A Week of Fridays: The Candy Bars, “Enough to Choke a Cold Air”

Holly Tedder is simply one of the funniest people I know. As is often the case with the individuals in my life who fit into that category, she also loves to laugh (and has a great one), and some of my proudest, happiest moments at WPRK involved coming up with some snarky comment that she found entertaining. I always marveled at her ability to knowledgeably approach music, locking in on how it made her feel, but also how it elicited those feeling, expounding on the impact of minor keys, chord changes and other intricacies of songcraft. The only thing she had a greater command over was the nuances of Veronica Mars, which was a whole other joy to watch her break down. Compounding my admiration (and envy) is the fact that she’s currently living something very close to the life I imagine when I listen to PJ Harvey’s “You Said Something.”

I was at WPRK for two brief years (2004-2006), but owe it a huge debt for many reasons: for the friendships I developed during my time there; for making me feel like I had “found my niche” at a school a little too Greek-life-oriented for my taste; for giving me a free t-shirt that was the impetus for a random conversation at a coffee shop with the guy who became my husband; and for having helped me to expand my musical knowledge and taste probably a hundred times over from where it was to begin with. I have so many fond memories of hanging out between classes all day, every day, in the Directors’ office of the station, talking about our lives and the latest albums that came in the mail that week. We had so many ridiculous inside jokes. The Directors Staff in those years were a motley crew of kids with widely differing tastes, but who all loved the station and who liked and were inclusive with each other. We were also lucky to have an advisor like Dan, who hung out with us much of the time, and who, like many mentors, didn’t really let on that “mentoring” was what he was doing: we looked at him much like one of us– albeit one of us who had the great misfortune of having to work upstairs in an office part of the time while we were having Snack Days and making George W. Bush pinatas.

I hosted a show called “The Saddest Music in the World” during this time. My own personal tastes run toward the lo-fi, fuzzed-out, and quiet, and my assigned time slot– Mondays from 3-5 pm– seemed an opportune time in the work week to play two hours of unmitigated sad bastard music. I didn’t keep a lot of my playlists from the show: just my final one, which–fittingly for the time–I wrote down and shared on my LiveJournal. My “One For Friday” pick, “Enough to Choke a Cold Air” by Candy Bars, happens to be on it.

In the early days of 2006, it’s safe to say that I discovered this album while looking through the “new music” shelves around 25 minutes before my show was to begin, giving songs with appropriately morose titles a quick listen, and putting them in a “to-play” stack. This was not always my approach, of course, but with music that had just come out it worked surprisingly well. I remember liking this song well enough that I actually bought Candy Bars’ CD and played it in regular rotation in my car while I drove around Orlando. There are several good tracks on this album, despite the album’s puzzling title (On Cutting Ti-Gers In Half And Understanding Narravation–which I’m sure I found intriguing when I was 20). “Enough to Choke a Cold Air” is another puzzling title from the band, but the music is appropriately downbeat: it starts out happy-sounding enough, but a few seconds in it shifts to a satisfyingly minor key, and the vocals are all fuzz and distortion. Do you have any idea what he’s saying? I certainly don’t–or at least I only do occasionally–but it doesn’t really matter. The strength of this song is in the way it’s constructed: the return to the chorus is an unexpected relief each time.

The Candy Bars, “Enough to Choke a Cold Air”

Based on a cursory search, this is the only album this band ever put out. Apparently Candy Bars was formed by some record store employees in Tampa, FL–a mere hour’s drive away from WPRK. We at WPRK had our own fledgling band, The Defilers, that started as a joke, but (thanks to Phil) turned into something of a community effort. Phil was certainly the heart of The Defilers, but the rest of us contributed in different ways (my middling contributions, by the way, included a ridiculous cover of “Rush Rush” by Paula Abdul that I made using basic computer software–I had a lot of time on my hands in grad school). Candy Bars clearly had way more initiative than we did. I hope that they had half as much fun.

Disclaimer: This song is posted and shared with the understanding that it is out of print and therefore unavailable for purchase in a way that will provide due compensation to both the artist and the proprietor of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. I will gladly remove it from the interweb if requested to do so by someone with due authority to make sure a request.