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Formed in London in the summer of 2011, Cat Meat is made up of Phil Rogers (vocals, guitar, mobile phone feedback, benign dictatorship), Ian Olney (guitar, bass, banjo, wizardry) and Barney Bodoano (guitar, harmonica, drum, indecisiveness). There are several auxiliary members who regularly contribute to the varied instrumentation, notably Amy Butterworth (violin) and Ben Dean (piano), and all members do their fair share of multi-tasking. Drums, in particular, tend to be played by the last person to say that they don’t want to play drums, thanks very much.
Influences are wide ranging. From a song writing perspective, Phil’s primary influences are the alt-country of Wilco, the surrealist melancholia of Sparklehorse and experimental rock of Califone, though more than a hint of Captain Beefheart’s magisterial influence can be detected in the lyrics and song titles. Ian brings bluegrass chops and punk sensibilities in equal measure, whilst Barney’s slide and fingerstyle guitar reveal a love of the pre-war splendor of Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Willie McTell.
Musically, the rule is that anything goes as long as it still sounds like Cat Meat. Folk blues picking and traditional country licks are often underscored by battered Hüsker Dü bass lines and a cracked withering vocal. Instrumentation is often overlaid with experimental electronic noises that are there because they can be. Recordings of a dog’s heartbeat and a bowl of breakfast cereal have yet to make it onto a recording, but give it time. The songs are deceptively sweet, many of them love songs masquerading as something darker so as not to get picked on, whilst others creak and wheeze awkwardly in the corner of the party they were never really invited to.
With an album of new material due for release on 29th October 2012, expect to see Cat Meat lugging their haul to a town near you very soon.