Cactus Patch: Local boys make good

D.C. represent! The D.C. scene has produced plenty of big names in the past but what has it done for us lately? Enough time has passed that something big must be coming.

The local boys of Cactus Patch have had a taste of success, bringing in screaming girls and excited guys from all over D.C. to their shows. With an impressive resume and a new CD, the band is looking to take its act to another level. Right now, it’s all about courting the major labels.

On Sept. 21 Cactus Patch will celebrate the release of their self-titled CD debut among friends and fans at the Black Cat. The band may not have had a full-length record, but it certainly has support.

Cactus Patch, which was formed in 1999, has already sold 3000 copies of a 3-song demo, a record which was originally cut just to get the band a few gigs. The band is hitting with a new record after a successful year of gigging up and down the East Coast.

Cactus Patch’s album melds varying styles of moderate rock into a hybrid characterized by hints of pop and alternative rock. The CD was produced in part by Brian Baker (guitarist of Bad Religion and a former member of historic D.C. punk band Minor Threat).

As a whole, Cactus Patch’s sound eludes description. The band’s sound is not exactly Radiohead or Weezer, but those are just a couple of the names that come to mind.

The opening track on the Cactus Patch album, “These Hands,” hits hard, with smooth distortion and a radio-friendly, sing-a-long chorus. The new record is moody and schizophrenic, changing feel and style from one song to another. The vocals of lead singer Vince Scheuerman are intelligent and hopeful on songs such as “Skin and Bones” and “Sally.” These tracks are chill but forceful, quietly seeking to express the singer’s distress.

“Everything You Need (Hey Babe)” stands out on the record for its quick, sharp vocals and stunning harmonies. “Falling,” an acoustic track that showcases the stripped-down talent of the band, rounds out the record.

Cactus Patch has filled both D.C.’s Black Cat and the 9:30 Club, bringing its pop-rock sound to the masses of the District.

This year the group won local radio station WHFS’s Big Break competition, beating out hundreds of local bands for the chance to play at the HFStival. The band has also played with national acts such as SR-71, A New Found Glory and Good Charlotte. Upcoming shows include D.C., Baltimore and New York City.

Cactus Patch has managed all of these feats while still remaining self-managed and self-promoted. This DIY ethic remains at the heart of the band that has earned minor success through endless self-promotion and countless performances.

Cactus Patch puts a kind of youthful, raw energy in its music and live performances.

In a decade in which rock has become largely stale and uninventive, Cactus Patch emerged with a fresh take on an age-old formula. These boys have a ways to go before breaking into the big time, but Cactus Patch certainly deserves a nod for reviving D.C. music’s good name.

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