Partners, Candice Odessa and Joshua Bizarre are part of two of the my favorite bands based in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. Candice is the Vocalist/Guitarist for the slow-core trio Feminine Death while Joshua is the Vocalist/Guitarist of experimental rock unit Arms Bizarre.
Candice and Joshua talk about some of their favorite songs in this weeks edition of “Five For Friday”.
Candice Odessa—Let me preface with the fact that it is very difficult to choose two songs out of the hundreds of songs that I love! Every art form I choose to take on or take in is because of the feeling it gives me. This feeling can be warm, uncomfortable, soothing, exciting, life altering etc. All I know is that there has to be emotion. I tried to choose two songs that I continuously go back to and enjoy.
Tori Amos “Beauty/Queen/Horses”
Candice Odessa – First and foremost, I give it all to my girl Tori Amos. A friend of mine burned a CD of hers for me when I was 12 years old. She told me, “You have to listen to this”. That CD was Boys for Pele. From the minute it started, I was hooked. I knew I was hearing something that was special and completely different from anything I had ever heard. That song was “Beauty Queen/Horses”. My love for the feel and sound of the piano was already a part of me. In fact my instrument of choice was always piano, until a few years ago when I began playing guitar. Honestly though, I am a singer and a writer. I am not a skilled musician. The instrument is just a vessel for me to be able to sing the words I’ve written. I was never incredibly good at piano, but I still think it is the most beautiful sounding instrument. The song “Beauty/Queen/Horses” on Boys for Pele starts with this droning background sound, a door shutting and her playing this one low note on the piano over and over, until her beautiful voice joins the note. As the song goes on, it builds and builds into this powerful melody wrapped in deeply personal lyrics. All of her songs can change from one melody to a completely different melody that you didn’t even know was possible until you hear it. This entire record is very influential and personal. She has been my biggest musical influence.
Adrianne Lenker’s “Forwards b\Beckon Rebound”
Candice Odessa – For My second song choice, I’m leaning into Adrianne Lenker’s “Forwards beckon rebound”. She heads the band Big Thief, which I absolutely love! She put out a solo record in 2020 entitled “songs”. I listened to that record over and over again and that song is my favorite on that record. There is so much emotion in her voice. She is a wickedly good guitar player and song writer. I’ve always been drawn to the beauty in simplicity. The less is more approach in most things. This song and all the songs on that record were recorded in a cabin on a four track. That approach really adds to the raw emotion behind the song and the feeling of urgency and comfort in letting go. I randomly saw her playing some songs from this record on YouTube, and I was like “oh this is how I wanna play guitar, this is how it’s supposed to be, Ha! So I started working on finger picking from there and have continued in that style for the most part. I had never even picked up a guitar until 2019. Even though my father always played guitar and still does. I’ve been writing and singing for years and the guitar was just easier than the piano and came more naturally to me. I was finally able to put my words into motion through the guitar.
Joshua Bizarre—I could list a thousand favorite songs but for some reason these two songs came to me immediately so I went with it. Guided by Voices and ISIS have had an immense influence on me so it makes a lot of sense really. Both bands have certain things about them that check all the boxes for me, that make for great songs and great records.
Joshua Bizarre-I’ve picked this song because it rips and it represents a record (Panopticon) that really changed my life musically. This song/record is loaded with beautiful soundscapes and heavy riffs. When I first listened to Isis, I heard metal and heavy music differently. Not that they were exclusive to this sound, but everything they did just connected for me.
As the song starts it comes in slow and melodic with gentle tones. Then comes the buildup that every musician wants in their songs. The vocals are sparse, the lyrics poetic and thought provoking. I love how the music drops back down for a bit and then explodes again for the ending.
Guided By Voices—Learning to Hunt
Joshua Bizarre – I love this song so much too! It’s the first song that popped in my head for this. Learning to hunt is a tear jerker for me. It makes me think of fatherhood and the quest to nurture the kids Candice and I have together. It makes me think of love and partnership as a couple. It’s such a simple song but it makes me imagine I’m out there in the world closely following behind. That I am always looking to understand my wife and kids a little bit more, love them better and protect them from all harm. As if the hunter is only trying to track down the perfect way to love and cherish what he appreciates most.
Elliott Smith—King’s Crossing
Candice Odessa – When Josh and I met, we had a mutual love for Elliot Smith. Elliott Smith doesn’t really have a bad record or a bad song in our opinion. We have both always gravitated towards music for healing and understanding during certain stages of life. Elliott Smith’s record From a Basement on a Hill came out right when we met, and we would listen to it constantly. We picked the song Kings Crossing from this record because we both feel it represents just how powerful his songs can be.