2011Candy - April Edition One

Background: We received this from Bedroom Community recently - We’re super excited to finally be able to shed some light and sound on our newest signing, Puzzle Muteson. Puzzle is the alter ego of an enigmatic songwriter from the Isle of Wight, rendering his music in a tremulous tenor over a finely spun web of finger picked guitar.

After obsessively listening to his raw tapes, Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly nurtured the songs that now inhabit his debut recording, titled En Garde. The album will be released in Europe on June 6th 2011 and rest of world on June 7th!

We know you’re anxious to hear what this mysterious man sounds like, and so have decided to give you a sneak peak in the form of his first single, "En Garde"!

2011Candy Says: This is one album we shall be looking out for in June, gentle acoustic guitar and stunning vocals ride above some background strings, what a great teaser of things to come.
Listen: En Garde. Web: Facebook.

Background: Gauntlet Hair is a relatively unknown pair of dudes who are named Andy and Craig, from the small-ish (23,000 population) Colorado town of Lafayette. The pair garnered a fair amount of attention after being part of the Rhinoceropolis-curated block of Denver-based bands that played at the post-SXSW Mexican extravaganza MtyMx.

The band’s track “I Was Thinking…” is a pretty insatiable guitar stomp that throws some R&B and soul into the lo-fi revival pot, mixing heavily-reverbed guitars with a simple, but undeniably booty-shaking beat. Add in some Animal Collective-style vocal melodies and you’ve got something pretty fantastic.

Tour Dates

06-02 Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater *
06-04 Iowa City, IA - The Mill *
06-05 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall *
06-06 Chicago, IL - Metro *
06-07 Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop *
06-09 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
06-10 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
06-11 Philadelphia, PA - Theater of Living Arts *
06-12 Washington, DC - 930 Club *
06-14 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club *
06-15 Montreal, Quebec - Le Tulipe *
06-16 Toronto at Phoenix Concert Theatre *

* Supporting The Dodo's

2011Candy Says: Guitar stomp it most definitely is, with atmospheric vocals and layers of sound, the energy just sets the whole thing off.
Listen: I Was Thinking. Web: MySpace.

Background: Led by Sam Sundos, The Sundelles combine the west coast vibes of their California roots with the loneliness of the East Coast which the band now calls home.  Sundos formed The Sundelles, the name a nod to Phil Spector girl groups, in garages all over southern California.

In 2008, Sundos moved to New York.  Calling on friends, Davey Sarantos and Trevor McLoughlin to follow, The Sundelles finally had a set line up and spent the following year polishing their live act while playing every show New York had to offer.  The Sundelles never lost focus on melody, hooks, or the art of pop songwriting and began self recording demos in 2009 and self released their “Dead Youth” 7” in early 2010.

The Sundelles wrote and recorded the songs on their debut album, Georgia Swan, in early 2010.  They entered into Studio G and invited Tony Maimone, of Pere Ubu fame, to take on production of their first record.  The songs on Georgia Swan became lush, spacious, and polished; a sound that Sundos had been chasing since the founding of the band.  Georgia Swan runs just over thirty minutes with ten songs; a hallmark of growth and a tribute to the Sundelles roots.

The Sundelles have been writing songs for themselves since the beginning but always with the intention of attracting those who appreciate the purity of pop music. Matty McLoughlin from the Soft Pack plays lead guitar on "Can't Win" as well as few other tracks on the album.

2011Candy Says: Uplifting indie pop and rock that has a hint of summer about it.
Listen: Can't Win. Web: MySpace.

Background: The multi-talented, multifaceted Kenny Love admits that he enjoys composing, recording and producing equally because each contains its own unique and separate element and experience. His choice of music for his own listening pleasure is jazz, and he describes his personal genre as Jazz/World Hybrid, stating “My sound was developed after I discovered the amazing 'coloring' that can be affected and executed via inverted 7th, 9th, and 11th chords within a musical composition.”

Jazz/World recording artist Kenny Love has worn many hats in the musical arena -- international radio/video promoter, media publicist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. His foray into the world of music began at the tender age of four when, as he recalls, “A miniature trumpet was casually removed from my grasp (and lips) during preparation for a March of Dimes parade as a result of my having failed to cause it to transmit sound, although I was huffing and puffing quite professionally.” This would later become the first instrument for which he received formal training and ultimately mastered.

A native of Texas, Kenny received musical training from 1970-1976 while in elementary, junior high, and high school, eventually adding the bass guitar, strings, piano, and an extensive study of music composition to his repertoire. He also spent two years at Prairie View A&M University in Texas as a Music Education Major. At the completion of his sophomore year, he joined and spent four years in the Army, after which time he became an independent recording artist.

Kenny performed with several bands in Texas and Germany over the years, including The Lights of Soul (1976), Instant Function (1976-1978), Just Us & Duane (1982), High Rise (1984-1985), Nightwynd (1987), and The Wall of Jazz (2009). Kenny has released several independent single recordings that received both international radio airplay and print media coverage.

2011Candy Says: This is just so cool. Kenny takes music in a number of jazz orientated directions, this is just one example of his talents and a very fine one at that.
Listen: KuPaa. Web: Official.

Background: Armand Margjeka was born in Tropoja, an Albanian town at the foot of the Alps. “Tropoja was one of the most isolated villages in an isolated country,” Margjeka says. The communist regime he grew up with was oppressive, but somehow a mix tape of American rock’n’roll found its way into Margjeka’s hands. “Maybe my sister brought it back from University, I don’t remember, but hearing Elvis, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard changed my life.”

That tape sent Margjeka on a journey of discovery. He eventually moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where he's spent time writing, performing and producing.  After a 2 year period with the alt country outfit Buffalo Black, Margjeka steps out with Margo Margo, his first solo album.  A few months in the making, the album includes bedroom recordings and performances cut in Nashville with seasoned session players.

2011Candy Says: This gentle flowing song is both soothing, melodic and develops as it goes. It builds in a manner that makes us want to go back to the beginning and listen all over again (and again).
Listen: Alive. Web: Official.

Background - and we quote... Although it has taken longer than I expected, I love how this album came together - in bits and pieces. These songs were recorded by Secondstar all over the place - in my bathroom, in noisy bars, in friends' closets - some in Brooklyn, some in California - and somehow it sounds like we're all right there.

For example, 'Ships At Sea' has a simple piano part that was recorded at my local bar. A friend let me drop by in the afternoon one day, and i setup a mic right by the piano. The ice machine and a/c are crunching away in the background somewhere. And the female harmony is my friend Erica singing in my bathroom. Vive le DIY!

Other songs have a similar story, of pieces cobbled together over time. The songs themselves echo themes of love and loss but what was especially unexpected in creating this album was the harmony that comes from working with great friends. I really want to thank Aaron and Max for keeping the faith, and for making it all come together. 'Feets' is the latest release from Secondstar, a Brooklyn-based folk-pop band. The album was recorded in Brooklyn and California.

2011Candy Says: We featured Secondstar a good year or so ago and this latest offering is extremely pleasing. A nice story above on how the album developed and whats more important is how it sounds, which is really good as far as Beehive Candy are concerned.
Listen: Crooked As Crows. Web: Bandcamp.

Background: Ellen Once Again is a singer/songwriter and musician from Texas. Her blend of soul, folk and pop vocals blend effortlessly to make a sound that is vintage without sounding dated.

Known for her soulful heartfelt singing, positive lyrics, beautiful personality and infectious smile Ellen is inspired by Ingrid Michaelson, Lauryn Hill, Sara Bareilles, Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae & Stevie Wonder but maintains her own "quirky" musical identity.

Though she has been a musician since the age of 12—playing in church and the occasional gigs—Ellen has finally decided to pursue a career in music. “It describes who I am,” she says describing the meaning behind her stage name. “I feel like I’ve been doing other stuff but I’ve always come back to music because this is really what I want to do.” True to her word, Ellen spends the majority of her time writing, recording and teaching music to children.

Currently in the process of recording her as yet untitled debut EP, Ellen has received critical acclaim for the few songs she has leaked online. The fun but socially aware “Plastic Land” (Save Me) and “Spreading the Love”—the latter of which she will be shooting a video for—are just two examples of what Ellen has in store.

Ironically, Ellen’s fan base has grown exponentially thanks to tech bloggers. Her husband, full time supporter and part time producer Andre, introduced Ellen to the iPad in an attempt to convince her that his gadget addiction was actually useful. Over the Christmas break the couple used a few iPad apps (Pianist Pro, Nano Studio and Bebot) and an iPhone 4 to shoot and edit her first video. The experiment quickly went viral, garnering over 20,000 views on YouTube. The video featuring Ellen singing covers of “Hey Soul Sister” / “New Soul” was picked up by a number of blogs and lauded as an innovative use of the technology.

Ellen plans on continuing to embrace her new found blog fame by making more videos. However, traditional music is still her first love. Armed with songwriting ability, a serious passion for music and a dream, Ellen Once Again is a name fans will soon be repeating again and again.

2011Candy Says: I love this song which reminds me of a fairground ride and smiling faces (to be specific!). We might be chasing rainbows ourselves soon if it makes you feel this good.
Listen: Chasing Rainbows. Web: Official.

Background: From the ever wonderful Paper Garden Records 'Lovely Hearts Club' we once again quote - We first heard about Seattle's Tea Cozies from Mighty Tiger and became instant fans!  So much so that we invited them to play our Lovely Hearts Club SXSW Day Party at Uncorked!

We all had so much fun that we felt compelled to give those of you who missed out, an internet introduction to these female-fronted garage rockers.  The video for their new track, "Dead Man's Sister" features dancing aliens, ray guns, disco balls, and some serious video production. Tea Cozies will be releasing a two song single on the 16th April 2011 for Record Store Day!

2011Candy says: OK so we are suckers for female fronted garage rock bands, just send us a photo and we will love you. Turns out the music is superb so double delight on our part.
Listen: Dead Mans Sister. Web: Official. Video HERE.

Background: The Glass Canoe was formed in spring of 2009, spending a little over two years writing and molding demos which would eventually become their debut album, Chimera. Chimera was mostly recorded at home in North County, San Diego, CA.

Being labeled as “Psychedelic Pop”, The Glass Canoe focuses heavily on melody and atmosphere. They are influenced by all types of genres and styles, and are always trying new ways to experiment with their music. The band is continually writing and recording ideas for new albums and live shows.

2011Candy Says: This has a really good mix of synth and guitar tracked music with some fine vocal harmonies building over the music, another band that confirm it pays to experiment with different styles.
Listen: First Ideas. Web: Bandcamp.

Background: He’s quite dry, and quite sardonic. Perhaps even a little tough to know; not because he’s closed, but just understated. Singer/Songwriter Danny Django is one of those genuinely humble, genuinely interesting guys with guitars who has something worthwhile to say, and is taking the time to say it. With a gritty Americana Blues Rock sound placing him in league with Cat Stevens, Neil Young, and Tom Petty, Danny Django is the voice of a generation ago set in modern times. Basically, Woody Guthrie with a band and digital audio gear. The message of these greats is imbued in Django’s work as well, with the quest for peace, love, and the common good setting the course for his songs and stories.

It’s not surprising, and very likely not coincidence, that the name Django is derived from the European Gypsy vernacular meaning “I awake.” Django’s bent in songwriting is towards songs that explore how to live life rather than merely endure it, while expressing a benevolent concern for humanity. “It may sound like corny hippiedom, I know, but beyond the darkness of our condition nipping at us most of the time it seems so positive to think about us all getting along, solving our problems onstructively, listening to each other and being quick to forgive.” This outlook permeated his music from the start, along with that fierce self-reliance of the American man.

Just prior to the beginning of his recording career however, his body and the world around it chose to press its limits upon him in a most terrifying and malicious way. Django spent 2003 fighting Thyroid Cancer; fighting, and beating it, and has been in full remission for 8 years with no relapse. While his person is not defined by cancer, the impact it had on him is undeniable. “It changed my priorities. I was beginning to wake up and focus on what will last before my diagnosis, but fighting and beating cancer definitely fast-tracked it. It galvanized my need to make music, and to use it to pursue peace and understanding in the world.” From his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Django began single-handedly performing all duties on his albums Soul Traces (2003), Cosmic Wheel (2005), and Touch the Sky (2007), including songwriting, performing all instruments and vocals, engineering, and even propelling the single “Jennifer” from Cosmic Wheel to become a high-selling track on iTunes.

Now almost 10 years into his career as a songwriter and recording artist, Django has created Child Indigo, his fourth full-length studio album. Some things have remained the same, like signature songs riddled with signature hooks, his signature jangle guitar-based sound, and his signature philosophy on life and death. “Dealing with life and death are usually sub-plots in my music,” he states plainly, and the songs of Child Indigo plainly reflect. Some things have changed, however. Most notable among them are the inclusion of fellow musicians for the first time on any of his albums. Adding to Django’s performances on Vocals, Guitar, Bass, and Harmonica are Sophia Tucker on Vocals and Keyboards and Alexandre Lira on Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Bass, and Vocals.

Fittingly, Child Indigo explores and celebrates the unique ability to change and heal the struggles of life that is held by those who have been pressed up against death. Django’s dry insight and frank optimism are laid out in “Eternally,” “What Life’s About,” “I Blame You,” and “A Survivor.” Making this record met both emotional and creative needs for Django. “I had a real need to make this record. After years of success as a songwriter and producer confined by the needs of the market, I needed the freedom to be creative and make the music I needed to make.” And that’s just what he did.

2011Candy Says: If you have read the background bio above you will have an idea of what you are in for from. Danny has his comparisons however there is clearly enough of the individual within the music and some great songs to check out.
Listen: I Blame You. Web: Official.

Background: White Belt Yellow Tag are essentially the creation of Justin Lockey (ex Yourcodenameis:Milo) and Craig Pilbin, who formed in 2008. Lockey had built up a reputation as one of the UK’s leading new band producers having worked with White Lies and Late Of The Pier. With unashamedly big, anthemic, booming pop personality, their sound has been met with critic-slaying acclaim. It’s two guys who like massive sounding music. And they aren’t alone.

 Self produced and mixed by Chris Potter (The Verve, Blur), further endorsing their audible caliber. Craig’s soaring vocals have already earned comparisons to Mark Hollis from Talk Talk and Ian McCulloch. The addition of Tom Bellamy (a multi-instrumentalist formerly of The Cooper Temple Clause) as a full-time member on drums has furthered the bands expansive sound.

While their debut album 'Methods' saw it's release in the UK in summer 2010, on May 10,  White Belt Yellow Tag are releasing their US debut EP, "You’re Not Invincible" through MB3 Records. The four-track EP features the tracks You’re Not Invincible, Remains, Pictures All The Same and You’re Not Invincible (Losers Remix).

What started the uk frenzy with WBYT is “You’re Not Invincible” a tune that Zane Lowe discovered on the bands myspace and started playing the demo version on his Radio 1 Show. Once  "You’re Not Invincible" EP was released Zane gave it the accolade "hottest track in the world"after it had won 'Fresh Meat'.

2011Candy Says: The band sound powerful and the music would be comfortably at home performed live in a stadium. Rock without pretense, sometimes that's enough!
Listen: Remains. Web: Official.

Background: Some partnerships just work, even if it takes time. Eight years in the making, the debut album by Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat is a special thing, full of gorgeous, jazz-inflected love songs fleshed out with a mixture of spoken word pieces and vocals delivered in Aidan's distinctive rhotic singing voice.

Wells is the Scottish multi-instrumentalist, composer, leader of the Bill Wells Octet and collaborator with The Pastels, Isobel Campbell, Future Pilot AKA and many more. Moffat is a man of many projects, whether his solo material released under his full name Aidan John Moffat, his band Aidan Moffat & the Best-Ofs or, in a former life, his experimental work as L Pierre, Lucky Pierre and his long history as one half of iconic Scots duo Arab Strap.

The pair first met back in Moffat’s Arab Strap days in – predictably – a pub, when Aidan and bandmate Malcolm Middleton invited Bill to play piano on their “Monday At The Hug & Pint” album. “I wasn't sure what they thought of my music but I had been a fan of Arab Strap from the first time I heard them, and I’d been especially endeared since the day they were called ‘a disgrace to Falkirk' by the Provost at the time,” says Bill.

It’s then that the duo first started work on “Everything’s Getting Older”, recording first single, (If You) Keep Me In Your Heart, in 2003. Having resolved to make an album, it was to be a long time in the making. “I didn’t want to rush it at all,” says Aidan. “I have a great love and respect for Bill’s music, so it was important to me that I try my absolute best, and that takes time.”

The songs they came up with over that considerable period of time began taking on a theme: aging, and within it freedom, fatherhood and responsibility. “I don’t really live [a hedonistic] kind of lifestyle anymore,” says Aidan, formerly acquainted with the kind of wild times described in Arab Strap’s debut ‘The First Big Weekend’. “I still go out as much as a dad can, but I’m not really interested in writing about that kind of thing now. My mid-life crisis is due in a decade or so, so maybe I’ll get a second wind then.”

Written by bouncing files back and forth, with some ideas fleshed out at the East Kilbride Arts Centre, the album was recorded at Chem 19 in Blantyre and Ca Va in Glasgow. “The process was practically identical to how I worked with Malcolm in Arab Strap, although there was no fighting,” says Aidan. “If Bill and I disagreed on something, we had a discussion, whereas as Malcolm and I usually had a shouting match and then went in the huff for an hour.”

The pairing was marked with a special Valentine’s Day show at London’s Bush Hall, where Aidan also appeared as Aidan John Moffat and Aidan Moffat & The Best Ofs. “There’s a certain degree of irony here – I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day at all, it really is a lot of pish,” says Aidan, “…but I do believe in love.”

2011Candy Says: This is just incredible. Storytelling with a rawness. It's like being engrossed in a good book, oh just check it out!
Listen: Cages. Web: Chemical Underground.