Saturday, November 29, 2008
A week after opening for a reunited Letters to Cleo at Bowery Ballroom in NYC, Cassavettes are hosting a holiday party at Church on December 19th. If their holiday photo is any indication — they are taking this festive party stuff seriously. I’m optimistic that the sweaters, mug and owl in the photo will be on stage during the show. Joining them that night are Age Rings, Rogue Heroes, and Quixote.
What: Cassavettes Holiday Party
Where: Church, 69 Kilmarnock Street, Boston (near Fenway)
When: Friday, December 19th
Time: Doors at 8pm, first band at 9pm
Cost: $10 at the door (buy tickets online until 4pm day of show)
I tell you, I'm getting excited for this holiday show. I just saw Girls Guns & Glory and Sarah Borges at Church last night, and I was envisioning the venue, filled with holiday decor. We'll dress it up - and maybe do a cover of Trans Siberian Orchestra's version of "Carol of the Bells." OK, probably not. But maybe. But most likely not.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thanksgiving is an important holiday. Loading up on carbs, calories, and tryptophan are all crucial components to hibernation in the winter months - and let's face it, the latter, nap-inducing property found in turkey has proved essential to our ability to get through a four-hour dinner with extended family members.
Thanksgiving is also a time to take stock; to appreciate what we've got. In that spirit, we asked some Boston-area musicians what they're thankful for, and who or what has inspired them this year. Many were kind enough to take time out from gorging themselves unconscious on stove-top stuffing (or maybe that's just us) and e-mail us back. Here's some of what they had to say.
"I'm thankful to the guys in Cassavettes for nurturing my newfound appreciation for Neil Young. I never thought I liked any of his music, as I was only familiar with the same three songs I had been hearing my whole life. But the guys insisted I take a hard listen to his work, and I'm better off for it."
MATT SNOW, Cassavettes
Actually, that's only a little bit of what Matt wrote to Jonathan. Here's all of what he is thankful for, pulled from our band email account...
What am I thankful for professionally? I would say its all of our friends who always come out to our shows. It doesn't matter if we haven't seen or talked to some of those people in awhile, they still come out and show their support for what we are doing. Its awesome to look out on a room and see a bunch of people having a blast with you. I'm also thankful for Glenn's van sticking with us. That great white beast has had some miles put on her in the last year, its a beautiful thing to see that majestic four-wheeled albatross of a car pull out of his driveway without a problem...most days.
I'm thankful to the guys in Cassavettes for nurturing my new-found appreciation for Neil Young over the past year. I never really thought I liked any of his music, as I was only familiar with the same three songs I had been hearing my whole life. But the guys insisted that I take a hard listen to his work, and I'm better off for it. It gave me a better grasp of the idea of the song as a complete work, and I think its helped us improve our overall sound.
Also, included in the article are our buddies like Kier of Three Day Threshold (who's photo ran with the piece...BIG SHOTS!) and Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills, but also this out-of-the-blue shout-out from Ward, which we appreciate.
"I am thankful for our fellow Boston band Cassavettes! Not only do we share a practice space with them, but they don't scold us when we leave the door open for weekends at a time or get angry when they find unexplained tissues all over the floor. (Also), Ray LaMontagne's new album, 'Gossip in the Grain.' Just flat-out beautiful music."
It's true, we have had some issues with them over leaving the door open (though those evaporated when Matt did the exact same thing -- and he's being too nice, we did scold them a bit), but at the end of the day, they are some of our best friends and we love them like brothers. We're certainly thankful for Girls Guns & Glory and Three Day Threshold -- two bands who have helped us grow, and hopefully we have helped, too. I am quite proud to call them our friends.
Personally, I am thankful for the dudes in Cassavettes. There's no one else I'd rather be doing this with. It's been an insane ride, and it will continue to be.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Don't like that photo? How about this one?
OK, so I always think everyone looks like everyone. I see people in other people perhaps too much. Or maybe not. Oddly enough, someone over on the NY Mets has a similar idea...
Monday, November 24, 2008
Alma mater review
One, Two, Three Times the Fun
Northeastern bands Plastic Reverie and Eroica took the stage in front of more than 50 students Tuesday during a free show hosted by afterHOURS. Veteran folk rockers Cassavettes, made up of one Northeastern alumnus and three of his friends from his hometown in Texas, headlined the event...
Headliner Cassavettes are not strangers to afterHOURS. The band members joked back and forth about the Curry Student Center, as well as their disdain of the Los Angeles Lakers, who beat their favorite team, the Dallas Mavericks, that night.
Led by dual vocalists Mike McCullagh and Glenn Yoder, Cassavettes blended an array of genres to form radio friendly pop rock. Also in the band are bassist Scott Jones and drummer Matt Snow.
"They draw people who enjoy a lot of different styles of music," said sophomore linguistics major Tina Campbell.
Although Plastic Reverie, Eroica and Cassavettes only play afterHOURS a handful of times each year, they said they are working to schedule more shows in the Boston area.
I don't recall any of saying that we are working on more shows there, but that's OK. We didn't talk to anybody from The News.
Coming attraction: NYC
Boston-based rock outfit Letters To Cleo will reunite after an eight-year hiatus for four shows this fall.
Original members Kay Hanley (vocals), Greg McKenna and Michael Eisenstein (guitars) and Stacy Jones (drums) will join forces with Joe Klompus (bass, replacing original bassist Scott Riebling) when the gigs get underway Nov. 8 in Los Angeles.
The reunion follows a brief impromptu performance last year during a Boston benefit, which featured the hits "Here & Now" and "Awake." Says Eisenstein, "We were excited, the crowd was excited, and from that point on, it just seemed like we should try to find a time to do it for real."
Letters To Cleo sprung from Boston on the strength of the 1993 album "Aurora Gory Alice," which featured "Here & Now." The group disbanded in 2000, with Hanley moving onto a solo career and such projects as the Disney Channel's "My Friend Tigger and Pooh" and voicing Josie in the 2001 film "Josie and the Pussycats."
-Laura O'Connor, Billboard
Looking for tickets? Get them here.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Halloween to Christmas
NOTE: I meant to post this a month ago, but the images were stuck on Scott's computer. That's life.
Skipping ahead a few months, from October to December, here are some working cheesy holiday greeting cards, care of Cassavettes.
If we could get down to New London once a month, it'd be great (we always have a good time there). We have devoted fans there, and The Oasis still ranks as one of my favorite places to play (even if we had a bit of an odd time last night, with some sickness amongst the crew). But being out with regularity would tighten the band up, and help us build a crucial following. We have plans for New London, Worcester, and possibly somewhere else. We'll see what happens. But why change a good thing? Sure, we can play other places, but if the crowd knows where you're going to be, and what to expect, then aren't they more likely to come out? That's the hope.
Anyhow, last night did have a somber note (besides the aforementioned sickness): Pat's streak of flipping off the stage ended. Well, sort of. He still SORT OF did it, but there wasn't the enthusiasm of previous visits. Must be the frigid weather. Or something.
SET LIST: A Hard Rain / Don't Get Me Wrong / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Lights On / On the Lam / Nothing on You / Cedar / I Come From the Water / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light
Also, Worcesterite has this post promoting our show there last week (you can also check out our post here). All the posts are quite nice, and we appreciate them, and one reader brings up a very good point...
We played with Cassavettes like a year ago, and thay were really good. That being said, I really don't get all that "Americana" hype about them. They just seemed like a regular-ass rock band to me, albeit a very good one.
Yeah, we don't get it either!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Won over by Worcester?
A pertinent question: When will we admit that Worcester can be pretty dang fun? We always complain about it, and wonder about its bizarre statue of a man/boy having sex with a seaturtle, and yet we are now on a roll there. We're like the Mavs, as of late. OK, so we have had a couple clunkers there over the last couple years. So what? Our last two shows have been two of the most fun I can remember. As you may recall, we had the time of our lives at WPI in October. And last night, we played a tiny bar gig at The Dive Bar, and it was such fun, and the people were so nice, and there were steak and cheeses all night (though I didn't partake), that it very well may become a regular gig. And why not? I'd love to go back to Worcester more. There, I said it. Happy now?
And hey, it couldn't hurt to build up there a bit.
SET 1 (from memory, I'll need some help from the other guys on this): There's a Reason / The Nadir / Madeline / The Devil's Arms / Someday Darling / Six Hours / Golden Fleece / Research Blvd / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / St. Anthony / Marie / You'll Be Crying Soon / On the Lam / I Come From the Water / Whitewashed
SET 2: A Hard Rain / Debts / Lights On / Don't Get Me Wrong / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light
Monday, November 17, 2008
Good times for a change
Friday, November 14, 2008
What could have been
Finally, my record has been sent to press. It should be done by early December and for sale by January. I hope to play a release show or residency that month. Stay tuned for details...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Give it up
As I've explained before, these college shows are good for money and networking, but can be disheartening. Not really the case last night, as we just kept it loose (perhaps too loose) and fun. We joked around a lot and didn't have much concern for sounding professional, but we needed to blow off some steam, I think. We have been working hard -- and things are about to get a whole lot harder (and more fun). We were at our best at two surprising moments, an impromptu version of "Someday Darling," and a perhaps Toadies-live-performance-inspired version of our old version of "I Come From the Water." Either way, this was one of our better shows at my alma mater -- and one of the most fun.
SET LIST: Nothing On You / Don't Get Me Wrong / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Madeline / Debts / Golden Fleece / On the Lam / Someday Darling / Cedar / I Come From the Water / Shotgun Wedding
I spoke with Todd and he is down for his role as co-producer of our record. Things are looking up. Plus, if I didn't mention before, we confirmed dates in NYC opening for Letters to Cleo on Dec. 11 and our re-appearance at Rodfest this January. Should be good.
Finally, tickets are now up for sale for our big holiday party, Dec. 19 at Church in Fenway. Also on board are Age Rings, Rogue Heroes, and Quixote. We need to schedule a photoshoot for our flyer...I need to get on that. Anyhow, pick up your tickets today!
Monday, November 10, 2008
You never know what to expect in NYC. Prior to the show, Matt and I discussed how much we like the venue -- Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn -- after the last time we played there, and how we'd like to make it a regular thing to go there. Afterward, the mood was quite different. The show is free, which we like, but we don't make anything except for merch sales, which is painful after the drive down. Also, the place is cramped and encourages folks to sit, which is never a good thing for our shows. While we will be playing the much larger Bowery Ballroom next month, it feels worlds away from where we were Friday night. We went on at 10 p.m., or were supposed to, but the band ahead of us started late, and ended later. By the time we started, it was 10:35 or so. At 11:05, the band following us rushed the stage to tell us we had gone overtime. We did one more song and cleared off quickly, though they apparently still took a couple jabs at us from the stage. Eh, whatever. That's an unorganized night of music for you. At least we got to hang on Pete's awesome patio with friends, get some photos taken, and drink some Brooklyn beer. What more can you ask for?
SET LIST (to the best of my recollection): Madeline / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / There's a Reason / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light
The funny thing about this Toadies show was that, at first, most of the reaction I got following the set wasn't a critique of our playing; it was people asking HOW we got the gig. A back-handed compliment, as Mike put it. Oddly enough, I recently explained that in this very blog. But most people were very positive about the set, including, but not limited to, my favorite Paradise security guy who told me that bills don't get better than Cassavettes/People on Planes/Toadies. I thanked him heartily. We tried to keep the set upbeat, but it marked one of our worst-ever nights for crowd interaction. We could get nothing going. But I'd rather have that than poor playing, and our playing was strong on this night. No major mistakes, save a missed beat at the end of "Don't Get Me Wrong," and plenty of good vibes coming back at us from the audience. It wasn't like the Kings of Leon show we played there last year, where the crowd was into it from the start -- more so, this was a challenge. The audience needed to be won over a bit more. And, judging from the merch sales, email list, and people talking to us, I'd say we did our job. The Toadies, by the way, were absolutely splendid and had a great crew with them. It really was like living out a childhood fantasy of playing with our idols. Plus, thanks to our passes, we got some of the best seats (well, standing room) in the house -- to the side of the stage. What a night!
SET LIST: Don't Get Me Wrong / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Madeline / Nothing On You / On the Lam / Lights On / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light
Friday, November 07, 2008
Feel the love
As for our set, we played well (save for a few times when Matt stopped playing drums -- he was quite embarrassed about it, not sure what happened there) and kept it light and loose. I was having a good time onstage, though a bit battered by a cold. All's well that ends well, and by the end of the set, we got a good, loud reaction. We chided AJ about his post-election shave (he's as smooth as a baby's bottom now, for the first time in...in...who knows?) and we had some laughs.
SET LIST: Lights On / Madeline / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Don't Get Me Wrong / Golden Fleece / On the Lam / New Song, Untitled / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light
Before the show, there was a bit of buzz for Jesse coming to town, and we got some accolades. From Cheap Thrills:
Let's hope Jesse Malin shows up tonight. I think he's postponed a couple different Boston appearances over the last year. It's cool that we can still check him out in tiny clubs where you could almost touch him almost as easily as his songs touch his fans. Malin has come out of the punk scene to make a rough-and-ready version of rootsy music. I haven't fallen under the spell yet, but guests on his last album included Ryan Adams, Jakob Dylan, Josh Homme (QotSA), and a guy known as Bruce Springsteen. Even if he doesn't show, Cassavettes and The Dirty Truckers, two of our best local rootsy rockers, could keep the crowd more than happy.
Plus, Pick of the Week at the City Pulse, whereas Ryan's Smashing Life took it one step further, declaring it Jesse Malin Week. I think Obama supporters may have some qualms with that... OK, that's the last one, I promise. For now.
Tonight, we head for Brooklyn and tomorrow we share the stage with the Toadies!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
We're gonna have a party
Cassavettes Apply Texan Whitewash To Boston Blues
Cassavettes (5c on Ryan’s smashing list) remind me not a little of early Black Keys, with their gristle-coated garage rock, spiraling guitar solos, and gruff vocals, courtesy of frontman Glenn Yoder. Theirs are songs built for bars filled with enthusiastic head-boppers. The Boston quartet also have a knack for the sort of indie pop so common on the CW, topping straightforward, hooky melodies with semi-narrational, nostalgia-tinged tales of botched love. Most of it is quite appealing, especially when the boys weave in banjo plucking or jazzy piano (or both, as they do on “Research Blvd”). The characteristics requisite for longlasting success -musical ear, fervor, compatibility with one’s bandmates, are clearly present in the members of Cassavettes, so the unfinished, could-be-better feeling I get from some of their songs is far from discouraging. I’m excited to see what lies ahead for them.
Most of it is fairly positive, with a dash of CW thrown in to keep us on our toes. Either way, an opinion is an opinion and we appreciate the post!
Cassavettes: the right choice for your American weekend
Years ago, I jokingly started a political action committee to elect myself president. This group, started in the fledgling Facebook days, included my best buddy Tim Coughlin as my running mate and counted Jose Juan Barea (now PG for my Dallas Mavericks, one-time Northeastern star) as a supporter -- I kid you not, TIM COUGHLIN. And yes, if you're wondering, amazingly I garnered one write-in vote in the 2004 election (no, it wasn't mine). Somewhere the physical evidence of that exists. The point is...
America put its muscle in the voting booths yesterday, drawing record turnouts. You've got to feel good about that, no matter where you lie on the ideological spectrum. That being said, let's put politics aside for a brief moment and talk about some big shows Cassavettes will be playing this weekend...
Tomorrow, Thursday, we will be playing in support of Jesse Malin, a member of legendary NYC punks D Generation and a buddy of Ryan Adams (who produced his solo effort). The show will be at TT the Bear's (10 Brookline St., Cambridge -- off the Central Square red line T), it costs $10. Tickets here.
This Friday, we will be back in Brooklyn at Pete's Candy Store (709 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg), a great little bar with good drinks and tasty sandwiches. Also, the stage, while tight, is quite cool. We play at 10 p.m. and, best of all, it's FREE. I think all Americans can get behind that.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Ah, to make a difference! I still have yet to have that luxury: After being a small splotch of blue in a big red sea in Texas, I'm now just another speck of blue in the deep blue ocean of Massachusetts. Either way, the state was going in a certain direction, and my vote didn't have a reasonable chance of really affecting that. But even so, it feels right to be involved.
I'm shocked when I hear people say in some snarky manner "no thanks" to voting. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to be involved in this process -- it doesn't take much and while it may not feel like you're making a huge difference (something we three former Texans/now Massachusetts folk can relate to, as I said), the last few years have proved quite the opposite.
So get out there, even if takes you awhile. You won't regret it.
In other, musical news, Ryan's Smashing Life has a post on the Jesse Malin show, going down on Thursday.