‘Stud Farm’ might sound like some gay muscle porn flick but it’s also the new album from Brooklyn indie-folk project Owlbiter aka Matt Cascella which Americana UK is delighted to premiere this morning. Influenced by artists such as John Prine, Ivor Cutler & Harry Nilsson, who often tell stories that lead with humour first before sneaking the pathos in there without the listener even realizing, the 12 track album is full of gently plucked acoustic guitars and ukuleles, drowsy brass and the occasional keyboard atmospherics, but very little percussion—a result of the keep-it-simple approach Cascella sought when Owlbiter was in its nascent stages.
Cascella told AUK: “The tunes from Stud Farm came out amidst a lot of things. I was working full time on a job, so all the tunes came either in the morning or at night. Or on a lunch break. The reason for getting the songs down swiftly was simply because I wanted to capture the spontaneity, plus the band I had been playing in for a while was almost halfway through tracking a full length album before we vaporized. So I was eager to capture songs and heave them into the world. I was also feeling a bit off-center, whether from personal stuff or things swirling in the news, which definitely shines through in a few songs. Lastly, living with someone (especially someone you love) brings out some raw, funny feelings, which in turn can make some interesting song topics.
Living in New York City expedites everything for me. It puts a fire under my buttocks because you feel this hurried wave of creativity here. This of course is not always a good thing. I have a lone tuft of hair on my head because of this “wave”, but it certainly keeps productivity up. I also really appreciate brevity and levity, which could be a byproduct of living in a city.”
Many of the songs on the record feel like Cascella’s best attempt to drop anchor amidst the waves of madness crashing around our world, a prevalent theme throughout the record as he explores different methods of coping with ever-present anxiety. It’s a lovely listen, just the right side of whimsy, and hey, it’ll be better for you than valium.