Wednesday, July 31, 2013

LIVE Review- PAPA, NO, and LA FONT at Figat7th Downtown Festival 7/26/13

Headliner - PAPA:

After one of the most awful and arduous drives into LA on the 110 that crawled along like molasses in winter the plaza that is home to Figat7th Downtown Festival felt like heaven especially once the night descended and Papa took the stage. Playing passionate music that has all the earthiness and full on rock and roll power of Springsteen but with darker tones played in the midst of skyscrapers shooting up around them felt dramatic to say the least. Judging by the legions of girls who were pressed up against the stage, lead singer and drummer Darren Weiss low commanding voice oozes sex appeal. When they started with the totally rousing Put Me To Work it felt like a collective shot of adrenalin right into our hearts. Brother Evan, a stellar guitarist punches up the down beats, bassist Danny Presant jamming up on his toes and Alex Fishchel pounding on the keys. The tone was set.

 As they shifted into the stirring If You're My Girl I think I heard every girls heart skip a beat. The song with it's stirring synth bed and somber lead lines felt embraceable under the stars. Darren addressed the audience saying how great it was to be back in LA- their home town, how they live down the street really. He kept it loose and mentioned how many lovely ladies there were in the crowd. I wondered if it was easier being a bit flirtatious behind a drum kit. After the playful almost 50's sock hop feel of Let's Make You Pregnant  a girl in the audience asked him to marry her at which point Darren told her it could not be as he has a girlfriend (thank you).

I stepped way back to the depths of the plaza when they performed Young Rut (one of the songs on their upcoming debut full length "Tender Madness" due out in October) and with it's choppy rhythm, alternating shuffle beats and big chorus it sounded totally anthemic and was quite frankly awe inspiring. Ain't It So with Evan Weiss's sparkly guitar had people dancing. I have always loved Collector from their EP- A Good Woman is Hard To Find. After the first verse and musical break, Darren stopped the song cold saying, "We, we will go on in a minute but before we do I just got to know.... Los Angeles, are you with us tonight?" to arousing applause and woops- "The Hell yeah. We are with you too." Touches like this, even if planned added a gravitas to their connection with their audience which is already such a potent thing. They edged right into "Because The Night" (written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen) and finished the night with Lion King.

Papa makes music that at times feels like hymns, rock and roll hymns and seeing them perform under the stars with building rising up like Cathedrals made me feel like I was in the Church of Papa and now, brothers and sisters, I have been converted.

(photos courtesy of Alyssa Holland)
PAPA, NO, LA FONT Flikr photo set 


I had first seen NO at the Jubilee several weeks ago and as wonderful as they were something was missing. Oh, yeah it was the audience and it wasn't the fact that they were performing, it was the fact that for whatever reason, the Jubilee crowds did not turn out like before. Be that as it may, they were well received by the small crowd that turned up to hear them. At the Figat7th stage lead vocalist Bradley Carter played to a crowd eager to see them. No's music has a decidedly 90's feel, with jagged guitar and bouncy bass lines. Bradley's voice has a cool slow burnish quality with a tinge of Paul Banks creeping in from time to time. Their songs like Another Life have melodies that feel a bit tattered and torn, lush and almost cinematic in scope. The songs can feel a bit too epic at times for a hardened cynic like me but I cannot deny their emotional tug and inherent romantic edge.


At the start of this review I mentioned the absolutely horrid traffic I had encountered heading to the Figat7th venue and unfortunately I was able to catch only one song (if that) from La Font. It is a damn shame because I liked what little I heard. The lead vocalist had a raised lip snarl, the music edgy indie rock with pervasive spaghetti western guitars. Hope to see them in full in the future.
Robb Donker
photos by Alyssa Holland

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Punk In The Trunk Bootlegs Vol 1 - Live compilation - FREE DNLD

New record label- Punk In The Trunk is offering a FREE digital dnld of their first pending CD release entitled: PUNK in the TRUNK Bootlegs Vol 1 and the name is an apt one because like bootlegs the performances were captured via your basic hand held recorder. In this case a Zoom H2N Digital recorder. YES, it is rough around the edges but it is a PUNK compilation after all. I used to use a Zoom Q3 to record stereo audio  and ok video and I can tell you that these little machines kick ass. In fact, some of these recordings are surprisingly well rendered. Recorded at the famed Burger Records in Fullerton, California it features bands and one lone stand up comic. I have always liked live recording whether it be a boom box in the corner on cassette back in the day or a sweet little digital unit. It is like eavesdropping, it is raw, real, a slice of life.

Everything on this album is worth checking out. My particular favs are Heller Keller doing XXXistential and Cereal Killer, Traps PS doing To the Heart and Tradition, Great Ghosts doing Bedwritten (which kind of sounds like a Punk Moses Campbell) and Cool Talk, Suzy's Dead doing Fuck July and Graphic Garrett, the lone stand up comic has some interesting and funny observations though he is not graphic at all.

Once again, this is a free download or "name your price" so dig in your pockets and give something if you can.

Robb Donker

Monday, July 29, 2013

Viva Pomona - Music Festival- July 27th- Absolute Best Summer Bang for the Buck-!

(Tim Hatch from The Lovely Bad Things)

Young stalwart promoter Rene Contreras and his team put together a very sweet summer treat in the arts district of Downtown Pomona. Previous Viva's have always used the legendary Glasshouse as the festivals hub and then used other side venues like Aladdin Jr as additional stages. This time around Rene decided to utilize the outside small amphitheater directly across from The Glasshouse (deemed the Thomas Stage) as well as a stage situated between those historic stone planters across from Glasshouse Records (deemed the Radical Stage). The Glasshouse has been going through improvements over the past year and now the stage has pretty projectors that cast psychedelic images mirrored from whomever is playing on stage. The Viva team also dolled up the stage with party ballons. The Radical Stage was punked out spray can paint on bedsheets and the Thomas Stage was prettied up with hundreds of flowers that eventually ended up strewn about, the flowers being picked up by audience members and often times given to the performers.

On a day where hundreds of attendees were undoubtedly siphoned off to the US Open of Surfing who probably had 70,000 mostly young people, Viva still brought in admirable numbers. Tickets running from $15 to $18 depending on where and when you purchased, Viva was the single best Summer Bang for the Buck with 23 bands performing. The outside stages were basically free to the public anyway but even if you were to only include the bands at the Glasshouse where a ticket was required it was well worth the price of admission for the amount of varied talent from the headliners The Allah Las to Milk Music to the Lovely Bad Things, Mrs Magician, San Pedro El Cortez and Ruptures.

This musical affair also had elements that many other festivals do not. Ins and outs allowed, freedom to roam wherever you want, not being held hostage to expensive food trucks and the open access allowed friends who held tickets to attend with friends who did not. It was a super chill atmosphere that invited a community spirit and bekoned people to hang out, so much so, in fact that the flow patterns, the traffic in the venues was sometimes surprising and impossible to predict. Ticket held (or comped ) attendees hovered around 700 with free attendees probably adding about an additional 200 but often times The Glasshouse would feel underpopulated for certain bands. Mrs Magician who played a great set felt a bit sparse for the caliber of talent on the stage as did 100 Flowers. The Lovely Bad Things pulled in an enthusiastic 250 to 300 ( first act of the day to induce crowd surfing)  and The Allah Las easily drew in 500 plus but Milk Music played to a small crowd while at the same time Sea Lions performed to a packed street on the Radical Stage. Weighing one band on a well established label (Fat Possum) versus the other on so called lesser labels, it felt like a David and Goliath story of sorts. One can say that some of the outside acts having more bodies around them was due to the fact that the outside venues were free but that is simply not the case because the paid bodies were there in attendance. I must also say that the Radical Stage was an inviting place. The stone flower beds made for great places to sit and chill. You could light up a cigarette and talk to your friends as the music enveloped you. It was the house party spot. In any event, the musical democracy was in full force- people casting their ballot for who they wanted to support wherever they played. One thing is crystal clear, one report (by a major publication) of the Glasshouse never having more than 20 or 50 people at any given moment is utterly false and on it's face ridiculous.

I enjoyed so many acts and missed too many. Late Nite Howl was as vulnerable as his music at one point stated that he was a bit nervous which made him even more endearing. Surf Club played sounds that infused 80's romantic wave music into elements of shoe gaze like the Cure meets My Bloody Valentine. While I have not fully succumbed to the Aquadolls admitted charms it is evident that the crowd thoroughly adores them and this band aims to please. GRMLN puts out solid punk pop full of catchy melodies and tempos that energize you from the inside out. I like their set a lot. Mrs Magician played a killer set and while I wished the room was more filled out I nevertheless enjoyed every bit of them. Wild Pack Of Canaries was that special chocolate morsel in the Sees Candy Box. The progressive art rock was electric, manic and spoke to me. Sea Lions were maybe the most chill band playing indie sounds with surf guitar and vocals tinged with a lovelorn vibe. Milk Music's grunge punkish sounds felt more solid rock, sometimes even boogie rockish live but it fully gets you head banging. You Me & Us were incredibly fun to experience. There was something about Carlee Hendrix in her book wormish attire savagely bending wads of screaming distortion out of her guitar that was so very awesome. Combining the heavy guitar sounds with pop melodies and potent bass and drums is a combustible combination. Moses Campbell somehow didn't look right on that small outside stage, it was too bright, too clean and too much NOT like the Smell in LA but they stilled kicked out awesome sounds. Tomorrow's Tulips held court on the Radical Stage with Spencer from the Allah Las doing the sound.  Alex Knost had surfed heats in the US open of Surfing in Huntington Beach that same day only to woo us with his Lou Reed-ish swoon under the stars at Viva. Very... very cool.

Others memorable moments. I Can Chase Dragons who were flown in from Mexico City are two guys who produce infectious loop based experimental pop songs. Upbeat, fun, energetic, prancersize on Redbull that puts you in a happy head space. I really like them. The Lovely Bad Things debuted two brand new songs which was exciting to hear. Both well received, one diverted a bit from their current sound with a funky bass hook and almost heavy metal guitar. A bit of metal meets a bit of funk meets post punk pop. I was graciously asked not to You Tube the new songs (maybe because they are works in progress, I dunno) but look out for them. Writer, those brothers from San Diego way, played a super cool set on the Thomas Stage. They get better every time I see them. The Special Guest were the Gabba Gabba Heys, a Ramones tribute band. I knew they were going to be on the bill since the Jubilee festival and I wasn't thrilled with the idea. A recent random tweet I saw put it best:

27 Jul
The "special guest" at viva pomona is a ramones cover band. No offense but f I wanted to see a cover band I'd go to a wedding or bar mitzvah

Please let it be know that my hard fast rule is that I fucking hate tribute bands of any sort. That being said, the room was filled up nicely during their set and I saw many people singing along, crowd surfing and enjoying them. As serious as I take my blogging duties (ok I kinda take them seriously) I totally missed the Allah Las. If you don't already know but their drummer was awol for quite some time which delayed their set time by 45 minutes. At one point I imagined that Matt was in a local motel bathtub full of ice and missing a kidney.  One of the people I drove to the venue was not feeling well and try as I did to delay leaving I ended up missing the headliner. I have seen them at least five times and I am sure they were thoroughly enjoyed. When I left the room was packed in nicely as San Pedro El Cortez took the stage to stall for the headliners. 

Other sweet occurances. I met Spencer from the Allah Las and we had a really nice conversation. Interviewed the guys from Wild Pack of Canaries as wells as Surf Club and it was awesome. Met and spoke to Bethany Cosentino every so briefly walking down the sidewalk from the box office. She was very cool.

Bands I hated missing: Ruptures, Crater Creator, Bronson Caves, Bad Suns and Colleen Green.

Viva Pomona is a music festival that is growing, maturing, changing, shifting and finding it's way just like it's young creator. I look forward to it every year.
Robb Donker

I will post full video performances soon but for now you can check out this sampler video
: Viva Pomona 2013 Sampler

Photos by Alyssa Holland
(click to blow up)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wild Pack Of Canaries- Talk Influences, Record Release Party, and those "Sexual Sounds"

Viva Pomona like any music festival (small or large) is about experiencing the bands you already love and finding new sounds to fall in love with. I met 4/5th of Wild Pack of Canaries who hail from Long Beach, California and conducted an impromptu interview. The conversation rambled over influences, things to come and those "sexual sounds." Hopefully next time around I can speak to guitarist / vocalist J.P. Bendzinski as well.
-Robb Donker

Wild Pack of Canaries is Rudy De Anda (Vocals / Guitar), Alfred Hernandez (Drums / Keys), Matisse Ibarra (Manipulator), J.P, Bendzinski (Guitar / Vocals) and Miguel Vazques (Bass)

The Wild Pack Of Canaries Record Release on Lolipop Records will be at the Smell in LA on Aug. 2nd with Crystal Antlers, The Electric Magpie from San Francisco and Your Ugly Sister.

Friday, July 26, 2013




In Guards We Trust 
"One of the year's best albums." - Wall Street Journal
Guards are excited to announce that they will be joining Queens of the Stone Age on tour this fall, kicking off September 10 in Toronto. Afterwards, Guards will head overseas for a four week trek supporting MGMT on their European run. On tour in support of their acclaimed new album In Guards We Trust, Guards has spent most of the year on the road, including outings with Alt-J, Palma Violets, Best Coast, and Portugal.The Man as well as show-stopping sets at Coachella, SXSW and Primavera Sound. The band is currently gearing up to perform at Lollapalooza, Osheaga Festival, and FYF Festival. See below for more details.
Guards recently performed three songs from their new album on's "Tiny Desk" series. Watch it here:

In Guards We Trust has received overwhelming acclaim since its release earlier this year. Esquire named the band one of "15 Music Artists to Watch in 2013" and Vogue selected them as "Band of the Week," with additional praise coming from Stereogum, Pitchfork, Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, and Elle, among others. The music video for their hit single "Ready To Go" premiered a few months back across multiple channels at MTV (MTV2, MTVu, MTV Buzzworthy Blog, MTV Hive and and can be viewed here. Their highly-buzzed SXSW appearances earned them a spot at the top of several festival roundups, including NPR Music, who selected the band as one of "15 Essential Moments From SXSW 2013," praising, "I walked across the street to the Empire Control Room, toward the sound of good, strong, guitar-laden pop...I loved what I was hearing."

Founded in New York City by singer Richie Follin, Guards also features Kaylie Church and Loren Humphrey.
(Click HERE for ticket information)

August 2 - Montreal, Canada @ Osheaga Festival 2013
August 4 - Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza 2013
August 4 - Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza Aftershow (w/ Alt-J)
August 24 - Monterey, CA @ First City Festival
August 25 - Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest 2013

w/ Queens of the Stone Age
September 10 - Toronto, Canada @ Air Canada Centre
September 12 - Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore Detroit
September 13 - Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion
September 14 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
September 15 - Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion
September 17 - Indianapolis, IN @ The Murat Theater at Old National Centre 
September 18 - Louisville, KY @ Louisville Palace
September 19 - Charlotte, NC @ The Uptown Amphitheatre at The Music Factory  
September 20 - Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

September 26 - Cologne, Germany @ Live Music Hall
September 27 - Brussels, Belgium @ AB
September 29 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Cirkus
September 30 - Oslo, Norway @ Sentrum Scene
October 1 - Vesterbro/Kongens Enghavem, Denmark @ VEGA Main Hall
October 3 - Berlin, Germany @ Astra Kulturhaus
October 4 - Vienna, Austria @ Gasometer
October 5 - Munich, Germany @ Kesselhaus
October 6 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Komplex 457
October 8 - Paris, France @ Olympia
October 9 - Hamburg, Germany @ Docks
October 10 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Vredenburg Leidsche
October 12 - Glasgow, UK @ O2 ABC
October 13 - Wolverhampton, UK @ Civic Hall
October 14 - Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo Manchester
October 16 - London, UK @ Forum
October 19 - Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia Theatre

You can pick up the new album In Guards We Trust on iTunes HERE

For more information, please visit Guards online:
Official Website  l  Facebook  l  Twitter  l  Spotify  l  Rdio  l  Instagram

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Viva Pomona Bands Featured on American Pancake Radio-- LISTEN and the Join us on Saturday at Viva Pomona!!

If you listen to this Viva Pomona Sampler featuring many of the bands that will be performing on three stages
you will undoubtedly get OFF YOUR ASS and join us at VIVA POMONA-- It will be one of the defining musical moments in So. Cal this SUMMER- !!!!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Album Review: "am" by Ovlov- "A virulent strain of moody badass rock"

Ovlov's debut album "am" should have a warning label on it that says "If wearing headphones use extreme Caution as this record may cause musical vertigo and temporary hearing loss." It will undoubtedly plant a smile across your face as well. When I heard the first track Grapes I thought of My Bloody Valentine, specifically the song When You Sleep. It is not that the songs sound alike but the thick guitars on the edge of dissonance coupled with kinda sad boy / girl vocals (Sadie Dupuis guest vocals) pulled my mind in the MBV direction.  Comparisons can both be a blessing and a curse but in Ovlov's case this particular observation is only a compliment. In fact the MBV feel does flow throughout the album but more covertly than overtly. Many of the songs have shoegazish elements but most divert straight into potent forms of grunge punk and even indie pop (well sorta). I can't help but think that if Kevin Shields was a skater kid his sonic persona might sound like Ovlov. Let's just say that Ovlov's sound is full of musical textures and genre's mutated into a pretty virulent strain of moody badass rock.

As the full force of grungy punk of songs like The Well, Nu Punk and Blue Baby may numb you into submission, Where's My Dini? has the languid grungy indie stupor (and loveliness) of Nirvana, Weezer and Speedy Ortiz. It is lush in it's distortion and heavy in sweet bitter memories. Milk too feels angsty and wallows in fuzz as much as off kilter melodies. The guitar break is a freaking beautiful cacophony of lead lines floating in and out of the massive mess of noise, the notes bending as if the player's fingers are tied to the tremolo with rubber bands. Really Bees and There's My Dini! both have a particular distraught and heavy feel and kind of remind me of the Pixies in a structural / tonal sort of way. Really Bees descends into a hellish brew of double time beats and fury. It feels like a street fight, unrelenting and crazy. There's My Dini! is a dynamic feast of full on attacking guitars and spartan sections with sweet open sounds- lyrics that can sound like maniacal ramblings in one instance and melodic vocals in another, "you sit me by and wish me all the worst... run and see me high."

The last track The Great Alligator appropriately ends as "am" began with a lot of dissonant rhythm shifts steeped in a blend of abstract shoegazey indie bliss that eventually builds (or descends) into a wonderful cluster of distorted leads and squealing feedback. There is much to love on this album. Steve, Theo and Jon Hartlett have crafted sounds that can easily put your brain in a dense distorted (and grungy) Seattle fog.
Robb Donker

Ovlov is:
Steve Hartlett - guitars/vocals
Theo Hartlett - drums
Jon Hartlett - bass

Andy Chervenak plays bass on track 7
Devin McKnight plays guitar on tracks 5 and 9
Sadie Dupuis sings on tracks 1, 2, 4, and 8
Michael John Thomas III plays guitar on track 7 

You can stream "am" here: Ovlov Bandcamp

PAPA, NO and LA FONT- FREE SHOW at FIGAT7TH Downtown Festival - Friday, July, 26th 2013

NO LA Font

Friday, July 26
Opener: 7pm
Headliner: 8:15pm
Cash Bar by Sapporo 
Bites Available at TASTE Eateries
Happy Hour | 5:30pm
After Party | 9:30pm

Check out our FIGat7th Downtown Festival playlist!


There’s a poetic purity that runs through the songs of PAPA, suggesting devious truths and well told lies, rolling along with a natural swagger that thoughtlessly evokes hard-hitting shakes and slow-swinging shimmies. Darren Weiss’ earnest vibrato often takes on a Springsteen-like growl in its best moments, crooning reminiscences on “I Am The Lion King” when he sings, “I got to make a you a woman/You got to make me a man.” In each song’s groove there’s a dangerous sexiness to PAPA-the furious grip of the dance floor, the cold pavement outside, and the way you kiss when you’re not sure you’ll ever see the person again or whether you’d even want to.


LA’s Echo Park neighborhood has a lot of bands living in its hills, but none of them sound anything like NO. The band pits frontman Bradley Hanan Carter’s baritone against mesmerizing drumming and richly textured guitar, bass and keyboard to create complex and atmospheric melodies that mine the same musical vein as Arcade Fire. (Time Magazine)

LA Font

LA Font (pronounced like “elephant”) is an indie rock band from the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The quartet is often compared to Pavement for Danny Bobbe’s sincere but barbed lyrics and the band’s scrappy garage rock arrangements. Bobbe’s charismatic, sneering live performance persona has also earned the band recognition, with the L.A. Times writing that he is “a front man worth the cost of admission alone.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Album Review: Nature's Son Self Titled Album - An Expansive Musical Trip

The self titled album by Rancho Cucamonga, California's Nature's Son contain indie sounds drenched in 60's R & B and psychedelic roots rock and often times feels like a live house party. It makes for a potent and passionate record. If you put iconic 60's artists like Booker T and the MGs, The Kingsmen, Them, Eddie Cochran, the Doors, and Bob Dylan (yes- if he was a punker) PLUS copious amounts of beer in a huge sonic blender and hit liquefy the musical brew would sound like Nature's Son (for the most part, I'll get to that later).

Whether it is the folk-ish Transience with a cool vocal by Steven Moctezuma (guitar/ lead vocals) whose voice is awash in a kind of hangover haze or the almost punk rockabilly swagger of Call It Anything with Daniel Bonilla handling lead vocals (drums /vocals) or Cali Snob that descends into this hollow groove of dirty psychedelic guitars and organ strains- all the music feels real and raw in a good way. Te Quiero and You Gotta Move wear the 60's R&B rock persona front and center with long jams, solid walking bass lines by Daniel Moctezuma (bass / vocals) and a Farfisa sounding organ sound courtesy of David Von Hegedus (Guitar / organs / vocals). Te Quiero has the lazy sun soaked indie shuffle of a band like the Allah Las but decidedly grittier, more distorted and frankly more bad ass. It is like Corona versus Jack Daniels. Or a 1966 Dodge Dart versus a 68 Dodge Charger RT.

While I did say the album has a 60's feel there are a few exceptions. Unaware to me has a decidedly more post punk indie feel- with powerful drum beats and stirring keys. In a similar way, I'm Still Here stirs in catchy indie rock with elements more akin to the Stooges meets Tropical Punk. Dozing which in some distant way has such a sweet vibe conjuring up bands like Interpol and the Cure even. I love this song and how the tempo ramps down as the guitars counter play some really elegant melodies. It is dreamy and airy and a wonderful way to end a super solid album. Nature's Son is an album that engages you from start to finish. There is a bipolar nature to it though, a shift in tone but it doesn't bother me in the least because each musical half exhibits solid song writing stuffed full of instrumental and vocal passion. In the end, it is an expansive musical trip worth taking.

Nature's Son:
Steven Moctezuma - Guitar/ vocals
Daniel Moctezuma - Bass/vocals
David Von Hegedus - Organ/guitar/ Vocals
Danny Bonilla - Drums/ Vocals on tracks "call it anything" and "Cali Snob"

Robb Donker

You can stream the album here: Nature's Son Bandcamp
Nature's Son Facebook 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Best Albums REALLY (?) of 2013 So Far - American Pancake's Favorites

Are "BEST OF" LISTS Stupid...?

It seems to be that time of year when all sorts of music blogs and publications issue their "BEST OF 2013" lists. "Best of lists" kind of irk me because there is obviously no "best" album since all these lists are based on totally subjective tastes and criteria. You could definitely say most sold or most successful but BEST, naw... it makes absolutely no sense. Also saying the word BEST seems to suggest that this or that publication has listened to every new album of every genre that has been published this year (so far). With all the self-published albums on Bandcamp and other sites I really doubt that any one single blog or person has accomplished this rare feet.

Some blogs break down the list into BEST INDIE ALBUM or BEST DREAM POP ALBUM, etc. which is even more disconcerting because then one has to ask who came up with the definition of these genres(?). What all these writers should simply say is that of the albums they have listened to these are their favorite albums so far this year. I think favorite is a better word, more honestly stated and it doesn't sound so pompous. This all being said, I do find myself checking out such lists if for no other reason than I might find some great music that I didn't know about.

So while the following albums are not my BEST OF list, they certainly are my FAVORITE albums of 2013 so far. My criteria was simple: of so many albums that I listened to WHICH albums did I come back to repeatedly time after time. Which album touched me in some emotional way that I had to crank it up in my office, in the kitchen, in the car and as I lay down to go to sleep. So without further adieu:

AMERICAN PANCAKE'S FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2013 (SO FAR and in no particular order) 

The Growlers-
 Hung at Heart
 AP: As much as I have enjoyed The Growlers over the years at live shows I always just thought of their music as a vehicle to become punch drunk and dance with wild abandon. Hung at Heart has clearly changed my thinking. This album can induce chills. This album pushes it's poetry more than any of their previous works. The lyrics for the most part run deeply emotional and romantic. It is vagabond punk / beach goth full of inner reflections, honest questions about foolish youth and growing up. I love this album. I also love the fact that The Growlers took the production reins away from The Black Keys Dan Auerbach. It takes a strong sense of oneself to not get caught up in that kind of thing. Mr. Auerbach already seems to have cut the cajones out of Hanni El Khatib's music so I am thankful this did not happen to my Growlers.
CHECK OUT this review by Carie Quartly at Louder Than War

Water Liars 
- Wyoming

AP:Water Liars- duo of singer-guitarist Justin Kunkel-Schuster and drummer-vocalist Andrew Bryant speaks to me. I love the vocals, love the spartan sound, the voids in the songs the make you look in the mirror. The somber truth contained in some of their songs, held up by enchanting harmonies kind of just slaps you across the face. Fake Heat feels as honest as a intervention and Cut A Line's subtext (or not) belies the sock hop swooner like sound. Wyoming is a great album- 
CHECK OUT this Review by Ellie Schneider at CMJ 

Wide Streets
-Saga of The Bruja


AP: Wide Streets - "All The Dogs Who Died In Space" and most of "Saga of The Bruja" filled my mind with strange notions and imagery in the same way as (dare I say) the songs on Surfer Rosa did/do/will. I am not making a comparison as much as thinking that Jet's (or whomever frames these lyrics together) creative synapses might fire a tad askew (in a good way) like Charles T. If you love progressive punk with heavy doses of art rock you will love this album.
CHECK OUT my Review of Saga of The Bruja here-

 Queens Of The Stone Age
-Like Clockwork 

AP: When you say Queens Of The Stone Age your face wants to say Queens of the muther fucking Stone Age because they are just so incredibly bad ass. Besides the incredibly catchy material on this album it feels like the band has musically matured. Josh Michael Homme III is one dreamy son of a bitch and "Like Clockwork" feel like a fractured fairy tale. On this record Queens of the Stone Age make machismo rock feel so damn elegant. This is going to be considered a classic someday.
CHECK OUT this review by Maya Phillips at Elmore Magazine

 Thee Oh Sees
 -Floating Coffin

AP: When I first heard the languid super dirty bass line of Toe Cutter- Thumb Buster  that  shuffled along like Nick Gilder's Hot Child In The City I smiled so damn big that I nearly got a cramp in my face. The dynamics of the song sprinkled with sweet guitar leads was something to behold. When Dwyer yelps it feels like the sun coming out on a gloomy day. The feedback squeaks that give way to the full on Thee Oh Sees runaway train is still evident in songs like Strawberries 1+2 (whose tempo and tonal shifts are so great). The band shows a growing diversity on this album along with a really dark lyrical undercurrent. This is an album that I was torn over but kept coming back to and finally succumbed to it's distorted come on.
 CHECK OUT this review by Jennifer Kelly on Dusted Reviews

The Lovely Bad Things
- The Late Great Whatever 

AP:  Hear and Anywhere, the opening track on The Lovely Bad Things' album The Late Great Whatever, feels instantly like a grand garage rock opus as guitars swell until they wind into a tight power pop/ punk progression dancing between two time signatures. The vocal melody ends in odd spots. While the song has a musical chorus, there is really not a repeated vocal chorus. Two thirds in, the song musically breaks down (making moshing kids stop in their tracks) and then slowly it builds up again into a blistering sonic conclusion. This is not your standard punk / pop thing. Maybe that is why Kevin Bronson (from Buzzbands) has referred to The Lovely Bad Things sound as proto-punk. For the most part, the rest of the songs on The Late Great Whatever also make up their own rules making this album an exciting ride.
CHECK OUT this review by Eric Swedlund at Paste Magazine

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

AP:  In No Need For A Leader  and other songs on II -Unknown Mortal Orchestra seem to be channeling the ghosts of T-Rex, Bowie and the Beatles. It doesn't feel so overt as to feel like a rip off- it just feel like those influences have seeped deep into Ruban Nielson's artistic bones. Monki feels like a paisley seduction and Faded In The Morning jams with a garden rock edge with a funky back beat. Swim and Sleep Like A Shark brings Elliot Smith in my mind as much as 60's free love and hippies. Many of the songs on II have such sweet lovely lyrics and equally beautifully composed picked guitar rhythms. A wonderful album to fall in love with or fall in love to all the while flashing peace signs.
CHECK OUT this review by Ian Cohen at Pitchfork

David Bowie
-The Next Day

AP: David Bowie's The Next Day feels in some way like it is caught in a time machine. The production feels very much like 2002's Heathen album which was also produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti. The slick production and perfectly modulated mix is something, I am frankly, not used to as I have been up to my neck in garage and experimental rock as of late. When I was able to settle into it this album it grew on me quickly. The songs are solid. The track The Next Day has got art rock bones and enough religious iconography to be a Pixies song (are you listening Charles ?- cover this one on your tour). The album longs for by gone days, it sometimes feels like a tattered tear stained scrap book. Love Is Lost- is a super lush organ saturated slow burn and Bowie's vocals in the upper registers sound so damn classic. Where are We Now, an ode to Bowie's life transforming time in Berlin can make your eyes water. When you have time to contemplate your life- sit in the dark and listen to this album in it's entirety. It will be an event you cherish.
CHECK OUT this review by Geeta Dayal at Slate Magazine

Chelsea Light Moving
-Chelsea Light Moving

AP: Chelsea Light Moving - Burroughs has got some insanely tasty sounds that make you want to go a little nuts- run through downtown with exposed parts flailing in the wind. OK maybe not but as Thurston Moore wails out " hey Billy what are your last words... hey Billy who are the love birds... ah Billy the sweetest drug is free... will ya Billy shoot it into me..." with strident punk guitar that dips into half step hell and back this song make you remember when music was dangerous or that it still can be. It can still make Right Wing Conservatives weep and hide under their beds. Equally intoxicating is Groovy and Linda with it's off kilter dissonance that pulls you into a fucked up funk. The funny thing is that many bands who have adopted this sound (they shall remain nameless) suddenly feel like poseurs when you hear Thurston Moore do it so right.
CHECK OUT this review by Dan Weiss at Paste Magazine

-Silence Yourself

AP: Savages' Jehnny Beth's voice demands your attention. With a cagey clarity she mouths her words like wide eyed Shakespearean stage actor in tortured tones somewhere in between Siouxsie Sioux and Ian Curtis. The heavy bass and 80's power rock feel makes this the best album this year to listen to as you tool down California's Pacific Coast Highway at midnight. The sounds can feel cavernous but "at close range" as well stalking your inner senses. The jagged bottom heavy new wave makes you want to put on black nail polish and dress all in black.
CHECK OUT this review by  GENEVIEVE OLIVER at Pretty Much Amazing

My Bloody Valentine

AP: The sonic walls of sound at the hands of Kevin Shield's guitar laden tremolo caressed fingertips is nothing short of shoegazey brilliance. The tonal fluctuations, the bendy dissonance, the surprising half step guitar artistry turning progressions into melodies themselves apart from the buried melodic vocals and lead lines is what makes MBV so mesmerizing. Some people will not hear all this subtleties in the haze of guitar noise but it is there and can shift your mood in an instant and in surprising ways if you are open to it. The character inherent in any kind of music like this that relies on the haze it creates can almost feel like a droning devise that puts you in a different head space or can. It is kind of like listening to white noise to help you sleep. This record can put you in a different state of mind, transitory and dreamy. And all without drugs. Who would of thunk it??
 CHECK OUT this review by Joe Davenport at Tiny Mix Tapes

One Mile An Hour - London 3 Piece Band's Beautiful Debut

On their debut album entitled "One Mile An Hour"- Three piece Londoners One Mile An Hour create folk based songs that feel like medicine for the heart. Jeff Kightly's voice has a magical quality- soothing, healing and beautiful. The guitars swell and recede, bass rolls gently, picking pearly strings ring out and spartan drumming whisper more than scream on most of the songs though there is a sweet sultry slow burn on Magpie Song and some explosions of potent guitar on the emotionally wrought You Are On Beach. There is not a bad song on this album. Heading The Same Way with it's stair stepping chord progressions has a Beatle-esque patina and is very sweetly done. Trouble Roots feels as homespun Americana as a Southern porch swing with a languid melody and lush ooohs and aaaahs. The last track is live and called Nine Eight and is one steady long build with heavy guitar and what sounds like Fender Rhodes keys, dynamic drums and fluid bass lines. This feels like a free form monstrous instrumental jam that burns, cools down and ultimately finds this midnight drive groove. On one hand feels it out of place on this album but on the other hand might it could portend of things to come. I look forward to seeing what One Mile An Hour does next.
Robb Donker

You can stream the album on their bandcamp
And learn more about this English trio at

Adult Swim Summer Singles Program - FREE 15 track song compilation


Adult Swim Summer Singles Program Continues With A Free 15-Track Digital Compilation of Never-Before-Released Songs

Download Autre Ne Veut's "On & On" Today on

After releasing nine albums and 130 free tracks to music fans over the last five years and fresh off the success of their “Garage Swim” compilation, Adult Swim and Williams Street Records continues the 2013 Adult Swim Singles Program, with "On & On" from Autre Ne Veut. Stay tuned next week for an exclusive track from Madgibbs, the collaboration between Madlib and Freddie Gibbs featuring Karriem Riggins and check out the dates for Autre Ne Veut's recently announced tour below.
The full list of participating artists for the 2013 Adult Swim Singles Program is as follows:
Week 1 (June 10) – Killer Mike & El-P a.k.a. Run The Jewels
Week 2 (June 17) – Kitty (produced by Hot Sugar)
Week 3 (June 24) – Metz
Week 4 (July 1) – Dan Deacon
Week 5 July 8) – Friendzone feat. Mykki Blanco
Week 6 (July 15) – Autre Ne Veut
Week 7 (July 22) – Madlib and Freddie Gibbs feat. Karriem Riggins
Week 8 (July 29) – Mac DeMarco
Week 9 (August 8) – Lightning Bolt
Week 10 (August 12) – Lil B
Week 11 (August 19) – Marnie Stern
Week 12 (August 26) – Captain Murphy feat. Viktor Vaughn
Week 13 (September 2) – Andy Stott
Week 14 (September 9) – Pig Destroyer
Week 15 (September 16) – Miguel
About Adult Swim
Adult Swim (, launched in 2001, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s network offering original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults. Airing nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET/PT), Adult Swim is basic cable’s #1 network with persons 18-34 and 18-49, and is seen in 99 million U.S. homes.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
Autre Ne Veut on Tour
7.17 | The Sinclair | Boston, MA
7.18 | Il Motore | Montreal, QC
7.19 | Wrong Bar | Toronto, ONT
7.21 | Pitchfork Festival | Chicago, IL
7.21 | Lincoln Hall (Pitchfork After Party) | Chicago, IL
7.22 | The Loving Touch | Detroit, MI
8.2 | Stuck Festival | Salzburg, Austria
8.3 | Loft | Berlin, Germany
8.4 | Off Festival | Katowice, Poland
8.8 | Way Out West Festival | Gothemburg, SWE
8.9 | Flow Festival | Helsinki, Finland
8.10 | Strelka | Moscow, Russia
8.17 | Central Park Summerstage | New York, NY
8.24 | Surf Lodge | Montauk, NY
10.5 | Austin City Limits | Austin, TX
10.12 | Austin City Limits | Austin, TX
10.25 | Rock & Roll Hotel | Washington DC
10.27 | Mountain Oasis Festival | Asheville, NC