Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Donaldson’

The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “Last Summer In A Rented Room”

Very excited that there’s more RP&P news today. While Glenn’s kept the digital coffers quite full over the past few months properly spoiling us all, the band’s physical offerings are still in short supply and heavy on the import fodder. While this news still comes from across the Atlantic, it’s nice to see a 12″ mini-LP entering the fray today via Tough Love. Meant to be an EP, but packed with songs true to the style of The Reds, Pinks and Purples, You Might Be Happy Someday gives a physical space to eight of the tracks that have eked out on Bandcamp over last Winter, acting as a nice companion piece to the “I Should Have Helped You” 7″ that came out around May. Fans of the RPP mixture of swooning melodies and crushing narratives won’t be disappointed with the first offering. “Last Summer In A Rented Room” is an audible lump in the throat, ennui made manifest. The song sits on the listener’s chest like a sob caught between chords. It’s a beautiful piece of somber jangle that slots in nicely alongside the rest of the band’s catalog. Not sure if there’s a US distro picking these up just yet, but you can nab one from Bandcamp on pale pink vinyl straight from the label. The 12″ is out October 2nd and keep an ear perked because there’s still talk of a Slumberland LP on the way as well.




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The Reds, Pinks & Purples – “I’d Rather Astral Project”

I can’t resist a chance to post The Reds, Pinks & Purples and while the band’s upcoming new LP for Slumberland is still a ways off, they’ve worked up a nice animated vid for one of the myriad singles that have packed their Bandcamp over the last few months. The message in “I’d Rather Astral Project” seems a bit more prescient now with physical shows in indefinite hiatus it would seem more convenient to take up the astral plane as the new venue. As usual the band wraps their wry thoughts in the jangled melancholia that’s made them so steady on the speakers over here. Check out the Jem Fanvu directed vid above.



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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “I Should Have Helped You”

Some subtle news slips out over the long weekend that there’s a new 7” from The Reds, Pinks and Purples coming on EU label Discreet Music. The official follow-up to the band’s last LP, Anxiety Art culls four tracks from Glenn and co.’s prolific Bandcamp run over the last few months. In addition to the title track, “I Should Have Helped You,” the record picks up official version of “Unrequited,” “Keep Your Secrets Close,” and “They Only Wanted Your Soul.” As with the last album the band excels at mining the Sarah Records heyday with songs that tip both jangled and jilted – catchy but with a true melancholy heat. There’s not a cut on here worth missing but check out the autumn sighs that abound on the EP closer below. The song’s got Glenn’s earnest delivery humming and close enough to feel breath in the speakers, but its heard to push down the lump in the throat that forms over these two and a half minutes. Seems there should be some copies stateside soon, but there’s a link below for the import as well. Along with his Telephone Numbers output, these are some of Donaldson’s most intimate, but aching songs and its worth keeping an ear on them to see what’s popping up next.




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The Telephone Numbers – “Pictures of Lee”

As I mentioned Friday was a hectic day with the feeds flying fast, but if you were looking in the right places there were plenty of gems to be had. This new single/digital EP from The Telephone Numbers is just such a gem, so let’s rewind and take a listen. The band’s popped up here before and its a new one from Glenn Donaldson (The Skygreen Leopards, The Reds Pinks and Purples) who’s hooked up with a few more SF janglers to create some pristine and perfect pop in this absolute shit year. Sometimes all you need is a crisp jangle, earnest harmonies, and a good dose of swoon and everything just melts away for 3 minutes or so. The title track off of the single garners this kind of appeal. Its a such a crystal clear moment in sound that everything relaxes for a moment and just soaks in the West Coast sun for a few suspended minutes. The rest of the tracks spar between the melancholy shuffle of “Curtains Close,” the late-afternoon sidle of “It’s Not All About Your Life,” and a cracking cover of Alec Bathgate’s “Run.” Just like their last single, there’s a lot to love here and the band’s poised to be one’s to keep tabs on as these singles sneak out.



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Woods – “Strange To Explain”

News that Woods has an album on the way was among the best reliefs of the year. The band’s been lying low for a little bit, letting themselves ease into their own lives and focus on the label and festival. With the reveal of the first two singles from Strange to Explain, though, they prove that their time to rest has resulted in one of Woods’ deepest, most endearing records. The band revealed the title track this week and it’s a bittersweet, yearning song that tackles strange feelings of familiarity. The band’s sound is fuller than ever, fleshed out from the early days of their psych-folk sojourns into lush orchestrations that nestle into the greenery of their Upstate environs. Woodist fam and RSTB fave Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, The Reds, Pinks and Purples) shows up on background vocals and the whole thing sighs into the summer with an ease I hope is just over the horizon. The record is out May 22nd.



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Vacant Gardens

The debut LP from Vacant Gardens plays on a lot of favorites around here, combining the blissful descent of shoegaze with the drawn curtain comfort of bedroom synth pop for a record that’s immediate and personal but still evocative enough to splash your inner emotions across the stereo spectrum in an effusive pink haze. Doesn’t hurt that the band is built from a couple of past familiars as well, with the duo consisting of Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums, Reds, Pinks and Purples) and Jem Fanvu (Tune-Yards, Cavity Fang), operating a bit outside their typical pop enclaves. With touches of Pale Saints, Curve, and early Creation-era Ride and Slow Dive in the mix, the pair carves at the frothing bouquet of Dreampop with a deft hand that lets on their dedication aesthetics come to the forefront. Many have tried to capture the same aesthetics but they usually come up as a cheap facsimile, Vacan Gardens don’t ever even catch whiff of such knockoff tendencies. They are ripped out of time, and beautifully so. The entire album glows with a backlit brilliance, radiant and ambient at the same time.

The sounds come seeping out from the speakers with curls of fog that obscure hooks in the maw of feedback fanged guitars. Jem’s vocals carry a heartbroken twinge that twist the knife between the lungs and lets the blood flow from the listener. The pain is pleasure, though, in this case. Every song is bittersweet manna from a disinterested heaven, that comes billowing out at the listener, bringing the pang but letting the listener float away on a cloud of narcotic churn to balm the burn. I fear this might slip between the cracks of public consciousness in the goldfish memory of 2020, so don’t let this pass by without absorbing the delightful ache that Vacant Gardens bring to the most overcast evenings, dragging you down with them in blissful delight.




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The Telephone Numbers – I Took A Walk

Been waiting for this one to land for some time, as rumblings and Instagram pics floated out of the Bay Area over the last year. The Telephone Numbers are a trio featuring Thomas Rubenstein, Charlie Ertola, and Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums) coming together for a classic jangle-pop tumble through the sunny streets. Akin to Donaldson’s latest work with The Reds Pinks and Purples, but cleaner, less solitary and somber. There’s still a bittersweet tinge to their first single and it shines through on the title track, bringing to mind The Field Mice and later-period Felt. “I Took A Walk” is yearning, wrestling with a heavy heart, and not always winning. The band caps the single nicely with the spare, but sweet “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” a cover by pre-Big Hat band The Keys. Very excited to have and hold something from these guys, though hoping something physical might be in the works somewhere further down the line. This was practically made for sitting on the floor, staring at the ceiling and stilling oneself only to push the needle back to the beginning once more.




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The Reds, Pinks and Purples

Pretty much as long as there’s been a Raven, there’s been music on the site in some form by Glenn Donaldson. From Skygreen Leopards to The Art Museums, Birdtree to Giant Skyflower Band and Flying Canon, there are plenty of hallmarks that have made their way into life around here. Quite a few years ago, when I was putting together a compilation for the site’s third year anniversary, I asked Glenn for something from Skygreen and he put forth a new band he was working on called The Reds, Pinks and Purples. Still jangly, but not as driven to the winds as Skygreeen. The sounds would share quite a bit of DNA with Glenn’s next project, the pastel-hued pop hymns of Art Museums but they wouldn’t fully surface until now.

Soaring above some similarly synthetic beats, The RP,&Ps take more of a sauntered pace to their pop paradigm. These are the fruits of an artist who’s spent years in the jangle-pop portfolios of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Those colors don’t seem so arbitrary once the record gets spinning. The songs glow with rosy hues, beautifully bittersweet and hummably heartfelt. Like fellow West Coast jangler Business of Dreams, Glenn’s scratching n’ sniffing the discarded tears from the Creation and Sarah catalogs (with nods to Jasmine Minks, Sneetches, The Field Mice) but also leaning on South-Hemi heavies like the The Go-Betweens and The Bats. Glenn seems to ascribe no heavy debts to the songs. He mentions, “They are fiction and non-fiction. I recorded them in my kitchen, but we live in the future now, so some of them are coming out on vinyl in Spain. To me, they are straight pop songs with not much of a filter.”

Seems a bit modest to me. Glenn’s the filter and he’s caught all the filler and left an album that’s filled with charms, swoons, aches, and tears. We do live in the future, so people will probably break these into fodder for their personal playlists, but any track here would just as easily fill out the crucial crux of your crush’s mixtape or be heard between the crackled static of dorm radios late into the night on the campus station. The songs here are timeless reminders that pop can heal all wounds and bridge decades. Straight pop songs for sure, but remarkable ones to say the least.




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The Reds, Pinks, & Purples – “Ahead of Their Time”

After a lengthy gestation period the first Reds, Pinks, & Purples LP is on its way out this year. The band first appeared on Raven way back in 2009 on my first compilation, marking the three-year anniversary of the site. Since then Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums, Ivytree) has had several records come through, but The Reds, Pinks, & Purples has always lingered in the background. That is, until late last year when demos began popping up regularly on their Bandcamp, promising a fully formed record to come. That LP arrives via Spain’s Pretty Olivia Records. Entitled Anxiety Art the record wraps up a full set of RP&P’s amber-hued jangle-pop with just a slight lap of syncopated drums. The band has always been a close cousin of Art Museums, but where that band’s locked beats and pastel strum skew towards bliss, The Reds, Pinks & Purples scrape the heart with a pang of melancholy. Check out the lovely “Ahead of Their Time” below and nab one of the 150 copies of this gem.



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RSTB Best of 2018: Reissues, Etc.

A large part of the site is not only focusing on new releases, but also the great reissues that are unearthed during the course of a year. Below are my picks for the best editions dug up by the hardworking folks on the reissue circuit. Every year there are less options to work from and every year labels continue to surprise me with what they bring out. I’m also going to take a moment to give tribute to an album that could have been this year but due to unfortunate circumstances didn’t make it to fruition.

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