Monday, March 18, 2019

Nip (UK) unfettered punk on the runaway "Bear Pit"

Bear Pit by punk provocateur Nip (UK) is a bit of a mystery but his sound on this track is steeped in such cool Brit punk tones. It feels at once fresh but old school too possessing potent bass and drums, sonic attacks of guitars that feel both punk and grunge at times and Nip's vox that are strident and wailing just like punk vox should be. -
Robb Donker



Sunday, March 17, 2019

The dark romantic wave of "Whatever and Ever" by NRVS LVRS (Nervous Lovers)


























NRVS LVRS (pronounced “Nervous Lovers”) is the dreamy darkwave project of husband & wife duo Andrew Gomez and Bevin Fernandez and the track Whatever and Ever feels like an 80's new wave time machine running on industrial drums and self aware artistically postured vocals. Everything feels a bit angular from the driving guitars and smashed synth notes. I thought of new wave artists like Gary Numan and the Human League and romance wave artists like Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) and ABC. The San Francisco natives cite artists like Massive Attack, Can, and Kate Bush as influences while others have described their aesthetic on the fringes of electro-pop elements similar to that of The Knife, Bat for Lashes, or Crystal Castles. 

-
Robb Donker



Nashville indie duo The Hamaleighs and the jagged raw "Sorry I'm Busy"

"Sorry I'm Busy" by the Nashville indie duo The Harmaleighs, the musical moniker of Haley Grant and Kaylee Jasperson feels like a jagged raw power pop song. It vacillates between an edgy verse with harried vox that feel anxious and desperate to an even more harried, even manic chorus. It is one of those grab your head and scream at the top of your lungs type of songs and when the song mellows (but only for  seconds) you feel like you can breathe only to suffocate again.

The revelatory song is from their new full-length album "She Won’t Make Sense" that drops on August 2nd, 2019. A concept album about mental illness, specifically Haley’s deeply personal journey through anxiety, depression and mania.

-

Robb Donker



"Mellow Yellow (Smoke Trees)" by T-Shirt Dream Party is like a brand new candy with a flavor you can't describe

Mellow Yellow (Smoke Trees) is a dynamic blendo shape shifter of a song by T-Shirt Dream Party, an indie / alternative outfit created by brothers Ben and Dan Dickson with lifelong friends Eggs (David Egbe) and Sam Powell, collectively known as Green Eggs and Sam. All are from the suburbia of Manchester (UK), between Stretford and The Tesco in Baguley.

The track has a dreamy groove feeling like a cross between tropical punk flavors and an almost 80's dance wave feel then it deftly shape shifts with some proggy elements and jazzy shapes. Eventually, it gets big with rock tones. Curious but tasty like a brand new candy.

-
Robb Donker


"Break My Heart and Let Me Go" by Matthew Pinder featuring Molly Bush is a beautiful cold reminder

Break My Heart and Let Me Go by Matthew Pinder and featuring Molly Bush is the kind of song that inspires and fractures your heart at the same time. Pinder's voice holds comfort but with pearls of pain and as the emotional cadence of the song shifts from verse to chorus, from hurt to a kind of resolute suffering it feels like a twist of the knife. The addition of a beautiful female voice, blending emotions and harmonies does soften the blow (thankfully) feeling like a passion play reminding us that these deep emotions are in the artifice of song. A cold reminder of how much love can hurt us in the end.  

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:


Seeking to find answers and slow the world down, Matthew Pinder is an artist that explores the mountain range of human emotions with a tender artistry that commonly threads throughout his music. The Bahamian singer-songwriter sings from his own experiences, never afraid to bare the raw honesty of life and use his music to tell the stories that often go untold.
With lyrics encompassing the fickleness of relationships, the depths of human longing, and the hope of new days to come, Pinder has created two albums of original music. His first studio EP, Too Young To Understand, released in March 2018 and established Pinder as a newcomer to watch in the saturated singer-songwriter landscape. Working with producer Chris Jacobie (Penny & Sparrow, Jarrod Dickenson, Duncan Fellows), Pinder developed his newest release and first full length record of original songs and stories spanning the lyrical and thematic range of upbeat tones about finding love, to heartbreaking ballads of seeking hope and understanding. The result, Give Me Some Time, showcases Pinder in an undeniably human way as he grapples with finding that balance between the heartbreak and hope of life. 


Charlie Lane reveals hard truths on "Faker"

Charlie Lane is a singer songwriter out of Melbourne (AUS) who has the ability to swim in many styles. Whether indie pop or cabaret or art pop with post punk leanings she always writes from the heart and spills her guts for everyone to see. Her music is in that sense, cathartic and inspirational. Her latest offering Faker, a dynamically rich indie rocker, is no exception. Of the track she reveals :

I wrote this at a time when I was in a relationship where the person was getting effected by my mental health, but didn’t fully understand it, nor wanted to. 
Didn’t understand what I have to go through and how much blame I actually put on myself, and how much you don’t actually mean to do what hurts them in the long run, but inevitably end up in a lonely as hell relationship. 
Therefore, you are always smiling to cover up the fact you are not happy at all. You are faking everything.


-
Robb Donker

The Spiral Electric spin tie dye psyche rock dreams on "Wildflowers:
















The Spiral Electric began in San Francisco as a psychedelic guitar duo so it is no wonder that their latest offering Wildflowers feels like it could of existed in the hazy hippie lifestyle of Haight Ashbury in the 60's and while that neighborhood bordering the Golden Gate Bridge has since shifted from hippie to hipster, the Spiral Electric, now a 4 piece with it's original members Clay Andrews (vox, guitar, keyboards, percussion) and Nicolas Percey (Lead Guitar) adding Michael Summers (bass) and Matias Drago (drums), still hold true to the psyche 60's /70's rock sound adding post rock and post punk elements as well. 

Wildflowers rides on a 12 string acoustic with layered harmonies, evocative bass lines around shifting drum patterns and waves of guitars with punchy lead lines. It is at the center of their yet untitled double-LP produced by Steve Kille (Dead Meadow) & mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies), due 3/29.

-
Robb Donker

Saturday, March 16, 2019

"Watch The Paint Dry" by Fort Gorgeous beautiful and magical feels like 70's chamber pop on high

Watch The Paint Dry by Fort Gorgeous is an enchanting whimsical creation. It is like 70's chamber pop on high. It has a beautiful embrace even though it has a sort of hyper sense of reality. Billy Libby is both the author and provocateur vocalizing in an artful self aware sort of way. A voice made for the stage, Libby's instrument is perfectly controlled and tugs at the heartstrings in a pure way as if he is singing a lullaby to children.  

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

The Bottom of the Sea—Libby’s first record as Fort Gorgeous—finds him adding a hi-fi pop sheen to the songwriting style he unveiled on previous solo releases The Little Bird and Pitter Patter. This cleaner, brighter, more dynamic sound comes courtesy of co-producers Gary Atturio (Psychic TV, Shapes in Calgary, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and Saul Simon MacWilliams (Ingrid Michaelson). Atturio and MacWilliams also played a variety of instruments on the record, rounding out a lineup that includes drummers Sarab Singh (Sara Bareilles) and Tim McCoy (Darwin Deez).

Fort Gorgeous’ The Bottom of the Sea will see its official release on May 4, 2018. 



"Huffing Fumes" by Stoned Ape Theory is an artful mystery





















Huffing Fumes by Stoned Ape Theory, a duo out of Newtown Connecticut, James Leuci and Matthew Gonzalez is curious in the best kind of way. Riding on deep percussive strings of some sort that sound like drums and wistful strumming guitar and equally wistful vox it transforms into beats and samples and droning synths. Cool, dreamy evocative stuff. 

-
Robb Donker

3 piece The Slashes and their diorama of post punk on "City By" feels like massive romance wave


























The bottom heavy rocker City By by The Slashes inspired by the sounds of London's 70's post punk scene is a head banging delicious diorama of post punk rock with elements of mod and post rock tones. The bottom end, drums and bass provided by Bassist Beto Bautista and Carlos Robles on drums exist as an incredible locomotion of energy as Esteban Rene churns out sonic textures of guitar and cool passionate vox. Their sound, to me, is perfect. Massive, yet still containing that kind of romantic wave sound of the 80's. 

The Slashes are based out of San Diego, California. 

-
Robb Donker



Cast in a blue light of new wave dreams "Crimes" by Darkbird runs so deep






















Crimes by Darkbird runs so deep. Deep in the blue light cast my old time movie marquees and new wave rock sounds. There is something vast, emotional elements of the 60's, the 80's and now. I flashed on Modern English and the amazing Martha Davis from the Motels. Cast in the sultry vocal tones, percolated by spaghetti western guitar and dreamland synths you can feel deep desire and heartbreak too. So lovely and cool. Glitter ball lights fanning out on a high school gym floor.

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


Lyrics to the first song Kelly and Brian would ever write together set the stage for the romantic waterloo that would become Darkbird.
Kelly Barnes left Los Angeles after a broken marriage resulted in a broken band. Just prior to the move, she unexpectedly hit international success, singing a monster hit called, “Get Shaky” with DJ Ian Carey. While the track and a few others were financially significant to the ex-wife and waitress, the style of music was unfulfilling to Barnes. She began to dread performing the songs and eventually became fearfully depressed.
After a tragic house fire in NYC, Brian Cole opted for a fresh start. As his belongings smoldered in the winter snow, he decided to pack up what was left and head south in search of warmer days and better luck.
Ironically, while most go to LA or NYC to make their dreams come true, Brian and Kelly found each other on the musician page on Craigslist in Austin, TX.  While they had hoped to leave their pasts behind, inevitably, the heartbreaks found a place they call home in Darkbird.
Approaching their 3rd official SXSW appearance, the Austinite darling just finished their 3rd record, which will be followed by a nation-wide US tour in 2019.

Check out Crimes on Spotify: (click on pic).





Friday, March 15, 2019

Foreign TV and the sultry tropical punk flavor on "Magnets"


























The track Magnets by Indie-psych band Foreign TV from Stoneleigh and Epsom (UK) drips with cool tropical punk flavors with crooning vox, jazz coated chords and pearly effervescent guitar notes that float in the air while sultry bass notes walk around cagey drums. When the synth crescendo erupts it is joyous psychedelia. 

-
Robb Donker



"I Am A Robot" by Elson Complex live and dense with swallowed emotion

Elson Complex's song I Am A Robot recorded Live at the Zoo in Spain feels like a burst of potent emotion. Complex like to sing his songs in different languages. A Elson le encanta tocar la guitarra. Y para que no se le vea tanto el plumero, canta en diferentes idiomas. / Elson spielt liebend gern Gitarre. Und damit das nicht so auffällt, singt er dazu in verschiedenen Sprachen. / Elson adore jouer la guitare. Pour que cela ne se remarque pas trop, il s'accompagne de paroles en plusieurs langues. / Elson suona con passione la chitarra e, per rendere la cosa meno evidente, canta in diverse lingue.

-
Robb Donker





UK post punk outfit Superego dream big on "Loose"

UK dreamers Superego release their 2019 debut single Loose. It is full of big shoegaze filtered sounds riding on lush bass lines and hazy, reverb soaked vocal harmonies framing super modulated up front vox that get in your head (literally) provided by front-man Cam Potts. Superego is rounded out by Tom Richards, Luke Joseph Harley and Samuel Beckingham
Push play and let Superego saturate you brain. 

-
Robb Donker




Monalia and the barbiturate drip of HTLT (Hate This Lukewarm Thing)

























Oslo based Monalia call their music mountain surf influenced by 60's pop and the British underground scene from the 80's and 90's and the track HTLT (Hate This Lukewarm Thing) with it's stalking beat and almost barbiturate soaked vocal performance (for me) has a subtle Seattle grunge thing happening as well. The dread filled lilt, big guitars, and hazy disposition made me think of Alice and Chains a bit as filtered through 60's rock tones, of course (wink). 

HTLT is the second single off their upcoming album "So Much Better" dropping on the 5th of April followed by a tour in Norway. 

Monalia are Terje Halmrast  (guitar and vocals), Vegar Eriksfallet (drums), Bendik Dræge Orvan (Bass), Svein Petter Nilssen (guitar) and Stine Helen Tunstrøm (vocals).

-
Robb Donker

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Qualia's hard and shiny pop-scape on "Can't Take A Joke"

New York based The Qualia can take a joke but their latest offering Can't Take A Joke spits out a diverse array of musical tones from a 60's pop elements to 90's post rock / college rock / indie rock back to 60's pop with Brit rock attitudes. It is all stirred up and feels so well defined and yet fits effortlessly together.  The music reflects the combined personalities of Lars Casteen, Rossen Nedelchey, Matt Raymond and Will McCutcheon. Casteen is the primary songwriter who holes himself up in his Brooklyn home studio shaping his songs into rough demos before casting them before his band mates. The songs shift and change and become the stuff that is The Qualia.

-
Robb Donker

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"Running" wavering avant garde post punk by ATL synth trio Shouldies

The wavering avant garde post punk track Running by the Atlanta (GA) synth trio Shouldies feels like one of those weird midnight madness movies at that one cinema downtown that shows askew movies and whose  pièces de résistance is David Lynch's "Eraserhead". Those events, those movies are experiences that broker complex emotions. You might leave not liking it even but being changed nonetheless after experiencing it. Those artistic endeavors, listening, seeing, feeling artifices that are unsteady like shifting drunken sands are worth it because abnormality is what fuses what is normal and sometimes what is the conventional normal is anything but. 

Yancey Ballard, John Pierce, and Daniel Eberlein create these other worlds. Eberlein and Pierce on stage, can be seen creating alluring synthscapes for Ballards self aware vox. Ballard recently commented on Atlanta’s deceptively close proximity to homophobia and transphobia in Kerrang!

“A lot of the time, it’s a fight to be heard because it’s not ‘as dangerous’ as it is outside [Atlanta’s perimeters]. People don’t care about micro aggressions. People don’t care about discomfort. People care less than they should about full-on aggression because at least it’s ‘safer’ here. ‘At least it happens less’. ‘It could be worse’.”

Running is the second single from the ATL synth punk trio's debut full-length, out March 22. The song is about the Trans experience in the South. The pulsating synth I thought a bit of The Normal and their track Warm Leatherette (1978) and Bauhaus. Step into the fray, don't be afraid.

-
Robb Donker




A Cure for A Head Cold - a hot toasted POP-TART and Herbal Tea (?)

This thing that has been going around has got a hold of me. Co-workers around me were sick and most probably the long hours working on too many projects at once and lack of sleep left me vulnerable. I really do not get sick often. I really do not. This has impacted my slow down in blogging and for that I apologize. All will be normal soon nice people. 

-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bollard churns out heavy post punk and a question about Evan Dando on TSINA

























TSINA by Melbourne's (AUS) Bollard is so delicious in there hybrid post punk sound. The song moves effortlessly from dance punk to grunge sounds with subtle elements of free jazz punk thrown in for good measure. There is a sense of romance and fun but any jangly, lovely sounds are only moments away from blues rock infused heavy post punk daring to ask "Why did Evan Dando cut his hair?"

From the upcoming "Beware The Atto Fox" album.

-
Robb Donker


Sunday, March 10, 2019

"Clenched Fists" alternative art folk drones and grooves by Showalter

Clenched Fists by Showalter, the alt folk music project of Joseph Conde (What A Lion, Big Animals) opens with seemingly unsteady synth bass notes that feel compressed with distortion until an organic beat finds the sleepy cadence followed by a folk rock progression and Conde's evocative stacked harmonies. The aesthetic drones and grooves at the same time dripping with a cool psychedelia. Conde reshaped the 2011 What A Lion song Clench Your Fists from a straight alt folk song to something much trippier and art rockish. 

You can check out the official video
for Clenched Fists produced by Austin James Harter. 

-
Robb Donker



Thin Lear runs away on the cinematic "The Guesthouse"

The track The Guesthouse by Queens based Thin Lear, the project of singer songwriter / producer Matt Longo is a spritely paced indie rocker. The bass chases itself, the drums move like an engine and Longo's smooth culled emotions pull you in intimately. The music breaks stir in awesome post rock indie guitars as well as horns that swirl around in improvisational ways all the while organs swelling. It is lush, potent, dreamy and cinematic. 

-
Robb Donker


Dr Sure's Unusual Practice - proto / post punk diatribe "It's Alive" is banging

























Aussie punk provocateurs Dr Sure's Unusual Practice roast and toast in the cagey angular post punk rocker It's Alive. It is raw head banging commentary with a proggy proto punk feel. It feels cheeky yet potent. A diatribe on smart phone culture and uncontrollable urges, the song tells the story of a human who turns into a smart phone one limb at a time. Do we control the smart phone or does the smart phone control us? Think about that some time when you freak out because you left yours at home.

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


Dr Sure's Unusual Practice are making peculiar post-punk to subvert the structures of our modern society. Taking the foundations of punk music, raw and political, and giving it a distinct 2019 thread, tongue firmly in cheek and an ear to the ground. Big business, little men, religious doctrine, climate anxiety, smart phones and dumb politicians.

After playing and recording around Melbourne for the last 6 years Dr Sure, AKA Dougal Shaw (Breve, Cracodile, Hot Sludge Fundae), started this new project as a challenge to write and record everything himself. Realising it was some of his most fun and potent work, Dougal enlisted the help of Miranda Holt (Lubulwa, Strangers From Now On), Jake Suriano (Hideous Sun Demon, Kitchen People) and Jack Mccullagh (Hot Sludge Fundae, Fishmonger) to bring the project to life.


Deep Sea Peach Tree leaves us wanting more with the tropical punk tease "Xanzibar"

Xanzibar by New York based Deep Sea Peach Tree with it's underwater guitar sound, tropical punk flavors, dreamy escapism and plucky bass is a lush trancy affair. Part glitter ball slow dance and part make out music is seeps quickly into your psyche in a happy way but ends much to quickly. Loving this so much.

Deep Sea Peach Tree is the music project of Kristof Denis (guitar/vocals) and friends Andrew Dell Isola (bass) and Wiley Watson (guitar) encompassing sleepy surf rock, dreamy / jazzy/garage sounds, drawing influence from jazz standards, shoegaze, classic rock, indie-rock and surf rock. They have a connection to another creatively deep band that American Pancake has reported on a few times in the past Flaccid Ashbacks

Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

While attending high school in NYC, Denis and his friend Adam 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 John 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 debut album "Vaguely Navy" on We Ride Bikes Records, an independent production collective consisting of Deep Sea Peach Tree and their brother band Flaccid Ashbacks. Denis' Long time friend Wiley Watson and new friend Andrew Dell Isola were added in the summer of 2018.

"How Can I Move On" soars on Marlene Oak's powerhouse vox from the "Silver Moon" EP

How Can I Move On by Marlene Oak and from her new EP "Silver Moon" has classic rock bones with roots rock filtered in. The down home earnest nature of the song and Oaks big earthy vocals crosses over genre's into folk rock, country and blues framed in a sort of 70's garden rock motif. Of the "Silver Moon" project, Oak acknowledges the iconic inspirations she pulled from as well as her experiences, relationships and places she draws from: 


“Before I wrote the title track ‘Silver Moon’, I listened to Bessie SmithBillie HolidayElla Jenkins, and Leadbelly a lot. You can hear the pain in their voices and there’s a certain darkness to the words that they sing. That’s the feeling that I wanted to convey in ‘Silver Moon. If my music can give something to anyone - I’m satisfied. Music has given me so much in my life, so now all I want to do is somehow give that back.” 

-
Robb Donker



Saturday, March 9, 2019

Danish bedroom folk artist Jacob Faurholt and his haunting "Halloween Pumpkin"

The track Halloween Pumpkin by Danish bedroom folk artist Jacob Faurholt and from the upcoming EP "Sad People" starts with the fluttering sound of a super 8 home movie reel. That sound set's an emotional tone evocative of nostalgia both embracing and haunting. Ghosts from the past can be lovely but scary too and Faurholt's back of the hallway vocals to a stoic acoustic guitar feels tortured and sad. When big industrial synthetic chords erupt on the down beats things get dark quickly. In the end, Halloween Pumpkin feels gothic, possessed by dissonant ghosts of the past. 

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Jacob Faurholt (born Nov. 6, 1978) is one of Denmark’s most prolific songwriters. He has released 10 albums, both solo and with his more experimental project Crystal Shipsss. 
Mostly DIY on his own label Raw Onion Records.


Halloween Pumpkin is the single (out March 1st) from Faurholt's upcoming EP Sad People (out March 29th on Raw Onion Records). It's a slow burning ballad that mixes Halloween imagery with a tale of love. Very fittingly released 7 months prior to the month of Halloween.
Sad People is a short collection of sparse, tense folk songs recorded live with a few overdubs in Faurholt’s home studio in Aarhus, Denmark. The recordings rough and mildly experimental character might bring early Bright Eyes or Will Oldham’s Palace Music to mind. Faurholt recorded and mixed the songs himself, in between his day job as a teacher, and spending time with his wife and 2-year-old daughter. In the end it was mastered by the Canadian producer Andy Magoffin (Great Lake Swimmers, Royal City). In the spring of 2019 Faurholt will record a new full length album. This will take place in a recording studio with musicians from his hometown of Aarhus. A contrast to the lonely and intimate sound of Sad People.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

"Night Dream" by Violent Bear exists in some magical place where happy people row boats in the sky

Night Dream by Violent Bear feels like it exists between some third plane of existence. Some magical land where happy shiny people row boats in the sky past cotton ball clouds and cut our houses swaying by hundreds of child puppeteers. At least that is what I see in my mind's eye. There is something decent and pure here unbridled by pretense and the latest trends. 

-
Robb Donker


Press Notes:

Violent Bear started as a husband wife duo in 2010 called The West. In 2015 core members Stephen and Tammy Herzig changed the name to Violent Bear and were joined by Jonas and Noah Cassity. The second album, Post Everything was released in March 2017 and made some small strides in the regional music scene. The single, anthem Mrs. Rabbit won over radio hosts and became the bands most popular song live. Post Everything was recorded in their basement. Raw and organic, the album translated well onto the live stage allowing Violent Bear to become an up and coming band of KC.
Good Morning Christine is the first single off the upcoming album of the same name to be released in fall 2018.
The band returned to it original form of a duo in August of 2018 and returned to the studio to continue working on the album that has definitely returned to the roots sound from years prior with a release day set for midsummer.
On February 14 Violent Bear released the single Night Dreams.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

"I Wanna Go Home" by Connie Danger feels hyper real and beautifully sad

I Wanna Go Home, the second single from Connie Danger's debut EP "The Ravages of Puberty (PT 1) embraces you with bell like keys, whimsical synths, thick bass synths and Danger's dreamy yet sad vox. The production has it's own hyper reality and feels kind of magical and unabashedly sweet with an almost child like wide eyed wonder. I thought of old school things like Neverending Story and New Wave bands like Kajagoogoo or the Thompson Twins and more contemporary artists like MGMT.  Connie Danger's aesthetic here inspired by moments of despair, of missing his mother feels nostalgic and tender. I am really loving his sound.  

-
Robb Donker

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Kermit Obert blooms after his band's breakup on "K.O." - listen to "Good Enough"

Good Enough by 23 year old singer-songwriter Kermit Obert from Lawndale, California plods steadily and forlornly on chunky acoustic down strokes. Electric guitar picks pearls and Oberts vox cries forward. It feels a bit like a sonic march, maybe a funeral dirge of sorts. The atmosphere has an Elliot Smith-esque type of sadcore but the melodies (at times) feels hopeful too. 
After the break up of his punk band "Noyes" he spent a year writing in his room resulting in his debut solo album "K.O" released with KillPop records in 2018 both digitally and on 12" vinyl.

-
Robb Donker



"Fall Into The Boat" by Seattle's Oceanwires - a punchy chomp of post punk goodness

























Fall Into The Boat by Seattle's Oceanwires is so damn exquisitely real. A punchy chomp of classic post punk with tight kind of 90's post rock / college rock tentacles. Just so so good. A lot of that punk goodness (rock cred) has to do with who are the participants of this band. Centered around the kinetic songs of Dave Einmo, all are seasoned Seattle players. You have the aforementioned front man Dave Einmo on guitar and vox (Head Like a Kite), Aaron Starkey on guitar / vox (Gibraltar), Jeff Baars on drums (Mike Johnson, Long Dark Moon) and Samantha Wilder on bass (Princess). 

Listening to the sonic eruption that is Fall Into The Boat it is hard to believe that it originated as an acoustic piece. Dave Einmo offers: 

This song originated from a verse and chorus I wrote on an acoustic guitar. It didn't take long for it to quickly evolve into propelling drums that push the anthemic guitars. Our approach is to take song ideas and deconstruct them and reassemble the ideas into something new. That way the songs are created by the band as opposed to one person. We used many of the original chords, but now they were cut and pasted into different spots and the tempo was sped up. And those drums! Jeff hammered that set and Steve Fisk, who recorded this track, put some special magic on the recording. It makes me want to jump and down and pretend I'm 5 again. It's visceral.


And it is visceral, supercharged and oh so good. Check it out below as well as my words about the song on a recent episode of the amazing Tuckshop Community Radio curated by Jack Bacon.


-

Robb Donker





Saturday, March 2, 2019

Lisa Papineau dazzles in the progressive chamber pop affair "Beautiful"


























From Vermont Cali France, Lisa Papineau is a creative whirlwind who started out in experimental theater eventually pushing her progressive art endeavors into the realms of albums, film soundtracks, art installations, dance and theater productions, narration and producing. Her voice is so captivating, so endearing and lead Tori Amos to describe her tones as having "...the power of Bon Scott and yet the lyrical-ness in the voice of a reed instrument..."  It is a description only a poet such as Amos could conjure up but it it dead on. Just listen to her latest offering Beautiful. The musical production feels sort of retro like 70's chamber pop with subtle jazz flourishes and world music tones and then you have the evocative melody, guest male vocals and that... that incredible voice of Lisa Papineau.

This song is beautiful, whimsical and or so original. From her fourth solo record, "Oh Dead Oh Oh Love"

-
Robb Donker

Press Notes:
On her fourth solo record, “Oh Dead On Oh Love,” Papineau has created an aural canvas of lush but quietly unsettling arrangements: strings, brass, woodwinds, and other traditional instrumentation fuse organically with ambient tones. Vocal harmonies reminiscent of 70s FM radio super groups twine seamlessly through percussive vocalizations, haunting Yma Sumac or Meredith Monk-like swells unravel into plaintive shouts. “While writing, I could see the physical landscape of each song plainly,” Papineau explains, “…an image in the mind’s eye versus a particular chord… it took some time sitting alone in the woods to figure out how they translated sonically. And how all these fleeting images pulled together into one panorama.”

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.”

Minihorse's "Drink You Dry" (featuring Anna Burch) from the "Living Room Art" Album is so heavy and sweet

























Drink You Dry by Michigan's Minihorse and from their latest record "Living Room Art" is a blistering sound of distorted guitars that deliciously tweak and squeak and fold over into dissonance and back and while there is so very much within this song that pulls you in, for me, the guitar sounds here are crushingly captivating. Then when you add the plodding cadence, the drums (John Fossum) and bass (Christian Anderson) that meter out every bit of heaviness in a precise way filling up the space with more and more heaviness and angst and, of course, Ben Collins (guitar) hushed, whispery vocals with lovely supported harmonies by the amazing Anna Burch (guitar). The track itself asks that questions and rides on sad sleepy melodies and then awaken in big ways is inspired by a car crash Collins experienced in 201l. 

Collins considers Minihorse as a DIY "home recording project"and an avenue to build gear and step back to learn how to record on tap. The 2016 "Big Lack" EP which caught the attention of his band mates was made up of demos during that fertile learning process and some weird forays into experimental treatments like sleep deprivation and transcranial direct current stimulation as a way to effect his creativity. 

"I find songwriting to be the hardest thing in the world," he explains. "You have these moments of inspiration and it'll feel like the easiest thing in the world, and then you'll have years where that never happens again. You find yourself in these strange patterns, trying to coax creativity out of yourself again."

-
Robb Donker

Press Notes:

Collins and minihorse recorded Living Room Art's ten indelible cuts in his home studio, as well as Ann Arbor's Big Sky Studio—and they weren't alone. "I tried to bring friends into the studio to make it more collaborative and enhance the process," he explains, and Living Room Art indeed represents a true Midwestern come-together, with contributions from Fred Thomas, Kelly Moran, and Anna Burch—the latter of which sings on and appears in the video for first single "Drink You Dry." "She's really great, so self-reliant—she's a genius," he enthuses. "We thought it would be fun to incorporate her into some of these songs."

Gooey and tactile, Living Room Art often takes on surreal shapes, from the overwhelming waves of guitar on "Summer Itch" to the careening melody of its title track. "I feel very focused on melody and rhythm and very unfocused on lyrics," Collins explains when discussing his songwriting approach. "I've often told people that I don't care about the words, but I do care about the lyrics. These songs have been educational for me, personally. Some of the songs started out impressionistic, lyrically, but when I got done with them it became a learning experience as to what they were about. I'm blind to it in the moment, but I couldn't have written a better song if I tried to."
Despite possessing a natural aversion to drug use ("I've had anxieties for so long that I'm capable of having a bad trip while I'm eating an ice cream cone"), Collins had a lyrical breakthrough of sorts after taking part in a sacred medicine ceremony in Tulum, where he took ayahuasca. "I felt these strange, cyclical things happening with some of the newer songs where they felt connected with that experience. Lyrics I'd written before that were descriptive of things I'd learned during the ayahuasca ceremony. There's no way I could've known it would've applied. It makes you question the nature of time."

"When you look at your thoughts and watch them happen, you almost don't feel responsible for them at a certain point," he continues. "Thoughts happen toyou. You feel more like an observer, as if you're the victim of your own thoughts. It's freeing—when you don't feel like you have to control, you can be more open and listen to what your brain is doing." His perspective often hovers over these songs, even when they're directly connected to his past; "Drink You Dry" centers around a car crash he experienced in 2011, but he describes the song as "Very impressionistic. It came to me very quickly—a shadowy figure in our band's career. People always come up to me and say, 'I love that song.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, it sucks—I can't beat it,'" He says with a laugh.
Then there's the haunting closing track "Misophonia," which features contributions by Moran: "It's about this idea of having an aversion to sounds, which I've always had. I just hate certain sounds—it's the opposite of ASMR, where people have these euphoric connections to sound. Certain types of sound grate on my ears to the point where they're psychically difficult to handle. I thought that was a really interesting theme to explore—someone like myself having these sonic aversions. Kelly did a great job illustrating that with sound." The result mirrors to the experience of listening to Living Room Art as a whole: it's alluringly just out of reach, to the point where you can't help but hit "play" once more to unlock this record's strange pleasures.



Friday, March 1, 2019

"When The Cloud Explodes" by The Empty Page is a glorious fury of post punk

























When The Cloud Explodes by The Empty Page out of Northwest England instantly erupts with heavy attacks of sound, big bass and drums and sonic guitar blasts but maybe the most potent element is bassist Kel's strident vox. The track has a decidedly 90's post punk jagged feel but there are hits of grunge too. The song does not let up. It is all fury until the very end. Taking their name from a Sonic Youth song inspired by Jack Kerouac, Kel (Vox/bass), Giz (Guitars) and Jim (Drums/Vox) have been building a beloved following since their inception in a cold and drafty warehouse in Ancoats, Manchester.

-
Robb Donker

Cathedrals endearing 80's sound on "Jump In" is all in

Jump In by Cathedrals is drenched in a kind of 80's pop sensibility in the best possibly way. The bells from heaven sound, Roland D-50 sounding drone, synth hand claps, drum machine and hooky endearing chorus complete and arpeggio rich keys. It is as if elements of Madonna, Whitney Houston and Purity Ring melded, twisted, turned and coalesced into this lovely sound. Brodie Jenkins thankfully seems to embrace the lush vocal sound with an intimate and sultry sad hush. Her partner and partner in crime Johnny Hwin embellishes his synth sounds in an earnest homage-esque way without trying to filter in post rock or post punk elements. 

-
Robb Donker




Thursday, February 28, 2019

"Sweetheart" by VEDA is a poised and pretty first crush of a song

























VEDA is the goth-pop project of Birmingham (UK) based multi-instrumentalist Dominic Antonio Sepúlveda and the track Sweetheart feels poised and pretty like it could of existed in the 1980's somewhere between the Cure, Flock of Seagulls and Haircut 100. Pumped full of energy fueled with lo-fi hyper real drum machines, jangly guitars, power pop casiotone keyboards and love struck vocals, Sweetheart feels like a first crush. 

-
Robb Donker

Veda has supported groups such as Furfanu, White Fang and Lusts, gaining support from BBC Introducing and Richer Unsigned. 2018 saw VEDA tour the UK and EU extensively, with debut shows in Paris and Luxembourg City. With a brand new EP set to be released early this year and a string of live dates booked, 2019 will be remembered for generations to come as the year of GOTH BOII.