Insofar as Oakland’s Pish Posh Records can be said to have an ethos, it starts with ‘p’ and ends in ‘y’. That’s obviously one of two things, both of which apply now that I think about it. (Also now that I think about it, I’ve got no clue what the plural of ethos is–ethi?) In whoring away at their own scummy piece of the Bay Area’s cutthroat night scene, Pish Posh has launched world-music-cribbing DJs Ghosts On Tape and Lazer Sword and ambient-noise project Macro as well as hop-savant tricksters All Teeth & Knuckles and its recent DJ spinoff, Futuristic Prince, all of which hurdle full-bore toward p__y-overdrive, g’d out on vodka Red Bulls but not averse to day-old weed, either. They also like girls.
Also covered by the Pish Posh live-hard-or-die imprint are Casy & Brian, San Franciscans by way of Seattle who, with Catbees, made the record they wanted to hear. They say so on the opening track. Catbees is a cheerful, snarling mess, with ten sublimely whack tracks that, shall we say, grow hair in odd places. The record’s only 18 minutes long. It’s also got a zoological bent, evidenced by song titles like “Gorilla Banana” and “The Great Owl.” There are many (im)plausible reasons why this is so, not the least of which is that both Casy & Brian probably want to fuck you like an animal. At any rate, in their collective getting-after-it, the songs on Catbees tussle and bounce off each other like some kind of litter. It’s all drums ‘n’ keyboards. Frustratingly often, the former ends up a washout because of the kick drum’s flaccidity, which undermines a surprisingly well-jacked snare. (I’m a drumhead dilettante, I forgot.) The keys are clearly well beyond the use-by date, which doesn’t mean things don’t get somewhat skronky—check Animal Calls ‘n’ Dancehalls.
At times, particularly on Adaptation X Tha Nation and Last Call Of The Wild when their call-and-response vocal scenario hits its whiny apex, Casey & Brian sound for all the world like Spencer Krug’s bratty, souped-up kid brothers, dragging out flayed equipment and electro-toys, banging on pots and pans and engaging in general rapscallionry. One song even ends with a curtly blown whistle as if to signal recess is over. I’m pretty convinced the term ‘punk’ has lost all meaning, but Catbees is full of it–in more ways than one. Scattershot fury, a snotty sense of humor, and the occasional mid-measure flameout seal it.