Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hannah's Little Sister - blistery punk out of Liverpool and she's only "20"







































Hannah's Little Sister are a 4 piece kind of punk rock outfit out of Liverpool and their song 20 feels like a party that has gone out of control (at least by parent's standards). Rumour has it that the perfectly poised vox are courtesy of Meg Grooters who also wrote the track. The lyrics are full of youthful angst, the drums are deliciously heavy handed, the guitar lines are full frontal and out there and the background vox support Meg in the very best way. Cool stuff. Smart and cheeky.
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Robb Donker



New York trio Deep Sea Peach Tree push surfy dreamy punk buttons on "Felt"

New York trio Deep Sea Peach Tree push surfy dreamy punk buttons on the track Felt. Runaway drums, dancing heavy bass lines and sonic walls of guitars support somber vox that suggest shoe gaze but are not lost in the haze of sounds. DSP are Kristof Denis (guitar / lead vox), Adam Wanetik, (drums, backing vox) and John Colapinto (bass, backing vox).
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Robb Donker



PRESS NOTES:
Self categorized as sleepy surf rock, Deep Sea Peach Tree has a dreamy/jazzy/garage sound, drawing influence from jazz standards, classic rock, modern indie-rock and classical music. While attending high school in NYC, Denis and Wanetik formed the band "Disco Cream", releasing their debut EP as a duo in the Spring of 2016. It was not until all members attended Skidmore College in the Fall that Colapinto was introduced to the band. They went on to change their name and play at various venues throughout NYC as well as Colleges throughout the northeast with bands such as Tonstartssbandht and Jeff The Brotherhood. In June of 2017, they released their latest album "Vaguely Navy" on We Ride Bikes Records, an independent production collective consisting of Deep Sea Peach Tree and their brother band Flaccid Ashbacks .


Flaccid Ashbacks - lovely admissions and sadistic leanings on "It's Your Birthday" from the "Hark!" album

The boys askew from New York are back. Flaccid Ashbacks whose roots are from Middletown, Connecticut make cool indie / post punk sounds that blend elements of tropical punk with jangly proto punk sounds presented in this kind of tongue and cheek- oh gosh meets bent and twisted. Don't worry, it is in the end this kind of charming, angsty, self deprecating stuff of youth and growing up (yes I said this in the first review but it is worth repeating).

What I like about Flaccid Ashbacks is the wide dynamic range they bring to the table. They can be in this kind of chill Mac DeMarco meets the Buttertones kind of vibe and instantly erupt into a bit of Pere Ubu on meth musical insanity like their meds wore off too soon. I love this unpredictability and originality. The lead vox are so cheeky too like a carnival provocateur. On the track It's Your Birthday from their divisive and oh so cool "Hark" album he croons lovely admissions and sadistic leanings in the same breath. ALL figuratively speaking.

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Robb Donker

Supahoney- Punk out of Sydney is perfectly raw

Out of Sydney, Australia Supahoney is a jammy punk band and Have You Seen is perfectly raw. 
These guys veer more toward punk than punk pop and I like that alot as well as the cut glass vocals. 
-Robb Donker



Organised Scum- a blendo alt rock sound that is anything but "Basic"

Uk's Organised Scum craft crystal clear indie rock that sparkles with dense flavors filtered through a kind of art rock meets tropical punk with major alternative rock / pop hooks for good measure. 

Check out the floating groove of their track Basic. It is anything but. 
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Robb Donker


Suzy Creamcheese - rocks in the dark - "All Thumbs"

Suzy Creamcheese made waves in Miami in the 90's-

ALL THUMBS rocks and that is all I know. I don't know when this material dropped. When you are left in the dark there is not much to say except I love how heavy this song is. 
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Robb Donker


Oldermost's - runs away with "Danger of Belief" from "How Could You Ever Be The Same"

























The track The Danger of Belief from Oldermost's album "How Could You Ever Be The Same" moves at a fast clip. The bass pounds away with sweeping guitar sounds filling in the spaces. The sense is of movement, of images fleeting by from a train or car window, of wanderlust and the journey. The vocal presentation feels staid, hushed in an almost hunkered down feeling as if this ride is going to be bumpy, as if the journey has tough terrain ahead. As the song builds to it's conclusion it gets dense and powerful.
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Robb Donker


Mud Fox Tribe- lovely dreamy diversions - "Wild Strawberries" - "Rations"









































Listen to Wild Strawberries by Mud Fox Tribe (out of Boston) and you will certainly be carried away to other places. Where you go is up to you and all that you are over how many years, hours and seconds you have existed on this earth but the organic dreamscape that singer songwriter Cole Tyler Hottenrott and bassist Dave Gambon create will make you float away. It is the perfect soundtrack as it is an instrumental, perfect to frame your own dreams. After you land, listen to the track Rations too. I want you to hear Cole's beautiful vocal performance. I like his voice... it has a natural lovely texture.

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Robb Donker



MOBVIBE's - transverse wave on the EP - "The Nusixties Invasion Part 1"

Mobvibe is a four piece band whose roots stem from London, UK and Thessaloniki, Greece. Their sound has coalesced through indie rock and classic 60's rock filters since 2010. Their latest EP "The Nusixties Invasion Part 1" is full of sounds that feel like old recordings which will morph into modern takes pushing electronica buttons even. I prefer when they sit squarely in the Mersey Beat aesthetic, when they stay more organic that programmed, more drums than drum machine but in the end their time traveling aesthetic does make for an interesting mix.

On the track Desire the shift is kept to a minimum. Chris Roditis vocal performance (lead vox, electric guitar, synths and samples) hits a gritty Lennon like tone. The song shimy and shifts and induces smiles with it's totally catchy lead lines and explosive choruses. The other lads are George Cassadrian (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), George Katsanos (electric bass, backing vox) and Panos Kofou (drums, drum machine).

On 20th Century Girl the shifts are greater. The boys traverse a multitude of sounds and flavors. It is vast, the dynamics going from dense and compressed to open and organic. It is a daring tightrope of a song but they pull it off. It comes off feeling a bit like 80's electronic indie pop that falls away to a kind of surfy punk meets alt folk like Neon Trees meets the Allah Las. Check out Mobvibe's musical A.D.H.D.
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Robb Donker


Friday, June 29, 2018

The artistic insanity of Cat and The Queen - Loba Loca (featuring) "Major Sea" and "Mars Attacks"

Cat and The Queen is Toronto based musician and theatre artist Cat Montgomery. She possesses a full bodied voice that can carry emotion deeply in her melodies. On tracks like Major Sea she spins fables that take you down multicolored rabbit holes. The Farfisa-ish organ sounds add a touch of new wave whimsy to the lush baroque pop she creates awash in dreamy arpeggios and a vast choral fog. Her album "Loba Loca" takes diversions like the oddly unhinged Waitress 86'd and the delicious Kate Bush-esque Got Me Again. The experimentation takes different turns and while Major Sea is the albums true ballad, Mars Attacks is it's circa 78 proto punk track. It has a runaway beat and feels like New York or London punk clubs that sparkled at another time with young bands like the Talking Heads and X-Ray Specs. Cat and The Queen not only colors outside the lines but set's her artistic crayola-ed masterpieces on fire.
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Robb Donker



Ward - 80's leather shine and deep 90's pop hooks on "Soothe The Soul"

L.A. singer songwriter by way of New York, Ward cuts his blend of rock with an 80's leather shine and deep 90's pop hooks. The track Soothe The Soul rides on layers of guitars riding the off beats, dominant bass lines and a vocal performance postured in a certain art rock elegance. 


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Robb Donker



Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Solarists - "Wait For It" - Sultry and Cagey out of Provo

The Solarists' track Wait For It has this kind of elegant art rock posture to it at least until it explodes into full rock mode. These two distinct sides work so well together to form this dynamic edge softened up by a pretty dreamy vocal performance. Sultry and cagey and out of Provo, Utah of all places.

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Robb Donker



"Homunculus" by Dumaresq is multi-dimensional

Dumaresq is the solo recording project of Brisbane multi-instrumentalist Joe Kneipp. On the track Homunculus the star might be the heavy handed piano or maybe it is the saucy acoustic guitar or maybe the sultry vocal performance... no, no it is the snappy drums and bass or the detached lead guitar lines. I cannot decide which individual part shines more and in the end it is the sum of the parts that shine through.

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Robb Donker


The deep blue and vast "Common Dark" from Jess Robbins' "Lightfield" album

The cover of Jess Robbins' "Lightfield" album shows a vast ocean that seems to go on forever. Being adrift in some ethereal place resonates in the alt folk track Common Dark floating on pedal steel guitar, picking acoustic and an open drum kit that feels like it is from some distant place, in the corner of an old church or maybe deep in a cavern. The sounds builds and become so vast just like that ocean and just as blue in contemplation of the end of something and maybe the beginning of something else. 
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Robb Donker


Slow Motion Music floats on emotional vox on the track "A Hundred Miles to California"

The track A Hundred Miles to California by Slow Motion Music floats on dynamic emotional vocals supported by indie rock sounds. The sound feels classic and, in fact, I thought of REM the first time I heard it. 

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Robb Donker



Edwin - Do yourself a favor and get lost in the EP- "You Have No Idea Man" - (highlighted track) "Uncontrollable Pride"

Cool and easy guitar rhythms and pearly sounding keys. That is how
Uncontrollable Pride from Edwin's  EP "You Have No Idea Man" starts easing into your brain. Drums and bass and guitar lines fall into place and then the exuberant yelp, "oooowww" and the hook is already in your mouth.

Edwin is Jacob and Matthew Boll, two brothers existing on two coasts creating cool songs, telling stories in personal ways. I am not sure who handles the lead vocals (I suspect both)  but I love them. You either feel connected to a singer or you don't and when I listen the melodies contained in Edwin's songs they speak to me. Uncontrollable like the other tracks on the EP is bolstered by interesting and just plain goddamn beautiful and emotional guitar and piano work. Get under the lush covers of Let's Both Agree. Drink a stiff drink and remember a loved one who is far away while you listen to Waiting and dream of fog rolling through the trees of Big Sur while embraced by I've Only Gone.
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Robb Donker


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Rosie Mankato cuts a deep groove and somber reflections in the "Boat"

Rosie Mankato has a rich inner world and while creative minds like hers can sparkle anywhere Rosie she left the urban centers and moved to her "hidden studio" in the woods to let her visions flourish. The Brazilian singer - songwriter / producer experiments with sounds both organic and electronic to paint the pictures in her head often inspired by old movies and cartoons. 

The song Boat starts on keys and her somber vocal performance then falls head first into a bass and drums groove. The counter position of sadness and the deep groove feels uplifting although the dreaminess laced with that sadness creeps in again and again. The song feels like it is running away or to something through those woods that Mankato live in.

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Robb Donker


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Terra Pines and "Dream Big" from the "Terra Pines" Album - "a glorious piece of beautiful heaviness"

Terra Pines hail from Brisbane, Australia and the song Dream Big from their "Terra Pines" 11 track album is decidedly and appropriately dreamy. It is also deliciously heavy and feels vast too with its shoe gaze aesthetic. For some reason the description monster rock is floating around in my head (too cheesy).  I just love the big rock tones and there is this jagged (out of left field) guitar break that stunned me the first time I heard it.

The "Terra Pines" album is a glorious piece of beautiful heaviness indeed and while this is not an album review, in the least also check out Palo Verde, DYR and Others. Consider those appetizers. I know you will all revel in the rest. Great album. Great band. Win win.
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Robb Donker


Dear Other - blendo indie rock and the stuff of life in "Check Yourself"

























Check Yourself by six piece indie rock band Dear Other from Steubenville, Ohio is a song that deftly traverses through R & B tones, bluesy jazz flavors, 50's-ish rockabilly flourishes and more all just in the first 2 minutes. Then the chorus erupts into big indie rock sounds. Later Latin rhythms are tossed in for good measure. This kind of hybrid, blendo rock can make you dizzy but in a good way. Somehow all these tonal changes don't step on each other's tapping toes.

Check Yourself is off of the band's 10 track debut album called "Lift / Love" (containing 9 songs, the first track a narrative from some vintage movie) and according to press releases was written and recorded in two years of house fires, engagements, weddings, births and death. The stuff of life can make for interesting songs indeed.
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Robb Donker


Monday, June 25, 2018

Deer Venom - trashy punk project and the Official cut and past video for "Not Today"

Deer Venom is the Seattle based post punk project of Mario Barbetta. The track Not Today is a stunning piece of beautifully trashy art rock pushed through punk, industrial and glam filters crossing diverse decades and sounds from the base elements of bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, the Breeders, NIN, the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols. Sprinkle unbridled fun and a wink and you have Deer Venom.

Barbetta created the solo project in 2010 and from 2013 to 2017 played a series of shows with bassist Brain Salvage and drummer Stefan Myers (as well as drummer Radford Mason). In the summer of 2017 Barbetta along with drummer Mike Stone recorded the first official debut EP entitled simply "Deer Venom" released early this year.

The official video is a cut and paste kitschy art punk affair created by produced by LIVE EYE TV. No

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Robb Donker




Welcome to the church of Of The Valley - see the Official Video for the beautifully heavy "Quiet and Curious"

From the first glimpses of sounds you hear on Quiet and Curious you feel a reverent heaviness. Fragments of ambient and synths give way to a beat. The bass thump and accent feels like a chorus of worshipers stomping on an old wooden floor and clapping in unison in an old dark church. The man telling his story, giving his scripture is singer songwriter Brian DellaValle and as Of The Valley he spins tall personal folk tales.

On Quite and Curious his vocal style is conversational and very intimate as if he is talking / singing to you at arms length. His art folk feels gospel like and the deep wealth of lyrical content is part of the somber beautiful heaviness he expresses. I found myself listening so many times feeling each world and each inflection as DellaValle waxes poetic. The passages feel like disparate parts of a story, as remembrances.

"with a matchstick and a white candle... the room lights, grows yellow... this place between the metal and the bloom.... I slept on the stairs last night... awoke to the sight of my body... in the shape its in unbalanced but strong"

The official video feels internal and shot in a dreamy way imagined as a Film by Ina Lindgeen and shot beautifully by Thomas Jessen. Brian DellaValle is a Canadian native and long time Copenhagen resident and as Of The Valley released his self titled debut early this year with German Label Backseat.
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Robb Donker


New York singer-songwriter Nick Ralg breaks it down on the spartan deeply personal "Break Me Down"

Nick Ralg is a singer-songwriter from Rochester, New York, now based out of Webster (Town), New York. On the spartan track Break Me Down his voice waivers in a performance that rides on feeling each word in a deeply personal way. A female harmony like a ghost from the past supports the sad reflections.
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Robb Donker


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Adventures In The Underground and their big cinematic sound - "Woman On Fire" from the "Adventures In The Underground" EP


























L.A. based Adventures In The Underground create big polished soundscapes within their indie pop. On the track Woman On Fire this ability to craft something slick and drenched in cool is showed off in a big way. The sound is cinematic and that kind of track you might hear on a movie score. A big movie like a Bond flick or some vehicle for Tom Cruise. Listen and you will see what I mean.

Their EP "Adventures in the Underground" is available on all streaming platforms.
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Robb Donker


You will want to be Drens' best friend after hearing "Best Friend"


























Oh man... listen to the heavy bass on the song Best Friend and then the crisp, yet dirty guitar strains coming in along with the vox and then finally this jubilant mixture of surf punk meets post punk meets garage rock meets embracing party rock and you will feel high. The song is a sonic smile created by Drens a four piece self described surf punk band from Dortmund / Cologne, Germany. I want to officially be Drens' best friend now after hearing Best Friend. Love this track.

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Robb Donker

Rat The Magnificent- Burns - on "Up The Street" from the debut album "The Body As Pleasure"

Back in February, on the track In The Middle,  I likened Rat The Magnificent's sound to having a "scorched earth policy type of attack" and I still think it is an apt description. The band has just released their debut album "The Body As Pleasure" on TTWD records last Thursday (June 21st, 2018). The track Up The Street is the second track release and is catching a lot of buzz as it should be. NPR Music describing the track as "Strutting blues" and "knuckle-busting riffage". The description is perfect, especially the "knuckle-busting" part and, in fact, I previously said of RTM's aesthetic that "the sonic onslaught is so relentless that one thinks of cramped hands and bloody fingers cut on guitar strings" and you do. You bloody well do and revel in the sheer density and heaviness of their rock sound. 

Rat the Magnificient, at it's core are Perry M. Anderson on guitar and vox (Family Manderson, Sunshine Republic, KLLR, Modern Men, JFO), Ross Davies on bass  (Hot Sauce Pony, Modern Men, Brenda, The Feral Text), Anna Dodridge on drums (Hot Sauce Pony, Family Manderson, JFO, DYWO) and Ian Catskilkin on guitar (Art Brut, Future of the Left). The track Up The Street actually starts out a bit mild, that is you can almost feel the anticipation and see one of the guys go on stage and turn on an amp. The the dense fog of heavy metal, post punk, grunge, and blues tinged garage punk rolls in and engulfs every orifice on your body. Well done. Well done indeed. 
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Robb Donker




Gabe Greenland stuffs so many cool sounds in his blendo style - hear "Only A Vibe" and the "Goodnight / Morning" EP

Only A Vibe by Brooklyn based singer / songwriter / producer Gabe Greenland, an L.A. transplant that calls out some Cali influences like Stephen Malkmus, Flying Lotus and Russell Westbrook shows it off with flair. You can definitely hear the coloring outside the lines DNA on this track and on his EP Goodnight / Morning.

I mean on Only A Vibe the aesthetic feels a bit like free jazz, meets post punk, meets alt folk, meets that one daring high school orchestra class, meets hip hop tones pushed through some kind of emo filter. So many flavors, all interesting. I love how the music diversity feels so upfront while the vocals are buried just a tiny bit but floating so well into the mix so you can clearly hear Greenland wax poetic. Then a "what the fuck" sweet sax solo steps into the spotlight. Bloody hell. Love it.
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Robb Donker



Erik Mutzke creates light and dark in the evocative yet classic folk of "Friends Again"

The track Friends Again by Erik Mutzke feels like classic folk in a good way. Built on a conversational beautifully wrought vocal performance with an equally evocative female harmony pulling in the affection at the edges, the song somberly wraps around you like a kiss and embrace before bed. The lyrics are both beautiful and like all great poetry can be interpreted in different ways. There are some lines that veer dark, at least to me, but I will keep those predilections to myself. Love this song and Mutzke's aesthetic.

Sleep dreams.

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Robb Donker


Saturday, June 23, 2018

"Blood Ain't Bleeding" would be a killer name for a novel but instead it is a killer song by The Brother K Melee

Blood Ain't Bleeding would be a killer name for a novel and in a way, the song by New York based The Brother K Melee does have a novel-esque feel to it. From the start there is a tribalistic but urban tone, the Sharks and the Jets on heroin. Queens Of The Stone Age, At the Drive In, Primus and Hanni El Khatib in a blender. Then as the cadence shifts, you can feel the spit fly from the bloody lip of front man Lucas Kwong. At once the guitar lines feel more sketchy but also more sultry, more sexy. There is more passion in this chapter and maybe someone on the outs is about to get seriously fucked up. When Kwong starts to recite lines and the lyrics become words in a brutal passion play, passages in the novel the track becomes even more dangerous and then....

FADE TO BLACK.

The Brother K Melee as played on this track are:
Lucas Kwong on vocals, bass and guitar. Garrett Fiddler on guitar and David Cornejo on Drums.

Current line up Lucas Kwong (vocals, guitar), Adel Bagli (guitar), Sam Shaw (bass) and David Cornejo (drums).


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Robb Donker






Cuesta Loeb's moving homage to a loved one in "Out Of"

The track Out Of by L.A.'s Cuesta Loeb is cut out of personal pain and familial reflection. Lead singer Christina Cuesta Loeb spent most of last year in New York caring for her father who passed away late in July. As an homage to her dad she teamed up with Blake Straus who produced and added the searing electric guitars. He also adds his production skills to Cuesta Loeb's debut album due out later this year.

Out of is immediately thick and heavy with sound. Chunky as hell guitars and vast vox buried perfectly in the mix in a shoe gazey sort of way. Inside the mix but not too too deep. The stalking beat and layers of ambient sounds whether synths or walls of guitar lines make a fully immersive experience. Loeb sings:

"I was robbed in the middle of the night.... I waited for you here... to say my goodbyes"

The density of sound and emotions feels like a rock and roll punch in the gut. I thought of Stella Luna meets Aimee Nash (of Black Ryder) as done up by Steve Albini or something like that. I look forward to hearing more and my condolences to all who knew and loved Christina's father.

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Robb Donker


NO CARES out of Austin Texas and "Wave At Your Grave"

Wave At Your Grave cranks like the  punk of Jay Reatard or Waves and like those stalwarts of punk outsiders have sprinkles of broken pop flavors throughout.

It is No Cares,  the creation of JP Pfertner, and like early work by Jay Reatard (Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.) Pferner plays all instruments and produces (in his Austin, Texas garage). While some of the riffs / progs may feel familiar it is too brash and loud to not like.

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Robb Donker



The Virtuals and their stoner rock, country funk party-fied and fried "All I Want To Do Is Dance"

"And when I talk... good God!" is one of the jubilant declarations in the song All I Want To Do Is Dance said in a kind of jammy stoner sort of way and it is awesome and good and life affirming and what we could all use in these some times dark times. I am actually dancing in my chair as I write this review.

This debut released back in March is from The Virtuals out of the Bay area, Monterey, California to be exact. Their sound is cool and twangy and partyfied and fried. Kind of garden rockish and country funk fortified. Where can I purchase some white pants?
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Robb Donker


Joshua Kramer cast images in static on the timeless "White Buffalos"

Joshua Kramer took his first wailing breaths in Bethesda Maryland but being the son of a Naval Officer meant moving around a lot and experiencing cities all over the country. At 12 he discovered music. A series of nonsequitous routes found him pursuing a Master's Degree in Film Scoring at Columbia College in Chicago. After years of being an audio engineer and working as a film composer he is putting music out as a solo artist. He now resides in Los Angeles and White Buffalos is his first release.

The track could exist as much as in the late 60's or now. It has a vast feel and wears wanderlust on it's sleeve. It moves on hand claps, an upbeat acoustic rhythm and dark piano downbeats, active bass lines, big stately backing vox and a cool, mysterious lead guitar. Cool stuff. Somewhere in my cobwebbed filled mind I see this song in black and white (circa 1968) on static cast television with Kramer like Roy Orbison and a sea of musicians and background singers adorning stages of varying heights on some sketchy variety show.

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Robb Donker


The Soft White Sixties - "Brick By Brick" a Glorious Declaration to the Trump Administration


























When I first heard Brick By Brick by Los Angeles' (by way of San Francisco) The Soft White Sixties it felt like almost a glorious throwback track that might be in a 70's exploitation flick or a current Tarantino remake in that vein. The song has a heavy jam factor mixing in R & B, funk, soul and rock tones, retro blues rock tones like Detroit MC5 stuff (but less feral). You throw in the smooth engaging lead vocals and falsetto with lush backing vox, the synth solo and lead guitar work and it all comes together to create walls of sound that wrap around you. Love this. It wasn't until the 3rd, 4th listen that the words started sinking in. It is a heavy subject with a heavy heart addressing the plight of undocumented immigrants and Trump's wall that will supposedly be built along the southern border.

Frontman Octavio Genera says of the new record and song, "There was a lot of spontaneity in the process of this new record, every song was written in the studio with essentially no pre-production. Being that our first night in the studio fell on Election Night that tension and energy crept its way onto the album in various ways with this song (Brick By Brick) being the most blatant example. It's the story of my grandparents coming here to better themselves and their children and I'm thankful they did. I am here and I am who I am because of it."

The Soft White Sixties is Octavio Genera, Aaron Eisenberg, Joey Bustos, Ryan Noble and Rob Fidel and will be releasing a new album recorded entirely in both English and Spanish later this year produced by Elijah Thomson (Delta Spirit, Everest, Father John Misty).

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Robb Donker


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Glassmaps' "In The Shadows" from the "Strangely Addicted" album

From it's first few crystalline moments, the track In The Shadows feels like it is on display on a wooden boarded stage with footlights and velvet curtains pulled open with opulent gold corded ropes. It feels like elegant art rock and too cool for it's own good.

Glassmaps is the solo project of Joel Stein, lead guitarist of Australia / Uk's Howling Bells. Stein's vocal performance is self assured and artistically postured. The theatricality of the performance feels a bit carnival-esque, a bit of Beatle-ish psychedelia especially when the song seems to spin out of control in a good way. The guitar work is cool in every way and suits the aesthetic.

In The Shadows is from Glassmaps' 2017 album "Strangely Addicted".

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Robb Donker


Modern Leisure - Official Video for "Girls In Black" is wonderfully weird

Modern Leisure is the indie pop / folk project of Casey Banker (Shady Elders, The Don't and Be Carefuls) and the official video for the song Girls In Black (the second single from the ML's debut album "Super Sad Rom-Com" dropping June 29th) is wonderfully weird as directed and produced by Andreina Byrne. There are hierarchy's of social status at play, blue lipstick that might or might not be some sort of drug, a kind of sado-masochistic thing going on, unhealthy worshiping all the while Banker as a pseudo pool boy toy watches and takes his punches. It is fun and frustrating but the song kills and bounces along with heavy plodding base lines, a tropical punk vibe and lovely and lush vocals crooning melodies that feel like clouds that carry you away. Love this song.
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Robb Donker



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