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Alpha Cat | Pearl Harbor

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Rock: Modern Rock Pop: Quirky Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Pearl Harbor

by Alpha Cat

"Blends the skill of songwriters such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell with a love of soulful pop." Time Out London
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Something of Value
3:47 $0.99
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2. Once Upon a Time
3:04 $0.99
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3. Monsters (You can't do it)
4:48 $0.99
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4. Snow
4:46 $0.99
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5. Across the River Twice
4:44 $0.99
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6. All Mine
4:48 $0.99
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7. Sometimes When I Wake
5:30 $0.99
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8. Pearl Harbor
6:04 $0.99
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9. Straw Hat
3:29 $0.99
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10. Black Hole
3:41 $0.99
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11. the Truth
4:03 $0.99
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12. Thatched Roof Glass House
4:32 $0.99
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13. Cling
4:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
You were my very own Pearl Harbor
stopped me unaware
blew me out of the water
while I lay safe in my dark bedroom
you were coming at me from above

How do you take an image like Pearl Harbor and make it positive? According to Elizabeth McCullough, aka Alpha Cat, in imagining the song: "it occurred to me that this place was named Pearl Harbor before it was bombed, and that must be because literally, there were pearls there. And I tried to imagine what it might take to get back to this place being about treasure, rather than war and destruction."

"In the vein of the old New York City stuff - Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Television - Alpha Cat's approach to music shows more depth of thought than many of the teenage hucksters out there right now. Lyrically, the songs are rich, as the various stories unfold and play out... At the forefront are the vocals of Elizabeth McCullough, lazy and cutting like Patti Smith's, at times ethereal along the lines of Joni Mitchell or a quiet Chrissy Hynde... Like a poetry reading, she weaves her voice, alternating between a matter-of-fact speaking tone and low-key approach to singing, and one could easily imagine her sitting at a table, smoking a cigarette, and delivering the goods.
(Bill Ribas, New York Rock:March 2003)

Upon listening, it's apparent that the well from which Alpha Cat songs generally spring is longtime photographer McCullough's understanding of how equally both the absence and presence of light define the world we see. What else is clear is that this is a genuine exploration of the terms of emotional survival.How do you take an image like Pearl Harbor and make it positive? According to Eli"zabeth McCullough, aka Alpha Cat, in imagining the song: "it occurred to me that this place was named Pearl Harbor before it was bombed, and that must be because literally, there were pearls there. And I tried to imagine what it might take to get back to this place being about treasure, rather than war and destruction."



As for the inception of Alpha Cat; in the mid-90's McCullough ran into James Mastro, whom she had photographed while he was in Hoboken, NJ stars the Bongos. She asked him to listen to some songs, and he happened to be in the market for photos for his current group, Health and Happiness Show, which at that time included Television guitarist Richard Lloyd. McCullough and Lloyd got to talking, with the result being that Lloyd played on her first studio demo. The Mastro connection also led to a friendship with Television bassist Fred Smith, who agreed to produce a new demo, which turned into the CMJ Nationally charting ep, "Real Boy". Smith went on to produce, with McCullough, the full length Pearl Harbor, as well as a track for the Lauren Ambrose starring indie flick "Swimming."

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Reviews


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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 "oh....one of them." Nice to meet you, too.

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. 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.

Fast-forward five months and I'm having a Big Night Out in London. First stop is the Shepherd's Bush Empire to watch fellow Hobokenites Yo La Tengo mutate from shy neighbors into full-blown stars, then on to a Soho club to see a set by this friend of the obnoxious Yank I'm with. ...which of course turns out to be Madame Must-To-Avoid. The 12 Bar Club is an odd place to play-the audience is either looking up into the performer's crotch or down on their pate, while the musician pours his or her heart out to a 17th century wooden beam. But she has the nice little crowd's rapt attention and her smoky voice sounds strong and confident. Most of the set comes from a new full-length CD called "Pearl Harbor" and it's all going very well. Samy Bishai has joined on violin (that same day, as it turned out), plus there's an ernest back-up vocalist introduced only as Derek who Sonnys (sunny?) for Elizabeth's cloudy Cher.

After her show (split, man!), we drink too much, pick-up some fellow strays and hit all the after hours places that will take us in (what the fuck are you doing?). The evening ends (run, you idiot!) when the sun pulls the plug. "Ground Rush"? - Chris Butler
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New York Rock, Bill Ribas

In the vein of the old New York City stuff – like Patti Smith, Velvet Undergroun
In the vein of the old New York City stuff – like Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Television – comes Alpha Cat, with an approach to music that shows more depth of thought than many of the teenage hucksters out there right now. At the forefront are the vocals of Elizabeth McCullough, lazy and cutting like Patti Smith's, at times ethereal along the lines of Joni Mitchell or a quiet Chrissy Hynde, but always attracting your attention. Like a poetry reading, she weaves her voice, alternating between a matter-of-fact speaking tone and low-key approach to singing, and one could easily imagine her sitting at a table, smoking a cigarette, and delivering the goods. The goods, of course, being 13 songs that reel and roll, featuring quite a few guests on various instruments, and the sonic variety is just another in a series of good reasons to grab this disc and give it a listen. Lyrically, the songs are rich, as the various stories unfold and play out.
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Laura T Lynch of Kweevak.com

Haunting, funky, captivating adult alternative.
Alpha Cat uses traditional rock and roll instruments interspersed with the vox, upright bass, tenor saxophone, mandolin and the trombone, which gives their songs an even richer fuller sound. The instrumentation throughout Pearl Harbor is tight and proficient and blends well with McCullough’s intriguingly haunting vocals and visual lyrics. Pearl Harbor is an explosive CD that should put Alpha Cat at the forefront of the music scene
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Scott Homewood

sprightly new wave pop circa the late '80's and is bouncy and clever as hell
Hard to make out if this is a band or a collective of like minded musicians as about fifteen participants are listed and in alphabetical order making it hard to distinguish who's more involved than the rest. One thing  for sure - this is not Americana or country in the least. This is sprightly new wave pop circa the late '80's and is bouncy and clever as hell. While this might confuse more country-oriented consumers those interested in quirky pop are recommended to give this a listen. Those interested in fiddles and pedal steel are invited to look elsewhere. Pretty good album though, with some great lyrical twists and very compelling music.
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Omar Perez

builds on what Joni Mitchell /Chrissie Hynde were known for
Jersey's Elizabeth Mccullough takes on what artists like Joni Mitchell and Chrissie Hynde were known for, and builds on it on "Pearl Harbor." If it's gifted songwriting that one is after, one needs to go no further than "Pearl Harbor," where the opening "Something of Value" blooms with a driving beat and some country twangs thrown into lush choruses. Mccullough's rich, deep vocals --- which echo those of Hynde---chronicle tales of everything from losing family ("Snow") to one's vulnerability ("Pearl Harbor"). "Monsters (You Can't do It)" stands as a dark pop anthem, while "Across the River Twice" bears a Mazzy Star quality. Like a well-woven garment, "Pearl Harbor" stands the elements and doesn't wear thin.
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