2012Candy - August Round Up

Background: Latenight Weeknight Records joins forces with Plastic Sound Supply to release Brim Liski's latest release, The Repetitions EP, available now.

Comprised of members from A Shoreline Dream (USA), CacheFlowe (USA) and Jap Jap (Netherlands), Brim Liski began as an asynchronous and eclectic trans-continental studio project. Recording in each others' studios over the past 5 years, the 3 producers have collaborated in multiple capacities, with the result sitting plainly between their unique styles as an audio Venn diagram. The end of 2011 saw the group take their sound to the stage, with two guitars, vocals, synthesizers, laptop beats and custom audio-reactive visuals.

The Repetitions is a cinematic, shoegaze and electronic sound inspired by the cosmos. With driving electronic beats as the foundation beneath layers of reverb-drenched guitars, synths and vocals, the recordings convey the steady beauty of cosmic destruction and rebirth.

At times both uplifting and melancholy, the new Brim Liski sound describes vast intergalactic travel, distant astronomical events, and the universal connection to the human spirit. The remixes by Sean Byrd and CacheFlowe expand on the Brim Liski sound, delving deeper into a technological future with experimental, offbeat, minimal and future bass renditions.

2012Candy Reckons: Both powerful and at times calm music that can capture your imagination and make you feel like your on a journey, the featured track really does have a cosmic feel to it.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Supermassive. (MP3).

Background: Anna Haas, the fiery and theatrical singer / songwriter / entertainer extraordinaire, sizzles with the physical release of her debut album “Crazy Is” due to hit the streets on September 18, 2012.  With red-hot moxie to match her crimson tresses, Anna Haas is a triple threat whose dramatic appeal scintillates on her debut album through unabashed lyrics and electrifying vocals. 

“Crazy Is” is a timeless yet modern tapestry of stories and musings blending lyrical sarcasm, intelligent metaphor and absolute vulnerability. The songs shift in subject matter from a secret affair and tragic loss to the use of an illegal substance and the imagined loneliness of Marilyn Monroe.  Crazy Is is a thrilling mix of the cities and artists that inspire Haas, and her signature, expressive voice is the crux that a legion of instrumentation swarms around: heavy, soulful piano, ripping guitar solos, ambient synthesizers, bluesy pedal steel, funky horns, and a symphony of strings. 

Supported primarily by fans through fundraising website Kickstarter.com, Crazy Is took Haas nearly two years to prepare, record and package. The album was recorded in multiple studios throughout Nashville and New York to create the best sounds for each instrument, using more than 27 of some of the most renowned and Grammy award-winning musicians, who each, stylistically, bring elements of their respective genres to the record, resulting in a wildly original musical creation.

To support the September 18th physical release of Crazy Is, Anna Haas will be playing select US show dates in New York City and Atlanta.  Known for her eye-popping and consistently unpredictable live performances that entail dramatics such as fearlessly entering the audience or subtle dance moves, Haas’ live shows prove to be full-fledged sensory experiences.

2012Candy Reckons: Quirky in a very good way, a little bit Regina Spektor meets Cyndi Lauper in a musical, and just so good.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Maypole. (MP3).  

Background: Ukulele-toting, British songstress Sophie Madeleine is gearing up for the U.S. release of her sophomore album, The Rhythm You Started, due September 11th on Xtra Mile Recordings/ILG. Praised by Time Out for her "sweetly plucked, romantic ditties," Madeleine's star has been steadily rising since her self-released debut, 2009's Love.Life.Ukulele.

An experimentation with rhythm, The Rhythm You Started is a refreshing mix of timeless folk-pop songwriting with an uplifting indie synth edge. The multi-instrumentalist seamlessly weaves percussion loops and drum machines together with ukulele, violin, and sweet vocal harmonies. This summery blend is tied together by her disarming vocal. Its feather-light vibrato complements vivid metaphors and hook-laden melodies.

After self-producing the 10-track album from her living room in Brighton, Madeleine sought out the mixing expertise of esteemed producer Danton Supple. His previous credits include Coldplay, Thirteen Senses, Tenderfoot and Electric Soft Parade.

Prior to signing with Xtra Mile, Madeleine sold out a limited run of The Rhythm You Started, personally mailing copies to fans in 27 countries on five continents. The single, "Oil & Gold," has already been played on BBC Radio 2 by Steve Lamacq. She also recently supported Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals, Neon Neon) at his headlining show at New York's legendary Mercury Lounge.

2012Candy Reckons: It's the likes of Sophie Madeleine that give popular music hope beyond the factory produced chart bilge that seems to dominate the pop airwaves these days. Great song with superb ukelele to boot.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Oil & Gold (Play Below).
Background: High on a mountain over a sea of clouds, singer-songwriter Aimee Wilson heard a song.

“I lived alone on the east brow of Lookout Mountain and had a lot of time to write,” Wilson recalls, looking back over the genesis of Unto Us the Sun (release: August 28, 2012). “I didn’t quite know what I was writing at the time. I was literally parallel to the clouds, and it was all fairly subliminal, carrying both the darkness and that burst of praise you find in nature.”

Composing on both sitar and guitar, and inspired by the Sacred Harp tradition, Wilson’s music bursts with fresh sounds and vivid engagement with one of America’s oldest musical traditions and with a deeply felt spirituality. She has cut her own path through the wilderness, through the rocky corridors of Philly women’s safe havens (audible in songs like “Royalene”) or the woods and streams of the rural South.

Joined by instruments from the Chinese erhu fiddle to the hurdy gurdy, along with a full Sacred Harp-style vocal ensemble, Wilson’s lush, second full-length album ebbs and flows, united by her delicate yet urgent voice and straightforward, poetic lyrical visions. In complex, globally inflected songs, she chronicles nature’s vivid outbursts, our shared struggles for hope and connection, and the paradoxes that birth real joy.

She and her full ensemble will perform to celebrate their collaboration in Philadelphia and New York this September.

2012Candy Reckons: Now this is refreshingly different and yet highly accessible. Thin Shoes really is just one dimension of this album one that if you like this song you really should delve further.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Thin Shoes (Play Below).  

Background: Brisbane dark pop outfit, Love Like Hate, have independently released their debut EP, Rabbit Hole, available now.

Love Like Hate is composed of Heather Cheketri (vocals, guitar) and Sonja Ter Horst (piano), who combine their complementary writing styles to carve a unique niche within the landscape of emerging Australian artists.

The band echoes emotional, honest and instinctive rock, blended with free-form arrangements and hints of early post punk, delicate piano swings and melodies that pay tribute to some of music’s most notables – Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, and Patti Smith – although they have still managed to etch a unique, modern sound.

They recorded the five-song EP during 2011 with producer Lachlan Mitchel (The Jezabels), which delivers the single "21," a coming of age song that combines hauntingly dark lyrical undertones of egocentric scene kids with flowing, upbeat music.

2012Candy Reckons: There are some good bands coming out of Australia these days, these are Beehives current favorites and this is one great song.

Website: Official HERE. Song: 21. (MP3). 

Background: Seven years ago NYC-based singer-songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist David Bronson left a burgeoning New York indie rock band to begin a necessary calling: the realization of a 22-song autobiographical concept record that had overtaken his interior life. Collectively titled The Long Lost Story, the project is a two-installment narrative chronicling a Pandora’s box of an emotional journey, originally stemming from a failed relationship that destabilized David and thrust him into a slate-cleaning, introspective quest. This June he releases Story, the 11-track second half of the project; its prequel The Long Lost will be released at a later date.

“The project started in the aftermath of a traumatic relationship and it became a retelling of my own journey getting through that; really a metaphor of growth. But, over time, it also became very much about the completion of the thing itself, ‘Can I do this?’ It became all consuming, and a real test, of sorts,” David explains of the project’s dual emotional trajectories.

Story sets sail with the following opening lyric from “The Turns”: You told me it was too much/ I said that's exactly how I want it, so/ We, although nothing could be gained, gave it everything just the same/ So we grabbed on tight and held fast just like a child/ And watched the best idea so quickly turn the worst one, though/ In those few hundred times you gave to me the whole, the full inside, a single lifetime.

It’s a telling entrance to a richly detailed and layered album experience in that it reveals David’s sense of commitment — romantic and idealistic — and hints at the ways in which this amorous resilience unravels into a transformative existential crisis. It’s a daunting conceptual undertaking: using the arc of a relationship as a metaphor not only for the scope of an entire life's development, but also for the complex and difficult process of completing a highly personal artistic project.

2012Candy Reckons: This song just grows and grows and sends wonderful shivers down my back, it's close your eyes and drift into the music time..

Website: Official HERE. Song: Unending (Underture). (MP3). 

Background: Wisconsin's Blessed Feathers is set to release Peaceful Beasts in an Ocean of Weeds on October 9. The album will be released as hand-numbered, limited-edition digital vinyl discs. All pre-orders of the album placed before street date will receive a free copy of the new Summer/Fall 2012 issue of frontman Donivan Berube's literary zine, Sleeping in a Torn Quilt / Dreaming of Gold. The forthcoming issue features stories, poems, essays and artwork by Blake Mills, Thor Harris of Shearwater & Swans, Colin Caulfield of Young Man, Jacquelyn Beaupre (of Blessed Feathers) and many others. Blessed Feathers will embark on midwest and east coast tour this fall which will include a stop at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Dates will be announced shortly.

West Bend is a Southeast Wisconsin town where the Milwaukee River shifts directions, angling to suddenly head West. It's also the home of Blessed Feathers, a duo that initiated when Donivan Berube's life similarly altered course. Hailing from Lakeland, Florida he left home at 17, driving 36 hours from the Florida sunshine into a Wisconsin blizzard. Berube found work in a restaurant in West Bend where he met Jacquelyn Beaupre, who is now his partner in both music and life.

Blessed Feathers arose from Beaupre's solo material, which Berube produced while living on a farm in Farmington, WI in 2009. Originally he was only interested in augmenting her songwriting, bolstering the organic, folk-inspired tracks with additional instrumentation and vocal harmonies, but slowly the duo began constructing songs together, each bringing their own stylistic tendencies to the table. "We didn't really have a plan set in our minds," Berube says of the music.

The pair played their first show at a West Bend bookstore in April of 2010 at a meeting of the Fireside Books' Poetry Club, building a reputation in the surrounding towns. Their stock of songs grew, all captured via a laptop and microphone in their bedroom. In mid-2012, however, Blessed Feathers selected their best five tracks to record with producer Kevin McMahon (Real Estate, Titus Andronicus, The Walkmen) at his studio in New Paltz, NY. The songs, which comprise the band's debut EP, Peaceful Beasts in an Ocean of Weeds, encapsulate Berube and Beaupre's collective experiences, aiming to capture both their emotional and geographic journeys.

2012Candy Reckons: 'Alt country-ish' with some kind off sing along feel to it, this song has some kind of hypnotic rhythm that just pleases. 

Website: Official HERE. Song: Hey All You Floridians. (MP3).   

Background: Los Angeles-based quartet Leftover Cuties is smiling big after their song was chosen to be a part of the Summer Olympic Games. The band’s cheerful tune “Smile Big” debuted in a Samsung Galaxy S III commercial during the Opening Ceremony on July 27th, and will continue airing throughout the games.

"We are thrilled that our song was chosen for this unique ad and honored that it is airing during such an important time as the Olympics,” says singer Shirli McAllen. “It still feels surreal.”

“Smile Big” highlights the Leftover Cuties signature noir-pop sound, showcasing ukulele, brushed drums, double bass, and trumpet. The placement was made working in conjunction with NYC based licensing partner The Music Playground.

Leftover Cuties is currently in the studio working on their forthcoming album with producer Jake Sinclair (Weezer, Pink, Butch Walker) which is due out early 2013. The band recently released an all-covers EP called Departures boasting special arrangements of favorites like “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga and “Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan. Departures followed their critically acclaimed debut Game Called Life EP which features the breakout title track and theme song to the Showtime hit series The Big C, as well as their album Places To Go, which was helmed by producer Tony Berg (Peter Gabriel, Pete Yorn).

Singer Shirli McAllen’s velvety vocals combine seamlessly with Austin Nicholsen (bass), Stuart Johnson (drums), and Mike Bolger (keys, horns, accordion) in a way that pays homage to the sophisticated, sultry sounds of yesteryear while embracing the tones of today. Music Connection Magazine raves, “Leftover Cuties are a talented group with a unique sound to call their own, one that separates them from the vast sea of bands on the scene.” Influential Los Angeles radio station KCRW lauds the band’s “sultry crooning, tender melodies, and bittersweet lyrics,” and Examiner.com praises, “In a world where style is too often held in higher regard than talent, Leftover Cuties are the real deal. Their sound is a refreshing breath of air.”

2012Candy Reckons: Uplifting and echoing times gone by, whilst oozing feel good vibes, surely that's good enough?

Website: Official HERE. Song: Smile Big. (MP3).  

Background: Boston-based Air Traffic Controller's sophomore album, Nordo is out now on Sugarpop Records.

Boston's Air Traffic Controller is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Dave Munro who spent time in the U.S. Navy serving as a real-life air traffic controller. Munro sent home 4-track demos he had written and recorded during his deployment. After his enlistment was up, Munro returned to hometown Boston and discovered an impressive number of fans, prompting the genesis of the aptly named band Air Traffic Controller.

The Boston-based six-piece creates refreshing, modern day, indie rock sound resembling The Decemberists, and fuses its compositions with unforgettable pop sensibilities in the vein of Petty, McCartney and Springsteen. Munro keeps it honest, with autobiographical lyrics and well-crafted storytelling reminiscent of classic singer/songwriters such as Paul Simon and Cat Stevens.

Having a home-run success on Kickstarter and raising over $12k to support the production of Nordo. The team once again teamed up with producer Bleu and made a brilliant indie pop record that can call up musical references to Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons and Brendan Benson. Taking advantage of band member Steve Scott's experience with composing, the band went the distance and recorded with a forty-piece orchestra on the song "Blame." This new album also features band member Casey Sullivan singing on two duets "You Know Me" and "Any Way."

2012Candy Reckons: Reminds me of 'They Might Be Giants' at first and then takes a nice twist and turn with excellent harmonies.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Hurry My Hearts On Fire. (MP3). 

Background: Alt pop-rock band Belmont Lights highly anticipated debut EP Telegraphs is now available for purchase on iTunes and Bandcamp.

Hailing from sunny San Diego, the band was formed in 2009 after frontman Isaiah Blas won San Diego's Songwriting Competition, earning a spot on the House of Blues SD main stage. These young men are no strangers to modern musicianship - the band spent two years playing up-and-down the West Coast, honing their soaring, melodic sound, all the while garnering interest from numerous industry officials. Two EPs and one name change later, the group is ready to hit the mainstream in a big way. The band re-entered the studio in March 2012 and the resulting EP Telegraphs serves as a five-track piece of proof that these guys are destined for a very big stadium filled future. The quartet made their official debut as Belmont Lights in July 2012. From the eerily familiar first single, "Halfway", to the hauntingly beautiful "Young and A Memory", Belmont Lights demonstrate an incredible ability to stand out from the crowd in a genre that too often sounds like variations on the same tired theme.

Telegraphs was recorded at LA's very own historic Westlake Recording Studios under producer Alejandro Barajas, engineered by Michael Sanchez and mixed by Mike Ault of Ault Sound. Mastered by Robert Vosgien (Etta James, Demi Lovato, Saosin, Sick Puppies) at Capitol Records, the album has already gained a five-star rating on iTunes in the month since its release. At the helm of it all, Jeremy Lopez is the bands executive producer and is leading their A&R efforts. The release lives up to its title, as from start to finish it delivers an ambient journey through the inner workings of relationships and the human heart. Isaiah Blas's warm vocals coupled with the smooth, driving instrumentation create an overall very enjoyable experience. The EP as a whole practically drips with nostalgia, and by the end of it you're left feeling like you just came home, in the best way. As previously stated, this delightful journey is now available on iTunes and is sure to be an excellent addition to the catalogue's of even the most discriminating ears. The group will be touring California throughout September in support of Telegraphs.

2012Candy Reckons: A very promising band, with a sound that comes across as if they had been together for years, oh and the music is pretty fine to say the least, another band to watch out for.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Halfway. (Play Below). 

Background: Award-winning songwriter and recording artist, Michael Zapruder has announced the release of Pink Thunder, a collection of free-verse pop art-songs, including contributions from 23 poets, three engineers, and a few dozen musicians. The album will be released on October 16th via The Kora Records. What began as a bus tour that brought together hundreds of American poets has been recorded and remixed into a  dynamic collection of poem-songs. Pink Thunder features instrumental contributions from over forty musicians and poems from Noelle Kocot, James Tate, Bob Hicok, Mary Ruefle, D.A. Powell, Dara Wier, Joshua Beckman, and Valzhyna Mort.   

Potent with weird, funny, and singular possibilities, Pink Thunder presents a poetic experiment to see what happens if poems are sung instead of spoken, when words are surrounded by music instead of silence. The album has already been featured on the Poetry Society of America's blog and in performance at the New School's Tishman Auditorium for the Festival of New American Poets. 

With three solo records and four US tours under his belt, Michael Zapruder has been covered by Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, SPIN, MAGNET, Washington Post, and many more.

2012Candy Reckons: This is one fabulous song that kinda reached out and grabbed my attention from the first nano second onward, and the build is sublime.

Website: Official HERE. Song: Florida. (MP3).