Casey Dienel
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Casey Dienel

Band Pop Cabaret

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Jul
06
Casey Dienel @ ZuZu

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Jun
20
Casey Dienel @ Herbie's

Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

Jun
19
Casey Dienel @ Pete's Candy Store

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

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Music

Press


"The arresting young singer/pianist Casey Dienel is a student at New England Conservatory by day; by night, she gathers up her six-piece Misfit Orchestra and sings spell-casting Gypsy songs about 'cats and dogs, historians, cowboys, apricots, glasswork, waltzes, Switzerland, trains, ferris wheels, gin, candy corn, suitcases, failed love affairs, crazy drunk old men, [and] traveling.' Comparisons with the Dresden Dolls are inevitable, but she'll get over them. Yes, she's up on her opera and her Waits and her Dietrich, and her keyboard work can lurch maniacally when it needs to; but her singing and her melodies have an Old World jazz feel (she's studying with Dominique Eade - see under "Friday") that's closer in spirit to Billie than to Brecht. Dienel's demo is called Grandmother Rock, an appellation that just might stick. (Note to local college DJs: will make pleasant segue into Jolie Holland, CocoRosie, or Joanna Newsom.)" - The Boston Phoenix


Down on Harvard and Brighton Avenues there’s this little cafe/ice cream shop. You probably know it, if you hung down there around the Coolidge Corner theater area on any Saturday night. Maybe so. But...

I don’t go out there.

Boston starts in the North End and stops at Kenmore Square. After that, it’s all college (more on the supposed benefits of education later). The place could be great. All it would need is some velvet crimson stage curtains across the window facing the crowded streets, some local abstract artists to line the walls to speak of these idealized vibes, and cozy plush sofas to nestle in to and lick at Oreo crunch ice cream and press your lips against your new significant other. It would be great if there were hookahs smoking of the most ornate spices and opiates this side of the Oriental Express and finely-garbed hostesses serving decorments of the highest sweetness and regular folly. But then again, this isn’t some Turkish smoke house either, it’s an ice cream shop in Allston. But its not where you go; it’s who your with.

And the night had some great company to offer.

I walk into the place to Casey Dienel’s ‘Goodbye Gypsy Lover’. Oh, the ballad, the moment I move in, rocks me immediately back and forth. It is a tale of longing, strikingly similar to “Central Square”, the other one that gets me that she does. Casey’s bangs dangle, as they do, over the bridge of her brow and I ask why? Does she know that just by starting her show, being herself, wrapped up in a mix of humility and charm, can evoke such immediate attention? The room she plays freezes, we are all at whim of the methods she gives us, reasons why we wait for that lover at the T until they get off work, reasons why we read the papers, reasons why our lives are more interesting than they were then when we walked into the place. Listening to Casey Dienel is like being hidden in a crevasse of the speakeasies of 1921, in the shadows, ripped from MTV’s latent culture, we fall into the night as it should be fallen into, timelessly leaving the place where we were and the banality that followed.

Could we really ask for more?

The girl at the piano, thank god she’s not emulating Tori or Ani, as the others do. Luckily her name does not end with an “i” (sometimes “Y” of course). She pauses, between her recognizable songs to proclaim:

“That’s all you need, another waltz from me.”

Our Lady of Brass.

She emulates the Ladies that had given us the best of songs, Vaughn, Holliday, Fitzgerald, just as much personality, just as much life, as much soul. And the best thing?

She’ll make you laugh on a dime, sing with her as she tells us of the little white lies. We hum the night, dance an original and ring in some real talent, finally, around this stodgy town.

She leaves with applause. There’s the arty kids waiting for the scene. But more so, there’s the grandmothers, wives, and uncles watching, far beyond the demographic of cool but all the more so, smiling and cheering, the show they had just saw, on their way for a sugar cone, was all by accident. And all the better.


--by Matthew D'Abbate - jonesdrawings.com


Casey Dienel Grandmother Rock
Casey has a demo which is mostly just her and her piano. She writes beautiful, strange, quirky, passionate, funny songs. Songs about relationships and songs about travelling, songs about being home, and songs about communication. Her music is very theatrical, and unlike anything I've ever really heard before. Her voice is strong, and nuanced beyond her years. Her piano playing is off-kilter, but sharp. Sometimes she just pounds on the keys with her fists. Delightful.
She's been playing around Boston a bit lately, accompanied by an upright bassist, and her newer songs are even better. She'll be putting together a gypsy band this fall, and recording an album. Do see her play if you get the chance.

--Dylan Metrano - envy13dotcom


On a cold snowy January night, a few dozen people crowd into a small, unfinished basement on Mission Hill. The only light comes from sporadically-placed strings of Christmas tree lights on the ceiling. Some tall individuals must duck to avoid the water and heating pipes just overhead. A washing machine in the corner next to the furnace plays the role of a merchandise table, displaying T-shirts and CDs for sale. These people are far from comfortable in this cramped cellar, but it's a price they're willing to pay to see Jason Anderson and Casey Dienel perform in a Massachusetts College of Art senior's basement.

Basement concerts like this one have seen a recent surge in popularity both in Boston and across the country, as more musicians and fans seek alternatives to traditional club venues, host Mat Patalano said. The 23-year-old has managed close to 50 basement shows since he began booking acts in 2001.

Dienel provides the ideal example of why audiences risk claustrophobia to see live bands in tight spaces. When it is time for Dienel to perform her set, there's very little fanfare. She steps out of the crowd and sits down at her keyboard. After checking her gear and speaking briefly with her band, she starts into the first song. The audience, standing only two feet from her on the same concrete slab, sings along.

"There's less of a division between the performer and the listener, I feel more like a bandleader, trying to get everyone involved and aware of their importance in regards to my music. At clubs, this kind of fearless contribution is a little more difficult to achieve," said Dienel, who will perform Feb. 28 at All Asia in Cambridge.
- Northeastern University Paper


Discography

Wind Up Canary (2005), LP
Grandmother Rock (2004), EP

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Casey Dienel isn't your average songwriter. Her songs are potent cocktails of truth, humor, & observation. Straying from the well-beaten path of confession, it is her ability to narrarate that has helped Dienel to stand apart in Boston's music community. Dienel's voice is whimsical, lacking in irony, and hopeful as ever. Her piano-playing is off-kilter, at times sparkling and other times quite clumsy. Her music fuses humor with sincerity, love with politics, the theatrical with the tongue-in-cheek. Her songs range in subject from dreams of dictatorships to hitch-hiking in Missouri, from cowboy duels to newspaper paranoia, from city life to the occaisional failed love affair.

Dienel was raised on a beach just south of Boston where she cultivated her gifts on a living room upright. By the age of 12, Dienel had nursed enough Czerny etudes and Chopin nocturnes to satisfy any student and began writing melodramas in A minor. When Dienel moved to Boston in 2003, she enrolled at a conservatory with hopes of being a symphonic composer but soon found herself straying towards new pursuits. Dienel spent most of her first 6 months staying out late in the crevassed bars of the city singing about, as she puts it, “concrete yards & newspaper clippings.” For months only barflies saw these early sets, where Dienel honed in on her ability to isolate emotions and humor through stories about bigots, lovers, and baseball fans. By 2004, Dienel began playing keyboards for Jason Anderson of K Record’s Wolf Colonel and Kimchee’s Tigersaw.

She has expanded her repertoire to include a full band, featuring drum, bass, trumpet, and cello.
She is often compared to artists like Jolie Holland, Joanna Newsom, Tom Waits, Marlene Dietrich, and Randy Newman. Sometimes Dienel is accompanied by only a pizzicato bass, sometimes she is flanked by her Misfit Orchestra. Her discography features her current EP entitled Grandmother Rock (2004), "an appellation" says the Boston Phoenix, "that just might stick."After a very full year of shows that included recording a new full length LP entitled Wind-Up Canary, Dienel is one of the busiest unsigned artists in Boston. The much-anticipated Wind-Up Canary is set for a release in the summer or fall of 2005.

"Finally! An original voice! Dienel calls to mind a young Rufus Wainwright or a skinny female Randy Newman." -Peter Bufano of Cirkestra

"Living Room Chanteuse Casey Dienel writes small gypsy operas that will blow your mind." -Nadav Carmel of BSR 88.1 in Providence

"...Loveably quirky indie-cabaret songwriter" -Boston Phoenix