2011Candy - March Edition One

Background: yourfeetstoobig (or yftb) is 22 year old Chicago resident Kevin Benishek. Currently working under the moniker yourfeetstoobig, Kevin Benishek is a artist/musician who has in the past dabbled in everything from hip-hop beats to lo-fi experimental projects.

"My methods are constantly changing and evolving" as Kevin puts it. What was once an electronic bedroom project (started in 2009) has quickly grown into live shows. Blending a multitude of different genres, everything from pop, shoegaze and freak-folk finds its way into the yourfeetstoobig soundwaves.

Since the release of his first self-released EP, Hunter/Gather (released January 19th), his lo-fi, pop tracks have been featured on SIC Records 100th release, loveSICdisco, with the likes of Memory Tapes, Memory House and Niva. Tracks have also been released through the digital singles label Beko-DSL.

yourfeetstoobig's tracks are upbeat, but engaging and beautiful to listen to anywhere. The dance pop-influenced tracks have been said to be a blend of Washed Out meets Neon Indian meets Memory Tapes.  yourfeetstoobig is low-budget, low-fidelity pop, tailored for the nostalgic generation.

2011Candy Says: If electronica is your thing, this should really impress, if your not so sure then listen along for a while, as this is a really cool artist who uses melodies and rhythms that just hooked the Beehive.
Listen: Pintail. Web: Bandcamp.

Background: Join the fun of the first inaugural Snow Ball Festival in Vail Valley, CO March 4-6, 2011! With the stellar lineup and beautiful surroundings, there's really no good reason to miss out. A few more fun facts of the fest below:

-- First group to sign on was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, who are coming a couple days early to ski and hang out in the mountains.  The second group was local Denver band Gauntlet Hair.  The last group to sign on was The Flaming Lips.

-- It will be the first ever Colorado plays for Twin Shadow, Miami Horror, Lord Huron, and Parisian producer Onra.

-- The festival is selling a festival pass/ski lift combo (as well as music only passes).   The fest will take place outdoors.  While the organizers admit it won't exactly be tropical temperatures outside, they believe the (very likely) snowflakes, surrounding mountains, and wintry vibes will make for a nice change from standard music festival experiences, offering something unique and distinguished for those who enjoy all seasons.

-- The festival is three days, with music from 2pm - 10pm, so that visitors can still have time to enjoy the Vail Valley before and after each day of music.   Snow Ball will bring 10,000 people to Nottingham Park in Avon, CO, which is at the base of the Beaver Creek Ski mountain and sits next to what will be a frozen-over Nottingham Lake.

-- Fort Collins, Colorado psychedelic indie group Candy Claws has offered up their track "Snowdrift Wish" for those attending and wishing to attend the first inaugural Snow Ball Music Festival in Vail Valley Colorado.  Enjoy this winter gem from the Two Syllable Records rarities compilation.

2011Candy Says: Talking about Candy Claws specifically I love this featured song that has an oriental feel to it and an element that makes them a perfect fit for a festival headlined by The Flaming Lips. It all comes naturally together.
Listen: Candy Claws -Snow Drift Wish. Web: Snowball Festival.

Background: Two Tears is Kerry Davis of the legendary Red Aunts (Epitaph and Sympathy for the Record Industry). She also played with Mick Collins in The Screws (In The Red Records). This is Kerry's latest single and follows her early 2010 single on Windian Records. This single features 3 of Kerry's raddest garage rockers. Three songs that were written and recorded in 3 different continents (The specific cities they were written in were Paris, Dubai and New York City). Art was designed by Kerry herself, and is hand numbered. Limited to 500 copies. First 100 on Pink/White mixed vinyl. Single will be available on Itunes, Amazon, Emusic and other MP3 retailers when the release date comes. Two Tears has toured Europe with The Donnas, Jon Spencer, Mark Sultan, Dan Sartain, and many more. They have also played CMJ Music festival in NYC the last 2 years. She's had 2 LPs out before, one on Bratmobile/Lookout Record's Molly Neuman's label Simple Social Graces.

For Fans Of: Pussy Galore, Sleater-Kinney, Breeders, Bassholes, etc - Two Tears will be spending 6 weeks in Europe touring with Dan Sartain in support of the new release during April and May.

Denver Post said - "Another case was Kerry Davis of Two Tears, who completely stole the show. As she set up, it looked at first like she’d fit nicely into the standard one-man fare. And then she opened her mouth and unleashed a fiery attitude that exploded from every pore, compounded by each brutal thrust of her knee-high, boot-clad right foot on a bass drum pedal. Davis was anything but “just traditional,” and seemed anything but satisfied. Her style wrapped the power of all of X inside of a cocoon made with the pelts of Jon Spencer (more from Pussy Galore days) and Jack White. “Senso Unico” (“one way” in Italian) may have defined the whole festival in its few short minutes: one way to go, one way to do it and only one person worthy of the task".

2011Candy Says: There's a hint of the B52's in the featured song, however there is enough personal attitude and a very different guitar feel that makes this one fine song. More Please!
Listen: Heisse Hexe. Web: MySpace.

Background: Dad Rocks! is Icelandic/Danish Snævar Njáll Albertsson, singer in Danish band Mimas. Dad Rocks!, however, is quite different: The guitar here is acoustic and is accompanied by piano, trumpet, accordion, hand claps and more. As Dad Rocks!, Snævar is inspired by acts such as Bill Callahan, Owen, Why?, Akron/Family and Do Make Say Think. This has led to a sound that is a unique mix of psych folk and lo-fi country with elements of hip hop and use of dubs. However, Snævar Njáll Albertsson’s primary sources of inspiration are the relations closest to him. Most of all his little daughter who also inspired by name Dad Rocks!, which is of course also a pun on the ’dad rock’ genre. This use of pathos and irony is something that is explored throughout his work. Lyrically, this is also a central aspect. The subjects are both big and small. Sometimes delivered almost cynically with words that are close to naïvism. Underneath this, the irony lurks at every corner, and even the debut EP title ‘Digital Age’ explores the space between pathos and irony.

Dad Rocks! released ’Digital Age’ in Denmark in april in Denmark through danish label ’Kanel Records’.  English label ´Big Scary Monsters Records’ later fell in love with the music of Dad Rocks! and released the EP in the UK on August 16th. The EP was very well-received by the music-media, and even NME featured the video for the single ’Nothing Keeps Up’ on the their website.

Dad Rocks! is in the midst of recording his debut-album to be released this Spring.

2011Candy Says: OK so the vocals are clearly regional, you know early on that this is from somewhere in the cold part of the north of Europe, but the instruments could be from anywhere in an old mining village in the UK. Reminds me a little bit of Roy Harper, but that can only be a massive complement.
Listen: Aroused By Hair. Web: Soundcloud.

Background: We recieved the following recently from Collin, the singer for the band Home Video which we featured recently for their latest album.  He tells us - I have a brand new side solo project that has time sensitive subject matter that I thought you might interested in. 

The band is called NiveHive, and the album is a Wikileaks Concept Album titled "Collateral Sounds".

Musically, it is inspired by dark, minimal electronic bands like Kraftwerk and Pan Sonic. Politically it is inspired by independent left media like Democracy Now and Glenn Greenwald... not to mention Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, and Anonymous.  Each track on the forthcoming album will highlight and comment on a different aspect of the Wikileaks drama that is unfolding.  Some of the tracks have straightforward vocals samples, while some attempt to present information in a more obscure way.  It is politically smart, while also musically engaging.   

The track, "The Stuffed Men Bristle", that I have a link to below, is instrumental music for the most part - with some vocal samples provided by some of our beloved US government leaders. ( The title is a reference to T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men".)

2011Candy Says: Collin, you are a very talented guy ! With a few pieces that have an electronica feel to them in this edition of 2011Candy, this for me is up with them all and the use of vocal samples demonstrates first hand that what Pink Floyd developed still has a long way to go.
Listen: The Stuffed Men Bristle. Web: MySpace.

Background: With a Canadian Radio Music Award nomination for their song, “Change of Seasons,” and brand spankin’ new single, “Lazy Susan,” that’s climbing the top of the charts, Sweet Thing will be wrapping up their highly buzzed Canadian tour with a stop off in the U.S. The band will be showcasing their rockin’ indie pop styling on March 14th at Pianos in NYC and all throughout SXSW in Austin, TX.

Hailing from Toronto, Sweet Thing was formed three years ago by Owen Carrier, the lead singer, and Alex Winter, the lead guitarist. From there, they gathered the talents Nick Rose, Tyler Kyte, and Morgan Waters, ultimately creating the five-piece band, Sweet Thing. With the dueling guitar harmonies of Alex Winter and Nick Rose, Morgan Waters laying down the bass line, and Tyler Kyte driving the beat, Owen Carrier’s voice carries angelically across the stage.

With this tight-knit group, Sweet Thing has become known for their catchy and cleverly written songs, amazing live performances, entertaining personalities, and their high-profile fans (including Emma Stone and George Stroumboulopoulus). Since the release of their self-titled debut album and with their song, “Change of Seasons,” being featured in the film, Easy A, Sweet Thing has established strong excitement for their tour in Canada as well as stateside. The band has already lined up a series of high profile gigs in NYC and Austin for SXSW. The New York show is schedule for March 14th at Pianos and later that week, Sweet Thing, will be making their way down to Texas for SXSW to play shows starting March 18th.

2011Candy Says: It's a good indie pop song. It does everything a good indie pop song should do and then it also decides to rock - that's not allowed!
Listen: Change Of Seasons. Web: MySpace.

Background: From those lovely people at Paper Garden Lovely Hearts Club we received the following - One cold winter day in NYC, we here at The Lovely Hearts Club decided we needed an anthem to get us through the February blues and excite us for the Spring. There were many stipulations however. It had to be uplifting, familiar, easy to love, perhaps some horns, female harmonies, clever to a point of genius and strong on the team vibe. Where could we possible find a song like that? Then it happened... destiny appeared in the form of an email from Team Genius, delivering unto us this track, 'Making Myths' from their upcoming LP slated for release later this Summer embodying everything a dwelling New York indie music company could ask for.

Team Genius will be releasing a series of 4 albums (3 EPs and an LP) starting in April. Catch these clever Brooklyn kids at our SXSW showcase on Friday, March 18th at Uncorked (900 East 7th St) or one of their other SXSW or NYC shows.

2011Candy Says: I know very little about Team Genius. I hear a touch of Big Audio Dynamite circa E=MC2 and then I hear more harmonies and the one thing I realise is this is a cool track, enough said!
Listen: Making Myths. Web: Official.

Background: Combining the unassuming guitar pop of the 50’s and 60’s with some of the fuzzier, kookier rock of the 90’s and pre-apocalypse, Australian independent band The Honey Pies create music which is at once nostalgic and revelatory: Pre-post-rock, if you will. For two years now they have been gigging and touring ravenously, supporting the likes of Tim Rogers, Parades, The Jezabels, John Steel Singers, Leader Cheetah, Belles Will Ring and Oh Mercy. Their debut album Think of England (released January 12, 2011), recorded by local-wiz Tom Barnes (Leader Cheetah, Empire of the Sun, Colonel Kernel, The Transatlantics), captures the versatility of their alluring live set, from harmony-laden ditties to shambolic punk anthems.

2011Candy Says: Retro cant be that easy especially when you are stuck these days with recording equipment that can so easily show every flaw. So I am guessing my point is that The Honey Pies are pretty clever at sounding from somewhere in the sixties and carrying the vibes of the second decade of this worrying century.
Listen: Get It Right. Web: Official.

Background: From egg-shaped plush chairs or towering cabinets carved like totem poles, hi-fi sound once poured over the conversation pits and cocktail hours of yesteryear. The warm tone and stop-and-listen vibe continue with exotica innovators Waitiki 7’s latest venture, Waitiki in Hi-Fi (Pass Out Records; April 12, 2011). The vinyl-only release of new material finally gives listeners—die-hard exotica connoisseurs, record collectors, or the merely tiki-curious—a chance to sit back and savor the group’s fresh look at a mid century music in clear, rich analog.

Timed to honor the 100th anniversary of Martin Denny’s birth, the record pays homage to the exotica pioneer with whom several band members had the privilege to work with before his death. Thanks to Denny and many other highly skilled musicians, exotica’s tropical soundscapes, Latin dance grooves, and potent jazz chops became mainstays on turntables around the world.

Often misunderstood as kitsch, exotica was born in Hawaii’s vibrant postwar music scene and went mainstream when musicians like Martin Denny performed on national television shows like American Bandstand, Andy Williams, and Steve Allen. (Denny’s ’59 hit single “Quiet Village” reached #4 on Billboard’s charts, with his Exotica album eventually reaching number 1).

The scene Denny helped spark found new life in the 1990s when groups like Combustible Edison took a serious new look at a funky old art form. Part of the lounge revival, which included renewed interest in neglected cocktail recipes, vintage technology, and mid century pop design, the band spearheaded a movement that continues to flourish, thanks to a new generation of dedicated ensembles like Waitiki.

2011Candy Says: I know little about this style of music beyond saying it is captivating and so.. atmospheric. Those who fear 'world music' can come in from out of the cold and enjoy this.
Listen: Similau (remix by Tabu). Web: Official.

Background: Singer/songwriter Holly Long has two hands, and she’s using them. She’s no princess, and she’s no queen. She’s just a straight up modern day musical artisan with a genuine love for the work and an impressive track record. Having crafted 4 albums over the past decade in her pop/funk/soul hybrid style with a string of top-shelf producers, Long communicates her passion and worldview with an evocative sound in league with Annie Lennox, Sarah McLachlan, and Carly Simon. It’s not just about the music, though. Much like for her chanteuse heroines, music is about connection and community. It’s where she finds herself, and how she makes her contribution to the world.

Still bearing the better parts of her Chicago-born savvy, she recalls how music first moved her. “I remember how a song could give voice to my moods and change how I felt when I was a kid. It could express the deep stuff that I didn’t know how to get out on my own, and it really transported me. It moved me, took me from one emotional place to another.” From piano lessons at age 7 to plays and musicals in high school, and right on through a move to Los Angeles to study Theater at UCLA and pursue a career as an actor and comedian, music transported her and connected her mind and soul. It was during this time that she began reaching for the piano and scribbled sheets of lyrics as a way of being creatively productive while waiting for the gatekeepers of the acting world to grant her admission. The final push towards music, though, came when she was literally brought to death’s door by endocarditis, an often-fatal heart infection. After waking from a week-long coma she began the process of learning to move and live again from scratch, and felt a movement in her away from acting and directly into music. What could have become a bitter and barren creative period was refashioned as the doorway to her future as a vital, tough, and compassionate singer/songwriter.

2011Candy Says: Nice funky music with heart and soul. A wonderful musical arrangement with harmony vocals to match. So check it out please!
Listen: Pretty Picture Frame. Web: Official.

Background: Up out of the post-industrial chaos and primordial creative energies of Oakland, California arrives a welcome aberration.  Dylan Travis, Brian Kennedy, Tyler Corelitz, and Emery Barter make up Man/Miracle, one of those rare guitar groups that play their songs with raw emotional honesty and urgent ambition. Whether it is the upbeat, complex beauty of “Hot Sprawl” from their acclaimed 2010 debut The Shape of Things or the propulsive pop gem that is their new single, “Don’t Waste It,” Man/Miracle consistently deliver their unique sound with verve.  After a major US tour in support of The Shape of Things, the four-piece has begun tracking an as-yet untitled new album, set to be released in the spring of 2011.  “Don’t Waste It” bridges the sonic divide between the first record and the second—between the bright, joyous pop that earned praise on The Shape of Things and the darker atmospheric textures that permeate the upcoming LP.  Fusing disparate and difficult sounds in a beautiful way is one of the band’s most admirable talents, and “Don’t Waste It” manages to wed the delayed guitar intricacies of British giants like The Chameleons and Slowdive with driving, meditative drums and a distorted freak out that recalls early-90’s indie rock.  The B-side, “Oakland Island,” is a spontaneous piece of studio improvisation that reaps considerable rewards.  A gorgeously warped piece of California surf rock, “Oakland Island” features spacious guitar interplay, crooned Scott Walker-worshiping vocals, and the production talents of Eli Crews (Deerhoof, Beulah).  The single was released digitally March 1st via Third Culture Records. 

2011Candy Says: Loads of words above, what can we add? Well we just needed to finish this edition with some atmosphere, guitars and Man/Miracle have done the trick and they know how to build up and up.
Listen: Don't Waste It. Web: Official.