Candi and the Strangers

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Austin Deli
Sure, Richard Garriott got to ride a rocket into outer space. And meanwhile, Candi and The Strangers were left the task of generating music appropriate for such a feat. And boy did they.

Psych-flavored, ethereal shoegaze pop; kissed lightly with the flavor of dusty forsaken towns; these numbers come close to fulfilling the promise of the highly-respected brain-trust that is Candi and The Strangers. With ties to local favorites The Black Angels, Voxtrot, and The Octopus Project; the Constants + the Roses + Erik Wofford have generated this entity's third release with machinistic precision; successfully nailing the "Spaghetti Western Space Dream" they aimed for; and using some rather esoteric instrumentation (theremin, vibraphone, omnichord) and talent (the Tosca String Quartet) in the dealio.

Though this one started off as a score (for the word-ily titled "Man On A Mission: Richard Garriott's Road to the Stars"), it deserves it's own screen. And headline.

Film Music Magazine
The score Man On A Mission: Richard Garriott's Road To The Stars among best scores of 2012 by Film Music Magazine.

Parker Posey Thanks!
for callin out the Candi and the Strangers song, She Walks In Beauty!

Top 10 Best New Bands of 2010-2011 in the Austin Music Awards / Austin Chronicle

Pop Matters
Candi and the Strangers are feeling nostalgic. They want to take you back, Back, BACK TO THE FUTURE! More specifically, the future as seen from the early '80s. Oh, what a view. Yes, they may take their name and design from Warhol and his factory Darlings, but their heart beats best to the pulse of 1981. Blondie, OMD, Human League, ABC, Soft Cell, Yazoo. Sprinkle a soupçon of the later models (Pulp, Ladytron, Goldfrapp) and Bob's your Auntie's live-in lover. Obviously, being 1981, 10th of Always boasts a trim nine tracks, and luckily all are good. The winning formula? KAPOW! Hit em with deadly radio slaying pop assassins straight off. BAM! At halftime, leap off the beaten path, go a tad 'trippy' and frankly 'wig out'. Convert those skeptics whilst delivering essential artistic depth! WHAM! Toss off a more amazin' pop gems seemingly effortlessly as if you could do this in your sleep. BOKKO! Deliver your brutal smackdown, the victorious n' epic kiss-off finale before completing a saucy lap of honour. People of Pop, 10th of Always knows this secret formula. No rehearsals, no breaks, no fucking around. Let's get down to business. This is it, tonight is forever. It's all happening, baby, and this is their happening.

Austin Sound
On their sophomore LP, Candi and The Strangers jives out powdery synth-pop blended with muted disco and causes one to beg, “More Moog.” 10th of Always purveys movement through space, and its done remarkably well through fleshly synthetic melodies and vibrantly blurred rhythms. Because of all the dripping fuzz and boomeranging reverb on 10th of Always it’s hard to know whether Samantha Constant is saying ‘glide’ or ‘dive.’ But somehow it doesn’t matter. Part of the fun of the album is the ambience, and part of the ambience is traveling on a space ship or Milky Way vessel, as the Strangers beckon, “welcome to my dream, relax and float downstream.” The album is true mood music — much like Al Green or Radiohead — it changes the tone of a room...
It is in their brave navigation of sound, that Candi and the Strangers pulls off the space of Major Tom and the futuristic emotionalism of Air...

My Old Kentucky Blog
A few weeks back we shared a new spin on The Car's Moving In Stereo courtesy of devious Austin neo-new wavers, Candi & The Strangers, and I gotta admit, I'm really digging this band. Perhaps it has something to do with the way their music veers from Teutonic detachment to dreamy seduction in the bat of a heavily mascaraed eye. Maybe it's the way the paper-thin snare sounds resonate in my cranium. More likely it has something to do with adolescent crushes on the genre's original leading ladies, like Blondie, Terri Nunn and Dale Bozzio. That's neither here nor there, and really, it's nothing that ten years of intense therapy can't solve.

Anyway, the band's newest release, 10th Of Always, will be arriving on February 8th, and to get yer juices flowing, Candi & and her Strangers have been good enough to allow us to premiere a Skank Jones remix of another album track, Glide. Enjoy the tune, that's yours to keep, and if you're in Austin this Saturday night, there are certainly worse places to be than the band's CD release soiree at ND.

Flagpole
Written right after hot-shit producer Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Maserati, Voxtrot, The Octopus Project, Explosions in the Sky) joined the band, this focused sophomore album by the potential breakout Austin dream-pop group is romantically adrift in the zero-gravity space-age fantasia of the late '60s and '70s. Coaxing similar vintage futurism to early Air and Ladytron, 10th of Always is all sleek, silvery lines and twinkling stars. Giving the voyage some bite and vibe are fuzzed edges and analog groans.

Besides the impeccable proportions and irresistible furnishing, its cosmic effortlessness comes primarily from the band's tall, polished sense of melody. As pop songs go, seldom do you come across a collection so fluid, consistent and dazzling. Highlights include the sky-riding jaunt of "Still a Star," the celestial lullaby of "Femme Sonique," the ringing triumph of "I Am Radio," the soothing mass of the title track and "Velvet," which swallows the horizon with a mid-song burst in scale. Vibrating with filmic drama and cooing charms, these astral confections seduce with a supine glide and a million-light-year gaze.

Bright Young Things
Easy Listening Video Of The Day: Candi and The Strangers - Tetsu

Texas Music Matters
It's all the subtleties on Candi and The Strangers' second full-length release, 10th of Always, that make it an irresistible poppy gem. There are just the right touches of shoegaze, new wave, indie and French pop-inspired moments that give it a seductive warmth and depth. And there are the sensuous vocals of the band's frontwoman Samantha Constant that bring it all together. Lovely pop perfection!

Cand and The Strangers is having a fabulous CD release party Saturday night at the ND at 501 Studios, located at 501 I-35 between E. 5th and E. 6th Sts. (the entrace is located on Brushy). Joining the party are Masonic, Ricky Jean Francoise and Total Unicorn. Get there at around 9 p.m. and catch all the bands. Check it out.
- Texas Music Matters

Also on TMM: Candi and The Strangers: The Swirling Indie-Psych Vibe of "10th of Always": Interview with Erik and John on Texas Music Matters

Red River Noise
...Candi and the Strangers reminded me of popular pop outfits like MGMT or Passion Pit but slowed down and given a handful of Quaaludes. The result is surreal and can be easy to get lost in.

A.V. Club Recommended
Less than a week after celebrating its seventh birthday, party-throwing franchise Learning Secrets books another shindig—this time for its breakout act Candi And The Strangers. The art-dance ensemble takes plenty of cues from Andy Warhol—the band's name is a nod to gadfly scenester Candy Darling, while the quintet's first single is entitled "Nico Regrets." Currently, the band is garnering a host of blog buzz from its sonic upgrade of The Cars' "Moving In Stereo," and those same breezy vocals and warm, vintage electronics crawl all over 10th Of Always—thanks in no small part to producer Erik Wofford, now a permanent member of the band.
- A.V.Club

Musicthread
Get use to the familiarity of Candi and the Strangers. A Hollywood revolution (Google: Andy Worhol), legendary band (the Velvet Underground), and the widening influence of the "unfamiliars" in mainstream media, has cultured the band's style of music to be widely accepted. Candi and the Strangers' distinct sound is layered two-fold with a concoction of angelic voices overlaying the congruent harmonies of exuberant arrangements which include an under-layer of dynamic proportionate drum-lines, cathedral baptized organs, electric guitar, omnificent omnichord, and the vibrant vibraphone. Returning with their second album, "10th of Always," they provide a prototype for cooking up a clever audio-visual motion sound. Mixing sub genres of pop music (ye'ye'), with alternative rock (shoegaze), and electronica among many other things, Candi and the Strangers can mosey along a path less traveled. With their unique musical sound, they can become an exclusive feature movie soundtrack band. Forecasts such as this fail to be far-fetched with the band already having won an award for applying a soundtrack to the documentary film Richard Garriott: Man On A Mission. "10th of Always" opens the imaginative ears to see silent screams. Don't blink.
- Jabari Oliver

My Old Kentrucky Blog
Watching Candi & The Strangers' video for Moving In Stereo, I had flashbacks to getting jacked on Mountain Dew and staying up all night watching Night Flight on the USA Network. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't sweat it; those were different times. Times when music videos were influenced by films like Videodrome, Liquid Sky, Dark Star and La Jetee rather than…well, whatever influences today's music videos. The Austin quintet places a much darker spin on The Cars' original, and the clip (which was co-directed by the band's Samantha and John Constant and looks like it was filmed in the 70's conception of a futuristic space station) serves as a prologue to the band's upcoming full-length animation feature, Children Of The Tone.

But first things first. On February 8th, Candi And The Strangers will release 10th of Always. The record was produced by Erik Wofford (Maserati, The Black Angels, Explosions In The Sky) and contains nine tasty tracks of sci-fi inspired French dream pop. Spin Nico Regrets and it should be abundantly clear that this sexy Goddard-Godard hybrid will be the perfect soundtrack for your next interstellar overdrive or cocktail party; just add ice. By the way, Moving In Stereo is not included on 10th Of Always, so you may want to grab it here, just so you have it on hand for the weekend.

BabySue.com - 5 out of 5
Candi & The Strangers is the Austin, Texas-based quintet comprised of John Constant, Samantha Constant, Angie Rose, Greg Rose, and Erik Wofford. 10th of Always, the band's sophomore album, is a cool and soothing dose of modern dream pop infused with subtle electronics. Although there are some traces of shoegazer pop here, the songs are actually much smarter than the term might imply...and the melodies are far beyond what one normally hears in the world of shoegazers. These songs are ultimately danceable and inviting...and the similarities to French pop are no mere accident. The cool breathy female vocals (with plenty of reverb added) give these songs a definite warmth and focus, and they provide the perfect central focal point. Wofford (who acts as both a band member and producer) is responsible for the nice thick warm sound quality and dreamy stuff bleeding in and out of the speakers. Plenty of groovy material here...but our own particular favorites include "Still A Star," "I Am Radio," "Nico Regrets," and "The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful." Top pick.

OK Gazette
Chimes vocalist Samantha Constant on the third track of "10th of Always," the sophomore album from Candi & the Strangers, "I am a radio." Well, one wishes radio sounded even half as sweet as the cotton-candy swirls the dreamy space-pop combo whips up in a whirlwind of mid-tempo grooves. (Perhaps it's fitting, then, that that song closes with her noting, "Just for you.")

The Austin, Texas, quintet comes packaged from the same producer of The Octopus Project, Maserati and Explosions in the Sky, so suffice to say if any of those bands are permanent fixtures to your iTunes playlists, you'll want to check out Candi, even if the songs lean more toward the mainstream than those acts' sometimes sprawling electronic improv-jams.

The one exception can be found at album's end, "The Weather Is Here Wish You Were Beautiful," which starts slowly, at a Percocet-hitting-the-bloodstream pace, as it artfully crafts a soup of Moog-peppered goodness. So long do the instruments take hold that one wonders if Constant will ever come into contact. Nearly two minutes into the seven-minute wonder, she does.
Rod Lott

Austinist
Candi & the Strangers- at best, the Austin act's name sounds like it belongs to a band that appears for a total of thirty seconds on the soundtrack to some '80s John Hughes knockoff teen comedy. Or, worse, like the title of a '70s porn flick.

While neither of those scenarios is accurate, they're not entirely off the mark, either. On its second album 10th of Always, the quintet's sound certainly borrows from the sparkling landscapes of '80s synth-pop, as lush analog synthesizers mate with cheap organs to produce smooth, moody melodies. Frontperson Samantha (first names only, please, though one notices you never see guitarist Erik and Cacophony Recorders/local producer Erik Wofford in the same room) floats above the undulating waves of electronics, less cooing than sighing across the chords. Bands like Missing Persons and Berlin (before they became soundtrack hacks) aren't bad sonic touchstones, as far as it goes, though dreamier, more modern acts like Stereolab or M83 are equally valid.

Besides, there's more to the Strangers than an electronic sugar coating. The band's name is taken from Candy Darling, Andy Warhol actor and Velvet Underground muse, and a fascination with Warhol's Factory - and its attendant erotic undercurrents - is as much an influence as anything from the Reagan years. Nowhere is that more explicit than on the one-two punch of the moody "Velvet" and the poppy "Nico Regrets," both of which pay direct homage to that late 60s/early 70s twilight world. Indeed, the record's title, and the anthemic song by the same name, comes from the bar populated by the Warholian crowd.

You don't need to walk in the shadows of the early '70s' seamy underbelly to appreciate 10th of Always. The wonderfully snarky "The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful" and the soaring "Femme Sonique" need no thematic ties to hip underground scenes to work their wonders. But ultimately it's the marriage of the lush electronics of one era to the enigmatic decadence of another that makes 10th of Always a record worth spinning repeatedly.

Candi & the Strangers will play 10th of Always from start to finish at their record release party this Saturday at ND at 501 Studios. Masonic, Total Unicorn and Ricky Jean Francoise support.

Deckfight As a band name Candi and the Strangers couldn't sound more 1980's, like a confectionary bar band belting out tunes in the vein of Scandal or The Romantics. Musically it's exactly the opposite; a mix of synth, dance and hazy indie rock. On 10th of Always the band has crafted something that's dreamy and beautifully caustic, fitting in easily circa 1983.

It exists in the present perfectly, sounding like Mazzy Star if they were in a better, more uplifting mood. It's all quite melodic in a decades-old style through an electronic filter. Like Brooklyn's Class Actress, but in less of a nightlife mood, Candi and the Strangers make driving and ambient music that manages to shove inventive guitar playing through songs with a singer that's breathless in a Blondie sort of way or fawning like Natalie Merchant ("Velvet"). Her voice is inviting and seductive. She coos like a ghostly Ann Margaret and sings evenly, like a voice in the dark guiding strangers to somewhere better.

The band has been compared to Velvet Underground, even has song titles that acknowledge it. Maybe it's true, but mostly in a sweet, gently sonic fashion. "I Am Radio" comes close to the comparison with its plodding keyboard playing and adamant chorus. It's a stellar track, a defiant song played as cheerful, not sneering. "Femme Sonique" is manufactured dreams – sound-scapes against lingering, airy vocals. 10th of Always is fun, danceable as it is edgy, and thankfully so. If this is to be pop, it's welcomed as it has a heart, shining with personality and fuzzy ideas.
- Brian Tucker

Austin360
Because unorthodox promos are all the rage these days, Austin's excellent new dream-pop outfit Candi and the Strangers has released a 'psychedelic concept video' of a non-album single in advance of the Feb. 8 drop date of their debut disc '10th of Always.'

My review of the CD after the jump. With gauzy, ethereal vocals flowing effortlessly over lush soundscapes textured with pulsating organs, vibraphone chimes and ample fuzz, Candi and the Strangers' debut disc '10th of Always' shimmers with a widely accessible cinematic arch. As soundtrack music, languid, dreamy tracks like "Femme Sonique," "Velvet" and "Glide" engulf the listener in a swirl of sound. Alternately, upbeat tracks like "Still A Star," "I Am A Radio" and the excellent title track bubble with hope, offering a salve to the lovelorn, a balm for general malaise. These are songs to help you lose yourself, whether in the fantasy of some millennial remake of a John Hughes film or a run of the mill boozy Saturday night at the Mohawk.

Austin Sound
You know how we all got really stoned the other night and started talking about the space-time continuum, and then saw ourselves in the future, but it was really more like the past because there was so much synth and it was the Cars, but it wasn't the Cars, and we were in this bunker that looked like the hatch from Lost, and then I said, "You mean that's us in the future?" and you said "Yep," but then it got all kaleidoscopic and our minds were blown!? You don't? Well, it turns out John and Samantha Constant were filming that entire thing, and they made it the video for Candi and the Strangers' cover of "Moving in Stereo", which is a special non-album single to tease their upcoming sophomore LP, 10th of Always. Furthermore, the quintet will be playing the Mohawk tonight along with the Dark Water Hymnal, the Baker Family, and the Mole People, which should provide a nice preview of the album before they officially release it at the ND on February 5th. So, um, wanna get stoned and watch the video? It's posted below.

esdmusic
Forming a dream pop band is one of the ultimate acts of devotion one can commit. No band in the genre ever rose above cult status in terms of sales, but the ones that have done it well will live forever. You have to think that Austin quiintet Candi and the Strangers knows that their commercial potential has a visible ceiling, but God love them for reaching for it anyway. The band's sophomore effort, 10th of Always, is like listening to the thoughts of a cool girl in love. She feels the same things that everyone else feels but refuses to let it show, so even when the songs swoon – and boy, do they swoon – it's done so with impeccable taste and composure, and perhaps a bit of detachment. Cool girls don't lose their shit, you know.

Fans of Blondie are going to lap up this album, and not just because "Femme Sonique" is a toned-down re-write of "Atomic." "Nico Regrets" captures both the smooth and edgy aspects of Blondie's sound, and the epic closer "The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful" is like the Jesus and Mary Chain getting their hands on some lost girl group song and turning it inside out. "Glide," meanwhile, is positively blissed. There are times, though, when singer Samantha Constant's vocals are a bit too far down in the mix, and despite the album's consistently strong songwriting, it takes several listens before some of the songs leave a visible footprint. But such is love, even with a cool girl – you take the good with the bad, and with 10th of Always, it's all so pretty that complaining about imperfections seems petty. (Candi and the Strangers 2011)

americansongwriter.com
A free download of this dreamy pop number has been floating around, a preview to the Austin, Texas quintet's new album, which drops in February 2011. Coming on like a modern-day Blondie, it's a dance song that progresses evenly at mid-tempo while the chill, sultry vocals both charm and disarm.

Randomville Music Ready to Break
Sounds like something that would have been in Lost in Translation had it been a less somber movie. With a light new wave synth quality, it sounds something like Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle (Roman's Polanski's wife's band) combined with electro-pop group Glass Candy.

It's startling to hear a band so decided in their sound on a first album. You expect them to be scattered and unsure of themselves — to have almost unwittingly stumbled upon something to be perfected in future albums. But Candi and the Strangers self-titled debut LP seems to have such an assured character already. There's something intentionally seductive layered into Candi and the Strangers LP - a permeation of sex into dark, driving, indie-rock, which makes for good listening by principle (think of the successes of international act the XX, or the awkwardly erotic phonetics of Nico with the Velvet Underground.) A little tension is good, and Candi and the Strangers seem to revel in the fusing of dark, bedroom-style synth-pop with breathy, subdued, near-hypnotic female vocals.

Throughout the LP, they retain a stark take on indie-rock through fits of arcadian, sun-tanned ballads about boys, and other brooding numbers that expand in ambient melancholy. Often, the latter is an undertone of the former threading a nice dichotomy of optimistic innocence (read: naivete) and real world despondency into the heart of this record.

It's apparent on the first track, "Tetsu". The synth and drums kick in deceptively ominous until the entire track shimmers to a major mode turn in Samantha Constant's fleeting and feminine melody. Tonally, "Tetsu" lays ground for the rest of the album, which dutifully leads us into the mechanical and ethereal "MRI". Constant's panache to breathily and lustfully sing the mantra "you are the best part of me" over the song's eerie, monochromatic, and siren-like rock sounds is completely natural, so much so that other tracks like "The Future isn't What it Used to Be", "She Walks in Beauty", and "Pictures" (excepting the punchy guitar work) become common sounding re-hashes for such a sonically expansive aesthetic.

But for every dark undertone, Candi and the Strangers are sure to counter with melody and lyric of a positive nature. Unlike other indie/pop/electro rock acts, such as Austin's Octopus Project, Candi and the Strangers play more straightforward, 4-minute, verse-chorus-verse-chorus songs, which allow the space for such pop driven writing to thrive. Where they could be drawing the listener deeper into their sonic landscapes (which they do on the wordless "Isabella Blue's Crash Landing") CatS likes to give their music a certain amount of accessibility. They capitalize on such opportunities with songs like "Sunshine" and "Sensitive Kid", both cut from the same bubble-gum-on-my-shoe, boy meets girl persona that make their darker and meditated material more contrastingly stark.

Candi and the Strangers have crafted an album based on the art of contrast. For every dark and foreboding note in the LP, there is a poppy and happy-sounding release, mostly via the vocal work of Samantha Constant. And for a debut release, Candi and the Strangers have demonstrated that they have stumbled upon a decisive sound - not one that is completely without homage, but still wholly made their own on the LP.
- Chris Galis, Austin Sound

7 reasons you don't want to miss the Pixel Pop party at the Mohawk: 2. Trip out with Austin's Candi & the Strangers. I. Love. This. Band. Hands down, Candi & the Strangers is one of Austin's most musically matur dance bands.
-Republic of Austin

Candi and the Strangers "s/t" CD What do you get when you combine '60s era French pop, Virgin Suicides soundtrack, plus a bit of Portishead if they were in a really good mood? Sweet girl vocals with catchy melodies and electronic beats.
- endofanear.com

This local quintet hits a sweet spot between the retro-futurism of School of Seven Bells and Octopus Project's luminous landscapes, especially in the sci-fi instrumental "Isabella Blue's Crash Landing."...
-austin chronicle

Yay for local music! And there'’s an Austin triple bill that is sure to please the ears this Saturday night at The Ghost Room, 304 W. 4th St. Here'’s the schedule: 11:45 p.m. - Indie/shoegazy pop quintet Candi and The Strangers is having its CD release party in support of their new self-titled album, a dreamy and hazy swirl with frontwoman Samantha's ethereal vocals. Check it out.
- texas music matters KUT

Candi and The Strangers is respected local producer Erik Wofford's (Cacophony Recorders) first foray into what he calls "the other side of the glass." Their debut full-length is a sonically pleasing collection of exquisitely arranged dream-pop -- pick up the record tonight at this special CD release show
- austinist

Equally ethereal locals Candi And The Strangers marry twinkling, cotton-candy keyboard textures to driving beats, layers of brass and vibraphone, and breathy female coos for a sound that owes equally to shimmying French ye-ye and the noirish, blissed-out reveries of Blonde Redhead
- austin decider

It is my utmost pleasure to introduce to you the band that has been playing in your head while you dream. Austin's own Candi and The Strangers have been blessing the music scene lately with their unique brand of ethereal psych pop, the kind of music that you could totally trip balls on acid to, but while hanging out with your kids. Imagine Alice in Wonderland with a killer soundtrack. They combine deep rhythms (my favorite word), heavenly vocals and the use of unique instruments (including an omnichord and an electric vibraphonette) to create a musical landscape that will have you chillin with your headphones, floating on a puffy cloud.
- rhythmsektion







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Candi and the Strangers
Photograph by House of Constant
Candi and the Strangers
Photograph by Briana Purser
Candi and the Strangers
Photograph by House of Constant
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