Monday, April 22, 2019

Jamsällskapet smooth and rough psyche rock meets lounge rock on "Glasbarn"


























The Track Glasbarn by Sweden's Jamsällskapet (which translates to "the jam assembly") is a smooth and rough kind of psyche rock meets lounge rock pushed through proggy light jazz filters... yes, seriously. It is a cool surprising mix with emotive vocal performances that shine and captivate whether you speak the language or not. Every time I hit replay I hear another nuance I had not heard before. Jamsällskapet is influenced by bands like Tame impala, Dungen and Amason.

Jamsällskapet is:

Emil Karl Björck (Guitar, Synth, Vocals, Kazoo etc.)
Mehrdad Shirnazar (Bass)
Fredric Ericson (Drums)
Emma Järnvall (Vocals)
Niklas Mattsson (Guitar)

-
Robb Donker


"I Am The Sky" by Collette Andrea potent swamp blues meets psyche rock

I Am The Sky by singer songwriter Collette Andrea (Toronto, Canada) bristles with a kind of swamp blues meets goth rock meets psyche rock. What stands out is rock bottom bass and drums, voodoo organ, guitar strains and Andrea's powerful scintillating voice that sounds so self assure and quite frankly bad ass. When the in your face guitar hook stomps in and sultry potent lead guitar tells it's own story you are simply swept away.

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES EXCERPT:

In 2017 Collette began to collaborate with friends (and brothers!) Matt Wittmann (Bassist) and Sean Wittmann (Drummer) to form a new band. Fast forward to March 2018, Collette worked with producer and sound engineer Justin Meli at Chalet Recording Studio to record her third EP titled “THR33”.
THR33 will be released on 03/29/2019.

"Little Fort" by Vern Matz is indie pop with a dense emotional core

Little Fort by indie pop trio Vern Matz as emotionally dense as it is beautiful. There is an unabashedly sweet tone here that skates goosebumps against your skin. It is the kind of gentle embracing kind of song that might give you a hug if you are down or bring you to tears. Lovely stuff. 

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

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.


Paola Bennet's elegant folk tones on "Lydia's Boy"

Singer Songwriter Paola Bennet's sad girl folk tales feel classic and timeless. Lydia's Boy even has an almost harpsichord feel as if to suggest a minuet waltz or maybe flower children swaying in upstate New York in the 60's. The sound is spartan and Paola's vocal performance has a mature even elegant quality. Paola Bennet hails from Boston, Massachusetts

-
Robb Donker


Lazuli Vane and the trippy intoxicating "Snakes"


























Lazuli Vane's shimmy shaking track Snakes feels from the onset a little intoxicating like walking through that thick smoke when you walk into a party and you inhale deeply. Within the psyche pop high the song falls away into an almost R & B dance party mixed with tropical punk sounds. It is full of imagery while that rhythm guitar pushes you into unknown delights around every corner all the while Vane's funky pop vocal performance makes you smile. An official video purported to be a trip fest is coming soon (May 3rd) and, no wonder, Vane is the Atlanta based indie / psych / pop / experimental artist know for fronting and producing virally infectious Trash Panda.

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:

Vane’s debut single takes a stab at untrustworthy relations and explores the seasons of life when things just aren’t lining up right. When life feels like a strange dream or a nightmare. It celebrates the process of restarting when life needs an overhaul. Featuring Max Hewett on bass and Paul Wagner on drums, it was recorded partly at Aaron and Nancy Hill’s Greenhouse Atlanta and partly at Lazuli Vane’s home studio. Album art by Daniel Plascencia.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Elle E's fuzzy garage rock hooks on "Happy Days" From her "Stereo Child" EP

Elle E from Cape Town, South Africa has big post punk leanings filtered through punk pop sounds. Fuzzy guitars and big garage rock hooks abound on her track Happy Days from her 3 track EP entitled "Stereo Child". Her real name is Ellenie Eloff and she hails from the town of Worcester.

-
Robb Donker




Delta Mainline's "Folk Stories & Fairytales" is a multi-colored psychedelic affair with dark waves






















Folk Stories & Fairytales from the new album "Bel Avenir" by Delta Mainline (UK) has big post punk meets power pop hooks filtered through a dreamy haze of psychedelia. David McLachlan's vocal performance is self aware with an art rockish theatricality that mirrors the band's multi colored aesthetic. The pulsating beat suggests 80's new wave parameters veering kinda glam and kinda goth pop, whimsical and dark but oh so cool. If Folk Stories & Fairytales was a movie I would be first in line to see it. 

-
Robb


The Stained Daisies addictive heavy metal post punk sound on "Open Mind"

Open Mind by Melbourne's (by way of Grafton, Aus) The Stained Daisies is a big brash post punk psych rocker with classic rock bones and a proto punkish progressive streak running through it as well. 

The Stained Daisies are comprised of Daniel Tuite, Jayden Hebbard, Jack "Davo" Davison and Aidan Bateman and their penchant for this kind of heavy metal post punk is so engaging. I dig it. 

-
Robb Donker 





Swine Tax and the unbridled cheeky post punk sway of "I'd Like"


























I'd Like by Newcastle upon Tyne (England) tricky trio Swine Tax has the unbridled cheeky Brit 60's / 70's / 80's passion of iconic British bands like The Who, The Kinks and The Buzzcocks and iconic American post punk bands like The Pixies and Sonic Youth. Love the active fluid bass lines, free form drums and cool, cool jagged guitar lines and of course, the pursed lipped vocal performance. Jesus, I love this sound. 

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:
Combining visceral college-rock with angular post-punk, Swine Tax have established themselves as a distinctive and formidable band across their diverse catalog of single releases. With their constantly mutating musical interests, it is their unwavering attitude which unifies their increasingly prolific output. They have so far earned the backing of many radio shows, music publications and tastemakers, including the likes of BBC 6 Music, Louder Than War and The Line of Best Fit.
Formed in 2017, the abrasive Newcastle upon Tyne trio quickly found themselves at the heart of the North East alternative music scene. Their captivating and relentless performances have seen their live reputation continue to grow, typified by them being invited to share stages with the likes of the Orielles, Brix & the Extricated, Bully, Jeffrey Lewis, Shopping, the Nightingales, Spiral Stairs and more.
Swine Tax are currently working on new material for release in early 2019

Blarg stir up psyche, noise, electronica, trap and more into their own thing, hear the track "Radiohead"

Hey-- they got a radio technique. Blarg out of Germany stir up psyche rock, noise rock, electronic pop, experimental and trap influences into this kind of jammy proto punk / new wave jag. Check out the song Radiohead.

-
Robb Donker



PRESS NOTES:

Two friends since school, first starting out with psychedelic rock, 10 years later still making music together. With the goal to create music for the outsiders of the outsiders. From psychedelic rock, noise, electronic, pop, experimental and trap music influences developed their mostly DIY sound and visual art that has some rough edges but always soul. 

From listening to psychedelic rock from Yura Yura Teikoku in a windowless room while putting flyers into envelopes over multiple months grew the desire to create something unique. From the very start they created music they could not share – from clipping noise solos to scratch table bass guitars.
After moving to Cologne with multiple drummers joining and leaving the band they recorded their first bunch of songs.
Looking for a solution they bought a pedal board with backing tracks, dressed up a skeleton as their drummer and prepared for concerts.
The frontman/bassist Theo uses multiple vocal and bass effects to create a wall of voices and sounds. His normal singing voice is nothing special but when he switches to his head voice it seems as if there is no ceiling holding him down anymore.
The guitarist Tom, face hidden behind a layer of hair, can go from the most beautiful soundscapes with chiming sounds straight out of heaven to fuzz solos to drive out the devil that seems to possess him while playing.
Starting 2019 they stated their goal to release a single every month and stream “concerts” on twitch and youtube.

"By The Throat" by Danish indie rockers The Great Dictators


























By The Throat is the new single by Danish indie rockers The Great Dictators with a guest appearance by living legend / cult icon and front man in the experimental rock band Xiu Xiu, Jamie Stewart. The track is drenching in a sad atmosphere. There is a shuffling feel of rock on gravel like a dead man walking. The synth swells, vacuous guitar sounds that some times sounds like cries or violin, meandering pretty piano, and almost demonic growls of some sort and Dragut Lugalzagosi reticent tortured vocal performance:  “My love, I’m painfully yours”... all lending to the dark sadcore avant garde feel. Grizzly Bear meets Nick Cave meets David Lynch.

The Great Dictators: 

“Miraculously we came in touch with our huge idol, Jamie Stewart. He asked if he could add some synths and background noise to ‘By The Throat’. We told him to go nuts. Btw we’re still insanely starstruck.”

-
Robb Donker


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Luke De-Sciscio's "R.O.B.Y.N" is feral and beautiful folk from the "Good Bye Folk Boy" album

Luke De-Sciscio (UK) as a folk singer - songwriter possesses a voice that is immediately perks up your ears and soul. On R.O.B.Y.N, from his new album "Good Bye Folk Boy,"  his closed eyed lilt feels authentically self aware. His croons that go to surprising places with a natural confidence of someone who feels each and every word and melody that he gives birth to. It is when you don't think but just let the emotional jagged pieces of your life run out until they become smooth and precious pearls of lust, longing and, yes, pain. 

Luke's voice stripped bare with ferociously feral and beautiful words is so intimate and moving. He always touches me and will you as well. 

-
Robb Donker


L.A. Singer-Songwriter Caity Krone is worried about the state of things on "Save Our Ship"

Save Our Ship by 21 year old L.A. singer-songwriter Caity Krone is a post punk diatribe (S.O.S distress call) touching on the state of things in this country from paid off politicians, to wild fires in California to Global Warming to out of control crime and how we are (as a society) letting our ship run aground. From the bass lines that ride up high on the neck to the kind of jagged guitar lines there is something proto punk about the song. I thought of Talking Heads a bit because of the angular aesthetic and Krone's vocal presentation. It is a demo of sorts, a pre-release before her debut mini album coming out this summer.


-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Caity Krone is a 21 year old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Her debut single, Record About You, has a flowering creative influence from her Laurel Canyon predecessors, Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. Caity channels a delicate balance of Southern California classic rock and tender singer/songwriter, blending sounds of the past with a modern sensibility. The song came about after amassing over 120,000 streams from demos on SoundCloud and many 12 hour shifts to save up for recording at The Village Studios, home to some of the most influential albums of this century including John Mayer’s Continuum, Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, and the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup. Caity is now working closely with writers in her community and the house engineer at the Village in preparation of her debut LP release.

A beautiful resurrection, "Come To Me" by A Picture Made

Come To Me by A Picture Made has classic rock bones and bring to mind iconic artists like Van Morrison and Tom Petty. The vocal artistry and melodies are so solid and create evocative images in your mind full of nostalgia like warm post card memories told via a swaying beat, organ swells and roots rock guitars on high. I love, love, fucking love this song. 

The amazing thing is that this song is from a mid-western band resurrected now and birthed nearly 35 years earlier but now releasing first LP. 

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:

In the 1980s, in Kansas and Missouri, four kids came of age individually holding tightly to a purely shared rock music dream. This desire to play rock and roll collectively unified them into the powerhouse that is known as a picture made. They worked tirelessly to realize their dream and, after a short time, they started to generate an unavoidable buzz around the midwest. Their rise to success was swift and evident, as they were tapped to support The Replacements, The Call, and The Connells on the road. While touring with different bands only helped to fuel their fire, their hunger to write and record music was insatiable. 
Nearly 35 years down the line, apm is finally ready to deliver the uncompromising, unwavering vision for the thematic album that has become Heal. This album enriches the scene with poetic, allegorical lyrics ably set in bold, well-crafted tones. Signature tracks “Quitting Now Would Be Treason” and “A Signal Hovering Over America” create a lyrical whirlwind over a vivid, colorful landscape of instrumental dynamics, while “Come To Me” and “Behind Your Eyes” offer a bittersweet and unique, yet familiar take on love. Good luck trying to ignore tracks like “God Loves A Hell Of A Man” and “Baby Boom Boom,” as they are the 
exuberant no-frills rock and roll juggernauts of the album. Lastly, “Music is Love” is a stunning summation of the album’s healing message, placed strongly before the final of the three Heal songs – “Heal Me,” “Heal You,” and “Healed.” This trinity of Heal songs serves as milestone tracks to mark the path of the listener’s journey. apm believes Heal is their finest work to date, with sights set for much more ahead. 

Dan Friedman steps into dark places creating edgy indie rock on "Blank Horizon"

Dan Friedman, a Dallas Based singer and front man for Dan Friedman and The Publication steps out on his own solo project Blank Horizon. It is a cagey, moody piece of indie rock with syncopated pulses of sound, truly dreamy yet potent guitar sounds and Friedman's earnest gritty pop vocal sound. The added vocals that may or may not be Friedman pitched down creates a haunting dark avant garde underbelly to the track. I really like this affectation. It within the conflicted sound of the song feels like either a conscience of devils on the shoulder. 

-
Robb Donker



"Be Strong, Smoke Less" by London's Tugboat Captain is a mind blowing piece of sunny indie pop

Be Strong, Smoke Less by London's Tugboat Captain is a mind blowing piece of sunny indie pop. I mean the sound is full of sparkles and ooohs and awwwws and dreamy crescendos. It is saturated in a pop commercial sound, like 60's chamber pop filtered through a 70's TV sitcom but in the loveliest of ways all the while crooning lovely harmonious words that feel serious and hopeful. Yes as I said, a little mind blower or a song. 

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Tugboat Captain are a rotating crew of friends and family – recording, rehearsing and releasing music out of a terraced house in South London. The band have spent the last year gathering attention across the DIY pop community through their relentless touring, homemade videos and bittersweet pop songs. Variously compared to Belle and Sebastian and The Wave Pictures the band have garnered a reputation for their riotous live shows - frequently combining bassoons and nudity. Since forming, the band have released a pair of records, the latter 'Everybody Seems To Think That I'm A Raincloud', being awarded No7 Album of the Year by For The Rabbits and featuring Reddit endorsed single 'Don't Want To Wake Up On My Own'. In spite of the total DIY attitude the band have managed to accumulate over 500,000 streams on their Spotify, significant international radio play and a feature on Netflix Original series Terrace House


"What The Living Do" by Fauvely rides the razor thin line between darkness and ligh


























What The Living Do by Chicago's Fauvely rides the razor thin rail between the darkness and light. With it's dramatic sweep and almost Funeral dirge cadence it feels incredibly sad, like a eulogy about someone or something that has ended much too soon. Within the sadness, though, there are glimmers of hope and rising from the ashes. Fauvely is fronted by Sophi Brochu and her emotionally torn vocal performance is at the core of the sadness. She has dedicated What The Living Do (which takes its title from a poetry collection by NY-based Marie Howe) to her friend who lost her mother to cancer. The dreaminess and fog of sadness... the story is told over pearly guitars, organs and piano steeped in the grief of those who are left behind. 

-
Robb Donker


What The Living Do:
Music & Lyrics by Fauvely

Recorded, Engineered, and Mixed by Chace Wall
at JAMDEK and at his home in Chicago

Mastered by Scott Simon at Process Haus

Produced by Fauvely and Chace Wall

Sophie Brochu: vocals, guitar
Dale Price: guitar, piano, assorted organs, backing vocals
Scott Cortez: bass VI, machete, noise
Dave Piscotti: drums, shakers, maraca, tambourine

With help from:
Chace Wall - ending piano twinkles

Dedicated to Kimberly Kaufman


-
Robb Donker




Friday, April 19, 2019

"Silver Car" by The Flavians feels like a handwritten love letter

The Flavians' track Silver Car feels like a handwritten love letter. Organically crafted with acoustic piano sounds, tight rhythms and a lush bed of harmonies free of electronic enhancements. The track feels so exquisitely free and down to earth. The sound feels a bit like 70's chamber pop in it's honest approach and, no wonder, as The Flavians who hail from Germany draw their inspiration from bands like The Beatles, Grateful Dead and The Beach Boys blending the retro sounds of the 60's with the current sounds of Berlin. Lovely. Damn Lovely.

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

After sharing a bunk in one of Berlin’s numerous hostels for several weeks, Joakim Jägerhult (drums) and Liam Blomqvist (vocals & guitar) began to share ideas and develop what was soon to become their next project, The Flavians. With the later addition of Anna Vaverková (vocals & keys) and Thomas Wills (vocals & bass), the band began to write together. Drawing inspiration from bands such as The Beatles, Grateful Dead, and The Beach Boys, they set out to join the warm, nostalgic sounds of the 60s with the frantic, hedonistic energy of Berlin. 
With vocal harmonies from a blend of three diverse voices, psychedelic guitar textures and lyrics discussing themes such as destitution and alienation, they walk the tightrope between the surreal and the mundane while staying grounded and focused on writing accessible, melodic, yet experimental songs.
Non Stop Fun (All I Wanted), a parody of modern life, will be released on the 2nd of November. The track was recorded over the span of a year in various spaces around Berlin, Germany and in Nässjö, Sweden using a mix of analogue and digital gear with instruments from the 60s and 70s and was mixed by Fabio Buemi (TRIXX, Berlin) and mastered by Steve Fallone (Sterling Sound, NY). As expressed by Buzz Music, LA ‘The Flavians produce a unique sound of beautiful harmonies that present us with messages of everyday struggles.’
As the end of the year approaches, The Flavians will be continuing to work on their album and develop their plans. With festivals and shows already confirmed in the UK, Scandinavia and Germany in 2019, it's shaping up to be a busy year for The Flavians.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sadgasm - "It's Better With Jonny Around" from the EP "I Don't Like To Cry" feels like a lovely punk affirmation

























Sadgasm's quasi-title track, It's Better With Jonny Around, off their new EP "I Don't Like To Cry" feels surf punkish but drenched in tears. I couldn't help but think of a kind of decades blending of styles from the Cure to Together Pangea. The musical break steps up the musicality and is so fresh and jammy. The song for me (that deals with the toll depression takes) pushes such beautiful emotions on the chorus full of hope, longing for love and being saved that it itself feels like stepping back from the ledge. Great stuff. 

Sadgasm hail from Salem, Oregon and are Andy Alvarez (guitar, vocals), Nick Brink (guitar), Jonny Garcia (drums) and Austin Antrican (bass).

-
Robb Donker

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Frames" by Oshens (UK) feels like proto punk meets 50' doo wop











































Oshen's (UK) track Frames is yet one of the singles that the band is releasing each and every Month of 2019. It has a cagey beat punctuated by effected guitar stabs and sultry post punk vocals. The song double times the beat during the chorus and it goes from proto punk tones to an almost 50's doo wop R&B shimey shake "oooh oooh ooooooh" - So captivating and, quite frankly, sexy.

-
Robb Donker


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The spectral track "Willow" by Northern California's Junaco holds many surprises

The spectral track Willow by Junaco feels at once transparent and dreamy but shifts in sudden ways turning up grooves and turning pages with new chapters with sounds that feel in opposition to the previous chapter. In this way, the story feels dynamic and like any great piece of art feels like a musical Rorschach test ready to soak up the personal meaning and truth from each listener. 

At it's core Junaco is Shahana Jaffer and Joey LaRosa forming in the unincorporated mountain town in coastal Northern California. It is a stunning place that will be overtaken by dense fog. It is no wonder that Junaco's music has such a thick dreamy atmosphere. Their debut EP, "Awry" displays the couples innate perceptions of human emotions. 

Jaffer reveals, “The underlying theme is about coming to terms with experiences and hardships we have faced and finally putting them out there. It’s very healing”.  

-
Robb Donker


Tyto Alba's track "Oh Pride" feels sunny but with emotional storms on the horizon

Oh Pride by Tyto Alba is a free flying sunny indie pop song that feels like memories and longing. Propelled by mid tempo beats that feel like running to something and dreamy guitars in tow. There is a romantic wave sound here pushed through indie pop filters enhanced by Melanie Steinway's vocal performance that feels dreamy, a bit forlorn and full of emotions she has swallowed whole. The band hails from Denver, Colorado rounded out by Matt Rossi, Andrew Bair and Danny Dimarchi. " After going on several tours and releasing a handful of EPs and singles, the band is currently at work on their debut LP with renowned local engineer Colin Bricker of Mighty Fine Productions, a studio with a recording roster that includes Devotchka , Tennis and Esme Patterson."

- Robb Donker


Monday, April 15, 2019

"Waiting For The Sun" by Pale Moon is oh so very dreamy and perfect from the "Dust Of Days" EP

Waiting For The Sun by the Icelandic / Russian Psyche pop outfit Pale Moon is so incredibly captivating with a lovely dreamy vibe and totally catchy chorus propelled by Natasha Sushchenko's cooly compelling vocal performance. She was raised in Siberia and her partner in crime Árni Guðjónsson was born and raised in Iceland and their journey to finding each other is better left for the intricacies of ones Press Notes (below). I am just so glad that fate brought them together. 

Their debut EP, "Dust of Days" comes out, today, the 15th of April and portends to be a stunning and dreamy piece of work. 

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:


This Icelandic/Russian Psychedelic group carved their path in music with haunting, captivating melodies and lush Neo-Psych textures that might sound as well as it came from 70s. The collaboration began in the Catalan city of Barcelona where they first met. It wasn’t until a month trip to Mexico the power duo crafted their first demos and decided it was time to pull up the sleeves and record these massive mama jams.
Inspired by the Rolling Stone album “Exile on Main St.”, they set up a recording studio in an old farmhouse in South of Iceland. Árni’s parents, who used to breed sheep and prize winning stallions there. Arni took on his own spiritual and solitary journey.
The first song he recorded in those outlawing days was the song “Exile”. Supply of new song ideas came constantly from Nata and EP started to take shape. Arnar Gudjonsson took a project of mixing EP, who is notable for work with bands like Leaves, Kaleoand and Warmland. 2018 started off on the small stages of Reykjavik, band practiced their show in Mexico with their DIY tour in 2018.
Natasha Sushchenko raised in the cold and unforgiving landscapes of Siberia. She took part in small bands, but decided to take a road in design eventually. She scored a paid scholarship in Barcelona and graduated in fashion. Árni was the one to suggest they should record her songs. Her main influences, Carole Kind, Fleetwood Mac and The Doors shaped Natasha´s songwriting style.
Árni Guðjónsson was born and raised in Iceland. He’s been playing in bands before he could speak. His first band, Royal Funclub got some local approval when he was just 13, but the breakthrough in his career happened in 2010. Raggi, his flatmate invited Árni in a new band “Of Monsters and Men” for his piano skills and it didn´t take long for their first album to become platinum around the world.
But Arni left the band due to a vicious love triangle. He participated in many projects and bands. Arni has released music with Prog-balkan band Orphic Oxtra, who performed for KEXP. One Week Wonder is another project worth mentioning. The band released one album ”Mars” in Iceland and Netherlands. In 2016 they won the “video of the year” prize in the Icelandic music awards, but that didn't last.
Their debut EP, Dust of Days comes out 15th of April. While each song tickles different themes and even musical genres, the unique voice of Pale Moon glues together into familiar yet fresh sound. They are not afraid of harmonies and juicy riffs. “I just want to make music and nothing else” says Árni, who recorded each instrument for the release.
While not recording their own music, the guys from Pale Moon run a concept store Kvartyra 49 in Reykjavik. They record their monthly music podcasts, where they interview Icelandic bands and organize concerts.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Shutups' punk effervescent "Yellowjacket" from the upcoming "Every Day I'm Less Zen" (Official Video)

In the official video for Shutups' punk effervescent Yellowjacket, singer-songwriter / guitarist Hadley and drummer Mia are white clad human projector screens and as shot and edited by Braith Miller (concept by Hadley Davis) they sit static on a white clad couch. A series of images are cast upon them in a kinetic way while they kind of stare, observe emotionally monotone. The effect is wonderfully weird and artistic and something befitting of a live art installation in some museum. The static shot even while edited dynamically feels perfectly underplayed to the song itself which is perfectly punk with power pop elements as well. The heavy guitar and potent drums are locked together like feral animals in heat and no wonder, as Shutups is after all a duo. I love Hadley's vocal performance that feels on edge. In the strain he emotes I get a sense of bravado and reticence like I am going to kill this but help me please. Hard to explain.

The band rose out of a past friendship and deep pain. I could not explain it any better than the Press NOTES below but the Shutups feel like both a band and a love story. The band has released four EPs and their upcoming debut full length "Every Day I'm Less Zen is out this summer. Shutups is based out of Oakland, California.

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:


Wound deep within the anthemically angular indie punk of Oakland-based two-piece band Shutups is a story of resilience and deep friendship. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Hadley and drummer Mia were college buddies pulled apart due to simple geography, but reunited after Hadley suffered a medical emergency that left him walking with a cane and hiding from the sun for two years. Three years later, Shutups seed the path to its debut, Every Day I'm Less Zen, with the album’s first single, Yellowjacket.
“It didn’t feel like a happy ending movie plot,” Hadley says of his re-emergence from medical exile and personal tumult in light of his accident. “I came out depressed and not wanting to do anything. The band saved me.”
Shutups pools from shared influences such as Fugazi, Paul McCartney and Wings, Elliott Smith, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Diarrhea Planet. "We both also like Abba. We love that large-scale, over-the-top 1970s production," Hadley deadpans. The band’s mix of lush instrumentation and imaginative arrangements stays visceral courtesy of Mia’s drumming which is both caveman and keenly attuned to each track’s jagged twists and turns.
“I'm completely untrained musically, which I think is limiting sometimes, but I'm also kind of this impressionable canvas which offers limitless opportunity,” Mia says, taking a pause. “Quite the paradox. I also hit things really fucking hard which is the only way to move through trauma and mental shit I cannot express.”
To date, Shutups has released four EPs. The pair’s debut long player is a watershed release that benefits from careful reflection and an unrushed studio schedule. Every Day I’m Less Zen was produced by Cody Votolato, the guitarist from the post-hardcore group The Blood Brothers who recently produced Dude York’s 2017 release, Sincerely.
Yellowjacket froths over with grime, knotted up feelings, snotty urgency, and post-punk arty and abrasive riffage. The track is a hermit’s anthem, and unpacks a litany of diurnal frustrations. “It’s about a few things,” Hadley admits. “I address putting art above a social life and seeing the effects of that. In it, I also talk literally about regretting haircuts, as well as being sick for an entire summer. It's lyrically not a very cohesive song, but themes of discontent reign supreme.”
Up next, Shutups will hit the road and likely return soon to the studio as a follow up album has been fully written. Reflecting on the pair’s connection throughout its rollicking journey, Mia says: “We've been through some very real personal highs and lows. It's a friendship that has persisted to a point where we know each other’s idiosyncrasies, favorite things, and we share a sense of humor. You can’t force that - it takes countless hours on the road with someone or in a studio to have that sort of connection.”

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Mirrors" by Dylan Pham is an embracing soulful slow dance and more

L.A. singer songwriter / producer Dylan Pham possesses beautiful skills despite his young years or maybe because of them. Just listen to his track Mirrors. It is a sophisticated piece of delicious indie pop, trading time signatures, elegant orchestral moves that feel like warm embraces and pop melodies that lie somewhere between Burt Bacharach and Tod Rundgren. Pham stirs in big sweeping chamber pop flourishes, soul sweays and clean psychedelia too. It is a full tilt lovely ride that can send shivers up your arm like falling in love.

Pham elicits the help of some very talented players.

Mirrors:
Written by Dylan Pham
Produced by Dylan Pham and Kurana
Mixed by Patrick Doyle
Mastered by Howie Weinberg
Bass guitar by Mortimer
Drums by Emily Dolan Davies
Background vocals by Georgia Greene
Trumpets by Kiavi
Strings arranged by Kurana and performed by Nick Kennerly, Natalie Giordano, and Austin Shaw

-
Robb Donker


"Death In A Field" by Thin Lear tugs and pushes in the right way

Death In A Field by Queens (NYC) based Thin Lear, the project of singer songwriter / producer Matt Longo is an airy yet deceptively dense indie pop song with ever shifting drum patterns, beautiful cascades of keyboards and Longo's clean vocal sound. Like different paragraphs in a novel, sections of music will ebb and flow, drums dropping out completely creating emotional tugs and pushes. The guitar and or pedal steel work is pretty and wander-lustful. You don't hear a lot of this kind of pop music that feels so story based. I thought of Bruce Hornsby and the Range a bit. 

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Robb Donker




Perfume by Nashville based Cates is potent and free indie rock with a side of lovely

























The track Perfume by Cates, the Nashville based collaborative music project of brothers Mathew and Aaron Cates is bouncy and breezy indie rock centered around the bros vocal harmonies and jammy guitar sounds pushed through R&B filters.

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Robb Donker




Moontwin cut the lines on their latest punk pushed "Brakes"






















Moontwin (amazingly) never ever disappoints. Their latest Brakes is a blistering punk rocker full of movement and wanderlust. There is such a strong proto punkish vibe here. The sort of spaghetti western meets rockabilly punk sound feels so cinematically rich. I thought of a collision of L.A punk bands like the iconic X and Wall of Vodoo and also a puree blend of Garbage and She Wants Revenge. The sounds is so rich, so fucking rich in atmosphere. From my many Moontwin posts you probably already know that this duo is singer songwriter Maple Bee (aka Melanie Garside) and XRaydio founder Zac Kuzmanov. They collab in their own virtual space between Bulgaria and London some 1700 miles apart. The thing is I want to see them perform live. I need to see them. It would be incredible. They are a musical match made in heaven.

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Robb Donker


"Human (Heart)" by Grace Gillespie runs deep

The First single, Human, from Grace Gillespie's forthcoming EP (funded by PRS' Women Make Music fund, and appearing on a James Morrison-curated free vinyl for Record Store Day) tosses away her Indie folk sound for something that feels like Indie pop pushed through light post punk filters. It feels like something you would hear in the recesses of a faraway hidden cool club in between maybe an old school ska band and a punk band but feel totally appropriate because there is that kind of adventurous interesting pop thing going on here, like when 60's pop was melting into proto punk in the early days (78) and I like that. 

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Robb Donker

Press Notes:
Grace Gillespie is a London-based artist and producer originally from Devon, who spent much of 2017 touring as part of the live line-up for 4AD’s Pixx. Her early demo of ‘Restoration’ saw her tipped to Q Magazine by Newton Faulkner and brought her to the attention of Kaleidoscope, who worked with her to produce her first solo releases in 2018. Her sound takes influences from the folk, psych and dream-pop traditions, providing a backdrop to her intriguing vocal melodies, shifting harmonies and introspective lyricism. Her first two singles found their way onto Spotify’s ‘Fresh Folk’ playlist and received extensive support from Apple Music, appearing on their ‘A-List’ and ‘Best of the Week’ playlists, as well as backing from NME, Crack In The Road and The Wild Honey Pie. In December 2018, Grace was awarded funding from PRS for Music Foundation (Women Make Music Fund) to complete work on her debut EP.
“Gillespie’s debut two songs ‘Restoration’ and ‘Everything (Nothing)’ are gems to behold - the kind that reveal themselves with each listen… [A]s heartrending as anything made in Bon Iver’s infamous cabin - but as self-assured as early Laura Marling.” (NME)
RELEASE DATE (Digital): 12th April 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

You will not soon forget "Forgotten Kids" by Callum Pitt
























Forgotten Kids by Callum Pitt (UK) has got from the onset a big driving indie rock sound with pop flourishes. Walls of synths, sonically rich guitars, big hollow drum sounds and Callum's rich harmonies. The affect puts a smile on your face and courses adrenalin though your veins. 2019 promises to be an important year for Callum -having secured festival slots at The Great Escape, Deer Shed and This Is Tomorrow already, things are shaping up nicely on the live side just as Callum approaches his first full length release (dropping 12/04/2019)  With over 2 million Spotify plays to date, Callum Pitt's sound is spreading.


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Robb Donker