Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011Candy - February Edition Two

Background: When you think of finely tuned guitar-pop, Stockport, UK is not what necessarily comes to mind as a breeding ground for the next big thing. Indie rockers The Kill Van Kulls - now Manchester-based - have only been together for six months and have already garnered attention from the likes of XFM and BBC. While finding inspiration in a disused mill and working through the night to sharpen their upbeat four to the floor, kick heavy pop songs, The Kill Van Kulls plan to release their first single ?Fools Wish? via the band?s own label on February 28th.

In the grand tradition of Echo & The Bunnymen, what started out as a three piece plus a drum machine, has evolved into a more robust and lush sounding quartet that?s reminiscent of The Doves, The Cure, Simple Minds and pretty much any John Hughes film soundtrack. More recent artists with the same flair for indie pop and new wave rock that come to mind include Twin Shadow, Brahms, Amazing Baby, and Neon Indian.

Their lead single ?Fools Wish? is a lean chunk from the new wave era with driving electro pop and enough sound and texture to envelop venues of all sizes. To complement the ?Fools Wish? single, the band has recently released a new music video for their exclusive track ?Wooden Heart? which features 70?s surf footage that rightfully fits their Dick Dale trebly guitar tones and washy surreal reverb drenched vocals by front man Gareth Bartlett.

To date, the band has kept live appearances to a minimum. Nevertheless, The Kill Van Kulls have already managed to perform at the In The City music conference, and shared the stage with The Naked and Famous at the Borderline in London and with Mona at the Night and Day in Manchester. XFM recently featured the Kill Van Kulls in their 21 Tips for 2011 poll and they were interviewed on Chris Moyles? show early this year as part of BBC Introducing. Consider this a warning North America. Stay on your toes with ears wide open, as The Kill Van Kulls plan to make a trip across the Pond, poised to spread their infectious tunes to US and Canadian audiences alike.

2011Candy Says: A memorable band name that will quite possibly become a well known band name in the coming months, we here in the UK have a few musical 'exports' up our sleeves for 2011, this band are one of them.
Listen: Fools Wish. Web: MySpace.

Background: The Saw Doctors are known in Ireland for ridiculously catchy songs and for rocking the road week after week from Galway to Melbourne and, come March 2011, from New York to Las Vegas. They?ve hopped up countless crowds, including at two inaugurations of Maryland governor Martin O?Malley, with upbeat anthems to everyday people.

A fun-loving reputation precedes the band thanks to their zany hit ?I Useta Lover? or the recent sneak Irish radio chart-topper, ?Red Cortina A Cappella.? But it belies a more reflective side with deep roots, a side sometimes forgotten even by the group?s biggest fans.

?That one-sided perception of the band haunts us, even in our hometown here in Western Ireland,? chuckles Saw Doctors singer and guitarist Leo Moran. ?A few months ago, in a pub here, I sang one of my favorite songs, 'Same Oul Town', the title track of our third album.  It's about a small town in winter, where everyone knows everyone else's business. Another local singer, who has known us forever, came up and told me, 'That's a lovely song; you should record that!'"

Bittersweet portraits of everyday people and the landscape that surrounds them are what the band does best. The Saw Doctors have a Springsteen-like ability to get at the poignant perspectives of ordinary folks: the lovesick pub regular, the guys on the corner, the wise old woman who greeted all comers with a slice of bread and butter.

This ability flows from the roving group?s strong ties to Tuam and to the lives and stories of the people in it. It?s a town of wits and eccentrics, folks like cartoon artist Squigley McHugh, who humorously sketched the Saw Doctors as superheroes for their stage backdrop. Tuam is known for its gregarious, sometimes overly curious conversationalists. It?s a place where people still pop down to the pub in the afternoon, looking for a pint and a good gossip.

2011Candy Says: Always partial to a listen to the Saw Doctors and The Further Adventures is a fine reminder that beyond their excellent live performances they have laid down some excellent studio material down the years.
Listen: Takin The Train. Web: Official.

Background: OK we are a little late with this one but another band recently contacted us and said the following - Hey, we The Bynars, are a synth-pop band from Boston and are releasing the first single from our debut album on Valentine's Day.  If you're not familiar with us yet, please check out the links below.  This first song is called "How Does It Feel to Be in Love?" and it'll be available for FREE/name-your-price via our bandcamp site - here is a link for public download, though it won't be active until Feb 14 (it's now of course active HERE ). A really fun, interactive music video for this song will be revealed shortly after the single is released.  There will be a 2nd single in March, and the full (self-titled) album will be released in April.  Shows/tour coming soon.

2011Candy Says: We have a nice upbeat indie pop song here, that reminds us that Spring is on the way in our part of the world. Looking forward to the album on the strength of this fine song.
Listen: How Does It Feel To Be In Love. Web: Official.

Background: The Carps began their career in Scarborough, Toronto, in 2005. In addition to touring Europe and North America, The Carps have played with The Cool Kids, MIA, Holy F++k, The Hives and Lupe Fiasco among others. Singer Jahmal Tonge is featured on the Mstrkrft album Fist Of God. The Carps have released two EPs to critical acclaim, and have been applauded for their ability to weave genres of all types into a seamless and cohesive sound. In March 2007, The Young & Passionate Days of Carpedia Vol 2.1 was released under Urbnet Records (D-Sisive, Kae Sun, Miles Jones). This was followed by the release of Waves & Shambles in April 2008, containing the featured track ?Veronica Belmont? which was named after a well-known San Francisco-based tech journalist. The Carps are currently working on their debut full-length album at DFA studios in New York.

"It's been a long time since we released music. With Neil in Oxford doing his PhD, and me playing drums for MSTRKRFT and Thunderheist, it felt like we'd never get around to that foreboding full length. But here we are. Releasing the entire album as a collection of singles. Two songs a month for 6 months. The first, Bo Jackson/Kelly Gruber are named as such after two amazing athletes who nearly made it, were close to being champs before their careers were ended by injury. I feel like that's what happened to The Carps. We almost made a living off music for a second. This is our swan song, our knee surgery, our post Cadillac-golf club tabloid moment. These songs, some of them four to five years old are likely the most honest songs we've ever recorded. And whatever the outcome, we're just happy to be The Carps." - Jahmal

2011Candy Says: The featured song really surprised me with the mix of synth and a driving rhythm. The vocals are a treat and the whole thing left me wanting more.
Listen: Bo Jackson. Web: Urbnet.

Background: Hailing from Brighton, Ice Black Birds are a music-lovers band.  Gaining fans not by hype, or by big label force behind them, but by doing what they do best. Making music. Playing music.

Forthcoming third single ?22:22? is, in short, a tune. However, Ice Black Birds? talents lie not just in catchy hooks and danceable beats (though they have both in spades) but in the dirty guttural guitar riffs and screamed bluesy vocals. It?s reminiscent of early Kings of Leon when the music was raw, fresh and dripping with soul.  It?s a flashback also to The Yardbirds or The Stones, a blend of vintage 1960?s blues-rock where fine musicianship and unhinged energy and emotion came together. It?s music that audibly swaggers with untouchable confidence and gusto. For Ice Black Birds, as it was for the likes of The Stones, the swagger is not just on record, but a snaring visible beast live. Ice Black Birds? charismatic front-man Sam Denniston regularly jumps into the crowd as if that space were an extension of the stage he owns, microphone gripped passionately in hand and a attitude and strut akin to a young Jagger  - yet made wholly his own simultaneously.

Their self released debut ?Ear to the Ground? and its follow-up, ?As Birds We?d Be Fine? (a 7? on London label Laissez Faire Club Records)  ? saw the band?s videos spread across the web, with Ice Black Birds being hailed as the new ?purveyors of indie-dance-blues? and Hugh Stevens of Radio 1 cementing the fact Ice Black Birds were something special indeed by declaring their music  "A bright, startling and unusual sound?

?22:22? is out on 21st March - a release date intentionally picked; as it marks the bands return from their first SXSW showcase. ?22:22? is b/w the track ?S.S.W?, a jangly, soul laden break-up track that wouldn?t be amiss on the a-side.

2011Candy Says: Not that far along the south coast of the UK from the Beehives secret hideaway is Brighton, which down the years has thrown up some fine bands and artists. This is no nonsense rock that delivers - enjoy!
Listen: 22-22. Web: MySpace.

Background: Evocative folk/pop chanteuse Jill Goldberg is set to release her sophomore release, Girl, Polite in April 2011. Produced by Mark Turrigiano (Ingrid Michaelson, Lissy Trullie), the 6-track EP is a musical exploration of identity, transition, and empowerment, drawing inspiration from personal experience and the world around her. Armed with a sound that reflects Sheryl Crow?s pop/rock sensibility, Sara Barielles? vocal prowess, Basia Bulat?s poignant poetry, and Sarah McLachlan?s graceful delivery, Girl, Polite provides a solid testament to Jill?s burgeoning musicianship and undeniable spirit. Featured tracks include the driving lead single ?Not Worth It? and the candidly cathartic title-track.

Over the course of her career, Jill?s music has been featured prominently on the Martha Stewart Show and Ralph Lauren?s Big Pony Collection campaign. Additionally, she is the founder of her own Louar Music, a licensing firm that allows indie musicians to obtain song placement in high-profile television, film, and advertising projects. With her assistance, Jill?s clients have secured synchronization licenses with leading media outlets including MTV, PBS, and Bunim Murray Productions.

In support of Girl Polite, Jill is currently booking tour dates for select performances along the East Coast. Stay tuned for more announcements regarding additional dates.

Jill Goldberg Tour Dates:
March 25 ? Cape May, NJ @ Singer-Songwriter Showcase
April 8 ? Arlington, VA @ The Apple Store
April 9 ? Bryn Mawr, PA @ Milkboy Coffee
April 15 ? Boston, MA @ The Apple Store

2011Candy Says: I think we should hear more about Jill as the year progresses, just checkout this song and the above name checks begin to make real sense. 
Listen: Not Worth It. Web: Official.

Background: Two worlds collided, chaos ensued, new life was formed. When the dust settled there appeared, The Morning Birds, a hybrid of sonic and spiritual understandings expressed through music, art, and moving images. While forming an uncanny mixture of sounds that embrace unlikely sources, the band?s sound is both familiar and mysterious, groovy yet mellow, profound but fun. It is often times ground breaking. Their powerful bass lines, lush harmonies and soulful strings are complimented by break beats, trumpets, and cascading keys while Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus? vocals unfold into a gentle blend as if Imogen Heap met Andre 3000.

With a fervent love for life and its ever-benevolent grind, The Morning Birds have taken a hold of their career and are ready to take flight and leave the nest. Although music sometimes feels like a small piece of the massive puzzle we call life, The Morning Birds comprehend the greater substance and weight it carries.

The band?s coalescence of meshing voices within the caverns of their music is where both female and male vocals come together for moments where they soar over everything else. As Markus states, ?Our goal is to inspire others to find their own creative voices and pursue their dreams with childlike abandon.?

2011Candy Says: This is a little gentler and the soft harmonies really stand out above the rhythmic drumming that seemingly ensures the pace is kept up before we softly drift away to something quite beautiful.
Listen: Hearts Desire. Web: Official.

Background: Quoting from Houses on Lefse records site - ?I got laid off from my job at the end of last year and decided I needed a change. My girlfriend put in her two weeks and we moved out to a little cabin in Papaikou, Hawaii. It?s a pretty remote place outside of Hilo (i.e no plumbing/electricity/gas).

We worked for meals during the day cultivating indigenous micro-organisms and learning the basics of sustainable living. We drank showered and cooked with rain water. It was a beautifully simple experience. In our downtime, she would paint and I would record. We?d have to light candles in an effort to save solar power to keep my computer running. We inspired each other a lot out there, and I think it shows on the album. She sings on a lot of the tracks on All Night. The music comes from a place of love and ease. The video for Endless Spring was shot there in our spare time, and the music was sketched out loosely over the course of a few months. We just kind of melted into one person. We were able to keep our heads above water for a few months before we both went broke and moved back to Chicago in April. I put together all the arrangements and field recordings over the next few weeks, and that became All Night. ?

2011Candy Says: An interesting story above that thankfully lead to some great music. Atmospheric and dreamy, 'soak it up' is an excellent taster for 'All Night'.
Listen: Soak It Up. Web: Lefse Records.

Background: Moshi Moshi Records and Liverpool's Hot Club de Paris are proud to announce the release of Free The Pterodactyl 3, twelve tracks of "Lean, mean pop perfection," (Drowned In Sound) The group's North American debut was made available digitally January 18th and features tracks taken from their two widely celebrated previously released 10" EPs With Days Like This As Cheap As Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want To Work?, and The Rise and Inevitable Fall of the High School Suicide Cluster Band.

The combination of releases is somewhat fitting for a band described by the NME as sounding like "3 bands playing at once. Fortunately all of those bands are f++king awesome," Those 3 bands could easily be XTC, Don Caballero and The Minutemen, all playing in perfect harmony. They among other groups are influences upon the trio Hot Club de Paris, composed of Paul Rafferty (vocals/bass/baritone), Matthew Smith guitar/vocals) and Alasdair Smith (drums/vocals).

Self recorded and produced in their Liverpool rehearsal space with frenetic abandon, the three seamlessly combine what has been described as "Spiky scouse pop songs, hollerin' sea shanty vox, baroque post-rock guitar twiddling and abstruse lyrical conceits." (MOJO) "Bizarre bedfellows that turn out to be uncannily compatible."

Already fairly well accomplished in the UK and Europe, they relish the opportunity to bring their craft to audiences in the United States.

2011Candy Says: Hot Club De Paris up the energy levels, and demand you listen up. Just when you thought guitar rock was on the wane this band snaps you back to the reality that said music has a long way to go.
Listen: I'm Not In Love Neither Are You. Web: Official.

Background: Record label Kind Turkey Records contacted us about Trent Fox and The Tenants.

We quote - I wanted to write you about the new 7" I put out on my label by Milwaukee's Trent Fox and the Tenants. It's 5 tracks of garage/pop/rock n roll with swagger. Release date is February 22nd. We're having 4 release shows in Wisconsin over a 3 day period (Madison, Milwaukee, Appleton, and Green Bay).

This is the debut 7" from this Milwaukee band known for running the venerable basement space, The Vault, where touring bands are always sure to stop. They've played a multitude of shows around the Midwest and are planning a tour this summer. Most notably they've played with Nobunny, Holly Golightly, Jaill, Wheels on Fire, Mondo Topless, Lover!, Thomas Function and plenty more!

I'd say I'd recommend it for fans of the Black Lips, Nobunny, Wheels on Fire and the Smith Westerns First LP. It was recorded in Milwaukee by Josh White and mastered by Justin Perkins.

2011Candy Says: Garage rock with a twist of punk and a little bit of rockabilly thrown in and you have this upbeat song that demands you dance along.
Listen: Mess Around. Web: MySpace.

Background: Channeling Fleetwood Mac?s musical stylings with a hint of late-era Beatles, Family of the Year braid catchy melodies, stellar male/female vocals and personal folk tales to create some of the happiest and saddest music you?ve ever heard. The band?s classic musical style has been integrated with a modern fan base that the band continues to create and release new music for.

Like most American families, FOTY come from all over. Brothers Joe and Sebastian Keefe grew up in Wales before staking their claim as locals on the rustic country island Martha?s Vineyard. Christina Schroeter is a misfit of Orange County, CA while across the country southern gentleman James Buckey grew up in Jacksonville, FL.

Musical veterans Joe, Seb and James enjoyed local Boston success in their raw rock ensemble Unbusted.  The Keefe brothers switched gears when they created the up-tempo indie-pop band The Billionaires, while James pursued a career in sound engineering. Christina, who spent five years of her childhood trying to weasel out of piano lessons, recently resigned from an entertainment PR firm, where she often rushed clients down red carpets before heading to band practice.

They spent last summer on tour with Edward Sharpe, and the band are currently in Europe where they have a number one radio hit in France. They played a few sold out shows in London a couple of weeks ago and performed on BBC Radio 6. They're finishing up a new album currently.

2011Candy Says: Pop songs can be brilliant, timeless and totally catchy still. Just listen to 'stupidland' - I rest my case.
Listen: Stupidland. Web: Official.

Background: For Greg Susoreny, it's been a long time coming. His debut as a songwriter and recording artist is the fulfillment of a genuine passion carried in his heart over several years. While his arrival in music comes after starting several businesses in other industries, he is not ending something; he's just getting started. With the sharp contemplation and adult contemporary/country sound that defines his music, time spent listening to Greg feels like talking over beers with Kenny Chesney and Don Henley. All insight, and no hangover.

Born in Northwest Indiana and raised in Dallas, Texas, Susoreny is the epitome of a good American man. Like good American men do, after graduating from college, he went to work, but not in music. With his business degree from Indiana University School of Business, Susoreny founded a technical staffing company in Dallas, owned a general contracting company in Miami Beach, and owned a small cafe in Las Colinas, Texas. A true entrepreneur, Greg has an impeccable eye for opportunity. As he watched musicians play at his cafe, he recognized his opportunity to pursue his passion for music, and his dream to start his own record label. It wasn't long after he started working on his songwriting that he founded Truth Records. He signed his first artist in 2001 after moving to Miami Beach, Florida.

Working with his first Truth Records artist was a good motivator for him, and as they worked on his album, Greg's desire to write and record his own music came calling. "I've always been a poet. Rhymes come easy to me, and I can clearly hear the songs in my head even though I don't play an instrument. I have an Arranger's brain and really enjoy the entire recording process." Original songs, from the heart and head, are a natural fit for Susoreny, who has always worn his heart on his sleeve and held honesty as his mantra. Being at the musical helm is also the right fit for his entrepreneurial spirit. Not only did he found Aqua Blue Records, the label on which his debut album, Ramblin Man, is released, but he directly managed every aspect of the creation, production, and release of the record.

2011Candy Says: Greg Susoreny oozes style, class and quality. Play him loud and impress your friends, great music for driving or chilling to.
Listen: Ramblin Man. Web: Official.

Background: Acclaimed LA-based 21 year-old songwriter Lelia Broussard has been selected by Rolling Stone for their ?Do You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star? Contest.?  Announced on February 14th nationwide in the USA on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Lelia is one of sixteen unsigned artists chosen by the editors of Rolling Stone.  Voters can rate the bands by going to choose the cover and eight artists will be eliminated by March 16th with only eight artists proceeding to the next round.  The final round will see the last two artists compete in a battle of the bands on stage at the Bonnaroo Music Festival with the ultimate winner being the first unsigned act to ever appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and will also receive a recording contract from Atlantic Records.

Lelia who just finished an appearance at the Hotel Caf� in Los Angeles is supporting her fourth independently released record, Masquerade.  A deluxe edition CD version with bonus tracks (as well as the original ten tracks in the November 2010 digital release) will be available on April 5th through various independent record stores and on-line retailers in the United States.

2011Candy Says: Lelia remains a firm favorite of the Beehive and we will be delighted if she does well in the Rolling Stone competition, either way hopefully a good number of people will discover her in the coming weeks, that's the least she deserves.
Listen: Alone On A Train. Web: Official.

Background: Ontario independent pop act The Elwins are a part of a vital practice of D.I.Y. pop eccentrics whose '60s swoon-worthy melodies unabashedly ignore current trends in indie music. A trio that sounds more like four or five reminds one of exactly what can be very good about rock and roll; simplicity and solid songwriting backed by some naturally talented young musicians makes The Elwins a true gem among other independent artists.

The Elwins recently returned from Seattle where they were writing and recording their debut LP to be released in spring of 2011. Produced by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) and Ryan Hadlock (Stephen Malkmus, Metric, Islands, Blonde Redhead), and mixed by L. Stu Young (Prince, Sum-41), this record promises to be the fresh sound the Canadian indie music scene needs.

Matthew Sweeney?s voice, unrefined and appetizing, melds well with the quirky and memorable lyrics, at the same time leading the band with guitar riffs that stay with you long after hearing them. Travis Stokl, a pop savvy drummer, co-writes the songs with Sweeney, bringing his catchy rhythm that undoubtedly leaves toes-a-tapping. The bassist and longtime friend Feurd backs things up with a solid moustache.

The Elwins' charm and blissful attitude is a unique addition to the Canadian music scene. Their self-titled EP has sold a multitude of copies, garnering North American and European audiences to follow. Time spent with the boys can range from a peculiar conversation about dynamics and chord structures, to a spontaneous improvised performance, notably watching them switch instruments effortlessly. They've played at festivals such as Halifax Pop Explosion and Canadian Music Week. This March will bring their American debut, playing shows in New York City and Austin during SXSW. They have shared the stage with friends Toyko Police Club as well as The Coast, Maylee Todd, The Bicycles and Ruby Coast.

2011Candy Says: They put a smile on my face and a lift in my step. A little quirky and a whole lot splendid.
Listen: Dear, Oh My. Web: MySpace.

Background: ?A psychedelic eruption in the factory.? That?s how Edinburgh?s new garage band on the block, FOUND describe their sound, which ranges from urgent, Wire-influenced punk to Joe Meek sci-fi pop, cheapo bossa nova and near acid house grooviness within the space of a few tracks.

"Factorycraft", their first album for Chemikal Underground, introduces us to the trio?s grubby world: rarely does a debut album have an opening statement as striking as urban love story Anti-Climb Paint. And throughout the album, the title is reflected in mechanically ticking beats, references to assembly lines and precise, brutal guitar stabs.

?[Singer] Ziggy used to work in a factory in the Borders,? say the band. 'He observed that the most exotic ideas are often FOUND lying amongst the swarf of the factory floor. We liked the idea of turning manual labour in to fine art, hence "factorycraft".'

Appropriately enough, the album was recorded in one productive week on an industrial estate in Glasgow, at Chemikal Underground?s own Chem 19 studio. While they were working on it, they were also busily building a sound installation called Cybraphon based on a 19th century orchestrion ? a project that later won them a BAFTA. Because aside from being a band, FOUND are also hugely creative art collective.

First meeting at art school in Aberdeen, Ziggy Campbell, Kev Sim and Tommy Perman first began collaborating as an art group, The FOUND Collective, who played improvised music at their exhibition openings, ?to avoid talking to people.? When they started being booked for gigs proper, the name stuck.

FOUND are giving away a free track every Friday until the album?s release. That's a lot of Fridays so it's a lot of free music. They?re giving away remixes they've done for other people, remixes other artists have done for them, choice selections from their back catalogue and unheard gems.

2011Candy Says: We finish with a band that reminds us that 'north of the border' in Scotland, there is no shortage of musical talent. Found are coming - you have been warned.
Listen: You're No Vincent Gallo. Web: Official.



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