Tuesday, June 19, 2018

L.A.'s Squid Cult - stir dreams in "Baby Blue"

Baby Blue by L.A.'s Squid Cult feels like a story that might exist in the early 60's amid the big dreams and small minds of some Americana town. The indie rock is pushed through lush country folk rock filters. The divine guitar lead elevates the song more. The feeling is cinematic escapism. Dreamy and forlorn.

Squid Cult is Daniel Talton (guitar / vocals), Karter Mycroft (bass / keys), Csongor Erdélyi  (lead guitar) and Max Pretzer (drums / vocals).
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Robb Donker




Iuliano turns organic sounds into twisted dreamy apparitions on "Who Knows"

Living in Bangkok, Iuliano has had music coursing through his veins for what feels like forever. Born in Italy and forged on jazz, soul and progressive rock he played in clubs usually on keyboards backed by sequencers. He eventually made his way to the United States in Boston enrolled at the Berklee College of Music. Always a producer in his head his journey lead him later to produce all over Southeast Asia later managing a small label in Malaysia.

As his own artist he writes on guitar and piano. The track Who Knows floats on acoustic guitar, layers of vocals and organic sounds twisted and bent into dreamy apparitions. In the end it feels like a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole on a tropical island.
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Robb Donker


Are You Having Fun Yet- hear "Lads Prayer" from their album "Are You Having Fun Yet"

From Oslo Norway- Are You Having Fun Yet have just released their debut album of the same name.
Hearing the track Lads Prayer makes me want to hear the entire album and I will. Their sound is big and bright with soaring guitar lines and vocals mixed in with a kind of somberness too. I really like the drum sound, dreamy synth sounds, strident bass lines and when the guitar strikes on the downbeat happen it is heavenly.
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Robb Donker


Monday, June 18, 2018

Dave Sheinin's album "First Thing Tomorrow" is indie pop sweet and emotional - hear "Talking To Myself"

The track Talking To Myself from Dave Sheinin's debut album "First Thing Tomorrow" feels like post 90's rock filtered through 60's pop rock tones somewhere in between The Replacements and White Fence but with an overall softer side. Don't let "softer" dissuade you. The songs are earnest and emotional at their core. All this from a guy who has been covering baseball and writing feature stories for the Washington Post since 1999. The tracks throughout the album are earnest and full of catchy melodies.
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Robb Donker




Yip Yops create their own musical universe on "SHE"

Oh my... what can I say about the track SHE by Yip Yops who create their own unique musical universe in the Coachella Valley (California)? Instantly there is a feeling of 80's art pop pushed through more modern punk flavors. For some reason I thought about early Cure and Yazoo. I also thought about Interpol and New Order and Ziggy Stardust, not Bowie but Bowie's creation Ziggy Stardust. It is not that Yip Yops sound like Bowie but SHE is kind of drenched in a glam thing and is highly postured music. What I mean by that is that you can almost see front man Ison Van Winkle's artistic movements. The vocal performance has a highly art pop / art punk posture to it. It feels like a glam rock carnival in town. It is tightly dressed up and so very cool.

Yip Yops is lead singer and guitarist Ison Van Winkle, drummer Ross Murakami, bassist Jacob Gutierrez and keyboardist / vocalist Mari Brossfield.  Barely out of high school, the quartet are creating an enduring fan base and have done their thing on stages at Cali festivals like Coachella, Chinatown Summer Nights and Echo Park Rising. They just finished a tour supporting Lauren Ruth Ward. Awwww, the future looks bright.

-Robb Donker


Hear Basement Revolver's beautiful anthemic waltz "Baby"

Hamilton, Ontario's Basement Revolver must be starry eyed dreamers. They have to be to be able to conceive, to write, to feel, to perform their latest beautiful, anthemic waltz Baby.  The song is compressed full of sounds and emotions. Vocalist / guitarist Chrisy Hurn's vocal performance feels somber and tortured, yes, but there is also a touch of defeat that brews under the surface which makes the tone even sadder.  I love how the drums played by Brandon Munro also have a somber touch in between the eruptions of emotion. Nimal Agalawatte's bass ( and synth) pushes a dramatic bottom on this track. Baby's melodies will bury inside your head and heart. Basement Revolver's debut album "Heavy Eyes" drops August 24th (2018).

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Robb Donker


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Compensators- Love Drags- pushes early rock circa tones (65 to 75)

The Compensators' track Love Drags does not.... drag that is, in fact, it does quite the opposite. The band hails from Brooklyn and the tones, the attitude, feels like R & B infused rock circa 65 to 75. Think old school rockers like Spencer Davis Group or Mitch Ryder kind of smushed together with modern retro roots rockers like the Black Keys. It is a cool rock sounds with pop sensibilities.

Check it out-- rumor has it that a full album is in the works-

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Robb Donker


Norway's Izakaya Heartbeat dense post punk on the track "Descend"

From Norway: Izakaya Heartbeat's track Descend from their upcoming third full length "Subterranean Sunset" is an ultra dense post punk rocker with layered guitars and jubilant melody lines twisted askew. I though of the Pixies and Unknown Mortal Orchestra kind of smushed together. It plays well as a sunny pseudo soundtrack for friends on a collective high about something, some victory. That is what it feels like to me.

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Robb Donker


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Get lost in Ratnang Singh's "The War"

The title track from New Delhi singer- songwriter Ratnang Singh's album "The War" burns slowly and then catches fire. The sound is mysterious floating on Singh's evocative vocal performance and acoustic guitar while deep heavy sultry bass / drums provide the grit. Add keys and electric guitar sounds filtered through an almost surfy spring vibrato and you have an atmosphere that is both lush and beautiful to get lost in.

The album is available on Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify.
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Robb Donker


"Electrical" by Los Angeles' The Pretty Flowers breaks through

The track Electrical by L.A. band The Pretty Flowers immediately has a breaking through feel. A sense of punching walls or the sky or your chest and letting frustration go by championing all the defiance you can muster to break through something. The heaviness with post 90's rock guitars and hopeful cries wraps around you like intoxicated friends there to help out with whatever is troubling you. I really love this tone and think you will as well.

The Pretty Flowers are Noah Green, Sam Tiger, Jake Gideon and Sean Johnson and Electrical is from the "Where Trains Crash" album.
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Robb Donker

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Isak Thomas and The Stoop Boys on the EP "Harvard Ave" spin soulful sounds on "The B-Line"

Isak Thomas and The Stoop Boys is the moniker of singer-songwriter Isak Kotecki and a collection of Boston based musicians. On their EP "Harvard Ave" they cut deep grooves blending flavors of R&B and soul and alt folk but all in an earthy way pushing their aesthetic through filters feeling like something out of the American songbook. You can feel touches of jazz, gospel and porch blues peppered throughout.

On the track The B-Line Isak trades crooning lines with Madeleine Rosenthal and the spaces in between beats hold as much sway as the lilt of the guitar, the spicy bass and chill drums. The result is sultry, cool and embracing.

Check out the treasures on "Harvard Ave"as the collection of songs take you on what feels like a cinematic trip. The last track Blue Skies Below is dreamy, stark, somewhat sad and sprinkled with everlasting hope like a good lived life itself.

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Robb Donker


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Arbour Season - the topography of emotion - "Leaving Delaware"

























Husband and wife Shane and Emily Anderson create beautiful alt folk inspired by people and places they encounter on their travels from their RV home. Based out of Tampa Florida and Oshawa, Ontario (Canada) and Fredericktown, Missouri their sound is shaped by the topography around them.
In Leaving Delaware there are somber revelations told in beautiful harmony as mountains call to them.

-Robb Donker

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dear Japan - there is an air of mystery in this experimental art pop- hear Kushiro

Listen to the eerily beautiful Kushiro by Dear Japan and you may see melodramatic imagery. The song plays like a TV novella from various countries with over the shoulder wide eyed sad stares, betrayal, unrequited love and revenge. At least that is what I felt, saw in my mind. There is an almost a B-movie aesthetic to me as well and a harsh industrial mixed in the experimental pop thing happening too but all in a good provocative way.

There is some mystery surrounding this outfit from Hamburg and California but I am liking what I am hearing. Keep it coming guys.
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Robb Donker



Paper Citizen feels deceptively deep in a good way- hear "History"

History by Boston based Paper Citizen with it's sprightly played guitar and kind of mellow dramatic production full of salsa beatified cadences pulled apart with rich string sounds feels kind of  like tropical punk pushed through jazz filters. Then take Claire Gohst's perfectly poised vocals dressed up with classic tones, part American musical meets indie pop. It is a dizzy heady mix. The collective number of nuances add up in a big way and in the end History feels deceptively deep. The almost hyper reality of the string sounds made me think of Kishi Bashi a bit. The clean progressively built guitar rhythms made me think of St. Vincent. A lot going on. Where the hell are my jazz pants?

The heart of Paper Citizen is singer songwriter Claire Gohst (vocals, guitar, violins) and featuring Francesca Impastato (drums), Filipe Antunes (bass), Jacob Aviner (guitar), Bill Dunphy (guitar), Abram Lembono (keys, synths).

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Robb Donker




Sunday, June 3, 2018

Nothing For Breakfast - "Better Than Anything" from a whisper to a scream- engaging art pop

After you hear Better Than Anything by Italy's own Nothing For Breakfast you will find yourself chanting "I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go" every chance you get. Like if my wife mentions us going to visit her friend Darla I will step on the beat right away and sing it "I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go" with a smile on my face.

The indie pop hooks are deep on this track and the official super trippy video is equally engaging art pop. Nothing For Breakfast is Jonathan Shackelford (lead vocals, guitar), Samuele Cangi (synths, guitars, backing vocals), Simone Laureana (bass, synths), Francesco Cangi (drums, electric drums).
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Robb Donker

Talena Bricker - Pacific Northwest chilly sad alt folk - the "Drowning" EP and the Official video ("Drowning)

Pacific Northwest native Talena Bricker released her debut EP "Drowning" early this year. The title track is a chilly, sad alt folk song with a chorus that ascends on acoustic guitar, spartan piano, vast vocals and string sounds. Beautiful and hauntingly sad. The official video for Drowning shot in black and white plays real instead of dreamy which makes it sadder still.

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Robb Donker



Tom Leeb's latest "Go On", tender romances and a Live Performance in a beautiful old church in the south of France

French singer / actor Tom Leeb possesses a voice laced with romance and R&B tones on Go On. Already having amassed a huge following on digital platforms and YouTube after the release of his first single Are We Too Late you can see him perform Go On as a live acoustic session filmed in a beautiful old church in the south of France.
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Robb Donker


Niki Moss pushes all the right buttons on the track "Soylent Green"

























"Soylent green is people!"  Ok, now that I got that out of the way. Coming to us from Portugal, the track Soylent Green from Niki Moss, the moniker for Miguel Vilhena, a multi-instrumentalist, producer, lead vocalist for the psychedelic rock band Savana and founder for the record label Pontiaq is so sickly crafted that it is hard, so very hard to believe this is all one talented guy. Thematically, aesthetically it is part kind of indie pop pushed through slight tropical punk flavors and then metamorphosizes into electronic pop pushed through a faint tone of trip hop. Very faint like the trip hop is a puff of perfume and Moss just walked through it. How ever you want to describe it, it is cool and fun and makes me want to meet Vilhena, sit at his feet and see how he does what he does.

Soylent Green is the first single of what will be Niki Moss' debut album to be released later this year (2018).
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Robb Donker


Saturday, June 2, 2018

L.A. Based The Years - "Fell Asleep Dreaming" post punk meets post rock

L. A. based The Years is the musical project / collaboration of Cecil Campanaro (of Terraplane Sun) and Brian Stanley (of The Diamond Light). The track Fell Asleep Dreaming is drenched with a cool 80's post punk meets 90's post rock vibe. Spartan production blows up with droning synth sounds and washed out vox. Love this sound. 
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Robb Donker


Beard Bates - "Lions Sheep Birds" from the album "The World Blown"

Beard Bates has a voice that you notice right away. It is not only the low sultry register but the road worn rough around the edges tone bleeding through.  The first single from the upcoming album "The World is Blown" (dropping Sept 7th, 2018) is the evocative Lions Sheep Birds.  The sparse production only enhances that voice cut with pain. 
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Robb Donker


Freedom Fry- French American Indie Pop- "Cold Blooded Heart" and "Classic" from Debut Album

Freedom Fry is Parisian Marie Seyrat and Michigan Native Bruce Driscoll who currently create their musical aesthetic together in Los Angeles. Besides the songs they both have a hand in their look / wardrobe, album cover designs and tone of their music videos. All this and they are married too. These are people who care deeply about their craft.

The single from their debut album "Classic" is called Cold Blooded Heart and from the first few moments the lyrical story moves fast creating imagery flickering in your mind like sunlight through tree branches. The sound is classic and earnest folk and the pair go for a lean almost 60's or 70's pop feel and I love that.
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Robb Donker



John Paul Grigsby - "Home" from the "Nothing Is New" Album

The track Home by John Paul Grigsby shines with a sort of classic 60's / 70's elegant rock vibe. The tones made me think of the Beatles meets Badfinger pushing through Bowie filters even.

Grigsby is a Denver based musician and film maker and is currently touring as the bassist for Gregory Alan Isakov. His life as a session player has afforded him the opportunity to work with iconic musicians but "Nothing Is New" is his first album release with his own original music.
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Robb Donker

Legpuppy: The Lunatic Collective twist the 9 to 5 Office crowd in "Meds and Beer"



















Legpuppy is a self described South London Lunatic Performers Collective and their track Meds and Beer lampoons the 9 to 5 crowd who work in offices and talk sports and sex lives around the water cooler. Despite the clowning around, the track has some good new wave-ish / electropunk bones created by Darren Laurence, Claire Jones, Rich Bass, Voi Vang, Booby and Hugo Bamboo. 
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Robb Donker

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New Zealand's Makeshift Parachutes and "King Eeyore's Xanax Party"

New Zealand's Makeshift Parachutes and their track King Eeyore's Xanax Party (yes seriously that is the name) sounds like the song track for a Stranger Things dance party taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. I know that Stranger Things takes place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana and not Baltimore but that doesn't matter. Stranger Things does take place in the 1980's and King Eeyore's Xanas Party does have that 80's synth thing happening and it sounds a bit surreal so just go with me on this.

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Robb Donker

The surprising track debut single "Lucid" from Pool Surfers

The track Lucid is a lush dreamy track from an indie rock band from the Inland Empire (California) called Pool Surfers. Produced with a classic rock meets pop sound I can honestly say that the song surprised me coming from a band called Pool Surfers. I was expecting thrasher punk rock and get this kind of blendo rock with almost light jazz undertones. Dreamy as fuck.
Love this. Produced by Bob Curtin (Private Island, Sleeptalk, Hush), it is the first single from their upcoming album.

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Robb Donker


Your Dream Coat from Brooklyn - "People Like You" is a rare thing

Your Dream Coat's debut single People Like You feels like it starts with some trepidation like the first step on the long path across a crowded dance floor to ask that one person to dance or the measured feel of your fingers on your guitar strings finding that first position before that first strum during an important show. Maybe I am just sensing it but it doesn't matter because after one breath in, the song finds it's stride right away. Soon you are falling headfirst into a somber but earnest indie rock song pushed through kind of Brit pop filters. The vocal performance is intimate, upfront, starkly real and present... and free of sonic filters or reverb even. The result is something truly romantic and embracing. Rare these day. A gem to hold close to your heart.

Your Dream Coat hails from Brooklyn, NY and are Alain Paradis, Paige Jordan, Miguel Gallego.
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Robb Donker


ZXO - "Silver Parade" might be the most beautiful thing you hear today

ZXO refers to their psychedelic beautiful sound as "cosmic molasses" and while I can live with that when you listen to Silver Parade it feels to me more like a cosmic sunrise. Their music is sweet, yes, but doesn't move with the lava creep of molasses it, instead, glows like a tiny ember with subtle nuances and tender poetry until the glow becomes larger and larger and this shining light encompasses everything.

ZXO is Ryan Brewer, Garrick Nelson, Gabe Gerhardt and Teddy Lerch.

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Robb Donker


Friday, June 1, 2018

Vacation Forever swims in punk meets noise rock meets pop musical void - hear "I Changed My Life For You"

Vacation Forever is the moniker for Swedish artist, painter, model, songwriter Zacharias Zachrisson. The track I Changed My Life For You pumps along like a The Oh Sees song but feels more in the pop meets noise rock void in some kind of  musical space. Simple, spartan but it simply jams. You get easily pulled into the fray. I thought of the So Cal Orange County band the Cosmonauts too just a little bit. This track is easy to like and I look forward to hearing more. I am hoping Zachrisson has more flavors to swim around in... I am thinking he does.
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Robb Donker


Melting Order out of Italy and the synthy pop steps of "Walk Slow"

From Italy- Melting Order makes musical experiments with different flavors. Walk Slow gets in your head ambling by with synthy pop steps. 
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Robb Donker