2012Candy - January

Welcome to the first 2012Candy, our round up of new music that has come our way in recent days and weeks. We only feature music that has grabbed our attention, or that we feel really does deserve a wider audience, so no knocking other peoples art and efforts here!

Starting with Brazilian Beat (Putumayo World Music; release date January 31st, 2012). Selected from tens of thousands of songs collected by the pioneering label created to introduce new global music to broad audiences, Brazilian Beat chronicles the vibrant indie scene in Brazil and around the world. Musicians are taking samba, bossa nova, and MPB (Brazilian popular music) and deftly incorporating electronica, soul, funk, and just about every other music imaginable.

Sultry or upbeat, the tracks on this compilation of hip, rootsy artists aim to raise listeners’ moods and introduce even die-hard fans to a new crop of Brazilian music innovators. Featured alongside unsung icons such as samba soul master Marcos Valle are rising new stars like Tita Lima, daughter of the bassist from psychedelic hipster darlings Os Mutantes.

Brazilian music has bubbled into an indie scene-to-beat-all-indie scenes in underground clubs and on small labels from São Paulo to Rome. “You can go to Italy and find a hot bossa nova scene, and they have their own sound,” like Roman bossa band BungaLove’s “Minha Loucura,” explains Jacob Edgar, longtime head of A&R for Putumayo and passionate follower of the Brazilian music scene. “These retro sounds end up back in Brazil and shake things up.”

Listen: Tamy - Samba na Mão, Eu Tenho (Brazilian Beat).
Web: Putumayo Records HERE.
We Say: This just has so much atmosphere and feel to it, the song featured by Tamy is of course just one part of a massive variety of artists and styles. Unless of course you are in Brazil, this will transport you there for a while - enjoy!
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Tremor Low is a four-piece band hailing from Oakland, California that creates insistent, brooding post-punk/new-wave music.

The group has spent the last 3 years honing their sound and starts 2012 with the release of a new 5 song EP entitled "Kingmaker" recorded with engineer/producer Jamie Hill (Jens Lekman, Nada Surf). An unsubtle recording, each song is delivered in the most urgent fashion, swooning through stories of loss and lust, vengeance and greed. "Kingmaker" is the ultimate expression of what Tremor Low is: a state of frenzy that demands to be heard.

Tremor Low brings their live experience to crowds throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, delivering a dense swell of synthesisers, iconic vocals and airtight rhythm. In 2012 the band will tour in support of "Kingmaker" hitting the road and inspiring new generations of misanthropes everywhere.

Listen: Peter Murphy's Dead.
Web: Official HERE.
We Say: Powerful vocals and a hint of the band 'The Editors' within the featured song, see that as a positive, sharp rock with a passion.
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Jessie Baylin recently shared a free download of her 'Pleasure Center EP', a collection of original and cover songs by artists such as Sonic Youth, Thin Lizzy, Fleetwood Mac and more. You can still listen to it HERE, and this month she has released her brand new album 'Little Spark'.

Her bio tells us - When you hear Jessie Baylin sing for the first time, it takes a matter of moments to realise that she’s intimately familiar with pop’s history – but not at all interested in repeating it. Her songs—and her plangent voice—carry a classic pop tone that evoke memories of the Brill Building and Laurel Canyon in the ‘70s while retaining a decidedly modern, empowered worldview.

“I drew a lot from people like Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick, the Brill Building writers,” says the New Jersey-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter. “But I didn’t want to make a retro, throwback kind of album. Nostalgia is fine, I have a definite fondness for that, but I didn’t want people to listen and think I was trying to recapture something from the past.”

That’s exactly the vibe one gets when immersed in Baylin’s third album Little Spark, a recording that emerged after negotiating her way out of a major label deal that was threatening to mar the clarity of her singular artistic vision. Rather than go with the flow, she went with her gut, gathering what remained of an inheritance from her grandmother—whose nickname Jessie borrowed for the Blonde Rat label moniker—Jessie hired Producer Kevin Augunas, who helped her gather some of the most empathetic musicians she could find, including old-school guitar man Waddy Wachtel, veteran drummer Jim Keltner, Greg Leisz on pedal steel, The Watson Twins on backup vocals and famed Emmy & Grammy winning string arranger Jimmie Haskell (Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel, Bobby Gentry). But it was modern-day auteur and multi-instrumentalist Richard Swift who was Little Spark’s chief arranger and with Swift, Kevin, and the musicians in place, Jessie had her creative collaborators and co-conspirators.

Listen: Little Trouble Girl (from the EP).
Web Official HERE.
We Say: How do you stay objective when five seconds into a song the artist can do no wrong? OK so that's a bit dramatic, none the less Jessie has won Beehive over very quickly, check out both the EP and new album if the featured song appeals.
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Tiny Victories have announced the release of their debut EP Those Of Us Still Alive, out February 28th via their own BirdDog Records. In celebration of the upcoming release of their first album, they've released the track "Lost Weekend" for free download, available for posting HERE.

"Lost Weekend" provides the perfect introduction to Tiny Victories, showcasing the band's array of samplers, gadgets and live drums, coupled with singer Greg Walter's self-assured vocal melodies. Living up to the band's namesake, the track focuses on small moments of redemption, amplified, with the spirit of a marching band at a funeral.

Those Of Us Still Alive has an uncommonly organic, improvisational feel for electronic music. As Greg explains, "We make simple songs out of complex pieces. Take a melody that works on an acoustic guitar, then orchestrate it with samples that have been reprocessed beyond recognition-like the sound of trash being thrown into a Manhattan dumpster."

Comprised of Cason Kelly and Greg Walters, the duo formed Tiny Victories in 2010. Prior to their transplant to Brooklyn, Cason spent his early 20s doing social work with inner city kids, while Greg spent six years as a foreign correspondent, covering a war (Russia-Georgia) and two revolutions (Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan).

Previously having shared bills with Hooray for Earth, The Hood Internet, Bear Hands, and Braids, Tiny Victories plans to tour this spring, including a stop in Austin, TX for SXSW.

Listen: Lost Weekend .
Web Bandcamp HERE.
We Say: Indie rock with both passion and sense of urgency that thumps right on through this song. Indie rock isn't meant to do that is it? OK so it might be something else, maybe...
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Hailing from Egersund, Norway, Frode Strømstad, the mastermind behind I Was A King, is becoming an accidental maestro of curious juxtapositions: sweet and sour, timeless brevity, easy chaos. Unaffected and honeyed voices (Strømstad and Harrys Gym front woman Anne Lise Frøkedal) float through a maelstrom of garage-guitar-fuzz and duct-taped drum kits, and melodies that seem to contain forever are wrapped in tiny packages of three minutes or less.

What started as a series of bedroom recordings became a recording project between two childhood friends (Strømstad and Emil Nikolaisen of Serena Maneesh). The result has been dubbed "royally brilliant" by NME. This is music that is full of air and rush, cut free from heartless, cold mechanics, rushing into the very center of joy. It's boarding an old roller-coaster; the tracks creak just enough under the weight of the cars to add an element of danger but you can't stop smiling, and the whole affair is over much too soon.

The latest 7" in Oslo-based label Splendour's split series features two friends and collaborators that find themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of Daniel Smith and Sufjan Stevens. We feature I Was A King who bring us their bright 60's-pop style single "Happy," featuring Robyn Hitchcock and Emil Nikolaisen (Serena-Maneesh). They also cover Half-handed Cloud's "Baby Moon."

Listen: Happy.
Web: Bandcamp HERE.
We Say: This song definitely has a sixties feel (yep 1960's and that's one long time ago), maybe there is a nod to The Byrd's in this, but if so it's entirely coincidental unless these folk studied history or are older than the pic. Oh by the way it's a great song.
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Los Angeles-based quintet Milo Greene, which recently signed to Chop Shop/Atlantic Records, will launch a West Coast headlining run at The Roost in Bellingham WA on February 7th. The band will be joined on the road by special guest Family of the Year. Following these dates, Milo Greene will begin a three-week Los Angeles residency - with free admission - at The Satellite (formerly Spaceland).

The band, which toured with The Civil Wars, Grouplove and Belle Brigade in 2011, just finished recording its debut album at Bear Creek Studio near Seattle. The as-yet-untitled album, which the members of Milo Greene co-produced with Ryan Hadlock (Ra Ra Riot, Blonde Redhead, The Gossip), will be released in Spring of 2012, coinciding with the launch of an extensive U.S. tour that will include a stop at SXSW.

"The music of the new L.A. quintet blends two-, three- and four-part harmonies, serpentine folk-pop melodies and agitated beats into songs that rejoice a little, ache a little and leave sepia-toned images in your head when they're through," said Buzzbands.la while NPR noted: "Milo Greene makes folk-tinged music with perfectly blended male-female harmonies, but they marry that sound with thunderous live drums and infectious sing along choruses."

The band's first single, "1957," was released as a limited edition white vinyl 7" backed with "Silent Way." The song was featured as part of Entertainment Weekly's "Single Swap," recommending the song to anybody who likes Mumford & Sons "Little Lion Man."

Listen: 1957.
Web:Official HERE.
We Say: Lovely vocals and harmonies that skip over the complementary and very fine musicianship. Maybe a little 'Arcade Fire' influence, if so they have enough of their own creative qualities to make that a positive.
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Norwegian-based quartet 120 Days have debuted a brand new single from their followup sophomore LP 120 Days II, set for a March 6th release with Splendour (of Montreal/Casiokids, His Clancyness/Shimmering Stars). Unfolding rich layers of synth, the single winds through cosmic soundscapes pulsating just short of an epic ten minutes. The band co-produced "Dahle Disco" with fellow Norwegian DJ/electronic artist Lindstrøm, and will soon reveal the accompanying video. "Dahle Disco" follows their first single "Osaka," which was released as part of Club Mod, a new singles imprint by Modular and remixed by diskJokke and Sidwho?     

120 Days have been playing together since 2001 and their debut took them around the world, from America, where they signed with Vice Records, to Japan, where they played to crowds of 17,000+. It won them two Norwegian Grammys and was not only critically acclaimed but also commercially successful. But those subsequent five years have given them valuable, well-earned perspective, and their sophomore album proves that it's worth taking a little time out. 120 Days II is darker, dirtier, fiercer and sharper than a debut full of, as Pitchfork loftily put it, "towering edifices", one which the website also claimed possessed "the conviction that all this technology has the potential to amplify, not suppress, the transmission of human emotion, should humans be courageous enough to try." To put it rather more simply, this new one is even better than the first.   

Listen: Dahle Disco.
Web: Facebook HERE.
We Say: It might surprise regulars to Beehive Candy that the editor has played this more than any other release we have received this last few weeks. It may be a cry for help or yet another mid life crisis, but no its just a fantastic piece of music. Trust me (oops him)! 
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Minimalistic rock duo, Ugly Kids Club have just released their debut self titled EP on iTunes. The Nashville based team released their debut on iTunes and Amazon as well as a limited edition of cassettes for those indie music collectors out there. The duo deem their music as a mixture of grungy rock and roll infused with electronic beats. Deriving their influence from bands like Sleigh Bells, The Kills and M83, their music is a unique blend of their individual personalities and ingenuity all their own.

The two were brought together by the fates as Aliegh Baumhardt pursued a solo project with her other musical half, Steve Wilson (The Juliana Theory and Jonezetta). The connection was undeniable during the collaboration creating a desire to join together permanently. Blended with the balance of Yin and Yang, Aliegh and Steve (respectively) are able to bring a dark but mysterious essence into a catchy pop undertone creating a beautiful balance that is, Ugly Kids Club.
The standout singles like, "My Soul" and "Sheepskin," along with the rest of the EP are simply magnetic and after first listen could be described as obsessive art rock with catchy lyrics and industrial, dissonant sounds sprinkled throughout. Aleigh's lusty voice challenges the instrumentation to keep up with her as Steven's melodies compliment each track with ease. After watching their videos, Aleigh's sex appeal is obvious with every note and is showcased almost perfectly in, "Diamonds In Your Fire".

Ugly Kids Club has been busy at work to bring its fans this self titled EP on limited edition cassettes. For those of you born after the 90's, you may need some schooling as to what this contraption might be. For everyone else, bust out that walkman with pride!

Listen: My Soul.
Web: Official HERE.
We Say: For a minimalist rock duo, they make one whole lot of sound! For the days when you need stripped down no nonsense music with heaps of energy (OK sorry we are sounding a little like a high energy drink advert), oh just listen! 
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Virginia-based rock band Sons Of Bill have announced the release of their new album Sirens. Set for a March 27th release, we are told that - this powerful collection of guitar-driven rock songs and reflective alt-country was produced by long-time fan, and fellow Virginian, David Lowery (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven).

To get fans excited, Sons Of Bill has released new song "Santa Ana Winds," a haunting tale set to a fury of piano and power chords, for free download (see web link below).

Led by brothers James, Sam and Abe Wilson along with Seth Green and Todd Wellons, Sons of Bill is a band that sounds like where they're from - somewhere south of Bruce Springsteen's rock and roll desperation, but slightly north of their alt-country contemporaries.

From the driving country twang of "Find My Way Back Home" to the strikingly beautiful "Angry Eyes," from the anthemic striving of "Siren Song," to the tortured but hopeful "Virginia Calling," Sirens' centers on the tension between alienation and belonging in the modern world, resulting in a memorable collection of songs and the band's best work to date.

Listen: Santa Ana Winds
Web: Official HERE.
We Say: Straight to the point rock music, with a nod to Springsteen and others but more than enough self made passion to get over that. Some bands make studio tracks sound 'live in concert' that has to be a major plus and this is a great example!
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The brand new album 'Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy' is Nada Surf's seventh record, and fourth for Seattle indie label Barsuk, following the successful and critically lauded Let Go (2003), The Weight is a Gift (2005), Lucky (2008) and their self-released covers record if i had a hifi (2010). This is their first album of new material in four years, and unlike all of the other Nada Surf records, 'Stars' was made with a distinct attempt to capture their live sound. "We've always played faster and a little harder live," says vocalist/guitarist Matthew Caws, "but we'd play so carefully in the studio. So with this album, we made a conscious decision to preserve what it felt like in the practice room, when you play with that new-song energy.

Nada Surf's lineup for 15 years has been and still is Matthew Caws (vocals, guitar), Daniel Lorca (bass) and Ira Elliot (drums), though this time, as on if i had a hifi and the tour that followed, they invited guitarist Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices, Death of Samantha) to join in the proceedings. Chris Shaw (Wilco, Brendan Benson, Elvis Perkins in Dearland and Super Furry Animals) was brought in to produce and record.

Nada Surf are set to kick off their USA national tour on March 20th in Los Angeles, CA. The band have confirmed An Horse to be the opening act on all the dates, which will have the bands rolling cross-country and wrapping up in Washington, DC, on April 10th.

Listen: Waiting For Something.
Web: Official HERE.
We Say: They make it all seem so simple, which may be why they can produce a song with such charm and depth, like it's the first studio take. Excellent band that deserve to be applauded.
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LA's The Morning Birds will soon present their lush and heart-felt EP, 'Surrender to This', out on Valentine's Day, (14th February - but you knew that). We have featured The Morning Birds before and as totally biased fans we are happy to do so again.

The promo says - Awaken to The Morning Birds and prepare to be swept away from the ordinary. They have returned with the pared down EP, Surrender to This, a work that gives free range to their daring eclecticism. Primary songwriters Jenn and Sam have a marvelous yin and yang synergy: one part classic pop, one part emotive rock and roll swagger.  Their experimental leanings make things all the more interesting; it’s as if Queen came across Animal Collective hanging with She & Him in the back of Tin Pan Alley.  Forged from an uncanny mixture of diverse musical styles, this band’s music is as innovative as it is accessible. Powerful bass lines, lush harmonies and soulful strings are complimented by funky beats, trumpets, and cascading keys as Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus weave their stunning harmonies into sublime pop.

Listen: Born To Be Alive.
Web: Bandcamp HERE.
We Say: The Morning Birds have been featured by us before. They make running a music site like this worthwhile and however overwhelmingly biased we are towards them, we will not make any apologies. Check them out, they are delightful, its official.
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We are reliably informed that singer, songwriter, and dance-floor instigator KG Omulo can do anything.

He regularly packs American clubs with gritty calls for justice and hard-hitting Afrofunk. He has moved sold-out arenas with his baritone voice in his native Kenya. He takes on the dark ironies of politics, with anger in the groove, reveling in the potential to shake things up while shaking your thing.

Now on his first major U.S. tour and on Ayah Ye! Moving Train (released back on January 10th), he calls on the spirit of Bob and Fela, of Marvin and Stevie, and gets right to the point. No vamping or self-righteousness, just banging horn breaks, sweet and snarling guitar, and a voice that can croon, cry out, and urge on.

“I can be conscious and get people stirred up instead of bringing them down,” Omulo explains. “I make positive music that educates without judging. I want to create awareness and still make people dance.”

And we quote some more - On stage and in the studio, KG runs the show. He writes all the music, brainstorms lyrics in English and Swahili, and even uses visual editing skills gleaned from post-production film work to perfect tracks in the studio.

But he knows when to bring in friends to the mix, and Omulo’s Florida-grown backing band has worked with everyone from Ray Charles to T-Pain. “Cleary Boulevard,” an uptempo shout-out to the vibrant South Florida scene, features recording engineer, producer, and close friend Ramsees Mechan bantering in Spanish as KG waxes poetic in Swahili. “Ready to Love” features guitarist and MC Fareed Salamah (“Ripstah”), originally from the Virgin Islands, who lays down lush, purring guitar on the reggae-styled anthem to an open heart...

“I always think as I’m making music, ‘This doesn’t end here, even if this one situation doesn’t work, life goes on,’” Omulo muses. “I want people to live, to love, to fight for what they believe in. To belong and to care about others. If you can reach that special place in your heart, you can achieve anything.”

Listen: Intervention.
Web: Official HERE.
We Say: Totally new to Beehive Candy, and a wonderful introduction for us and hopefully your good selves with this featured song. This is just so powerful and yes we hear a little touch of Bob Marley, that said there is a whole lot more, great song and artist, to finish our first 2012 new music round up with.
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