The Cat’s Meow

Oct 102005
Authors: Meg Burd

They may not crack many smiles while performing songs such as "Devil," "Scenes" or "Gloom" while cramped on the tiny stage of the Surfside 7, 150 N. College Ave.

But after the show, the four band mates that make up popular local band Cat-A-Tac easily crack jokes as they chat with fans and grab a drink.

"We want to play Japan and Europe," said Andy Tennant, guitarist and author of many of the band's songs, adding after a moment, "and Ohio."

The band's joking gives way to its moody, fuzzy indie rock sound as Cat-A-Tac takes the stage and the crowd gathers to hear the multilayered mash of unique sounds.

Taking inspiration from a range of bands like the Dandy Warhols to Elliot Smith and seminal Shoegazer band, The Jesus and Mary Chain, the foursome of Warren Wonders, including Connor Bailey, Jim McTurnan and Andy Tennant perform a collection of songs that, as Bailey puts it, "are not necessarily happy or sad, but very personal and heartfelt."

Living together during their college days in Boulder, the four became friends after, as Bailey notes, "Jim bought us beer." Brought together by a round of booze and named after a late-night brainstorming session with Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols, the group eventually realized they shared a common interest in music and have been recording and performing their own songs since then, as well as working to promote other musicians in the Colorado scene.

With its fuzzy Shoegazer sound, the band has found popularity playing at places such as the Surfside 7 here in town, as well as the Larimer Lounge, Hi-Dive and other venues in Denver. Hitting the road on tour, Cat-A-Tac generated even more fans as the band played venues on the West Coast and geared up to promote a new album. Recording the album took considerable effort for the band, but an effort believed to be worthwhile.

"It took a lot longer than we thought it would," McTurnan said of the time spent in the studio recording their self-titled EP. While the group notes it often faced difficulties in getting their studio sound to mirror their live performances, McTurnan said "we're all pretty proud of what we came out with."

Already, the radio release saw many of Cat-A-Tac's songs climb high on the national college music charts, as well as KCSU's Top 20 List. Excited about their national and local attention, the Denver-based band said they hope to work on promoting their new songs with even more vigor in upcoming days.

Officially releasing on Oct. 21, the band has planned a CD release party at the Walnut Room in Denver, where they will perform along with other local favorites Januar and Everything Absent or Distorted.

Besides all the activity of releasing the CD and planning for the next tour, the band has also been working on developing a label, Needlepoint Records, that it hopes will serve as a tool for uniting and strengthening the Colorado music scene.

Being passionate music fans, the band hopes the label will provide a unique way to see good music spread not only locally but also nationally.

"It's a collective," Bailey said of the label.

Envisioned as a way to support the local scene, the band emphasizes its label will be all about artists helping other artists as they all work to promote one another's bands.

"We managed to get our EP out and it managed to stay on the college radio charts for seven weeks," McTurnan said. "We hope other bands can benefit from our success, and when they succeed, we'll benefit. The things people would do to support themselves will be in turn supporting the scene."

With their strong ties to the local music scene and indeed the strong local support for its sound, Cat-A-Tac seems poised on the brink of break-out success.

Information on Cat-A-Tac can be found on the band's website, Information on Needlepoint Records can be found on the web at

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