Talk about delayed reaction!
Anyway, here's a nice little profile from Tampa's Weekly Planet to get you started, in case you missed the buzz the first time around (or the second round in May...).
Yes, the Candy Bars are from Florida (really, not exactly a hotbed of indie dream pop action, you know...), and there's more than a little of fellow Floridian Iron and Wine's influence present, which isn't as dull as you might expect. Other writers seem to be quite fond of namechecking the Beatles -- probably because of that modified variation-on-a-theme motif on "Landscape" that echoes "Norwegian Wood" reimagined with flamenco guitars and harpsichords and latin percussion -- and the Beach Boys -- probably because of that twinkles-and-harmony, Carole Kaye-esque bass line'd breakdown with a side of sleighbells in the middle of "Violets" that's reminiscent of the best moments of Pet Sounds. Ambitiouous? You bet. And the rest of On Cutting Ti-Gers In Half And Understanding Narravation shoots for the stars as well. Because there's so much more going on here than just an extensive catalog of influences -- here's a band doing something charmingly, unselfconciously new and beautiful without falling into a lot of the traps that plague baby bands. It's impressive, to say the least.
I know can get stuck on remixes of trendy bands and post-electro pop and wax poetic on the virtures of Spoon, The Wrens, Interpol, and The Mountain Goats incessantly whilst simultaneously tugging your sleeve, reminding you to give The Arm and Shearwater a listen and dancing around to Kylie and Christina and Goldfrapp and all that kind of thing sometimes, but what I'm looking for -- what I imagine we're all looking for, really -- is music we can connect with on an emotional level.
I hear a lot of pretty good music daily, and a lot of really crappy music daily, but the kind that hits you where you live, well -- that's a rarity. Once a year, maybe every six months? The past few months had been pretty barren for me -- I was worried that I was experiencing symptoms of extreme overexposure and that I'd become immune to feeling anything more than and "eh, this is okay" response to new bands I'd nowt heard before. And well, not to be totally cheezeball about it, all that changed when I gave the Candy Bars another listen the other morning. I'm not really all that bothered with the fact that they're a buzz band, or overhyped, they're just plain good, and I hope you think so too.
Candy Bars -- Landscape
Candy Bars -- Violets (via New Granada Records)
Candy Bars -- Lovesong Lake
Candy Bars -- Enough to Choke a Cold Air (via New Granada Records)
(buy a copy of On Cutting Ti-Gers In Half And Understanding Narravation direct from New Granada Records)
ps -- Superexciting! A (surprisingly) work-safe trailer for John Cameron Mitchell's long-delayed "sex project" film, Shortbus, set to the dulcet tones of The Hidden Cameras.
pss -- For the record, there were a bunch of great records released this week, not the least of which were The Long Winters' Putting the Days to Bed, Midlake's The Trials of Von Occupanther (they've really ditched that Flaming Lips manqué for good, thank heavens, but have picked up a Gram Parsons/Neil Young one instead, which is totally fine with me), and the Silversun Pickups' Carnavas. Less interesting are the offerings from White Whale (I thought I called a kibosh on anymore prog-country-emo bands fronted by ex-emo dudes?) and Say Hi To Your Mom (currently neck-and-neck with Sam Champion for the honor of most mind-numbingly boring buzz band...) Biggest surprise: Mika Miko's C.Y.S.L.A.B.F.
psss -- Say what you will about the Village Voice's Robert Christgau, but his 32-shows-in-30-days directive was impressive, to say the least.