ABOUT

"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

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 (Norah Jones, Elysian Fields), and guitarist Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, Sexmob, Feist, Lounge Lizards).

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.

Michelle Casillas worked as a sound engineer in the late 1990s and early 2000s at Tonic, the now-defunct home of New York's experimental music scene. She ran sound for Kim Gordon, Cecil Taylor, Marc Ribot and other cutting edge artists.  As an artist, she sang on the scores of two films by Elliott Sharp. These days, Casillas can be found on stage playing keyboards for Jesse Malin and other local artists, but her main outlet is singing and performing in her own band, Ursa Minor. 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.   

Reviews

"At the Bowery Electric tonight, Ursa Minor showed noteworthy imagination. The set was grounded in Casillas' clever lyrics, soft melodies and fragile vocals. The songs often became suites, however, rock songs with subtle jazz dynamics that introduced odd time signatures, surprising bridges and experimental arrangements. Guitarist Tony Scherr injected warm, ethereal blasts for dramatic effect. The songs featured skittering interplay between the musicians. The four improvisers intriguingly blended singer-songwriter folk and experimental jazz with haunting indie rock for a thoroughly buoyant mix." -Manhattan Beat 

“Casillas [wields] a sensuously fragile inflexion and phrasing… lilting from yearning highs to crooning lows almost instantaneously.”-Movment Magazine

“She hits her notes effortlessly, sometimes giving them a full oboe-like resonance and at other times skittering over them like a hipster flute.” –Splendid Magazine

“Bold and original” -All Music Guide

"Warm works of natural beauty…appealingly tousled... the kind of voice you would follow anywhere"-Splendid Magazine