Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Roses- LA Based Indie Band Play Dance Rapturous Sounds in Their Prom Universe

Photo by: Olivia Hermaratanatom

Roses is 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). Their music is 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. I caught up with them after they played a great set at the Smell in Los Angeles and they told me about some of their influences, their prom universe and their new song "Ghost Dad."
Robb Donker

Monday, April 28, 2014

Post-Life's Big Sonic Sound- an Amalgam of Shoe Gaze, Nu wave, Punk and more-

Post-Life seems like an apt name for this new band whose members have been or are currently in some formidable indie outfits. Brianna Meli (guitar and lead vocals) was formerly in Palm Reader, Erik Felix (drums) is also currently drumming for So Many Wizards,  and Greg Shilton (Bass) and Michael Reyder (guitar / lead guitar) are formerly of Peter Pants and Heller Keller.

Post-Life has a big sound with elements of shoe gaze, punk, 90's new wave, proto punk and art rock all smooshed together into a powerful and engaging sound. I talked to them briefly after they played a great set at the Smell in Los Angeles. The conversation went from My Bloody Valentine, 90's Emo, Cocteau Twins, Gwen Stefani and Third Eye Blind (?) 

Look out for their upcoming record on Big Joy Records-
and an upcoming gig at Pehrspace on May 3rd.

Photo courtesy of  Olivia Hemaratanatorn

Sunday, April 27, 2014

AP Show Review: UPSET - At The Satellite with The Lovely Bad Things, Flytraps and Girl Tears-- LA- April 25th

UPSET - LOVELY BAD THINGS - FLYTRAPS - GIRL TEARS Friday April 25th @ the Satellite in L.A.

Presented by Dirty Laundry TV and sponsored by Loli Pop Records, KXLU 88.9 FM, Origami Records, and BuddyHead.

First things first. The drive up from Orange County was stellar. NO TRAFFIC. Yes this declarative statement warrants capital letters. I always catch traffic heading into LA and half the time this causes me to miss the first band because I am always running late. Well, the traffic Gods were on my side and I am forever grateful because I got to catch Girl Tears. They are a three piece punk band from LA. Listening to them thrashing out their set, there was this patina of late 70's / early 80's mod on their sound. The lead singers vocal attack reminded me of one of my favorite bands of all times, The JAM and that made me happy. While Girl Tears may take inspiration from bands like The Nerves or the Undertones,  Flytraps pump out garage rock with classic surf rock DNA inspired by the Cramps and the Mummies. The male drummer threw on a wig eluding to the fact that Flytraps used to be an "all girl" band. Cool set with solid rock chops, belted out vocals and blistering surf guitar. The Lovely Bad Things played a killer raucous set which seemed to spill over into the audience as one over zealous (or overly buzzed) guy took to the stage and poured a beer on the head of guitarist / bassist / drummer Tim Hatch as he played drums during "Gravel Dreamer". The garage rockers have been injecting new songs into their sets (as was evident at Burgerama) and unwrapped a brand new one this night as well. Very cool.

UPSET carry with them this kind of indie / punk pop gravitas before you even hear their music. I mean, if you were inclined to do so, you could probably construct some kind of six degrees of separation game that would lead to some heavy hitters in alternative rock music. You have Ali Koehler (guitars / vocals) who played drums for Best Coast and Vivian Girls, Patty Schemel (drums) who played in Hole (and also currently drums for Death Valley Girls), Jennifer Prince ( lead guitar, vocals) who was in La Sera and Rachel Gagliardi (bass) formerly from Slutever. As headed by Koehler who peppered the audience with hilarious banter in between songs, UPSET's brand of punk pop is catchy as hell. The punk punch of the music softened a bit by Koehler's vocals that sometimes hover in that cool "I don't give a fuck" semi-monotone style of the Joey Ramone. When she wants to her vox can rip it up as demonstrated when the band covered 7 Seconds' "Not Just Boys Fun" which surprised me so much I stood there enjoying it but not shooting the performance. Good MOVE - Robb! On stage and off, Koehler is super sweet, smart, witty, charming and funny and these traits carry into the music. I am not sure but I get a sense that the music (especially the lyrics) just might exist on many levels from reflections and homages to punk to sardonic punk art rock. I could be over thinking it. Apart from the solid punk pop songs their performance was pure fun and all the members of UPSET seem to keep fun at the forefront of their minds.

It was fun to hang with friends at the show as well as meet and talk briefly about music with all the bands as well as scarf some damn tasty fish tacos from a food truck poised due right as you exited the front door. You all should check out these bands if you can and if you are in LA check out the Satellite.
Do check out the footage below that contain snippets and an UPSET full performance.


Robb Donker

Thursday, April 24, 2014

UPSET- The Lovely Bad Things, The Flytraps - Girl Tears- at The Satellite April 25th= "A Perfect Friday"

You Do Not want to miss this. UPSET has some serious indie punk cred. Former drummer for Best Coast and Vivian Girls, Ali Koehler, takes on guitar and lead vocals, ex-La Sera member Jennifer Prince sings and plays lead guitar, and last we have drummer Patty Schemel of Hole and Death Valley Girls fame.
Stack on garage rocker's The Lovely Bad Things, noise punk of The Flytraps, and the strident raging punk of Girl Tears and you have one fucking good time and all for 10 bucks.

Get tix here: Ticketfly

TRACK REVIEW: "Wes Coast" by Lana Del Rey - A Starry Eyed Polaroid Resurrection

Lana Del Rey is a mystifying presence. She seems to anger some people who consider her to be style over substance and others who wish she would lighten up. Some decry what they consider to be her air of self importance. Others seem to be put off by persona, her facade, her false name. All this drama set aside, Elizabeth Woolridge Grant partnered with talented co-writers and producers puts out some truly engaging songs. The single "West Coast" from her recently released "Ultraviolence" album is no exception. Penned by Del Rey and Grammy award winning songwriter Rick Nowels, it is a seductive dreamy escapade. Wrapped in a cool lush vibe, producer Dan Auerbach amps up the late 70's / early 80's slow burn drug haze feel. The opening drum sound and fill is simply delicious as is the spartan guitar work during the verse progression establishing a sultry feel. Lana Del Rey, once again plays the broken starlet in a tortured love play. She sings, "Down on The West Coast, they got a sayin' if you're not drinkin' then you're not playin'" and it plays like the opening lines in a Raymond Chandler novel. A popular music critic who does not share my enthusiasm for "West Coast" derided this opening lyric, sarcastically saying, "they don't say thaaat".  Maybe they don't but as far as I know Ziggy never played with "Weird" and "Gilly" either. Lana Del Rey may or may not be a character but her songs certainly feel like works of fiction (or more accurately pulp fiction) as inspired by real events or emotions.

"West Coast" like many of Del Rey's songs is heavily steeped in nostalgic sort of 50's angst of James Dean like proportions. She as the author, is essentially creating these immorality plays full of bad boys, bad girls and broken hearts. Musical lost weekends. These sonic melodramas are fun to immerse yourself into. "West Coast" is full of hooks but it doesn't necessarily play it safe either. After the deep cool groove that is established in the verses, the chorus plunges into a slow motion dreamy vibe set off of a chunky hollow body guitar riff that sounds like a keyed up version of the "And I Love Her" riff by The Beatles. It is a daring, brilliant choice thematically. It feels like sudden memories flooding in as a bed of Lana vocals sweep you up, "I can see my baby swingin'... His parliament's on fire and his hands are up... On the balcony and I'm singing...Ooh baby, Ooh baby, I'm in love..."  There is more lyrics to the chorus but this is best heard not read.

"West Coast" like a lot of Lana Del Rey's songs creates a nostalgic vibe. Black and white dreams where the hero or heroine of the story survives but walks away a little worse for wear, a little sadder, a little older. You may not feel anything or see any images as you listen to "West Coast" but if you do they will most likely be long lost memories that rise slowly like shaken Polaroid resurrections.
Robb Donker

Saturday, April 19, 2014

DASHER- Track "Time Flies" - Deliciously Abrasive Arena Punk

Kudos to Dasher. Pitchfork premiered their latest scream fest "Time Flies" and Evan Minsker ends his sweet review by saying "It's a song that doesn't let up. Nor should it. This is a band at the height of their nihilistic powers."  Putting philosophical doctrines aside, this latest track has such a deliciously abrasive wall of noise that sonically it feels more anthemic than a lot of post punk. There is something about the big space sound of the drums, the stadium wallop of the guitars and Kylee Kimbroughs death charge screaming vocals that makes this feel like the arena rock of bands like Savages or Beastmilk. Maybe an apt description of the sound Dasher puts out would be arena punk. Is that a musical term, genre?? Maybe it should be. Sweeeeet.

Friday, April 18, 2014

American Pancake Loves the Glasshouse in Pomona, Cali- Check out their upcoming shows including a stop by FAILURE as part of their 2014 North American Tour!

AP: I love the Glasshouse. Seen so many shows there and collected rooms full of memories. Check out some of the upcoming shows including FAILURE



On Saturday June 14th, we look forward to hosting a special engagement with Failure.  Support has not yet been announced, but we'll keep you posted. The show is only $25 and is sure to sell out. Tickets go on sale this Friday April 18th at noon! 

Official FAILURE Facebook Page: Click Here
Official Ticket Link: Click Here


KCRW Presents: Bonobo
April 15th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $23 / On Sale Now

A$AP Ferg w/ Flatbush Zombies
April 17th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $27 adv / $29 dos / SOLD OUT

Zoe w/ Salvador and the Unicorn
April 18th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $25 adv / $30 dos / SOLD OUT

Dance Gavin Dance w/ Capture the Crown / Palisades / Bleach Blonde / Hideouts
April 19th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Grouplove w/ MS MR / Smallpools
April 22nd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $25 / SOLD OUT

You Me At Six w/ Deaf Havana / Stars in Stereo / The Downtown Fiction - Postponed
Date: TBD / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $17 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

YelaWolf w/ Sahtyre
April 24th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 / 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 Now

LADIES FIRST featuring Jazmin Sisters, Baby Bash & Eric Bellinger
April 26th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / 18 and over / $25 / On Sale Now

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

The Pizza Underground
May 3rd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Chiodos w/ Emarosa / Our Last Night / 68
May 4th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $17 - $20 / On Sale Now

People Under the Stairs w/ Warm Brew / Revolutionary Rhythm / Villain Park / DJ Day
May 7th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $10 adv / $12 dos / On Sale Now

(hed)PE / SOiL w/ SUNFLOWER DEAD / ironklad
May 8th / The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Yoni Wolf 
May 8th / The Blue Room @ The Glass House / Doors: 8pm / $15 / On Sale Now

Matt Stillwell w/ Matt Rogers / Brad Johnson and the Killing Time Band
May 10th / The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Destruction of a King w/ Seasons Change
May 11th / The Glass House / Doors: 3pm / all ages / $12 / On Sale Now

MAYDAY - College Graduation Celebration! w/ Simba / DJ Cheese
May 15th / The Glass House / Doors: 9pm / 18+ / $10 adv / $15 dos / On Sale Now

LetLive / Architects (co-headline) w/ Glass Cloud / I The Mighty 
May 16th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $13 / On Sale Now

15th Anniversary Tour: Wayne Static of Static X w/ Otep / Dope / Smile Empty Soul 
May 19th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

Wild Roses 
May 21st / The Blue Room @ The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / $12 / On Sale Now

Hellogoodbye w/ Vacationer / Heavenly Beat
May 23rd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 adv / $17 dos / On Sale Now

Powerman 5000 w/ 9 Electric 
May 24th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

William Fitzsimmons w/ Leif Vollebek
May 25th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $18 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

Propaganda w/ Abstract Rude/ Swoope / JGivens / DJ Ephechto 
May 29th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

Jamestown Revival  
May 30th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $12 adv / $14 dos / On Sale Now

The b Sharps w/ The Maxies / Defunked / Top Shelf Brass Band / Sayonara Tokyo / Dispenska
May 31st / The Glass House / Doors: 5pm / all ages / $10 / On Sale Now

The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo)
June 13th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $22 / On Sale Now

June 14th / The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Friday 4/18 @ 12:00 noon

Animals as Leaders w/ Conquering Dystopia / Chon
June 21st / The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / all ages / $16 adv / $18 dos / On Sale Now

Viva! Pomona
July 19th - 20th / The Glass House and More / Doors: TBD / all ages / $20 / On Sale Date: TBD 

Say Anything w/ The Front Bottoms / The So So Glos / You Blew It!
July 25th / The Glass House / Doors: 7pm / all ages / $21 adv / $25 dos / On Sale Now

Chain Reaction Presents: Basement w/ Cloakroom / Creative Adult / Fell To Low
August 12th / The Glass House / Doors: 7:30 pm / all ages / $12 adv / $15 dos / SOLD OUT

Brick To Ya Face Presents: DIY Music and Fashion Fest 2014
August 30th / The Glass House / Doors: 5 pm / all ages / $12 adv / $17 dos / On Sale Now

Peter Hook and the Light (performing New Order's "Movement" and "Power, Corruption and Lies") w/ El Ten Eleven 
November 24th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $23 / On Sale Now

Saturday, April 12, 2014

HUMAN BEHAVIOR - "Eat The Wind" - 12 Songs Written and Recorded in 12 Days in Chile

AP reviewed Human Behavior's "Golgotha" Album last December. I referred to that project as a musical UFO. It was mysterious, hard to describe but ultimately strangely moving.  At this collective's creative core stands front man Andres Parada who spins these kind of Gothic folktales possibly out of whole cloth or not. It is hard to tell where reality begins or ends, where fantasy ebbs and flows. This is what makes Human Behavior's musical weird trips intriguing. Some of the compositions can feel random, some absurd, and some passages can hit a progression that can get you in a meditative state like a musical mantra. The sounds can also make you silently laugh but even the fun moments can be tempered with an almost invisible darkness too.

Their latest Album "Eat The Wind" contain 12 songs that were written and recorded over 12 days while Andres spent time with his family in Chile. Each day, he wrote and recorded a song with family members invited to play and sing along. Most of the songs on "Eat The Wind" are based around the charango and banjo and were recorded in various locations. This impromptu recording style was one of the key elements resulting in a raw organic collection of songs.

From the forlorn whimsy and absurdest folk of Eat The Wind and Canon Father to the bitter fun He-People to the weird rootsy Americana folk of Shot and Fuegos Artificiales to the sadly obtuse and beautifully engaging Lace and "No It Was Not" to the disturbing dream theater that is Rise and Shined and the diminutive sweeping story of Potion, once you push go, you cannot turn away and the emotions you will feel will be varied. Another musical UFO that is worth sighting. Human Behavior is not for everyone, it is for those of you who dare to stray outside of your comfort zone, for those of you who like to be taken on musical trips not knowing what lies around the next corner.
Robb Donker

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DASHER- Tease with "Go Rambo" - A Clenched Fist Punk Promise

Influenced by influential icons like Killing Joke and Patti Smith is a good thing. Atlanta based Dasher is drummer / vocalist Kylee Kimborough, bassist David Michaud and guitarist Kelly Stroup. Listen to the loose dangerous sound of "Go Rambo" and you will feel your eye squint and your jaw tighten like Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. The sonic screeching guitar lines amidst the spartan rumbling bass and drums sounds at once mysterious and totally bad ass. It feels like a clenched fist punk promise of things to come.  "Go Rambo" will drop as a 7 inch along with "Time Flys" - May 10th on Die Slaughterhaus Records.

Crank this shit UP!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

American Pancake VIDEO: Slow Motion Love for The Lovely Bad Things: "Space Waste" LIVE @ Burgerama 3

Usually for American Pancake, I shoot Live Performance videos in a down and dirty raw way but every once in a while it is fun to take a different approach and actually try to capture the fun and intensity of a live through editing and creative license. For The Lovely Bad Things performance of a new song entitled "Space Waste" it was apparent to me that the crowd dynamics had to be an important part of the story.

Shooting smooth live video at a venue is always a challenge if not impossible. The Lovely Bad Things always inspire dancing, moshing and even circle pits so getting caught in the fray is an occupational hazard. The herky jerky style of this video in particular was due to an active crowd. The source video looks like it was shot on horseback. It is bumpy and rather unappealing to look at but the sound I captured on my stereo mics was pretty exceptional. I decided to add more bumps than smooth them out and to purposely, cut and zoom closer to, if nothing else, make the added jump cuts add a disjointed messy (yet stylized) look to an already bumpy video. I also had some short bursts of crowd shots from their set that served as such cool cutaways. It was important to me from a creative standpoint that these shots were displayed in slow motion to cue to the viewer that these were slices of time. The added benefit was finding the little cool happenings within the footage as people in the audience expressed themselves to The Lovely Bad Things music. Lastly, I opted to strip away the color. The black and white tones cleared up and highlighted details that seemed to blend together in the color footage especially in the crowd shots and besides I just love the look of black and white.

The serene look of faces swaying in slow motion, the smiles and energy pushing up a crowd surfer and the two kids crowd surfing only to spontaneously high five each other. I love the energy they spawned as you can see people cheering them on. It is a moment in time, slowly revealed. After the video aired on line. One of the high five kids tweeted about the video and mentioned that the other kid was a stranger. That makes the moment even more special.
Robb Donker

(screen shots)

Monday, April 7, 2014

BURGERAMA 3- Late Reflection: The Burger Records Boys Outdo Themselves

The envy of indie loving east coasters everywhere, Burgerama took place in Southern, California a couple of weeks ago on March 22nd and 23rd. This was the 3rd year in a row and the aptly named Burgerama III grew from what was ostensibly a 1500 to 2000 person venue to a 4,500 to 5,000 person show-bang. Estimates from more than one source put the figure at slightly more the 5 K. This slice of indie heaven was held at the Observatory in Santa Ana and the boys at Burger Records was able to pump up the volume by enclosing the parking lot and adding a large stage named RAMA in addition to the usual big main stage and the smaller stage in the Constellation room. More than 70 bands, some from the Burger stable of artists and some not churned out a head spinning array of sounds. As is always the case with festivals like this it took copious amounts of planing, of charts, and set lists on smart phones to strategically figure out how you could see the bands you wanted or hope to see.  The best laid plans of indie mice and men are doomed to failure and I seemed to miss more bands than I saw. This was not only due to my poor planning but due to me not feeling all that well that weekend. I also seemed to be diverted by running into friends and, in the end, those kind of changed plans are always worth it. A festival, after all is not about each performance but about the atmosphere and scattered memorable moments that stick with you.

Over the two days these things did stick with me.

1: The airport like security. I witness more than one sad, sad face as bong pipes were being pulled out of pockets left and right. One would think you would do a better job of hiding such things.

2: The Bearded guy at the Rama Stage. The guy never left his post. With zen like prowess this guys seemingly had no need to eat or go to the bathroom. When you view the videos on my Burgerama playlist (down below) you will see him. He is easy to pick out.

3: Lines to get into the Observatory. Throughout the course of the day, the Observatory would get so stuffed full of people that security would have to NOT let people in, until people left. When the Allah-Las played the main stage inside you barely had enough room to shimmy against the wall and kind of bounce off bodies that seemed to occupy every square inch of real estate.

4: Contact high. Despite my line item 1 there was a fair amount of puffing going on. Bassist Ronnie Barlett of The Muffs asked "Is there anywhere you can go at Burgerama where it doesn't smell like weed?? .... probably not."

5: Cool OC cops and Security. I am not usually a fan of OC cops or security at music venues but they seemed pretty chill at Burgerama.

6: 60's sheik. There were a fair amount of people looking very 60's from the Mod Brit style to American hippie and I am not just talking about the Mystic Braves.

7: Hawaiian Shirts. I saw a lot more Hawaiian shirt as guys crowd surfed by like they were doing the back stroke. It was beachy, loud and all floral and I am not just talking about The Tyde.

8: Shoes and more shoes. Thrown shoes and shoes held in the air. Fucking shoes.

9: Group sing a-longs. Together Pangea playing through the pain (sore throats) and Mac Demarco seemed to inspired unbridled sing a-longs for most of their sets and it was awesome.

10. Swollen Photo Pit during the Growlers. Somehow a lot of people invaded the photo pit who were not photographers and who shouldn't of had access. It was like a mini- photo pit riot trying to get out of there.

11. Normal Growlers. Was I the only one who thought it odd to see Brooks sporting shades and everyone looking so normal?? I missed the dancing mermaids and foil over everything.

12. Battle scars. I talked to a bunch of kids on Sunday about their Saturday and the talk was of battle scars, of being painfully sore, bruised, and bloodied from all the squishy moshy madness. One guys said he suffered a concussion. Not sure if there was doctor who gave him the diagnosis.

13. Food lines. Ok, I love Burgerama but this time around there should of been at least 3 more Food trucks. The lines were pretty awful.

14: That one weird girl. This girl came up to me got real close leaned on me and asked who was playing next on the Rama stage. I politely answered and then she proceeded to take my pic with a disposable camera immediately saying afterward, "You ruined my fucking picture."  Later on as I entered the photo pit she was in the front and proceeded to flip me off. I actually don't think there was any film in the camera.

15: Photographers, photographers and more photographers. The photo pits were over stuffed at times and someone should do an article about the photographer culture because there certainly are distinct personality types in that world. So awesome to hang a bit wit Philip, Samuel, Tiff and meet Marisa. I consider myself to be a hack of sorts so anytime I obtain pit access I feel lucky.


Mozes and The Firstborn:  The band from the Netherlands cranked out song after song of catchy indie rock which critics have referred to as "sunny grunge" and that is a pretty apt description. They sounded excellent live. Memorable hooky lead licks, the bass players sex thrust playing style cracked me up. The drummer had those Dave Grohl heavy hands and lead singer/ guitarist proficiently had the crowd eating out of his hands. I

White Fang: Portland garage rockers can bang out big doses of guitar laden rock with equal parts hilarity. Their set musically can feel like a binge of sorts on the drug of your choice.

The Muffs: One of the "senior" bands at Burgerama 3 they still crank it out so good. Kim Shattuck is 50 years old but looks like a thirty something. Her voice is killer and they are as tight as they should be. During their set I felt like there was a bit of audience disconnect. Just a bit. It could of been that the crowd was so young that the generational invisible age barrier sprung up. I don't know. I just noticed it during a few songs. For the rest of the set the crowd keyed in and showed the appreciation that the Muffs deserved.

The Lovely Bad Things:  Dancing and crowd surfing is the norm when The Lovely Bad Things play at Burgerama but it was a trip to see an old fashioned circle pit spontaneously pop up during their set. I think the last time I saw such a thing was at an OFF show last year. Despite an early set time and long lines through painstakingly slow security, two songs in, the Rama stage was packed and the Lovelies played a killer set maintaining a heavy punk/ pop foothold all the while switching instruments every couple of songs. They have clearly fostered a love connection with their Burgerama fan base.

Gap Dream: After some damn good street tacos I needed something dreamy and Gap Dream was the ticket. I thoroughly enjoyed the arpeggio laden synth lines that swelled into the darkness of the main Observatory room.

Together Pangea:  Nursing sore throats from a heavy tour schedule, the boys kicked out old and newer songs to throngs of jubilant fans who sang along. Lead singer / guitarist William Keegan seemed like he was in a happy buzzy daze when he said, " This is the biggest crowd we've ever played to." The crowd did seem to go on forever and as they churned out their songs crowd surfers spilled over into the photo pit. Great set.

The Tyde:  I saw this rather large band at Burgerama last year and appreciated their music but didn't feel that always important connection. I caught the end of their set and it clicked for me. These guys are like Fish mixed with the Beach Boys. Good stuff!

Mac DeMarco:  I am not a heavy DeMarco fan mainly because I am not that familiar with their material and he is Canadian (I am kidding). I am a new convert after seeing him at Burgerama. Amazingly fun and endearing music. In terms of the harmonies, the tightness of the music, one of the better live acts I saw at the festival.

The Abigails:  Doesn't everyone have an uncle like Warren Thomas? Ok, maybe not but we all know someone who has an uncle like the Abigails front man. He maneuvers the amiable hippy trippy songs like a tipsy guy carrying 4 of his friends beers filled to the brim of the glasses without spilling a drop. Totally chill music.

Cherry Glazerr: Few bands have a distinct sound, one that you can recognize instantly. Cherry Glazerr does.

The Garden: I like to call what these boys do "Abstract Punk."  Unique as all get out I think their best gigs is at venues when the audience is only inches away from them. You lose that intense house show feel at a festival like this but just the same they make the crowd go nuts.

That is all I have to say for now. Thanks Sean for the press creds. They were much appreciated.
Already looking forward to Burgerama 4!!!
Robb Donker

Check out the AP Burgerama Performance Videos Here:  Burgerama 3 Playlist

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pagiins: Pure Psychedelic Punk Explosion From Before and Beyond

Pic courtesy of  Vogue

Pagiins, out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, churn out some kick ass expansive indie rock. It is a heady blend of post punk rock drenched with late 60's / 70's psychedelia. When you listen to songs like Good Things Take Time / Bad Things Don't or Open Up Your Mind or Maria it feels like a pure psychedelic punk explosion extracting the attitude from days gone by and days to come. The blendo post punk has such a sweeping mix of generational sounds that the result feels as nostalgic as it does immediate. The churning punk / garage rock conjures up sonic images of Iggy Pop, MC5, Japandroids coupled with a slightly more garden rock melodic feel / leaning of bands like the Yardbirds and the Walkmen. All these disparate musical sounds ultimately work all together. Dance, mosh or head bang away to Pagiins.
Robb Donker

ACROSS MY DESK: Madelin and Rhino House Band-

A lot of different types of music come across my email desk. It is a lot to take on as someone who tries to respond to everyone during the "in between" times as I juggle work and life's other trials and tribulations. Quite frankly, much of the material (in many genres) really sound pretty much the same or it just doesn't speak to me in any kind of emotional or creative way. That being said, there is a wealth of talent out there and every time I stumble across "it" or them me, it is so great. Here are some recent submissions that have something or show promise.

MADELIN seems to be a project more than a band name as far as I can tell. The three Danish guys at the helm are producer Natal Zaks, Mads Buhl and Tobias Schse who all happen to be 23 years old. The track "Get It On" awash in a moody synth drone and Church organs it feels utterly sad. The vocal track is pretty much buried which, at first, disappointed me because I wanted to hear the words. In the end, the emotion of the track won me over and the lovely vocal sounds became just that... sounds in this stirring heart tug.

An Album release is scheduled for this summer (more on that later).

RHINO HOUSE BAND is a three piece indie pop band out of Brooklyn. To be completely honest, the first track (Little Things) on their Golden Summer EP almost turned me off. The song seemed almost Disneyfied in it's approach. Super clean and sparkly with a super poppy sound. The vocal performance did have grit and it had enough passion to keep me listening and I am thankful I did. It is a fun track that the rest of the EP feels more emotionally and musically expansive.


James' Song is a crunchy indie pop ballad full of hooks and heart. It soars and has an embraceable sound that truly makes you feel something. Love the lead attack so much. Kind of made me think of Weezer a bit.

Stopping In The City has that distant feel like it was recorded in a subway. Forlorn beautiful melodies with lyrics that tell a story. Very sweet and sweeping at the same time. Some budding or established film maker should use this song.

Dirty Hobo in some ways feels like it could be a Paul Simon song. Part folk and blues boogie it goes in directions you would not expect.
Robb Donker

Check "Golden Summer" out on Rhino House Band's Bandcamp: