Puppets of Castro
Puppets of Castro (Catalogue No. TRCP 1307), the new project fronted by singer/songwriter Andrew Lorand and poet/vocalist Matthew Niblock, brings together two of Los Angeles' most respected artists in one of the most anticipated recorded works to be released by Trough Records. Lorand, whose songs have been recorded by such folk stalwarts as Emily Kaitz and Kristina Olsen, decided to try something new when recording his latest collection of songs. His release, 'Location Location Location,' earned the praise of critics and folk radio programmers across the country for it's inspired mixture of humor, pathos and passion. His followup effort has been eagerly awaited ever since. Searching for a new sound for his next project, Lorand sought out longtime friend and collaborator Matthew Niblock, of L.A. alternative folk bands The Clear and Superman Loses the Girl. With an unrivaled range and beauty, Niblock's voice is as distinctive as it is stunning. With Niblock's participation as the new project's primary vocalist, Puppets of Castro was born. The resulting CD, a captivating combination of Lorand's quirky/funny/sad--and always catchy--songwriting, and Niblock's unique, often soaring vocal stylings (with a few sung by Lorand himself), is a truly original work. Whether it's emotional dysfunction (the humorously co-dependent strains of the opening 'I'd Do Anything' or the gut-wrenching loneliness of 'Talking Like a Fool'), romantic confusion and isolation (the sweetly questioning 'Weight of the World,' the devastation of 'We Had Hope' or the up-tempo 'Planet'--which poses the musical question 'What if Columbus wanted to show off his vacation slides?'); whether it's tackling difficult subjects such as the crippling sense of loss following a miscarriage (the quietly sad 'Piles of Leaves'), talking about blind faith ('Mr. Smith,' co-written by Lorand and Niblock), the love between a father and his child (the aptly titled 'Extraordinary Things') or just flat-out humor ('Maria,' 'The Obnoxious Ones'), Puppets of Castro keeps the listener involved and satisfied. Lorand's melodies remain as catchy and memorable as ever, made even more so by Niblock's immense vocal range. As with their previous projects, Lorand and Niblock have surrounded themselves with a stellar collection of musicians and backing vocalists, culled from their longstanding association with many of the finest players and writers in the Los Angeles Acoustic Underground. Puppets of Castro is certain to take it's place among the year's finest releases.