2011Candy - December Edition.

Background: Canada has always been a great importer of indie pop. From Sloan to The New Pornographers, you never know what the Great North will produce. Meet your new favorite musical obsession, Andrew Johnston. Taking a page out of the book of great indie bands and stellar Canadian acts, Johnston will have your attention faster than you can say "awesome."

Based in Montreal, Andrew Johnston has been playing under his name, or the moniker Andrew vs. the Enabler since 2006.  No stranger to music, Andrew played in the critically acclaimed group The Gentlemen’s Club, and appeared on JF Robitaille's brilliant album, Calendar.  If you haven’t discovered Andrew Johnston yet, let the journey start today.

Now is the time for Johnston to branch out on his own. Grounded in the simplicity of easily hummed folk and pop tunes, Andrew’s heartfelt indie rock sound is ready to take the world by storm.  On his most recent release, The Wake of the Wonder Years, influences of such high profile indies such as The Constantines and Matthew Sweet embrace a little bit of Hall and Oates-a combination that can't be beat.  The 12-song album will astonish you with remarkable vocal layers, thunderous drums and deep grooves, with drummer George Donoso (High Dials) and bassist Alexandre Lapointe (Jason Bajada) as well as vocalist Amanda Mabro.

2011Candy Says: Musically this is just so well mixed and Andrew's vocals are spot on. Builds gently into a really special song.
Listen: Something You Already Know.

Background: Washington DC-based quartet Deletes Scenes have debuted "The Days of Adderall" with Prefix, a new single taken from their sophomore full-length, Young People's Church of the Air. Building on the dark, heady feel of their championed 2009 debut, Birdseed Shirt, the new LP pushes the band's rhythm section further, experimenting with 80s pop, R&B, surf rock, dark funk, and Go-Go. Deleted Scenes kick off a string of East coast dates today with Jukebox the Ghost and The Spinto Band, and will embark on a national tour with Chicago-based art-pop band, A Lull, in January.

Their newest collection of songs originated in frontman Daniel Scheuerman's basement taking on a live identity over the course of 300 tour dates. Recorded at the Garden Center in Hockessin, DE, with Nick Krill (The Spinto Band) and Birdseed Shirt producer L. Skell, the album mixes themes of family, love, death, and joy incorporating studio sounds and home-recorded lo-fi noise. Young People's Church of the Air's title was  fittingly taken from a 1930's radio-church hymnal Scheuerman found in an old piano bench at the Garden Center, and evokes the elusive and sometimes illusory nature of hope. Deleted Scenes have shared the stage with Cursive, Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda, Black Kids, The Antlers, Medications, and Matt and Kim among others, and have performed at SXSW, CMJ, and Pop Montreal.

2011Candy Says: Harmonies surf over an interesting selection of instruments and sounds that just draw you in.
Listen: The Days of Adderall. Web: Blogspot.

Background: Seeker Lover Keeper is a new band comprising Sally Seltmann (co writer Feist’s 1,2,3,4), Sarah Blasko (Australian icon) and Holly Throsby (singer songwriter extraordinaire). They are prepping their North American debut with their brand new, self-titled LP Seeker Lover Keeper, for release on January 17, 2012 on Spunk Records.

Individually, they’re known as three of Australia’s most innovative songwriters. Sarah Blasko writes haunting songs that veer from intimate ballads to orchestral showstoppers, and sings with what’s now one of the most recognizable voices in Australian music.  Sally Seltmann specializes in narcotic, dreamy, sweeping pop, aided by layers of cotton-soft vocals, pianos and synths. Holly Throsby is known for summoning melodies that sound beautifully crumpled, worn, and decades old. Together, these three musical forces form one of the most buzzed about indie folk groups to emerge in recent years.

All three are distinct talents, but there are common threads between their songwriting too: an underlying sense of nostalgia; the golden, sing-along pop tunes; and the complicated lyrics about seeking love, and how difficult it is to hold onto it once you’ve got it. It makes sense that the three of them would be good friends. Get them together in the same room—or even the same phone line—and it doesn’t take long before they recall shared stories and descend into fits of laughter. But get them together in the studio or on stage, and you’ve got an entirely new band: Seeker Lover Keeper. The album was co produced by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, PJ Harvey) in New York City. Sally, Holly and Sarah played all instruments on the album except bass which was provided by Shizad Ismaly (Bonnie Prince Billy) and drums from Jim White (Dirty Three).

Sally Seltmann has released three albums in North America through Arts and Crafts, and is the co-writer of Feist's '1234’. Sally formerly recorded under the name New Buffalo. Sarah Blasko has released three albums worldwide via Universal. Her last album 2009’s As Day Follows Night was produced by Bjorn Yttling (Peter, Bjorn & John). Holly Throsby has released four albums via Spunk Records in Australia and Southern Records for the rest of the world. All three have toured extensively internationally. Holly Throsby supported Tallest Man on Earth through Europe in 2009; Sarah Blasko recently finished a headline tour of Europe (and supports to Lykke Li) and Sally Seltmann has opened for everyone from Feist to Broken Social Scene and done her own tours of North America.

2011Candy Says: I think Seeker Lover Keeper may well gain a lot of interest and acclaim in 2012, I hope so because they are superb and this song is only one aspect of a really delightful act.
 Listen: Light All My Lights. Web: Facebook.

Background: Oxford, UK-based quartet Jonquil announce their forthcoming full-length, Point of Go, set for a February 21st release with Dovecote Records (The Futureheads, Hooray For Earth). The album follows their recently released split 7" single with Solid Gold Dragons (Jonquil bass/trumpet player Sam Scott), and their radiant One Hundred Suns EP, celebrated for it's upbeat tempos and creative integration of afro and indie-pop. Fronted by Hugo Manuel, who also performs under the solo moniker Chad Valley, the quartet recently returned stateside for CMJ '11, following a phenomenal US spring debut where they performed three sold-out New York sets in 48 hours.

Point Of Go emerges as a glimmeringly positive step in a new direction, a record that is, in their own words, "far more poppy and accessible" than anything they've previously written. Recorded over a six-week period in a farmhouse studio it takes the band's summery flourishes and intricate guitars, and strips them back to a set of immediate, direct pop songs. With influences rooted firmly in the past - from Fleetwood Mac to The Smiths, Chic and Earth, Wind and Fire to Arthur Russell - the quartet's LP is an exercise in classic pop sensibilities held up by a modern backbone. Point of Go will be released in the rest of the world by Blessing Force; a growing community of artists, musicians and writers in Oxford (UK) that involves the band's other projects Chad Valley, Pocket House and Solid Gold Dragons.

2011Candy Says: Gotta keep the British music flag flying here on Beehive Candy and Jonquil make that a simple task. Great band and Mexico is one fine song.
Listen: Mexico. Web: Facebook.

Background: Portland-based dream-pop group Radiation City  has debuted a new single "Babies" as well as it's remix from Portland-based artist PoPoPePe, both available for free mp3 download at SoundCloud. Wrapping up a successful two-week recording session at their Trout Lake, Washington mountain cabin, the band will continue to work on their sophomore full-length set for a 2012 release.

"Babies" is the third single from the group's lauded full-length debut, The Hands That Take You, available now through Tender Loving Empire (Typhoon, Loch Lomond). Originally out via cassette on Radiation City founders Cameron Spies and Lizzy Ellison's cassette-only record label Apes Tapes, the album has been lauded by MTV, ELLE, Paste, FuseTV, Prefix, and The L Magazine among others, with NYLON saying, "Their dreamy, faraway sound reminds us of a sunshiny marriage between Reading Rainbow and the Dum Dum Girls...Either way, let's just say it's really good." The band recently released a new sampler Mixed Ape 3 with Apes Tapes and will perform a special Portland NYE's set covering OutKast's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" album in it's entirety.

12/31 - Portland, OR -  Mississippi Studios w/ Nurses, Wild Ones, DJ Beyonda

2011Candy Says: I went for the remix version to feature as it has a really different take on the band and gives glimpses of them through some quirky sounds, the original is really worth checking out, you only get part of the story on the remix.
Listen: Babies (Popopepe Remix). Web: Muxtape.

Background: Before bands like Real Estate and Beirut took over the ear’s of music listeners, indie rock has had a quite a journey. Meet the true legends of indie music, The Thousand Pities.  Hailing from New Jersey, the seasoned group of musicians have a story to tell within each and every song, and they are here to tell you about their intriguing musical journey. Just releasing their first single “What If Everyone is Wrong,” off of Believe in Sound, the guys are ready to captivate you with their catchy brand of rock.

For fans of resident Jersey boy Pete Yorn, be ready to be in awe of what The Thousand Pities have to offer. Memorable hooks, and brilliantly bright guitars, will make you not want to leave 2011 without putting this song on your Year End List. Astonishing harmonies fill the room as tones echo throughout making one of the perfect blends of pop and rock.

The Thousand Pities are no stranger to music, that’s for sure. Formed by Matthew Davis, who has played in seminal late 80’s and early 90’s band, The Vestrymen, that had shared the stage with Aimee Mann’s ‘Til Tuesday, American Music Club, Robyn Hitchcock, Green Day and Belly. Putting the band to rest in 1994, Davis still had a deep passion for making music that didn’t re-emerge until 2006.

Recruiting guitarist Michael Carlucci (Winter Hours, East of Venus), keyboardist Billy Donohue (Vestrymen, John Cale, Inger Lore, The Blases), drummer Ken Meyer (Life in a Blender), guitarist/singer Matt Friedlander (Painted Birds, The Miscreants), and bassist Racine Romaguera.

Hold on tight, this is about to be one hell of a ride. Take a listen to “What If Everyone is Wrong,” and let The Thousand Pities prove to you that they are right.

2011Candy Says: Powerful New Jersey rock that oozes the passion and power you would expect of Bruce Springsteen. These guys are their own band and this is a great intro to the band.
Listen: What If Everyone Is Wrong. Web: Official.

Background: Singer/songwriter/composer/lyricist Jeremy Schonfeld’s compositions have won numerous awards and been performed in front of captivated crowds but his latest project Iron and Coal is Jeremy’s biggest project yet. Produced by Werner Stranka & Martin Gellner for Beat 4 feet Productions, the album is simultaneously accessible and unpredictable. Listeners are invited on a lyrically personal ride that includes musical styling ranging from rock to full orchestral sounds.

Recorded in Vienna, Austria, Jeremy had internally debated Iron and Coal for years, but it wasn’t until his father fell ill that he began to write the project. The result is a raw take on the things he saw, felt and experienced from adolescence to adulthood as a child and grandchild of Holocaust survivors. As fate would have it Jeremy’s father passed away at the age of 77 on the exact date that Iron and Coal was being mastered. “I created this album as a tribute to my father, my grandparents, and to all of those who survived the Holocaust and their children who grew up living beneath the shadows of those horrific experiences,” says Jeremy.

The singer/songwriter concept album is not a new undertaking for Jeremy, his Drift album was translated into a production as a benefit concert at BB Kings in New York City starring Adam Pascal, Julia Murney, Terrence Mann, Jarrod Emick, and Adam Kantor, among others. It garnered Schonfeld several “Best of…” honors including “Best Show of 2009” from Triangle Arts & Entertainment, and “Best Original Music” from Indy Week.

Jeremy’s stage show is also very impressive. Recent performances include Madison Square Garden, Birdland, Joe’s Pub, BB Kings, The Public Theatre, Symphony Space, and Lincoln Center, the Upright Cabaret in Los Angeles, 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta and Boston University’s “BU on Broadway” series. He’s also a regularly featured performer on the Rock and Roll concert series “Rockers on Broadway.”

2011Candy Says: The promo suggested Gordon Lightfoot as one reference point for Jeremy, well that may be true to a point but there is a natural energy and feel as this song demonstrates that stamps his own style all over the music. This song tease us with some magical horns but never overstates any one element - great.
Listen: Yet. Web: Official.

Background: We have featured Pree before and they are such favorites of us that we will just do it all again. After touring for two years with Le Loup, guitarist May Tabol returned home to launch a new project with a close group of friends converging in the DC arts scene.  Now playing as a four-piece, Pree combines a wide variety of folk instrumentation with electric and digital elements to create a unique sound brimming with layered melodies and contagious energy.

Folly was written and recorded over the course of several heat waves and snow storms by May and her cohorts in a rotating cast of bedrooms, basements, and attics across the District, bearing witness to two foreclosures, a bit of squatting, a larger bit of eviction, and a subsequent life shuffle that would rival that of a wind-addled gypsy moth.  This patchwork, guerilla style recording, which grew out of necessity, ultimately served to instill a sense of tension throughout the record leaving one hanging on despite the imminence of something so delicate falling apart.

2011Candy Says: Unashamed fans of Pree are we (oops we have some poetry going on). Oh this song is just gorgeous, hence we feature them again.
Listen: Lemon Tree. Web: Bandcamp.

Background: Featured track "Juan Loco" is a compelling and powerful representation of the unique hybrid of metal, latin and jazz that is the unmistakable signature of Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero - Rodrigo Y Gabriela. For Area 52, the duo took their sound a step further into the unknown -- "Juan Loco" now boasts a 13-piece Cuban Orchestra and brilliant bass by Carles Benavent, who has played with the likes of Paco De Lucia, Chick Corea and Miles Davis.

About the track, Rodrigo says, "For 'Juan Loco,' we decided to get Carles Benavent to play the bass as well as he did on 11:11 because it felt like he could just change the rhythm in terms of the bass line, in terms of making it a little bit less latin and more kind of his way - you know, which could be jazzy, could be more flamenco based style or whatever. And it goes well with the guitars because it's a very hyper-active track in terms of playability and he suits perfectly for these kinds of tracks."

JT Area 52 was produced by the legendary Peter Asher and will come out on January 24th, 2012. The record contains nine of Rod and Gab's favorite songs from their own catalogue re-arranged and re-configured for a 13-piece Cuban orchestra comprised of some of Havana's finest young players, collectively known as C.U.B.A. It's Rodrigo y Gabriela's first recorded collaboration with another group of musicians.

Area 52 was mixed by Rafa Sardina, one of the leading studio musicians in the Latin music world, and arranged by London-based pianist, composer and arranger Alex Wilson. Recording took place in the Miramar district of Havana, Cuba, at Abdala Studios, founded by the Cuban folk hero Silvio Rodriguez, as well as at Rod and Gab's studio in Ixtapa, Mexico. Other players on the record include: drummer John Tempesta (The Cult, Testament, White Zombie), sitarist Anoushka Shankar and drummer Samuel Formell (Los Van Van).

2011Candy Says: Superb to see live Rodrigo y Gabriela are annoyingly talented and make the whole thing look too simple for the frustrated would be guitarist within me! 2012 is gonna start with some fantastic new music, case in point here.
Listen: Juan Loco. Web: Official.

Background: Hidden Shoal Recordings recently announced the release of ‘Supply Chins’, the second single from Perth’s widescreen indie-rock craftsmen Umpire, taken from their brilliant 2011 debut album Now We’re Active.

On an album crammed to breaking point with hooks, ‘Supply Chins’ has perhaps the catchiest hooks of all. Alternating between a massive fist-pumping chorus and reflective verses, the song builds towards a breathtaking climax punctuated by sumptuous horns, weaving vocals and driving guitars. This is indie-rock at its most unashamedly anthemic.

Umpire combine sprawling indie-rock sounds with reflective melancholy, expertly wielding massive sun-drenched melodies, serpentine guitar parts and soaring vocals to spectacular effect. From singles ‘Green Light District’ and ‘Supply Chins’ through the chiming guitar surge of ‘The Canyon’ to gorgeous finale ‘Cyclones Into Sunshowers’, Now We’re Active is a stunning release, as expansive as it is propulsive, as heartbreaking as it is life-affirming. Its easy to hear how the band won the WAMi Song of the Year for their track 'Streamers' in 2009.

2011Candy Says: Umpire get a second mention from us this year, well why not they are giving this fine song away, the very least we can do is say thanks, so thank you Umpire!
Listen: Supply Chins. Web: Free Download.

Background: Cairo Knife Fight, New Zealand’s electrifying power rock duo, makes an intergalactic impact on US ground as they announce the arrival of their sonic sound to this year’s 2012 SXSW Festival in Austin, TX.  Cairo Knife Fight, who released their second EP “II” via Liberation Music in August 2011, is comprised of drummer / lead vocalist Nick Gaffaney and Aaron Tokona on guitar and effects.  Together, this potent pair issues forth pulsating guitar riffs illuminated with haunting vocals and phantasmal effects which have taken the stage alongside Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures and Queens of The Stone Age. Says Gaffaney of the band’s sound, "It's about the sound of it, the power of it and the experimentation within it.”

Cairo Knife Fight’s music whips up a melodic storm of riff-fired power that takes your mind, body and soul on a hallucinatory rock 'n' roll ride. Think: Radiohead meets Kyuss meets Sigur Ros. The band’s vibe is just as alluring and forceful as their music, having booted down the back door of New York's influential CMJ music festival in 2010 to get themselves a gig and get noticed; and this year they got the official invite to return.  In addition, not many bands can claim to have been personally invited to support the Foo Fighters twice in a year -- Cairo Knife Fight opened for the Foo Fighters at the band's special Christchurch Earthquake benefit show in March 2011 at the Auckland Town Hall and will again in mid-December at Western Springs.

Their 2012 debut appearance at SXSW in Austin, TX marks a milestone in the band’s career as they are officially invited to hypnotize the audience of one of the most prominent music festivals on US soil with their epic, hallucinatory rock ‘n’ roll sound. Get to know Cairo Knife Fight’s gritty, mesmerising music and be prepared for their mosh-inducing live performances as they bring their heralded sound from down under to the US.

2011Candy Says: If the bands name does not grab your attention then this number will at the very least wake you up. They rock so loud there must be a couple of other members hidden away somewhere?
Listen: The Origin Of Slaves. Web: Official.

Background: Hailing from Ypsilanti, MI, Lightning Love have announced their forthcoming EP, Girls Who Look Like Me, with Quite Scientific Records (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Cotton Jones). Comprised of Ben Collins (guitar), and siblings Aaron (drums) and Leah Diehl (vocals and keys), the young indie-pop trio started out when they were 16 and has repeatedly been awarded with "Best Indie" and "Best Pop Band" in Detroit by local publications. Leah was nominated this year for "Best Songwriter" at the Detroit Music Awards and the video for their single "Good Time," taken from their debut LP November Birthday, was featured on Pitchfork, and NME among others. The band performed at CMJ '11 and is preparing for an upcoming Chicago set and appearance at Ypsilanti's MITTENFEST IV.
Lightning Love's Girls Who Look Like Me is an amalgam of songs written at two different points in time - songs about differences in the way you feel about things as time pass. Both this record and their yet-to-be-titled full-length show a band who has grown since their first release. Moving on from the emotions that fuelled that first record, with time came advances in the band's ability to put down their ideas on tape. For Lightning Love, the process of recording their own albums is part and parcel to how these albums came into existence. Ben Collins' background in recording began an ability to document their growth over the past few years, as the band weaved in and out of relationships, strife, and the process of, well, being a bit older than you were a few years before.

2011Candy Says: Indie pop with a tinge of electro in this uptempo song. Simple sounds and wonderful vocals.
Listen: Deadbeat. Web: Official.

Background: The Los Angeles based indie folk rock group, The Mowgli's, will be playing a series of shows late this December (you've missed them) and January in the Los Angeles area.  They will be making stops at The Roxy, Moscow at Boardners, and the Bootleg Theater alongside the likes of Death!Death!Die!, Jason Ellis, COYOL, and Molly Marlette.

The Mowgli’s are quite simply a group of friends who love nothing more than to make music together, listen to music together, and grow musically from one another. Blending country, blues, and folk with classic Rock n Roll, they add poetic lyrics that they hope people all over the world can feel. Best known and appreciated for their energetic stage presence, The Mowgli’s put on a show that the audience feels happy to be a part of. At the beginning and end of it all, The Mowgli’s are a California band with California soul.

If you're feeling generous this holiday season, donate a little money (or help spread the word) about The Mowgli's Kickstarter campaign to raise money for their new album.

1/8 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater w/ COYOL, Molly Marlette.

2011Candy Says: If you like the demo, it's fair to say the band deserve to make the album, lets hope so, this is a great finish to this round up, get set for some great tunes in 2012 & hopefully The Mowgli's will be up there amongst it all.
Listen: San Francisco. Web: Facebook, and Kickstarter Campaign.