Something Like Sound

Tag: Candy Claws

ASBF – Red Basilisk: a soundtrack for snowy days

by on Dec.17, 2010, under Album Reviews, Downloads

Last night snow began gently falling. This morning the world outside was covered in a glorious white sheet of powder. With the holiday season in full swing, the last few weeks have been filled with the schlocky songs of Christmastime with many looking for better listening alternatives. Along with the snow this morning, another delightful winter tradition took place: Act So Big Forest’s annual Christmas Forest compilation (Volume 4: Red Basilisk). A basilisk, for those unfamiliar, is a variety of mythical serpent.

The compilation brings together the recently re-branded/expanded Act So Big Forest collective in a more wintery context than their previous compilation Triton. Recently Pitchfork-premiered Candy Claws track “Snow Bridge” sits nestled in among a handful of delightfully gazey non-traditional winter songs. Among the more-familiar tunes are Fellow Citizens’ take on “Christmas Time is Here,” Galaxies’ percussion-based version of “Blue Christmas,” a jazzy “Three Kings” from Hosannas, and Paean’s “O Holy Night.”

Download Red Basilisk here. Listen to Candy Claws – “Snow Bridge” below.

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BONUS:  The previous three ASBF Christmas compilations: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

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Candy Claws – The Breathing Fire video

by on Dec.06, 2010, under Videos

With the end of the year approaching many critics are putting together their “Best of 2010″ lists. While I have mixed feelings on placing one album above or below another, there’s no doubt in my mind that Candy Claws’ Hidden Lands record would make my list. Another reason to dig this band: the beautiful new video for their song “The Breathing Fire.” Watch it here.

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Act So Big Forest presents TRITON

by on Oct.24, 2010, under Album Reviews

Read this article in-print in this week’s Oredigger!

There are a lot of music-collective groups bouncing around Colorado these days (so many, in fact, it’s hard to keep track of them all). In my opinion, creating a culture that fosters cooperation and collaboration truly speaks volumes about the local music community. Case-in-point: Act So Big Forest Compilation Vol. 1: TRITON. A broad range of acts from all-over the Front Range constitute the 20 bands featured on the compilation curated by Jonathan Alonzo (who is a member of at least 5 groups on the ASBF label).

Since talking about every track on this hour-and-a-half long release might get a little long winded, I’m only going to talk about my personal favorites. However, this is by no means a way of saying these are the only good tracks, it’s all quite good (don’t take my word for it, just listen for yourself).

(continue reading…)

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In-photos: Joshua Novak at Hi-Dive

by on Oct.20, 2010, under Concert Reviews, Photos

Friday night found me at the Hi-Dive for an all-local lineup featuring Joshua Novak, Kissing Party, and Candy Claws.

It seems like every time I see Candy Claws their set changes. This time the group worked from a well-timed backing track that was roughly matched with psychedelic projector visuals.

Kissing Party brought a more 80′s-punk sound to the stage (in addition to some of the thickest fog I’ve ever seen/inhaled). After my coughing subsided, I enjoyed the set from a safer distance.

Joshua Novak was in full form as he played with a backing band consisting of several prominent local musicians (including Patrick and Tiffany Meese of The Centennial).

Click for more photos | Candy Claws | Kissing Party | Joshua Novak

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Video Interview: Candy Claws

by on Aug.13, 2010, under Interviews, Videos

Due to a combination of technical limitations and laziness/busy-ness, here’s the interview I did with Candy Claws last month (better late than never). While some of the references may be out of date (Hidden Lands came out August 3, go get a copy if you still haven’t got it) it’s still a great chat. During this interview we talked about what went in to Hidden Lands, highlights from their tour, and expanding the group from 2 to 8 players.

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Preview Review: Candy Claws – Hidden Lands

by on Jul.27, 2010, under Album Reviews

Somewhere between shoe-gaze and surf sits Candy Claws, a Fort Collins dream-pop band that has garnered national attention with their recent tour and newest record Hidden Lands.

Similar to the group’s previous record In the Dream of the Sea Life, the new disc was inspired, in part, by a book: Richard M. Ketchum’s The Secret Life of the Forest. I used the phrase “in part,” because the band’s own personal experiences living on the cusp of the Rocky Mountains also had a role to play in inspiring a record full of ambient dreamscapes and ethereal melody.

Hidden Lands is one of those records that can be approached in two ways: active listening or passive enjoyment. At the time of this review I have listened to this album at least 7 or 8 times and each experience has been different. Initially it was all fresh; previously unknown sounds floated through the room. Upon repeat listening I became cognizant of the whispery lyrics and finer details.

A certain ebb and flow winds its way through the songs; some are long, slow considerations of time (“In the Deep Time”) while others pulse with the life of natural things such as sunlight or trees (“Sunbeam Show” and several others).

In the end, there are certain tracks that stand out for one reason or another. “Sunbeam Show” has its majestic chorus theme and “The Breathing Fire” has spacey synth and surf beats that sound  like The X-Files meets Pet Sounds. “Sun Arrow” rounds out my shortlist of best tracks on Hidden Lands because it has a great part where plucked strings transition into fuzzed out guitar.

Hidden Lands comes out August 3 via twosyllable records. CD and LP versions of the album can be pre-ordered via the twosyllable webstore and the track “Sunbeam Show” can be streamed/downloaded below (via P4K). For more Candy Claws click here.

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The UMS 2010: Day 1

by on Jul.25, 2010, under Concert Reviews

Day one of the UMS is always a little more relaxed than the rest of the festival. Only 8 venues featured music Thursday night (compared to 22 on Friday, 24 on Saturday, and 15 on Sunday) and shows didn’t start until 8:00pm. Even so, it was one of the most eventful and exciting Thursday nights I’ve had in recent memory. Despite staying between Ellsworth Ave and Cedar Ave (read: between the Hi-Dive and the Skylark) the whole night, I managed to catch at least segments of 8 or 9 (mostly great) sets and explore the wonderful Baker neighborhood; It was a great way to start one of Denver’s best weekends.

I started off my night at the Skylark Lounge for Fort Collins’s Sour Boy, Bitter Girl. This indie-folk band performed really well, and was a good start for the UMS – a local band who shows their passion for music each time they play, reminiscent of all the great local bands performing this weekend. After the FoCo group, I strolled to the Hi-Dive to see the solo act of Jeremy Messersmith. Messersmith started off his set playing acoustic guitar and singing over a recorded drum beat. His relaxed tunes at times channeled Neil Simon.


After 4 or 5 songs of Messersmith, I decided to head back to the Skylark and check out FoCo band Paean. This group was very intriguing; featuring occasionally non-standard instruments (at one point, there were 3 guitars, a violin, and a bass on stage), the band made a lot of noise. They created brilliantly-structured soundscapes, and filled the Skylark with their avant-rock sounds. I when Paean had finished, I stuck around for Good Evening Titan. Their bright and poppy melodies were another great addition to the night’s shows. I had never heard this group before, but am looking forward to seeing their dancy and upbeat guitar and synth-driven music again.

Next, I ventured back to the Hi-Dive for Shapes Stars Make!, a band from Texas which gave my favorite set of the night. The group draws easy comparison to Explosions in the Sky, if Explosions occasionally sang. Despite their similarity, watching the intensity with which they played was fantastic. I was very sad when they stopped play, after having only heard a few of their songs.

Because Shapes Stars Make! had finished a bit earlier than expected, I was able to catch The Swayback at 3 Kings Tavern. The venue was packed, filled with fans who fully appreciated the energetic punk-rock sounds of the group. After a few songs, however, their set was also over, and it was back to the Skylark for SLS-favorite Candy Claws.

I’ve seen Candy Claws a number of times this summer, heard reviews from friends of their recent sets in Chicago and Somerville, MA, and each time it seems like their a different – but better –  band. The dream-pop landscapes they produce are joyous and relaxing, and it seems like they’re finally getting their due. The Skylark was absolutely packed with people eager, and pleased, to hear FoCo’s newest buzz band.

After a great Candy Claws set, we stuck around for Roger Roll. Eric Peterson (who will have played at least 5 sets when the UMS ends on Sunday and receives the honor of Denver’s hardest working  musician) fronts this band, which also features Corey Teruya (of Hello Kavita) on bass and a viola and cello. We saw Roger Roll not too long ago at the Hi-Dive, where potential for brilliance was obvious, with the performance not quite matching the song-writing. At the Skylark, however, the group was much more cohesive and the beautifully-written lived up to their promise. It’s exciting to hear such deliberately well-crafted songs, and I’m looking forward to more Roger Roll music in the future.

Finally, it was back to the Hi-Dive for one last band – Paper Bird. As always, this Americana band is fun to listen to and a joy to see live. The Hi-Dive at midnight, however, wasn’t the sort of place where they really shine through. So, after a long first day at the UMS, I ventured back to Golden after 4 or 5 Paper Bird songs, excited to hear them again later on Friday.

Words and photos by Jake Rezac. More coverage from the UMS to come…

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Candy Claws in Chicago: Pitchfork; dream pop

by on Jul.20, 2010, under Concert Reviews

“I feel like reviews are going to be written about this song,” said Candy Claws front man Ryan Hover before the group dove in to their set’s finale, “Lantern Fish.” After all, the sold-out show was an official after party location for the Pitchfork Music Festival. Coming on the heels of being featured a couple times on the Chicago-based music-blog-giant, there were expectations that had to be met.

Jumping back to the beginning of their set, the side conversations humming through The Empty Bottle became hushed as “Sunbeam Show” basked the venue in dreamy sound. From there it was a beautiful and hypnotic experience.

The Chicago date of Candy Claws’ “Eternal World Tour” came just days after the group was dealt an unfortunate loss. While driving on I-76 through Pennsylvania, one of their cars caught fire, consuming much of their gear, merch and possessions. They have been pressing on, playing the remaining dates with borrowed equipment.

Having seen them before (and being quite familiar with their recorded works), I feel it sufficient to say that Candy Claws sounded like… well, Candy Claws. Being able to perform under the given circumstances and maintain such a positive outlook and cohesive sound has definitely brought this group up a notch in my book.

Bird Talk  (a local Chicago group) and Best Coast (a surf pop trio from L.A.) also played that night. Both groups were enjoyable, though definitely not of the same ilk as Candy Claws. Bird Talk reminded me of The Beach Boys mixed with a little Jan & Dean (with more attitude); while Best Coast was just a really solid indie-pop-rock band.

Click for more photos | Candy Claws | Bird Talk | Best Coast

Candy Claws still needs your help to recover from their car incident. Please consider donating here.

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Video: Candy Claws – On The Bridge

by on Jul.20, 2010, under Videos

This is another video from the Candy Claws show last weekend. I finally got around to sorting and editing photos, so expect to see those soon. The song is “On The Bridge” a new tune from Hidden Lands, out August 3.

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Candy Claws in Chicago – Catamaran

by on Jul.18, 2010, under Videos

While I start to work on the huge pile of photos that need to be edited and sorted, I thought I’d post the first of several videos recorded at The Empty Bottle last night. “Catamaran” has to be one of my favorite Candy Claws tracks, and unfortunately this footage doesn’t really do it’s live rendition a proper justice. That said, go see Candy Claws in person when they come to your town so you can get the full experience.

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