DONKNG hasn’t been around long, but they’ve kicked Florida’s ass so hard in 2016. The slacker garage three-piece all grew up South Florida but have all since relocated to Gainesville. Orlando has been lucky enough to pull the boys over a lot this year. They’ve played Spacebar, Uncle Lou’s, and house parties with the likes of Slumberjack, RV, and Maximino. To end a hot year, DONKNG released their first ever recordings, a five-song EP titled Daydreams.
The first comment on the EP’s “name your price” Bandcamp page is from “axelito”; it reads, “wow bros, The Strokes cover band? My love for you guys can’t be expressed with five bucks but you know, go hit up that dollar menu or something.” First off, DONKNG is too good for the dollar menu — they deserve steak. But that first bit kinda makes sense. It wasn’t as obvious in a live setting, but Camilo Isaza’s voice has that low, moan that Julian Casablancas’s uses. But, “The Strokes Cover band?” The Strokes suck now, right?
DONKNG feel fresher. Camilo’s vocals are carried by a jangly, midtempo wave. The band’s South Florida shows in their surf rock temperament. Examples of this laidback, innocent nature are the “doo, doo, doos” in “Jesus Christ,” talk of the high school dance in “I Remember,” and the line “You had me on my ass” in “Title Fight.” There are tents of uncertainty and darkness under the cool paint, though. The title track attacks the dated establishment and warns us not to fall in line. “Daydreaming about all the things you could have been.” The young dads have collected a handful of solid pop tunes; it’s easy to hum along, but there’s more to it than just vibes.