Monday, January 21, 2019

The Red Leslies keep their punk sound simple, raw and potent on "Intercourse Weapon"

Intercourse Weapon by Fullerton, California's The Red Leslies is simple, raw, potent punk rock pushed through power pop filters. You can feel some homages here to late 70's proto punk and other punk shifts later. Luis Sanchez and Adrian Martinez became The Red Leslies in 2015 forging a friendship and musical foundation built on their mutual love of art, classic records and iconic songwriters like Lou Reed, Buddy Holly and Lennon & McCartney. Their stripped down sound filled So Cal house parties and empty swimming pools filled with skaters as well as Orange County venues (and some of my old haunts) like The Observatory, Marty's On Newport and The Continental Room. Expect their debut record to drop this year called "In White" - (single from that album below- Staring at the Wall).

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Robb Donker





Sunday, January 20, 2019

Catch Prichard - "Going Crazy" - the stuff of the dark, the light, the ghosts, the flesh

When you hear Going Crazy by Catch Prichard you might feel an actual shift happen. A shift of emotion, you might twist a bit in your chair or cross your arms. It might be because the sonic effect is a bit mind bending. The music from the onset feels like sad core folk but inhabits some other world and then when you hear the low vocal aesthetic of singer, songwriter, composer Sawyer Gebauer that other world feels darker and more gloomy. Gebauer's vocal command is as heavy as a thick wool blanket and the way in which he phrases his lyrics, hanging on syllables and pulling on them like salt water taffy is astounding and unique. As Catch Prichard, he crafts his brand of gothic folk that hangs in the air like a thick fog. The kind that pours over the coast of Big Sur and snakes through the coastal forest. Sawyer moved to Sweden from the midwest at 19 forming and fronting Brittsommar, a musical outfit that took off in Europe with members seemingly in constant rotation. Once he returned to the states, his new project / moniker as "Catch Prichard" materialized as well as an evocative five song EP called "Eskota" named after the Texan ghost town where the album was crafted. 

Going Crazy is the first glimpse of his latest 6 song EP "Utter Disbelief", the first collection of a 16 song series coalesced out Gebauer's baritone voice, out of the box drum machines, gritty Mellotron and stories built on the narratives of life, the vulnerability of the human condition. Of the new songs, Sawyer Gebauer shares: 

 “When I recorded in the past, the process was powered by my immediate surroundings - a Berlin warehouse, an abandoned synagogue hitched to a frozen lake, a broken Brooklyn flat. This new collection was mostly recorded in the late night silence at the edge of my bed. It is a musical reflection of all that influenced and fed me for so many years. Call it a personal homage to the artists and music that have been so good to me.  All the melodies and sounds that mine the secret this old world has hidden in its claws.”

"Utter Disbelief" drops 2/22/2019.

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Robb Donker




Diana Wolfpack and the high fun place of "Somewhere"

Somewhere by Diana Wolfpack (out of Liverpool) is dense celebratory garage / indie rock with a fun vibe and a vocal performance that winks at you (sorta) and I love that. It is the perfect antidote for all the fucked up shit you see on a daily basis, the people in high and low places that shit on others. Somewhere feels to me to be that place that you run off too alone or with that special person. That key surf spot or skate spot or club to see bands or wherever you go to be with open hearted friends and strangers to get away, to just be alive, free and high from the shit of life. 

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Robb Donker


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hawksley Workman's latest "Lazy" harbors echos, the good kind

Hawksley Workman's latest Lazy is classic rocker. To say it sounds retro (which I mean as a total compliment) is to echo the broad melodic appeal, guitar-centric feel and killer (tenor) vocal chops. Workman's renaissance man ethos as singer songwriter, poet, broadcaster, performer, playwright and more focuses on his individual visions as opposed to jumping on musical trends. This makes for classic sounds which in today's pop or anti-pop culture feels different and kind of mind blowing. Lazy is the new single from Hawksley Workman’s upcoming record “Median Age Wasteland", due out March 1, 2019.
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Robb Donker





The perfectly tender "Saturdays" by Simen Mitlid

Saturdays by Simen Mitlid is as lush as the woods of Os, Norway that this Nordic indie-folk artist hails from. Built around acoustic guitar and Mitlid's sadly tender vocal performance, other sounds swell and bristle around the production in an organic ambient way. Mitlid knows that less is more. His self harmonies are in and of itself something to behold. Self produced and perfect, Saturdays is the first single from an upcoming new album. His second since the critical acclaimed 2017 debut album "Everything Is The Same".

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Robb Donker


"Dark Matter" by blendo rockers The Pleasant Tense is dense and rich and tastes so good

The single Dark Matter from the recently released album "I Haven't Been Feeling Like Myself As of Lately" by Nashville's (by way of Columbus, Ohio) The Pleasant Tense is stacked full of celebratory sounds blending rock, R&B, Neo Soul, post punk, funk, jazz and fusion into a heady mix. Dreamy piano flourishes dance in and out of dissonance, bass side stepping and filling in the spaces, drum shifts and soulful vocals. IF this wasn't enough to satiate you it all feels kind of filtered through an avant garde sense of experimental rock fusion and a broad cherry picking of influences from the 50's (maybe even 40's) to now. I thought of iconic artists from Roberta Flack to Curtis Mayfield to May Blitz to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings to Radiohead.
The Pleasant Tense centers around songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Skubak and singer -writer Marnee Richardson. The creative relationship runs deep growing out of Skubak's solo projects and dense self produced work (check out the bio here).  Look for "I Haven't Been Feeling Like Myself As of Lately" on Itunes, Bandcamp, Spotify and other digital platforms.

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Robb Donker


Catch A Dinosaur- chill psyche rock on "The Ride"

The Ride is a dreamy ride with chill mellow psyche rock tones, and a lush guitar break by Catch A Dinosaur. 


Detroit based Paint Thinner descent into rock heaven on "Distortion" from "The Sea Of Pulp"

Distortion by Detroit based Paint Thinner is one of those songs that cast imagery in your head. Descending big heavy chords feel both theatrical and foreboding. The jagged construction, the time traveling nature pulling musical tones from 70's psych rock and post punk muck, that good heavy muck that hangs on your shoulders after you exit that fog drenched club. Distortion resides on Paint Thinner's latest offering, the album "The Sea Of Pulp" available on vinyl and digitally. They are currently teasing our ears and minds with not only Distortion but with Soft Features another trippy affair with potent tactile bass lines, audaciously cool guitar breaks, Moon-esque drum fills and god awfully captivating vocal performance and that time traveling thing. Fuck yes.

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Robb Donker


Friday, January 18, 2019

O Mer's askew art pop of "Semi-Automatic" will get it's hooks in you






















Semi-Automatic by art pop auteur O Mer is instantly trippy and almost subversively captivating. The sounds from the percolating static mind warp tones (that feel right out of the German Expressionism of Metropolis- if the movie wasn't a silent one), to the almost hollow vocal presentation (O Mer's cooler than cool vox feel intimately deeply centered between and like 6 inches in from of your eyes but also kind of behind you too). The attention to these kind of askew details, the fluttering base, transient guitar lines and sparing use of auto-tuning as effect not need is subtlety brilliant. While the song can be taken as commentary on America's bipolar attitude, love / hate of guns, the song also feels very internal and self aware. A reflection in a broken mirror. O Mer based out of Brooklyn emerged from the Tel Aviv underground. An accomplished multi genre producer, singer, guitarist and producer, his "Refugee" EP released last year has been lauded by Pigeons & Planes, BBC, NYLON, and Ones To Watch.

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Robb Donker




Classic tone of Marlene Oak on the wistful "Come Home"

The song Come Home by Stockholm based singer songwriter Marlene Oak feels like it could exist in any decade since the 50's. Oaks earthy, sultry, passionate vocal style has emotional gravitas and character like a twisted blend of Patsy Cline, Ane Brun and Amy Winehouse. It veers toward the contralto tones with a rough grit in the back, burned throat sound like one two many bourbons on one of those nights. This character is what give Oak a classic folk / chamber pop sound. I swear I even hear the slightest tinge of Nashville drawl in her Swedish voice. 

Oak started busking on the streets early on in the Swedish capitals old town then graduating to pubs and then festival stages across the country. Influenced by her idols Bob DylanJeff BuckleyJoni MitchellNina Simone and Janis Joplin, Of Come Home she says: “‘Come Home’ is about a lifetime of seeking for that one soul that you’ve always been longing for. It can be frustrating and sometimes painful to wait for that person. But once you’ve found each other, it’ll feel like coming home. When you find that missing part, it will make everything feel complete.”

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Robb Donker


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Grand Am's elusively cool, eerily beautiful "Infinity"

Infinity by Grand Am feels lush and raw at the same time. The drum bed feels messy and slept in. The synths feel eerily beautiful and the vocal presentation with a natural back in the warehouse reverb has a touch of danger blended with the cool. Grand Am is the duo of Brooklyn composer, producer and engineer James Panepinto and David McMillin, the lead singer of Chicago based rock band Fort Frances. The two have too many creative accomplishments to list (see below).

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Robb Donker

From Grand Am's Facebook:

Brooklyn composer, producer and engineer James Panepinto has been the engine behind the soundtracks heard on MTV, Showtime, A&E and CBS and in films at Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes. But his work on big and small screens represents a small fraction of his creative energy. Panepinto has been even busier outside his career in the music industry, quietly building a massive catalog of riffs, melodies and beats. Panepinto started his career assisting Grammy-nominated engineer Emily Lazar and Grammy-winning engineer Joe LaPorta who have worked their magic on records from the likes of David Bowie, The Shins and Vampire Weekend. He wasn’t focusing on the fact that he was broke, living in New York and figuring out what to do with his life after abruptly leaving a cozy job in healthcare. Instead, he was taking notes and spending late nights in the studio to make music of his own. “When I first started out, I was working 60 hours every week as an unpaid studio intern,” Panepinto says. “That may sound brutal, but it was one of the best experiences of my life.” That year paved the way to the past decade — a period during which Panepinto created hundreds of instrumental songs for alternative post-pop project Grand Am. In 2016, he finally decided to open the trunk of ideas, and he found a vocal passenger in David McMillin, lead singer of Chicago-based rock band Fort Frances. “James sent me five demos that absolutely floored me,” McMillin, a singer-songwriter who has been featured on shows on The CW, Netflix and NBC and earned lyrical honors from American Songwriter, said. “Then, he sent me around 50 more.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Wise Words by Tay and the JangLahDahs is a trip of many colors

Wise Words by Tay and the JangLahDahs feels like a contradiction in styles, a spinning kaleidoscope of different decades of music all at once. If you close your eyes while listening you might get tipsy. The imagery might involve both gypsies and psychedelic hippies partying on a wide variety of intoxicants in a 1920's speak easy. There are so many styles in the multi colored spiked punch bowl. A fanciful time machine, a vision dressed up in sequin dresses, 70's bell bottoms and steam punk glasses. Folkish, jazzy, soulful, proto punkish, experimental stuff to behold from the bands "Bloomin" EP.

Tay and the JangLahDahs hail from the Bay Area (of course) and Tay Gersbach (Vocals, Drums, Banjolele), Greg Fogg (Guitar, Violin, Vocals), Eric Wilson (Keys, Guitar, Vocals), Mike Tiura (Bass, Mandolin) Matt Beard (Drums, Guitar, Alt. Percussion) and Andrew Byars (Vocals, Horn)- with Dani Robison (of Sapphire Lung) on Bass on the album and Wise Words Music Video which just premiered on the Broke Ass Stuart website : https://brokeassstuart.com/ny/2019/01/12/tay-and-the-janglahdahs-debut-stunning-new-video/

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Robb Donker



Monday, January 14, 2019

"Two Hands" from Midnight In England - a lavish alt rock puzzle

The track Two Hands from Midnight In England's latest 2 track release "Real Cinema" is a lavish alt rock puzzle of a song. Double time bass lines, dynamic drums and stirring pearly guitar lines fitting so perfectly together. The vocal performance sounds lovely too within all the sonic heaviness and  tenderness. Within that vocal performance I feel a slight, very slight hint, lilt of Morrissey that is very cool. There is a tightly wound progressive way in which Midnight In England craft their sound while still feeling loose and passionate and I like that. 


-
Robb Donker 


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Gregory Ackerman reflects deeply on the alt folk serenade "All This Thinking"

Gregory Ackerman's latest public offering is a demo recorded in his garage called All This Thinking. The L.A. based singer songwriter has an easy style but his alt folk aesthetic feels like his view is through a skewed prism giving the songs a bit of a sad maybe even slightly dark edge. I can feel questions, big ones about life inherent in between the lines. Those kind of questions that if you think about too long you might end up in the fetal position on the floor, that is... if you feel too much. Ackerman feels life and writes songs about those feelings

Last year his debut full-length "And Friends", via V2/Munich, album produced by Rilo Kiley bassist, Pierre de Reeder was released. "And Friends" showcases Ackerman’s warmth, opening with his own immersive double- tracked vocals, guitar and piano playing, along with the sincere contributions of Ackerman’s actual friends.

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Robb Donker


categories

Heavy Hands' "Spark" feels like a heavy lullaby

























Boston Mass - Heavy Hands' latest offering Spark is a spartan alt rock song that holds it's emotion in the organic tones, sonic guitars, sad drumming, plaintiff vocals but also in the empty spaces. The song slow burns to a dramatic conclusion. In the end it feels like a heavy lullaby that cries itself to sleep.

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Robb Donker


Sarsaparilla - dreamy bedroom pop delivers in a big lovely way on "Postcard"

Post Card by Sarsaparilla is just so damn lovely. Their is a lot of Bedroom pop out there and because the genre conjures up a computer leaning on the edge of a bed and a creative person creating their own dreamy masterpiece in Garage Band maybe with an electric guitar plugged directly into some little interface box or someone creating entirely in the box (computer), you get a wide array of music, of fidelity and of dreams in embryo and / or fully realized. I don't know if Post Card was, indeed, created in a bedroom or in a grand studio but it is so exquisitely crafted and full of surprises. It has the sad reverb washed ennui we expect out of these kinds of songs but other emotional textures as well. I could feel my mouth start to smile a teeny bit 20 seconds in but when the guitar break / riff came in my smile exploded and what followed pretty much captured me like a great song should. This song will clearly be on my top songs of 2019 list, clearly. 

Sarsaparilla aka Shannon Betty is a bedroom producer and songwriter. I
n 2018 she teamed up with singer/songwriter Rubaiyat Howlader (Slowships) and producer Pete Holz (Gang of Youths, Peking Duk) to bring their songs out of the bedroom and into the world. Together the trio are working on an EP which is due out in early this year 2019.


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Robb Donker



Irish post punk alternative outfit City Victim and the lush rock sound of "Out Of Sight"

City Victim is an Irish post punk / alternative rock outfit based out of Galway and (while they are a bit of a mystery to me) their latest offering Out Of Sight is a lush bass heavy indie rocker with a dreamy aesthetic and a kind of 80's new wave patina with 90's big post rock bones. The band call out The Cure, Sun Kil Moon, Thom Yorke and The Smiths as influences. More to come...

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Robb Donker


Saturday, January 12, 2019

The big power pop / post punk excess of "Five On It" by Spielbergs

Five On It by Oslo three piece post punk indie rockers Spielbergs is a big chunk of guitar rock packed full of youthful energy that feels like the power pop excess of bands like Japandroids, The Pixies and Weezer all smashed together. The track is from their upcoming debut full length "This Is Not The End" due to drop the first of February. 

Spielbergs are: Mads Baklien (guitar,vox, synth), Stian Brennskag (bass) and Christian Løvhaug (drums).


-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

2019 is a special time for Spielbergs as they will bring their incendiary live show to the UK on a headline tour for the first time. With numerous sold-out shows already under their belts across Norway, as well as London, this run of dates is the first that sees the band take their show outside of the capital and around the country.

The dates in full are as follows:


11.02.19 – Manchester – Jimmy’s
12.02.19 – Glasgow – The Garage
13.02.19 – Newcastle – Think Tank? Underground
14.02.19 – Birmingham – Sunflower Lounge
15.02.19 – London – Shacklewell Arms


Friday, January 11, 2019

Imp Of Perverse - "Tripping Thru A Hallway On Fire" contains twisted musical riddles

Tripping Thru A Hallway On Fire, the single from Austin (Texas) based Imp of Perverse's "Imp In Reverse" limited edition cassette via Under the Counter Tapes is a Chinese fortune cookie of proggy post punkness containing twisted musical riddles and questions as curious as the song title itself. I mean is the hallway on fire or the person tripping through on fire??

The song dances on nimble guitar lines, cagey and crisp drumming / bass lines and hushed singing by it's creator, Sean Lochridge who currently drums for Austin's favorite psych pop progressive art rock band Sherry. Lochridge is a singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist bedroom pop (experimental art rock) producer. He has just released the self recorded "Imp in Reverse" which is a massive 22 song compilation "record" on cassette tape. The collection of songs is broken up into sections and in my current state I would literally drown in the details so consider what you see below as the liner notes of this track review. Bravissimo Sean. 


IMP IN REVERSE:

Act I: "Not Getting What You Want, One Step at a Time" 
Consisting of 4 'scenes', this act is an excellent entry point to the Imp's brand of genius. Dense, yet light. Polished, but organic. This is an excellent blend of dreamy and catchy, and is likely the most accessible of the 4 acts. 

Act II: "There's Everything" 
This 5 scene act is the experimental one, particularly with regards to "Exspectra" and "Pixelated Mindfuck in the Infinite Reality Corner". Off-kilter melodies and instrumental breaks are prominent. The rabbit hole is here.

Intermission: "Chrysalis" A brand new song exclusive to this release. You're welcome. 

Act III: "togethercoloured instant" 
This is a brief but absolutely gorgeous 3 scene psychedelic folk love letter dedicated to Sean's girlfriend and muse, Lily. 

Act IV: "Who Knows" 
This is where it all began, this is where it ends. The 9 scene debut act of Imp of Perverse closes out this story. This is the most raw, heavy act. Distorted guitars, loud drums, dynamic performances, bursting with youth, vigor, ambition, and life, this is the explosive genesis of the Imp's solo endeavor. 

Whether you digest it in parts, or gorge yourself on the whole thing in one sitting, "Imp In Reverse" is an undeniable document of virtuosity and versatility. Absolutely no fan of psychedelic music should miss out on this huge collection. 

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Robb Donker


Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Another Version" by Chirpy feels like psychedelic dark chamber pop

The track Another Version by Chirpy (the musical moniker of Rebecca Shannon) is a multi layered musical cake. There are a lot of varied vibes going on here. The interweaving melodies and depths of sound from organic to synthetic, from 60's chamber pop to spooky horror chic pushes the song into a dark dreamy soundscape. Shannon, a singer songwriter, producer from Dublin, Ireland. She reveals:  "Another Version was written after working as a performer for a number of years. It's a song about not being true to yourself in the most basic of ways and having to look in the mirror knowing that you are fast forwarding through life as a manufactured version of yourself, created by others. When you're used as a puppet to carry out other peoples dreams - you can only blame yourself in the end" 

The video was recorded and produced by David Ferguson of Suddenly Dance Theatre Company in Canada. https://www.suddenlydance.ca

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Robb Donker




RH Pioneers' folk grandeur of "Underground" from the "In The Alps" EP

Underground by Pittsburgh natives RH Pioneers feels like a big celebratory fanciful piece of indie rock with Americana and alt folk tones blended throughout. Songwriter Ryan Hoffman, singer Amy Linette and guitarist Brad Collins pulled in audiences performing at open mic nights in early 2017. By year's end the three became four adding drummer Mike Smales and recording their debut EP "In The Alps" (you can hear a free stream at their website https://ryanhoffmanandthepioneers.com/)

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Robb Donker


Strange Neighbors own unique rock voice on "Billie" and "One Hand"

Strange Neighbors cut a single unique musical path. Stewed and brewed out of the NYC DIY scene their sound feels a bit like late 70's proto punk filtered through current sock hop punk and then through a kind of art pop / rock tone and there is a theatricality to their sound. The thick dense rock vibrancy that wraps around Aidan's passionate vocal performance is tightly wound. Choppy guitar, tight bass and loose punchy drumming. The songs tell stories as opposed to just piecing words together that sound good together. Back to Aidan's singing style. It is a very self aware, tight fist against the heart style. She sings as if her feelings are pent up and she needs to get them out in a big formidable way. Their aesthetic, dynamic and emotional with post punk proggy flourishes is full of surprises. When the tempo shifts dramatically on the track Billie and the jammy song turns into a kind of 60's pop tragedy / tear jerker it is jaw dropping. On the track One Hand the emotional tones cut deep. The band shares that the song is about "healing and relearning how to have fun and feel sexual while grappling with the aftermath of being an assault survivor" and the tender and then big almost 60's / 70's Americana rock swells work so effectively, beautifully and emotionally. Strange Neighbors have their own voice and I love that.

Tracks from their second EP - "Outside / In" -


-
Robb Donker




Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tiny Tree's atmospheric heavier than Heaven sound on "Lion and The Meteor"





















Lion and The Meteor by Michigan heavy rock duo Tiny Tree moves like a steady army of sound. Nicknamed Riffs and Thunder, Addison Eilers (Guitar, Bass and vocals) and Paul Jensen (Acoustic and Electronic Drums, Samples) dispense heavy rock walls of sound filtered with elements of noise rock, post punk and goth rock. Despite the big waves of bass, sonic swell of guitars and powerful dense drumming the boys leave room for beautiful, even elegant vocal melodies. Heavy on atmosphere, heavy on heaviness, a beautiful powerful storm of sounds.

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Robb Donker

Saturday, January 5, 2019

"Iso Ja Tuntematon" by Finnish Dream Pop Duo Dino Mansik is a celebratory mix of styles

Iso Ja Tuntematon translated as
"Big and Unknown by Finnish Pop duo Dino Mansik has a big indie rock sound with proto punk bones. When the track becomes very spartan and empty during the first verse with Mikko M. Koskinen and Johanna Koskimo's singing in unison the sound is dream pop meets a kind of 80's new wave or proto punk meets (dare I say) a hint of J-pop but when the track erupts for most of the song it is a heady dancy mix of big anthem rock meets electronica. I love the big sound and am excited to hear more. 

Of the track the artists share:

Mikko: 
”Writing this song was very easy which is always the case. With this one, the process was relaxed and carefree. Song was born after a depressing era in my life. The song is uplifting in a situation where even though you aren't sure what's at the end of the tunnel, you're going to face it ready and hopeful." 

Johanna:
”I'll remember when we where at the rehearsals and Mikko was playing guitar and this riff. I was immediately stopping the press when I noticed that this is it. Now we got this lovely, hopeful, good vibe song." 

-
Robb Donker


"Over and Over" by Joseph of Mercury is a lush romantic come on

Over and Over by Joseph of Mercury feels like a lush romantic come on. Stirring in cool vocals into a blend of R & B painted with a patina of jazz and a kind of avant garde 60's chamber pop feel it is blue sharkskin suit slick and just purely beautiful. The man behind this vision is Joseph W. Salusbury (hailing from Canada) and while I don't know much about this artist, rumors have it that he maybe releasing songs on the 13th of every month. Hmmmmmm?

From the artist:

OVER & OVER is a song about that endless loop of - love, pain, clarity, & understanding. It’s about just trying to make it through all those waves, those beautiful & those destructive, & to get back to that shore, to that acceptance & certainty, knowing that despite it all, we can truly offer ourselves to another person. To say “I’m here, I’ll always be here, even when it feels like I shouldn’t be, It’s me & you, Over & Over”

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Robb Donker

Pedestrian Lifestyle from Thunder Bay, Ontario veer into proggy dreamy spaces on "If I Surrender"

Canadian three piece rock outfit Pedestrian Lifestyle spin tightly would sounds on the track If I Surrender. Inherent in their sound is the open spaces containing trancy guitar sounds and the reverberations. sustain of bass notes and vocals. The bass drum synergy cuts a deep groove as the song veers into some very cool soundscapes. Love the aesthetic here, the dreaminess and proggy nature of the sound. 

Pedestrian Lifestyle are Josh Talkoski, Leif Peltonen and Dylan Maxwell. 

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Robb Donker

"California Kids" by The Perx is an infectious electronic alt rocker

California Kids, a electronic alt rocker by The Perx feels like the flip side to Tupac /Dr.Dre's California Love. Both songs feel like an ode to the "California as Gold" mystique. The Perx from Los Angeles are Ryan and Jeremy who produce their own songs and while Tupac's iconic ode felt like one to the entire state and California dream, California Kids has a decidedly L.A / Hollywood vibe, the song supercharged with thick guitar sounds but in a dancy way with over-modulated vocals singing, "oohooo I love California gonna get my name on the sidewalk (x2) if I die before I awake I pray these songs I sing make me famous" feels like an ode to over excess and the intoxicating desire of fame too. I can't tell if the song itself is steeped in irony and is an anti fame message but it doesn't matter as this track is as infectious as the dark Hollywood strip itself. It does, though, end way too soon.

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Robb Donker


"Too Real" by Carina T - pure sentimental pop aesthetic is beautiful

On her track Too Real, London based folk singer songwriter Carina T sings ".... but when I'm with you I can read your mind" and later "when I'm with you I think of nothing and I can say what I wanted you to hear because it doesn't seem too real."  This feeling of being so lost in love (unrequited or not) that your world becomes a dreamland is easy to relate to. 

Carina, of Portuguese descent, has a slight accent that adds to her aesthetic. The song with its acoustic guitar, lilting piano and emotional strings is unabashedly dramatic, romantic and earnest. This pure approach feels almost like the kind of over reaching sentimental pop of the 60's and this retro approach is what I find so appealing. It is (in the end) a pure tear jerker. 

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Robb Donker


Tiny Nuclear Reactor by Vern Matz is chill / elegant with eyes looking upward

Tiny Nuclear Reactor by Vern Matz goes down easy. It is a chill yet elegant sort of indie (folkish) song with embracing melodies and eyes looking upward. It is a little college radio type track which is, in my mind, a huge compliment. 

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Robb Donker


ABOUT THE BAND:

Formed by a group of Yale students, Vern Matz toes the line between indie rock, folk, and alternative music. The band is led by frontman Daniel Belgrad, a Korean American who mistrusts penguins due to their tendency to perform acts of violence. Pianist Michael Lituchy is an investment banker who secretly writes songs in the twilight while raising cattle in remote Connecticut. Together, their sound showcases an earnest approach to songwriting and mature musicianship, echoing the work of seminal artists such as Wilco, Mazzy Star, and Death Cab for Cutie.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Song Premiere: "Good To Me" by East L.A.'s The Pocket Rockets - Broken lust / love 50's tinged punk song shines























The new track Good To Me by East L.A.'s The Pocket Rockets sways like a slow dance torch song filtered through a kind of cagey doo wop punk feel enhanced by heavier rock leanings. Ralph Blanco's vox shine enhancing the tortured broken romance tones with clinched fist passion. The production shines here too with his vox sitting comfortably (while EQ'd hot) in a deep, deep well of heavy bass (Blanco) / tight drums (Chris Magallon) and Lyndon Miller's driving sustained guitar work. I love the lush heavy sound here that just wraps around your brain.

This labor of broken love was mixed by Blanco and mastered by Brian Lucy (The Kills, The Arcs, The Shins) and it will inhabit one of 2 EPs in the works for this year. 

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Robb Donker

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Astralingua twists world folk / chamber pop with psyche dreams on "A Poison Tree" from the upcoming "Safe Passage" Album

The song A Poison Tree by alternative folk outfit Astralingua blends Old World, classic folk tones and a subtle tinge of dreamy psychedelia. The result has an earnest vintage feel that also veers into the kind of chamber pop / folk tones that would find itself on radio, television and film in the 70's. This retro aesthetic works on many levels feeling engaging and a bit like time travel like gazing through a vintage stereo camera.  Astralingua are composer / multi-instrumentalist Joseph Andrew and vocalist Anne Thompson crafting their songs in an organic way, always played instead of programmed. A Poison Tree is one of 11 tracks on the "Safe Passage" album which is scheduled for a March 8th release (currently available for pre-order).

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Robb Donker




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Dakota Blue's strange and beautiful "Glass Act" feels like an experimental entrée

The track Glass Act from Los Angeles musical artisan Dakota Blue with it's almost 1940's expressionism meets experimental new wave chamber music aesthetic is so oddly strange and beautiful that it feels like a soundtrack to a movie marriage of David Lynch and Jean Pierre Jeunet. Blue, a visual artist, illustrator, zine-maker and multi-instrumentalist certainly seems to blend his creative disciplines and I, for one, would love to see the movies that his soundtracks seem to be written for. Glass Act sits dreamily as a B side to a single released 2 days before his 8 track "Plaza To Plaza" (Instrumentals) album which feels even more avant garde. In a sea of sameness Dakota Blue is a welcome pool of dreaminess. 

- Robb Donker