Monday, December 29, 2014

Beautiful Monday Morning Song: "Black Balloon" by 100 Watt Horse

I don't know what a 100 Watt Horse is but I like the name. Truth be told I stumbled upon this band and do not know much about them (yet). One thing I am certain of is that "Black Balloon" is the perfect song to feed my soul on this cold Monday morning in Flowery Branch, Georgia.

I will certainly discover more about this band.
Have a great day-

100 Watt Horse Facebook

Thursday, December 25, 2014

American Pancake's Best 25 Songs of 2014 That You Haven't Heard

American Pancake is proud to highlight the 25 Best Songs of 2014 That You Haven't Heard.

Now certainly there will be many songs on this list that the average music fan has heard (so the title of this blog may be a wee misleading) but I am pretty sure that as a "total list" 9 out of 10 of you have not heard all of these songs. If I am wrong then leave the appropriate snarky comments to me. I do hope that if you have not heard some of these songs and you, at least, find them worthy that you will find out more about these talented artists. Hopefully you will find some you totally fall in love with and over time will show them your love and support because that is what it is all about. So here we go-

 1. "Offer" by Together Pangea I absolutely adore this song and truth be told I had heard it often live prior to it's release this year on their Badillac album. Apart from the catchy progression, the true appeal of the song is William Keegan's vocal performance. It is a song for the heartbroken and it touches me in some way every time I hear it.


 2. "Take Me To Church" by Hozier I heard this song driving down dark roads on a rainy night in Georgia. I was in an introspective place and this song felt like my emotional soundtrack. Great song. I know this song was release in 2013 on Hozier's EP but I include it on this list since it also his debut album released this September.


 3. "Random Nostalgia" by Rivergazer From Rivergazer's debut LP of the same name, "Random Nostalgia" might be the heart of the album. It feels like an askew blend of all the musical tones of the other tracks. It is cool and collected alt folk, hooky and wonderfully weird too.


 4. "Leaving (for a while)" by Tigerface Justin Chase (Tigerface) out of Portland infuses his forlorn indie songs with folk, pop and soft jazz flavors. The result is a spartan intimate experience. I loved his 4 song EP- "On The Beach". Search it on Google. "Leaving (for a while)" in it's original form is slightly over 2 minutes but check out this extended super jammy version. Love it.


 5. "Let My Baby Stay" by Mac DeMarco Mac goes all Lennon on us in the stunningly lovely "Let My Baby Stay" that embraces you like the warmest of hugs.


 6. "So Now You Know" by the Horrors Caught somewhere between a tear stained high school dance in a John Hughes film and a Euro dance club in 1997, this song is just dreamy.


 7. "Jaime Bravo" by The Pixies From the polarizing Indie Cindy album, "Jaime Bravo" stands out. There is something so utterly sweeping and magical about the tones and energy this song delivers. So heavy and thick with heart that it floods your senses like a million bitter and sweet memories. Such a goddamn great song.


 8. "Peg Daddy" by Diarrhea Planet This song slowly burns and then simply swallows you up in it's guitar
laden fury.


 9. "Bittersweet Genesis for Him and Her" by Kishi Bashi So beautifully intimate and sublimely poetic that it can wrap you in a blanket of sadness.


10. "Killer" by Phoebe Bridgers From an EP album of the same name, the namesake song, Killer is a spartan, mind blowing alt-folk song with a twisted wit. The abject dark intimacy dressed in such hooky melodies reminded me a bit of the wonderful Tyler Lyle. Amid the dark poetry, the song is utterly beautiful. Phoebe's tender performance mildly freaks you out and breaks your heart at the same time.


 11. "Lena" by Pinebocks Self described as the worst band in Chicago / best band in the world, Pinebocks style is proto punk / power pop with a free wheeling style. Seeded deep in the sound is also a kind of folkish type of story telling and I love that. Feels very 79 to 83 to me in the best sort of way.

12. Joshua James cover of Modest Mouse's "Dramamine" The best covers reshape the source material until it becomes an original piece of work and Joshua James retelling of Dramamine does just that.


 13. "Warbo's Dance" by Wide Streets From this years, "A Past Hatred of the Future" album, Warbo's Dance highlights the bands trippy atmosphere, shifting rhythms and angular guitar work. Truly original sounds that take me back to early proto punk fare of bands like Television and The Talking Heads.


 14. "Tokyo" by The Ramona Flowers One of the best cars to tool down dark winding roads, "Tokyo" is a lush track that takes time to coalesce but once it does it is dripping in 90's cool.


 15. "I Let You Down" by Billie Van "I Let You Down" by Billie Van is a beautifully sad song steeped in self doubt and self blame. It's emotional tug mired in all the relationship muck that we can all relate to. We have all felt these feelings and possibly the resulting desire to enroll in a self improvement seminar. Built on a spartan piano, bass and drum kit production that serves as the perfect framework for BillieVan's embracing vocal performance, this song makes you smile, induces real goosebumps and makes you long for a long hug from a friend, lover or stranger. The tempo is smartly just a tad slow as to feel like it is in a depressive, sad funk.

16. "The Faker" by Ty Segall The 'Manipulator" album is full of lush and thick songs with the same genetic material as T-Rex and the Yarbirds and David Bowie. It is a lush psychedelic Brit rock festival for the ears.

  17. "Warehauz" by Postlife LA post punk rock from Postlife consisting of Ex-members of Peter Pants (Greg & Michael), Ex-member of Palm Reader (Brianna), and Erik of So Many Wizards is a full on sonic blast in your face. Listen to them and you are 17 years old again.


  18. "Sky" by The BearFox Kind of experimental folk music out of Georgia.  

  19. "Motherfucker" by Faith No More The first time I heard this I didn't like it... at all and then it soon became apparent that it had latched itself on my brain. After repeated listens... I get it. The sweep and production is vital, cinematic, thematic and more.

20. "Mdnight" by The Pocket Rockets This song has such a deep groove and everything fall into it perfectly. 21. "Bag of Bones" by Animal Noise These lads from Colchester churn out explosive sounds that feels like prog rock steeped in burlesque. A grand successor to Modest Mouse and I can't wait to see how they evolve.


22. "Always Boys" by Big Deal The tonal shifts in this song kind of blow you away. A car that inspires one to run away from what is holding you back or to that thing you desire.

  23. "Sloppy Joes" by Vomitface What kind of disgusting name for a band is Vomitface? I want to hate this band so bad. The skinny as a scarecrow guitarist / lead singer with the Emo Philips haircut throwing aside snarky smart ass gestures, the obligatory bearded hipstery bass player and a girl drummer who is.... well, actually quite beautiful and lays down a formidable powerful perfectly splashy beat on Sloppy Joes. I want to fucking hate this New Jersey band but the song will not allow me to. The aforementioned monster beat chugs along while the barbiturate laden cadence of unbelievably dense dirty bass and guitar falling around a sparkly crisp finger picked progression. The vocal performance is both pretty and shrill in spots and yes, snarky. I do love this sound. The lead guitar stabbed me and it felt good.


  24. "19" by Meenk In some ways Meenk's songs remind me of early Weezer and in other ways there are tiny, tiny dashes of an adolescent PJ Harvey. May's vocal delivery and the sound of her voice can be endearingly sweet but the barbed sting twisted around a sardonic almost Fuck you tone in the standout track "19" sears into your skin. In 2 minutes and 38 seconds you feel the uneasy queasy pallor of being young (and different).

25. "Fly Boy Blue / Lunette" by Elbow The lush vocals, bitingly sexy guitar lines and Beatle-esque dramatics hook me in hard.
Parting Notes: I struggled for quite some time embedding the Bandcamp links. Usually it is a piece of cake but for some reason they were being a pain in the ass. If they do not show up I apologize. I hope you will simply search the artist out on Google. I can assure you that it will be worth your time. Also know that this list was intended to be twice as long but my blog life has been difficult to maintain lately and I would rather post up 25 than nothing. thanks much for checking this little list out- Robb Donker

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Meanderings: Been Working Like A Madman, Used Cars and "Cool" by Sleeptalk out of New Jersey

As of late, I have been working like a fucking madman. I don't have very many vices but one certainly is being a bit of a workaholic. I lose my balance between family and work, fun endeavors (like blogging) and work and in the end lose myself. That has been happening lately as my day job has ostensibly overtaken much of my life like a stubborn creeping ivy that takes over a house.

To top it off, organization is not my strong suit either. Since we moved out here to Georgia (from California) we have been dealing with only one car and I have been searching for a used car and slowly losing my mind. The thing is this: now most cars that are advertised as "sold by owner" are not. They are sold by car brokers who pick up vehicles at car auctions. This doesn't necessarily mean they are bad cars but all the talking to the owner to ferret out the history of the vehicle and to figure out what is truth and what is not is gone. All that is replaced by carfaxing and such but dealing with people who have only had a car for a month is frustrating. It is also impossible to find a car with low miles at a fairly low price in fact it is not uncommon to find cars with 180,000 miles still fetching 4 grand.

So that has been my life lately, working gobs and gobs of hours at my day (creeping into night) job and looking for a second used car. No time for playing music, no time for starting the T-shirt company and no time for blogging. Yes, I am full of excuses and I am trying to change that.

This morning I found a cool track in my email named appropriately "Cool" by Sleeptalk, a trio from New Jersey and based out of greater NYC. That is all I know as I don't have time to do more research on these guys. I do like the song alot. It is kind of 90's dancy, kind of Brit poppy circa late 80's and kind of now too. Besides the sparkly guitar, the bass line really caught my ear. I like the way it moves. It has a definite groove but is not bouncy, rather it hits heavy notes and then lets them hang in the beat. Very strong, sultry and, yes, cool. The vocals are pretty lush. The guitar lead break and then jammy end is sweet as hell and portends a rockier sound  (on other tracks maybe?). The atmosphere feels like night drives or clubbing in dark places with beautiful people. Check it out below. You can all do some research on Sleeptalk while I do.

Take care
I have to get off to work, ha.
Robb Donker

Saturday, November 22, 2014

King Washington- Emotionally Crafted Songs that Span Genres- Catch them LIVE - (Remaining Tour Dates)

King Washington is an L.A. band that certainly can jam when a jam is called for but it might me the lush sweet harmonies that can erupt into gritty wails that is their musical calling card. Creating emotionally crafted songs that span genres and feel like they span generations, they are a musical affair you will want to get all wrapped up in. The boys have been tearing it up on their 7th Tour starting in November. Do try to catch them at one of their remaining dates below.
Robb Donker

Remaining Dates:

11/24 MINNEAPOLIS, MN @ Turf Club
11/30 NEW YORK, NY @Rockwood Music Hall
12/2 NASHVILLE, TN @ The Basement Nashville
12/3 LITTLE ROCK, AR @ Juanita's Cantina
12/5 DALLAS, TX @ Opening Bell Coffee
12/9 PHOENIX, AZ @ The Rogue Bar
12/11 RIVERSIDE, CA @ Romanos Concert Lounge
12/13 LOS ANGELES, CA @ The Hotel Cafe
 — with Billy LeeGeorge Krikes and Tyson Kelly.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Matthew Squires and The Learning Disorders release "Echo" from the Upcoming Album "Where The Music Goes To Die"

The brand new single "Echo" from Matthew Squires and The Learning Disorders bristles with percolating bright guitar lines and Squires celebratory vocals. Squires often turns his verbose lyrical melodies into a carnival mirror of sorts, his meanings bent and twisted at will. A term of endearment can morph  into a sharp bite, a fond memory into a sardonic parable. "Echo" is the first look at his upcoming album "Where The Music Goes To Die" due to drop on December 2nd.
Robb Donker

The Photographer Who Shot Kurt Cobain - "The Last Session" by Jesse Frohman - LIVE BOOK signing Nov. 20th at the Spare Room, Hollywood

Jesse Frohman is known by some as the photographer who shot Kurt. In August of 1993, Frohman was commissioned by the London Observer's Sunday Magazine to photograph Nirvana in New York prior to performing at the iconic Roseland Ballroom. The photo shoot was supposed to last 5 hours at several locations throughout the city but when Frohman arrived as scheduled Cobain showed up notoriously late and not in the best condition. They set up a make shift studio in the basement of the hotel and in a relatively short amount of time Frohman was able to shoot the band there before heading up to the Roseland where he continued shooting the rehearsal. The now iconic images of Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl posing, greeting fans and performing were there last formal photography session before Cobain's untimely death about 10 months later.

The book: "Kurt Cobain: The Last Session " offers more than 100 images of Kurt and his Nirvana band mates as well as a candid interview and introduction by music journalist Jon Savage and an essay from Glenn O' Brien.

Jesse Frohman will be doing a book signing tonight, this Thursday, November 20th celebrating the release of Kurt Cobain - The Last Session by Jesse Frohman.
The celebration begins at 9pm and includes a special live performance by The Lovely Bad Things.

Reservations suggested:

Robb Donker

The following was originally posted at DAZED

Four hours late and completely stoned throughout, Kurt Cobain’s shoot with legendary photographer Jesse Frohman, just months before the frontman’s death, didn’t necessarily go to plan. Yet what Frohman achieved – even if he didn't realise it at the time – would go down in music history as some of the most iconic images ever shot of the grunge prince. Originally a cover spread for London’s Sunday Observer, after copious amounts of cigarettes, a bottle of Evian water – sprayed, rather than drunk, through the front man’s mouth – and a quick stint as a glasses-wearing, leopard fur-clad ballerina; the shoot was over. With his widow Courtney Love’s tell-all biopic looming on next year’s publishing horizon (apparently), Frohman’s upcoming book KURT COBAIN: The Last Session offers this exclusive excerpt of an interview with punk historian Jon Savage. Conducted with Cobain the night before the photographer’s now-infamous shoot, the frontman opens up on the struggles he endured with his father after his parents divorced.
Kurt Cobain: I was born in Aberdeen, Washington, 1967, and I lived between Aberdeen and Montesano, which was twenty miles away, and I moved back and forth between relatives’ houses throughout my whole childhood.
Jon Savage: Did your parents split up when you were young?
Kurt Cobain: Yeah, when I was seven.
Jon Savage: Do you remember anything about that?
Kurt Cobain: Yeah. I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents for… I couldn’t face some of my friends at school anymore, because I wanted, I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years ’cause of that.
Jon Savage: Have you made it up with them now?
Kurt Cobain: Well, I’ve always kept a relationship with my mom, because she’s always been the more affectionate one. My father, I… I haven’t talked to him for about ten years now, up until this last year, where he seeked me out backstage at a show we played in Seattle. And for a long time, I… I always wanted him to know that I, um, I don’t hate him anymore, just I don’t have anything to say to him. I don’t want to have a relationship with a person just because they’re my blood relative. They bore me. My father is incapable of showing much affection, or even carrying on a conversation, so… Just because of the last time that I saw him, I expressed this to him and made it really clear to him that I just didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. But it was a relief on both of our parts, you know? Because for so many years he felt that I really hated his guts, you know?

Kurt Cobain by Jesse Frohman
The rock legend was reportedly high throughout, resulting in playful, less self-conscious imagesPhotography by Jesse Frohman

Jon Savage: I’ve spent a year and a half dealing with this stuff ’cause my father died in March. It’s really serious stuff. It really fucks you up.
Kurt Cobain: Did you have a good relationship with him?
Jon Savage: No, but we made it up at the end, and I’m really glad we did. I just felt I had to do it.
Kurt Cobain: It’s really important to do that, to make amends. And if you can do it before you almost have to, you know? Like at a time where if you know that one of the… someone is going to die, it’s… At least it happened. 
Jon Savage: I’m very lucky that I had a year to deal with it, but it was very, very painful. I’m very glad it’s over now… You can’t duck it.
Kurt Cobain: It’s what I’ve done all my life though. I’ve always quit jobs without telling the employer that I’m quitting. I just wouldn’t show up one day. Same with high school: the last two months of high school, I quit. So I’ve always copped out of things all my life, so to face up to my father was… Although he chose to seek me out, you know? But it was a nice relief.
Jon Savage: Do you write about this at all? There’s a lyric about your father on “Serve the Servants”…
Kurt Cobain: Yeah. Yeah. It’s the first time I’ve ever really dealt with any parental issues. I’ve never written about—I’ve hardly ever written anything obviously personal, to myself or to anyone else, on that scale. 
Excerpted from KURT COBAIN: The Last Session, by Jesse Frohman, available from Thames & Hudson Inc. as of 10th November.
© 2014 Jesse Frohman
Text and interview © 2014 Jon Savage. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Thames & Hudson Inc.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Smashing Pumpkins - "Tiberius" - The Dreamy Hippie Heart Still Beats

Yeah, I am definitely smiling. The Smashing Pumpkins single "Tiberius" from the highly anticipated "Monuments to an Elegy" album might have some musical cues and breaks that sound too slick and mainstream to fully fuel the most die hard Pumpkins fans BUT the guitars are fuzzy and thick, the drums potent and Billy Corgan still has that dreamy hippie heart beating in his vocal performance and that makes me so happy. Yeah, I am smiling big time.
Robb Donker

Get the exclusive 'Monuments to an Elegy' sampler including “Tiberius” when you pre-order the album on LP or CD at these select indie retail stores while supplies last:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Savage Nomads : "Pinkie's Little Light" Music Video (Official) "Bloody Good"

South London's Savage Nomads say that the official music video for their new single "Pinkie's Little Light" ( single dropping November 24th) is their playful homage to directors like David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. For me, it is a Tarantino-esque Grindhouse film on acid complete with Madonna / whore complexes, a machete versus baseball bat fight to the death, trippy fever dream surgeries, a bloody heart in hand and Bad Mother Fucker's wallet. Directed by the band and Piotr Obal, it is fast moving, colorful and campy. There does seem to be some sort of narrative running through the video but for me the main narrative is fun and, I must say, the boys play their roles well.

It isn't easy to carve out your own unique sound in the indie pop world but Savage Nomads have succeeded. With flavors that feel contemporary and retro I have described them to friends as kind of like The Smiths and The Talking Heads having a baby doing tropical punk and indie pop all in one. Pour yourself a drink, check out Pinkie's Little Light and let me know what you all think.
Robb Donker

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Breaking NEWS: UCSB Police Aggravate Attendees At Mac DeMarco Concert- Mac DeMarco Detained 11/15/14

 Fans cheer on Mac DeMarco at his show at UCSB Friday night moments before he was detained on stage for crowd surfing and hanging in the venue's ceiling beams.

As reported by the Santa Barbara Independent (you can read Kelsey Brugger's words here), last night Mac DeMarco was detained by UCSB police during a concert at the hub for climbing the rafters after crowd surfing. Apparently he climbed to a second level and was detained as he was coming down the stairs. The police didn't even know that he was the performer. Amazingly, the police were on stage shining flashlights into the audience 10 minutes into the concert. I know as of late a lot of artists and concert attendees have been objecting to all the cell phone cams detracting from the concert experience well police shining flashlights in your face is about 900 buhzillion times worse. According to the aforementioned article there is speculation that the police were looking for people smoking pot. Whaaaaat???  

This is the thing. The actions of the police in this situation was the problem. At indie venues every night across the country, kids mosh, band members crowd surf and YES hang from rafters or climb on unsteady PA speakers. Kids smoke some pot too. Usually crowds at indie shows do a good job of regulating themselves. If crowd surfers get out of hand the bands shame them. If moshers get too pushy the crowd calms the situation. No police, no moms or dads needed.

This whole story is even more disturbing after all the recent stories about the increase in sexual assaults and rape at UCSB. Comments by concert goers seem to indicate that the armed police presence was severe including one officer wearing a bullet proof vest. I would only hope that UCSB police would use their resources, would shine their flashlights during campus patrols to heighten their presence in general to make the campus safe for real crimes as opposed to unruly moshers at an indie concert.

The last time I saw Mac DeMarco was at Burgerama 3 back in March. This festival had around 70 bands and a huge police presence by the Orange County Police Department. The OC police are no nonsense kind of scary dudes and to their credit did not over step their boundaries. Their mission their was to keep the peace. At all the stages people moshed, crowd surfed and their was copious amounts of pot smoke in the air. To my knowledge their were no obvious arrests. No polices on stage shining flashlights. No police being bullies. They kept their presence to a minimum and did their job. Obviously, crowd control for thousands is a different animal than for hundred but clearly the UCSB police overstepped their bounds. Their presence on UCSB didn't make anyone feel safer, they just aggravated a lot of people who otherwise would of enjoyed some killer music and Mac DeMarco's antics.


Robb Donker 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Your Underdog - "No Swim Zone" Has a Casio Soul and a New Wave Heart

Synth laden romantic new wave has made a steady comeback ever since John Hughes' Pretty In Pink popularized it in the mid-80's or maybe it never really went away. All I know is that bands like Future Islands or Roses have stoked the synth pop fires as of late (for me anyway).

New York City's Your Underdog has just released "No Swim Zone" which percolates with a Casio soul complete with hand claps and dreamy synth lines that make you remember your first broken heart. The vocal performance reminds me a bit of Thomas Mars of Phoenix. This is my first introduction to Your Underdog and I want to hear more.-
Robb Donker

We All Know Guy Pearce Can Act but Guess What? He Can Sing Too- Hear The Official Videos for "Taste" and "Storm"

One of my favorite movies of all time is L.A Confidential. The Curtis Hanson 1997 neo-noir detective film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel was just downright riveting. In my opinion every frame is pitch perfect as is every performance by an impressive cadre of actors such as Kevin Spacey, Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger and Danny Devito. For me it was Pearce and Crowe's slow burning to scorched earth performances that blew me away. I have probably seen this movie 17 times and it still engages me every time. While I had seen Guy Pearce in "The Adventures of Priscilla- Queen of the Desert" years prior it was his stunning performance in L.A. Confidential that permanently etched in my brain. So many memorable performances followed.

Because I am such a big fan of Guy Pearce the actor, it was with some trepidation that I hit play on Guy Pearce the singer / musician. His debut album, Broken Bones, is set to release worldwide in 2015. The singles "Storm" and "Taste" have just dropped along with the official videos for both. "Taste" is a sultry power pop affair with a spartan heavy bass production. Pearce's vocal performance is a cool blend of whispers and husky grittiness. Dynamically rich, when the track builds I thought of Muse or Audioslave although Pearce steers a bit softer. Still his voice is a bit in that Chris Cornell / Matthew Bellamy box. Pearce has pipes, he really does but even more importantly he has a character / quality in his voice that pulls you in. The official "Taste" video is directed by award-winning film maker Mackenzie Sheppard. It feels both spacey and grounded as Pearce often times bracing himself in a slowly spinning compartment while slow motion Hong Kong opulence collide with urban imagery. The video is interesting to be sure but not more so than the song itself which shines more and I guess that is how it should be.

The video for Storm, directed by Melbourne based film maker Michael Shanks is surreal and mostly based in Van Gogh-ish blue. On first listen, I enjoyed the track "Taste" more. "Storm" (while it has it's share of musical flair) is less edgy than "Taste" and as such could of used less production. I would of liked to hear it more rough around the edges, less perfectly wrought. All that perfection to some degree mutes the life and passion out of it.

On both tracks I must say that Guy Pearce's vocals do shine and do make me want to hear more from him. Obviously an accomplished singer I would love to hear him do some tracks that are a bit heavier or lean toward an indie maybe even garage rockish edge. I think he has that kind of voice deep down inside.
Robb Donker

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Worlds Largest Paint Party in Atlanta- "What Has My Life Come To?"

Intrepid writer Alyssa Holland and friend
DAYGLOW w/ HARDWELL: Worlds Largest Paint Party in Atlanta, November 8th, 2014

On Saturday, November 8th I attended the weirdest event of my life and, believe me, I've seen a lot of weird stuff. Having just moved to North Georgia from Southern California, I’m really lacking in the friend department. Luckily I have a ton of cool coworkers and I’ve been getting to know them over the past few months. My coworker who also happens to be from Southern California, and Orange county which is even more of a coincidence, invited me to go to a “paint party” with her. This was the first Saturday I have had off since Music Midtown, so I jumped at the chance to go to something that actually sounded quite fun. My friend and I originally bonded over our love for the British teen drama Skins, and we’ve set out to base our hangs on what they do in the show, minus all of the crazy drugs they constantly take. On Skins, they go to clubs, concerts, camping in the forest, to weddings in the rural areas surrounding Bristol, go to pool halls and get in fights, and hangout at hip cafes after school. We like to leave out all the crazy stuff that makes for good TV, but it’s fun to feel like you’re a cast member of Skins with a friend who shares that interest. However, at this “paint party,” it felt a bit too much akin to Skins.

From what she told me, she had an extra ticket, and it was a paint party with DJ’s and dancing at an 18+ venue in Atlanta. From my experience, 18+ clubs never get too crazy because it’s a bunch of young kids who just want to feel cool and they dance, usually drug/alcohol free. I brought a towel and a change of clothes, and wore something that I didn’t mind getting paint on. We show up, and there were lines along the entire building with people dressed like Andrew WK (all white, ready to party). The venue was called “Wild Bills” and it was in a shopping center. Not what I was expecting AT ALL. We waited in line for 20 minutes, moved in and it sort of looked like a trashier version of the El Rey (in Los Angeles); red velvet everywhere, covered in tarps because of the forthcoming paint, and instead of swanky looking bars, there were carts selling Gatorade, water, and $1 candy. I immediately thought, “what the hell am I doing right now? I hope this is actually fun.” People were selling tempera (water based) paint in green, blue or pink. At first, the only paint splatter was from people opening their paint bottles and swinging them in the air. The building was kept cool, so the paint would dry pretty fast. Not bad. The DJ was okay and people were dancing and having fun. Then they brought out the paint blasters, a creepy recorded speech spoken through a deep monster voice about the control of social media, and weird visuals behind the DJ’s. The paint blaster came on with a power similar to a fire hose, and drenched everyone in the pit. The paint blasters were being operated by women dressed in psychedelic body suits and white wigs like something straight out of a Kubrick film. My friend and her friends wanted to be in the pit, so I stuck around. Being stuck in a pit body to body with soaking wet paint is disgusting to say the least. I kept thinking, “I don’t know if someone just threw paint on me or threw up on me.” This thought remained in my mind for the next two hours as I grew more and more paranoid at everything going on.

My friend got pulled to the front and the Andrew WK’s wouldn’t let me through. I also kept thinking about the supposed Andrew WK controversies floating the internet about how he isn’t an actual artist, that he’s an actor hired by corporations to promote fun and partying, and the actor who plays him has been switched halfway into his career. I thought, “Is Andrew WK behind this?” and “Was that weird social media speech coming from the same people who invented Andrew WK?” while I tried to search for my friend. I texted her friend, telling her that I didn’t want to stay until 4am when this event supposedly ended because I had work the next morning. I tried to sit and wait for them to see how long I could bear the paint, the people, the weird DJ’s and the overall weird everything. Is this what my life has come to? I used to go to shows for free and hangout with my favorite bands in a cool, somewhat classy setting. Now I’m at a weird gross 18+ paint party at a place called Wild Bills in a shopping center because my friend had an extra overpriced ticket. I reassured myself that Music Midtown was amazing, and the next event I go to will be a laid back concert full of 30 year olds who just want to stand there and hear their favorite songs from their favorite band from the 90’s. I heard back from my new friends, and they wanted to stay the entire time. So I left. I could definitely see my experience on an episode of Skins, where Franky gets freaked out by a creepy paint party and gets separated from Effy and Mini and she decides to leave. But in the Skins version, she’d get attacked by her former lover on the street or something. 

Alyssa Holland

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Check Out A Brand NEW Song by Roses on Tony and Gabe

On a past blog post about Roses [A three-piece band from Los Angeles made up of Marc Steinberg (Lead Vocals / Keys / Beats), Victor Herrera (Bass), and Abe Vigoda's Juan Velasquez (guitar).] I described their music as a kind of dance rapturous mix of romantic new wave, indie pop and post punk sounds evoking a sense of nostalgia and high school crushes. Check out this awesome video of one of their brand new songs brought to you by Tony and Gabe and then check out our interview with Roses here.

tonyandgabe present ROSES from Tony and Gabe on Vimeo.

Rivergazer's "Random Nostalgia" A Lush Remedy for Wayne Coyne's Mid-Life Crisis

Photo by Heather Craig

Right after I viewed The Flaming Lips doing their take on the Beatles "A Day In The Life" on Conan along with Miley Cyrus I got into a depressive funk. I have been a Flaming Lips fan over the years and have even found myself defending Cyrus on occasion but the Conan performance felt like a musically sordid affair. What did I just witness? It kind of felt like performance art meets corporate sell out. Or maybe it was Wayne Coyne's mid-life crisis wrapped in foil? Maybe I was being too hard on it. It is just good clean fun after all. One thing is for sure. It felt cheap and easy. Take an iconic piece of music and twist it up. The interpretation, the concept felt like it took 15 minutes to come up with after smoking copious amounts of pop. Nothing against pot mind you. In the end, Wayne and Miley effectively sucked all the somber emotion out of an epic piece of music and replaced it with spectacle and fluff.

Yesterday I finally got to hear Rivergazer's debut LP "Random Nostalgia" and now I feel much better. I love to hear music cold and this was the case with Rivergazer. Part way through I reveled in how they kind of sounded like Porches not even realizing that this wonderful outfit started as Porches guitarist Kevin Farrant's recording project. The songs are are so well crafted. From the first track Lonely to the last Savannah, Farrant stirs in a lot of thoroughly engaging stuff in the mix. Some of the songs are hinged on thick acoustic guitar often time played with chunky strums and some muted palmed accents. Others on somber acoustic piano like Plastic T-Shirt. Whatever the vehicle used to carry the the message, it is the melodies both vocally and musically that grab you by the shirt collar and pull you in for the musical embrace. The lush dream theater quality of Under My Skin entices as much for the notes that hang in the air as the lilting poise of the chord progressions. Elegantly rendered, beautifully seductive and a little bit Beatle-esque. Listen to Pour Me 5 times in a row and you will discover new lovely touches each and every time. This track reminded me the most of Farrant's connection to Porches. Oh Well feels dour and cinematic in scope and begs to be in a David Fincher movie. Whimper feels playful with a sardonic bite. The title track Random Nostalgia might be the heart of the album. It feels like an askew blend of all the musical tones of the other tracks. It is cool and collected alt folk, hooky and wonderfully weird too.

Random Nostalgia is a treasure trove of songs. In a strange way they feel small but big at the same time. The songs are so fucking brilliant in their earnest intimacy. In the style there is so much substance. As I listened there were flourishes of sound that made me flash on artists like Elliot Smith, Father John Misty, Bowie, Radiohead, Kurt Vile and Porches. As a debut album (as any album) Random Nostalgia is a stunner and the perfect remedy for Wayne Coyne's mid-life crisis.
Robb Donker

At the time of this blog post you can still stream the album on IMPOSE via Father/Daughter Records

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

FIRST GLIMPSE: Pearl Lion: "On My Way Home" from the upcoming "Light" and "Dark"

Jared Scharff has been fueling his creative dreams since he was a pre-teen. During his first year in high school he knew deep down inside that music would be his calling. All this desire and hard work has turned into solid accomplishments. He is a sought after studio musician, has produced major label artists and played alongside A-List performers including Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Elton John, Lady GaGa and more. Over the last seven years he has been the guitarist in the Saturday Night Live house band. All this and one endeavor has remained elusive. Since he was a child he has dreamed of making his very own instrumental album. Over the last two years he has been making his vision a reality.

Under the moniker, Pearl Lion, "On My Way Home" is the first glimpse of an upcoming set of EP's entitled "Light" and "Dark".  Piercing guitar lines hover around an organic sounding kick drum and percussive snap. The emotional tug feels somber. The melodies evoke longing, The imagery- a city at night. If this track is any indication of what is to come, "Light" and "Dark" (due to drop in 2015) will be a soundtrack that will be worth experiencing.
Robb Donker

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tired Tape Machine - "Not Here" Drops November 19th - Part Natural Beauty, Part Spectral

"Not Here" - the third full length album by Tired Tape Machine aka Petter Lindhagen is a creative study in contrasts. The acoustic passages in the songs feel intimate and down to earth while some of the progression can go askew feeling rather unearthly. In songs like Your Ghost the feel is almost mid century chamber music with what sounds like a sad Church choir but as the song progresses and the edgy drum beat shuffles throughout (amidst what sounds like radio waves chirping and spewing static) it turns into something more avant garde. Those same industrial electronic sounds filter in other songs like Sisyphus with great effect. The track Hidden feels very much like a whimsical fairy but the music has a dark under belly with what sounds like a tearful violin that eventually gives way to a post rock guitar. The song possesses a dramatic push and pull.

Stella's Other Waltz and the accompanying Stella's Waltz with it's bells and haunting acoustic piano feels like it pulls you into a past life. Both orchestral pieces are instrumental and can induce real chills. It is part natural beauty and part spectral like a ghostly apparition. Gone (a short interlude) almost feels like a wedding dance of a song but then edges into such a solemn place. Bury builds on subtle vocal harmonies. It is a wonderful slow burn of a song that feels like a slow motion walk after an ordeal of some sort. It feels like an ode to survival and is as much a spiritual embrace as it is a spaghetti western.

Tired Tape Machine's "Not Here" is an album that needs to be heard from start to finish. It is an experience to revel in. It is a head rush of ambient, post folk acoustic guitar and piano, orchestral with touches of post rock. It is mostly instrumental and even the songs with vocals use them in more of an aural than lyrical way. The tone and feel brought to mind a mix of artists like Mogwai, Soley, Nino Rota, Radiohead all crushed through a Pink Floyd-ian filter.

"Not Here" is set to release November 19th through the Feeder label.
Robb Donker

Sunday, November 2, 2014

John Moose - "Flower" (Official Video) - The Sad Beauty Takes You Over

 The latest single from John Moose who have their roots in the woods of Varmland, Sweeden is entitled "Flower" and it percolates with a gentle yet formidable cadence that (for me) brings up imagery of fog banks and majestic waves at Big Sur. For you it will obviously be something entirely different. That is the magic of music and especially the magic of this song. It starts off sadly beautiful but as the acoustic guitar and vocals are overtaken by an ever building wall of sounds there is an emotional tug of war that is as tumultuous as nature itself.

"Flower" is written, recorded and produced by John Moose and the video is made in cooperation with Roya Sarvestani and Peter Olofsson. I look forward to their upcoming album. You can check out the official video below and drop yourself in it's imagery or close your eyes and revel in your own.
Robb Donker

Prince Kills It on SNL- (no surprise) : SEE IT

I love watching Prince perform so when his SNL performance started and he was playing the keyboard my heart sank a bit. For a fleeting moment I thought he might stay on the keys and not grace us all with his prowess as the guitar god he is. Thankfully my fear was unwarranted. Sporting an afro and 3rd eyed hippie shades he was backed by 3rdeyegirl (the all female trio consisting of the Canadian guitar player Donna Grantis, American drummer Hannah Ford and Danish bassist Ida Nielsen) and assorted musicians. They performed a medley of "Clouds"- Prince's duet with La Havas from Art Official Age and Marz and Anotherlove from Plectrumelectrum.

Prince absolutely killed it. My favorite song in the medley was Anotherlove with (for me) harkins back to the Purple Rain period. I am also amazed how damn good Prince looks. He has obviously found the fountain of youth and still flashes a 19 year old smile. Check it out below.
Robb Donker

Chris Rock Still Has The Biggest Balls in Comedy Touching on The Boston Marathon Bombing, 911 and Gun Nuts

As I watched Chris Rock's monologue on SNL I did laugh in between picking my jaw off the ground. Once again Chris Rock has proven he has the biggest balls in comedy by touching on some sensitive subjects such as terrorism, the "eventual" commercialization of 911 and those gun nuts out their who personally threatened him. One can argue that his comments may of been insensitive but one thing that is being said but should not be is that he was making fun of 911, making fun of the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing. He was clearly not. What his comments did do was to walk that fine tightrope between comedy and social / political commentary and while it might of made us feel uneasy at times, this kind of discourse in the comedy realm is needed. It was what George Carlin did so very well.

Was Rock's monologue offensive? That answer, of course, is a subjective one but (to me) no more so than the countless number of TV shows that have used terrorism as a backdrop for their dramatic content. Obviously, events in the world are going to shape TV and what TV writers write about but all too often the events of 911 and terrorism have been injected in shows like 24, Rescue Me, Sleeper Cell and more as an easy emotional cue or dramatic punchline. In this respect, terrorism and 911 was "commercialized" a long time ago as tragic events and the dramatization of those events get ratings and ratings sell soap.

There are not a a lot of high profile comedians today who make you laugh and think about the world at large or the human condition. The two that immediately come to mind are Louie CK and Chris Rock. When watching a comic I would much rather chuckle and think than laugh till I cry.
Robb Donker

Saturday, November 1, 2014

VIDEO: Corners - "The Spaceship" - A Pulpy Passion Play Mini Movie

Corners' new video for "The Spaceship" plays like a pulpy passion play. Directed with an insane amount of detached flair by David Gantz and Theo Cohn it feels like a campy combination of Wes Anderson, Jean Pierre Jeunet and John Waters. Perfectly cast actors Samson Kohanski and Austin Carr vie for the affection of the comely Giselle Gilbert with deadly consequences. The tone of this mini movie captures the pulse of the post punk song which charges forth in it's over modulated glory amidst a thumping bass line, drums and edgy surf guitar. I love everything about this perfect meld of sound and imagery and if Gantz and Cohn decide to direct a full length movie I will be in line to see it.
Robb Donker

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fleeting Youth Records Release 33 Track Garage, Punk, Post Punk, Shoe Gaze and more compilation: BLOOMING

Fleeting Youth Records' (a Record and Tape Label out of Austin Texas) latest release is Blooming, a fierce compilation album of alternative rock with varying blends of indie, garage, punk, post punk, noise rock and power pop. The label chose from 110 submissions finally coalescing the potent batch into a heady 33 tracks from 33 bands from the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Australia and the Netherlands. As Fleeting Youth puts it: Blooming is: 90 plus minutes of pure fuzz-rock bliss. We wholeheartedly agree. This is a must have compilation.

Available digitally and on cassette here.

St. Vincent Overcomes Movie Conventions with Solid Writing and Subtle Character Studies. One of the Top 5 Best Movies This Year.

On the surface St.Vincent as a movie should not work. It is full of movie conventions. You have the old curmudgeon, the overly wise kid, the mom done wrong by a man and starting over and the prostitute / stripper who deep down inside has a heart that while it may not be made of gold is, at least, gold plated. St. Vincent works maybe for the things it doesn't have. There are no explosions. No protracted comic fights. No chase scenes. No histrionics really, of any kind. When characters have emotional high and lows they are handled in a real earnest way. Nothing is over the top. No hyper sense of reality here. And wonders among wonders, the people portrayed on the middle to lower economic rung don't live in a house or apartment that in reality would be well beyond their means.

The true brilliance of St.Vincent is that it proves that it is not the basic plot line (or twist on one) that is as important to the telling of a story as how well the characters that inhabit that story are written and writer / director Theodore Melfi has written characters that we care about and whom we can relate to. We have all known kids who seem to be wise beyond their year. We all know single mom's who struggle everyday to make that dollar while at the same time try to raise a kid or kids. And, unfortunately, we all have had tragedy befall us to only have a heaping of more hardship hit us when we are down.

The style of the movie can can feel a bit all over the place. Tonally parts of it feel like a 70's movie (think Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces") and at other times it feels like a self conscious indie flick (think: more than one Wes Anderson movie) but the shifts don't feel so startling as to pull yourself out of the movie, in fact, some of the superb songs (especially those by Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy) seem to advance the story and draw out the emotional tugs just right. When the Bill Murray's character of Vincent comes to the aid of young Oliver (played wonderfully by newcomer Jaeden Lieberher)  who is being bullied and who he is "baby sitting" the scene (again) feels like a retread but the dialog is not. That dialog delivered by Murray (as only he can) elevates the scene. I could go on and on but it cannot be emphasized enough that Melfi has crafted a film built on words that contain truths and these emotional truths bond together the characters in this movie and those of us who are responsive to these emotional truths.

Besides Murray's perfectly balance performance, Melissa McCarthy proves that less is more. Like Robin Williams, she has always been able to give both broad and subtle comedic and dramatic performances that can touch you and make you laugh. In St. Vincent, she (like her character) feels like she is on that razor thin verge of laughing and crying. A great performance. The young actor Jaeden Lieberher in this, his debut movie outing, (without question) kills it. The true surprise for me is Naomi Watts as the Russian pregnant prostitute / stripper who doesn't let her baby bump slow her down. "Daka" makes Vincent seem politically correct. Watts provides the only true comic relief but still manages to imbue Daka with emotional depth. Chris O'Dowd plays the affable Catholic school teacher and every time he is on the screen you just wish you had a teacher like him growing up. Terrence Howard is not on the screen often but gives weight to his bad guy role.

St.Vincent is a must see. It is really a pleasure to see what some may call a rather unoriginal storyline told in such a uniquely endearing and ultimately original way. After all, most of our lives are not all that original but we as individuals are and we all have our own stories to tell full of tragedies and personal victories. This might be St.Vincent's most important lesson.

Robb Donker

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Album Review: Devo to release: "Miracle Witness Hour"- SPUDS Rejoice and Step into The Time Machine

 I can still remember when Devo appeared on Saturday Night Live way back on October 14th, 1978. I hadn't heard or seen anything like them. I felt like my brain had been pulled out of my skull, twisted, wrung out and left to air dry. At the time, I thought they were so weird but so potent as well. The rest is history. Months earlier David Bowie and Iggy Pop championed Devo and their zeal for their sound and art performance definitely helped Devo secure a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records. To this day, they stand alone as one of the most unique art punk / art new wave / avant-pop bands of all time. Their place in the history of music, music videos and live performance is set in stone.

On December 1st, the Futurismo Label is releasing Devo's Miracle Witness Hour. For music aficionados this is pretty amazing stuff. Recorded in 1977 at a biker bar turned dive bar called the Eagle Street Saloon in Cleveland, Ohio it is like stepping into a time machine. As I listened to all these songs I tried to imagine what the crowd was thinking hearing such trippy songs. I also try to imagine these "songs of the future" set against the dive bar setting which is a trip in and of itself. The live recordings shine and Devo kills it. Some of the crowd response feels tentative at first but ultimately they get it and show their enthusiasm.

This special remastered release also boasts cool packaging. The outer sleeve comes die cut revealing the box-fold reversible cover inner sleeve containing a second sleeve full of rare images as well as brand new liner notes by Devo founding member Gerald Casale. The vinyl is pressed on heavyweight 180 G colored vinyl with free dnld and the record is also available on Die-cut Digipak CD format.

Tracks: Be Stiff, Uncontrollable Urge, Mongoloid, Timing X Soo Bawls, Polyvinyl Chloride, Jocko Homo, Huboon Stomp, Praying Hands, Secret Agent Man and Smart Patrol Mr. DNA.
A must have!
Robb Donker

Praise the lord! We must repeat D-E-V-O
DEVO Online: