I am Carpenters début full length album “My God, Clara” has been a long time in the works. While they recorded the album from August 2011-May 2012, Cathcart has been slowly crafting this album since the garage rock days of his early teens. With a rotating lineup of musicians around him, Cathcart has trudged forward and finds comfort in the bands current lineup.
Clocking in at over an hour My God, Clara releases a constant pounding on listeners. From the opening chords and crashing cymbals of “Dear Clara”, I am Carpenter has a knack for the dramatic. An album that uses the fictional character Clara as a vehicle for Cathcart to release his emotions, rarely backs off the accelerator. Verses explode into choruses, choruses exploded into breakdowns, and rarely do they let off long enough to do more than catch your breath. The first time the album hits cruise control is “Bones”, a song driven by smooth bass, steady drums, and repetition. A song that serves not only as pace changer, but is one of the albums gems.
All too often you see local bands release an album and then chill out. Like all the work of recording and writing burned them out. Like just releasing the album is going to do something magical for their band while they sit around and wait for it. Or maybe the release of the album was their ultimate goal. That’s not even close to the case for I am Carpenter. They’re jumping on every show that they can get to show off their steady new lineup and an album that they can be proud of. In addition to the release show this Friday at New Brookland Tavern, I am Carpenter will be opening for high-profile hardcore bands Touche Amore and post alt rockers Balance and Composure at One Unit.
Crossing over genre borders playing shows isn’t something they are shy about either. It’s something you’ve got to do to build an audience and stay alive in SC.
Cathcart said “I love that it’s easy to get along with most everyone. We’ve played metal shows and indie pop shows and on both sides of the spectrum I’ve found people to be very nice. I’ve met a couple amazing people in Columbia, Greenville, and Sumter at shows and now I don’t know what I’d do without them. ”
As a long time supporter of music scene Cathcart has seen a lot more die than he’s seen succeed. He mentions all of the DIY venues and non-profit all ages venues he’s seen disappear over the years, and most recently SoundStage music venue outside of Spartanburg. It’s one of the hardest things we all have to deal with in our music scene, to see people who do so much for so little fade away. Fans can’t trust bands because they have a higher turn over rate than fast food restaurants. Fans can’t trust venues because they can’t figure out how to successfully operate a business. Fans can’t trust the media because the people who run websites give up too soon, and before it was those people it was someone giving up on their local zine. It’s not about being the last man standing, it’s about making a commitment to something and not giving up, because people rely on you.
Steven Cathcart and his band I am Carpenter are the ones you can count on. Someone that’s been involved in the local music scene since his early teens, Cathcart has about seen it all. It’s all about adapting and doing what you can do. When he was 14 playing music in his garage his Dad told him it sucked, so they started practicing somewhere else. That’s adaptation at its’ finest.