Wednesday, 9 February 2011

2011Candy - February Edition One

Background: Kopecky Family Band released a limited edition, hand-assembled split 7” vinyl with friends, and Seattle locals Ivan and Alyosha on February 4th 2011. Animal and I Was Born to Love Her feature on the two-track release.

Both bands have long been vinyl enthusiasts and thought it the ideal time to offer their friends and fans a limited edition piece of music to not only listen to, but to keep as a creative addition to their music collection. The artwork was designed in-house by Kelsey Kopecky, and the vinyl was lovingly packed and assembled at Kopecky Headquarters.

Kopecky Family Band is readying themselves for a busy 2011 after achieving much in 2010. The band kicked off the year at SXSW in Austin, wowed locals and industry execs at Next Big Nashville, and floored the likes of Bob Boilen at CMJ in New York. A solid work ethic and collaborative approach to songwriting resulted in two EP releases in the second half of the year - The Disaster and (Of Epic Proportions), plus well received ‘seasonal’ tracks for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The band is now back in the recording studio and plans to release a brand new EP in April off the back of another stint at SXSW 2011.

2011Candy Says: Listening to The Disaster and featuring the first song from said EP, I am personally delighted to have been introduced to the Kopecky Family Band, superb harmonies that remind me of the Arcade Fire, with a definitive and different musical style, highly recommended.
Listen: God and Me. Web: Official.

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Background: Inspired by italo, electro and the 80s new wave movement, Teeel aka Jim Smith credits his sound to marathon movie watching and being an obsessive gear head. Crammed in a 10x10 teal painted room, stacked with synthesizers and walls covered with vintage Moog ads, Jim creates music that is perhaps best described as hypnotic soft-vocal, synthpop.

2011Candy Says: There is a richness to Teeel that reminds me of another band covered later in this edition (OMD) however the vocals here are far softer and dreamy, the layers are built in a considered manner and the result is wonderful synth pop.
Listen: Triangle Waves. Web: Moodgadget.
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Background: Helen Brown was born in Vancouver, Canada, but raised in an Athens, Georgia-based religious cult, and was blinded in one eye from a childhood baseball injury. As an adult, she dropped out of Evergreen and traveled the country for a while as a nomadic psychedelic folksinger, before forming her first band One Eyed Tramps. For years, she lived alone in a mountaintop in southern Alaska, where she befriended a Cherokee Shaman (later revealed as a fake) who encouraged her to pursue a frustrating academic career. Rampant drug use, frequent fainting on stage, and occasional self-inflicted knife wounds on stage led to more interest in her stage antics than her music. However, a few sides did emerge in the late ’90s (recording dates unknown), which feature a unique mix of country, girl group, RandB, and ghoulishness. Crude and amateurish at best, these recordings are appreciated for their sincerity and intensity of feeling.

Earth Girl Helen Brown comes to us from Sonny Smith's (Sonny and the Sunsets) uber-ambitious 100 Records project. The band now consists of Smith himself, as well as Heidi Alexander and Grace Cooper of the Sandwitches. The Story of an Earth Girl EP (out March 1st) is available for pre-order now via Forest Family Records.

2011Candy Says: This is an incredible song that reminds me of both the 1960's and has a groove that is timeless. Wonderful.
Listen: Hit After Hit. Web: FF Records.
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Background: Vladimir Valette - the singing and the writing, Benedetto Socci - the knob-twiddling.

Electronic pop duo The Mystic Underground have released their latest single entitled Pride Of St. Mark's. The song, produced by Super Buddha (Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright, Franz Ferdinand), is a three and half minute tip of the hat to the rich punk and dance music scenes of New York's recent past and how that influence still resonates to this day.

Just recently featured on Tom Robinson's Fresh On The Net show (BBC 6 Music), the song is a prime example of what The Mystic Underground are about. Tales of life and love. Woe and elation. Rhythmic pulses serving as the backdrop to the human experience. In short, life...set to a dance beat. The single is available now on I-Tunes and Amazon.

2011Candy Says: No shortage of electro pop this time around and The Mystic Underground have a punchy vocal lead in Vladimir Valette that suits the tempo and rhythm perfectly, I am hearing the Human League at times but in a positive manner.
Listen: Pride Of St Mark. Web: Official.
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Background: With the release of his debut EP Sidewalk Friend, 2010 has proven to be an exciting year for Toronto singer/songwriter Nick Teehan.  A natural singer with a clear, lazy baritone - equal parts Tom Waits and Frank Sinatra - Nick Teehan is a unique voice, his songs fresh, energetic and unpredictable; his lyrics imaginative, irreverent and arrestingly insightful.

Growing up in suburban Oshawa (the Canadian equivalent of suburban Detroit) Nick felt most free after dark, whether he was watching rented Charleton Heston movies, wandering the city’s forest paths, or trekking south to yell and throw rocks at the 4:00 a.m. train.  His teenage afternoons were spent pushing carts at the local grocery store and cruising his rusty old bike across town on the sidewalk.

Moving to Toronto to study jazz saxophone, Nick found himself drawn not to the city’s glittering lights but to its in-between places: abandoned factories, parks, boarded-up churches, rusting bridges.  Nick cites the loneliness and solitude of post-industrial Ontario as one of his biggest sources of inspiration; other inspiration comes from legendary songwriters like Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen, and Irving Berlin.  When filtered through Nick’s unconventional imagination, the results are vivid dream-images: benevolent robots in a post-apocalyptic world; love-starved raccoons; an undead orchestra marching down Queen Street.

Nick has found some success as a saxophonist - playing the MuchMusic Video Awards, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Summerfolk Festival, and performing with Toronto funk/rock bands Barbarella and Pure Finesse - but songwriting is his true calling, where he relishes the freedom to explore.   He’s supported by a talented six-piece band that includes his older brother  Rob Teehan, also a Juno-nominated composer; the pair enjoy a fruitful collaborative relationship and plan to co-produce Nick’s first full-length album, expected in 2011.

2011Candy Says: This song has a beautiful mix of instruments none of which dominate and all of which compliment each other, Nick's vocals are sublime and the whole tempo just makes me want to hear more and more from this guy and the band.
Listen: Sidewalk Friend. Web: MySpace.
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Background: From our friends at Paper Garden Records - There's something about Danish bands that we just can't get enough of these days.  The latest to hit our bloodstream, standing side by side with fellow Danish bands Mew, Oh Land, Oh No Ono and Efterklang as well as Paper Garden & The Lovely Hearts Club's Frederick Teige, Dad Rocks! and Alcoholic Faith Mission, comes Anchorless.

Reminiscent of bands like American Football and early Appleseed Cast, Anchorless' self-titled EP is a delightful listen which borders on the edge of several genres.  The Lovely Hearts Club is particularly fond of 'A Step Too Steep', which features a 90's-era pop sound like you would find from Harvey Danger or Deep Blue Something...but SO much better! This gem was discovered last April through the same label/management as Alcoholic Faith Mission and are thrilled to finally help bring it to the surface for all to hear.

2011Candy Says: Denmark, Sweden - there is something that's been going on in Scandinavia since the start of this century musically, that should have seen them take over the whole world by now ! Latest case study Anchorless, fast, punchy, confident and another example that they have something special in the water over there.
Listen: A Step To Steep. Web: MySpace.
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Background: After a decade plus hiatus from the music business, jazz vocalist Erin Dickins is back with a new album and a new attitude. A founding member of the original jazz vocal group Manhattan Transfer, Dickins’ latest CD Nice Girls is a collection of beautifully recorded, exquisitely performed and brilliantly chosen gems - from cool sultry ballads to swinging arrangements. The release is the perfect soundtrack to Erin Dickins’ comeback.

Though she began recording Nice Girls in 2009, one could say that the opus has been in the making for the better part of the last two decades.

Having recorded with a virtual who’s who of musical geniuses— from James Brown and James Taylor to Leonard Cohen and Talking Heads—Erin Dickins quit the music business cold turkey. “I had not found my authentic voice as an artist, and it was time. I moved to Honolulu, as far away from New York as I could get,” she says. “It was there that I finally learned that what matters is the gift of music I have been given, and my willingness to share that gift.”

The highly accomplished singer/performer was lured back into making music after producing a show for Habitat for Humanity, a favored charitable organization. Working with 200 amateur performers on the show sparked Dickins’ creative juices for the first time in a long time.

Soon thereafter, Erin Dickins was invited to perform again and the ball began rolling from there. “It was meant to be. Everyone and everything I needed—musicians, writers, producers, songs and support team—all arrived, as if on cue. I couldn’t have stopped this if I wanted to.” Erin Dickins will be performing several spot dates throughout the U.S in 2011.

Thankfully for fans of good music, Dickins’ return to jazz will not be short lived. She is currently in the early stages of writing and pre-production for the follow-up to Nice Girls with Frederick. And the pair is even tinkering with the idea of a live album.

2011Candy Says: I started listening to Erin without realising just who I was hearing. To say that she has class, would simply be an exercise in stating the bl##ding obvious! Wonderful music from one of the best, would you expect anything less?
Listen: Nice Girls Don't Stay. Web: Official.
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Background: Some quotes - "I lost track of Carey Ott after his Dualtone release Lucid Dream. That was one of the great lost albums of the decade in my opinion and it's nice to see he's still out there making music. " - No Depression

" He is the kind of talent that bridges generations, smashes genre walls and can make you effortlessly grove and endlessly dream at the same time. He's a kid in a sandbox, a man making grand designs--and the kind of artist whose gifts are seen rarely in any given generation. " - Chicago Tribune

" Windy City rocker reborn as Music City marvel.perceptive lyrics, supple and persuasive vocals, and melodies that cling like superglue." - Uncut Magazine

" His sweet vignettes ooze an epic-indieness, like a Rufus Wainwright or Teddy Thompson." - Maverick Magazine

"A moody melodicism that will appeal to Anglophiles who gravitate toward polished Britrock. The kind of pop that can appeal to both collegiate types and their moms----a la Coldplay." - The Tennessean

"A voice that conjures up an instant intimacy with incredible pop sensibilities." - eMusic.com

"As a melodicist, Chicago singer/songwriter Carey Ott is in the Neil Finn school of low-key classicism." - All Music Guide.

2011Candy Says: Sometimes it is far easier just to quote others hence the above examples. If you enjoy the featured track it just keeps getting better the further you dig so check this man out.
Listen: Ain't No Upside. Web: Official.
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Background: Deborah Crooks is a seeker. The San Francisco Bay Area-born and bred singer/songwriter grew up at the nexus of two tectonic plates; close to a city known for its history of social, musical and political upheaval. These underlying conduits of tension seem bred into those from The Bay Area, but few more so than Crooks. As a performer Crooks wasn’t born until her twenties, even though she remembers writing songs as a young child. Something in those early ditties spoke to Crooks’ sense of Becoming, illuminating a self that was yet to be. These days Crooks is a vibrant artist carrying on the San Francisco tradition of powerful female singer/songwriters with literate lyrics and progressive musical attitudes; well respected within the music scene and increasingly so outside of it.

The lid came off of Crooks’ creative self during her studies at Colorado’s The Naropa Institute. The ecumenical Buddhist-based educational philosophy of the school inspired Crooks to take up Buddhist practice, begin studying yoga and to see her creative side as a spiritual outlet. Around the same time Crooks experienced the Telluride Folk Festival, and was inspired to walk in the footsteps of artists such as Michelle Shocked and Shawn Colvin. Little did Crooks know that she was embarking on a new life path. If yoga became the rock upon which Crooks life was built, music became the lifeblood.

The various tensions that swirl about the life of Deborah Crooks have catalyzed a songwriting talent that is soul-wise and edgy. Combine this with Crooks’ distinctive voice and you’ve discovered an artist capable of owning a room. Deborah Crooks doesn’t so much blow you away as she creeps into the questing places in your soul and insinuates herself as the reflective voice that sheds wisdom on a worrisome world. It’s this quality that first gained Crooks the attention of RockerGirl Magazine for her 2003 debut EP 5 Acres. The Roberta Donnay-produced EP landed Crooks on the RockerGirl Discoveries compilation and gained Crooks a national audience for the first time. In 2007 Crooks followed up with an EP entitled Turn It All Red, a stepping stone to her first full-length album Adding Water To Ashes, released in 2009. 2010 has seen the release of two EPs from the prolific singer/songwriter. It’s All Up To You was made possible by a Bay Bridged Grant and shows Crooks’ social conscience in full force, while Other Halves displays some of Crooks’ most focused songwriting to date alongside a stunning cover of Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold”.

2011Candy Says: That alt country feel that I am a sucker for exudes through the featured song and is a great shop window on Deborah Crooks. If you like the song insist on hearing more and don't be surprised by the diversity of styles you will hear.
Listen: Lets Move. Web: Official.
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Background: Sunbeam is the brainchild of music producer Brian Hall. After several previous (and relatively fruitless) efforts in more “serious” projects, Hall decided to change things up and start a new band with his wife, Amy. Band mates were found in close friends, and serendipitously, the band had an immediate chemistry.

A 6-piece baroque pop band from Portland, Oregon, Sunbeam channels diverse influences such as Cat Stevens, Nick Drake, and The Zombies. The typical sentiment in modern folk music might be one of melancholy and withdrawal, but Sunbeam aims to in addition evoke everything from the romanticism of David Bowie and the childlike wonder of a Shirley Temple film.  Sunbeam is both refreshing and distinct for they are neither gimmick nor novelty but a genuine attempt to musically move past the dredges of indifference and express the experience of life to the fullest. Founded in 2010, in the band's relatively short existence, they've already played to a packed house at Portland's Crystal Ballroom and are looking toward an ambitious tour this Summer.

Sunbeam’s debut album, Sunbeam and the Lovely Ghost, is slated for release early this Summer (2011).

2011Candy Says: This is the sort of song and the sort of band I want to hear on the first sunny spring day of the year. Cheer yourself up naturally with Sunbeam, you can even unwind to them, now that's special.
Listen: Bulldogs. Web: Official.
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Background: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, one of the UK’s most iconic bands, are back with their first new album in 14 years. The appropriately entitled ‘History Of Modern’ via Bright Antenna Records through Warner Music Group’s Independent Label Group, has already sold over 100,000 copies. And what a return!

Andy McCluskey has called it ‘our best album since Architecture and Morality’ – and few would disagree. The album was produced by OMD and mixed by one of the UK’s most in demand producers Mike Crossey (Artic Monkeys/Blood Red Shoes/Razorlight).

Last autumn the classic OMD line up of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper (keyboards) and Malcolm Holmes (drums) embarked on their sold-out 'History of Modern' European tour. The press raved. The Times praised their “well-crafted song structures, lush arrangements and energetic stage performance” while Q Magazine declared them 'soaring synth-pop of the highest order'.

The tour is now officially heading stateside this March with North American stops including Boston, NY, LA, SF, Toronto and playing select shows at this year’s SXSW. It will be the group’s first US outing with the original line up since their 1988 stadium tour with Depeche Mode. After three years of critically acclaimed sold- out concerts in the UK and Europe these dates will feature the band mixing their most celebrated and classic hits; ‘Enola Gay’, ‘So In Love’ ‘If You Leave’ and ‘Souvenir’ with new songs, creating a distinctly contemporary live show.

It's nearly thirty years since OMD first harnessed their creative and commercial powers, and 2010’s comeback album 'History Of Modern' proves they still have a way with a warm melody and interesting lyric.  For all their love of experimental German music, the Wirral duo remains at heart, slaves to the pop song. History of Modern is a powerful, pulsating, vibrant testament to their shared pop sensibility. Tracks such as ‘Pulse’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Sister Marie Says’ and ‘The Future’ are huge dance floor fillers while down tempo gems ‘Bondage Of Fate’, ‘If You Want It’ and ‘Sometimes’ are simply beautiful, classic OMD songs that invoke their pioneering and influential electronic roots. Many of today’s electro artists such as LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Mark Ronson, The XX,  MGMT and The Killers have repeatedly cited OMD as a massive inspiration.

March 5       Toronto, ON             Phoenix Concert Theatre
March 6       Montreal, QC            Le National
March 7       Boston, MA              Paradise Rock Club
March 8       New York, NY           Webster Hall
March 10     Washington, DC        9.30 Club
March 11     Pontiac, MA               Crofoot Ballroom
March 12     Chicago, IL               Park West
March 14    Atlanta, GA              The Loft
March 16    Houston, TX             House Of Blues
March 17     Austin, TX                SXSW
March 18     Austin, TX                SXSW
March 19     Austin, TX                SXSW
March 20     Dallas, TX                Granada Theatre
March 22     Denver, CO               Bluebird Theatre
March 23     Salt Lake City, UT     Depot
March 25     Los Angeles, CA       The Music Box
March 26    Oakland, CA              The Fox
March 27    San Diego, CA           4th and B
March 29    Los Angeles, CA       The Music Box

2011Candy Says: It's OMD who are playing the USA next month! Can't write anything else I'm down in my garage digging out my original vinyl copies and getting ready to wake the neighbours up electronically!
Listen: If You Want It. Web: OMD USA Tour Tickets.
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Background: Neon Hitch's got a nice buzz going on right now thanks to a series of covers she put out late last year that put her on Hype Machine's most popular charts for weeks. She's a great story. As a kid, Neon grew up on a bus, travelling the world as a trapeze artist and street performer. BBC even did a documentary on her life. At age 10, Neon began writing poetry, which led to her writing lyrics. Over the next several years, Neon found herself traveling with friends all over Europe, and living in squats in London while trying to pursue a singing career. In 2007, she signed to The Streets' Mike Skinner's indie label The Beats Recordings (a subsidiary of Atlantic's 679 Recordings) and went on tour with Skinner. She performed her first major show opening for rapper 50 Cent at England's Nottingham Arena before the label shut down in 2007. Since then, she's worked with artists ranging from Mark Ronson to Mike Snow (appearing on Blanco's remix of "Burial") and Deadmau5 (she sings on "I Can't Behave Myself" on the new album 4x4=12). She also co-wrote the iTunes No. 1 single "Blah Blah Blah" on Ke$ha's No. 1 album Animal.

Neon Hitch's debut album, Beg, Borrow, and Steal will be out on Reprise Records later this year. The album is shaping up to be a collection of striking songs that deploy Neon's soulful, jazz-inflected vocals atop an organic backdrop of eclectic pop melodies and hip-hop tinged beats.

2011Candy Says: As the old tired cliche goes, here's one to watch out for. No seriously here is someone to watch out for this year. You may not have heard of Neon Hitch first here, but if you have be sure to mention us when you hear her on the radio or see the videos.
Listen: Get Over U. Web: Official.
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Background: ..The Prids are not only a really good band but they are also very nice people. They are all lucky to be alive after their van took a turn for the worse last year. They are what is good about independent music. They are getting out there and bringing a unique and worthwhile thing to their audience, this is what it's all about... ..Henry Rollins.. ..At first I thought The Prids are great cuz they rock so hard, especially Mistina's physical bass playing. Then I got into the way she and David sing together. But after a few year and records I realized that what makes them really special is that they write good songs--lyrically, melodically, rhythmically, and dynamically good songs... ..Doug Marstch- Built to Spill.. ..I remember the first time I saw the Prids. I had heard a couple of their songs and thought they were great, but was blown away by the power and intensity of their live show. I was completed enraptured by their set. They are one of the best bands I think I have ever seen and they write some of the best songs I have ever heard. They are continually on my list of shows to go to and albums to get my hands on... ..Oliver Ackerman- A Place to Bury Strangers.

2011Candy Says: More quotes above and plenty more positive comments from those in the music business for The Prids to be found if you look. Check out this song and catch them live if you can and make sure you listen to more of their music if you like this song!
Listen: I'll Wait. Web: MySpace.
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Background: From Portland, Oregon, We Miss The Earth, dont give much away on the PR front. They describe themselves as influenced by the Beach Boys, Chameleons UK, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Lassie Foundation, Man...or Astro-man?, Medicine, Mighty Lemon Drops, My Bloody Valentine, OMD, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Ride, SF59, Skywave, Slowdive, The Sound, Spacemen 3, Spectrum, Spiritualized, The Swirlies, Ultra Vivid Scene, The Velvet Underground. After that you just have the music to go on...

2011Candy Says: OK so the info I have on 'We Miss The Earth' is limited, very limited, great song though and kind of finishes this round up off perfectly with their genre crossing sound that in part encompasses a number of the bands and artists in this edition of 2011Candy.
Listen: Incentive. Web: MySpace.
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Listen:

1 comment:

Mitch said...

Just an FYI...the OMD gig in New York City was moved from Webster Hall to a much larger venue, Terminal 5. I know because I bought special tix to this gig and was psyched that it was going to be at Webster. I really don't like Terminal 5 but they had to move it there because there were so many people that sought tickets that they needed to go elsewhere. It is not reflected on the OMD site yet but if you look for tix, you will be notified of the venue change.

from,

Mitch F. in Brooklyn