Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Javelin Fade" by Daniel Isaiah feels like something between a hymn and a hidden conversation between secret lovers

The terribly intimate sadly beautiful Javelin Fade by Daniel Isaiah feels like something between a hymn and a late night hidden conversation between secret lovers on top of the phone beneath bed blankets. Isaiah's vocal performance so upfront creeps seductively into your brain like propaganda. It is mesmerizing and the upfront nature of the production, drums way upfront, vox, and other synth sounds, bass, what sounds like pedal steel guitars even fade up in volume or fade back in such a dreamy way. The melodies shine too and in the end the whole production feels so moving while at the same time feeling like a psyche art rock piece. The theatrical artifice with drum snare rolls that sound like thunder amps up the dreaminess and art rock feel. Wow. 

Javelin Fade is the lead single from Isaiah's upcoming album "Only One Left". The album was started in 2016 and as the press notes indicate: 


The creation of this album was book-ended by the saddest and happiest events in Daniel's life; he started writing it during the last weeks of his mother's life, and the album was mastered the day before his wedding. In between, Isaiah travelled for nine months – to Turkey, Greece, Italy, England, France and The Netherlands – taking with him a Nord synthesizer that he used to compose most of the album.
Only One Left is an album of endings and beginnings, rooted in Isaiah's native Montreal, but also the countries where he travelled, a drifter in unfamiliar places as an outsider looking in. The music itself signals a new phase in the career of this artist – ever searching and deeply committed to the old craft of songwriting and experimenting with new forms of musical expression.

I am so moved and impressed with Javelin Fade. I can't wait to dive into what is sure to be an emotional deep album in "Only One Left."

-
Robb Donker



Friday, November 16, 2018

Hydromag cuts a beautifully sad deep groove eulogy on "P.J.R"

P.J.R  by Hydromag (the project of Falmouth (UK) based producer and multi instrumentalist Josh Best Shaw) instantly cuts a cool deep groove with airy guitar flavors, a gut punch bass and dreamy synth lines on top of potent beats. The music breathes to cradle cool vocal harmonies that feel languid and have a sense of forlorn romance. The beauty and coolness belie the inspirational reason for the song which was penned in memory of a Shaw's close relative who took their own life. Of the track he says, "It was not easy task to write this song, it took a lot out of me and I spent far longer on it than any other song I’ve written. I’m still not sure that I’m fully happy with it, but it was a good way to address the issues I had locked away."

P.J.R is from Hydromag's forthcoming "This Is Fleeting" EP.

-
Robb Donker



Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Family Knife out of Dublin, Ireland and the hazy dreamscape of "Golden Soundz"

Golden Soundz by The Family Knife feels dreamy with stacked vocal harmonies and guitars creating this ghostly fog of sonic images. I really don't know anything about these brothers from Dublin, Ireland. They seem to like to be kind of hidden right now. That is alright. Just keep making music.

-
Robb Donker

The Family Knife are a band from Dublin, Ireland. Purveyors of sometimes hopeful tunes, tinged with sadness. Brothers. And competing heirs to the Knife Family dynasty. 'The Family Knife' is a collection of 12 organic and electronic driven tracks, influenced by everyone from Deerhunter and Yo La Tengo, to Stereolab and The Beta Band.

"Oh Dead On Oh Love" by Lisa Papineau - instantly pretty moves deep inside - hear, feel, see (official video)


























The track Oh Dead On Oh Love, the first single / video and title track from Lisa Papineau's 4th solo full length due out Feb. 15th (2019) is instantly pretty as pearly guitar and comforting bass lines float like blown bubbles in the air. When Lisa's voice comes in with a declarative wide eyed performance it feels intimate but artistic like something between bedroom confessions and a full on Broadway musical. The theatricality of the vocal performance, this aesthetic doesn't break down or dissipate the emotion which can happen some times but instead makes it more so in a sort of whimsical magical way. The effect feels pained but elegant, sweet but fractured. I can't wait to hear the album.

Again, the album Oh Dead On Oh Love is due to drop on Feb 15th, 2019. The official video conceived and made by artist Betsy Kenyon recently premiered on Parade.

From the artist:

After fleshing out the world of the album, Papineau was able, to her great joy and contentment, to collaborate with many longtime musical partners: Tyler Bates, Jam Da Silva, Juan Alderete, Matthew Embree, and Koool G Murder to name a few. The album artwork is by renowned visual artist Andrea Mastrovito, who also provided the cover for her album Red Trees. “It is always a bit frightening for me each time I crawl out from the rock I’ve been hiding under, holding on a little too tight to my fistful of songs... but the experience of once again working with people I love, people who are hysterically fun but whose drive and creativity also push me, makes the coming together of everything on this record a true gift.”

-
Robb Donker





Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Intimidated" by talker is a perfect grunge pop song that feels like a big beginning

The track Intimidated by talker the moniker for singer-songwriter / musician Celeste Tauchar (Tauchar- talker, get it?) is a lesson in pop economy. I mean every second is used to full effect. Starting as what feels like an alt folk rocker and building on nice acoustic rhythms and youthful indie pop tones the song shifts into garage rock guitars and Tauchar showing her vocal chops. Once the "grunge pop" strains and fist in the air rock motif begins it sadly ends. Again a smart pop economy perfectly suited for the young. Intimidated is a super catchy and commercial song that will undoubtedly drive Tauchar places. At 23 she has a great character to her vocal performance and emotes with a deep well of feelings. I (respectfully) can't wait to hear her fully let go to the point of not sounding so so perfect.

-
Robb Donker



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Dead Inside" by Younger Hunger has a smile behind the cool goth post punk pop tones. From the self titled album dropping December 7th.

Dead Inside by three piece Younger Hunger percolates on thick percussive sounds dipped in goth post punk tones and framed in this kind of aloof proto punk sort of way all the while being a pop song, well a "haunt pop" song as the trio describes their sound. The production is catchy and the vocal performance is come on sultry and poised with a smile behind the cool. Younger Hunger is Tony Davia, Lou Connor and Lauren Potts who solidified their musical outfit status after a night of playing Nintendo 64 and drinking milkshakes in Long Beach, California.

About Dead Inside, Davia says:

 "We were all at this party and I was having a bad night. So we all left to go hang out at our studio and play some N64. We ended up jamming and that's when we wrote the hook over an old cowbell loop. We wanted all of the synth tones to sound like Street Fighter II style arcade sounds to commemorate the night. The whole thing came together really quickly, and it does a good job of representing our EP."

Their debut EP "Younger Hunger" (pre-order) will drop on December 7th. Produced by Adam Castilla (The Colourist) and mastered by Joe LaPorta (David Bowie, The Weeknd, Beach House), the group takes inspiration from artists such as The Teenagers, The Smiths, and MGMT. 


-

Robb Donker


Monday, November 12, 2018

Draag's "Your Better Half Is Dead" from the "Nontoxic Process" EP - unabashed pop pulled inside out lies between Pretty In Pink and Twin Peaks

Los Angeles based Draag began as a kind of reawakening of songwriter / musician Adrian Acosta (in 2013) delving into songs he recorded on a dual tape deck karaoke machine when he was only 10 years old. Fast forward about to 2017 after many musical self discoveries and Draag expanded to a 5 piece band. While dreams of a full length album were diverted by illness and other personal challenges the band's EP "Nontoxic Process" became "an answer to everything artificially driven and a need to feel something other than sickness." 

The track Your Better Half Is Dead riding on pearly guitar lines while waves of dissonant synth drones tug at the sweetness pulling it off balance. The vox melodies have a romantic forlorn new wave tone. I mean this song falls somewhere in between a soundtrack of Pretty In Pink and Twin Peaks, unabashed pop pulled inside out in an off kilter sort of way. The last vocal hush leaves the romance intact though. For me the vox are a bit buried in the haze but I guess that is part of the allure, noise pop with the lyrical heart to be discovered. Draag in the end are terribly romantic albeit sad. Just listen to the albums devastatingly haunting goosebumps inducing Tired Like Before. At over 6 minutes long you don't have to hear every word to be deeply touched to tears. Other songs drive on cool dynamic beats like Lavender Hole which again feels to me to be in that mid 80's new wave pocket (Psychedelic Furs meets the Cranberries). Sorry (Dispensa) is a heady and terribly cool beautiful blend of new wave sounds with a big grungy post punk guitar driven chorus and breaks that feel oddly interruptive in a machine takes over kind of way. The EP "Nontoxic Process" is not to be missed, NOT to be missed. 

-
Robb Donker



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Oxen's tropical punk flavors on the totally infectious pop of "Postpone"




































photo courtesy of Fredrik Stål

Postpone by Swedish the indie pop outfit Oxen with it's tropical punk flavor pushed through 80's new wave filters that brings to mind Culture Club, Bow Wow Wow, Abe Vigoda and current indie pop meets punk acts like The Drums and Vampire Weekend (but not.) In the end Oxen stand on their own in a cool, cool way. 

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


Oxen is a journey of intense foosball-games and striving towards the perfect song. Oxen started out, as every great story, of boredom. Two childhood friends trying to make something extraordinary out of the ordinary. In a quirky studio on a demolition lease, located in a Stockholm suburb called Årstaberg, Erik and Stefan began writing what would become their first singles ‘Only Forever’ and ‘Luck’. In the same space as where Mando Diao recorded “Bring ‘Em In”, the friends met daily to write whatever music they felt like, one day being inspired by Beatles and the other by MGMT. Their first two singles quickly reached 200k respectively 100k streams on Spotify followed by some festival gigs in Sweden as well as club gigs in London. Following their initial EP-release they started to write and record their new album ‘Postpone & Forget’ in the mythical Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg together with up-and-coming producer György Barocsai. During 2018 the band has released two singles ‘Limbo’ and ‘Soulmate’ and are about to drop two more before their debut album is released in the end of November. Until then Oxen will do a brief tour in Germany and continue to look for the perfect song.





Lac Belot and the wanderlustful art pop of "Unspectacular" from the "Abracadabra" album (out now)

From the Abracadabra album out on Solina Records, Lac Belot's (Helsinki, Finland) wanderlusful art pop track Unspectacular with it's vast orchestral sound anchored by Belot's wise beyond years vocal style is a song on the move. Just listening to it's heartfelt evocations you can almost feel scenery speeding by on the periphery. 

-
Robb Donker



Frederick The Younger's sonic Polaroid on the hazy muted love of "Everybody Wants To Take You For A Ride"

I don't know why some forms of art feel tied to past decades but I do know that the track Everybody Wants to Take You for A Ride by Louisville, Kentucky indie rockers Frederick The Younger has (for me) a decidedly 60's / 70's sound. It is something about the composition itself and maybe lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jenni Cochran's vocal style that feels part aloof and fatalistically dour in that "I really don't give a shit when I die as long as I really live" sort of way and while Everybody Wants to Take You for A Ride is (for the band) a slower departure even on their more cagey and upbeat songs they simply possess that pivotal older sound. Very organic, very blues rock based pushed through a bit of psyche / hippie rock which I have always referred to garden rock. Frederick The Younger's aesthetic feels like a sonic Polaroid, cool and groovy and earnest. Much Love.

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jenni Cochran grew up loving music. Going as far back as third grade, Cochran had a fire to write songs. Years later, while living in Vietnam, Cochran knew that she had to keep following music, that she needed her adventures to continue.
Growing up in Louisville, Aaron Craker learned to play guitar and keyboard at an early age. Eventually forming the band Dr. Vitamin, so named for his grandfather who discovered vitamin’s A and D, Craker dedicated himself to his craft. Running into Cochran at an improv acting group, the two hit it off and have stuck around since.
The rest was history. They spent time together. They wrote some songs, then a record, and then a few more. They worked with some friends before finding their drummer Dave Givan in 2015. Jake Hellman came in just last summer to carry the bottom end on bass, and brought a new found energy to the group. The band is their bond, formed on rock and roll through the lens of psychedelic garage pop, the Kinks or Beatles modernized with the hint of Western music teasing at the edges. 
There is an earnestness to their newest songs that rings true, the kind of sincerity born from experience. These songs feel alive and well-lived, tragic, beautiful, and contemplative, all with a solid hook. Frederick the Younger will haunt your memories, lodging themselves into your brain and refusing to let go. They will hold your hand and dance, and talk to you afterwards. These are the friends you didn’t know you had, singing to you in the dark, and guiding you to the light.



Cathedrals' track "Just A Game" is a beautiful dreamy sonic landscape carrying mesmerizing vocals

Cathedrals' track Just A Game might just be a game changer for the two talented artists Brodie Jenkins and Johnny Hwin whose disparate journeys coalesced as fate and a mutual friend brought them together at an art collective in San Francisco. Ironically, the two attended the same college at the same time but never met. They both had successes apart but together is where the magic happens. Listen to Just A Game to get the essence of Brodie's remarkable instrument (her voice) with self described folk roots and a gothic heart and Johnny a self taught keyboardist with an organic ability to create captivating beats and with an never ending string of ideas. They both draw inspiration from Swedish pop, nineties trip-hop, indie dreamwave and pitch-black trap stewing up a heady blend. Performing live they incorporate Mitchell Wilcox on drums and Jonathan Hererra on bass and synths.
-
Robb Donker


The lo-fi sadcore alt folk of Trainwreck Department sprinkles hopeful sounds in the somber on "Sea Plus Bees"

Trainwreck Department. I like this name for a band or musical project and in this case it is the home recording project of prolific Danish songwriter Jacob Faurholt who also releases albums under the moniker Crystal Shipss. The track Sea Plus Bees has an alt folk vibe with psyche tones and an almost child like whimsy but it feels like the aesthetic might be pollyanna as irony, as commentary. Whatever is the case the lo-fi sadcore approach is appealing. I am going to keep my ears and eyes open for more from Jacob. 
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Robb Donker

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Toledo and the effervescently dreamy "Bath" from the upcoming debut EP "Hot Stuff"

Toledo's track Bath from their upcoming debut EP "Hot Stuff" due to drop in February of 2019 is superbly dreamy and lovely. The song rides on waves of guitars and in the back percolating rhythms of synth sounds, beats and dynamic drums. 

TOLEDO is the work of Daniel Alvarez de Toledo and Jordan Dunn-Pilz. The pair reside in Brooklyn, NYC write all their material as well as record and produce it in a diy way. Much love for these guys. I feel big things in their future. 

-

Robb Donker



Haneke Twins - hybrid blend of post punk, 90's rock, new wave is dangerously cool- hear "Climb" from the "Haneke Twins" EP
























Stefanos and Paschalis are old band mates from a Greek indie rock group, long time friends, work colleagues and two CERN scientists based in Switzerland and at night they shed their cerebral bodies and become the Haneke Twins. Ok, casting the dramatic rhetoric aside I am taken aback by their self titled EP. All the songs are lyrically based on poems by Stathis Antoniou with the exception of "The End" (their rock take on The Doors classic). Stefanos and Paschalis are so adept at creating, weaving their compositions into a potent rock blend that has elements of post rock 90's tones, new wave and post punk. The aesthetic feels to me like a convergence of She Wants Revenge, Interpol and She Past Away filtered through the pair's own edgy style. 

The track Climb (lyrics based on the poem "Arctic Mountain" by Stathis Antoniou) burns hot with a runaway beat, dynamic rock heavy guitars with cool dirty pearly picking rhythms and a husky sultry vocal performance by Paschalis. Inherent in Haneke Twins (no matter the subject matter) is the feeling of dark nights, smoky clubs, a sense of danger, drama and sexual allure. 

Haneke Twins are Stefanos Leontsinis (guitars) and Paschalis Vichoudis (vocals and bass guitar). Drums played in all tracks by Kostas Zabos. 

-
Robb Donker 


The trance inducing "Edifier" from the album "La Fonte" by Brendon John Warner is the stuff of body electrics and sci-fi dreams

The transformative track Edifier by Australian musician and composer Brendon John Warner stirs up time travel and Sci-fi dreams, body electrics, dystopian waves, blade runners and beautiful cyborgs. The thickness of the interweaving synths that are well produced but can have a classic old school sound is what makes the spatial soundscape so engaging. You can feel yourself get lost in the drones and layered sounds that at the point of intersection create this trippy and lovely dissonance. This stuff is definitely for dreamers. 

Warner toured extensively with post rock band We Lost The Sea and afterwards took a radical turn finding an interest in lo-fi electronics. Edifier is from his debut album called "La Fonte " (The Melt) dropping this month. It is a piece of work that blends classical to electronica in experimental ways. 

-
Robb Donker
(photo courtesy of Jordan Shields)

PRESS NOTES
Produced by ascending Sydney engineer Antonia Gauci (Kučka, Kesha, Vallis Alps) and mastered by New York ambient luminary Rafael Anton Irisarri (Christina Vantzou, Loscil, Jacaszek), the tracks featured in la fonte mix acoustic instruments and electronics to paint a vivid and immersive soundscape. The album explores the compelling and tenuous relationships between humanity and planet earth, ecology and economy, man-made climate change and our polar icecaps, placing Brendon at the forefront of a new generation of crossover contemporary/classical composers seeking to speak up on issues which are dangerously critical for the future of human beings.


Friday, November 9, 2018

"Everything Is Everyone's Fault" the title track from O Mer's reflective album glides between psychedelia and an art rock lullaby




















The track Everything Is Everyone's Fault by O Mer glides smoothly and beautifully between Beatle-esque psychedelia and an art rock lullaby. It has a dreamy quality and almost minuet like cadence. Omer, now based out of Brooklyn, emerged from the Tel Aviv underground art scene and is a multi genre producer who serves this transient piece of art as singer- songwriter, guitarist and producer. 

The evocative song (that drops today) is the title track from O Mer's 8 track album. The album "Everything Is Everyone's Fault" was created as a personal outlet / emotional side project while he struggled  working out differences with a record label who had signed him. While that marriage eventually dissolved the songs that were created  during that time acted as a source of reflection and freedom, "the album is a time capsule of many different versions of me as a musician."

Of the title track Omer says:

"There's only so much time to live a meaningful life. And we spend a lot of it looking for something or someone to blame for our suffering and misfortunes. Meanwhile, real freedom is letting most of that stuff go and realizing we all mess everything up together, I find hope and comfort in that. 

I wrote the song after seeing the 2014 movie Leviathan. At some point during the film someone says "everything is everyone's fault". The movie isn't a comedy but that one sentence made me laugh and it stuck with me. I wrote this song the next day and it really came out as more of a prayer/mantra than a song." 

 O Mer's tender vocal performance and beautiful melody coupled with lyrics that run deep has wrapped around me and exists like a comforting soundtrack in my brain since the first time I heard it (for the first time) exactly 12 days ago. The album "Everything Is Everyone's Fault" is scheduled for an early 2019 release.


-

Robb Donker


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Orange County's Joynoise breaks punk barriers on "Growing Into My Bones"

Growing Into My Bones from Joynoise's EP "Never Have I Ever" feels like an inner conversation while a kind of garden rock thing happens with catchy guitar and voice phrasings that mirror each other until the song erupts into big punk waves of sound. The music break is a glorious cacophony of garage rock heavy power chords, drums killing it and bass lines moshing all over the place. Three piece Joynoise hail from Orange County, California. A place with true punk credibility. 

-
Robb Donker 



Porcine Assembly Line churning out art punk platitudes on "Mellified"

The track Mellified by Porcine Assembly Line, a one man art punk outfit out of Bendigo, Victoria Australia feels like a creepy and cagey kind of new wave punk funkified hybrid... PAL's aesthetic almost feels like 80's Cake meets funk rock Cameo meets grunge art rock punkers Faith No More.The vocal performance is perfectly weird, artistically postured theater. Cool sounds indeed. Mellified is from the EP "The Darkest Place" which you can find here:  porcineassemblyline.com

-
Robb Donker


Indtiko and the punk candy shine of "Plastic"

Indtiko is the musical moniker for Jake Moose out of Melbourne, Australia and his latest track Plastic with it's deep bass line, aggro lyrical style (thought of John Lydon / Johnny Rotten), and chaos cool guitar lines wraps around you easily and tastes like punk candy.

-
Robb Donker


 

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Hannah Barberas' 60's style dance jam jams on "No Mystery"

The title track from The Hannah Barberas' "No Mystery" EP starts off with elderly sleuth Angela Landsbury (R.I.P) from "Murder She Wrote" and then falls headfirst into a 60's dance jam (ala the "watusi") saturated pop song pushed through sock hop punk filters. Lucy (vox), Doug (bass) and Mathew (drums / vox) keep it simple but energetic and jammy and they record all their compositions at home. Cool stuff.

-
Robb Donker


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Tender truths bleed beautifully on "All That I Need" by singer-songwriter Evan Delp

All That I Need by singer-songwriter Evan Delp built on truths, a beautiful vocal performance and evocative guitars shows why less is more in a big way. Of course, you have to be able to fully bleed and be able to record those depths of emotions. Delp has a knack for capturing truths. Much of his work is recorded in one take wherever he is at the moment. In his bedroom or dorm room. He also twists lyrics inside out. The poetic wisdom of his words belie his young age. Of this track he writes:

I wrote this song when I encountered the critical stage of a relationship where communication starts to break down. One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome is that of trying to counteract somebody else's own self-doubt.
In a way, these lyrics are full of yearning. But they're also a narration of the moment in which I realized it was the beginning of the end, because a relationship can't flourish if both sides don't believe in their own worth. Singing "you're all that I need" was what I wanted to verbalize, but internally, the dialogue was "we aren't what each other needs."

-

Robb Donker

You can learn more about Evan Delp here: https://www.evandelp.com/



Barry Wilson Music- "Persuasions To Enjoy" (Featuring Shaool and Kala) - lush groovy jazz, neo soul, funk, hip hop explosion





















Persuasions To Enjoy (Featuring Shaool and Kala) by Barry Wilson Music out of Cork, Ireland is the kind of groovy track that immediately makes your ears perk up. Wilson a drummer, pianist, vocalist, songwriter / composer blends jazz, funk and neo soul into amazingly cool pieces of work pulling in talented artists including Ophelia McCabe, Gemma Sugrue, Kala Chung and Sara Ryan and more. Persuasions To Enjoy rides on different time signatures, hip hop flourishes, deep horn vibes and an almost kind of 70's deep pop assembly with a Steely Dan vibe. The changes dip and curve and settle into lush beautiful sounds too. The track is so incredibly varied and immersive. Amazing stuff. Check it out and the video below.

-
Robb Donker



The Phone Booth's album "Roman" homage to the life and death of a friend is emotionally rich. Hear "Ballad of Indifference" and "Swims In Oceans"

The track Ballad of Indifference by the indie rock outfit The Phone Booth is musically spartan but emotionally dense. The story is dolled out in a kind of somber core sort of way. Tonally the sounds shift into post punk (and slight emo) textures and then erupts in a big punk way while still feeling empty at it's core. I like this aspect as nothing feels over produced which keeps it all so real. I thought of the amazing Jeff Rosenstock while I listened but while Rosenstock takes personal feelings and splatters them against the macrocosm (becoming more of social commentary), The Phone Booth on their album "Roman" keep it all personal.

Michael Easbey (vocals, guitar, primary songwriter), Josh Blumenthal (bass), Ben Pecorari (drums) and Tony Pennington (guitar) spent two years crafting this very personal piece of work inspired by Easbey's relationship with his best friend Steven Gonzales and Steven's subsequent death on October 3rd, 2016 from stage IV cancer. On the album's track Healthcare Steven can be heard from a phone conversation. Healthcare is a standout track. 

The track Swim In Oceans is a mosh worthy garage rock punk song with churning guitars and delicious bass lines snaking through. The song pulls back the assault throughout pulling us all in on tender moments as well. Many of the songs on "Roman" share the quiet / loud dynamism like shadowbox's of emotions as personal glimpses with musical highs and lows. 


There are moments on "Roman" that says it all. The track Cab driver, etc which is not a song but a conversation is perfectly poised to break your heart a little bit at the simple realization that bad things just happen and when the song Dust settles deeply inside your heart breaks more. Dust, maybe the most tender song on "Roman" and feels like a friend's hard hug when you are at your lowest low. The kind of hug that let's you lose it and makes you cry so hard you can't breathe. While Dust most be the most tender, the last track Comfortable (the album's opus) is stirring and terribly sad, a mixture of anger, pain and hurtful realization. It may choke you up and make your eyes water like it did mine. 

No word yet on when the album will be in full release mode but Steven would be proud. The Phone Booth hail from Santa Barbara, California. Roman was recorded and mixed at The Earth Capital in Los Angeles by Alex Estrada (Joyce Manor, Touché Amoré).

-
Robb Donker




St-Eugene- the sweeping "You Are Life" from the upcoming "Suburb Lights" album




























The track You Are Life by Montreal, Canada indie folk band St-Eugene stirs my mind with an almost 90's college indie rock vibe but with strong twists of elegance and sweep in it's orchestrations. The double time patter of instrumentation moves the song forward while the vocal presentation is smooth and organic with a subdued passion. "the burn marks are everlasting." 

You Are Life is about hope and the first glimpse of the upcoming "Suburb Lights" album coming out on December 4th. 

-
Robb Donker



"Lovely" and "Gaining Weight" from Boreen's "Lovely" album- the stuff of life and movies




























Portland based Boreen just released their "Lovely" album and quite frankly it is lovely (yes, I had to say it). But it is and the title track is a nice entre into their dreamy indie sound that feels like it should grace indie movies. I know that is a simplified take but many of the songs on the album I could here on the soundtracks of film makers like Wes Anderson or Alexander Payne or Jim Jarmusch or Hal Ashby (Rest In Peace). The track Lovely moves on a runaway beat and feels like a slice, like the day in the life while waiting for love (maybe). Other songs feel more trippy like the opening track Gaining Weight simmering in a somber stew of bedroom poppy sounds and when the groove drops in and out it adds a nice texture but the melodies are what seep into your soul in a sweet way. This is the case with many of the tracks on "Lovely" which you have to hear in it's entirety.

-
Robb Donker




Saturday, November 3, 2018

Coattails out of Austin, Texas trip fed psychedelia on "Waves" feels so beautifully heavy






































photo by Kate Blaising


Psych Rock Blues outfit Coattails out of Austin, Texas bring some seriously dreamy heavy sound to the track Waves off their latest "Imaginary Friends" EP. There is a dream theater aspect to the track with pearly psychedelic guitar lines and equally dreamy vocals. The song shifts into heavy metal downbeats with blissfully cool staccato drum, bass, guitar breaks that sounds so dynamic and then shifts into dreamy land squared. The whole feel is fable-esque like Alice with tats stumbling down acid laden rabbit holes. Love the aesthetic here. There is something so beautifully classic about this. Love it. 

-
Robb Donker

"Memory" by Murmur Tooth plays out like captivating haunting in a kitsch horror flick and I love it.


























Memories are a mixed emotional bag. They can be lovely and life affirming and they can be unfortunately for some horrific. They are a reflections of lives lived. The track Memory by Murmur Tooth the musical moniker of multi-instrumentalist / singer songwriter Leah Hinton from Dunedin, New Zealand (but currently based out of Berlin) feels vast and haunting with downtrodden chords and a vocal performance vacillating between being open and intimate and radio muted like memories from another time. Gluing it all together are mournful horns that are just so exquisitely cool. In the end the song feels cinematic like something between a 70's kitsch horror and straight horror flick. Call it goth pop or gloom pop or whatever you like but it is very, very cool.

-
Robb Donker



David Ellis and the carefree beauty of "Baby She Roam" from the "Misty Heights" album

Baby She Roam by David Ellis (from the "Misty Heights" album) feels like sunshine on a bleak day. Built on hand claps, an effervescent cadence and almost 60's carefree vibe it moves and like kids skipping in the park. Ellis crafts his self described "Pagan rock" with his acoustic quartet when is he is not writing and performing with the UK indie band Razorlight. Live performance comparisons shake out artists like T. Rex and Syd Barrett and Ellis's folk / hippie trance sounds brings up artists like Donavan, Vashti Bunyan and early Marc Bolan.

“I was living in a little house next to the Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock when I began writing this record… the forest was my garden and every morning I would venture out with my guitar. This is where I wrote and recorded most of the album.”

Ellis trades his time between New York and London and anywhere his wanderlust takes him.  

-
Robb Donker


The "Micromegas" EP by the 7 piece grunge punk band Maccogallo is the perfect antidote


























Maccogallo is a 7 piece rock band out of Indianapolis, Indiana that whips up a slurry of sounds that feels punk and grungy at the same time. Their 5 track EP "Micromegas" (just released early in October) is as inspired as it is feral and the perfect antidote for listening to Greta Van Fleet's "Anthem Of The Peaceful Army" album because the young bloods in Maccogallo actually make music that is inspired and exquisitely raw. Take the track Pissed Lightning that starts off like a mid tempo 90 college radio new wave song and then ramps up. The sound is youthful garage rock with grunge underpinnings and maybe about the age ole lack of understanding between parents and their offspring "your mother confesses her weakness her guesses... your father he stresses about boys in dresses." Bedbugs with jangly strident mid tempo guitars and John Dwyer (The Oh Sees) like yelps feels like a song in disarray. Midway through a kind of broken trumpet plays some lead lines twisting the track into indie fare or Broadway punk (just a bit) but I like the surprise of it all. Maybe my favorite track on the EP, Beehive has a proto punk (1978) heart with a patina of grunge smeared all over it. The emotional tone, "caught in green, I'm ceasing like apnea" feels like the suffocation of youth or the trials and tribulations there of. It is something we have all felt. Trough is more of a transition or interlude and is barely over a minute long. You can hear words but not make them out. The last track Nine Billion Faced Dice may or may not borrow a prog from a previous track or maybe turns that prog inside out but this song feels thoroughly drenched in a grunge tones with lyrics that feel like stream of consciousness ramblings or the babble of a fever dream. The song is a slow burn and then long crescendo that in the end feels like avant garde grunge punk (either meaningless or meaningful) but the kind of song a crowd can sway to and feel anyway they want... disenchanted, hopeless or defiant. Maccogallo are Lilly, Sean, Isabelle, Jackson, Griffin, Zach and Peyton and (as far as I can tell) there are boy / girl vocals here (mostly boy) and I like the changing flavor this gives.

In the end, Micromegas stands as a surprising little piece of inspired punk grunge songs with lyrical content that is like a Rorschach test which (for me) are the best kinds of words. The boys and girls seem to sink into the songs like they feel them for whatever they are. This is the stuff of passion, perfectly imperfect musical endeavors and the stuff of promise too. On their Bandcamp the band states that they are : "a band that someday won't be a band" and while all the best bands that I have loved have expiration dates let's hope Maccogallo's is far, far in the future.

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Robb Donker