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.


October 26th, 2007 , by

Photo by Shana Novak

If you’ve heard Castanets’ new In The Vines then you know the depth of each song on the album, the way that they stretch and meander from speaker to ear. Blog Tiny Mix Tapes used these words to describe it: "Indeterminate, dream-state guitar music, the sound of the in-between, the almost-but-not-quite." Several musicians share in this consensus, and they’ve released cover songs and remixes of tracks from In The Vines on various electronic web logging outlets that demonstrate the flexibility of Castanets’ writing. Here’s a handy reference list:

"End Bugs," Marla Hansen covering "Sway" on Stereogum
"Strong Animal," Rafter  on Paper Thin Walls
"And the Swimming," Ellul on Each Note Secure
"And the Swimming," Phosphorescent on Pitchfork
"This is the Early Game," Son Lux on Stereogum

Haven’t heard the album yet?  Fret not. Download.com is streaming the album for free here. Buy the CD or LP here.


October 22nd, 2007 , by

Photo by Shana Novak

If it’s not already, tomorrow you will be able to find Castanets’ remarkable In The Vines on the shelves of your neighborhood independent record store. You can, of course, also order it here for just $10 (+SH) and we’ll rush it out to you.

In the meantime, you can still listen to the album. Music blog Paper Thin Walls sat down with Ray Raposa, frontman for the band, and Rafter, the record’s producer. Not only is the website streaming the entire album, but Ray and Rafter also provide a song-by-song commentary for what Paper Thin Walls calls a Listening Party. Party indeed. Hearing Ray talk about his own music is a rare treat. Listen and read here.


October 17th, 2007 , by


Photo by Mia Ferm

In their Illegal Leak of the Week column, Seattle’s weekly paper The Stranger called Castanets’ frontman Ray Raposa a great American songwriter. But there is no need to scour a leaked copy; we’re leaking it official style here on Asthmatic Kitty, one week early. Castanets’ new album, In the Vines, is now available for purchase in our shop for just $10 (+SH), or from the album’s page here.

Or, you can buy it from Ray himself by catching the Castanets on tour. Castanets will be travelling the Midwest and Eastern States, from Washington, DC to Athens, GA. See dates here.

"This is the Early Game" (Download)


August 27th, 2007 , by

While the Castanets gear up a major fall tour to promote their new album, In the Vines, they thought they’d knock out a few stops while they’re around. They’ll be playing in Brooklyn, NYC, and Philadelphia during mid-September. See here for dates.

In the meantime, our own in-house remixer Rafter thought he’d remix one of the tracks from the upcoming albums. The result will make you dance even if you don’t want to. Stream it below, or read Paper Thin Walls‘ review here. They gave it a 6.5, but an astute commenter observed that it’s "less one for the brain and more one for the booty." Yep.

And finally, our Official Policy and Position is that we maintain a 100% Spoiler-Free Atmosphere around here. You didn’t see anything about Harry Potter 7 on our site, did you?

But we can’t help but post a photograph found by MySpace member Litten Missa Röd Stöveln. Click more to see the full image. We’ll say nothing else, except that you will see someone actually grow a full beard in season four of Lost.

"Strong Animal," Rafter remix of Castanets


August 15th, 2007 , by

Ray Raposa of Castanets is nearly finished with his own album, In the Vines (due in October), but he lent a hand to Texan band Shiny Around the Edges to produce their cover of Willie Nelson’s "I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye."

The song will appear on a limited 7" due soon and later in video form. You can hear the band on their MySpace page here.


July 24th, 2007 , by

Never ones to pass up the Sunshine State, Castanets are spinning a quick tour of the Florida panhandle and its close neighbor, Georgia, with new Dead Oceans signees Phosphorescent. Future tour dates include Pensacola, Panama City, and Athens, Georgia. Then, just to keep everyone on their toes, Castanets will be in Brooklyn on August 11 with Calla. Click here for tour dates.

If you aren’t in Florida, Georgia, or Brooklyn, and if you’re one of the proud owners of a vinyl playing device (a record player), we have released Castanets’ first album, Cathedral, on beautiful vinyl. The album is available for order now, for $12.00, by clicking here.

  "Three Days Four Nights" Castanets, Cathedral


June 29th, 2007 , by

With their third record, In the Vines, Castanets have crafted a deeply psychological and intimate ten tracks of music. This album is perhaps the most haunting of their three, but also the most reassuring. Though In the Vines peers around corners and disappears from peripheral vision, we expect its shuffling and meandering will shadow listeners for a very long time. Inspired by a Buddhist fable, Ray Raposa completed the album just after three thieves mugged him outside his Bedstuy apartment in Brooklyn. And regular readers will recall that other thieves recently stole all of Castanets’ gear while on tour. That this album’s release is imminent is good news in a wake of bad.

Castanets will release the album in the middle of an appropriate season, autumn, on October 23, 2007. Jason Munn of the Small Stakes has delicately designed the cover art. We will be including a limited edition, embossed o-card with the first pressing.

Watch this space for tour dates and preorder information, and click here to go to the release’s page.


June 24th, 2007 , by

Photo by twixx

The other night, someone stole the Castanets’ gear. If you have any information, or see their stuff show up on ebay, please contact us at info at asthmatickitty dot com. Because the band has received some offers of monetary help, they’ve set up a PayPal account to cover the costs of replacing the equipment. If you’d like to make a small donation, please send PayPal money to mutualincarnation at gmail dot com. If the money raised exceeds the cost of replacement, they will give the money to a charity.

Jana Hunter, who has been touring with Castanets, writes:

"So, the story is, last night we played in tucson at solar culture. afterward, we loaded our stuff up, went downtown, had a drink, and went to a house to crash on the floor. en route, we damaged a door, making it such that the door won’t close and such that eventually, before we return the vehicle to the rental company, we’ll have to pay on the order of 2 grand to replace the door.

seeing as how we had an unsecured vehicle, ray (castanets) slept in the van. sometime during the night, some brave soul(s) very quietly opened the back door and took what they could carry. we assume there were more than one of them given all the gear they managed to walk away with. we’re gathering what serial numbers we can, but in the meantime, here’s a rudimentary list."

Click more for total list and serial numbers. Thanks for your help.

JH gear-
fender classical guitar (ser.#9505151116)
new boss 20xl loopstation
boss reverb/delay pedal
original digitech whammy pedal
original b k butler tubedriver overdrive pedal
peavey 6 mixer (ser.#k0344300)
shure beta 98/s
custom flashlight circuit-bended thing

Castanets gear-
late 60’s blue fender music master guitar
line 6 delay pedal
boss tremolo
mutron volume/wah pedal
boss tuner pedal
digitech metal master

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