Release Date: Sep 22, 2009
Record label: Asthmatic Kitty
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Texas Rose, The Thaw and The Beasts is the perfect follow up to Ray Raposa's previous album, City of Refuge. For that, the man behind Castanets holed himself up in Nevada and recorded a solitary desert soundtrack that felt painfully alone. But here, he surrounds himself with players. Alongside regular Castanets members Suzanne Weiche and Henry Nagle, there are contributors both surprising (like Rocket from the Crypt's Jason Crane) and seemingly inevitable (like Black Heart Procession's Pall Jenkins).
Raymond Raposa's reedy voice would sound at home in either a Village coffee shop or a roadhouse, but the pitch-dark music ranges far and wide through organic and electronic textures, often combing the two. The resulting overall sound is cool-- it has a lot of potential for surprises, which Raposa rarely wastes. "No Trouble" is among the finest examples on his sixth album of all of this at work.
Out of all the acts tagged under the “freak-folk” genre, the man behind Castanets—Ray Raposa—may be the “freakiest.” Raposa doesn’t claim a city as a home but rather spends his time rambling between Portland, Brooklyn, and where he grew up, San Diego, California. His live shows include a generous amount of improvisation where songs are almost never faithful to their record. Then there are the records, where Raposa doesn’t so much record folk music but deconstruct it.
Touted as one of the pioneers and leaders of the “freak folk” movement of the 2000s, Castanets is also known for their ever changing line up. Sometimes a few members, other times a full-fledged band but most of the time, one sole band leader; Castanets is still one of the most unique bands on the market. San Diego-born and raised, Raymond Raposa’s music as Castanets is fittingly gripping.