Friday, August 23, 2019

Helenor's "Fall Off" from his debut album "Something Twice" is a cool emotional jaunt

Boston based visual artist David DiAngelis brings his vision to life sonically as Helenor and the track Fall Off from his debut LP "Something Twice" is a smile inducing celebratory indie pop track. For any song to grab you it has to have a vocal presentation that is engaging and DiAngelis's croon feels personal, albeit a bit internal and forlorn. You get the sense that he, as a singer-songwriter. is feeling each word. He and Seth Kapser, who provides drums (Mass Gothic, Christopher Owens, Hooray for Earth) and his co-production skills to the album, bring a vast chamber pop tone to this track with a super hooky keyboard line and background vox that help move the song along and it is a cool, very cool emotional jaunt. 

"Something Twice" drops today. Check out below to find particulars of Helenor's Record Release partay.

Robb Donker


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Jenny Kern's reflective "Build A Bridge" may be full of hope and doubts

You end up liking or loving a song for a myriad of reasons but most importantly it is because it moves you in some way. It could be the vocal performance or a melody that pushes buttons and makes you think of particular moments of your life or it could be for reasons that are not always clear to you at the moment. 

Build A Bridge by Canadian born, New York based Jenny Kern has from the onset a tender yet very sad vibe. That sadness is present in the sound of the guitar and the rushed feel of the cadence but mostly it is Kern's vocal performance that has a sense of resolution but reticence too. You get the sense that things have been tough through the "fight" and "tears" and things feel untidy. In Kern's sad reflective voice one wonders if there are doubts in her words when she sings "... things will get better." We have all been there. 

Robb Donker


According to A&R Factory, with her first single Jenny Kern, “the Canadian-born, New York-based singer-songwriter hasn’t failed to amass plenty of attention with the magnetic vocal style and emotively piercing lyricism contained within Slow Burn. And it really isn’t hard to hear the appeal. Written within the melancholy of the candid and poignant lyricism is a generous serving of catharsis which will ensure that long after this track has faded out, the haunting introspective will stay with you.” 
Jenny performed around Montreal during University before moving to NYC in 2013 where she started as a page at NBC and quickly worked her way up to producer in the film and television industry. In 2018 Jenny decided to take a leap of faith and pursue full time her passion for music and songwriting. Drawing on her own experiences, her songs unfold through a confessional-style delivery revealing the strength that can only come through vulnerability. 
"It’s almost cathartic, sharing emotion. Being open is not an easy feat for anyone. I want people to know that these songs come from an honest place. We all struggle to find comfort in ourselves while being open to the unexpected.”
In the fall of 2018, she recorded her debut EP and began performing at notable venues around New York City including Rockwood Music Hall and The Bitter End. Jenny’s debut EP is an intimate collection of songs from years of self-reflection on her personal experience with self-doubt, regret and the search for comfort in painful seasons.
In January 2019 she released her debut single, which received wide acclaim and immediately found an international audience on streaming platforms. 
“Jenny is expressive in her seriousness of her lyrics, she shows all the cards. Every ratchet of emotions, describes her struggles and valiant efforts to conquer. We are human, and Jenny understands. This experiment, called life, is hard. Jenny’s songs and storytelling makes things better.” - comeherefloyd
Shortly after she released her debut EP in April 2019, she was invited on her first international tour in Europe and was featured on MTV. “It’s been a whirlwind journey so far. One I would never have expected to happen so quickly. I hope to continue writing music that is new and different, resonating with people around the world.”
Jenny is currently touring across North America building a diverse and loyal fan base while continuing to write and record new music set for release early next year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Personal Update: Need a full 18 hours a day, AMC's "The Terror Infamy" as a disturbing diversion. Songwriting Fix

I haven't done any songwriting in a while but put on my 
yellow tinted sunglasses for inspiration as I do not own rose colored ones. As of late, while big changes are approaching 
my diversions have been AMC's "The Terror- Infamy" which 
in turn has gotten me delving into that time period and horrific decisions made 
by men of power fueled by ignorance, racism and just not 
being very smart or logical. Also been researching the terrible injustice inflicted upon German Americans around the same 
time and the cases of violence and even deaths that occured 
at the hands of mobs fueled by violence laced diatribes from 
the highest reaches of the government. Oh, we have gotten 
better as a people but those at the top have not, sadly to say. 
Like I said, lots of changes coming. Some incredible artists 
as of late on the American Pancake blog and the Pizzandfries 
blog and merch is coming, I swear. #late #confiscate #love #drugs #goldengate 

apologize for this rather sloppy paste up of a recent 
Instagram update on
the going's on in my head as of late and the subject of the
Japanese American (and German American) internment
by our government during world war 2 has been in my 
thoughts lately. I am formulating some sort of Opinion piece
about it or, at least, hope I can as my thinking has been
fragmented lately with so much going on and feeling a bit
burned out. I am thinking my blood sugar might be out of
wack and affecting my overall well being and thus my overall
lact of through put. I have to make sure this changes, and 
will start an exercise program to hopefully keep me active.
I need the full 18 hours of each and every day to make the
progress I need to make. 
Cheers, be good and happy out there.

"Room To Breath" by L.A. based Isle & Fever is dream pop on high

Room To Breath by Los Angeles based Isle & Fever feels like running away from or to something or someone. The sound of the synth keys feel whimsical and the overall tone power pop-ish, it exists in some shiny pop vacuum somewhere with Giorgio Moroder, Limahll and AHA orbiting close by.

Donald Eley and Tiger Smith are Isle & Fever crafting their inspirations in their basement studio in Echo Park. For those of you who don't know, this area of L.A. has some magical qualities. I don't know exactly why. No one does but it is true and a perfect spot for these guys.

When they play live (love to see them) they are backed by Antoine Diligent (bass / guitar / keys) and Thomas Bowden (drums). Cool.  

Robb Donker


isle&fever is a duo from Echo Park, Los Angeles that creates original songs from their basement studio control center. Their method is simple and fluid: pass around vintage instruments and the mic until a vibe catches. Rinse, Repeat. In the process, each song becomes an adventure, often comprised of many parts that rarely look back.  
Donald Eley and Tiger Smith share a passion for the beat-driven classics of the 70’s and 80’s, while constantly embracing the new sonic textures of the 21st Century. They first started playing together in The Sea of Cortez and then founded the project Blacks&. isle&fever will be releasing their debut EP in 2017, which will be available on all online stores and in vinyl format from Stratford Ct. isle&fever are backed by Antoine Diligent (bass / guitar / keys) and Thomas Bowden (drums) on stage.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"What If I?" by North Carolina based Young Mister might just sweep you away in it's arms

What If I? by North Carolina based Young Mister, the musical moniker of singer-songwriter Steven Fiore is a breezy indie folk swept track the chugs along with a wanderlust heart. Propelled on percussion and an easy beat it swings and sways on country tranced guitar lines but the heart of the song is Fiore's beautiful voice that is laced with a sort of bedroom eyed romance riding the rails between the iconic effortless coolness of Rick Nelson (R.I.P) and the roots rockish earnestness of Kevin Morby. Love this song. 

His upcoming album Sudden Swoon is due out in September (2019).

Robb Donker


Young Mister, aka North Carolina-based singer-songwriter Steven Fiore, has been stitching songs together out of the tossed-off scraps of life for over a decade now. Through an 8-year stint writing for Universal Music Publishing Group, to collaborations with artists as varied as Art Garfunkel and Ryan Cabrera, to sharing stages internationally with the likes of Albert Lee, Jeff Goldblum, Pete Yorn and Lori McKenna, to independently garnering over 8 million streams across Spotify and Apple Music, his eye for detail and ear for melody has always had a habit of disarming and charming music lovers worldwide. He writes like a journalist assigned to cover the human heart; no bombast, no hyperventilating, just honest truths about love and life that can only be expressed through the inscrutable alchemy of a song — and with his newest collection, Sudden Swoon, he might have accidentally reinvented not only himself but the entire process of releasing an album in the modern age.
Armed with a small but loyal fanbase, and with a creeping feeling of disillusionment towards the music business growing in his stomach, Fiore wrote the songs that would become Sudden Swoon without knowing how, or even if he’d release them. They paint the corners of the landscape from a life teetering between youth and middle age, love that’s balanced on a shaking tightrope, and dreams that seem to turn to smoke every time they get close enough to grasp. It’s harrowing, relatable stuff. As an album with its own identity started to take shape, and the songs kept coming, he realized that just throwing them online and reaping the streams would be less than the music deserved, so he partnered up with some good friends at Refresh Records and the Young Mister Record Club was born.
While he worked on the tracks in his home studio (affectionately dubbed ‘The Study’), he also posted demos online to record club members almost as soon as they were written. After sharing twenty songs, he let the members vote on which would get the full studio treatment and a slot on the album. While this kind of crowdsourcing could be anxiety-inducing, it was also liberating, and it galvanized that fan base into an even more personal connection with Young Mister’s music. Now set for release in September of 2019, with a finalized track list full of some of his sharpest writing yet, Sudden Swoon is poised to further the career of an artist whose literate, emotional pop songs always seem to find their audience, one way or another. 

MBG, a one girl rock band churns out "What You've Done To Me" from her debut EP "Have A Alright Day"

What You've Done To Me by MBG, the one girl alt rock project of Leena Rodriguez out of Toronto is spartan stripped down rock with sharp edges albeit sort of pushed through power pop filters and while parts can feel safe and sound there are heavy forays into alternative and classic rock sounds with real punch too. Leena is a singer-songwriter / multi-instrumentalist and true one girl rock outfit. She produces her songs in her bedroom studio. Check out her YOU TUBE channel where she performs covers and originals handling bass, drums, guitar and vox all by herself. And Leena is not a control freak, she also collabs and plays live with Raf Callejas (bass) and Michael Friedman (drums).

From her debut EP "Have A Alright Day"

Robb Donker


Under the name of an Alt Rock recording project, Leena is a multi-instrumentalist that writes, records, performs and has very recently produce her own music in her bedroom studio. new in the songwriting game, she has explored in between the genres of classic/punk rock and blues to folk and jazz. 
Her upcoming debut EP will reflect on her bridging in between those genres but over the past year, she has solidified her sound and has gone back to what got her to pick up the guitar in first place; being a one woman rock band.

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Fire" by Bad Flamingo plays in and out of the shadows and is in Yellowstone Season 2

Fire by Bad Flamingo exists in vast places. The spartan song slow burns with sparse guitar lines that mirror evocative vocal melodies and beautiful harmonies. The groove courtesy of a drum machine and banjo sounds, bass and percussive guitar is lush but it is also the spaces in between those sounds that feel so alluring. The song exists mysteriously between a haunting seance with sprinkles of eeriness or a sultry come on behind masks or a dangerous stranger riding slowly into town. 

Fire is in Yellowstone Season 2 (that also plays light and dark) on the Paramount Network. Bravo Bad Flamingo.

Robb Donker

Sunday, August 18, 2019

L.A. based Repenter and the deeply feral rock crunch of "So Sick" is a rare thing indeed

So Sick by L.A. based rock duo Repenter has got the feral heavy metal / post punk flesh and bones that instantly and intensely sent shivers skating up my skin. It is one of those short bursts of rock that you simply can't, CANNOT, turn up loud enough. My mouth dropped open when I heard Holly Winter's vocal performance. Her aesthetic, that seems so naturally abrasive (in the best possible way), erupts over a musical rock bed with crunchy guitar provided by her partner in crime Thomas Scriven. The music has (to me) a decidedly muscular 80's / early 90's / blend of iconic outfits like Thin Lizzy, Quiet Riot, Janes Addiction (to name a few) and Winter's vocal sound- so exquisitely bad ass made me think of a blend of Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) and Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde). I have always contended that vocal character supersedes vocal chops when it comes to a truly gripping rock voice and while Winter has both, the character of her sound feels so potent while feeling a bit road worn at the same time. She has an iconic raw, real sound that can't be faked or learned and I love that.  

"So Sick" is a sardonic examination of the vanity of influencer culture as seen through the insightful eyes of these L.A. transplants. Repenter call out the selfie driven society we live in and the unfulfilled emptiness it's left the world with. This leaves us with the hitting single "So Sick" - a song produced the way that rock bands they respect made records, live to tape, which is a lost art. Holly adds, "I was writing for myself and anyone else that needs heartburn relief from overexposure to today's social media shitshow grab bag."
The duo's upcoming EP is due out this fall and I can't wait.
Robb Donker 

Yellow Shoots' sultry funky psychedelic "Possessed" will quell those "riots in your mind"

Possessed by Brooklyn based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalis and producer Yellow Shoots (the musical moniker for Greg Matthews) is a funky stew injected with stabs of guitar licks, high register sultry vocal come ons and delicious distorted bass lines wrapped around a beat. Matthews like to blend in tinges of psychedelia in his hip hop rooted vibe enhanced by analog tape delays and flangers filtering the guitar and vox. 

Press notes reveal:

The song enters vulnerable territory for Yellow Shoots aka Greg Matthews as he weaves a narrative of surrendering to the feelings of zero control and what he describes as the ‘riot in my mind.’ Matthews explained, “I wrote this song during a moment where I felt things spinning out and all I could do was succumb to it and trust that it would pass.” 
Possessed signals the first of single from his next EP coming in the Fall.
Robb Donker

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Gabriel Delicious's art pop declaration "Road Dogs" feels like a diorama of life on the road

Gabriel Delicious's art pop declaration Road Dogs feels like a diary or diorama of life on the road, of living out of your suitcase and surviving on ketchup packets when you have to. All the while the stories are dressed up in lush lead guitars and melodies in this kind of intoxicated drug baked vibe with heavy doses of art power pop and glam things happening. I love Gabriel's sing-songish approach to his style which has a tinge of squinty eyed cynicism, maybe even a bit of condescension, not in a better than you way but in a disdain for life itself ie: wanting more sort of way. That might just me projecting but it is worth saying. Loving the sound. If we lose our lust for life and curiosity and / or anger of what life is we are nothing at all really. 

Robb Donker


Delicious is masking anxiety with lyrical humor and overcompensating discomfort with cheeky expression. These songs recall the playful idiosyncrasy of Randy Newman or Lou Reed over a loosely tucked bed of irreverent-tinged-mellow-punk.