Thursday, January 31, 2019

Frith pulls some orchestral pop strings on "Pinocchio"

The track Pinocchio by Frith is instantly whimsical and kind of surreal. The almost hyper cadence with imagery that flutters by in waves of orchestrated blends of world music tones, 70's chamber pop, and a splash of something like 40's cotton club jazz tones with an amazing trumpet outro played by Stewart Cole (Edward Sharpe, Foster the People, The White Stripes) feels like a twisted blend of Tame Impala and George Gershwin. So very Cool. 

Travis Frith Warner is a Los Angeles songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and orchestrator. He started classical piano at age 8 turning to jazz and classical guitar in his teens. He is self taught in a variety of instruments including bass, drums, trumpet and Transylvanian guillotine harp. In 2008 he began working for composer David Campbell (Adele, Beck, Michael Jackson) shortly after Warner began incorporating orchestral, classical music into his own indie pop sound. 

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Robb Donker

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Uk's The King Heat Ensemble's earnest folk earthy sound feels iconic - "Landslide" from their killer debut EP "Songs"

Landslide by The King Heat Ensemble (UK) and from their debut Ep simply named "songs" is steeped in a rich earthy folk stew with honky-tonk undertones and 60's / early 70's folk rock filters. The vocal performance is lovely and the earnest folk hearted rock motif filtered ever so slightly through a kind of psychedelic aesthetic feels reminiscent of iconic bands like The Kinks, Small Faces and The Beatles. By the way, the EP is simply a killer debut. 

-
Robb Donker




Valentin Marx's - "Made Up" feels like a punchy passionate remembrance

Made Up by Valentin Marx out of Brooklyn, New York is a punchy indie rock remembrance. The runaway beat, active bass line and strident guitar lines move, really move in an almost desperate way while the vocal performance strain, (almost out of breath) feels passionate and forlorn. Before you know it, the song is over and you want to know more about the story and the resolve. 

Valentin Marx is Andrew Kissel (guitar, vox), Travis Pinkston (bass, vox) and
 Brian Yuracheck (drums, percussion). 

-
Robb Donker


A Scene from JAWS - and the beautifully complex emotional groove of "June Rain"




















June Rain by Berlin post punk band A Scene from JAWS is a tear stained tightly wound 7/8 time mind and heart bender that feels more like a sonic anthology than a song. Guitar driven and beautifully complex the song has it's own landscape that moves in passionate ways to tell it's story. Frontman and songwriter Declan  Hyland shares that the song is about the loss of a childhood friend,  

“I had a dream that she was living near me, and I cycled down to see her one last time. I woke up and the lyrics were clear in my mind.” 

June Rain has a decidedly cinematic feel which is not surprising. Hyland formed the group in Ireland in 2016 while in film school enlisting the help of his partner, Kay Finan who stirs the pot further with improvisational synth sounds. The band's upcoming album "The Bottommost Rung" was recorded with producer Ciaran O'Shea at Whitewell Studios in Cork and in the iconic Funkhaus in Berlin.

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Robb Donker


Monday, January 28, 2019

"I Will Entertain You" the lush psych rock bath of light by The Delicate Delegate

I Will Entertain You by The Delicate Delegate, the musical project of Matt Earley has such formidable classic proto punk meets rock meets punk bones and wraps around you in this hazy, cool, psychedelic way like sonic elements of the Troggs / Pixies / Suck / White Fence kind of smooshed together. Loving the sound and aesthetic here. Matt Earley's musical journey is really an interesting one. I am not great at conveying the many twists and turns that bring an artist to where they are now and will leave that to the wonderful press notes below. Rock on Matt.

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


Starting out performing in bars in and around Lexington, KY at age 15, Matt spent the next ten years playing in bands like 330 High, Leather Jesus, Loophole, and Star Strangled Bastards that occasionally toured the south and midwest and put out music locally and regionally. His early years are best summed up by Brandon Lewis (The Lexington Guitar Tribute) describing Matt's band Loophole as "one of Lexington's most influential bands that no one has heard of". After a decade of mostly limited success, Matt became a father, got married, moved to Madison, WI to go to grad school, started a coffee business, and put his guitar on mothballs.
Around 2015 Matt was stunned to realize that he only had so much time left, on this planet, to make music. He began writing, recording, and playing at a furious pace as The Delicate Delegate. In 2016 he put out a split cassette on Wiener Records with Minneapolis garage act Jettkick. He followed up in 2018 with the limited four-song 7" vinyl EP "How Do You Like Your Eggs?".
In 2018 Matt started Madison indie rock/power pop band Bent Antenna with fellow singer/songwriter/guitarist CA Grooms, bassist Lisa Marine (Noah John, Tiny Band), and drummer Dan Hobson (Killdozer, Tiny Band). The band has supported acts such as Lou Barlow and The Flavor Crystals thus far in their short existence.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

NEW Burger Records Vinyl & Cassette Releases - The Exbats - - The Dandy Warhols,





The Exbats ‘E Is For Exbats’ Vinyl Release Announced

Bisbee, Arizona based bubblegum garage rockers The Exbats newest album E Is For Exbats was released on vinyl via Burger Records on January 25, 2019. Recorded at the Midtown Island Studio in Tuscon, Arizona, E Is For Exbats is the first vinyl release for The Exbats.

The Exbats are father/daughter duo Inez (vocals/drums) and Kenny (guitar/vocals) McClain. E Is For Exbats is the duos third release with Burger Records, and will be available to purchase on vinyl record at Burger Records in-store, online, and at Burger Records dealers globally. The first single from the album, the track “Hercules,” premiered on January 1, 2019 exclusively on BRGR TV.

E Is For Exbats is the duos third Burger Records release, preceded by A Guide To Health Issues Affecting Rescue Hens and I Got The Hots For Charlie Watts, both on audio cassette.

Purchase E Is For Exbats on vinyl.


The Exbats Online:
Bandcamp  |  Facebook  |  Instagram


Burger Records Announces Cassette Co-Release With Dine Alone and Beat The World Records Of The Dandy Warhols New Album ‘Why You So Crazy’

Burger Records has announced that it will be co-releasing The Dandy Warhols newest album Why You So Crazy on cassette with Dine Alone Records and Beat The World Records. Why You So Crazy is The Dandy Warhols first new album in nearly three years and will be available to purchase on January 1, 2019.

The Dandy Warhols first came to prominence in the early 90s with the hit single “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” and achieved cult status via the documentary Dig!, about the rise of The Dandy Warhols in parallel to the group The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

The Dandy Warhols lineup has remained the same for nearly 20 years and includes singer/guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Peter Holmström on bass, Zia McCabe on percussion and keys, and drummer Brent DeBoer. The group will be touring extensively in 2019 to support the release of the new album. Why You So Crazy is available to purchase on audio cassette at Burger Records in-store, online, and at Burger Records dealers globally.



The Dandy Warhols Online:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Youtube

Young Hunting's slow drip of pop psychedelia and 70's garden rock tones on "Crimes"

Young Hunting's airy track Crimes from the upcoming "True Believers" album is a waltz bathed in a slow drip of psychedelia and 70's garden rock tones. The lyrics twist and turn and feel darker then the swaying music but that only makes the track more interesting. Beautiful and haunting, the even romantic imagery cast by the song feels slightly askew like looking through rose color glasses with cracked lens. 

Los Angeles' Young Hunting create cool dream pop filtered through gothic folk filters centering around primary songwriters Hari Rex and Ilya Mxx. The pair met in 2007 with a shared appreciation for classic 60's / 70's pop, Nick Cave, Jason Molina and Can.  

-
Robb Donker





Kind Regime- big re-birth sound on "Titen" from the "Peak Hour" EP




















From Kind Regime's "Peak Hour" EP - the track Titen is cool slick rocker with big walls of garage rock tones blended into the big production. Based out of Perth, Australia Kind Regime is a re-birth of sorts, all music written and recorded in a home studio after a 10 year hiatus.

-
Robb Donker


Dorvin Borman's - "In A Field So Far Away" stirs a fever dream into his bedroom pop

In a Field So Far Away - the dream pop is pushed with a punk attitude, the foggy haze is still there but the synths are harsh and potent. This lets the track vaselate between a kind of romantic swing and an intense punk / horror pop groove. I love the hard intensity here blended into the reverb soaked wash.

Dorvin Borman is a twenty-something multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer based in Los Angeles.

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Robb Donker

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Ace Of Wands' gothic folk rocker "Lioness" cloaked in Americana mysticism

Lioness by Toronto's Ace of Wands is a big jagged gothic folk rocker. It feels cloaked in a kind of psychedelic deep woods Americana mysticism. At the center of this 3 piece outfit is singer-songwriter Lee Rose accompanied by Anna Mernieks and Jody Brumell. The big downbeats, jangly rock guitars and strident vox imbued with an almost desperate passion effects in an almost rock gospel sort of way.  Lioness is the title track off of the bands debut Album.

The official video directed by Samuel Scott from a concept conceived by Lee Rose and Scott feels like a story cast in shadows with religious dark undertones shot in a 70's gothic horror style. 

-
Robb Donker





"Avert A Gaze" by Chicago's Mentalease is a dreamy drunken dance

Avert A Gaze by Mentalease starts with an uneasy cadence and kind of weird aesthetic. It feels like that awkward dance in six grade when you were forced to dance with a partner. This unease is brilliant because when the song falls into celebratory (kind of inebriated) 60's chamber pop tones the song soars as if the dance became engaging, free and you are able to twirl (with that partner). It still sounds a bit off kilter too but in a dazzling way. A lovely bit of post punk dreaminess with an avant garde almost shoegaze filter. 

Cool stuff.  

Mentalease is a 3 piece ambient, chillwave, bedroom popish outfit out of Chicago comprised of Spencer Harris (MPC and vox), Wesley Hunt (Keys), and Daniel Martinson (drums). Avert A Gaze is from the "Push A Button" EP (that you must hear).

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Robb Donker

Call Me Karizma and the razor sharp hooks of "Monster"

Monster by Call Me Karizma has delicious rough edges within the slippery smooth production. A blend of hip hop and punk tinged pop rock it's hooks are cool and smart. Minneapolis based artist - singer songwriter Riz created most of the 3 part "The Gloomy Tapes" in his basement studio further collaborating with Robbie Soukiasyan (XXXTentacion) and David Pramik (X Ambassadors, LANY). Rooted in both hip-hop and punk.  The Gloomy Tapes is thematically and artistically multi-layered. As I listened to Monster I thought of Twenty One Pilots and had some flashes of Eminem as well. 

Monster is the single from the forthcoming EP- "The Gloomy Tapes Vol. 2". The debut single Serotonin broke the Top 20 on Spotify's New Music Friday playlist, Apple Music's Best of the Week, Top 5 on Spotify Playlist's The Scene and New Noise, and was #1 Breaking Pop on Apple Music.


The Official video for Monster (below) is shot in a more professional manner than most of the lesser known movies on NetFlix. 


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Robb Donker




Friday, January 25, 2019

Surfliner might just take you away on "I Don't Mind" from the "Kiska" album

































I Don't Mind by Surfliner flows and then hustles effortlessly. Tight but oh so loose it rides on shifting drums, soulful jazz filtered tones, spacious guitar, dreamy piano, groovy bass lines and chill, cool vocals. Surfliner is the recording project of multi-instrumentalist Tyler Wyatt and rhythm guitarist Sam Worley and did I mention that they are in high school? Hailing from the beach town of Duxbury, Massachusetts they write, record, produce right out of Sam's family barn. The same barn where the DIY-ers foster their music and local scene by hosting barn shows and inviting up and coming student artist to open up for them. It sounds so idyllic. So perfect. 

I Don't Mind is from their 10 track full length "Kiska"-

-
Robb Donker


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Art Addiction, Burroughs, Bowie, Dadaism, Decoupage, Improvisation to Velvet Buzzsaw (Trailer)



















As a songwriter (and weirdo) I am always looking for writing exercises that challenge me. I have been known to populate my Instagram with free-form song improvisations that I either develop further or just keep "as is" to release to the world. Artists and songwriters have forever used techniques to stimulate their artistic visions or try to tap into some level of the creative brain like diving into unknown waters of streams of consciousness. 

Notable iconic rock musicians and composers like David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke have composed using classic avant garde cut and paste techniques in turn inspired by each other and predominantly by the famous and infamous American writer, visual artist and heroin addict William S. Burroughs. A prolific "creative" whose journey found him hanging with the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac all as influencers of the so called Beat Generation during the 1960's counter culture. Burrough's writings was a semi-autobiographical stew filtered through mysticism, the occult and his heroin addiction itself. Within this stew existed his cut and paste technique inspired by French decoupage art. Developed with artist Brion Gysin their "montage technique" involved words and phrases cut from magazines or newspapers like hostage takers notes but re-arranging the fragments in a free form random way. They applied this technique to audio recordings and film as well. David Bowie adopted this technique and it fit in perfectly with his Dadaistic approach to art and music but he twisted it his own way. Rather than borrow texts from magazines he would cut and paste his own writings, poetry and stories. 

Kurt Cobain who oddly enough met and collaborated with Burroughs said:  

“My lyrics are total cut-up. I take lines from different poems that I’ve written. I build on a theme if I can, but sometimes I can’t even come up with an idea of what the song is about.” 

Thom Yorke and Radiohead are one of my favorite musical artists and while Yorke fuses his own poetry and stream of consciousness styles (for the most part) he has supposedly used the cut and paste technique by drawing cut up phrases from a hat for much of the astounding Kid A album. The Pixies iconic songs that bridge tones of whimsy, vulgarity, esoteric dreams, and urban tales all dripping with a cool vibe stem from the fertile mind of  Black Francis. He calls some of his most famous songs weird ditties. Many songwriters emphasize words as sounds (as I do) and the importance of words sounding right together ringing true sonically as opposed to making sense of any sort may be (at least in my mind) truly artistic. 

All these techniques that are not hinged in reality or specific ideas but rather take an avant garde approach benefits from the fact that human are, in fact, apophenic beings. Apophenia is the tendency to (mistakenly) perceive connections and meanings between unrelated things. As humans we want to find meaning. If you were to take 40 decks of playing cards and cast them out (spread out on a huge gallery floor) there are many of us who, if we looked long enough, would find patterns in the shapes or in the numbers. In this same way we always seek to find patterns and meaning in whatever is put in front of us whether it is batches of colors or sounds or words. 

Poetically speaking artists sometimes pair and skewer reality with opposites or opposite ideas. When I heard about the upcoming Netflix movie - Velvet Buzzsaw, the opposing sensations of lushness and violence, softness and abrasiveness catch your ear immediately. It is the whole Led Zeppellin motif but somehow horrific. It means nothing but we want to make sense of it. 

I am also a huge Jake Gyllenhaal fan and an admirer of screenwriter and director Dan Gilroy. On first glance the movie trailer seems to literally skewer the excesses and pretentiousness of the art world. It also looks very art rockish and punk in tone. The trailer offered me a chance to dip into improvisation once again in a totally new way. The rules in my mind were simple. I would watch the trailer several times. I would allow myself up to 5 minutes to decide on tuning and find phrasings but could not write down any lyrical content at all. I decided on Drop D. I Turned on the Video camera, then the Movie Trailer and started playing and singing. 

In the end the execution is not as important to me as the doing and the realization that some of the melodies, chord progressions and tones might be cut and pasted up later and be re-realized. 

Cheers
Robb Donker 




"Slow Beast" from Monte Carload's concept album about a drunken werewolf

Singer songwriter Tyler White hails from Grand Prairie, Texas and while he probably has written personal stories about unrequited love and late night heartbreaks like most songwriters he seems to often times veer his stories through other characters eyes. He has written and recorded music with the band Man Factory since 2004 who are best know for their "Street Fight!" albums / rock operas based on characters from Street Fighter 2. 

In 2014 White relocated to Chicago releasing music under the name Monte Carload and last year released a self titled concept album following the journey of a drunken werewolf from "curse to rehabilitation." Awwwww, Tyler.

The song Slow Beast feels like all the aspects of 90's college radio. Clean rock guitars, propelled by tight bass and drums frame bouncy melodies and forlorn harmonies. When you hear the pearly guitar hook followed by a second guitar harmony you start to turn like the werewolf at full moon into a fan. The sonic love affair ends to soon.

-
Robb Donker



Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Sinner" - a reflective, sparkly, orchestra of emotions by Merival

Sinner by Merival, the musical moniker of singer-songwriter / composer Anna Horvath is a big lush bath of orchestral folk. Beginning with classical bones centered around Horvath's passionate vocal performance the track falls away to indie rock motifs filtered through what feels like 90's chamber pop tones with deep string beds, tight bass and drums and dynamic dramatic shifts. Of the song, Horvath offers: 

"Sinner is about being caught between two places, one known and comfortable, and the other intoxicatingly new and impossible to avoid. the feeling of tension that was present in every moment at the time of writing made me feel like I'd be altering the course of my life for the worse if I didn't explore it. societal constraints and prior commitments kept me from diving in, so I curled my brain around a self-destructive desperation instead. obsessive love is a funny thing; it distorts the lens of your reality and puts everything in such a heightened state that anything could be the beginning or end of your heart, and if you take it seriously then you do indeed alter your course!"

Merival hails from Ontario, Canada. An upcoming album is in the works.

-
Robb Donker



Hope and Heartbreak collide on Shark Gorilla's dreamy bedroom pop "Parking Lot"

Parking Lot by Shark Gorilla, the solo project of 24 year old Angela Hernandez based out of Portland, Oregon is an all too brief glimpse of hope and heatbreak colliding. Hernandez shares, "It's about losing connection with someone important and realizing that this person may be out of your life forever. It tells the story of the last moments with a loved one and waiting patiently, eagerly even, for the next moment to arrive. Whatever that could be, even a simple conversation. As time goes on, the realization that this person is gone for good sets in. And for no clear reason."

Despite the sadness in the song it sparkles. Propelled by Hernandez's double time strumming on electric guitar that seems to run ahead of her plaintiff vocals she shows a knack for catchy melodies. Bedroom poppy with shoegaze-ish tones and when you think it is building (musically and emotionally) it fades off way too soon... making you want more. 

-
Robb Donker



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).

-
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.

-
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. 

-
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".

-
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).

-
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