Friday, 2 September 2011

2011Candy - September Edition One

Background: The Coasts are Eric Mount and Ike Peters. The two met as freshman in college, became best friends, played music together just once, and laid down a rock n' roll album shortly thereafter. Enter Lovely Hearts Club. The advent of turntable.fm has allowed us to not only meet a ton of really great folks out there on the interweb but also hear some really special demos. Ike, a copywriter in Little Rock and one half of The Coasts, played a track for us in the Paper Garden Records room and we were hooked. How do we promote ourselves? Do we suck? These were just a few questions The Coasts had for us. No, you don't suck. You rule. Let us promote you! So here we are.

The Coasts are just effortlessly fun, as if The Black Keys and Elvis Costello conceived an uncombed lovechild. The first track off their self-titled release, which you can listen to here, "Poltergeist" is a infectious, rolling pop song about moving into a haunted house. The thing is, you're never quite sure if they're celebrating or lamenting the fact that they live with ghosts because it's just that catchy. The track that really caught our attention though was "Handshakers", a quirky anthem that's equal parts gritty rockabilly and punching pop. A portion of the record sales for The Coasts will go towards the Hope For Haiti's Children Foundation.

2011Candy Says: This is just fine good old rock and pop with a catchy feel and nice harmonies. First of a few this time around that are just great for a sunny day!
Featured Track: Handshakers. Web: Bandcamp.
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Background: What others have said about Australian band San Cisco - "['Golden Revolver' is] a warm track featuring gang choruses, Vampire Weekend-ish guitar riffs and the cowbell, Golden Revolver certainly makes the case for one of the better summer tracks this year." - Panicl Manual

"This new Australian group is full of sweet, summery pop goodness. The likes that Vampire Weekend or Foreign Born might deliver with the added bonus of a girl drummer.” - The OCMD

"Confident with stage presence and strong with vocals, San Cisco brings to the table an impressive brand of upbeat summer pop." - Concrete Opinions

"Golden Revolver is their first EP, an eclectic mix of indie pop with folk undertones, slashes of synth and influences ranging from Bright Eyes to Vampire Weekend." - We Heart Music

"If Vampire Weekend had an Australian baby (and a girl drummer), this is what they would sound like." - Indie Shuffle

"Perth, Australia youngsters, San Cisco, deliver indie pop like old pros." - TSURURADIO.

2011Candy Says: Another group that confirm Australia is not short of up and coming bands to watch out for where ever you are on the planet. Feel good music delivered with style and enthusiasm. 
Featured Track: Golden Revolver. Web: MySpace.
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Background: With deep roots throughout Oregon, John Craig grew up in Eugene playing alongside Blind Pilot’s Ryan Dobrowski in their college band named Tympanic. Exploring state highways, back roads and small venues along the West Coast, Tympanic flourished until graduation eventually brought things to an end.

In 2009, Craig released his solo debut EP, Umlaut, making waves and receiving hometown love from Portland’s Willamette Week, Portland Mercury, Portland Tribune and Eugene Weekly, to name a few. Then he released a couple of singles in 2010, “Ghosts” and “Broken Branches,” and began writing for his sophomore LP - Numbers - with influences spanning Bowie and Prince to Cut Copy and Ra Ra Riot. With a new band called The Weekend - comprised of Nicole Berke, Tommy Illk, Josh Lava, and Craig, the group is out to heat up the dance floor, with ambitious touring plans for 2011 and beyond.

Numbers was recorded in Craig’s basement studio and at a small lake house on the Oregon Coast. Final tracking was done at Cloud City in Portland, Oregon and was engineered by Justin Phelps (Mars Volta, Bob Weir and Ratdog, Dead Kennedys, Chris Isaak, Cake). Numbers was released nationally on August 30th, 2011 on Loophole Records with a national tour to follow. Also notable, "Ticking" from Craig’s 2009 EP Umlaut will appear in the forthcoming feature film, Tucker & Dale vs Evil slated for a Sept 30th release.

Numbers hit iTunes, Amazon, and record stores worldwide on August 30th.

2011Candy Says: This song gently builds into something quite special. The piano's dominance fades as the song develops but seems to come back and give a haunting background that really works.
Featured Track: Don't Think Make Mistakes - Pt1. Web: Official.
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Background: If you don’t already know Olga, just listen to her music - and you will. As this lithe, willowy woman settles into her guitar, the throaty voice that pours out of her takes you by surprise, transporting you to the easy rhythm of a sultry New Orleans afternoon. Gritty and honest, soulful and stirring, Olga sings about love and loss, relationships and the road ahead.

Fans all over the world will tell you that Olga’s songs have an undeniable authenticity to them, stemming from inspiration drawn from her own life—a journey steeped in music, and the blues. Olga spent years honing her sound in the hill country of northern Mississippi, with friends and mentors like Los Lobos (her “favorite band, and people!”) and blues legend Jessie Mae Hemphill helping shape her musical trajectory.

Olga’s music continues to evolve and push her to new creative heights, but always with a Southern twist, a veritable tip-of-the-hat to her blues roots.

“Music has been a journey for me, one that I continue to learn from,” she says. “I have been blessed to experience many things throughout my life, often with intensity. You have to take the good with the bad, and then learn to just let it all go.”

And as she begins to sing, you just can’t help but groove to her beat.

2011Candy Says: That 'southern twist' is definitely there, along with some Americana and some country rock thrown in for good measure. Great song from an artist that we will definitely listening to some more.
Featured Track: Whatever You Want. Web: MySpace.
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Background: In 2005, Deanna Reuben released her debut album, The Look Of Love, celebrating with a performance at Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base. Critical acclaim and national airplay would follow, and encouraged Reuben to stay the course. By 2008, she began making her own contributions to the great American songbook, composing two haunting ballads with R. Martin Mellinger. “Here In the Night” and “How Do You Measure Love” both appear on Reuben’s sophomore album, On Life And Love.

Reuben has shown an ability to combine the lyricism of Puccini with the panache of a stage performer and a personality and vulnerability that are innate, creating a near-perfect musical conduit for personal connections with her audience. Reuben’s third album, The Very Thought Of You, promises great things. With a backing band who have collectively played with such artists as Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Pat Martino and Phil Woods, among others, and Reuben’s tremendous sense of style and vocal talent, it is hard to imagine Deanna Reuben not making the jump to nationally known recording artist.

Jazz and pop standards continually draw new performers, from unknowns singing in their living rooms to established pop and rock stars looking to return to their roots. For such an established genre there is no end of fresh approaches, yet the freshest approach these days involves getting in touch with the roots of the music. Reuben understands where the music came from, and where it’s going.

Deanna Reuben may not be a household name. Yet. But she is one of the finest interpreters of the Great American Songbook working today.

2011Candy Says: This is oh so smooth. Jazz with all the essential ingrediants, topped off with Deanna's natural and quite superb voice.
Featured Track: Easy To Love. Web: Official.
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Background: Mild Mannered are true to their name -- Clark Kent everyman concealing Superman rock prowess. The evolution of Mild Mannered is vintage midwest charm blended with big city anecdotes, and their sound is one part rock, one part indie-pop, and one part tenacity. The genesis of Mild Mannered was in the basement of Jennifer and Pat Casa’s Cleveland, Ohio home, where they rehearsed, recorded and released two full-length albums under the name Starberry. The indie-rock duo paired Pat on drums and Jennifer on vocals and guitars and was known to celebrate “that international wonderful indie-pop sound.” Fast forward with a desire to push their music to its full potential, they left their cozy basement and headed to a recording studio in the city. They recruited Pat’s lifelong friend, guitarist Tim Parnin (Sweet Apple, Cobra Verde, Chuck Mosley Band), and the Mild Mannered sound was forged, unleashing Believeland, Mild Mannered’s debut tour de force. The album is a 10-song testament to hard work and perseverance, believing in something and making it a reality. In true DIY fashion, the little engine that could just did.

Mild Mannered believes the best rock still originates in the basement, even when you’re the one paying the mortgage. With an eye to the future, Mild Mannered has recently added Tony Bunce (The Twilight) on bass to round out the group on stage, placing an all-star in every position. The quartet is once again rehearsing in the basement, making preparations for live shows that will make believers out of you all.

2011Candy Says: No nonsense rock delivered with passion and style. Simple as that!
Featured Track: The Demand. Web: Official.
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 Background: "Big Black Delta’s maiden voyage (which will be out on Coming Home Records) is a triumph of man and machine, not to mention man over record-industry machinations.
” -  Buzzbands LA

“Jonathan Bates aka Big Black Delta makes some of the noisiest and most fun pop music you're likely to hear for a long time coming.” - The Culture of Me

As a successor to the free debut EP (bbdep1), Los Angeles experimental pop project Big Black Delta’s debut LP BBDLP1 will be released on September 26th on Coming Home Records. Citing “being out of tune” as a muse, the songs on the album are the spawn of multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Bate’s imagination and inspired musical exploration. It was recorded entirely on a laptop given to him by Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails, SONOIO) in and all over Los Angeles, from assorted apartments and friends’ houses to backyards across the city, often at all hours of the night. Guests on the album include Cortini, who played his buchla on “The Zebrah,” as well as Morgan Kibby (M83, White Sea) whose vocals are featured on “Dreary Moon.” Big supporter of the band, Los Angeles tastemaker Kevin Bronson premiered the track "Capsize" on Buzzbands.la yesterday.

"My Grandfather was good drinking buddies with Ernest Hemingway. They'd get drunk and go fishing off the coast of Peru.  This song sounds like being woozy on a ship full of reckless dicks."

In promotion of the upcoming release, Big Black Delta will have a September residency at elite Los Angeles venue The Satellite. For each Monday of the month, Bates will be  performing with live vocals, dancing, an orchestrated light show, and dueling female drummers Mahsa Zargaran and Amy Wood.

2011Candy Says: This is a fine song and we hope a great taste of things to come from Big Black Delta. Layers of sound driven by a marching rythmn.
Featured Track: Capsize. Web: Official.
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Background: The second Pocketbooks album was recorded during the winter of 2010. The band gathered in the basement underneath a ukulele shop in east London’s Brick Lane, and played songs late into the night. It would have been a wintry record anyway, but the snow and the dark nights definitely played their part.
The album begins and finishes with a bleak, distant piano, but inbetween there’s a mix of bright harmonies, shimmering guitars and gorgeous strings.

The band were joined by the violin section of A Little Orchestra (set up by The Pipettes’ maestro Monster Bobby) who added some warmth and sadness in equal measure.  The album was recorded by Simon Trought, who has also produced The Wave Pictures, Allo Darlin’, Fanfarlo and Darren Hayman. It will be released on CD and as downloads by Odd Box Records.

Pocketbooks are a pop band from London. Their first album, Flight Paths, was released in 2009 on How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, and its songs picked up radio play on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music and Xfm. Their song Fleeting Moments appears on the Rough Trade Shops Indiepop 09 compilation.
Members of the band are involved in organising the annual Indietracks festival, which takes place on a 1950s steam railway in Derbyshire. This years event has already had a 4 star review in the Guardian.

2011Candy Says: The Pocketbooks make great pop music. Call it indiepop if you like, it's gorgeous and I love it!
Featured Track: Promises Promises. Web:MySpace.
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Background: Carrie Clark is watching you. Oh, maybe not literally, but one constant running throughout Between the Bed Sheets & Turpentine is the Seattle songwriter's keen eye for the telling detail and quirks of human nature. These thirteen originals span a gamut of styles, from classic country ("I'm A Lark," "Where Are You") and surging rock ("What Have We Done," "Down At My Knees") to mischievous music hall numbers ("The Night Before") and jazz ("The Stranger"), but all of them showcase her astute powers of observation.

As they like to say in Hollywood, all the events in Carrie Clark's music are based on a true story. Not just curious events, but the gamut of emotions brought to the fore by challenges both large and small, and how our voices, faces and body language reflect different sentiments. On the surface, many of these originals may seem primarily concerned with having fun and doling out generous doses of sassiness, yet they reveal myriad layers upon closer inspection. The album's title, Between the Bed Sheets & Turpentine, is a line from one of the more lighthearted selections ("The Night Before"), but it neatly summarizes the emotional scope of the disc, which encompasses not only all the feelings that can crop up in the bedroom—passion, loneliness, dreams—but also the sometimes hard work of cleaning up after life's mishaps.

The follow-up to 2006's Seems So Civilized, Between the Bed Sheets & Turpentine boasts the fullest sound and most fully realized arrangements in her catalog yet. Much of the credit, she demurs, goes to her band, the Lonesome Lovers; multi- instrumentalist and arranger Greg Fulton ("my right arm") has been with Clark since 2003, and the other members of the quintet, Kohen Burrill (Tubaluba), Kevin Emerson (Central Services), Dave Pascal (Love Markets) and Rob Witmer (Love Markets), all boast tenures of two years or longer.

She also underscores the pivotal role played by producer Martin Feveyer (Blue Scholars, Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) in helping make her fourth independently released record the finest in her canon yet, pushing Clark and all her musicians to the utmost. The producer also encouraged them to experiment and tease out the unique character within each song, taking full advantage of the ensemble's versatile musicianship. A few of them changed quite drastically, and Clark cites "What Have We Done"—a state-of-the-world meditation inspired by her toddler nephew—as an especially successful example.

"I'm really proud of this record," she concludes. "I've grown a lot since the last one, and I'm excited to share this music." Carrie Clark is watching you; you'd be wise to keep your eyes—and ears—on Carrie Clark and the Lonesome Lovers, too.

2011Candy Says: Are we being spoiled this time around or what? Carrie Clark's vocals over a superb band and arrangement = great songs every time.
Featured Track: Bum Bah Dum. Web: Official.
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Background: On October 11th Lefse Records will be releasing the debut EP Wasted Youth Blues from Denver's The Morning Clouds. With lush guitars, and hushed vocals The Morning Clouds are the perfect soundtrack for a foggy drive. Look out for them at CMJ, and an upcoming West Coast tour where they will have limited 7 inches available.

Life has a funny way of coming around full circle when you least expect it. Take, for example, Josh Wambeke and The Morning Clouds. He spent the better part of the previous decade as half of Phineas Gage’s psychedelic songwriting axis then leading Fell through shoegaze and space-rock realms. After trampling to the farthest reaches of the cosmos and center of the mind, he found himself straying back into the realms of late-night solo songwriting that marked some of his earliest forays into home four-tracking.

As easily as Wambeke slipped back into the one-man explorations of classic pop, he’s worlds away from his days as a budding home recorder. To start, this time around he had his own local recording studio – which has quietly been making a name for itself among Denver rock circles – at his disposal. He also had a decade to hone his craft. Those luxuries immediately made themselves apparent. Instead of drifting around in his other acts’ densely crafted soundscapes, Wambeke curls up comfortably in his bedroom, dipping into the same well of inspiration that guided everyone from The Ronettes to The Ramones to The Jesus And Mary Chain through the years.

Wambeke slinks into a record-collector pop aesthetic on Wasted Youth Blues. There’s still enough cosmic dust left over from Fell’s travels to the edge of the universe to coat The Morning Clouds’ songs and cast an ethereal shimmer over that comfortably familiar classic pop framework. Just like the Ramones roughed it up with punk and JAMC’s C86 aesthetic yanked it into the new wave, Wasted Youth Blues filters the sound through Wambeke’s spaced-out sensibilities.

2011Candy Says; OK so I am hearing the Beach Boys singing over a Phil Spector sounding arrangement. Incredible song without a doubt!
Featured Track: The Wrong Things. Web: Facebook.

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Background: New Orleans-based Sun Hotel have spent the better part of the last two years blazing their own narrative of what it means to be a bona fide rock and roll band – in an era over-congested with charlatanistic pseudo-artists dead set on making indie gold – by applying a punk ethic to the familiar sounds of post-gospel. The four-piece – led by the hauntingly brusque vocals of songwriter Tyler Scurlock – has prided itself on telling a colorfully authentic story of coming-of-age Americana from the unified point of view of a group of young men with a perceptiveness far beyond their years without losing grasp of the fiery, manic creativity that informs every part of their youth.

After self-releasing several digital EP’s in late 2009 and early 2010, they, along with best friends and sibling band Caddywhompus, decided to found Chinquapin Records as an avenue to officially manifest their shared appreciation for the infinite creative, artistic and personal rewards to be reaped from operating a purely DIY organization. In the short time since, Chinquapin has become a flourishing center of activity for a modest but growing community of people with the singular goal of creating quality music.

Their latest offering, Gifts (out October 11th), may prove to be the most earnest quintessence of the uncompromisingly guarded yet wholly collaborative nature of Sun Hotel’s songwriting. Suffusing every guitar string, bass rattle and whisper with wave after wave of echo-imbued reverb, in-house living room recording prodigy Ross Farbe manages to balance the pop leanings of the album’s infectious hooks with deafening walls of white noise while the concussive rhythms of their multi-percussion setup create a chaotic rumble throughout. Elsewhere, the bass and lead guitar tandem of John St. Cyr and Alex Hertz, respectively, overlay each track’s epic structure with a thick, warm tone equal parts nostalgia and melancholy as Scurlock wistfully sings of a subject matter that charmingly belies the raucous, visceral thrill of a live Sun Hotel experience.

2011Candy Says: Talking of wall of sound music, we certainly have some of that with Sun Hotel plus some good old rock'n'roll mixed in and a gentle touch to keep you listening and wondering where they will go next.
Featured Track: Talks. Web: Official.
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Background: “Music is the only thing in the world that makes me feel complete. I have to share that; I feel it’s what I was sent here to do.”

Defining creative musicians by genre is often a difficult task, but in the case of Rahe, it’s virtually impossible. And describing her as a singer/songwriter simply doesn’t do justice to an artist whose songs weave beautifully melodic lines with complex, compelling chord changes, soulfully powerful lyrics and a diaspora of world rhythms into a musical vision that is entirely her own. With a life story as colorful and diverse as her music, Rahe (pronounced “ray”) has been on a direct path toward her stunningly mature musical vision for nearly all of her 23 years. It is now in full bloom, as evidenced by her group – Rahe & illumiNation - a stunning ensemble featuring Rahe on vocals and nylon string acoustic guitar, a saxophone quartet (alto, tenor and two baritones), and drums.

In full throttle mode toward that purpose, Rahe’s first album – Out of the Box - a totally acoustic, multi-lingual foray into the entire spectrum of her musical vision has just been released on Outward Visions Music. Created in the classic style of organic development through collective participation and live recording of the ensemble, Rahe’s enchanting songs are framed by stunning arrangements featuring highly unique instrumentation, dynamic rhythms, brilliant musicianship and constant surprises. This project is also the subject of a documentary film that will be released later this year.

Unquestionably, this music will offer the world of music - so hungry for something original and inspirational - a brilliant new artist, unfettered by convention and unbounded in the potential to achieve her defining goal:

"I want to inspire and touch the hearts of people from all walks of life; to cross cultural barriers and bridge generational gaps by making music that is not only innovative and uniquely my own, but also passionate, universal and timeless."

2011Candy Says: The arrangements for Rahe's songs are varied but somehow always manage to suit her voice and singing. This song being just one example and a pretty good song come to that!
Featured Track: Two Steps Back. Web: Official.
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Background: Icarus Himself’s sophomore full-length Career Culture is a sonic cinema in electro-psych-folk, drenched in the influences of artists like Kurt Vile, Deerhunter, The Who, and David Bowie.

The story begins with frontman Nick Whetro living in Indiana, working third shift in a window manufacturing plant. “Wake Up / It’s time to do it all over again” (the opening track) evokes images of the film Metropolis. After his shift at the factory in this sepia-shaded scene, “Mornings At The Bar” sets the mood for the sunrise as workers trek to the bar at six in the morning. “There was nothing else to do in town. It’s about people who have nothing to look forward to but getting their paycheck and spending it at the bar. It seemed like they never wanted to leave,” illustrates Whetro.

“WI via IN” marks the shift in Career Culture. As the montage of the fictitious soundtrack, the looped bass line with added organs and synth give the song a Planet of the Apes/The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly vibe. This is where he makes a break for it. Whetro leaves the depressing factory life to start over in Madison, Wisconsin. No epic journey would be complete without the love story, and Career Culture is no different. “On Your Side,” is replete with love-soaked euphoria. Written about the girl our protagonist would marry, the song is about “trusting someone that’s close to you” built on a loop of a drum machine hi-hat and a fuzzed-out Casio synth. “I found it hard / to think of past times / I’ve stopped trying now / because you’re on my side.”

Icarus Himself was started by Nick Whetro in 2008 as a solo project and has developed into a trio to include drummer Brad Kolberg and multi-instrumentalist Karl Christenson. Career Culture is the third in a series of auto-biographical recordings, beginning with Coffins, released by Science of Sound in May of 2009, followed by the EP Mexico, released almost exactly one year later. This new album was recorded at Science of Sound’s studio, engineered by Ricky Riemer and mixed with the band with the help of Riemer. Guest players include Michael Gallope on keys (Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang, Starring, Skeletons), Jonathan Lang on keys and clarinet, Jacqueline Kursel on cello, and Rob Ferrett on tenor sax.

Icarus Himself has played with groups such as Detroit psych-folk duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Brooklyn’s noisy indie-folk band Here We Go Magic, indie rockers Tapes 'n' Tapes, and the heritage neo-psych pop quintet Elf Power. They’ll be touring the U.S. heading east this Fall, and west in the Spring.


2011Candy Says: So there are some clear influences in the music of Icarus Himself however this song also demonstrates plenty of self born ideas and musical direction. Love the driving bass line and guitar riffs.
Featured Track: On Your Side. Web: Tumblr.
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