Fronted and founded by New York songwriter Michelle Casillas, Ursa Minor has become a mainstay in NYC's indie rock scene. With bassist Rob Jost (Imogen Heap, Wayne Horvitz, Bjork), drummer Robert DiPietro (Elysian Fields, Norah Jones), and guitarist Tony Scherr (Lounge Lizards, Bill Frisell, Sexmob).
Ursa Minor’s debut LP Silent Moving Picture was released by Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, on Smells Like Records; a label known both for championing new artists (like Cat Power and Blonde Redhead), and for releasing comprehensive series of works by Lee Hazelwood, and Sonic Youth. Ursa Minor's second album, Showface, was released in 2011, followed by a limited issue live duo single release (Michelle Casillas and Tony Scherr), Moon Media Sessions in 2014.
Michelle Casillas worked as a sound engineer in the late 1990's and early 2000s at Tonic, the now-defunct home of New York's experimental music scene. As an artist she sang on scores of films by Elliot Sharp, productions by Anton Fier (Golden Palominos, Feelies) and has played keyboards with artists Jesse Malin, Alejandro Escavedo, and Dina Regine, but her main outlet is singing and performing in her own project, Ursa Minor.
Tough and loose, totally incubated.. one of the most flexibly rugged rock rhythm sections in New York -NYTimes
Indie veterans Ursa Minor deliver ultra-melodic guitar rock that combines power-pop hooks, avant-jazz experimentation, and garage-rock energy. The impressively tight ensemble is anchored by clear, powerful vocals by magnetic frontwoman Michelle Casillas—who’s shared the stage with artists from Bruce Springsteen to Norah Jones— set against an intricate backdrop of ornate guitar-work and snarling drums -BAM
The group’s album Silent Moving Picture is one we keep coming back to, finding something new each time -Time Out NY
Ursa Minor blurs the line between folk, jazz, and experimental music, with haunting, spare, even cinematic songs -All Music Guide
Ethereal yet concise... strong melodies... storm cloud through a picture window -Village Voice