming" by Toronto's Isla Craig feels like performance art

When I listen to The Becoming by multi-dimensional vocalist and songwriter Isla Craig I feel like I am listening to performance art. It is not only the stalking synth bass lines or the transient pearly key sounds but the density of her layered harmonies and lead vocal performance where she stretches out her phrases in a self aware deeply introspective way. The result is immersive and creates an intense eagerness to see Isala live. Where are you performing Isla?

She currently haunts Toronto, ON and her kind of avant garde trance like creations whic beg to be described but are hard to put in a box or category. Besides being a solo artist she is an active collaborator in the Toronto art scene and has worked on projects with Fucked Up and Owen Pallett and is a past member of U.S. Girls.
-
Robb Donker


River Fury- "Why (You Don't Mean It)" from the Debut Album "Five Year Plan"


The track Why (You Don't Mean It) from London's River Fury from their upcoming debut album "Five Year Plan" is a blistery potent rock song that drives in a straight line until it jumps head first into cool proggy diversions. The beat changes throughout and the raw dynamism keep things so utterly engaging. The vocal performance is both sultry and bruised. Love this track and look forward to hearing the entire album.
-
Robb Donker

NOTES: 
Riverfury:
London based (Melbourne grown), River Fury are Patric Nutton (vox/guitars), Dan Howe (vox/guitars), Callum Hayes (bass/vox), Andrew Gallop (drums)




Amy Guess - dodges a bullet in "Never Come Back"

The track Never Come Back by Canadian born singer-songwriter Amy Guess feels like night runs at old dark haunts. The low drawls of almost western rock guitars amid electronic sounds feel mysterious like you need to run away from something (or someone) and not look back. The framework is cinematic but at the center is Guess' vocal performance that runs the gamut from low (dead serious) and sultry to higher registers of emotion and passion.

At 12 years her family moved to Las Vegas, a world away from Calgary. The years would find her later in cover bands and even as a singing gondolier at the Venetian Hotel while in high school. Of her current craft Guess says,  “I like peeling back layers that you don’t even know are there, to unlock something real. When I’m singing or writing, It goes deep. You’re letting out your deepest most private and sometimes darkest stories and emotions, even though it’s a healing experience, it can be heavy letting those things out.”

-
Robb Donker



The Mason District - Full charge rocker "Lose Your Mind"

The Mason District from Cleveland Ohio are an indie rock band comprised of Tom Tobias (lead vox and guitar), Maria Petti (bass and vocals) and Colin Nutter (drums) and their track Lose Your Mind is a liberating rocker with dramatic turns and double time passages that feel like running full charge at something.

The three met at an open mic and became friends and band mates. Lose Your Mind is from the bands second EP "The Blue Room PT. 1".
-
Robb Donker







Friday, May 25, 2018

Greg DeMesquita has stories to tell. Hear "Goin' To Town" from the album "Pioneers and Settlers"

Goin' To Town by Philadephia singer-songwriter Greg DeMesquita tells it's story in a simple understated way. This is not to say that it doesn't pull emotions straight out of your heart. It does... but the vocal performance and song arc doesn't move mountains to do so and I love that about DeMesquita's sound.

DeMesquita's second full length album entitled "Pioneers and Settlers" is available on Spotify. I haven't traveled into this collection of songs but look forward to getting slowly lost into it's sonic fields of wheat and burnt sun skies.
-
Robb Donker




Thursday, May 24, 2018

The commanding relationship rock sound of Depth Charger's "There" from "EP 1"


















Depth Charger is a four piece indie rock outfit out of Richland, Washington. The track There from EP 1, their five track EP is a moody piece of relationship rock pushed through synth laden dreamy filters that give the song an almost sci-fi rockish tone. The electronics are offset by the organic almost new wave emo meets art rock ballad crooner vibe with the deep almost emotionally monotone vocal performance by guitarist Kevin Laws (I thought a bit of Matt Berninger of the National). Depth Charger is rounded out by Joel Peterson on Drums, C.J. Tatman on Strings and keys and Andrew Meyer on bass.
-
Robb Donker


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Sheen... free jazz filters and carnival mirrors on "Rum Rations" from their self titled album

The Sheen is a sextet from Bellingham, Washington (of course they are) and their track Rum Rations from their recently released self titled album is a gorgeous piece of musical mayhem or just mayhem. The sonic flavor you get while listening is a dizzying intoxicating dream like state or the influence of Absinthe in a cathedral of trees deep in the Washington wilderness. The drunken ballroom cadence, vibraphone, Farfisa organ, synths, baritone and alto sax sewn together by bass and rock solid dual drums pushed through free jazz filters and carnival mirrors is great musicality mixed with a greater lunacy. The masterminds behind all this are Riley Reasor, Kellan McLaughlin, Brock Muench, Justin Benz and Jonathan Sherman.
-
Robb Donker


Clare Means has got some things to say: "Hollywood Zoo" from the "Sidewalk Astronomy" album

Clare Means has got things to say. Some times she busks on the Santa Monica Pier or live streams to thousands of people all over the world via the streaming app Periscope. Her DIY hutzpah has her selling records and touring without a label. Check out Hollywood Zoo from her latest album "Sidewalk Astronomy."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Petey's Dead - hear "Cheap" from the "Horses" Album - Punk / indie rock with intricate guitar, bass and drum interplay thoughout
















Israeli punk pop band Petey's Dead churns out heavy handed chords offset with emotional lyrics on the track Cheap off their album entitled "Horses." Formed in Tel Aviv in 2016, on "Horses" their sound runs very punk hot like on the deep proggy Love The Surgeon to the mid tempo anthemic hook laden No Future that feels like shouty punk in that Japandroids vein and sometimes their aesthetic mixes it up like on Ships and Anchors that feels like straight big punk pop until it veers into almost art rock meets Emo with intricate guitar, bass and drum interplay throughout. The musicality is superb with Erez Cohen on lead vocals/ bass,  Matan Ben David on Guitar /vocals and Oded Levi on drums / vocals.
-
Robb Donker




AP: OUT OF THE NORM: Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts and the porch bluesy ragtime "mind folk" of "One Day"





























On one hand most of the music covered on American Pancake is out of the norm. I mean AP's musical taste has always veered a bit left of center and while our journey covering new bands and music started in the surf punk, avant garde, retro punk hotbox of Orange County, California and LA spots and festivals our coverage has changed into a more eclectic stew now but we still veer left of center just in more diverse genres.

From time to time AP will cover bands out of our norm if such said band has that bit of something that feels different or just totally engaging. That is what the AP: OUT OF THE NORM header is meant to signify, not music that is out of the norm necessarily but out of OUR norm.

Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts are a four piece (or more) band out of Eugene, Oregon that play this kind of old time, country, porch blues, ragtime blend of sounds that feel like an authentic time machine. Cowin Bolt plays a resomatic guitar, Josh Britton on standup bass, Jeremy Sher on Fiddle and Tim "Slim" Long on Washboard. Listen to the deep groove of One Day from the "High On The Hog" album. Oh, and they call their sound as "mind folk." How cool is this?

-
Robb Donker


No Kind of Rider - multi dimensional on "Dark Ice"

No Kind of Rider is a 5 piece indie rock band whose personal tentacles extend from Portland, Oregon and Brooklyn, New York. Their latest single Dark Ice is so musically dense it literally washes over you. I started seeing images in my mind immediately something that happens to me personally when a piece of music engages and fires those synapses in my brain.

On Dark Ice the deep groove is cut right away and the guitar tones (blending funk, blues and rock) feels almost like a secondary vocal performance. Speaking of the vocal performance, Samuel Alexander's earthy style feels introspective and emotionally tight but holds R & B tones in the melodies he aptly maneuvers through. The chorus fills out as instruments shift into double time and staccato rhythms. Dynamic playing all around by Wes Johnson on bass, Jeremy Louis on guitar, Joe Page on synths and Van Patten on drums.
-
Robb Donker


Carter Vail proves songs don't have to be hard. Hear the chill "Melatonin"


























Singer-songwriter / producer Carter Vail possesses a knack for spinning stories in chill seductive ways. On the track Melatonin he waxes poetic about Jane, "Now Jane standing over in a night gown, she's got the phone chord twisted round her finger... she's a sight to see" and later, "Now Jane she's a lover like a pipe bomb.... she's got the pink sunglasses..... high heals gonna walk you out." Around the evocative lyrics the musical vibe is as cool as a coastal breeze muting your beads of sweat on a hot summer night. Vail sings with an accompanying high falsetto that enhances the tropical post punk vibe all filtered through an indie pop sheen. Vail is currently hubbed out of Miami and will be shooting a music video for Melatonin and I am already wondering what Jane will look like.
-
Robb Donker



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Save Venues and Invigorate Communities- Tuckshop Community Radio Out of London Release Exploding Head Sessions 1 & 2 in Support of the Music Venue Trust

The amazing Tuckshop Community Radio Podcast / Radio show based out of London as created and curated by the exceedingly cool, congenial and thoroughly wicked Jack Francis Bacon has just released a compilation album featuring bands from the Tuckshop Exploding Head Session (1 and 2). If this isn't cool enough, all proceeds will go to the Music Venue Trust which is a UK registered charity whose mission statement includes the preservation and improvement of venues that would otherwise go by the way side. 

As Jack Bacon expresses on the Tuckshop Facebook page: "....we want to raise funds for  charity Music Venue Trust as we need to keep as many dark and dingy bars alive so we can all hang out together and enjoy gloriously loud music. Please support and share"

The compilation features the likes of Claw Marks, Brunch, Revenue, Great Ytene and Dancehall. All tracks recorded live at Exploding Head Sessions - Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney, London 

You go Jack. HIT the BANDCAMP LINK BELOW-- buy the compilation-  enjoy the bad ass music and help to preserve vital art scenes by preserving the important venues that bring in musicians and artists that in turn flips on economic switches and further development and a true sense of community. 
-
Robb Donker



Stockholm's King Borneo's - psyche folk bliss in "Oreo Pancakes"

Stockholm based psyche rocker King Borneo coincidentally kind of reminds me a bit of early King Tuff but then again I also think of Bob Dylan if BD was into punk pop stuff at a young age. King Borneo is the moniker of Gustav Jennefors who was formerly a heavier psyche rocker but now his songs stray a bit more like 60's psychedelic folk / retro pop. Songs like Oreo Pancakes would feel right at home in Orange County, California in that Burger Records motif.

King Borneo is Gustav, Timmy Fredriksson, Hannes Ozolins and Niklas Bryngelsson.

-
Robb Donker


Seattle Based Monitor and the artful "Memorand"

Memorand by Seattle based Monitor feels like a multi-layered deeply woven tapestry of sounds. Bass lines holding sway, counterpointed guitar lines, up front vocals and droning waves of synths on the very edge of dissonance. The band is comprised of Dave Raskin, Connor Smith and Pete Fitton. For years Raskin was primarily an acoustic based singer songwriter but his compositions found deeper pools when approached by former bandmate Connor Smith and Monitor along with multi-layering and deeper arrangements began. Eventually Smith moved to Seattle where the two would create what would eventually become the "Memorand" LP recorded in Brooklyn, NY as produced and engineered by Kyle Joseph and percussionist Rami Sticky. In order to perform these puzzle pieces of sound live Raskin and Smith reached out to songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Pete Fitton. He provided his 10 plus years of experience touring and arranging to craft a live show as compelling as the studio album. The band plans to tour and promote "Memorand" this summer (2018).
-
Robb Donker


"Just Won't Stop" by The Qualia is a deceptively deep Indie rocker

Just Won't Stop is a complex indie rocker. On one had it simply jams with deep grooves and proggy tones but it also has clean pop sensibilities and (dare I say) flourishes into a slight emo sound then... then surprisingly after you are bobbing your head and pushing your gas pedal down harder shifts once again. The unbridled passion, the dynamic down beats, runaway beat and stellar crescendo falls apart in a disjointed way as the emotional bottom drops out. You can feel the unease and heartbreak somehow in this musical play and I seriously felt goosebumps. Then you feel the track dust itself off and stand tall before running full force into the fray. During this entire review I neglected to mention the vocal performance (Lars Casteen) which is quite brilliant, moving into clean indie sounds and shifting into falsettos effortlessly.

The Qualia are based out of New York and are Lars Casteen, Rossen Nedelchev, Matt Raymond and Will McCutcheon. Much respect boys.
-
Robb Donker

"Sundried Mind" by the Tins Feels Like Sun Soaked Days Ahead























When I listen to dreamy Sundried Mind by The Tins out of Buffalo, NY I think of sun soaked days on some beach maybe in southern California. For you it may be somewhere else but during these recent rain soaked days in Georgia I feel like my mind is just wet and drenched and smelling of cigarette smoke. At least I have a remedy of sorts in The Tins whose harmonies ease the pain. The sound is yes, very poppy filtered through 60's psychedelia making it sound like a blend of alt folk and art rock all squished together. The sound goes down easy. It is unoffensive and I don't mean that in any derisive way.

The Tins are Adam Stanley (guitar and vox), Michael Santillo (keyboards and vox) and David Muntner (drums) and their new album drops June 1.
-
Robb Donker



Sabatta - "Misfit Music" Mantra and OFFICIAL Video for "Scream of Consciousness"

Sabatta's track Scream of Consciousness shoves so much cosmic musical DNA into their sound it is a joyful heady experience. Almost all at once I thought of iconic bands like Bad Brains, Living Color, and 70's proto punkers Death. Front man Yinka Oyewole describes the sound as Grunge Soul and I can see why when you hear the heavy guitar which is dare I say Hendrix-ian in nature all fuzzed up but yet sharp and clean. 

Based out of London, Sabatta is collectively Yinka on vocals and guitar, Debbie Dee on Bass and Adriano Siani on Drums. Sabatta's mission statement of "fuck genres, fuck labels, fuck rules and fuck fitting in" is all over the upcoming album "Misfit Music" and when you hear the deep blend of rock, grunge, punk, funk, soul and metal all coalesced into their sound it all makes sense. "Misfit Music" drops June 4th. Get lost in Scream of Consciousness below and check out the Official video as well.
-
Robb Donker






The Cinematic Folk of Ane Diaz - "Allá Viene Un Corazón"

The cinematic folk song Allá Viene Un Corazón from Venezuelan songstress Ane Diaz pulsates with a drop dead gorgeously emotional vocal performance held up by the stately cadence of acoustic guitars, folkloric percussion and trumpets that blare out Mariachi meets the Cotton Club blues infused tones. The result is full of drama and even melodrama in an almost Spaghetti Western sort of way too but not too much for it has such deep wells of emotion to be fully put into that slot but let's just say that this (ultimately cool) factor is there. In fact, I could see this folk song in a future Tarantino movie if there is such a thing.  I absolutely love the aesthetic here and want to hear more of whatever this lady is putting out.
-
Robb Donker


Chow Chow Mandy - "Lower Than Atlantis" feels like Shiny Future Punk (to me)

Chow Chow Mandy is a self described electro rock duo who spend time between London and Los Angeles but my Facebook stalking seems to indicate they are mostly hubbed out of the UK. Now don't chastise me for poking around and delving into the Facebook profiles of Victoria Sans and Austin Danson. How could I not. They seem to use themselves as art pieces and live the life so to speak. This all translates into their collective alter egos as Chow Chow Mandy which distills down to their cagey engaging post punk electro rock (yes I will drink that kool aid) sound which is part perfectly crafted as all electronic sound must be but very, very feral sounding too. I like this collision of patterns and craft and wtf is going to happen next. Feels like shiny future punk to me.

The track Lower Than Atlantis (who is Evan?) with Victoria Sans' shifting vocal sounds (from intimate to radio waves) feels like a clusterf.... of late 70's proto punk, mid 80s new wave, 90's Brit electronic dance wave and more-- into this kind of (say it again) shiny future punk and yes electro rock.  The chorus explodes into something I love very much.
-
Robb Donker


Orouni - Henrik Ibsen - and "Nora (Naked)" Official Video

The French band Orouni released a stripped (no pun intended) version of Nora (Naked) as a seemingly vintage video shot on super 8. The song is about women's empowerment and the video is inspired by Henrik Ibsen's three act play "A Doll's House" written and first released in 1879. In the video, the lead role of "Nora" is played by French-British artist Emma Broughton (Bon Iver, Lisa Hannigan). The drummer for Melody’s Echo Chamber and Halo Maud, aka Stéphane Bellity, plays Nora’s husband.
-
Robb Donker

categories


Mute Choir's Post Electronic Sound - "Electric Season" from "Behind The Bars"

The track Electric Season by Mute Choir floats on synth arpeggios and what sounds like never ending sustained guitar lead lines. The pop, old wave / new wave thumping beat carries us to full blown beautiful places filled with dreamy orchestrations. The song turns from dark club dance beats to a romantic ballad and back again eventually pulsating into a jagged art rockish affair all with a strong pop sensibility and all fueled by Sam Arion's cool and moving vocal performance.

Sam was born in Iran and raised in the Toronto suburbs of Richmond Hill and Newmarket. Electric Season is off the upcoming "Behind the Bars" album set to release next month (June 2018).  Sam refers to his sound as "post electronic" and infuses his songwriting with the melancholy filtered through electronic and dance elements and more.

Of the album and writing process Sam says:

“I’d say that 98% of this album was made by me alone on my laptop at 3 a.m.,” he admits. “I’m not a great drummer so I had to get a friend to do that, but I wrote all his parts. As soon as I started playing music when I was 13, I immediately wanted to learn how to produce because I never wanted to be in a situation where someone else was telling me how my music should sound. What’s most important to me is not feeling like I’m faking it, not just with music but all aspects of my life. That’s what this album represents most—it’s a true expression of who I am.”

-
Robb Donker



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Moontwin spin dark webs between Bulgaria and London - "Don't Worry Bout Me" and "Butterfly"

Don't Worry Bout Me by Moontwin feels like feral porch blues. At times the homespun tones feel as somber as a funeral and even darkly sinister. I wouldn't say that this song reaches the level of the murder ballad genre that has a tradition in western country music and folk but let's just say there is a deep well of something here that lives in the shadows of the heart.

Interestingly this song and many more are born out of a collaboration stretching from Bulgaria to London. The taught storytelling takes shape between two people over 1700 miles apart. Moontwin is singer songwriter Maple Bee (Melanie Garside) and XRaydio founder Zac Kuzmanov. Sharing a common history, these distant old friends shared musical ideas via video via phones. Zac was diagnosed with a degenerative muscular disorder losing the use of his hands but he still finds ways to record, mix and edit their musical and visual creations. However they create their creations are utterly compelling. Don't Worry Bout Me is the follow up single to Butterfly.
-
Robb Donker

Moontwin spin dark webs between Bulgaria and London - "Don't Worry Bout Me" and "Butterfly"



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ricardo Temporao's Project Brutus Begins and "The Nothing Here"

Brutus Begins is the project of Canadian psych folk artist Ricardo Temporao. His track The Nothing Here is a lush indie art rockish track. It feels both organic and ethereally electronic. Temporao's vocal style feels so dramatically postured. I can see him in my mind's eye with outstretched hand and deep eyes. I love the falsetto on the chorus. The longer the song plays the deeper you sink into the heady mix. Love the production and after listening I want to hear more from Brutus Begins.
-
Robb Donker


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Airpark's latest - "Yours Till I Die" is grand, sweeping and (yes) timeless

Airpark's latest single Yours Till I Die is a grand, big sweeping indie pop song. As intimate as it feels with the piano down beats and vocal performance that feels at once gritty yet melancholy it has a supremely vast sound. Brothers Michael Ford Jr. and Ben Ford infuse such a classic sound into this track that the often times "timeless" cliche is utterly true here. The ballad aspect of this song did feel not exactly Beatle-esque although I did think about John Lennon and even George Harrison during one of the seductively lush slide guitar lead lines.

Of the track, Michael says: “This is one of the more direct songs I've written. I have always appreciated songwriters like Bill Fox and Fiona Apple, who were able to be both direct and poetic simultaneously - that's exactly what I was after with ‘Yours Till I Die.’ It felt vulnerable as hell, but I knew if I could strike the right balance it would do the subject matter justice.”

-
Robb Donker


Man Underground mines deep emotional subject matter- hear "I Wish I Was Enough"

Man Underground is the solo project of Hayes Helsper (with support from Devin Helsper). The track I Wish I Was Enough has a sad core tone and I did think of Elliot Smith a bit as I listened. The more I listened though, Helpser's aesthetic is vastly different veering off into a more solid indie rock / alt folk thing and when the song erupts into an almost passion play of sorts and ends on some spoken words it shifts on it's own axis many times over.

The change in tone and tempo is a daring choice. All daring choices have consequences and at first listen I didn't care for it but the story seems to demand that kind of artistic choice. Helsper's lyrical content is heavy stuff but within the sadness is survival too.
-
Robb Donker


Listen to the goose bumps inducing "Stainless" by Cowboy Grizzly

Cowboy Grizzly, I like this name. It is the solo recording project of Grant McMahan out of North (Kennedale) Texas and the track Stainless is from his newly released debut album called "Mockingbird" (go here to find out more).

Listening to Stainless can be goose bumps inducing, at least for me and probably you too. There is something in the psyche folk tones and dense washed out sound that sounds so sad. The peddle steel guitar sounds actually pull images out of your memory banks and I kept seeing people in my life that I miss terribly. Love the sound and in some weird sense I thought of very early Flaming Lips for some reason though you would not think of them on the surface.

I listened to a couple of the other tracks on the album and while I am not equipped to offer an album review of sorts I truly love the aesthetic Grant is creating here.
-
Robb Donker


The avant garde post punk of The Honey Toads and "Plastic Smiles"

The track Plastic Smiles by The Honey Toads (from Petaluma, California) is driving dense post punk with a strong proto punk vibe. In spots it is cagey, beautiful, explosive and feels oh so different. It is the kind of sound that I would want to hear from that unknown band in some warehouse show or small club. The sound is abnormal in the best sense.

Nick Cafiero's vocals command your attention right away. He veers into early punk sounds. I actually thought a bit (just a bit) of Jello Biafra and I appreciate Nick's uniqueness not to mention that he jams on an electric ukulele. Joe DeMars on bass jams with the punk drive of a Flea but the elegant active choices of a Colin Greenwood. The pearly charged guitar work by Jack Hogan finds all the puzzle pieces and Dominic Bergamini drums is so solid and erupts when he needs to. Dynamically rich and wrought out The Honey Toads with their almost feral punk sound reminds me of another Cali avant garde punk outfit called Wide Streets who are sadly no more. Great stuff.
-
Robb Donker


"Clone Baby" by Fellow Robots feels like tortured retro sock hop punk with a twist of 90's post rock and I LOVE IT.

Fellow Robot hails from So Cal and the track Clone Baby is from their upcoming debut album "The Robots Guide to Music Volume 1" set to drop on June 29th. Sound-wise, Clone Baby feels like post punk retro 60's-ish tortured sock hop stuff mixed with a bit of 90's British post rock and sounds best LOUD.

Fellow Robot is fueled by singer songwriter Anthony Pedroza who pulled in friends and a couple of members of the alternative rock group Mr. Moonshine. By the way, "The Robots Guide to Music Volume 1" is just the first of a 3 part concept album. Wow.
-
Robb Donker


Spooky Forest is not spooky but indie pop cool- listen to "Escape Artist"

Every once in a while a submission comes in cold and mysterious. No info on the artist at all. No sense if this foray into music is a one time thing or something more.  All I know about Spooky Forest is that he (or they) make cool sounds out and consider them to be a music collective from Philadelphia and that does sound so promising. Collective means collaboration and from the sound of the track Escape Artist the ideas and melodies are flowing. I love the vocal performance here and just the vibe they are creating. Check it out.
-
Robb Donker

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Swells - a funk, post punk, jazz, rock cluster- Hear the sultry, funky, beat driven "Huntress"

North Hollywood's Swells stuff a lot of sounds into their music. A rough and ready fusion of jazz and psyche rock and funk and rhythm and blues and proto punk flavors all pushed through filters and spiced up in clever ways courtesy of Matty Gregg, Stefan Looft, Jason Ayala, Wyatt Sayre and Neil Rawate. The main thing to know is they fucking jam. Check out the sultry, funky, beat driven Huntress.
-
Robb Donker

Buffalo Sex Change has "Teeth" - trashy and rough

The rumble of Buffalo Sex Change's track Teeth feels like 1978 proto punk NYC trash folkish rock in that Lou Reed meets the New York Dolls collision sort of way. The rock feels dirty and rough and, in turn, incredibly fresh.

Out of Rochester, NY. Buffalo Sex Change is Clayton Eddy Drums on vocals and Phil Pierce on Guitar and vocals out on Dadstache Records.
-
Robb Donker