Yellow Red Sparks
Yellow Red Sparks
AND DREAM SWIMMERS
Good coffee, cold weather, friends, family, trials, and tribulations. For some, these are the ins-and-out of everyday life. But for Yellow Red Sparks, this daily make-up holds the inspiration for their craft. The California based indie-folk trio possess a staggering ability to take seemingly normal circumstances, rewrite them with an uninhibited honesty and wistful beauty, and turn them into vivid scenes as told through their unique brand of cinematic folk.
Originally a moniker for California-based solo performer Joshua Hanson, Yellow Red Sparks now represents a trio, also comprised of Sara Lynn Nishikawa (upright bass/vocals), and Goldy (drums/vocals). Together, the three recreate Hanson's songwriting by blending lush harmonies and haunting melodies with softly echoed vocals, as so effortlessly demonstrated on their first self titled album, which was released on January 29, 2013, and produced by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Flogging Molly), mixed by Grammy award winner, Ryan Hewitt (Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, We Are Scientists), and mastered by multi-Grammy award winner, Brian Lucey (The Shins, Sigur Rós, The Black Keys).
The self-titled release is a spartan collection of short stories that, as principal songwriter, Joshua explains, is but a foreword into a much grander narrative. "Just like being human, this record as a whole goes through many emotions and each song on its own is meant to paint a portion of a picture," he muses. "I don't believe that it's possible to share everything a writer is feeling or trying to convey within 3 ½ minutes of a track."
From the high energy guitar of "Scents And Sensibility" to the heartfelt strings on "Happiness Comes In A Box," Yellow Red Sparks' first release is a mature accomplishment for the band, and garnered attention from an extensive range of tastemakers. The band have since gone on to win two accolades for their local OC Music Awards in the Best Folk category and opened for the likes of Local Natives, Sea Wolf, The Jezebels, and Aqualung.
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"The songs of Yellow Red Sparks… are twisted tales told through cinematic, often epic orchestrations. In the group’s spectacular and creepy new video, for the song "A Play To End All Plays," a couple’s failed relationship is acted out like an old circus sideshow before a finger-wagging audience. Frontman Joshua Hanson, who appears as the play’s host, indicts the lovers with a surprisingly infectious melody and old-timey instrumentation."
— Robin Hilton - NPR All Songs Considered (Apr 22, 2013)
”[Yellow Red Sparks], who started off as a solo project by the hugely talented singer-songwriter Josh Hanson have released their beautiful self-titled debut album which contains thoughtful and poetic songs, an album that will surely stay on repeat for the rest of the year.”
— Alt Sounds Album Review (Feb 15, 2013)
“They are everything an indie band should be: melodic, rhythmic, lyrically sensitive yet positive. Oh, and extra indie points for having an introverted female cellist. Singer Josh Hanson has a voice reminiscent of the distinct Collin Meloy of the Decemberists (he has thick, black glasses and everything!). Whether Yellow Red Sparks have you singing along (“and the tickets were free”), contemplating deep lyrics or swaying with the melody, chances are you’re enjoying yourself—whether it’s your first or 20th listen.”
— OC Weekly - Best Indie Band 2012 (Jan 4, 2013)
“Hanson has an instantly recognizable style, and he finds a way to fit his, at times, wordy phrases into coherent, pleasantly constructed melodies. He then fits these phrases and melodies into the songs through experimenting with and mastering changing, complex vocal patterns. The result is very impressive and presents a seemingly effortless display of musical mastery. It is this very feature that creates the instantly recognizable quality of Yellow Red Sparks.”
— Ben Kashuk - Music In Press (Oct 8, 2012)
“At a time where overwrought productions are common, it’s great to find a band that embraces just the opposite. By keeping the arrangements simple, Hanson’s narrative is brought to the forefront allowing each of the tracks to fully resonate with the listener. Ultimately, this lasting impression is just a glimpse of what a full length offering from the trio will provide: a truly intimate experience.”
— Andrew McMillen - Robots For Hire (Aug 10, 2012)
“Carrying the tradition of indie bands everywhere, Yellow Red Sparks specialize in heartfelt Americana. A cross between Coldplay and Elvis Perkins, they crank up the sentiment with big arrangements featuring swelling violins and ringing bells.”
— Brandon Ferguson - OC Weekly (Mar 22, 2012)