1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Elvis Depressedly stares straight into the void and airs their own blunt perceptions about it through their music, but it's never been the band's intentions to bring you down even if it says so right there in their name. Mathew Lee Cothran (also of Coma Cinema) and Delaney Mills -- alongside a revolving cast of friends and collaborators -- have been taking the monoculture's obsession with a dystopian world and turning it into their own wry joke in their homespun quarters of South Carolina from the very beginning. Since 2011, EPs and singles built with a bare necessity of instruments and production tools have recorded a memory box of self-healing guitar-pop laced with an Ambien trance, but with Cothran quitting his day job and resettling in Asheville, NC with Mills after the release of 2013's Holo Pleasures to focus his efforts on their latest full-length New Alhambra, an increased currency in time has resulted in Elvis Depressedly's most definitive listen yet.
In many ways, New Alhambra is an auditory homage to what has shaped lead singer Mathew Lee Cothran's life. Its title, as any hardcore pro-wrestling fan will recognize, credits the Philadelphia arena that birthed its most legendary and extreme version of it, and the use of samples from wrestling shows serve as a reference to his upbringing. The album was characteristically made with outdated equipment and limited by only one microphone, with Mike "Dr. Vink" Roberts playing an essential role on bass that enrichens the rockier resonations in comparison to Elvis Depressedly's previous releases. Cothran and Delaney were constantly on the move during the recording process thanks to their new found career freedom, but none of it takes away from New Alhambra's fully texturized shift toward brightly melancholic noise-pop inspired by Cothran's favorite unsung heroes such as Waterboys, Prefab Sprout and Emperor X, and in more conventional instances, Elliott Smith and Mac DeMarco.
"There was a lot of uncertainty and I quit a job that I had had for 3 years but hated, and really kind of put it all on the line to make a record I really wanted to make. It was all a big risk," says Cothran. That much is evident in the album's centerpiece "Rock 'N Roll" where his tongue quips at creativity's value in the face of a greater stability. Elvis Depressedly may have gone for broke with their lives to make New Alhambra the album it is, but their decision to do so proves to be well worth the end result, self-deprecatory pains and all.
Candi grew up in Central Covadonga, Cuba, among the sugar fields and green plains of Central Cuba. Music was everywhere in the life of a guajira (country girl) and whether she was listening to her mother play records or dancing to her father playing congas, Dulce (as she was called in Cuba) responded to all things musical. Before she could write she memorized songs from the radio, listening for them to be played over and over again. If she didnt understand the lyrics she would ask her parents to try and fill in the gaps. In this way she developed her first repertoire, of Cuban Folk Songs, at age six.
A tumultuous adolescence followed the stay in the refugee camp. In the years between leaving Cuba and reuniting with her parents, Candi lived in Long Beach, California, where she and her brother and sister attended Catholic school. Here she was asked by the nuns to be the lead soloist in church. Abused by her foster father, separated from other children by a language barrier and wondering when, or if, she would ever see her parents again, music became her primary focus. She took hold of her voice at this point, and never let go. When her parents arrived, three years later, her hopes for a normal family life were further abolished. Her father, as a political prisoner, had experienced a psychotic break and the trauma they had experienced during their last years in Cuba made establishing a new life in the USA a monumental challenge.
Candi soon was asked to sit in on sessions with names like Poncho Sanchez, Paquito de Rivera and Juan Pablo Torres. She played with Andy Garcia and Celia Cruz at "Carnaval Azucar"; she appeared at the Coliseum with Oscar de Leon; she played with Anita O'Day and Eddie Cano at "Jazz on the Hill" she did studio work with Eddie Palmieri and performed and recorded original arrangements with 23-piece H.M.A Jazz Orquestra.
When the group of Pedro Pans saw Candi performing with Juan Pablo Torres and Paquito DRivera at the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, they had no idea that director Estella Bravo had been similarly captivated by the footage of Dulce Maria. New York-born, resident of Havana and dear friend of Fidel Castro, Ms. Bravo is considered one of the leading documentary film makers of our time. Inspired by David Susskinds footage, she decided to make a modern documentary about the children of Project Pedro Pan. Dulce Maria, the little girl whose voice captivated the audience, Candi Sosa the professional singer who worked with the "whose who" of the Latin music world, would be her star. It was during this time that Candi had the opportunity to fulfill her life-long dream of returning to Cuba.