2011Candy - August Edition One

Background: Named for the idiosyncratic Cocteau Twins remix EP, Otherness is the collaboration of two California musicians, David Reep (Elephant & Castle) and Dylan Travis (Man/Miracle). With an ear for the unique and the limitless, the pair began production on a number of experimental pop songs in the midst of a winter both emotional and literal. The result has been a number of beautiful songs, first delicately cut from a web of sampled records and then elaborated upon with live instrumentation and bedroom-recorded vocals. The collaboration has also given rise to a live performance unlike any other. Almost exclusively improvisational, the pair create an impossible-sounding wall of Monome-manipulated vocals, warped into shuddering bass and icy re-pitched harmony.

However, the four songs here, from an upcoming album, are catchy, structured, and fully-realized pop. The lush, sample-oriented backing tracks suggest electronic music innovators such as DJ Shadow or Juan Atkins, while the vocals and darkly abstracted lyrics hew closer to a Climate of Hunter-era Scott Walker. A strong Manchester vibe pervades the recordings as well, with echoes of the Stone Roses and Morrissey bumping up against samples of Tangerine Dream. A wildly promising introduction.

2011Candy Says: Name checking Cocteau Twins & Tangerine Dream is a little risky as one immediately expects a lot of originality and pretty high standards. On the strength of this song Otherness have enough of that to carry things off.
Listen: Crystalline. Web: Bandcamp.

Background: Jess Hill is a unique singer-songwriter risen from the talented denizens of East Vancouver. She is a storyteller whose delicately constructed lyrical worlds captivate, standing firmly with her blues-draped compositions. Her music will smash your heart, pinch you in your sweetest nerves, give pause to the present and sing you to sleep all in one gently fierce moment. Jess invites the audience into her realm, engaging them with a voice like the sound of a well-rosined bow across your heartstrings, telling tales over her skillfully crafted guitar compositions. She can pull a room of strangers into her palm, crushing them with stinging emotions and releasing them reborn into the night.

Since releasing her debut album Road in 2006, Jess Hill has been featured on CBC radio, performed at The Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Artswells, and numerous other festivals in BC, as well as becoming a much loved staple in the arenas of the western Canadian music scene. She was a top 20 finalist in the Peak Performance Project in 2010, Vancouver's indie music showcase and contest put on by The Peak 100.5FM. Her upcoming second full length album Orchard recorded and produced by the multi-talented Aaron Joyce, pushes away from the dock of her folk roots, and onto the frontiers of new creative fires, delivering arrangements sometimes slightly more electric in nature. The new album showcases Hill's signature sound but also shows her artistic growth by casting a more ethereal and fantasy-tuned mood over the entirety of the recording. Orchard was released on March 24th 2011.

2011Candy Says: This is a great song that just grabbed my attention as soon as Jess started to sing. Superb vocals are supported by some classy music that just continues to build throughout the song.
Listen: Orchard. Web: Official.

Background: Continents is the musical undertaking of Kansas City native Jim Button. Button began writing in the summer of 2008, creating, and recording the material that would eventually become his debut entitled Land of Plenty. In the summer of 2011 he will be releasing his follow up EP Spiriting. Continents sound takes you on a unique psychedelic pop head trip. The songs invoke themes like realizing potential and making progress not just in the lyrical sense but also in the instrumental delivery. If the songs were color, they would lend themselves to bright lomographic star bursts of blurred haze.

Having produced a catalog of dense well crafted tunes, Button recruited a rotating cast of friends to perform his work live. The much acclaimed live performances earned the band an opening slot for like minded psych-rockers The Entrance Band he also participated in Middle of the Map Fest. Continents signed with hometown label The Record Machine in 2010 and they re-issued his debut Land Of Plenty. Over the course of 2010 Button continued outputting music and is ready to release his new EP Spiriting. In his own words “the goal of the music is to expand upon the ideas of modern music and what it is capable of…maintaining a sense of warmth and positivity; something that the world could certainly use and that music has the power to awaken.”

2011Candy Says: Powerful rhythms, followed by well matched vocals and a chorus that hooked me straightaway.
Listen: The Perfect Circle. Web: MySpace.

Background: They may be called Repeater, but the Long Beach, CA band is anything but a copy of their influences and contemporaries. The four piece’s unique sound blends haunting vocals, art rock guitars, pounding drums, driving bass and ambient, moving keyboards.

Formed in 2004, Repeater’s latest full-length LP We Walk From Safety with producer Ross Robinson (The Cure, The Klaxons, At-The Drive In) set for release on August 2, 2011. A sonic journey from start to finish, the group conjures up textures akin to Mew and The Cure. The vocal presence of frontman Steve Krolikowski shifts fluidly from the aggression of The Deftones, to the hopeful urgency of Arcade Fire, to the soothing softness of Sigur Ros. Resurrecting his legendary label I Am Recordings which launched The Blood Brothers, Slipknot and Glassjaw, Robinson released the band’s 3-song Patterns EP in 2010.

Truly reaching their zenith of expression as a live band, Repeater’s vibrant lights illuminate the stage while the orchestrated power and chemistry capture audiences at every performance. Each member has an amazing grasp of tone and dynamics, and it has shown on stages large and small.

With We Walk From Safety, expect a sound that is familiar yet challenging, warm yet aggressive and uncompromising. Each track captures a strange moment in life and time and reinvents it as a sonic picture.  The individuals in Repeater become a machine fueled by emotion and dedication to the song.

2011Candy Says: Vocals that deliver passion and energy with a band that matches them with atmospheric music and powerful building beats, that is both dramatic and moving.
Listen: Yours and Mine. Web: Official.

Background: The last few months have been undeniably busy for the Williamsburg based trio Fan-Tan.

First, a successful spring tour culminating in a string of more than well-received appearances at this year's SXSW. Then weeks of relentless and passionate studio work on the debut LP, "A Strange Game," due out next November.

As the final touches are being put to the album, Fan-Tan has decided to reward its ever growing fan-base by giving away the song "1989". The track is the first single to be taken from what promises to be one of the most exciting records coming out next Autumn.

Fan-Tan has been building an incontestable solid reputation thanks to its ravishing atmospheric live-sets and beautifully textured songs. The outpouring of enthusiastic reviews shouldn't therefore surprise anyone.

This is what The Deli Mag had to say: "The music is full of dramatics and tension, and it has an unyielding ability to remain in listeners' heads for days."

And the Philadelphia Weekly seems to agree completely by stating: " . . . [Fan-Tan] makes the kind of sweeping, soaring, synth-glorious post punk you might remember from Echo & the Bunnymen, or even the Cure."

2011Candy Says: The intro guitars to this song reminded me of the Cocteau Twins (in a good way) but Fan Tan are far more rocky and this song soon develops it's own style also in a good way!
Listen: 1989. Web: Official.

Background: Like her namesake, Novi is a new artist that is on a fast-track to stardom. Her first EP, Now I’m Here, set to be released for Fall of 2011, is sure to spark an immediate following from listeners throughout the music spectrum. She comes to the scene with an original, distinct sound that is eclectic enough to hit the chords of any music lover in the galaxy.  The smooth, electro-pop sounds that emanate from the speakers are a compulsive rise and fall of beats on every track that capture listeners, hook, line, and sinker.

With looping skills envious of Imogen Heap, and lyrics that send second guesses straight into the back of your mind (“I had bar flies sipping on my Motherf#*king drink”) you’ll have Novi “peddling back” through your mind all day. (Don’t worry. It’s a good thing.)

Starting with Now I’m Here, the self-titled track of the EP with the same name, is a slow psychedelic beat. With miscellaneous sounds strewn about in the background that only add to the thrill of listening to Novi for the first time. Her album follows the pattern of most of her tracks. They rise in tempo, and then drop back down, like an EKG of what your heart looks like as you listen.  Same Old Song, the fourth track on her EP, captures the idea of Novi completely. The slow beat in the background, with different sounds intermittent between a steady beat, gives way to her lyrics, “I’m tired of the same old song, tearin’ me up at the end of the day,” which suddenly leads in to a fast-paced, hard-hitting female rap solo, all done by Novi.

Her cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair, not only does the song justice, but also gives the lyrics new meaning with her haunting intro that starts off with three short stagnant pauses. Barely recognized until they’re over, the pauses are the epitome of Novi’s music. You don’t know what hit you until it’s already over.

2011Candy Says: This is a great pop song that has a feel good factor, plus some quirky elements that put a smile on my face - can't be bad..
Listen: Blackbirds. Web: Official.

Background: Elise and Jason are Bourgeois Heroes. The band began in the spring of 2002 on a roadtrip to Memphis. Once they arrived in Tennessee, they purchased a drum kit and an electric guitar and set out to record their first ramshackle single the following evening at Sun Studio.

Since, the duo has released several handmade EPs that celebrate “Friends”-era Beach Boys production, baroque string arrangements, an often rhythm & blues leaning and various “weird” sounds.

Bourgeois Heroes is currently in a long distance relationship, communicating musical ideas between Austin, Tex., and Northampton, Mass. Their most recent release is “Olé/Hola,” available as a 7” vinyl single. “Olé/Hola” contains more of the same ’60s-inspired, jangly pop that those who’ve already discovered this talented duo have come to expect.

Both tracks were produced by Justin Pizzoferrato, whose recent credits include projects by J. Mascis, Hush Arbors, MV&EE and Thurston Moore.

2011Candy Says: Second time we have featured Bourgeois Heroes. This is the B side to Ole/Hola and just goes to show the band don't short change you on quality and fine tunes.
Listen: When You’re Dancing. Web: Official.

Background: "San Francisco's Blind Willies is the kind of band whose music sharply divides listeners' opinions almost instantly. While some might take that as a knock, I consider it a testament to the intensity and tenacity with which they explore their own boundaries." Laurel Kathleen, Bestnewbands.com

Replete with a sweet guitar melody, the pure vocals of Alexei Wajchman, a full horn section, and a groovy bass line is the working-class themed, blues-inspired "Soon My Work Will Be Over." As the second single from the album Needle, Feather, and a Rope, this track shows the diversity of the band Blind Willies. "Soon..." slots somewhere between Middle Brother and Nick Cave or Deer Tick and Tom Waits; it exemplifies a mix of tradition and modern nostalgia. As posited by Keith Laidlaw of KQED Arts & Culture, “Imagine the White Stripes driven by the fevered folk of Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie and you might get some idea of where Blind Willies are coming from."

The band includes musicians accomplished across diverse genres including rock, jazz, classical, world, and hip-hop. Judging by the rich landscapes that Alexei’s songs travel, the band has used the various gifts of its members to forge a dynamic and unique sound that reflects the deeply resonant American musical traditions that they each brought to the table. The music is sincere, raw, and poignant and the band’s integrity is reflected in the 14 tracks of Blind Willies' third full-length album Needle, Feather, and a Rope as well as in the recording process. “We wanted to record in the manner of our favorite classic albums,” Alexei explains, “the band all together in the studio, live to 2” analog tape, with minimal overdubs. We felt this approach not only gives the album superior sonics, but is a more honest representation of our musicianship and soul. We punched it out in 4 days, 10 hours each day, and I think you can hear the pleasure of the experience and the fun we had.”

2011Candy Says; This is one fine song and one dimension to a very talented band that deserve wider acknowledgment and exposure.
Listen: Soon My Work Will Be Over. Web: Official.

Background: The great West Coast calls to Dominant Legs, and Dominant Legs, in turn, calls San Francisco home. Capitalizing on newfound free-time, as a result of being laid off from his job as an office assistant, Ryan Lynch began to write the glittering ballads and blurred-out pop songs that, with the addition of Hannah Hunt, make Dominant Legs. Lynch and Hunt, both San Francisco Bay Area-natives, were introduced through mutual friends and began collaborating when Hunt moved back to California after studying Architecture in New York. Lynch had been honing the band’s misty, nostalgic sound for a while, experimenting with songwriting as a kid and having spent the previous few years playing guitar in another SF band. Hunt spent her childhood singing and performing; her eternal passion for music led her to dive back in after years of not performing. With Lynch on guitar and vocals, and Hunt on vocals and keys, Dominant Legs’ sincere and dance-y pop songs tap into a sound that is at once naively sweet and self-consciously tragic.

Dominant Legs will release their debut full length Sept 27th 2011.

2011Candy Says: Another act we featured around a year ago. So here's something to grab your attention ahead of their much anticipated debut album.
Listen: Hoop Of Love. Web: Lefse Records.

Background: So now let's take a journey to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where there is some grand folk rock being made. Jack & The Bear are next up in a long line of  future breakout stars coming out of this scene. Following in the footsteps of acts such as Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers, Jack & The Bear attribute a similarly raw sound, that's both haunting and regal. "Back To Despair", filled with pulsating drums and heavily emotional vocals, doubles as a bit of a theme song for moving on with your life.

Comprised of two sets of brothers and a family friend, there is a sense of comfort in their recording process which gives the sound some much-appreciated togetherness. The use of 4 part harmonies as well as an exotic mix of instruments (mandolin, trombone, trumpets, and accordion to name just a few) make the group stand on their own. If this song is any indication, this great nation will soon have another rollicking folk band to savor.

2011Candy Says; Another gem that came our way from Paper Garden Records. This is a band to watch out for, they are simply stunning if this song is anything to go by.
Listen: Back To Despair. Web: Soundcloud.

Background: House of Wolves is the musical moniker of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Rey Villalobos, the name's origin coming from the translation of Villa-lobos from Spanish to English.

A Los Angeles native, Villalobos's family originates from two different sides of the globe - Cananea Sonora México, and Francavilla al Mare on the Italian Adriatic Coast. Rey grew up a classically trained pianist, citing Chopin as his first and main musical influence.

House of Wolves' debut album Fold In The Wind presents a warm, ethereal, and poetic collection. While beautifully eerie in acoustic form, the songs are filled with "colorful symphonic sustain that decorates spacious arrangements", and blended with Villalobos's haunting melodies and tender voice they call to mind Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and Beach House.

This past year, Villalobos spent his time touring the U.S. and Europe and playing shows with: Sharon Van Etten, Villagers, White Rabbits, The Middle East, Avi Buffalo,  Blind Pilot, Laura Gibson, Damien Jurado, Little Joy, Seabear, Kaki King, and Fanfarlo.

Recently signed with international booking agency Antistars, European tour to follow this October.

The album is produced and mixed by John Askew (The Dodos).

2011Candy Says; I agree with the promo this is part haunting melodies, but there is much more. Soft gentle but also quite captivating.
Listen: 50's Web: Facebook.

Background: Questioning the truth and attempting to imagine and re-write what’s been written are the notions encapsulated in Red Eye Fugu’s debut album Watchers. Seemingly infatuated by the roots of science fiction, Enzo Tiano’s electro-pop solo project is fueled with groovy beats and filtered dream-like sounds. The album is a brush fire of thought-provoking tales and the string of events that manifests into our strange reality. Each track provides a glimpse into the mind of a time traveler, a cult member, a truth seeker and a horror movie fanatic. These characters are inspired from fragments of philosophical, political and spiritual agendas hidden behind the curtains of mainstream mentality.

After immigrating to Los Angeles from the Philippines when he was fifteen, Tiano began to develop a sense of melodic urge to write and sing his own songs. Influenced by artists like John Lennon, David Bowie, and Thom Yorke, he manifested his songwriting into an imaginative, twilight-zone, party vibe and formed his first live band Paraventure. After putting aside music to pursue fashion design for a year, he joined the band Twin Falcons which, along with his solo material, marked his rebirth into the music scene. His debut solo EP, Suspicious Characters, was released under the moniker Poster Child on January 22, 2011.

His latest full-length album Watchers is set be released on September 10, 2011. Songs like “Prophecies (I Don’t Mind)” and “Floating Sea” highlight the never-ending belief in a poignant and dogmatic end-of-times scenario following the blueprint of a tenacious biblical endeavor. Tiano explains, “After hearing about Harold Camping’s failed prediction of the supposed end of times due date, I started getting ideas. I imagined being part of a cult who’s heavily devoted to a charismatic false prophet, believing that the world will end tomorrow. The lyrical venture is a split screen satire that focuses on what happens when they wake up the next day and still having to pay tax and mortgage”.

While the subject matter of Red Eye Fugu’s songs are fairly serious and vague in nature, there is still a playfulness and child-like wonder to his work, turning the vicious cynicism of an old hippie into a psybient electro pop wonder boy. His music fits well alongside The Flaming Lips, Toro Y Moi, Memory Tapes, and Washed Out, while still maintaining it’s own enigmatic mantra.

2011Candy Says: It took a couple of plays but there is something about this song. Different but not pretentious, experimental but not indulgent, I just cant quite put my 'finger on it'.
Listen: Night  Runner. Web: Tumblr.

Background: The Australian moody-pop quartet The Jezabels has been all over the world and back. Upon completing their European tour in September, the four will be returning to the U.S. and Canada in November to tour with the Canadian indie rock band Hey Rosetta! The tour traverses up the West Coast starting November 8th, and runs across Canada with stops into some Northern U.S. Midwest cities, finishing in Ottawa, Ontario on November 25th. The Jezabels will also make a quick stop in New York to play a headlining show at The Mercury Lounge on November 21st.

While already a well-recognized name at home, The Jezabels has been building an international buzz since their first North American shows at last year's CMJ Music Festival in New York. The hype has escalated through Canadian Music Week, Austin’s SXSW, and Brighton's Great Escape. In between, they’ve toured Canada, the U.S., Australia, the UK, and Western Europe. Now warriors of the road, the band has continued to perfect their self-described “intense-indie” live show, bringing “emotional intensity and grace” (Chart Attack) to the stage, and are excited to be returning to North America in the fall.

After releasing a trilogy of EPs, the band is currently putting the finishing touches on their debut LP Prisoner. A preview of the album can be found in their newest track “Eternal Summer” available for download and sharing. As heralded by The A.V. Club, “Pitched somewhere between The Cranberries’ edge-of-the-world howl and Arcade Fire’s fiery emotional release, (their three EPs) shot the Sydney quartet to the top of the Australian charts; its forthcoming full-length debut seeks to do the same internationally."

Tour Dates:
November 8       The Echo     Los Angeles, CA^
November 9       The Rickshaw Stop     San Francisco, CA^
November 11     The Crocodile     Seattle, CA^
November 12     Commodore Ballroom     Vancouver, BC, CAN*
November 14     MacEwan Ballroom     Calgary, AB, CAN*
November 15     Myer Horowitz Theatre     Edmonton, AB, CAN *
November 17     The Garrick Centre     Winnipeg, MB, CAN *
November 18     7th Steet Entry     Minneapolis, MN ^
November 19     Lincoln Hall     Chicago, IL ^
November 21     The Mercury Lounge     New York, NY #
November 24     Phoenix Concert Theatre             Toronto, ON, CAN *
November 25     Bronson Centre     Ottawa, ON, CAN *

^ Co-headline with Hey Rosetta!
* Supporting Hey Rosetta!
# The Jezabels Headline

2011Candy Says: A great song to finish up on, energised and just rocking away, more please!
Listen: Endless Summer. Web: Official.



NOVI said…
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