Candy Claws - Sound of Ceres
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Candy Claws - Sound of Ceres

Fort Collins, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Fort Collins, Colorado, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Electronic Pop




"Candy Claws Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time Forever"

If you want to call Candy Claws a bunch of hippies, they don’t have much of a defense-- they live in Fort Collins, Col., a college town in a state that legalized recreational marijuana, and about 98% of their Twitter account is dedicated to documenting the boundless beauty of Mother Earth. On their last album, 2010's Hidden Lands, the music refracted early Animal Collective and late Mercury Rev through a reverbed cloudbank and they generated lyrics by refracting the words of Richard M. Ketchum's The Secret Life of the Forest through a translation program. Their new LP is not only granted the title Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time, it’s also "the story of Ceres, a seal-like beast, and Calypso, her human partner, as they travel through the Mesozoic Era." Oh, and each of the band's three members plays a different character, with leader Ryan Hover as "The Deep Time." When they give a rare interview, Hover might say something like, “We just say [we're] Dream Pop because I’m a dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period dreaming I’m a human in a band in 2013.” Trippy.
But they are an actual dream-pop band on Ceres, as the most notable additions Candy Claws have made since Hidden Lands are definition and structure; while maintaining the same wondrous perspective and amorphous textures, these are more likely to be considered “songs” than soundscapes. And it turns out Candy Claws have a knack for pop construct, as “Transitional Bird (Clever Girl)” and “White Seal (Shell & Shine)” boast swelling, immediate psych rock hooks that bloom from their earthy verses, countering the unwieldiness of their titles. It allows them a proper showcase for their unusual, intuitive melodic sense-- their chord progressions are deliberate and surefooted, but each turn tends to take a step or two beyond what’s expected. It’s either the result of super-advanced knowledge of music theory or none at all; considering Candy Claws made it a point to create Hidden Lands on instruments with which they had no formal training whatsoever, it must be the latter.
Whereas Hidden Lands defied definition and either drew you in from the beginning or not at all, Candy Claws’ disparate interests are allowed to exist as individual tracks here, creating numerous re-entry points and strange innovations: spaghetti western with a 90% chance of rain, the tropical psych adventures of Os Mutantes relocated to the bedroom of a landlocked teen. Often, Ceres sounds like the first legitimately happy shoegaze record. “Birth of the Flower (Seagreen)” is something like My Bloody Valentine performing “To Here Knows When” at an island resort.
Yet the same fanciful approach to the actual, physical recording of the music doesn’t do Ceres justice. It’s an immersive listening experience, but also a claustrophobic one. There’s flow, though a curious lack of dynamics as so much of it is taken up by midrange. The layers upon layers of whispering vocals and airy synths turns Ceres into a surprisingly loud and brittle listen, a brickwall covered in gauze. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking to imagine Dave Fridmann or Ben H. Allen taking a flier on these guys and rounding out the low end, after helping Flaming Lips, MGMT, Youth Lagoon and Washed Out fuse nature-boy naivety with studio nerd fervor into something festival-ready. But on the other hand, Ceres could’ve just easily benefited from a more holistic production along the lines of Animal Collective ca. Sung Tongs, stripping away the reverb and countermelodies to let things breathe.
Ceres & Calypso is certainly one of 2013’s more unique records, which is even more impressive considering how many of its precedents and peers are some of indie rock’s more populist acts. It’s a strange situation where you wish they treated their passions more like a career-- the leap in songwriting promises an advance, but the decision to record it in the same way as the billowing, freeform Hidden Lands makes it feel like a missed opportunity. It all leads to Ceres & Calypso feeling like concrete evidence of their hippie cred, chock full of fantastic ideas and lacking just enough follow through. - Pitchfork - Ian Cohen

"Candy Claws Return With New Track"

Before Youth Lagoon was setting the official soundtrack to nature, Candy Claws crafted one of the most earthy and transcendental modern albums with Hidden Lands. I've always found it interesting that such a tame/methodical band could elicit such excitement from me as a listener without deploying any pop hooks or gimmicks.

Now the band is back with the first sample from their LP, Ceres & Calypso In The Deep Time, which has quickly moved up to one of my favorite tracks of 2013. Building on the brilliant atmospherics of Hidden Lands, "Transitional Bird (Clever Girl)" is still rooted in that earthy exploration you would expect from Candy Claws, but shows the band growing leaps and bounds as songwriters. This is not just a track to get lost in, rather a total force of sound that builds, transforms, and hits all the right marks moment to moment. If this is the high level songwriting we can expect throughout Ceres & Calypso In The Deep Time, the world needs to prepare their ears for Candy Claws sprawling tunes. - We Listen For You

""Catamaran" Review"

Summer isn't over yet, folks. Given all the sunny dance-pop goodness we've seen over the past couple of years, it's not exactly a surprise to hear more artists heading to the beach for inspiration. But the startling thing about Fort Collins, Colo., duo Candy Claws-- and "Catamaran", from their soon-to-be-reissued full-length, In the Dream of the Sea Life-- isn't that they exist. It's that, after everyone from Panda Bear and El Guincho to Delorean and Julian Lynch, this track still sounds like a rejuvenating escape.

Atop sighing ocean field recordings, "Catamaran" sets out for where the warm things are. If this sort of Pet Sounds-worshiping tropical bricolage brings to mind Panda Bear or early Cornelius, the reverby acoustic guitars and hushed boy/girl harmonies-- not to mention Candy Claws' past Ace of Base cover-- more closely suggest the pop aquatic of Air France, jj, or the Tough Alliance's Escaping Your Ambitions. "I've seen this place in dreams," goes one line. Tighten this song up a little bit, or change my local weather forecast for the week, and it would be even better. - Pitchfork

""In the Dream of the Sea Life" Review"

Hurry! Before it’s too late! I’m sorry! Hurry! Forgive me! I’m sorry! This was supposed to be IT! This is IT, it’s your perfect summer album, and it’s all my fault that it isn’t. I’ve been meaning to write this review since before the schools got out, since before the swimming pools and snowcone shacks opened their doors and peddled their respective forms of refreshment. Could it be, that this is the one that got away?
But no, I say. And this album, too—No! it says:

1. Depending on your situation (globally, educationally, economically, emotionally, etc., etc.), there is still give-or-take a month left of summer. Or should I say, almost ONE WHOLE THIRD of your summer left to enjoy! Swim! Drink iced tea, splash in a fire hydrants’ fountaining! Relax—just try it! Read! Work hard, play harder! Kick the can! Stay up late! And let this album be your soundtrack. It is just ideal. It has been, after all, created as a “companion album” to Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us; an album created with the ocean—all its light, its vibrancy; its activity, its cool; its immensity and wonder and playfulness—as the music’s dragoman, its inspiration and influence. And what is so, so much more important, Candy Claws manage to pull it off. This is an unbelievably ambitious record, and the fact that it doesn’t just crush under the pressure of its themes is incredible. (Serious: I can’t believe it’s coming from this “…who?” troupe, there’s so much aplomb and talent and objective-fulfilling. They sound like serious vets. I mean, to legitimately remind me of the Flaming Lips, without sounding like a rip-off or half-bake?) Truly, the weight of the ocean is bearing down on them, and from that crucible emerges a gem, an effortless, playful album that shows not a single sign of strain, anywhere. Which leads me to

2. (A rebuttal of my opening themes, kind of.) What is great about In the Dream of the Sea Life is that it is good enough to transcend being just another “watery” sounding or “beach” themed summertime album. All of the components of the music are proficiently, potently used, and the band sounds distinct in all the right ways. They really seem comfortable in their own skin, poised and coolheaded as artists, bursting with ideas and the enjoyment of hearing those ideas realized in such a way. Their album has been a completely wonderful surprise, and I can only apologize for keeping it to myself for so long.

[P.S. The hard facts, for those who want them: Candy Claws is a two-piece from Fort Collins, Colorado. Ryan Hover and Kay Bertholf are their names. This is their first LP, and was released by Act So Big Forest—a Fort Collins “collective” of which Hover and Bertholf are members. HOWEVER, they have just recently joined the Dublin, Ireland-based label-thing Indiecater Records. And In the Dream of the Sea Life will be released, “remastered” and with far, far less fantastic artwork than the original, by them on August 3rd. However, since the original sold out months ago, it’ll have to do. And do it will, I’m certain.]

— Braying Mantis - Forest Gospel

" "In the Dream of the Sea Life" Review"

by Patrick Kelly September 22, 2009

Just some kids from Fort Collins, Candy Claws have done something extraordinary with their first full-length. Designed to be a companion to Rachel Carson’s book The Sea Around Us, In The Dream Of The Sea Life is fantastically dense. Feeding layers of sound through numerous effects and musical minds, the band creates something beautiful and almost entirely new. Deciphering it on the first listen is like listening to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless for the first time.

Sea Life begins with a full minute of faint underwater sounds (perhaps a trick to entice the listener into turning up the volume) that give way to gliding guitars and effected cymbals. The rest of the album follows that dreamy path, with shimmering—and occasionally percussive—guitars, droning bass hums, and strange waves of tuneful noise. Field recordings of crashing waves captured by the band in Italy and the Philippines also lurk within the layers. Although that may seem a little on the nose, Candy Claws aren't about subtlety, continually reinforcing the album's aquatic theme with its song titles and lyrics.

The percussion and claps on “Snowflake Eel Wish” sound like rain on the ocean, and “Lantern Fish” floods like a tropical storm. “Catamaran” glows with music-box-via-Nintendo guitars and sleighbell shakes, galloping along the beach while vocalist Ryan Hover sings about crashing waves and sunlight. “Flashy Storm” casts a net of purring shoegaze distortion over what sounds like a lost pop song from the ’50s.

In The Dream Of The Sea Life is at its brightest and most triumphant with “The Sun Is My Girl,” an ultra-catchy tune with an impossibly optimistic chorus. Here, the band’s disparate influences are most apparent, showing traces of The Beach Boys, The Microphones, Japanese pop, American folk, and even Ace Of Base. Hover chants the song’s title over a layer of tropical "oohs," and a lilting, start-stop rhythm allows the song to fade and bloom repeatedly. Candy Claws have created something hyperactively beautiful, joyful, and childlike here—but also something equally and masterfully composed. In The Dream Of Sea Life is music made for marveling. Grade: A,33102/ - A.V. Club

" "In the Dream of the Sea Life" Review"

Quite possibly the only 2009 release that could double as the soundtrack to a non-fiction science book, Candy Claws‘ latest release is electronica with a nautical twist that will actually give you the urge to grab your wetsuit and head for the uncharted seas.

Drawing inspiration from Rachel Carson’s classic book that explores the mystery and beauty of the ocean, “The Sea Around Us“, Candy Claws takes the fuzzy electronic vibe of their earlier work (Two Airships/Exploder Falls, Peppermill Records) and drenches it in dreamy aquatic undertones. The result is their debut full-length, In The Dream Of The Sea Of Life. What’s so great about this album is how the group manages to discreetly mimic the actual feeling of being out in the water. And I say discreetly because it’s almost subliminal, but with the recordings that the group made of actual ocean shores from across the globe combined with the almost gurgled effect used on the vocals, close your eyes and you’ll feel as if you’re lying face up on the deck of a sail boat floating down the middle of the Pacific ocean. Candy Claws have taken Panda Bear’s Person Pitch and dunked it under water for a truly satisfying listen that flows perfectly from start to finish. Originally released directly from the group, Dublin-based Indiecater Records has remastered and are re-releasing In The Dream Of The Sea Of Life with brand new album artwork as a digital download that you can purchase for a very small price directly from the label’s website, where the album is currently streaming in it’s entirety. I can safely put this on the “Best of 2009? list without any fear of ridicule or raised eyebrow from my musical peers and colleagues. They will agree with me whole-heartedly. - Newdust

""In the Dream of the Sea Life" Review"

'Candy Claws' is an experimental, ambient, dream-pop project based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Soft vocals, watery instrumentals, and shimmering fragments are assembled to produce some of this years warmest melody's. This is how dream-pop should sound. "Catamaran," is the bands stand out single, starting out with a sample of some ocean waves followed by a mellow strum of guitars and low key percussion. "Lantern Fish," is another mellow track that provides a catchy guitar hook and some great electronic work. Grab both Mp3's, a copy of "The Sun Is My Girl," and watch the video for "Catamaran," after the jump. - Small Estuaries


“Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time” (June 25, 2013) is the band’s third album, a journey through the Mesozoic Era, divided into thirds to match the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Notable collaborations on this album include lyrics by Chicago poet Jenn Morea and orchestrations by New York composer Bryan Senti.

2010’s “Hidden Lands” is a musical companion to the 1970 book “The Secret Life of the Forest” by Richard M. Ketchum. Each song contains a sample of every other song on the album. Can you find them all?



Recorded in Italy, Fort Collins, and the Philippines over the past two years.

The album is a musical companion to Rachel Carson's 1951 book, "The Sea Around Us."

Remastered and repackaged for the best possible listening experience.

Stream the entire album, read reviews, and buy a copy at



Rarities 2008-2009.
Cover songs, Christmas songs, videos, and surprises!
Happy Summer from Wesley, Kay, and Ryan.

giant free download:
music: mp3
video: avi



Electronic debut. Two songs, half an hour.

Available for free download at



Karen and Ryan of Candy Claws continue their exploration of dreamy nature discovered, while now joined by Robert Schneider, Ben Phelan, and John Ferguson.

Candy Claws' Sound of Ceres is excited to announce their collaboration with Robert Schneider, Ben Phelan, and John Ferguson of the Apples in Stereo and the Elephant 6 Recording Company for the upcoming Sound of Ceres record that will be released in 2015.

Candy Claws' Sound of Ceres is a “dream pop” audio and visual performance project from Fort Collins, CO, USA. Ryan and Karen produce the music in their home studio called Flashy Storm and enjoy experimenting with a wide variety of instruments. Sound of Ceres explores the wonders of our living planet through the lenses of mid-century lounge music, 60s pop, 70s nature documentary soundtracks, a single 80s drum fill, 90s shoegaze, and modern sampling techniques.

Since submitting our applications, our average venue capacity has grown from 100 to roughly 500 - 1,000 people, and our live member size has expanded to 6 individuals to now also include Robert Schneider (the Apples in Stereo, Elephant 6) Ben Phelan (the Apples in Stereo, Big Fresh), and John Ferguson (the Apples in Stereo, Big Fresh).

Candy Claws is a “dream pop” recording project from Fort Collins, CO, USA.

“Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time” (June 25, 2013) is the band’s third album, a journey through the Mesozoic Era, divided into thirds to match the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Notable collaborations on this album include lyrics by Chicago poet Jenn Morea and orchestrations by New York composer Bryan Senti.

2010’s “Hidden Lands” is a musical companion to the 1970 book “The Secret Life of the Forest” by Richard M. Ketchum. Each song contains a sample of every other song on the album. Can you find them all?

2009’s “In the Dream of the Sea Life” is a musical companion to Rachel Carson’s 1951 book, “The Sea Around Us,” and is permeated by ocean sounds recorded in Italy and the Philippines.

Other Candy Claws releases include a soundtrack for their “Dreamland” video series, a compilation of annual holiday recordings called “Warm Forever,” a singles/b-sides collection called “Glacier Prey,” a Starflyer 59 cover song, and their first release ever – an alternate soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s film “The White Diamond” – called “Two Airships / Exploder Falls.” (All of these can be streamed for free

Band Members