With the mantra of “support your friends” behind her, Grammy-award winning recording artist Grace Weber is committed to building community, using her music to elevate its members to their highest individual and collective potential. She involves young people as much as possible in her base, whether by reaching out and sending handwritten appreciation notes to members of her ever expanding base, performing at various colleges across the country, or even using student artwork for the covers of her new singles “so solitary” and “space jam” (created by Amanda Ba and Beatrice Lintner).Read More
Quinn Devlin and the Bridge Street Kings have struck again with another spirited single, “Answer Me.”Read More
by Lena Nelson
Quinn Devlin & The Bridge Street Kings, soon to release their second EP Sweet Thursday, are a self described rhythm & blues orchestra led by bandleader and conductor extraordinaire, Quinn Devlin. On their first EP, an extended play, The Bridge Street Kings keep it clean with classic R&B and jazz riffs. Devlin’s voice is rich in color and emotion and is backed by a lively and virtuosic band. Devlin gives his Bridge Street Kings room to shine. On the first track of an extended play, "It Ain't Why It Just Is," a lively guitar solo and a boisterous saxophone demonstrate the learned jazz background of the Bridge Street Kings. In an interview with Rare Candy from November 2016 Devlin enthusiastically praises each of his band members and expresses the immense gratitude he feels for his musicians.
The first single from the Bridge Street Kings’ upcoming EP, “It Ain’t Me,” upholds the big band dynamic from the first EP but stylistically takes some different directions. The track starts out with the exuberant saxophones we expect from the Bridge Street Kings, but when Devlin starts singing, a more moody side of him is revealed. His verses are accompanied by dramatic and dark piano chords and a fantastic, bluesy baseline. Sparse and dramatic guitar playing sets the tempo and mood. Devlin embraces a slower, darker, and more country influenced vocal style on the verses. The choruses break free into the big, open R&B sound found on the Bridge Street Kings first EP. The track ends jubilantly yet abruptly, leaving the listener with the echoes of the chorus’s huge sound still in their head.
In our first track roundup of 2016, we feature cuts from Ayshay, Roly Porter, Guerilla Toss, and Simon Joyner.Read More
The Melbourne band's latest song takes its title takes from the Australian national anthem in order to comment on the country's current asylum policy.
Original art by Willa McDonaldRead More
First listen of the NYC-based group's debut EP Person is Past.Read More
“Druid Liquid,” functions as a meditative piece that slowly pulls the listener's mind around and around in circles.Read More
"Act Like You Know Me," like many of its Chicago peer releases, may be a Katzian chiclet — that is, something instantly sweet if short-lived and somewhat disposable — but it's knowingly, intentionally so.Read More
Judy's strength lies in its message of holding on to something of the past while still moving forward.Read More
Soda Island locates its sound "in beaches and oases, the warmth of the sun and the sand."Read More
Olympic Dreams Records is a small label based in Denton, Texas that focuses on “ambitions and dreams.” The music they tend to put out is inviting rather than confrontational, floating above you with an outstretched hand instead of spitting in your face. Like a less spiritual Sufjan Stevens track, “A Weird Flash,” is one of those soft spoken gems.Read More
"The only way we're going to advance music is if we get rid of genres...and all of the baby boomers,"Read More
by Graham Johnson
Earlier today, Minneapolis musician Daniel English (styled d. english) released three tracks on Soundcloud, some of his first output since the gorgeous Big. The tracks are presented as tossed-off or casual disclosures, the name of "5/20" channeling the same aesthetic realm, and setting up the same contextual backdrop, as a journal entry or iPhone memo: expectations are low, which allows for great moments to flourish in a way they might not if presented otherwise.
And the tracks bear plenty of gems. "Girl Like a Qtip" opens with the amusing visual of a girl cleaning English's head out — "just keep turning," he sings, "I play guitar now." "Beer Buzz," meanwhile, (another version of which was released as a split with Von Neumann Architecture for No Problem Records) displays the kind of weird, 80s synth work that's always been popular in the DIY scene, but with a frenetic lead guitar mixed in that serves as a highlight of the track. "5/20," finally, closes off the set with a strangely poignant minimalist rendition of Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark."
Daniel English is a member of Frankie Teardrop, the Minneapolis rock group that released the fantastic sophomore LP Raiders last year. He's also a part of the Iowa City music scene, which we profiled in January. More of English's music can be found at his Bandcamp.
Jack + Eliza's new tune is a green apple Smirnoff ice with a packet of Sweet N' Low.Read More
It’s Big Kev from the Rare Candy Mag tech department. I’d just like to say firstly that I’m pretty honored to be able to get a space on the magazine.
I’ve never been a big music-head, but while I’m programming I always like to have something playing in the background. My friends help me out a lot, send me some new stuff when I ask, or when they find something they think I'll like.
The latest track I’ve been shown and that really stuck out — really made me pause in the middle of my programming and check the song title — is “Mourning Dove” by Nora Petran. It’s got a warm atmosphere, like it’s been close-mic’d with the gain knob set high to pick up the soft vocal cooing and fingerpicking. The room’s gentle white noise and reverb swell like an overheated CPU. And Petran’s voice resembles a flute or some similar family of wind instrument: it’s got a pure, clean, steady tone that can hit precise intervals or hold steady, drawn-out croons.
The artwork is subpar sadly. I can’t understand why she chose to draw it by hand rather than using Photoshop (or one of its fantastic free alternatives, GIMP or Paint.net). That said, “Mourning Dove” will be running up on my Foobar2000 player for many a programming session to come.
Rare Candy editor Graham Johnson reflects on Brian Wilson's latest, and possibly last, release.Read More
"Flower Shops is the rose petal echo pop solo project of William Karmis"Read More
Written by Zachariah Calluori
rock solid is the solo project of Pratt freshman Jaime Knoth, and “your plan(t)” is her latest release in a series of demos. Knoth’s tunes, and “your plan(t)” in particular, feel motivated yet somber, sounding out deeply personal expressions with a subtle intensity delivered on acoustic guitar and voice. But don’t expect the unthreatening, pre-school pop of a Frankie Cosmos just because of Knoth’s no-frills approach. In its vulnerability, beauty, and subtlety, rock solid’s sound is perhaps more akin to the fully-developed maturity of Mitski with the emotional import of Angel Olsen. However, Knoth’s proficiency on guitar sets her apart from both. Rather than thumbing roots or strumming out chords in consistent downstrokes, Knoth displays fingerpicking chops and good sense of when to use them, at times making the artistic choice to activate a more trebly, metallic timbre or driving rhythmic feeling through strumming but always prepared to return to the plucking’s dark intimacy when appropriate. This sort of intra-guitar orchestration gives a sense of completeness, of a band contained within the fingers. In addition, each fingerpicked note seems to be tinged with a fragile, shivering upper harmonic, which adds an interesting effect.
Knoth’s vocals are, at times, quite dexterous (see one minute, ten seconds in) but never seem contrived; they escape the uniformity a trained vocal can sometimes fall into but also resist reverting to the consciously breathy, untrained sound that has become such a popular stylistic choice. Unique and pure, her voice molds only to the emotional twists and turns of “your plan(t)”, which tackles love and its complications in multiple temporalities. A newly recorded EP featuring “your plan(t)” is soon to be released.
Written by Caleb Oldham
Miserable Chillers is the solo project of Miguel Gallego, the frontman of The Dicktations and a founding member of Drug Pizza. Where Gallego’s other projects tend to resemble a release of fuzz-drenched energy packaged in a stomping rock n’ roll song, Miserable Chillers is a more reflective, midi-acoustic venture. David Bowie once said that he could never write music for himself, only the characters that he had invented. I’m not sure if Miserable Chillers is a character or just a place for Gallego to put his homemade experiments, but his songwriting here is as strong as, if not stronger than, his main projects.
Miserable Chillers’ newest release “Silvery” is a ballad of sorts, complete with synthesizers and a drum machine, gorgeous vocal harmonies, and a feeling that something has passed. Since the Bowie comparison has already been made, “Silvery” almost sounds like an antithesis to “Heroes” — while the latter gets its triumphant momentum from what could be, the former reflects on beautiful moments which have already been.
Listen to more of Miserable Chillers on SoundCloud.
Written by Zachariah Calluori
Currently based between the New York and Boston areas, iiii (pronounced "four") is comprised of vocalist Laila Smith, pianist Paul Bloom, bassist Connor Schultze, and drummer Jeremy Dutton. In addition to the main four members, a fifth musician—guitarist Alex Graff—lends additional texture and flavor to the track. “Looking Glass” evidences a shift from the acoustic first album, iiii, to a more electric sound, bridged by the interim single “Face to Face” and given extra push by the new D’Angelo release.
To quote Smith, “let’s take it from the top”: In its first second, "Looking Glass" hits a sweet spot. In that momentous second, the electric piano creeps in with a pickup into the first beat, and by the time the first rim-click hits “2,” the listener's metaphorical seat-belt has fastened. iiii locks in right around 86 beats per minute, and it's a tempo that tells all. At 86 strides per minute, walking morphs into a sashay, full of intention and intrigue. At 86 bpm, the heart has become ever so subtly piqued above resting; it is the slightest of brush of a corpuscle and the accompanying pupil-stretch. On “Looking Glass,” iiii stretches an initial jitter across three minutes and, underneath, drizzles a rich, smooth honey groove. They manage to maintain a steady cool in tandem with a bubbling but restrained energy.
“Looking Glass” keeps iiii’s signature positivity, musicianship, and R&B-inflected sensibilities, but also covers new ground both production and performance-wise. The track is their first to be self-recorded, and to great results—the sonic architecture is dense, but still sounds effortless. iiii skillfully balances shaker, tambourine, and drum set, with its big, sloshy hi-hats; a 5-string electric bass; a clean guitar in the left ear; a wide variety of keyboard sounds; and a host of fills from all the players. From the fat snare sound, to Smith's lead vocal, to the harmonies provided by both Smith and Schultze, all its musical elements hold their own in the mix and have been accurately captured, down to the immediately identifiable decay of a Zildjian K Constantinople cymbal crash at 1:25. Paul’s experimentation with keyboard sounds comes to the foreground of the sonic landscape during the Thundercat-esque bridge. He merges the Rhodes sound of the baseline keyboard track with a high, watery keyboard sound, reminiscent of an isolated upper harmonic of a Hammond B-3 with the Leslie on. Reverse vocal samples about two minutes in, also further prove the point that the mixing is very alive and descriptive of the stereo picture, with bass, vocal, and guitar fills coming from various directions.
The lyrical content draws on Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass as well as outer space, crafting an imaginative take on the dynamics of romance (the "fall") and intrigue of novelty— Smith sings, “step right through my looking glass, I’ll be your little rabbit,” though feelings change going into the bridge. But “Looking Glass” also plays with the idea of vision and perspective and its interaction with truth, dropping thought-provoking lines like “Sometimes I think it’s what I see that leaves me truly blind,” followed by, “People tell me truth, have me going Mad Hatter.” These are sentiments we can take beyond interpersonal relationships and into society; such questions of illusion and reality resonate with present problems related to race, media, and structural violence.
iiii has an forthcoming EP with a yet-to-be-determined released date. More of their music can be found at their Soundcloud.