Owen Ashworth aka Casiotone For the Painfully Alone is releasing his fifth full length CD Vs. Children on April 7th. Also, if you have been paying attention, Advance Base Battery Life a collection of rarities and singles comes out just a few weeks earlier on March 10th.
Vs. Children is a bit of an instrumental departure for Ashworth. Rather than the fun electronic keyboard sounds, the songs are built with piano, organ, Mellotron, and acoustic drums both live and sampled. But the amazing songcrafting and lyrics remain unchanged. Ashworth is a master at setting mood and relaying emotion without it ever feeling forced or overly sentimental. The songs allow the listeners to glean their own meanings. Plus, how could you not fall in love with lyrics like "...and raise a little family on Schlitz and Mickey Mouse..."? Check out the song "Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm" in the player below. Other stand outs from the album include "Killers" and "Traveling Salesman's Young Wife Home Alone on Christmas in Montpelier, VT."
We caught up with Casiotone For the Painfully Alone via the internet and got him to answer some rather daft questions:
Viva: What is the most embarrassing band you loved as a kid?
CFTPA: I really loved Huey Lewis & The News when I was in grade school. I think I had all of their tapes up until Small World. By the time I was in middle school, I mostly listened to the Hip Hop and R n' B FM radio station. I didn't even know the names of a lot of the artists, but I liked the beats a lot. I got really excited about U2 after that, and I bought a lot of import singles and stuff. My collection of 1980's U2 vinyl has been described as "shockingly extensive." I don't feel particularly embarrassed about anything I used to listen to, though. Some artists I still enjoy more than others, but there's not accounting for taste, as the old saying goes. Or, as Mark Twain once said, "The rumors of my record collection have been greatly exaggerated."
Viva: What was the first album you bought?
CFTPA: It was probably Sports by Huey Lewis and the News. Before that, I mostly listened to my parents' Beatles and Paul Simon records.
Viva: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
CFTPA: It would have to be the totally mind-bending ten minutes I spent trying to de-code a questionable abbreviation of the word "cockatoos" while trying to catch up with the elderly couple driving a speeding Volvo with a truly unfortunate personalized license plate.
Viva: You build your songs live on stage from bits and pieces of various technological gizmos. Has your gear ever betrayed you?
CFTPA: It happens all of the time. I only blame myself, though. And by myself I mean the various manufacturers.
Viva: Your lyrics often seem highly introspective and intelligent, is there any portion of your personal life that is off limits when it comes to song writing?
CFTPA: I don't actually write about my personal life very often. The songs are mostly baloney. I think I am a relatively private person, so I would say that most of my life is off limits when it comes to song writing. The only times I really sing about myself are when an actual event strikes me as especially symbolic of a much larger kind of theme or situation, but even then, I have no qualms with changing the details. Generally, I find it way more satisfying to just make stuff up.
Viva: On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your loneliness pain level at these days?
CFTPA: I'm going to give it a 2. More often than not, I look forward to the spare moments I get to myself these days. If I had more lonely days, I would probably get more reading done. I have certainly had some painful and lonely times in my life, but the name of the band was always meant to refer to the listener, more so than the person making the music. Sorry, lonely dudes!
Viva: Who’s in heavy rotation on your iPod?
CFTPA: I recently downloaded the first three seasons of This American Life from Audible.com, so I've been listening to a bunch of those. I have also been listening to the podcast version of Seattle talk radio program called Too Beautiful To Live with Luke Burbank. I listen to that when I'm walking to the post office or Trader Joe's or whatever. Sometimes I listen to music, too. Here are some really nice MP3s that I've bought recently:
Bob & Fred "I'll Be On My Way (Instrumental)"
Them Two "Am I A Good Man (Instrumental)"
Parallel Thought feat. MF DOOM "Vomit"
The Impressions "We're Rolling On, Pt 1"
The Mar-Keys "Last Night"
The Kingsmen "Louie Louie"
The Troggs "With A Girl Like You"
Rich Boy "Throw Some D's"
John Carpenter "Theme (From Halloween)"
Mariah Carey "Touch My Body"
Tracey Thorn "The Book Of Love"
David Bazan "Please, Baby, Please (Demo)"
Visit Casiotone For the Painfully Alone Online:
Download Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm MP3!
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