Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Video Daughters' Self Titled Album on Already Dead Tapes and Records Proves That All Is Not Lost

ALL Is Not Lost: Video Daughters

So everyday I check out my AP email and do a cursory look and listen of the dozens of submissions I get and I can tell you that most of it just leaves me cold. It is not that the music is necessarily crafted poorly or sounds all that bad but there is nothing that grabs me. There is a lot of the same tones, progressions, aesthetic over and over again and if I have to hear "kingdom come" in a song again I might just drive a pencil through my eardrum.

This morning after treading through a lot of musical muck I came across Video Daughters out of Brooklyn, New York via Already Dead Tapes and Records and maan I am liking what I am hearing. Rather than do a conventional album review, for now, I just wanted to post up some links and discover this band with you, maybe even post a song or two a day etc. and maybe to some vlogging on this band. I can tell you that the sound, attitude, atmosphere they are creating (to me) has a decidedly proto punk feel with a good amount of abstract things buried in the heavy bass and guitar lines. A lot of punk / garage rock has an immediate in your face sound and Video Daughters washes their sound out in the drone of their sustain. This kind of noise rock filter makes their edge feel dreamy as well. Call it psychedelic punk or whatever, I love it.

As I did a quick listen this morning song after song made me feel think of a lot of bands and while everyone of us bring our own musical history to the table when we hear songs I thought (for various reasons) of old school bands like Tom Wooly and the Camera Club, Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, Built to Spill, Death From Above 1979, Primus and the Pixies all kind of rolled into one beautiful mess. Another thing that is evident to me as I listened to the supremely engaging tracks like Hit the Six, Chelsea Hotel #3, Houdini Grave, Green Needles and the spartan Windows (that made me think of early Pixies) is that this is a band that is not second guessing their art. Not trying to play to the listener. I feel they are creating art for themselves as any artist should be and it is fucking awesome.

For now please check out the aforementioned Windows as I delve more into Video Daughters self titled album (and see full link below as well)-

 Full Link Below to listen and Pre-Order: https://alreadydeadtapes.bandcamp.com/album/ad191-video-daughters-video-daughters

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Low Cut High Tops - "Eh, Whatever" - A Hazy Dreamy Hangover of Youth

The nice thing about publishing a music blog is that people are constantly sending you music to check out. While I sometimes look at myself as just someone who reports on new music or music that is new to me, most of the time I just write about music that I get excited about. That is really my focus.

Low Cut High Tops aka 23 year old David Burns out of Seattle is a prolific artist who has been creating music and art in one form or fashion since the age of 7. This need to express himself sonically and visually has currently resulted in the album "Eh, Whatever" which was officially released this past January along with a tapestry of videos that David also produced, shot and edited himself.

In a true DIY way, Burns crafted 30 plus songs using a broken guitar, haphazard drum kit, recording gear, cameras and everything at his disposal to flush out his own aesthetic oftentimes in a stream of consciousness sort of way. Sometimes the music came first wholly as a framework to spill out the lyrical melodies in almost a free rap sort of way. The 30 were distilled down to 10 distinctive and wildly different songs on this album. In the end and in my humble opinion, "Eh, Whatever" is a mixed bag. A bag that might contain guitar picks, packs of cigarettes, bottles of Rolling Rock, weed and a girl's panties.

The kind of standard rock prog (C-F-A-G or something similar) in the opening track Let's Runaway is something you have heard in countless songs but it feels fresh because of the youth abandoned kind of aesthetic that Burns plasters all over it. In a similar way, Pretty Eyed Girl feels all disjointed and supremely raw. It also feels powerful and adorable in it's simple fucked up hair sort of way. In Let's Pretend That We're Married the bells evoke free spirited bike rides when the speed and wind in your face blows away all the anxiety of unknown and scary things in the world. Burns ability to capture the dreaminess of youth on a high (natural or not) as he does in Good Day and Lonely and Cold is what makes it such a great ride. The feelings he drums up has the power of an intoxicating cry your eyes out first or second love or that amazing scary freedom when you are young and your bravado overtakes common sense.

There are a lot of indie flavors on this collection of songs. Whether it is touches of grunge, tropical punk, dream pop, noise rock and art rock it all is fused together into something else. I thought of Beach House, MQMT, Nirvana, Kitten, Modest Mouse, White Stripes and Colleen Green. In Come My Way (which is an introspective take on the vagaries of young love) there is the line, "I hold your hand while you puke in the sandbox that we used to play in when I lived right down the block" and (later) "no one will ever love you like the way I do" and maybe this sums up youth for a lot of us. Red Lipstick that might recall the ghost of Kurt Cobain the most, if only musically, is pretty bad ass. The feeling "why can't we be enough" against someone whose head is spun around by material things feels like a love or unlove punk song.

Out of the 10 songs on this album I only wanted to fast forward on 2 of them. The rest spun some incredible imagery in my head and made me think of days gone by, of dreams dreamed and dreams that got squashed because I lost my edge. That edge is on display in spades on "Eh, Whatever".

Robb Donker

Review: "Eh, Whatever" by Low Cut High Tops- (Favs: Pretty Eyed Girl, Let's Pretend That We're Married, Come My Way, Red Lipstick, Good Day.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sam Barron's "Russian Love" (official video) Is One Piece of A Tortured Anti-Folk Masterpiece (and Tour Dates with Mimi Oz)

Sam Barron's unique blend of anti folk puts you in a multi-generational head space. His sometimes abstract prose is stitched together with sounds that feels as much like proto punk as classic Americana folk all smashed together. When I listen to the songs on his latest album "Just Couldn't Help Myself" I thought of Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, and Dr. Dog. As a Brooklyn native his deep love and sometimes disenchantment with New York seems burned into the background of his relationship songs either as atmospheric fodder or metaphorical paint.

Dangling from Barron's gritty tortured vocal performance are tons of commentary about life and the world. From the tenderly twisted (and brilliant) Red Mercury, to the sardonic Bombero, to the subversive 22, to the purely beautiful Make Light of this Life, to the bittersweet Russian Love- the album in total plays like a dark comedy and like the best dark comedies fills you with smiles and tears at the same time. Check out the video for Russian Love and look out for my full review of "Just Couldn't Help Myself" soon.

By the way, Sam Barron will be touring with Mimi Oz doing 14 shows between DC to Kentucky (see dates way down below).
Robb Donker

Tour Schedule:

April 21- DC.  TBD
April 23- Winston Salem, NC.  Muddy Creek Music Cafe
April 24- Wilmington, NC.  Reggie’s Tavern
April 25- Johnson, TN Acoustic Coffee Shop
April 26- SC.  The Town Pump
April 27-Augusta, GA.  The Place Coffee Shop
April 28- Athens, GA.  The Flicker Bar
April 29- Savannah, GA.  The Erasery.
April 30-Gainesville, FLA.  Civic Media Center
May 1 Birmingham, AL.  Syndicate Lounge
May 2 Muscle Shoals, AL.  TBD.
May 3 Oxford, MISS.  Shelter Van Buren
May 4 Memphis, TN.  The Buccaneer
May 5 Louisville, KY.  Gallery K  and Magnolia (Two shows)


Brooklyn native Sam Barron is hitting the road this spring on a two week tour through the southeast. Joining Barron as he brings his indie rock vibe into the deep south is Canadian artist and songwriter, Mimi Oz whose album, Men Who Never Loved Me, was released this past fall. Playing 14 shows from April 21 to May 5, Barron and Oz will be jumping from state to state, starting in DC and ending in Kentucky with stops in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi in between.

Barron's new album, Just Couldn't Help Myself, throws the quirky charismatic poetry of Elvis Costello into the ring with the gritty, yearning Americana of Bob Dylan and Jeff Tweedy. A Tom Petty for the millennial bar scene, Barron brings tremendous range to the stage with tracks ranging from abstract and introspective to crazy and fun. The world traveler Oz, who has reaped inspiration during her time living all across North America including Mexico City and Toronto, brings her own sound to the stage with songs from Men Who Never Loved Me. With her melodic vocals and musing lyrics, a la Jenny Lewis, Oz's new album is not your typical run of the mill love sick standard we've become so used to but rather gives us an inverted take on the genre by combining levity, reflection, and just enough sorrow. For fans of the indie rock scene and just great music in general, this is simply a tour that can't be missed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mavrick: "Funeral" Big Sound Reaches Out in A Big Way - "At 4am it all makes a little more sense.... don't it"

Funeral by Mavrick has a big, big sound in that M83 sort of way. It feels produced for arena audiences and cell phones held high in the air with flames on the screens. While the sound can feel a bit overwhelming, it lifts like a gospel choir. This type of over the top production can be detrimental if all the fury of the sound overtakes the message. Thankfully Mavrick possesses an earnest vocal performance that keeps all the production touches grounded and he has an artful knack for phrasing. When he sings, "At 4am it all makes a little more sense.... don't it" the deep pop hook pulls me in every time.

Based out of Stockholm, Sweeden and signed to Universal Music, Mavrick is working on his debut album. Check out Funeral out below.
Robb Donker

Monday, March 21, 2016

Paul Maged's "The Wild" Falls Deliciously Somewhere In Between Metallica and Night Ranger

Paul Maged has a hyphenated business card, filmaker - actor - stand up comic but I get the feeling that rock star might be his most prized persona. I don't know to what degree he has been successful at any of his incarnations and even how one measures success but to me success is living your dreams and Paul seems to be doing just that.

When I heard his latest rocker The Wild I didn't know what to make of it. It certainly is a good rocker and Paul has a true retro rocker vocal performance. The song falls somewhere in between classic Metallica and Night Ranger and before you dismiss it, listen to it a few times and it will get into your head in a deeply fun way. At the same time I say this I realize that it does kind of fall into that nostalgic rock thing. It is retro and somewhat kitschy in the Sam Flax sort of way but then Flax's take on modern music like his 80's drenched Fire Doesn't Burn Itself is addictive. So much so that it graces the Grand Theft Auto Soundtrack. Similarly, The Wild propelled by tasty guitar licks and Maged's supremely rocked out vocals will have you listening to it over and over again, maybe while wearing a leather jacket and white sneakers.

There is a niche for this kind of (dare I say) throw back sound and any enterprising video game designers should be listening hard to Paul Maged.
Robb Donker

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ok, I know I shouldn't...! AP Email Bag- Private Streaming - Calisse: Farewell Black Sheep / Dam Gila: Face The Sun

So last night I felt like doing some cold listens to what are essentially private streams that publicists have sent me. Am I torn playing short clips of songs that are not yet intended for public consumption? Yes, I am but just treading in unknown personal waters to see if I stay afloat. I think that the brief listens (as teases) will only garner interest from an audience who is always craving good material and even though I might make some off the cuff harsh remarks on the video when I actually reviewed the material, Calisse and Dam Gila both had true substance (to me), both had tracks that blew me away and continues to grow on me.

So take this video with the good will it was intended to be kind of bathed in and let me know if you like this kind of format. I actually would love to do cold live listens with a partner and there are a couple of friends that just might be into it, hmmmm?

AND do check out my full reviews of Calisse and Dam Gila after the video.

FULL WRITTEN REVIEW: CALISSE- http://www.americanpancake.com/2016/03/portlands-calisses-ambitious-debut.html FULL WRITTEN REVIEW: DAM GILA- http://www.americanpancake.com/2016/03/dam-gila-face-sun-album-is-unabashedly.html

Portland's Calisse's Ambitious Debut Album "Farewell Black Sheep" Takes You On A Trip

When you hear the first husky downbeats of Portland's Calisse's retro rocker Stay there is so much to like. The energy and full on over-modulated sound has that Ty Segall kick but the folk 70's rockish melodies veer into that White Fence tone. Both sounds work and compliment each other. The lead vocal performance (by James Collette) is drenched in character. He sounds like Bob Dylan a bit if Dylan was a punk rocker and there is bit of John Lennon in his screams.

Amberwood Drive has the wanderlust gate of a Babies song. The sound is driving and a bit desperate and I love that. I also love how the song dares to slow down, get all spartan and earnest until it kicks in again even harder and in the end feels like a sweaty house show. For a track that is a little over 2 minutes it crams in so much. James' evocative vox have a wonderful comfortable tone in the folkish in I Hope You'll Be Around which might be the most middle of the road on inclusive track on the album, the horn is a cool surprise. When Holy Ghost starts with it's picking falling down in half steps it feels psychedelic and heavy. The song only gets better as guitar lines and vox hang and dangle in the air. Very cool dynamic track.

At this critical point in the album, I am fully invested. You either love the aesthetic these guys are creating or you don't. I am eating it up.... and the very intimate Whole Again seals the deal. I can imagine that in a concert setting this is the song that lets the audience breathe. Acoustically rich, this song hinges on James' trembling vox. I would of loved to hear a full band eruption at the end. Omnibrain takes Calisse's dream theater into another place. Very trippy, haunting stuff that kind of rolls along on a languid drum beat. The vocal posturing feels art rock, feels a bit glam. The steady swell of sounds is luscious and intoxicating. At times it feels like a twisted almost nightmarish carnival ride and is (for me) one of the brightest broken lights on the album.

The sheer almost metal tone of Wanted coming after the theatrical Omnibrain feels out of place to me although this track is undoubtedly a crowd pleaser. I think it just strains into too many hard rock-isms. It feels a bit formulaic compared to all the other true surprises on the album. The last track Sometimes You Can't Use Names strips everything down once again to acoustic and James' introspective voice. The song goes silent after a time but like a secret scene at the end of movie credits sounds (like you would hear in an old French film) begin and then end. A weird end to a debut album that has some amazing sounds that take you on a pretty wild ride. Like any ride there are, in my humble opinion, some pot holes but overall "Farewell Black Sheep" feels like a bonafide classic piece of work. Much love for this debut.

Robb Donker

At Press Time I can only let you hear / see the official video for Stay (below) and check out some private streaming and comments here: AP Email Bag.

Dam Gila - "Face The Sun" Album Is Unabashedly Drenched in Pop, Glam and Circumstance

Dam Gila is the moniker and solo project of Yawn front man Adam Gil and he is about to release his second album entitled "Face The Sun" on April 1st. The sounds on this work are overall super lush and well produced. When Slow Burn starts it is a heady experience. It is a serious piece of delicious funky glam with full on theatrical almost burlesque backing vocals and Bowie-ish disco funk guitar sounds. The vox are over modulated and Adam's falsetto is rad. Yeah, the song is a bit over the top production wise (for my taste) but just expect this kind of shiny top notch feel when you (finally) hear this album.

The ever so slow volume ramp of Interlude with wah wah guitars and cavernous backing vocals feels almost spaghetti western-ish. I can imagine it in a Tarantino flick. It is wide cinematic and possessed.  Afterglow has an almost euro pop sound, yes it is that shiny and poppy. I mean for God's sake Adam sings "love is a carousel" and it, in another life, could be an ABBA song. I do like the sound and the execution. In a similar way, Adam goes deep in the pop milieu in the track Love Is A Game and, in fact, I joked on an AP Email video (cold private streaming listen) that this track would make a soundtrack for a Mentos commercial and that is not to denigrate the track at all.

I like songs with a bit of dirt on them. The title track on Face The Sun starts off with a dirty fender Rhodes piano sound. It is a teary beginning and the song eventually shifts into a kind of downtrodden yet hopeful ballad. Some of the lyrics feel a bit formulaic but I cannot die the beauty of the uplifting chorus. A lovely track. Undertow has a heavy pop glam feel and feels the most like the aforementioned Slow Burn. It swings and double times and jams- I thought of T-Rex at times. Cool track.

The first track What Fire has a dancey indie feel. It has a big tent feel. Like a lot of the songs on "Face The Sun" it is kind of sun drenched, pop heavy, all inclusive and free from anger. After just watching a non violent protester at a Trump rally getting scarily beaten down by a Trump supporter maybe this is the kind of light we need at this time.
Robb Donker

NOTE: Here What Fire below and clips from the album on my AP Email Private Stream First Listen.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Last Night in the Lower East Side of NYC- Adult Dude, ManDancing, Impossible Colors @ The Mercury Lounge 3/15/16

Adult Dude, ManDancing, Impossible Colors @ The Mercury Lounge (Lower East Side) NYC- by Robb Donker

While on a short vacay I was stoked to go see some bands at the Mercury Lounge on the lower East side on my very last night in NYC. As someone who 19 months earlier moved from the indie and sun drenched sidewalks of California to the deeply wooded area and sweetly sleepy part of Georgia going to NYC provided the shot of adrenaline I have been craving. That is not to say that there isn't a lot of indie music in places like Athens and Atlanta but I have not fully dove in (except for the 40 Watt Club and Shakey Knees Fest). I did find "it" this past Tuesday night in droves in New York when it was my pleasure to personally discover three incredible bands.

Adult Dude out of Brooklyn churn out their own kind of celebratory post rock with the same kind of musical DNA of bands like Dinosaur Jr, Japandroids and Yuck. The feeling that stirs up deeply in your bones makes you want to dance as much as run down the street breaking windows. As I listened to their songs with lead vocals traded off between the two guitarists there is also an underbelly of romance to the melodies, a sense of sweetness to the clenched fist grit. Seeing them for the first time I was fully engaged and now checking out their latest album Adult Moods which you can hear here.

As I watched ManDancing out of New Jersey take the stage to set up their instruments, their lead singer went through a series of warm up exercises from core style push ups to leg stretches and more. I was a bit taken aback and thought, "man he better do some old school David Lee Roth kicks after all that" and yes, I was being a smart ass but after seeing their performance and how much emotional focus he put into his performance I take all of it back. I get the sense that this outfit is a band backing up a singer songwriter and in such a powerful way. The guitars accenting the rhythm and the drumming with a kind of jazz rock attack to what is ostensibly a type of big indie folk rock / folk art rock tone pulled me in right away. I thought of Death Cab for Cutie having a nervous breakdown. When the lead guitarist started making some Jonny Greenwood-esque type sounds I was sold. Very cool sounds you can check out more here. 

Impossible Colors out of Nyack, New York are a band that plays a brand of emotional proggy garage rock that has culls a certain type of muscularity to their dynamic sound. It is not only that the lead singer / guitarist could (in another life) be a lumberjack it is that much of their music is cloaked in the kind of drama that feels part heavy metal, part art rock. In the heavy groove there is a gleam in the eye, a wanderlust to their stories. In this theater they create it also feels deeply American. I thought a little of Titus Andronicus for whatever reason one moment and Wires on Fire another. You need to see these guys and check out their music here.

 NOTE: The Maisons also played this show but I was not able to catch their set.

More Videos Here: Mercury Lounge 3/15/16 Playlist

Friday, March 11, 2016

(Official Video) It Hurts Until It Doesn't by Mothers Cuts Deeply - See Them at SXSW March 12 /15 /17 (and full tour dates)

It Hurts Until It Doesn't by Mothers is the kind of track that makes you feel. Even if the song was about nothing you will feel the emotional weight of the guitar melodies, driving beat and Kristine Leschper's amazing vocal performance that is laced with introspection and loss. That being said, the song is about something as is the video which Leschper shot and edited in a homage to her missing loved one, her cat. Leschper says, "Casper has been missing since the the 30th of December but I still find his hair in my bedsheets. He was as sensitive as I was. When I walked to work in the morning he would follow until we approached the highway where I bullied him into turning around. He got into fights with the other cats, never could quite settle down. Last winter in a house without central heat I was doing everything I could to let the depression and anxiety finally win. Hardly more than a vague blur this footage is the only remaining video I have of my best friend who was so often the only thing keeping me rooted in reality, feeding my optimism, helping me survive."

Hope Casper finds his way back.

Mother's album "When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired dropped 2/26/16 via Grand Jury Music (US) Wichita Recordings (UK)

Mothers is touring extensively and will be at SXSW tomorrow March 12th- See full tour dates here:

Mothers’ music reminds us that gentleness isn’t weakness, and that despite the world’s best efforts, honesty is not an entirely lost art.” – Flagpole
Robb Donker

Thursday, March 10, 2016

BURGER X OBSERVATORY - 5 YEARS OF FUN- Is in Full Swing in Santa Ana, California and it is AWESOME -March 7 to 13




Any one who knows me knows that I love and respect the guys at Burger Records and the kind of thing they have created out of goddamn nothing through sheer will power, dedication and love for what they believe in.  Well, shame on me for not posting this sooner (my ever growing day job has overtaken my life like a monstrous weed in a garden) but all week Burger Records and their fans have been celebrating 5 years of fun by hosting an awesome buttload of talented bands at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California (the home of Burgerama). 

As you may also know I am not in Cali now but in Georgia but I've got a great photographer covering the festivities and will be posting pics soon. 

Some of my FAVS: The Garden, Jessie Jones, The Oh Sees , Dabble , Cherry Glazeer, Lovely Bad Things (duh- ha), Buttertones, Cosmonauts, Meatbodies, The Orwells, Melted, Sad girl, gotta support Mr Elevator and the Brain Hotel (cuz of Wyatt), Seth Bogart and Kim the Created just because they are so visual, Crystal Castles, Beach Fossils, Tijuana Panthers-- AND much MORE- These are bands I have seen but the thing about these Burger shows is seeing the bands you have NOT seen, of finding gems or diamonds in the rough, discovering young artists that are will be flourishing or are flourishing right in front of your eyes. LOVE IT.

Curating the talent, knowing what is relevant to the scene they have created is what Burger Records does so very well.
Robb Donker

Tix: http://observatoryoc.com/

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tragic Fatal Stabbing at the Underground DTSA Club in Santa Ana, California

23 year old Nathan Joe Alfaro of Westminster, California who worked part time as a cashier at Golden West College went with friends to see another friend's band play on Thursday, March 3rd at a club called Underground DTSA in Santa Ana as part of "Top Acid Thursdays". The band was Ghali and soon after their set started one guy starting getting rowdy wanting to mosh but it was a mosh party of one, Juan Angel Rivera 21. Soon he was elbowing people and even trying to push and pull people to mosh.

As reported on NBC (online) by Angie Crouch and Corey Arvin:

"He just pushed people and was throwing elbows and kinf of grabbing people trying to force them into a pit... people didnt want to pit (mosh)", a friend of Alfaro said. Witnesses said an altercation broke out between several men who were upset with Rivera.

"Just all out violent kind of dude" said Laena Geronimo of Feels (the headline band), "And one dude tried to wrangle him so he wasn't elbowing people in the face. They collapsed on stage, just this mass of people."

Alfaro's friend said when the melee was broken up there was blond on the ground and they realized that he had been stabbed several times. Alfaro stumbled outside to the sidewalk and collapsed.

"I ran out to get security and that's when I found my friend Nathan laying on the ground," his friends said. "He was just in shock and didn't know what was going on."

Alfaro was rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange but died of his injuries.

A day later suspect Juan Angel Rivera was arrested.

The band Nathan Alfaro went to see, Ghali posted this on their Facebook Page:

The band Feels who was the headliner along with the 4 other bands posted a message to fans on their Facebook Page:

We are completely devastated, so totally at a loss for words but feeling the need to say some things in honor of the spirit of the kid who apparently got stabbed to death at the show last night... Punk isn't about hurting other people. Fuck that shit.
Thank you to Nathan who gave up his life last night to try to keep the one totally psycho violent moshing guy in check. The psycho dude had crazy eyes and was slamming into everyone in the room, even on the edges, almost knocked over the entire DJ set up... but who could've known he had a knife. We watched as the fight broke out, crashing onto the stage knocking mics over while the second band played, saw fists flying and more and more people dog piling on to try to break it up but still had no idea... then there was blood on the floor, cops and paramedics, the whole show was shut down of course, but still when we left we were under the impression that he was stabbed in the shoulder and was going to be fine.
Waking up this morning and finding out that he died in the hospital... There are no words. We are sending all of our love to the spirit of Nathan, his friends and family. We seriously hope that the murderer is captured and prosecuted to the fullest.
Let's all take something forward from this... If your'e at a show and you clock someone sketchy who's just out to hurt other people- just driven by violence and not music- head straight for the bouncer. Don't get us wrong, we love mosh pits. Slamming into other people can be the most fun liberating thing in the world, and yeah sometimes people get hurt- but it should NEVER be intentional. If someone falls you pick them up- there's an unspoken camaraderie in the pit. Fuck anyone who acts otherwise. Fuck this insane violence. We are sick with the understanding that this happened before our eyes.
As someone who cares about the Indie music scene I want to send my condolences to Nathan Joe Alfaro's friends and loved ones. When things like this happen you always want to cast some percentage of blame on the venue, on the lack of security or anything that seems to make sense. In truth, the DIY scene has always relied on a sense of community that takes care of their own. Often times the concerts are at warehouses or rented halls without any security at all. Countless shows take place with no negative incidences at all except for normal youthful rights of passage like mosh pit bruises and friends taking you home because you've had too much to drink.
The indie scene is, for the most part, a supportive healthy place to be. This incident, this one in particular had little to do with the scene at all but more to do with a troubled young troublemaker probably under the influence who was looking to cause mayhem and succeeded. It is also a tragic story of another young man who was attempting to help other people, who was attempting to deescalate a violent situation, a guy who was stepping up to protect others. 
As of the publication of this post I am disheartened that Underground DTSA where this incident took place and Top Acid who was putting on the show has made no statements about this tragedy. That is just plain wrong. Maybe it is the lawyers of the world who are to blame for this but just the same a simple caring statement about Nathan Alfaro would of been nice. 
There has been one report stating that Alfaro was licensed by the state as a security guard and maybe this fact made him the likely one to act. There are other reports that the suspect Juan Angel Rivera may of left the venue after scuffling with others and he may of returned seeking retribution. One wonders if trained bouncers intervening would of made a difference or if checking patrons before entering the venue should be a constant at shows like this. One wonders if the band could of done something to control the crowd. I have seen bands do this before. When things get out of hand, the band stops playing and says something to change the tone of the crowd or those in the crowd. There are too many "what ifs" and in the end no one was too blame except the perpetrator, the killer himself but in those "what ifs" there might be lessons to gleam that might prevent a future tragedy. Be safe out there good people.
Robb Donker

Feel Callas' Noise Pop Sad Erection - (Athens, Greece)

Most of the times erections are happy ones. I mean, they're after all erections but then sometimes they can be sad erections at least according to Athens (Greece) noise pop band Callas whose spartan proto punk sound can feel like something between Sonic Youth and Lou Reed. The tone of Sad Erection feels like a dull celebration, a kind of depressive funk that slowly builds into a fury of guitars and forlorn vocals. Unlike a lot of song, it goes somewhere, builds up speed, gets better as it goes and thus wins you over.

Like last year's It's Sunday I'm Bleeding, Sad Erection has a sad sounding underbelly with a sharp edge of angst percolating throughout. This tone feels like a fuse burning and the anticipation of the explosion is as engaging as the big bang. The Callas released their new album "Half Kiss Half Pain" on January 29th via Inner Ear Records. It follows their 2013 "Am I Vertical?" with production from Jim Sclavunos (Sonic Youth, The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grinderman). Callas are brothers Aris (guitar / vocals) and Lakis (bass / vocals) Ionas as well as Chrysanthi Tsoukala (guitar / vocals) and Marilena Petridou (drums).
Robb Donker

The Callas - "Half Kiss Half Pain"
[Inner Ear / Rough Trade Dis.]  
Format: Vinyl, Digital, Cd
Street Date: February 5, 2016
03. CUT
08. BLUE

Tour Dates:
Fri 04 Mar La Carène Brest France
Sat 05 Mar La Mécanique Ondulatoire Paris France
Fri 18 Mar Amboss Rampe Zurich Switzerland
Jun 5 RockWave Festival Athens Greece

Friday, March 4, 2016

Teleman - (Official Video) for Düsseldorf will Transport You To Interesting Places

Last year the four members of the band Teleman spent six months in a rehearsal space in Homerton, East London striving to write "immaculate pop songs" all contributing unique styles and writing chord structures and lyrics on dry erase white boards. After it was all said and done they emerged with 50 new songs that they coalesced to form their upcoming sophomore album "Brilliant Sanity" due to drop on April 8th via Moshi Moshi.

The video for


 which feels like a moving Polaroid is quirky and cool and the song itself is indeed an immaculately crafted pop song. I fell in love with the sound instantly.

The tone of the keyboard and attacking guitar lines along and a melodramatic feel to the melodies pull you into this kind of cinematic place. The pop has a proto punkish edge mixed into it. It is as if you took elements of bands like Kraftwerk, Franz Ferdinand, The Buggles, Erasure, Wide Streets, early Elvis Costello and even Abba and put them in a blender. Very cool sound that will make your mind travel to interesting places.

Robb Donker