Friday, May 31, 2019

heckdang's heavy passionate post punk sound on "St. Anthony" from the "Never Left Home" EP

St. Anthony by Charlotte based emo-influenced post punk outfit heckdang is all about storytelling... passionate storytelling. The song falls head first into a lovely forlorn feel and Magda Criswell vocal performance as tortured as it sounds full of hurt and loss feels real. The chorus erupts into even heavier sounds. The song has constant movement from the picking guitar and piano sounds and even though it is drenched in post punk goodness it (for me) feels very much like Americana rock too. I mean I thought of such luminaries as Patti Smith and in blending punk and a kind of Americana rock feel I also thought of Titus Andronicus. 

St. Anthony is from heckdang's recently released "Never Left Home" available on CD and Bandcamp. heckdang is Magda Criswell on bass and vocals; Phillip Calhoun on guitar; and Cole Brooks on drums.

Robb Donker

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Minihorse's narcotic drip with big lush waves of indie rock on the dreamy "Summer Itch"

Summer Itch is the second single from Minihorse's debut album "Living Room Art" dropping on July 26th via Park the Van.

I am feeling slow motion images in my mind when I listen to this track. Bendy guitar notes and vocal melodies that move, push against the sonic dissonance. The airy production with subtle guitar and other sounds feel (on the verses) down turned but comfortable as the almost forlorn vocal performance feels like a purposeful counter position. A vocal ying to the guitar driven yang. Minihorse has this sad aesthetic and it is once again mined here but it doesn't matter if they drink the same kool aid as long as they invent new flavors after all. The narcotic sleepy drip is offset by the bigger chorus that feels dreamy and lush. The emotional weight is felt here in a sad big way and that is the most important part. With songs like this we need to feel something and I do. 

Of the track, Ben Collins offers:

"Summer Itch is a song about a feeling I’m sure most Michiganders will understand. When it’s freezing, I have a tendency to lock myself indoors. The days are short and sunlight is hard to come by. There’s a lethargic feeling to the whole thing, which drives the central tempo of this song. Initially, when we recorded it, everything was a bit more mid-tempo, until we tried massively slowing the whole tape machine down, stretching out the sound in the process. We finished the whole song on top of these slowed-down basic tracks, and it feels very much like January in Michigan." 

Robb Donker

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Glom's track "My Red Spine" feels like alternative rock fused from different eras and genres

My Red Spine by Brooklyn based alternative rock band Glom feels like a song fused from different eras and genres. There is a free wheeling pop meets punk in a proto punk way as well as power pop meets alternative rock. The bass line is incredibly dense with edgy drums that has a tightly wound mod feel, the guitars are (once again) proto punk meets art rock meets alternative rock and the vocals feel like 90's college radio, real without any musical artifice. This song has so much of all the right influences that I found myself pushing play multiple times and flashing on different bands every time not because My Red Spine borrows from them but because they share the same musical DNA.

Robb Donker

Glom is a Brooklyn based indie/alternative rock band. Prior to moving to Brooklyn, Glom formed in the DC area as founders Sean Christian and Peter Warren, along with Jonathan Harwood and Sahil Ansari grew up playing music together. They draw upon 90s alternative rock influences to deliver a familiar sound in a new way. Glom’s upbeat fuzzy pop foursome is completed by fifth member “Johan” Crandall’s shiny synthesizer and tambourine.
"'My Red Spine' is an homage to the late 70s guitar-rock that inspired me when I was a kid," says Peter. The wonky riff is reminiscent of Blue Oyster Cult, T. Rex, and Steely Dan while the vocal melodies are a direct interpretation of early 70s proto-punk from the likes of the Stooges and Velvet Underground. 
While “My Red Spine” is influenced by an earlier era than most other Glom songs, it is still delivered with the band’s textbook lushness, making it an in-your-face addition to their sound in the context of the rest of their debut album.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Franc Cinelli’s indie folk single "Fly" is a reflective homage to Nick Drake’s "Which Will" born out of loss

(photo courtesy of John Drill)

Fly is Franc Cinelli's first single of 2019. The spartan production hinges almost solely on Cinelli's intimate vocal performance and soulful reflections born from the loss of a family member that passed away. A beautifully poised song tinged with sadness and acceptance, interestingly enough the melody for Fly came forth almost effortlessly while he played guitar to Nick Drake's Which Will. Moments like this come to songwriters, little gifts given by other songwriters. Fly will be on the new upcoming full length called "Night Songs" due to drop this September (2019). 

While Fly could not exist without Cinelli's evocative vocal aesthetic it is also the cadence and emotional arc of the guitar picking that ebbs and flows with the melodies. The musical breaks are so expressive and when orchestral sounds swell up and embrace the whole musical affair it is beautifully moving. 

Franc Cinelli was born in Rome, Italy and is currently based out of London, England.

Robb Donker


Franc wrote Night Songs throughout 2018 without any initial thought of making a record. It seems that all the songs came from a place of introspection. “They were songs I needed to write, plain and simple. But the songs on the record definitely feel to me like they belong together and the title Night Songs helps me understand them better”, says Franc. “There’s a special beauty found only in the stillness of the night. In the silent, lonely darkness dreams are born and reflections make way for answers. Night time isn’t the end of anything. It’s the beginning. It’s the seed of a brand new start“.
Some of the music Franc Cinelli was listening to while making these songs had undoubtedly seeped into his new LP. Nick Drake, Jonathan Wilson, Blaze Foley, John Martyn or eastern folk artists like N. Ravikiran and Ravi Shankar – they all seem to rub off on the style of the record. Understanding those melodies allowed Franc for create something totally new and the artist is very excited to be sharing this album with the public. All songs on the upcoming LP have helped Franc to get through a tough time in his life, and artist wish for some of the sounds he created to be of help to others as well.

Monday, May 27, 2019

"Matrix Moves" by Swedish 2 man band Oxen moves in post punk power pop ways

Matrix Moves by the Swedish two man indie outfit Oxen moves in power pop ways propelled by a deep groove, active post punk-ish guitar strains and the band's cool passionate vocal performance. Childhood friends Erik and Stefan were obviously destined to create artful sounds.

Robb Donker


Press Notes:

The two friends grew up in the middle of Sweden and experienced everything that comes with an upbringing in a small town. Meeting their first loves, sharing their first beer and starting playing instruments, that eventually would steer them away from home. Inevitably, the band and the city grew apart. Erik and Stefan decided to try their luck in Stockholm. Sharing a small one-bedroom flat, together with Erik’s girlfriend, the two friends began writing what would become Oxen's first singles 'Only Forever and 'Luck'. 
Their first two songs were released in 2016 and got placement on official Spotify playlists and a lot of love from music blogs and fans around the world. They started playing club shows around Sweden, London as well as Sweden’s Peace & Love-festival. Oxen released their first EP appropriately named ‘Oxen’ and then went silent for a while. The band felt that they somewhere lost their direction and decided to really take their time before continuing. After changing a few band members and mapping out what Oxen really should be about, they ventured into Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg to start the recording of the songs that would eventually become Oxen’s debut album ‘Postpone and Forget’.
‘Postpone and Forget’ was released in November 2018 on the indie label harmoni, and showcases a wide and imaginative spectrum of songwriting. The tracks on the album were written over a long period of time and mainly drives inspiration from music Erik and Stefan listened to while growing up as well as experiences shared. Upbeat and bright tracks like ‘Postpone’, ‘Limbo’ and ‘I Am Beach King’ are mixed with heavier rock-based songs like ‘Ã…rstaberg’ and ‘Where are you now?’, throw some ballads like ‘Soulmate’ and ‘You Said It Yourself’ in the mix and you have yourself a solid debut album. The album got nice reviews across the board and ‘Rolling Stone’ called the duo ‘a talented indie-rock outfit’. Radio stations in Germany, and other parts of Europe, picked up some of the songs and the band also toured those parts of the world after releasing ‘Postpone and Forget’.
Today Erik and Stefan lives in separate apartments and are currently working on their second album, once again, in Svenska Grammofonstudion. Whilst ‘Postpone and Forget’ was a nostalgic trip through memories, inspirations and experiences the new album is a display of where the band is today - both musically and lifewise. To kickstart a long period of new music being released ‘Oxen’ will put out a stand-alone single called ‘Matrix Moves’ together with a music video, showcasing some non-musical skills of the band. Through 2019 and 2020 new songs will be released, new shows will be played and the journey for the perfect song will continue.

North Ireland's Mitch McAteer and his painfully moving "I Hate That I Love You"

Mitch McAteer's painfully moving I Hate That I Love You is a song that not only wears it's heart on it's sleeve but all over like a painful heavy winter overcoat of tortured feelings of a love that cannot be, of open wounds that sting at the mere hush of breath caused at the utterance of the words "I love you." McAteer's vocal performance is gut wrenching. His low growl and cut razor blade tone hurts like whisky on a sore bloody throat. Whether the pain is real and autobiographical or artistically wrought or both, you feel real heartache in this performance and words. The musical bed at every turn is just as feral, messy and passionate. Powerful stuff. 

Mitch McAteer is a Northern Irish alt-folk singer and his debut EP dropped on this month.

Robb Donker

The turning point in Mitch McAteer’s creative journey came when he returned from London to a mobile home on the fringes of his uncle's farm in Northern Ireland. He craved space to think and process, and no wifi and a £10 mobile phone helped perfectly to achieve that! The beauty of his Co. Down homeland allowed him to open up creatively. He was inspired by the dynamics of the scenery, the changing seasons, the cycle from dull misty mornings to warm summer evenings. After months of writing in isolation, the songs evolved into the upcoming EP - what Mitch describes as a “wee family”.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Old Flame's - blues rock hybrid "Smoke Show" stirs in iconic sounds heavy on storytelling

Smoke Show by Old Flame (based out of Northampton, MA) starts with a kinetic percussive energy stirring in so many emotional and musical genres. There is a kind of romantic Americana rock / 70's-ish blues rock thing happening but with Emma Ayres compelling vocal performance there is also an art rock theatricality pushed by an almost 60's chamber pop vibe. This blend is drenched with story telling too and I love that. The vibe (to me) almost hearkens back to vast big rock sound of songs like Blondie's doo-wop punk of Union City Blues or the garden rock of Free Money by Patti Smith. 

Old Flame is Emma Ayres (Vocals), Sam Perry (Guitar), Nate Mondschein (Bass), Ken Birchall (Drums) and Hannah Rose (Synth & Wurli). Their debut full length "Young And In Debt" just dropped on May 11th.

Robb Donker


Old Flame is born in the Western-MA DIY scene, spinning grit and honey rasp vocals into an art rock nostalgia with a shoegaze afterglow. In the words of ‘Ear To The Ground Music’: "Love this sound, retro and brand new all at the same time. Toes the line of vintage & psych rock. Addictively good." Your crush is Emma Ayres (Emma June), Sam Perry (Dios Trio), Ken Birchall (Eric Culberson band), Hannah Rose (Sodada), and Nate Mondschein (Trot Fox). Since forming in 2017, Old Flame has been nominated by The Deli Magazine as “New England Artist of the Month,” and released two EPs “Wolf In The Heather,” lauded by The Valley Advocate for its “acid-tongued lyrics that rail against corporate capitalism and capture the spirit of proto-punk in a bottle; a rollicking anarchistic flair for damning it all to hell,” and “Hush Money,” “...evoking  the intensity of The Bends and OK Computer-era Radiohead with lead vocalist singing with ethereal subtlety that’s reminiscent of Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac.” You can’t get enough.

"Silver Fish Eat Serotonin" personal reflections on Sad Sundays and lo-fi bedroom pop interludes

On this long Memorial Day weekend it is a big push to get the foundational stuff for the new site, PizzandFries in place. I had started it on one platform and decided it needed to be create correctly from the ground up so while that makes me far behind where I planned on being at this particular time, it is for the best. PizzandFries will be a sister site to American Pancake. Less driven by track reviews (although they will be there) and more driven by Press Notes in an effort to give an added avenue to artists that don't fit in my small focused AP box. AP has always been my personal and musical driven site for artists that appeal to me. Artists that push avant garde tones in all types of genres or that have such a unique voice creatively speaking. That is a tough, specific place to be for any artist and it occurs to me that so many other artists that I pass on are really great but do not fall into my little tiny view of what is so captivating. And to be truthful, I have odd tastes. I mean I still put "Punch Drunk Love" in my favorite movie of all times category and who does that. So, PizzandFries will serve another purpose. More on all the purposes it is intended to serve soon.

Last night I created some experimental pop, avant garde (a little) bedroom pop unexpectedly. I hadn't planned on it but felt that creative compulsion fueled by some simple keyboard meanderings. Dropped them in Reaper and turned them into a dissonant drone while you could still hear the subtle key note shifts. Tossed some D-tuned, capo'd acoustic guitar and instantly penned some stream of consciousness words. The melody was impromptu and quick and the odd little song or maybe it should be called an interlude because that is ultimately what it sounds like is named Silver Fish Eat Serotonin. It feels to me like a lullaby or a kiss goodbye to someone who has departed. I know, sad stuff. It feels apt for a Sad Sunday.

I have had this thing with Sundays. They sometimes feel like the saddest day of the week. Maybe it is because a full work week lies ahead and while I do appreciate and like my day job a ton, it is the simple act of having to work for a company, for someone else that ultimately touches on my deep seated issues of self reliance and doing things my way. When you work for anyone else you have to follow rules and practises after all. Not long ago for several Sundays in a row, as if my psychological clock was set to a panic alarm on Sunday mornings. I am not prone to deep depressions but during this period it felt like I was spiralling downward. That ended but not after some serious consequences.

Looking to work hard at pushing all personal and artistic projects. During this time I may be asking for a lot of support from you all. Letting you know ahead of time because I have trouble asking for help. Hey... if you are needing help in your personal life or your artistic life do not keep it all inside. Tell, ask, hug someone.

Take care--

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The black leather intoxicated rock sound of Animal Waves' "Lately So Lonely" pushes hard memories

Animal Waves' track Lately So Lonely is from the onset a trippy rock affair. The intro pushes avant garde art rock buttons instantly and then it falls head first into such a dense rock club sound. That kind of post punk, art rock motif with a heavy metal / grunge heart. Over modulated dissonance and black leather intoxicated vocal sound with a glam heart somewhere between T-Rex and Queens Of The Stone Age. For me it feels like a 1989 smoke filled night at The Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood... old times. 

Animal Waves, now based out of Los Angeles are Robert Davis (Guitar, Vox), Charles Salvaggio (Bass) and Matt Zavorski (Drums).

Robb Donker

Animal Waves was born out of the creative collaboration of Robert Davis and Nathaniel Cox. Hailing from Carbondale, IL, Robert had the blues and rock & roll being hurled at his ears from an early age.  The moment a guitar landed in his hands he was immediately hooked and never looked back.  Though his guitar has done the singing for most of his musical journey, including opportunities to play/ record with heroes like Slash and an energetic stint with Lauryn Hill, Robert felt the urge to have his voice heard.  Teaming up with longtime friend and writing partner Nathaniel Cox, together they crafted a batch of fuzzed out, straight ahead rock tunes that have something to say about the state of affairs of the people "without forgetting how to party".

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Millennial Club's glitter ball romance wave of "MI" from their EP "She's So Insane"

The Millennial Club's track MI from their recently released EP "She's So Insane" conjures up young love, heartbreak, longing and glitter balls at a high school dance. There is something in the synth sounds that feel steeped in the new wave tones of the 80's, of soundtracks to a John Hughes film starring Molly Ringwald but there are 90's R & B grooves too and current tugs at the heart. It is not just a one note kind of song, it changes shape with an evocative piano break that feels so embracing and cinematic. When it falls back into the staccato rhythms and groove you really feel the 80's tones again. I love it. The song then shifts again with tender moments as Andres Owens' vocal performance gets even more intimate. This track breaks like a romantic wave, tender deep grooves and lovely revelations. 

You can stream the new EP "She's So Insane HERE.

Robb Donker


So-Cal based The Millennial Club is an indie pop and R&B outfit who at a very young age, have managed to blend dance-inspired 80’s pop, beat-driven 90’s R&B, and emotional love-centered lyricism to mold their unique Southern California sound. The group was formed when singer/guitarist Andres Owens was joined by bassist/keyboardist Jared Ortiz in late 2016, later adding guitarist/saxophonist Jake Stevenson and drummer Tyler Kamei. They find inspiration in a wide range of artists including Coldplay, Bombay Bicycle Club, St. Lucia, and The 1975. To date, the band has opened for Charlotte Lawrence and Katelyn Tarver and has played House of Blues Anaheim, The Satellite, The Study, FIESTAS Music & Arts Festival, and Summerlands Festival.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Losing It All" by Heele feels like iconic rock pushing all the right guitar buttons

Losing It All by Heele, the alternative project of Michael Henss, a singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in New Haven, Connecticut. Losing It All cuts a deep groove and (to me) has a decidedly 80's new wave (pop rock) vibe with kind of proggy tendencies and a romantic wave tone. I thought of the iconic Tears For Fears even though Henss pumps some bigger rock sounds into the mix pushing a big guitar break that is heavy and lush. The hooks are a plenty. 

Henss currently plays drums with the band Hellrazor and played drums (previously) with the band Dead Wives. He has been working on the Heele project since 2015 while working as a music educator, television composer and freelance audio engineer. 

Robb Donker

While the world is collapsing feel "Pendulum" swing by Josh Warren

As a music fan and one who write about music I oftentimes swim in post punk seas and look through avant garde prisms but sometimes, sometimes you just have to grab someone you love or someone who is hurting as much as you and slow dance while the world is collapsing around you. 

The track Pendulum by Nashville singer songwriter / composer Josh Warren and from his upcoming album entitled, "There's Room Enough for All of Us", is a sweetly swaying slow dance of a song with a nice groove and endearing vocal performance. The album is a collection of 15 songs (8 instrumentals and 7 lyric based tracks). Pendulum swings in some classic light R & B / blues / jazz tones but brings in some indie pop (even tropical punk vibes) along as well. Cool. Now, find a dance partner and wait, wait for the saxophone. 

Robb Donker

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Which Way" by Will Fox is an utterly beautiful surprise

Which Way by Will Fox starts out simple and kind of sweet. That beginning is deceptive because as the song progresses, it musically and emotionally becomes more dense and complex stirring up sweeping passages of a kind of pop with avant garde leanings. The very synthetic keys combined with the facile guitar work feels cool and proggy and kind of proto punkish and then these pop drenched harmonies will splash over it all. Fox's vocal performance / style is endearing too. He sounds inward and a bit tortured. Oh and the end, wow, the end of the song is an utter beautiful surprise.

Love the aesthetic here. 

After you listen to "Which Way" check out Fox's site here:

Robb Donker


Like many before him in the canon, Will Fox is a vagabond. Born in Houston, TX, raised in London, Paris, and the American South, Fox spent his adolescence moving around, practicing, and playing. His travels even took him to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he studied Bossa Nova, expanding his craft. Back stateside, destined to operate a gristmill near his hometown in the Shenandoah Valley, Fox instead moved to Los Angeles to become a troubadour. After his stint as a member of the now-defunct LA-darlings Los Angeles Police Department, Fox turned his attention to his own pursuits, calling on a community of friends including Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore) and Tim Keen (Ought) to help bring his compositions to life. 
In his songs you'll hear his lifetime's array of influences compounded from the intricate fingerpicking of Nick Drake and Leo Kottke, to the romantic croon of Chris Bell. From the songwriting deities themselves like Neil Young or George Harrison, to modern heroes like Cass McCombs or The Clientele. 
Will Fox’s debut EP Cosmic Dusting was released last year through Twosyllable Records via cassette and all digital platforms.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Stoffs' "Call of The Spring" is a shape changing prog rocker

Call of The Spring by The Stoffs, an indie rock project of Indianapolis based musician Eric Stoff is a kind of jagged puzzle piece of proggy indie rock set pieces. In three and a half minutes a metamorphosis takes place from delicate tightly wound frameworks beneath pretty vocal melodies with proggy musical breaks to a full blown out (different) song entirely. The shift is dramatic and kind of perplexing but in a good way. Indie rock heavy, pretty and pretty complex. 

Press Notes below detail, Stoff's journey to his ambitious album "Little Flock" that you can stream at his website here:


Robb Donker


The Stoffs is the indie rock project of Indianapolis-based musician Eric Stoff.
Eric and his wife Brooke had a turbulent year in 2017. They welcomed their first daughter into the world, experienced unprecedented success in their business, and Eric achieved a life goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
From an outside perspective, it was the best year of their lives. But the Stoffs also experienced financial stress, strained relationships, and the unique weight of caring for a newborn child.
Eric spent the entirety of 2018 writing, recording, and meticulously crafting “Little Flock” in his home. He said it was healing for him as he worked his way through postpartum depression, and it helped him make sense of chaotic previous year.
“Making this record helped me realign my identity on this side of fatherhood,” Eric said. “It made me explore what parts of my relationships - with my creator, my wife, my child and future children. What changed? What stayed the same?”
Released on New Year’s Day 2019, “Little Flock,” details a universal tug-of-war between desperation and hope.

Saint Kodiak pushes and punches on "Like It Is"

Like It Is by Scandinavia based singer songwriter Saint Kodiak rides on a punchy folk engine forever moving forward to it's conclusion. This formidable movement, full of wanderlust and wide eyed stares to the horizon, feels so vast. The vocal performance propelled by cool guitar lines feels passionate but not overly forced, just real and earnest. The folk sway made me think a bit of Kevin Morby. Really like the aesthetic and big sound here. This is the last single before an upcoming album. 

Of the album Kodiak says, "Sometimes we need to thank whoever gives us a slap in the face. My new single is a celebration of the ones who dare to push someone else if that someone else is stagnating and can't see it himself. It is a song about necessary pain. That is why I - in my new single LIKE IT IS - thank the person who sets my house on fire - if that house has become like a jail."

Robb Donker

Chorus Grant's dark experimental folk presence on "Lives"

Chorus Grant is the musical moniker of Kristian Finne (Denmark) and his first song in five years, Lives feels like dark beautiful experimental folk. The song changes shape many times in deceptive ways. At the onset there are little clues that the song will metamorphosize and once the song falls into Grant's deep almost reticent breath the song seems to walk into a dreamworld inhabited by ghosts, some dark and light from the past. The song still holds onto it's kind of light chamber pop tones but is forever changed. Interesting and superbly complex.

Robb Donker


Denmark’s Chorus Grant is back with first new song in 5 years - a folk-rock chamber music mutant called “Lives”

Since the release of 2014’s Space, Kristian Finne aka Chorus Grant has released two records and toured with acclaimed duo Cancer consisting of Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild of When Saints Go Machine and Kristian. This past year however, Kristian has focused solely on writing a new solo album as Chorus Grant. The new album revolves thematically around transitions of life, and the liminal space between the old and the new- the “what was” and the “what will be”.
Compositionally working on his own take on a new Nordic sound, Kristian found what he calls "the melancholic major" and the harmonic qualities of this tone inhabits the new songs and leads to the core of emotional life.
Music and songwriting is my most trusted friend. It helps me to understand life and give voice to ponderings that can’t not be articulated in normal conversation. I’ve felt an urgency to write these songs that deal with transition and transformation- floating mid-air between an old and a new life. My hope is that my coming record will resonate with others and serve as a mirror where people can unravel their own lives and find comfort that no one is alone when facing fundamental change.”
The video for “Lives” is made by rising star painter and visual artist Jakob Steen in his studio located in an industrial area of Copenhagen. The friendship and kinship between Kristian and Jakob has previously manifested itself in visuals for the songs "O Everyone" and "Godplans" from before mentioned Space. On "Lives", Steen stages Chorus Grant in a locked setting that leaves no other option than to communicate with eyes, face and voice.
Appearing on the recording is Sebastian Rochford(Polar Bear, Patti Smith etc.) ondrums, Adi Zukanovic (IRAH) on organ and keyboard, Karen Guastavino plays the recorder and baritone saxophone and Mads Brinch plays bass. "Lives" is composed and written by Kristian Finne who also plays guitar and sings.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Spiral Electric's psyche rock explosion - "Hole In My Soul"

Hole In My Soul by San Fran's The Spiral Electric is an ecstatic psyche rock explosion. When the sharply barbed synth (or guitar?) lick hook happens early on and throughout I cannot help but smile. This is the biggest sound I have heard the band produced (I thought of Ty Segall and Butthole Surfers a bit) and I love it. They do beautifully fall into a kind of lovely lull in the middle and it is heartfelt and leads into an audaciously rad crescendo that has so many evocative sounds throughout- the song at this point still heavy as hell takes on an almost art rock motif and I actually thought of Radiohead. Love this song. 

Robb Donker


The Spiral Electric initially began in San Francisco as a psychedelic guitar duo consisting of Clay Andrews (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Nicolas Percey (lead guitar), and has shifted through various lineups over the years, venturing through acid rock with flavours of surf, post-punk, british goth and indie, noise, drone, and stoner rock. Between 2012 and 2018, they have gathered a dedicated international following and toured up and down the US west coast from Seattle to Los Angeles and played festivals like the Desert Stars Festival in Pioneertown CA, Starry Nites Festival in Santa Barbara, Gathering of the Tribes Festival in San Francisco, CA, and the Portland Psych Fest in Portland, OR. They have recorded two EPs at Skylab Studio in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree with producer Tommy Dietrick-- "Upon Your Shore" (released April 2015) and "Ask The Sky" (released December 2016), and are recording a new double-LP at Wiggle Room Studio in Los Angeles with new members Michael Summers (bass) and Matias Drago (drums), and producer Steve Kille (Dead Meadow / Xemu Records).
The sound of The Spiral Electric is one part soaring melody, one part face-melting guitar, one part orbiting synth, one part danceable groove and a heavy dose of west coast psychedelia, shaken not stirred. Drink it straight, no chaser!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Forever On The Fence" by Aadams is a gorgeous alt folk song that might just quietly blow your mind

One minute inside the lovely dreamy track Forever On The Fence by New Jersey based singer-songwriter Aadams I thought instantly of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Aadams' self harmonies are drop dead gorgeous and maybe it is the way he crafts his melodies that made me think of that iconic folk quartet. There is more too like though, it is the almost shoe gaze folk feel, touches of ambience and experimental pop tones, bending vocals electronically in a few spots and a seriously kind of hyper realistic ending pushing the folk envelope even further. Not sure if Aadams self produced this but if he did then he better add another hyphenate to his singer-songwriter descriptor. Amazing work. 

Robb Donker

"Too Close" by The Modern World fuses romance wave, soul and jazz with an iconic sounding vocal performance

Too Close by The Modern World, the music project / vehicle for London based songwriter / producer Oli James. This beautiful song has so many elements that make you fall in love with it. The guitar work feels glides like slow motion drops of rain on a body of water. The cadence is easy and combined with a bass is the loveliest slow dance. Strings swell and backing vocals sooth in an R & B way... but most of all it might be the soulful vocal performance here that oddly enough made me think of a blend of Andy Bell (Erasure) and Alison Moyet (Yazoo).

Robb Donker 


The Modern World is the vehicle for the songwriting of London based producer/songwriter Oli James. Oli was born in London and began writing songs after his family relocated to Spain when he was ten years old. He honed his craft whilst studying English at University College London, and after a two year stint playing the blues scene in Moscow, Russia, Oli returned to London to form a crew of misfits and musical prodigies that make up The Modern World.
Often producing music alone at home, or in snatches of late-night studio time in friend’s studios across London, The Modern World have been recognized for their exhilarating fusion of guitar-pop, soul and jazz, gripping live shows and distinctive visual identity. They have hosted shows in nightclubs, churches, rooftops, and living rooms, and they plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saint Germain's "Find A Way" psychedelic reflections on this indie rock gem

Find A Way is the third track release by Saint Germain this year. The song rides on psychedelic guitar lines, switched up drum patterns and Germain's evocative vocal strains. Steeped in a kind of forlorn indie rock sound, the musical bridge gets even more dreamy before erupting into an even bigger chorus with a broad pop sweep as well. The only thing wrong with this track is that it seems to end much too soon. 

Saint Germain (Luc St Germain) is from Orangeville, Ontario Canada and Find A Way was recorded with Mike Tompa at Dreamhouse Studios in Toronto. 

Robb Donker 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

"Remember" by Ian Terry is darkly beautiful

Remember by singer songwriter Ian Terry is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Within the acoustic strains, banjo and layered melodies their are dark metaphors of a dead relationship and haunting images painted within the lilt of Terry's vocal performance. 

Ian Terry records and self produces his lo-fi lovely creations somewhere in Delaware. He has over 20 songs available on Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. 

Robb Donker

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Spinning Plates" by Smiling At Strangers and from their self titled album (out now) blends styles in wonderful ways

Smiling At Strangers are a British alternative pop rock project centered around singer/ songwriter Marc Halls and their self titled debut LP was just released (May 13th). The track Spinning Plates with it's almost drunken guitar lines, tightly would drums and bass and Halls emotive vocal melodies that dance around it all is multi layered with musical influences. The chorus is big and sweeping, each element filling up the spaces like moments of organ sounds and backing vox that stir the pot in such lovely ways. The sounds, tones have touches of blues, gospel, faint patina of honky-tonk and indie rock all combined in this blendo kind of indie pop sound. Not easy to describe and hard to forget. 

Robb Donker

Smiling At Strangers' Self Titled Album is available on ALL Streaming platforms:
Get a Free Download when you follow on Spotify.

1. States Of Being
2. Edie
3. On My Mind
4. Colourblind
5. Silent Showman
6. Spinning Plates
7. Who I Am
8. Everything After

Jordan Sommerlad is full of ethereal and rockish twists and turns on "Shake Me"

Shake Me by singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Jordan Sommerlad has such dreamy tendencies, ethereal and airy with dramatic tension. At first it feels as if Beach House and Caveman had an offspring, I can see images in space, images tinged in a Polaroid patina told in layers of sounds. 

From the onset, Sommerlad creates tensions and drama. A cagey percussive framework for a smooth silky vocal performance. Those aforementioned ethereal tendencies fall way to a rockish chorus with a big pop sway-- for some reason I thought of the old school "new wave" broad pop of Tears For Fears when they would swing wide. Such a trippy cool track. When it goes acoustic for a brief moment that hooky melody grabs you by the shirt collar. The breath and scope of this song just makes me smile with joy as it rocks out once again. 

Robb Donker


“As a teen, I used to stay up late at night in my room to work on music with my four-track recorder. I still do the same thing today, recording here in my apartment. Music has always been therapeutic for me—it’s a way to separate from the worries of the day,” the New York-based indie artist Jordan Sommerlad shares.

After years of honing his craft as an indie songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and bedroom producer visionary, Jordan now announces his first official solo album, playfully titled Your Favorite Palindrome. The 10-song collection will be preceded by the lushly-layered single, Shake Me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Bisou Bisou" by Swedish art rock duo Tella Viv cuts an avant garde pop groove with a punk attitude

Bisou Bisou by Swedish art rock duo Tella Viv is unabashedly drenched in a deep indie pop sound with a power art pop undercurrent. The song from the onset cuts a deep kind of rock dance groove and never lets up, the bass jams, guitars attack and then step back, synth flourishes and cagey drums set up a thick lush sound for the gritty vox that snarl but are have fun at the same time. Bisou Bisou for all it's pop-ness has a decidedly punk attitude. 

Tella Viv is Carl Hjelm and Benjamin Lavén. The art rock duo have a love of avant garde pop. Of Bisou Bisou they offer:

"Pardon our french. This song is a road trip to the underworld, dealing with goodbyes, adieus, call it what you like. An eloquent way of saying “*** ***”. Welcome change, but first give me that tiny kiss you promised.
We spoke of Bisou Bisou as a garage rock song in the form of a french garden. Trimmed, exact and wild. We wanted to see if we could combine our love to the messy, with precision. The result came kissing us."

Robb Donker

Monday, May 13, 2019

Homme de Fleurs featuring Emmalee Madden - beautifully collide on "Contact"

The song Contact opens with the vocal performance by Emmalee Madden, somber and effected with a hint of herself ghosting in such a sad core self aware way is quite mesmerizing and becomes more when Homme De Fleurs' (the alt-folk project by Canadian artist and producer Jason Zerbin) voice steps in to hold hand. The two as one entity is so beautifully captivating and embraces you throughout the entire song elevated by the spartan production. It is the emptiness of the song that feels heavy. I love, absolutely love how Madden voice spikes into falsetto in surprising ways. Love the percussion that supports at the right moments and the vocal melodies that lift you up.

Press notes reveal that the song was written on an island in Canada's West Coast which must of seeped into the bones of the song, the undercurrent of loneliness, the vacuum of longing. 


Robb Donker

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sid Steppes' "I'd Like To Go Away From Here Again With You" languid and beautifully dark psychedelia

I'd Like To Go Away From Here Again With You by Sid Steppes and from the recently released "Trails" album feels like a hazy sad core darker almost grunge version of 60's artists like Donovan or Status Quo. I am loving the languid sound, the lush bass line and forlorn vocal performance. The retro sound sounds less retro than possessed by former times. 

From Southern California, Sid Steppes creates his sounds in makeshift bedroom studios. His debut DIY album "Trails" is available on Bandcamp. A Neo-psychedelic dream pop album honed by a decade of crafting emotions and sounds. 

Press notes reveal that: 

Trails is inspired by heartache, depression and the path towards rehabilitating the mind, as well as a deep bond and connection for psychedelic music from the 60s and 70s. “I listened to a lot of John Lennon during a hard time in my life and was inspired by the vulnerability and honesty in his lyrics. I had never written about my emotions before but listening to Lennon eased the fear of opening up and exposing myself.”

Robb Donker