2011Candy - April Edition Two

Background: What if you ran across Joni Mitchell in 1967 or Roberta Flack in '72. How about Sheryl Crow in '91 or Alanis in '94 or Norah Jones or Alicia Keys before they'd been discovered, would you stop and listen? Legendary producer David Z (Prince, Jody Watley, Fine Young Cannibals, Angilque Kidjo, etc.) did. When he heard Ally Way he was so impressed he immediately came on-board to produce Ally's first release.

Meet Ally Way and this is her year. Smart songs, incredible talent, and a unique musical vision. More than just the latest trend, her songs share the same timeless quality of the great female artists of the rock era.

Look into the eyes of youthful songstress Ally Way, and an ancient serenity gazes back. Asked where she was born, she sweetly says, "I'm originally from heaven," and you believe her. Throw in the angelic voice and an original writing talent, and Ally Way adds up to a remarkable young woman, an enthralling performer whose warm soul comes through in every note.

Born in Washington, DC to a gospel-singer mother and an instrumentalist father, Ally grew up surrounded by music and spirituality. She started singing at an early age, combining the family tradition with inspirations from Joni Mitchell to John Mayer, Bonnie Raitt, and even Nirvana. At age 14 she was blessed to learn guitar from the late DC icon and Blue Note artist Noble Jolley. Later, she studied opera and theatre, skills that help make every Ally Way performance an event.

Ally's muse has taken her many places. She taught yoga in Central America, sang with great Costa Rican musicians, and then rolled into San Francisco like a velvet fog. Arriving with no job and no place of her own, she brought only her talent, her extensive songbook, and her endless optimism. In no time, Ally was cutting tracks with local groups, showcasing in Los Angeles, and making a name with her unique blend of soul, folk, and personal vision.

A strict vegetarian and a student of world spirituality, Ally seeks to communicate with more than words, healing with her voice. Back in the Washington area to be with family, she is putting the finishing touches on her first album. She appears frequently on local stages, sharing her sweetness, warmth, and moving stories with happy fans and new listeners alike.

2011Candy Says: Smooth, stylish and very classy. Listening to Ally is like stepping out of the rat race for a while and taking time to reflect on whats really important.
Listen: Seed Of Love. Web: Official.

Background: (from Binary Records website) Introducing Joypopp  a smooth and sweet electronic duo from France. We here at Binary are pleased to announce the release of their Ecstatic EP on May 9th. With Alix on vocals and David producing this twosome encompasses all that is dream pop. And (appropriately named) bring nothing but feel good smiles and swaying hips.

The first single is ‘Volupte This track is ominously gorgeous. David creates an alluring track that personifies the longing lyrics. ‘Volupte’ starts with echoing synths and chiming soprano keys that sound straight out of ‘Lucky Star,’ aka the best characteristics of all dreamy 80s pop hits. When Alix’s vocals come in they bring a wave of emotion, and even before the main beat drops in at :48 the track is perfectly balanced.

Fans of Sally Shapiro, Annie, Anoraak, or The Golden Filter should take note of their romantic songwriting and crisp productions. Their first EP, "Ecstatic" will be out on Binary Records on May 9th.

2011Candy Says: I remain to easily impressed by anything 'pop' that comes from France. Joypopp are not helping me, listening to this has got me digging through some great old French artists music, this has to stop!
Listen: Volupte. Web: Facebook.

Background: Erin Sidney (aka Syd), Patrick Thomas and Lisa Piccirillo are each experienced touring and recording artists with self-released albums and a thick portfolio of singer/songwriter accolades. Each has performed showcases at prestigious music festivals, opened for national acts, maintained rigorous touring schedules and received plenty of quotable love from the press. In the Fall of 2010 they came together in a lakeside cabin to form Hotels & Highways and record what would become “Lost River”, a folk-tinged meditation on the deeper meaning of living and a love letter to the spirit of collaboration.

At a crucial moment of quiet intensity, the members of Hotels & Highways heard the wind rustling the trees in their headphones. For any other project it would have been an unwelcome signal to cut the take short and try again when there was golden silence. Instead, the three newly-committed band members smiled at their good fortune and carried on playing, the wind and trees now indelible partners in the song's performance.

It was September 2010 and Erin “Syd” Sidney, Lisa Piccirillo and Patrick Thomas were getting to be well-versed in letting their temporary home in the woods be a part of the creative process. They'd come to a lakeside cabin in New York to fulfill a mutual, career-long dream of living together while recording an album. A week-long tour of the Northeast had been booked immediately following the 10-day writing and recording retreat. The material was largely unwritten. The sound had not been clearly defined. But with each day's new songs and each night's recording sessions, what began as a joyful experiment in creativity and trust evolved quickly into an emerging full-length album and a well-received tour. Hotels & Highways, originally a nom de plume for songs a group of friends wrote together, had quietly and gracefully transformed into a band.

With a stream of updates and videos coming from the cabin, friends and fans watched the project gather momentum and became an integral part of the experience. Real-time support for the group evolved into validation that only a proper release would do this music justice. Through the use of fan-funding website Kickstarter, the band raised over $13,000 (far surpassing their goal of $10,000) to finance the remaining production on their album and a corresponding national tour. With this massive vote of confidence from their fan base, Hotels & Highways’ cabin-grown debut, “Lost River,” hits digital stands on March 8, 2011.

Though comprised of accomplished members, Hotels & Highways is just beginning its journey. Leaving behind the sounds of that lake in New York, the band will share the spirit that defines them and live up to their name with a 6-week tour of the US, including dates at Cafe 939 in Boston, Rockwood Music Hall’s new Stage 2 in New York City, Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles and 20 other major cities in the Spring of 2011.

2011Candy Says: Good rootsy Americana, keeping it simple sometimes means you get more from the song, Train Whistle being the case in point.
Listen: Train Whistle. Web: Official.

Background: Razor & Tie is thrilled to announce a partnership with Weapons of Mass Entertainment and Surfdog Records for the release of an exciting new album project from Artist/Producer/Director and Eurythmics co-founder, Dave Stewart.  His new album, The Blackbird Diaries is set to be released on Tuesday, June 28th 2011.  Recently completed in Nashville, the album was produced by Dave Stewart and Mike Bradford and was recorded and mixed by John McBride at his famed Blackbird Studio.   The Blackbird Diaries is set to feature all new material including a co-write with Bob Dylan as well as duets with Stevie Nicks, Martina McBride, Colbie Caillat and features The Secret Sisters. Dave is backed throughout the album by a stellar assortment of musicians on the album including guitarist Tom Bukovac, drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, steel guitarist Dan Dugmore and Mike Rojas on piano.  As an integral part of Stevie Nicks new album, "In Your Dreams," (he was co-producer, co-writer, photographer, performer and movie director) Dave has been invited by Stevie as her special guest to perform at Webster Hall in New York City on May 4th.

Dave Stewart's The Blackbird Diaries is unlike anything he has embarked on during his illustrious 30 year music career both with Eurythmics and as a solo artist. With an American flare and rooted in rock, country, and blues, the album is in the vein of recent releases by Bob Dylan and Neil Young - masterful recordings mixed with rich and detailed lyrics.  The Blackbird Diaries showcases a very different type of songwriting for Stewart with more story-driven autobiographical lyrics, which is a departure from the pop/rock sounds which have made him one of the most successful and revered songwriters/collaborators of all time. Tales of loves conquered and loves lost, Dave gets intimate, personal with words while he allows his music to rock free on an album that might just prove to be this artist's second, and perhaps finest, act.

2011Candy Says; Dave Stewart's 'The Blackbird Diaries' will be out in June, this is a great taste of things to come, for what might be one of the years big albums.
Listen: Magic In The Blues. Web: Album Site HERE.

Background: Hidden Shoal Recordings is proud to announce the release of new single 'Green Light District' by Perth’s widescreen indie-rock craftsmen Umpire. 'Green Light District' marries Umpire's sprawling indie-rock sounds and reflective melancholy, providing the instant gratification of massive sun-drenched melodies and soaring vocals. The track is taken from Umpire’s forthcoming debut album Now We're Active, the band's first release to feature new drummer Josh Watkins, and produced at Umpire's own studio by bass player Simon Struthers.

'Green Light District' follows up the band's self-titled EP of 2009, which featured the standout track 'Streamers'. 'Streamers' received rave reviews and achieved widespread high rotation airplay across Australian radio including national broadcaster Triple J. The track also took out the grand prize in the WAM Song of the Year in 2009. Their debut full-length Now We’'e Active receives its Australian CD release and digital release on 2 June, and international CD release on 14 July. The Australian album launch will take place in Perth at the Rosemount on 4th of June. Umpire will be touring Australia during July and August.

2011Candy Says: Another Australian band that hopefully gets to be heard beyond their shores. Great harmonies over really well played and mixed indie rock orientated music.
Listen: Green Light District. Web: MySpace.

Background: KIDCITY is the music of two 21-year-olds, Kelly Ann and Caleb, from the outskirts of Toronto.

Somewhere between Enya and Dr. Dre, the twosome employ a gritty sound which they smilingly dub as “clip-hop” – or for all intents and purposes: dark, melodic pop songs with an overloaded signal.

Their self-titled EP, out on the 31st May 2011, draws on hip-hop and electronic heaviness – a sound that they effectively refined after deciding to step out of the practice rooms at the University of Toronto and into a quasi-bedroom studio in the suburbs. The duo got their name from one of Kelly’s brothers-in-law, though they aren’t sure which one.

2011Candy Says; This is a really cool song and I am still marveling at the term clip hop and placing the music as somewhere between Enya and Dr Dre. Who needs genres anyway...
Listen: Bloody Face. Web: Official.

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.

2011Candy Says: The first song I received by The Sundelles worked for me, this one this one takes them further so two mentions in one month for the band. It's guitar pop for a summers day.
Listen: Kiss The Coast. Web: MySpace.

Background: Nicole Atkins continues to tour in support of her critically acclaimed sophomore album Mondo Amore (Razor & Tie).  The album released this past February features Atkins' powerful and hypnotic sound on the bluesy, psychedelic songs that showcase her stunning range.  The sophisticated batch of new songs reveals her growth as a singer songwriter.

Nicole took SXSW by storm this year, playing parties for Paste, Rolling Stone, Steve Madden and Sneak Attack, as well as an official SXSW showcase which was broadcast on Last Call with Carson Daly.  Atkins debuted her music on Conan in February as well.

Reviews have included - "Ms. Atkins has the air of a New York rock chick supreme." New York Times 

"She has a huge, rangy voice flecked with soul that sounds great atop broken-bottle slide blues." The Los Angeles Times. 

May 5-8 - Las Vegas, NV - The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas^
May 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE, Outdoor Stage*
May 28 - Columbus, OH - The LC Pavilion*
June 4 - Elmer, NJ - Appel Farms Arts and Music Festival
June 5 - Hunter Mountain, NY - Mountain Jam Festival
June 8 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom^
June 9 - Toledo, OH - Frankies^
June 9-12 - Manchester, TN - Bonnarroo Music & Arts Festival
June 10 - Indianapolis, IN - The Lawn at White River State Park**
June 14 - Dallas, TX - Dada Dallas^
June 15 - Austin, TX - Stubb's BBQ^
June 16 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's (Downstairs)
June 17 - New Orleans, LA - The Parish @ House of Blues^
June 18 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade^
June 20 - Charlotte, NC - Milestone Club
June 21 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar^
June 30 - St. Louis, MO - The Firebird^
July 1 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen^
^headline dates, *with The Avett Brothers, **with The Black Keys and Booker T.

2011Candy Says: Bluesy rock that should appeal to a large audience, Nicole has all the ingredients to get noticed far and wide and deserves to based on this song alone.
Listen: Cry Cry Cry. Web: Official.

Background: The realization of music is undeniably part of the most desirable goals in any one musician’s agenda. For Botanical Bullets – a New Jersey duo that went to the same high school, but didn’t meet until afterwards – music has always traded on the same conviction that the coming together of minds should be a patient, introspective and mutual collaboration. And with a sound that is equal parts electronic, noise and rock, with the ability at layering music with careful attention and concentration is what has made for an alliance that is bonded to the core.

Jay Shah (keyboard, effects, drum machine, guitar, vocals) and Jacob Conover’s (vocals, keyboard, guitar) rich musical depth has always maintained an enduring constant in their music. Shah notes influences range from “The Jesus and Mary Chain, to Depeche Mode, to J Dilla, to TV on the Radio.”

And while the music often dips into the realm of atmospheric, ambient noise-rock, Conover adds that their music is never straightforwardly classified, “It would be hard to describe because we are constantly finding new elements and techniques to work with.”

Through an array of influences that embark on establishing touchstone elements to their music, Shah also adds that music is never an art that should linger dormant, “I think in time we will both grow more as writers, singers, and producers, so the topics will be more varied and the content more complex.”

2011Candy Says: This is to be played loud if only so you don't miss any of it. Theres a lot going on and yet the songs flows with layers of sound.
Listen: We Bleed Fluorescent. Web: Official.

Background: (From Paper garden Records Lovely Hearts Club) When Big Tree first reached out to The Lovely Hearts Club and sent us the single, “This New Year”, from their forthcoming album, we were immediately smitten. Their brand of sunny psychedelic pop, splashed with colorful harmonies and infectious lyrics, instantly had us thinking spring. Bandmates and friends Kaila McIntyre-Bader, Luke Bace, Colin Fahrner, Dan Pirello, and Laura Schwecherl met while studying jazz in college and, while Big Tree’s sound is more Fleet Foxes than  Coltrane, their jazz roots are evident in the band’s complex rhythms and unique time signatures.

Big Tree completed their first full-length, self-titled album back in 2008, which they followed up with last summer’s shimmering gem of an EP, Home (here).  To promote the EP, as well as their commitment to environmental sustainability, the band left their native New York last summer and toured out to California in a vegetable-oil-fueled tour van, purchased with the fundraising help of fans. They recently celebrated their triumphant return to New York, where you can catch them in a month-long residency at Pete’s Candy Store every Thursday throughout the month of June.  The will also gave “Grease Talks”— explaining how the tour van works and encouraging recycling and sustainability—throughout April, at colleges and universities throughout the Tri-State area.

2011Candy Says: This just lifts me up to a better frame of mind. Big Tree, big sound and wonderful melodies and harmonies.
Listen: This New Year. Web: MySpace.

Background: When asked by an Omaha music promoter to describe the genre of her new band Blue Bird, songwriter and frontwoman Marta Fiedler simply replied “make-out music.”

Music critic Tim McMahan of The Reader (Omaha, NE)  and lazy-i.com was a bit more expansive when he wrote “Miss Fiedler indeed sounds like a Nebraska version of Jenny Lewis on songs derived from the indie-Americana template. You’ll be reminded of Lewis and She & Him and The Mynabirds and all the other women-led bands that seem to be making a mark on indie these days — especially locally, when was the last time we had so many women contributing so much musically? Fiedler has an advantage over a lot of them in how she writes songs — there was always something in the compositions that surprised me. Maybe it was just her own voice slipping through.”Blue Bird is a 7-piece ensemble that mixes influences of fold, soul, doo-wop, and Americana into intricately woven pop songs punctuated by soaring female vocals, full-bodied, orchestration, and heartfelt, confessional lyrics.

Blue Bird is the latest in a long line of hot new bands to arise from the legendary musical breeding ground of Omaha, Nebraska, the birthplace of Bright Eyes, Cursive, The Faint, Tilly and the Wall, and 311, to name just a few.  Under Marta’s musical leadership, the band is filled out by a who’s who of Omaha music veterans, including members of Eagle Seagull (PIAS Recordings) and Thunder Power (Slumber Party Records).

2011Candy Says: If you like this song then go and buy the EP as this is just taste of some great music from yet another band to keep a watchful eye on this year.
Listen: Dont Leave Me. Web: Facebook.