Genna Giacobassi & Jesse Dyen
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Genna Giacobassi & Jesse Dyen

Oakland, California, United States | SELF

Oakland, California, United States | SELF
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There’s something distinctly feline about Ms. Giacobassi. She sports a mangy fem-mullet that alternately resembles a lion’s mane and Garth Algar’s mop, post-Suck Kut. But the felinity is mostly in her voice, which ranges from coy alley cat cry to full-fledged jungle jaguar growl, and hits every vocal paw-print along the path. “It’s hot up here,” Ms. Giacobassi said a few songs in, with the voice your annoying ex-girlfriend only hoped to achieve when she was trying so desperately to be cute. Chuck dropped the lights sympathetically, and that was when they really warmed up. Ms. Giacobassi is a joy to watch, especially when she switches chords, like a blissful drunk fumbling with her fly, and when she strums them out, smiling bigger than the special kid in class when awarded the best effort ribbon on Sports Day. I felt each kitten’s claws’ tickle and scratch of drummer Keith’s brushes on the cymbals and snares. A personal highlight was “Joshua,” one of their last songs, that sounded like The Barenaked Ladies’ “Jane” on happy pills. They launched into their finale, and I looked at Shannon, and exclaimed: “I know this song!” I soon realized that it was the song they played during the warm-up. It was THAT catchy. --Liam Ford - Atom


It's really funny how small the world is at times. I remember it was yesterday when my friend Jason was telling me about Fiction Like Candy one day and he pulled out this homemade cd case with a collage all over it. I thought it was the neatest DIY-inspired album art ever. Flash forward to last Friday at the zine-release party for A Love Letter To Lansing (I know, I need to get the pictures up!) I loved their set and found their music to be absolutely charming and lovely. It's dreamy indie pop at it's finest. Hailing from San Franscisco, Fiction Like Candy actually has ties to Lansing since it is vocalist/guitarist Genna's hometown. Which makes this band even more aces in my book. (Not to mention the fact that their five-song demo cd is very lovely. I happen to use the word "lovely" a lot! Well, it's well-deserved, okay?) If you like your indie to have a little bit more folk and mellow goodness, this band is for you! A band cool enough for me to give the Band Of The Week honor. Awesome, eh? - Clever Titles are So Last Summer


Genna Giacobassi of Fiction Like Candy was mentioned during the MOKB contest of "Best Ladies of Indie Rock" so we've kept an eye on her. She does a good cover of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Details Of War.
- My Old Kentucky Blog


Fiction Like Candy is a three-piece group whose sound could easily be described as "indie pop rock" and left at that. There is, however, also a folk-like quality, a mellowness that somehow sets it apart.

Vocalist Genna Giacobassi enraptured listeners with the calming quality of her voice. And though there isn't anything that particularly stands out about her voice, that might be one of its greatest gifts. It sort of sneaks up on you and before you know it you are relaxed and smiling and enjoying the way it weaves in and out of the simple guitar arrangements, the stronger bass lines and the steady, rhythmic beating of the drums. She could easily be the sultry front woman for a sultry trio or even swing (along the lines of Lavay Smith).

The two additional members of FLC, drummer Keith Sevigny and bassist Randy Parks, added the meat and potatoes of the band's sound, and created a perfect musical backdrop for Giacobassi. The unity of these three band mates was obvious on stage and in their music, alike.
- Chico News and Review


Unfortunately, a lot of bands that fall under the genre of 'indie/pop/rock' end up sounding too similar, and then eventually, they blend together in my mind. Fiction Like Candy will never really have that problem. This group has the great sultry voice of Genna Giacobassi. Genna along with bassist Randy Marshall and drummer Keith Sevigny will definitely leave an indelible print on your musical mind with their fun and soothing songs. Fiction Like Candy are going to be a band to watch in 2007.

In true DIY fashion, the San Francisco trio are have put together their hot new EP Brand New Fancy Truth and are releasing it with the Stars in My Mouth Music label on February 6th. - Villians Always Blink



A quick visit to Fiction Like Candy's myspace last week didn't leave me with a particularly positive or lasting impression. I'm known to form quick first impressions and to rarely move past them due to the tricky nature of self-fulfilling prophecy, so the fact that I not only revisited the group--this time listening to their new EP Brand New Fancy Truth (out in February) in its entirety--but actually enjoyed it, holds weight in my eyes.

I am a total sucker for female vocalists, so Fiction Like Candy's frontwoman Genna Giacobassi won the group points from the beginning. Fortunately, it took only one listen to Fancy Truth to make it clear that Fiction Like Candy deserves credit for much more than their singer's gender. Their music is bright and upbeat, poppy but not too sugary. The album starts solidly enough, with an uncomplicated pop number with an even more uncomplicated refrain. But you have to listen further into the album before you can fully understand the group's sound, which appears to encompass multiple genres and differs from most of today's straightforward indie pop or rock. My very simple understanding of musical genres leads me to call their music "jazz-infused," but take any genre classifications I make lightly. Whatever their sound actually may be, it is unique and makes each song intriguing in itself and even more intriguing in its differences from the previous and subsequent songs. Despite the differences from track to track, the group never strays far enough to make the album seem uncohesive.

Back on the topic of Giacobassi, but this time with more focus on vocals and less on gender. Giacobassi proves to be the group's main drawing point, breezing her way through each song, not once coming across forced or contrived through the many styles infused within the group's music. She transitions seamlessly from the relatively soft-spoken opening of "Big Red Boots" to the jazzy turns of "Mannequin" and to the more edgy album closers "Joshua" and "Joke," the latter of which ends in a shriek reminiscent of a toned-down Karen Orzolek. At her edgiest, Giacobassi is vaguely reminiscent of not only Karen O, but early '90s riot grrrl vocalists, albeit with much less yelling and infintely more finesse. (If that doesn't impress you, rest assured that the comparison is based on very limited amounts of the album.)

If there is any weakness in Brand New Fancy Truth, it's everything aside from Giacobassi and the multiple genre influences. Now wait, that sounds like a lot--songwriting, lyrics, instrumental execution--but, in the case of this album, "weaknesses" are more... areas that don't stand out; the songwriting, lyrics, and instrumentation are not at all bad, but are overshadowed by Giacobassi's voice on a casual listen. Band members Keith Sevigny and Randy Marshall create a more-than-proficient but non-overshadowing foundation on which Giacobassi builds. Fiction Like Candy don't exhibit exceptional lyricism, but again, their lyrics shouldn't be labeled a "weakness." It's often hard to separate "good" or "worthy" lyrics from their subject matter, but heavy topics don't fit with a fun and carefree band. Fiction treat the subjects they do address with striking imagery, such as "When she finally came, she looked man-made to him / Soaked with rain her mouth was cemented shut - a long red cut" in the song "Mannequin." Many of the groups's lyrics, including those in the aforementioned song (the subject matter is clearer if you view the lyrics), deal with love, most often gone wrong.

Even with the overall solidity of the group in all areas, nothing about Fiction Like Candy absolutey strikes me. I imagine this is the sort of group some of you will absolutely hate, many of you will enjoy on occasion, as I suspect I will, and a few of you will completely love. I don't see Brand new Fancy Truth working its way into constant rotation, but I know it is something I will definitely revisit in the future. And I suggest you give the group a chance, just in case you are one of the few who will completely love them. - Counting Stars on the Ceiling


Sickly sweet, yet oh-so infectious, Fiction Like Candy is the music that one puts on whether you're smitten in love or just getting out of a relationship that had an unhappy ending. Their six-song EP Brand New Fancy Truth combines indie-rock guitars with pop vocals and bitter lyrics to form a concoction that deserves a craving. Frontwoman Genna Giacobassi paints the picture of a relationship gone bad with her wickedly sharp lyrics and gentle voice that goes from a coy whisper to a powerful scream throughout the six songs that grace the EP. From the kiss-off scenarios of "Joke" to the luscious atmospheric rock of "Mannequin", this is the perfect EP to listen to when feeling jilted. Just because the name is full of sweetness doesn't mean the taste will make you sick with a sugar rush. It's a taste of victory over a bad relationship instead. - Bethanne Siettas- Clever Titles


Fiction Like Candy is a San Francisco-based trio with Genna Giacobassi on vocals and guitar, Randy Marshall on bass and Keith Sevigny on drums. Genna started writing songs and performing in coffee shops in San Francisco in 2004. If more electric than the first EP, Brand New Fancy Truth doesn’t withdraw Genna’s influence of Joni Mitchell in her songwriting – a young Joni Mitchell that meets Cat Power (circa Dear Sir/Myra Lee). That’s enough to lift up my interest for that new band that has built itself since a short time a growing reputation in the States. - Leaky Sparrow Blog


Discography

Genna & Jesse: Special Edition I (2010)
EP: "Brand New Fancy Truth" (2007)
EP: "La La Lo" (2005)
"Contents Under Pressure" (2003)

Photos

Bio

Jesse Dyen has been to jail with Daniel Ellsberg. He’s bought beer for Joe Strummer, broken Joan Baez’s guitar string, and done sound for Reverend Al Sharpton. Not enough? Jesse has also smoked a joint with Rosie Perez, fastened Scott Thompson’s bra, and has seen Sandra Bernhard naked (the last two in the same night, actually). More importantly, he once sang his anti-war anthem “Sons and Daughters” for Willie Nelson, after which Willie told him it was a great song.

Jesse has sat in, or otherwise played with The Attracted, Fleeting Trance, GG Tanaka, Todd Shipley Band, Laciak, Andy Mason, Slide, Brother Thump, AJ Slick, Dry White Toast, Matt Sevier, Fathead, Grandaddy, Barbara Manning, Chuck Prophet, Bob Forrest, G. Love, and Peter Himmelman, among others.

Whilst in those bands and others, he’s opened up for folks like Ben Harper, Jimmy Buffet, Government Mule, Chicago, Dave Matthews Band, Derek Trucks Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, and New Potato Caboose, to name a few.

On the other side of the stage, Jesse might very well have interacted with one of your favorite movie stars, or more likely, with one of your favorite recording artists. Just ask him.

He has self produced hundreds of tracks, has played on numerous recordings as nearby as Oakland and as far away as Cape Town, and has become a desired sideman in the San Francisco Bay Area.

His album “Contents Under Pressure” has received radio airplay both domestically and internationally. It was recorded by Andy Kravitz and features some of Philadelphia’s finest musicians.

Genna Giacobassi has been singing all her life and fronting San Francisco-based neo-soul band Fiction Like Candy for the past 5 years.

Genna has toured the US and Canada with Fiction Like Candy and released several albums with the band. Her music has also been heard in commercials and films.

After spending the last two years writing songs in Chicago, she has returned to the Bay Area where she performs in multiple groups. To the duo she brings her emotionally explosive, idiosyncratic sensibilities which reflect a mood of striving, confusion, doubt, revelation, and her characteristic candor and whimsy.

Giacobassi and Dyen began playing together in 2009 and can be seen performing their unique blend of soul, pop and folk in Bay Area venues, regional hot spots, and at the vaunted Hotel Utah open mic every Monday.

Now put your headphones back on...