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Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

With the Muttering Retreats and Tightrope Kaleidoscope. Friday, April 13, at the Beachland.

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Owen Ashworth has never been a fan of sugarcoated production: "I was attracted to an abrasive aesthetic from the beginning," he says. "I thought from an early age that 'scratchy' and 'kind of rough' just sounded more sincere."

After dropping out of film school in 1997, Ashworth began making music as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, creating a minimal, lo-fi sound by using nothing save old Casio keyboards. "Music was cheaper than film, and I didn't need a crew to do it," says Ashworth. " I was very selfish, and I wanted total control."

CFTPA somehow managed to make catchy pop masterpieces -- a brilliant feat that created a decent buzz in the indie world. But three records and a slew of EPs later, Ashworth decided to branch out; 2006's Etiquette saw him adding more instrumentation while abandoning his trusty four-track recorder. Some fans made a stink, but the results were basically the same as before -- proving it's not about the tools, but how you use 'em.

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