Keep American Pancake Music Blog Alive & Well

My name is Robb Donker Curtius and I started American Pancake back in 2009 solely to help indie artists, bands, singer-songwriters not covered by the "Pitchfork Media's" of the world.  That was our mantra, our mission statement from the beginning and still is. The blog has also been a personal passion, a place to write about music that speaks to me in a real way and inspires and informs me as a consumer of music and as a singer-songwriter, musician too. For me, music has been a constant source of comfort when times are hard and as an artistic mirror. Songs, to me, are sonic Rorschach tests for us to interpret in the way we want to, maybe as a way to see ourselves. A place for peaceful reflections or hard stares, a place for catharsis or carrying memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. 

In some ways because AP deals with artists who are often times starting out, I guess it has been a kind of stepping stone blog. I remember writing about Phoebe Bridgers way back in 2014 and I honestly think that American Pancake was the first blog to write a review of her music. I was pleased and honored that from 2014, and all the way up to 2019, one of my quotes were always in her Press notes and even still up on the esteemed NPR, [ Music blog American Pancake says, "Phoebe's tender performance mildly freaks you out and breaks your heart at the same time... utterly beautiful".

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My words derived from a review of her very first EP - Killer (the original one) seemed to resonate with a lot of people and that is what thrills me, what has kept me going although American Pancake has never been a money making enterprise but, instead, a passion and after about 5 years in started to feel like a mounting responsibility so much so that oftentimes I would side step an album, EP or track review of an artist of import (like a Phoebe Bridgers or Future Islands or Radiohead) because I had dozens of submissions stacked up from lesser known artists in my email. Ultimately, I tried all these years to stick to my guns and the mission statement of covering artists / bands that the Pitchfork Media's of the world do not.  

Sticking to my guns is not the best business model in terms of growth because artists who are not well known don't generally garner a lot of searches in Google so American Pancake, in terms of outreach has stayed relatively small although it has had for many years a spot in the Indie Bible and is know all around the world.  What has kept me going when I have felt that it is time to end this passion and responsibility are the emails from artists who are so appreciative that someone is listening to their music. I have even had artists tell me that if it were not for my interest in their one particular song they were going to throw in the towel. It is hard out there for artists and increasingly impossible to even be a "struggling artist" with the cost of living increasing every single year. 

Late last year (2019) I left my job of 15 years to move back to California and be near my extended family. Prior to leaving I had set up phone interviews with a number of companies so I could hopefully hit the ground running. Some of those jobs did not pan out and other prospects were directly postponed or those positions were summarily done away with once the Pandemic hit hard in March. Because of the current situation and other concerns (I am a diabetic, a so called Covid 19 Risk Group), the notion of making American Pancake a bigger thing and my full time endeavor feels like an opportunity I need to take right now. Working remotely also makes absolute sense, and the opportunity to do what I love and in turn help countless others would be a blessed thing.

All the while, American Pancake, this still fledgling, stumbling indie music blog has laid down more words about divergent artists than ever before. Here are some numbers, free of conspiracy theories. 

In 2020 AP listened to 48,688 minutes of new music and gave 332,012 words of feedback. We wrote about 1328 artists or bands to the tune of 343,952 original words of reviews along with disseminating an additional 218,155 words from the artists themselves (in bio's / press notes) and 5312 Links shared. Reviews ran the gamut from short burst blurbs (160 words), quick take aways (250 words), inspired and sometimes bent reflections (450 words) or full on, in depth, album reviews (928 to 1337 words). 

Part of the time I broadcast my podcasts on  Boogaloo Radio's (out of London) roster and am conducting more interviews with artists because talking shop with creative people is not only exciting but serves as a source of inspiration. Those chats sometimes feel like a FREE sort of Master Class on production, on songwriting on managing content and a hundred other key components involving the creation of art as art and as a consumable product. All sorts of things that those artists not covered by the "Pitchfork Media's of the world" needs to know. I have moved off of Boogaloo but will be podcasting soon via multiple platforms.

I am not, by nature, a man who asks for help easily so I am trying to look at this request for help as more of an opportunity for all of you who are into indie music and love the idea of a truly independent blog (AP has been called "the last true indie music blog") so I hope that maybe 5000 of the hundreds of thousands of you who view the blog or the 50k plus artists I have interacted with over the years will feel happy to gift American Pancake funds to not only keep going but to grow and, in turn, help more indie artists along the way. 

The funds will be utilized to plant seeds to keep AP afloat for, at minimum, 3 more years but hopefully for 20 more years. Part of the funds will be to re-build the site, to build a podcasting studio, to free up time from other free-lance work to directly work on and build the blog. To incentivize others to contribute to the blog, to enhance the podcasting interviewing aspect for the AP YouTube channel by equipping the podcasting studio with adequate cameras and audio platforms and to offset some living expenses ie- purchase truckloads of wheat bread and peanut butter. 

I know that during these tumultuous times, donating to keep an Indie Music Blog afloat might seem like an unnecessary thing to do with so many other causes to give to. I give to many causes myself and just hope the number of people who care about American Pancake is many so "the many" can give a very reasonably small amount and AP can still hit our goal. I am absolutely honored to be able to help bring people's artistic endeavors, their dreams to an audience and would be forever grateful to any of you who would help me keep this "fledgling humble blog" alive.  If you cannot give but care then a share or many shares of this page would be highly appreciated.

If you have any questions or concerns, my email door is always open and I can be reached through the blog at www.americanpancake.com

Cheers
Robb

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 18 d
  • David Roberts 
    • $10 
    • 2 mos
  • Kai Keefe 
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Kevin Healey 
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • Philip Marlow 
    • $20 
    • 3 mos
See all

Organizer

Robbert Curtius 
Organizer
La Habra, CA
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