Monday, December 29, 2014

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

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

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

100 Watt Horse Facebook

Thursday, December 25, 2014

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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