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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Blues Rock


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"catl on the cover of Cashbox Canada "catl "Prodding the Blues""

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 01/28/2011 - 13:50

* Cover Story
* Features

Cover January 28, 2011

Story: Lenny Stoute
Photos: Alyssa Katherine Faoro

The term’ original' gets hurled around a lot and in most cases, it's totally undeserved. Then there's Catl, who went so far back into the roots of the blues they've come out the other side with something quite different.

How many bands can you name who mine the roots traditions of the Twenties, that point in American history when Afro-centric Delta blues was meeting up with Euro-centric Appalachian folk music to create this mutant wild child named country blues that would one day go all rock'n'roll on us? And who else is so elastic in their approach that one member showed up for some random guest shots and was asked to stay the night, every night.

Jamie 'catl' Fleming is the band's guiding light and beneath the laid-back stage persona is a man with a righteous plan. That it was sparked in a used records store sounds perfect for a band steeped in tradition.

"I was always in Rotate This, and I asked Pierre (Hallett) for a good springboard to country-blues-type stuff. He suggested Mississippi Fred McDowell, who just blew my mind. I just got right into that sound, Fred and guys like Furry Lewis, the kind of sound their recordings had, the way they played.

" In some songs it sound like Fred (McDowell) is playing three different guitars and I thought, damn I want to learn how to do that"Fleming came out of the Toronto punk scene so when he decided to put his act together, it was natural he turned to another TPunk alumnus, drummer Johnny LaRue.

"It was planned as a duo to enable us to play venues that were outside of the mainstream, just to get the music out there. We would play anywhere in and around the city; at first we didn't know what to expect, how people would take it but little by little it started to build".

Understandably, as their proto-blues filtered through punk sensibilities took just about everyone by surprise. What the sound did have going for it though was danceability and pretty soon word got around among the facially pierced crowd this pair were kicking da blooze punk style with no apologies.

" Being a big fan of the Delta blues of the Twenties, we try to recreate that as well as we can, and we can do it very well. But what cannot be denied is all the different types of music we all grew up with and played. I mean we were all in garage or punk bands. So we do traditional Delta blues filtered through all of these sources".

Even as they were building an audience as a duo, the Catl door remained open to other influences. So when organist/vocalist/percussionist/hellraiser Sarah Kirkpatrick casually morphed into a fully-fledged band member after some well-received guest appearances, it was so natural it seemed like she'd always been there.

Kirkpatrick's addition marked the beginning of the next phase of Catl, as make no mistake, they aren't going away any time soon. Fleming is on record as saying that he always had in mind for Catl the kind of project that he could play with for a long time, that he's interested in building something he can grow old with.

" Adding Sarah allowed us to expand the sound significantly. She brings a fresh element to the sound; with her the songs are more fully realised. Sarah’s also very important in taking some of the pressure off me, as the constant focus. Our shows can be up to three hours long and it helps now that she's singing more songs".

The evolution of Catl is illustrated by their two vastly differing albums. This too is part of the plan and dovetails with Fleming's ideas about this business of making an album. Where most bands say they’re all about capturing their live thing on a recording, the catching lightning in a bottle approach, Fleming insists on maintaining the difference between the live and recorded experiences.

"I'm not into recreating the live thing on a recording. I feel that an album should offer a different experience altogether. An album should get you involved in stories; it should take you on a trip.

" The first album (¿Adónde Vas? A Ningún Lado) was cut in my living room over a weekend, live off the floor, even the vocals. It was raw, aggressive, an introduction to what we do.

“ For the second album (With The Lord For Cowards You Will Find No Place) we wanted a more fully realised body of songs, more diversity within the album. We went to Detroit for the lion's share (no football pun intended), to work with (producer) Jim Diamond, then did some of it in Kensington Market.

"I'm really happy with the result and a little surprised by how well it was received by most of the music press”.

With the second album, Catl proved they could be innovative as all get out within the confines of an ancient tradition, vintage recording gear, vinyl albums and all. Fleming shows off fluent song writing chops whether bending the strings towards groove riding ('Caroline') or blazing swamp blues ('Workin' Man's Soul'). And where else you gonna hear 'Oh Death' served up as a rhythm-happy stomp?

"It's amusing to see how some writers describe Catl but since you asked, when you strip it down to just the one guy and his guitar, it's basically rhythm'n'blues.

" I'm quite pleased with the way things have gone so far. We have a sound, we're getting good critical word, we have a solid audience. We just need more people to help us get to the next level, which is why we'll be actively looking for a record deal for the next album.”

That album' s already written and as the band's in the process of learning it. Fleming promises a full road test of the new tunes when Catl heats up the Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern's Feb.11 (2011) - Cashbox Canada

"CBC Radio 3 "Track of the Day" chosen by Vish Khana: "Workin' Man's Soul" by catl"

"I've only heard amazing things about catl and their stage show. One listen to their latest album "With the Lord For Cowards You Will Find No Place" suggests that they must be a killer live band. With a musical connection to Charley Patton, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and maybe even Hot Snakes, among others, these songs sound like they were custom-built to melt your face, slap you in the soul, and rock your socks off." - CBC Radio 3

"catl. "Friday Live" guests on CBC Radio "Q""

traditional blues trio catl. perform from their album, With the Lord for cowards you will find no place. Friday, January 7, 2011 - CBC Radio One

"Sonic Parthenon in Toronto: Quintron and Miss Pussycat @ The Horseshoe Tavern"

CATL were THE band of this Toronto trip. Straight-up hard rocking garage blues, this trio belted it out equally on the vicious slide guitar and the 60's organ. Playing on the crowd floor lent a juke joint vibe, and this band proved that no matter how many times this genre can exhaust itself, there's always someone to come around and give it a good, swift, needed kick in the ass. - Sonic Parthenon (NY)

""CATL have the mojo in spades""

Ya know kids... I have a deep dislike for the blues... it been used as a stage for all kinds of wankery by dudes with bad hair that its just fodder for the radio now. But if I did like blues then CATL play the blues I like. This duo who opened for the Brown Hornets Friday last play with the Mississippi mud still on the instruments as if they pulled them broken and wet from the birth swamp itself and plugged in and shorted out and didn't care... the song had to be sung, screamed, growled, roared. This is primordial blues... not self-pity blues or forlorn blues but angry deeply felt pissed off blues and that baby is how I like my blues. I don't give two eggs over easy with brown toast for your skills and your fret work... if you don't feel it baby it ain't working for you. Its got to have the mojo and CATL have it in spades. Great band. --William McGuirk -

"From Mississippi Delta by way of Parkdale"

Mar 19, 2009 04:30 AM

Ben Rayner
Pop Music Critic

No one's got a direct window onto prehistoric times, but it's a safe bet that this weird, wonderful thing we know as "music" was dreamed up with dancing in mind.

Rock 'n' roll, spawned from the escapist, somewhat carnal thump of the blues, certainly was, so there's no great leap required for a serious student of contemporary popular music to find his way back to the roots when making human bodies move becomes the intended focus of his art.

Such was the case, anyway, when maturing tastes and circumstance – in particular, a serious hand injury that rendered furious hardcore riffing no longer a possibility – turned former Pecola guitarist Jamie Fleming more than a decade ago to the original, rough-shod recorded fruits of the Mississippi Delta for renewed inspiration.

From there on, the self-taught six-string dynamo honed a whole new style of songwriting and playing based on right-hand picking and bare-bones juke-joint locomotion that he has since gradually come to unveil under the "nonsense" moniker and band name catl.

"I started in the wrong place in terms of I didn't want to learn how to play guitar. I just wanted to go towards it with Pecola and not adhere to any rules, and then I realized that there were all these things that happened before," says Fleming over drinks in Parkdale with catl bandmates Johnny LaRue and Sarah Kirkpatrick.

"I went to Rotate This and said to Pierre (Hallett, the owner): `What's some good Mississippi blues music?' And he gave me a Mississippi Fred McDowell record and that was it. I heard that record and I was like: `Wow, this is so amazing.'"

Fleming has spent a good 10 years working out how to deconstruct and reconfigure the unvarnished, porch-front boogie of McDowell, Son House and Charley Patton for contemporary Toronto audiences.

With LaRue – late of local punk outfits the Exploders and No No Zero, plus Pecola – at his side as stable timekeeper, he has, in fact, been infrequently busting out catl's scarred yowls and dirty roadhouse throwdowns at house parties and low-key club gigs the whole time.

It's only recently, however, that either party involved felt "serious" enough about the project to commit to playing shows on a regular basis or recording some of their living-room sessions, as they did last year for the just-released LP Adonde Vas? A Ningun Lado. It's a stridently lo-fi affair, released direct to vinyl on Coletrain Records, but there's a CD tucked into the sleeve for portability's sake.

"We practise in my house at Bloor and Ossington and we wanted to do something comfortable," says Fleming.

"We didn't want to go into a studio because I've heard a lot of blues recordings and they were recorded on a guy's porch or in his living room and they sound amazing because it's a document of that moment, and that's what makes it good....

``We didn't want a polished, studio-arranged type of thing because we'd all be uptight and you could hear it in the playing.''

Catl added a couple of overdubs to the album with the help of friend/recordist Jeff McMurrich and guest musicians Leslie Wormworth and Dave McMorrow, Fleming's father-in-law and a renowned session player who has logged time with Rough Trade, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Etta James.

Fleming and LaRue only officially realized something was missing from their purposefully skeletal sound last fall, though, when former Shitt Hottt keyboardist/vocalist Kirkpatrick was invited to sit in for one show that turned into five. She was not permitted to leave once Fleming and LaRue realized how invaluable her harmonies and an added layer of propulsive organ skronk were becoming to their vision.

"It's been very intimidating for me, but it's great because I love working hard," says Kirkpatrick. "I like the no-bullsh-- attitude that they have, and they were both really open to including me in the whole process, right from Day 1. Jamie really knows what he likes to hear but he never tells me what to sing or what to do. He knows when it's right and he knows when it's not right."

Kirkpatrick's involvement has allowed the rest of catl to, as LaRue puts it, "concentrate on the groove."

That all-important, in-the-pocket rhythmic swagger is what really gnaws the feistier bits of Adonde Vas? into one's brain, and it's also the secret weapon that has organically garnered catl a fan base that, in recent months, has filled on-board clubs like the Silver Dollar and the Dakota Tavern – a regular haunt to which catl returns tomorrow night before a show in Hamilton – with capacity crowds notable for dancing as hard as they drink.

"That's what it's taken 10 years to do. It's taken me a long time to play that simple beat," laughs LaRue.

Adds Fleming: "I started out playing hardcore or punk rock or whatever, and that was great for the time and that was the kind of emotion I wanted to convey with the music, but then, it was, like, `I want to make people dance instead...'

"Blues was the dance music of the time and those are the records that I fell in love with." - TORONTO STAR

"Music all about the groove for catl"

June 19, 2009 1:06 a.m.

When you listen to a recording on ‘¿Adónde Vas?’ — ‘a Ningún Lado’, the debut by Toronto blues trio CATL, don’t expect the pattern and polish that’s come to be associated with the contemporary album.

Muffled, static-streaked and unconfined, the release is perhaps best characterized by the title of one of its tracks — Ragged and Dirty.

That unpolished quality of the band’s brand of blues via Mississippi Delta is a tool vocalist and guitarist Jamie Fleming (who goes by the “CATL” nonsense pseudonym) says is intended to create musical malleability, allowing performance context to dictate what songs sounds like, night to night.

“As we started out as a two-piece, everything had that sort of primordial rawness to it,” Fleming says over beers in the backyard of his home-cum-studio, Charlie Feathers’ Wild Side Of Life appropriately rotating on a turntable inside. “We developed this so we could play anywhere — we could play on the street, or someone’s house. Oftentimes, we play off the stage, on the floor or a different corner of the club.”

The sound that began as a twosome, along with drummer Johnny LaRue, recently turned into a threesome, with the introduction of Sarah Kirkpatrick (formerly of local garage rock outfit Shitt Hottt) who brings vocals, organ and percussion to the band.

“The songs have developed onto themselves as a three-piece ... (Kirkpatrick) kind of changed the sound in a better way, so we kept her,” Fleming says with a laugh. “And I live around the corner,” Kirkpatrick jokingly adds.

But LaRue argues her 11-year-long tap dance tenure is a greater influence, contributing to what he says CATL is all about — the groove. “If you look at a lot of music— whether it’s ‘n’ and roll, disco, or blues music like this — it all comes back to the groove,” he says. “This is about the hips, not the head.”

The live performance plus the groove — difficult to nail down live, adds LaRue — is part of what Fleming calls CATL’s throwback to a time when music was played for music’s sake, rather than for an audience’s consumption. “Music’s about community,” he says. “That’s the way to experience it, to break down the barrier of the performer on the stage.” And that’s why he says CATL performs: “to make people move.” - Metro news Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver

"At the Clubs - catl at Move On Up"

NOW: Dec 7-14: It's been quite a while since we've checked in on Move On Up, DJ Anousheh's monthly classic soul and reggae party at the Cloak & Dagger. It's comforting to see that it's still the same casual and down-to-earth pub night, although this month she shook it up a bit by inviting minimalist rhythm and blues duo Catl to squeeze onto the tiny stage to churn out some hypnotic and strangely funky jams. - NOW Toronto

"Meet CATL"

Who are they?
A local ragged ’n’ dirty blues-punk outfit known for throwing hip-swivelling, hell-raising juke-joint jams. After parting ways with math-punkers Pecola in the late ’90s, singer/guitarist catl — whose moniker, he insists, is completely meaningless — hooked up with drummer Johnny LaRue (No No Zero, The Exploders) to channel the swampy soul of the Mississippi Delta in his living room. After years of jamming, the duo took their boogie beast public, playing house parties, rock clubs, public parks and storefronts. Their debut album ¿Adónde vas? A ningún lado laces the whiskey-soaked swagger of the deep south with some balls-to-the-wall bite.

From Johnny Rotten to John Lee Hooker
The album title (translated as “Where are you going? Nowhere”) is a nod to the rear sleeve of the Sex Pistols’ 1977 single “Pretty Vacant,” which features two buses heading to “Nowhere” and “Boredom.” Both catl and LaRue grew up listening to and playing in punk-rock bands for many years. But towards the end of his stint with Pecola, catl’s tastes began to change.

“You get tired of pissing people off,” says catl. “Punk rock served my purpose when I was young. But I moved away from that and just wanted to make people dance.” The best vehicle for him to do that, he found, was through ’50s-style rhythm and blues. “Artists back then put on crazy shows — they’d toss their guitars in the air and have crazy parties. I fell in love with those records and wanted to play that music, but it’ll always be filtered through punk because that’s a piece of me as well.”

Are they reinventing the wheel?
No. But they’re aware of that. “My influences are written on my sleeve,” says catl. “I certainly pilfer ideas musically and lyrically from [Delta blues artists], even though what I’m trying to say isn’t necessarily what they were trying to say.” He adds, “I’m not a black sharecropper from Mississippi. I’m writing in that style, but from my own perspective of living in the city and doing what I do.”

While in Pecola, catl says he was obsessed with deconstructing music to invent earth-shattering, avant-garde compositions. But the more he dismantled, the more he realized what lay at the foundation. “Ultimately, if you deconstruct any sort of rhythm based music in North America, you’ll find it comes from the blues… no one exists in a vacuum; no one walks out of the forest and says ‘look at me, I’ve invented this new type of music.’”

Do ghosts get the blues too?
One weekend in 2001, catl got his mitts on a guitar previously owned by seminal bluesman Son House. Call him superstitious, but he says he could feel the deceased legend’s emotions bleeding through the frets. “I don’t wanna sound like a hippie, but I believe you can feel a spirit or energy coming from an instrument. When you sit down and really start playing it, you become a part of that instrument. And each person that the guitar’s passed on to can feel that energy moving through the guitar.”

Shitt, that lady on the keys is Hottt!
While all the piano parts on therecord were played by seasoned bluesman David McMorrow (Etta James, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins), for their most recent shows catl have recruited the nimble fingers of ex–Shitt Hottt singer/organist Sarah Kirkpatrick. The band has confirmed the sassy chanteuse will remain a permanent member. “It’s nice to have a hot girl on stage shaking maracas, singing, playing the organ and dancing around,” says catl. “It kinda inspires the audience to move around as well. She’s also a great musician. We’ll happily have her as long as she can stand us.” - eye weekly, Toronto

"Catl drive: Reformed punks remain the best-kept secret of Toronto's blues scene"

Tim Perlich

Despite being one of the most exciting blues acts on the Toronto scene in years, Catl weren’t among those honoured at the recent Maple Blues Awards gala. In fact, they didn’t rate a single nomination.

Since neither the group’s namesake guitarist (of Pecola notoriety) nor drummer Johnny LaRue (ex-Exploders, No No Zero) has run over the dog of any Toronto Blues Society member, we can only surmise that they don’t move in the right circles.

“We’ve tried to crack that Toronto Blues Society,” says Catl, choosing his words carefully, “but it’s fairly impenetrable. Whatever their agenda might be, they don’t seem open to what we’re doing. A lot of people go for that overly polished generic sound with the same lyrics, structures and delivery, and that’s what the TBS embraces.

“I’m not trying to slag those people or the organization. I just can’t understand why they wouldn’t want to be supportive of younger acts coming up that are more directly connected to the blues tradition than many other contemporary artists. We’re trying to bring back the power of those old Charley Patton and Son House recordings.”

Having played in various groups on the local indie rock scene much of their adult lives, with little recognition, Catl and LaRue aren’t losing any sleep over the apparent snub. They’ve got more pressing concerns, like launching their swamp boogie blast of a debut album ¿Adónde Vas? A Ningún Lado (Coletrain) at the Silver Dollar Friday night, where they’ll also be showing off their new singer/keyboardist, Sarah Kirkpatrick from Shitt Hottt.

“You know how the Sex Pistols used that image of the two buses with their destinations listed as Boredom and Nowhere? That’s what I was thinking about when I came up with the album title and sleeve concept, and then our friend Jeff Lemire, who did the Essex County trilogy of graphic novels, provided the amazing artwork.

“It was amazing having Dave McMorrow playing piano on the record, who besides being in Rough Trade also worked with Etta James, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and lots of other people. As great as he is at doing what he does, I’m really glad to have Sarah bringing some stability to the group, and hopefully we won’t be hearing any more White Stripes comparisons. Don’t get me wrong – I like the White Stripes, I just think they sound more like Led Zeppelin than anything coming out of us.” - NOW Toronto

"Disc of the Week; ¿Adónde vas? A ningún lado CATL"

Now that Fat Possum has lost the plot, while blue-eyed blues revisionists continue sleepwalking through the same barrelhouse boogie, it seems real blues is a dying form. Thank God for this TO duo, who bring the smash and bash of true juke-joint blues while packing in a fair heaping of the good Captain Beefheart’s sense of dementia. Ten songs here that draw blood and manage to bring something new to the table, with their swampy stabs at Memphis Minnie, Bob Dylan, Leadbelly and Fred McDowell instilling deviance. 8/10 Trial Track: “Outlaw Blues” (Johnson Cummins) - Montreal Mirror

"Ben Rayner's Reasons to Live"

• Catl, Adonde Vas? A Ningun Lado. Catl – originally composed of ex-Pecola guitarist and No No Zero/Exploders drummer Johnny LaRue – has already moved well beyond the tunes on its scorching debut and even added a third member to the mix in the form of comely Shitt Hott keyboardist Sarah Kirkpatrick. That doesn't mean, though, that these Torontonians' rough-hewn scuzz-blues joints and pained acoustic laments don't still make you wanna gulp down a 26er of Wild Turkey, sweat buckets and put your fist through something. Unhinged fun. I threw up after their last show. -- Ben Rayner, Toronto Star 02/15/09 - Toronto Star

"NOW Cover Story Jan 14, 2010"

It’s a cold, wintery night, and the cozy Cloak & Dagger pub is crowded with folks grooving to DJ Anousheh’s mix of classic soul and reggae tunes at her monthly party, Move On Up.

Something’s a little different tonight, though.

A couple of dudes have squished themselves, a stripped-down drum kit and a small pile of old guitar amps onto the tiny stage beside the turntables and are churning out throbbing minimalist blues rhythms.

The lanky guitar player is perched on a chair, yelping and growling into a battered old mic plugged into a guitar amp, making it sound like his fuzzy, distorted vocals are coming off a dusty 78. The bearded drummer locks into a steady groove and keeps pumping away as if he’s in a voodoo-induced trance.

They sound like they could be playing in either 1946 or 2012 – familiar and yet completely alien. The music they’re inspired by, the gear they use, how they record and even the way they run the band have been lifted from so far back in the past that they might as well have been beamed back from the future.

That was two years ago. Now, we’re back at the Cloak & Dagger, revisiting the scene of the crime. Catl are now a trio (with the addition of organ player/percussionist/vocalist Sarah Kirkpatrick). They’re set to release their second album, With The Lord For Cowards You Will Find No Place (Folk Brand), regularly pack clubs with their dedicated following and have received glowing reviews from all the major newspapers in town. The capper? Last year Catl shocked the blues establishment by winning the 2009 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search.

“I think a lot of people were really pissed off about us winning that,” laughs drummer Johnny LaRue.

“I left early and went back to work because I assumed we wouldn’t win,” Kirkpatrick admits.

“It was the only talent search I’ve ever been part of, and I won!” she says with a huge grin.

Catl occupy an odd spot in the music scene. In many ways, they’re way more traditional than most contemporary blues bands, but because their references extend so far into the genre’s gritty beginnings, they end up getting lumped in with the punk and indie scenes they’re trying to escape. While they’re beginning to make inroads into the blues community, they’re inarguably outsiders.

“For some reason, Stevie Ray Vaughan is considered ground zero for blues. It’s like time stopped in the 70s,” LaRue says. “To me, that style has nothing to do with the blues. That’s just my aesthetic, and it doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong, but for me Jerry Lee Lewis has way more to do with blues music than [Vaughan] does.”

Almost by accident, Catl have gone so far retro that they’ve ended up sounding new. How did three refugees from the punk scene end up emulating a forgotten music from an era that ended before they were born? Turns out part of the story comes down to an injury that almost cut short the career of singer/guitarist Jamie Fleming (aka Catl the person).

“I sliced a couple of tendons on my left hand in a work injury and lost a bunch of mobility in that hand. Thankfully, the playing I do now is more about the right hand. In a way, it kind of led to this.”

It didn’t happen overnight, though. For several years Fleming said goodbye to the band life, but music is a hard habit to kick.

“I got to a point in my life where I wanted to be a musician again, and I wanted a vehicle I could play with for a really long time,” Fleming explains, choosing his words deliberately as he sips his beer.

“We all shopped at Rotate This, and I asked Pierre [Hallett] for a good springboard to country-blues-type stuff. He suggested Mississippi Fred McDowell, who just blew my mind.

“Punk rock came out of rock ’n’ roll; rock ’n’ roll came from rhythm and blues, which came from country blues. I just went way back. I’m hoarding all these records from the 30s, and that’s pretty much all I listen to now.”

Not only did early blues and pre-rock ’n’ roll give Catl musical inspiration, but they also inspired a whole new (er, old?) way of running the band.

“I kind of like the idea of being a regional band. I don’t want to hop in a van and spend three months on the road playing to nine people in someone’s basement. I did that in the punk rock days, and I don’t see the point in trying to tour Canada. I’m not too interested any more in the band grind thing.”

Instead of hoping for some blog buzz and trying to conquer the world, they’d rather keep their day jobs and put their energy into their long-running monthly Dakota residency, making short weekend trips to working-class Ontario cities like Oshawa and Hamilton. They’re actually happy to stay local, take it slow and build something they can grow old with.

Kirkpatrick joined the band last year after a few gigs as a special guest turned into an ongoing thing. While guitar and vocals still form the core of Catl’s songs, the addition of organ, background vocals and percussion has expanded their sound significantly. It also had the lucky side effect of killing off the misleading White Stripes comparisons that initially dogged them.

“We used to get that all the time when we were a duo, but as soon as we added Sarah everyone stopped saying that,” Fleming laughs.

Just because you’re a duo playing punked-up rhythm and blues does not mean you’re in love with Jack White. (And let’s face it, the White Stripes were always more Led Zeppelin than Leadbelly.)

However, the new album may take Catl back to square one on that front, since they travelled to Detroit to record much of it with Jim Diamond – famous for working on the first two White Stripes albums and for later attempting to sue Jack White for royalties.

“He knows how his studio sounds, and we didn’t really have much input into that. This is the sound you get from Jim Diamond, but it was awesome,” Fleming says.

“Our job was to play, and his job was to capture it. We didn’t tell him what to do, and he didn’t tell us what to do.”

Popular mythology has it that the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper killed the idea that a recording should capture a single performance at a specific moment. However, as with their debut album, ¿Adónde Vas? A Ningún Lado, Catl recorded everything on their newest offering live off the floor to tape, with very minimal overdubs. Hell, even the vocals were laid down with the whole band, pumped through fuzzy old guitar amps like the ones they use onstage.

Did we mention that both albums are on vinyl?

All these touches make for a package that just narrowly escapes seeming to belong in a museum. Luckily, Catl have enough energy, fire and creativity to come across less like revivalists and more like inspired revisionists.

Still, we can’t help wondering how we ended up being introduced to such an old-fashioned (albeit young) band through a DJ night, of all things.

“Anousheh is an old friend, and I’d played records with her a few times, so she asked us if we wanted to play,” says Fleming, recalling that amazing gig a few years back. “I don’t think we’d played many real shows before that – just house parties. We don’t get to do that so much any more, but we’d like to. People don’t understand that we’ll still play for a bottle of vodka.” - Now Toronto


With the Lord for Cowards You will Find No Place / Folkbrand Records (LP w/ CD 2010)
¿Adónde vas? A ningún lado" / Folkbrand Records (LP with CD incl./ 2009)

catl's songs are on CBC radio3:



“These Torontonians’ rough-hewn scuzz-blues joints and pained acoustic laments make you wanna gulp down a 26er of Wild Turkey, sweat buckets and put your fist through something. Unhinged fun.”
– Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

catl is “one of the most exciting blues band on the Toronto scene for years” (Tim Perlich, NOW Toronto, Jan 22-29, 2009), creating an original blues sound that’s been described as “raw,” “primordial” and “warped.” Given their history of punk-influenced rock ‘n’ roll (catl in Pecola; drummer Johnny LaRue in The Exploders and No No Zero; and Sarah Kirkpatrick in Shitt Hott), such descriptions come as no surprise.

Apprenticing at the ghost hand of Mississippi Fred McDowell, catl (songwriter, guitars, vocals) favours a ’40s Gretsch Electromatic played through a vintage Fender Twin, and sings through a low-end mic wired to an old Ampeg amp. With Johnny LaRue on drums and Sarah Kirkpatrick hammering the organ, catl serves up a stripped-down sense of simmering urgency. No fancy bells or whistles, catl is a juke-joint party that’ll lift you up like a Sunday morning sermon in the swamp. Montreal’s Mirror said catl “bring the smash and bash of true juke-joint blues while packing in a fair heaping of the good Captain Beefheart’s sense of dementia.”

"¿Adónde Vas?–‘A Ningún Lado" was catl’s debut collection of ten beer-soaked blues rave-ups which Toronto’s eye weekly described as “whiskey soaked swagger of the deep south laced with some balls-to-the-wall bite.” Their sophomore LP, "With the Lord for Cowards You Will Find No Place" (taken from the lyrics of a Carter Family song), was also applauded and made Top 10 lists here in Canada and the US.