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Anne Castellano and the Smoke / Press

“Front and center is Anne’s voice - whether strong and scornful like on the opening track “Enough” or calm and learned on “Listen”, she makes you believe every word she sings. Right behind her is a mist of chorus and flanger soaked guitars. Vince’s icy lead lines lean towards the right speaker and Anne’s steady rhythm in the left. The separation spreads the sound out and allows the rhythm section to anchor the songs in a very direct way. ...Anne is sticking pretty close to her moody alternative roots but peppering in splashes of country and early rock n’ roll with songs like “The Train” and “Stone”, which is my personal favorite track on the album. Anne has been a mainstay in the New London music scene for many years and has continued to steadily improve her chops and Electric is one more exhibit on top of a mounting wall of evidence. This melodious and dreamy disc will have you star gazing and lamenting lost loves without having to stray too far from earth ”

“Anne Castellano established herself as a force on the New London rock scene through a modern spin on timeless power pop songwriting - and for a solo show that featured her playing electric guitar over drum machine rhythms. While successful and charming, the quality and style of the material seemed to demand a full band and rainbow harmonies. Castellano formed the Smoke, featuring lead guitarist/vocalist Vince Tuckwood, drummer/vocalist/sibling Tony Castellano and bassist/vocalist Dorian James. The band gelled instantly and provided the requisite fireworks and dynamics the songs demanded. After road-testing her catalog, they recorded a 13-song CD called "Electric." Great stuff. With new bassist Bruce Brown, they celebrate Friday with a CD release party at New London's 33. Tuckwood's other group, Monkey68, and Street People appear in support. - RICK KOSTER”

“The "hangover tune" is a creative rite of passage for virtually any blues, country or rock songwriter - even though Kris Kristofferson sorta said, "Game, set and match" when he penned "Sunday Morning Coming Down." (Consider this as an immortal opening couplet: "Well, I woke up Sunday morning / With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.") Give Anne Castellano and the Smoke a bit of three-aspirin-and-some-hair-of-the-dog credit, though. Their melodic alt-rock tune "Headache," with its understated "must have overdone it last night" lament, is a damned fine paean to significant indulgence. One suspects that next-day headaches might indeed resonate following Saturday's show at New London's 33. Castellano and the Smoke open a fun bill that includes Superbald and the Manchurians. - RICK KOSTER Anne Castellano and the Smoke, the Manchurians and Superbald, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 33, 33 Golden St., New London; $5; (860) 443-1193. ”

"Anne Castellano & Hugh Birdsall do a sort of morbid-space-folk song, "Every Time You Cry", which is probably the most stand out thing on the compilation. While that’s charming in and of itself, the way that Anne and Hugh’s voices compliment each other in constant harmony is what makes the song stand on its own."

“Anne Castellano's "Headache" is also pretty wonderful with a thick, Moody Blues-ish synth ascension and a tender vocal melody melting over the top like butterscotch.”

“It's the lush sparkle of a heavily chorused Fender 12-string electric, propelled in finest minor-chord fashion. The rhythms and constructions recall Johnny Marr, Robert Smith and the Lemonheads, and Castellano's evocative, low-key voice conveys subtle emotion.”

“Area musical mainstay Anne Castellano celebrates her new CD, "What's Been Going On," with a release party Friday at the Hygienic Gallery in New London. Castellano is a fluid songwriter whose infectious guitar strum, sweeping chord patterns, lyrics and minor key melodies recall Evan Dando or post-Smiths Johnny Marr. Of late, she performs with just her guitar and a drum machine, providing urgent, stripped-down renditions. The album, produced by Castellano with help from Matt Potter, and mastered by Jim Carpenter, is out from the fine local Cosmodemonic Telegraph label.”

“Anne has melded enough pop sensibility and recognizable song structure into her own brand of dark alternative songwriting. This makes for an easy flow through the album and allows the listener to decide which song to grab ahold of rather than having the band tell you. “How Much More” is my favorite song on the record - it’s got a steady driving tempo and vocal melody that will easily get stuck in your head. The mix between the vocal and the guitar on this song is much closer than the others which makes it into a tighter, denser package. What’s Been Going On as a whole is an easy listen and you will instantly feel like you’ve owned it forever. The songs are familiar but not overplayed and they all give you something a little different to key in on.”

“This full-length from singer-songwriter Castellano is a modest, succinct affair through and through, from its 32-minute runtime to the handmade ethos of its production. The dynamic of Castellano’s singing voice, warm in tone and just a couple notches above deadpan in delivery, feels personal by its own nature, even if the listener chooses not to listen closely enough to realize the songs are largely ruminations on loss, thwarted desire, broken friendships and longing.”

“It's Wailing City's own Anne Castellano! New London's mysterious songstress does it all -- she sings, plays guitar, plays bass and commands her drummer in a box... and makes it all look easy!! "Come Here" is faster and a bit more urgent sounding than some of her other songs, but her vocals smooth it all out. Anne is a one woman '77 style punk band with cure guitar tone and Grace Slick on vocals. It sounds strange but it works really well.”

“FIFTIG is a celebration, since it's the 50th release for this gallant New London, CT label. For some reason, instead of an overview of all their releases going back years, they've elected to spotlight 18 new bands/tracks. Which means some of their worthy old acts, such as Quiet Life and Big Takeover favorite Low-Beam, aren't included. But forward thinking underlines Cosmo's continued viability, including a bevy of CD singles they've been doing lately. New London's "lifetime achievement award" foursome The Reducers are here (collaborating with Miracle Legion vet Mark Mulcahy); likewise, the catchy, noisy-indie-pop stylings of Brazen Hussy and raspy Fatal Film, the lighter atmospheric pop of Matt Gouette, and even the alt. country skip of Roadside Attractions, Anne Castellano and others - all of whom suggest a health of taste. Viva Eastern Connecticut. (hozomeen.org)”

Jack Rabid - The Big Takeover #64