NYLON - November 2006
Let's face it: Florida isn't exactly known for it's musical talent. But the state that has blighted the airwaves with the likes of Creed, Dashboard Confessional, the Backstreet Boys and Limp Bizkit has now redeeemed itself with papercranes. The Gainesville-based band, comprised of Rain Phoenix (yes,she's Joaquin's sister) and bandmate Michael Tubbs, have recently released a shimmering, dreamy debut album, VIDALIA.
Satellite Magazine - November 2006
She's surely pouring for someone. Lead singer Rain Phoenix's sweetly organic and ethereal voice guides Gainesville's indigenous papercranes' album, Vidalia, over beautifully painted landscapes and out into the spaciest corners of the music's final frontier. It's hard not to listen and wonder whom she has in the back of her mind and on the tip of her tongue. From the opening ancient guttural winds of 'Show Me' to the final sleepy twinge of 'Knew You When,' Rain and her origamied cohorts float solidly written notes and ideas (and with them, plenty of inspiration for introspection) out into an atmosphere rife with electric undertones. Papercranes' music is that of the simultaneous pessimistic yearning and hopeful idealism of youth and life. A thousand paradoxes, oxymorons and ironies would suffice: cheerfully resigned, hopelessly driven. This album is a modern sonic Monet that, if anything is nice to look at and enjoyable to hear. This is a debut mind you. A soundtrack by, for, and to the mature music youth in rim rockin' glasses, with electric mimosas.
Paper Magazine - October. 2006
SOUNDS LIKE PAPER ONLY BETTER
The papercranes debut LP is entitled VIDALIA, as much a shout-out to their southern roots as it is a metaphor for their music:
sweet enough to eat, strong enough to produce tears. "I like juxtaposition" explains Rain Phoenix, the bands vocalist, (and sister of Joaquin),"taking something soft and pretty and distorting it-makng it strange." The 11 track album, a collection of shimmering indie pop, includes beautiful songs like "Star Count", "Curtain Song" and "Show Me." Phoenix opens the latter nearly a cappella in a plaintive dirge style: "Where would we go/ If we left tomorrow/ To the land of sun/ And all that's borrowed..." Her lyrics are imagistic, filled with hope and disillusion, but her voice turns them extraordinary. She can alternate between a dreamy,druggy, ,Julee Cruise-style languor and the haggard tones of a street hustler on the make. It's a skill.
Phoenix and her bandmate Michael Tubbs met while they were at the University of Florida in Gainesville but only became serious about the papercranes' music over the last two years. "My favorite time is when the maps are yet to be drawn," Tubbs says, discussing how the band naturally evolved from a circle of friends (including Phoenix's sister Summer) into today's lineup ( Mike Amish, Dave Lebleu, Andy Lord, Michael Tubbs, Rain Phoenix and Robb Buono). Phoenix likes it when ideas are still percolating, too: She's a member of the Citizen's Band, where '20s cabaret meets Weimar Berlin in a fantasia of downtown decadence. The papercranes are more conventional then the Citizen's Band, but they're no less punchy. "Vic Chesnutt got it right," Tubbs says, explaining how Phoenix induced the renowned Athens, Georgia, singer-songwriter to collaborate with the papercranes on the album's last song, "Knew You When." "He said, 'You sound just like a sock filled with nickels.'" He's right: They're a soft knockout.
The Gainesville Sun - September 28. 2006
Energy, vocals raise level for papercranes
Music is dominated by men. For every Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin or Aretha Franklin, there are a dozen guys getting more attention and praise for a job done equally well.
But that's not why I'm writing about the female-fronted papercranes and their CD release show at Common Grounds, 210 SW 2nd Ave., on Saturday night. It's because they're just good.
"Vidalia," their debut album, is borne of the contributions of several different writers, and guest appearances by Angela McCluskey and cult hero Vic Chesnutt.
"Patchwork quilt is the metaphor I have," singer Rain Phoenix said.
Phoenix writes all the lyrics, and justifiably so. To avoid being awestruck by her mesmerizing vocals is a feat few can accomplish.
Sure, she's had a little more than a year's worth of training with some University of Florida vocal experts, but it's easy to recognize that the feeling and quality of Phoenix's voice comes from within.
"I'm, basically, not at all a professionally trained vocalist. It's just something I've always done," she said.
Since recording the album almost a year ago, the band has gone through personnel evolutions that have changed some aspects of their live performances. But Phoenix feels those changes have only improved their sound by making the group a more cohesive, consistent unit.
"The band we do have now, when we play live, it's more of the vibe that I enjoy being part of," she said.
Phoenix may be the most famously named and most noticeable part of papercranes, but you simply can't ignore how well the other band members' work contributes to the overall quality. The guitars and keyboards fit like elbow-high velvet gloves guided on to steady hands of drums and bass.
People attach so many different labels to their music these days, I'd be shocked if making plastic genre inserts for record-store racks isn't a multi-billion dollar business by now.
So, it was incredibly refreshing to hear Phoenix tell me that she classifies their band and their live show as simply "rock." Equally impressive is their simplistic attitude about performing and what they want to accomplish with each show.
"To 'have a good time, all the time,' to quote 'Spinal Tap,'" she said. "It really is about energy."
You can pick up the new album at www. papercranesmusic.com, or come out to Common Grounds and get it for a reduced price.
The stripped-down Nirvana-esque sounds of unlikely bedfellows Crush Your Cupcake will also be on display.