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Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Rock


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"OC Weekly"

LOCALS ONLY--Frank puts some glum in her strum!
Thursday, December 13, 2007

You know Long Beach singer/songwriter/guitarist Chase Frank is sincere because she prints her morose lyrics in her own script on the inner sleeve of her self-released EP Midnight Manor (due out Jan. 8). We receive a lot of this sort of thing at OC Weekly; most are pure vanity projects. However, Midnight Manor—the follow-up to Frank's 2006 debut full-length Winter Is My Summer—is a cut above the middling local pack. While not as dynamic or as accomplished as PJ Harvey or Patti Smith, Frank exudes a stark gravitas that recalls those world-class artists. She seems to be very serious about her craft, and posterity appears to be a higher priority than ephemeral trendiness.

"Sometimes you just want to hear a sad song/The sound of it ringing it in your head carries you along," Frank sings on the opening "Sad Song," setting the somber, sonorous tone for Midnight Manor—and, by extension, airing her mission statement. "Doubt" follows with some starchy, staccato guitar that echoes the riff to Sweet's "Love Is Like Oxygen" (a good thing), resulting in mean, lean rock that's set to slow boil. "Bipolar Belle" waltzes darkly with the standard "My Favorite Things," adding flinty guitar accents and forbidding vocals in the vein of ex-Geraldine Fibbers front woman Carla Bozulich. "Some Friend You Are" delivers more ominous rock with vengeful lyrics that suggest that it's a bad idea to get on Frank's bad side. "Six Degrees" ropes in backing vocalists, forlorn organ swirls and a frantic monologue from someone named Beegs for a downtrodden slog that raises a bottle of firewater to the Bad Seeds. "Third & Orange" treads in similar lugubrious realms, while the disc closes with a poignant instrumental featuring Frank's guitar emitting attenuated plumes of effects-pedaled resignation tempered with hope. It's a nice little coda/respite from the disc's prevailing stoic gravity. For more information, visit and

Chase Frank performs with Assembly of Mazes and A.M. at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; Thurs., Dec. 13, 10 p.m. Call for cover. 21+.

OC weekly link:
- Dave Segal

"Media Blackout --Detroit Metro Times"

"Media Blackout" section, EP review
Detroit Metro Times

"Chase Frank – Midnight Manor (self released) :: This here Frank
ain't no blank, she's one tough broad who's fully capable of kicking your retro ass into last week so shut up and listen to the lady sing her wiry songs of woe. Sure you'll fall in love with her but she's used to that, ya sap. Now shove off."

- Jeffrey Morgan

"Big Wheel Magazine"

Chase Frank
I was off put by the trendy-looking album art, mistaking Chase Frank to be a silly solo act who thought using dark words made up for vapid songs, but I was pleansantly suprised. Chase Frank is a singer/songwriter who has an
album full of slow, haunting melodies. Reminiscent of Amiee Mann's 'Lost in Space' -- but actually manages to be less hopeful. But fuck it, not every day of your life is awesome. 'Front Lines' and 'Twelve Hours to Go' are some great songs with some thinly veiled opinions on certain topics in the U. S. Watch out Chase, or Dick Cheney might come shoot you in the face. 'Kickstart' actually creeped me out a bit, with its effective argument on how some people love being dependent on others. Wait for a rainy day to head over to the records store, pick up this CD and drive around listening to it.

- Boyd Wunder

"Long Beach Magazine / V. Karalis"

Winter is My Summer
album review, Feb '06
Chase Frank has single-handedly created an explosive album by using symphonies of spacey guitar pedals while topping off the music with
haunting, poetic vocals. Layers of sound build upon each other like steps on a staircase. The album, Winter Is My Summer, is a solo-crafted entity
that follows closely along the lines of great bands like Portishead and the fuzz-crunchiness of Sonic Youth. The album was conceived of and executed by Chase, except for the toms and the shakers, which were played by MC Log 65. The album was produced by Robbie Reverberation, aka Jonathan Payne.

The choppy guitar twangs provide noodley echoes throughout the various
songs while Frank sings in a dreamy state to add lushness. Her
composition "More" will make you wish you had a drum set at home and a
loud stereo so you could play along. Her guitar moans a grunge wail
through time and space, giving the album a dark, ambient backdrop. Her
sound, ethereal to say the least, is a mix of the indie world of today and
the psychedelic one of the sixties. The thirteen songs on her album prove
that you only need one to make it happen. "One" may not be the loneliest
number in the world, after all.

The winters here in Long Beach are getting hotter, which sums up Chase
Frank's first official release: super-hot, enjoyable indie rock. The
album will be available at the following sites in early December:,, iTunes, and of course our
local Fingerprints CDs and LPs.
- Valdas Karalis

"Collected Sounds (.com)"

2.23.06--by Anny Maria Stjärnell
Stockholm, Sweden

Chase Frank's debut "Bee of my Mind" was a special record, but this is something even better. She's more sonically abrasive and more daring than before.

"Tabitha's Plea" is a sparse, evocative song with shades of P.J Harvey. "If you want to be fearless you've got to bleed" she sings.

Frank's played most of this record by herself as well as writing all of it. That's very impressive.

"My Captor" is a startling lo-fi exercise in sound that recalls Sonic Youth. "Gospel of Sue" is tough and haunting. Frank's relentless energy and intriguing approach to her music shines through here.

The white-hot intensity of "Tethered Heart" is accomplished with the slightest of instrumentation. But Frank's vocal is strong enough to carry it.

This record is a great accomplishment.
- Anna Maria Stjärnell

"The District Weekly Feature, Long Beach, CA"

Chase Frank started music demure on the third-chair cello in an adorable trans-scholastic children’s orchestra, and was it all over the moment she first heard an electric guitar? Well, actually, she says: “I grew up in Long Beach with a single parent—the records my mom had that we listened to regularly were Stevie Wonder, who I loved, and Jesus Christ Superstar because she was a Sunday school teacher and tried to use it. I heard the electric guitar—‘My mind is clearer now . . . ’—and I was like ‘What the fuck?’ I remember the moment—‘Mommy, what’s that?’ I could not believe how that guitar made me feel—it was like Tommy! My Tommy moment. I was blown away by the guitar tone and how mean it was.”

That fed into Hendrix, and slowly Hendrix fed to Harvey, and between notable other accomplishments—like her Songwriters’ Supper Club at DiPiazza’s, or bringing Allen Ginsberg to Long Beach for a spoken-word festival she set up because she couldn’t afford to go to him—she hacked and hammered out the sound and voice she needed. She says she used to go watch Nels Cline play—Fibbers days or solo—and routinely stole ideas from his set-up (“I tell him all the time! I asked him to give me lessons!”) and worked up the reserve to let every musician she’d played with leave. Every time she’d add members to her music, it just kept getting prettier, she says, which was the wrong direction. It took three years (and solo tours, which she says she hated!) to match her songs to the mean guitar she needed—“The white-hot level I wanted to express!” she says. “I think life is pretty fucking angsty! Pretty nervewracking stuff, and I don’t mind getting into it!”

Her new album—white cover, white heat—was seized when the label got busted and the cops took every computer in the house. Start over? “Hell no!” she said, and she called the police every week—“They knew who I was,” she laughs—and the day the unrelated evidence kicked loose, she was the first person they called. Seven of those songs made January’s Midnight Manor EP—Chase with handpicked backers like Ahmad Jamal (drums/keys/sometime MC) and LaDawn Best (drums but what drums!) for lean clipped loop-unit-blues with iron vigor like PJ Harvey and a little of the outsider wildness of guys like George Brigman or Michael Yonkers. The Trust Us comp’s wobbly punk-waltz “Bipolar Belle” is the odd one; Manor likes more a pounded-down lattice of guitar under Chase’s particularly dramatic vocals: “Whatever you do, don’t claim you’re a friend of mine!”

“A lot of people think I’m a real Debbie Downer!” she says. “But everyone has a voice. I’m sure a lot of people said that to Nick Cave, too—‘Damn, Nick, can’t you write a happy song?’ And that pissed him off more and the songs got better. The stuff I listen to is pretty raw, and when you hear that, it makes you feel good. You feel the human condition there—you’re not alone.”

Now she is no longer alone either—longtime friend Ahmad is now official (“I’m a spaz, he’s not—it balances out.”) for the live sets—but she is also finally leaving hometown Long Beach for Austin, where positive notes at last year’s SXSW percolated a decision into action. (“They want music to happen in Austin,” she says. “They aren’t trying to shut it down constantly.”) This week’s show in Echo Park will be her official goodbye, except for one funny one that showed up only when she was all set to leave—California unready to relinquish commitment over another hometown girl: “We were invited to play a huge show at Safari Sam’s on July 26—a huge label showcase. I never played on a thing like that in my life, but fuck it—I’m leaving LA, I might as well try.” she says. “Shit, why not?”


- Chris Ziegler (co-founder, LA Record!)

"Left of the Dial (.com)"

This review appears on left of the dial (posted Aug 1, 08), an on-line underground magazine.


With a brooding, sullied jadedness and atmosphere, Chase Frank comes off like the moody side of Patti Smith and the unerring arcade symbolist poetry of PJ Harvey, especially on tracks like "Doubt," with its slightly funky drumming and ghostly guitar whispers on one hand and a dampened post-punk blues crunchiness on the other. Her voice withers and wraps around your cerebrum with a dire sense of otherness and abjection: "It's inside/and you can't get out of you" she hauntingly offers, drawing upon the metaphor of the devil's den in the third verse, reminding us of the "flowery hardness" that beckons us, repels us, or captures us.

The slow, beaten down circus musack of "Bipolar Belle" ripples with the ripe reasoning of the Queen of the Mood Swing who creates her island of loneliness, where she can judge, be high and mighty, and boil in ennui. It's a bit draggy underfoot, but ironic and revealing too. "Some Friend of You Are" doesn't hold back from the venom either, spiting the cliques and indulgent, unshared point of views. It's a meditation on displeasure and disgust, a stab at those would try to embrace us like Judas – can you smell the two-sided spirit?

Musically, its bare-boned and catatonic: think Smith's "Radio Ethiopia" without the helter skelterish tirades and epic free form punk epiphanies. "Six Degrees" avails itself of slightly more traditional forms, including an acoustic undertow and dark and dirgy male-female converging vocals that evoke white pills, being "down and out," and "streaming technology" that give way to a cell phone poetry performance dropped in to shake the whole song up with more modern blues.

"Third and Orange" is an all acoustic strummer evoking the world of down'n'out marijuana marauders going nowhere who mirror Route 66's "status" with all sorts of subtext bleeding through the lines. More curlicuing, edgy, urban camouflaged, booming poetry inundates the song midway too.

The surprise here is the final track — a truly poetic, cinematic, all too brief affair called "Taunting Greed" — that seems far less rapacious than the title but packs all the power in transcendent small sums. The track alone sets off a whole film in my head.

- Midnight Manor EP review (8-1-08)

"SXSW day party review"

Chase Frank and drummer were mentioned by writer Melanie Haupt in her first (and only!) appearance during SXSW. that's right!

"After lunch, I ducked into the Flamingo Cantina for Yarr! PR's Pirate Elvis party, which featured grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Got my eye patch and enjoyed a few minutes of Chase Frank, a duo out of Long Beach specializing in angry, confessional lo-fi rock." more about her 'day one' at SXSW with mentions of Die Die Die, Ron Jeremy Birthday Bash, Hawnay Troof, Okkervil River, Rocki Erickson, Jason Drake & more. - Austin Chronicle

"Sizzling Platter of the Week"

Chase Frank — Midnight Manor (self-released) :: Chase is a girl and, boy, can she ever write, sing and play a whole host of everything, from deep-sixed dirges ("Sad Song") and upbeat rockers ("Doubt") to decadent Euro-sautéed cabaret torch numbers ("Bipolar Belle"). I also get the feeling that’s she’s got a loose screw or two rattling around somewhere in that big beautiful brain of hers — always a plus in my book. (Oct. '08)
- Detroit Metro Times

"Performing Songwriter EP Review"

This seven-song set casts Frank and her bandmates in a mostly menacing light, be it the arch exhilaration of "Doubt" or the ominous strains of "Some Friend You Are" and "Six Degrees." Predictably, edge and attitude win out. Clearly, the lady is a vamp.

-- Performing Songwriter, July/August 2008
- DIY Section--caught our ear


Smile Trials (2011, NITCO Records, 8/9/11 release) digital

Midnight Manor EP, (self released January '08)

Winter is My Summer (Vesuvius 2006)

Tabitha's Plea / "More" Tour Single (CD)
(Poverty Level Records '04)

Bee of My Mind -- (Poverty Level 2003)

Portishead Cover: "Wandering Star"

College airplay local charting:
"Some Friend You Are" (09)
"Bipolar Belle" (09)
"The Flying Machine" -- Independent Film Score, 1998
Original Score by Chase Frank, Music Supervision

Chase Frank's website:



Chase Frank just finished recording her 4th full length with Producer / Keyboardist Ikey Owens (The Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents).

Do you like tales of woe with your rock and roll? Meet Chase Frank -- think Nick Cave & Tom Waits meets indie girl. She grew up on Motown vinyl & J.C. Superstar. Her guitar hero is Nels Cline (now with Wilco). She strives to sing like the great female black voices she grew up listening to: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, The Shirelles, Aretha Franklin.

But her compositions skillfully blend her fascination with harmonies & retro guitar tones with the honesty of early blues, heavily modernized.

Chase Frank just finished recording her 4th full length with Producer / Keyboardist Ikey Owens (The Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents). The collaborators were many--Engineer Stephen Ceresia of Sunday House at the helm, vocalist Ahmad Jamal Butler (long distance band-mate since ('06), drummer Wayne Duncan & Cellist/Bassist Steve Bernal make the album soar and dip.

Her earlier psych sound with lyrics about dark matter has grown into a less autobiographical focus with "Smile Trials" -- a brilliantly executed mix of pop melody, dark psych with revelatory lyric including the song We Humans, she sings:

"We humans are messy we never come clean,
we whoop, we holler we don't know when to quit
can't stand the truth, denial all day,
we try and we try, but it just won't go away"

With literary stories of Smile Trials in the USA, Frank takes on the voice of a different character in each song. A friend tries to coax a girl to stop turning tricks (Happy Go Lightly), a straight man turns into a night life junkie (Johnny Masterall) and a girl begs for human contact in the age of the internet & false bravado (Space Invasion), and for fans, her most requested song--A girl professes her love for the man that accepts her as she is (Sweet Apple).

Each song is shrouded poetically with a bed of talent swarming around Chase's stormy voice. The new album? Sounds of the times. Smile Trials. US Tour Aug 8-23. Stops in Norman, Portland, Denver, Kansas, Boise, Seattle, LA, San Francisco!

CHASE FRANK has played shows with Nels Cline (Wilco),Free Moral Agents, Banyan, Minmae, The Happy Hollows, Thee More Shallows (Anticon), The Pity Party, Rademacher, The Good The Bad (Denmark), I Got You On Tape, Mia Doi Todd, and many more!

Drummer Matt Danko's bio

"I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and I started playing drums at the age of 12. I was initially interested by the grunge rock scene of the early 90's. Then I discovered my parents classic rock records, and that opened up a whole new world. Classic rock was a gateway drug; since it borrowed from so many outside musical sources, all of a sudden I was getting into blues, swing, funk, be bop, soul, hip hop, country, reggae, metal, punk, rockabilly, drum-n-bass, and really whatever I could get my hands on. Through this I developed the belief that for every genre of music there are always standout artists. This belief has not only helped my musical growth, but it has also given me the opportunity to play with a wide variety of artists in a vast array of genres, which in turn led to many travels throughout the country: whether it be a fully loaded tour bus or a 20 year old van crammed with 7 smelly dudes, performing at some of the biggest venues or the smallest dives, recording in a lavish studio or a run-down industrial space, I have truly loved every minute. Music in its oldest form was about expression and celebration, and I believe that still holds true today, one way or the other. "

More about Chase Frank and earlier records....
“If you want to be fearless, you’ve got to bleed,” sang Chase Frank on her 3rd album, ‘Winter Is My Summer’, which was a completely solo endeavor, sans rhythm section.

Chase is not new to this whole music game; she was formally trained in piano and cello as a small child, and was even third chair in the International Children’s Orchestra. Though she did not record (but did produce and mix) this most recent release, Chase went to audio engineering school and so has been able to record, produce, mix, and release her own music. At 14, Chase discovered the guitar, took some lessons, and the rest is… you know. Another landmark in Chase’s musical life was when she heard an ethno-musicologist discussing the magic in repetition, i.e., that no matter how often something is repeated, each play is at least a little different from the others. This spurred Chase to try out looping--she even records and loops guitar parts live on stage.

The Midnight Manor EP is a sublime, almost portentous collection of Chase’s ruminations on life and its wiles; the music is blues-influenced rock with compelling drums, provocative lyrics, sophisticated arrangements, and mightily strummed, looping guitar lines. Chase also brings in her talents on