Beneath the vibrant hum of Brooklyn’s streets, in the underground haven of C’mon Everybody, a new band in town are poised for their close up with Mister DeMille. In the creative crucible of Brooklyn in the late 2010s, a group originally dubbed The Cover-Ups was born, initially convened for the merriment of a birthday gathering. However, the trio’s journey quickly expanded beyond these humble origins, prompting a reinvention as Candy & The Kids in 2020. This trio of synth-punk wunderkinds—lead vocalist Brett Rubin, guitarist Michael Jurin (stellastarr*), and synth virtuoso Bret Winans—are gearing up for an evening where explosive stage presence is the name of the game – and nothing is as you expect.
“Let’s get weird,” they gleefully announce, grabbing random props from drag shows past. A mannequin leg here; a six-foot foil moon there. “Be quiet, I’m having my Paper Moon moment,” someone exclaims, as Rubin tosses his hands through the most glorious waterfall mullet this side of Kentucky.
Welcome to the theatrical, fantastical world of Candy & The Kids – a blessed combo of classic glam rock, chaotic good Riot Grrl spirit, 1960s girl groups, the battiness of the B-52s, and a rainbow version of Black Flag. Although the towering Rubin cuts a striking silhouette, his androgynous, coquettish voice is truly extraordinary, channeling the primal scream yelps of Kathleen Hanna, Karen O, and Siouxsie Sioux rather than, say, the expected croon of Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
Their live show is infectiously energetic, despite the over-enthusiasm of the fog machine shrouding these characters in mystery. Rubin goads the audience with his wryly confrontational DIY fashion, certainly inspired by Vivienne Westwood. Flanked by Jurin and Winans keeping time and intermittently shouting out call-and-response lyrics, Candy & The Kids’ onstage combustion ignites the normally-apathetic crowd into a frenzy of dance, beer splashing everywhere. This is pure, raw NYC punk, the kind of music we grew up wishing we could see at CBGB, smothered in a delicious sugary frosting. These sweet kids bring down the house.
Candy & The Kids are set to debut with The Cover-Up, dropping on January 30, 2024. This seven-track EP is a dynamic collection of covers, delving into the discographies of Metric, The Gun Club, Le Tigre, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Romeo Void, and Bauhaus, for starters. It’s a rich fusion of gritty synth-pop, sharp-edged grooves, and – naturally – a screamin’ sax, crafted to set your hips in motion with its infectious rhythms.
The band plans to mark their release of “The Cover-Up” with a limited-edition cassette, only 50 copies available; featuring all 7 tracks plus two original tracks, showcasing what’s ahead in 2024. Order the cassette at their Bandcamp here.
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