Alpha Cat
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Alpha Cat

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1999
Band Alternative Rock




"Alpha Cat Thatched Roof Glass House Album Review"

As one of those women who grew up being a suburban Riot Grrl, I have to admit to having a certain “sister’s doing it for each other” attitude. I love being a writer slash artist and tend to enjoy when I see women doing the same thing and doing it well. Elizabeth McCullough was doing multilevel art projects that included film, photography and music since the late seventies and early eighties. She comes from the same pool from the NYC art scene that spawned punk stalwarts Blondie and Television. After making a great first impression with her seminal release Real Boy which impacted college radio and the underground press she continued to release challenging music. The timing of her release in 2001 called Pearl Harbor could not have been worse. It was in those days after 9/11 and having a release that had sonic touches such as bombs and explosion just did not fit the zeitgeist at that time. It was re-released in 2002 and worked at college radio and press and ended up receiving some best of that year awards. Those unfortunate choices coupled with health issues have sidelined her Alpha Cat alter ego for some years.

She is now returned and has made the stunning Thatched Roof Glass House (Aquamarine Records). Teaming up with musical co-conspirators Fred Smith from Television, as co-producer and guitarist Doug Pettibone from the Lucinda Williams and John Mayer orbit. She also added into the mix Chris Butler of the Waitresses on bass and Jason Harrison Smith on drums. Jason has laid down the rhythmic foundation for such musical luminaries as Albert Lee, Kelly Sweet and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. The musical results speak for themselves. The NYC punk-pop aesthetic shines through with attention and detail. The music is both poppy and underground performance art at the same time. It is also done with the confidence and shine of a woman who has lived life and faced hard times emotionally and physically. Young girls in the same musical fields usually have to manufacture such emotional musical content. Alpha Cat just opens her mouth and it pours with an authority 23-year olds do not have the life experience to muster. Time for press and radio to open their eyes and ears to give it a listen! - Buzzfeed

"Alpha Cat - Thatched Roof Glass House"


I know this may not be the politically correct thing to say in public these days, but I don’t like cats. It is not that I wish them ill-fortune; I just don’t like their personalities as much as doggies. They are annoying creatures who really do look like they are thinking of ways to kill you when they have those uncomfortable stares. In this age where there are a half a billion idiots, (sorry, I meant, wonderful people who can change the world) around the globe on YouTube, clicking their lives away watching felines be jerks, I think throttling back on cat mania is probably the best decision for humanity. Then I get a record that makes me second guess myself on all things tabby…

Alpha Cat is the brainchild of one Elizabeth McCullough. She has been releasing records for a while. This album, Thatched Roof Glass House (distributed by Aquamarine Records), is the first one since a prolonged medical hiatus. It is a cool and tough, though a quite questioning release that is the aural equivalent of those black jeaned, leather-wearing art denizens in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There is an urgency to the emotion that helps wrap this record in a sense of urban cool. Mona Lisa in a Comic Book is the obvious hit on the record. It has that NYC artist new wave type indie vibe that washes over the track, with the imagery coming back to the themes of a working-class Leonardo da Vinci’s spinning out their wares to help promote understanding and break glass ceilings.

In some sense, while listening and thinking about cats, I started thinking about the different ways nature’s a**holes have to communicate vocally and I applied them to some of the 7 songs on this record. Remember Me is like that insistent meow when you enter the apartment after a day of work to find the cat on the kitchen counter blandly reminding the apartment owner that once inside, they are there to serve the cat. Black Hole is the kind of cry that a cat will do in the middle of the night just to make sure the apartment owner is not going to be sleeping either. Thatched Roof Glass House is the kind of sound that the cat will make on a sunny afternoon stretched out on the rug and half purring.

Every Day You Break My Heart is that cry you get from the cat when you just fed them a full dinner that they ate all of, yet they still think they want more. Then when you give them more they sniff disdainfully and sashay away. Do you get my drift? All the while the musical end is ably held up by players and producers such as Fred Smith, Jon Mattox, Chris Butler, Doug Pettibone, Jason Harrison Smith and other members of what should be known as the Lower East Side’s Wrecking Crew.

All in all, while I won’t be getting tickets to see any of those Broadway show Cats singing Memories, I would go to Katz’s Deli listening to this on my iPhone’s earbuds. That is enough for me. - reddit

"Alpha Cat — Thatched Roof Glass House"

Alpha Cat’s “Thatched Roof Glass House” is one more record that speaks to several topics in America and the wider world; hopes and dreams, alienation, feminism, obsession and depression. The level of identity issues here speaks to a wider strain of questioning that is permeating all aspects of life including pop music. There have been many female artists before, going back to the great blues singers of the early 20th century like Bessie Smith who has explored the deep frustration from the female perspective on their roles in life and dealing with the species called…MEN. Actually, that is not exactly fair because you can tell that a lot of women singer-songwriters mostly have an indomitable ‘give it a go’ attitude when it comes to men. The man can do what men do and the women will sadly shake their heads and deal with it. The Tammy Wynette song “Stand by Your Man” is a classic example of female stoicism that addresses the better angels of the X chromosome.

Alpha Cat treads this ground on several songs in this interesting project. There is a hint of acoustic Nirvana on the track “Every Day You Break My Heart”, and suddenly it starts to gallop as the vocals intone: Slow down and back up, nobody believes a single word you say. Then you realize the deeper darker tale of personal and family dysfunction that swirls around in singer, writer, bandleader, Elizabeth McCullough’s head. It would be interesting to find out who are the female influences here. Certainly, a little Patty Smith, ala “Horses”. I swear there may even be a hint of early Madonna influences coming out here on this melody laden CD. “Mona Lisa in a Comic Book” evokes a bit of the rock and roll Keith Richards of feminist activism, Ms. Chrissie Hynde. The pop sensibility and sultry vocals give the song an extra edge that sounds good when the volume is cranked up. Overall, “Thatched Roof Glass House” (from the Aquamarine label) is a good record and one that deserves a little extra scrutiny in the age of disposable music. -

"Alpha Cat – Mockingbird"

Review: “Mockingbird” starts by catching your ear with a guitar riff that turns into an accompaniment for Elizabeth’s strong and soulful voice. The first line of the song, “Black sheep, too deep, can’t sleep,” instantly caught my attention and set the tone of the song perfectly. The lyrics give a vibe of a person who can’t seem to get the attention they long for because they don’t fit in. The drums kick in and your toes instantly start tapping to the beat as Elizabeth’s beautiful voice offers you a melody that gets you singing along. The chorus hits with increased energy and even more memorable lines; easily, the most unforgettable line of the song is “Be yourself or be loved.” This line presents the listener with an ultimatum, a choice to be yourself or be adored. It’s a conundrum that we all have been faced with growing up and trying to belong. “Shoot the messenger if you don’t want to hear the news,” and “Stay away from him if you don’t wanna catch the blues” are other notable and interesting lyrics. Overall, the song has a Fleetwood Mac quality in the music and with Elizabeth’s voice sharing similar haunting beauty as Stevie Nicks. If you are a fan of soulful singers with melodies that will follow you in your dreams and waking life, if you enjoy folk/indie/alternative rock, if you like good music, then you need Alpha Cat’s “Mockingbird” in your playlist now! -

"Alpha Cat Thatched Roof Glass House"

Review Summary: Thatched Roof Glass House is a challenging album wrapped up in melody and angst.

Alpha Cat’s “Thatched Roof Glass House” album came across my desk and is now coming out of speakers on the computer. It’s a challenging piece of work. It is wrapped up in melody and angst, and hits the right balance between an artist entertaining us and an artist bearing their soul. The reoccurring themes here seem to be shyness, loss and an inability to relate to what people might term as the normal world. In that respect, the singer/songwriter Elizabeth McCullough shares many traits with those who choose the arts.

Alpha Cat formed her artistic sensibility through the art scene in NYC. She was a photographer, and since NYC is a melting pot, she soon found herself running with musicians as well. Taking a chance, she recorded her first record with producer Fred Smith of Television, and the help of other like-minded musicians. This led to notoriety and airplay and a second record. This is where the story becomes interesting. She planned her release Pearl Harbor for the week of Sept 11, 2001. As you can imagine this did not bode well for the second release and the sounds of bombs and war the record evoked did not capture the public like the first one. These setbacks couples with health issues kept Alpha Cat out of the public eye for some time.

Now on “Thatched Roof Glass House” the Alpha Cat train is back on the track. Especially with the song “Mona Lisa in Comic Book”. Kicking off with the strut and confidence of a woman who knows who she is and what she wants from her songs “Mona Lisa in A Comic” has all the elements of a great radio track. It does not sound like anything I have heard on the radio in a long time. Big strummed guitars and the jagged melody lines provide a complimentary counterpoint. “Reconsider Me” is another gem with cool guitar lines weaving in and out of a fairly simple sounding percussion track. Nice production tricks give the songs a wobbly shimmer that really feeds the story and feel of the tune.
This album is challenging and the epitome of that is in the darkness, such as the track “Every Day You Break My Heart”. This is a cry from the soul and it is reflected in the insistent pounding tribal drums. It is like the lyrics and the music are working together to get the ancient message across. This album on Aquamarine Records is already placing on the folk music charts and is sure to be gaining more airings and fans if the exposure can be kept up. It’s like Alpha Cat is curled up under the sun and looking down from her Thatched Roof smiling a Mona Lisa smile. - sputnik music

"“Alpha Cat” Shared New Song “Mockingbird”: Listen"

‘Mockingbird’ Alpha Cat

When Alpha Cat proclaims she has rolled out “Mockingbird” on the first track of her epic album, Thatched Roof Glass House, she may as well announced an earthquake, or a tidal wave — a tectonic force of change.

The genre of the song is “Alternative Rock” and is an absolute masterpiece. One of the most amazing singles of all time. A transcendental experience. The most beautiful part of the song is the intro part where the guitar plucking starts right from the beginning with the delay pedal used in it which just sets the aura for the song, which is then rightly followed by the calm and soothing voice of “Elizabeth McCullough, aka Alpha Cat”.

The Chorus part is rightly to be the best lines of the song which states that “Be yourself or be loved, be yourself or be loved, be yourself, or be loved, be …”

So, Don’t wait anymore and listen out to this beautiful song and gives a thumbs up to the amazing artist “Alpha Cat”. - GUITAA

"Time Out London"

... blending the skill of songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Neal Young with a love of soulful pop.
- July 23, 2003


New York, the land from whence all good things non-British seem to emanate these days, now brings us Alpha Cat, a mixed outfit with a disarmingly wide repertoire of styles. Of the songs presented here, my favorite by far is the bouncy, brassy power pop of “Once Upon a Time.” The horn charts could be a touch more flashy or experimental, but that’s a minor quibble with this energetic track, which further benefits from its Liam-Gallagher-without-the-sneer vocal delivery. I find the lyrics a little inscrutable in fellow offerings “Pearl Harbor” and “Straw Hat,” but the latter’s line elongations lends some welcome poetry to their accessible pop-rock structures. Alpha Cat is definitely a band of many flavors, guaranteed to keep the listener guessing -- and to keep enjoying him/herself in the process.     - Joseph McCombs

"NoHo LA"

The past catches up to the future on "Pearl Harbor" by Alpha Cat. Part modern folk-rock, part fusion-psychedelic art-rock, this band is a delight.

There's a torrent of prose in every one of Elizabeth McCullough's songs, yet each syllable seems to fit magically in place as the tunes slowly burn their way into your brain. The melodies are likely to drive you batty the next day as you remember half of them, which compels you to play the cd again. (You can see a rare West Coast gig Nov. 11 at the Cat Club) - November 13, 2003

"Ink 19"

Conjuring images of mid-'60s San Francisco with slightly hallucinatory guitar riffs borrowed from the Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds, Alpha Cat is a NYC-based, mixed gender consortium providing a vehicle for Elizabeth McCullough's poignant tales of soul-searching and life lessons learned. While her vocals often emulate Beth Orton, fans of Sheryl Crow and Rita Coolidge as well as modern singer/songwriters like Beck and Joseph Arthur, will be drawn to McCullough's mature, assertive vocal style. - Gail Worley

"the Village Voice"

...intensely personal alt-folk rock in a voice reminiscent of 10,000
Maniacs... - Chuck Eddy

"New York Rock"

Alpha Cat, Pearl Harbor (© 2001 The Bear in the Elephant Suit)

In the vein of the old New York City stuff – like Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Television – comes Alpha Cat, with an approach to music that shows more depth of thought than many of the teenage hucksters out there right now. At the forefront are the vocals of Elizabeth McCullough, lazy and cutting like Patti Smith's, at times ethereal along the lines of Joni Mitchell or a quiet Chrissy Hynde, but always attracting your attention. Like a poetry reading, she weaves her voice, alternating between a matter-of-fact speaking tone and low-key approach to singing, and one could easily imagine her sitting at a table, smoking a cigarette, and delivering the goods. The goods, of course, being 13 songs that reel and roll, featuring quite a few guests on various instruments, and the sonic variety is just another in a series of good reasons to grab this disc and give it a listen. Lyrically, the songs are rich, as the various stories unfold and play out. My only question is, what's with the title? March 1, 2003 - Bill Ribas


Hard to make out if this is a band or a collective of like minded musicians as about fifteen participants are listed and in alphabetical order making it hard to distinguish who's more involved than the rest. One thing  for sure - this is not Americana or country in the least. This is sprightly new wave pop circa the late '80's and is bouncy and clever as hell. While this might confuse more country-oriented consumers those interested in quirky pop are recommended to give this a listen. Those interested in fiddles and pedal steel are invited to look elsewhere. Pretty good album though, with some great lyrical twists and very compelling music.
- Scott Homewood

"Altar Native"

Jersey's Elizabeth Mccullough takes on what artists like Joni Mitchell and Chrissie Hynde were known for, and builds on it on "Pearl Harbor." And although she uses the term adult alternative (music for 18+?), it doesn't make it any less humdrum, as the tag might suggest. If it's gifted songwriting that one is after, one needs to go no further than "Pearl Harbor," where the opening "Something of Value" blooms with a driving beat and some country twangs thrown into lush choruses. Mccullough's rich, deep vocals --- which echo those of Hynde---chronicle tales of everything from losing family ("Snow") to one's vulnerability ("Pearl Harbor"). "Monsters (You Can't do It)" stands as a dark pop anthem, while "Across the River Twice" bears a Mazzy Star quality. Like a well-woven garment, "Pearl Harbor" stands the elements and doesn't wear thin. --- - Omar Perez


2002 CD of the Year Award Winners:
The 2002 "CD of the Year Awards" were presented to the top-20 winners as chosen by a select panel consisting of friends, associates and staff of the Kweevak's Tracks website. These CDs represented the best submissions received for the year in terms of musical quality, production and overall theme!

ALPHA CAT — PEARL HARBOR: Pearl Harbor is the latest release from the adult alternative rock band Alpha Cat. This New Jersey band sites various influences such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Squeeze and REM. The group uses traditional rock and roll instruments interspersed with the vox, upright bass, tenor saxophone, mandolin and the trombone, which gives their songs an even richer fuller sound. Elizabeth McCullough who plays an array of instruments is also the main songwriter for the band. Elizabeth writes visual songs about life and personal experiences that are deep and meaningful. McCullough, like her predecessors, is able to “combine pop simplicity with a darker mood and sound.” The instrumentation throughout Pearl Harbor is tight and proficient and blends well with McCullough’s intriguingly haunting vocals. ‘Something of Value’ has a good groove, smooth vocals and clever musical accents. ‘Monsters’ has a scary funky tone with captivating guitar rifts and poignant vocals. ‘The Truth’ opens with grinding guitars and a steady solid beat revealing the story of self-deception. Pearl Harbor is an explosive CD that should put Alpha Cat at the forefront of the music scene.
• Recommended Tracks: (1,3,11 - by Laura Turner Lynch

"Here & There Ezine"

Alpha Cat: Real Boy
This EP is a great start for this New York City based band. Chock full of great hooks,courtesy of Richard Lloyd (Televison,Matthew Sweet) and the rich alto vocals of Elizabeth McCullough,all the songs here are very well written and tight.

Blending pop,Americana and a bit of Rebecca Gates,McCullough's songs of love and 2nd chances are haunting and so so sweet.

Elizabeth was both a acknowledged photographer and songwriter when in 1997 she began to expand herself and decided to singing. She sang small gigs and open mics,catching the attention of Fred Smith (also of Television fame) and Alpha Cat was born. Magic was indeed there as Real Boy was one of the most added CMJ (College Music Journals) albums,including a stay of 7 weeks in the Top 200.

Alpha Cat has released a new album which will be reviewed here as soon as we get a copy. A great addition to your music collection is to be had here. - Michael Sullivan


Thatched Roof Glass House: Aquamarine Records 2019

"Every Day You Break My Heart" on the "Young, Single and Angry" Soundtrack 2008

"Wichita" on "Females on Fire" Compilation, Warrior Girl Music 2005

"Reconsider Me", on "Hurry Home Early: the Songs of Warren Zevon," Compilation, Wampus Multimedia, 2005

Compilation: Sharp Cuts, Shuteye Records, 2003 "Venus Smile"

Film: "Swimming" 2002, DVD/Sundance Films: by Robert J. Siegel and starring Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under)

CD:"Pearl Harbor", 2001-2002, (Aquamarine) full length
#19 CMJ National Top 200 Adds Feb 2002, Still receiving airplay

2003 Heetseeker People's Choice Award Winners for Album of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, and Best Modern Rock Album of the Year

Kweevak's Tracks Editor's Choice Cd of the Year Award 2002

CD: (ep) "Real Boy", ep, 1999 (BliindSide)
CMJ National Most added AAA, two weeks in a row (#11, #18, Sept,Oct 1999). six weeks in the CMJ National Top 200 Airplay Charts

Tracks are streaming from home site, as well as various internet sites, incl.,, IUMA, and National Media Networks



alpha cat: Bio

I've fallen into a black hole
looked like your heart
felt like my soul
Now I got nowhere to go
from this side out looks like the end of the world

How do you take the image of a black hole and make it positive? According to Elizabeth McCullough, aka Alpha Cat, "When I wrote that song I'd just read how astronomers had determined that you could actually escape a black hole, but only by going all the way through and out the other side. And that leads to all this worm hole and time travel theory, where not only do you avoid annihilation, but you arrive at a place you might never have reached otherwise. It's an amazing metaphor for transformation, and ultimately hopeful. That's why the end of the song is: you gotta go deeper it's the only way out.
A friendship with Television bassist Fred Smith, who agreed to produce a demo, became 1999’s EP Real Boy. With only 150 copies sent to college radio stations, Real Boy ended up in the CMJ National Add Charts not once, but twice, receiving more airplay adds than such formidable and widely distributed offerings as Beck's Midnight Vultures, and Metallica's S&M. It went on to spend six weeks in the national airplay charts, unusual for an EP.

The follow up to Real Boy, October 2001’s Pearl Harbor, was, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, unfortunately timed. With an image of a bomb and the sound effects of a glass building falling down, the CD was eerily prescient. It was not well received initially, for obvious reasons. Upon rerelease in February 2002, it did much better, receiving significant airplay on college radio, and winning a couple “best of” awards that year.

With the Alpha Cat song “Pearl Harbor,” it' becomes apparent how longtime photographer McCullough's previous passion has informed her current love. Without an understanding of how equally light and its absence form the world we see before us, it's difficult to imagine McCullough having had the vocabulary to describe that world musically. "It occurred to me that this place was called Pearl Harbor before it was bombed, and that it must be because literally, there were pearls in the harbor. I tried to imagine what it might take to get back to where that place was about treasure, rather than destruction.”

In 2005, following the ending of an unfortunate romantic entanglement, McCullough decided to move to L.A. to work with  drummer Jason Smith, who had gigged with Alpha Cat several times in Los Angeles over the previous years. Recording began on the album Venus Smile in April of 2006, and 15 instrumental tracks were completed with the help of engineer Jon Mattox, guitarist Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, John Mayer), bassist Reggie McBride, (Elton John), and Jason Smith on drums.

Seven vocal tracks were completed as well, but by July, McCullough fell into a real life black hole, losing her voice and experiencing a profound emotional and psychological breakdown. She was unable to complete the record.

Years of depression, hospitalizations and treatment, including a round of ECT followed with no result. But in 2013 an experimental treatment yielded some relief from the devastating suicidality that had plagued her, and she attempted a return to music. She booked the first of two gigs in London at the legendary 12 Bar Club. However, her perceived betrayal by both her heart and her music, rehearsals and the prospect of returning to the stage brought extreme anxiety and fear. She began to drink to cope. The 12 Bar gigs were virtually unattended, a sense of hopelessness set in again, and the drinking continued.

Fortunately, McCullough decided to revisit the Venus Smile recordings that actually had been completed. She enlisted engineer Brett (Cosmo) Thorngren to do mixes of the songs, with encouraging results. And as it turned out, she had found a new champion in Thorngren. But it wasn’t until early 2019, with newfound sobriety and the retreat of long held fears, that she began to listen to those mixes anew, and began to appreciate them and realize that maybe there was something in this music after all. And then, in early June, McCullough experienced an epiphany, and decided to put out those songs as an LP. The result is the new record Thatched Roof Glass House. At long last, her journey through the worm hole seems to be complete.