Candy Hearts (band)

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Best Ex
Candy Hearts cropped.jpg
Best Ex performing at 2015 Warped Tour
Background information
Also known as Candy Hearts (2009-2017)
Origin New Jersey, New York, United States
Genres Pop punk,[1] power pop[2][3]
Years active 2009 (2009)–present
Labels Violently Happy Records, Bridge 9 Records
Members Mariel Loveland
Matt Ferraro
John Clifford
Bobby Vaughn (Touring)
Past members Greg Baldwin
Nick Noto
Christina Picciano
Christian Migliorese
Kris Hayes

Best Ex, better known by their former name Candy Hearts, is an American pop rock band from New Jersey and New York, formed in 2009.


The band was formed by singer/guitarist Mariel Loveland and guitarist Kris Hayes in 2009. Loveland was the only member of the band to see through every one of its incarnations. The band's first collection of demos, 'Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams, was released for free online in 2010 but never saw a physical release. It featured Loveland, Hayes (who also played bass on the recording) and drummer Louie Aronowitz. Aronowitz later left the band, and was replaced by drummer Nick Noto. They added bassist Greg Baldwin, and Hayes switched from the live bass player to lead guitar. Noto then left the group in 2011 and was replaced by Christina Picciano. A new song, "What I'm Made Of," was released for free on their Bandcamp page the same year. The band also released a split seven-inch with Sister Kisser, which featured two new songs. Baldwin departed after the sessions, and was replaced by Christian Migliorese.

This line-up would go on to record the band's second album, titled Everything's Amazing And Nobody's Happy on Kind of Like Records. Picciano was the next member to depart in early 2012, and was replaced by Matthew Ferraro. An acoustic EP, titled simply Acoustic EP, was released in March 2012. The song featured acoustic versions of the band's songs, and was released to raise funds for further recording and studio time. In the coming months, the band teamed up with producer and New Found Glory guitarist, Chad Gilbert, to record their EP "The Best Ways to Disappear". The EP was rated #2 on Kerrang's list of "Top EPs of 2012."

In April 2013, Migliorese was replaced by John Clifford. The band also released a seven-inch, entitled Miles & Interstates, via Bridge Nine Records that year. Kerrang rated the single, "Miles & Interstates," as #40 in their list of "101 Songs that Rocked 2013." 2014 saw Hayes, the only other original member of the band, depart to start a family and to be a stay-at-home dad. He was not replaced, converting the band into a trio.

In June 2014, the band released their third album, All The Ways You Let Me Down. The album was again produced by New Found Glory band member Chad Gilbert.[4][5] and charted on Billboard at #8 (Alternative New Artist Chart) and #32 (Heatseekers Chart). The band went on a tour in the spring of 2014 with We Are In The Crowd, William Beckett, State Champs, and Set It Off.[6] In the summer of 2014, the band embarked on a tour with Seaway, Stickup Kid, and Driver Friendly.[7] Loveland would later speak negatively of this tour, accusing Seaway's manager of abusive behaviour.

In the fall of 2014, the band toured with New Found Glory in the United States, Ireland, and England. Later that year, Billboard named them one of the top ten pop punk bands that people need to know.[8] and voted them one of the 35 bands you need to hear in 2015 [9] In December 2014, Spin Magazine named Candy Hearts' single "I Miss You" one of the Best Songs Of 2014.[10] All The Ways You Let Me Down was also voted as one of the best pop albums of 2014 by Billboard [11] and one of the top albums of 2014 by The Houston Chronicle.[12]

On May 5, 2017, Loveland announced that Candy Hearts would be changing their name to Best Ex [13] to help her cope with her personal anxiety. However, this was not a breakup and the band still plays their past catalog.


The band cites several, across the board influences. Loveland has cited acts such as The Breeders, Juliana Hatfield and Taylor Swift as influences.[14]


Current members

  • Mariel Loveland - vocals, guitar (2009–present)
  • Matthew Ferraro - drums (2012–present)
  • John Clifford - bass (2013–present)

Touring members

  • Bobby Vaughn - guitar, vocals (2014–present)

Former members

  • Kris Hayes - guitar, vocals (2009-2014), bass (2009-2010)
  • Louie Aronowitz - drums (2009-2010)
  • Nick Noto - drums (2010-2011)
  • Greg Baldwin - bass (2010-2011)
  • Christina Picciano - drums (2011-2012)
  • Christian Migliorese - bass (2011-2013)


Studio albums

  • Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams (2010)
  • Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy (2011)
  • All the Ways You Let Me Down (2014)[15][16]


  • Acoustic EP (2012)
  • The Best Ways to Disappear (2012)
  • Miles & Interstates (2013)
  • Acoustic Hearts (2015)


  • Sister Kisser/Candy Hearts (2011)


  1. ^ "Top 10 New Pop-Punk Bands: Modern Baseball, Candy Hearts & More - Billboard". Billboard. 
  2. ^ "Articles - DAILY RECORD: Candy Hearts - RVA Magazine - Richmond, VA". RVA Magazine. 
  3. ^ "Album Review: Candy Hearts - All the Ways You Let... - Already Heard". Already Heard. 
  4. ^ Zarrillo, Zack. "Candy Hearts Begin Recording Album With Chad Gilbert". Property of Zack. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Payne, Chris. "Candy Hearts' Mariel Loveland Talks New Album, Feminism & New Found Glory Tattoos". Billboard. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Zarrillo, Zack. "We Are The In Crowd, William Beckett, State Champs Spring Tour". Property of Zack. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Sharp, Tyler. "Stickup Kid, Seaway announce summer co-headlining tour". Alternative Press. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Payne, Chris. "Top 10 New School Pop-Punk Bands You Need To Know". Billboard. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "35 N.J. bands you need to hear in 2015". 
  10. ^ "The 101 Best Songs of 2014". Spin. 
  11. ^ "Best Pop Albums of 2014: Charli XCX, Tove Lo, Taylor Swift & More - Billboard". Billboard. 
  12. ^ "The top 10 albums of 2014". Miked. 
  13. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Nici Arsenault. "INTERVIEW + LIVE PHOTOS: Candy Hearts - New York, NY - 8/15/14 - Substream Magazine". Substream Magazine. 
  15. ^ Whitt, Cassie. "Candy Hearts - 'All The Ways You Let Me Down' album premiere". Alternative Press. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Weber, Laurel. "ATP! Interview: Mariel Loveland (Candy Hearts)". Alter The Press. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 

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