Kalbells is the solo work of Kalmia Traver, lead singer and co-bandleader of the band Rubblebucket. Kalbells’ debut album “Ten Flowers” (NNA Tapes, 2017) is cosmic bedroom pop written in Vermont in the dead of winter directly after a successful battle with ovarian cancer. It’s lyrics deal with joy, self-affirmation and dream healing. Sonically it is a kaleidoscopic desertscape of blips, bells, whistles, synthesizers, layered vocals and woodwinds. Co-produced by Ryan Power, the album was lauded by Bob Boilen of NPR All Songs Considered as having “that beautiful innocence”.
Kalmia was born in Rhode Island, raised in Taftsville, Vermont, and spent much of her childhood exploring the the woods and streams of the Green Mountain State. After attending University of Vermont where she met Rubblebucket creative partner Alex Toth the duo moved to Boston to found the band, and eventually to Brooklyn, NY where Kalmia currently resides and continues to develop both projects.
Kalmia spent the third decade of her life co-creating Rubblebucket as a composer, visual artist & performer. She and her bandmates repeatedly toured the United States, made jaunts into Europe and Canada, performed at summer festivals including High Sierra & Bonaroo, played on Jimmy Kimmel Live, at Lincoln Center and BAM as part of the Red Hot’s Fela Kuti and Arthur Russell tributes (respectively) and taped an episode of NPR’s series Tiny Desk Concerts.
In 2013 at the age of 29 Kalmia was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in her left ovary. She under went surgery and three months of chemotherapy in the midst of a modified touring & recording schedule. She was declared cancer-free in early 2014 and continues to be in remission. Rubblebucket’s subsequent record, Survival Sounds (Communion, 2014) dealt with healing in general, and many of the songs written by Toth dealt directly with facing & treating alcoholism.
The writing for “Ten Flowers” emerged from a 2-month solo retreat in Kalmia’s childhood home of Taftsville in January 2015. Employing the song-a-day technique, Kalmia left Vermont with 27 demos, and in league with NNA Tapes chose ten to further refine, employing Ryan Power on mixing, co-production, and co-writing duties.
The album was praised by the UK blog Gold Flake Paint as “A brooding delight, … balanced gracefully between a gleaming invitation and the more experimental tributaries that quietly flow from it