The Quahaugs
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The Quahaugs

Band Alternative Rock


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Venus mercenaria - released August 29, 2006


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Quahaugs released their debut album on August 29th 2006 to coincide with the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The band's leader, Kaika Kale, visited New Orleans and the scenes of the enormous destruction in April 2006, and was moved to write about what he saw and the feelings it evoked. The song "Weeds Amongst Flowers" was the result, though the band has been working on material for their upcoming album, "Venus mercenaria", since last summer. "I was deeply affected by what this storm did to New Orleans. I revisited the city seven months after Katrina ravaged the area and I couldn't believe how bad things still were in what I like to think as my adoptive home town."

Kale has a wealth of musical experience as a writer, singer, guitarist and independent producer. He also has a personal connection to The Big Easy, having in-laws living in the city and a nephew as a student at Tulane University.

Kale identifies the diversity of his life and educational experience as being important to an increasingly refined musical and lyrical sensibility. Graduate school sharpened his powers of observation and expression, and his variety of past jobs that includes service in the US Navy, a recording engineer and a wine seller, widened his experience and benefited his writing.


It is in The Quahaugs' music that the writing experience and thoughtfulness of this self-defined storyteller flourishes. Kale defines the group's sound as a cross between The Gin Blossoms and London's own political raconteur, Billy Bragg, "with a little Matthew Sweet circa 1990 thrown in for good measure." This translates as some intelligent rock n' roll – the perceptive lyrics married to jangly guitars, memorable riffs and some occasionally frantic playing. The band comprises of four musicians, with Kale on guitar and lead vocals, Matt McGrail on guitar, backing vocals and percussion, Pete Weiss on bass and Sturgis Cunningham – formerly of The Patio Kings – on drums. The Gin Blossoms, Billy Bragg and Matthew Sweet were an inspiration to Kale. He even worked with Matthew Sweet in the early 1990's in a Manhattan studio, humorously culminating in a tactful brush off from the established artist: "You're going places man, just not with us!"

Sweet's words have become very much true. Kale has an iron will to get his music heard, despite a lack of major label funding, and a similar desire to help the unique community of New Orleans with The Quahaugs' upcoming releases. He intends much of the single's proceeds to go towards the Music Rising Foundation. The album is scheduled for release on October 3rd, featuring 10 songs. He is also keen to help others with their musical careers: "When people are having fun and enjoying themselves, it makes learning easier. So it is a natural progression to go from teacher to songwriter".

Kale and The Quahaugs are as musically enterprising as they are selfless in their ambition to help New Orleans, and with sufficient exposure they will go far in raising again the profile of the city's people as well as generally making some excellent music.