Since 1990 – give or take a few years here and there – Candlebox (updated lineup: Kevin Martin, Adam Kury, Brian Quinn, Island Styles, BJ Kerwin) has been lighting the stage with its endearing (and enduring) brand of Pacific Northwest grunge rock. Consistently, they’ve brought heavy-hitting sets to dedicated crowds with hints of glam metal and blues in tow.
What the band has not always conveyed in their performance, is a sense of nostalgia or wide-spanning appreciation. Citing the pandemic – and other circumstances over the years – lead singer Kevin Martin took things a little slower, leaving space for reflection during their set at Starlight Theater in Kansas City, MO on Wednesday, September 6.
Martin told us about his flawed and wonderful immigrant grandmother and his incredible parents – including a wonderful anecdote about a cradle-robbing father. He later took time to appreciate the people he – and we all – have lost too soon. Grief is a tricky bitch, and we have all been touched by it over the years. A sense of true empathy fell like a blanket over the Theater, on what was – admittedly – one of the most temperate and enjoyable evenings of the summer. (Despite the additional quilt of smog over us, brought down from the fires in Canada. Oops.)
Setlist Don’t You Change Blossom No Sense Elegante Arrow Mothers Dream He Calls Home Cover Me Far Behind You
With COVID cases on the rise (despite what your local news might omit from its reports), photographers were not allowed a wide variety of angles to shoot from. However, the energy and the wild abandon are palpable through our Candlebox highlights, below.
If you have yet to happen upon the immense talents of Connor McLaren, now is your chance. The Indianapolis-based musician just released his first full-length with the indelible Ben Kweller’s label The Noise Company. Today, we get to peep the music video for the single “Candy Rain.”
A casual, meandering pace opens the track as we delve into the love story that is “Candy Rain.” While his romantic interest is metaphorically compared to this tasty concept, momentum builds and instrumentals are layered. The song becomes more of a quintessential rock ballad than originally expected, with a hint of grunge/surf rock influence in the whirring guitars. McLaren’s voice has the same appeal as your favorite 90’s crooners, giving all of his music what seems to be an unintentional – but completely genuine – layer of added nostalgia.
By the song alone, it is quite obvious that McLaren’s musicianship and professionalism far surpass the expectations normally associated with his ripe age of 21. But diving into the music video is a whole other treat. (See what we did there?)
The artist takes an artful approach to this visual release, with isolated color palettes dancing around his shadow profile in some frames, playing with natural elements like the textures in mother nature and the sun in others. Shots of the curly-haired crooner performing in earnest, surrounded by bubbles. Then covered in paint. Then avoiding a literal candy downpour under an umbrella.
The video is a kaleidoscope dream you won’t soon forget.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES: August 17 – New York, NY – The Footlight August 26 – Normal, IL – House Show August 31 – Bloomington, IN – The Atrium September 2 – Cleveland, OH – Mahall’s Apartment September 9 – West Lafayette, IN – House Show September 12 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East September 14 – Boone, NC – TApp Room September 21 – Chicago, IL – Bookclub October 14 – Charleston, SC – House Show November 10 – Appleton, WI – Appleton Beer Factory December 22 – Indianapolis, IN – HiFi **Homecoming show – TICKETS
SONG CREDITS Lead Vocals – Connor McLaren Acoustic and Electric Guitar – Alec McLaren Bass and Drums – Ben Kweller Backing Vocals – Connor McLaren and Ben Kweller **Written by Connor McLaren, Alec McLaren, and Benjamin Kweller and published by Weed Funded Songs (ASCAP), Charity Chase Songs (ASCAP) and Twelve Sided Die (ASCAP)
Athens, GA based collective Lo Talker has our wheels spinning as we head into the weekend with their debut album A Comedy of Errors. An album that takes a look at modern times through a humorous, and often biting, sarcastic lens. Through twelve genre-bending tracks, this quintet boasts influence and talent that makes this feel like their fifth album together, not their first. And perhaps that’s where the magic lies here.
As much personality as they’ve injected into the lyrics themselves, there is so much more to this layered work of art. For example, the meandering tone to tracks like “Heaven In Drag”, “Unkown Transmission Arrives”, and “Sift” brags on the delicacy these incredible musicians are capable of, while instrumentals in songs like “Don’t Hide That Light Pt. II” and “Two Ghosts” play with dissonance and give us more of that noisy, grunge influence despite the soft, mellifluous vocals. They even bring some 80s influence to it with “Silvery – Shadow Or Shadow”, which is dusted with glittering synth for effect.
Rhythmically, our favorite is “Nero In The News,” but “Automatic Love” could just be our new favorite (at home) karaoke banger, if not solely for the fact that you can’t help but smile while listening to it. (Nostalgia pop at its finest, my friends.)
Comedy of Errors is out now. Keep up with Lo Talker here.
Right now, nostalgia comes in waves. Enjoying a song from our past, Re-discovering a snack we used to love. Engaging in re-releases with new traits, flipping through memory books, and digging through the past. Memories can be healing, especially in today’s health and political climate, and the memory of a live performance can be fleeting.
Singer-songwriter Jen Grinels plays on our nostalgic hearts with the release of her Live Volume 1 full-length, recorded over three nights in early 2019 at The Music Box in Cleveland, OH, Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis, MD, and Avalon Theater in Easton, MD. The live music experience, something we haven’t been able to indulge in for an entire year, encapsulated in one gorgeous collection.
The light echoes from the sound bouncing off the walls of each venue, the magical eccentricities that live music brings with it. From the first mellow track “I Know Your Heart” through the soulful “Don’t Wanna Be Happy” and “Misery,” to the slow ballad-like presentation of “The Feeling,” Grinels powerfully champions multi-genre entertainment. And she doesn’t stop there, as “Can’t Stay Here” has roots in country with a little grunge flare. The sheer feeling (ha!) that rushes over you while playing this album gives you chills, as you imagine being at a live event in the future, singing into the open night air on a gorgeous evening.
That’s what this collection feels like. Live Volume 1 provides a little bit of hope at the end of this crazy pandemic tunnel. And doesn’t that just feel good right now?
Bluesy, beautiful rock music. The debut release from Erica Reese – an enchanting, danceable track titled “I Know Now” – is truly a statement for the artist, who comes off as an old soul and someone who has lightyears more experience than she does. Blending a 90s grunge rock nostalgia with robust vocal abilities and a more upbeat tempo has made this track an immediate add to your playlist. Let the soulful lyrics keep you grounded as you enjoy the rhythm of this particularly endearing debut.
A new music video for the single, “Something to Believe In” premiered October 30 via Broken 8 Records. With animation by Fuel Heart Productions, the video brings us a visual representation of singer-songwriter Vanessa Silberman’s latest track. From “road warrior” (Ijpr.org) to “super electrified performer” (GUM), Silberman has already earned herself a number of titles that express her unique sound and artistic persona.
The video illustrates Silberman as a figure sketch embarking on a journey, walking through a variety of different landscapes and destinations. Though a simple concept, the figure’s walk enhances the song with each step. The character’s footsteps beat to a specific rhythm, and in a way, this rhythm perfectly complements that of the song itself. This creates an almost hypnotic effect, inducing a meditative state, which is magnified by Silberman’s mysterious vocals. It almost feels as though Silberman is personally calling upon us; encouraging us to wake up, pay attention and allow her to lead us through this moment as we walk through life together.
“Something to Believe In”, released on September 30, is Silberman’s 7th single to come out this year. The Brooklyn native sports an alt-grunge edge, and is no newbie to the music scene. Between 2015 – 2019, the artist brought her polished, soft-punk vibe to 19 different tours and over 800 shows across the U.S. Like most of her music, “Something to Believe In” was impressively self-produced, engineered, performed, mixed and mastered, with input and drum consulting from Ryan Carnes.
Silberman touches on the inspiration behind her song: “Something to Believe In’ is more about capturing the emotion of moody melodies and mysterious feelings than being so direct. Lyrically it touches on finding light in dark places and changing perspectives.”
Under the name Dead End Career Club, Canadian native Ryan Kennedy drops newest single “Cooler Than Me”. Neo-grunge and garage punk, on this newest track.
This 90s infused fuzz-pop track creates a simple melody leaving the focus on what the song itself has to say. “Cooler Than Me” is about Kennedy recognizing that everyone has done something that scares him, and that being cool is deeper than just the surface.
This track fixates on the “cool” or what society says is cool. When in a weird juxtaposition, listeners hear what we know as cool may not be so cool after all.
The Lampshades, while facing their final hours together as a band, show no shame in succumbing to the mundane: The group’s latest music video release for single “Forget Me Not” tours through barren pastures, abandoned car lots, and woodland ruins in a battle with complacency and nostalgia.
The track, marked by early 00’s grunge and mid-tempo moodiness, is rife with undulating bass and bleak acceptance. The first few bars of “Forget Me Not” are quick to ignite and churn steadily, as frontman and lead guitarist Jaren Love reflects aloud to no one but the stretch of highway passing in the side view mirror: “It just doesn’t matter / It all keeps moving on”. During the first chorus, quick jump cuts of rusting abandoned cars and pick-up trucks switch in time with drummer Dane Adelman’s punching kick drum. In a wistful drone, Love laments, “So many photographs / I’ll never see them all / Just a bunch of paper / There’s no porcelain doll”.
Imagery of Love ambling solo through the rural landscape under massive open skies deliver a sense that he is the last man on Earth. No irony is spared in a shot where he explores the crumbled ruins of a building ensnared in weeds, the group vocals of the chorus ringing, “Forget me not, I’ll always be around”.
In what is arguably the most pointed scene in the video, Love’s drive down the highway shows the paint-peeled barns and old warehouses strewn in the tall grass as if left by a passing storm. One such structure bears massive white letters, projecting a branding slogan that is cheerless against the beige landscape: “Delivering the American Dream…”. The camera focuses on these words as Love reveals resentment for terrene interactions, singing “[I] adjust the volume on family and friends / Shake a million hands / But have no conversations”.
A tense moment just before the bass solo and guitar break depicts a steep cliff, with Love’s sneakered feet the only visible part of his body. A ladybug flies away from his pant leg where it was resting, begging the question of just how long Love stood contemplating the chasm. The scene switches, the break sweeps in, and Love’s self-reflection is tangible as he wanders a depleted pasture under a setting sun. Sonically and visually, this scene delivers some of the most potent emotionality of “Forget Me Not”.
With this music video, The Lampshades’ attitudes are bleak, but their sincerity palpable. “Forget Me Not” only gains traction as it progresses; the scenes flickering faster and faster between shots of Love wandering the field at twilight, swimming in a murky lake, and meandering on a dock under the intense sun. Bassist Chris Kibler thunders through each chorus, sparks flying at the song’s close, as the climax peaks and fades out. In the last scene, Love descends a flight of stairs into a basement and disappears from view, returned home yet still alone.
Preceding “Forget Me Not”, The Lampshades released 2018 album Astrology. Their discography also features three additional albums, three EPs, and four singles. With the release of this music video, the Pittsburgh trio has announced their disbandment, and we’re sad to see them go.