Friday, January 31, 2014

Tigerface - EP - "On The Beach" - Leaves You Wanting More

Tiger Face is a mystery. All I know is that this "project" is out of Portland, Oregon and their debut EP "On The Beach" instantly tapped into my inner child (if he was a little high on too much cough syrup) and my endearing love of the shiny sounds of Elliot Smith, the Beatles (circa Abbey Road), Nielsen, Bright Eyes, The Flaming Lips, Ray Davies and cats scurrying across metal trash can lids at midnight. It is not that Tiger Face sounds like any one of these sounds / artists in particular but the songs on this EP brought them to mind in an endearing way.

There are only 4 songs on the collection. Control with it's disjointed beginning of spartan piano, squealing radio transmissions and faltering drums falls into a blissful kind of psychedelic folk thing. The vocal performance is top notch, a lovely voice that radiates with emotion. For a short song, it pauses in all the right places, letting the atmosphere hang on the dirty piano chords in a really evocative ways. Brian Wilson would of liked this as he sat in his sandbox stupor. Leaving (For A While) feel somber but pretty and hinges on a heavy acoustic guitar held up with a delicious Fender Rhodes sounding keyboard and sweet melody but it seems to end rather abruptly. On the Beach, is something in between a 70's TV theme song or a surreal dance number that would exist in a Coen Brothers movie. The lead guitar work erupting after a surprising foreign vocal break is really fun and brilliant in that George Harrison kind of way. And finally, Junkyard  which feels almost Damien Rice-ish but less self centered, is just earnest and beautiful.

Who are you Tiger Face? Are you one person with that beautiful voice or many? This debut contain only 4 songs but they all feel uniquely inspired. These folk based songs with rather avant garde twists and turns are truly engaging because they don't merely hang on sonic hooks. The unusual and sometimes nostalgic psychedelic wrappings cover words and melodies that carry emotional weight and that is the key here. I look forward to hearing more from this "project" soon. Go create more splendid songs for me, please.

Robb Donker



The Chain Gang Of 1974 - Daydream Forever

With the release of The Chain Gang of 1974's new album Daydream Forever (Warner Bros) less than a week away, Spotify is offering up the exclusive first listen of the album through The Drop. All week, fans can enjoy exclusive content from the band including a full album stream, behind-the-scenes photos from the album cover shoot, an album-inspired playlist and an exclusive remix. View all the action here:

Direct Album Link:

"Daydream Forever" Album Pre-order:

- on iTunes 
- on Amazon

Earlier this week, Rolling Stone premiered the song "You," proclaiming it "exists at the intersection between modern EDM and classic Eighties synth-pop." Similarly, the album's enthralling first single "Sleepwalking,'" which is featured on the television commercial for Grand Theft Auto V, recently debuted at #1 on the Alt Specialty Radio Chart and was also added to Sirius XM's Alt Nation playlist. The song was nominated for Spike TV's Video Game (VGX) Awards for "Best Song In A Game," and is the most popular on the GTAV soundtrack , with over 30K sold.

Led by the genre-jumping singer/multi-instrumentalist Kamtin Mohager, the band will be performing at SXSW and Governor's Ball, with additional tour dates coming soon.

Daydream Forever was produced by Isom Innis (Foster The People) with additional production and mixing from Tony Hoffer (M83, Phoenix). The new album is the anticipated follow-up to The Chain Gang of 1974's widely acclaimed 2011 debut Wayward Fire, which Esquire declared "one of the summer's most surprisingly fantastic new records," earning similar praise from the likes of SPINMTV, FADERNYLONRCRD LBL and more. They have shared the stage with the likes of Foster the People, Big Audio Dynamite, Tapes N Tapes, and The Naked and Famous, as well as a lauded performance at 2011's Lollapalooza, which Yahoo proclaimed "a fabulous onstage display."

Be sure to check out The Chain Gang Of 1974 online:

THE MILK CARTON KIDS ON AUSTIN CITY LIMITS THIS WEEKEND- and check out them on Inside Sleeve - Radio National

Amazing performances and insightful interview with the Milk Carton Kids. Please check it out.
And watch them on Austin City Limits--

Grammy-Nominated Duo Selling Out North American Tour Dates In Support Of The Ash & Clay
This Saturday, February 1st, the storied musical review Austin City Limits will televise a special performance by acclaimed flat-picking duo The Milk Carton Kids. Fresh off a GRAMMY nomination for Best Folk Album, The Ash & Clay, and a show-stopping feature in the Showtime special "Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the music of 'Inside Llewyn Davis,'" the Los Angeles-based band continues to emerge as a formidable force in contemporary folk.
The Milk Carton Kids have also announced a series of North American tour dates this Spring, many of which have already sold out 3-5 months in advance prompting the band to add shows and move to larger venues. The duo will perform in support of their critically acclaimed and now GRAMMY nominated Anti- Records release, The Ash & Clay
The Milk Carton Kids Tour Dates:
4/14 - Nashville, TN - Belcourt Theater
4/15 - St. Louis, MO - Sheldon Concert Hall
4/16 - Memphis, TN - Buckman Performing Arts Center
4/17 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay
4/18 - Atlanta, GA - The Buckhead Theatre
4/19 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
4/21 - Vienna, VA - The Barns at Wolf Trap 
4/22 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
4/23 - New York, NY - Society For Ethical Culture
4/24 - Brownfield, ME - Stone Mountain Arts Center
4/29 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
4/30 - Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
5/1 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
5/2 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
5/3 - Toronto, ON - The Great Hall
5/5 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
5/6 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark
5/7 - Grand Rapids, MI - Ladies Literary Club
5/8 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk
5/9 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk
5/10 - Stoughton, WI - Stoughton Opera House
5/11 - Minneapolis, MN - Dakota Jazz Club (early show)
5/11 - Minneapolis, MN - Dakota Jazz Club (late show)
5/12 - Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Center
5/14 - Calgary, AB - Festival Hall
5/15 - Edmonton, AB - McDougall United Church
5/28 – Austin, TX – Stateside Theatre
5/29 - Houston, TX - Mucky Duck (early show)
5/29 - Houston, TX - Mucky Duck (late show)
5/30 - Austin, TX - Stateside Theater
5/31 - Dallas, TX - Poor David's Pub
6/1 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door
6/3 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
6/5 - Salt Lake City, UT - The State Room
6/6 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
6/11 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre
6/12 - Vancouver, BC - St. James Hall
6/14 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
6/16 - Napa, CA - City Winery
6/17 - Santa Cruz, CA - Kuumbwa Jazz
6/18 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
6/19 - Santa Barbara, CA - Lobero Theatre
6/21 - Los Angeles, CA - Japan America Theater
6/22 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up
6/23 - Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum
6/24 - Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When God takes a Big Crap on your Head then you always have Simian Ghost-

On this day, January 29th I felt like God has taken a big crap on my head. It has been one of those stressful, god awful days. Much to my surprise this sweet song by Simian Ghost has resurrected my spirit. Echoes of Songs, a track dedicated to Trish Keenan of Broadcast with it's bright jagged construction and cool catching up drumming feels pretty much like falling in love. Thanks Simian Ghost from preventing me from going over the deep end. I hope if you are having a shitty day, this song affects you in the same way.

Robb Donker

Monday, January 27, 2014

PIXIES - Magdelena - "How did you get so strong?"

A blue bathed rice bath and the sinuous grace of British dance and performance artist Nando Messias captivate in the Judy Jacob directed video of the Pixies "Magdelena." The gender twisting imagery serve the sex burn feel of the song which is from the Pixies E-2 release back in January.


26       Strathmore, Washington, DC  (Fidlar)
28       NJ PAC, Newark, NJ  (Fidlar)
29       National Theatre, Richmond, VA  (Fidlar)
31       Durham PAC, Durham, NC  (Cults)

 1        Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC  (Cults)
 2        Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN  (Cults)
 4        Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA  (Cults)
 6        Peabody Opera House, St. Louis, MO  (Cults)
 7        LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH  (Cults)
 8        The Fillmore, Detroit, MI  (Cults)
 9        Rivera Theatre, Chicago, IL  (Cults)
11        Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO  (Cults)
13       Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO  (Best Coast)
14       Belly Up, Aspen, CO  (Best Coast)
15       The Great Salt Air, Salt Lake City, UT  (Best Coast) 
17       Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC  CANADA  (Best Coast)
18       Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA  (Best Coast)
19       Schnitzer Auditorium, Portland, OR  (Best Coast)
21       Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA  (Best Coast)
22       San Jose Civic, San Jose, CA  (Best Coast)
23       The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV  (Best Coast)
24       Comerica Theatre, Phoenix, AZ  (Best Coast)
25       Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM  (Best Coast)
27       Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX  (Best Coast)
28       South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX  (Best Coast)

 1         Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX  (Best Coast)
29/30   Lollapalooza Chile, Santiago, Chile

 1         Rock'n'Fall, Montevideo, Uruguay 
1/3       Lollapalooza Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina
3/5       Festival Estereo Picnic, Bogota, Colombia
5/6       Lollapalooza Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil

29/30    Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain

 2          Rock In Idro, Bologna, Italy
 4          Caribana Festival, Crans-Pres-Celighy, Switzerland
 6/7       Primavera Sound, Porto, Portugal
 8          Field Day, Victoria Park, London, UK
13         Orange Festival, Warsaw, Poland
15         Northside, Arhus, Denmark
17/18    Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel
20         Best Kept Secret, Hilvarenbeek, Holland
20/22    Hurricane, Schessel, Germany
20/22    Southside, Neuhausen, Germany
25         Inmusic, Zagreb, Croatia
29         Marley Park, Dublin, Ireland (with Arcade Fire)
30         Live at the Marquee, Cork, Ireland

 2          Nuits De Fourviere, Lyon, France
 5          Rock Werchter, Werchter, Belgium
 6          Beauregard, Herouville-St. Clair, France

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A New So Cal Music Venue- The Glass House Gives Birth to The Blue Room- Debut Show- The Lovely Bad Things, So Many Wizards, GRMLN, Roses-

Members of The Lovely Bad Things, So Many Wizards, GRMLN, Roses and Friends

The iconic Glass House in the arts district of Pomona in California gave birth to a small venue. Initial names were Roscoe and Wendy but instead, the little guy was named "The Blue Room" and the inaugural show took place Friday, the 24th of January with The Lovely Bad Things, So Many Wizards, GRMLN and Roses. By anyone's standard, the first steps of the Blue Room was a success. The show easily sold out, each band gave strong performances and the crowd on hand was not content to sit on their heals and just bob their heads. In the end it was a moshy, crowd surfing night with many a lost cell phone falling into the fray.

The Blue Room's entrance is the alley behind the Glass House only adding to the appeal. The space itself is the overflow area behind the stage that flows into the backstage green room. The space flows right into the Glass House floor space but is cordoned off by a gate. The "blue" space flows directly into Acerogami Lounge and if you are of legal drinking age you can gain entry and grab yourself a beer. The room containing the stage and backstage entrance funnels off the larger "blue" space. The stage which only rests inches above the floor run from wall to wall. When the room packed tight and it did, it was difficult to see the bands if you were farther back than 6 feet. I would hope that eventually the stage gets built up a few feet high. Like any smaller room, the sound varied on where you stood but in most of the spots I stood, it was good and really loud. You might want to pack some ear plugs in case you want to get up close. This all ages venue also provided Gatorade, water, and snacks. Merch tables were set up for the bands.

Not only was this show the birth of a new venue, it also was a love fest between the bands and wunderkind promoter Rene Contreras of Viva Pomona who put this show together. Most everyone on stage has played in past shows that had Contreras' mark on it like the Viva Pomona shows themselves and every band tossed verbal roses to Rene and rightly so.

Roses started things off with totally infectious synth pop, The new wave meets indie sound felt like Abe Vigoda meets the Killers which make sense considering Juan Velasquez of AV plays guitar in Roses. GRMLN had a lot of fans in the room and played a great set debuting a new song which immediately sounded like a hit. They sounded edgier and heavier than when I last saw them and I like that. So Many Wizards stirred their melodic dreams up and I was stoked to finally hear "Inner City" live. This was The Lovely Bad Things first headlining show since their two month medical hiatus from drummer / guitarist's Brayden Ward's back surgery and recovery. The La Mirada band peppered their set with a number of new songs. From the first guitar strains to the final ones, the crowd showed their love and welcomed them back with open arms and flailing bodies. Guitarist / singer Lauren Curtius was visibly moved by the turn out and audience response.

A good time had by all at The Blue Room. A truly awesome show. We need more small rooms like this for up and coming and established bands. This space off the Glass House will assuredly change over the next several weeks. I hope that eventually they add a higher stage and lighting and of course, a really cool neon sign in that alley. Good job guys.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Crashfaster sings the Body Electric on "Further" Album

Doing Electronic Rock that fully embraces the Science Fiction / Cyber Punk ethos can be a tricky thing. I think for it to be successful, the artist has to give themselves up to the genre and pretty much embody it. San Francisco based electronic rock band Crashfaster do just that bringing in heavy doses of  dystopian atmosphere that any hard core Sci-Fi geek would love. The tone is earnest and serious but still fun without feeling campy. From the dark Nine Inch Nails meets Gary Numan tone of Launch and Closer, to the cyber gutter punk of Pro Tempore to Electronic Noise Rock of In Flames (a heady blend of sounds that made me think of Dirty Depeche Mode, My Bloody Valentine and Kane West even twisted together and wrung out in the future), to the post sci fi almost new agey rock of Further which conjures up (in my mind) a half human half robot band. Truly some amazing songs and soundscapes happening here. All this feels so wonderfully crafted and cared for. Take this album for a ride and sing the body electric.
Robb Donker

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The GLASS HOUSE !!! On April 15th, The Dillinger Escape Plan is headed to Pomona with Trash Talk and more!!!

On April 15th, The Dillinger Escape Plan is headed to Pomona with Trash Talk and more!!!

depheadlinerspring2014 500.jpg

AMERICAN PANCAKE loves The Glass House in Pomona, Ca. On April 15th legendary punkers, The Dillinger Escape Plan are headed to The Glass House to headline a killer line-up, including Trash Talk, Retox and Shining! This show is sure to get rowdy! Hope to see your here! Tickets go on sale this Friday at noon

Official The Dillinger Plan Website: Click Here
Check out this awesome video for "One of Us Is the Killer": Click Here
Official Ticket Link: Click Here


Viva Pomona Presents: The Lovely Bad Things in The Blue Room @ The Glass House w/ So Many Wizards / GRMLN / Roses
January 24th / The Blue Room @ The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $10 / On Sale Now

SKATE PUNK FEST 2014: Angry Samoans - JFA (co-headline) w/ Naked Aggression / Narcoleptic Youth / Whitekaps / Destruction Made Simple
January 25th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

KCRW Presents: Washed Out w/ Kisses
January 26th / The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

For Today w/ Like Moths to Flames / Stray From the Path / The Plot in You / Fit for a King 
January 31st / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $17 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

MxPx w/ Allister / Kristopher Roe
February 1st / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 adv / $25 dos / On Sale Now

Parkway Drive w/ Upon a Burning Body / Betrayal
February 5th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Gnarmageddon Fest III: Slapshot / Dropdead w/ The Havoc / The Stitches / Take Offense / Liberate / Sex Prisoner / Graf Orlock / Done Dying / Bricktop / No Sir / The Coltranes / Fissure
February 8th / The Glass House / Doors: 4 pm / all ages / $22 adv / $24 dos / On Sale Now

Brandon Boyd and Sons of the Sea
February 12th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Tijuana No w/ Viernes 13 / Clitorati
February 13th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Viva Pomona Presents: Tijuana Panthers w/ Cosmonauts / Bombon
February 14th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $12 adv / $14 dos / On Sale Now

Breathe Carolina w/ Mod Sun / Ghost Town / Lionfight
February 15th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 adv / $18 dos / On Sale Now

February 20th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $15 adv / $18 dos / On Sale Now

Lucinda Williams w/ Kenneth Brian Band
February 21st / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

Propagandhi w/ The Flatliners / War on Women / Great Collapse
February 22nd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $18 adv / $ 20 dos / On Sale Now

February 28th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $21 / On Sale Now

March 1st / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Between the Buried and Me w/ Deafheaven / Intronaut / Kindred
March 12th / The Glass House / Doors: 6:30 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Living The Dream Foundation and Subcity Present The Take Action Tour 2014 featuring The Devil Wears Prada w/ The Ghost Inside / I Killed the Prom Queen / Dangerkids
March 13th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $21 adv / $23 dos / On Sale Now

Bayside w/ Four Year Strong / Daylight / Mixtapes 
March 18th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $17.50 adv / $21 dos / On Sale Now

Oceano & Broken Hope (co-headline) w/ Fallujah / Rivers of Nihil / Kublai Khan
March 19th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Alesana w/ Get Scared / Hearts & Hands / Farewell My Love / Megosh
March 21st / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $13 adv / $15 dos / On Sale Now

La Dispute w/ Pianos Become the Teeth / Mansions
March 26th / The Glass House / Doors: 6:30 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Emmure on "The Mosh Lives Tour" w/ Volumes / Thy Art Is Murder / Gideon / Sworn In
March 28th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $17 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now 

March 29th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 adv / $18 dos / On Sale Now

The Sound of Animals Fighting
March 30th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $30 / On Sale Now

The TORTOISE and The Crow Tour 2014 ft. The Grouch & Eligh w/ Eliot Lipp / Pigeon John / DJ Fresh
April 5th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

The Dillinger Escape Plan w/ Trash Talk / Retox / Shining
April 25th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 adv / $22 dos / On Sale Friday, January 24th @ noon

Mono w/ Helen Money
May 1st / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $14 / On Sale Now

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Together Pangea- First Garage Rock Taste of Badillac

Together Pangea (who I will always refer to as simply Pangea) has released the track "Badillac" off their soon to be released album of the same name. For those of you who have had the pleasure of seeing the boys perform this song live over the last year, the produced version smooths down some of the rough edges which was probably inevitable. For someone like myself who absolutely love the rough edges, the production touches like barely there hand claps and the inclusion of a harmonica (at the end) is a bit surprising but it does not dampen the hooky nature of the song. Besides, live versions should always be more bad ass than the tracked version.  The album drops on Jan 21st and Pangea (Together Pangea) head on tour shortly afterward. These boys are going places and it is well deserved.

Badillac live at last years Burgerama

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Garden- The Shears Twins' Dada Punk Pushes All the Fun Buttons

On their Facebook page under 'genre'- The Garden list Vada Vada, a reference to the 3rd track on their album "The Live and Times Of A Paperclip."  Like the title of that song, much of their avant garde punk songs have lyrics that stray into the absurd. I haven't figured out if the songwriting process is total stream of consciousness "say whatever the hell comes in my mind" kind of thing or if the brothers Shear think deeper. The lyrical content read a loud could come across as part existential / dadaist poetry and most definitely strays into surrealism. Wyatt and Fletcher themselves have a keen eye for fashion. They themselves have a pop art look and my guess is that their song writing is as much intuitive as it is thought out. Whatever their process is, the Shears twins' Dada Punk pushes all the fun buttons. I absolutely love it.

Robb Donker

NOTE: I shot them most recently at their European Tour send off show at the Observatory (Constellation Room) in Santa Ana, California.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kera and the Lesbians- release "Snakes" - AP Track Review and more


Kera and the Lesbians' New Track - "Snakes" starts off like a whisper but then quickly explodes like musical pop rocks. It is an ultra dynamic song with the empty spaces being as seductive as the evocatively wrought musical bed that almost tangos, bobs and weaves. Dancing on this bed, is Kera Armendariz who has one of the most unique voices out there. In previous, reviews I have likened Kera and the Lesbian's sound to 1940's porch blues with a punk attitude and while that bit of roots music nostalgic presence will always be there, you can feel a whole lot more going on as well as they incorporate a Latin rhythms, surf guitar and jazz. It is a heady indie stew that feels much more than mere songs. They are cinematic in nature, they project images on the wall. They need to be used by creative film makers and I can bet a dozen donuts that they will be in due time.

LOOK out for Kera and the Lesbians' EP entitled Year 23 to be released on January 28th
Kera and the Lesbians Monday Night Residency at the ECHO in Los Angeles this February
AP interview with Kera and the Lesbians (originally published 9/26/2012)
Robb Donker


AP loves Water Liars. Their album "Wyoming" made our BEST of 2013 List-

Water Valley, Mississippi's Water Liars have announced a US headlining tour in support of their self-titled third LP that will take them across the eastern half of the country throughout February and March. The dates begin on February 14th at Proud Larry's in Oxford, MS and continue through March 10th at The Basement in Nashville, TN, and include a February 26th New York show at the Mercury Lounge and a March 1st Brooklyn in-store at Rough Trade. A current itinerary is below.

Recorded over three hometown studio sessions in late spring and summer 2013, Water Liars will be released on February 4, 2014 via Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum. The band premiered "I Want Blood," the first track released off the album, last month on The AV Club. Water Liars is also now available for pre-order as a CD and LP via the Fat Possum website:

"My sisters were the heavens / My brothers were the depths / Now I'm rolling into battle with a smoke between my lips," Justin Kinkel-Schuster sings on "I Want Blood," and it's a presiding image on Water Liars. Joined by GR Robinson on bass, and fresh off the success of sophomore albumWyoming and the reissue of debut LP Phantom Limb - both released this year - Kinkel-Schuster (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Bryant (drums, vocals) strut into this effort with their feathers out, driven by a need to create. Forget taking years to release a new album; Water Liars don't know how to stop working. A punk aesthetic - a desire not to overdo songs until they're shiny with emptiness - is the band's defining feature, and it's why their songs are filled with such raw sorrow. To call the songs here an improvement over what they've done before would be to sell the earlier work short: Wyoming, released in March, earned praise from The New York Times ("This duo's dark, lonely roots-minded indie rock is affecting, all the more for its sparseness"), Alternative Press, Penthouse, and All Music Guide, among others.

Water Liars finds the band expanding on Wyoming's classic, soulful songwriting and warm yet heartsick expanse. The songs, written by Kinkel-Schuster and fleshed out with Bryant on the road, were tracked mostly live and exhibit diverse and divergent styles. Opener "Cannibal" sets the tone with resounding guitar and crash of drums; "Let It Breathe" offers a heartrending, haunting appeal of simply guitar and vocals, as bare as it is vulnerable; "Ray Charles Dream" is a blistering take on '50s rock/pop; and "Swannanoa" is poignant, rolling waltz. A study in contrasts, the album captures the stark dynamics of both Water Liars' live show - the restrained moments made all the softer by their roaring bookends - and their lyricism, all the while effortlessly towing the tenuous line of harsh and tender. For every lonesome ache, there's a hopeful promise; for every stumble into despair, a wide-eyed reach for life's wonder; for every broken heart, there's one patched back together. These are songs about leaving and staying, about lost fathers and new loves, about distance and memory.

Water Liars tour dates:

FEB. 14           OXFORD, MS                          PROUD LARRY'S
FEB. 15           JACKSON, MS                        MARTIN'S
FEB. 18           ATLANTA, GA                         VINYL
FEB. 19           ATHENS, GA                           NORMALTOWN HALL
FEB. 20           CHARLESTON, SC                  THE ROYAL AMERICAN
FEB. 21           RALEIGH, NC                          KING'S BARCADE
FEB. 22           ASHEVILLE, NC                      MOTHLIGHT
FEB. 24           WASHINGTON, DC                  DC9
FEB. 25           PHILADELPHIA, PA                 MILKBOY
FEB. 26           NEW YORK, NY                       MERCURY LOUNGE
FEB. 27           NEW HAVEN, CT                     CAFÉ NINE
FEB. 28           PORTSMOUTH, NH                 BOOK AND BAR
MAR. 1            BROOKLYN, NY                      ROUGH TRADE (in-store)
MAR. 2            PITTSBURGH, PA                   CLUB CAFÉ
MAR. 3            CLEVELAND, OH                     BEACHLAND TAVERN
MAR. 4            ATHENS, OH                           THE UNION
MAR. 5            FORT WAYNE, IN                    THE BRASS RAIL
MAR. 6            CHICAGO, IL                           SCHUBAS
MAR. 7            INDIANAPOLIS, IN                   DO317 LOUNGE
MAR. 8            ST. LOUIS, MO                        OFF BROADWAY
MAR. 10          NASHVILLE, TN                       THE BASEMENT

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BURGERAMA 3- Burger Records Yearly Indie Party! Why You Should Not Miss This.

Burger Records' yearly bash known as Burgerama is once again due to wash over Orange County, California. The epicenter as years past is the Observatory in Santa Ana. Over two days, over 60 bands will take to two stages. Price per day is only $30. Burgerama has a unique feeling as opposed to other large festivals. A lot of what sets Burgerama apart from the rest is the venue itself. The building that is now the Observatory started out as a Dinner playhouse in the early 70's where people would go see Broadway plays. Over the years it evolved into various forms of restaurants, night clubs, and other concert venues. The main room with the big stage still retains a kind of Las Vegas style room feel with tiered landings with plush booths encircling the main floor. You can chill in a booth or you can get on the floor and mosh your ass off. The room is large and when the crowd packs in tight it feels as energetic as any venue at FYF or Coachella with one big difference. Most every spot you stand at offers a great view of the stage.

The second smaller stage is in the Constellation room. At peak band levels it gets super packed. You feel like you are in the most crowded house or warehouse show ever. A more intimate room with a higher chance of a sweaty body pushing against you or a shoe swinging into your face from an random crowd surfer.

Now don't think because these shows are indoors that they are for wusses. While crowds at FYF may have to handle dust storms and sunburns, the sheer amount of bodies during any Burgerama show makes the atmosphere in the Observatory feel like the amazon. You also tend to get caught up in a sea of people as tides flow from one stage to the next. Much needed escapes from the musical mayhem can be found outside in the barbecue area or at one of two bars or meeting the performers in the upstairs merch area. 

Burgerama is a compact, concentrated immersion into indie rock for all ages. Demographically it skews younger overall than other such shows. Maybe it is the relatively low cost. Maybe it is because the bulk of the bands are shiny beacons of the DIY ethic. Maybe it is because Burgerama more than many other indie festivals introduce us to some bands that other festivals pass on. There is a sense that things will happen on these two stages that will influence young bands who are in the audience or will inspire some in the audience to start bands. It feels not so much like a proving ground as a musical breeding ground.  If you haven't been to Burgerama I implore you to go and soak it all in.  I bet you will be back next year, and the year after that. Check out some performances from years past below.

Robb Donker