The fact that anyone can make a record in their home is an amazing thing. Completely liberating, it's allowed for music to be made outside of the narrow artistic restrictions of the major labels. An artist can find their own style without needing to bend to anyone else's conception of what should be.
And the fact that anyone can make a record in their home is a horrible thing. Just because "anyone" can make a record doesn't necessarily mean they should, and it's created a vast glut of mediocre to awful music that clutters up both the marketplace and cyberspace. I can't begin to count the amount of truly awful bands I've encountered in the past year online; there have been times that I wanted to email them, if only to tell them to "please stop."
Elizabeth & The Catapult are not part of that glut of mediocrity. Based in Brooklyn, they've just released a self-titled, self-produced debut EP (yes, recorded in their basement) that I've kept coming back to over the past couple of months. It's not the usual Brooklyn hipster indie rock - there's some actual talent here. It's ambitious and smart; the lyrics are clever, literate, ocassionally sexy and actually funny at times. Musically, the songs are arranged meticulously; rhythmically assured with a strong jazz feel, but always in service to the song. Elizabeth Ziman's vocals are delicate with an underlying strength underpinning them; there's nothing wimpy here. It's not a perfect EP; occassionally, the band becomes too cute for it's own good and I'd love to hear a couple of songs without the tasteful restraint that's all over this EP, but this is a strong debut and makes me look forward to hear what they're going to come up with next.
Elizabeth & The Catapult will be at Sin-e this Friday, November 17 at 8pm.
Download: "My Goodbye"
Elizabeth & The Catapult On MySpace
Buy the EP
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