October 7th, 2008 , by

Cover by Gala Bent

On Tuesday, Castanets released their fourth album, City of Refuge. You can purchase the CD here for $10, and the LP for $12. And today we announce Dub Refuge , a dub-ambient revisionary history of City of Refuge from Ero.

Says Ero: "I wanted to make sounds from his music that respected the realism and naturalism of the source material (hums, buzz, the acoustic signature of motel and cheap microphone) while adding in additional depth of reference and providing some clouds of unknowability, in order to emphasize the more spiritual and aggressively ‘out’ aspects of the music." Read more from Ero here.

Dub Refuge releases November 4th. Castanets are also setting off on a fairly broad tour, showing up from Chicago, to Portland, to San Francisco, to DC. See details here.

In the meantime, we have created a Castanets "collection" of sorts, if there can be such a thing, which consists of Castanets’ first three full-lengths (Cathedral , First Light’s Freeze, In the Vines). It’s just $15, and while supplies last, we are including a limited edition tour EP that Castanets split with Shapes and Sizes. You can buy it by clicking here.


September 23rd, 2008 , by

Former Castanets member, musicologist, and all around friend to the label Benjamin Piekut recently shot a series of videos with the criminally under-recognized Henry Flynt. We here at Asthmatic Kitty are always interested in turning our friends and visitors onto new things, so we wanted to call your attention to these videos. 

In Ben’s own words:
"Equal parts oral history and polemic, the video might be of interest to anyone working on the 1960s and 1970s, music and politics, the avant-garde, or the sectarian Left. In each of the short scenes, Flynt stands in front of an important building or location and recalls one or more visits to the site and why it has been important in his own life."

The project can be viewed here on Youtube or on Vimeo here.


September 18th, 2008 , by

Photo by Matti Mattila

Both Castanets and My Brightest Diamond will wake up today and find themselves across the sea. Instead of waking up in their own beds, they will awake in Europe. Like little Risk ® soldiers, they will spread throughout the continent, leaving behind good music in their wake.

Castanets’ journey starts on Friday in Sevilla, Spain, and then will pass through the Netherlands, including ZXZW in Tillburg (see Pitchfork article here) then through Germany.

MBD will begin her set of European dates tonight in Manchester, UK, gypsy through Belgium, Germany, Holland, France, and then close it out in Spain. (Not in Europe? That’s ok; you can watch her fantastical new music video here.)


June 26th, 2008 , by

Several months ago, Ray Raposa exiled himself to a Nevada desert motel room for three weeks. Equipped with the barest of recording equipment, the frontman for Castanets proceeded to put to tape what would become City of Refuge, the band’s newest full length release.

Despite slight additions by a few friends of Castanets after the motel hole-up, the result is a sparse, isolated piece of music, one that evokes the landscape where Raposa recorded the album.

We will be proudly releasing City of Refuge on October 7, 2008. Click here to see the album’s info page.


June 23rd, 2008 , by

Illustration by Johnnie Cluney

We could go on and on (and on) about how terrific Daytrotter is, but we’ll just say that they’ve worked their writing and illustrative magic on Castanets once again. This time, they reached into their hat and wrangled out a couple of tunes from a still unannounced Castanets album due in October, as well as a Tom Petty cover track. Capturing the essence of Castanets is a rare skill. Not to be missed; read and listen here.


May 10th, 2008 , by

Photo by Mia Ferm

Raposa is magical.  He can be in two places at once. Be sure to catch him on tour in Europe.  This time he will bring his sounds as far east as Croatia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.  Castanets will be performing as a two piece with Meg Noe accompanying Raposa on violin and voice.

And screenings of the DVD Tendrils will be happening around release date, including a One Week Only feature screening now, May 9th to May 16th on if you can’t make it out in person. Click here to watch.

May 16th – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight w/ Barghest
May 17th – Indianapolis, IN – Big Car – w/ Actuel and Grampall Jookabox
May 20th – Austin, TX – End of an Ear
CANCELED – May 20th – San Francisco, CA – ATA – w/ Lazarus – CANCELED
May 28th – Bloomington, IN – Cinemat – w/ Resting Rooster (Sponsored by Landlocked Records)
May 29th – Athens, GA – Flicker – w/ Hope For Agoldensummer and The White Oaks


May 1st, 2008 , by

Photo by Meg Noe

Castanets, specifically Raymond Raposa and Meg Noe, are now in Europe, despite having had to cross the ocean. They’ll be there until the end of May traveling from Germany and the Netherlands through the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and then back to Germany and the Netherlands. You can see details here. If you’re in one of the cities where Castanets will be, and need help convincing your friends, email us at wordofmouth at asthmatickitty dot com and we’ll see what we can do to help.


April 19th, 2008 , by

Photo by Mia Ferm

In the lifespan of almost every album, there comes a time when artist and label must plan out a music video. But when that time came for Castanets’ most recent release, In The Vines, the conversation went very differently. Raposa’s belief that the recorded version of the song should never be the definitive take meant that to create a standard fare music video was counter-intuitive to spirit of the album. Instead, Tendrils was born.

Directed by longtime friend of the band Mia Ferm, Tendrils is an exploration of the the complicated community and culture that sinew and contextualize Castanets. Sans pretension but with an expert eye, Ferm captures artists from bands like Osso, Dirty Projectors, Phosphorescent, Marla Hansen, and Vanishing Voice covering songs from In The Vines. It is one quarter documentary, one quarter home video, and half of something else altogether.

Click more to see the trailer, edited by Zack Bent, or here to preorder it for $14 (+SH).

Castanets: Tendrils [Trailer] from Asthmatic Kitty on Vimeo.


February 7th, 2008 , by

The superb online music video site, La Blogothèque, has covered a few of our artists before (namely Sufjan and My Brightest Diamond). But they’ve never taped anyone like Ray Raposa of Castanets. In these cuts, the rough of Raposa meets the refine of Le Marais; he even plays "First Lights Freeze" for three French gentlemen in berets who yelled at Ray as he passed by, wanting only a birthday song. They don’t stick around. In another video, a mysteriously-shaven Raposa holds company with strangers and empty glasses, and in a third, a couple kids carelessly massacre some hedges while he dons guitar and amp to play "Cathedral 4."

These videos are only available for download in a variety of formats for a limited time, so do so with haste here.


January 29th, 2008 , by

Somewhere out there in an undisclosed location is a tiny studio that captures and collects exclusive music from touring musicians. It’s a secret, but luckily for us this "secret stereo" also has a not-so-secretive website.

They’ve managed to snag three special tracks from Castanets, and boy are they gems: The Castanets manage to somehow make Waylon Jennings’ "Mental Revenge" even darker, (see a YouTube video of the original here), a track from a future Castanets release makes an appearance, and they play through In the Vines‘ "Sway" with uncalculated self-deconstruction.

One of Secret Stereo’s writers, Dylan Metrano, also wrangled an interview from Castanets members Ray Raposa and Jesse Ainslie. Raposa talks about not going back and playing to aging Goths. Jesse takes the high road with a discourse on sonic communication. It’s a good read.

You can access the mp3s and the interview on The Secret Studio here. Castanets are playing in San Diego on Wednesday (30th), Long Beach on Thursday, and Friday in LA. See here for specifics.

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