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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band EDM Alternative


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"Smoldering like the remnants of a fire, or maybe the beginnings of what will become a blistering blaze, (the twelve tracks on Iris Nova are) a musical force… Singer Marilyn Carino and producer Benny Cha Cha coax songs with a slow burn into well-fueled flames that produce considerable amounts of heat. Adding interest to Carino and Cha Cha’s chemistry are lyrics that are ethereal, quirky, and questioning, complementing the evocative production with ease. “Brooklyn” is a funk-rock romp that comes close to matching the grit and eclecticism of the borough of its title. The genre-blending that some musicians work so hard to achieve here seems effortless, genuine, and unique." - OKAYPLAYER.COM


"The roll call of guest musicians (on Iris Nova) is testament to the immense respect that bassist Benny “Cha Cha” Rubin and singer Marilyn Carino carry in the underground musician-scene in New York City. The duo weave fearless vocals with churning rhythms and smoking arrangements.

“Wonder Boy”‚ allows Marilyn Carino to deliver the vocal performance of a lifetime, powerful to the point of bringing you to tears. It’s a song that can rank alongside major-league acts like Radiohead, U2 or even REM for that matter. Indeed, should this stylistically and instrumentally diverse record get the initial traction on the net, it might go on to achieve similar status. For those who are getting increasingly impatient waiting on the long awaited third album from Portishead, you need to download this now. " - Will page

"New York Post"

Marilyn Carino's sultry vocals pouring out poetic lyrics filled with imagery, set up against spooky pianos, haunting organs or subtle jazzy horns. The combo, along with some electronic loops, gives the music an other-worldly blues-jazz feel you'd hear in a lounge or in a Jim Jarmusch film. - Mary Huhn

"The New Yorker"

There’s post-rock, post-punk, and now, post-trip-hop. In the hands of the smoldering vocalist Marilyn Carino and the producer, bassist, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Rubin, down-tempo beats, haunted-matinée-style organ playing, and electronic flourishes coalesce into something familiar yet wholly unique. - John Donohue

"Time Out New York"

“Singer Marilyn Carino and multi-instrumentalist Ben Rubin, the prime movers of NYC's Mudville, have done plenty of genrehopping in their time. In Mudville, they've combined all these styles in an organic way, while incorporating an important new element: cool electronic atmospheres of a sort similar to what used to be called trip-hop. The Glory of Man is Not in Vogue finds the duo's sound deepened significantly... (Live), the combination of Carino's dramatic vocals - the gal has serious chops - and the band's brainy, extended improvs triggered a potent fusion of jazz and space-rock. Think Julie Driscoll fronting Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, or better yet set your inner categorizer aside and just enjoy."
- Mac Randall

"New York Times"

Mudville is a duo: Marilyn Carino sings about troubled longings and bleak surreal visions, while Ben Rubin surrounds her melancholy voice with brooding, minor-key tracks that start with electric piano and venture into smoky, ominous lounge territory, somewhere between Fiona Apple and Morcheeba. - Jon Pareles

"All Music Guide"

"As the dark electronic brood of acid jazz, trip-hop (or whatever they're calling it this third time around) comes back into favor, new groups are hard-pressed to distinguish themselves from the outfits of old (old of course being somewhere around 1996). Impressively, Mudville does just that, evoking the melancholy dirge of Portishead on the opener, "The Hero of the World" until the middle-eight reduces not to an unadorned hip-hop beat as expected, but rather a melodic piano refrain. It's a small difference, but one that is almost shocking to your ears, pre-programmed to presume the obvious, given how formulaic most downtempo is. Those same subtle nuances highlight this debut record by the duo of Ben Rubin ad Marilyn Carino, who between them have worked with artists as diverse as Neil Young & Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot and Killah Priest. Carino's voice maintains the somber tone of Beth Gibbons, but her range matches the bluesy swell of PJ Harvey. Air-like keyboard phrasing drives a majority of the songs, with a warbling minor key ache that fits naturally with mildly synthesized percussive clicks and whistles, and of course the steady-as-a-rock drumbeat. The unit breaks free the most on "Surfer Girls," which displays a musical breadth far greater than you would have ever imagined in the opening chords of this album, taking the funeral march some places it's never before been, the ocean." - Joshua Glazer


"Mudville's debut LP "The Glory Of Man Is Not In Vogue" snakes through esoteric rhythms and beats care of Rubin and soars with the whiskey sour illustrative harmonies of Carino. Unmistakable hits such as the opening track "Hero of the World" and the twangy early morning fog of "Surfer Girls" make Mudville an enchanting listen. "The Glory of Man is not in Vogue" is a testament to the healing powers of rhythm and should not go undiscovered." - Jay Zaretsky

"Providence Phoenix"

Heard the album that Annie Lennox made with Daniel Lanois? No one has — it never happened. But Mudville’s The Glory of Man Is Not in Vogue (Slurry) imagines the results of such a session. Singer Marilyn Carino and keybster Ben Rubin have an Everything But the Girl vibe taking place, and their rather intimate, mildly eerie music has some gripping moments. - Jim Macnie

"Entertainment Weekly"

Marilyn Carino's quirky wail on "The Hero of the World" is plenty spirited..." - Neil Drumming


Iris Nova - 2007
Side Trax EP - 2006
The Glory of Man is Not in Vogue - 2005
Mudville EP - 2002

Tracks on all CDs are available for streaming at our website,, and for download at iTunes, eMusic and all major e-tailers. Limited-edition, signed "Iris Nova" CDs are available for purchase exclusively on Mudville's website. Mudville is now being spun on over 120 college and non-commercial stations, including KCRW, WBAI, KPFK and many more nationwide.



"Wicked", a song from Mudville’s latest record, "Iris Nova", is the winner of the 2008 Independent Music award for best song in the Dance/Electronica category. On "Iris Nova", songwriter/vocalist Marilyn Carino and producer/instrumentalist Benny Cha Cha further the retro-futuristic excursions of 2005’s acclaimed "The Glory of Man is Not in Vogue" (hailed by Nylon as “enchanting…a testament to the healing powers of rhythm” and called “poetic” and “other-worldly” by the New York Post). With eleven original tunes plus a cover of The Police’s “Spirits in the Material World,” Mudville seamlessly blends old-school soul and hip-hop grooves with a jazz sensibility, electronica flourishes, dub and live orchestral arrangements. The songs on Iris Nova paint captivating portraits of spiritual ambivalence, anguish and liberation, all on a palette of juicy grooves -- a collection praised by as "Smoldering... a musical force" and by Rhapsody Rhadish as "A perfect melding, as if Nina Simone came back from the dead to front Morcheeba on a new record.".

"Iris Nova" features performances by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, tabla player/producer Karsh Kale, Lounge Lizards saxophonist Michael Blake, telecaster maestro Jim Campilongo (Norah Jones' The Little Willies), Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco (David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto) the maverick string quartet Ethel and pedal-steel guitar great Buddy Cage (Bob Dylan, New Riders of the Purple Sage).

Producer/bassist Ben Rubin (aka Benny Cha Cha) skillfully combines fresh production (beats, samples, synths) with old-school instruments (double bass, Hammond B3 organ, whole orchestras) to create earthy, idiosyncratic music that spotlights songwriter/vocalist Marilyn Carino’s keen prose and expansive wail. With “serious chops” (Time Out New York) and comparisons to Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and Annie Lennox, Carino’s strange, fearless voice plays muse to Rubin’s compelling blend of churning rhythms and lush symphonic arrangements.

On stage, Mudville’s powerful live show includes drummer John Bollinger (Antony and the Johnsons) and keyboardist/guitarist Brian Charette (Chaka Kahn, Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper). Mudville has shared stages with Talib Kweli and Mos Def (Black Star), Brazilian Girls, Large Professor, Wilco, Tina Dico (Zero 7), and comedian David Cross.

Homegrown New Yorkers, Carino and Rubin met during a years-long stint in San Francisco. A sweet crooner and guitarist in traditional bluegrass and alt-country bands, Carino has written and recorded with such notables as Billy Talbot, bassist in Neil Young & Crazy Horse (who co-produced a track on Mudville’s 2002 EP), and the great rhythm section/production team of Sly and Robbie. Rubin, who played upright bass in San Francisco’s vibrant jazz scene, has remixed tracks (as Benny Cha Cha) for Wu-Tang Clan’s Killah Priest, Karsh Kale, Brazilian Girls, Marshall Crenshaw and others and has toured with Crenshaw, Jason Collett (Broken Social Scene). In 1996 duo formed Long Island Lulu, a deviant soul-rock band whose eponymous 1998 CD received critical praise.

After regrouping in Brooklyn in 2000, Long Island Lulu evolved into Mudville, releasing a four-song EP. Their 2005 full-length album, The Glory of Man Is Not In Vogue, was released world-wide and garnered almost unanimous praise as "poetic" and "otherworldly" (New York Post), "plenty spirited" (Entertainment Weekly) and "enchanting...a testament to the healing powers of rhythm that should not go undiscovered" (Nylon). Tracks from the record have been heard on more than 150 US radio stations including KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and the NPR programs Morning Edition and Studio 360 as well as in the feature film Slutty Summer and the Gemini Award-winning Canadian TV series "ReGenesis".