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City cat collective

City Cat Collective is a hub where musicians from all over the world, come together and support one another in our quest to get our music heard! With members in different regions and continents, the strength of CCC is our reach. Every one of our members is an ambassador to our mission.

Our mission is simple: "Work together and to support one another. To seek out talent and find other likeminded artists" - City Cat Collective

Myth / Music... We speak with: Davinski 

I've noticed Bang The Bay event fliers all seem to feature a picture as the main graphic. When I saw a flier with a man's side profile picture, I didn't think about it. Business as usual. Then I realized that it was a birthday party show and the guy in the picture was the birthday boy. Ok, that I could wrap my head around as to why he's on the flier. But wait, there's more… The birthday guy, who's picture is on the flier was also performing at the show. Now, I understood. 

Even though I hadn't attended any Bang The Bay events, I knew they taped them and posted them on social media. This allowed me to check them out later so I could get a glimpse of the bands who performed. When I saw Davinski perform, I liked his stage presence. He marched up and down that stage like Chris Rock stalked the stage at his early HBO showcase. 

When we got to play a show together at the Ivy Room, I got to witness first-hand the frontman charisma that Davinski brings. Before that show, I went through all of the artists music to get a sense of what their music was about. Davinski's music definitely stood out. His music is genuine. He plays with great feel and most importantly great instincts. “Rhinestone Cowboy” is a track which showcases his abilities beyond post-punk/new wave.

I had questions. You know what this meant:

CCC - What were the early days of music like for you??

Davinski - I started playing the trumpet when we moved from Alaska in a summer band program, I was a natural and immediately fell in love with music.

CCC -When did you know you wanted to devote your life to music

Davinski - I was first chair in marching band in High school, in the 10th grade got bullied to quit by a mean Senior, I quit, so my teacher got me an audition for the local university jazz band and I got 1st chair, it was there I discovered Ska, New Wave and Jazz and that's where my journey started.

CCC - What were your favorite bands you were a part of in those early days? What moments were extra memorable.

Davinski - The Cure , REM and the Church, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Madonna, to name a few. I saw REM in Boulder Colorado in 1984 and it was like a bomb went off in me and decided to move to California, got a track scholarship at Santa Rosa Junior College and there I really was allowed to find myself and my style, I moved to LA soon after to pursue music.

CCC - What instruments do you play? Are you an instrumentalist, have a main instrument or just focus on singing?

Davinski - I play keyboards, trumpet and a little bit of everything. Not well to play live though, I quit everything to focus on learning production because I was a one man show until recently. I prefer singing but am working on bringing in some percussion.

CCC - Who are the singers that inspired you to be a frontman? Is there someone you low key emulate?

Davinski - I loved Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots, His I don’t give a fuck approach to moving around in a un choreographed way really inspired me, Now I love watching Post Malone his moves are weird and real. Madonna also, say what you will but she paved the way to be yourself and to making it happen her way and showing that not being the best dancer or singer is not what it's about, it’s about giving it your all authentically!

CCC - What’s your approach when in the studio? How does a track start?

Davinski - 6. I always start with the beat, I put a drum track down, then add some scratch vocals and then guitar and bass and finish with keyboards. All my albums to date are written and produced by little ole me only!

CCC - How would you describe your sound?

Davinski - My sound leans heavily New Wave/Dance/Rock. I even have a Country Album!

CCC - What’s next for Davinski?

Davinski - 8. We're headed to San Paulo Brazil to open for Elegant Trash in August for a 6-show tour, Lee Austin Hoffman literally saved my career last summer!  Then in September The Haute Pantzzz (my band) and I are recording a new album! I am so excited to finally collaborate with other musicians, they are all amazing at their craft and the album is totally going to be pure fire!!!!!!!!


Keep up with and follow Davinski!!!

Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

They say chivalry is dead... Charm World says otherwise.  

Making my way through our Bay Area music scene has been a lot of fun. I've seen the name Charm World pop up on a few fliers. I spoke with the singer and requested some material so I can put together a write up for them. Whenever I get an artist/band to review, I'll look into them like a stalker. I check their website, discography, old reviews, and any information that will assist with my writing. 

Charm World appears to be a relatively new band. They have a few 2023 releases on Bandcamp. I couldn't find a website. All the information I found came from their social media pages. Of course, all the things I couldn't find don't matter. The only thing that matters is the music and their music is solid. The three piece consists of singer songwriter Bruce Rayburn guitar/vocals. Cynthia Louise bass/backups and Troy Norman on drums. 

They describe themselves as a power trio. I agree with that. I would add that they play with psychedelic garage rock flair akin to some of the great bands from the late 60's. Listening to their Bandcamp was an absolute pleasure. Their melodies are catchy. The songwriting is sound. The songs vibe. "Trouble" is a standout track. There's some good old fashion rock n roll riffing going on. Cynthia's backing vocals in the chorus feel like a retro organ synth pad. The tag line "I'm in trouble" is universally relatable. This single is a must listen. 

We've included some links and a song for you to get acquainted with the band. They will be playing at The Kilowatt on July 1st. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

Keep up with and follow Charm World!!!

Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp


Bloggers Chronicles: GO TO THIS SHOW!!! #008 - The Dollyrots, Go Betty Go, Cut-Rate Druggist, DJ Sid Presley at Bottom OF THe HIll, June 18th!!! 

What I am most excited about tomorrow is that I finally get to see The Dollyrots live performance. I know their recordings, songwriting, branding, fan engagement are exemplary, and I expect their live show to follow suit. I'm very curious as to the kind of gear they use. I will definitely be geeking out, peeping their setups / settings and how they work the room.  Needless to say, I am very excited to see them since I have been closely following since October. 
Touring partners and show support are Go Betty Go. I know the name; I've seen it on fliers over the years. As a matter of fact, I'm listening to them right now as I write this to get acquainted. Go Betty Go are from the Los Angeles area. Their sound is straightforward punk rock, with thick distortion played tight. As I listen to the band's Spotify, every song that's played is solid. They mix up tempos and melodies for a well-rounded listen. The music's intensity never lets up, delivering a pedal to the metal kinda of vibe. I think I found a new band to follow. 
See you at the show!!! 
Keep up with and follow the Dollyrots!!! 
And of course, follow Go Betty Go!!! 


Bloggers Chronicles: GO TO THIS SHOW!!! #007 The Rinds, The Vaxxines, Local By Laws, The Krypters at Baltic Kiss June 27th. 

I saw a post circulating on social media in support of Oakland's Stay Gold Deli. I must admit, I have yet to attend a show there, but I have dined there a few times. During the covid lockdown, going there was of our thing. We would bring the pup along and chill on the benches. There were other things that drew me to the Stay Gold Deli support show. Handsome Hawk is a promoter whose fliers I've seen around. I've been wanting to check out his events. Since he was putting on the benefit show, I felt like this was an opportunity to knock out two birds with one stone. 

I arrived at the Ivy Room a little late but caught a few bands. The Rinds was the band that I really dug. They played tight and looked like they were having a blast. A very memorable moment occurred and is now a story I frequently share. One of their guitarists broke a string. The band kept playing. Shortly after he breaks another string. He asks if anyone could offer a replacement guitar to no response. A few songs later, he breaks another string. Finally, someone offers him a guitar, he turns it down. He was like "fuck it, we got two songs left. What's the point..." He rocked that three-string guitar. If that's not punk rock, I don't know what is. 

The Rinds play tight melodic punk rock. Their live show is a must see. Looks like you're in luck because the band will be playing at The Baltic Kiss on Thursday June 27th. The event is all-ages with The Vaxxines, Local By Laws, and The Krypters. Doors at 8pm, bring 10$!!! 
Keep up with and follow The RInds!!! 




Oakland's Tahaj The First is all about the music.  

I always assume that everyone who has a serious project going on, would then be self promoting all the time. You got to right? How else will others know? I have a few bars in Oakland that I call home. I usually stop by for a round and leave. One and done. My days of hanging out at bars for hours are far behind me. When frequenting Room 389, there's a bartender who's always all business. We've exchanged a few words but not much. When scrolling through FB, I see the bartender pop up on my suggested friends list and he's all about music. Music production, emceeing, artist development...what doesn't he do? 

I reached out to him about doing an interview and he kindly agreed. Doing my usual research into an artist, what I found was nothing short of amazing. Starting with his beats. Textured, rich, and tasteful sounds were on tap. The orchestration of everything is top tier. Music not only reminds me of other music but of feelings certain songs evoke. For example, I vividly remember the first time I heard Black Star. The albums music production left a great impression on me. 90's west coast production is another prime example of memorable, soul hitting production. To me, this type of production features a story within the music a listener makes their own. Tahaj The First and his music production evoke those emotions. Just like a great chef puts their soul into their cooking, so does Tahaj The First. 

CCC - Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and the moment you knew making music was something you would pursue in your life forever. 

Tahaj - I am 47, and was born and raised in Santa Cruz, ca. I  lived there until my late teens, at which point I started to do some moving around...spent some time in LA, Baton Rouge, NJ/NYC, before settling in Oakland about 25 yrs ago. 
My first inkling that music was "my thing", came sort of unconventionally. I am nowadays more known for the production work I've done, but actually spent the first 15 yrs or so of my "career" as an Emcee strictly, and it was through my love of language, oration, poetry and the spoken word, that I was drawn to hip-hop and rapping as an art form. I had always (and still am), been impressed by accomplished orators, preachers, lecturers, etc...and even had a collection of speeches from MLK, Malcom x, diff presidents, etc, on cassettes, that I would listen to. So initially, is what was more the rapping, then the beats and music that attracted me. In addition, my mother had a fairly large record collection, much of which I would later discover was EXACTLY the type of stuff that was being sampled...R&B, Soul, Jazz Fusion, and psychedelic rock, so I grew up on the basic "sound" that hip-hop draws from, playing in my living room.
CCC -How does a song start out? Do you have a formula or is it sporadic? 
Tahaj - A song can start one of 3 ways basically....either
A) I hear a sample/loop that I really dig 
B) I find drum sounds, and create a "drum break" from scratch, that is super infectious, and inspires me 
C) I approach it as "work", and just deliberately, without any real inspiration, MAKE myself sit-down and produce something, usually starting with some simple chords from a synth or keyboard.  I have found that if one is waiting for the inspiration to get started, one can't legitimately control ones creative output, so, sometimes you gotta just "pump something out" in order to stay in practice, and to have things "in the can" waiting for potential use.
CCC - Who are the music producers you look up to? What is it about their sound that impacts you the most?

Tahaj - Producers that inspired me, in the sense of shaping the sound that I myself ended up creating...would probably be Peterock (for his use of very "lush", melodically driven, "pretty" samples), along with Diamond, and Large Professor, (for being the first dope "rapping producers" that I remember).....DJ Premier (for his economy, doing so much with so little, and his DRUMS)...and Maybe Madlib, (for his "use whatever is at hand" approach to the gear he uses, and his eclectic choice and use of samples)

CCC - You operate the Drum Dealership label, studio, development agency. Is there an artist that blew your mind as far as talent who walked through your doors?

Tahaj - As far as Artists that have "blown my mind"... honestly, most, if not all, of the members of the circle of friends and artists I have worked with, have "blown my mind" at least once. It would be difficult to pick someone out. I do recall once having all 5 original members of the Freestyle Fellowship, along with some other mutual friends, in my studio, all at once, one night after a show they did. They were a very "important" group to the culture, and I was a huge fan of them as a group in highschool,  a follower of their solo careers, and fairly close friends with one of them, so it was a kind of historic occasion for the fan boy in me, lol. We never got around to making any music that night though, so unfortunately, I have no record of it.

CCC -  There's several sides to your discography. I picked up on a street side and something I would describe as a  blend of adult contemporary hip hop / trip hop / world beats. Was this a natural/conscious transition or do you simply put, make both?

Tahaj - I think that the different "aspects" one gets from me musically, are probably just reflective of the different facets of my personality. I guess part of the point, however deliberately, is just to kinda do my part, to show that for most humans, myself included, we live in a world of dualities and nuances, that are way more authentic, interesting, and relatable, than the series of tropes, and one dimensional, stereotyped movie characters that we are often presented with as hip hop fans. "The Regulars" project, in particular, started as kind of a concept, more than a group, about "blue collar rap" or, "rappers with day jobs", and approaching the making of hip-hop like an NBA journeyman/role player, versus the playmaking starter. A "Regular rap for regular folks" kind of thing, less focused on bragging and materialism, and dancing, and more focused on discussion, reflecting on life, and pleasant soundscapes, that still BUMP, all without being pretentious, or overtly political.
CCC - What are your pet peeves when working with someone in the studio?
Tahaj - My main studio pet peeve, is being there for hours, for what ends up being no reason, and not getting anything done. Super annoying.

CCC - What advice would you give someone who wants to start making beats?

Tahaj - My best advice would be to first study the discography of people who do what you want to do, and try and find out more about how they went about making that music at that time, but also, how they do it now, and stay in contemporary.  Also..focus on the music...learn more about music itself, equipment, history, as much music theory as you can find the patience and comprehension for (which for me, isn't much, lol) and try not to focus on acceptance, "likes/follows/comments" and just do it, at first at least, for yourself, and your friends and peers.

CCC - Animal Slavery is an album about how we abuse animals every day via our supply chain. That's a fearless record. How did the concept come up and was there any concern of how it would be received by listeners?
Tahaj - Animal slavery is really something my homie Z-man deserves at least 90% of the credit for, conceptually. Zee has been a vegan for over 30 yrs, at least, and At the time the project was initially thought of, I was also exploring my dietary options, and was living a vegetarian lifestyle, so when approached by him with the idea, it sounded interesting. We had just finished pushing our last album together "Flea Circus" (amazing album, if I dare say so myself) which was also highly conceptual, with more of a focus on ideas around race and pop culture, so we were kinda "in a groove". It was a subject (animal rights) very close to Z's heart , and knowing him as I do, I knew it would be phenomenal, and I had been setting aside and sending him beats for general use, for about a decade, so..he just picked out, and wrote to diff beats from various folders, until he has an album. Then I, and DJ Pause, along with zee, went through and added some things,... Intro, interludes, sound efx and skits, etc,...I had not a whole lot to do with the general direction, other than some beats, in my mind, that suggested certain themes to me, like the "whales and dolphins song" for instance, I believe was a suggestion of mine, cuz the vocal sample just reminded me of whale song. I never thought too much about how the album would be received. I assumed that there would be a small, predisposed vegan audience that would love it, if course, but I wasn't, and still am not, quite sure how it will be understood by the casual listener, but hopefully, it invokes thought, if nothing else.

CCC - What's next for Tahaj The First. 
Tahaj - Next up? Well,.. the animal slavery album is coming out on double, blood red vinyl, at some point this spring, which I'm excited about. I've been kinda laying low music wise ever since making this album, but am about to release some instrumental stuff, revamp my social media presence, and am currently working on stuff and sending it to the guys from the classic SF hip-hop group, Bored Stiff, in the beginnings of producing an album for them, which will be really, really cool to be a part of. I'm many ways, making music is just a cheat code for the fan in me to meet and be around artists I 
Tahaj does a lot musically. I hope you peep out his work and get acquainted with an artist doing it for the love of music. His bandcamp page ( Music | Tahaj The First ( ) is the best way to check out all thath he's created. If you see him at Room 389, make sure to say hello.

New Music? Yes, Please! #009 - Dr Monika Demmler 'Too Good'  

Social media... you've been too good to me. Once again, social media works in my favor by connecting me to amazingness. While scrolling my life's minutes away, I stumbled upon art.  As art filled images flowed to my screen, sounds followed. It took me a minute to decipher what exactly was going on. This wasn't your typical band account. For one, house music/techno was promoted alongside proto punk rock music. As I would learn, Dr Monika Demmler is from Berlin. She DJ's deep house / techno and plays rock n roll. Now residing in L.A., Dr Monika Demmler continues to create music and art. Let's go over her single 'Too Good'. 

Her sound is raw rock n roll. Pick an era, it doesn't matter. Bits of 13th Floor Elevators, Iggy Pop, The Ramones all shine throughout her discography. On 'Too Good' I pick up on the house music connection by her use of the guitar's harmonics plucked in a pattern giving a beat making software effect. Here, nuance reigns supreme as textured sounds shine with simplicity like Christmas lights in the morning fog. Vocally, Dr Monika rides the track like a wave. Her vocals nudge the music into position by accentuating its dynamics. Adding density to the soundscape is an organ playing behind the guitar. Working in unison are the drums and distorted rhythm guitar. Together, they are the muscle, the blue-collar crew that came to do the dirty work. 

After learning a little about Dr Monika Demmler and listening to her discography. I can see the connection.Those who love house / electronic music approach rock n roll songwriting a little differently in my opinion.  Her rock n roll sound has a bit of a lofi grit whose edges get softened by her vocal approach. 'Too Good' is another page written in the book of Rock n Roll. 

We've included ‘Too Good’ below!! You're welcome.

 Keep up with and follow Dr Monika Demmler!!!

Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | TikTok



Fake Your Own Death in the land of drummers of plenty.   

Today is Wednesday, January 17th 2024 and tomorrow Fake Your Own Death will be playing alongside The Ferocious Few. As I was writing for our recent article of The Ferocious Few, I thought it would be a nice touch to write some thoughts I've always had when reflecting on Fake Your Own Death over years. 

I met Fake Your Own Death through a recommendation when booking a show at the Rickshaw Stop. I dug the music and tried to keep track of their shows. Their lineups those first couple of years are a little hazy but I vividly remember seeing them at The Hemlock and they rocked. Some crazy antics guitar guy was going nuts, and the drums were banging!!! That was when I met August Churchill and I believe the first time I saw Dan Francisco playing drums with the band.

Knowing now what I know about the importance of a great drummer. Terry has been blessed finding bad ass drummers. With Dan Francsico on drums, the band had edge. Of course they did, Dan is a big-time rock n roll drummer. Playing with power, Dan drove the music in a way only a few could. When describing Fake Your Own Death to others with Dan Francisco on drums I would say, they are kind of of like the Foo Fighters song 'Everlong'. 

I remember with Fake Your Own Death still going on, Terry wanting to try a different style of songs and started El Terrible. The songs leaned indie, played with feel and a softer touch. This is when I met Scott. Scott paints with an artist's touch and his versions of the old songs merges the two styles of the bands into who they are today. His style of play opens more terrain for the band to venture. 

When one falls over and stumbles into only great drummers to collaborate with. One could say you are in a drummer's version of a place of plenty. Fake Your Own Death have recently released a new EP. They play out often. On Jan 18th They will be main support at Bottom Of The Hill with The Ferocious Few (headlining) and EBTE (opener). 

Keep up with and follow Fake Your Own Death!!!



Bloggers Gotta Blog!!! Exclusive interview with Serbian music blog: Thoughts Words Action.  

Submitting one's music to blogs is tedious. Especially when starting out. Music submissions via email seem to be sent into a void in the cosmos where no response escapes. Thank goodness we now have Submithub and Musosoup to assist us. Eventually, we start to get a feel for the terrain and begin to develop a list of blogs who are receptive (or friendly) to our outreach efforts. 

Somewhere along the way, I came across As I began to follow them, I loved how they represented punk rock but also review other genres / subgenres. Much like small venues across the world that give artists a place to showcase their talents. I consider equally as important by providing a place for new and veteran artists to spread the word. 

We reached out to for an interview and they kindly accepted!!! 

1. When did you decide you wanted to officially start Thoughts Words Action and why did you choose that name? 

Hello Izzy! First of all, thanks for having me on your blog. Thoughts Words Action started operating in November 2018 and has been active since then. It's the name of the Satanic Surfers' song, taken from their album "Unconsciously Confined." I had a couple of names on my mind, but somehow, this one resonated with me the most. The song talks about taking a stand against oppressors, and since I firmly believe punk rock should be the catalyst for social changes, I thought it was quite a good fit for the blog name. 

2. What led up to that point? How did you get there? 

It seemed like a natural progression. I have been active as a musician and music critic since the early 2000s, performing and attending gigs, collecting and writing about records for so many local and international punk rock zines. Besides writing for printed zines, I started writing for Helly Cherry webzine around 2007 and established The Anarchist Blog later on. After that, I published a couple of issues of Herbivore, a printed zine dedicated to animal rights, veganism, environmentalism, etc. As my music taste expanded over the decades, I felt the urge to initiate a music blog focused on punk rock but with a definitive extension towards other music genres. 

3. Your music blog is very active. How do you manage the time and filter through all your submissions? 

It's all about properly organizing and scheduling posts. I tend to keep things organized as much as possible, but there are times when all the hell breaks loose. Thankfully, my profession (graphic designer) holds me tied to my PC regularly, so I always have time to filter submissions, features, news, etc. 

4. Do you have any "do's and don'ts" tips for those of us who submit music? 

Just a polite approach is more than enough to spark fruitful collaboration. For example, I prefer physical releases (vinyl especially) over digital releases, so artists/bands willing to send their music that way will always be my top priority. Of course, that doesn't mean bands should feel discouraged. They can contact me anytime, and we'll figure something out. 

5. Are there any days you take a break from the blog? 

I usually take breaks during the weekends when I prefer long walks, cooking vegan meals, listening to records, or reading books. It's a "me" time (laughs).

6. Do you have a music project you are working on? 

I'm working on several music projects, but nothing worth mentioning right now. I am currently interested in many music genres. Who knows, maybe I will do some mash-up in the near future. 

7. What band has come across your desk that you enthusiastically enjoy sharing with others? 

Tearjerker, Green/Blue, Marathon, First Flame, Kiper, From Within, Reflection, Dead Dog Summer, Urlik, Girls In Synthesis, The Atlantic Union Project, Don't Sleep, Ponor, Scowl, Koalra, Shortwave, and Lifeguard are just some of the bands that I can currently think of, but there are always more. 

8. What's next for  

Same as usual, plus some new sections and features on the blog in the future. 


I really appreciate Djordje Miladinovic of for taking the time to answer our questions. If you love music, you should definitely checkout and support a blog that's helping others for the love of music. We all win when we help each other. 
Keep up with and follow !!! 


New Music? Yes, Please!!! #008 - Dear Banshee "Smell The Smoke" 

Dear Banshee proves with their new single they don't need an entire kitchen cook. They only need a few choice ingredients. "Smell The Smoke" rides dark grand piano keys into a chilly night as the serene yet ominous vocals hang in the sky like a blood moon. Piano and vocal melodies may dance in synchronicity, but the ribbon on the track is the lo-fi Atari-esque sample spinning with fireworks splendor.


Keep up with and follow Dear Banshee!!!

Bloggers Chronicles: GO TO THIS SHOW!!! #006 - The Ferocious Few at Bottom Of The Hill, Jan 18th. 

When I think about all of the music artists' names I've seen on fliers and marquees over the years, safe to say I've lost track of a few. Thanks to social media, this happens less but it still happens. I believe in late 2000's I heard about The Ferocious Few before I saw their name on a flier. It was just like hearsay... "Dude!!! There's this two-piece fronted by this guy Francisco who's out to make it happen!!! He's busking, he's everywhere... he's all in for his band!!!". 

That's all I knew about The Ferocious Few for a while. Then there was what I would describe as a tremor. A rumble in the music community that got people talking. I've felt this rumble three memorable times. 

1. when The Morning Benders got signed 
2. when Wallpaper performed on late night TV
3. when news broke that The Ferocious Few would tour with Cindy Lauper
From the moment I heard the name I've always paid attention but never really listened to his music. In my mind, I was just cheering for another local artist. 
With his upcoming show at Bottom Of The Hill on Jan 18th with Fake Your Own Death and EBTE, the time has come to take a listen.
The music pops. Song after song, as I'm playing through the face of their Spotify page, every song hits. To simplify my listening experience, I focused on their 2010 Juices LP and then to their self-titled 2020 LP. Juices carries big motor pedal to the metal energy that's scorching. Ten years later, their self-titled The Ferocious Few LP doesn't lose any intensity. However, with age and experience, new elements are seamlessly folded in like a perfect cappuccino.
The Ferocious Few have something special going on and it's no secret. Having played alongside Cindy Lauper, The Growlers and Billy Idol didn't happen by luck. I hear some Johnny Cash, retro, rockabilly, indie, punk rock all rolled together and played loud. It's true, I'm late to the party and I'm glad I finally made it. 
Keep up with The Ferocious Few!!!

Lee Austin Hoffman and Elegant Trash are making it happen in the East Bay.   

A subject I've written about many times is how great it is to connect with others on social media out of the blue. This particular connection I find even more interesting because I can trace back to where it all began. Growing up in Seaside / Monterey California, I was a fan of Psychosomatic. I got to know them and became friends. The mighty algorithm at some point suggested I become friends with Infirmities. I saw they, like Psycho were from Salinas so I followed them as well. Got to support our locals. I remember when Infirmities played the Berkeley beach show. I saw the videos posted and that's around the time, Elegant Trash was suggested by Instagram. 

As I began to follow Elegant Trash aka Lee Austin Hoffman. I couldn't help but notice that he has his hands in a few projects. My curiosity grew and I decided, why not reach out and ask him some questions. So, let's get to it…

CCC - You're a part of a couple of monthly events (i.e. Bang The Bay Solar Van Saturday's, 1st Wednesday at the Ivy Room, Live on KALX 99.7 FM). How did these come about. 

LAH - Solar Van Saturdays was started to be a covid safe way of having shows but turned into a twice a month community service lasting more than two years. The Ivy room is my favorite east bay venue, and I asked them to have a residency to help support them and more of the community, I got asked by DJ Liz to be featured on Kalx and could not turn down the opportunity. It is my favorite Bay area radio station.

CCC - You've been putting out music for a while. What are your top three albums you have released. Of the three albums you've chosen, what do they remind you of at that moment in time.
LAH - I just released two albums this month called (Remix)which is 4 of my older songs but recorded with my current band to feature the new members with some of my favorite Elegant trash songs and (Momentum) Which has 10 brand new songs that were written in the past 3 months by my current members. Both of these are my favorite right now and of my past albums I really liked (Dose of Sunshine) which featured my wife Nathalie on vocals as well were we sang love songs to each other. I love singing with her as well.
CCC - Where do you like recording your music. When you're in the studio, what's step one.
LAH - I have recorded 17 Elegant Trash albums all over the place in the bay area, At places like Tiny Telephone and Tones on Tail studio, and Donut Time studio but my favorite place right now is with my friend Gabe Gunns at The Love Retreat in Mill Valley. He has recorded 4 of my albums. I record most of my albums live so my first step is to get the band comfortable in a live setting and just go at it.
CCC - Who's the local band whose music you enthusiastically share with others and what song of theirs should we play.
LAH - Lazer Beam, Lost in Oblivion
CCC - What's next for Lee Austin Hoffman and Elegant Trash.
LAH - The next step for me is to start releasing live music recorded from our residency at The Ivy room of all of the bands who play with us and start making compilation albums. We are also in the process of writing another album and will be back in the studio at The beginning of the new year. We play every first Wednesday at The Ivy Room and Every First and third Saturday at Solar Van Saturdays but also will be on lots of radio stations as well coming up soon!!

We have included a single by Elegant Trash for your immediate introduction. I went through their Spotify and old school punk along the lines of Crass was what their music reminded me of. I am someone who is very into melodic stuff and found a bit of that flavor in their Elegant Trash Remix EP. On that release, their single ‘Touching The Ceiling’ with its double time drums and melodic hooks is my cup of tea. Since Elegant Trash consists of a revolving door of musicians and contributors over the years, each album is unique.
Keep up with, follow and support Elegant Trash!!!

I love this track!!! #002 - Melotika: 'Digital Dreams' 

Talented people are everywhere. Yet the saying goes “luck is when opportunity meets preparation”. I always wonder when Toronto's very own Melotika will break through. Her discography speaks volumes. When I first came across her music, it was her single ‘Crazy’ that caught my attention. From then on, it's hit after hit as far as I'm concerned. Her music resides in the upper echelons of dance pop, and she's carved herself a stable platform.

We are highlighting a track that I think is a certified banger. ‘Digitial Dreams' was released in Feb 2022. I remember doing a small Instagram shout out for the track when it debuted. The only thing in my mind that has changed since then and now is how much I continue to play that song. For me, it strikes a memory of my early days in San Francisco as I explored its house music scene. Deep house in particular. Deep house to me has a dressed-up sexiness that was best expressed by legendary label Naked Music. The way the drums and hi-hats drive in the track take me right back to those late night/early morning SF underground parties. It's synths and production are as smooth as riding soft wheels on a skateboard. Straight butter. Melotika's vocals and delivery seal the deal. She's sings with a bit of attitude that comes from confidence and experience. She's the master of her craft and she knows how to strut her stuff.

The video has two sides to it. Make sure you watch it all the way through. She does these head shakes towards the end of the song that seem to go along with the phrase “digital dreams”. When I'm driving in my car and am blasting this song, I do those shakes. Who's ever driving alongside me and sees me doing it probably thinks I'm nuts.

Keep with and follow Melotika!!!

Facebook | Instagram | Youtube | Spotify

I love this track!!! #001 - The Head: 'French Girls' 

My biggest gripe about Spotify is that I don't feel it's the best place to discover music. Pandora has introduced me to new music 10-fold over Spotify. However, when scrolling down a playlist via Musosoup, I heard a song that for whatever reason I saved. Later, as I circled back to see how I felt about the last batch of songs I had previously saved, that song came up. I think I unsaved 90% of that batch of song's but I kept this song around. Frankly, I was still on the fence. As the time passed by I kept going back to that song and at some point, fell in love with it. That track is ‘French Girls’ by The Head.

The track is a great blend of indie rock with retro touches. My favorite parts in the track are how the drums drive and don't deviate from the double time pattern, putting a stamp on the music. Another is on the outro bridge when the guys dig in and quadruple down on the sweet spot in the track. When you listen to the track, you'll know what I'm talking about. And of course, the vocals. The cadence in which the vocals are sang with graciously flow over the music like clouds over earth's land mass.

Best friends since high school and still playing music together, these lads from Atlanta Georgia got something special going. Tune in and find out.

Keep up with and follow The Head!!

Facebook |  Instagram | Youtube 

New Music? Yes, Please! #007 Vertical Trap  

I came across Vertical Trap via their name on a flier. I checked them out and loved what I heard. I found the more I dug, the more I wanted to dig. Vertical Trap consist of a duo and their live sets are played side by side with backing tracks to bring their audience a bevy of layers / sounds. While the guitarist brings an attitude with her stage presence, the vocalist is locked in and focused. She sings with a tenderness. Her authenticity is enchanting. Her genuine nature draws in the listener.  Before I saw them live, I viewed an acoustic performance video. That video showcased their versatility and made me an instant fan.

'Dark Matter' is one of their singles that caught my attention. A simple drum loop and synth bass open up the track. Subtle plucked guitar notes add texture before the lead synth melodies rain down. All the sounds are tasteful, and their placements allow each one to individually shine.

The vocals are straightforward. That aforementioned vocal tenderness is front and center. It feels like she's singing in the same room as we listen. There's no overdubs. No multi vocal layers in different keys all singing the same thing. Their music is live and direct. Straight from the source. In my opinion, their music embodies the spirit of punk rock. We do what we want, and we do it our way.

Keep up with and follow Vertical Trap!!!


New Music? Yes, Please! #006 Rykarda Parasol: Tuesday Morning LP 

I can't recall the first time I read the name Rykarda Parasol in the pages of San Francisco's various music publications. Amongst the many names which have graced club marquees and promotional material over the years, her name stood out. Perhaps it's the word "parasol" that nabbed my attention. I checked out her music and I was all in. Back then, I recall Rykarda branding her sound as "Rock Noir". I never gave it much thought. I liked the branding aspect. In retrospect, I should have asked about the meaning behind the branding. Today with her new album Tuesday Morning, we get an answer to that question.

Rykarda mentions her music's evolution as a steady progression that flowed from dark to light. I took a quick listen to some of her earlier work before playing her new album. In my opinion, her earlier work carries a bit of an underlying sadness. The somber moments in Tuesday Morning are handled with a calm that comes from experience. 
Perfect example is 'Darwin's Little Darling'. Rykarda shines a light on life's hard facts with the same type of soft loving touch a mother uses when teaching her adolescent children. She sings " I don't do anyone a favor, by turning away from strange behaviors". There are various elements that make this track extraordinary. A nuanced Gregorian chant vocal quality creates a pillowy bed for the reverb laden slide guitar notes to lay. Adding muscle, piano keys and a strummed guitar move the music forward, one step at a time like an ox pulling medieval stones.

Before Rykarda's new album officially debuted, she released 'Get Down With Your Bad Self'. The single and its corresponding music video capture the essence of the album's direction. All of the songs featured have an early 60's San Francisco vibe that falls somewhere between Haight-Ashbury and Dick Clark's rock n roll era incased in indie rock. The music video absolutely has that retro, proper, buttoned up theme a'la Nirvana's 'In Bloom' video. If you haven't seen the video, it's a must see and it's included below. See how much we love you…
Ending things with a bang is the albums final track 'Above It All'. While the rhythm guitar drives, the organ's counter melody adds color and body. Rykarda's vocals ride the musical wave like a water skier at Lake Havasu. Of all of the music components and parts, it's the big backing vocals in the chorus that hit the hardest. When this song is played live, those big chorus lines provide the opportunity for crowd participation. Rock n roll lives on. 

From strolling down foggy San Francisco streets to Parisian soil, Rykarda Parasol continues her musical voyage. Moving to Paris brought new experiences. We seldom take into account how the energy of a new environment can reshape how we see ourselves today and tomorrow. I'm not sure how/if the journey overseas affected Rykarda's musical evolution. Only she can answer that. I am sure of one thing, Rykarda writes from the heart. Creating music that stands the test of time is what Rykarda Parasol is all about.
Keep up with Rykarda Parasol!!!

Bloggers Chronicles: The Review: Smilin' Violet @the Hotel Utah 

I'm a little late on this one show review. Ok, I'm very late. I went to the Hotel Utah on Sept. 16th to see Dark Satellite. I've been very pressed for time and unfortunately, I got there way too early. The three-band show had just begun. Realizing my 45-minute window hindered me from catching the band I went to see. I was kind of bummed but catching Smilin' Violet turned out to be a total highlight.

One great thing about the Hotel Utah is the intimate setting. The band is up close like an MTV Unplugged series. I paid the cover, grabbed a beer, walked past the thick curtains, made my way down the stairs and took a seat to my immediate left. Smilin' Violet was on stage. The band looks young. The singer/rhythm guitar player was positioned center stage. His bushy hair was held in place by a baseball cap whose folded brim hid his eyes. Lead guitarist flanked stage left, bassist was set stage right and the drummer was in the back.

The music is heavy with a 90' grunge feel.  Not being able to see the singer's facial expressions as he sang with passion added a mystique to his stage presence. There's always a couple of members that stand on any given night. The drummer and the lead guitarist were two that stood out. Clearly, the drummer is on another level. His double bass work and hi hat variations were spectacular. He laid the path for the band to follow. I get the sense he's the oldest and most experienced in the band by how he conducted himself on stage.

At times, we may see a performance and say, "that reminded me of a young (insert iconic name)". I know I've made that comparison with IAMX to a young David Bowie. I couldn't help but compare the lead guitarist to a young Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains. He commanded the stage. I can see a bright future for him leading Smilin' Violet or any band he's a part of.
Besides the Jerry Cantrell comparison, the band does have a bit of Alice In Chains vibe to their music. While the 90's had a wide array of sounds, both good and bad. The combination of heavy grunge tones that borrowed from metal is considered the best from that era. It's something Smilin' Violet has tapped into, and I look forward to hearing their evolution. I wish them the best as they continue their journey. 
Keep up with Smilin' Violet!!!


Transform with Tess Posner's Alchemy EP  

Whenever given the option of dark or not dark. The answer is always “let's go with dark”. Probably why Wednesday Addams is one of my favorite movies characters. When researching a local show, I came across Tess Posner. I have been loosely using the term “dark alternative” for the last few years. Tess describing her music as dark alternative made me immediately intrigued.

To my pleasant surprise, her music is dark. There's a Gotham City quality to her production like she's the composer of Bruce Wayne's personal orchestra. Her vocals are the focal point at all times. She mixes up her vocal melodies seemingly on every music phrase, nothing feels recycled. 

Let's go over the Alchemy EP:

Feral Child - A great opening track, paced at a moderate tempo that should appeal to a wide audience. Electro bass kicks become the proverbial amusement park car, riding on its steel track, guiding us through the adventure.

Volcano - Upbeat with a touch of early 80's pop. The pulsating bass is everything, it's the key component that not only moves us, but it also moves the dance floor. On the track she builds a wave, stories high, and surfs down her own creation to a hero's welcome.

My Heart Is Dry - The EP's standout track with its percolating keys and crisp snare hits. Big synth pads hit with concentrated power like a spotlight from a penitentiary watchtower. Tess matches the intensity with a grand choir flair. Instead of reaching for the sky's outer limits, she brings things in to almost a whisper. Yes, yes, yes…

Ghosts - Minimalist approach by design adds to its haunting quality. Her vocals reign supreme. Another great addition to an already wide range of music.

Black Cloud - What better way to close out an EP than with an anthem. The songs slow build to grand hall, full volume, form like Voltron is the only way to go.

Tess takes us on a trip that touches a wide range of emotions. Although dark, hopelessness never crosses our mind. If anything, listening to the EP from start to finsih is like watching a movie where everything is going wrong, but you know things will be just fine.

Keep up with and follow Tess Posner!!! 

Facebook | Instagram | Youtube

Whenever possible, we include a single for your instantaneous listening pleasure and here you are:)








Bloggers Chronicles: GO TO THIS SHOW!!! #005 Ever Higher Music Festival 

Fall is definitely upon us. The first soaking rain of the season should be arriving this Sunday. Which means attending a free outdoor music festival would be the perfect sendoff before we begin to layer up and head into the holiday season.

First things first. The talent. The Philharmonik will be headlining the Ever Higher Music Festival. The Philharmonik will be bringing down the house with their superstar caliber talent and production. If you haven't experienced The Philharmonik, you are in for a soulful treat. Bring your dancing shows and make sure your phone is fully charged before arriving. You'll want to document this for the gram.

Yes, The Philharmonik will be the cherry on top to a day of amazing local talent. The talent that supports the headliner is guaranteed to appeal to any fan of music. If indie pop is what you crave. No problem, SWISS has got you covered. Do you need more soul in your life? Well, The Helltones have got your medicine. Punk rock? Tess and the Details. Think you can stump the promoters by requesting a schwifty combo of glam/punk/pop? The Hot Takes will take care of business. Oh, what's that, you only like rock n roll. Sit down Cindy, because Treasures are here to rock your mind. Every box is checked. The weather will cooperate and it's free. No excuses. See you there.
Music band links:
Tess and the Details - Tess & The Details | Spotify
The Hot Takes - The Hot Takes | Spotify
Treasures - Treasures | Spotify
The Philharmonik - The Philharmonik | Spotify

Bloggers Chronicles: GO TO THIS SHOW!!! #004 Tess Posner's Alchemy release party. 

It's going down tonight at the Knockout in SF!!! Tess Posner, Joyce Lee, Kate Ramsey and Sophia Prise will be hitting the stage and bringing their dark alternative / rock n roll tunes!!!

Doors at 9pm. Bring beer money and a good vibe.

Links provided for the artist's. Get aquainted and I will see you there:)

Tess Posner  | Instagram

Kate Ramsey | Instagram

Joyce Lee       | Instagram 

Sophia Prise  | Instagram

CCC EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ladies and Gentlemen... Nene's Butler. 

When we began City Cat Collective, I knew I wanted to reach out to Nene's Butler Presents for an interview. Navigating the seas of self-promotion, one starts to get a sense of who's friendly, who isn't. The quality of the blog also becomes exposed. All of a sudden, submitting or avoiding certain blogs becomes routine. Being added to Nene's Butler Presents blog with an Everything But The Everything submission is something I always look forward to.

With further ado… Ladies and gentlemen, it's our interview with Nene's Butler Presents!!!

CCC - How did you get started and when was the moment you went all in on being a music blogger?
NB - I started to discover platforms like groover, muso, or submithub around 2020. As an artist, I often got rejected by “good song, BUT …” on these platforms. I wondered why they were all so fixated on one sound, one genre, etc. Why didn’t bloggers enjoy all the great indie music out there? This was the reason I decided to develop my own music blog, which was/is not based on specific genres, and which expressed my love for music. I wanted to give unheard musicians a chance to be heard.

CCC - Do you have a music background? If so, tell us about it.
NB - NenesButler presents is the name of my blog and Nene’s Butler is my artist name. The music I create is a mixture of minimalistic electro with touches of 80s/90s house and the early days of techno, and a breeze of electro body music. I am definitely influenced by Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Front 242, but I also love to listen to Cure, Duran Duran, Oasis, Blur, Joy Division, The Prodigy, Everything but the Everything :) , … I love all the post-punk stuff, punk itself, Britpop was amazing, UK garage, indie pop, indie rock, … and do not forget my all-time favorite The Beatles (my first musical love) … and so on.

CCC - I noticed your website says to submit to your blog via Groover, why is that your go to and what do you think about the other services like Submithub, Musosoup?
NB - We find Groover to be the most effective for us. We have a dashboard with many music submissions that want to be on the blog. Muso is also good, but it takes a lot of time. It requires us to write an offer to the artists and then wait. I used to use Muso a lot in the past. Now, I use it to find new music and if I enjoy it, I put it on our playlists. We are also trying out mysphera and droptrack at the moment. Sometimes, we receive something from sharetoPro. Submithub rejected us :).

CCC - How do you feel about paying for PR from an artist perspective?
NB - As an artist, I have seen this side as well. I also invest in Groover, Muso, and in earlier days, Submithub. I think all the platforms offer a great opportunity to get your music heard. In my opinion, it’s part of the business to invest some time and money in PR. I always say 50-100 bucks per single are enough for my style of music. I would not want to spend more money, but this is a personal decision that every artist has to make for themselves.

CCC - What advice would you give to a young band who wants to get started?
NB - From The Blog view - Please do not contact us or any other blogger like this: This is our/my new single, it’s a banger! Nothing more or less (we sometimes get this). Or sending a “mass-mail”. The best chance to get featured on NenesButler presents is to include a short bio, something about the song, and all social media channels + streaming channel/link + 2 pictures (good resolution) (simply an EPK). The sound quality does not have to be 100% perfect, because this is, in my opinion, a question of money. But if you invest some time by yourself in mixing and mastering, it should fit for the first releases.

CCC - What do you do for fun (snowboarding, bicycling, beanie baby collecting, etc...)?
NB - I have a five-year-old daughter, that's fun enough :)

CCC - If someone gave you $10,000 to go on a vacation or go splurge at the fanciest restaurant in your closest major city, which would you choose?
NB - I would invest in music, rather than going on vacation or to a restaurant. I am playing with the idea of creating a Tape Label in the future to release a Sampler every quarter with the best Indie Artists of "NenesButler presents".

CCC - What's on the horizon for Nene's Butler Presents?
NB - On the horizon of the blog, there is definitely another playlist (currently, we have our "Best of", "electro", "singer/songwriter", "heavy guitars", "postpunk + indie rock", "femArtists"). Maybe we will add instrumental/chill or darkwave/gothic, let’s see. We will also invest more in ads to bring all the featured artists to the forefront.

Follow Nene's Butler Presents on all platforms!!

Website | Instagram | Facebook

James Beastly adds another standout single to his collection with 'Ghost Species'  

I'm sure I've stated this a few times, I made a list of artists/people/groups to highlight on City Cat Collective that participate in the music world. Today we check off another name from that list and highlight James Beastly. James is a seasoned music veteran who I'm assuming has played music most of his life. Not an assumption I want to throw out like Oprah Winfrey does cars, but his approach and execution to music exudes experience. Making the jump from band member to music producer, James adds 'Ghost Species' to his stellar collection as a solo artist. 

This record is downright sneaky. As a matter of fact, it's a complete setup. The verse roles out in indie alternative rock fashion. Expected, sounds good, go on... To the arriving chorus, there's a hollowed howling chant. This transition made me feel like we went from a narrow country road merging into a four-lane highway. When we make the lap and repeat the process as music does, our newfound familiarity strengthens the groove. With two passes completed through the verse/chorus, I was beginning to wonder if there was another gear. James Beastly does not disappoint.
This is where the song explodes. The unleashed and charged electric guitar lead outro comes rolling in like the second vinyl record in an epic DJ mix. That excitement when two styles, two records come together and create something new is just like chocolate and milk becoming chocolate milk. Absolutely thrilling. James does the right thing; he steps on the gas and does not relinquish the throttle until we've reached the destination, he wants to take us. 
Your vessel is ready. All aboard!!! 
Keep up with and follow James Beastly and… peep the track right now!!!






Hustler's hustle. London's very own, Sparkayly presses on.  

Social media is a peculiar thing. With millions of people mingling around, there's no telling where a new connection might come from. At some point, I crossed paths with London artist and all-around music hustler, Sparkayly. I believe we both follow Toronto's Melotika and that's how the mighty algorithm did its thing. Through her posts I saw an artist that is making it happen on all fronts. As she toils on various music projects (songwriter, magazine producer, graphic artist, artist promotion), I wanted to highlight her digital imprint, Surge FX Magazine.

Using the ISSUU platform, Sparkayly releases her monthly magazine. Music reviews, blurbs, interviews, and ads fill its pages, very reminiscent of "zine" but more buttoned up. Her signature style stamp's everything she touches. Sparkayly's style is a bubbly gothy mysteriousness wrapped in a cloak of black, red, purple and pink colors. 
Via sound waves, Sparkayly's style is a mix of Anthem EDM and pop punk. Her use of big rave synth's evokes memories of packed underground raves in SF. The tight distorted guitars and drum patterns she uses are a'la 90's punk rock.

Throughout 2023, Sparkayly has been releasing her magazine and a stream of singles. 'Love Gun' is a standout track in her collection. I must mention there are two versions of 'Love Gun' and they are both dope, but I like the more electronic version a little more. We've included her latest release 'Candy Scars' (RedStonedDog Remix) for your immediate introduction. 
Keep up with Sparkayly !!!


Brighton's Knife Bride "Nu-Gothika" masterpiece 'smother (make me suffer)' has arrived!! 

Crazy to think that there's musicians playing their hearts out in successful projects who don't love the music they play. Such was the case with the members of this yet to be formed band. They all knew each other from playing their local scene in Brighton UK. Two of them are cousins. One day, they collectively decided to make music they loved. That day Knife Bride was born. Since day one the group has been on a tear, playing coveted British venues and festivals. Keeping the momentum going Knife Bride has released 'smother (make me suffer)', the lead single with a corresponding music video from their upcoming EP.

There is a lot going on with this single. A controlled chaos of sorts. The drum patterns are spectacular. They feel spontaneous yet are as detailed and unique as any instrument played on the track. How the song opens up in the chorus makes me feel like I'm standing in the eye of a hurricane, enjoying a moment of serenity before getting ripped to shreds. Adding to this feeling of impending doom are the vocals, hypnotizing us like a siren's song luring us to our own demise.

This song is an absolute banger. Samples, massive guitar riffs, crisp double bass drums all ooze Nu-Metal but Knife Bride's injection of emo goth sexual elements create something all their own.  They refer to their music as "Nu-Gothika" and I am officially, 100% on board.

Keep up with and follow Knife Bride!!!


New Music? Yes, Please! #005 The Hot Takes  

The Hot Takes continue to ascend with their killer stage show and solid music releases. Their latest single ‘Up All Night’ is pure rock roll played from the heart. The song has a nostalgic feel and borrows from the best from the early 80's. How we are greeted by the drums and then the catch the buzz of that electric guitar is reminiscent of ‘Love Stinks’ by The J. Geils Band. A bit of ‘I Love Rock N Roll’ by Joan Jett and The Black Hearts pokes through as well. The magic is always in the songwriting and vocal delivery which is why I get a sense of ‘Summer Of 69’ by Bryan Adams. 

When a singer is in a zone, you can hear the belief in their voice. In this zone a singer can transcend themselves into whatever place they want to take their listeners to. Jared locks in and takes us to rock n roll euphoria.

Catch ‘Up All Night’ with us now and keep up with The Hot Takes on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify!!!





Rise Up

9 o'clock Nasty at Christmas

When we started 9 o’clock Nasty one thing we agreed over those endless conversations over beer and coffee was “Whatever the Song Needs, it Gets.” We’d all been in a ton of other bands that had a “sound” and eventually became trapped producing variations on the same theme. Not being a live band helps a lot with that, you can write and record everything differently. The other maxims we wanted the band to live by were “All Killer, No Filler” and “Don’t Bore Us, Get Us To the Chorus” which probably explain themselves.

So Rise Up was an opportunity to flex on the first rule. It was written, not around a campfire, but close. It’s a song created in a kitchen with one guitar, fists banging the beat on the table and voices raised together as you gradually find the words in the smokey air. That’s why it probably sounds at first listen, very different from what we’ve made before.

Of course it grew in production. A bassline was grafted on. A mellow organ to accentuate the gentle lilt. The vocals softened from a war-march to something more bittersweet.

It is not a song about the violence of protest. It is a song about the deep sadness of having to set aside love, kindness and a warm kitchen to go deal with crap that has gone on for too long. Think of yourself not as oppressed. Think of yourself as someone that has tolerated inequality and obscene wealth and privilege of the few for too long. You’ve been kind, you’ve been patient and it just didn’t work out. So time to get your pitchfork, go get some matches at the corner shop and head for the bright lights on the other side of town.

RISE UP is released on Saturday 10th December. 

Chat Nasty: Cathi RAE

Poet, spoken word artist, body positivity model and campaigner against ageism in the world of fashion (and also co-queen of Leicester, UK)

Cathi, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by raccoons. Let’s start big. What is wrong with fashion in 2022?

The problem is not fashion per se - it is a culture of overconsumption, of throw away clothing, of items sold so cheaply that the makers cannot be paid a human wage, of thousand of tonnes of hardly worn clothing ending up in landfill or being shipped to other countries where they become someone else's problem.

Fast fashion encourages us to feed that "want/click/get" mentality, to buy multiple versions of things we already own, to shop as a way of filling a wider emptiness inside us. 

I think the 2020 and beyond lockdown pushed many of us to move to on-line and sterile shopping experiences - it's much harder to value clothing that appears at the click of a button, that can be done 24 hrs a day and with no social interaction.

There are movements to challenge this - shopping pre-loved, buying from charity shops, wearing what you already own, clothes swaps, we can chose to ignore the siren call of the new new and replace it with the pleasure of the new to us item instead.

Q You have been known to do a poetry slam or two. How do you prepare for taking words that you’ve lovingly crafted in private and bringing them to a live performance?

There are poems i write which are very definitely designed to be read on the page - a more considered experience which allows the reader time to read slowly - some poetry really benefits from this but a lot of my work is designed to be performed. which means work that is instantly gettable and resonates with an audience. One of my editing tools is actually to perform work at an early stage, to gauge its sounds and structure and to read audience reaction. I've been doing this for a long time now and have become more comfortable at accepting that some work will be more appreciated by audiences and some not so much - it's really about doing the best you can by a poem, trusting your editing and believing in your work and accepting that sometimes a piece you are happy with may not work in front of some audiences, some events. My work is not particularly personal or confessional so it doesn't feel as if i'm ripping my skin open to an audience - i can take work not being liked - although obviously it's a wonderful feeling if a poem resonates with other people or means something to them as well.

Q A lot of the people reading this will be in bands or otherwise making something on the indie scene. How can we all make better Art in 2023?

We are in hard times - i've had gigs canceled recently due to low ticket sales and i don't see this getting better any time  soon - but, in hardship art in all its forms becomes even more important. We need to keep the faith, to keep making art, to keep creating spaces where there is light. My personal commitment is to do more benefit gigs - for striking workers, for the #enoughisenough campaign, for the #dontpay campaign

Q Where do you see signs to be optimistic about the future? Can 2023 avoid being even worse than 2022?

Oddly enough I think the current cost of living crisis has opened up conversations about poverty and austerity which are challenging the idea that poverty is simply personal failure. I'm hoping that more and more people are seeing the destructive power of global capitalism and governments that put profit before people. maybe next year will see even more grassroots revolution, more people saying enough is enough, more actions that are about community and not the individual. Sounds revolutionary - count me in.

Q Where can readers find out more about your work and support you?

I have a book - it's had excellent reviews - "Your cleaner hates you and other poems" - please DON'T buy if from amazon - contact me directly

I have a youtube channel @cathirae

I’m on instagram @cathirae   

I do gig around the UK and publicise this on all the usual social medias

I teach regularly @attenborougharts in Leicester

AND....I'm happy to discuss poetry workshops, performances and 1-2-1 mentoring with new writers 

The Qwarks release 'Nothing For Something'

Behind the scenes of the new single

The Qwarks ‘Nothing for Something’ was released on the 31st October and yes, they did attempt to utilise the theme of Halloween. The single cover was designed by Smithereen Art (great artist, do have a perusal of @smithereenart84) and is entitled ‘the vulgarity of opulence’.  The image jumped out and disrupted the doom scrolling of a Qwark and said Qwark immediately recognised the power of the image and its suitability for the single cover of a song which seems to be about the penetration of the logics of the advertising industry into every nook and cranny of our existence. A video was produced by Pao Pincerna of Brighton Perfume, which is a vegan perfumery by the seaside (well worth checking out!). The video sees all kinds of zombies and creepy stuff going on and can be viewed on Youtube here.

It became apparent that the singer and guitarist of the Qwarks has strong opinions about Halloween and how an imported culture of ‘trick or treating’ was disrupting the work ethic instilled in traditional routines of ‘Guising’ in places like Scotland where he recalls having to work very hard for sweets by doing performances on doorways. He laments that sweets are now just handed out without hard labour but maybe he should just cheer up for once. A bit about the song itself: have a listen to what happens to the second and third chorus. The song modulates up a tone. Indeed, the formula of the chord progression means that you are arrive a tone above what you are playing each time the chorus ends. Yet in the first chorus it does not do this. One of the reasons why this is that it was found that if the first chorus had done this it would have meant ending up in a key that was too high to sing in for the third verse. With the formula of the chorus chord progression you could have a version of the song with many more verses that kept going until it returned to the original key but this doesn't sound an appealing prospect.

This single is part of the Qwarks second album, ‘let’s Go, Let’s Grow’ that is out on the 16th December.  The final single release from the new album is "Nice While It Lasted' which is out on the 9th December.