Monday, September 29, 2014



 I love this song. From the gospel choir-ish intro to the galloping drum pattern this song is as original as it gets but then that is the Talking Heads for you. David Byrne has one of the most distinctive voices and artistic visions in music and this song about futility and death feels happy with zydeco type rhythms and flavors. It is a dark joke within a really cool song.

- Robb Donker

 From Wiki: "Road to Nowhere" is a rock song written by David Byrne for the 1985 Talking Heads album Little Creatures. It also appeared on Best of Talking Heads, Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites, the Once in a Lifetime box set and the Brick box set. The song was released as a single in 1985 and reached number 25 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 6 in the British, German and South African [1] singles charts. It also made number 8 on the Dutch Top 40.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

REVIEW: Music Midtown Atlanta 2014: Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Jack White, Eminem and Drunk 15 Year Olds

Lana Del Rey: photo by Perry Julien 

Jack White: photo by David James Swanson

MUSIC MID-TOWN @ Piedmont Park Sept. 19th and 20th
Colorful Commentary by Alyssa Holland

I just moved to North Georgia from Southern California, and if Music Midtown was happening in LA I wouldn’t have gone to it. LA has FYF, numerous street festivals such as Echo Park Rising, Make Music Pasadena and tons more. Not to say that Atlanta doesn’t have the same variety, but I just don’t know about it yet. So in order to get my fix of live music I went to Music Midtown festival in Piedmont Park of midtown Atlanta. It included acts such as (the ones I watched) Mayer Hawthorne, Run DMC, Banks, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Jack White, Lana Del Rey, Gregg Allman, and Eminem.

The two day festival cost 125 dollars. For about 60 dollars a day, that’s a bargain considering I would have paid that much just to see Lorde or Jack White. The line-up didn’t include very many artists, but the incredibly long set times made up for that. They all played for at least an hour, and the headliners played for 2 hours. That’s CRAZY. Since Jack White’s newest project only includes his current release Lazaretto, he filled up that time by playing White Stripes and Raconteurs songs which was amazing. I basically got to see three of his acts in one set, and it was well worth all of the bullshit that comes along with attending any festival.

Said bullshit includes overpriced food and drinks, drunk people, annoying people, crazy people, crowds full of those people and all the nonsense that entails. Since the festival began at 4pm on Friday September 19th and 1pm on Saturday the 20th, I only found myself purchasing the expensive small portioned food once. I went for 6 dollar waffle fries and 3 dollar mint lemonade. I usually go for fries at a festival, because it’s a cheap option that will fill you up until you’re able to hit up a 24 hour fast food restaurant after the event. Next to the small Ferris wheel by the food area, people were playing games of cornhole; only in Georgia. The drinks ran from 9 to 32 dollar carafes of a beverage of your choosing. I got vodka lemonades the entire weekend, and enjoyed them only during my favorite acts to enhance the experience and to help myself become less annoyed at the drunk 15 year olds around me. Oh my god, so many drunk 15 year olds. I tend to help people who are crying, puking, injured, or all 3. I came across a puking ginger boy during Lana’s set. I told him to drink water slowly, eat something carby, and go to the First Aid tent just around the corner. He said he didn’t want to because he was 15 and was afraid of getting in trouble. 15. And all of his many friends with rich daddies who pay for their tickets and encourage them to go in big groups were 15 and drunk as well. This is a problem. Midtown doesn’t check bags, and they clearly should.

The festival had giant crowds at all 3 stages because of how cheap it was, the star studded line up, and the huge focus on a VIP experience. The VIP’s had the option of standing in a separate boxed off area in front of each stage, similar to a press pit. But for drunk old people. This was a problem, because it blocked the view for normal middle class people. Like, these VIP pits were unnecessarily huge. Not to mention the many VIP areas throughout the park that were always conveniently placed in inconvenient areas that blocked walkways and what not. I wasn’t ever able to squeeze my way to the front, but I was able to stand fairly close to the stages and hear some of my favorite bands. I must say, the sound systems were amazing and Midtown had top notch engineers. I enjoyed every act I watched, and I still find myself wishing Lorde’s set lasted forever.

Lorde: photo by Perry Julien

Here’s a quick run-down of what I experienced since I could write about these performances for a very long time.

Mayer Hawthorne: I appreciate the ode to Motown and Stax acts, but their songs sound way too similar to the actual songs that they’re homaging. It was fun to see, but they just didn't stand out that much.

Run DMC: Always have been amazing and always will be. That was awesome. Please play shows forever.

Banks: Beautiful music. I’d rather experience her performance in a small venue than a festival though because it is intimate, emotional and slowly paced.

Lorde: I almost cried during the entire set. Partly because the tall idiot in front of me kept hitting me with his elbow while he grinded on his girlfriend, and partly because Lorde is incomprehensibly talented. I truly wish that she played for two hours like the headliners did. She doesn’t have that much material but I wouldn’t mind hearing covers, the same songs over and over again, or just her talking or singing happy birthday to people. What ever, she’s the best.

Iggy Azalea: Her crowd was HUGE. The stage she played at was far away from the two other stages, on a giant hill, in the corner of the park, and blocked on one side by those pesky VIP pits I mentioned. I could only see her on the jumbotron, but she sounded really cool. I was bummed that I wasn’t close enough to geometrically figure out her butt.

Jack White: As I mentioned before, he played for the full 2 hours and included songs that spanned his entire career. He sounded on top of it the entire time, and I commend him for all of that.

LDR: Lana sounded hauntingly beautiful. I hated her at first because I thought she was nothing special, but she is. Her die hard fans can attest to that. I liked how she smoked on stage at a festival that didn’t even allow smoking period at a park that doesn’t allow smoking period. What a punk. She also took the time to sign autographs and take pictures during her set. What a sweetheart.

Gregg Allman: He played at the stupid stage a mile away on a hill in a corner, so the people who went to see him were all the older folks. And then me. He performed perfectly and he’s still as charming as ever. He’s really not as old as his hair and beard make him look, so the crisp voice that he carries is surprising.

Eminem: As far as I could hear, he didn’t play for the full 2 hours. Which is fucking stupid, considering that he definitely has enough material. He played for an hour, stopped for about 30 minutes and then he may or may not have played again after I left. But compared to Jack White who played songs from bands that he no longer is involved with in order to play for the 2 full hours, Eminem is kind of a dick. That being said, he did play some of his older songs and that was pretty cool.

Bastille played a recording of the Twin Peaks theme song, and that was the best part of their set.

Oh yeah, Zac Brown Band covered “Enter Sandman” by Metallica and that was badass. They should stop playing country music and play better stuff like that.

Alyssa Holland

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

After You Hear "Sloppy Joes" by Vomitface You May Need A Penicillin Shot

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. I admit I want to hear more from this band with the disgusting name that I don't like but the song is so nasty and good. I need a penicillin shot now.
Robb Donker

“Sloppy Joes” was directed by Tarik Karam (Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, The Reader). Editing by Vomitface.  Photography by Ari Rothschild.  Color by Jeff Sousa.
Vomitface will also make their CMJ Music Marathon debut this October 21st at Trash Bar in Brooklyn!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


On October 22nd Demon Hunter will be at the Glasshouse!

Demon Hunter 500.jpg

Demon Hunter has grown beyond the boundaries of a traditional rock band to become something of incalculable value, profound meaning, and steadfast purpose to the people worldwide whose dedication to their music, artwork and vision is beyond compare. Come out on October 22nd and check it out for yourself! Tickets go on sale Thursday at noon

Official Demon Hunter Website: Click Here
Official Ticket Link: Click Here

Our First Show of 2015 has been announced: Geographer on 1/16

Geographer_2 500.jpg

Come ring in the New Year on January 16th with Geographer! After being selected one of three ‘Undiscovered Bands You Need To Hear Now’ by SPIN Magazine and garnering considerable word-of-mouth praise from their energetic live shows, the band signed to San Francisco-based label Tricycle Records, releasing a 7” single for the song ‘Kites’ in October 2009. ‘Animal Shapes’ follows up ‘Kites’, building on the synth-driven aesthetic of the single, while flirting with darker, more esoteric underpinnings. With the overwhelming response to the release of ‘Kites’ and ‘Animal Shapes’, punctuated by a dynamic and engaging live set, the band has already begun to make an indelible mark on the ears of music fans worldwide. Come check them out for yourselves! Tickets go on sale Monday September 22nd, at noon!
Official Geographer Website: Click Here
Official Ticket Link: Click Here


Bad Rabbits
September 24th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $12 / On Sale Now

Viva! Presents: Temples w/ Wampire
September 26th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Real Escape Game: The Crazy Last Will of Dr. Mad - 3 Shows
September 27th / The Glass House / Doors: 3:30 pm, 6 pm & 8:30 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

Real Escape Game: The Crazy Last Will of Dr. Mad - 3 Shows
September 28th / The Glass House / Doors: 1 pm, 3:30 pm & 6 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

KCRW Presents: The War on Drugs w/ Cass McCombs
October 1st / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $17 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

Jacob Whitesides w/ Dylan Holland / Zach Matari
October 2nd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 / Two VIP options $85 & $120 / On Sale Now

Senses Fail w/ No Bragging Rights / To the Wind / Knuckle Puck
October 3rd / The Glass House / Doors: 7:30 pm / all ages / $17.50 adv / $21 dos / SOLD OUT

Bombay Bicycle Club w/ Milo Greene
October 4th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

Aaron Behrens (of Ghostland Observatory) & the Midnight Stroll w/ Ranch Ghost
October 5th / The Flyway at The Fox / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $10 adv / $12 dos / On Sale Now

Chris Webby
October 8th / The Glass House / Doors: 7:30 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Black Joe Lewis w/ Vug Arakas
October 9th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Twin Shadow
October 10th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Xavier Wulf w/ Chris Travis / Eddy Baker / Trizz / Ty 90 / Mickey Melrose
October 11th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $12 adv / $15 dos / On Sale Now

Turquoise Jeep w/ Yip Deceiver
October 15th / The Blue Room / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

The Maine Presents: The Farewell Forever Halloween Tour w/ Special Guests John Nolan (from Straylight Run and Taking Back Sunday) / My American Heart
October 16th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Combichrist (only SoCal performance) w/ William Control / Davey Suicide / Darksiderz
October 17th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $21 adv / $25 dos / On Sale Now

Born of Osiris w/ Thy Art is Murder / Betraying the Martyrs / Within the Ruins / Erra
October 18th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $16 adv / $18 dos / On Sale Now

Chastity Belt
October 19th / Acerogami / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $10 / On Sale Now

Goldenvoice and LED Present: Gramatik
October 20th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Demon Hunter
October 22nd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Thursday September 25th at noon!

Gary Numan w/ Kitten
October 23rd / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

2Mex Hologram Podcast & Jamacor Industries Presents: WORDMURDER w/ Cage / Blu / Ceschi Ramos, RIFLEMAN ELLAY KHULE, Disciples of the Sick, BLAQ TONGUE SOCIETY
October 24th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

A Voice for Noah: A Fundraiser for Therapy w/ Three Bad Jacks, James Intveld / Special C / Elvis Cortez (from Left Alone)
October 25th / The Glass House / Doors: 5 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Mineral w/ Into It. Over It. / Holiday Friends
October 26th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

FYF Presents: Tycho
October 27th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

St. Lucia w/ Robert Delong
October 28th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

F*ck Face Unstoppable (Bam Margera) w/ Lionize / Polkadot Cadaver / Howitzer
October 29th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 adv / $25 dos / $50 VIP / On Sale Now

The Fall of Troy
November 2nd / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $18 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

An Evening with Weezer (no comp show)
November 6th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $65 / On Sale Saturday September 27th @ 10 am / Pre-sale available through fan club.

Four Year Strong w/ Transit / Such Gold / Seaway
November 8th / The Glass House / Doors: 6:30 pm / all ages / $17 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

The Word Alive w/ The Color Morale / Our Last Night / Dead Rabbitts / Miss Fortune
November 9th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $16 adv / $18 dos / On Sale Now

Run the Jewels w/ Ratking / Despot
November 12th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

Blonde Redhead
November 13th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $25 / On Sale Now

Relient K w/ Blondfire / From Indian Lakes
November 14th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 adv / $23 dos / On Sale Now

The Ghost Inside / Every Time I Die (co-headline) w/ Architects (uk) / Hundredth / Backtrack
November 15th / The Glass House / Doors: 6 pm / all ages / $18 adv / $22 dos / On Sale Now

Minus the Bear w/ Mansions
November 22nd / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $25 adv / $30 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

Breathe Carolina / Candyland (co-headline) w/ Flinch / DOTCOM
November 25th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 adv / $25 dos / On Sale Now

The Birthday Massacre w/ New Years Day
November 29th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $20 adv / $22 dos / On Sale Now

The Rise Records Tour: Dance Gavin Dance w/ Secrets / Alive Like Me / Defeat the Low
December 4th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $17 adv / $20 dos / On Sale Now

Johnny Marr
December 16th / The Glass House / Doors: 8 pm / all ages / $25 adv / $30 dos / On Sale Now

Performing the "GET SOME" album in its' entirety: Snot w/ He is Legend / Thira
December 23rd / The Glass House / Doors: 7:00 pm / all ages / $20 / On Sale Now

January 16th / The Glass House / Doors: 7 pm / all ages / $15 / On Sale Now

Monday, September 22, 2014

Post Code spin Sonic Dreams on "Year of the Zebra"

Post Code hail from the Isle of Man and just dropped their second record of 2014- the EP "Year of The Zebra - Part One" (on Small Bear Records) - At Last starts slowly and dreamily, then builds steadily until erupting into thick sonic bliss. So Good.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mumblr's "Full Of Snakes" is Full of Sonic Gems

On their full length debut named "Full Of Snakes" Mumblr might be a band that chases sonic ghosts from before (that is too say the grungy indie rock progs might be somewhat derivative) but as a framework for Nick Morrison's vocal performance that always holds emotional weight and refreshingly interesting lyrics the album is thoroughly engaging. It might sound like it came from a 90's time capsule but the themes couched in each song are things you can relate to instantly.

It is the songwriting that shines. I mean it doesn't matter how old you are, at times you have to bathe in the angst ridden, self loathing, self doubting, hope, passion, anger and love sickness of youth or days gone by. Embedded (like a splinter) in the heavy Seattle grunge sound on Philadelphia is that feeling of having a place that maybe shitty but it is yours and yours alone. In Black Chicks there is that self hate that comes out of the perverse heart (nothing wrong with that). Racial unease and generational devides from a 17 year old angle in White Devil. This song bobs and weaves and is one of my favs on the album. It is pretty bad ass.

The lyrical head scratcher and sonic shapeshifting song on this album is 2012. It starts off dreamy and then landslides into an exuberant indie rock song with very cool guitar lines and heavy tom toms. Very cool. This song jams and sounds incredibly dense. I thought of Yuck for some reason a tiny bit. Greyhound Station feels kind of wordy in an emo way. May be my least fav on the album. Mumblr's sound is stripped bare in Masturbation and then climaxes in a cacophony of sounds (yeah, I know). The percussive bass on Roach is just plain delicious as are the thick guitar down strokes. Dynamic as hell it goes from cooly quiet to loud with a wonderful musical break. The Weezer-esque ITAUATT (I Think About You All The Time) has a certain  indie pop genius about it as the one passage song goes from celebratory emotions to not so much.

Mumblr's Full Of Snakes is 17 tracks long and while some of those tracks are not full fledged songs they all possess elements that seem to move you from one sonic experiene to the next. Grave is the perfect outro song. I will leave it at that. Just listen to this album and take it all in. It is full of well crafted, well produced candid indie songs and thankfully (THANKFULLY) has vocal performances that don't sound like every other indie band.
Robb Donker

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Seal Lions : Demo "Can't Say No" is Perfect

I am a big fan of band's demos. Especially when the songs are in the embryonic state, when they are coated with on the fly licks and not over thought. In Freudian parlance there is a lot of "id" on them. Not sure if the Sea Lions latest Demo "Can't Say No" for public consumption took 2 days to produce or 2 months but it sounds perfect to me. Check it out and if you are not familiar with this band then you are missing out.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sept. 19, 2014: Random Friday. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Some random thoughts on Day 45 in Flowery Branch, Georgia, exiled from Southern California.

Today, the 19th of September is day one of Music Midtown at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. It also runs tomorrow with a ton of big hitters from Iggy Azalea, Jack White, Lorde, Eminem, Greg Allman, Zac Brown Band, John Mayer, Bastille, Run DMC, Lana Del Rey, B.O.B and more. The line up is kind of all over the place. I guess you could call it eclectic or just a big mess. Whatever the case, I decided to sit this one out. I need to dip my toe into some smaller venues first and quite frankly I just don't have the energy for it. I did drop Alyssa off into the fray and she is probably loving and hating it in equal amounts. So here is some randomness.

Sugga Video : Cutty Flam (the good)

Just saw the official video for Cutty Flam's "Sugga" from the Robot Heat Album. In Cutty Flam style, the video is kind of a 50's style B Sci-Fi, Halloween, Time warp affair full of cheeky humor. The song itself has a very cool swing and I love the passages sung en Espanol. It also swaps time signatures and starts jamming pretty good. If you like do-wop indie pop punk, you should love this band.

The Eeries: "Cool Kid" (the bad)

The Eeries... have you heard about them? There has been a fair amount of hoopla associated with the Los Angeles band that has more to do with the fact that Eeries member Isaiah Silva has been engaged to Frances Bean Cobain (for several years). There are rumors that Courtney Love is a fan of the band which could either be a badge of honor or a big fat shit stain depending on how you look at it. The song "Cool Kid" is mainly what is getting most of the attention.

Is it catchy?: Temporarily YES
Is it a good song?: Not really.

The problem, for me, is this. Three seconds into this over produced derivative affair you think of so many classic indie rock bands from Everclear to Weezer to (Yes) Nirvana. And it is not like you think of them as in "inspired by" or "homage to" but instead to "ripped off" and if that is not bad enough the lyrics are vapid and sung with enough vocal performance cliches to fill up any School of Rock session. It is tired, old and frankly, just bad.

YOU Moved From California to Georgia??? (the ugly)

The entire time we have been in North Georgia one thing has been a constant (besides mosquito bites): Everyone we meet upon learning that we moved here from California asks why we moved to Georgia. Now that in and of itself is not that weird but it is the way they ask. Their eyes get large or they lean in, or like the waitress at Steak and Shake who crouched down with her arms crossed and chin  on her wrists as if she was about to hear a scary story, they all simply cannot believe that anyone would choose to move to Georgia from California. The waitress, by the way, spent most of her life on the East Coast and was super elated to speak with us. It was as if she thought we shared something in common and maybe we did. Maybe we both shared either a misconception, prejudice, or truth about Southerners (are people in Georgia really from the South?).

She turned out to be pretty funny or at least her observations were. At one point she raised her eyebrow and said in a quiet tone, "There are hillbillies out here you know." She then proceeded to let us know about the "bad" parts of North Georgia and the good parts before giving us tiny portions of food. In fact, most of the restaurants in this area give small kid sized portions of food which is ironic because in North Georgia there are some big ole boys and girls. A cursory observation suggests that people are just larger in this immediate area than the area of Southern California we used to call home, at least it seems this is the case. No science here. In the end, while I could kind of relate to this New Jersey transplant I felt like a dick for laughing inside at her high brow dismissive words of what she may (or may not) of perceived as a region of the country that is less smart and less cultured.

Perceptions, preconceived notions and prejudice can be ugly things. I fully admit that the sight of  a guy wearing a camo shirt with a big bear belly, wrap around sunglasses that have that multi-colored gasoline in water look and who speaks in a heavy southern accent is not my cup of tea. I also acknowledge that while I do run into a fair amount of those types in this area, they are not the bulk of what this slice of North Georgia is about. There is more diversity here than I imagined there would be but still, at times, I feel very much like a fish out of water and those pesky questions persist. WHY on Bloody hell Earth would you move from the sparkly clean excitement of California to the down to earth boring squalor of Georgia?? Sure, they don't say those words but that is the feeling I get when they look so damn confused. The easy short answer is: "For my job."  There may be other reasons buried in my ever imploding psyche that may run the gamut from "I got lost and ended up here" to "for survival" to "I don't know.... it just happened."

The thing is this. Those people who ask that question are working on notions of California probably garnered through the media. There is also the ever present "grass is always greener" complex. I think a lot of people end up in parts of the country or world where they didn't expect to end up because of economic reasons. Most people here could not survive two weeks in California because they could not afford it. That being said, while rents, home prices, some overall utilities and gasoline are less expensive most everything else is not. It seems like going out to eat costs more but then people have more in their pocket to spend at the end of the day and are willing to do so.

Anyway, I am rambling now. I do promise that I will try to have less ugly thoughts. Thoughts couched in prejudice and discomfort. I will even try to listen to country music....... ewww. I just got a major douche chill.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Farewell to My California Family: Departing Words and Melt Down From A Music Blogger in Exile

This following was written on notebook paper on Tuesday July 29th, 2014. I am choosing not to edit it as it is a reflection of how I was feeling that day so there is a fair amount of random thoughts and badly written syntax.

Today, on D day (Departure Day) my mind is reeling in a bipolar sort of way. Part of me feels as giddy as a travel log and part of me as empty as a suicide note. I have practically lived in Southern California my entire life and at this moment am speeding down highway 40 traversing an almost straight line to Flowery Branch, Georgia with wife, daughter, dog and cat all crammed in a mid-sized SUV. This journey started off roughly with a dead battery and a few hours later with my epic melt down. I am an extremely emotional man and father who is leaving 2 of my 3 kids behind to continue to pursue their lives in the Sunshine State. It must be said that these "kids" are adults. My daughter and son are in their twenties. We are such a close family. I am 56 years old and I knew that moving far away from them would be very difficult but I could not imagine how it would really feel until today when my heart has been ripped in two.

Maybe in an attempt to reverse time and undo all the months of planning and promises made to my employer, wife and daughter (who is going on this trek with me and who is so excited to attend UNG) I literally lost it. I felt as numb as the dullest headache and as manic as what I imagine a psychotic episode to be. I felt, truly, like I abandoned my kids and yes, even though they are fully into adulthood, they will always be my kids to love, cherish and hold onto. Now I knew I would not be able to hold them except for visits, 1 or 2 or 3 times a year. While I would rather not get into all the sordid details of this breakdown or my "episode" as it will likely be referred to for years to come, it involved a lot of vacant stares out of the car window and weeping.

My lovely wife came to the rescue and elected to drive the majority of the first leg of the first day's drive while I "composed" myself and in so doing I am composing this post. I know that over time I will feel better that I have to but now and I imagine over several weeks the sadness will come and go. Much of this is all too sensitive for this platform but it had to be shared at least a little bit. I will do my utmost to love and nurture my Cali kids from afar as I will love and nurture the daughter who is within arm's reach.

For the last 3 years, 6 months and 15 days I have been maintaining this blog. The name came from my son. Once while we were making homemade pancakes he asked jokingly, "Is that an American Pancake?" and a blog was born. I have referred to it as my shitty little music blog and it is just that. While I had early on aspirations to be a Buzzbands or something similar I soon found out that was not going to happen. I didn't have the sheer energy while working long hours at my day job. Still the blog has afforded me countless exciting memories.

I am a hack photographer and there are so many great photographers out there that my focus has been videoing bands. Nothing fancy, raw unedited videos shot full of flash pans and the best angles I could hit in an attempt to capture the energy of the live performance. Key in that was a camera that shot pretty good sound. I settled on an FZ100 Lumix fixed lens with a 25 optical zoom. These videos end up on my YouTube channel.

Being the oldest guy in the room has also been interesting. It has never been detrimental at normal venues but at some of the more underground shows I seemed to be cause for concern. One time at VLHS in Pomona, a girl who was obviously pretty buzzed kept coming up to me in a near panic saying, "You're freaking me out" (as she locked eyes with me) "You're a cop right??"  Another time when I was more dressed up than usual at the Echo, this kid kept looking at me and finally asked if I was the owner (what??). "No, just a blogger" I answered. He looked kind of disappointed.

Overall though, kids of all ages have fully embraced me in the indie scene and treated me with respect and a sense of fun. I have found common ground speaking to musicians about music based on my experiences too. I think the fact that I was involved in bands during the late 70's and early 80's which is one of those pivotal times in music that has shaped the indie sound of today in some ways has helped me make an almost instant connection with some musicians I speak with. I guess the ever-present camera bag hasn't hurt either.

I am truly going to miss the So Cal indie music scene and the great venues but most importantly it has been the gracious and inspiring musicians, promoters, bloggers, photographers and music fans who I will miss the most. I want to say a fond farewell to those of you who I have had the great fortune of sharing a smile with.

I did the standard male head nod to the prolific music writer and great photographer Philip Cosores back in 2009 at the secret FYF Peter Bjorn and John show. Ever since he has always been a cool guy to hang with at shows and provided me with valuable advise and resources. He is a smart guy and passionate about what he does. At times, he seems to be omnipresent. He writes for so many publications. Take care dude. Early on, I believe (at a Ty Segall) show I met Ben Irwin, Editor in Chief at Pinpoint Music, blogger and photographer who has always been a real cool guy as well with a big heart. At the Peter, Bjorn and John show I also met the talented and very cool Jamie Margolin from CatJam Studio. He then served as producer on the documentary "Peter, Bjorn and John: Digging Deeper" and I was fortunate enough to lend some of my video footage of the show to the piece and even received mention in the credits as did Alyssa Holland who shot photos at that show. That first year it was also a thrill to meet and speak with Ty Segall, Marissa Paternoster, Katy Goodman as well as Peter, Bjorn and John. All truly sweet people.

Besides covering shows, it has always been a focus of mine to review albums of merit that larger blogs may be (for whatever reason) paying little attention to. So many of those bands have shot me great notes of appreciation and I love that. You guys know who you are.

In 2011- I interviewed Crystal Antlers. I had gotten Bells Palsy which caused half my face to kind of droop and that affected my speech pattern. I almost called off the interview because of this bit of bad luck but pressed onward. The interview turned out great and after so many CA concerts it has always been a pleasure running into and speaking with Jonnny, Kevin and Andrew (not to mention Andrew's lovely girlfriend who is one of the sweetest people on planet Earth).  Another band that was so fun to interview is Kera and the Lesbians who are truly sweet and special people. Daiana Feuer, Executive Editor for LA Record, music writer for LA Weekly, The Los Angeles Times and more and singer / songwriter /ukelele player for the weirdly wonderful Bloody Death Skull has always been super cool allowing me to write some reviews for LA Weekly and inviting me to cover the New Los Angeles Folk Festival which she founded. I have admired her from afar for her ability to multi-task with her own unique exuberance and I hope our paths cross in the future. Thanks so much to Sheri and Joe for giving their time, their support to those who matter to them and opening their home to the DIY music scene in LM. That is no small task.

There are so many fun times and memories from FYF, Burgerama and Viva Pomona shows. Thanks to Sean Carlson for press creds as well as Burger Record's Sean Borhman who has sweetly built better musical mousetraps and people come in droves. When I think of Burger I also think of Bobby May who is one hell of a nice guy who always remembers my name. Love that guy. I will also miss seeing Rene Contreras who has forever coupled Viva and Pomona together. You can't think of one without the other. I remember being amazed at all the different sections of LA I would see him even when I knew he didn't have a vehicle. Hard working and doing it for all the right reasons.

When I think of Fullerton, California I think of Audacity and Canyons. I have been writing about both bands since the beginning of this blog.  Audacity has found that large audience and Canyons with their devoted fan base can too if they so desire. I will always feel a kinship with Canyon's Nicholas, Maegen and Jeremy.

Part of covering shows is being in the photo pit. I have always considered myself to be an interloper and pretender for the simple reason that I am not a skilled photographer. Yes I know how to compose a shot but haven't the foggiest notion how to take a great picture. I am a guy with a camera shooting video and in so doing has had a blast and met some really cool people in the process like Tiffany Luong, Austin Bauman and Marisa Rose and the ever fun loving bear hug of a man, Sammy Dorian Perez who is also the drummer in Melted. Thanks to Preston Thalindroma from Say Cheese and Die, Ivette Orenos from Grimy Goods and Joshua Lovelife from the Hear Gallery who helped me out in the past. After meeting Sounds of Noise in Pomona I got together with Paul, Eddie and Eric to shoot some music videos. Good times guys. See you on the other side someday. Gianna Gianna from BLOK is a classy young lady who knows the importance of family and being able to re-imagine her life the way she wants it to be. Stay true and thanks for lively chats.

Some of my favorite videos I have shot are of Pangea, yeah I will always refer to them that way. The Together tagged on in front just doesn't feel right. I don't know William and Danny well but we have shared some cool conversations here and there and shooting their shows is always fun. Early on I met audio engineer and producer Andrew Schubert while he was working with Pangea and God Equals Genocide.  What an absolutely sweet and genuine guy. I have always enjoyed seeing him at local shows and chatting awhile. Shooting The Garden, always a trip. Wide Streets are a band that I champion. Reviewed their last two albums and vowed to do a video interview with them but it never happened. Maybe some day if they tour on the east coast.

I really enjoyed interviewing Roses, such nice guys and I wish them all the success they desire. Good luck to Michael Christopher Morin who promotes the best shows and is involved with many bands and always made me feel welcome. Every time I would run into Aaron Paustian I would feel like my creative spirit was lifted a bit. A talented photographer and director and one hell of a mustache grower.

If American Pancake was a late night talk show then the house band would clearly be The Lovely Bad Things. For purely artistic and personal reasons they are a band that is closest to me and themselves closest to a nuclear family that you will ever meet. Lauren and Brayden, the cool parents and Cam and Tim the mischievous kids. I love them with all my heart will miss them so much.

So many more people I could mention who have made the California experience sweeter. You all keep pursuing your dreams. Someone once said that if you are doing what you love to do you will never work a day of your life. Words to live by.

Rock on and see you sooner or later on this shitty little blog.-


Crystal Antlers. I am holding up the wall.

Kera and the Lesbians Interview

Me in the blue beanie shooting
Pangea at Burgerama 3

With Sea of Bees (Julie Ann Baenziger) 

Shooting Sounds of Noise Music Video

Mac DeMarco at Burgerama 3

September 2014 Exiled in Flowery Branch, Georgia

10 Iconic Songs Miley Cyrus Should Cover

After hearing the Miley Cyrus cover of Led Zepellin's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" I had many thoughts and questions like: "Is this a Karaoke version?" - "Why is it such a lo-fi file?"  It also became clear that the girl does have rock and roll pipes. Whether you like the sound of her vocal performance, whether she can pull off the emotional gravitas of this kind of blues rock classic is another thing. By far, the most entertaining aspect of her putting this out for the world to hear is to read the multitude of comments pro and con! Some are just priceless:

TheSherlockOhms im a really huge led zeppelin fan. I'm not a miley fan. but i don't think she "butchered" this song. i think she did really well. people need to give props when props are due at 5:04

HeartBeatsMiley THIS SLAYED MY SOUL at 5:31 

Nicolas Alava @kel-cardinal: I want to kill myself now. at 1:48

Robert Treves This is an absolute disgrace.. this has gone too far.. covering led zeppelin, she seriously needs to go away.. she hasn't even got the title right.. at 0:28

Roxandrew You are so perfect your voice is amazing!!! FUUUUUCK at 1:03

Zystem just kill one of my Fav Songs Really hurts here on my soul :( at 2:28

Chris Barrick 3 Not as good as Robert Plant or Joan Baez, but still better than autotuned pop at 1:10

Peter Guerin 1 John Bonham is fricking rolling over in his grave. :-P at 0:12

David Bluhm I am... I am sufficiently confused by this being unterrible at 0:24

drugzandpugz She can do no wrong at 0:28

So while many people are scratching their heads and asking why, some are thinking why not and for those thinking that and for those who slow down to gaze longingly over car accidents at the side of the road I give you....
1. Pink Floyd - "Wish You Were Here" (1975)
2. The Smiths - "Girlfriend In A Coma" (1987)
3. The Doors - "Touch Me" (1968)
4. Radiohead - "Paranoid Android" (1997)
5. Michael Jackson- "Billie Jean" (1982)
6. Nirvana - "Lithium" (1991)
7. The Beatles - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (1968)
8. The Ramones - "Bitzkrieg Bop" (1976)
9.  The Who - "Won't Get Fooled Again" (1971)
10. The Temptations - "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (1966)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jack White Tries to Act in "Would You Fight For My Love"

Over the last few records, Jack White has been taking his brand of music very seriously, so much so that, at times, it can feel somewhat pretentious. What has pulled him back from the edge is his ability to inject the right blend of cool and pulp fiction in his sounds and visions. For the video of "Would You Fight For My Love" White pulls off a ton of style but the brooding bite of the song just doesn't match the staid emotion of his acting and tone of the video itself. For me, White comes off like Michael Jackson in the "Beat It" video, trying to portray the emotions of the song but not succeeding. White (like Jackson) just doesn't have the acting chops to make it work and the video ends up detracting from the song. If you don't believe me, close your eyes midway through the video and feel the song come to life (even more).
Robb Donker

Death From Above 1979 : "Trainwreck 1979" on Letterman and "Turn It Out" at FYF

Death From Above 1979 not only have the coolest band / duo name in the world, they simply make a hell of a lot of beautiful engaging noise. There is an impressive aural edge and intensity to their songs all coming from one distorted and perfectly effected bass, drums and vocals. They recently appeared on the Letterman show and surprisingly Paul Schaffer's band actually lent some musical support without stepping over or ruining their usual spartan yet powerhouse sound. Check them out- churning out a killer performance of "Trainwreck 1979" from their album The Physical World. After that, check out the video I shot of them way back at FYF (Fuck Yeah Fest) 2011 in Los Angeles. 

- Robb Donker