• [ 2016 ] •
6.30.16 The Left Bank [North Bennington VT]
• [ 2012 ] •
5.17.12 The Rock Shop [Brooklyn NY] w/ The Spinto Band, Sea of Bees
5.4.12 Bennington College-acoustic outdoor show [Bennington VT]
• [ 2011 ] •
12.12.11 Paper Garden Records Showcase @ The Emerson [Brooklyn NY] w/ Lowel, Ross Harrow
11.11.11 Paper Garden Records Showcase @ The Emerson [Brooklyn NY]
9.2 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn NY] w/ Will Stratton, Gunsling Birds
8.9 Death by Audio [Brooklyn NY] w/ Fleet Faxes, Ben Seretan
5.15 The Silent Barn [Ridgewood Queens] w/ Lux Perpetua, Flower Orgy, Will Stratton + Jesse Rifkin, Boy Without God
5.11 Death by Audio [Brooklyn NY] w/ Dinosaur Feathers, The Armchairs, Ball of Flame Shoot Fire
4.29 Union Pool [Brooklyn NY] w/ The Extraordinaires, Will Stratton
4.6 Littlefield [Brooklyn NY] w/ Pat Hull
3.17 Glasslands Gallery [Brooklyn NY] w/ Ursa Major, Da Comrade!
3.8 Indie Dark Room Radio Broadcast [Brooklyn NY]
1.16 Kung Fu Necktie [Philadelphia PA] w/ The Armchairs, Virtual Virgin, Paper Masques
1.14 Monster Island Basement [Brooklyn NY]: Showpaper Benefit [Williamsburg Brooklyn] w/ The Armchairs, Data Dog
1.1.11 The Silent Barn [Ridgewood Queens] w/ Wailing Wall, Firefoot, Will Stratton, Ben Seretan
• [ 2010 ] •
11.20 Sidewalk Cafe [Brooklyn NY] w/ Ben Seretan, Dropson
11.13 Brooklyn Lyceum: Ugly Rhino Festival [Brooklyn NY]
11.6 Michael & Erics House [Brooklyn NY] w/ Dropson, Will Stratton
10.9 Bruar Falls [Brooklyn NY] w/ Little Teeth, The Armchairs, Dropson
10.2 Bennington College [Bennington VT] w/ Firefoot, Dropson, MiniBoone
9.24 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn NY] w/ Raya Brass Band, Heart & Go, Annie Dressner
9.18 The Silent Barn [Ridgewood NY] w/ Manners, The Wailing Wall, Liquid Days, others
9.16 Pianos [Manhattan NY] w/ The Extraordinaires, Jonny Corndawg, Magnetic Island
8.30 Castle Gay [Philadelphia PA]- solo acoustic
8.29 House show [Philadelphia PA]- solo acoustic
8.28 Greenpoint Reformed Church [Brooklyn NY]
8.21 Building on Bond [Brooklyn NY]
8.14 Sycamore [Brooklyn NY]
8.6 Building on Bond [Brooklyn NY]
7.30 Salem Art Works Festival [Salem NY]
7.17 Cameo Gallery [Brooklyn NY]
7.10 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn NY]
6.21 Cake Shop [Manhattan NY] - w/ Will Stratton, The Viennagram, Wighead
6.20 JR's Bar [Philadelphia PA] - w/ Kill You in the Face, Wighead
6.3 Death by Audio [Brooklyn NY] - w/ Dinosaur Feathers, The Armchairs, Grandchildren, Lonnie Walker
5.29 The Lovin' Cup [Brooklyn NY]- w/ Jonny Corndawg
5.27 Union Pool [Brooklyn NY]- w/ MiniBoone, The Extraordinaires
5.8 RISDI 'Take a Break' Festival [Providence RI]- w/ The Books, Marc Benevento, Last Good Tooth, others
5.7 Bar Matchles [Brooklyn NY]- w/ Oh You Devil
4.29 CakeShop [Manhattan NY] - w/ the extraordinaires, cameron hull, will stratton
4.13 Pianos - 'Cross-Pollination' [Manhattan NY] - w/ the working effective
4.3 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn NY]- w/ blissful, candy apples, the ghost of arthur james
3.31 The Eclipse [Tulsa OK]- w/ wighead
3.29 Preservation Pub [Knoxville TN]- w/ paper bird
3.29 Blue Plate Special [Knoxville TN]- w/ paper bird
3.27 Outer Space [Charleston SC]- w/ sons of young
3.26 Spazz-Fest [Greenville NC]- w/ lonnie walker
3.26 Tipsy Teapot [Greenville NC]- w/ lonnie walker, fang island, chinese stars
3.25 Tea Bazaar [Charlottesville VA]- w/ pattern is movement, andrew cedermark, ddb plays cups
3.24 Johnny Brenda's [Philadelphia PA]- w/ an american chinese, cheers elephant, bee team
3.20 Union Pool [Brooklyn NY]- Debut album release show, w/ the armchairs, blastoff!
3.14 Public Assembly [Brooklyn NY]- w/ wailing wall, the shade, duchampion
2.8 Death by Audio [Brooklyn, NY]- w/ your nature, wailing wall, blastoff!
1.23 Firehouse XIII [Providence, RI] - w/ the viennagram, you can be a wesley, magic magic
1.3 Cake Shop [Brooklyn, NY] - w/ an american chinese, lux perpetua
• [ 2009 ] •
12.2 Public Assembly: Brooklyn the Blog Party [Brooklyn, NY] - w/ aeroplane pageant, the fearsome sparrow
12.1 Pianos - 'Cross-Pollination' [Manhattan, NY] - w/ the armchairs
11.21 Tea Bazaar [Charlottesville, VA] - w/ invisible hand, preacher
11.14 Johnny Brenda's [Philadelphia, PA] - cheers elephant, univox
11.13 Danger Danger Gallery [Philadelphia, PA] - an american chinese, lux perpetua, invisible hand
10.30 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn, NY] - w/ trevor wilson
10.25 The Bell House: Black Bag Pictures Fundraiser [Brooklyn, NY] - w/ exit clov, the stationary set, the havens
10.3 Bennington College @ Carriage Barn [Bennington, VT] - w/ the big fatt
8.24 Cake Shop [Manhattan, NY] - w/ helado negro, the silent league
8.19 Union Pool [Brooklyn, NY]- Debut Album live premier (later released 3.20.10)
7.28 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn, NY]- Residency
7.21 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn, NY]- Residency
7.14 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn, NY]- Residency
7.07 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn, NY]- Residency
6.17 Goodbye Blue Monday [Brooklyn, NY]
5.23 Kilpatrick House @ Bennington College [Bennington, VT] - w/ mountain man, will stratton
5.14 Bourbon Street Cafe [Columbus, OH]
5.12 The GTG House [Lansing, MI]
5.11 The Double Door [Chicago, IL]
5.10 Ames Progressive [Ames, IA]
5.08 Under the Mooch [Tulsa, OK]
5.07 The Cavern [Dallas, TX]
5.06 Springwater [Nashville, TN]
5.05 The Blue Plate Special [Knoxville, TN]
5.04 Krankie's Coffee @ The Where-House [Winston-
5.03 John Rivers Communications Museum [Charleston, SC]
5.02 The Spazzatorium [Greenville, NC]
5.01 The Night Light [Chapel Hill, NC]
5.01 WKNC 88.1FM [Raleigh, NC]
4.30 Twisted Tea Bazaar [Charlottesville, VA]
4.29 Greenline Cafe [Philadelphia, PA]
3.27 Pete's Candy Store [Brooklyn, NY]
3.26 VAPA Studio @ Bennington College [Bennington,
3.20 Union Pool [Brooklyn, NY]
2.05 Johnny Brenda's [Philadelphia, PA]
1.24 PIFAS [Philadelphia, PA]
1.21 Crash Mansion [New York, NY]
1.09 Trash Bar [Brooklyn, NY]
•  •
12.21 Glasslands Gallery [Brooklyn, NY]
12.19 Brooklyn Emerging Artists Concert Series [Brooklyn, NY]
12.13.08 Chernobyl House (Philadelphia, PA)
12.12.08 Pete's Candy Store (Brooklyn, NY)
11.15.08 Chernobyl House (Philadelphia, PA)
10.31.08 Spike Hill (Brooklyn, NY)
10.11.08 Bennington College (Bennington, VT)
10.10.08 The Tinderbox (Brattleboro, VT)
10.09.08 Lit Lounge (New York, NY)
08.16.08 Langdon Street Cafe (Montpelier, VT)
08.04.08 Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY)
08.01.08 PIFAS (Philadelphia, PA)
07.30.08 Rachel Kohl Library (Glen Mills, PA)
07.28.08 The Tap House (Norfolk, VA)
07.27.08 House show (Charleston, SC)
07.26.08 21 Eleven Beer & Wine (Greenville, NC)
07.25.08 Speakertree Records (Lynchburg, VA)
07.24.08 Tea Bazaar (Charlottesville, VA)
07.23.08 Clementine's (Harrisonburg, VA)
07.22.08 Metro Gallery (Baltimore, MD)
07.21.08 700 Social Club (Wilmington, DE)
07.19.08 Other Green Line Cafe (Philadelphia, PA)
07.17.08 Lisa Reisman Gallery (Philadelphia, PA)
07.16.08 Union Pool (Brooklyn, NY)
07.07.08 Pianos (New York, NY)
06.14.08 Parkside Lounge (New York, NY)
05.18.08 Pete's Candy Store (Brooklyn, NY)
Dipped in Dollars- Sept 2010
"I saw these guys open for Real Estate in Brooklyn a few years ago, and it’s been interesting to see them steadily climb throughout the Northeast. Drummer J.J. Beck‘s engineering really shines through on this record. You’ve got to catch them live at some point this fall."
The AmpEater Reviw- March 2010 ('In the Woods'/'Thin Branches' AmpEater B-Sides)
"Inserting moments of musical unrest into pop music without disturbing the graceful flow that makes pop songs so pleasurable is an incredibly difficult task. Even brief moments of dissonance can be distracting (occasionally one gets the feeling that they are intentional distractions from poor songwriting) or come off as forced, an insincere attempt to make a band sound more interesting or difficult than they really are. It requires a remarkably gentle touch to make dissonances and rhythmic quirks not only slip by without disrupting the song, but actually lock in and sound as if they are essential and natural, and this is, in fact, just the thing Tavo Carbone of Brooklyn’s Horse’s Mouth excels at.
Carbone’s songs are short and restless, full of small idiosyncrasies and twitches (beats added or missing, lush vocal harmonies appearing and disappearing just as fast, tempos that lurch and accelerate). You may feel like you’ve had your fill of idiosyncratic Brooklyn rock bands (lord knows I get that feeling sometimes), but the members of Horse’s Mouth are probably not quite what you are picturing after that description. There is nothing irritatingly or safely cool about them. Horse’s Mouth is actually refreshingly and genuinely nerdy. In live videos, they are mostly clad in white t-shirts and jeans and Carbone himself sports an unassuming Monkees-style bowl cut, opening his mouth cartoonishly wide and bowing his head to hit the lowest notes. After all, the band draws as much influence from showtunes (bear with me) and classical music as they do from the staples of indie pop. Their Ampeater B-side “Thin Branches Against a Window” actually ends with a loop from a familiar-sounding orchestral piece.
A Brooklyn native, Carbone met his bandmates, drummer J.J. Beck, bassist Matt Scott, violinist Heather Sommerlad, and multi-instrumentalist Michael Chinworth, at Bennington College, a school in Vermont. The members of Horse’s Mouth have been playing Carbone’s songs together in various forms and with various other musicians since 2005 (including, at one point, a 17 piece orchestra), though Horse’s Mouth as a band only officially dates back to 2008. You can hear the chemistry between the musicians almost immediately upon listening, and especially on watching some of the live footage shot by Connor Kammerer and Pixelhorse. The live performances are impressively faithful to the record without losing any of the feeling of fun and spontaneity that comes from the itchy arrangements.
A-side “In the Woods” opens with a sprightly picking figure on the electric and a drumbeat that matches the guitar’s rhythmic accents precisely. The verses each close with a lovely, harmonized “not old enough to know”, on the last word of which the vocals begin in a tense minor 7th before leaping up to catch and hang on a high falsetto harmony. It’s one of those effortless little moments of dissonance that provide the tension and release in Carbone’s songs, rather than the usual gradual emotional crescendo thing, which is okay too, only significantly more expected. Also notice the way the lovely spiraling violin figure that leads us into the instrumental verse is cast into bold by the drums brief disappearance, and the way the drums are called back by a handclap (the only one in the entire song). The most unexpected moment of unease comes during the very last descending “know”, where instead of resolving to the root, Carbone’s vocal melody rolls down through perfect consonance before landing on the flat two, a half step up from the one of the final chord. It’s probably the most dissonant note you can sing over a minor chord, and it has an intensely disquieting effect as the last note of the whole song, especially the way Carbone coats it with pretty vibrato, as if it’s the most beautiful note in the world. Yet this is actually the very thing that sells it on the recording: it doesn’t sound like it’s an ugly note to him. It sounds like the note that he wanted the song to end on. On the album (which drops on March 20th and which I haven’t heard in its entirety), each song is strung into the next, so perhaps this final tension is a way of moving into the next song.
B-side “Thin Branches Against a Window,” after a brief organ intro, again matches the rhythmic emphases of the guitar to the drum part, giving the song a lilting, dancy feel that unifies it with “In the Woods” somewhat, though this song is much more of an exercise in constant motion. Before the first verse even starts, it careens off into a very brief sort of Deerhoof interlude, which pockmarks the song periodically, in which the tempo abruptly and completely changes and the drums play a couple of quick, skittering fills. The song rarely stays in any one meter for more than a few bars, sticking mostly, but not entirely, to 4/4 during the verses and otherwise jumping around like a madman, a feeling that is countered only by the calm and stately violin parts. After the one moment where everything coheres into what sounds as if it’s going to be an actual chorus (repeating melody and lyric, 4/4 time, descending harmony), the meter changes and the violin and guitar spin out of control, everything clashing and then somehow resolving into what sounds like a loop from a Schubert record, which finally plays itself out into three acoustic guitar arpeggios and…the sound of a bird chirping? It’s an unbelievable amount of stuff crammed into less than three minutes, and when faced with it it’s easy to overlook the loveliness of the chiming guitars and glockenspiels that underscore the verses.
I’ve mentioned before how music that maintains its mystery is often far more effective, and Carbone does exactly that here, giving us lyrics oblique enough to mean a great many things and music that skates through so many moods and meters and feels that it’s hard to say just what exactly makes it feel coherent, though certainly something does. Perhaps it’s the common sounds of each member’s voice (they all sing, excluding Beck, the drummer), or the distinctly personal style each has on his or her instrument. Perhaps it’s that all Horse’s Mouth songs feel odd in precisely the same way, the product of Carbone’s unique and unified vision, impossible to pin down completely but evocative and pleasurably strange, like a fairytale landscape (not one of the neutered ones where everyone is nice and boring, but the Hans Christian Andersen kind, where little girls get their feet cut off with axes)."
THE HOOK: Charlottesville VA Music
"As you may know from his previous Tea Bazaar shows, Brooklyn songwriter Tavo Carbone used to take his pop and folk tunes on tour with a revolving-door band and often with outlandish instruments (glockenspiel, accordion, etc). Things have settled down recently, though, so now we have Horse’s Mouth, the new stable band which should prove to be a) tighter and b) louder (we heard all that straight from the, er, original source)."
THE BAND MOM- August 2009
"It was lovely, reminded me of Bowerbirds meets Mountain Goats plus maybe a little They Might Be Giants (whoa!)…like quirky but also pastoral, sardonic but lush. I don't write music reviews."
- Jenn Misko, The Band Mom
PIXELHORSE MEDIA- August 2009
NAILGUN MEDIA- April 2009
[Central Virginia Music Blog]
"Tavo Carbone is an exceptional songwriter, somewhere loosely in the vein of Tom Waits and Frank Zappa and other oddball geniuses. His arrangements are lush and orchestral and sound as if they were filtered through a gramaphone. Anyway, it’s great, great stuff, and well worth checking out. Highly recommended. Two more words on this: mouth trumpet"
BROOKLYN THE BOROUGH [interview]- April 2009
"Independent Sound: Tavo Carbone"
BIG BIG RADIO [live performance/interview]- March 2009
Listen to Podcast at:
PHREQUENCY [Philadelphia, PA]- February 2009
"...Tavo Carbone, the quirky, expressive, Brooklyn songwriter who toured the East Coast with the Extraordinaires last summer. He too is joined by a back-up band, including a violinist, and for one number, a harpist, who help craft his poppy, vintage sound. Carbone himself is quite the performer, thrashing around, making funny faces, and tonguing each syllable dramatically like a chirpy Rufus Wainwright. His upbeat set sets the tone for the Extraordinaires".
CITY PAPER [Philadelphia, PA]- February 2009
"There's an off-kilter charm to Tavo Carbone's oddball, old-timey pop that makes you want to get a shoe-shine on your way to Franklin Fountain. Vocally, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter is reminiscent of the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, while musically he employs the same quirky, whimsical sensibility that ensconced of Montreal's early material. Essentially a solo act, Carbone's been known to employ orchestral flourishes to flesh out his skeletal acoustics including, at one point, a 17-piece backing band. Don't forget to wax your handlebar mustache".
THE PHOENIX [Providence, RI]- August 2008
"It's sometimes nice to hear whimsy carry the day...just another day in the world of experimental folk music, I guess".
C-VILLE [Charlottesville, VA]- July 2008
"Tavo Carbone was quite the opposite, a songwriter that repopulated early blues tunes and country waltzes with unsavory characters and sang with a voice that owed as much to Bessie Smith as Bobcat Goldthwait. Following one song, an audience member turned to me and asked, “Isn’t that what Tiny Tim sounds like?” Yet beneath a voice that might’ve seemed repellent were endearing lyrics about uncomfortable people, including a girl that “laughs in a way that drives lemmings from a cliff” and a second that danced “like a dog in May/ When the hydrants are out of range.”
NAILGUN [Charlottesville, VA]- July 2008
"They’re playing tonight with Tavo Carbone, whom I believe played here almost exactly a year ago (although I missed that show)".
LAWRENCE.COM [Lawrence, KS]- January 2008
"There are so many bands out of Brooklyn these days it's almost hard to believe that there's anyone living there that isn't toting around a guitar or working on some obscure indie label. The quality and variety as of late though has been impressive - so go ahead and add Tavo Carbone to your list. Playing with a long list of rotating musicians, Carbone makes the type of subtle glockenspiel-laden old-timey pop that simultaneously makes you feel like you are both in the past and the future".
We Shot JR [Fort Worth, TX]- January 2008
"Brooklyn's Tavo Carbone, a singer/songwriter and backing band combo who should probably be commended for not being hipsters, if nothing else. Carbone writes these cutesy, Library of Congress sounding folkpop songs that could easily be much much worse than they are. Not my thing, but certainly not bad".
THE PITCH [Kansas City, MO]- January 2008
"Ever since the makers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band started snapping up otherwise useful musicians, finding a dependable backing band has become a real chore. That's why Brooklynite Tavo Carbone saw fit to assemble multiple bands from a rotating cast of 20 people — 17 of whom joined him onstage for his recent Forward: Live at Greenwall Auditorium LP. Blending the dapper folk of Andrew Bird with the eccentric lo-fi narratives of the Mountain Goats, Carbone is hitting the road with a Rock Band-style backing trio as well as a banjo, a mellotron, a glockenspiel and an accordion".
released February 20, 2010
photo by Kia M. Carbone 2010
all rights reserved