Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Which Way" by Will Fox is an utterly beautiful surprise

Which Way by Will Fox starts out simple and kind of sweet. That beginning is deceptive because as the song progresses, it musically and emotionally becomes more dense and complex stirring up sweeping passages of a kind of pop with avant garde leanings. The very synthetic keys combined with the facile guitar work feels cool and proggy and kind of proto punkish and then these pop drenched harmonies will splash over it all. Fox's vocal performance / style is endearing too. He sounds inward and a bit tortured. Oh and the end, wow, the end of the song is an utter beautiful surprise.

Love the aesthetic here. 

After you listen to "Which Way" check out Fox's site here: https://www.willfoxsongs.com/

-
Robb Donker

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PRESS NOTES:


Like many before him in the canon, Will Fox is a vagabond. Born in Houston, TX, raised in London, Paris, and the American South, Fox spent his adolescence moving around, practicing, and playing. His travels even took him to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he studied Bossa Nova, expanding his craft. Back stateside, destined to operate a gristmill near his hometown in the Shenandoah Valley, Fox instead moved to Los Angeles to become a troubadour. After his stint as a member of the now-defunct LA-darlings Los Angeles Police Department, Fox turned his attention to his own pursuits, calling on a community of friends including Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore) and Tim Keen (Ought) to help bring his compositions to life. 
In his songs you'll hear his lifetime's array of influences compounded from the intricate fingerpicking of Nick Drake and Leo Kottke, to the romantic croon of Chris Bell. From the songwriting deities themselves like Neil Young or George Harrison, to modern heroes like Cass McCombs or The Clientele. 
Will Fox’s debut EP Cosmic Dusting was released last year through Twosyllable Records via cassette and all digital platforms.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Stoffs' "Call of The Spring" is a shape changing prog rocker

























Call of The Spring by The Stoffs, an indie rock project of Indianapolis based musician Eric Stoff is a kind of jagged puzzle piece of proggy indie rock set pieces. In three and a half minutes a metamorphosis takes place from delicate tightly wound frameworks beneath pretty vocal melodies with proggy musical breaks to a full blown out (different) song entirely. The shift is dramatic and kind of perplexing but in a good way. Indie rock heavy, pretty and pretty complex. 

Press Notes below detail, Stoff's journey to his ambitious album "Little Flock" that you can stream at his website here:  http://www.thestoffs.com/littleflock


-

Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:



The Stoffs is the indie rock project of Indianapolis-based musician Eric Stoff.
Eric and his wife Brooke had a turbulent year in 2017. They welcomed their first daughter into the world, experienced unprecedented success in their business, and Eric achieved a life goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
From an outside perspective, it was the best year of their lives. But the Stoffs also experienced financial stress, strained relationships, and the unique weight of caring for a newborn child.
Eric spent the entirety of 2018 writing, recording, and meticulously crafting “Little Flock” in his home. He said it was healing for him as he worked his way through postpartum depression, and it helped him make sense of chaotic previous year.
“Making this record helped me realign my identity on this side of fatherhood,” Eric said. “It made me explore what parts of my relationships - with my creator, my wife, my child and future children. What changed? What stayed the same?”
Released on New Year’s Day 2019, “Little Flock,” details a universal tug-of-war between desperation and hope.


Saint Kodiak pushes and punches on "Like It Is"

Like It Is by Scandinavia based singer songwriter Saint Kodiak rides on a punchy folk engine forever moving forward to it's conclusion. This formidable movement, full of wanderlust and wide eyed stares to the horizon, feels so vast. The vocal performance propelled by cool guitar lines feels passionate but not overly forced, just real and earnest. The folk sway made me think a bit of Kevin Morby. Really like the aesthetic and big sound here. This is the last single before an upcoming album. 

Of the album Kodiak says, "Sometimes we need to thank whoever gives us a slap in the face. My new single is a celebration of the ones who dare to push someone else if that someone else is stagnating and can't see it himself. It is a song about necessary pain. That is why I - in my new single LIKE IT IS - thank the person who sets my house on fire - if that house has become like a jail."

-
Robb Donker


Chorus Grant's dark experimental folk presence on "Lives"

Chorus Grant is the musical moniker of Kristian Finne (Denmark) and his first song in five years, Lives feels like dark beautiful experimental folk. The song changes shape many times in deceptive ways. At the onset there are little clues that the song will metamorphosize and once the song falls into Grant's deep almost reticent breath the song seems to walk into a dreamworld inhabited by ghosts, some dark and light from the past. The song still holds onto it's kind of light chamber pop tones but is forever changed. Interesting and superbly complex.

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

Denmark’s Chorus Grant is back with first new song in 5 years - a folk-rock chamber music mutant called “Lives”


Since the release of 2014’s Space, Kristian Finne aka Chorus Grant has released two records and toured with acclaimed duo Cancer consisting of Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild of When Saints Go Machine and Kristian. This past year however, Kristian has focused solely on writing a new solo album as Chorus Grant. The new album revolves thematically around transitions of life, and the liminal space between the old and the new- the “what was” and the “what will be”.
Compositionally working on his own take on a new Nordic sound, Kristian found what he calls "the melancholic major" and the harmonic qualities of this tone inhabits the new songs and leads to the core of emotional life.
Music and songwriting is my most trusted friend. It helps me to understand life and give voice to ponderings that can’t not be articulated in normal conversation. I’ve felt an urgency to write these songs that deal with transition and transformation- floating mid-air between an old and a new life. My hope is that my coming record will resonate with others and serve as a mirror where people can unravel their own lives and find comfort that no one is alone when facing fundamental change.”
The video for “Lives” is made by rising star painter and visual artist Jakob Steen in his studio located in an industrial area of Copenhagen. The friendship and kinship between Kristian and Jakob has previously manifested itself in visuals for the songs "O Everyone" and "Godplans" from before mentioned Space. On "Lives", Steen stages Chorus Grant in a locked setting that leaves no other option than to communicate with eyes, face and voice.
Appearing on the recording is Sebastian Rochford(Polar Bear, Patti Smith etc.) ondrums, Adi Zukanovic (IRAH) on organ and keyboard, Karen Guastavino plays the recorder and baritone saxophone and Mads Brinch plays bass. "Lives" is composed and written by Kristian Finne who also plays guitar and sings.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Spiral Electric's psyche rock explosion - "Hole In My Soul"




Hole In My Soul by San Fran's The Spiral Electric is an ecstatic psyche rock explosion. When the sharply barbed synth (or guitar?) lick hook happens early on and throughout I cannot help but smile. This is the biggest sound I have heard the band produced (I thought of Ty Segall and Butthole Surfers a bit) and I love it. They do beautifully fall into a kind of lovely lull in the middle and it is heartfelt and leads into an audaciously rad crescendo that has so many evocative sounds throughout- the song at this point still heavy as hell takes on an almost art rock motif and I actually thought of Radiohead. Love this song. 

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


The Spiral Electric initially began in San Francisco as a psychedelic guitar duo consisting of Clay Andrews (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Nicolas Percey (lead guitar), and has shifted through various lineups over the years, venturing through acid rock with flavours of surf, post-punk, british goth and indie, noise, drone, and stoner rock. Between 2012 and 2018, they have gathered a dedicated international following and toured up and down the US west coast from Seattle to Los Angeles and played festivals like the Desert Stars Festival in Pioneertown CA, Starry Nites Festival in Santa Barbara, Gathering of the Tribes Festival in San Francisco, CA, and the Portland Psych Fest in Portland, OR. They have recorded two EPs at Skylab Studio in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree with producer Tommy Dietrick-- "Upon Your Shore" (released April 2015) and "Ask The Sky" (released December 2016), and are recording a new double-LP at Wiggle Room Studio in Los Angeles with new members Michael Summers (bass) and Matias Drago (drums), and producer Steve Kille (Dead Meadow / Xemu Records).
The sound of The Spiral Electric is one part soaring melody, one part face-melting guitar, one part orbiting synth, one part danceable groove and a heavy dose of west coast psychedelia, shaken not stirred. Drink it straight, no chaser!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Forever On The Fence" by Aadams is a gorgeous alt folk song that might just quietly blow your mind

One minute inside the lovely dreamy track Forever On The Fence by New Jersey based singer-songwriter Aadams I thought instantly of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Aadams' self harmonies are drop dead gorgeous and maybe it is the way he crafts his melodies that made me think of that iconic folk quartet. There is more too like though, it is the almost shoe gaze folk feel, touches of ambience and experimental pop tones, bending vocals electronically in a few spots and a seriously kind of hyper realistic ending pushing the folk envelope even further. Not sure if Aadams self produced this but if he did then he better add another hyphenate to his singer-songwriter descriptor. Amazing work. 

-
Robb Donker



"Too Close" by The Modern World fuses romance wave, soul and jazz with an iconic sounding vocal performance

Too Close by The Modern World, the music project / vehicle for London based songwriter / producer Oli James. This beautiful song has so many elements that make you fall in love with it. The guitar work feels glides like slow motion drops of rain on a body of water. The cadence is easy and combined with a bass is the loveliest slow dance. Strings swell and backing vocals sooth in an R & B way... but most of all it might be the soulful vocal performance here that oddly enough made me think of a blend of Andy Bell (Erasure) and Alison Moyet (Yazoo).

-
Robb Donker 



PRESS NOTES:

The Modern World is the vehicle for the songwriting of London based producer/songwriter Oli James. Oli was born in London and began writing songs after his family relocated to Spain when he was ten years old. He honed his craft whilst studying English at University College London, and after a two year stint playing the blues scene in Moscow, Russia, Oli returned to London to form a crew of misfits and musical prodigies that make up The Modern World.
Often producing music alone at home, or in snatches of late-night studio time in friend’s studios across London, The Modern World have been recognized for their exhilarating fusion of guitar-pop, soul and jazz, gripping live shows and distinctive visual identity. They have hosted shows in nightclubs, churches, rooftops, and living rooms, and they plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saint Germain's "Find A Way" psychedelic reflections on this indie rock gem

Find A Way is the third track release by Saint Germain this year. The song rides on psychedelic guitar lines, switched up drum patterns and Germain's evocative vocal strains. Steeped in a kind of forlorn indie rock sound, the musical bridge gets even more dreamy before erupting into an even bigger chorus with a broad pop sweep as well. The only thing wrong with this track is that it seems to end much too soon. 

Saint Germain (Luc St Germain) is from Orangeville, Ontario Canada and Find A Way was recorded with Mike Tompa at Dreamhouse Studios in Toronto. 

-
Robb Donker 


Thursday, May 16, 2019

"Remember" by Ian Terry is darkly beautiful

Remember by singer songwriter Ian Terry is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Within the acoustic strains, banjo and layered melodies their are dark metaphors of a dead relationship and haunting images painted within the lilt of Terry's vocal performance. 

Ian Terry records and self produces his lo-fi lovely creations somewhere in Delaware. He has over 20 songs available on Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. 

-
Robb Donker



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Spinning Plates" by Smiling At Strangers and from their self titled album (out now) blends styles in wonderful ways

Smiling At Strangers are a British alternative pop rock project centered around singer/ songwriter Marc Halls and their self titled debut LP was just released (May 13th). The track Spinning Plates with it's almost drunken guitar lines, tightly would drums and bass and Halls emotive vocal melodies that dance around it all is multi layered with musical influences. The chorus is big and sweeping, each element filling up the spaces like moments of organ sounds and backing vox that stir the pot in such lovely ways. The sounds, tones have touches of blues, gospel, faint patina of honky-tonk and indie rock all combined in this blendo kind of indie pop sound. Not easy to describe and hard to forget. 

-
Robb Donker

Smiling At Strangers' Self Titled Album is available on ALL Streaming platforms:
Get a Free Download when you follow on Spotify.

Tracklisting
1. States Of Being
2. Edie
3. On My Mind
4. Colourblind
5. Silent Showman
6. Spinning Plates
7. Who I Am
8. Everything After



Jordan Sommerlad is full of ethereal and rockish twists and turns on "Shake Me"

Shake Me by singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Jordan Sommerlad has such dreamy tendencies, ethereal and airy with dramatic tension. At first it feels as if Beach House and Caveman had an offspring, I can see images in space, images tinged in a Polaroid patina told in layers of sounds. 

From the onset, Sommerlad creates tensions and drama. A cagey percussive framework for a smooth silky vocal performance. Those aforementioned ethereal tendencies fall way to a rockish chorus with a big pop sway-- for some reason I thought of the old school "new wave" broad pop of Tears For Fears when they would swing wide. Such a trippy cool track. When it goes acoustic for a brief moment that hooky melody grabs you by the shirt collar. The breath and scope of this song just makes me smile with joy as it rocks out once again. 

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

“As a teen, I used to stay up late at night in my room to work on music with my four-track recorder. I still do the same thing today, recording here in my apartment. Music has always been therapeutic for me—it’s a way to separate from the worries of the day,” the New York-based indie artist Jordan Sommerlad shares.

After years of honing his craft as an indie songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and bedroom producer visionary, Jordan now announces his first official solo album, playfully titled Your Favorite Palindrome. The 10-song collection will be preceded by the lushly-layered single, Shake Me.




Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Bisou Bisou" by Swedish art rock duo Tella Viv cuts an avant garde pop groove with a punk attitude




Bisou Bisou by Swedish art rock duo Tella Viv is unabashedly drenched in a deep indie pop sound with a power art pop undercurrent. The song from the onset cuts a deep kind of rock dance groove and never lets up, the bass jams, guitars attack and then step back, synth flourishes and cagey drums set up a thick lush sound for the gritty vox that snarl but are have fun at the same time. Bisou Bisou for all it's pop-ness has a decidedly punk attitude. 

Tella Viv is Carl Hjelm and Benjamin Lavén. The art rock duo have a love of avant garde pop. Of Bisou Bisou they offer:


"Pardon our french. This song is a road trip to the underworld, dealing with goodbyes, adieus, call it what you like. An eloquent way of saying “*** ***”. Welcome change, but first give me that tiny kiss you promised.
We spoke of Bisou Bisou as a garage rock song in the form of a french garden. Trimmed, exact and wild. We wanted to see if we could combine our love to the messy, with precision. The result came kissing us."

-
Robb Donker


Monday, May 13, 2019

Homme de Fleurs featuring Emmalee Madden - beautifully collide on "Contact"




The song Contact opens with the vocal performance by Emmalee Madden, somber and effected with a hint of herself ghosting in such a sad core self aware way is quite mesmerizing and becomes more when Homme De Fleurs' (the alt-folk project by Canadian artist and producer Jason Zerbin) voice steps in to hold hand. The two as one entity is so beautifully captivating and embraces you throughout the entire song elevated by the spartan production. It is the emptiness of the song that feels heavy. I love, absolutely love how Madden voice spikes into falsetto in surprising ways. Love the percussion that supports at the right moments and the vocal melodies that lift you up.

Press notes reveal that the song was written on an island in Canada's West Coast which must of seeped into the bones of the song, the undercurrent of loneliness, the vacuum of longing. 


-

Robb Donker




Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sid Steppes' "I'd Like To Go Away From Here Again With You" languid and beautifully dark psychedelia

I'd Like To Go Away From Here Again With You by Sid Steppes and from the recently released "Trails" album feels like a hazy sad core darker almost grunge version of 60's artists like Donovan or Status Quo. I am loving the languid sound, the lush bass line and forlorn vocal performance. The retro sound sounds less retro than possessed by former times. 

From Southern California, Sid Steppes creates his sounds in makeshift bedroom studios. His debut DIY album "Trails" is available on Bandcamp. A Neo-psychedelic dream pop album honed by a decade of crafting emotions and sounds. 

Press notes reveal that: 

Trails is inspired by heartache, depression and the path towards rehabilitating the mind, as well as a deep bond and connection for psychedelic music from the 60s and 70s. “I listened to a lot of John Lennon during a hard time in my life and was inspired by the vulnerability and honesty in his lyrics. I had never written about my emotions before but listening to Lennon eased the fear of opening up and exposing myself.”

-
Robb Donker




Saturday, May 11, 2019

Distant Mountains' slightly askew "On The Run" feels like a psychedelic tropical cruise

All I could see when I listened to On The Run by Distant Mountains is a doe eyed young Paul McCartney on a sugar coated beach inhabited by pink monkeys and unicorns. There is something so purely whimsical and kind of drug raddled high about this song. It (to me) sounds like something that would of been on the first MGMT album. There is a slightly askew tone steeped in a lovely psychedelia and I love that about it. It also feels a bit under developed and ends to soon. It feels like an beautifully saturated interlude that would float between two longer songs on a trippy album but that is not to knock it at all. In the end, it leaves me wanting more... more pink monkeys and unicorns and a young Paul McCartney. 

Distant Mountains are based out of the Bay Area (California) and are Paul McCorkle, Scott Lord and Ben Manning.

-
Robb Donker

Press Notes:
Distant Mountains began as an idea of musical escapism from the grind of performing in the Bay Area music scene. Paul McCorkle and Scott Lord joined together in 2015 to explore different sonic textures, tones, and song structures without worry of reproducing those sounds on a show to show basis. As time moved forward and their songwriting evolved they began to explore and expand their sounds with analog textures and drum machine patterns. After a chance meeting at a local show in 2017, Distant Mountains brought Ben Manning into the group to add live drums and percussion into the eclectic mix of synths, loops, keys, strings, and whatever else strikes their collective fancy. 

Fetch You Roses by Sail By Summer glows like a storybook fable

Fetch You Roses by Norwegian Sail By Summer in some ways feels emotionally overblown but that is not always a bad thing. In fact, under the loving care of a musical craftsman like Grammy award winner William Hut with his characteristic voice and long time Danish collaborator Jens Kristian behind the keys it can be quite endearing. It is like Hut has tapped into his youthful naivety. I mean, on one hand (while listening), you can see images of quiet cities on a cold dark night and on the other hand, majestic fables like tales of the Never-ending Story. There is a mythical tone here full of whimsy and childhood dreams that feels so lovely. In the end, Fetch You Roses feels like a story book journey. 

-
Robb Donker


Angela Aux rides cosmic clouds on the effervescent "Special When You Come"

Germany's Angela Aux rides on cosmic clouds on the song Special When You Come. The chill indie sounds might be called Krautfolk by some but it feels so free and easy and actually conjures up California sunsets with surfers shooting rooster tails of salt water to the heavens. 

About the song, he offers:

"It's a song about conflicts and their relation to love and sexuality. I wrote it while having an affair with a feminist politician from Vienna. First we thought we hated each other, but then realized that this was some strange form of attraction. We argued a lot and got lost in Vienna nights. One night we made the deal that every time we had an extreme argumentation we would recall in our minds, that the energy could also be resolved in making love, which we did then. We had no future though."

From the album "In Love With The Demons" - on SPOTIFY.

-
Robb Donker



Kiss The Tiger's blues rock fire and sweet revelations on "Sisterly Love"

Sisterly Love by five piece Kiss The Tiger starts of deceptively tender and then blues rock fire and brimstone fires up. With keys, power bass that walks and sways before strutting, clean guitar that holds embracing tones before spitting out big blues rock affectations, the song is big bold blues rock with tinges of gospel and a patina of Americana rock. Meghan Kreidler's vox is superbly real, in the pocket not feeling overly pushed or dramatic. The emotion doesn't feel acted but instead felt like it should be. The band hails from Minneapolis and is rounded out by Michael Anderson (rhythm guitar / vox), Andrew Berg (lead guitar), Paul DeLong (bass) and Jay DeHut (drums).

Sisterly Love is from their most recent album "Let Me Bleed" released earlier this year. 

-
Robb Donker


Guitar driven punk saturated alternative rocker "Chrismess" by London based Oshens

Oshens are a London based alternative rock band and their latest offering Chrismess quickly descends into cagey guitar driven post punk rock sounds with power pop tendencies. The vocal performance strident and dripping with a kind of proto punk snarl feels like a heady inspired cross between such disparate characters as proto punk icon Siouxie Sioux (from Siouxie and the Banshees) to Gwen Stefani when she was an urban new wave beach punker to an even slight tinge of emo rocker Haley Williams. The vocal style sits comfortably in the feral nature of the guitar, bass and drums that is so damn jammy. So Cool.

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:


London based alternative rock band hailing from all corners of the world foster the sound of 'beach punk'.
OSHENS are releasing a single every month for the year of 2💥19.
They are currently semi-finalists for the Isle of Wight Festival 'New Blood' Competition.


The Hannah Barberas - pretty and passionate "I Like You In Blue" (sigh)

The Hannah Barberas (UK) like you in blue- they do. Every time I hear them I heart them. Their songs are a bit roughly poised but I love that. Their sound is a bit raw and late 70's proto punk and I love that. They are my musical equivalent of those cool guys who live down the street that are perfectly normal but have big lovely creative hearts and I love that.

I Like You In Blue is from their "Get Physical" album and I recommend that you check it out- you will not regret it.

-

Robb Donker


Atlas Orbiter's lush layered guitar driven "Ghost" is a full tilt emotional ride

The proggy and lushly layered Ghost by Atlanta based Atlas Orbiter sounds as rock heavy as it does dreamy. The drumming alone, so tightly wound yet expressive and emotionally tied to the walls of guitars and Shannon McQuaid's wailing vox is worth the price of admission. A song with this kind of emotional angst needs breathing room and Ghost does from time to time but for the most part it is a back and forth guitar driven dance, an anthemic wall of sounds and feelings that ache like a turmoil of stirring inside your gut. Best not to swallow this song if you are already drunken with regrets.

-
Robb Donker


PRESS NOTES:

Atlas Orbiter is an Atlanta based band with a sound that takes sonic elements and inspiration from a diverse array of rock sub-genres including post-rock, hard rock, post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, and dream pop. Complex instrumentals often with many layers of effects are accompanied by soaring vocals from singer Shannon McQuaid. Their newest song Ghost releases in May 2019, with several more new songs planned for release in the following months. The band's first song Void was released in mid-2017. Atlas Orbiter has built a following in the Atlanta scene through gigs at the Masquerade, Hard Rock Cafe, and other local venues.

Kyoto Banana Star's latest offering, the maddening "Hold Me Down" is a moon pie of indie goodness




Kyoto Banana Star hail from Victoria, British Columbia and their latest offering Hold Me Down (the first single from their upcoming EP) is a moon pie of indie goodness. Chocolate-teee on the outside with a soft gooey core. It feels sad, really but captivating too built on a kind or rough feral vocal performance accompanied by free wheeling musicianship, haphazard yet purposeful guitar strains, synths that percolate in a kind of oscillating radio static waves coming in and out sort of way, staggered drumming that can jam when needed. I like how sometimes the song sonic-ally gets lost in it's own vacuum that it creates. The song gets sad, gets maddening, more sad and more histrionic like life, like young life when the world can seem so fucking unfair.

Cool stuff-
-
Robb Donker


Nima - Vox/Keys 

Jet - Vox/Guitar 

Jorge - Guitar 

Luis - Drums 

Kai - Bass 




Thursday, May 9, 2019

iuky's "Mata Me" feels other worldly - sounds from another time or planet - see Official Video






















Mata, Me by Japanese / Spanish indie artist iuky floats through drum machine signals, angular arpeggios, tubular droning sounds that feel like mystical animals and iuky's effected voice pushed through sampling. It all feels dreamy and a bit other worldly. Sounds from far away places or planets. Cool. Check out the official video below. 

-
Robb Donker


Gentle Ivanhoe Death Skulls - trancy "Cedric" falls into deep affectionate dreams

Gentle Ivanhoe Death Skulls is a Stockholm based indie pop band. Besides possessing one of the greatest band names ever in the history of band names they craft cool and trancy pop songs that feel deeply infectious while also feeling off kilter in some way and I love that. 

Check out their latest Cedric and then their full length "Beaches" out on Hidden Bay Records.

-
Robb Donker



"Mad Behavior" - a barbed wired blues rocker by Jack Berry feels so cinematic

























Mad Behavior by Nashvilled based rocker Jack Berry is a barbed wired blues fused indie rocker that from the onset charges into your brain. Besides cutting a deep groove anchored with Berry's gritty vox it feels so utterly cinematic. It is (totally) drenched in a kind of immediacy, exploding out of the gate that gives it a deep hook filled commercial flair. I mean I could see this song as a theme for a Netflix 10 part gritty series called (of course) "Mad Behavior" or gracing a dozen Levis jeans or Jack Daniels commercials. It has that kind of cool / sultry / agro / blue rockiness of a Hanni El Khatib, etc. It is no wonder that Berry has other songs placed on Shameless. Cool stuff and this song is so stuck in my head right now.

-
Robb Donker 

PRESS NOTES:

Nashville-based rock’n’roller, Jack Berry, with "an intoxicating blend of rock and blues,” (Consequence of Sound) has garnered acclaim from American Songwriter, Blues Rock Review (Top 10 Artists to Watch in 2015, #2 album of 2014, Top 20 of 2016) The Deli Magazine (Top Ten Nashville Artists to Watch, 2016-17) Berry has also been featured in showcases by Nashville Unsigned, No Country for New Nashville, Nashville's The Buzz 102.9, Lightning 100.1 and ACME Radio. 
Originally from Reno, Nevada, Berry made Nashville home, deciding it would be key in cultivating the style and sound Berry envisioned. It wasn't long before the “ample supply of good hooks and riffs” (Nashville Scene) eventually gained the praise of critics throughout Nashville and beyond, landing on Round Hill’s writers roster and earning him spots at well-known festivals including Sloss (Birmingham), Pilgrimage, CMA, NXNE, CMJ Music Marathon (NY), SXSW, Live at Lakeview (Lake Tahoe), Nashville’s Musician’s Corner as well as being awarded the Hard Rock Cafe's North American battle of the bands champion.
Berry recently landed synch placements on Showtime’s Shameless season 9 premiere, with Marshall Speakers and a featured performance on WSMV’s Nashville Today. The sophomore effort entitled "Mean Machine" recorded at Blackbird Studios, has been called "the perfect example of an old-school genre mixing seamlessly with contemporary sound as an intoxicating blend of rock and roll" (Pop Wrapped) and earned a 9/10 from Blues Rock Review. 


Frame by L.A.'s Runnner is sophisticated alt folk that digs emotionally deep




Frame by Los Angeles based alt folk band Runnner is a hard look in the mirror and the reflections are sobering told with plaintiff harmonies hinged on acoustic guitars, banjo, swelling leads sounds, keys, drums and more. The more includes beautiful layers of more guitars, trumpets, quite heavy bass tones taking the song from what first feels like a kind of grunge soaked folk song to an orchestrated folk meets 70's chamber pop meets Americana and more. There are so many flavors and sophistication here all centered around this fractured emotional core. I can so relate to the lyrics at every turn. 

"I stay up late for nothing good... I kick myself for never sleeping... weighted down by all I should...."

Listen to all the words, the truth and the earnest seeds of hope in between the lines. Love this song

-
Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:


RUNNNER, the Los Angeles-based band, has quickly become of the best kept secrets in their music scene today. Helmed by Noah Weinman (who plays guitar for Worn-Tin and Natalie Green, as well as trumpet for DAISY) and Nate Lichtenberger (percussion/FX for Thumpasaurus), the band fuses electronic and experimental elements into their ragged, heart-on-your-sleeve folk-rock. A sound they somewhat facetiously refer to as “Bandcamp songs for Soundcloud kids.”
“We start with these honest, bedroom-folksy songs,” Weinman said. “Then we just start adding like 808’s and weird found-sounds and pretty soon it’s something totally new and exciting.”
Their debut album, Awash, crept its way through the city’s independent scene; winning over fans for their wry and sometimes devastating takes on break-ups, loneliness, grilled chicken, and minor medical procedures. 
Filling out the rest of the band is Rosie Tucker on bass, Evan Rasch on guitar, Dan Rasch on keys, and Ben McPeek & Jordan Leicht on saxophones. Their expressive live shows supporting indie stars such as Half Waif, Yoke Lore, and Field Medic, in addition to one of the most well-attended sets at LA’s Echo Park Rising Festival in 2018, have garnered a passionate, local fan base as the band aims to expand their reach nationally.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Orchestra Gold's "Mali Senekelaw" - pulsating African psyche rock / soul music will light you up




The track Mali Senekelaw by Orchestra Gold is a pulsating blend of African inspired psyche rock / soul music fueled by the charismatic Malian singer and dancer Mariam Diakité. Guitar driven rooted with Malian drumming, low rattling saxophones and Diakité's possessed vocals conjure up a tattered and torn 16 millimeter film reel of some punk driven version of an Afro funk'd Cotton Club in another time and place. The track, in fact, was engineered by bass player Luke Bace on analog tape intentionally going for a gritty, dirty sound at Coyote Hearing Studios in West Oakland, California,  "We wanted you to feel like you stepped into a Bamako music club circa 1976." The energy itself here lights up your soul. 

-
Robb Donker


Monday, May 6, 2019

Sara Rachele's tenderly torn "Dream, Dream Love"




From the very onset of Sara Rachele's spartan and intimate Dream, Dream Love, from her recently released album "Scorpio Moon", it is her raw emotions on display. Rachele's tender and torn vocals are right up front as she plays acoustic guitar quietly with reticence as if the music is an emotional afterthought just there enough to hold her up for support. It takes guts to reveal yourself in an almost acapella sort of way but then this doesn't feel like a vocal performance but more like an intimate crying conversation on a telephone to someone you are missing as you lay in bed alone from a million miles away. As I type my thoughts about this song I am on the road far from home so this song cuts me to the quick. 

Rachele premiered this stunning piece of work on Wide Open Country a bit ago and offered insight to Dream, Dream Love: 


"We have to leave the ones we love sometimes, and in this career, I've found myself having to do this more often than I'd really like to admit. 'Dream, Dream Love' is a song that is about the times when you are away from the one you love, whether physically or emotionally. I like to think that true love never pauses, and never ceases. In the moments when I'd be physically far away from the one I love, I write a lot of my work -- sometimes, really really far away from my favorite people. I often need perspective and a peaceful solitude to create, and this song is a good example of that. I wrote this little dedication to someone who was actually traveling away from my home at the time, when I was the one who was being left. I sent this song out in the night, and to me it is about the loneliness and connection that marks a lot of my professional life."
and:
"As someone who travels for a living, aligned with the folk musician/troubadour trope, I'm constantly seeing taxi drivers more than my own family, seeing the woman at the post office and the hotel clerk asking if I should cut my hair. The barman at the local cafe reads my writing, often before anyone else. This song is about being far away, but it reflects some closeness too, I hope. Even when I'm back in the U.S., whether it's Atlanta or New York, I miss the characters from my homes abroad just as much. And when I'm gone from there, I keep them in my dreams too."
-
Robb Donker

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Pocket Sounds' pop twists and turns on "Radio Song" (Official Video)




When I first heard about Pocket Sounds, the music project launched (2016) by Austin based multi-instrumentalist Mike StClair, I thought of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and in a way their are similarities to the vast pop sound Brian Wilson crafted and StClair's Radio Song. There is a fair amount of whimsy and 70's chamber pop sound. For over a decade, StClair has toured and recorded with bands including Okkervil River, The Polyphonic Spree, White Denim and more and is well know in the Austin music scene for his bass, trombone and synthesizer skills in the studio and as a live performance musician. Get lost in the pop twists and turns of Radio Song.

-
Robb Donker


Saturday, May 4, 2019

New Palace Talkies has got a "Caravan For Sale" and it sounds amazing


























New Palace Talkies (UK) is the musical project / alter ego for Tom Stevens and his effervescent indie pop rocker Caravan For Sale flows in beautifully engaging ways. Stevens aesthetic rides on personal lyrics that dip into the subconscious, purging emotional truths and trying always to be positive and empathetic. On CFS, I love the falsettos, stacked sounds and dreamy slightly askew pop artifice and in some ways this reminds me of early MGMT. Super dynamic and immersive. 

On live shows Ross Smithwick (Lonely The Brave, SecondSmile) joins in with a mix of electronic drums, looped vox and live instrumentation. New Palace Talkies is based out of Bristol, United Kingdom. 

-
Robb Donker

CLICK on SPOTIFY LINK


Simeon Hammond Dallas captivates on her declarative big alt folk statement "Attention"

Simeon Hammond Dallas is a singer-songwriter from London's Camden Town and her track Attention is a bold and vivacious alt folk track with a huge indie pop sweep riding on swelling organ synths and pedal steel sounds and Dallas' declarative voice. Her singing aesthetic is full bodied, self aware and dynamic moving into rich falsettos when her emotional arc calls for it. The punchy song feels like a testament to a woman owning her own self, sexually and emotionally with an unabashedly strong sense of self and control. 

-
Robb Donker 


Thursday, May 2, 2019

"Children's Birthday Party" by Champ Major feels bent and slightly twisted

Children's Birthday Party by Champ Major feels a bit like an old projector with a bent and slightly twisted film reel. The distortion makes the images jump and sometimes stall and sometimes causing the film to fold in on itself. The result is something so askew that it becomes utterly captivating if somewhat haunting, creepy even. I haven't fully figured out Champ Major's aesthetic but I am getting lost inside it.

-
Robb Donker
PRESS NOTES:


As a true beginner, she has adopted the name her parents spared her from at birth. Hoping that it conjures a confident attitude, she stands terrified and indebted while pursuing a degree in music in New York City. Knowing deep inside that she isn’t the football star dreamed up by her father when she was the size of a mango.
Learning to sing by standing up in a church pew yelling with old people, she finds that her work cannot be parted from close harmony, hymn melodies and tradition. This work exposes Madison as a small child standing between swampy trees in red clay with her brothers in the humid Georgia summers, and lurks behind her as a scared child in an adult body in New York almost being hit by another car.