anything and everything I want to write about music will go here…
It’s no surprise this is some great music out of Brooklyn. The Mystic Underground, Vlad and Ben, can write pop songs without selling out… songs that are bright and upbeat but still emit some bitterness of life’s struggles and disappointments… songs that will make you want to dance, or perhaps make you want to stand up to your asshole boss. Empowering songs with thoughtful lyrics. Vladimir Valette’s dramatic and soulful vocals add to this empowerment. Benedetto Socci puts the melodies to work with amazing electronic arrangements and intense lead synths, pulling from various influences, which is why it would be hard to tag them into one genre. These guys never pause.. when they’re not writing and recording or working on a remix, they’re playing shows around New York. It’s also worth mentioning that singer Vlad is often in the chatroom on Strangeways Radio. He joined the chat during an episode of Toy Factory when I first played their song “Discord and Panic,” off their “Dreamers and Lovers” EP, and we kind of adopted him, so he’s been joining chats ever since ;-) And of course, it’s not surprising that The Mystic Underground is a staple in the Strangeways Radio library. DJs love them because It’s just good stuff!
These guys have a few videos, but I’ll just share this one since it’s one of my favorite songs. This tune can stay in my head for days! Great video too:
The band have now finished a new EP which is called “Gender Rules” and will be out probably sometime in July (follow them on Facebook for updates on the release) For now, they have put out the first single off the EP, “Fanfare For The Modern Man”
free download [click here]
After reading NME’s review of Girls Names’ new album “The New Life,” (Slumberland Records) I found myself on Spotify, giving it a listen (after all, how could I resist their description of doom-laden goth pop?) What I heard was a lot of influence from The Cure, Joy Division, Echo and The Bunnymen, Smiths etc.. and a modern art rock sound peeking through to let you know this is not the 80s anymore. Girls Names hails from Northern Ireland (Belfast) and, unless I’m misunderstanding the article, NME says that “The New Life” is the band’s debut, which is a bit confusing. This album actually makes the band’s second full-length, and they’ve also had a mini album and an EP (which could be considered their debut, released through Captured Tracks.) So, anyway, they’ve been around making music since 2009. The band has indeed shifted their sound towards a darker influence and away from that beachy surfy indie pop sound (not that there’s anything wrong with that)… also the band has added members, so I guess in a sense, we can consider them a debut outfit. I look forward to seeing where this band goes.. all I can say is “Drawing Lines” has haunted me for days… a relatively simple track (the vocal melody mimics the guitar line).. but that melancholic riff just gets me…
Here’s a band I would like to listen to more of. They’re an electronic duo from Montreal, Canada. I had accidentally stumbled upon their track “Haircut” a year or so ago when putting together an episode of Toy Factory and absolutely loved it. Later, I also included their song “Baby You Were Great” in an episode.
Members Dimitri and Filip have built up quite a nice catalogue of tracks on their Bandcamp page. Last year they put out their 10 track LP called “Heterotopias,” (which included the aforementioned “Haircut,”) and they have a couple other EPs and singles already under their belt. Subtle, romantic electronic sequences and rhythmic tones teamed with haunting vocals make for some nostalgia, but you would not listen to them and think they were something from the past. Something about their sound still takes you into the current scene. The band have played around North America and Europe alongside bands such as Dream Affair, Police des moeurs and Automelodi.
Here’s my very first listen…
The band now have a brand new single coming out, “Hilary” with the B side “Those Who Suffer” being released on Beko as a 7″ on May 12 (click here to preorder.) Back in February, the band posted on their Facebook page, “Our new LP album is ready! Details soon…” so, it sounds like we can watch for more from this band in the coming weeks :)
Here’s a video clip from their new single:
I’ve been a bit busy lately and I know it’s been months since I’ve done any kind of show. I’m quite sure I am now speaking to just a very small group of you. Thank you for sticking with me even though I’ve not been “in the loop” as much as I would like to be. I have a few bits of news I would like to share with you:
CAROUSEL RETURNS MAY 3, 2013
I still don’t feel I can come back full force with all 3 of my shows. I just have too much on my personal plate to commit to that much DJ time. That said, I do find myself missing it. So, for now, I think my schedule will allow me to bring back Carousel once a month, starting in May. This is a monthly podcast and I will post it on the first Friday of every month. The thing I like about Carousel is that the playlist isn’t thrown together in a few hours or a few days, but it evolves over the course of the month as I set aside interesting tracks I want to play. The end result is usually a mixed bag of songs that are of my taste, which makes it special to me and often personal. In the past, Carousel has had the least amount of listeners out of all three of my shows, but for some reason it gives me the most pleasure, so I will continue, and maybe if I’m lucky, a few of you will enjoy it :) As for my other shows, Toy Factory and Crossover, they’re still on hold for now. It’s possible I could have a special interview podcast or two coming up, but nothing solid. I will let you know. You can check out old episodes of Carousel if you click here. Between now and May, I hope to fix my website to make the show easier to subscribe to on iTunes and RSS. I will also continue to blog “Feature Bands” when I can and hopefully make that subscribable.
BEDROOM CASSETTE MASTERS VOL. 2 – RELEASE DATE APR. 13th 2013
While I’ve been on hiatus, I have had the chance to play more with my synth toys. A year or so ago, I made a weird outer-spacey track called “Exploration” and it just sort of sat there on my soundcloud as a semi-finished experiment. I had downloaded the Vol. 1 Bedroom Cassette Masters compilation (label: Carrillion Cassettes) and quite enjoyed it. It was full of odd minimal wave stuff that was in the spirit of the vintage age of electronic music. More recently there was a call for submissions for Vol. 2. Much to my delight, they called for real OR “imagined” minimal wave projects from the 80s. They requested real OR fictional biography and cassette cover to be included with the submitted track, which needed to keep true to the aesthetic from that era, as if it were taped in a home studio. I couldn’t resist this fun idea! I reworked “Exploration” to take out anything that sounded too modern, and I added some Moogey sounds and vocal bits and some filters to give the track more of a non-digital flavor. I submitted it under the name of “Omniluxe” with a biography about a woman from Finland who wanted to make music for science fiction films (sadly, in the fake bio, she died LOL.) Simon Holland, the head curator of Bedroom Cassette Masters responded immediately and said he wanted the track on the compilation. He made some helpful suggestions for the final submission, then it was good to go. The compilation will come with a .pdf booklet with all the bios and images of the cassette covers. If you’re an electronic music nerd, you definitely should grab a copy. You can get Vol. 1 for free now on the BCM bandcamp page and Vol. 2 including a copy of “Exploration” will be just a few dollars to download on April 13 at this link. (also, I think my speaking voice is in the compilation’s intro track hehe) Thanks to Simon Holland for choosing my track. He was inundated with submissions so I feel honored I was chosen :)
NEW PROJECT: TENDERLASH
I want to push myself to finish projects I’ve started in the past few years since getting some new synth toys… I have all these unfinished tracks on my hard drive, or partial songs or vocal ideas. I have been a creative person all my life and composing music is the one area I haven’t done too much with. I like to write lyrics as well. I hope to make this side of my creativity more of a priority. Some of my friends have offered to collaborate and help with mixing or adding their own talents as I go along. Realistically, what I’ll consider as “finished” will be nothing more than homemade demos. I don’t have any desire to sink thousands of dollars into studio time to make my music sound pristine. I’ll do what I can with them here at home, and I expect nothing beyond that. I don’t want to force my music project down your throats. You came here for DJ Candy, the maker of playlists, not Candy the synth experimenter… which is why I decided to split off into another moniker, or “band name” if you will. Not to think too deeply into the name “Tenderlash,” but it sort of fits me and the type of music I want to make… it’s feminine, soft, timid, flirtatious, but also a bit melancholy and emotional… I don’t have any delusions about this project. I probably won’t be signing to a major label and going on a world tour LOL… but I’ll be happy if I can make something from start to finish and make it listenable. You won’t get news about Tenderlash on this website or on my DJ Candy facebook page, so please follow the Tenderlash facebook page if you’re interested in updates on this project www.facebook.com/tenderlash (and I have reserved www.tenderlash.com but there is nothing there yet but a splash page.)
In other news, I am still also helping out as the US Manager for the Italian band The Shade, so I hope you’ll check out their music and watch for updates on their Facebook page… and even though Toy Factory is on hiatus, I am still active with the Strangeways Radio community. Follow them on Facebook and check out all of the shows they have to offer!
That’s all for now. I wish you all a pleasant spring :)
Love and gratitude,
A foursome out of the UK music scene who rightfully tag themselves as “Electro-filth,” have been playing together since 2008. They have 2 EPs out, “Confessions” and “Last One Dies” with the title song being released on a split single (on pink vinyl!) with A*Star on May 3rd. Their sound is definitely naughty, and every song powerfully delivered with sexy vocals, jamming electro sounds and wicked bass lines.
BBC Radio 6 says, “”Definitely a band to look out for… Dark, Raw, energetic, very very loud and intense with powerful and compelling vocals”
This from their official biography:
Blindness features Beth Rettig (vocals, programming, noise), Kendra Frost (bass, noise), Debbie Smith (guitar, feedback,noise) and Alex Lutes (drums, programming, noise). Originally a three-piece they recruited Lutes to “fill out” an already intense set of pre-recorded loops and noise as well as live bass and guitar courtesy of Frost and Smith, the latter being guitarist for 90’s bands Curve and Echobelly and, later, Snowpony.Taking sonic tips from The Jesus and Mary Chain as well as My Bloody Valentine and with the hook sensibility of PJ Harvey, Blindness show “exquisite warmth” in their “seductive dark wave electro pop.”
This was the first song I heard from Blindness:
Check out the band’s new EP that was released last week:
find more info about Blindness on http://weareblindness.co.uk/ or their Facebook Page.
This Brooklyn trio are currently on tour down to SXSW and supporting their upcoming new record ‘Thought & Language’ which is being mixed by by John Fryer (Cocteau Twins, Lush) As luck would have it, I will see them here in Charlotte tomorrow night! :-) Their website describes their unique blend, “incorporating elements of ambient, baroque, dream-pop, shoegaze, new wave, and goth, and crafting every aspect of their sound and vision, they remain one of the few left willing to work on high-art as concept.”
“Resonates like a glass of old school absinthe,” says the Huffington Post.
“A post-Romantic approach to music, fashion, even New York City itself….. is the kind of wisdom Robert Smith masterfully conjured in his prime…” says Andrew Frisicano, writer for The Deli NYC.
My favorite song and video has been Kingmaker:
Their brand new single “Birth” is now out on 7 inch or digital download and it is ever so dreamy… take a listen:
A blend of shoegaze, some alternative pop-rock with a touch of glam. What more could you want? These dazzling Londoners play their hearts out on every track and they’re not afraid to get dirty. The lineup includes frontman (and funny guy lol) Alex Keevill, Caleb Clayton on bass, talented guitarist Gavin Mata Hari and Thom Browning on drums. Their single, “We Are Made of Evil Things” is available on iTunes (here)
take a listen:
The band has several releases under their belt, and if you’re in the London area, you can find them playing at places like The MacBeth and Barfly in Camden. (Tell them I sent you LOL!) Be sure to follow them on Facebook to find out what they’re up to. You can check out more music from The Microdance on their Bandcamp Page.
I had the privilege to DJ a show in Asheville, NC that included The Sunshine Factory in the lineup and, what can I say… I was blown away. Out of Mobile, Alabama these talented young musicians, Ian Taylor and Sally Robertson (and, now I believe they have added a drummer, Clay Bates) will have a long career ahead of them, if they want it. They have been signed with Saint Marie Records and they’ve already performed with lots of heavy hitters in the Shoegaze and Dreampop realm, including a showcase at SXSW among other awesome gigs. I had already heard some of their songs and had grown fond of the album Sugar before meeting them and seeing them play … shimmery and bright songs with lovely melodies and immersed guitars… But, to see and hear them play is another experience altogether. The way they effortlessly blend their guitars, drums and vocals onstage and make it look so easy… so incredibly bad-ass. Keep an eye on them… more importantly, go see them live if you can.
Their new track “Marigold” can be downloaded for “name your price” here:
and check out their full debut album, Sugar, here:
There are several bands out of Marseille, France that have caught my attention in recent years. Nouvelle Culture is made up of three members; Jacky, Eric and Lady collaborating together to compose their music from start to finish. The band’s debut album Fading Pictures was released in May of 2008. This is French electropop at its best… lovely, bright synth arrangements (the band underline the fact that they do not use loops or samples, just pure analogic machines), slightly melancholic vocals, and danceable rhythms (I love the drum arrangements on “The Perfect Way.”)
I had some trouble finding the album to purchase but finally found it here on emusic. A physical CD copy of the album is available on Poponaut. The band plan to release a new CD in late summer or autumn of this year.
various tracks and demos from upcoming releases are available here:
Members Daniel Änghede (Vocals, Guitars, Bass) and Tomas Almgren (Keyboards, Programming, Beats, Producing) out of Gothenberg, Sweden combine a bit of everything we love: a blend of post-rock, electronica, shoegaze, and dark pop. Their influence is broad, and the result is decidedly tasty, haunting and often intensely romantic. The band have two albums under their belt, “The Ghost You Left Behind” from ’07 and “The Star In The Lake” from ’09. Now, they have just released a brand new EP today entitled “We Saw The Moon” check it out on bandcamp or iTunes… it’s lovely! :)
Out of Vancouver, this five-member group have a little something special in my opinion. No full albums yet, but so far I have loved every song they’ve done. Their single, “Post Traumatic Love” is probably in my top 10 favorites of 2012…. and I also REALLY love the b side, which is “Nightlife” (video below) I could listen over and over. (7″ available on Northern Light Records) There are also the beautiful tracks “Forever” and “XYX” (see their Bandcamp page) You can’t really put ACTORS in a single category because there is a taste of everything… If you could put some Bowie, Roxy Music, Human League and Tears for Fears into a blender, you may come close to making a comparison, but it would still be just a guess. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for them. I’m craving more! To copy their bio, “ The new wave five piece achieves their end goal by paying tribute to the production and arrangement of Hughes-ian era heart melters and the kind of hymns found in those once-in-a-lifetime dreams.”
Interesting new band out of Houston, TX with a definite dreampop infused post punk sound, and just the right amount of synth. Romantic vocals and walls of beautiful gazey guitars. The three members Jason Carroll (guitar and vocals), Andrew Espinosa (programming, keyboards and guitar) and David Young (bass, guitar and vocals) have been friends for some time and have finally combined their taste into one project. Their debut EP “Walking Without Shadows” was out in 2011 and their new full length album “Between Sometimes and Never” was just released on January 3rd 2013.
Out of Copenhagen, Denmark, this band has been through the paces of putting out an EP, playing shows in Europe and the US over the past few years, and as a result, gaining some popularity among post punk and new wave fans… Back in September they released their first full length LP “Scattered and Buried” on Monolathe Recordings. In my opinion they do a very good job of combining lovely, blissful sounds and dark, sad moods. Check them out if you haven’t already. :)
Coming from other projects such as Skylight, Bliss City East and Morpheme, Kim Welsh and Perry Pelonero started this project with their lives in mind, “to get back to writing music like we used to.” Named after their daughter Ada Star.. the first sales of the songs helped pay for some of the costs of some medical treatment Ada needed (she is doing great, by the way) Instead of waiting to release a full EP or album, the songs have been released one by one, appealing to people’s instant-gratification sensibilities. When you listen to their tracks, you will hear the raw passion and love for music… and once you get to know them, you’ll know that they are very active and supportive of the music community, supporting other bands and projects as much as they support their own. Dreamy, emotional and rock-driven with a generous dose of sexy.. that’s A*Star.
Related post: Crossover – Episode 40 w/ A*Star
Check out their newest one….
As you may have noticed, I don’t blog very often, but I’ll try to do it more in 2013. It’s easy for us to focus on whatever bad things that have happened this year and to say, “2012 sucked, I can’t wait for it to be over,” so, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on 2012 and just write down something positive… some great musical memories of my year. Maybe it would inspire others to make their own lists and to focus on the good things, to give us some more hope for the year to come :)
My Best Musical Memories of 2012
(in no particular order)
1. Meeting Monica Richards. – This woman (best known for Faith And The Muse but now working solo ) has one of the most gorgeous voices on the planet.. and she has become one of my idols.. She came to Charlotte with her friend, writer/illustrator Steve Niles to attend Heroes Con. I wish she would have been here for a show, but I’ll take what I can get. What I got was a chance to have a nice conversation without the distraction of a show… She is a stunning woman in person, and every bit as kind and elegant as you would imagine… just lovely to talk to :) [link]
2. Seeing A Place To Bury Strangers in Charlotte – We don’t get very many good shows here in Charlotte, unfortunately, but every once in a while, a really cool band comes though. They ROCKED the Tremont Music Hall and anyone who missed it should be ashamed. [video] Great to meet those guys and I hope they’ll come back. I am a bit embarrassed that I kept calling Oliver “Owen” by mistake.. he just looks like an Owen lol… [link]
3. Witnessing the birth of The Shade – I always joke with them that one day I will write a book called “The Birth of The Shade”… Derfel and Stefan from Milan, Italy… my long-distance friends, my musical brothers… I knew this project was something special from the very first demo. I volunteered to help with graphics and PR and stuff.. and I listened to the demos as they evolved..in November, the EP finally came out…it’s amazing. If you haven’t heard it, go listen. 2013 will be a fantastic year for The Shade.. more songs are to come, a music video or two, and hopefully some live performances. I am so excited for them. btw, Derfel also joined me as a guest on Toy Factory back in October, which was super fun :) [link]
4. Losing my Moogfest virginity – I was finally able to go to Asheville this year for Moogfest, the big electronic festival that happens around Halloween. I have only heard how much fun it is and seen all the photos and videos from previous years. It was very exciting to be there. I especially enjoyed seeing Cold Cave [video] and Trust, and the interactive synth room where I could play with nearly every Moog that was ever invented. I attended a lot of other good shows too, from Divine Fits to Bear In Heaven to Orbital and even if Squarepusher is not my taste, it really added to the experience. I hope to go again in 2013. [link]
5. Seeing Duran Duran in Durham, NC – Ok, I confess that some kind of Duran Duran related event happens every year so this is nothing new. This was the first time I’ve seen them play in North Carolina since 2005 though. It was a gorgeous venue and I felt lucky I got to see them before Nick Rhodes got sick and they had to cancel some other US dates. I felt sorry for the friends of mine who faced disappointment in other cities, and I hope the band will make it up to you soon. :) [link]
6. DJing in Charlotte – I very rarely get asked to do live DJ sets. I had done a couple gigs for friends in Asheville and New York City, but this was the first time I was asked to do it here in Charlotte. It was for a little monthly goth/darkwave event we have here with DJ Spider called “Bats II, Electric Boogaloo” I got to tag-team with the very talented DJ Harkonnen, and talk with some local dark music lovers… it was a blast. I felt very honored they asked me and I hope I’ll get asked again. [link]
7. Getting to Know the Strangies – I started Toy Factory on Strangeways Radio in late 2011, but this was the year I really got to meet so many like-minded music fans who are either DJs or regular listeners on the channel. I would make a list of names but chances are I would accidentally leave someone out. Needless to say, they feel like family to me already. We shared a lot of music and had lots of laughs in the chatroom in 2012. I hope to meet a few of the Strangies in person sometime in 2013, maybe next time I go up to Detroit.[link]
8. Interviewing A*Star – I can’t even remember how I came to know Kim and Perry from A*Star. I remember I had first heard of them from their project Bliss City East, then realized that they were also involved with Skylight, Morpheme, Beijing Tangs and SPC ECO… They are what I like to call “good people” through and through… they make music from the heart and they don’t care about what bands are “supposed” to do.. they do what feels right to them at the time and they collaborate with the friends they want to work with. You can hear their enjoyment and passion for music in their songs, and for that I really admire and respect them. We had a great time doing that interview on Crossover.. they are invited back any time. [link]
9. Breaking out of my shell, musically – I am quite shy about singing or making music. I am not a professional musician, but I like to play with my synths and I like to sing. This was my year to start to break out of that shell. I don’t really have much to show for it.. a couple of weird tracks on my soundcloud and my vocals on a cover of The Cure’s “The Walk”… but I can say that it’s the start of overcoming that shyness and, who knows, maybe I’ll expand on making music in 2013 if I can find the time. I’d love to finish some songs I started and just have some fun. [link]
10. Finding Local Bands I actually like – This was the year I finally discovered a few local bands who have that new wave / post punk attitude that I like.. out of dozens of “garage rock” and “metal bands” here in Charlotte, I am amazed that finally I have found something I can enjoy… Bands like Cement Stars, Modern Man and Little Bull Lee have been on my “must see” list all year and I’ve gone to multiple shows. There is not much of a scene here so we have to stick together.
Anyway, that’s my list.. I am sure I’m leaving out some great moments and as soon as I post this I will say “oh, right! that happened too..” I think 2013 will be a good year in general and I’m looking forward to it. I hope it will be a good year for you too :)
Happy New Year everyone!