Alpha Cat

Alpha Cat

 New York City, New York, USA
BandAlternativeRock

Dark pop tunes rawer than Liz Phair, more elegant than Beck, and a bit more femme than Lou Reed.

Biography

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 an image like Pearl Harbor, or 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 decided that you could 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 escape, 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 at the end of the song it says 'you gotta go deeper it's the only way out'.

With Pearl Harbor, it’s apparent how longtime photographer McCullough's previous passion has informed her current love. Without an understanding of how equally light and it's 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.

Bill Ribas of New York Rock:March 2003

"In the vein of the old New York City stuff – Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Television – Alpha Cat’s approach to music shows more depth of thought than many of the teenage hucksters out there right now. Lyrically, the songs are rich, as the various stories unfold and play out... 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... 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..."

In the mid-90's McCullough ran into James Mastro, whom she had photographed while he was in Hoboken, NJ stars the Bongos. She asked if he would listen to some 4 track demos, and he happened to be in the market forpix for his group, the Health & Happiness Show, which at that time included Television guitarist Richard Lloyd. McCullough and Lloyd got to talking, the result being that Lloyd played on the first studio demo of her songs. The Mastro connection also led to a friendship with Television bassist Fred Smith, who agreed to produce a new demo, and ended up co-producing two Alpha Cat cds. The "demo" became 1999’s ep "Real Boy," which with only 150 copies sent to college radio ended up in the CMJ National Add charts not once, but twice, receiving more airplay adds than such formidable and more widely distributed offerings as Beck's "Midnight Vultures" and Metallica's "S&M". It went on to spend 6 weeks in the national airplay charts, unusual for an ep.

Pearl Harbor made the National CMJ Add charts in Feb. 2002, has gone on to top “Best Of” lists in 2002 and 2003, is still receiving glowing reviews, as radio stations from Texas to Czechoslovakia continue to request the disc.

Lyrics

Black Hole

Written By: Elizabeth McCullough

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

Why'd you have to roll over me that way?
you mowed me like a wheat field on a patent black tractor
with your back-ho jeering me from back at the farm house
you got your baby-cake and still eaten me whole

Paste my face in the middle of a dart board
break that toy truck before it's out of the store
all this driving with the brakes on gets to be a drag
all this play-acting's getting to be a bore

where on earth did you learn about relationships?
reading Charles Atlas getting sand in your face
you used to be a loser so you punish all the girls
c'mon, getting your feet wet-can't be all that bad

I'm a falling tree and you're a wood with no ears
Screaming platitudes inside of a vacuum
a hundred hands clapping and you feel no better
can't get any damper than the middle of a tide pool

You know there's nothing to these school girl fantasies
but you take this licking cause the clock keeps ticking
that flying angel savior's a no-show
but you gotta go deeper it's the only way out
only way out

Pearl Harbor

Written By: Elizabeth McCullough

You were my very own Pearl Harbor
stopped me unaware
blew me out of the water
while I lay safe in my dark bedroom
you were coming at me from above

flying over the mountain
explode this volcano
now I lay dying
covered with the molten rock

How did you find me my pearl harbor?
I felt safe on solitude island
banked by a basin full with remnants
of all but forgotten torments

while the war was brewing
spewing flames upon the water
that I cannot see through
'cause the light is broken

Say, baby do not fear the hunger
tells you when it’s time to eat
and do not be afraid of the darkness
your bright eyes can penetrate

I found the treasure in this harbor
from a forgotten map- left by that last robber
who claimed my wealth and spat upon it
but those flames refused to die

while my righteous halo
forms around this pain
do not flee this battle
it leads us to a better place

How did you find me my Pearl Harbor?
you caught me unaware
pulled me out of the water
while I flailed wildly in my ocean
you were coming at me from above

Straw Hat

Written By: Elizabeth McCullough

He missed the boat
so he took a taxi
they sat in the rain while she smoked a cigarette
She brought her straw hat
and he put it on his head
through his long lashes she could see forever
she had a drink, and he had another and he said
maybe we should feed you lover

As they sat together at the kitchen table
she was so full up she couldn’t eat a bite

He held her hand as they walked the pier
said so much but there was so much more

As they stood together at the end of the boardwalk
in the Wall street shimmer they could see each other

He wanted to look but she wished to be
in the bedside light they found a moment in between
She didn’t know he could be so true
to a vow so far away he couldn’t reach it

As they sat together at the edge of the bed
he found it wasn’t so easy not to break that promise

He wore her straw hat
as he was looking in the mirror
at a face that he had never seen
He walked through her closet door
then he took it off - tucked it beneath his arm
and then he walked away

Mona Lisa in a Comic book

Written By: Elizabeth McCullough

He's a square peg, in a round hole

but no one would ever know

jams his long legs in the economy row

but you'd never hear him complain

He's a Jaguar in a Chevrolet

he's a jet plane in a double prop

he's a thousand thread count burlap bag

she's the ocean in a paper cup

He's a gold mine in a junkyard, so nobody digs him
she's an elevator on a slippery slope
but nobody's taking a ride

She's the heir to the throne on a Greyhound bus
he's the president of his own four walls
he's a masterwork in a paperback
she's mona lisa in a comic book

Chip away, make it fit, hit it a little bit harder

Make it fit, chip away, until there's nothing left

pay your respects to the man inside the bottle

he's doing the best that you'll let him

He's a bright light, in a dark room
but nobody turns him on
she's a slow fuse, in a tinder box
but nobody's found a match

he's a big fish in a small pond
has a high iQ and a magic wand
he's a ticket to ride on a slow boat to China
so she doesn't know he's alive

she's an atom bomb in your cracker jack
he's a waterfall at last call
you can try to lend him sugar but he'll send it back
she's a daisy in a parking lot
Mona Lisa in a comic book

Wichita

Written By: Elizabeth B. McCullough

Somewhere past Wichita
that girl caught up with you
invisible wire with no strings to bind
floating past mountaintops
I fell in love with them
hearing them in your voice
reflected in mine

A cellular connection
electricity finds you
that girl from Wichita
using up your time

Two days from Wichita
your past caught up with you
you heard your own cry
sing in the wire

A cellular connection
electricity finds you
that girl from Wichita
using up your time

And the horoscope spoke of a new kind of lover
seeing the world through another one's eyes
Back then I'd hoped there was still a chance you would see
the mirror she broke but she never did lie

As April snow drifts down
you spoke two thousand miles
weeds tumble back again
you just roll by
weeds tumble back again
you just roll by

Discography

"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. MP3.com, GarageBand.com, IUMA, and National Media Networks

Set List

Typical set 45 mins - 1 hour
Ground Rush
All the Right Things
Something of Value
Monsters
Sometimes When I Wake
Pearl Harbor
Straw Hat
Black Hole
Thatched Roof Glass House
Wichita (new, unrecorded)
One Day the Sun Came Up (new/unrecorded)
Not many covers, though am about to do Bill Wither's "Use Me"