2012Candy - June Edition Two

Background: Pop's best-kept secret, Danielle Aument, is an ascending singer-songwriter set to release her brand new single "Already Over You." The lead single off her yet-to-be-titled EP, due out later this year, is available for purchase on iTunes.

Originally from Downers Grove, IL, Danielle got her start in music as a performer in local musical theater productions near her hometown. She then moved on to professional productions in Chicago performing in popular musicals such as the renowned Evita. Drawn to the intimate styles of singer-songwriters, she left her theatrical experience behind and made her career as a music artist a reality. The 18 year-old singer is already making a name for herself; not only was she invited to attend the music industry showcase NAMM in Nashville, but she was recently named iHeartRadio's Artist to Watch.

Danielle Aument is an enthusiastic artist and a passionate songwriter with a dedication to her craft and a commitment to her art. Her modern musical vision is illuminated with her music. From catchy hooks, and joyful pop tunes that put you in a good mood, Danielle aims to enlighten and entertain. 

2012Candy Say's: Put simply this is upbeat pop, just right for the summer, if your gonna do pop Danielle sets the standards.
Listen: What You Mean To Me, (player only). Web: Official HERE.
Background: Portland, Oregon-based pianist/singer-songwriter Sara Jackson-Holman will release her sophomore full-length, Cardiology (Expunged Records), on July 24, 2012.

Where the songs on Jackson-Holman's debut, When You Dream (Expunged Records) were intended to be universal and interpreted by the listener, her latest release Cardiology expresses a very personal journey, specific to the study of her own heart this past year. “This album centers around themes of love and loss and my experiences with each over the course of this last year. Some songs, like “Do I Make It Look Easy” and “For Albert” are about moving on from situations - realizing and accepting that you can't change people, which is challenging, but at the same time empowering, because that understanding ultimately provides you with a sense of peace.  I also wrote songs to sort through what it means to lose someone you love, and what you do with that feeling of loss.” 

Co-produced by Jackson-Holman, Keith Schreiner (Auditory Sculpture, Dahlia), one of Portland’s best known composers and performers who programmed synths and beats, and Skyler Norwood (producer of Blind Pilot, Horse Feathers, and Jackson-Holman's When You Dream) at Miracle Lake Studios, where tracking of organic elements and mixing took place, Jackson-Holman delivers a stunning follow-up with Cardiology.  Featuring contributions by Skyler Norwood (Point Juncture, WA) on drums and bass, Jack Norwood on bass, Jessie Dettwiler (Alameda) on cello, and Basho Parks (Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks) on violin, Jackson-Holman's songs are fleshed out by a cast of strong supporters.

For her sophomore album, Jackson-Holman took a much different approach to her songwriting and production process. “Recording my first album was about learning the process; it was extremely informative. I had never been in a studio, so to see the inner-workings of production firsthand changed my entire perspective. For Cardiology, I actually produced full, 30-track demo versions at home for several of the songs on Garageband before bringing the tracks to the studio for final beats, synth sounds, and additional production. I wrote the songs in varied ways - some originated from sitting at the piano, others from humming a melody, and still more from writing a beat first then crafting the rest of the song around it. From my first day in the studio to my last, the recording process spanned seven months." 

2012Candy Say's: This is a fine song from a fascinating album that takes the listener in different directions and moods. Songs that tell stories and capture your imagination.
Listen: Cartography, (player only). Web: Official HERE.

Background:  Jezzy & The Belles, the salacious Brooklyn based dream-pop folktronica band announces the release of their debut full-length album “Compasses & Maps” on June 26.  This aptly titled record guides listeners on a transcendent pilgrimage along the border of hauntingly ethereal indie pop and seductive, undulating folktronica.  This rhythmic journey is lead by the hypnotic vocals of front woman, Jezzy (Jessica Eisenberg), who fearlessly routes your way through 9 rousing songs which will make you subconsciously fall victim to her melodic rapture.  Fans of Nouvelle Vague, Air, Massive Attack and PJ Harvey beware: “Compasses & Maps” by Jezzy & The Belles will claim another piece of your heart.

Jezzy is candid about her music providing a creative and emotional safe haven after she endured a series of traumatic events.  “It was a way for me to heal wounds and make room for a trust and a sense of calm in life,” says Jezzy, “Even if I didn’t feel entirely hopeful and exuberant at the time I wrote these songs, I pushed forward and tried to document the music and words I needed to feel at that point.”  The strength, power and perseverance that Jezzy demonstrated during this time is felt whole heartedly on each track of “Compasses & Maps” and translates into a soul-stirring escapade for its listeners.

“Compasses & Maps” follows the February 2012 release of Jezzy & The Belles’ self-titled EP which included the title track from their forthcoming full-length album and lead to a worldwide music video premiere for “Compasses & Maps” on AOL Spinner.

Jezzy & The Belles debut album “Compasses & Maps” will be released digitally on June 26.

2012Candy Say's: This has a fairly unique feel despite the comparisons Nouvelle Vague, Air, Massive Attack and PJ Harvey. Intricate and pleasing.
Listen: Confess Child (mp3). Web: Facebook HERE.

Background: Virginian sisters Rachel and Torey Russell’s ethereal voices conjure up the laid back sweetness of Norah Jones and Lisa Hannigan as they gently meander over the warm acoustic backdrops provided by the band’s creative spearhead, Kent Heckaman. Sonnet Cottage is a new project for Kent Heckaman who was waiting for just the right vocalists to collaborate with. The simple arrangements fit like a glove with the angelic vocals of the two sisters. The wait was well worth it.

Like Peter, Paul and Mary before them, this trio comes bearing a similar message of nature, deeper human conditions and winds of change. Their first single, the pastoral charmer “Most Unlikely”, transports the listener through its mysterious and whimsical atmosphere. “New life will soon begin, much wiser than before, no more vanity” they sing on the groovy Latin tinged “Trail of the Wind”, a perfect precession to the enchantingly nuanced ballad “Little Did I Know”. Other tracks, like the opener “Letting It All Go”, feel akin to the organic nature of Sufjan Stevens’ esteemed album Greetings from Michigan, embodying the magical feeling of being in a vaguely familiar, yet completely unique sonic landscape. Step into Sonnet Cottage’s world and be whisked away to Another Time, out July 24, 2012. 

2012Candy Say's: This is a beautiful song, I could go on, however I reckon that sums the song and Sonnet Cottage just fine.
Listen: Most Unlikely (player only). Web: Official HERE.
Background: Maren Parusel is a name you need to know, now! Out of the ashes of a terrible incident in which all of Maren’s instruments were stolen in New York City last year, shines a bright light out of the Midtown Tunnel and into an intense musical journey that you will not soon forget. What came of her sound is a revamped style of guitar-driven tones, synths, and the ability to take on the world. Not to shabby if you ask us.

Parusel is gearing up to release her sophomore full-length, Tightrope Walker (Requiemme Records/ BMG Chrysalis), on June 19th to eager ears. Today the band debuts the first single and title track from the album called, “Tightrope Walker,” the perfect song to kick off your Summer.

Filled with dreamy synths, beautiful and transcendent guitars, and Maren’s blend of poppy and gorgeous vocals, this song will provide you with everything you have ever wanted in a song. With a voice reminiscent of Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, with a dose of pop flare thrown in, Parusel brings every piece to life to provide what can be described a polished and danceable collection of dreamy tracks.  With bandmates in tow, including Eric Brozgold (drums), Josh Cass (guitarist), and Chris Hoffee (bass), the group has already been getting attention from the likes of indie Godfather, Mike Mills from R.E.M. (“I loved her set”), renowned photographer BP Fallon, and even Kim Fowley (Manager of Runaways).

Maren Parusel is ready to elevate you to new heights with Tightrope Walker. Just close your eyes, put one foot in front of the other and take it all in. 

2012Candy Say's: Power pop with a little splash of indie rock thrown in for effect this is one catchy song, be warned it can get inside your head!
Listen: Tightrope Walker (mp3). Web: Official HERE.
Background: Originally conceived to create the fictional home recordings of a nonexistent South Dakotan teenager, The Dust Engineers are in reality a new Brooklyn/Queens-based band. "Ask Bobby Zimmerman about inventing a persona," laughs Zachary Meyer, singer and guitarist. "Sometimes romanticization is better than the real thing." After performing at a Bowery Poetry Club multimedia exhibition, Meyer decided to make The Dust Engineers more than a fantasy, and enlisted Ryan Egan (bass), Sara Maeder (vocals, tambourine), Erik Rosenberg (guitar, vocals), and Jared Harel (drums) to form the band in 2011. Employing coed harmonies and twangy bottleneck slides with reckless abandon, their new EP Bail proves tough to classify. "One foot on a skateboard and the other in stirrups," replies Meyer when asked about The Dust Engineers' singular sound.

Listen to the debut single “Snot Nosed Dweeb,” from the upcoming EP Bail, due out July 17, and you will find yourself immediately drawn into their 90's meets 2012 sound with a twist of pop sensibility and irreverent lyrics that will ring true for anyone who's ever dreamt of quitting their job.

The Dust Engineers recorded this, and all tracks, live in the studio rather than multi-tracking piece by piece, creating a warm and stage-ready sound for your stereo. Recorded by Andrew Lappin and mixed by Yale Yng-Wong (Here We Go Magic, Country Mice, Fort Lean, Tiny Victories), The Dust Engineers have created an impressive EP of 5 unforgettable tracks. The album is released under the label and creative collective, No Horse Town, which is made up of musicians, poets, visual artists, and writers around the country. "We strive for this natural, collaborative writing process, and we let the original vision guide us. We've got an imagined desert muse,” says Meyer. 

2012Candy Say's: OK the band name and song title more or less got this song featured, the bonus is that it's a great piece of music with good rock and roll harmonies.
Listen: Snot Nosed Dweeb (mp3). Web: Bandcamp HERE.
Background: Beehive Candy recently received an introductory email direct from Pharaohs from the Grave. Having given their music a listen we are mighty glad they got in touch!

Pharaohs from the Grave  are a four-piece alternative punk rock band from the U.K. Resident party band in the London indie Rock scene. Described as a mix between Blondie, Grace Jones, No doubt, Garbage, the yeah yeah yeahs and Queens of the stone age.

The band have been described as a visual act as well not just a generic rock n roll act. 

2012Candy Say's: Straight to the point, no nonsense music, OK we cannot do the visual element any justice, but if you like your rock tight and tough, this does it!
Listen: Success (mp3). Web: Official HERE.
Background: UK-based band Alt-J are proud to announce the US release of their debut album An Awesome Wave on September 18 via Canvasback Music. For full track listing and album art, please see below.

An Awesome Wave was released in the UK on May 28 to both critical and commercial success. In their rave review, NME said "On the surface, this is smart alt-pop, but Alt-J have messed with the formula just enough to make this a brilliantly disquieting debut." BBC called the album "a stunning and encompassing affair of both innovative and electrifying musicianship and exemplary song writing," while The Guardian proclaimed "the music is rich and quirky enough to match the imagistic literacy of the lyrics, from the majestic, cinematic sweep of 'Intro' onwards." 

In its first week at iTunes, the album has held the number 1 position on the UK Alternative chart. The track "Fitzpleasure" is already receiving airplay at tastemaking radio stations KCRW Los Angeles, KEXP Seattle, KCMP Minneapolis, and WFUV New York. 

2012Candy Say's: This is just so good, proving that daring to be different can be so worth while. Alt-J just get on with it and avoid the trap of being self indulgent.
Listen: Fitzpleasure (mp3). Web: Official HERE.
Background: Inspired by wildness, fueled by instinct, Jenee Halstead’s sophomore LP, Raised by Wolves is as much a departure in form for Halstead as it is a return to the energetic, carefree days of her wandering youth. Halstead and her producer Evan Brubaker create a unique dark pop/Americana on Wolves by combining old instruments with new techniques - rendering a dobro unrecognizable with a wah pedal, distorting banjos and adding electronic beats to acoustic tunes. 

The songs on the album are charged with life and passion, surely a result of Halstead changing both the perspective and instrument she used when writing.  “These songs were much more challenging physically and emotionally than my first two albums, and it pretty much stretched me in every way as a writer and singer,” says Halstead, who wrote the songs on Raised by Wolves using ukulele and piano.  “I sang in area of my range that I hadn’t really sung in since college and really wanted to explore more of the high soprano timbre of my voice that hadn’t been used on my first two albums.” Raised by Wolves is due out August,13th.

With creative abandon, Raised By Wolves slams an old beat box into surf guitars, banjo, and ukulele; mixing a chorus of tenor guitars, handclaps, and synth bass. Drawing on influences like PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, multi-instrumentalist/producer Brubaker (Rachel Harrington & The Knockouts, Edie Carey) empties the musical space, giving all the attention to Halstead's extraordinary voice. The twisted banjo of Danny Barnes, sly drumming of Joel Litwin, and distorted Dobro of Colby Sander help Raised By Wolves create a re-invigorated Dark Pop/Americana that surrounds Halstead's vocals with a variety of surprises.

2012Candy Say's: Another artist to watch out for in the coming months, this is a sensitive atmospheric song that has ensured I want to hear more.
Listen: Raised By Wolves (mp3). Web: Official HERE.
Background: Art Decade’s guitarist/vocalist/arranger Ben Talmi “grew up on a strict diet of the finest classical music there is,” and it shows. The group’s Western Sunrise album is filled with some of the most breathtaking string arrangements you’ll ever hear on a popular music album. The band’s other half is Binod Singh, its lone Canadian and more of a Motown and soul guy, on bass. The outfit describes its music as neo indie classical, symphonic post-pop and rock, but it actually fits all these categorizations and more. You don’t have to listen long, for instance, to pick up on a progressive electric guitar part here, and a club dance beat there. Were you to limit it mentally to only, say, the classical/symphonic label, however, you may well miss out on also recognizing the group’s more aggressive rock instincts, which are very much on overt display. Talmi studied at Berklee School of Music, which is one of most respected musical education institutions, if not the greatest school of musical higher learning. However, Talmi came out of this advanced school with his head on straight and his love for music still intact.

“A strong musical education can do many things to a musician, oftentimes people become jaded with their acquired musical knowledge, becoming frustrated with the state of popular music and its general lack of musical depth,” explains Talmi. “Others are unable to escape the education and end up producing very indulgent and selfish music. I truly hope to take what I have learned and apply it in a very mature way.” Indeed, Art Decade’s music is as entertaining, as it its thought-provoking. Art Decade also sets its goals extremely high. Talmi says he hopes to “make albums that perfectly represent our artistic vision without any compromise.” In a world were compromise is sometimes the name of the game, it takes a strong-willed individual like Talmi to turn his lofty dreams into reality.

However, this man that grew up on the classics – and by classics, we don’t mean Led Zeppelin; instead, we mean Mozart, Beethoven and Bach -- wants his music to remembered the same special way as his classical heroes. “I want to make modern music that is played in halls hundreds of years later, like classical music is today.” Therefore, Art Decade has no intentions of merely remaining a remnant of our current decade. Rather, this group is shooting to be remembered for decades and decades to come. 

2012Candy Say's: The rock music meets classical music arena can be a dangerous place to enter. Thoughts of over indulgent prog rockers of old spring to mind. This however is refreshingly and surprisingly good music that really stands out in the crowd.
Listen: Breeze (mp3). Web: Official HERE.
Background: Singer/keyboardist Erika Forster (Au Revoir Simone) has released the first single 'Hidden' off her forthcoming self-titled debut EP, coming out on pop label Cascine on July 10th. Backed by Jorge Elbrecht of Violens on percussion (who she released a 7"split with last year), Erika fills out her sound. Under Elbrecht's guidance as producer, she experimented with effects and instrumentation, recording a handful of tracks at his Greenpoint home studio in 2011. 

Spring began writing music as part of a multimedia project in her schooldays. After performing with local outfit, Dirty On Purpose, she discovered her affinity for keyboards, collecting an assortment and putting them to use composing original material. Before long she was collaborating on songs after work with a couple of similarly synth-minded girlfriends, eventually forming officially as the band, Au Revoir Simone. Over the next seven years Au Revoir Simone would see success, writing and recording three albums and touring extensively. In 2010 the group was put on hold so that members could focus on continuing education and starting a family. Erika took the opportunity to explore some personal musical territory.

Setting out on her own, she has taken elements of her band's sound and spun them into her own brand of bittersweet, sun-bleached pop. Breathing vocals over mesmerizing keyboard phrases, Erika produces an effect that approaches the supernatural, with tough, spring-loaded beats lending gravity to the otherwise hazy, delirious songs. The music conjures scenes of blustery romance amidst the dunes, of love as a mirage, of softly raising the dead. 

2012Candy Say's: This is a great song to finish this round up with. A multi layered song with superb vocals that match the music and draw you in.
Listen: Hidden (mp3). Web: Facebook HERE.