More Weekend Wonders: Grammar - Colin Onderdonk - Artificial Pleasure - American Dreamer - The Blinding Lights

Grammar - Michigan.

Background - “Michigan” is the second single from Massachusetts-based Grammar. Barrie Lindsay played and recorded all the parts in her bedroom studio in the summer of 2016. She started writing the song after rewatching the Virgin Suicides, and she was thinking about what the movie would sound and feel like as a song. She wanted to capture the movie’s saturated, dreamy, 1970s-inspired production. After she finished the song and took it to New York to work with the producer Billy Pavone, they ran the tracks.

The track was produced written and recorded by Barrie Lindsay, produced by Billy Pavone (Wet, St. Lucia, Delorean) and Barrie Lindsay, and engineered by Josh Bonati (Mac Demarco, Sufjan Stevens)."

Grammar is an alternative pop group created by multi-instrumentalist Barrie Lindsay of Boston in 2015. The band started as a home recording project of Lindsay, who writes, records, and produces the music.  The band’s first release, the single “Americana”, was featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist in August 2016. Grammar have opened for Rhye, Marian Hill, Beacon, Reptar, and others. Facebook here.

There is a rich synthy feel, and as the band kick in, everything goes up a gear on 'Michigan'. The smooth and dreamy vocals glide above, on what is a fine atmospheric song. Beware the hooks, for they are everywhere...


Colin Onderdonk - Tidal Bomb.

Background - 18-year-old, Texas-based singer songwriter Colin Onderdonk is not concerned with his music referencing pop culture or appealing to trends. Unlike most of his contemporaries, the subjects he approaches through his deeply introspective songwriting carry immense philosophical weight.

His debut EP, Proximity Effect, references the effect a source of sound has on its receiver; i.e., the closer a vocalist is to a mic, the fuller his or her voice sounds. Colin maintains that this concept can be expanded into a more tangential metaphor, saying “As people get closer to God along their spiritual journeys, the more they feel connected.”

Onderdonk’s distinctive songwriting is influenced by Marcus Mumford and Kendrick Lamar as well as the work of Steinbeck, C.S. Lewis and the Cohen Brothers. His young age betrays his refined taste and tendency to process things in a conceptual manner. Ambitious songs like the EP’s “Prologue” attempt to sonically portray the creation of the world while “Foreign Home” encourages the listener to not settle for ephemeral beauty when there is so much more beyond the earth plane. Proximity Effect is out now. Facebook here, website here.

'Tidal Bomb' has a funky and potent vibe that is there throughout. Colin Onderdonk's vocals are beautifully distinct and the strings add another dimension into this very catchy and original song.


Artificial Pleasure - I’ll Make It Worth Your While.

Background - London-based trio Artificial Pleasure earned a rush of acclaim for their debut single ‘I’ll Make It Worth Your While’ which inspired comparisons with the likes of David Bowie, Talking Heads and The 1975. They’re now set to add to that initial rush of attention with a strange and compelling new video for the track.

Directed by Dylan Holmes Williams (Huntar, O Chapman) and produced by Ailsa Vanessa Tapping (Sundara Karma, Biffy Clyro), the video for ‘I’ll Make It Worth Your While’ moves in surprising directions with body horror, camp theatricality and vibrant dance moves all contributing to its surreal visuals. Dancer, actor and choreographer Tiago Gambogi stars as a patient who is trapped in a hospital while suffering with a very peculiar ailment.

‘I’ll Make It Worth Your While’ bursts from the blocks with an irrepressible energy powered by riffs that feel like Gang of Four playing disco alongside effervescent flourishes of synths and vocalist/guitarist Phil McDonnell’s persistent and rhythmic cry of ‘Let me out!’. Set to a tightly hypnotic groove, the track recalls elements of Artificial Pleasure’s influences such as Talking Heads, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, LCD Soundsystem and Atlantic Records’ great soul era.

Friends since childhood, McDonnell and Brennan previously worked together with drummer Lee Jordan in the band Night Engine. Following a split from other band members and a renewed focus on their sound, which evolved into something bolder and brighter, the three redefined themselves with the new moniker Artificial Pleasure.

Artificial Pleasure’s songwriting is always informed by how the material will work in a live setting. As a result, their intense energy means that their songs flow with a rush of adrenaline without the need for any tricks or gimmickry. They recently played their first show at London’s Electrowerkz as guests to German electro duo Lea Porcelain, which they followed with a date as support to The Bay Rays. Website here, Facebook here.

A fabulous song becomes even more spectacular with the new music video for 'I’ll Make It Worth Your While'. It's not often the stuff of nightmares can put a huge smile on my face, wonderful!


American Dreamer - Words Do The Walking.

Background - American Dreamer, an Austin, TX based orchestral folk ensemble, specializes in approachable, yet sophisticated fretless pop. Their topical and politically driven material is couched in intimate chamber music, sonically falling somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor’s Goat Rodeo Sessions.

Band spearhead Sasha Klare-Ayvazian first got a taste of the lush combination of folk and classical music when his roommate began playing cello along with his songs during his freshman year at Oberlin College outside of Cleveland, OH. Sasha attempted to capture this sound through multi-tracking American Dreamers’ self-titled EP, released in 2014, and continued ruminating on the power of this tradition until he returned to school to get his master’s degree. There he connected with new friends who turned out to be classically trained string players.

The newly formed line-up released the live EP, Winding up a Dream, in 2015 and began performing across Central Texas, snagging a Global Music Award along the way. As a band with four fretless instruments, the challenges associated with intonation forced the band members to become highly attuned to each other and after a solid year of writing and performing new material, American Dreamer was beginning to realize the sound Sasha had been envisioning for years.

Earlier this year, American Dreamer entered Austin Signal Studios and, with the help of engineer/producer Andrew Oedel, recorded their first LP Restless Nights. “Calling the record Restless Nights is a reference to our band name” Sasha reflects. “The American Dream doesn’t seem to be doing so well at this time, so we wanted to offer a form of respite and spent a lot of time exploring the space we wanted to create.” Website here, Facebook here.

Another band that sneaked under Beehive Candy's radar earlier this year, and who are so worth a feature are American Dreamer, on this occasion with the song 'Words Do The Walking'. Beautifully creative music, you can hear a whole lot more via the website link above.


The Blinding Lights - Can't Get Enough.

Background - UK old-school rockers The Blinding Lights are excited to share their debut music video “Can’t Get Enough”. The video gives an intimate glimpse into the bands recording sessions, perfectly capturing the bands unrelenting youthful energy. It also compliments the songs devil may care attitude, which describes a young man’s bedroom adventures with his amorous girlfriend, all to the accompaniment of catchy hooks and electrified piano riffs.

In the band’s own words: "Can't Get Enough was written to give people an escape - it's letting everything else go and just living in that few minutes of rock'n'roll. It may not be about a lot, but what it is about is embracing that feeling of giving yourself over to a particular moment, where all that matters is that moment.'"

Written in early 2016 by bandleader Callum Lury, the track came about as he gorged on the songs of songwriter-producer Jim Steinman (the man behind Bat Out Of Hell and so much more), plus The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle-era Springsteen. Playing around with riffs which would not have been out of place in the golden era of Motown, and shaking it up with a top layer of Steinman-style piano lines, he took it to the rest of the band who worked it up into a frantic rumbling rhythm & blues number, given a further flourish with a horn arrangement to drive it along. Together, the band stands as a throwback to the R&B inspired, fast and poppy tunes from a time when rock was still in its youth. Their goal is to rekindle the abilities of the genre’s heroes to excite, to elevate and, even, to anger – but above all, to make you feel alive. Facebook here, website here.

'Can't Get Enough' is one gritty and powerful rock'n'roll song. Stripped back to the basics the band create a classic and timeless sound, and with the roaring sound of horns coming in, it's energy unleashes even further.