Aug. 01, 2012 - Issue #876: The Art Of Serving
Sat, Aug 4 (8 pm)
With Daydream Johnny, Banshee, Action News Team
Elevation Room, $7
'The folk thing is fun, but it's also fun to smash a guitar once in a while," Phil Holtby admits. And fair enough: he seems a fellow pretty certain about both matters.
Holtby's early recordings, released as DoT, strung together threadbare folk sentiments with a lone acoustic guitar and a hypnotic vocal delivery. His current project, Catgut, attends to the latter, smashier impulses. It makes a retro-tinged rawkus that builds a musical totem out of the early, grungy aspects of '90s alternative-rock—distortion pedals, pummel drumming, a lingering sense of disaffection. (As if in tribute to its heritage, the about-to-be-released Fightpicker album is coming out on cassette tape as well as download.)
Catgut's amped-up approach may not be a permanent sonic reform for Holtby, he notes, but it is where he's currently culling inspiration from.
"I'm still doing the folk thing," Holtby says. "but that's on a break right now. Everything's devoted to Catgut. It just started with a love for—more an interest I guess—of '90s music: Guided by Voices, Sonic Youth, and big interest turned into I found out I couldn't just write folk songs."
An initial Catgut EP, Goosegg Smooshkeg, saw release back in January, but Fightpicker is a more fully-shaped and realized album, with Holtby backed by Jesse Silkie and Andrew Furlong in power-trio configuration.
About to set out on a Fightpicker tour, Holtby notes that he's taken far longer to record and perfect his rock songs than he ever did with his softer catalogue, but that the delayed process seems to imbue them with a greater staying power.
"Normally a folk song just kind of happens in a few minutes, but these songs, I toil over for months and get the distortion out and shit like that. ... but these are definitely a lot more crafted.
"I get sick of my songs pretty fast," he continues. "But these ones I didn't mind playing over and over again, and I still don't mind and can't see myself minding, so it actually worked out pretty well."
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy