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June 16th, 2009

Castanets: Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts


Castanets is set to release Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts on Asthmatic Kitty September 22nd.  Ray Raposa has consistently put out great records that would defy any description or tag that I could attempt to place upon them.  However, there is something to be said about a rich textural backdrop that allows the song-written core of an album to blossom. A sonic environment, be it sparse or dense, wherein a song reveals itself in its fullest glory.

You can catch Castanets on tour this summer. Dates and download after the jump…

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September 24th, 2008

Castanets to release City of Refuge

After last year’s In the Vines, I’ve been dying to hear new Castanets material…thankfully Asthmatic Kitty Records is releasing Ray Raposa’s next record City of Refuge on October 7th. Two weeks!

From Asthmatic Kitty:

The result of three weeks alone in a Nevada desert motel room, City of Refuge, Castanets’ fourth full-length for Asthmatic Kitty (September, 2008), blazed into Ray Raposa’s mind with the rising sun. The idea came the morning after an overnight drive with tour companions from Oakland, CA, to Las Vegas, NV; waking in the back seat to a Nevada gas station dawn, Raposa said “here,” and as the drive progressed, so did his conviction that this was where he would record the next Castanets album.

He sought and found solitude in a mom and pop motel in Overton Nevada- unincorporated, two bars, no stoplight, home of The Lost City Museum – on the edge of Valley of Fire State Park (Moapa Valley to the indigenous peoples), an hour northeast of the surreal derangement of Vegas. Far from distractions and infused with the sense of isolation explored by the songs he’d written for the album, it proved the optimal backdrop. Minimal overdubs by friends Jana Hunter, Sufjan Stevens, Dawn Smithson (Jessamine, Sunn O))))), Scott Tuma (Souled American, Boxhead Ensemble), and co-producer Ero Gray were added later, but the silence of the sparsely populated region underscores the sounds of Raposa’s voice and instruments

[ stream ] Castanets – “Prettiest Chain”

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or [ download ]


August 15th, 2007

First listen: Castanets "In the Vines"


Castanets has released the first single from his forthcoming full length album titled In the Vines. “This Is the Early Game” features Ray Raposas signature creeky vocals which combine with his sleepy slide guitar and Jana Hunter’s vocals to form a song that feels very nostalgic. It’s been a long and hard year for Ray, so I anticipate hearing about it through his music. Striving always makes the best albums. In the Vines is out on October 23, on Asthmatic Kitty records.

[download] Castanets – This Is The Early Game

June 25th, 2007


Jana Hunter and Castanets had most of their gear stolen this past Friday while passing through Tucson, Arizona. Damn the thieves! The following was sent out by Jana Hunter and includes an e-mail address if you want to help out. I actually have some friends out there who visit the thrift/pawn shops so I’m going to tell them to keep an eye out for their stuff. You can do your part by looking on eBay or if you’re in the area doing the same. I was fortunate enough to see them a little over a week ago and took some pictures. If you want to see their gear click the photo above. The place was nearly pitch black (and at other times, literally was- when the lights were turned off for Castanets murky riffs) but I think you can get an idea.
“So, the story is, last night we played in tucson at solar culture. Afterward, we loaded our stuff up, went downtown, had a drink, and went to a house to crash on the floor. en route, we damaged a door, making it such that the door won’t close and such that eventually, before we return the vehicle to the rental company, we’ll have to pay on the order of 2 grand to replace the door.

“Seeing as how we had an unsecured vehicle, ray (castanets) slept in the van. sometime during the night, some brave fug(s) very quietly opened the back door and took what they could carry. we assume their were more than one of them given all the stuff they managed to walk away with.

All this after we had to fly our friend/drummer to the airport yesterday morning so he could go to the hospital. pretty big bummer all around.”- Jana Hunter

This is what was stolen
Jana Hunter’s:
fender classical guitar (serial # 9505151116)
boss rc-20 loopstation (serial # 0860399ev16879)
boss reverb/delay pedal
original digitech whammy pedal
original b k butler tubedriver overdrive pedal
peavey 6 mixer (serial # k0344300)
shure beta 98/s (serial # 4421303325)
custom flashlight circuit-bended thing
briefcase with “houston deserves to be a better place to live” sticker (full of Jana Hunter CD’s, T-shirts and stickers)

late 60’s blue fender music master guitar
line 6 delay pedal
boss tremolo
mutron volume/wah pedal
boss tuner pedal
digitech metal master

Anyone with any information regarding the stolen goods should contact Jana at:


If you’d like to donate some money to help them get back on their feet you can send a paypal donation to

or go see them on the rest of their tour:

Jana and Castanets:

06-25 Denton, TX – Rubber Gloves
06-26 Austin, TX – Mohawk Place *
06-29 Houston, TX – The Orange Show *

* with Pink Nasty


06-25 Dallas, TX – Good Records
07-07 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick *
07-08 Chicago, IL – The Abbey Pub *
07-10 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater *
07-11 Kansas City, MO – The Record Bar *
07-12 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theatre *
07-13 Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep *
07-14 Park City, UT – Suede *
07-16 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater *
07-17 Seattle, WA – Neumos *
07-20 Houston, TX – DiverseWorks

June 1st, 2007

New Castanets and Jana Hunter


Ray Raposa of Castanets and Jana Hunter not only toured and recorded together on a boat, but also seem to be sonically connected in some odd way. It seems whenever news for one of them arrives, the same is true for the other. To bring you up to date, Castanets is prepping his new album for release sometime in the next few months. In the meantime you can read about his job as a surf instructor here and download a track from his recently released EP. Meanwhile, Jana Hunter has recorded a live session where she played some new tracks from her upcoming EP. You can listen to the session in full here, or download one of the new songs she played below. The same website has a new recording session up with James Blackshaw.

Castanets – One arm around the sinner

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Jana Hunter – Untitled (from upcoming EP)

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March 27th, 2007

Jana Hunter – There's no home + New Castanets


Jana Hunter’s new album There’s no home hit the internet this week but will not see an actual release until April 2nd. Initial responses online are that it’s a grower. I haven’t had time to fully digest it yet but my upon my first listen I was completely blown over with how great it sounds. But why listen to me or anyone else…judge for yourself: Here’s two new tracks from Jana Hunter’s There’s no home

Jana Hunter – Bird


Jana Hunter – Vultures


Meanwhile, fellow boat mate and There’s no home contributor Castanets (Ray Raposa) has a new tour only split album with Shapes And Size out on Asthmatic Kitty. Castanets contributes 2 new songs to the split, as well as 2 covers. Here’s his great new cover of Viking Moses’ “One arm around the sinner:”

Castanets – One arm around the sinner

As for Castanets new songs on the split, all I can say is that they’re mind-melting and hauntingly dark. (In a good way)

Visit Jana Hunter @ myspace to order her new album.


Castanets @ myspace

February 12th, 2007

Castanets announce new tour/album

Castanets quietly revealed their upcoming tour over the weekend on their website. The last I read about Ray Raposa, the driving forced behind Castanets, he was touring the East coasts intracoastal waterway with Jana Hunter and Red hunter (AKA Peter and the wolf) by way of sailboat. After that he was to leave his new residence in Brooklyn and return to his home town of San Diego to begin recording his new full length album. While putting the finishing touches on his new full length in San Diego he decided to play a one off show to try out some of his new material at the Casbah yesterday. I was able to catch the show and was amazed at his hauntingly engaging stage presence. While playing the superb you are the blood, Ray came out into the audience and knelt down between the audience members, quivering through the chorus he seemed to transcend beyond the audience while still bringing them into his world. It was reminiscent of the experience that I think most have after seeing Akron/Family live. I’m starting to realize that the experience of connectedness in a concert on such a personal level is unique to the Naturalismo movement. Rarely have have I been to a concert where the artist is willing to step off the stage and include the audience. The mutual interaction between artist and audience makes for a much more interesting and lasting experience and I hope it continues.

I had a brief conversation with Ray Raposa after the show and he said to expect a split 10inch record with The Dirty Projectors to be coming out in March. A second split is scheduled for release in April. I pressed for more information about his upcoming full length and he said that it would be coming out in June most likely and that he has a title in mind but isn’t quite ready to anounce anything yet. If you have the chance to catch him on his upcoming tour I HIGHLY recommend it.

The upcoming tour dates are as follows:

March 05, 2007 New York, NY – Europa %
March 06, 2007 Philadelphia, PA – Danger Danger %
March 07, 2007 Baltimore, MD – Wham City %
March 08, 2007 Washington, DC – Warehouse Next Door %
March 09, 2007 Chapel Hill, NC – The Night Light %
March 10, 2007 Athens, GA – Caledonia Lounge %
March 12, 2007 New Orleans, LA – Green Project Space %
March 13, 2007 Houston, TX – The Proletariat
March 14, 2007 Austin, TX – SXSW Convention Center Day Stage
March 15, 2007 Austin, TX – TBA
Asthmatic Kitty Showcase
March 17, 2007 Austin, TX – Okay Mountain Gallery
1312 E Cesar Chavez
Asthmatic Kitty & Friends present Unusual AnimalsPeter & the Wolf
The Weird Weeds
The Shivers
The Theater Fire
W-S Burn
The Field Guides with DJ Future Rapper and video art between sets.
March 19, 2007 Springfield, MO – Randy Bacon Gallery %
March 20, 2007 Kansas City, MO – The Pointless Forest %
March 21, 2007 St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway %
March 22, 2007 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle %
March 23, 2007 Ann Arbor, MI – EQ Halfass – U of Michigan %
March 24, 2007 Toronto – Canada – Sneaky Dees %
March 25, 2007 Ottawa – Canada – Zaphod’s %
March 26, 2007 Montreal – Canada – Friendship Cove %
March 27, 2007 Boston, MA – Middle East %
March 28, 2007 Providence, RI – AS220 %
March 29, 2007 New York, NY – TBA %
  % w/ Shapes and Sizes

If you’re unfamiliar with Castanets music I have selected a few tracks of interest:

Castanets – You are the blood

Castanets – Three days, four nights

Castanets – All that I know to have change

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