Coyote cries at dawn — a premiere and review

Coyote cries at dawn  — a premiere and review of Cate Von Csoke’s ‘Almoon’

BY RYAN DRAG1 WEEK AGOIN ALBUM REVIEW · MUSIC

{Disclaimer: the following article was written before protests broke-out across America. The writer would like to exclaim his complete support concerning the Black Lives Matter movement and the defunding of abusive police institutions.}

Photos by Nicole & Jenna


Simplicity. Sounds simple, right? Well, a lot of people get it wrong or simply… add too much. Almoon by Brooklyn based via Australia, musician Cate Von Csoke, is minimalism done tastefully and without driving a motive to its death. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I love a one or two note repetition for days, but this is more than that. Cate’s music retains old-school chord motives dosed with the Velvet’s drum pattern and some Vox repeat-percussion guitar layered in for good measure, and of course Cate’s smokey vocals, which dust the songs as dried, blown, dandelions scattering that rolling field you’ve always wanted to walk through.

Hold on… That drum sound is more than familiar… Is that…Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth banging on those skins? You bet. In fact Almoon was recorded in Sonic Youth’s studio in New Jersey by Ted Young, and produced by another artist you may be familiar with, Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud. I’m assuming that’s him turning up the repeat tremolo, but it wasn’t in the press release. (Good gods, this man keeps appearing in my reviews! I suppose this exposes how busy the fellow is).

Anyway I digress, because this LP is very much Von Csoke’s own. The songs are only slightly colored with tambo and percussion.  At the center of this moon is a vintage electric guitar strum and ethereal vocals, having all been composed and performed by Von Csoke herself. The music (at first) recalled this wild duo from Austin called, Headdress (once on the Mexican Summer label.) Years ago I witnessed them at the original, crumbling, Market Hotel. That band (according to their album sleeves) recorded in caves located in a desert somewhere; Cate wrote the bulk of her songs during a stint in the Mojave, mystical, spot-on, no?

There’s also a dash of Mazzy Star and Tess Parks (Anton Newcombe’s protégé.) Which brings me to my only critique: I could have used a bit more of Cate’s natural voice. I’m a fan of reverb abound, but the effect oftentimes interferes with hearing the words or a singer’s nuances. This is more a testament to the songwriter’s voice and it is a bit inconsequential, considering I’ve heard Cate live and loved her sound (got me to buy a few more drinks.) This is what she wants to sound like, so really, I have no issues. Regardless, the verb works and fits so who really cares? Cate Von Csoke sounds great and the atmosphere definitely puts a listener into a zone. Almoon is a record that should be listened to from start to finish. Don’t bother with finding a single, just let it play-out. I’m lying in a backyard in upstate (away from Virus City, hoping for justice) with headphones safety on amongst wildflowers and I’m happy as Hell! I only wish I had the vinyl. “Please Cate, don’t forget to send me a copy on June 11th!” That’s the release date folks. Dig…

Eight tunes dancing around your isolation – bhumra boom bra crang ga ga ga -now enters soft melodies for a reflective ride across that “Silver Highway” cooling slightly the back of your neck. As the road blurs into smoke clouds, a mirage appears in forgotten heat. You pause… remembering some happiness stored in a pocket. Recalling to yourself: “I’ve been walking on dandelions. All I wanna do is dream around.”

Me too, Cate. Me too. Almoon is a fine album. Put it on, sit back, and drift away. It’ll be good for you, whilst resting next to those coyotes in the sky.

Published by RYAN DRAG

Poet / Journalist / Musician

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