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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Lisbon
Fat Possum
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March 30, 2006
The interview below, which we are just now getting back into the database, was originally conducted in June of 1999. But first, some background information is in order. From Wikipedia.org (circa 2006):
"Cerberus Shoal formed in 1994. The band's first self-titled album was a product of the punk rock scene. With And Farewell to Hightide in 1996, Cerberus Shoal began to turn in a direction more akin to post-rock bands like Tortoise, featuring lengthier, more complex songs, and integrating unusual instruments like flugelhorn into the group's sound.

In 1997, Cerberus Shoal joined forces with the band Tarpigh, with whom they had collaborated on the album Elements of Structure/Permanence. The music of this period in the band's career exhibits the influence of krautrock bands like Can and Amon Düül, and the spacerock of Hawkwind and Pink Floyd. The band incorporated more offbeat instruments into their recordings and live performances, including oud, bass trumpet, and various flutes.

In 2000, the members of Tarpigh left Cerberus Shoal, and were replaced by several new members, including Colleen Kinsella and Erin Davidson. The band subsequently embarked on a more improvisational, experimental approach, beginning with the Garden Fly, Drip Eye single; consequently, Cerberus Shoal has been characterized as part of the New Weird America movement.

Past members include but are not limited to: Erin Davidson, Caleb Mulkerin, Karl Greenwald, Tom Rogers, Colleen Kinsella, Chriss Sutherland, Tim Morin, Josh Ogden, Kristen Hedges, Tim Folland, David Mulder, Thomas Kovacevic, Tim Harbeson, Eric LaPerna.

The name 'Cerberus Shoal' comes from an actual underwater feature in the Block Island Sound called Cerberus Shoal."

---

LAS: I find it hard to place Cerberus Shoal in any particular genré or scene. Where do you feel that you belong? Do you see yourselves as a punk band? A folk troupe? An experimental purée?

Caleb Mulkerin: I think that our group feels at home among musicians and artists. As a group we range in age so that follows through with our peers. The group loves original, creative music and expression so were naturally drawn to that side of life. I think we consider ourselves punk in ethic but, the music has no real connection to punk other than some members come from a harder, darker side of music.

I've heard some talk about you owing Tree Records a lot of money, would you care to explain what that's all about?

Our relationship with Tree Records is no longer. There isn't anything to tell beyond that.

What is your approach to songwriting? Is it all about improvisation?

For the most part our group writes songs from ideas generated from within the group. But, from time to time an idea from outside the group will come in and inspire a peice. We're very compositionally oriented using improvisation to work on or generate a specific part. Though we do like to leave a lot of room in the composition for open music.

What inspires you?

I think that mainly we find inspiration in one another and the lives we lead. We are surrounded by an amazing community of people that make it easier to do music. These people too are very inspiring. And no real need to mention, music is so inspiring to us. Music in many forms, old and new, helps to open the mind.

How did the fusion with Tarpigh change the band?

When we met Tarpigh and then decided to join as one it probably turned what we were doing up ten notches. The music took off to a place I hadn't quite imagined. I don't think that any of us knew what was to come but, the relationship has been beautiful.

Your use of different instrumentation on your records is interesting. Do you feel limited by the standard bass-guitar-drums setup? what are your thoughts on experimentation with different instruments?

There are many instruments out there. So it's sad not to open our ears to whatever instrument might fit. It's about trying to find the perfect fit. Of course we are held back by undiscovered ability, money etc. but sometimes finding a new instrument, for cheap or just around, and then becoming fluent is a great process.

Should Cerberus Shoal be more properly listened to on compact disc or vinyl LP?

CD or vinyl, I don't think we have a preference.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Our group has a new record entitled homb to be released September 20th by the Baltimore-based label Temporary Residence. We're also re-releasing two older albums, And Farewell to Hightide and Elements of Structure/Permanence. We also have a nice show here in Portland, Maine, on July 17th, and we have a new website at cerberusshoal.com. I guess we just plan to try to keep it going. The music that is.

SEE ALSO: www.cerberusshoal.com
SEE ALSO: www.temporaryresidence.com

--
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other articles by Eric J Herboth.

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