Chop Chop
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Chop Chop

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"CD Review"

Chop Chop is Catherine Cavanagh and Christy Chang (enough c's for ya?), electro-pop nerds of the highest order. Their debut, self-titled album is melodic, quirky and highly likeable. Over an accompaniment of a wide variety of electronic effects, Cavanagh's voice spouts venom with the petite inflexion of a smoother PJ Harvey. The lyrics, which are violent or lovelorn in a cartoonish way, occasionally give the same thrill of the swear in Amiel's "Lovesong": "I think you used to love me / But not since you killed my boy" on "Blood Bath", or "I ate him for breakfast / But he was kinda gamey" on "Motherfucker Been Pissing Me Off". Occarionally, loops of guitar noise recall the Avalanches' recent remix of Wolfmother, but there's really no malicious intent in any of these songs, just sweetness. Other experimentations, such as the wobbly "My Excuses, My Emily", don't work so well, as Cavanagh's pretty voice is covered in a voice-altering effect making her sound like a choir of goblins. - Pop Matters

"CD Review"

Le premier album de Chop Chop est un condensé d’electro-pop acidulé où les beats électroniques et les lignes de guitare sobres et efficaces sont des tremplins pour la douce voix de la chanteuse/compositeur/interprète Catherine Cavanagh. Les paroles, parfois très agressives comme sur «Suffering from my hypothalamus», offrent un contraste intéressant avec la voix enjôleuse de la chanteuse qui semble caresser les tympans de l’auditeur. Les ambiances sont variées, «Pinched» rappelant «Here comes your Man» des Pixies, «My Excuses my Emily» va chercher du côté de Nine Inch Nails, alors que «Funny funny ideas» joue sur les plates bandes de Cat Power et que la magnifique «Motherfucker being pissed off», avec ses sonorités un peu western, penche vers Calexico. Un premier album riche et varié à écouter en boucle! (Benjamin Eskinazi) - Impact Campus

"CD Review"

Chop Chop consists essentially of Catherine Cavanagh, an enterprising Boston resident who decided to compose, play on, and record this album mostly by herself. She has help from Christy Cheng (keyboards) and Carla Caruzzo (bass), but it seems like she probbaly didn't need them too much. She played bass and keyboards on some of these songs, anyway. Being told that this is a one-woman undertaking, recorded in an apartment, you probably wouldn't set your expectations too high. Plenty of musicians do home recordings, and there's a reason why you don't know many of them.

That said, this is a pretty cool CD. It's even charming at times. "Blackened Toes" has a really pretty mix of acoustic guitar, languid keyboards, agile bass, and some interesting reverbed percussion. Atop it all sit the vocals: sweet and light, gently overdubbed. Even on more aggressive-sounding songs, such as "Suffering From My Hypothalamus," Chop Chop finds a way to keep much of the singing quite nice. You just have to excuse the cathartic screams of "Fuck" that somehow worked their way into this track. That "somehow" really isn't a mystery - the song describes what you go through when the person you're with doesn't think you're good enough. And what do you expect from a song called "Motherfucker Been Pissing Me Off"? Not something as laid-back as this song actually is, probably, with its Spanish-sounding guitar and conga-like beat.

"My Excuses, My Emily" has a dark undercurrent to it. The sequenced keyboards recall something from maybe Nine Inch Nails. "Mix Tape" has a real home-recording quality to it, as the drum machine and the keyboard tones sound like they might have come from a Toys R Us Casio. The narrative, including "You won me over / With a sandwich and a mix tape / That I play over / And over / I'm a cheap date," fits nicely with the simple tune. "Pan Am Flight 213" again has really pretty singing. It's a confessional song about making a fool of yourself to win the attention of someone you like.

When I first listened to this album, I didn't know anything about the band and thought that the band was missing some oomph. When I learned that these songs came from basically only one person, I was quite impressed. It doesn't seem to be trying too hard or trying to be something it's not. And while the cathartic moments clunk a little, the airy moments do just fine.
- Delusions of Adequacy

"NPR Second Stage Pick", October 27, 2008 - Chop Chop is, for the most part, the work of songwriter Catherine Cavanagh. For Screens, her upcoming sophomore release, Cavanagh wrote each song, provided vocals and also performed many of the instruments by herself. She did receive help from her friends and family, though, including her brother and U.S. military sergeant Frank Cavanagh, who was once the bassist for Ohio-based band Filter.

So musicianship runs in the family, although Cavanagh's brother was into industrial rock music, and Chop Chop makes sometimes breezy, sometimes dark synth-pop, with sweet, airy vocals.

Today's featured song, "Play," is the second track on Screens and it's also one of the balmiest on the album, with its acoustic guitar and a twee sensibility. Towards the middle of the record, the electro beats and claps on "C Train David" inject a little energy into the mix, but not enough to make it a staple at dance clubs any time soon. Still, it's definitely good for a few shimmies and head-bops in the privacy of your home or car.

Chop Chop switches the mood entirely with the grimly titled "Serial Killer." It's one of the few moments on Screens that isn't particularly sweet or playful. It's a dark little piece with mournful strokes of a cello. At only 2:17, it's a shame "Serial Killer" isn't longer as it adds a much needed and unexpected dimension to the album.

Screens is set to be released on November 11 and will be accompanied by a brief West Coast tour during the first half of the month.

Download this song in the Second Stage podcast. - NPR

"CD Pick!!"

Chop Chop
Chop Chop
The Archenemy Record Company
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2006
By: Roland Fratzl
A first rate, emotionally powerful effort with a musical statement all its own, Chop Chop deserves to take the indie pop world by storm.
The self-titled debut release by Chop Chop is as engaging and interesting an album as you'll hear coming out of the electro-pop genre, which is a label that doesn't really do justice to the distinctive sound crafted by Catherine Cavanagh, who wrote, sang, produced, and engineered all the songs, as well as played guitar, drum machines, and some of the keyboards and bass (though Christy Cheng and Carla Caruzzo perform the majority of those duties).

It became clear to me right from the beginning that I was listening to the work of a truly gifted songwriter, brimming with unusual and fresh ideas. Fortunately, this trend never let up over the course of the entire 13 tracks to be found here. Chop Chop is a virtually flawless marriage of sweet melodies and quirky musical styling throughout, which are often deceptively complex. Cavanagh's dainty, whispy girl-next-door vocals provide an amusing contrast to the often rage-filled and profanity-laced lyrics, accompanied mostly by a lovingly strummed acoustic guitar (though it occasionally gives way to jangly or scratchily distorted riffs), while odd little electronic noises and keyboards fill the background with very creative applications.

The biggest advantage that Chop Chop has over other artsy electro-pop artists is that Cavanagh never once loses focus on that old fashioned concept of melody � to my ears, there isn't a single passage in the entire album's music that isn�t immediately catchy. So many bands dress up their music in overproduced effects that it takes a while before you notice that there is absolutely no substance. You'll find the opposite here. Chop Chop is a truly inspired affair, raw in its approach and pure in its intent, a must-have for any fan of indie music with a distinct personality.
- ReGen Magazine

"CD Review - 9 out of 10"

Smart urbane electropop from gifted songstress

"Screens" is the second LP from Chop Chop: essentially Catherine Cavanagh and '...a few drunk, wayward Boston musicians she lured into her attic studio for an occasional session...', and it announces its arrival with stately French horn and solitary plucked guitar, until a flourish of drums kick in and Cavanagh does things with her voice that will make grown men weak in the knees, singing about the minutiae of memory and thought, stark and naked in her honesty but wry and witty nonetheless.

It's a bracing opening and first track "In a Room" is undoubtedly one of the highlights of "Screens'. That's not to sell the rest of the record short, however, because what follows is a frequently inventive and very exciting sequence of songs pitting deft melodic sensibilities against unusual sonic textures. The squalling feedback that closes "Fed" stands in stark contrast to "Play"'s sweet tunefulness but both songs demonstrate a worthy and talented pop songstress, aided by a trio of skilled collaborators (Chris Cupcake contributes bass, Carlos Cola XXII drums and CC Moniker guitar).

Elsewhere the songs surprise and delight. "Goon Shoe Drop" is dissonant and strange, telling a story of malaise and menace, while "Northern Armies" and its succeeding track "Northern Armies Again" are absolutely gorgeous, the former built around jaunty bass and sassy electric guitar and the latter around a sweet acoustic strum punctuated by odd rhythmic breaks, but both characterised by Cavanagh's dulcet vocal inflections and compelling imagery ('...In that moment I could smell you straight through to my bones/If you had touched me well I would have exploded...'). The closing track even throws languid lap steel into the mix, sounding entirely out of place but nonetheless fitting beautifully into this record.

"Screens" over its duration manages to be serious and playful, challenging and engaging, and it's a very exciting record that showcases a genuinely original talent. - AmericanaUK

"CD Top Picks"

Did you hear that crash? It was the sound of lo-fi indie girltronica getting rocked by one-person wrecking crew Catherine Cavanagh. Okay, she gets help from Christy Cheng, and some dudes on a bunch of song, but what songs they are! "Bloodbath" is an awesome starter, with simple strumming and ethereal piano creating a cute but creepy background to a sordid love story. From there, the cuts become noisy, electronic, and even deconstructed - sometimes in one song. "Suffering from My Hypothalamus" starts off like the Stooges, enters a weird Human League vibe, and then becomes Heavenly. "Motherfucker Been Pissing Me Off is another great song. Who knew a song about abusing animals could be so pretty? Deceptively sweet sounding and excellent all around [Archenemy]mw - Giant Robot

"CD Reviews"

Bloodbath, the opening track on the debut from Boston's own Chop Chop, is enough to make you love the whole record. Catherine Cavanaugh's soft, dry voice calmly covers the corners of her simple strumming like a nice sheet ("I used to have empathy / But not since you started a bloodbath"), while twinkling pianos evaporate in the background. It's a strange place to start, as it is the record's most austere moment (though it finds company with the pretty but bristly Every and a breathy cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart"). But starting simple makes it clear that Chop Chop has more than one play in the book. There are a surprising number of pop pleasures all over this record (which, granted, seems to run a little long), and they range from the great to the goofy. Cavanaugh's vocal curlicues in Motherfucker Been Pissing Me Off are a lot prettier than the boiled rats and tacked-up snakes she's singing about. The gnarly twee-punk of Pinched could have tumbled off a Tuscadero album; the repeating "I will always love you" that sees Lines to its close could be '95 Liz Phair meets '05 Low; and the sweet strangeness of Mixtape comes off like the Bangles disguised as Pinback. In a town packed with one-trick-pony pop, Chop Chop sounds like a parade passing by-except for that angry hypothalamus song. " Michael Brodeur - Boston Weekly Dig

"CD Pick of the Month"

The three-piece, indie-pop outfit, led by Cleveland native Catherine Cavanagh, encompasses folk, electronic, and ambient characteristics, crating a beautiful result and a welcome change from the sound currently dominating the Boston music scene. Each of the tracks is entirely unique, drawing upon the likes of Lali Puna, Mates of State, and My Bloody Valentine. Cavanagh covered vocals, guitar, and drum machine in addition to writing, producing, and engineering the album. Tow of her friends covered bass and keyboard, and also share the initials "C.C.", hence the name Chop Chop.
Cavanagh's haunting, feathery voice is well mixed with the other instruments and never too overbearing. The acoustic opener, "Bloodbath," eases the listener into the album with laid-back, soft acoustic guitar; the simple repetitive lyrics build into an overdubbed harmony of Cavanagh's girly vocals. "Pinched," is pure electronic with a pleasant upbeat tempo that is contrasted by very unpleasant subject matter right in the opening lines, "You had me by the balls/ You used me like a knife/ To cut her up inside." "Lines" starts out with faint girly vocals floating over interesting electronic beats and light acoustic guitar, which give way to spurts of dark, intense distortion in the style of My Bloody Valentine. The intensity hits full-force one minute into the song, but Cavanagh pulls back in the serene "Blackened Toes," with its electronic beats, violin synth, and soaring vocals.
Cavanagh's talent is most justified by the album's middle tracks. "My Excuses, My Emily" stand out the most, with her whispery voice hovering over dark, brooding Massive Attack-ish male vocals and an even darker electron sound. The sweet pop song "mixtape," is backed by a Casio Key board track with even cuter lyrics - " You won me over with a sandwich and a mix tape." The ambient "LOve Will Tear it" is followed by the Calexico/western style ballad, "Motherfucker Pissing ME Off." Guitar chords in a minor key are strummed over a simple conga drum, making for a track that would fit well into a Quinten Tarentino soundtrack. The song "Funny Funny Ideas" emanates a hint of bluegrass; Cavanagh has nearly all the main rock genres covered.
Chop Chop's debut album is exceptional for having been completed DIY-style in an Allston attic over the course of two years. Cavanagh's girly voice interweaves well with the soft acoustic guitar and drum machine. Perhaps after a few years, Cavanagh, whose brother played bass for the band Filter, will mature and consolidate her abilities into one sound, but for now, her first album demonstrates her wide range of musical ability. (Archenemy Record Company) - Kim Pohas - NORTHEAST PERFORMER


Chop Chop - Self Titled
Chop Chop - Screens
Chop Chop - The Spark

Mix Tape
Funny Funny Ideas
I Met You at a Space Station Bar
Carolyn Returns Home



Outer space.

Can those words ever again elicit the sense of wonder and possibility they did, long ago, during the last century? Because let's face it, in this futuristic world of 2011, space has become humdrum. The final frontier has been pacified, gentrified and Disneyfied. We look up to distant star systems and wonder only if they have a Starbucks yet.

But let's time-travel back a few decades. To a time before we were sharing our iTunes libraries with users in the overcrowded lunar colonies and Facebook-friending the gaseous inhabitants of Jupiter. Space was dark, dangerous, and exciting. It was full of death, drama, and romance. Space, if you can believe it, actually rocked.

With their third album, Spark, Chop Chop returns to the days when space was the setting for many an epic adventure or romance, and celebrated in a wonderful genre of literature and film called science fiction. Featuring 9 new tracks, The Spark tells the story of Carolyn, a 17-year-old Earth girl who is kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a devious shapeshifter. Forced to undergo cruel experiments which eventually turn her cyborg, Carolyn is rescued by a star captain with royal ties, and the two fall in love. Using enhanced intellect and new cyborg powers, Carolyn must then train a band of rebels for an epic battle to save Earth.

The Spark was produced and recorded by Chop Chop in Los Angeles. The album was mixed by Charles Newman, who has worked with Magnetic Fields, AM, Soko, Gospel Music, and Black Kids.

About Chop Chop
Chop Chop is composed of Catherine Cavanagh and some space dust of an unknown extraterrestrial origin (Jason Tajima and others). Chop Chop has been featured on NPR's "Survey of Women in Music" and "Second Stage." Two of their songs (and a band poster!) have been featured on the CBS comedy series How I Met Your Mother.

What some other people have said about Chop Chop:

"The Spark is space opera for people who love space but hate opera. A beautiful collision of sci-fi and electropop, Chop Chop rocks like an asteroid belt." - Brian K. Vaughan, Y: The Last Man, Lost

"'Bloodbath,' the opening track on the debut from Boston's own Chop Chop, is enough to make you love the whole record." - Boston Weekly Dig

"... her first album demonstrates her wide range of musical ability" - Northeast Performer Magazine

"...cute but creepy..." - Giant Robot

"...melodic, quirky, and highly likeable..." - Popmatters

"The music shifts from Liz Phair/Mary Timony-styled acoustic ballads and minor-key rockers to more digital, synth-pop musings. The reworking of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a highlight."
- Charleston City Paper

Fun Facts:

Front Cover of the Boston Phoenix Music Section; touring across the United States including the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest and South; Germany tour; Music and Posters and Websites for "How I Met Your Mother" on CBS; NPR's "Survey of Women in Music" and "Second Stage"; Gem Author on Guitar Hero Rock the 80s.