In less than two years since their move to New York, Elizabeth and the Catapult has already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. In May and August of 2006 they were featured in WNYC's "Soundcheck" as well as PRI's "Fair Game with Faith Salie" At the end of the year they were dubbed by NPR as "One of the Best Discoveries of 2006." The Catapult have had residencies at clubs such as the Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall, and after opening for national headliners like Jessie Harris, Kirk Kirkwood (of the Meat Puppets fame), The Wood Brothers (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood), and Amanda Palmer (of The Dresden Dolls) there was enough buzz about them to support a tour and label interest on the West Coast. All of this success also earned them a place as the Billboard Underground Artist for last October.
Bound by a common love of eclectic influences, Elizabeth & the Catapult draws inspiration from artists such as Tom Waits, David Byrne, Joni Mitchell, and Jon Brion—as well as classical influences such as Debussy, Ravel and Chopin. One explanation for the band's musical diversity is Elizabeth Ziman's musical background. She was trained as a classical pianist until the age of sixteen. "As a kid, I used to practice all the time…" Elizabeth explains. "But one day I realized that I couldn't lock myself in a room for eight hours a day…that's when I started writing and singing." After that, it quickly became apparent that her vocal abilities rivaled her piano skills. In 2002, Elizabeth successfully auditioned to be a background vocalist for soul-queen Patti Austin and ended up joining her on tour for the next year and a half. Elizabeth's experience along with Pete and Danny's folk/rock sensibility piece together to make up the band's harmonically distinctive pop sound, a sound well reflected in their stylistically diverse new EP.
After a listen to the Elizabeth & the Catapult EP, it is immediately clear that a great deal of thought went into each of the songs' arrangements. Strings, Horns, Marimba and Synthesizers are all blended together, creating an organic, off-beat style that fans have often referred to as "baroque pop." The sound of the EP is also shaped by the guerilla-style fashion in which it was recorded. Drummer Danny Molad recorded most of the EP in basements and bathrooms, producing this album, along with Elizabeth, in an incredibly modest home studio. With these limited resources, Elizabeth & the Catapult managed to produce an expertly mixed album. Every note of the EP sounds deliberately placed while there still manages to be an air of effortlessness that penetrates throughout all the songs.
In their recordings as well as live performances, Elizabeth and her band members bring together all their backgrounds and experiences to make music that they themselves enjoy. They acknowledge their amorphous style and readily admit that it probably scares record labels. Even so, Elizabeth asserts that she is "not interested in assigning herself a specific style." Elizabeth & the Catapult are proud of their ever-changing sound and are committed to keeping their music fresh and creative.
Dec 27 Washington DC at DC9
Dec 29 Easton MD at Coffee East
Jan 22 Hoboken NJ at Maxwells