Connecticut Music Awards 2013: BEST OTHER
Oh, Cassius!

Two accomplished solo acts, Meredith DiMenna and and John Torres, originally got together, DiMenna says, "because I suggested to him that we could have a money-making band where we'd do covers and sing in Spanish. I've known John for many years. We always had good chemistry." When they started working together, commercial considerations immediately fell by the wayside as the duo started writing original material together and exploring new sounds. Oh, Cassius' fortunes rose when the duo got offered a spot opening for Suzanne Vega. While they've made several YouTube videos of esoteric cover tunes (such as MGMT's "Kids" arranged for acoustic guitar and xylophone), they mainly concentrate on their own distinctive originals.

"We each write, sometimes separately and sometimes together," says DiMenna. Both she and Torres handle vocals. He also plays guitar while she adds musical textures with everything from percussion to keyboards to kazoo or glockenspiel. While in the process of recording their debut album (with Brendan Muldowney of Carriage House Studios in Stamford), Oh, Cassius has become a full band. "So we're expanding," Meredith DiMenna says of a duo that didn't even exist 18 months ago. No one can say of this band, as Caesar says of Cassius in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, that they have "a lean and hungry look." They're the Best "Other" band. —Christopher Arnott