Friday, January 18, 2019

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






















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

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Robb Donker




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

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

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

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Robb Donker


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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

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

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Robb Donker

From Grand Am's Facebook:

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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

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

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

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Robb Donker



Monday, January 14, 2019

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

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


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Robb Donker 


Sunday, January 13, 2019

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

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

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

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Robb Donker


categories

Heavy Hands' "Spark" feels like a heavy lullaby

























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

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Robb Donker


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

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

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


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Robb Donker



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

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

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Robb Donker


Saturday, January 12, 2019

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

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

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


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Robb Donker

PRESS NOTES:

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

The dates in full are as follows:


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