CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE
TOM64 | released: 30/01/2006 | 7 "
via Anost (Europe) via SCD (USA)
01 Young Shields
02 When You Were Mine
Owen Ashworth has spent nearly eight years crafting some of indie rock's most evocative narratives hidden behind a wall of tape hiss, blown-out amps, and half-broken Casio keyboards. With three increasingly accomplished full lengths under his belt, Ashworth seemed to take the Casiotone project to its logical conclusion with 2003's masterful "Twinkle Echo", behind which he spent the better part of a year touring across Japan, Europe, and North America. After a dormant, anxiety-ridden period of almost two years that found him questioning his allegiance to his keyboards and cassette-grade fidelity, Ashworth returns with a revamped and rejuvenated Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - one that finally eschews the confines of lo-fi minimalism for an expanded production palette.
In collaboration with producer/arranger Jherek Bischoff (of the Dead Science and Degenerate Art Ensemble), Ashworth presents Young Shields: a bite-sized introduction to the new Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. The title track is a driving, menacing anthem for liars, gossips, hipsters, and anyone else who ever cashed a rent check from their parents. With its cold synths, frantic drum machines, and pulsing bass undermined by Ashworth's signature monotone, "Young Shields" is a brilliantly bitter narrative that stands as the most confident and sinister track in the Casiotone songbook. The single's b-side is an electro reworking of of Prince's "When You Were Mine," which features guest vocals from Xiu Xiu's Caralee McElroy, and somehow manages to sound giddy and gloomy at the same time.
The CD version of Young Shields also features two beautifully retrofitted Casiotone classics; "Roberta C" appears here as a huge, swooning epic with a full string arrangement and a ridiculous, floor-killing beat, and "The Subway Home" has been reworked as a darkly beautiful dirge which pairs Ashworth's raspy baritone with Bischoff's skeletal contrabass arrangement. "The Subway Home" was recently selected for the soundtrack of Ralph Arlyck's feature documentary, Following Sean.
As a bonus, the CD version of Young Shields also features San Francisco experimental filmmaker David Enos' gorgeous, hand-painted video for "The Subway Home."
Young Shields is the first single from "Etiquette", the fourth album by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone that is coming out in March 2006.