Cate Le Bon (born Cate Timothy on 4 March 1983) is a Welsh musician and record producer. She sings in both English and Welsh. She has released six solo studio albums, three EPs and a number of singles. Le Bon has toured with artists such as St. Vincent, Perfume Genius and John Grant.
Cate Le Bon
|Birth name||Cate Timothy|
|Born||4 March 1983|
Penboyr, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Le Bon was born on 4 March 1983 in Penboyr, Carmarthenshire, Wales, and first gained public attention when she supported Gruff Rhys (of the Super Furry Animals) on his 2007 solo UK tour. She appeared as a guest vocalist on Neon Neon's 2008 single "I Lust U" from their album Stainless Style. Under her original name she provided backing vocals on Richard James's debut solo album The Seven Sleepers Den in 2006. She also appeared on his second solo album, We Went Riding, from 2010.
Her first official release was a Welsh language EP, Edrych yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg ("Looking in the Eyes of a Borrowed Horse", similar to the English expression "to look a gift horse in the mouth"), on Peski Records in 2008. She also self-released the double A-side debut single "No One Can Drag Me Down" / "Disappear" (described by Gruff Rhys as "Bobbie Gentry and Nico fight over a Casio keyboard; melody wins!") on her website. Le Bon worked alongside Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's Megan Childs, who contributed violin, and Super Furry Animals and Thrills collaborator John Thomas, who added pedal steel.
Her debut album, Me Oh My was released in 2009, followed by Cyrk and the Cyrk II EP in 2012.
In January 2013, Le Bon moved to Los Angeles to further her career in the US.[non-primary source needed] Her third album, Mug Museum, was released November 2013. It was produced by Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick in Los Angeles, and featured Stephen Black (bass) and Huw Evans (guitar). During that year, she provided guest vocals on two albums: the track "Slow Train" from Kevin Morby's debut album Harlem River and "4 Lonely Roads" from Manic Street Preachers's album Rewind the Film.
Le Bon released her fourth studio album, Crab Day, on 15 April 2016 on Drag City to generally favourable reviews. The album was produced by Josiah Steinbrick and Noah Georgeson, and again featured Stephen Black (bass) and Huw Evans (guitar), with Stella Mozgawa (drums). She noted how the collaboration with Presley had made her realise "that I make music because I love to, not because I have to". On tour she was supported by Black and Evans and on occasion by Steinbrick and Josh Klinghoffer, a five-piece that also performs instrumental improvisations under the name BANANA.
In January 2017, Le Bon released the four-track EP Rock Pool via Drag City. It includes her version of the track "I Just Want to Be Good" which she wrote for Sweet Baboo's 2015 album The Boombox Ballads. In the same month Leaving Records released Live by BANANA, recorded live during the band's 2016 tour  and Le Bon remixed Eleanor Friedberger's song "Are We Good?" from the album Rebound (2018).
In 2018, Le Bon signed with Brooklyn based record label Mexican Summer (Ariel Pink, Jessica Pratt, Connan Mockasin). That same year, she joined John Cale of the Velvet Underground onstage at the Barbican Centre with the London Contemporary Orchestra.
Le Bon released her fifth studio album, Reward via Mexican Summer on 24 May 2019. It was followed by her sixth full-length studio album, Pompeii, on 4 February 2022, again via Mexican Summer. Le Bon began working on Pompeii during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales.
Le Bon's producer credits include: John Grant - Boy from Michigan, H. Hawkline - In the Pink of Condition, Tim Presley - The WiNK, H. Hawkline - I Romantasize, Alex Dingley - Beat the Babble, Josiah Steinbrick - Meeting of Waters, Deerhunter - Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?
Critic Laura Snapes described Le Bon as "a ringleader who's prepared to stake out uncertain territory. Le Bon always keeps you guessing, making the old traditions of guitar-oriented rock feel arbitrary, too. Her nervy assessments of the world are filled with equal parts suspense and heart, and beautifully zany riffs, where the feeling of being frayed by uncertainty comes together into a strangely comforting patchwork." In an interview with Pitchfork, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco stated that Le Bon was "one of the best out there making music now." Describing her sound, he said "it's really rare for people to have a specific sound anymore, but I can always tell when it's her playing guitar. Whenever I try to figure out her guitar parts, they’re way harder than they sound."
- Me Oh My (Irony Bored, 2009)
- Cyrk (The Control Group, 2012)
- Mug Museum (Turnstile / Wichita, 2013)
- Crab Day (Turnstile / Drag City, 2016)
- Reward (Mexican Summer, 2019)
- Pompeii (Mexican Summer, 2022)
- Hermits on Holiday (Heavenly Recordings, 2015)
- Hippo Lite (Drag City, 2018)
- Edrych yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg (Peski Records, 2008)
- Cyrk II (Turnstile, 2012)
- Rock Pool (Drag City, 2017)
- Myths 004 (with Bradford Cox) (Mexican Summer, 2019)
- Here It Comes Again (with Group Listening) (Mexican Summer, 2019)
- "No One Can Drag Me Down / Disappear" (self-released, 2007)
- "I Can't Help You" (Turnstile, 2014)
- "He's Leaving / Solitude" (Turnstile, 2014)
- "Cate Timothy Director Profile". Endole. 5 October 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Sabrina Sweeney (18 August 2014). "Cate Le Bon: Living for the music". BBC News. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- Nash, Ed (4 August 2016). "Cate Le Bon: Something Changed". Thelineofbestfit.com. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- "Peski About Cate Le Bon". Peski Records. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015.
- "Gruff Rhys collaborator readies debut release". NME. 3 April 2007.
- "Cate Le Bon on Twitter: "@husharbors moving to LA for a wee while at the end of Jan! blwyddyn newydd dda! X"". Twitter. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Bob Boilen (18 May 2015). "Song Premiere: DRINKS, 'Hermits on Holiday'". NPR.
- Crab Day by Cate Le Bon, Metacritic, retrieved 4 August 2016
- Mejia, Paula (16 April 2016). "'The World Is Absolute Nonsense': The Cosmic Quest of Cate Le Bon". NPR Music.
- Nash, Ed (17 March 2016). "Now that's what I call a Supergroup: Cate Le Bon and Banana live in London". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- "Drag City – Cate Le Bon – Rock Pool". Drag City. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- "Live – Leaving Records Bandcamp". Leavingrecords.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- Blais-Billie, Braudie (20 March 2019). "Cate Le Bon Announces New Album Reward, Shares Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
- Power, Ed (29 January 2022). "Cate Le Bon was stranded in Wales so she made a lockdown album". The Irish Times.
- Kayeon, Ben (30 June 2016). "White Fence's Tim Presley announces new solo album, shares "Clue" – listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- Snapes, Lauras (15 April 2016). "Cate Le Bon - "Crab Day"". Pitchfork.com.
- "The Music That Made Wilco's Jeff Tweedy". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Minsker, Evan (24 September 2019). "Cate Le Bon and Deerhunter's Bradford Cox Announce New EP, Share Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 September 2019.