Whitton and co-writer/producer, Ian Coyne just released her new album, “Rare Bird”, which was just nominated for the “Independent Music Awards” for “BEST POP ALBUM”. Track, “All I Want to Do” landed a placement in the upcoming Charlie Sheen and Hilary Duff film, “She Wants Me”. And song, “Nothin’ AT All’ placed in feature film, “Meth Head” (starring Lukas Haas, Wilson Cruz and Necar Zadegan).Whitton’s previous self-titled EP celebrates the song placement of “Apple Tree” in the upcoming film release, “The 5th Quarter”, (starring Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell, Ryan Merriman). And her song, “I Fell in Love” is featured on Delta Air Lines’ Radio and Sky Magazine and most recently, on “Gossip Girl” for a Valentine’s national commercial. Most recently, Whitton’s song “Monster” has been placed in indie horror film, “Among Friends”.
WHITTON has recorded three full-length albums with acclaimed producers David Hauser (Redbone, Supreme Beings of Leisure, Iron Butterfly), Kevin White (writer for Billy Ray Cyrus) and Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, Dishwalla). She also has won numerous awards including “Best Female Acoustic Rock Artist” by the New York Music Festival, her track, “B Sting” in the Searchlight Songwriting Competition and was nominated for “Best Acoustic Artist” in the Star Music Awards. And she’s been recorded as a back-up vocalist on Showtime’s Emmy-Nominated hit series “Dexter”.
Originally from Reno, Nevada, Whitton comes from a very musical family of eight and has been singing, writing and performing since the age of six. With the spirit of a gypsy and the discipline of a soldier, Whitton continues to write, record and tour to serve both her music and ever-growing fan base. Currently, John Avila (bassist for Oingo Boingo and producer for “Reel Big Fish”) has taken interest in Whitton’s music and are in the process of recording future tracks for her next album.
Duality and individuality are overriding themes in the music of MACEDO—the surname of twin sisters Michelle and Melissa, who have taken a lifetime of creative energy and talent and produced their emotionally compelling, richly textured indie pop debut “FLAGS AND BOXES”. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Michelle and Melissa Macedo were initially influenced by both Portuguese and Indian music as their father emigrated to the U.S. from the former Portuguese colony of Goa in India. Immersed in music and the arts at an early age, they nurtured their unique artistic leanings in close quarters both literally and psychologically. The concept of duality emerged in their work as they began confronting their individual identities—the girls are basically opposites in nature and temperament yet are connected by that inexplicable emotional bond shared by twins. In addition, the concept of” home” and questions related to a sense of belonging come to the forefront as they deal with their biracial East Indian/European background.
While away at school on the East Coast, Michelle honed her songwriting producing a solo EP, “La Luna” and in a subsequent flurry of creativity, wrote the bulk of FLAGS AND BOXES—mostly during her last semester. Michelle would send the rough versions of the tunes to Melissa for her input; Melissa made melodic suggestions and found spots for her to vocally complement her sister’s lead voice. The two decided to sing together because of their natural chemistry, the way their similar voices blend and the instinctive, seamless communication that had always been part of their musical lives.
Thematically, Michelle’s compositions on the debut album deal with universal subjects of self-discovery, interpersonal relationships and of developing an individual voice. Separating for extended lengths of time while they attended different colleges on the East Coast helped them establish separate identities—differences that are apparent when they perform which lends an exciting artistic tension to their accomplished show.
“Every song on FLAGS AND BOXES represents a time when I’ve used my voice. Each song is an instance where I’ve ‘planted my flag’ and each obstacle is another box that is trying to restrict and restrain me,” says Michelle. “Looking back, I realize how much these songs were struggling to say what I have been feeling all along. They’re the only places I can say what I’m thinking and feeling without caring what anyone else thinks.”
Melissa adds: “The years apart were good for us because we needed to develop our own identities. Everyone thought of us collectively, and compared us to each other–she’s the smart one, she’s the funny one and all that. We needed to become our own people. But we’re excited to be back together and working on this music. We each bring a cool perspective to the mix. We instinctively know what will sound good and what will work.”
MACEDO worked with several key people in making FLAGS AND BOXES: producer Kush Mody (Serial Buddies), engineer Nils Montan @ WERS in Boston, co-engineer Andrew Oedel @ Connecticut College and mixer Justin Gerrish (MGMT, Vampire Weekend). The album was mastered by Fred Kevorkian (Regina Spektor). While the songs are driven by Michelle’s artful acoustic piano, MACEDO’s sound integrates French horn, Wurlitzer, grand piano, electric bass, guitar, violin, cello and organ creating a rich and unique palette.
The first single to radio is the full band edit of “Caught” produced by Khris Kellow (Christina Aguilera), mixed by Mario Luccy (RealSongs) and mastered by Randy Sharp (Dixie Chicks).
“In so many ways,” Michelle says, “I feel like I am caught between two worlds of identity, not fitting into any.
For many bands that rely on the traditional instrumentation and songwriting ethos of folk music, the only way to break free of a lifetime of playing garlic or cranberry festivals in far flung parts of the States is to channel the live intensity and volume of a punk band.
But what the Portland-based duo Strangled Darlings has proven again and again, all you really need to do is start to put some serious cracks in the folk-pop mold through powerful and eclectic songwriting infused with their own brand of shaking, irreverent energy and a dash of quiet determination to boot.
Led by multi-instrumentalists George Veech and Jessica Anderly, the Darlings have already proven that they can handle daring sonic adventures like their previous album The Devil In Outer Space: An Operetta, which spun out a sordid, hilarious, and moving tale that tied together the title character and a man broken down spiritually and physically looking back on his rollercoaster of a life.
Have proven the band to be a worthy addition to the pantheon of talent in their hometown, for their latest album, the Darlings were ready to move even further forward. “The title of the last album had a certain implied irony that I think is younger,” says Veech. “So maybe the theme of this recording is that we are growing up or exploring art more seriously.”
So while the band’s latest album Red Yellow & Blue may not have a storyline running through it, the dozen songs on it carry the burden of the human comedy on its shoulders, dancing and smiling through the pain and distress.
Recorded by Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, The Mother Hips) at Type Foundry Studios and The Scenic Burrows in Portland, RY&B finds the Darlings weaving together a thick tapestry of lyrical and musical ideas.
For the latter, the core of the musical ideas were laid down by Veech and Anderly’s arsenal of string instruments (tenor banjo, mandolin, cello, fiddle, and bass) with a variety of friends and fans coming into the studio to color in the edges.
carcrashlander leader Cory Gray and Chervona’s Adam Schneider provided the jazzy trumpet and trombone backdrop from “Done Been Showed.” Matt Berger (Musee
Mecanique) and Russ Gores (Professor Gall) sprinkle percussion throughout the album.
Lyrically, Veech goes above and beyond throughout RY&B. An elegy to the former oil industry magnate J. Howard Marshall, the man who married the buxom Anna Nicole
Smith during his last years on Earth bumps up against a song that dares to put a tale of domestic violence to a jaunty old time country tune (“Rider”). A melody pinched
from Duran Duran gives a sea air permeated love song some added nostalgic pull (“Miss Sandy”) while on the other end of the album Veech shakes his head at the current socio-economic climate (“We watched on the TV…some pirates got shot in the head/the toys they were safe/and the world rumbles on”). And opening track “Snake & The Girl” dares to thumb its nose at organized religion, encouraging
listeners to “stand up for yourself…be your own goddamn salvation.”
Red Yellow & Blue is a spirituous and devilish attempt to bring the folk/country/jazz world back to its roots as a bawdy, political, and tuneful mix of low and high art. It’s
unstable, sure, but that’s just how the Darlings want it. “The band has a bad habit of gleefully descending into chaos just because order is so…confining,” says Veech.
And after you get a listen to Red Yellow & Blue, don’t be surprised if you follow them down into the depths of disorder again and again.