Posts Tagged 'Casiotone for the Painfully Alone'

One for tonight

(Photo Spapax)

“New Year’s Kiss” by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone:

From Etiquette.


The Casiotone lives on

Advance Base – Shea Stadium – December 2nd

Last December, Owen Ashworth played his last show as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, a musical project he had been working on for over ten years. Now, about a year later, he’s starting to build back up a repertoire, and stopped by Shea Stadium last night to showcase some new tunes with Jody Weinmann.

Sure, it was a little sad to not here songs like “New Years Kiss” and “Bobby Malone,” but at the heart of it, there’s a lot about Advance Base that is reminiscent of his previous project. Owen still sings deeply personal, confession-filled songs about various episodes in his life, and of course, he’s still surrounded by a mass of wires and keyboards. Only now, a bunch of the songs are duets and include the auto harp – nice additions, if you ask me.

Here’s “David Allen”

And here’s “Christmas in Oakland”

According to Owen, Advance Base will be back in New York in a couple of months with a debut album. Until then, we’ve at least got some 7″s. (I’m pretty pumped about my selection – a square-shaped 7″!)

End of the year best, round one: Shows

I’m starting with this list because it is perhaps the easiest to compile. More to come.

There are 19 here. Deal with it. They’re also in descending order, for dramatic effect.
(The asterisks link to the appropriate show review.)

19. Warpaint – Music Hall of Williamsburg, December 2nd *
This was another surprise. Though I had heard the name Warpaint thrown around for a few months, I knew little about them going into the show, but they had me bewitched with their alternating vocals and mesmerizing minimalism.

18. Seabear – Mercury Lounge, March 25th *
I really can’t get enough of these quaint Icelandic bands, homespun sweaters and all. The harmonies and the impressive range of instruments in this large band leave me with an extra spring in my step. I want to get inducted into their family. You don’t think they’d notice if I joined in, do you? Maybe I could play the tambourine… or just pretend to sing.

Seabear (Photo Thomas Helbig)

17. Land of Talk – Bowery Ballroom, November 6th *
I really loved this album – the lyrics especially, so seeing Land of Talk this past November was a real treat.

16. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the Cairo Gang, The Babblers – Town Hall, December 8th *
Surprisingly, this was my first time seeing B’P’B. It was a long time coming. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening, however, was The Babblers – yet another of Will Oldham’s special projects, featuring the irresistible Angel Olsen on vox.

15. tUnE-yArDs – The Bell House, February 5th *
With her wild gaze and tribal-influenced songs, Merril Garbus is a force to behold. From what I heard, she stole the show from the Dirty Projectors when she opened for them. Somehow, that doesn’t at all surprise me.

tUnE-yArDs (Photo Jessica Amaya)

14. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Mercury Lounge, October 14th * (an interview with Owen)
I’ve seen Owen more times than nearly everyone else (3 or 4 times this year alone), and every time is a treat. This show was an extra treat because it was one of his last performances as CFTPA… ever! (I also attended his last NY show the next night, but the Brooklyn Masonic Temple was not the right environment, and too many people were there to see the other bands on the bill – ahem, Dan Deacon and Lightning Bolt). What a sweet man. I look forward to hearing his next musical project.

13. Scout Niblett and Holy Sons – The Mercury Lounge, October 6th *
After the disastrous Cat Power-esque performance in 2007, I’m certainly glad I gave you another chance, Scout (aka Emma). I love how raw her voice is and how she effortlessly shifts in tone from the sweet, innocent girl to the big bad wolf. Though I had never heard of them prior to the show, Holy Sons wowed me so much that I left with two albums.

Scout Niblett (Ian Crowther)

12. Lost in the Trees – The Mercury Lounge, August 23rd *
These guys from North Carolina are every bit as mesmerizing now as when I first saw them in 2008. Their moody orchestral arrangements and haunting lyrics make me shiver every time.

11. The Blow – Glasslands Gallery,  May 13th *
Oh, Khaela. Your banter about the lost album with the unnamed starlet (Lindsey Lohan) may not be true, but it makes for quite an entertaining schtick. I love her beautiful, awkward stage presence and the candidness of her songs.

The Blow (Photo Devyn Manibo)

10. Beirut – Music Hall of Williamsburg, July 5th *
The man has French horn tattoos. Enough said.

9. Belle & Sebastian – The Williamsburg Waterfront, September 20th *
This was perhaps my most anticipated show of the year. I’ve spent countless hours listening to Belle & Sebastian. They were just one of those formative bands for me. Too bad it took me like 6 years to actually see them. The show was good, and the band was charming. Sadly, it just never could have lived up to my expectations.

Belle & Sebastian (Photo Amanda Hatfield)

8. CocoRosie – Music Hall of Williamsburg, September 15th *
This was kind of the wild card of the year. I wasn’t sure if I’d want to storm out of the room or take the sisters home with me. The latter was more accurate. I was pretty much speechless by the end of the night.

7. Andrew Bird – The Guggenheim, August 5th *
Andrew Bird… at the Guggenheim. The set-up alone is drool-worthy. Then there was the ‘forest floor of horns’ and the multi-level rotunda, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Andrew Bird (Photo Macey Foronda)

6. The National – Radio City Music Hall – June 16th *
I’d say I preferred their show at the Bell House or BAM earlier in the year (whoa, I saw them 4 times)… except for the fact that this was the show when Matt Berninger left the stage, climbed over the seats in my aisle, and landed in mine. The feeling of his hand on my shoulder as he steadied himself and the knowledge that I could have easily reached across the three-inch divide and caressed his cheek, are almost too much to handle.

5. DM Stith + Silje Nes + Inlets – Littlefield, June 13th *
Again, a fantastic line-up and a small, intimate show (with seats!). This was my first encounter with the Norwegian beauty Silje Nes, and I hope to see her many more times. And David Michael, might we go on a picnic sometime?

4. Laura Marling – Le Poisson Rouge, February 12th *
I love this girl… even if her songs strongly suggest that she doesn’t believe in the emotion. She is miles in front of her British contemporaries (Noah and the Whale, Fanfarlo, Mumford and Sons). Laura, I foolishly invite you to ditch Marcus and trample on my heart instead.

Laura Marling (Photo kDamo)

3. Efterklang + Sam Amidon + Daniel Bjarnason – Le Poisson Rouge, March 3rd *
I loved each of these acts individually. Together, they made for one of the most memorable shows of the year. What a talented array of musicians. Even though shows at LPR can be a bummer due to the pesky 2-item minimum at tables, I’d gladly hulk in the corner for you any day, Sam.

2. Atlas Sound – The Bell House, February 3rd *
Remember when the Bell House consistently hosted great musicians? I really hope these winter shows become an annual tradition as Bradford hinted a couple of weeks ago. I love Deerhunter, but I feel like Bradford would be dead without Atlas Sound to channel his surfeit of creative energy. Wonderful, heartfelt show – a nice contrast to the cold, dark February night.

1. Sufjan Stevens + DM Stith – Beacon Theatre, November 14th *
How could this not be the best show of the year? One minute I was dancing and laughing with glee and a few songs later, I was silently sobbing. Simply amazing.

Sufjan and his ladies (Photo Tammy Lo)

Big news, pt. 2: A brief interview with Owen Ashworth

So it’s official. After thirteen years of playing, recording, and touring under the moniker Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Owen Ashworth will be playing his last show (as CFTPA)  on December 5th of this year… but that doesn’t mean he’s quitting music for good.

Owen Ashworth of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (Photo Thomas J. Hartnett)

Here’s what he had to say on his website:

You may have heard that I’ve decided to end Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. I’d just like to clarify that this doesn’t mean that I’m quitting music. I love writing & recording songs, & I hope to make lots more records in my lifetime. But, after nearly thirteen years of being the dude from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, I’m ready for a fresh start & a new challenge. So, after December 5, 2010 (the thirteen year anniversary of my first show), I’m throwing out the old songs & I’m trying something new. I’ll have more news about new projects and plans in the coming months.

*Read the rest of Owen’s open letter here, on his site.

I caught up with Owen before his recent show at Monster Island basement to get the inside scoop, and here’s what he said…

Check out the final tour dates here.
(He plays two shows in NY – one at Mercury Lounge on 10/14 and the other at Monster Island Basement Ridgewood Masonic Temple on 10/15).

Big news from Owen Ashworth of CFTPA

Over on Todd P’s site, I was sad to see the following:

Before Sunday night’s show at Monster Island Basement, I talked to Owen about the announcement, and footage from the interview will be going up within the next week or so, but for now, I’ll just leave you with this short clip from the show. (To see the full review, head over to BV.)

More to come!

Windy city invasion

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone + Magical Beautiful – Mercury Lounge – April 27

Ahhh, Chicago. Home of our president, the Bears, and more importantly, the two bands that are the subject of this post. With two separate shows on the agenda on Tuesday night, things got started early at the Mercury Lounge.

Magical Beautiful (Photo Leslie Deckard)

I had never heard of the opener, Magical Beautiful, but when I saw a melodica propped up on Alance Ward’s drum kit, I figured it was probably a good sign. Experts in sound manipulation, the four members of Magical Beautiful did some interesting things on stage. At times, it was hard to tell where one song stopped and the next began. Often, one song seemed to flow into the next without so much as a pause to separate them. The only indication would be a swift change of tempo.

Another focal point of the band is lead singer Tyson Torstensen’s strange voice. Delivered mostly in monotone (but with occasional reaches to a higher octave), Torstensen’s voice seemed like it would have been a good fit for one of those Soviet pop songs. OK, so I don’t know much about Soviet-era pop music, but I did have fun imagining Magical Beautiful being commissioned to play it. Torstensen’s vocals are often indecipherable and chant-like anyway (case in point – “Wings in the Sky.”) Who’s to say there isn’t propaganda embedded within their lyrics?

Believe what you will about long, unwieldy band names. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone has a nice ring to it. It’s descriptive, fitting for the music, and it rhymes. Sure it’s not neat or succinct, but then neither are Owen Ashworth’s songs.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone's Owen Ashworth (Photo Hannah Persson)

I’ve seen Casiotone for the Painfully Alone a few times now, but Monday night was the first time I saw Owen playing with a band, which made for quite the change. On one hand, it was good to hear the music more flushed out. In addition to the usual – a keyboard and some pre-recorded tracks, the stage was flanked by a guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone, and drums for the majority of the Casiotone set. But on the other hand, I have to say the show was a bit less personal. Owen writes such intimate and honest lyrics that it’s a bit strange to have other people there on the stage to partake in the music. There were also fewer entertaining breaks between songs. Traditionally, one of my favorite things about Casiotone shows is hearing Owen’s anecdotes, but there was little time for that on Tuesday night (perhaps due to the double booking and time constraints). Luckily, Owen’s songs each paint a vivid scene, and the lyrics in his songs are much more entertaining than most artists’ banter. In fact, the lyrics are so personal and confessional in all their awkwardness that I feel as if we are friends even though we’ve spoken only briefly. Even though I haven’t never had my mom in on me with a boy or bought a matching outfit for an estranged friend, I find myself identifying and emphasizing with the songs.

Owen played a combination of newer songs and a handful from 2006’s Etiquette (“Nashville Parthenon,” “I Love Creedence,” “New Years Kiss,” and “Bobby Malone”), which were all crowd pleasers. Sadly, there was no time for an encore despite the fact that the audience would have gladly stuck around for more.

"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being