On her new album, "Float," Giana Caliolo, who performs as Calicoco, wields her big guitar like a paint brush to further color the nighttime sky. Her voice is unassumingly pretty and innocent, and her at-times gentle songs serve to pull the listener out of their shell and into her world.
"Float" comes out July 6 on both Dadstache and Records of Choice. For the most part, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter treats this endeavor as a solo pursuit, although there is some invited help in the mix.
"It's definitely a solo project," Caliolo says. "But it's also had some hands on it, like Andy Baker. He's been the drummer and one of my best friends since college."
Caliolo and Baker both played in the band Buckets while in school together, and with Baker now living in Baltimore, the two get together whenever they can. Baker drums on the majority of the tunes on "Float," Caliolo says.
It's all her own music, but she's had help from Baker as well as "Float" producer Matt Battle, who also drummed on the new album and did some synth and auxiliary stuff. And there was Kamara Robideau who played bass. Caliolo is happy with the results.
"I think it's come along nicely with the support of these other people," she says.
Whether you consider it solo or not, Caliolo's songs have a sweet magnetism. "When I first started writing this stuff in 2013 I guess it was maybe 'singer-songwriter,'" Caliolo says. "But I think it's changed a lot over time. I'm always thinking about other instruments — drums especially. I'm also a drummer, so I always have rhythm in mind. I have trouble hearing the bass, but I can definitely hear drums while I'm writing."
It's these drums, in and out of her head, and Caliolo's reverb-soaked electric guitar that really sets her apart. Her songs themselves are lovely and tempered with attitude, and it's that added push that makes her all the more compelling.
Caliolo says she hoarded the material that she would eventually perform as Calicoco while she played in other bands. She kept it to herself, for herself.
"After I finished with Buckets," she says, "I sang and played drums in Secret Pizza and drums in Pony Hand. And I was writing this stuff. I was writing for myself, a little bit like a diary, just putting into words everything that was going on in my life. Nothing monumental: life changes, love, learning how to be good to myself, to deal with anxiety. Learning how to cope with the everyday."
Part of this everyday is her writing process. Whether it's in the shower or the attic, she can't envision her life any other way.
"Music is the most important handle on my life," Caliolo says. "I don't know what I'd do without it. It's the best. It's very much a creative outlet, an outlet for stress, depression. I think I write normally when I'm practicing, playing upstairs in my attic. If I feel something good on guitar, I'll start singing and see if words that make sense come out. I've also written lyrics in the shower, it's the most relaxing place. There I get into a kind of meditative space."
Come on, now. It can't be all good, this music racket. But Caliolo insists. "I can't really see the downside to music," she says. "I can really only see the good things about it."