Friday, January 16, 2015

Cassette Review: Mike Donner "S/T" (Grabbing Clouds Records and Tapes)

[$5 // Edition of 50 //]

The first sounds I hear coming out of this cassette remind me of Tom Petty, specifically the song "Running Down a Dream", but done in a sort of way that would have a genre tag ending in "gaze".    This takes me back to when Aaron from Ask for Joy and I discussed a entire shoegaze album dedicated to the songs of Tom Petty and it kind of instantly has me falling in love with Mike Donner as I'm thinking that he should be on any Tom Petty compilation someone is going to make if they want it done right.

With some classic guitat wah-wah feel, this is garage but also somewhat pop and it is kind of like The Rentals meets Rolling Stones.    There are bits of psychedelic moments which transfer quite well and just make you remember that time back when rock n roll really meant something.    It can be gritty and punk influenced just as easily as it can seem like it's catchy and channeling the likes of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.     There is also that certain driving/country feel that I can't put into words so much as simply remark that you have to hear it to get it.

One of the ideas that I used to describe this cassette in my notes was that of "party rock" and while I feel that the tag has a perfect fit to it I also feel like it could be somewhat misconstrued by people reading it and taking it for what it is typically known as meaning.   When I see "party rock" I think of either frat boys (and I do believe "frat rock" is a thing) or something like Andrew WK and neither of those really apply in this case.    This is a different type of party.

The idea of this being a party is not so much the gathering of people but just that this has that level of energy to it.     It's not like Oingo Boingo in "Back to School" so much as the Ramones in "Rock n Roll High School".      It's not that I think of Mike Donner as playing a "show" or "concert" or "gig" but mostly it just feels like every time he plays it's going to be a party.   It's just a vibe and when it's put out there it truly makes you feel like wherever Mike Donner is playing music that's where you want to be.

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