Friday, October 30, 2015

London Based Art Pop Outfit: GLASS- "What It Is To Believe" (Official Video) - Truly Shocking and Undeniably Engaging

Maybe there is something in the air or maybe Halloween has cast a far reaching spindly hand of death on the neck of misogyny (in music videos) but in the last 30 days not one but two men have been grisly dispatched at the revengeful hands of female killers. First on September 29th, the Disclosure video for Magnets featuring Lorde had the New Zealand singer kick her bound victim into a swimming pool and then set the gasoline tinged water ablaze and now London based art pop outfit Glass has heaped heavy synth lines, trancy melodies and buckets of blood in their provocative grand guignol video for What It Is To Believe. The narrative in the video is truly shocking and the art pop is undeniably engaging. The dancing piano offset by the percussion and deep synth percolates and moves so very well as Jessica Winter's vocal performance, full of internal emotion and wide eyed whimsy at the same time, pulls you in. The only thing wrong with the song is it is too short so you will undoubtedly be pushing play again and again.
Robb Donker

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CHVRCHES and Hayley Williams (of Paramore) Perform "Bury It" In Nashville --

CHVRCHES fans at the Marathon Music Works in Nashville got a very special treat when Hayley Williams (of Paramore) joined the band on stage to perform "Bury It" from CHVRCHES new studio album Every Open Eye. The crowd seems kind of blah but I think they were just a bit dumbfounded and two busy shooting the performance with there cell phones. In the end the totally gleeful eruption of applause and hollers says it all. An enthusiastic and excited Hayley tweeted about it on her twitter page.

Check it out below!

Hayleys Twitter HERE.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gwen Stefani- (Official Video) - "Used To Love You" - Song is an Instant Classic- Video.... eh??

Gwen Stefani's - tortured love (or used to love) pop ballad "Used To Love You"is an instant classic. One of those songs that everyone can relate to instantly. The mournful synth keys and the rushed passages in the chorus feel, to me, very much like a Cindy Lauper track. Not sure if Cindy inspired Gwen but it would not surprise me because when you are hurting, when you are love sick, Cindy Lauper is probably on all our soundtracks. Now "Used To Love You" will undoubtedly embrace the hearts of millions of people especially when they have been bruised and battered by someone who they used to love.

The official video, eh... I will not say much about it because of my utmost respect (and love) for Gwen Stefani except to say that in my humble opinion it does not do justice to the song. Song rocks though and in the end that is all that matters.
Robb Donker

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Vulgarians - (Official Video) "Wet Juice" - Wistful, Caustic, 100 Percent Captivating

The Vulgarians hail from Hull, England and their latest track Wet Juice is loaded with atmosphere both wistful and caustic. The bass line and drums stalk and creep along with haunting guitar sounds waiting to erupt and they all do. The vocals feel battered, are on the edge, are full of snarl and spit. The result is kind of indie gothic, kind of grunge, kind of post rock and 100% captivating.
Robb Donker

Sunday, October 18, 2015

BIG WHITE'S - "You Know I Love You" Feels like 79 Proto Punk - Vast, Off-Kilter and Good

Big White's track "You Know I Love You" is as ebullient as it is cheeky. It also feels vast, snarky, off-kilter, drunk and focused all at the same time. The organic energy factor is off the charts. There is an amazing allure of late 70's proto punk. More than a whisper of early Talking Heads or The Feelies or XTC. I am really digging / feeling Cody Munro Moore's lead vocals. He pushes his vox up to the raw edge. Big White are Cody, Nicolas Griffith, Elmo Aoyama, Bowen Shakallis and Jack Wotton and are based out of Sydney, Australia. I can't wait to hear more Big White.
Robb Donker

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Montreal's Look Vibrant's (Seasonal) New Video for "Callous Reaction" - is a Pulse Pounding Ride

Montreal based indie / art rock Look Vibrant's latest video suits the season. The track Callous Reaction leaves you out of breath as the energetic pulse and melodies chase themselves. The video directed by Max Taeuschel features 3 ghosts wreaking mild havoc and thankfully states "no animals harmed" in the credits. Love the song breaks that let you breathe amidst the roller coaster ride. Elements of the song made me think of LA's So Many Wizards and MGMT for some reason. You gotta check this one out.

Upcoming shows:
Oct 14th New York, NY @ Niagara (CMJ Music Marathon)
Nov 12th Montreal @ Brasserie Beaubien w/ Infinity Girl and Slight 

Robb Donker

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ykiki Beat - F O R E V E R and Nobuki Akiyama's "British" Flavor

When you first hear the staccato guitar and dreamy beat of  Ykiki Beat's Forever you feel a shot of 80's adrenaline. When Nobuki Akiyama's impassioned (British meets Scottish accented) vocals cut into you the song has the power to carry you away. It is a stunning, stirring sound fueled by post punk, new wave, new romantic flavors of bands like Joy Division and Big Country and more. Ykiki Beat's sound feels both comforting and inspirational at the same time. Akiyama who is influenced by 50's and 60's rock bands as well as The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian listened to a lot of Western Bands to help him with his English pronunciation and through it all he naturally gravitated to singing in something that resembles a British accent.  He also cites poetry especially from the Victorian and Romantic eras for improving his language skills. There is something in Ykiki Beats total sound that brings you back (or forward) to high school loves and heartbreaks scattered with a million sparkling lights from that spinning disco ball. I look so forward to hearing anything Akiyama and the boys put out and Forever is my current addiction.
Robb Donker

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Miley Cyrus and the SNL Cast / Writers Sparkle and Shine On the Season Opener

Miley Cyrus and ostensibly the entire cast shined on the SNL season opener. Miley opened with a fond farewell to this years news stories / scandals with a killer rendition of Frank Sinatra's My Way as everyone from Kim Davis to Josh Duggar to "That Dentist that Killed Cecil the Lion" was summarily skewered. No skit fell flat except for the overly pandering surprise cameo by Hilary Clinton. I mean, that segment was admittedly sort of fun and Hilary did seem like a nice person and I guess that was the idea but it just felt like politicking propaganda gone awry and then segue into Hilary introducing the first Miley Cyrus performance was just so weird. APART from that, the rest of the show was surprisingly spot on as was Miley.

Performing with the Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips, Miley appeared to be a vision of Eve and she looked angelic. Besides the trippy art rock, maybe Coyne's hippie lifestyle has rubbed off on Miley too. She doesn't look as gaunt as she did during the Bangerz tour, looks more rested and as the camera lovingly focused in on her face I am reminded how beautiful she is. Her subdued yet vocally stunning performance was beautiful too. The song, Karen Don't Be Sad sounded like old school Flaming Lips, like it could of been off of 1999's The Soft Bulletin. I really liked the song. At this point I am wondering who benefits more from this creative pairing??  Cyrus or The Flaming Lips??

The News Segment was as smart as it was funny and I love Leslie Jones and Pete Davidson. SNL thrives on it's filmed segments and the "Albilify" segment will undoubtedly find it's way on Youtube. Political humor needs to contain truths to cement in the satire and the writers made this biting satire truth heavy.
 Miley's second song, an artfully rendered rather abstract pop love ballad entitled The Twinkle Song mixed nonsensical dreams with a simple yet pretty melody. Performed in a spartan way with only Cyrus on piano, she actually had tears streaming down her face by the end of the song. She is after all an actress and the Miley haters might just assume it was superb acting. Maybe so or maybe she went into a sad zone and the tears were real. Either way, her performance was great theater.

For whatever reason, Instagram was filled with Miley detractors and seemed to regard her being the host as beneath SNL which is just hilarious to me. That kind of attitude also seems so highschool so clique-ish. In the end, Cyrus did a great job as did the writer and cast. They all killed tonight and hopefully this will portend a great entertaining season ahead.

Robb Donker

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Velvet Hands - "Who Cares" - Oh It's So Good To Be Young, Rocking and British

Who Cares by The Velvet Hands is a raw rocker that cooks with the kind of proto punk prowess of bands like The Orwells and The Strokes. To be sure some of the progs might feel derivative of what came before but I cannot deny the hookiness of this track that is locked in my brain and the vocal performance has this kind of measured aloofness that is as alluring as it is timeless in it's youthful coolness. The instant you hear that opening guitar lick you will be bopping your head, the "Strokes-ish" vibe is totally addictive and the lead break is absolutely killer.

The Velvet hands are Dan Able and Toby Mitchell based out of Austell and London. On this track Jake Fiore is on bass and Charlotte Tunnicliffe on drums. Who Cares (along with Games) is their debut single that dropped last month and available as a free download on Oct 9th from the bands website :