2011Candy - November Edition

Background: For those of you who follow folk on Twitter, you may well want to add Marissa Nadler to your selection. In recent weeks she has given away a number of songs from her 'Covers Volume II' album, in fact if you check over there now you may well still be in for a rather nice treat. Covers Volume II follows her critically acclaimed self titled full-length out now on her own Box of Cedar Records.

After releasing several albums with Kemado (and having one of her songs inspire the name for vinyl start-up Mexican Summer), Marissa Nadler ventured out independently for her critically acclaimed self-titled album, which has been featured on NPR "World Cafe: Next," NPR First Listen, Vogue, KEXP, Pitchfork 'Overlooked Records of 2011' with an 8.1 album review, and as one of SPIN's "5 Best New Artists for June 2011," among others.

Marissa Nadler released her first album, Ballads of Living and Dying, on Eclipse Records in 2004; her follow-up, The Saga of Mayflower May, was released in July 2005. Both albums have been long standing favorites at Beehive Candy and the positive reviews she has received over the last few years have in our opinion, been totally deserved. If you are new to Marissa then don't just take our word for recommending a listen - Her voice was described by the popular online music website Pitchfork Media as "a voice you would follow straight into Hades". In the Boston Globe, her voice and music is described: "She has a voice that, in mythological times, could have lured men to their deaths at sea, an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke. Hardly anyone considers Nadler a folk musician."

2011Candy Says: What can we add to the comments above, this is a haunting song that takes Bruce Springsteen's original into another dimension. Superb.

Featured: The River. Web: Official.

Background: Dutch soul-act Fuel Box is going to release their dark debut-album "I" on 14th December, worldwide.

Fuel Box combines old, bluesy soul, dark dub and modern hip-hop into catchy, psychedelic, soul pop songs. (Don't worry, this is not another retro-soul ripoff...). On December 14, 2011 the complete, 14 track album "I" (One) will be released worldwide.

Producer Joshua Boon composed and produced the songs, while soul singer Remy Britsemmer laid the vocals down as they took a few years during turbulent times recording in (bath)rooms of old and dilapidated houses. Occasionally, they received help from guest musicians, but the only other vocalist on the album is Holland's legendary old skool rapper Deams (Gang Starr family, early Urban Dance Squad, Zulu Nation). Deams recently released the "The Legacy" EP, by the way, featuring De La Soul, Chuck D, Ice-T, Jeru the Damaja & Big Daddy Kane.

Fuel Box made it to the selection of Soul & Jazz talent on national Radio 6 and received airplay on multiple programs. They were also rewarded with positive reviews, interviews and entries in several print magazines and websites and through music blogs worldwide. Tracks were also featured in Game Kings (Dutch MTV) and the national campaign VrijSOAVrij.

2011Candy Says: We featured the band back in May and having now had a chance to listen to the new album in full, we urge you to check these guys out. New music is alive and kicking!

Featured: Get Out. Web: Official.

Background: Forget everything you know about Scout. With All Those Relays, the band’s first album since 2003, Ashen Keilyn has deconstructed her band and put it back together piece-by-piece — new players, new producers and, most importantly, the best songs of Keilyn’s career. Scout’s new chapter finds Keilyn simultaneously at her most emotionally raw and her toughest yet, creating an album both empowering and vulnerable — and catchy as hell.

It all adds up to mean the breathless praise piled on her music from Billboard, SPIN, The New York Times and others rings true today. As the Village Voice wrote, “Ashen Keilyn is a star.”

Scout dropped its debut EP, Someplace Would Be Nice, in 1998 on Chrysalis; its breakthrough album, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, followed just two years later. On the strength of huge buzz from the album, Scout appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” became an “Editor’s Choice” pick at Amazon.com, had tracks featured in films and TV, and toured with rock icons Sunny Day Real Estate.

After the 2003 follow-up The Soft Life, though, it was time to take a break. Keilyn began working with other musicians and recording with new producers, but one thing was apparent: Ashen Keilyn was the beating heart of Scout, no matter who rounded out the lineup.

With that freedom, Keilyn set out to create All Those Relays, inspired by music, film, and the idiosyncrasies of everyday life. Scout’s new music was created organically, each song born exactly when it was ready. Some ache with the melancholy of Cat Power. Some float like the folk of Azure Ray. But each track is anchored by her hushed voice. Keilyn took her time with this music, and her careful, relaxed writing makes for gorgeous, free-flowing songs.

2011Candy Says: A driving beat that at first seems at odds with the vocals simply connects into a great song.

Featured: Please Excuse Me. Web: Official.

Background: Performing their way down around the US at present, Yukon Blonde have be transforming their beards into waxed and groomed mustaches in support this year's Movember campaign.

Their recently released Fire//Water EP was produced by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Ladyhawk) the four song follow up to the quartet's Polaris and WCMA award nominated debut LP was written partially while on the road, and partially while off the road at a cottage in the Comox Valley (BC). The band recorded a total of 15 songs over the course of the summer, and  the remaining 11 tracks will be featured on their sophomore LP in early 2012.

Yukon Blonde's career has so far been marked by their on-the-road ethic. Last fall they embarked on a 30+ date tour supporting Good Old War, as well as several headlining runs down each coast. This summer the young B.C. band played at Milwaukee Summerfest with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and the last year and a half has seen them rack up nonstop tour mileage both in North America, and Europe, including festivals such as SXSW, CMJ and Popkomm Festival in Berlin along the way. Make sure to check them out this fall as they wind through the entire country.

01 Dec - Ames, IA @ The Maintenance Shop *           
02 Dec - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Jr *            
03 Dec - Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room *        
04 Dec - Oklahoma city, OK @ The Conservatory *    
06 Dec -  Little Rock, AR @ Juanita's Cantina *           
07 Dec - Dallas, TX @ Double Wide *   
08 Dec - Houston, TX @ Fitz Downstairs *       
09 Dec - Austin, TX @ Emo's Inside *    
11 Dec -  Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *       
13 Dec -  Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *    
14 Dec -Boise, ID @ Neurolox *             
16 Dec - Spokane, WA @ A Club *       
17 Dec - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile  *     
18 Dec - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir  *    
21 Dec - San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall *          
22 Dec - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar *
23 Dec - Los Angeles @ The Echo
29 Dec - New South Wales, Australia- Peats Ridge Festival Glenworth Valley
* All US shows after Nov 15 co-headline w/ The Fling.

2011Candy Says: Fine harmonies from this alt country/rock act that reminds me of C.S.N and Young with a lot more energy.
Featured: Fire. Web: Official.

Background: The Handcuffs embody the spirit of rock music's uninhibited, sexy and overbearing appeal. Perfectly blending style and energy, they do not sound like anyone else, but at the same time they seem very familiar. They are influenced by everything good that sells and anything good that doesn't. Rock music is loud (not just in volume, but in its nature), pompous and fun and The Handcuffs embrace every reckless minute of it.

Chloe F. Orwell, the designated blonde of the duo, is the lead singer whose stage presence and vocal style oozes sex and scorches and rock and roll. She can slide from a corduroy growl to a shimmering silky sigh in a Detroit second.

Brad Elvis, the other half of The Handcuffs, is a black-haired, four-handed drummer whose manic-panic style paints a 747 jet rhythm to every Handcuffs tune. Brad is also the chief songwriter (although Orwell is known to have a song or two stashed in her boots) and one of the visionaries of the duo. Bam!

The Chicago-based pair originally teamed up when Elvis recruited Orwell as lead vocalist and contributing songwriter for his band Big Hello, which released three critically acclaimed CDs, played hundreds of shows and received airplay on college and commercial radio all over the globe. Their potent creative chemistry earned the duo praise from fans and critics alike for their musicianship and showmanship, plus accolades in the mainstream and alternative press throughout the world.

The Handcuffs evolved from Elvis and Orwell’s desire to explore a broad sonic territory while still believing in the power of a great radio hook. Their songs are fresh yet timeless, edgy yet accessible, skillfully crafted yet easily memorable. Their influences range from Bowie to Bacharach, P.J. Harvey to the Pixies, White Album to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with some Ting Tings, T-Rex and Sparks tossed in for good measure. You could spend all day trying to name that tune, but by nighttime it would still be The Handcuffs.

The duo started out making boombox demos with Orwell on guitar or bass and Elvis often singing the lead vocals and keeping time on a cardboard box or whatever was handy. Proper studio sessions, with the help of additional guest instrumentalists, followed and The Handcuffs recorded more than three albums worth of material. Then came song placement in television shows and films, followed by a self-produced music video. With plans to release their debut CD, they finally decided to put a live band together.

To complete their line-up, the duo has welcomed three powerhouse musicians to help them deliver the rock including Emily Togni, a Tennessee-by-way-of-Arkansas native, Chicagoan Ellis Clark on guitar and former New Jersey girl Alison Hinderliter on keyboards.

2011Candy Says; Great driving riff and super vocals, the whole thing has a punky edge that really works.

Featured: Miss You On Tuesday. Web: Official.

Background: On December 13th, Chicago's Old Town School of Folk will release a vast collection of live recordings by the countless musicians who have played the venue over the last 50 plus years.  The collection's 127 tracks will be sold digitally on iTunes and Amazon.  Among others there are songs by Andrew Bird, Steve Earle, Toumani Diabate, Lila Downs and many more.  The release represents the best in folk/roots music, past and present.

On a stack of DATs in a shoebox lay the history of American music. There were local legends and major icons, global musicians and indie rockers. Some captured beautifully from the board, some gleaned quietly from the dusty archives of a radio station, the recordings held wildly creative decades of sound from Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, a roots-music touchstone for nearly 55 years. And no one had heard them.

Joan Baez and Donovan, Big Bill Broonzy and Ella Jenkins, Pete Seeger and Taj Mahal, Martin Carthy and Steve Earle, Doc Watson and Mahalia Jackson: It was a literal who’s-who of folk, gospel, country, bluegrass, blues, and world music, caught in hours of exciting performances. But someone had to put the pieces together—all 127 tracks worth—and someone had to clear all the rights with 85 different artists.

They succeeded, against odds that would have stopped others in their tracks. Live From The Old Town School (Old Town School Recordings; release: December 13, 2011) reveals not only the venerable institution’s storied start, but its role in the recent infusion of new energy into the roots music world, with everyone from Toumani Diabate and Oumou Sangare to Andrew Bird and Lila Downs.

This crucial collection of rare live gems is available for download from iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, with most of the proceeds going to benefit the School’s educational work with children and adults. And though very diverse, the tracks share a common quality.

“These are all performers who know how to communicate with the audience in a very personal way,” says Colby Maddox, librarian/archivist and teacher at the Old Town School, who spearheaded the project and attracted support for it from the Donnelley Foundation. “They don’t need that distance, that huge arena. They want to get down close and make people happy. And they are all coming from well-established traditions, all different, but all strong.”

2011Candy Says: Where do you begin? It's a massive collection of music's history and Andrew Bird was chosen at random simply because I did not know who to choose from this phenomenal collection

Featured: Andrew Bird - Tinys Tempo. Web: Official.

Background: Ashtar Command's debut album, American Sunshine, is an evolved and involved labor of love from veteran musicians Chris Holmes and Brian Liesegang. It's an expansive and coherent album that defies being reduced to a single genre. Nick Drake could come to mind, as well as the Chemical Brothers. Spiritualized could be seen in there as well as The Beach Boys. There are songs of exquisite beauty and ones that unabashedly rock.

The duo were joined by guest vocalists Joshua Radin (whose debut album was produced by Holmes) on “Mark IV,” Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (“Save Me”), Har Mar Superstar (“That’s How It Is”) and Rachel Yamagata (“Blister of the Spotlight”). The dreamy “Rosa,” already in heavy rotation at Los Angeles’ KCRW, is one of two tracks featuring Priscilla Ahn, while Z Berg’s crystal clear vocals provide a stunning counterpoint to the throbbing groove on “Gravity.”

The group are well known for their song on Red Dead Redemption called "Deadman's Gun". Sci-fi fans may recall the concept of “Ashtar Command” that emerged in the 1950’s – an intergalactic U.N. with the mission of assisting the human race in a time of crisis. Think evolution by enlightenment, which makes the name a fitting metaphor for the band and what they're trying to accomplish.

2011Candy Says; A number of famous names mentioned above, yes this is one of those songs that for some reason makes it hard not to look for comparisons. Not that it copies anyone, it's just so good you want to liken them to some highly regarded band, I will add Bowie to the list!

Featured: Save Me. Web: Official.

Background: Beacon is Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett. Their “No Body EP” explores a combination of deep south bass music and ambient pop melodies, with R&B tinged vocals that accompany warm arpeggiated synthesizers.

The EP's atmosphere and narrative recall brooding spirituality in the wake of first love and the allure of the paranormal in teenage romance. Jacob and Thomas’s extensive work in the video production and set building worlds has given them the techniques to produce their own unique vision for the release of “No Body;” a cheap prom set where real and imaginary moments continually conjure up feelings of love, lust and all things in between.

2011Candy Says; A sparse sounding rhythmic intro that continues to build long after the beautiful vocals establish as a very special song.

Featured: No Body. Web: Soundcloud.

Background:Holmes is a singer-songwriter who pens the kind of melodic, unpretentious songs that scream for usage in film and TV. There’s a humor, wistfulness and universality that would compare with some of the best of Ben Folds or Beck.” - Los Angeles Times

Los-Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Holmes (the alias of Roy Shakked) today releases a full-length cover album aptly entitled Holmes: Covers on his label Groove Gravy Records. This marks the third full-length album under this moniker, following 2007’s Stop Go and 2009’s self-titled album, and precedes an album of more originals due in the Spring of 2012.

Holmes: Covers includes songs from all across the board—from Ice Cube to Elvis Presley and Genesis to Michael Jackson. Each song on the album has undergone a complete transformation, with Holmes arranging the songs to cast the lyrics in a new light. Narrowing his list of song choices from 100 down to 13, Holmes chose each for their lyrics. “Lyrically, every song on this album really speaks to me,” says Holmes. “All artists, with the exception of Macy Gray and Massive Attack, were ones I grew up on. The other two I just really dig.”

The first single of the album, a cover of Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day,” is as far from the original as can be. The music behind Holmes’ version is a song he wrote several years ago, but never found the lyrics to do it justice. “It’s always tricky approaching a hip hop track to cover,” muses Holmes. “It’s just an opening to being hokey, not to mention an invitation for abuse. I really like the way it came together. ‘Cube’s lyrics are ridiculously good.”

The album was tracked and mixed in Holmes’ home studio in Silverlake, CA. A handful of amazing musician friends contributed to Holmes: Covers, including Joel Shearer (Damien Rice, Alanis Morissette), Chris Bruce (M'chelle Ndegeocello, Sheryl Crow) Lawrence Katz (Bosstones), and Michael Jerome Moore (Blind Boys of Alabama, Better Than Ezra). Holmes thanks his lucky stars for good friends.

2011Candy Says: If there is a benchmark for how to reinterpret a song then this surely is it! And it really works, complete with the parental guidance lyrics..

Featured: It Was A Good Day. Web: Official.

Background: Rah Rah are a Canadian indie rock collective whose album Breaking Hearts was released to the U.S. a couple of weeks back along with a vinyl/digital remix album called Rahmixes.

The sextet are known for taking turns taking the lead, both in songwriting and while on stage, and constantly switching instruments and they've been compared to The New Pornographers, Stars, and Broken Social Scene.

Rah Rah's sophomore album, Breaking Hearts was recorded and mixed in Montreal by Kees Dekker (Plants & Animals) and was released on June 1, 2010 in Canada. It follows the widespread industry praise for 2008's debut album, Going Steady and reinforces the increasing visibility that has accompanied Rah Rah's relentless tour schedule. Rah Rah were crowned "Best new Canadian Band" and "Best New Alternative Band" by iTunes in 2009. The band has also been featured as iTunes Download of the Week and Starbucks Pick of the Week in Canada.

The proud prairie rockers sing of the seriousness of art, poetry, love, and politics, and contrast it with a stage full of confetti, pinatas, candy, and six friends loving life and having fun. But don't let their fresh faces, confetti cannons and constant sugar highs fool you, Rah rah are old souls. This young, six-member ensemble artully bridge sincerity with the absurd. Despite lyrics that touch on underwater sea creatures, stockbrokers, Saskatchewan (and now Montreal), and impressionist painters, their songs are built to break your heart. All this along with the melodic male/female vocals and diverse instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums, keys, violin, accordion, ukulele), ensures that a Rah Rah show will not disappoint.

2011Candy Says; I love this song, both the instruments used, the mix and the perfectly matching vocals. Music that crosses generations.
Featured: Parkade. Web: Official.

Background: Lissy Trullie is going to release the follow up to her debut EP Self-Taught Learner on March 6th (2012) via Downtown records. The new album is self-titled and was produced by John Hill (Santigold, M.I.A., Shakira) and David Sitek (TV On the Radios, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars).

 Lissy Trullie, made in the L.A. studios of both Hill and Sitek, is coolly confident in feel, its mostly brisk punk foundation yielding to memorable pop choruses along the way, especially on “Big Heart” and the reggae-tinged “It’s Only You.”  Trullie’s voice and presence is commanding throughout; with her elastic singing, she comes across at times like a modern-day Chrissie Hynde.  But the artful precision of the arrangements belies the more spontaneous nature of the sessions, as Trullie reveals: “I think the benefit of working with John and Dave is that there was no mention of pressure, and they had zero rules. It was just free-form creativity, any wacky suggestion was taken, and that’s how the sound of the record happened. That style of working just suits me very well.”

And while the planning set her off down her road, it was the out-of-nowhere diversions that created the most exciting results.  “We did track a lot of the band live, but when we did, it just happened; it was spontaneous. Our approach allowed for more accidents to happen that ended up being amazing. Dave is like a mad scientist – he has a house where his studio is located in one of the canyons and it’s a crazy wonderland.  John was more the contained mad man – soft spoken, contemplative, and wildly talented. We had a real yin-yang situation going on.”

The more unorthodox the idea, the better, Trullie says: “We did a lot of vocals with different mics. John fell in love with this tape recorder microphone from the sixties and it’s on everything - -the drum kits, guitars, my vocals. He would hang it like a light from the ceiling. Its sound is kind of gnarly but amazing at the same time; it made the drums sound thin and dirty. We would layer that track over the proper drum track and it created an interesting texture, so we did that with the vocals as well. We tracked lots and lots of vocals; they had me in there every day.” There was an open door policy to go with their open minds: “Anyone who walked through the house somehow ended up playing on the record.” Special guests included Jaleel Bunton of TV On The Radio, XL Recordings artist Holly Miranda, and Florence + the Machine’s guitarist Robert Ackroyd.

"I write so I can find something new and hopefully keep growing," says Trullie. “This was the first time I got into a real studio with real producers and by the end of the recording process I wound up with what I wanted from the very start – to make music that has evolved.”

2011Candy Says: Yep another emerging artist to watch out for, and another song that grows and builds into something special.
Featured: Madeleine Web: Facebook.

Background: Following up their critically acclaimed debut, 2008’s A Mouthful, French-Finnish duo The Dø release their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Both Ways Open Jaws recently in the UK and in the US via Six Degrees Records.  After a series of live sessions, two visually stunning videos and album teasers leading up to the release, The Dø are receiving recognition globally. The album is receiving rave reviews around the world and the band has made a lasting impression on international powerhouses like NME, Clash Music, Drowned in Sound, Digital Spy, The Fense Post, Italian Vogue and more. In regards to the new album, Colossal Pop claimed, "The darker groove of “The Wicked & the Blind” is another flash of brilliance that reminds me of what the Velvet Underground might have offered had they had a better ear for “the masses.” The gorgeous “Was it a Dream?” is another wonderful moment" and Baeble Music noted “Funky French/Finnish outfit provided one of 2010's more exhilarating debuts (A Mouthful), so it's safe to say we're excited to see what album number two has in store.”
French multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy and Finnish vocalist Olivia Merilahti met in 2005 while recording the soundtrack to a French movie and started writing songs together on the side.  This side project took center stage when A Mouthful garnered praise from the likes of Pitchfork, and the band went on to play festivals and tour worldwide.

2011Candy Says; I have been a fan of The Do's since their debut, and this song see's them still developing and oozing energy and charm.

Featured: Slippery Slope. Web: Official.

Background: Native New Yorker, Gina Zavalis, releases her first single, "In Your Eyes," off her debut self titled EP, Gina Zavalis. The album is now available for purchase on iTunes, as well as her website.

Gina Zavalis began her career as a young girl in Off Broadway shows, performing in several national tours and regional theatre productions. A lifelong passion for music combined with years of singing are what's behind the success of Gina Zavalis. "In my humble opinion Gina Zavalis is THE next great American voice. Her sheer talent and presence alone will win you over but just wait until you hear the girl sing...Remember I told you so when she is headlining the universe!" Remarked Joe Bonsall of the legendary Oak Ridge Boys.

Gina Zavalis' self-titled EP is filled with heartfelt lyrics, along with her intriguing sound and dynamic powerhouse vocals, showcasing her three plus octave range. LA Guitar Academy praises, "In her new song, 'In Your Eyes', Gina Zavalis' warm tone invites listeners to travel with her on the journey from despair to forgiveness. Her voice, plaintive at first, soars to brilliance as she captures the moment of transformation-a moment of pure freedom." The song is a snapshot of the transforming moment when the tangled chains of insecurity release into pure freedom. Introspective and brutally honest, Zavalis conveys the difficult emotion of giving in to the unknown.

2011Candy Says: On paper this should not be my thing. However the vocals are striking and the dominance of the piano (not being crushed by a full orchestra) makes this one fine song. Maybe I am finally growing up (time for another mid life crisis).
Featured: In Your Eyes. Web: Official.

Background: From Paper Gardens Lovely Hearts Club we quote - Hours of listening to demo submissions eventually paid off when we opened The Great Afternoon's email to find that the banjo isn't just for making bluegrass tunes. Christina Ward has been rocking out on the banjo along side bassist Kris Knechel and Brian Huggins on drums for over a year now. Her soothing vocals carefully guide us through some of life's tougher realities while leaving a bit of hope for better days. Their first EP is not all doom and gloom as much as it is foot-tapping and and head bobbing thanks to a perfect blend of drum and bass lines with the unexpectedly soulful banjo picking.

The band has been playing a handful of shows around their hometown of New Jersey in support of their first EP "The Great Afternoon", which was released just a few months ago in August. Here's a stream of 'Science Fiction' but don't stop listening there, head to bandcamp or Facebook to stream the full album and maybe even make a purchase for just $7!

2011Candy says: I can see why Paper Garden spend ours listening to demo submissions, if this is the result of their labour. A great song and yes, yet another band to keep a watch out for.

Featured: Science Fiction. Web: Bandcamp.

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