Speak, Music Critic

September 7, 2011

Our new collection of songs “Hymns for the Dreadful Night” has been out a short while, here are some thoughts people are typing about it.

“Their new album Hymns for the Dreadful Night…their hardest-rocking effort to date, their least opaque and by far their best…the driving rhythm section of Ross Bonadonna on bass and Bill Gerstel on drums give the louder songs here a mighty majesty – there are plenty of warmly inviting string-driven pop bands out there, nobody who attacks those songs with as much verve as Piñataland. Violinist Deni Bonet is a one-woman orchestra, showing off sizzling Balkan, country and classical chops, frequently contrasting with Dave Wechsler’s pensive, rain-drenched piano and organ. Robin Aigner, who lights up many of these songs with her harmonies, knocks one out of the park with her lead vocal on the lush countrypolitan shuffle Border Guard….” Lucid Culture

“4 1/2 stars (out of 5) Tremendous.” Jeffrey Sisk, IN TUNE, Daily News, PA

“First of all, let me say that it takes some real right-side brain activity to think of a concept like this, but then to actually write lyrics and arrange music around this concept takes pure genius. That is what this record is, pure genius.” ‘Rebel Rod” From Under The Basement

“So this is what it sounds like when The Decemberists, The Pogues and Gogol Bordello are put in a blender.,,,this is a rare and exceptional record which, from conception to execution, is nothing less than total perfection.” Scott Baxter, Americana UK

“Hymns for the Dreadful Night is the best ‘live’ album recorded in a studio format. Pinataland has been around for a few albums and, based on the strength of Hymns for the Dreadful Night, I’m going to need to give [their other albums] a listen.” Dw. Dunphy, Popdose

“Modern day orchestral Americana with a Celtic twist. Stone and Wechsler are superb wordsmiths and the music is mostly joyous with just a hint of danger lurking underneath, more often than with a jubilant violin riding on top.” Hans Werksman, Here Come The Flood

“The music is a fascinating mixture that serves the lyric well, and it is a tribute to the band’s talent that it all holds together and makes a powerful impression.” Oliver di Place

“I have no idea what they are on about but I like the way it sounds.” 27 Leggies

Greta Gertler, see her.

August 10, 2011

We’re thrilled to have Greta Gertler open for us on August 26th at 10pm. She’s a singer songwriter from Australia who makes really great orchestral pop.

an upcoming show, & a couple reviews

July 14, 2011

We’re excited to be performing at Barbes (9th Street and 6th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn) on Friday, August 26th at 11pm. Greta Gertler at 10:00pm! This show will feature our current mighty lineup of Doug, Robin, Ross, Deni, Dave and Bill. Songs from “Hymns for the Dreadful Night”, old tunes, and possibly a brand new one.

Speaking of the new record, here are some thoughts from a couple of music writers:

“…well-crafted, absolutely gorgeous, memorable chamber-pop songs….wonderful tunes… If you’re a fan of Americana, accordions, fiddle, or just plain beautiful things that aren’t wispy and sentimental all the time (!), “Hymns for the Dreadful Night” should be on your shortlist.” – Stephen Carradini/Oklahoma Gazette

“Piñataland’s lyrics and melodies are the kind you find yourself humming days after you last heard the disc.”- Justin Vellucci, Brooklyn Rail

“Hymns for the Dreadful Night”

April 24, 2011

“Hymns for the Dreadful Night”, Pinataland’s new album, is mercifully done, and we’ll be celebrating its completion at:

Barbes, Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn
Friday May 13th at 10pm
Robin Aigner and Parlour Game at 8pm

with Robin Aigner and Doug Stone (me) singing, David Wechsler on piano and vocals, Bill Gerstel on drums, Ross Bonadonna on bass, and Deni Bonet on violin.

Here’s the blurb I wrote for the Barbes website:

Pinataland’s lyrics are about the murkier corners of the American past, and they sound like the lovechildren of Stephen Foster and Kurt Weil, or maybe if Up With People covered Laurie Anderson. The subjects of their darkly romantic tunes include digging up the corpse of Thomas Paine, godless 1670s Brooklyn, and the A-Bomb.

The recording of this thing was a fascinating process, and we owe everything to the genius of Ross Bonadonna. From within his cave-like Wombat Studios, Ross recorded, engineered, played multiple instruments (I believe he also sang, though that was later deleted), mixed, mastered, and throughout, acted as a mumbling Buddha of brilliant and elegant ideas that he would then execute with ease. Thanks for making a beautiful record, Ross!

I’d also like thank the fine musicians who played here:

Deni Bonet, whose violin playing gives me literal chills
Gerald Menke with his haunted pedal steel, dobro and mustache
Tubists Dave Hofstra and Dan Nosheny, who are two of the best in the business

David Wechsler and I co-wrote 3 songs here, and they’re my favorite, including “The Dreadful Night” which features a fantastic performance on an intriguingly out-of-tune piano Dave found somewhere.

Robin Aigner sings true on each and every song, and helpfully provides the soul of Pinataland.

And Bill Gerstel, who laid down the foundations of the record with orchestral percussion that gives the whole endeavor its odd and striking feel.

We’ll have the record for you the night of the 13th. Our Kickstarter supporters will be mailed CDs as soon as I get them, thanks so much for your help!

Thanks, and more updates to come soon,



1. The Dreadful Night
2. Island of Godless Men
3. An American Man
4. The Death of Silas Deane
5. Oppie Struck a Match
6. Hungry Angel
7. The Oldest Band in Town
8. Hiawatha
9. Border Guard
10. Cemetery Mink

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