Who said that classical music only belong in that genre? We have seen groups such as KISS, Metallica, and Scorpions utilize a full-fledged orchestra in order to create re-imaginations of their classic songs. We have also seen pop-punk group Yellowcard incorporate the violin into their infectious pop songs. Now, we are seeing Austin, Texas’s own Bleached Roses incorporate strings and lush piano arrangements into their contagious blend of indie rock with their latest EP offering entitled “Blooms”.
Bleached Roses is composed of Lexi Cardenas on violin/vocals/guitar, Mo Paynter on synth/guitar, Jacob Wiviott on drums/piano, and Christiano Bellani on bass in order to round out the band. They have several other individuals incorporated in the string section including Laura Wood, Marisol Cardenas, and Diana Burgess in order to provide that full wall of sound that Bleached Roses have became known for. From the inception, Bleached Roses have made a mark in the Texas indie scene by playing the annual Pecan Festival and playing numerous shows in the scene. People would describe their live act as a must-see show with lush arrangements and well-thought out songwriting.
“Blooms” starts off with a beautiful string arrangement coupled with the guitar work of Paynter, before Cardenas breaks into the vocals in the opening track “Stay”. Immediately, I notice how introspective the vocals are, and how melancholy the arrangement sounds, which allows the listener to paint a picture of the emotions of the arrangement and the storyline of the lyrics. It paints that reflective bleak looking picture, and as the second verse kicks in, Wiviott and Bellani both do a masterful job in the rhythm section. There is a sense of vulnerability and brokenness in the opening track “Stay”.
Wiviott not only slays it on the drums, but sweeps the listener off of their feet with the piano arrangement in “Cloud 9”. This particular track has that early 1990’s soft rock feel to it as it makes people long for the days of Tori Amos meets Fiona Apple with the introspective songwriting and beautiful arrangements.
What immediately grasps my attention is how infectious and lush that Bleached Roses sound in their arrangements and in their vocal stylings. The songs are introspective, melancholic, and contemplative all in the same breath. This band is certainly going places with their quality musicianship and their impeccable abilities to craft a quality song. Madness To Creation gives “Blooms” by Bleached Roses a 9 out of 10 stars. Check out the track listing below.
By: Megan Louise
If you’ve read a few of the articles over here at Track Rambler, you’ll know all about Bleached Roses and their awe-inspiring, girl-boss lead singer (who I’m, okay, maybe a little bit jealous of). But if not, let me quickly recap – an indie rock band from good ol’ Austin, my girl crush – and generally badass, attitude god – Lexi Cardenas channels her 21 years of classical violin training with the band’s passion to produce raw, experience-focused music.
Now, you’re all caught up, I’ve got some news. Grab a seat, take a breath. Ready? They’re unveiling a brand spanking new EP, right here, right now.
Blooms is to hit the airwaves – officially – tomorrow, September 16th. So really, you should consider yourself lucky; getting to listen to it today. Just go ahead and scroll down – maybe join them for their release party at Barracuda.
But first, let’s talk a little about it.
This EP is the signature on the declaration that Bleached Roses are here for the long run. Why, you ask? They take big steps, they highlight the beauty of classical instruments too often neglected while stirring up passion-filled lyrics that shake your core. This foursome is dynamic, and they will continue to evolve.
I can only recommend that you try to keep up.
Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi! We’ve been great! Busy and excited for everything we have going on in the Fall!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Can’t Catch Me Now”?
Lexi: Can’t Catch Me Now is our summer pop song. We wanted to write something light and fun you could dance to. It was a song I had been working on but really wasn’t feeling the lyrics and was getting ready to scrap it. That same day I received an email from Mo with some lyrics she had written that she needed to put songs together for. This is a foreign idea as I have loads of instrumentals I struggle to put lyrics to. I skimmed through her songs and came across the lyrics to Can’t Catch Me Now. I picked up the guitar and started singing her lyrics to my song and it worked beautifully.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Mo: “Can’t Catch Me Now” wasn’t inspired by one event in particular but by just reflecting back on past relationships. Both friendships that have for whatever reason outgrown each other as well as romantic relationships that end up being unhealthy, and finding that strength inside to decide that you have it in you to make peace with it, move on and not hide from the past but accept it for what it was. You can move forward from your past no matter what it may be and grow, keep your head up, and not hide from it because it’s essentially made you who you are today. It’s meant to be a positive message everyone should keep in mind; Keep your head up and keep pushing forward.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Lexi: Yes, we have a video in the works. It actually started as an idea for a lyric video, but I tend to overthink and overplan and when we sat down to talk about my video ideas we realized, ‘Huh. This would actually make a great video period.’ So look out for that in the next month!
The single comes off your new album Blooms – what’s the story behind the title?
Mo: The title Blooms symbolizes new beginnings. Flowers grow petals, shed those petals and grow new blooms in an endless cycle. For the band, we explored new techniques in writing both lyrically and musically with this EP, it’s a new bloom from Bleached Roses. New experiences and new beginnings.
How was the recording and writing process?
Lexi: Each song was written uniquely. ‘Cloud 9’ for example blossomed out of a piano part Jacob, our drummer, brought to a rehearsal and we later added some of Mo’s lyrics to. Brighter Days was a guitar riff Mo had that I looped strings and added lyrics to. We all wear various hats in the writing process which helps keep our music from all sounding the same.
Mo: Recording was also a unique experience. We recorded all around Austin with Lindsey Kappa who has a remote studio to try to find the best sounds. This allowed us to find an area big enough to record a live quartet and really experience different moods and ideas depending on the recording space we were in. We’re really happy with the results!
What role does Austin play in your music?
Mo: The Austin music scene has so many talented artists and bands that for me, it just inspires me to work harder and push the limits of our music. It’s a pretty competitive landscape, which is fun, but has lots of challenges for a band trying to earn its keep. Austin is known around the world for putting out great music so it’s, in my opinion, a great place to be if you really want to see what limits you can push your band to creatively. You really have to earn your spot and earn respect in the community and I love that.
How do you get to balance your classical background with the much modern one?
Lexi: I’ve had to learn when to hold back. I’m learning that just because I can play something, doesn’t always mean I should. I think a classical listener’s ear is very different from let’s say, a 21 year old listening to our band play at a bar. It can be easy to exhaust a listener’s ear. That being said, I still find ways to challenge myself whether it’s via complex loops or singing while playing.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Lexi: The inspiration for me comes mostly from my experiences and relationships. I was full of angst while writing our first album ‘Sweet Desire’ and wrote it in our music. Luckily, I’ve found my peace and feel a lot happier now, which was initially a struggle when writing this new music. But as an artist I tend to feel too much, so I’m able to put myself back in a moment to write about it or write about what I see around me.
Any plans to hit the road?
Lexi: We can’t wait to hit the road! We’ll be playing some of cities we visited on our last tour (Texas and Louisiana) and then hitting the road harder for a West Coast summer tour.
What else is happening next in Bleached Roses’ world?
Mo: Writing, writing, writing. In the next few months the band will be pulling together ideas for the next EP. We already have some ideas floating around so it’s going to be exciting to see what we come up with. We’re about to release Blooms, but you can’t get rid of us that easily haha! We’ll be hitting everyone with even more new music after that.
Striking vocal nuances compliment caring lyrics, creating an affable pop-friendly radio sound during the single “Can’t Catch Me Now,” from Bleached Roses. Complete with synth and string section, the smooth chord changes, gentle resonant refrain and general rhythmic flow only add to a vibrant melody. At 1:38, a violin-filled instrumental break brings added variety to the sophisticated musical arrangement. But as you know, this is just the beginning of the story.
“Can’t Catch Me Now” is the lead single from Bleached Roses upcoming EP, Blooms. The Austin, Texas-based indie band has the type of creative synergy that happens when everyone gets onboard a good idea. The resulting sound is pleasant, upbeat and orchestral. Fronted by lead singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and founding member Lexi Cardenas, the soon to be released Blooms collection is a team effort and a true meeting of musical minds.
Bleached Roses are Lexi Cardenas – vocals, violin, guitar, producer; Mo Paynter – synth; Christiano Bellani – bass; and Jacob Wiviott – drums.
Musicinterviewmagazine.com spoke with Lexi Cardenas about returning to play live, “Can’t Catch Me Now,” Blooms and more.
You recently mentioned this project started along with wanting to play live music again. What prompted the reemergence?
It comes from my insatiable need to play music. I’ve been in and out of projects for about ten years now, but I never had a band of my own. When my last project fizzled out, I set up my violin and loop pedal and started playing anywhere that would have me. Not too long after that, I had a full band behind me playing the music I wrote. A year later, what makes this album so special is that it is a collaboration of all of us. It’s my layered strings. It’s Jacob’s piano riffs and upbeat drums, Mo’s lyrics and Christiano’s sultry bass lines.
“Can’t Catch Me Now” is the lead single from Bleached Roses forthcoming EP, Blooms. When will the EP be available?
We’re releasing Blooms September 16th, available in all online stores (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Pandora, etc.) through our friends Tunecore. You can also purchase the album and our merch through Bandcamp.
You mentioned Mo wrote the lyrics to “Can’t Catch Me Now?” What about the music?”
Yes, Mo, our synth player, wrote the lyrics to “Can’t Catch Me Now.” This new EP proved to be a nice collaboration between all the members of the band. As a story teller, Mo has the ability to write lyrics a bit easier than I can, then she’ll bring those lyrics to me and I bring them to life with my music writing. When we have a working song we’re latching onto, we’ll share it with the rest of the band and from there our songs just evolve and turn into final products. It’s nice because everyone puts their own special touch on each song.
Do you perform all of the vocals?
I recorded all the vocals for this EP, but our bass player sings harmonies live. What I really want to do is put microphones in front of our synth player and drummer to really build those anthemic choruses. Now if they’ll actually sing into them is still to be determined.
Who is on the string work? Is it all violins?
I loop all the string parts live, but for the recording I wanted a more organic sound, so I enlisted the help of three amazing string players to record with us: Marisol Cardenas, Laura Plotkin and Diana Burgess. What you hear is three violins and a cello, including me. It was a really cool experience because we were able to record live, as a string quartet.
Where can fans and friends see Bleached Roses live?
We’ll be releasing the full EP September 16th with a big party at Cheer Up Charlies in Austin, TX. We’re really excited about this show because it also will be a benefit for Out Youth Austin, which serves LGBTQ youth and their allies, with programs and services to ensure these promising young people develop into happy, healthy, successful adults. We also have some exciting shows in the works that we can’t quite talk about yet that we’ll be announcing soon, so keep an eye out.
“Can’t Catch Me Now” is produced by Lexi Cardenas; Engineer – Lindsey Kappa; Music – Lexi Cardenas; and lyrics – Mo Paynter. String section is Lexi Cardenas, Laura Wood, Marisol Cardenas and Diana Burgess.
Full Article Here
Written by: Paul J. Wolfle
You’ve likely seen Lexi Cardenas on stage at some point in the past several years– she’s one of Austin’s most sought after violinists, performing with acts as diverse as Mighty Mountain and Scott Collins, as well as her main project the Bleached Roses. Cardenas’ solo material often veered towards the baroque, particularly on her startling and ornate cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.” But since renaming her main project Bleached Roses rather than “Lexi and the Bleached Roses,” Cardenas has shifted towards an energetic indie pop sound emphasizing the connection of the entire band, particularly on new single “Can’t Catch Me Now.” The lush and romantic single would be right at home on 4AD’s early ’90s roster, with its yearning strings and sweetly rousing vocals. It’s a perfect marriage of Cardenas’ orchestral ambition and her Mighty Mountain era populism, showcasing the allure of her voice as well as the chemistry of her band. Check it out for yourself below and be sure to catch Bleached Roses on September 16th at Cheer Up Charlie’s for their EP release show benefiting Out Youth!
ARTICLE LINK HERE
Every last Wednesday of each month, Cheer Up Charlie’s, 900 Red River, is host to Greetings, From Queer Mountain, an LGBTQIA storytelling show and community that presents events in Austin, New Orleans, and NYC. Of course, it’s a natural fit to include bands and songwriters at these gatherings, as you’ll discover at tomorrow night’s line-up of talented artists
The evening begins with Austin-based designer and illustrator Paige Berry at 10:30 p.m., followed by St. Louis-based songwriter A.J. Ward’s musical project Sleeping Cranes at 11:15 p.m., and Austin indie-rock outfit, led by songwriter/violinist Lexi Cardenas, Lexi and The Bleached Roses (featured on today’s Austin Music Minute) at midnight.
All worth checking out on your Wednesday night. Recommended.
-Photo of Lexi and The Bleached Roses by Andrew Bennett Photography.
Just one album into their catalogue, Austin’s Lexi and the Bleached Roses have already figured out something other bands might struggle to pull off – that is, a marriage between easy acoustic indie rock/pop and traditional, string-heavy Americana.
It’s a fairly hard balance to strike. Do it wrong, and you can unintentionally come across as a novelty – a bunch of old-timey-fixated jokers who are trying to pretend they stepped out of a 1931 shack and leaped eight decades ahead to save music from 808s and processing.
Fortunately, that’s not what Lexi Cardenas (pictured above) and her band are. Their concoction of indie, folk, and string music – driven by singer Cardenas’ violin and Mario Salas’ hypnotic cello – brought something both fresh and classic to Radio Coffee & Beer on Saturday night, suggesting Lexi and the Bleached Roses are one of Austin’s best up-and-comers in the indie-folk game.
Though their strings certainly play a starring role, both the originality and quality of the Bleached Roses’ music are bolstered by their refusal to be stuck in the distant past. For one, synth player Mo Paynter is around to augment those traditional tools Cardenas and Salas carry (along with drummer Jacob Wiviott). For another, the group’s melodic sensibility is steeped in the folk-pop territory of the last three or four decades, with Cardenas keeping her pleasant but powerful voice right in the middle of the road. It all makes their music perfect for an intimate venue like Radio, and on Saturday night they delivered.
Several moments of Saturday’s set could’ve been picked out as highlights. The title track from their highly accessible 2017 debut album, Sweet Desire, propelled the show forward early on, with Wiviott’s driving, folky beat and Salas’ hypnotic cello standing out. Or the highlight could’ve been the way the group completely transformed Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” into their own. Opening with Cardenas laying down a plucked violin line for looping, this version of the nearly quarter-century-old grunge anthem sounded utterly original after its folk-pop facelift. At each chorus, Cardenas lodged the song’s “new complaint” three times, with two loud rounds followed by a quieter one. The unexpected dynamic shift worked, and so did the transformation of the song. “Waiting,” a ballad driven by acoustic guitar and cello, provided another captivating highlight, recalling some of the best 1990s performances of MTV’s “Unplugged.”
The closer, a louder, more urgent version of their song “Again” than the version that appears on Sweet Desire, fittingly included Cardenas asking a question that could be posed to the Bleached Roses’ live audience: “Will you see me again?” Their performance Saturday gave their audience every reason to do so, and to look forward to the new music the group is planning to release this spring.
FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Here at my office, if you’ve had a CD for only two months and it’s already skipping because of dirt, grime and fingerprint oils are smeared on it, you know it’s been loved. Kind of like that dogeared book with the notes and scribbles in the margin, the one with the cracked spine and coffee cup stains on the cover.
Well, my copy of Sweet Desire may not be that thoroughly “loved,” but it has certainly been receiving a lot of airplay here in the offices of Red Dirt Report.
In fact, it was here in the offices of Red Dirt Report where I first met the classically-trained violinist Lexi Cardenas, who, at the time, was playing fiddle for the Austin, Texas-based indie-rock band Messages, who were coming through Oklahoma on a summer tour.
As the four-piece group played an acoustic set in our office library, I was struck by the power and passion coming from Cardenas’s strings and voice. Plus, she had a great sense of humor and genuine warmth – the sort you sense from musicians who truly love their craft. After all, she’s been playing violin since she was a child.
When I interviewed the band, Cardenas, a native of El Paso, said that while she cites everyone from Iszhak Perlman to Mark O’Connor as influences, it was the band Yellowcard, and their use of a violin on one of their songs that made her realize the violin could be considered “cool.”
Well, two summers later, and the bilingual Cardenas is back (with Messages presumably “on hold”) with a new musical project where she is the frontwoman and violin player for The Bleached Roses, which is primarily her and cellist Mario Salas, along with side musicians, including a drummer for live performances.
The plucked strings and moody tone on “Interlude” give one the feeling that you are hearing atmospheric-but-rootsy soundtrack music on a Lasse Hallström film. But then that goes right into the spare power of “Not Your Girl.”
“Reprise” follows the feel of “Interlude” with acoustic guitar utilized on the subtle beauty of “Waiting.”
But it’s the midtempo title track that really holds my attention on Cardenas’s debut LP. It's a desire that comes from a very deep place for Cardenas.
Concluding Sweet Desire is "Emerald Heart," with its aching build-up and release, giving the listener a true sense of the talent coming from the woman holding the violin and singing (and writing) these songs.
Cardenas, as she told Red Dirt Report in a September 2015 interview, is passionate about introducing musical instruments to young people on Austin’s east side – particularly at-risk kids - so they can learn to play a musical instrument. It’s calle the Sarinda Project.
Lexi and the Bleached Roses Reinventing the Texas Music Scene with Sweet Desire
Who said violins were exclusively for classical music? Certainly not Lexi Cardenas. Lexi and The Bleached Roses have been reinventing the central Texas music scene by proving that classical instruments can do it better.
The Austin-based band started challenging the norms of indie rock music after Lexi, lead vocalist and violinist, decided that forming a band was the perfect idea. Initially starting to record their debut album, Sweet Desire, as a solo artist, Lexi soon realized that creating an entire album by herself was extremely hard work. She enlisted the help of Cello player, Mario Salas, and by the end of the album recording had an entire band to help her out. Lexi admits she’s learned a lot of important lessons during the recording process, saying “I’ve learned I cant do everything myself, and that’s okay”.
After being classically trained in music for 21 years, Frontwoman Lexi sure has a lot to give. Starting her training aged seven, she progressed to play in her first band, The Texas Fiddlers, during high school. This stage during her music career was clearly a defining moment, as she describes, “that’s where I first learned about amplifying my violin and a completely different kind of audience.” After continuing to learn more about pushing the boundaries of music at college, the band is where she really let her creativity shine, saying “This group is a culmination of all the styles I’ve learned.”
The band’s debut album, Sweet Desire, takes a real twist from the classical instrument stereotype. With the music ‘driven more by layers and instrumentation’ the group truly broaden the horizons of indie rock, country, and Americana vibes. The band’s inspirations are plentiful, counting Arcade Fire as one of their top influences. Mo from the band describes, “Bands like that make me want to work harder to be a better musician.”
The album’s title is based around the featuring track, ‘Sweet Desire’. It’s a completely honest track, based around Lexi’s “road to self discovery”. A song about accepting yourself and embracing self confidence, the country twang is pure, her vocals are authentic and the hint of indie gives it that courageous vibe. The song is truly representative of Lexi coming into her own, as she states “This song describes a pivotal point of my life where I decided to stand up and just be myself.” Other tracks on the album include ‘Not Your Girl‘, a stripped back, tough, girl power song. It begins with just Lexi’s strong vocals and her violin, before the songs depth bulks up as it progresses.
Beside the album’s success and popularity, Mo offers his advice to aspiring musicians, encouraging “Don’t let anyone get in your way or tell you, you can’t do something or that your dreams and goals are unrealistic. I’m a true believer that hard work pays off”.
With their debut album released and under their belts, the band is already looking well into the future and beginning plans on album number two. Mo says “I’ve really been diving into songwriting right now anticipating our next album” Mo anticipates it’ll be even better as they look to ‘challenge themselves as a band’. After reflecting on her past experiences, Lexi predicts a fruitful future for the band, as she says “I’ve played in so many projects over the years, but this one I feel has the greatest potential.” As well as a new album, the band promises a stage tour too. Mo assures us, “it’s going to be a lot of fun”.
Middle Tennessee Music - Interview with Lexi and The Bleached Roses
Lexi and the Bleached Roses is the musical collective of Lexi Cardenas, violinist, composer, and singer-songwriter. In Bleached Roses’ new album, Lexi puts forth her 21 years of classical violin training and years of live music experience living in Austin, Texas to create a sound that bridges the gap between the old and new. Her wide range of influences range from Bach to Arcade Fire.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Lexi about influences, her latest project, the digital music world and more.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
Lexi: We’re from Austin, TX. This band grew out of my solo loop violin project and you can hear that in our music. It’s layered and very cinematic. I think our music is what would happen if a pop song and string quartet had a baby.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
Lexi: I’ve been playing the violin since I was seven years old and have played in orchestras, rock bands, and everything in between. When my last band stopped playing I picked up a loop pedal and started writing. The violin is not a solo instrument so it was a way to be able to play my songs. I first asked a cellist to join me, then synth, and now we’re a full band. Like every serious band, we want to travel the world and play a different show every night, but we set small attainable goals along the way to keep us motivated. First we just wanted to write and record an album. Now that we’re releasing it, we’re going on a small tour. By next summer I’d like to see us going on a larger US tour and getting ready to record a second album.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
Lexi: This is our first release as Lexi and the Bleached Roses, but it is different from anything I’ve ever done. I tried to bring the pop songs I write on guitar and my classical training and put them together in a way that flowed. Some songs on this album are more straightforward while other are a little more avant-garde, but when you listen to it in its entirety it makes sense. With this album, I wanted to push a little farther than a typical song you hear every day, while keeping it digestible enough that you’ll want to keep listening.
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
Lexi: In a lot of ways, living in the digital age has helped as you can put your music on every online avenue and gain more exposure. Facebook’s sponsoring feature for example, is a fantastic way to reach a new audience when playing out of time shows. At the same time, the internet is so inundated with music, it’s that much harder to stand out.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?
Lexi: You can find us on bleachedroses.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/bleachedroses. We’re also on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, etc.