Glenn Donaldson has been making music since the late 1990s: as The Ivy Tree, as Jewelled Antler Collective in the early ‘00s, with Skygreen Leopards and Art Museums… with his conceptual instrumental project FWY!, or, more recently in his psych-folk collaboration with Jeremy Earl of Woods as Painted Shrines, with singer-songwriter Jem Fanvu in Vacant Gardens. Or with The Reds, Pinks, and Purples.
As The Reds, Pinks, and Purples, Donaldson makes indie pop in the late ’80s style, sketching out the simplest and sweetest of pop songs from the barest of elements: strummy guitar chords accented with occasional synth or Casio keyboard line, undercut by the gentle patter of a drum machine. His early The Reds, Pinks, and Purples tracks published on Bandcamp gained attention from many music blogs and Spain’s Pretty Olivia Records offered Donaldson to put them on a vinyl. Anxiety Art was born (in 2019).
Just one year later English label Tough Love released You Might Be Happy Someday and Uncommon Weather is the third Red, Pinks, and Purples full-length again released by Tough Love and the Bay Area’s Slumberland Records.
What Glenn Says: “The Reds, Pinks & Purples is music recorded in my kitchen. I write songs about the Inner Richmond district of San Francisco and my life as a musician living under the radar on an hourly wage. I have a few 1960’s era guitars, a Casio, and a 2015 laptop. I come from underground music, but with this project, I am trying to make songs that anyone can enjoy and maybe relate to.”
David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights – Christopher Columbus
Everyone knows the Clean, but if you are like me, you have long ago worn-out “Tally-ho” and are deep into Kilgour’s glorious solo discography. I think of him as the Tom Petty of New Zealand, if every Tom Petty album was good all the way through and had more reverb. Here’s yet another lost dreamy classic from 2014’s End Times Undone, which is in my top three Kilgour records along with Here Come the Cars and the David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights self-titled LP.
Bailter Space – Retro
I was happy to grab the reissue of WAMMO recently. I saw this tour and remember hearing this ear-worm live. Bailter Space is a mix of Swell Maps with late 80s and early 90s noise rock, but this song does have a touch of RIDE to it though, a very catchy pop refrain. I love bands that are pleasantly bludgeoning.
Cindy – Free Advice
This is a San Francisco band that’s happening right now. They almost have a new album out, but here’s the title track from last year’s Free Advice. Cindy’s songs sneak up on you in slow motion. Vivid lyrical images jump out of the gloom.
Jonathan Richman – It’s You
I ran into Jonathan a few times in San Francisco and even had sushi with him once, though I am sure I will never “know” him. He is not really from Earth even though his songs seem on the surface rather wholesome. He has a ton of great records besides the classic proto-punk/proto-indie Modern Lovers stuff. His run from Modern Lovers in the early ’70s to the early ‘90s is full of classics. I consider this song from 1986 to be one of the best ever written by anyone.
Wurld Series – Supplication
This is a contemporary New Zealand band who makes ‘90s inspired music. They put a twist on the old 3D’s and Goblin Mix sound, with a touch of psych folk and pre-fame Guided By Voices also. I love the psychedelic keyboards in this one.
Jawbreaker – West Bay Invitational
I’ve been thinking about music from the Bay Area lately because my own records have focused on my life here. This is a story song about a party in Oakland that probably inspired me to write a couple of my own songs about parties. I think Blake deserves all the hype he gets about being a great lyricist.
Moving Targets – Less Than Gravity
They had the Boston sound in them via Mission of Burma, but you can also hear The Jam in there. The Burning in Water LP is one of those records that hits you at a crucial time in your youth and as a result you carry it around with you for your entire life. Everyone says I sound like Sarah Records but probably some of melodies in my songs come from Moving Targets.
Bob Marley – Johnny Was
I needed a comedown track, and Bob fits so perfectly in with punk. I love that they built this on a Roland rhythm box. A lot has been said about him, so I don’t really need to add anything, except to say turn up the bass on your system.