Wednesday, October 30, 2013

EP Album Review- BattleMe - "Weight On The Brain" - Evokes a Dreamy Fondness

Musical genres can be a tricky thing to define these days and yet we all somehow feel the need to slice and dice music, to compartmentalize songs, to put them in neatly titled boxes. Matt Drenik's latest (and greatest) musical incarnation Battleme is hard to put in one box. On the "Weight On The Brain" EP (which is a teaser of an upcoming full length album due out early next year) he conjures up potent rock songs dressed up with lush power chords and clean production. That super chunky rock sound along with a heavy, heavy tone of dreaminess as in stepping into a dreamland makes me think of bands like Spacehog, Silverchair, Smashing Pumpkins, Wires on Fire and even Dream Theater. Most of these bands shined brightest in that mid 80's to mid 2000 time frame so when you listen to Battleme there is a certain sense of nostalgia and I mean that in a good way.

From the first feedback laden chords of Just Weight- the dreamy majesty almost makes you feel like you are floating inches off the ground. While you might generalize that a lot of punk and indie rock has a cynical edge, Battleme's sound has this glammy enchanting side to it. I Know moves in such a way that the rock fury chases itself. It has an appropriate rock lead that you don't hear a lot of any more. Cobweb Portrait with it's down tempo feel and big sweeping guitar breaks that give way to spartan piano and vocals is a big dreamy rock ballad. Shotgun Song is a mid tempo burner propelled by a bass line that has notes that hang in mid air like a sultry pause. It is a dream rock Mustang Sally but not quite.

The degree to which you will love this EP, this tease of the full length album rumored to be called Future Runs Magnetic is whether you like this flavor of rock. It certainly feels purely wrought. It floats sublimely in that dream rock / pop ether. Drenik along with Eric Johnson (bass), Zach Richards (drums) and Evan Railton (synths) has made some captivating music with a wide eyed sense of wonder. When Future Runs Magnetic comes out I look forward to floating into it's pull.
Robb Donker

 Battleme FACEBOOK

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The Deadline Shakes video for "Bright Spot In A Bad Year" is spiritedly directed by band member Iain McKinstry. There is color cast imagery, lots of silliness, and a wee bit of effects to keep us be entertained but in the end it may not live up to the song itself but, then, that would be difficult to pull off. The song Bright Spot In A Bad Year with it's upbeat feel, lush vocals, and exhilarating tempo is a solid indie pop song. It feels smart, uplifting, and so earnest that it chases away any cynicism you might have (at least for a while).
Robb Donker



"Really good, a winsome, mandolin-led blast of power-country of the
sort Kassidy wish they were making."  The List

“Three and a bit minutes of perfect, chiming euphony.”  Louder Than

“Classic pop/rock… could almost be a great ELO song.”  Tom Robinson’s
Fresh On The Net

"If the thought of going into work this morning is getting you down,
then look no further ... its happy go lucky charm is assured to put a
smile on your face."  The Blue Walrus

“There’s something refreshing about the approach of Glasgow’s The
Deadline Shakes… I hear hints of Belle and Sebastian and The Beach
Boys.”  17 Seconds

“This is excellent power-pop. They’re doing fellow Scots, like Teenage
Fanclub, proud.”  Obscure Sound

“Gorgeous”  Daily Record

“Beautiful”  Jim Gellatly

“Thumbs up”  Steve Lamacq

“Phenomenal”  Vic Galloway

"You can hear elements of country, psychedelia, rock, indiepop,
sun-kissed beauty and Spectorish grandeur, all jostling for space and
each finding their place as though it were second nature... a totally
timeless song that will be loved... it's something of a challenge to
listen to without breaking out into a big smile."  Sound of Confusion

“Successfully nods to 60′s era psych and folk equally. Appearing to
channel the likes of both Pretty Things and Big Star whenever they
please, the recently unveiled outfit could be yet another
internationally acknowledged power pop outfit from Scotland.”  The
Orange Press

"excellent Glasgow indie pop."  When You Motor Away

"a delicious slice of indie folk-pop"  Given and Taken in Ink

“Great melodies & harmonies, jangly banjo lines, and a sweet little
guitar solo to boot!”  Newdust


Greg Dingwall - vocals / guitar / keys
Iain McKinstry - guitar
Martin McLeod - bass
Tom Booth – drums


The Growlers / Mark Kozelek / Betty Who / Ash / Matthew Sweet / Echoes West w/Flamin' Groovies + more


Check Yo Ponytail 2 with Death
Oct 29
@ The Echoplex TICKETS

Kirin J. Callinan
Oct 30
@ The Echo TICKETS

Nov 1
@ The Echoplex TICKETS

The Sadies
Nov 1
@ The Echo TICKETS

Nov 4
@ The Echoplex TICKETS

Meat Puppets
Nov 6
@ The Echo TICKETS

Nov 7
@ The Echoplex TICKETS

The Lonely Wild / TORCHES
Nov 8
@ The Echoplex TICKETS
All Hallows' Eve is nearly upon us which means a week of parties, costumes, and haunting delights! Come join us at the Echo and Echoplex for a ghoul time!

Tonight we are so happy to welcome back Hunx & His Punx alongside Cherry Glazer, Criminal Hygiene, Upset to Echoplex! If you want a raucous Thursday there's no better place to be. Get up close and personal!

Upstairs in the Echo we have another amaymay PopShop this time with the swedish buzz band NONONO, local loves Hands, and fascinating newcomer Conway. Tickets are almost sold out so get your hands on them now! Plus we'll be spinning the new unreleased Cut Copy record in-between sets tonight so it's sure to be a party!

It's getting ethereal up in the Echo Friday night with Houses! Your weekend will be off to a beautiful start -- especially with openings sets from Hotel Cinema, Say Say, and Spazzkid!

We can't wait until Tav Falco & the Panther Burns will brings his unique rock sound Friday night in Echoplex. He can count Jason Pierce of Spiritualized as a fan and has traveled the world times over: we're pumped to have this extremely talented artist, writer, and musician back in LA.

Tuesday CYP returns with another loaded night. Rock your face off with DEATH, Tijuana Panthers, Obliterations, AND Tony Molina. Serious facemelters.

Add a little Aussie to your week and don't miss unique artist Kirin J. Callinan at the Echo Wednesday night! Turn on your love machine and let's get weird!

Looking to get your Halloween fix? Saturday you can dance the night away at BOOOOTIE LA, get down at Part Time Punks Goth nite on Sunday, enjoy one last Monday with Haunted Summer, and sing along to your favorite Halloween covers at the Echo on Tuesday
If you haven't made plans for HALLOWEEN NIGHT come explore the eerily decorated Haunted Echo and listen to Murder Ballads and Dark Songs of old or creep down to Echoplex for a sick night with incendiary New Yorkers Flatbush Zombies!

Before you head to Echo and Echoplex for Halloween antics on the 31st, stop by the first ever Cramps Memorabilia Exhibit-- VOODOO IDOLS: Wild Wild World of the CRAMPS fan tribute exhibit downtown at Lethal Amounts!

Peep down below at all the new just announced shows! Lots of great stuff coming up including 3 Nights with the Growlers, a new PopShop with the lovely Betty Who, our annual Echoes West Fest + much more! Be sure to grab your $8 Echoes West Fest tickets now before the price goes up!! The fest is a benefit for our friend Sasha so help us help her with donations/some great music at the Echoplex! More info HERE!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

TRACK REVIEW: "Orpheus Under The Influence" by Buttertones

Orpheus Under The Influence by Buttertones will undoubtedly be on American Pancake's Best Tracks of 2013 List. Short and distracting in the best of ways, when I first heard it it felt a bit like the indie pop of Mrs. Magician or the Strokes plus the disjointed art rock of Wide Streets or Pack of Wild Canaries plus the tropical punk pop of Week of Wonders. The vocals done with a slight tinge of "life bores me" tone are killer and hit me as a kind of lush blend of Paul Banks, Brandon Flowers and Andy Bell (of Erasure). Great little song that makes me very happy. YES!
Robb Donker

Saturday, October 26, 2013

AP Interview: Heyward Howkins on "Be Frank, Furness"- English as a Second Language and Musical DNA

As a person who occasionally plays the part of a music reviewer it is always nice to pick the brains of artists whose music is engaging to me and doubly nice when that artist turns out to be a nice guy. Such is the case of Philadelphia's Heyward Howkins who I had the pleasure of interviewing by phone on Oct. 19th 2013. Heyward's album "The Hale and Hearty" was one of the most original records of 2012. On that album, Heyward's style blended soft handed musical cues from southern blues to glammy pop to ragtime to indie folk. His current album "Be Frank, Furness" again hangs his obtuse poetry on that same blend of styles. Both albums are brilliant in their own way, the latter might be a tad more mainstream. Check out the interview.
Robb Donker

You can read my review of The Hale& Hearty here
And Be Frank, Furness here

Heyward Howkins Bandcamp

Thursday, October 24, 2013

EP Album Review: "Cowgirls" by The Merry Rounders- "One Hell of a Gem"

Imagine coming across an old box of weathered Albums and 45's circa 1952 to 57 in a vacant lot in Lubbock Texas. Perusing through the records, some as warped as a roller coaster, you find one that is straight as an arrow. The cover says "The Merry Rounders" and has psychedelic cowboys and cowgirls who have gold sprinkled stars for eyes. It beckons to be played. You find your way to your friend Rusty's house because he has vintage 1959 Sears and Roebuck Silvertone portable record player that also beckons to be played. As the needle drops down on "The Merry Rounder's" first track it wobbles as drunkenly as the western guitar lines on How I Knew. The song has a solid groove with a shimmy shake groove that would make Buddy Holly smile, a country meets Motown walking bass line, and slightly canned vocals with a tiny twinge of  Brooks Nielsen. As the first track fades out into nothingness and you contemplate were you are standing (The Merry Rounders can transport you somewhere else) Cory Kaiser's voice cloistered in sad organ strains sings, "There's no more shaking in my bones so finally I can sit still" in My Will. This love song is a trippy affair. With it's almost slowed down "Help Me Rhonda" cadence it is as much as a dirty gospel song as a 1960 Surf pop tear jerker.

Man of My Dreams is dreamy as can be covered in a syrupy sock hop punk vibe. The backing girl vox with the swirling organs is steeped in Shirellean cool. The guitar lead work is so much fun and pretty brilliant really. Release Me blends country western and 50's style rhythm and blues. The vocal mix defers to the almost Chuck Berry-ish chunky guitar rhythm but sounds live and lush. The last track Woman I Can Love wears go go boots with  flourishes of 60's psychedelia and a Ray Manzarek-ish organ vibe. It also cooks along with a mysterious vibe like Eddie Cochran meets the Growlers.

As the needle stutter steps on the last groove, Rusty sits smoking a joint as a tear streams down his face. The Merry Rounders album is actually not currently on vinyl, it is on high bias Cassette tape and available on Bandcamp. I don't reside in Lubbock Texas and don't have a friend named Rusty, it's just that this newly discovered EP entitled "Cowgirls" (by the way) entertains so fully as to whisk yourself away to another place. These songs recorded on a Yamaha MT-400 cassette recorder feel wonderfully organic like they were recorded live with a few microphone hanging from the rafters. I want very much to hear these songs live played in a backyard or in a crowded house. One hell of a gem to come my way on a chilly Thursday evening... yeah, one hell of a gem.
Robb Donker

Cowgirls by the Merry Rounders
released 13 October 2013
Corey Kaiser - Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Alejandro Pareja - Electric Guitar and Background Vocals
Jason Kaiser - Drums, Percussion, and Background Vocals
Carson Cody - Pump Organ, Rhodes, and Farfisa
Ryan Bartholemy - Bass and Background Vocals
Elizabeth Messick Fernandez - Vocals on "My Will" and "Release Me"
Keila Morris - Vocals on "My Will" and "Release Me"
Katie Chappel - Vocals on "How I Knew"
Alyssandra Nighswonger - Vocals on "How I Knew"
Meagan Isbell - Vocals on "Man of My Dreams"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Priests, Rapists, Snap and Bad Religion's "Christmas Songs"

 Two words that should not go together are Priest and Rapist but unfortunately these two words that should be morally opposite seemingly go hand in hand rather hold hands as it were with the remaining hands holding the hands of innocent children. The disgusting truth has been out there for decades and while the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has a history of easily half a century of feigning concern but really doing nothing there are organizations that have sprung up to not only fight the good fight but to give a voice to those who have been sexually, physically, mentally abused within the supposed sanctity of the "house of God."

Bad Religion is releasing "Christmas Songs" and 20% of the proceeds from the albums sales will be contributed to SNAP which is a "Survivors Network" for people sexually abused by Priests. I do not endorse SNAP as an organization because I don't know that much about it but their Mission Statement is a just one. I encourage anyone who donates to any organization to check them out to make sure they are who they say they are. Be smart and be just.
Fight the good fight!
Robb Donker


Christmas Songs Released on October 29
Bad Religion to Contribute a Percentage of Proceeds to Charity
Revered punk rock legend Bad Religion is releasing a Christmas album, Christmas Songs, on October 29. Christmas Songs features 8 new studio recordings of traditional Christmas hymns and an alternate mix of their single "American Jesus" by Andy Wallace. Get in the holiday spirit and listen to Bad Religion's rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" now:

Bad Religion will contribute 20% of proceeds from Christmas Songs to SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. For more information visit:

"This might be the most subversive album we've done," co-songwriter and guitarist Brett Gurewitz explains. "To me, what the album is indirectly stating is that this music, and thus the world, can be powerful and beautiful stripped of god and religion. These are just really good songs, and a historically non-religious band like Bad Religion can perform them with as much power and feeling as anyone."

The band's iconic vocalist and co-songwriter, Greg Graffin has a personal connection with these songs. Graffin got his start as a singer when he was young boy in a church choir. His instructors found him so remarkable that he received a scholarship to a choir school. And thus, the voice of Bad Religion was born.

In a world still brimming with rampant anti-intellectualism, inequality and oppression, Bad Religion’s signature brand of sonically charged humanist dissent is as relevant as ever.  And this Christmas season, just a little more ironic.

Fans are invited to pre-order the album by visiting

About Bad Religion

Quintessential Los Angeles punk rock pioneers Bad Religion formed in 1980 in the suburbs of Los Angeles by teenage friends. Bad Religion has become synonymous with intelligent and provocative West Coast punk rock and are considered one of the most influential and important bands in the genre.  Over the past three decades the band has continually pushed social boundaries and questioned authority and beliefs armed only with propulsive guitars, charging drumbeats, thoughtful lyrics and an undying will to inspire and provoke anyone who will listen. Already having cemented their place in history as a groundbreaking band who helped create a movement in Los Angeles with classic releases like How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, Suffer, Recipe for Hate, Stranger Than Fiction, Process of Belief, The Dissent of Man, and most recently True North, Bad Religion continue to inspire and create with a unique style that continues to cross boundaries and transcends genres.

Christmas Songs Tracklisting

01. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
02. O Come All Ye Faithful
03. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
04. White Christmas
05. Little Drummer Boy
06. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
07. What Child Is This?
08. Angels We Have Heard On High
09. American Jesus (Andy Wallace Mix)

For more information, visit: or

Dodos track "Substance" recorded LIVE with Magik Magik Orchestra

Dodos track "Substance" recorded LIVE with Magik Magik Orchestra. The band are also in the UK on Nov 4th and 5th for 2 packed out London shows at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

AFTERNOON DELIGHT at The Smell- Oct. 20th- @ 4 PM with The Lovely Bad Things Tour Kick Off, Audacity, Cherry Glazerr and Botty T and the Slakers with Bobb Bruno spinning records!

OH HELL YEAH! Who doesn't like some afternoon delight and The Smell in Los Angeles is serving up a delicious serving with The Lovely Bad Things who are kicking off a month long USA tour AND Audacity who happens to be filming part of their music video AND Cherry Glazerr who is always so damn good AND you do not want to miss Bobby T and the Slackers AND last but not least, Bobb Bruno will be hold it all together by DJ-ing, "I am the DJ I play what I plaaaay!"


VIDEO: Hunx & His Punx "You Think You're Tough" - directed by Dan Shaw

Rumor has it that Hunx and his Punx' Shannon Shaw and Erin Emslie want to make an American Pancake sandwich where they are the bread and AP is the meat. Ok, I may of started this rumor just now but that doesn't negate the fact that the video for "You Think You're Tough" which features the girls and Seth Bogart as judges for a Hunx replacement is funny, cool and directed by Shannon's brother Dan Shaw. This song punches a bit harder than some of  Hunx/ Punx other songs with a straight forward punk rhythm and less cheeky vocals because Shannon sings lead. Liking this a whole lot and I still want to be the meat. Push Play below and enjoy. I guarantee you will push play many times in a row.

Beach Goth Party 2- with THE Growlers at the Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. -- SOLD OUT but...

Word is that the Growlers Beach Goth Party 2 is SOLD OUT for days and how could it not be with all the raw and not so raw talent on display!  Still, I be there are ways you can charm your way in- just sayin.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The 2014 SWSW Music Festival Official Artist Announcement - ROUND ONE

The ever growing, shape shifting Multi-Media entity that is SXSW has officially announced the first round of musical artists for 2014. On the list are many Southern California acts like Avi Buffalo, The Blank Tapes, Shawn Crystopher, Angelo Moore and the Brand New Step, SwizZz, The Black Watch and AP favs The Lovely Bad Things. Start saving your pennies and letting your bosses know you will need March 7th to the 16th off!

See full lest below:

Aer (Wayland MA)
Kyle Andrews (Nashville TN)
Atlanter (Oslo NORWAY)
Atomix (Mixcoac MEXICO)
The Autumn Defense (Chicago IL)
Avi Buffalo (Los Angeles CA)
Belle Adair (Muscle Shoals AL)
Betunizer (Valencia SPAIN)
The Black and White Years (Austin TX)
Jeff Black (Nashville TN)
Black Taxi (Brooklyn NY)
The Black Watch (Los Angeles CA)
The Blank Tapes (Los Angeles CA)
The Boxing Lesson (Austin TX)
Boyfrndz (Austin TX)
Bring Me The Horizon (Sheffield UK-ENGLAND)
Bugs of Phonon (Tainan TAIWAN)
Burgess Meredith (Austin TX)
Allysen Callery (Bristol RI)
Capsula (Bilbao SPAIN)
Casual Sex (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
[Champagne] (Tokyo JAPAN)
The Chevelles (North Fremantle AUSTRALIA)
Shawn Chrystopher (Los Angeles CA)
Cinco Doce (Austin TX)
Amy Cook (Austin TX)
Crossfaith (Osaka JAPAN)
Rodney Crowell (Crosby TX)
Current Swell (Victoria CANADA)
David J (Santa Rosa CA)
Deidre and the Dark (Brooklyn NY)
DeLorean (Houston TX)
Dems (London UK-ENGLAND)
Desert (Barcelona SPAIN)
The Devil Makes Three (Santa Cruz CA)
Division Minuscula (Matamoros MEXICO)
Eliza Doolittle (London UK-ENGLAND)
Doughbeezy (Houston TX)
Dråpe (Oslo NORWAY)
Drenge (Castleton UK-ENGLAND)
Dumb Waiter (Richmond VA)
The Dunwells (Leeds UK-ENGLAND)
Lincoln Durham (Austin TX)
Dusty Stray (Amsterdam THE NETHERLANDS)
East Cameron Folkcore (Austin TX)
East Forest (Portland OR)
Andrea Echeverri (BOGOTA COLOMBIA)
E-Dubble (Baltimore MD)
Robert Ellis (Houston TX)
Sean Falyon (Atlanta GA)
Feathers (Austin TX)
Folly and the Hunter (Montreal CANADA)
Ghost Loft (Los Angeles CA)
Ariana Gillis (Toronto CANADA)
Glass Animals (Oxford UK-ENGLAND)
The Great Wilderness (San Jose COSTA RICA)
Gungor (Denver CO)
Hamell On Trial (Ossining NY)
Elias Haslanger (Austin TX)
Hey Ocean! (Vancouver CANADA)
Micah P. Hinson (Denison TX)
Hollow Jan (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)
Hopsin (Panorama City CA)
Hyenaz (Berlin GERMANY)
Il Pan del Diavolo (Palermo ITALY)
Garland Jeffreys (New York NY)
Jonzieeee (Houston TX)
Vance Joy (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)
June (San Francisco CA)
Jungle (London UK-ENGLAND)
Kaytranada (Montreal CANADA)
K Camp (Atlanta GA)
Killa Kyleon (Houston TX)
Kins (Brighton UK-ENGLAND)
Kira Kira (Mosfellsbær ICELAND)
Kristal and Jonny Boy (Rättvik/Stockholm SWEDEN)
La Orquesta Vulgar (Juarez MEXICO)
Kieran Leonard (London UK-ENGLAND)
Like Swimming (Stockholm SWEDEN)
Lil Ray/Wheels Up (Houston TX)
Lions In The Street (Vancouver CANADA)
Little Daylight (Brooklyn NY)
Little Jesus (Mexico City MEXICO)
Grace London (Austin TX)
London Grammar (London UK-ENGLAND)
Lord Buffalo (Austin TX)
Los Lonely Boys (San Angelo TX)
Lost Tapes (Barcelona SPAIN)
Calvin Love (Edmonton CANADA)
Lovely Bad Things (La Mirada CA)
Love X Stereo (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)
Lene Lovich Band (London UK-ENGLAND)
Eleni Mandell (Los Angeles CA)
Marigold (Borlänge SWEDEN)
Jessica Lea Mayfield (Kent OH)
Mibbs (of Pac Div) (Beverly Hills CA)
Mighty Oaks (Berlin GERMANY)
Fernando Milagros (Santiago CHILE)
The Ben Miller Band (Joplin MO)
Mirror Travel (Austin TX)
Mise en Scene (Winnipeg CANADA)
Money For Rope (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)
Mon Laferte (Escandon MEXICO)
Mono Inc. (Schönberg GERMANY)
Angelo Moore & The Brand New Step (Los Angeles CA)
Mozes And The Firstborn (Eindhoven THE NETHERLANDS)
mr. Gnome (Cleveland OH)
Neulore (Nashville TN)
Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children (Nuuk DENMARK)
Nightmare Air (Los Angeles CA)
Kurt Nilsen (Oslo NORWAY)
NO (Los Angeles CA)
OBN III's (Austin TX)
Only Real (London UK-ENGLAND)
Palmbomen (Amsterdam THE NETHERLANDS)
Panama Wedding (New York NY)
PapaNegro (Santiago CHILE)
PEDALJETS (Kansas City MO)
Penny & Sparrow (Austin TX)
People of Letters (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)
the Pepper Pots (Girona SPAIN)
Juan Perro (Madrid SPAIN)
Phonalex (Buenos Aires ARGENTINA)
Pompeya (Moscow RUSSIA)
Porter (Guadalajara MEXICO)
Propain (Houston TX)
Pure Love (Hemel Hempstead UK-ENGLAND)
Que (Atlanta GA)
Random (Mega Ran) (Phoenix AZ)
The Rocketboys (Austin TX)
Raina Rose (Austin TX)
Royal Canoe (Winnipeg CANADA)
Rusty Maples (Las Vegas NV)
Saint Rich (Fredon NJ)
Josef Salvat (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
Saor Patrol (Edinburgh UK-SCOTLAND)
Savoir Adore (Brooklyn NY)
Jack Savoretti (London UK-ENGLAND)
Shakey Graves (Austin TX)
Sigmun (Bandung INDONESIA)
SISU (Los Angeles CA)
Ski Lodge (New York NY)
Soldout (Bruxelles BELGIUM)
The Sour Notes (Austin TX)
Speak (Austin TX)
The Spring Standards (New York NY)
Starlight Girls (Brooklyn NY)
The Suffers (Houston TX)
Sweet Baboo (Trefriw UK-WALES)
The Swiss (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
SwizZz (Los Angeles CA)
Dudu Tassa (Tel Aviv ISRAEL)
Kristian Terzic Band (Rovinj CROATIA)
To Be Frank (Suffolk UK-ENGLAND)
Jonathan Toubin (New York NY)
Truth Universal (New Orleans LA)
Ume (Austin TX)
Urge Overkill (Chicago IL)
Vampillia (Tenjinmachi JAPAN)
Vida Boulevard (Guadalajara MEXICO)
V.I.P (Austin TX)
Vockah Redu (New Orleans LA)
We Butter The Bread With Butter (Berlin GERMANY)
Taj Weekes & Adowa (Castries SAINT LUCIA )
Wes Fif (Orlando FL)
Whiskey Shivers (Austin TX)
Dot Wiggin Band (Brooklyn NY)
Wild Child (Austin TX)
Wild Moccasins (Houston TX)
Wild Ones (Portland OR)
Roosh Williams (Houston TX)
WonFu (Taipei TAIWAN)
Dizzy Wright (Las Vegas NV)
Yip Deceiver (Athens GA)
Gabby Young and Other Animals (London UK-ENGLAND)

Super Sponsors

STREAM: "Couldn't Hold a Candle" by Audacity -- Record Release at the Beach Goth Party!

American Pancake track reviewed Cold Rush a while back off of Audacity's upcoming album "Butter Knife" that is scheduled to drop on October 29th. NOW- the boys have released another power pop punk peak called "Couldn't Hold a Candle" that cranks so hard it makes me want to do a nose grind into a Caballerial then switch stances and push out a McTwist in my neighbor's empty pool and I don't even skate! Check it out and oh yeah, Audacity will be playing gigs this weekend including a RECORD release party for "Butter Knife" (see below)!!

Record Release at the Beach Goth Party at the Observatory- Saturday Oct. 19th
and at the SMELL in LA for the Lovely Bad Things tour kick off show on Sunday Oct. 20th

Thursday, October 17, 2013

VIDEO: Atoms For Peace- "Before Your Eyes" - "Like A Liquid Sand Sculpture on Acid"

Whatever incarnation Thom Yorke materializes in he sonically stuns. In the new Atoms For Peace video "Before Your Very Eyes" the imagery sadly pulsates like a liquid sand sculpture on acid. The song with a beat that feels like robotic insects scattering about is as Sci- Fi eerie as it is beautiful. As Thom's lovely voice sounds as heavy as all the sadness in the world, the electronic subsonic hums and floundering staccato notes lift your brain into an altered state. Amazing.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Album Review: Crystal Antlers - "Nothing is Real" - eclipses what came before...

NEWS FLASH: Crystal Antlers put out great records. Their first album, Tentacles rocked and held promise in Jonny Bell's rebel yells. The promise was fully realized in Two Way Mirror with it's dreamy askew rock that felt at once dark and brooding but uplifting at the same time. Now in Nothing is Real, the Long Beach, California rockers have coalesced all their dark dream psychedelia into something embracing so many musical textures from indie to experimental and everything in between. It is a heady mix of sounds that often times explode around you.

Sonically speaking, Nothing is Real is, for the most part, in your face. It literally feels like Crystal Antlers is playing at full tilt and you are standing front and center about 18 inches from Kevin Stuart's drum kit. You are leaning in being held up by the wall of guitar sounds, so much so that you are hearing Jonny's vocals from the monitor mix more than the PA system so they are pulled back a bit. That is how this album sounds, live, unadulterated, super dense, and sonically all encompassing. Crystal Antler's sound punches you in the gut, makes you bleed and then pushes salt in the wound AND you love it.

It is easier to talk about some of the tracks on this record in terms of emotional cues and imagery than trying to describe the sounds being created. Pray is a rapturous victory run of raucous rock that catches it's breath in the middle only to erupt larger. At 3 minutes Andrew King plays a guitar lead so rich in melody and in tone that it literally give you goosebumps.  Rattlesnake is a mid temp slow burner on the verse and up tempo on the pre-chorus and chorus. That pre-chorus that feels so uplifting and melodically lovely is a key thing that Crystal Antlers does so well. The drums, bass and almost lazy rhythm guitar are really up front, tastily so. Licorice Pizza feels instantly like a mosh pit turned into a fight club but amidst the bashing punkish rock the chorus holds some dreamy melodies. The ending is ridiculous, either a guitar string sliding into dissonance or a violin. I don't know which.

There are also some softer flavors on this record. We All Gotta Die is a sweetly embracing indie rock song that glides along on double sliding notes. I thought a bit of Sonic Youth, a bit of Yuck. Don't Think of the Stone is awash in heavy organ, thick vocals and trippy guitar sounds. It feels like an East L.A. R and B meets psychedelic rock slow dance. Prisoner Song with it's ultra lush up front guitar lines and canny vox sounds like it is dipped in a thick syrup of 80's Romantic Wave. Part noise rock, glam, full force indie rock. It is so thick that it is the perfect song to lose yourself in when he or she has left you. Wrong Side has a shifty staggered beat and dancy guitar. It is built heavy but at it's core feels like a dreamy almost soft rock song. It may be the most mainstream song on the album.

Paper Thin is anything but. Punk in fury with a heavy metal brain. It is a bloody bull fight of a song. Epic in scope. Persephone is something else. Yes, it is a rock song but it has the bounce, the attitude and elegance of the glam pop rock of a band like ELO. The curtains of sustaining guitar sounds open to a beat that gallops like a majestic medieval quest. Anywhere but Here has a jumpy jangled slightly surf rock edged sound reminiscent of the songs on Two Way Mirror. Better Things churns with rabid punk guitar changes- Black Flag in tone but full on Crystal Antlers in the end.

Nothing is Real is just part of Crystal Antlers musical evolution. Like all great bands, each album takes you on a different journey. In my humble opinion this album eclipses what came before. Good job guys. This is a must have record.
Robb Donker

Monday, October 14, 2013

Track Review: Dom La Nena - "Start A War" (The National cover)- Golondrina EP out Oct 22nd- 2014 Tour Dates

It is tough covering a song by The National but Dom La Nena does an amazing job with "Start A War" which will be out on her upcoming EP Golondrina (Six Degrees) out October 22nd. The video is as compelling as her performance as directed by Jeremiah who has worked with Don in the past. Shot mostly on Super 8, the grainy nature of the imagery only enhances the revolutionary patina that grace the lyrics as the song builds on a sea saw of cello sounds and organic percussion. The tonal quality of Dom's evocative vocal performance is breathy at times and always intimate like she is whispering secrets in your ear. This version stands proudly right next to the original.
Robb Donker

Dom La Nena will be returning to North America early next year, touring in select markets and showcasing at New York's APAP Convention. More dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
January/February Tour Dates
1/10 APAP Convention @ Joe's Pub - New York, NY
1/11 APAP Convention @ Joe's Pub - New York, NY
2/13 Old Town School of Folk Music - Chicago, IL
2/15 McCabe's - Los Angeles, CA
2/16 Yoshi's - San Francisco, CA
2/20 Ville de Gatineau - Gatineau, Canada
2/21 Montreal Highlights Festival @ Club Soda - Montreal, Canada
2/22 Le Palais Montclam-Maison de la Musique - Quebec City, Canada
2/26 Joe's Pub - New York, NY

Friday, October 11, 2013

Album Review- Be Frank, Furness by Heyward Howkins - "Puzzle box" of an album

On Be Frank, Furness (due out in November), Heyward Howkins spins his poetry in such an unusual way that it can, at time, make you feel like he is speaking in his own unique language. His vocal mannerisms, way of cooing phrases as well as turning them on their head feel like charming puzzle boxes. His love of words, of language is apparent. The fact that he is able to contain these jumbled stories in melodious songs is added icing to the cake. The songs themselves vary in tone and style but they all have this rich vagabond spirit. Nogales cut out of a folk indie rock cloth bounces along as joyfully as carefree lovers riding horseback through the desert. Cut and Corral with its many tempo shifts, kind of rolling bridge, dramatic heavy downbeats and obtuse lyrics is classic Howkins, "We see all woolen hands cursing that sky, and a pile of flints that weren't right, handles like Grendel pollenized with a sigh."

Some of Howkins song cast out imagery of rustic shambled boathouses meandering down the Mississippi (at least in my mind) or turn of the century musicians in smart straw hats in the French Quarter. Songs like Rare Earth, Brite Kites, Flimsy Stock and Sweet Tea Oleander have this undefinable southern elegance and with a rustic patina of another time or world really. Don't think that Be Frank, Furness is all stereo-scopic imagery. Lorraine dances with touches of 70's Brit Pop and a strong back beat and light indie rock feel. For some reason I could hear Elvis Costello covering this song. Pundit sounds vast in scope with heavy folk rock roots. Praline Country might just be the most endearing song on Be Frank, Furness. The song rolls along so rock solidly that it sweeps you away. Howkins says it is a murder ballad inspired by the Stagger Lee folk story. It feels earnestly and romantically wrought like an iconic The Band  or Van Morrison song. It is a song in need of a movie, "I was stranded in Truckee in the cool praline country, you broke up the party when I said you seemed funny. In walked your best boy Billy, all of our really."

Be Frank, Furness like Howkins 2012 album The Hale and Hearty is a rare flower that is worth finding and taking hold of.
Robb Donker