SoundCheck: Ursine Emanations

Cave Bears, an experimental noise duo from Turners Falls featuring Carrie Strimbeck and Nick Williams, prove that you don't need to play guitars, drums or keys to put on a good show.

"We are prone to wrecking our guitars and drums live," explains Williams. "But we are not guaranteed to play any music or instruments at all at our shows."

Strimbeck concurs: "Our primary instrument is the recording medium, which is why, at our shows, you will always see us facing away from the spectators and towards a box on the periphery. After that, all musical instruments are happenstance."

Cave Bears formed almost three years ago in New Orleans. Since then, they've managed, amazingly, to churn out 11 tapes, CDRs and LPs—many self-released on their own Serf Released imprint—with the next three coming out on labels based in Easthampton, Toronto, Barcelona and Berlin.

The band's sound features noisy and twisted amalgamations of tape collage, bizarro samples, white noise, feedback and found sounds. "Most of our songs are accidents of the recording process," Williams says.

"Songwriting is a collaboration between tape and a magnet," adds Strimbeck.

Williams also curates the Dubious Liftings Festival, the fifth installment of which occurs in Greenfield Aug. 15 at Energy Park and John Doe Jr. Records. This year's edition includes Bunny Brains, Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth, MV+EE, Crystalline Roses and many other local and non-local acts.

For a full Cave Bears catalogue and information on the festival and other upcoming events, visit or

Author: Matthew Dube

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