The new EP Alpha Cat Venus Smile is set to be released on independent label Aquamarine Records on June 24, 2022. It will initially be released worldwide digitally and CDs (!) will also be available.
Elizabeth McCullough formed the band Alpha Cat to back notable success with Alpha Cat’s debut record, Real Boy, which was produced by Television’s Fred Smith. But as often happens, the band fell apart after recording the sequel, Pearl Harbor, but the Alpha Cat name stuck.
This new record, Venus Smile, began recording in Reseda, California in 2007 at Bright Orange Studios, and the finishing touches were added from March to May of this year, with everyone working remotely from home. . This record was written and produced by McCullough, with Jason Harrison Smith on drums, Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, John Mayer) on all guitars except acoustic (exception: “Wichita”) Reggie McBride on bass (Stevie Wonder, Parliament Funkadelic and Elton John, to start) and Jane Scarpantoni on cello (REM, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beastie Boys, Lou Reed…) All but this year’s mixing and mastering was done by the late Brett (Cosmo) Thorngren. The sound of the songs varies, ranging from rock to pop to Americana, with nuances between…
“Opposition is in fact the natural precondition for union. As a result of opposition, a need arises to fill it.” ~Confucious (The I Ching or Book of Changes: translation by Richard Wilhelm)
McCullough explains, “Having lived my life as an ‘artist’, I am fully aware that once a work enters the public domain, it can take on any number of meanings for as many people as can experience. And that’s how it should be. .
My take on the overall theme of this record is one of redemption and exhaustion: exhaustion with all the anger and fighting, exhaustion from the division that has impacted our world so much. But we all live on a planet where each of us has more in common than not. So, while not all of the songs are specifically about this, each of them is in some way about separations and the healing of those separations. Some are responding to my sense of optimism that they can and will be cured, others are not quite there.
But I myself survived total separation from myself; with a well-documented severe depressive episode that kept me out for over a decade. And I not only recovered to continue this life of healing, but I thrived. I believe that we are all destined and capable of doing the same thing. But I made the choice to go beyond being defined by past trauma. So yes, I still have hope in a time when hope and healing are so rare.
Of course, I am not entirely “redeemed” myself, but I have certainly advanced further on the path than I ever dreamed of. I believe this is possible for everyone who lives in this world, whether I personally agree with their belief systems or not. Our promise, whatever it is, while we are alive, is never in vain. No one is helpless.”