Saturday, May 31, 2014

Melted- "Secrets, Secrets" FREE DNLD - Punk Blast Off Strikes A Chord

Melted is offering 50% of their current Demo Album for FREE Download. Well, it is just a two track album but still, free is free and both songs are killer possessing that late 70's / 80's attack of iconic punk pioneers like The Adolescents and Bad Brains but with tons of deliciously fun noise heaped on top. The disjointed thrashing and blistering dissonant lead guitar of Secrets, Secrets makes you want to stomp around in your Doc Martens or tennis shoes, which ever you prefer.

Melted will be performing at Viva Pomona in July- (see poster down below)
Robb Donker


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Album Review: The Orwells - "Disgraceland" - Why Do The Orwells Have To Grow Up?"

Do you remember when you first heard "Remember When"- The Orwells' first full length album which came out back in 2012? I do. Not the specific place but the feeling I had. From the bedroom punk sound of Lays at Rest to the blistering obnoxiously enticing Mall Rats to the lush cavernous sock hop punk of Halloween All Year to the shimy shake bedlam of Suspended and the staccato sledgehammer of In My Bed I felt like I was transported back in time and hearing punk in embryo. These young kids from Elmhurst, Illinios had this almighty righteous sound that harkened back to the 60s / 70/s proto-punk and garage rock sound of bands like The Kingsmen, MC5 and the Stooges. I was also enamored with Mario Cuomo's razor blade dirty vocals that felt like he must of chained smoked since the age of 9. The over modulated noisey tone with disjointed drumming and all added to the excitement. A great album.

Fast forward to now and the Orwells' sophomore outing "Disgraceland." Super name and I would not expect anything less smart and cheeky from these guys. The title however paints a somewhat false impression of what this album is sonically speaking. I mean, don't get me wrong, I know these boys are maturing, but do they have to grow up so fast? In the short 2 years since "Remember When" the Orwells' sound has evolved into polished mainstream songs. Dare I say that on some of these songs the boys feel more like they are approaching 30 (or maybe that is just their production team??). The song chops are here but the production flourishes and approach feel less proto punk and more 90's mainstream rock. There are production decisions, sounds and flourishes that feel much more cliched than before. Many songs do not have the wild eyed abandon exhibited in "Remember When." The Righteous Ones has song cues and sounds that feel more in line with Smashmouth. Gotta Get Down feels a bit like the Pixies (from now) and Everclear rolled into one. North Ave has a decidedly power poppy feel ala Smith Westerns. Bathroom Tile Blues pretty much stuns me in that I would not be able to pick it out of an Orwells line up. It is free and happy and could have cross over potential with country rock audiences. Grandmas would love it and gladly dance to it at a wedding. Let It Burn sonically exists somewhere between Neon Trees and The Smithereens.

Thankfully there are tracks that still sound like they are coming from an Elmhurst garage. Who Needs You grabs you by the cajones and Mario's vox bristle with an inebriated snarl. Norman feels epic in it's B-Movie punk. Dirty Sheets straddles the boogie rock and blues proto punk fence perfectly. My favorite track, Blood Bubbles with it's angsty tortured tone is big and messy like the best Orwells songs should be.

In the end "Disgraceland" is a solid album, in fact, many of the songs I semi lambast as 90's rehashes are good songs that will undoubtedly find an audience, end up on movie soundtracks, and put money in Mario and the boy's pocket and that is a GOOD thing. There is however a demarcation, a sonic line in the sand that exists on this record and it is no more evident than listening to track 6. Let It Burn and track 7. Who Needs You. When you listen to these tracks back to back as a sort of representations of the two types of music on this record it is a clear and startling contrast of sounds. Both sound good in their own right but are so drastically different. The proto-punk ying to the mainstream rock yang. People who know me, know that I like music with ripped up dirty shoes.

Robb Donker

Stream full album here:  Beta Zumic

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lana De Rey drops "Shades of Cool" but is it?

Lana Del Rey's latest Ultraviolence tease is "Shades of Cool." I really love "West Coast" (you can read my track review here) but am feeling a bit ambivalent about this new track. From the get go it sounds like a Bond flick theme song and the rhymes feel a bit forced. The melody goes exactly where you think it will go. In short, the song does not offer much in the way of surprises except for Lana's voice that sometimes strays dangerously close to the off key cliff. She purposely lets her vocals hang into that dissonant place that a more (technically) skilled vocalist could pull off but (for me) it just doesn't work here. I have listened to this song a dozen times and unfortunately the most dramatic and engaging parts of the song are when she is not singing. In any event, I know her fans will absolutely love this track. "West Coast" had some totally awesome diversions that were totally original and I still am hoping that as an album Ultraviolence will shine. I also hope that Del Rey and her writing team will compose some songs that are not afraid to be poetic without the rhyme and produce some songs with more spartan arrangements. Check out Shades of Cool. What do you think?

Robb Donker

Ultraviolence drops on 6/13 on Polydor / Interscope Records.

Battleme Announces July US Tour With Recently Reunited Veruca Salt-!!


 Battleme Announces July US Tour With Recently Reunited Veruca Salt
Summer Trek Follows Spring US Tour With Toadies & March 11th Release of New Full-Length Studio Album – Future Runs Magnetic (El Camino Media) 
New York, NY – Battleme announced a July US tour with the recently reunited Veruca Salt earlier this week as he wrapped up two months of touring with the Toadies.  The Portland by way of Austin artist continues on the road in support of his new full-length studio album – Future Runs Magnetic – which was produced by Doug Boehm (Girls, Guided by Voices) and was released on March 11th on El Camino Media.  A week after the album dropped, Battleme hit the road with the Toadies on a mega sold-out US trek that had the band playing every major city across the US.  He filled in the days off with a number of headlining shows and will be doing this again the first two weeks of June when the band plays a number of Pacific Northwest and West Coast dates including a show at Barboza in Seattle, WA, Doug Fir Lounge in his homebase of Portland, OR, The Echo in Los Angeles, CA, and Brick & Mortar in San Francisco, CA.

Future Runs Magnetic is Battleme’s second full-length album and the follow-up to his self-titled debut.  The brainchild of Matt Drenik, Battleme is the musical persona Drenik created in 2009 when he started writing songs for FX’s hit television show Sons Of Anarchy.  It has since evolved and two studio albums later, Drenik continues to find and define his voice as an artist.  Future Runs Magnetic was recently described as, “bedroom-pop” by Magnet Magazine who also tapped him to guest edit their web site.  KEXP streamed the album in advance and had Music Director Don Yates describing the album as featuring “consistently well-crafted songs with crunchy guitars, energetic rhythms and strong melodic hooks.”  And USA Today premiered a song off the new album saying that Battleme “…creates music that emits somewhat of a ‘90s alternative rock vibe.”

It is only fitting then that Battleme is sharing the stage this summer with Veruca Salt who just reunited after 18 years and is touring for the first time since their 1994 hit song “Seether” was all over the airwaves.  Battleme’s ability to effortlessly straddle the line between “bedroom pop” and “muscular rock” has made him a sought after touring mate.  A complete list of confirmed dates are below and please check for the most up-to-date information.   

Battleme Headlining
June 5th @ Barboza in Seattle, WA
June 6th @ Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR
June 11th @ U-31 in San Diego, CA
June 12th @ The Echo in Los Angeles, CA
June 13th @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, CA
June 14th @ Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove, OR

Battleme w/Veruca Salt
July 9th @ Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis, MN
July 10th @ Turner Hall    in Milwaukee, WI
July 12th @ Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL
July 13th @ Firebird in St. Louis, MO
July 14th @ Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL
July 21st @ Black Cat in Washington, DC
July 22nd @ Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia, PA
July 24th @ Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY
July 25th @ Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY
July 26th @ Brighton Music Hall    in Boston, MA

Battleme's Matt Drenik is this week's Guest Editor at Magnet! 

Click here to read his contributions

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Vibekills - Common People (Demos) EP - Full Flavored Rock Blend of indie / pop punk / power pop

The Vibekills (don't you just love that name?) are a 4 piece rock band from Los Angeles. Truth be told, I don't know all that much about them but when I saw their name on the Viva Pomona Poster (see below) I felt drawn in to see what they were all about. While I didn't find out much about the band I did find their latest digital offering called Common People and while this EP is a short burst of only 4 songs totaling only a little over 10 minutes I will take quality over quantity any day and all these song are killer. Well crafted and catchy as hell they are full of dynamic musical breaks and changes. They will go from a hard post punk sound and switch on a dime to a more surfy punk or power pop feel and then even toss in a kind of grungy punk thing as well. To me, The Vibekills- Common People (Demos) EP feels like the musical blend of bands like Mrs. Magician, Audacity, The Violent Femmes, Weezer and Mozes & The Firstborn. Give them a loud listen. I look forward to hearing more from these guys. As I eluded to earlier they will be playing at the awesome Viva Pomona fest in July.

-Robb Donker

Saturday, May 24, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW- Kishi Bashi - "Lighght" - One Of The Greatest Albums Ever Produced - A Sonic Ambassador Of Youthful Hope

Kishi Bashi, the moniker of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and  dream violinist  Kaoru Ishibashi has been a mixed bag for me. His first full length album 151 a did contain some beautifully unique songs but as a collection of songs was (for me) a meandering affair that didn't quite gel together as a whole piece of work. This second album Lighght which takes it's title from the one word poem by Aram Saroyan (think about that for a second) is a huge step up. It is a tapestry of sounds that sonically feel like a dreamy synthesis of modern indie pop, 70's prog rock pop and orchestral music. The varied songs carry with them some melodies that feel familiar but not in a detrimental sort of way. While every listener will undoubtedly flash certain similarities based on their own library of other music and artists, I thought of bands like Electric Light Orchestra, Sin Fang Bous, Alan Parsons Project, Animal Collective, Moody Blues, Abba, A-Ha, Gap Dream, Supertramp and more. I even thought of Tiny Tim and some of the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yeah, I know that is weird. These songs are wrapped in the youthful exuberance of a 13 year old heart before it was broken. Musical images that sometimes feel like fables. The songs on Lighght feel so purely rendered. The sound, the tones don't feel beholden to any set trends which is refreshing.

The funny thing is I heard The Ballad of Mr. Steak before I heard the album in it's entirety. It is a dazzling shiny song full of bittersweet and uplifting melodies. It is like a tortured Sci-Fi love pop song full of gee whiz and cheese whiz too. At first listen, I liked it despite some of the lyrics that might make me gag if I just read them. The song succeeds despite these shortcomings because Ishibashi is fully invested in it. This is key because all the songs share this inspired feel and I might add, these songs work best when listened to non stop as an album. All the individual songs are bolstered by the others. Because Lighght is so special and should be listened and experienced in it's completeness I dare not speak about every song but I would like to mention a few. The 5th track Bittersweet Genesis for Him AND Her is an absolute stunning piece of work. It's tone and structure not only surprised me but it has a gravitas that the other songs do not contain. It is so beautifully intimate and sublimely poetic that it can wrap you in a blanket of sadness. Lighter fare but also special is the mainstream sounding Q&A. It feels like falling in love for the first time. I think for me it was my first grade teacher Miss Sayers. Once Upon a Lucid Dream (in Afrikaans) has a vast sweep to it with production flourishes that harken back to 80's pop rock. Plilosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! is a celebratory mish mash of beats and sounds and deeply moving musical breaks. Hahaha Pt.1 is a breezy sail across a beautiful sea. In Fantasia with it's dark themes builds a world around you as you listen.

The amazing musical vistas of sound that Kishi Bashi crafts tap into that youthful sense of hope that children have and that adults all too often lack but are in constant need of. These songs make you want to engage in magical thinking, so much so that at one point I thought that if the entire world could listen to this album en mass at the same time we could have world peace. Okay, let me amend this statement. If the entire world could listen to this album en mass and smoke some good 70's California weed THEN we could have world peace. All silliness aside, after many many listens to Lighght I finally figured out why this alubm is so utterly special to me. Besides the childlike hope that is infused in these songs, there are passages of music on this album (many of them really) that are perfect sound tracks, remembrances to pieces of your life. Musical imagery to underscore the trials and tribulations of youth and beyond, the utter high and lows, triumphs and tragedies, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one. For now, Lighght is Kishi Bashi's White Album and it glows with all the passion and life put there by it's creator and that, my friend, is special indeed.

Robb Donker

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We Will Be Lions Due to Drop "Burn Me Like A Disco" on June 17th- (set your watch now!)

We Will Be Lions are a San Francisco based indie outfit that blends a myriad of sounds together from 60's psychedelia and garden rock, to 70's glam and art rock, to 80's new wave, 90's power pop and beyond to form a lush divergent sound. They just finished recording a new single entitled "Burn Me Like A Disco" which amps up their sound even more. It is a heady mix of crashing synths, bottom heavy deep jungle beats, attacking guitar strains and vox that intersperses falsettos with throaty sultry howls. It is so fucking cool and my mind gravitated to some kind of seedy club world with flashes of Bowie, Bryan Ferry, ABC, T-REX, Lennie Kravitz and Prince providing the soundtrack along with We Will Be Lions (of course).

Regrettably I cannot share the track with you until it's official drop in June but here is a look at the cover art.

Rumor has it that "Burn Me Like A Disco" is a first taste of an upcoming album and what a taste it is. If this track is indicative of the tone and quality of this new project it will be a stellar one indeed.

In the mean time check out the video for Sunflower from their 2013 Debut EP - You Will Be Heroes-
Robb Donker

We Will Be Lions Online:

ECHO and ECHOPLEX -: Featured MAY Shows-!!! Some FREE (via RSVP)


Their / They're / There
May 20
@ The Echo $12 advance; $14 at the door

Howlin' Rain
May 23
@ The Echo $12 advance; $14 at the door

K-LUV Live Karaoke Band
May 25
@ The Echo FREE

Blood Red Shoes
May 27
@ The Echo $12 advance; $14 at the door

Pink Mountaintops
May 30
@ The Echo $12 advance; $14 at the door

Special Friday Night Dub Club w/ Sister Nancy
May 30
@ Echoplex $10 advance / $15 at the door ($10 before 10pm)

PUJOL / The Futures League
Jun 7
@ The Echo $8 advance; $10 at the door
IT. IS. HOT. We've got plenty of reasons for you to come cool off with an ice cold beer. Lucky for you a lot of them are FREE: 

GO TO THE BEACH! If you can't get that close to the sand go to the first Getty show of the season this Saturday to hear the rustic rock n roll from Jonathan Wilson and feel the Ocean breeze.
The Monday co-residency with The Mercy Beat and In The Valley Below has been doing quite nicely but it's missing your shining face! All the bands are really good and you should check it out for yourself instead of just hearing us go on about it! This week we have the post-punk upbeat jerky groove of bikos opening and StaG closing. It's so surprising to us that more people aren't raving about StaG's blissed out guitar blaze!
And holding their own with enough hit songs that could fill any radio stations playlist, our two co-residents: MERCY BEAT and IN THE VALLEY BELOW. It's free and the beer is cold... what's the excuse not to go?
- Superhumanoids are coming back to Echoplex on May 23 FOR FREE courtesy of Vans and IAMSOUND. Just RSVP to and you're set! 

- Every Sunday afternoon in the Echo we have Grand Ole Echo! Totally FREE, all ages, $4 beers and $6 rum drinks from 3 - 5pm, bloody marys, and a killer patio vibe. Plus, it's gotten even better with BBQ RAY out on the patio serving up cheap and irresistable bites. Come say hi and eat some meat! #BBQRay

- And keep those Thursday evenings FREE because the Twilight Concert Series lineup at the Santa Monica Pier should be revealing itself soon...

Lastly don't miss these three shows next week!
There's something in that rain water in Portland that creates beautiful ethereal folk that shimmers despite those grey skies. Wake Owl channel some Beach House-ness but the duo still creates layered orchestrated pop all their own. BONUS! Mimicking Birds will fill the Echo with music that waltzes, careens, and soars on Wednesday May 21

There are three things that people can say about frontman Ethan Miller from Howlin' Rain: 1) he has a great smile 2) is one of the nicest/coolest dudes you'll meet 3) his band of heavy psychedelic guitar twisters and turners create a mind blowing beautiful noise -- and Ethan is there in the front growling out vocals and commanding the stage with such intensity you pretty much can imagine yourself at the Fillmore in '67. We're sold.

And we have a show next week that should make parents nervous and kids happy; think of it as an evening with bad babysitters and their unruly charges. 70s inspired pop-punk from Potty Mouth who manage to be sassy, bratty and endearing all at once. Perfect Pussy is like the loud brash big sister that takes charge and will pummel you if snitch on her smoking cigarettes. It's post-hardcore in female glory with chaotic wound up songs that stop abruptly. Plus opening are our favorite brothers, The Bots (Mikaiah Lei and Anaiah Lei) who are just so happy blasting their brand of garage/punk mixed with American blues -- it is infectious. Let them skateboard! Let them stay up late! Let them have a blast playing music way too loud!

See you soon and stay cool out there. 

7/8 @ The Echo —The Herbert Bail Orchestra with Tall Tales and the Silver Lining, Cassandra Violet
7/29 @ The Echo —Xiu Xiu with Dead Rider, Circuit des Yeux
8/7 @ Echoplex —Deer Tick
8/21 @ Echoplex —The Naked and Famous
9/3 @ The Echo —Strand Of Oaks with Christopher Denny

Saturdays Off the 405 with Jonathan Wilson
May 17
@ The Getty Center Free - RSVP at DoLA

Le Butcherettes- "Cry Is For The Flies" Album on the Nadie Sound Label is Something to Check Out!

The garage-punk band Le Butcherettes present their highly anticipated album "Cry Is For The Flies" under 
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's new label Nadie Sound

"Gender Bender has a tremendous gift for capturing feelings and emotional processes that are difficult to narrate, including guilt. It's interesting that such a young woman - someone who grew up in the era of singles - would craft an album so beautifully narrative as a whole" 
"Cry Is For the Flies is a high-end studio work with an experienced producer. The album is darker, with Suarez's vocal work stronger and more mature" - LA Weekly 

"Cry is for the Flies is a display of an artist coming to terms with her world, bringing a sample of her raw nerves and guts for the listener's pleasure and, perhaps, even their sympathy" - Remezcla

""Bender's lyrics read like a descriptive narrative; telling stories of guilt, new beginnings, overcoming stigmas, and many other heavy topics. The album is beautifully written and will envelope you whole" - Grimy Goods

Los Angeles, California - After the success and critical acclaim received for their debut album 'Sin Sin Sin' (2011), Le Butcherettes are back with their new album "Cry Is For The Flies."   The album dropped on  May 15 under Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's label Nadie Sound and it will be available in digital, CD and vinyl formats.

The first single off of the band's second album "Demon Stuck In Your Eye" is an original song by the band's vocalist, Teri Gender Bender (Teresa Suarez) and it was produced by Rodriguez-Lopez. "Cry Is For The Flies" includes special guests such as Henry Rollins in 'Moment of Guilt' a 'spoken word' that Rollins wrote about a man who had a conversation with "guilt."

Without a doubt, the chemistry on stage and in the studio has been captured in their new work. Le Butcherettes, a band that exploded on the rock scene and has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe and Latin America, have participated in diverse music festivals and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the rock world.
Le Bucherettes enter a new an interesting stage with a tour in the near future that will be announced soon.

The bands' growing prestige has led them to share the stage on tours with names such as The Flaming Lips, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Deftones, Janes Addiction, The Mars Volta, The Dead Weather, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pixies and Iggy Pop & The Stooges, just to mention a few. They were also invited to play festivals like Sonar in Barcelona, Corona Capital, Lollapalooza, Coachella and Fun Fun Fun Fest.

The recent past of Le Bucherettes is very interesting, but the present is fascinating and the immediate future is promising, starting with the release of one of the most awaited albums in the rock world: "Cry Is For The Flies" is now available exclusively at Nadie Sound. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Andy Samberg Digital Short- goes all Cronenberg and Musical Guest St. Vincent Shines on SNL Season Finale

Digital Short - When Will The Bass Drop - SNL 5... by IdolxMuzic

SNL's Digital Short starring Samberg as DJ DAVVINCI and featuring Lil Jon in the cameo plays out like a David Cronenberg film and musical guest St.Vincent interjects a much needed dose of artistry which has been lacking lately for the musical guests on SNL. That is so nice after the lack luster performances in recent weeks by The Black Keys and Coldplay.

[HD] St. Vincent - Digital Witness - SNL 5-17-14 by IdolxMuzic

DASH JACKET - OC Dream punk pop outfit is BACK @ Pehrspace with Post Life, Heathers, Arjuna Genome, Wide Streets, Flowergirl, Canyons, Media Jeweler - SUNDAY - MAY 18th

Dash Jacket are ostensibly an indie punk pop dynamic duo (out of Irvine, California) comprised of Matthew Towles and Thomas Lucero who both play drums and guitars switching back and forth. Both sing as well and I have seen them from time to time as a three piece outfit too. I apologize for not knowing the name of that "other guy." One thing I do know is that their catalog of projects on Bandcamp are all great. There last release, the 11 track Ten Thousand Things is a stellar piece of punk power pop brilliance. It was released on July of 2012. Sadly, rumors had it that Dash Jacket ended in September of that same year. Hmmm?? Maybe the rumors were wrong.

Whether this is a reunion performance of sorts or Dash Jacket never left, I don't care. I am just stoked to see them perform. They will be cranking out their dreamy tunes at the much beloved Pehrspace in LA with a ton of awesome bands including American Pancake favs Wide Streets, Canyons and Post Life.  Check out the Facebook Post Below:
-Robb Donker


Hey! Guess what? The stars are aligning and all of Dash Jacket will be in southern California at the same time! Which means this is happening. Additionally, this is a fundraiser for pehrspace's new liability insurance premium--your donations will directly go towards keeping the space open and running. Music and good humans and good vibes and ♥ ♥ ♥

Dash Jacket ("romantic echoes, in california, in drag, of course", "heart-on-DIY-Tiger-Trap-shirt-sleeve,"

Post Life (there are no words for how completely amazing this band is!

Heathers (POP with a heart drawn around it, and also lotsa feedback, fresh from being totally banned from the UK, no joke,

Arjuna Genome (the universe is indeed blinking,

Wide Streets (this band will not stop being the best, wtf,

Flowergirl (Harmoon, cactus cookie, girl-fi, ♥ forever,

Canyons (not to be confused with the geological formation of the same name, this band is way more awesome and powerful to behold,

Media Jeweler (like a deathsprint through a rainbow rainstorm of shattered sugar glass,

This will start during the day and go into the night, and there will be some sort of BBQ! We'll have some veggie burgers but bring something to grill if we run out!

This order has nothing to do with the actual order of the bands! That will be figured out in time. Honestly Dash Jacket should probably just open.

4:30p Canyons
5:15p Wide Streets
6:00p Flowergirl
6:45p Arjuna Genome
7:15p Media Jeweler
8:15p Heathers
9:15p Post Life
10:15p Dash Jacket