Jews and Catholics
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Jews and Catholics


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"Jews and Catholics' Who Are? We Think We Are! (307 Knox Records) by Grayson Currin"

There's danger in being a duo. Two people find a sound they're comfortable with and, lacking the pull of a gaggle of bandmates, they never challenge it. They write a good song or two, and they mostly fail to replicate those past glories. Recently, see Japandroids. But there's promise in being a duo, too. Aware of their stylistic and technical limitations, two people push each other to find a different sound, to write a different song, to find ingenious ways to accomplish what might be easy for bigger ensembles. Recently, see No Age.

On Who Are? We Think We Are!, the engaging if overloaded full-length debut of Jews and Catholics, the Winston-Salem duo goes a long way in avoiding the trap of contentment: Guitarist Eddie Garcia is capable of wiry lines that smolder with a Western ache ("The Spring") or ignite with a post-punk urgency ("Golden Arrow"). And upright bassist Alanna Meltzer seems as comfortable plucking big rock lines from her strings ("Fevers") as she is adding dark textural foils with her bow ("Zombie Teeth").

Despite their size, Meltzer, Garcia and a drum machine that moves from industrial-sized wallop to electro-ready skitters suggest a handful of indie monsters: From The Ex and Mission of Burma to Sonic Youth and Archers of Loaf, Jews and Catholics conjure a surprisingly varied lot of styles and structures, wedding it all with memorable, slightly agitated melodies. "Dear Alexa" builds into an excellent reverse avalanche of discord and drama, for instance, while the chiming if anxious "Thank God I Don't Live in Your Eyes" springs along steadily. You'll be able to put both in your pocket.

The duo format only manifests itself as weakness on We Are with respect to editing. Despite the veteran production of Mitch Easter and Cheetie Kumar, the songs blur a bit because almost all of them hang around a bit too long. Whether it's a guitar solo that's indulgent or one more refrain that's excessive, We Are tends to overstate its points. But by and large, they're frequently good points from a band that's finally found—and captured—its exciting, involved sound. - Independent Weekly

"Minimal Size, Maximum Sound: Local duo Jews and Catholics makes a big noise on CD produced by Mitch Easter of Let's Active fame"

A mutual gig at The Garage led the Winston-Salem rock group known as Jews and Catholics to collaborate with Mitch Easter.

But when Easter first suggested recording them, Eddie Garcia and Alanna Meltzer were surprised.

"Richard Emmett, who owns The Garage, had the idea to put us on the bill together maybe two years ago," Garcia recalled. "We hit it off, and we played a couple of shows with him (Easter) the following year. The first time we met him, one of the first things he said was ‘I'd really like to record you guys.' And we were like, ‘yeah, we'd like that too,' but we thought it's got to be just crazy-expensive to record with him.'"

After all, Easter is well-regarded in the music world, having been the lead singer of Let's Active and having produced albums for such acts as R.E.M., Suzanne Vega, Velvet Crush and Marshall Crenshaw.

"We thought, that's nice of him to say, but that's not going to happen," Garcia said. "Time moved on, and we thought about it more and more."

Easter said that he was impressed when he first saw the band.

"I thought they were great," he said. "They're pretty exciting live, really loud and really going for it.… They're just a cool band, what can I say?

"You see a million bands that are just four slouchy guys up there strumming their guitars, but Jews and Catholics are not that. They're very vivid."

When Garcia ran into Easter again at a producers' forum in Chapel Hill about a year ago, the idea of working together came back up.

"Just to have that kind of experience would be so stellar," Garcia said, "and then a week later I visited his studio and started feeling it even more."

There was another advantage to having a third party as producer, Meltzer said.

"Having someone else do (the production), we could focus more on playing," she said, "and have someone else do the technical stuff."

"One of the things we knew was we would like to work with someone outside to capture what we wanted to capture," Garcia said, "which was more of what we were really like live, more of that intensity."

As the time to record to album drew closer, Meltzer said she began to get anxious about working with a well-known producer like Easter.

"Before we went in, I was really nervous about it, but he's not an intimidating person," she said. "He was so welcoming and easy to be around."

They recorded at the Fidelitorium, Easter's studio in Kernersville last summer. "We try to make it a little bit glamorous," Easter said. "I think having a proper recording studio is kind of romantic and fun."

The Jews and Catholics album, Who Are? We Think We Are!, is being released widely and on iTunes on May 18, but the band will be selling copies at a launch party Friday at The Garage, and it will be locally available at various stores.

The album is Jews and Catholics' first release on a real record label, Durham's 307 Knox Records. The band had self-produced its first full-length album in 2007 and the subsequent EP in 2008.

Garcia and Meltzer have been working together for about five years, having met while they both were working at Edward McKay Used Books and More.

Both of them developed their musical skills when they were in school.

"I grew up listening to music and going to see all kinds of live music," Meltzer said. Her family exposed her to various types of music while she was growing up in Idaho, but a school assembly in the sixth grade led her to stop just listening to music and start performing.

"Local musicians were showing all the kids about stringed instruments," she said. They demonstrated the violin, cello and bass.

"When they played the bass and it filled the whole room, I knew right then that I wanted to play."

Garcia started playing guitar when he was about 13, and started his first band when he was 14.

"I fell in love with rock music," he said. "I knew how to play, and I got together with a couple of people that didn't know how to play yet, and we made a lot of racket in my room. Eventually we moved on to someone's garage. I took to it rather quickly, much to my grades' dismay."

When they met at Edward McKay, "I had just gotten out of a band relationship," Garcia said. "And we decided to get together and play.… We just kept adding amplifiers to make it louder."

Now that their new album is out, they have plans to tour. So far, they have gone as far west as Chicago, as far south as New Orleans and as far north as Michigan.

"We've covered a lot of ground," Meltzer said, "but we've got plans for more touring next year, maybe working our way to the West Coast and back." - Winston-Salem Journal

"Jews and Catholics Who Are? We Think We Are!"

What happens when you combine a Win ston-Salem music legend with one of the are a's most creative bands? You get Who Are? We Think We Are!, the new album from Jews and Catholics produced by Mitch Easter (front man of Let's Active and producer of early REM). This is the band's first CD on Durham's 307 Knox Records.

Eddie Garcia's J. Mascis-like guitar shredding, the warm-bowed bass textures from Alanna Meltzer and the measured rhythms of the drum machine combine to create a huge sound for just two people. You can hear possible influences by early-'80s post-punk bands like Big Black and Killing Joke, but Jews and Catholics' music stands on its own.

The band shines on the all-out big guitar rock of "Up for Days" and "Golden Arrow," a song that spotlights Alanna's classically trained playing. Who Are? We Think We Are! keeps the energy of the duo's live show while revealing sometimes-hidden subtleties. All in all, a must-hear. - Relish (Winston-Salem Journal)

"Post-punk band from Winston-Salem releases album"

Post-punk has become an umbrella genre to the point of near obsolescence. I really hate using the label, and I’ll always consider it a temporal genre — there is no way to separate a band like The Jesus and Mary Chain from their times. The post-punk scene has certainly managed to ensure that its sound lives on, and, not too long ago, even staged a “revival.” My sentiments, however, remain exactly the same on this later emergence, but I at least appreciate the inter-nominal acknowledgment of this replication.
I grew up on the sound The Strokes made famous; I love it, but I’ll still express hesitation in associating it with post-punk. Regardless of this personal caveat, Winston-Salem’s own Jews and Catholics’ newest record Who Are? We Think We Are! is, with so little hesitation, the sound of post-punk. What sets me reeling, though, is that they achieved it without a drummer and with the use of an upright bass.
Jews and Catholics just signed a deal with 307 Knox records, but remain as frighteningly unrestrained as they ever have. Their sound remains a very calculated balance between the raw emotional release of a band like Superchunk (another N.C. native) and the hyper-polished surface of a group like Franz Ferdinand. The result is an accessible but still repeat-play-worthy album.
An album that effortlessly blends Jawbreaker-esque ’90s hardcore to instrumentation reminiscent of Echo & The Bunnymen seems like it shouldn’t appear so minimalist on stage.
Minimalist, that is, until things get going. Garcia’s energy during a performance is bonkers.
I had the opportunity to see them with another one of my in-state favorite bands, Birds and Arrows at Eliot’s Revue a couple of weeks ago.
Even in a tiny dive, Jews and Catholics replicates and then some their album’s sound — with a drum machine. After hearing only the first few tracks on this album and after about thirty seconds of that performance, I simply could not imagine how much time and effort must go into programming those drum tracks. Far beyond keeping a simple beat for the musicians, it is as if those little black machines are members of the band.
The drum machine flawlessly orchestrated tempo changes and added to the wall of sound that came from these two people. I was surprised every time a new song started simply because I couldn’t believe how well it all worked together.
Jews and Catholics certainly don’t fit into the typical image of the “indie” band today — a very conscious effort. The independent music scene is larger, more active and more connected than it has ever been.
With the establishment of the Internet as the communicator for the music industry, we are all exposed to more music than any generation before us. Unfortunately, in this situation it is easy to become inundated. In the past decade we saw re-hashing after re-hashing with stunts and gimmicks to spare. With any laptop anyone can record a record. The readily available means has led to scores of people creating music that I can only describe as “singing as if they wished they were somewhere else.”
The amount of sweat and noise present at Jews and Catholics’ live performances and emotion in the songs on Who Are? We Think We Are! is testament to the fact that we ought to pay them mind — they aren’t writing this because they can.
The only place left as safe-haven is the local scene. Local is now global, and Jews and Catholics make Winston-Salem a very exciting place to be right now.
Well, at least until May 25th when this album is nationally distributed. Be sure to be at the Garage on April 30th for their Winston-Salem release sho - Old Gold and Black

"Worlds old and new collide with the newest release by Jews and Catholics"

Jews and Catholics, always resistant to pigeonholing, bring their eccentric sound home to Winston-Salem this weekend. (courtesy photo)

The only weaknesses in performing within the duo dynamic, according to Jews and Catholics’ bassist Allana Meltzer, comes in splitting the gas money and lugging and entire band’s worth of gear around. After all, drum machines don’t tend to be argumentative, even if they can’t take a turn behind the wheel on long nighttime hauls. The simplicity of only being accountable to one other person hasn’t escaped her or musical partner and guitarist Eddie Garcia as the Winston-Salem act prepares for the local debut of their third release, though first nationally, Who Are? We Think We Are!, an album as incongruent in scope and creation as it’s title might suggest.
Their musical partnership began five years ago after Meltzer moved to Winston-Salem from Idaho and the two got together to play acoustically, yet without a particular direction in mind. The times they tried to move themselves in a specific direction never really worked out, Meltzer noted. The duo toyed with amplifiers and effects pedals, working them in little by little until they had developed a new-wave, punk and classically influenced sound nearly unrecognizable and far more ferocious than the beginning product.
“I don’t think I ever really knew where we were going with it,” Meltzer said. “If I think back to when we first started playing acoustic, I’d have no idea that we’d sound like we do today necessarily.”
Theirs is a sound that has evolved organically, Meltzer added, almost as if the two made a calculated effort to avoid succinct categorization. There are deep, industrial sounds like Meltzer’s bowed bass runs on “Golden Arrows,” yet Garcia’s voice is boyishly close enough to that of the Modern Lover’s Jonathan Richman to ever mistake them for edgier acts in their sphere of influence like Throbbing Gristle. There are, however, clear suggestions of The Velvet Underground & Nico-era Lou Reed on

Who Are? We Think We Are!, which is ironic, since producer Mitch Easter was recently featured on a tribute album to the ’60s experimentalists for which he recorded a cover of “The Black Angel’s Death Song.” Easter’s influence on Who Are? We Think We Are! isn’t explicit according to Garcia and Meltzer, however, but for the first effort they put in the hands of another, his guidance was invaluable.
“He was good at not giving us too much direction, like in the best way,” said Meltzer. He helped us capture what we were trying to capture. If there was something we came into the studio unsure about, his ideas were great.”
If it sounds as if Jews and Catholics were keen to put the burden of the album’s outcome mostly on themselves, they probably were. The pair chose to eschew the digital recording route in favor of two-inch tape not simply because there was more challenge in it, though Garcia says that was a part of it, but simply because he saw Meltzer’s upright bass as such a terrific instrument that the digital route might not do it justice. The challenge, of course, came with the inability to slack off when forgoing the cold precision of digital recording and yet, there is a sense of naturalism found amidst the agonizing detail paid to the preprogrammed drum beats and jagged, aggressive guitar riffs.
“There was already this contrast with the effects pedal and the drum machine in our arrangement, which I guess that’s what’s so cool about putting all of our modern electronics onto two-inch tape,” Garcia said. “But then having her with this big bass in a big room captured on a fat piece of tape and it felt like something we should do.” - Yes! Weekly

"Music Review: Jews and Catholics"

So, get this! This duo from Winston-Salem plays indie rock with only guitar and upright bass. And the guitar dude also does drum buttons with his feet.

Knee jerk reaction: This is probably going to suck.

Reality: It’s pretty kick-ass.

Using an unlikely arrangement of tools, Jews And Catholics make a hard-hitting, vibrant brand of ’90s-inspired rock that stands out in a state chock full of the stuff.
The group succeeds because it refuses to use its uniquity as a crutch. Alanna Meltzer’s bass playing is impressive, but never overbearing. Played up in the mix via clever production from Mitch Easter and Birds Of Avalon’s Cheetie Kumar, it’s more than just a rhythmic complement for Eddie Garcia’s guitar.

In killer songs such as the triumphantly volatile “Golden Arrow,” her bass is key. Growling in a luxuriously bowed part, her menacing low notes balance out Garcia’s over-arching electric tendrils.

Garcia is also impressive. His riffs reverberate with crisp, clear power. In “Dear Alexa” he builds on Meltzer’s marching bass and his own excellent drum programming with lines that start out nice and polite but ramp up into a torrential crescendo that slides up his register to create an all-consuming roar.

The themes and inspiration are occasionally a little stale. “The Spring” is an ill-advised take on the alternative rock dirges of The Cure. “It’s the kind of crime that captures the crown. It’s the kind of fear that grasps for the ground,” Garcia sings, delivering the overly oblique lines in a deeply brooding tone that just doesn’t suit him.

But when they concentrate on rocking in their own interesting way, Jews And Catholics arrive at something that’s far more satisfying than just a gimmick.
- Daily Tar Heel

"Contrasts Fuels Fiery Mix"

Googling the phrase “Jews and Catholics” is a fast path to the
night terrors: welcome to millennia of imbecilic animosity,
and the fine arts of pogroms, inquisitions, and numerous other
But add a pair of parentheses to your search and you’ll wind up at
Jew(s) and Catholic(s), the Winston-Salem guitar-and-bass duo of
Eddie Garcia and Alanna Meltzer — who named their band after a
2,000-year-old blood feud to suggest that the tides of history aren’t
“We went through our baby book names first,” Garcia jokes, “but
we wanted something that reflected our different backgrounds,
including our different musical backgrounds. The two of us just came
together and made things work, whereas traditionally Jews and
Catholics can’t always make things work out between each other.”
It’s a big point made on a small, un-Bono-unctuous scale: the fun
lies in the contrasts and what you make from them. The 29-yearold
Garcia has been playing guitar in various Carolinas’ bands since
junior high school, traveling to out-of-town gigs before he owned a
driver’s license. Meltzer, 25, grew up in Idaho and began classical bass
as a pre-teen when the instrument still dwarfed her. She performed
in youth orchestras and chamber groups, and later with the Idaho
State Civic Symphony; Jew(s) and Catholic(s) would become her first
rock band.
But first fate had to bring the two together. That happened in 2004
when Garcia hired Meltzer, new to Winston-Salem, at the same used
books and music store he helped run. At the time, neither was playing
music. Garcia had quit what he calls a “booze-fueled” pop rock
outfit, and Metzler was burned out enough on classical music that
she hadn’t touched her bass in a couple of years. They eventually
tossed some ideas around, and by late that year were playing and
writing songs as an acoustic duo.
“I was happy doing something different and playing with another
instrument I’d never played with before,” Garcia says.
Their first shows took place in early 2005, but getting to that point
required some serious musical give-and-take. Bred on the strictures
of classical, Meltzer had to adapt to rock’s informal methods of collaboration;
Garcia had to conjure enough theory from his distant past
to write for the bass clef for the first time.
“I was exchanging musical ideas differently,” Garcia says. “It wasn’t
like being in a roomful of people plugged into amps.”
“As tired as I was of the rigidity and structure of classical, it took me a
while to get away from it and feel comfortable,” Metzler admits.
Then there was also learning to take their other group member
seriously. That didn’t get off to great start, since Metzler was at first
convinced that Garcia was kidding — a drum machine? The guitarist
says he had it around for his own four-tracking purposes, eventually
bringing it to practices as a “glorified metronome.” But when people
heard Jew(s) and Catholic(s) with it, they liked it; more to the point,
they liked that it often didn’t sound like a programmed machine.
Garcia’s mother was a drummer (though not professionally), and
he says that’s where his interest in — and facility with — rhythms
came from. He also confesses to being a bit of a gear-head, and says
determining whether the “character of each song requires more
electronic-y beats or organic rhythms” is no chore to him.
“We spend a lot of time making it very dynamic,” Garcia says. “The
process might be really tedious to some people, but I kind of like it. I
get in this weird Zen mode figuring out how many times we’re going
to do a pattern, and the right moment to take maybe just one snarehit
out from it.”
That kind of detail goes toward explaining how Jew(s) and Catholic(s)
have been picking up converts in the Triad and beyond. Their debut
full-length, 2007’s God’s Trash, defies pigeon-holing beyond the
requisite “it rocks, hard.” The combination of Garcia’s multi-textured
guitar tones and riffs — he was raised on metal, but Thurston Moore,
J. Mascis, Tom Verlaine and Kevin Shields showed him the light —
and Meltzer’s bowed blasts from her upright bass are unique; toss in
beats diverse enough that it’s easy to forget there’s no drummer, and
you have a sound that transcends facile divisions.
Now, if they could bottle that and share it with their namesakes…
- Shuffle Magazine


expected May 2013 release "Civilized"
Recorded At El Guapo Studios
Produced by Jews and Catholics

2010 "Who are? We Think We Are!"
produced by Mitch Easter & Cheetie Kumar
Charting on college radio across the US

2008 "Inside EP"
produced by Eddie Garcia
self released

2007 "God's Trash"
produced by Eddie Garcia & Jeff Irving
self released



Winston-Salem, North Carolina's ex-duo band, now a three headed hydra. We melt faces. Or so we've been told after we've melted a face.
Alanna Meltzer-Holderfield played in orchestras, Eddie Garcia and Tyler Reeder played in bands. You haven't heard of any of these bands. But they had a great time in them.
Alanna played with Kenny Rogers once........once.
We played our first gig on May 15 of 2005 at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC.
We didn't have a drummer then, but Tyler Reeder brought aggressive, intricate live drumming to our band in 2011.

We've toured the east coast, southeast and into the midwest. We've traveled the roads of NC tirelessly. We want to play your town. We will wring every last drop of sound out of our instruments and equipment for you. Our live shows reach an energy level & intensity that will pummel you into the sweetest submission.

We really love this. And we think you will too.