This is not ‘Nam. There are rules. At least there are when Casy & Brian write, rehearse or take the stage. Listening to — and especially watching — the Oakland duo perform their boozy brand of Blood Brothers-esque disco-noise-punk, you would be forgiven for thinking the only law they abide is anarchy.
But, in fact, as singer/keyboardist Brian McCarthy explains, while his band admittedly plays “party music,” Casy & Brian’s cacophonous bacchanal of sass, sex and Casio keys is a meticulously controlled chaos. “Casy and I create these little engines, which are our process and instrumentation,” McCarthy says. “All we have to do to get them running is to put fuel in them.”
When McCarthy says “little engines,” he is describing the laws he and drummer Casy Marquis have been obeying since the group’s founding. “Casy & Brian works the best if we give ourselves really strict restrictions,” McCarthy continues. “We don’t really use a lot of different instrumentation.” In other words, less is more.
A hand-me-down drum kit, a handful of electronic drums, a smattering of FX pedals and several Casio keyboards routed through a guitar amp are all the group ever uses, and, if they stick to their guns that’s all they’ll ever use to craft songs that have the frenetic energy only live drumming can achieve — combined with the bowl-rattling low-end that only a synth could conjure.
The fist-in-the-air, rock and roll dancability of tracks like “Now Your Dancing,” an educational tune, with lyrics ripped straight from an online instructional manual on “how to dance at a party with a girl” and “how to dance at a party with a guy.”
In fact, all of Casy & Brian’s lyrics are taken from existing material. “Rumble In The Jungle,” also off the recently released self titled EP, is all Muhammad Ali quotes.
It might sound corny, but in the eight years they’ve been at it, the two have honed their craft and their tunes pack a punch. Go see for yourself, if you fancy. They’ll be playing with the Los Angeles band Batwings Catwings on June 16 at Thee Parkside ($6) and at an yet-to-be-divulged warehouse show in Oakland.
Casy & Brian, Batwings Catwings, Moon Rockers
June 16, 2012