Friday, August 16, 2019

Katmaz ever shifting deeply cut and groovy affair "On To The Next"

On To The Next by Brookly based artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Katmaz is an ever shifting, deeply cut and groovy affair anchored with proggy avant garde bass and drums and a bouncy jazz(ish) / meets chamber pop vocal performance all the while having an art rock edge. I mean when Katmaz builds in these transient Fender Rhodes-esque keys that sustain in such an artful way I even though of a more hipsterish Radiohead at those moments. I like the pause and sound around the open space. There is some very classic pop eruptions too in that kind of 70's chamber pop way and this musical stew just works. The beat jams and the rest is sweet and charming. It makes me want to move but then I can't dance worth a shit. 

Robb Donker


Katmaz is a Brooklyn based artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and has worked with Grammy noms, SZA and Ro James. He is currently working with up and comer Moxie Raia. His brand of music is cinematic, art pop with a serious edge, and he’s ready to release several singles culminating in an EP by the end of the year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Laveda's eerily beautiful track "Better Now" is spacey indeed

Fall into the heavenly muse of Laveda by way of the eerily beautiful track Better Now and you might feel like you are sleep walking. The bent sounds feel trance like bathed in a reverb wash that feels at once psychedelic and psychic. Post punk with touches of industrial sci-fi rock. Spacey indeed. 

Laveda has grown out of the bedroom project of Ali Genevich and Jake Brooks based out of Albany, New York. 

Robb Donker


Dream Pop force Laveda awaken nostalgic moods in their sound, drawing heavily from 90s Shoegaze and Experimental Rock. Formed in the summer of 2017, the bedroom recording project between Ali Genevich and Jake Brooks has rapidly developed from simplistic Singer-Songwriter styles into full-fledged listening experience. Laveda's first release "Dream. Sleep." recorded out of Brooklyn and Albany has grabbed the attention of notable national and international blogs and press including Pitchfork Radio who premiered the track at their Mid-Winter Festival in February 2019. "Dream. Sleep." captures a high energy intensity that stirs feelings of excitement and anxiousness describing an alternate unknown reality.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Gravel To Gold" by singer songwriter Ian McFarland moves at an out of breath pace

Ian McFarland is a singer songwriter currently based in Los Angeles (via New Hampshire) and his track Gravel To Gold moves at an out of breath pace, churning guitar around a restless beat that provides the wanderlust framework for McFarland's pop inspired vox. The lyrics wrap around it all stopping only a few times to breath. The track feels inspired and running up a hill to something or someone.

Robb Donker


Ian McFarland is a singer-songwriter original from Portsmouth, New Hampshire but has been on an artistic journey that has taken him around the globe playing shows as far as Barcelona, Spain to where he currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Ian McFarland is known to perform the bulk of instruments on his releases as well as recording the sounds himself wherever he happens to be. Drawing inspiration from a wide variety of music influences the young Berklee College of Music graduate has stood weathered the trials and tribulations of being a musician in a capitalist environment with poise. Having been in and out of a handful of bands starting in high school and extending through college, McFarland, decided to go solo in an effort to have an end of the line on creative decisions surrounding his composition. In his spare time Ian McFarland enjoys travel, the outdoors, writing music reviews for his own company Its Not Records, and watching sports. Currently in the studio creating two songs released as singles a month he is planning a move to NYC in 2019 to expand his network of artists and entrepreneurs.

"The Many Moons of Love" feels sun drenched and bathed in good vibes by The Babe Rainbow

The Many Moons of Love is a tasty piece of slightly psychedelic folk pop with a strong 60's / 70's hippie drenched garden rockish vibe and, of course, this bit of loveliness is from an Aussie band  / outfit called The Babe Rainbow. The song shares the same kind of 60's / 70's tones as The Searchers, Donovan or The Turtles. It is a time / genre of music that feels like a nice hug on high.

The Babe Rainbow's upcoming LP "Today" drops August 30th on 30th Century Records.

Robb Donker 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Seven Foot Frank is from Sweden but reimagines 1920's Americana. Hear "One of These Days (I'm Gonna Drink Myself to Death)"

Seven Foot Frank hails from Sweden but create original music from another era (or maybe parallel universe) that reimagines American music from the 1920's. The stately Seven Foot Frank is the moniker of Jonas Frank Jirhamn and his musical cohort is Lukas Lindberg as Cousin Luke and when you listen to the track One of These Days (I'm Gonna Drink Myself to Death) it sounds so purely authentic (minus the fuzzy scratched sound of wax acetates) that you believe it is nearly 100 years old. 

Press notes reveal that:

"This song is really inspired by the Jugbands of the 1920's and a long history of alcohol abuse in the family. It's a groovy number that tries to capture the groove of a jugband, but instead using a tuba"

I love it. 
Robb Donker

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Like garden rock on high, "Wicked" by Perfect Blue exists in within a beautiful dense drone of sounds

From the onset, the track Wicked by Perfect Blue, a six piece band based out of Chicago, Illinois feels incredibly beautiful. The droning bending sounds washed out but moving forward with a formidable steady beat and bass feels like garden rock on high. Elaine Davis' vocal performance and sort of hippie rock aesthetic anchors it emotionally in some sort of organic sweep as if the song could exist in some acoustic realm despite the obvious need for electricity. Amid the synthesizers and electric guitars, there is a lot going on here (deceptively so) that create this dense fog including acoustc and electric pianos, organ, trombone, synth bass, backing vox, slide guitar, percussion and saxophones. 

I couldn't help but think of Mazzy Star the first time I heard it but Perfect Blue's sound is more noise rockish (without the noise and rock) in the sense that the overall sound is one, with the vocals buried / blended into the mix. I would like them more upfront but I get what is happening here and it is trippy and beautiful.

Robb Donker

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The track "1996, For Luke Graham, Ryan Hibler and Aaron Mickelson" by Drew Danburry has a sweet embrace

The track 1996, For Luke Graham, Ryan Hibler and Aaron Mickelson (yes that is really the name) by singer-songwriter Drew Danburry is so stuffed with lovely sing-songy earworm melodies, embracing production touches and Danburry's friend folkish vocal performance. The rhythms, which at first feel saturated in guitar sounds, is also propelled by, not only the bass and drums, but cool and lush Fender Rhode-esque piano (really love it). Dig this song so much. 

Robb Donker


Drew Danburry has toured and released records independently since 2003. He's released over 20 albums and 13 EPs (400+ songs people). From the year 2005 to 2010, he toured endlessly playing over 750 shows worldwide until he disintegrated inside of the tiniest of shells and almost lost himself forever.

He received attention from NPR, Stereogum, Daytrotter, Magnet Magazine, Said the Gramophone, Large Hearted Boy, Orange Alert, Heave Media, Pete Nema, The 405, Apes on Tape, The Music Ninja, TRT! (The Round Table) The Bomber Jacket, and even Design Mom.
He toured and played with many different bands such as Deer Tick, Neon Trees, Joshua James, Say Anything, Jake Bellows (of Neva Dinova), Bishop Allen, An Horse, Lenka, Math the Band, Miniature Tigers, Pomegranates, Wye Oak, Paleo, Harry and the Potters, Mount Eerie, The Robot Ate Me (Ryland Bouchard), Emperor X, Headlights, Desert Noises, LiluDallas, Jacob Smigel, Iji, Adam and Darcie, and TaughtMe as well as many others.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Sore Thumb's delicious indie rock blend of "Lemurians" from the "Sounds Good" Album

Lemurians by Sore Thumb instantly tugs at you with broad folk indie rockish guitars and whistling melodies. The aesthetic feels indie rockish with the same musical nucleic acid of 80's stalwarts like R.E.M and Miracle Legion and even the Lemonheads with tinges of the Pixies too. That time period has particular musical cues and nuances that while not easy to define are potent reminders of the musical landscape shifting from that hair metal aesthetic with party machismo to more varied elements of proto punk, art punk and big folk underpinnings with lyrics that questioned everything. Lemurians and much of the "Sounds Good" album has that aesthetic as well.

Lemurians is officially the second single off of the album and the chorus features Maddie Goett on backing vox. The textures and endearing lead vocal performance feels like a classic and the jammy rock guitarjust kills. Kudos guys.

Robb Donker


The anticipated follow up album to Sore Thumb's debut; 'Sounds Good' features a more mature alternative sound, without losing the quirky fun that makes Sore Thumb special.

Inspired by 90's Grunge, 80's New Wave, and 2000's Punk, the band took their sunny Surf Rock sound and added a twist of all of their influences. From Bossa Nova bass lines in 'Lemurians', to Queen's ripping guitar solos in 'Cold Comfort', Elton John's dancy piano lines in 'The Way Things Work Around Here', to the Symphony backing the band in 'Coming of Age', Sounds Good promises to broaden the scope of Sore Thumb while still delivering for existing fans.

Eva B. Ross shares those crush induced desires on the beautifully chill "Subliminal"

Eva B. Ross is a Los Angeles born and based singer-songwriter and her track Subliminal co-produced with Grant Milliken is anything but. On the chill indie pop affair propelled by R & B and jazzy undertones and Ross's beautifully self aware vocal performance that glides into sweet falsettos, she lay's out those kind of crushy desires that you sometimes keep to yourself. Of the song she offers:

I wrote this song about the subliminal messaging that happens early in dating. When you have a crush on someone, and you listen to their playlists and hope they're trying to tell you something. It's a fun little thing, before anything becomes real- and everything is still possible...

Listening to Subliminal for the 9th time in a row now. Nice. Love Ross's voice and the guitar that makes me think of those breezy 70's pop songs.

Robb Donker

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Twin Ritual - passionate and artistically poised on the post punk dance rock of "Strangers"

Strangers by Twin Ritual is at once stripped down dance rock pushed through post punk filters but also feels perfectly full because each component doesn't do too much (or too little). It is a synergistic sound lead with the passionate and art poised vocals of Laura Levenhagen (vox, synth). The sonic guitar sounds by Nathan Leutzinger pushing interwoven notes more so than just chords along with the bass melodies by Anthony Ramirez creates a kind of proggy yet in someway retro backdrop. Very cool.

Robb Donker


Twin Ritual is an Indie Rock band from San Diego, CA. They deliver upbeat drums, swirling synths, fuzzed-out bass, driving guitar hooks, and dreamy female vocals, the band’s members include Laura Levenhagen (vocals/synth), Anthony Ramirez (bass), Nathan Leutzinger (guitar). Twin Ritual’s debut EP was produced by Dave Trumfio, who is known for producing bands like OK Go, Jesus and the Mary Chain, Wilco, and Built to Spill.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Neo & Neo's dreamy folk grooved "Ciel Bleu" is a dreamy smile

Neo & Neo is a Swiss band based in Zürich centering around singer-songwriter, musician Dominik Robin. The song Ciel Bleu written by Dominik Robin, Daniel Rabenstein & Yannick Schmutz and produced, arranged and mixed by Giuliano Sulzberger, Porchhouse Studio, Winterthur is an indie folk pop affair that moves in a dreamy way. It also has that kind of folk bounce, groove that (to me) made me think of Paul Simon a bit and of 70's American chamber pop. Neo & Neo is Dominik Robin on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and piano, Raphael Schneider on electric guitar and backing vocals, Yannick Schmutz on drums / percussion and backing vocals and (On Live Performances) Benedict Schönenberger on bass. 

The album "Before the Birds Start To Sing" is out now (Spotify).


Robb Donker


Neo & Neo – Independent folkpop
Inspired by Californian landscapes, folksingers of the 60ies and tv series from the 90ties, Before the Birds Start To Sing was released on Spotify in April 2018. Neo & Neo is Swiss born musician Dominik Robin. Change emerges from crisis, as Robin experienced in 2012 when he started Neo & Neo. The album depicts the moment before dawn, when everything is still possible:

«A real album. And, more importantly, a brilliant one!» Sway and Breathe (Belgium)
«It certainly doesn't sound like a first LP» That's why we musyc (USA)
«Neo&Neo connect authenticity and good melodies» RSD (Germany)
«It's an opportunity to feel authentic emotions and create new perspectives» Helvetune (Switzerland)

The Ruralists throw down musical diatribes full of passion on "Right!?"

The Ruralists hail from Sioux Center, Iowa and spout out powerful American or as they like to say "Midwest Americana" musical diatribes full of passion. All you have to do is listen to the stirring track Right !? which not only full of classic folk musings but blends in elements of art pop, rock, with tightly wound musical breaks. All the while singer Luke Hawley (guitar, vox) and the boys Laremy De Vries (electric guitar), Titus Landegent (drums) and Jake Miller (bass) never lose sight of their core aesthetic which, to me. screams down to earths reflections of truth. 

Right!? is from EP2, the bands third release, recorded Live in a 100 year old barn on a sunny October afternoon.

Robb Donker


We all end up where we end up. And if we're lucky, we find some people to play music with.
The Ruralists are a band born out of necessity, out of picking the best available options in a small town. Nine times out of ten that's pretty bad, the fodder for a short-lived bar band. But this is different.
Luke's songs are different, bringing in the urgency of life lived and yearned for.
The rhythm sections is different. Interpreting and living into not just the beats, but the meaning.
And then all those guitars, telling the story thrice.
Toss in a pipe organ, some random brass, and an occasional electro beat and, well, it's The Ruralists. Everything you didn't know you needed.
Luke Hawley: guitar/vocals
Laremy De Vries: electric guitar
Jake Miller: bass
Titus Landagent: drums

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

DEYO shakes it up on "Digital"

Deyo based out of NYC on his sultry dance track Digital mines deep funky rock vibes. I thought of various artist's disparate tones while I listened. Cake, The Killers, The Talking Heads and Maroon 5 did come to mind. The guitar stabs are cool and the vibe feels like a party.

Robb Donker 


This project began in total secrecy. The songs were never meant to make it past the confines of the voice memo application or the laptop hard drive. As the productions grew, so did the forbidden love that they were about. It was a sonic experiment in a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco, in which DEYO played most of the instruments. Co-producer Jeremy Black breathed a new life into the tracks by adding his signature electronic/organic drum sound, and pushing the boundaries of where these songs existed. After finishing the album, DEYO relocated to New York City.
DEYO has recently shared the stage with Kevin Morby, Nels Cline (Wilco), Vulfpeck, Hiss Golden Messenger, Hand Habits, Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats), Vetiver, Lola Kirke, Matthew E. White, Marco Benevento, and Sam Cohen.

David Ellis' carefree "Baby She Roam" has a wanderlust heart from the "Misty Heights" album

Baby She Roam by David Ellis (from the "Misty Heights" album) feels like sunshine on a bleak day. Built on hand claps, an effervescent cadence and almost 60's carefree vibe it moves like kids skipping in the park. Ellis crafts his self described "Pagan rock" with his acoustic quartet when is he is not writing and performing with the UK indie band Razorlight. Live performance comparisons shake out artists like T. Rex and Syd Barrett and Ellis' folk / hippie trance sounds brings up artists like Donavan, Vashti Bunyan and early Marc Bolan.

“I was living in a little house next to the Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock when I began writing this record… the forest was my garden and every morning I would venture out with my guitar. This is where I wrote and recorded most of the album.”

Ellis trades his time between New York and London and anywhere his wanderlust takes him.  The "Misty Heights" album drops on August 15th, 2019.

Robb Donker



London-based musician, David Ellis released his debut single ‘Eyes To The Sky’ in June and was swiftly selected as BBC introducings Record of the Week.
Clash Magazine said about second single 'Baby She Roam' "David Ellis is an independent soul. 'Baby she Roam' is a carefree breezy acoustic ode, it's built around that infectious chorus and David Ellis' joyous vocal"
The self-proclaimed ‘Pagan Rock’ artist cleverly sews together earthy rhythms with heartfelt melodies and impassioned singing. His debut album 'Misty Heights' due for release on 15th August.
Ellis’ multi-faceted alt-folk takes influence from the great singer-songwriter movement of the 70s. Though his songs are not political, they instead take focus on the beauties of life and encourage the listener to find happiness within themselves as opposed to chasing the whims of the ego.
Drawn by the whispers of nature, his music further seeks clarity within the Western world’s increasingly mal-spirited culture. His optimistic words challenge the prevailing perspective towards the complexities of love and spirituality.
Ellis is a refreshing example of what is possible for a DIY musician, swerving the tradition route of the major labels and taking on producing duties himself as well as self releasing his music.
Ellis recorded his full-length debut album ‘Misty Heights’ whilst living next to the Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock, and sought inspiration from the surrounding forest, adopting his acoustic guitar, violin, bongos, and bass to create an album that truly encompasses his deepest and most valued experiences. One that breaks stride with the latest wave of synth heavy, overwrought alt-indie of recent times and instead guides the listener towards the familiar poetic folk-hippy tradition of DonovanJoni Mitchell and early Marc Bolan., as well as more modern artists including Devendra Banhart and Feist.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Charcoal Burners move with sadly drawn words on "Darling One"

Dunedin, New Zealand based Charcoal Burners is a band centered around the songwriting visions of Andrew Spittie and the track Darling One moves in a linear way. The story telling, the emotion, rides on comfortable and even familiar sounding progressions. The ebb and flow is constant and there is no verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge / chorus, just sadly drawn words.

Darling One is from Charcoal Burners album "Orders From The House".

Robb Donker

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Mirror Shot blends dynamic indie rock sounds and emotions on "Returning"

London based Mirror Shot (at least to me) has a lovely old school sound. I think of Brit pop / rock / new wave outfits like Squeeze and even Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson and late 70's American Pop bands like Shoes. I mean, Mirror Shot doesn't sound like any of the aforementioned bands really, they sound like themselves but there is something that hearkens back to those late 70's early 80's sounds. Listen to the cool and bouncy Returning and you can feel that power pop jag and that old time swing too. Love the music breaks and how they go from guitar down beats to pumping chords. The bass lines are deliciously lush and they go from rock attacks to delicate overtures of pretty sounds. I want to hear more, need to hear more and you will too. 

Robb Donker


Mirror Shot were never meant to be like this. Niall, Adam and Olivia met up in 2018 to play together, having bonded over their shared love of the nerdy American guitar rock canon - Pavement, Built to Spill, Television... 
Having nothing better to do, they practiced some instrumentals that Niall had written, thinking they'd find a singer eventually to finish everything off and start gigging. Months and months later, no one they'd found seemed to fit. 
On the verge of calling it a day, Niall had a (minor) breakdown and decided to give fronting the band a shot, despite never having sung a thing before in his life - not even "Happy Birthday", according to his husband. Everything locked into place, and their bedroom rock sound coalesced into bittersweet hook-filled songs. 
Since then, they've played venues across London, including The Old Blue Last and an upcoming headline slot at The Finsbury, and have worked in the studio with Brian O'Shaughnessy (My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, The Clientele). They've been described by gig attendees as "amazing", "incredible", and "not good with eye contact". Big things are in the works - stay tuned.

New Podcast Up-- American Pancake Radio Show-The Cali Desert Sing-a-long Episode

It has been a while boys and girls but I would be absolutely stoked if you take a listen to the latest podcast. This one features music from some of the great bands and artists we have covered here at the blog and a couple we have not. We are especially thrilled to have a great contribution by the one and only Jack Bacon from Tuckshop Community Radio.

Check it out and share with your friends.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

"Not A Sad Song" by Bay Area's Sore Thumb conjures up memories

Not A Sad Song by the Bay area's Sore Thumb has a free spirited punk sway in that 80's college radio way. I thought of iconic bands like early R.E.M and the Lemonheads. This sound is as fresh today as it was then and,in fact, feels cinematic to me and should grace a cool movie's soundtrack. Not A Sad Song is from there "Sounds Good" album up on their Bandcamp page. 

Robb Donker


If Roy Orbison was in a punk band - Sore Thumb aims to pull together the best parts of multiple decades. From 50s and 60s surf rock and pop, to 90s alternative and grunge, to the punk bands of the early 2000s, the members of Sore Thumb blend their disparate influences to make music that can make the booty bounce while also urging you to sing your heart out.

Friday, August 2, 2019

"Same Lie" by Albert Kass feels heavy within it's breezy indie pop exterior

Same Lie by L.A. based singer-songwriter Albert Kass is a dichotomy in songwriting. The carefree breezy indie pop tones belie more serious lyrical content. While poetic and vague, Kass croons "Who knows, we might be living the same lie... can you believe, this shit's been normalized..." and one can only wonder what "this shit" is (?) 

Some songs are built on macro views, on social commentary and some are built around personal micro layers but whatever this song is about, I like the emotional counter position between the musical tones and the words. 

Same Lie is from Kass's "Young Old Man" album.


Robb Donker

It is hard not to fall in love with the sounds of Albert Kass. Like ocean waves crashing and leaves bristling, this L.A. native possesses a serenity that is hard to recreate in song. Kass is here with the stunning Young Old Man album - featuring tracks like his haunting single "The Void" to the grabbing "Same Lie." In the same vein as artists like Neil Young and Real Estate, Kass's refreshing vulnerability cuts through the silence and leaves you hanging onto every word.

The inviting "Same Lie" is a truthful account of personal responsibility. "Who knows, we might be living the same lie, can you believe, this shit's been normalized" he croons. The moving melody and guitar accompaniment fill the room with warm tones while the percussion brings a sly edge to the song. Kass never ceases to impress with his rich, folk-infused vocals and they're next level in this single.

"Same Lie" builds on Kass's previous releases from the Young Old Man Album - "Shallow Sea", "The Void," and "Hurricane."

The sneaky and cheeky rocker "Alex Supertramp" by Allan Fine and the Finites is freewheelin'

The track Alex Supertramp is a musical mystery drenched in garden rock guitar with tinges of country rock underneath and every time I dive into it's fray I smile broadly. Allan Fine and The Finites is (the one and only) Allan Boudreau- Fine's bedroom recording project / live band incarnation. It starts deceptively folksy and sweet with guitar lines and glockenspiel sounds but, almost instantly, Fine's vocal performance feels a little possessed. His self aware full throated vox feels as inspired as the free wheeling lead guitar sounds. I want to hear more Mr. Fine. I want to hear more. 

Written and Produced by Allan Boudreau-Fine
Guitar Solo -Alexandre Lindstrom-Vautrin
Bass - Katie Koebrich
Drums - Liz Musinsky
Background Vocals - Nick Markman, Zach Elliott, Matthew Anderson, Miriam Speyer

Robb Donker


After spending a few years behind the boards for various RnB and rock artists, The Finites are the live band / bedroom recording project of Vanderbilt Electrical Engineering graduate Allan Fine

Chris Pietrangelo's sweet chamber pop track "Even As The Light" stirs past echoes

The everso dreamy and whimsical track Even As The Light by Chris Pietrangelo feels like a 70's chamber pop song when people were a little less fearful of life and of each other. A jaded heart might call the song sticky sweet, something so endearing and naively loving that you might develop diabetes after one listen and, yet, others more pure of heart might get caught up in the stir. The stir of what you might ask?? The stir of young love unencumbered by negativity.

Robb Donker


Chris Pietrangelo began his music career in December of 2012 when he formed his original rock band, Fingertrick, with his brother, Patrick. In 2014, Fingertrick released their first CD, "Wildfire." They followed it up 4 years later with the incredible, "If Requiems Were Record Deals," released in June of 2018.
Besides Fingertrick, Chris has an extensive catalog of original, solo music. His first full-length solo album, "Young On The Run," features Graham Perry of Tucson Simpson. Chris also plays bass, and co-writes with the Memphis-based heavy metal band, Medieval Steel, and has gained extensive overseas touring experience with this band.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sun Blood Stories' heavy as Hell "Up Comes The Tunnel" is bloody delicious

Up Comes The Tunnel by Sun Blood Stories starts off with almost otherworldly sounds and deep hushed vocals. The effect is trippy, maybe even a bit creepy and dangerous signalling that we are not in Kansas anymore.... no... but maybe in Boise, Idaho which is where the band, consisting of Jon Fust, Amber Pollard and Ben Kirby are based out of. They are not from some fog shrouded wooded other world but their sound, their aesthetic, cut and blended with big post punk tones, slices of heavy metal blues rock and dripping with horror pop and psychedelia in such a delicious and, dare I say, deadly way. Love the evocative tones, the boy / girl vox and levels of textures exhibited in all it audacious glory so much. It is so weird but as I listened to Up Comes The Tunnel I thought of artists like Led Zeppelin, Ty Segall, The Doors and King Crimson all at once. 

How wonderful is that?

Up Comes the Tunnel is the first single off of Sun Blood Stories’ new album, "Haunt Yourself", dropping September 20th, 2019.

Robb Donker


Sun Blood Stories is based out of Boise, ID and was originally the stage name for founding member, Ben Kirby’s, solo project. After a years long, sedulous refining process, Sun Blood Stories has refined itself in to three core members: Jon Fust, Amber Pollard, and Ben Kirby. The trio’s high desert rock is a mass of harmonic noise distilled into occasionally delicate, but always haunting songs. 
Sun Blood Stories is dreamy, aware, personal, open, fuzzed out, and loud af.
Haunt Yourself (2019) is the third release from Sun Blood Stories that includes its core members. The previously released albums, Twilight Midnight Morning (2015) and It Runs Around the Room With Us (2017), unintentionally work together to maneuver through the thoughts, ideas, and pain behind their creations. Haunt Yourself falls right in line with the previous albums by picking up exactly where It Runs left off: a feeling of hope. Hope that is quickly admonished, reminding the listener that in the end we all will die. 

Up Comes the Tunnel is the first single off of Sun Blood Stories’ long anticipated new album, Haunt Yourself, to be released September 20th, 2019. Up Comes the Tunnel was inspired by the voice inside your head that tries to convince you that the car in your review mirror is following you; the feeling of impending doom; death.
This song was the first song to be written by the band as the idea of working on a new album started swirling around in their heads. The music was recorded in Sun Blood Stories’ basement home studio in Boise, ID, and the vocals were recorded in Dale Hiscock’s (ESC) studio about two blocks away. Up Comes the Tunnel was written and recorded by Sun Blood Stories. The song was mixed and mastered by Dale Hiscock.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Rick Moon's stars in your eyes "Deadline" and bonus (Official) video for "Cracker Jack" from the "Electric Lunch" album shines

Get ready to swing with stars in your eyes. Deadline from singer-songwriter, musician, producer Rick Moon and, from his just released "Electric Lunch" album, is certifiably fresh but also tonally a throwback to early 70's Brit pop (art pop) and the glam rock sounds of T.Rex. Moon stirs in thicker production flourishes and 50's downbeats making me think of Be Bop Deluxe and E.L.O as well. This is a particularly artistic (and lovely) piece of the musical pie that sparkles from beacons of light from some nearby glitter ball or glittery pants and has always been the kind of sound that, while might have reflections of pain in between the lines, is for the most part a celebratory slice of being different and yourself.

See the bonus piece of pie below, the Official Video for Moon's more dark, yet dreamy cagey rocker Cracker Jack (Directed by Nick County - Shot and edited by Jorge Graupera). So awesome.

Robb Donker


Rick Moon is a musician, singer -songwriter and producer born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, currently living in Miami, Florida.
Moon's music is a universe on it's own often reflecting his lifelong passion for British pop– from the Beatles to XTC. He has written two EP's: Tired of Sleeping and Cottage Scenes that were heavily influenced by post-addiction recovery. With tender ballads, confessionals, power-pop and folk rock he's a contemporary mixture Grizzly Bear and Harry Nilsson.
Third single from album "Electric Lunch" Deadline is modern day T.Rex and Electric Light Orchestra with lush cinematic instrumentation paired with highly infectious vocals.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Long Way Home's red and raw "Throat Rot" from the "As Usual" EP

The Long Way Home is a post punk / punk band based out of Annandale On Hudson, New York and Throat Rot from their "As Usual" EP (2019) seems particularly relevant to me as I have been battling a gnarly throat situation after a business trip (damn circulating crappy air on planes) and while the pulsating fusing of blues rock and punk tones on Throat Rot with the bad ass guitar and Emily Tomasi's strident smirking vocals "I get sick when I'm in a bad mental state, look at my mouth and see the mess that you made" and "I'm living in my own rot" might have more to do with relationships that go bad (putridly so). I can relate. Of the track, Tomasi offers: "I got really gnarly pneumonia coincidentally after a betrayal from a friend; this song's about that! I've always loved old country and blues music so I wanted to take that love and channel it into punk instrumentals."

The punk rock here is spartan and cleanly cut and Tomasi who shares vocal duties with Jeremy Coppola (who seems to be the main lead vocalist on the EP) has a lot of character to her voice, to her tortured wail. Other Coppola voiced tracks like Pretty Little People and Martyr Complex feels like touches of prog rock stirred into proto punk sounds with an askew sense of composition and acerbic thoughts (and humor) in between the lines. Love the leaning to classic proto punk distilled post punk but served in their own unique way. Me likee. 

The Long Way Home is: Jeremy Coppola (guitar, vox), Emily Tomasi (bass, vox) and Jacob Cummings (drums, moral support).

Robb Donker


One winter night in 2015, new friends Jeremy and Emily started talking about how much they love playing music and were both looking for people to start a band with. The conversation went nowhere because Emily was too shy to take it further and Jeremy thought he had a bassist but it turned out the guy didn’t know how to play the bass, he just owned one.
Months later, they returned to the topic and decided playing music together would be a pretty great idea, and thus The Long Way Home was born.
They were introduced to Jacob in 2017, who brought a ray of West Coast sunshine into their music, which previously had a level of angst only achievable by living in states that actually get cold.
With music that can only be described as “well at least they have personality”, the members of The Long Way Home pride themselves on their high energy live performances and taking influence from a wide range of music.

Jayomi's surf psyche rock "Tropical Wasteland" inspires Britney Spears dance moves and Whoppers

It is not often that you hear a vast surf rock song that begins with a dramatic violin that if presented cleanly could be the beginning of a classical piece but dirtied feels more like something from a 1970's Italian horror movie. This is the case with Jayomi's Tropical Wasteland as drums rumble in and the violin does a rad power slide as the song descends into dirty surf rock guitar while that violin (in a wash of reverb) provides a dreamy and melodic background. Jon Wu's vocals provide the storytelling in an almost measured art rockish way while the music whirls around it. Tropical Wasteland is an interesting mix of flavors and time frames. With the violin lines, yet heavy surf rock sound and flourishes into punk pop filtered through a kind of art rock / psyche rock aesthetic I thought of the iconic Moody Blues, Spindrift and Thee Oh Sees all rolled up into one. The Official Video for Tropical Wasteland features Britney Spears dance moves and Whoppers fed to Wu like grapes. What's not to like?

Jayomi hails from Seattle and are Jon Wu (guitar, violin, vox, Lizz Slabaugh (bass, vox), Casey Hudlow (drums) and Francisco Solis (guitar). 

Robb Donker

Monday, July 22, 2019

Gon Von Zola is the perfect art punk provocateur with the off-kilter "100% Risk Of Death"

100% Risk Of Death by Gon Von Zola based out of London by way of Leipzig, Germany, Zola and writing cohort(s) naturally veer toward askew forms of art and crafting upbeat art punk songs with a sense of wit and wonder. 100% Risk Of Death (as reflected in the Official Video) has a crazy carnival on high tone pushed by punk synth swings, pogo pushed drum beats, sparring guitar and bass framingG Zola's glam vocal performance with lyrics that seem to reflect the futility of life and the dark comedy inherent in uncertain times all told through lines that are rich with jagged humor. 

Robb Donker 


Combining his laid back, whacky public persona with a no strings attached song writing style and production sound, Third Culture Kid Gon Von Zola and his multi-diverse gang of misfits are keen to reveal their new single '100% Risk of Death' to the masses!
As a follow up to the previous single “Concrete Heaven” GVZ once again take a break from their occasional antics to bring you an upbeat and high powered tune all the way through that delivers themes of humanity dying out under an ironic layer of optimism.
'100% Risk of Death' orchestrates perfectly the ‘less is moreʼ attitude with a concoction of lyrical stabs, synth FX and pulsing guitar that goes hand in hand with a prodding and punchy bass/rhythm section.

Carnival Kid's demons play in the poignant "What Keeps Us Going"

Carnival Kid (Germany) is the indie / alternative solo project of Christian Stezycki and What Keeps Us Going from his upcoming record "All The Easy Places" (A 6 track EP including Blackout At The Kindergarten and Magic Trick) is a mid-tempo poignant acoustic ballad. The chord progression has a tortured alt folk goth pop tone with nice staggered flourishes propelled by Stezycki's appropriately tortured vocal performance. While the lyrics are poetically drawn they are not vague and while one could describe the song as a love song, it feels to me, more like a song about obsession... (unhealthy or not). I love the line, "we all are searching for someone who's demons play well with our own" and I love the absolutely stunningly beautiful last third of this song, a tear inducing slowly ramping down diminuendo.

Often times I either see images in my head when I listen to music and I can't help but see scenes from the movie Under The Silver Lake that I saw recently. In it Andrew Garfield's character Sam is searching for his obsession, Sarah (played by Riley Keough) and, YES, there are many, many demons to contend with.

Robb Donker


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Stray Fossa's shiny indie rock sound of "Eyze" feel like new wave in a parallel universe

Stray Fossa are a garage pop / indie rock band based out of Charlottesville, Virginia and their latest track Eyze came to be when the drummer surreptitiously arranged vocal harmonies around a bass hook without telling the bassist. Turns out the band liked the result and forged a head to develop a kind of retro new wave / old wave sounding track. That bass line sounds organic and lush and the combination of analog and electronic sounds works so well. I, like a lot of people have been binge watching the new season of Stranger Things and this track seems to fit that serie's retro motif. The vocals are hushed and simply alluring and I love when at around 1:30 in, the beat drops out letting the song breath in pretty ways. Then striking guitar rhythms happen that lights a fuse to a dizzying building fire of sounds. Love the groove, production and everything about this song. 

Robb Donker