Croquet is Chaetan Newell's inexorable right to do whatever he wants. This includes aiming a blow dryer at various woodwinds, playing four different instruments at once, and providing handmade stage backdrops for ambience, not to mention surprise hip-hop shows. Beginning in 2007 by way of Boston, this project's live show has spanned from one-man performance art to solid indie-pop quartet, from ethereal jazz improv to balls-to-the-wall psychedelic rock, and two things bind it all together: subtle complexity and raw, concentrated emotion.
Part of noise pop label Should Be Flowers's catalog, Croquet's first release in November of 2007 was a split LP with Steve Wood, a homeless man dying of AIDS who claimed to be the original singer for The J. Geils Band. This has yet to be proven or disproven. This texturally diverse 29 track album flows seamlessly back and forth between experimental yet catchy analog bliss and the sound of a man against great odds singing his heart out across Massachusetts Avenue. Two years later, Newell finished the Sodomize the Silence EP leaping out of the bedroom and onto the drum kit with fuller instrumentation and more passion and sincerity than ever.
A common fixture of premier Boston venues, Croquet has also toured as far south as Athens, Georgia maintaining a strong presence in Newell's home state of North Carolina (this explains airplay and interviews on various radio stations as far as Tennessee). It was here that Newell began his training as a musician, picking up a new instrument every few years. After playing upright bass with various orchestral groups including The North Carolina Symphony and obtaining a Bachelors of Music with guitar, it should come as no surprise that he has worked with members of notable groups such as My Bloody Valentine, The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, Tortoise, Don Caballero, Herbie Hancock and the Rockit Band, Pere Ubu, Mercury Rev, Helium, Swervedriver, Pele, US Maple, Thalia Zedek, Victory at Sea, Dumptruck, Bang Camaro, Head of Femur, Pram, Bellafea, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, and even legendary Motown group The Chairmen of the Board.
After playing lead guitar with St Helena ("every indie enthusiasts dream" according to The Noise Magazine), Newell relocated to Chicago in 2010 and has since played out with much success joining David Baker's new group Variety Lights as well as "desert rock" band Mako Sica on drums. Croquet has also found success in this department at venues such as Double Door, Reggie's, Township, Quenchers, The Burlington, and The Hideout (to a sold out crowd no less) with a primary line-up of Tim Butler and Matt Settle on guitar and Matt Fuller on drums weaving intricate soundscapes of sexy post-rock that somehow miraculously flow together to form catchy and cohesive pop songs.
"Despite occasional appearances as a solo/duo entity playing music more akin to Wye Oak or Songs: Ohia, Croquet has found its sound with the current quartet mixing the extreme dynamics and complex rhythms of post-rock with the catchy, down to Earth nature of 90s college radio."
-Radio One Chicago
"Croquet's clean but involved guitar patterns shimmer and dance over active-to-pensive drumming while the dual-fronting of Newell and sideman Thomas Parr tell the story."
"rollicking, easy-going indie-rock goodness"
-Cheap Thrills Boston
"ethereal lo-fi pop"
-Boston Band Crush