Persephone's Bees
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Persephone's Bees

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"Make Me, The Dashing Suns and Persephone's Bees"

The prolific nature of Persephone's Bees becomes evident immediately after they begin. Eclectic musicians creating comprehensive music. Russian born Angelina Moysov has a delivery that demands attention. She has a way of appearing to be engaging audience members individually. The reputation which precedes them is solidly earned. Guitarist Tom Ayres creates layers and lines that would bring any guitar player to their knees and have them begging for mercy. Well crafted rock shaken with a cutting pop edge and played by experience, not dress up. - SF Examiner

"Notes From The Underworld - review"

Great pop music often requires great partnerships, and intriguing pop music often results from the collision of complementary but competing forms of expression. In vocalist/songwriter Angelina Moysov and guitarist Tom Ayres, the San Francisco band Persephone's Bees reveal a partnership that, on the surface, never should have worked. Moysov is a native Russian transplanted to California in 1990, who gained much influence from her Gypsy heritage, although her singing owes as much to the très moderne French and Brazilian schools. Ayres meanwhile, is a guitar freak who displays a close knowledge of power pop, alternative dance, and the heavy chordings of glam rock gods like Brian May and Mick Ronson. Together, they make Notes from the Underworld one of the best major-label debuts of the year, an everlastingly fresh parade of dynamic pop songs and cunning productions. (Producer Eric Valentine deserves much of the credit for the latter.) "City of Love," already famous thanks to a Razr phone ad, is an exercise for Moysov's coy wit and Ayres' economical licks (which range from smooth to shrieking), while Valentine delves into production textures by Wurlitzer and Theremin. The song has nearly as many twists and turns as a track from Fiery Furnaces (another band who know something about Orthodox Europe), but with an inevitable sense of energy that's been difficult to find with the B-52's entering the studio less often than they did in the '80s and '90s. "Nice Day" is another clear single, and although its breezy platitudes, the group makes it lively enough. If Moysov is the star of the first half of the record, Ayres takes over side two, beginning with the brisk "On the Earth" (whose false fade yields 30 seconds of pure bliss), and segueing smoothly to the sweet Fleetwood Mac pop of "Walk to the Moon." "Paper Plane," and "Queen's Night Out" are exquisite pieces of jagged British psychedelic pop (both of which could have slotted nicely on the '60s Brit box set, Nuggets, Vol. 2). The closer, "Home," is just as self-assured and dynamic as the ten songs before it, and coasts into the sunset with a slide-guitar coda worthy of Jeff Beck himself. - All Music

"Persephone’s Bees leads a Saturday lineup at Blue Fin that feels meant to Bee."

The first song Angelina Moysov wrote is about a little girl standing at a window watching the moon cry tears of blood. The moon is saddened by the way humans treat one another. Moysov was 13 when she penned the song, living in her hometown of Pyatigorsk, Russia, under a perpetually pale sky.

The porcelain-skinned Russky’s prose continued to blossom from there. When accomplished guitarist Tom Ayres got a taste – shortly after Moysov moved to the States in the ’90s – Persephone’s Bees took flight.

Trying to confine the Oakland-based quartet – playing Blue Fin on Saturday – to a specific genre is a lost cause. Persephone’s is more like an elephant-sized beehive stuffed with Russ Meyers’ Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, the poetry of Osip Mandelstam (“Persephone’s Bees” is a phrase from one of his works) and most importantly, life experience.

Moysov finds muses in everything she experiences and at some point, it overflows into her songwriting.

“I can never force myself to write a song,” Moysov says. “I need inspiration; I have to read, watch my favorite movies, look at art and the people around me. When someone asks me what kind of music we play I always say, ‘It’s everything,’ or ‘It’s music.’”

One book that inspired a new song was The Master and Margarita (also the title of the song and Mick Jagger’s inspiration for “Sympathy for the Devil”) by Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov.

Persephone’s released their first album City of Love in 2002, but the world took notice in 2005 after they signed to Columbia Records and released their second album, Notes from the Underworld. Some of the songs from the album have been featured in commercials, video games and even on The Sopranos.

“Home,” the tune featured on the Jersey mobster series, is the last song on the L.P. and a perfect match for a series about misunderstood criminals. Ayres’ guitar begins with a placid wah, like soft footsteps in a forest, before it builds into the bat-out-of-hell chorus: “When I left you, when I left him, when I left her, I left myself.”

Moysov’s explanation of the song’s lyrics: “It’s hard leaving the people you love, but it’s very liberating – like a little leaf that fell from a tree. You’re all alone.”

The first song on the album, “Way to your Heart,” is a mesh of gypsy-prog-psychedelia that’s like a conversation between Ayres and Moysov. Ayres brings crunchily distorted Thin Lizzy riffs, and Moysov answers with playful jabs on the keys and taunting vocals. “In the morning when I wake up, I think about how I can get you tonight.”

“Way to Your Heart” is proof that Moysov and Ayres are both strong forces – and without one, the group just wouldn’t work.

Persephone’s Bees continues to prevail even after leaving Columbia Records: Its third, yet-to-be titled album was recently completed. Without the lavish, big studio production, Ayres and Moysov were tasked with the intricate process, but Moysov says she cannot be happier with the outcome.

“[The album] is a lot more philosophical,” she says. “It’s more of the way I see Persephone’s Bees in my mind.” - Monterey County Weekly


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...