Friday, July 19, 2019

Von Bismark and the whirlwind that is "Moth"

Moth by Von Bismark is a whirlwind of sounds anchored to a deep groove, syncopated lush, lush bass cementing the vocal performance to your brain. Jonathan Smith's voice is self aware, internal, sultry and conflicted. The guitar riffs that almost feel more like radio blips out in space give the whole proggy rock affair a kind of trance like feel. A meditation oh high. 

-
Robb Donker




THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES:

Von Bismark is new project out of Oakland, Calif. produced by Jeff Saltzman (The Killers, Green Day, Two Gallants) and headed by Jonathan Smith, formerly of indie dance outfit The Hundred Days. The band teased out a single, "Rocket Ship" in late 2018.
A recent east bay transplant from SF, Smith discusses how the move affected his sound: “After being in an indie dance rock band for years, touring nationally and overseas,, I decided to refocus on what made me happy as an artist: writing good songs. It was intimidating, but moving to the east bay has made me a better and more honest songwriter.”
The project is expected to start live production summer of 2019. 
DD

The Titos and their unbridled road worn scarred story of "Leandra"






























The track Leandra by The Titos who I think are based in (and maybe out of) Atlanta feels like a song / story that is lived in, road worn, scarred and fueled or impaired by swigs of Tequila and or Whiskey. The strain, galloping cadence, nicotine stained rhythm and blues cut rock, haphazard and loose and badass true sound propped up by a stellar vocal performance that is dripping with a beat up wise yet battered character is formidable. The story is inviting in a dark way but ends much too soon. I want to know more about her, Leandra that is. 

-
Robb Donker


Heaviness lives and dies in J. Lind's worldly track "For What It's Worth"

























J. Lind's worldly track For What It's Worth feels like the cadence of life and death on a South African plain. Interwoven through the tom tom beats and teeming sounds, Lind's voice is folkish and Americana, stoic yet passionate. The song reminds me a bit of Phil Collins' Air Tonight both in it's emotional tone and cagey push and pull around the beats. I can't tell if there is an anti-hero in this life and death story or if the true meaning here is just the interconnectedness of all of us in the life and death drama that is life itself. 

This song is the title track of Lind's forthcoming record which draws inspiration from three years of experiencing the world of hospice care. 

"It is Lind’s hope that the project will serve to catalyze formative conversations on grief, loss, and acceptance."

-
Robb Donker





THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM- PRESS NOTES:

Born and raised in Phoenix, J Lind learned early on that inspiration can be found in unlikely spaces. Even so, Lind’s latest project—a record based on the reflections of hospice patients—is unconventional, to say the least.
Lind’s unusual approach to songwriting developed during his time as a student at Princeton. A frequent collaborator, Lind opened for the Grammy-nominated rapper, Big Sean, in the spring of 2015 and participated in songwriting seminars with artists ranging from Steve Martin to Rosanne Cash. Following the release of his debut EP in 2017, Lind studied philosophy at Oxford before continuing his work as a hospice volunteer in New Delhi, India.
J Lind’s forthcoming record, For What It’s Worth (2019), is a careful reflection on three years of experience in the world of hospice care. Supported by a Princeton fellowship, the record draws on the diverse soundscapes of artists such as Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel while invoking the direct, narrative lyric of acts like Passenger and Dawes. It is Lind’s hope that the project will serve to catalyze formative conversations on grief, loss, and acceptance.

Callum Pitt's "Slow My Heart Rate Down" does quite the opposite

Callum Pitt's track Slow My Heart Rate Down does quite the opposite. As you listen to the orchestrated mayhem woven around beautiful piano and vocal melodies, your heart races and you might even feel dashes of anxiety. The track builds in a cinematic way and after it ends you feel a little bit emotionally spent. Beautiful, moving stuff. 

Pitt who hails from Newcastle upon Tyne, has been building audiences since his bedroom produced creations received airplay from BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio which landed him a gig at Evolution Emerging Festival 2016.

The "Poisoned Reveries" EP is out now.


-
Robb Donker



Thursday, July 18, 2019

The poetically drawn "Eyes To Monochrome" by Nova Peaks is so cool

The track Eyes to Monochrome is trippy and cool dressed up in a wave of synthetic full color palette of avant garde shapes and machine like grooves. It is at once wondrous and charming and build like a childhood dream.

Nova Peaks is the moniker of Dylan Jongbloed, a producer based in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

-
Robb Donker


Partly Sorry by Tipling Rock feels like a mellow party song for the ages

























Partly Sorry by Boston Beach pop band Tipling Rock is so chill and feels like time less mellow party pop rock that could transverse decades from 1976 to now.

-
Robb Donker


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Callum Pitt's "Knocked The Wind Right Out Of Me" feels like a runaway song from the "Poisoned Reveries" EP

The vast Knocked The Wind Right Out Of Me, the last track from Callum Pitt's (UK) debut EP entitled "Poisoned Reveries" runs away at a fast clip suggesting fleeting images rushing past car windows and when the song takes breathes you feel lovely emotions like out of focus glimmers of light through tree branches. While some of my descriptions might feel cliche, the song itself feels fresh and potent, the sounds carried away off cool indie guitar lines and Pitt's endearing vocal quality.

Pitt who hails from Newcastle upon Tyne, has been building audiences since his bedroom produced creations received airplay from BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio which landed him a gig at Evolution Emerging Festival 2016.

The "Poisoned Reveries" EP is out now.

-
Robb Donker


THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES:

Taking influences from The War On Drugs, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, indie-folk newcomer Callum Pitt combines finger-picked folk riffs with a stunning falsetto voice. His first demos, recorded in his bedroom, received airplay from BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio, resulting in a spot at Evolution Emerging Festival 2016 and tour support slots with Meadowlark, Cape Cub and Isaac Gracie.
“['You'd Better Sell It While You Can' is a] catchy, floaty, dreamy number, with some easy-going laid back strings and… falsetto vocal that would put Kate Bush to shame. A blend of harmonies adds warmth, dimension and colour [and] halfway through, the chorus pops up in all [its] melodious glory... There’s lots to like about this song – choppy old style piano playing, catchy guitar Fresh from his packed out show at The Great Escape 2019, Callum Pitt is set to release his debut EP ‘Poisoned Reveries’. Callum’s sound combines finger-picked folk riffs with a stunning falsetto voice and rich harmonies. With support from blogs including DIY, Dork and Crack In The Road and radio play with BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6Music, Callum’s previous releases have frequently landed on Spotify's coveted 'New Music Friday' playlists across Europe and Asia. 2019 promises to be an important year for Callum on the live side too, with festival appearances at The Great Escape, Deer Shed, Wild Paths and This Is Tomorrow confirmed ahead of a full UK tour in October.
“Callum Pitt… harnesses the lilting nature of Americana, producing some intricate guitar licks and roll-off-the-tongue lyrics that converge into a swelling chorus that sweeps you off your feet.” (DIY)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"Loggerheads" by Picsel (side project of Broken Fires) is a post punk pop breeze

The upbeat post punk / pop track, Loggerheads by Picsel (UK), the side project of Broken Fires, with it's ear candy guitar melody and 90's college rock sound feels like something between the The Lemonheads and Weezer. The track is inspired by an episode of Freaks & Geeks where the nerd dates the cheerleader and "it all goes to shit" and as the band offers: "Loggerheads is about two people in a relationship realizing that they are completely incompatible."

‘Loggerheads’ is the first single to be taken from Picsel’s forthcoming debut album ‘Modern Life Discovery’, due out in September 2019.
-
Robb Donker

One Sentence. Supervisor's tense psyche indie rock "Double You Pt. 2" feels like a fever dream


Double You Pt. 2 by Switzerland's alternative indie rock band One Sentence. Supervisor is a fever dream of a song. Tension builds instantly by the rushed cadence and almost mandolin splashes of electric guitar and rock drone chords amid vocals singing odd words "wire up tongues... wire up teeth... wire up memories." The result is a jagged avant garde post punk jag that goes down like an intoxicating drink that has a serious side kick of psychedelia. As the song moves and twists there are world music appendages of sound. A truly trippy song and I love the aesthetic. The tension builds and builds until it gets absolutely industrial and dirty.

-
Robb Donker




THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM BUT MAY NOT UNDERSTAND THEM- PRESS NOTES:

«Acedia» designates a state of torpor, the exhaustion of one’s soul and beliefs. «Acedia» is the title of One Sentence. Supervisor’s third album. The phenomenon of acedia finds its roots in the pre-Middle Ages. Transposed to our times, it could be described as the dull discomfort one feels when flying to Barcelona for 25 Euros, before randomly ending up in a climate strike on the way to the beach bar. At the end of the day, we all know our lifestyle is a farce and that its price is way higher than what we could possibly imagine. How do we respond to our privilege? And to what extent do we really care about the world?
One Sentence. Supervisor’s activism has always been clever. Today’s big debates find an echo in the questions the band asks, being incorporated in many different ways into their creative output. Their new press pictures, for instance, are a good example of their wit: playing with the depiction of stereotypes that are stock photos, the five musicians pose as a «rock band», as well as «young and successful business people». A way of showing the divide between reality and the way it is portrayed.
Since „Temporär Musik 1-13“ (2017), their previous album, One Sentence. Supervisor have become a five-piece, welcoming virtuoso oud player Bahur Ghazi as a permanent member. Additionally, multi-instrumentalist Sarah Palin (Phil Hayes And The Trees, Boytoy, JJ & Palin, etc.) has replaced Dominik Meuter on the drums. The album was produced by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Hotel2Tango/Jerusalem In My Heart).

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Winston Vista's audaciously romantic "Blue Luv" veers to the weird and the wonderful

Sometimes press notes are novel-esque and sometimes you literally know nothing about an artist and while I would prefer something in between these two extremes, in this case, I am content to just let the music do the talking (as they say).

The track Blue Luv by Winston Vista (which sounds like the name of a character in a John Waters film) is a spacy lo-fi affair steeped in a sort of indie film kind of romance. It sways like a slow dance with casio-fied tones, orchestrated synth rock strings, and a somber vocal performance that goes for broken hearted passion... the aesthetic here feels like intoxicated raw declarations rather than perfect tones. The last 30 seconds with the chorus slowed down feels eerie and even more indie / avant garde in that David Lynch sort of way. Interesting and cool. 

-
Robb Donker



The Brazen Youth and the wide eyed artistry of "I Don't Wanna Take Too Much" from the "15 Billion Eyes" Album





























I Don't Wanna Take Too Much by The Brazen Youth is a lot of things. Beginning in an almost wide eyed artistically Off- Broadway-esque meets 70's art rock sort of way, the song steps into askew poetry backed by heavy handed syncopated piano hammered (cooly) in rhythm & blues infused meets baroque pop ways. The lyrics are dreamy and or weird (depending on who you ask) but wildly interesting and the vocal presentation self aware and earnestly serious. That is to say, while the song (material) is steeped in this kind of avant garde pop motif, I get the sense the boys aren't necessarily going for this aesthetic... it just is the way it is. If this is the case, I like that. This is not to say that Nicholas Lussier and Charles Dahike do not have artistic vision, they obviously do and are wildly talented and prolific beyond their years but I get the intuitive sense that they don't over reach for this aesthetic. They are simply cut from the same artistic cloth.

Their Press notes, which I will paste down below, suggest that they met in eighth grade. Building and bonding their friendship and artistic path in Lyme, Connecticut and drawing inspiration from a 300 year old farmhouse. I don't know how many years transpired between grade school and their musical forays and now and such but when I hear stories like this I appreciate how fate shapes art and peoples lives. Their first record called "The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man" came out in 2016. They added their friend Micah Ruben and tours followed.

Their journey (that you can check out more fully in the aforementioned press notes) has lead them to their Album entitled "15 Billion Eyes" due out on September 19th (2019). Awesome.

Speaking to the motivation behind I Don’t Wanna Take Too MuchThe Brazen Youth offer:
“15 Billion Eyes” felt like a humbler approach to a record, and we think the title, “I Don’t Wanna Take Too Much”, speaks to that. In the studio, we stripped back, dropped the metronome, and pursued a live approach. We are each finding our own corners in the band, especially as instrumentalists. Time spent on the road has molded our individual styles and band dynamic — and for the first time, we’re seeing that manifest in a studio setting. 
-
Robb Donker


 

THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES:

The Brazen Youth began with an unlikely union of two eighth graders, Nicholas Lussier and Charlie Dahlke. Based on a 300-year-old farmhouse in Lyme, CT, the pair developed their folk-based sensibilities in a space that was unlimited in creative power. They spent their formative years between the musty bookshelves of the farm, crafting a record that came to be called The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man (2016), which was pure evidence of the ambition and imagination of both songwriters.
With a new surge in online followers, Nick and Charlie’s good friend Micah Rubin joined the band, creating a complete lineup that would tour the United States throughout 2017 and 2018. During this time, the trio was developing a more polished, cohesive LP in their self-constructed studio that would release in 2018, called Primitive Initiative. Following a more expansive period of touring, including dates with friends Spendtime Palace, The Brazen Youth’s forthcoming EP, titled 15 BILLION EYES was completed. Previous works made use of darker textures, 15 BILLION EYES is more inventive, playful, and dynamic than any past work; and the songwriting is more distinct and focussed. Mixed by Sam Griffin Owens (Sam Evian), the record has a unique warmth that is simultaneously familiar and refreshingly new. On the wake of the record release and a long string of tour dates, The Brazen Youth remains a brotherhood like no other – a creative force which constantly seeks to challenge itself and shed its old skin.

Enjune's poignant and beautifully sad "Lost In The Woods" glimmers with light through the trees



























Enjune is the musical moniker of independent singer-songwriter / artist Jake Goble based out of Venice Beach, California and the track Lost In The Woods is a sweeping, image inducing, alt folk meets chamber pop ballad. A testament to it's well crafted melodies, poised poetry and ability to push and pull emotions is how quickly it inhabits your psyche... you get lost in the song, in those woods, so much so that it seems to end after mere moments. Time bends and those 3 minutes and 30 seconds as you find your self sitting in a puddle of emotions and you have to push play again. For me, it acts like a sonic Rorschach test and I flashed on current and past personal trial and tribulations of the heart and head. Poignant and dark, beautifully sad with light through the trees, hope does glimmer.

From the artist:

This song is the culmination of my artistic work thus far - the central moment of my debut EP Teal Dreams. Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself - the only way to get what you need is to lose everything else. This is "Lost in the Woods".


The full debut EP "Teal Dreams" dropped 7/12. 

-
Robb Donker






THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM- PRESS NOTES:

Enjune is the moniker for Jake Goble’s American Alternative/Indie-Pop music project. Elements of his work have received comparisons to acts such as Bon Iver, James Blake, Coldplay and Hozier. Growing up in Northern California, Goble drew his early musical influences from a variety of sources ranging from a variety of sources ranging from time spent listening to classic rock radio with his dad, Jimmy Buffet and Jock Jam tapes in the car with his mom and boy bands such as NSYNC and Backstreet Boys on his first CDs. Going to shows and playing bass guitar as well as drums in a rock band throughout high school taught him the powerful effect of live music on the human body and mind.
• • • • •
In 2018 Goble decided to move from to Los Angeles to work in event production and as freelance designer after spending nearly five years in North Lake Tahoe. He initially found himself immersed in the electronic music scene, attending parties such as Space Yacht, Brownies and Lemonade, Exchange LA and various secret warehouse parties where he made many his first LA friends in the industry.
• • • • •
Aside from the electronic music scene, Goble was fortunate enough to attend an intimate concert at the private music venue, Winston House, on his second night living in Venice Beach. It was there that he would forge some of the most meaningful relationships of his life. Goble went on to become a production assistant at Winston House and later a vital member of the media team, after he demonstrated his abilities by touring with successful Alt Rock band Grizfolk as their photographer and videographer.
• • • • •
Goble additionally went on to join forces with talented songwriter and visual artist, Chase McBride, where he assisted McBride to develop marketing strategy, oversaw bookings and captured content during the releases of two of McBride’s albums and respective tours to promote them.
“I learned most of what it takes to be a independent artist through Chase. His friendship and the opportunities to work side-by-side with him on his releases have become invaluable to my career as both an artist and a musician.”
Since moving to Venice Beach, Goble has limited his performances to private gatherings and jam/writing sessions with other artist friends. He’s been fortunate enough to share these experiences with the likes of talented LA based singers and songwriters such as: Corey Harper, Emanuel Franco, Flavia, Joesph Luca, Valentina, Grizfolk, Amy West, Ryan Merchant (Capital Cities), talker, Dan Sadin, Andrew Heringer, and most notably Adam Roth, lead singer of Grizfolk, who Goble declares first made him believe in his own abilities and potential in performing/writing on a professional level.
• • • • •
Goble also insists that it was both Sadin (former guitarist of FRENSHIP) and Heringer (Milo Greene/The Guest & The Host) who first took him seriously after he sent out a folder of music demos to select friends who doubled as artists and producers.
“Both Dan and Andrew saw something in me from the start. They each went out on a limb to work with me and helped pull the creative juices out of my blood into something beyond what I thought was possible for me to create. I could not have conceived Enjune without their encouragement as friends and talent as producers.”
Today, Goble continues to write, record and play music in the Los Angeles area. Aside from his musicianship, his other creative endeavors span across projects related to brand identity, web development, event production, photography and videography, all predominantly within the music industry. When he’s not working or creating music, you might spot him in LA at a show supporting friends or checking out other live acts by whom he’s inspired.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Memes' (UK) boisterous feral punk infused rocker "Blah Blah Blah" is a stomper...etc, etc, etc

Blah Blah Blah by Memes (UK) is a thick cut of boisterous feral punk fueled party rock with sprite diversions of art rock insanity mixed in. The Memes' debut landed solidly as Steve Laracq single of the week on Britain's 6 Music. Bloody right.

-
Robb Donker



The cinematic beauty that is "Cracked Porcelain" by singer-songwriter Kris Kelly from the "Runaways" Album

Kris Kelly's track- Cracked Porcelain is a cinematic beauty of a song. Full fledged in it's musical arc, it feels like an eclipse of something bigger like it was coalesced from a novel or multi-part mini series or some other literary journey, that is how stuffed it feels, full of orchestrated dreams and back stories that you want to know and experience. Kelly who is from Austin, Texas wrote this alt folk masterpiece infused with chamber pop sways. It pushes and pulls you hard in lovely yet powerful ways. 

Cracked Porcelain is from the "Runaways" album to be released in August 2019.

-
Robb Donker



THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM- PRESS NOTES:

"Kris Kelly evokes a bittersweet nostalgia of love and hurt in latest indie folk single, “Cracked Porcelain.” The track is the final single ahead of debut album, Runaways, due out August 29th. Kelly self-produced the album, recorded between NYC and LA with an all-star team of musicians (played for Alanis Morissette, Lana Del Rey), with arrangements from John Philip Shenale (Tori Amos, Jane’s Addiction), and mixed by Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom, Andy Shauf).

A native of Austin, Texas, Kris Kelly moved to NYC to study vocal performance and musical composition at NYU. After years of his original works at storied New York venues, he decided to leave everything behind, packed a suitcase, grabbed his guitar and flew to South America. He traveled for five years through Argentina and Brazil, met his now husband, and experienced the love, loss, and growth that would inspire his upcoming album, Runaways. Parade Magazine and Cool Hunting have respectively described his music as “sweet and soothing,” and “sublime.”
In new single “Cracked Porcelain,” Kelly sings of finding equilibrium between the sacred and the profane, carnal desire and true love, within the freedom of an open relationship. He says, “I think the LGBTQ+ community has a unique opportunity to redefine our relationships between sex and healthy partnerships, but it also comes with a great responsibility, and I think we often fail. I failed at least. And that’s ok, because I realized that if I wanted to be happy, I had to make a change.” 
For all social links, visit www.kriskellymusic.com

Gamma Dog's- unbridled punchy post punk of "Wa" harkens back in a good way

Gamma Dog hail from Austin, Texas and their punchy post punk track Wa has a spark of Brit pop / rock buried beneath the explosive indie rock tones (at least to me). Maybe it is the big wave of Farfisa-esque synth or the strident guitars or deeply raw bass and drums and Matt Blackwell's husky cool vox but I am feeling shades of late 80's meets 90's college indie rock meets 90's Brit pop rock (Supergrass, Blur). The stew works on so many levels, least of which is just the unbridled joyous garage rock punch.

Gamma Dog is Matt Blackwell on guitar and vox, Trey McKinley on Bass, Kevin Garcia on guitar and backing vox, Kyle Garcia on keys and Shawn Gallivan on drums.

-
Robb Donker




THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES:

Gamma Dog’s embryonic first steps date back to 2004 when two highschoolers - lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Blackwell and bassist Trey McKinley - discovered similar interests in music and began hanging and playing music together. It was later in 2009 once reconvening in college in in Austin, Texas that they decided to start a new original band together.
Formerly as Empire Machines, in November of 2011 the band self-released their eponymous debut EP, a six track EP that clearly demonstrated their remarkable talents. Songs like the wonderfully seductive and grooving, “Never Enough,” and the danceable, pop-oriented track, “Sweet Teeth,” garnered enthusiastic reviews online from music lovers, bloggers and radio hosts across the U.S. and around the world.
But Blackwell and McKinley struggled with recruiting and maintaining a consistent lineup of band members who shared their unique vision for the sound they wanted to achieve at a time when their own musical abilities were improving and their aspirations expanding.
The band workshopped a new sound for years with other new bandmates, playing shows in and around Austin and working on many new songs, only to figure out they had gone down a path they ultimately weren’t feeling and decided to go back to the drawing board to figure out what really moved them, and start from scratch. This was the beginning of the 3 track Animal Skin EP, which would be released in 2015.
  
In 2016, their luck took a turn for the best when they recruited current members Kevin Garcia on lead guitar and back up vocals, and soon after his twin brother Kyle Garcia on keyboards. It was this combination that hit the bullseye, allowing them to pursue unabated the sound and unity they were aiming for, later adding Shawn Gallivan on drums to complete their sound.
Increasingly reflective of the variety of musical influences from bands like Radiohead, The Beatles and Modest Mouse, experimenting more with their instruments and lyrics, and introducing darker and more minimalistic elements in their songs, Gamma Dog continues to forge ahead.
In the ensuing years, the band has built a growing following of loyal fans, been booked more frequently for gigs at top venues, performed for enthusiastic crowds during SXSW, and gained the not-easily-attainable respect as a talented DIY band in Austin’s fiercely competitive music scene. 
The five-piece released the single ‘Scenes’ in 2016, later deciding in late 2017 to take a hiatus from live shows and focus solely on crafting their new full-length record. Now having nearly completed their album, the band has gotten back out playing shows and is ready to begin releasing brand new material on the unsuspecting masses in Spring of 2019.

The all inclusive Neo Soul sound of DI-RECT on "Be Strong" is big and bold, sultry and sweet, dramatic and fresh



























The all inclusive neo soul sound of DI-RECT'S Be Strong (based out of the Netherlands) is big and bold, sultry and sweet, dramatic and fresh with sounds that hearken back to 70's to 90's soul / R&B filtered through current indie pop motifs. To someone who often times swims in feral and raw punk indie seas this is different stuff entirely but DI-RECT is so earnest in it's vision of lush soulful pop that their pull casts a wide net. Big rules may not be broken (on this track) but DI-RECT does what they do so exquisitely well giving us all an iconic sound. Front man, lead singer Marcel Veenendall mixes controlled timbres with full throttle high register soulful wails full of grit. The full production is theatrically rich. A full luscious desert with added icing. 

-
Robb Donker


 
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THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES:

DI-RECT inventively filter elements of rock, soul, pop, and indie through their own distinct vocabulary, one forged by a decade-spanning friendship and trust. Emerging from the other side of meteoric stardom, identity crises, creative dust-ups and the ongoing challenge of integrating five radically different personalities, this eclectic Dutch quintet has embraced a newfound creative abandon, less preoccupied of what they are, and more with what they could become.
If you take the history between Marcel Veenendaal (vocals), Frans ‘Spike’ van Zoest (vocals/guitars), Bas van Wageningen (bass), Jamie Westland (drums), and Paul Jan Bakker (guitars) into account, it’s a remarkable thing to consider; a collection of colorful individuals that isn’t just operating at the height of their creative powers, but doing so with unprecedented success. They won a Dutch Edison Award for their 2017 album Rolling With The Punches and played their biggest shows yet at Pinkpop and AFAS Live. Ever since scoring a number one hit with ‘Times Are Changing’ in 2009 – sparked by Veenendaal’s charismatic voice – DI-RECT have come to define success as something bigger than just metrics or awards could explain. They are a band perpetually driven by the prospect of ‘why not?’, performing sweeping arena-sized romps and intimate house shows alike. No matter the setting, you can always count on DI-RECT to provide a dynamic, combustible mix of crowd favorites and daredevil experimentalism.
Their latest single ‘Devil Don’t Care’ was recorded last year in Berlin with producer Niels Zuiderhoek and mixed by Cenzo Townshend (who worked with indie pop goliaths Editors and Florence + The Machine). This time, DI-RECT unpacks with a technicolor synth-pop sprawl, gleefully kickstarting it with a familiar-sounding deep note and a powerful mantra: ‘You’ll never exist again’. The accordingly vivid music video and artwork for ‘Devil Don’t Care’ were made by visual artist Jamel Armand, further invigorating en echoing the piercing fortitude of Veenendaal's words. Devil Don’t Care’ truly punctuates DI-RECT’s current mission statement: having the audacity to surrender to the vision of another can lead to an enriching exchange. Live or die, if the only direction left is to go forward, then you might as well embrace all comers.

Listen to Guidon Bear's punk "askew pop"-ish "Hammer" from the "Downwardly Mobile: Steel Accelerator" album






































Hammer from Olympia,Washington's Guidon Bear's long awaited debut album "Downwardly Mobile: Steel Accelerator" moves in a cagey punk pop way percolating on cool synth keys, head bobbing guitar rhythms, sprite drums and proto alt folk punk vox as singer-songwriter Mary Water (Little Red Car Wreck), drummer, multi-instrumentalist Pat Maley (Lois, Courtney Love) and synth player E. Michael Bradley twist sounds into beautiful yet art rockish "askew pop" angles. The sound feels live and immediate and I love that. All these guys are veterans of the 90's Olympia music scene and it shows. Their pop songs are about "real life nightmares, boot camps, late bills and scraping by."

-
Robb Donker



Sanctuary Lakes' "Until The End" organic and synthetic waves flood your emotions



























Until The End by Sanctuary Lakes and from their self titled album (out soon on Cutters Records) is a dreamy, fully tactile, soundscape with dozens of emotions flooding inside your head in surround sound. The chill wave is both organic and synthetic and the vocal performance a hush of reflective questions and sensations that puts you in a cool, dreamy almost meditative state. The songs were born in Brooklyn, seeds of imaginary sounds by Tim Hoey (Cut Copy) who sent them to his good friend Andy Szekeres (Midnight Jaggernauts) in Melbourne to capture an opinion or two but instead Szekeres added to it and Santuary Lakes became.


-

Robb Donker 



 
THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM- PRESS NOTES:


Sanctuary Lakes present their debut, self-titled album, coming soon on Cutters Records.
Opaque soundscapes forged from fluid basslines, aqueous guitar, naturalist field recordings and vague incantations, the Sanctuary Lakes sound values feeling over form, intention over intellect, imagination over the explicit, a faded watercolour image offering an ocean of interpretation in which to swim.
Borne in Brooklyn during idle time improvising in front of the meditation station on television, Tim Hoey sent rough sketches of his noodling to Andy Szekeres in Melbourne, initially to see what his old friend made of them. Beyond merely offering feedback, Szekeres went ahead and added to the songs, initiating a workflow than became an almost wordless conversation between the two, as files drifted back and forth with the currents until deemed done.
Arrangements are left loose, choruses never come - or that’s all there is, extended instrumental passages emphasise atmosphere over action, and field recordings of the channel whisper low in the mix. Production across the album has a gently edgeless, soft-focus feeling akin to being submerged in a boundless body of water, at once engulfing and instinctively comforting.
As two musicians with years and albums of experience under their belts, Sanctuary Lakes came together during a period of reflection and faint anxiety that their best ideas might be behind them. Work on the album acted as a form of therapy and confirmed that the stream of creativity still runs strong.
Tim Hoey is most widely known for his work in Cut Copy, Andy Szekeres in Midnight Juggernauts. Together they are Sanctuary Lakes.
“In a sea of love, you and me belong, endless together.”

Friday, July 12, 2019

Lulu Lewis' Debut Full Length Album "Genuine Psychic" stirs up dreams infused with proto punk experiments and Italian Horror movies


























"Genuine Psychic", the full length debut by New York based Lulu Lewis (out via Ilegalia Records) is a smile inducing collection of sounds. The corners of your mouth pinched and pushed up by sounds and imagery darkly drenched in a sort of post punk gothic jag filtered through proto punk filters. City Below The Hunter feels like something that exists in a dark smoky punk club circa 1978- there is an industrial electronic push meets surf punk guitars meets Lena Lovish meets Devo meets X meets the B-52's thing happening. The descending pyschedelic sway of the title track Genuine Psychic is horror pop-ish, 1950's stilted dreams with a nightmarish edge and yet the lead guitar lines that make me think of Italian Horror flick is bitterly beautifully. Dig Beat with it's sphaghetti western guitar lines and sultry vocal performance ("...look at your hands hun, they are praying but what is it (?) that they touch...") will make you smile more and your eyes widen as it swirls and gets bigger.

Lulu Lewis is the husband and wife duo of Pablo Martin (Tom Tom Club, The Du -Rites) and Dylan Hundley (Metropolitan) and their forays into post punk, gothy, soul infused songs have experimental fingerprints. They dub their sound as "Harlem Punk" which feels appropriate as you listen to the new wave-eque pure early punk sound of Intelligent Life featuring Brendan Cany of Fugazi. It is a pogo pounding, plastic skirt wearing track. The synth bottom heavy jagged bebop sound of The Sidewalks suggest that fertile time when disco dance steps merged with proto punk. It is alter universe stuff, wet tongue and cheeky. I want to hear this in a club full of people. One Note Rock N Roll is funky soul punk again deeply imaginative and transports you to people hanging in leather coats after 2 in the morning. Circling back to the opening track Gone To LA feels dangerous, cool and yet absolutely inviting. The almost Casio punk sound of Rock The Deer is protest punk at it's finest. Maybe the most strange and live sounding track Moving Fast pushes indie film buttons. The breathy percussion is at once Ari Aster creepy yet provocative. It is spartan, maybe improvisational and sinfully cool.

The last track, Eternal Youth might coalesce the bands highly art punk aesthetic. It moves beautifully, the tom tom beat that has the spring of a giant rubber band undulates forward, as guitars dance, bass pulsates, synth Farfisa-ish strains feel like a subway line and Dylan Hundley vox sound so fucking dreamy. Bravo Lulu Lewis.

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Robb Donker

Genuine Psychic, out July 12 via Ilegalia Records
First Single, Eternal Youth, out June 14th via Ilegalia as well
Release show with the Messthetics at Union Pool (Brooklyn, NY), July 12, 7 p.m



Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Norway's Great News and the runaway indie rock glitter ball presence of "TV"

























Norway based Great News coming off their impressive debut album "Wonderfault" (2018) release the single TV via Bergen based Label Eget Selskap. Since their debut they have been touring Austria, Germany, Holland and the UK and are currently working on their second album.

TV is a cool sprint of a song that feels like indie rock filtered through art rock / proto punk filters. The tones are now but there is something in the syncopated synth and feverish pace that feel mid 80's too in a good new wave way. It conjures up runaway nights and glitter ball sprays of light on beautiful faces. I love the vocal performance. It has been stuck in my brain for days. 

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Robb Donker


Sunday, July 7, 2019

"Hippodrome" by Allegheny Drive is a full tilt shapshifting rocker that seems to speed by in the blink of an eye






















Hippodrome by Texas based rockers Allegheny Drive is this shapeshifting hard prog rock song that flows into these surprising diversions of sound. There are mutations of psyche rock, art rock, electronica, punk, post punk and strains (although faint) of experimental rock that suggest some jazz punkish fusion things buried underneath. It is so furious and kind of feral that you blink your eyes and it is over although it is nearly 4 minutes long. Somehow it is that engaging to your brain as you scan all the tightly wound changes and musical shifts. The musicality is well, badass and the vocal performance by Noe Palacios is malleable enough to sound rock seductive and intimate but wail in an intense way when he needs to. A band like this needs a dominant drum sound and you have it here. 

Allegheny Drive core is made up of Noe Palacios (singer / guitar), Macky Divine (bass), Nathan Clark (drums / percussion) and Ian Clark (Keys) although other musicians might join in the fray at live shows. 

-
Robb Donker


 

THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES:

Allegheny Drive is the angular concoction of Denton, Texas-based cro-magnons Noe Palacios (Singer/Guitar), Nathan Clark (Percussionist), Ian Clark (Keyboardist) and Mackey Divine (Bassist). Usually joined by an extra member or two on stage, the result is a fun dismemberment of music, catchy melodies and beautiful dynamics as they throw a hodgepodge of genres together such as psychedelia, jazz, punk, post-hardcore and electronica. The band initially congregated in the cruel Texas summer of 2015 for one evening and parted ways to enjoy life until the harsh winter of early 2016 brought them back to each other to perform originals written by Palacios and Divine. These went on to amass an EP by the name of Jaybird. Bowling For Soup's singer and guitarist, Jaret Reddick, heard the main single from said EP and decided it was a sound that needed to be elevated, and so he took up the burden of guiding these four young men through Valve Studios and produced six of their songs. In the interim of completion of these songs, Allegheny Drive independently creates media and continues to play throughout Texas.

David Ellis' folk aesthetic is full of fresh air and open minds on "Eyes To The Sky" from the upcoming "Misty Heights" Album

























Eyes To The Sky by London based singer-songwriter David Ellis is a wonderful throwback song. I don't know why I call it a throwback song because it is a song that feels like the perfect fuel for today. It is so amazingly effervescent and captures that kind of (dare I say) a hippie or garden rock aesthetic in it's pumped up folk sound. I absolutely love the aesthetic here and I thought of 60's and 70's folk and rock sounds in the vein of Donovan and Marc Bolan. The Marc Bolan aesthetic especially which is so captivating. This song with it's wanderlust heart needs to be in some equally loving yet trippy movie.

Eyes To The Sky is from Ellis' upcoming full length debut album "Misty Heights" due out August 15th (2019).

-
Robb
Donker





THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM - PRESS NOTES: 

London-based musician, David Ellis self-releases his new single ‘Eyes To The Sky’ on 20 June.
The self-proclaimed ‘Pagan Rock’ artist cleverly sews together earthy rhythms with heartfelt melodies and impassioned singing. Written about his journey on the search for happiness, his positive approach to ‘Eyes To The Sky’ is a wonderful introduction to Ellis’ sanguine sound.
Speaking of ‘Eyes to the Sky’, Ellis explains:
“’Eyes to the Sky’ was written at a time where I regained a youthful wonderment towards life after spending many years searching for happiness in all the wrong places.”
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.
Eyes To The Sky’ is self-released on 20 June. The ‘Misty Heights’ album is expected on 15 August.  An album preview is available on request.

Bobby Hawk's folk rock foray "Lights On Kinks Out" descends into a sort of lush madness

New York City based (by way of Sibley, Illinois) Bobby Hawk makes music and meditation parts of his daily life. He just recently released his first solo single Lights On Kinks Out. The track begins with static and far away sounds and then falls head first into descending folk rock melodies and lush mix of guitars, bass and drums. The dirty electric guitar lends a nice gritty kind of blues rock tone that is offset by oncoming orchestration (love the bits of piano) that swirls around it all. The kind of start and stop aesthetic that descends into a bigger psyche rock sound feels kind of art rockish and eventually the full tilt trippy pyschedelia blows up in a sort of Beatle-esque sort of way. Love the arc of the song. It starts and moves and goes somewhere. It is a journey.

-
Robb Donker




THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM- PRESS NOTES;

During the first few seconds of Bobby Hawk’s first solo single, “Lights On Kinks Out,” the listener feels as though they’re tuning in through static to find a secret message unfolding on a faraway radio station. As the song comes into audio focus, it transforms into a haunting musical mantra about escaping a bad situation and returning to where one’s heart resides.
For Hawk, music, mantras, and meditation are all part his daily process. Born the tiny town of Sibley, Illinois (population: 300), the son of a musician quickly followed in his father’s footsteps, studying with Casey Driessen and learning to play violin, saxophone, mandolin, and guitar. Now based in New York City, he’s frequently found playing at his favorite Brooklyn venues: Sunny’s, St. Mazie, Skinny Dennis, and Barbes, among others.
Hawk uses twice-daily meditation and music as a form of spiritual healing and fulfillment; two practices he happily shares with his fans. Drawing inspiration from the elements he finds around him (reimagining a Django Reinhardt melody backwards or exploring an abandoned upstate New York property for the recording and video of “Lights On Kinks Out”) allows Hawk to create a musical experience that feels at once comfortably worn and familiar while also imaginative and new.
Over the years, Hawk has performed with the likes of Abigail Washburn, Jacob Jolliff, Clint Black, Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, and more. As he sets off on his solo music journey, Hawk has one hope for his listeners: “I hope they hear how much music means to me, as well as how cathartic listening and creating can be.”

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Daniel Lerner's lush folk passion play "Deus Ex Machina" arrives just in time

























From Wikipedia:

Deus ex machina (Latin: [ˈdeʊs ɛks ˈmaː.kʰɪ.naː]/ˈd.əs ɛks ˈmɑːknə/ or /ˈdəs ɛks ˈmækɪnə/;[1] plural: dei ex machina; English ‘god from the machine’) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and seemingly unlikely occurrence, typically so much as to seem contrived. Its function can be to resolve an otherwise irresolvable plot situation, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or act as a comedic device.




As noted from the Wikipedia insert above, Deus Ex Machina (God from the machine) is a plot device and quite literally stemmed from the conventions of ancient Greek Theater when actors playing Gods would literally be introduce via machines (as it were) lowered from above by crane or risen from the stage below via trapdoors. 

Singer-songwriter Daniel Lerner uses this convention beautifully in his song of the same name and the song is about that needing some convenient divine or un-divine intervention or a stroke of luck. What he does not need is such happy fate in this song as it is not only clever in it's lyrical twists but beautiful and beautifully crafted. The upfront acoustic work hits comfortable picking structures and then diverts in surprising and beautifully lush ways just like Lerner's vocal performance that hits such pretty tones. Lerner offers his wonderful guitar work, vox and production talents. Recorded in Miami, Florida and Mastered by Joe Lambert Mastering. 

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Robb Donker