2012Candy April's Second Helping

Background: Lila Rose has always stood out from the crowd - In substance, style and appearance she has never been average. Born with “ultra sound sensitivity”, Lila’s experience of the world around her has been quite out of the ordinary, and very much sonically based. Lila is both blessed and afflicted with sounds that most people cannot hear; while this is a gift when it comes to making music, it can also lead to great personal discomfort at times.

Last fall, Lila released her debut, full-length album, HeartMachine, which she co-produced with David Earl (AKA LogicNinja.) Shaping up to be a masterpiece of sound, song craft and technology, HeartMachine bends the genres of Electronica, Indie pop, trip-hop and alternative rock around an emotional core, finding a critical musical mass that is explosive in its intensity and brilliant in its light. Lila writes from the well of her experiences, building on the pain of human existence to create songs that speak to the human heart. Out of each shadow she culls light, uplifting, inspiring, and offering hope in lieu of even the greatest challenges of the heart, soul and mind.

The singer/songwriter now makes her home in Berkeley, a perfect backdrop for her quirky and unusual style. While Lila writes within the boundaries of classic pop song structure, her songs could be called anything but traditional. Lila’s voice is difficult to describe, but imagine a triangle formed by the smoky alto of Fiona Apple, the gritty edge of Ani Difranco and the pure tone of Adele and put Lila right in the middle. You simply have to hear her voice to believe it, and she sings with such intensity it’s breathtaking. On stage, Lila is a tour de force; you can’t help but get caught up in her pop star mystique. Away from the stage she exudes a grace and humility that’s stunning. Lila isn’t simply enchanting; she engages those around her on a personal level that is unusual in a society built on thirty second attention spans. Lila is honest, accessible and full of an integrity that is not expected in popular culture. If you were to sit next to her on a bus you’d never dream she was a pop star; but you might think you’d just met the sweetest person in the world.

Lila isn’t content with simply breaking new ground. While putting the finishing touches on what is becoming a kick ass work of art, she’s already planning her next solo project: a stripped-down acoustic work that displays the heart and soul of her stirring songwriting style. An emo-tronica EP with collaborator Eric Denniston is also in the works, due to be released under the name SoHeart in the winter of 2012. For Lila, the music never stops; it is a way of understanding the world around her. She transforms her experiences into song, and transcends the darkness that so long kept her at bay.

Lila Rose radiates ebullience on stage. There is a beauty to her that is neither physical nor effable; a glow that emanates from deep within. It shines through her music like a beacon for all who have been lost, yet retain hope and faith enough to see. With a voice that rings out of the darkness like the first probing beam of dawn, Lila makes an indelible impression.

What 2012Candy Say's: Atmospheric and captivating music that might draw comparisons from Bjork to Bat For Lashes. Lila has enough of her own creative styles and ideas, this is one talented individual. 
Web: Official HERE. Listen: Casting Shadows. (mp3).
Background: Barsuk Records is excited to debut "Fever", the new single off the upcoming Maps & Atlases full-length Beware & Be Grateful, out April 17th. "Fever" premiered via SPIN, who said the track "[allows] Davison's rounded, distinctive bray to float triumphantly over a direct, breezy concoction that feels indeed like a fever passing." The band has also curated their own blend of Intelligentsia coffee, the Chicago based roaster, available exclusively with the pre-order for the album at Barsuk.com.

Maps & Atlases will embark on a headlining tour this spring in support of the sophomore LP. The tour kicks off in their hometown, with a May 11th show at the Metro in Chicago, and wraps up on June 19th at Amsterdam Hall in St. Paul. Earlier this month, the band headed on a brief tour, which included a successful run at SXSW.

The album - which follows the Chicago-based band's acclaimed 2010 debut, Perch Patchwork - was recorded last year in a series of week-long sessions at Omaha's ARC Studios with producer Jason Cupp (Nurses, Good Old War) once again behind the board.
Since their formation in 2004, Maps & Atlases have captured the indie imagination with their extraordinarily artful amalgamation of poly rhythmic beats, elaborate melodies, and post-rock ingenuity.  The band toured hard from the get-go, honing their kinetic time signatures and inventive energy through countless live shows as both headliner and alongside such artists as Broken Bells, Frightened Rabbit, Circa Survive, Cults, and RX Bandits.

What 2012Candy Say's: The distinctive vocals and the intricate music, helps Maps & Atlases standout in the crowded indie market place. This song suggests the new album will be well worth checking out.
Web: Label HERE. Listen: Fever. (mp3).
Background: kayln rock comes from Hudson, New York, a small town just north of New York City. She grew up in the house her grandfather was raised in. She recalls, “When I was young, my Dad would play Buddy Holly songs for me on his guitar. I would dance on top of his feet as he held my hands listening to The Police.” She went to SUNY Purchase, planning to write for the screen and stage. It was while attending a film making course in Maine in the summer of 2008 that she picked up her friend’s guitar and the songs began to pour out of her. “I think it was a creative domino effect of sorts. If I hadn’t decided to branch out and study film that summer, I don’t think I would have found the confidence to express myself through songwriting.”

Since that summer, rock has become an avid note taker and perhaps even a journal fanatic, spending hours in bookstores searching for the right one to begin her new chain of ideas. For the songs that couldn’t find their way to binded pages, there is a paper mache bowl on her desk that her little brother made. A place for the ambitious pieces of scrap paper to live in. “Sometimes I write with my guitar, if it’s nearby, sometimes I don’t. I’ll sing a melody into my voicemail or onto my laptop. A lot of ideas come to me when I’m driving in my car or washing dishes. Both of which can result in soapy pages or chicken scratch from the steering wheel. Since I started writing, I write everyday in some way. Writing helps keep me grounded and in touch with my feelings and myself. If I don’t write, I feel funny, but not in a funny way.”
What 2012Candy Say's: Another artist in this round up whose superb and distinct vocals are supported by some excellent music, enjoy - we most definitely are! 
Web: Official HERE. Listen: Toledo Song. (mp3).
Background: Riverhood is the first release from Holobody, the sibling duo of Felix Green and Sea Oleena, two talented artists in their own right who’ve together crafted a masterpiece from elements of gospel, hip-hop, and electronically-propelled folk. Album opener “Unfold” is a sentimental soliloquy, and its seamless juxtaposition first into the playfully rapped  “Hurricane Season” and then into the instrumental "Stomp Coda" sets the tone for the genre-hopping on the rest of Riverhood.

Brother and sister trade vocal duties throughout the album. "Riverbed" is a beautiful hymn of death and rebirth with a chorus washed in reverb. Sounds seem to merge and collapse, until the listener paddles into the void and disappears. Other highlights are the hypnotically spiraling “Prelude” and the psychedelic closer “Acid Rain” with each song taking the album in a new and usually unexpected direction. Perhaps the most striking moment is the duo’s take on the traditional hymn “Down to the River and Pray,” which begins with reverent beauty before taking a sideways turn into percussive celebration and ambient experimentation. All of these pieces are drawn together on Riverhood into a whole that is lush, vibrant, and extraordinarily inviting.

What 2012Candy Say's: Loads of different styles, musical takes and directions make this album a great listen and picking a song to feature a tough choice, we settled for 'Way The World Goes Round' as this features both artists on vocal duties.  
Web: Tumblr HERE. Listen: Way The World Goes Round (player below).
Background: New York City is filled with hundreds of bands, but it takes true talent for a group to stand out amongst the rest. Meet LETTERIST, the infectious trio hailing from the streets of Brooklyn, New York. Just debuting their first single titled, “100mph,” Letterist will quickly draw you in with their catchy brand of indie-meets -electro pop-sound. Be prepared to make this track one of your favorite songs of the year....already. Singer Pamela Bell’s voice echoes throughout the track, making it both haunting and gorgeous. Echoing guitars and heavy beats fill every inch of space with perfection, carrying the song to new heights. Blending a bit of dancefloor nostalgia, this is one piece that will make your jaw drop.

Forming in 2006, during a chance meeting on a night that can only be referred to as “a drunken underwear Twister-themed party,” Rammy Yogendra (Guitar, Synth, Piano), met Pamela Bell (Vocals), and Alex McCown (Drums) and the three hit it off immediately. Coming together from Minnesota, Missouri and Florida respectively, the trio found a common ground in New York City, which they have been calling home for several years. Playing at countless area venues and late-night rooftop gatherings, Letterist gained notoriety from their performances at the now-infamous Bang On!NYC Parties.

Letterist is the perfect blend of electro-synthpop and dance rock. Influenced by classic artists such as Royksopp, Daft Punk, New Order, Fleetwood Mac, and Kylie Minogue, while evoking the sounds of modern luminaries like Metric and Lykke Li, the group will make you un-expect the expected.  “I want to be able to reinvent based on my musical growth, and my gut and my ability,” says Pam. For Letterist this means an endless quest to write the perfect soundtrack to the best 80’s John Hughes film never made..

This spring sees the release of Letterist’s sophomore album, Solace and Gold, which was recorded with Tim Monkiewicz (Golden Pony), mixed by Abe Seiferth (DFA Records) and mastered by Jamal Ruhe at West West Side Music.

What 2012Candy Say's: With songs this good it can only be a matter of time before Letterist are getting noticed in a big way. If you are going to do 'pop come dance music' then these people have set the standards high, very high indeed.
Web: Facebook HERE. Listen: 100MPH. (mp3).
Background: If you’ve been paying attention to the NYC music scene (and you should be!), you know that Brooklyn-based Australian transplants WAZU have been generating heaps of buzz as of late. “Murder 1,” the synth-heavy, post apocalyptic first single from their three song WAZU EP (Anti-Language Recordings) is getting rave reviews.

The track is a glorious, vicious little tease of what’s to come from this male-female duo that appear to have swallowed some of the same sexy electronic pills as The xx, but have regurgitated them in a much more elaborate and foreboding fashion. “Happy Endings,” the second track off the EP produced by the legendary Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, Swans, The Walkmen), is a cynical sing-along that resonates with the lyrics, “take a look at me / I’m living proof / Happy endings don’t have room for two.” Never has heartbreak sounded so enticing and danceable.

In their first week of playing together as WAZU, the duo performed seven shows in six nights at the Top 10 “Best of the Fest” Festival at Toronto Indie Week 2010. “We showed up planning to play three shows, but [we] kept winning!” Shortly after, the band performed as part of the CMJ Festival at Lower East Side staple The Living Room, the Neon Reverb Music Festival in Las Vegas, and the Dropout Party at Don Hill’s in NYC. In the past few months WAZU made the Top 3 of the Deli Magazine’s Year End Best of NYC poll for emerging artists in 2011 and the EP has earned the band glowing reviews and promising mentions in In-d Scene UK, Some Kind of Awesome, and Alfitude, to name a few.

What 2012Candy Say's: Wall of sound Synth and anthemic vocals, no wonder the buzz, if this type of music was filling the Top 40 airwaves, pop radio would be worth listening to again.
Web: MySpace HERE. Listen: Happy Endings. (mp3).
Background: Despite Distance:  Actress Irène Jacob and Guitarist Francis Jacob Craft Welcoming, Worldly Pop on Je Sais Nager and live at Joe’s Pub, May 2012
The acclaimed actress and the nomad jazz composer sat down by the sea, and began to write songs.

They had known each other for decades; as siblings and life-long friends, Irène and Francis Jacob had shared games, Paris apartments, and an intense engagement with jazz, film, and philosophy. But one day, in the music room where their grandmother used to practice, they began making music together.

Together, they capture gentle, bittersweet sounds, tales, and joys on Je Sais Nager (I Know How to Swim; Sunnyside Records; U.S. release: May 8, 2012), in songs that blend the musical intuitions of globally minded guitarist and composer Francis and the soft-spoken storytelling skills of international art-house star Irène (The Double Life of Veronique, Red).

The duo and their multinational band (including Senegalese bassist Mamadou Ba and Afro-Peruvian legend Pichio) will perform at Joe’s Pub in New York City on May 3, 2012.

With Brazilian and Senegalese beats, steel and water drums, and a certain French flair for pensive and playful pop, the Jacobs chronicle their own connection despite distance. Journeying into thoughtful inner worlds (“Au Fond de Toi”) or fantastic landscapes (“Sumatra”), Je Sais Nager reveals the fruitful cross-pollination of a trained actor’s ear for language and a skilled musician’s feel for expression and emotion.

“Irène is a wonderful singer, but primarily an actress. Her approach was based on the lyrics, on what the song was saying,” explains Francis. “Working with her opened a new door for me as an arranger; I had to get the music to paint the words.”

What 2012Candy Say's: Superb music and sensual vocals arranged to standards that are outstanding, I do not speak French, but songs like this are universal and I can whistle along to it anyway!
Web: Official HERE. Listen: Sumatra (player below). 
Background: Portland, Oregon-based duo Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks are celebrating the release of their debut full-length, Take The Air (Waterbug Records), by setting out on a national spring tour to promote the album. 

Jenn Rawling, ace songstress and vintage American folk and old-time country singer, joins masterful string player & harmony singer Basho Parks in a partnership of formidable musical talent and palpable sympathy. Their music marries musical and lyrical imagery, with repetitive figures that subtly shift accent and meaning like sunlight gleaming from a stream. The result is an emotionally rich recording which unfolds more gifts with each listen.  There's a flowing kindness at the heart of this music; more than a nod to our barn-raising ancestors; and a formal mastery of the song form whereby the inevitable continues to amaze.  Recorded and produced with Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horse Feathers) at Miracle Lake Studios, the duo pared down a fistful of songs to the ten that comprise Take The Air. This album will get in your head and heart, and you won't mind a bit.  Using both stripped down and lush instrumentation,Take The Air reels the listener in with its delicate subtlety and glowing warmth.  This is superb artistry and the effect is profound.

Rawling & Parks were joined in studio by a slew of local talent for Take The Air, including   William Joersz (Ezza Rose), Mub Fractal (Brownish Black), Matt Berger (Laura Gibson, Portland Cello Project), Skyler Norwood (Point Juncture Washington), Joel Ricci (Lucky Brown, March Fourth Marching Band), and Brendan Phillips (Fast Rattler).

What 2012Candy Say's: This is a beautiful song that sees vocals and strings complement each other, if you like the song, the album is a must have, simple as that!
Web: Official HERE. Listen: Gather It. (mp3).
Background: Anna Ternheim and V2 Records / Cooperative Music proudly announce the release of The Night Visitor, out June 5th 2012. The Swedish born performer's latest work was recorded in Nashville and produced by her good friend and fellow musician Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney) along with Dave Ferguson, Johnny Cash's longtime engineer (best known for his work on Cash's final "American" albums).

With the release of her most previous album Leaving on a Mayday, Ternheim won considerable critical and commercial success in her native land, taking home the Swedish Grammys for "Best New Artist" and "Album of the Year." But in 2010 she sought out a change of scene and left the familiar confines of Stockholm for New York City. It was there that she would reach out to her friend Matt Sweeney to play him the new songs she'd been writing. Stunned by their haunting beauty, Sweeney presented an idea he had harbored for some time; the two of them taking their business to Nashville. And so in early 2011 it was there that they began work on The Night Visitor.

Along with Sweeney and Ferguson-who in addition to producing contributes vocals on Pat McLaughlin's "The Longer The Waiting (The Sweeter The Kiss)"-numerous other Nashville legends contributed their talents to the recording including "Cowboy" Jack Clement, Kenny Malone, Ronnie McCoury and Tim O'Brien. Will Oldham also dropped by to contribute backing vocals and assist in producing a few songs including the stunning "Walking Aimlessly."

The result is an album already being praised in Sweden for its vivid imagery and the masterful melding of the three somewhat disparate worlds of Stockholm, New York, and Nashville.

What 2012Candy Say's: With the folks involved in this, you would only accept top quality and you get it. Fantastic vocals and arrangements this is a wonderful song, I genuinely cant wait for the album.
Web: Official HERE. Listen: The Longer The Waiting. (mp3).



L said…
Some fabulous tunes here - you have a great ear for finding gems. Especially Irene Jacob and Francis Jacob, and Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks. Fabulous. Hollobody also has potential - I'm going to seek them out, too. Many thanks.