The Battlecats
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The Battlecats


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"The Battlecats Return Home!"

The Elm City has had a chunk missing from it since April 4 of last year, leaving behind a hole the exact size and shape of Sean Beirne , Jimmy Jude and Kelley Kat . That was the last time the Battlecats roared live on home turf in New Haven, the city where the garagey bubblegum punk rockers got their scruffy, explosive start about four years ago.
The trio hasn't been catnapping--it's been busy rocking out elsewhere. Now the 'Cats are heading back home to drop a bunch of new tunes and their usual charismatic in-your-face cattitude at Rudy's doorstep on Aug. 11 (with the Brother Kite , from Providence).

"Since the start of the band, the three of us wanted to play in New York City only," frontman Jimmy Jude explains, via email. "We had all been thrown out of the clubs and bars in New Haven before we were in a band."

Here's a timeline of the 'Cats outta-town, outta-sight highlights (with bits from Jimmy Jude's news)...

The Year of the Battlecats:
March '04: SXSW. Two great shows, the three of us sleeping in the same bed and having ha-has in Austin. Sean spoons Jimmy, Kelley cries homesick for kittens.

April 4, '04: Last New Haven show at Cafe Nine. Will Croxton signs us to Reel to Reel Records for a single-a-month deal on his Brooklyn-based internet-only company [].

April 16, '04: Galapagos (Brooklyn) showcase for International Cork Records. We record "Crazy Pig" for the label's comp two days before the show (weird version, but it's out there). The club gives out free hot dogs and we write about hot dogs on all the new songs ("M-Y House" and "Congratulations").

July '04: Freddy's (Brooklyn): Meet big industry connection that fizzes out due to illness and death. Lit Lounge (NYC): Audition for bigwig old bald guy that loves the stuff and hates our guts.

Aug. '04: Knitting Factory (NYC): Great place to get support, great shows here to come. Wild screaming fun fans. Lakeside Lounge (NYC): Sean pushes me through the fire exit door during the set, setting off the alarm. Promoter not amused. Crowd and band pissing ourselves.

Winter '05: More NYC shows and recording four new songs for Reel to Reel. Kelley thinks she wants to stop, but is inspired by an Alice Cooper tape to keep on rocking. Sean and I are at the point of trying out replacements, but it is not the Battlecats without the three of us.

Spring-Summer '05: Dozen more shows in NYC. The idea to play in New Haven [Rudy's, Aug. 11, and Cafe Nine, Sept. 24] to round out the summer before recording more songs, and more fighting with NYC. We promise to give it crazy with old and new and borrowed and blue tunes for New Haven.

- New Haven Advocate by Kathleen Cei

"The Kids Are United"

The other evening, we were sitting alone at home, thinking about The Ramones.

About how The Ramones were more than a band—they were a club . A club the audience was invited to join. Not every great band is like that, and not every band that is like that is necessarily great. But when it happens, it’s special.

Now, The Battlecats e_SEmDthey ’re like that. They have tunes which are difficult to avoid singing along to, coordinated suits, and multiple songs about simply being called The Battlecats. Live, singer Jimmy Jude has been known to drag out the “I’m a Battlecat” breakdown of “Push It,” asking audience members, “Are you a Battlecat? Are you a Battlecat?”

We asked the band’s guitarist Sean Bierne about the audience/band vibe that creates that “club” sensibility. It’s “part of what makes all those bands so great,” he responded via e-mail. “You can get wrapped up in the cool little worlds that they create. If The Battlecats can make people feel like they are part of our strange little world, not only are we ahead of the game but we are completely honored.”

The Battlecats, who Bierne says are mostly “laying low” after a creatively fertile summer, have put together a big Christmas show at Martini’s in Orange on Sat., Dec. 23. Also playing are the tuba-rocking Gene Gnomes, country-leaning singer-songwriter Mercy Meadows and pop-rock–leaning singer-songwriter Shellye Valauskas. Early on, The Battlecats promised “Santa and maybe Satan! ” might attend; as of now, Satan’s pinned down, and Bierne hopes Santa can still make it.
- New Haven Advocate 12/21/2006

"Reel To Reel Records"

Dig your claws into this: New Haven's beloved bubblegum rawkers the Battlecats have Reel-y good news--their single, "What's So Bad About the Battlecats?" is now available for download on newly launched, internet-only record label run by Will Croxton (of the Brooklyn band formerly known as Driver X , now called Laneview ) and James Burke .
Though Reel to Reel started a few years ago as a traditional label (releasing CDs), it's now taking a fresh approach by having the seven indie artists on its roster release an exclusive, web-only single each month, for a dollar a song. ("That's only 100 pennies," the Battlecats remind us.)

"We just felt there was something missing," says Will Croxton, via e-mail. "That something turned out to be immediacy. I knew we had the resources to do it through the internet. You could cut out the production lag time. A band could literally write, record and release in real time. Plus it keeps bands (and their fans) on their toes. The Wedding Present did it quite successfully, albeit in vinyl form, several years ago. We're harkening back to an earlier singles-driven era in pop music, but at the same time, the depth and quality of the music we're offering is as good as any traditional CD."

Will's old band Driver X has played a bunch of times in New Haven to a loyal local following. "I kept hearing about the Battlecats a couple of summers ago and finally caught them here in NYC," notes Will. "I thought they were fantastic. Look, sound, attitude--the whole package. I approached them last summer about coming to Reel to Reel. They literally blew the doors off Reel to Reel's showcase at South by Southwest this past March. People were leaving saying it was the best band they'd seen all week."

Though local fans may already have a copy of "What's So Bad About the Battlecats?" (the song appeared on the band's self- released EP, 2002's Made From Scratch , with its unique Kelley Kat -drawn collectible cartoony covers), "but now it is available to everyone on the globe and beyond with internet access," Sean Beirne (the cute 'Cat) tells us. The rest of their Reel to Reel monthly releases will be exclusive to the site. "This summer we recorded a few new songs at the Reel to Reel bunker in Brooklyn," says Sean. "It's truly a revolutionary idea: an internet only-based record label. Everyone should download our song just to support this type of progressive thinking in the music business." Sean also hints that the Battlecats have another "secret big-time, huge thing in the works," but the cat got his tongue--he will say no more.

The Battlecats are in good company. In addition to having six cool indie Reel to Reel labelmates, the site spotlights a new monthly guest artist, each with a song for a buck. November's guest was cult hero Ivan Julian (who played in Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the Matthew Sweet band, and with the Clash on Sandinista). December's spotlight shines on Archer Prewitt (of Tortoise, the Sea and Cake, and Coctails).

- New Haven Advocate by Kathleen Cei

"Primitives From Out Of Town"

The Battlecats are three sharply dressed young people
who bang out a primitive and catchy garage-rock
racket. While, some people are pretenders to the
garage-rock throne, The Battlecats are the real deal. Their music
is loud and crude with just the right touch of snotty
attitude provided by bassist/guitarist/vocalist Jimmy
Jude to make the whole musical cocktail go down
smoothly. Jude just exudes cockiness as he stalks the
stage banging out chords on the guitar or bass
totally enveloped in the music. But don't forget the
contributions from the other two members of the rest
of the band - bassist/guitarist Sean Beirne and
drummer Kelley Kat. Beirne and Kat may have more
subdued stage presence than Jude, but they do an
admirable job on their instruments, keeping the music
simple and fun. - Hartford Advocate

"The Space Show Review"

"Shhh--Could you be more quiet please?" the rough and tumble Battlecats whispered through their mics while tuning up, joking with the polite and respectful crowd at The Space, like four bulls-in-china. Singer Jimmy Jude (who started his day off with "a taco with ground beef and everything") and Sean ("multi-vitamin and pizza") traded off on guitar and bass after the new song "Human Being" to play the popular fave "Holding Company" (often called out for fondly as "track four!"). Sexy drummer, Kelley Kat, shouted out the new song's explosive refrain: "Oh No!" The 'Cats plan to pounce on The Thirsty Turtle May 23, with Lys Guillorn, The Pretty Ones, and The Mess Ups, then attack cafe nine on the 27th. - New Haven Advocate

""Made From Scratch" CD Review By Craig Gilbert"

The new Battlecats disc features seven tunes of hook-laden guitar pushed garage pop that is-no shit-catchier than the plague. It's some sort of bubblegum garage sound. "Made from Scratch"; comes with a hand drawn cover. The music is cute without being totally limp. "Made from Scratch" is mixed sharply, is tight musically and has fine songs. - New Haven Advocate

"Show Review 2/29/04"

...Speaking of fun, The Battlecats donned matching suits for their energetic set, probably the most inspired of the entire marathon. The all-ages lethargy that affects so many bands that are used to the drunken good times of the bar scene didn't run so deep with The Battlecats. If you're going to throw a party and/or drink lots of beer, however, these are the guys to book as well. - Fairfield County Weekly


It's an early set for the group that many consider to be one of New Havens tastiest exports. Along with The Frills, Mighty Purple and numerous solo acts, The Battlecats are performing at a secret gig in a downtown Hamden basement. Usually they would've kicked it off much later but lead singer/guitarist Jimmy Jude has promised to appear as a solo act at the New Haven bar, Café Nine's Tuesday night singer/songwriter series.
The Hamden crowd seems rather restrained this evening. This is something quite unusual for a band that attracts bodies like they were bouncy magnets and moves crowds as if it were a casual hobby for them. Nevertheless, heads are happily bobbing up and down and grins are wide as the group plows through "All right already" and the joyfully infectious "Crissy forgets". Especially when Jude improvises a comment regarding guitarist Sean Beirnes busted string, placing perfectly in rhythm like a Lego brick.
If there's one thing I've noticed about The Battlecats shows, it's the response from the listeners. Audience participation is a must for these guys. You can hear it all over their 18-track live album recorded at Rudys in New Haven this past July.
Whether it's the "smooch-smooch" opening of "What's so bad about the Battlecats", the clapping hands that help pound out the opening of "Down Home" or just about every inch of their catchiest and most popular songs, "Push it" (where they declare, "I'm a Battlecat, you're a Battlecat, she's a Battlecat, try and scratch that) the crowd is thoroughly in cahoots with the group.
Later that same evening all four members hustle it to the Nine to watch Jude perform. They tend to move as a whole. It's the tail end of the evening when Jude hops up onto the stage with a borrowed Gibson acoustic still decked out in a suit and tie (the other three dressed identically).
The first few songs are solo works (and possibly future Battlecats tunes) followed by a couple of the bands regular features. As Jude stomps and jiggles like David Byrne, flails and wails into the microphone, I set myself on a stool just behind drummer Kelley Kats long brown hair. I'm inspecting one of her many, many handmade covers of their studio recording, "Made from scratch". It's a picture of a chubby cartoon panther with sharp triangle teeth and claws. Black needlepoint eyes. It's penciled blue and surrounded by sloppy yellow stars. "Cute" I think to myself, though I could spot just a wee hint of menace.
I pop the c.d. case open and check out the opposite side of the cover. It's a picture of a small brown body topped with a purple demon head, which seems to be whining in pain. It wears a striped cats head for a hat. I open the inside of the jacket. It reads : The Battlecats are, Jimmy Jude-guitar, vocals, bass. Kelley Kat-drums, vocals. Sean Beirne-guitar, bass, vocals.
Suddenly I hear, "You suck" from a rare heckler who seems slightly tipsy (and coincidentally enough is an acquaintance of mine). "What are you, stupid ?" Kelley Kat growls, instinctively stepping to the defense of her bandmate. Five minutes later I find this very same heckler cheering and singing along as if his previous self never even happened.
The following afternoon I hook up with the group at Beirnes crowded garage in Milford, where they rehearse among the dismembered bicycles and automotive supplies. Not wanting to interrupt the childrens sing-a-long taking place on the green a few houses down the block, the four insist on shutting the garage door. I scoot myself into the cramped garage where it's hot and hardly lit by the single bulb jutting between bottles of windshield wiper fluid. "This is rock n roll" Jude jokes.
After tightening up their latest piece, "Let ' em work, let 'em live" and virtually performing an entire set of their regular items, we gather ourselves onto the trampoline in the backyard for a somewhat haphazard interview session.
Hamden Chronicle: Kelley, what made you want to hand draw all of those c.d. covers ?
Kelley: Jimmy wanted to do a thing called "Made from scratch", which would include everything do it yourself, which included covers...
How many covers were there altogether ?
Kelley: I've probably done around three hundred at this point. It's cheaper to make them like that but if I had a real job and was going to school I would've never had time to make all of them.
Jimmy: I used to draw covers and they'd never sell...
Kelley: So now I carry that heavy burden.
So when did you guys get started ?
Sean: August of 2001.
So how did the three of you (Kelley, Jimmy and Sean) first get together ?
Jimmy: We played in an old band together
Kelley: Well, last summer they were using my garage as their initial practice space. Sean was playing the drums and I was watching the Discovery channel and I thought, "I wanna try that" and I'd never played the drums before but it worked because Sean didn't wanna play the drums, he wanted to play the guitar.
So why do you attract the crowds t - Paul Ferrel for the Hamden Chronicle


Human Being 7" (Arms&Needles&Records)
"Made From Scratch" LP (2003 Reel To Reel Records)
"Let 'em Work" LP (2003 self released)
"Last Stop New Haven" LP (2002 Monkey Power Records) compilation featuring four Battlecats songs.
"Made From Scratch" (2002 self released)
These songs are regularly played on WNHU, WYBC, WPKN, WXCI, and



“The Battlecats are comin’ at ya!”

In February '02, they were playing parties as ‘underground-loved-by-those-who-knew-them-unknowns’ ... by April, they were packing rooms in hometown New Haven and Connecticut shore clubs while getting mentioned weekly in local tastemaker press. Shortly thereafter was the release of their debut EP Made from Scratch—an instant local smash.

The Battlecats are raw, unironic, and irrepressibly catchy. Their take on bubblegum garage-punk can be simultaneously—belligerent, exuberant, and naive. And they’re for real. Frontman Jimmy Jude is a star in the making. A prancing tornado attacking guitar, bass and microphone with wreckless bravado. Drummer Kelley Kat pounds hypnotic Moe Tucker beats while staring holes through the ceiling; guitarist Sean Beirne grins and roams the stage, while traces of the Kinks, vintage Stones and Richard Hell and the Voidoids litter the speakers.
The Battlecats have taken the New Haven music scene by storm. Their new cd Made from Scratch “features seven tunes of hook-laden guitar pushed garage pop that is-no shit-catchier than the plague” says the New Haven Advocate. The disk is called Made From Scratch because it literally was—each of the initial covers were unique and hand-drawn by drummer/artist Kelley Kat—a cool reminder of what rock ‘should, or used to be’.

2003 saw the release of a 2nd EP Let Em Work. A more diverse and growing catalog of songs was emerging. More headlining gigs followed and the richly deserved title of “New Haven’s biggest band” was snatched.

In 2004 the 'cats played a blistering set at the annual South By Southwest music festival in Austin, TX.

Brooklyn’s Reel to Reel Records quickly signed the ‘Cats and have culled the best of the EPs plus new tracks to present the new Made from Scratch on a national stage.

“Do you want the regular or extra?”