Alpha Cat | Real Boy

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Rock: Americana Pop: 80's Pop Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Real Boy

by Alpha Cat

"a Pretenders tough, Television urgent, Liz Phair-meets-Michael Stipe vibe" Aquarian Weekly
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ground Rush
4:49 $0.99
2. Horse to Water
3:29 $0.99
3. All the Right Things
4:33 $0.99
4. 7 Year Itch
3:08 $0.99
5. A Real Boy
3:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I know it's never been easy
put together with sticks and branches
if you can just reach a little farther
you'll burn back into a real boy
we'll turn you back into a real boy...

Alpha Cat's Elizabeth McCullough had an addiction to music from childhood, but found an early calling in the visual. She spent a few years exhibiting her photography and shooting bands for Boston music rags before landing in Atlanta as a staff photographer for Creative Loafing. It was there that she found herself shooting two groups a night and knocking back beers with guys like Husker Du, the Replacements, Violent Femmes and REM. One night she gave Michael Stipe some poems she had been working on. His response was, "Why don't you write your own songs?"

And though she had been "banging on an acoustic guitar" since her teens, that was a far cry from seeing herself as a musician. Still, a switch had flipped; and the songs started to come, if not the confidence needed to perform them for others. But in the late-90's McCullough ran into an some old acquaintances. One of them, James Mastro, whom she'd photographed as a member of Hoboken, NJ's Bongos. She asked him to listen to some demos, and he was in the market for pix for his group, the Health & Happiness Show, which at that time included Television guitarist Richard Lloyd. McCullough and Lloyd got to talking, the result being that Lloyd played on the first studio demo of her songs. The Mastro connection also led to a friendship with Television bassist Fred Smith, who agreed to produce a new demo, and ended up co-producing two Alpha Cat cds.

The "demo" became 1999's ep "Real Boy," which with only a few copies sent to college radio ended up in the CMJ National Add charts not once, but twice, receiving more adds than such formidable and more widely distributed offerings as Beck's "Midnight Vultures," and Metallica's "S&M" and went on to spend 6 weeks on the national airplay charts... for an ep - somewhat unheard of.



to write a review

Chris Butler For Get Rhythm (uk)

funny, intense and surprisingly beautiful
I first met Elizabeth McCullough a/k/a Alpha Cat about six months ago at the Guitar Bar in Hoboken, New Jersey, and right away there was trouble. She was strumming a sunny little number called Black Hole and when someone told her I played drums, she rolled her eyes and honey-venomed " of them." Nice to meet you, too. I'd taken her "Real Boy" EP that day, and kept going back to it's funny, intense and surprisingly beautiful "How the fuck do you steer this thing called Life?" songs. "Ground Rush" stayed with me, which I later learned was about sky-diving doubling (tripling? infintupling?) as a metaphor for transformations we are hurtling towards and powerless to resist.
The trouble is that I am irresistibly drawn to chronic cranks with invariably disastrous psychic-romantic-economic-everythingic results, and if they also suffer from Music Sickness and can pack their hurts, hopes and terrors into powerful songs, then I'm really a goner. And Elizabeth does this kind of work quite well.

Gail Worley

a gorgeous, devastating requiem with the feel of a daydream
This is a great performance of an equally fantastic song. Alpha Cat, a New York based, mixed gender quartet (three ladies and a guy back-up singer) build an ambience quickly with an intro of woozy congas (recalling Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight") and maracas that add subtle texture to a southwestern guitar motif. Elizabeth McCullough's vocals sound similar to her obvious influence, Beth Orton on her breakthrough album, Central Reservation. When McCullough sings, "Who was that woman I saw you with last night/Or does it really matter/You know that you left me so long ago" her phrasing paints a clear picture of a heartache -- fresh out of the box -- and the subsequent resignation that the relationship has, in reality been dead and gone for quite some time.

"All the Right Things" is a gorgeous, devastating requiem with the feel of a daydream, buoyed by an undercurrent of tribal rhythm that provides a cathartic experience for both listener and performer. For fans of Beth Orton, Rita Coolidge, Phil Collins, Beck’s Mutations, Joseph Arthur, etc.

Free Times Weekly, Columbia Sc

edgy, left of center pop
Free Times Weekly: Columbia, South Carolina,4/4/00. “Alpha Cat, led by Elizabeth McCullough, writes some strong songs in an edgy, left of-center pop kind of way...Who do they sound like? ... if you're in dire need of reference points, think of a grittier Aimee Mann with a Television cover band backing up. Once in awhile, as on All the Right Things, McCullough summons up a sound that blends the haunting Americana of Gillian Welch with the minimalistic pop of bands like Dream Syndicate and Mazzy Star, and that is quite a convincing combination.” Dan Cook

Aquarian Weekly

a tremendous talent
6/14/00 Aquarian Weekly: New York, New Jersey
"Vocalist/guitarist Elizabeth McCullough layers the ballsiness of Patti Smith, the brassy sass of Chrissie Hynde, and the inward-searching focus of Natalie Merchant over a Pretenders tough, Television urgent, Liz Phair-meets-Michael Stipe vibe that incorporates dashes of rechurned Buffalo Springfield guitarisms (including a nod at 'Mr. Soul') courtesy of Richard Lloyd on the amazing 'Ground Rush,' Rich Feridun on the enticing 'Horse to Water;' and co-producer Fred Smith on the sullen '7 Year Itch.' A tremendous talent, has the whole story while a quick listen is yours, Al Muzer
Read more... - Kelly B.

jangly, twang-infected pop “Elizabeth McCullough's rich alto voice croons through jangly, twang-infected pop. Lilting verses and soaring bittersweet choruses stab her introspective love lyrics straight through the heart.” Kelly B.

rootsy little number
(Three & 1/2 Stars) (Horse to Water) “Singer/songwriter Beth McCullough leads a folky, poppy band of NYC hotshots on this rootsy little number.”