Review & Track Premiere: Brume, Rabbits

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brume rabbits

[Click play above to stream ‘Scurry’ by Brume. Rabbits is out Nov. 22 on Magnetic Eye Records.]

There are few if any moments in the lifespan of a band more exciting than when the potential they’ve shown early on comes to its moment of realization, and that is precisely where Rabbits finds San Francisco three-piece Brume. The five-track/43-minute label debut for Magnetic Eye Records follows their earlier-2019 split with Witch Ripper (review here) and answers the call put out by their 2017 full-length debut, Rooster (review here), as well as the 2015 12″ EP, Donkey (discussed here). It reaches toward new levels of atmospheric accomplishment, taking lessons from SubRosa on the quiet unfolding of opener “Despondence,” Uzala on the piano-and-string-laden centerpiece “Blue Jay,” mid-period Kylesa in the duet vocals of the penultimate “Lament” and Neurosis‘ landmark “Stones From the Sky” in the ending of closer “Autocrat’s Fool” without ever losing its sense of self. The three-piece of vocalist/bassist Susie McMullan, guitarist/vocalist Jamie McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis recorded with Billy Anderson (Acid KingSleepNeurosis, so many others), and their mission seems to have been to capture a sound somewhere between consciousness and a dream-state, to find that place that is aware enough to understand that it is not awake but still doesn’t completely wake up. I’m tempted to call it lucid dreaming, if only for how in control Brume seem to be of their approach within this ambient sprawl, but that shouldn’t be taken as saying that what they’re doing comes across as some kind of sham, because it doesn’t. Rather, whatever familiar aspects one might stumble upon in the nuance of Rabbits or in a given riff, the primary impression the trio make is individualized and clearly only growing more so.

Of course, this is an ideal, but as one listens to McMullan‘s commanding voice in the YOBby melodic triumph of the chorus to second cut “Scurry” with McCathie in a backing role only to come to prominence himself in a quieter post-solo midsection, Rabbits makes a clear argument for the difference between internalizing an influence and acting off it and simply aping the work of others. They do the former, if I haven’t made that plain, following a linear path across two pairs of longer tracks split by the shorter “Blue Jay,” that only grows more hypnotic as it progresses from one section to the other. This too is a classic notion, that a full-length should unfurl itself like a journey and become more immersive as it takes its outward course from song to song, but saying that does little to convey the work that “Despondence” and “Scurry” — and I suppose “Blue Jay” as well — do in setting up the complementary trance-induction that comes with “Lament” and “Autocrat’s Fool.” And it’s not a radical change in running time, either. The first two cuts are a little over eight minutes apiece and the final two are just under 11 and 10, respectively. It’s not like they’re going from three-minute songs to 20-minute songs. But there’s a definite shift that takes place from one movement to the other nonetheless. It may just be a question of the patience and tempo of delivery, but it makes the overarching progression of Rabbits all the more engaging.

brume

That setup begins with the sparse guitar that opens “Despondence,” a soothing melancholy drift greeted by ethereal echoes as a bed for McMullan‘s voice, and it’s not until after three minutes in that the heavier push kicks in with drums, bass and a burst of volume that then plays through a series of back-and-forths, resolving itself in a weighted melodic wash as the vocals move to the front of the mix heading into the chorus at the song’s midpoint. This progression is fluid in itself and in the whole-LP groove it sets forth, and the effect that quiet beginning has is ongoing, both as a showcase of Brume‘s dynamic sound and as a direct lead-in for the rolling “Scurry,” which gets underway with more immediacy but still keeps some sense of the ambience of its predecessor as it does so, its hook more prevalent and a highlight of the album and the band’s career to-date. Specifically it seems to take influence from YOB‘s “Marrow,” but the sweep of McMullan‘s singing and McCathie‘s guitar is more than enough to pull that off in style and substance alike, and the emotion behind it feels nothing if not sincere. With McCathie‘s backing vocals positioned deeper in the mix, there’s all the more a sense of breadth to what’s still a prevalent forward push thanks to Perkins-Lewis‘ drumming, building through the verses only to open wider during the two choruses before guitar, bass and drums drop out to what would seem to be piano/keyboard with McCathie‘s voice in standalone fashion for a moment before the soaring lead takes hold en route to a more direct McMullan/McCathie duet that is a suitable payoff and then some.

With “Blue Jay” as the key moment of transition, there’s the threat that its own substance might be lost in the proceedings, especially as it’s shorter at just 5:46, but the arrangement takes care of that handily. It is, instead, another high point for Brume and, one hopes, something they continue to build on as they go forward from here — one could easily say the same of Rabbits as a whole. “Lament,” by contrast as the longest track, echoes the beginning of “Despondence” but is less stark in its own turns of volume and instead holds its swaying motion for seven of its 11 minutes before its full heft takes shape, again around a well-wielded vocal duet. If this is the direction Brume intend to follow, it is only to the fortune of anyone who might do likewise and will only see their personality as a band come further forward. The closing statement of “Autocrat’s Fool” plays severity off ambience off harmonies on the way to what seems to be a quiet finish until the aforementioned “Stones From the Sky” moment — all the more interesting since I wouldn’t necessarily call Brume post-metal, which is where one usually finds such things — kicks in to cap off, indeed cutting itself short mid-measure at the end. It’s a moment that underscores the message of the album as an entire work in that it sees Brume recast a familiar element or stylistic aspect toward their own purposes. Make no mistake, whatever Brume have done or will do, this is a special moment for this band. It sets up some lofty expectations for their next outing, to be sure, but most importantly, it establishes them as more than up to the challenge of creative evolution and expression.

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Caustic Casanova November Tour Starts This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

caustic casanova

It was by fun coincidence that the press release blowing up the dates for Caustic Casanova‘s November tour happened to come down the PR wire while I was waiting for the band to take the stage this past Saturday at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn for Magnetic Eye RecordsDay of Doom (review here). But as the central thesis of that portion of the longer writeup concerning the D.C. four-piece was basically, “duh, go see them because they’re good,” it seemed only fair to put up or shut up and post the dates again whereby that might actually happen, at least for some people in the right place at the right time.

This isn’t the first tour Caustic Casanova are doing to support their new album, God How I Envy the Deaf, and it seems incredibly unlikely it will be the last. I have little doubt that the best advice I can give as regards the band — see: “duh,” etc., above — will apply to their next tour as well. Go go go. They certainly do.

Dates from the well-timed PR wire:

caustic casanova nov tour

CAUSTIC CASANOVA TO BEGIN TOUR ON NOVEMBER 8TH

Washington DC rockers Caustic Casanova are excited to announce “God How I Envy This Tour,” a run of dates in November that will take them from Brooklyn to Texas. Starting on November 2nd at legendary Williamsburg venue Saint Vitus with Magnetic Eye’s Day of Doom showcase, the band will travel through Virginia, the Carolinas, Florida, and Lousiana on their way to three final stops in the Lone Star State.

All dates will be in support of their recently released album God How I Envy The Deaf.

Tour Dates
Nov. 2 – Brooklyn, NY (Magnetic Eye Day of Doom Festival) @ Saint Vitus
Nov. 8 – Richmond, VA @Wonderland
Nov. 9 – Greensboro, NC @Flat Iron
Nov. 10 – Wilmington, NC @Gravity Records
Nov. 11 – Raleigh, NC @Slims
Nov. 12 – Charleston, SC @The Royal American
Nov. 14 – St. Augustine, FL @Shanghai Nobby’s
Nov. 15 – Gainesville, FL @Loosey’s
Nov. 16 – St. Petersburg, FL @The Bends
Nov. 17 – Pompano Beach, FL @Lozer Lounge
Nov. 18 – Orlando, FL @Wills Pub
Nov. 20 – New Orleans, LA @Carnaval Lounge
Nov. 21 – San Antonio, TX @Hi-Tones
Nov. 22 – Denton, TX @Backyard on Bell Block Party III
Nov. 23 – Fort Worth, TX @Lola’s Trailer Park Bar

http://causticcasanova.com/
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Caustic Casanova, God How I Envy the Deaf (2019)

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Live Review: Magnetic Eye Records Day of Doom in Brooklyn, 11.02.19

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

magnetic eye records day of doom poster

Before the Show

Well, don’t tell anybody, but the dude sitting at the end of the bar DJ’ing is me. Actually, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I don’t care if you tell anybody. At this point, I know most of the seven or eight people in this room right now. But I made a playlist, edited it together so it all plays as one track, and it’s three hours long — like the old podcasts, including a really long song or two along the way — but that’s going, so as far as I’m concerned, sitting here on my laptop is why they asked me to come early. The rest is kind of just waiting around, so at least this way I can look like I’m doing something.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing the review while the show is happening — I’m not committing to posting any of it live, since I’ve never done photos on this machine before when I’m actually in a hurry — but it’s 15-minute breaks between bands, DAY OF DOOM SCHEDULEso it’s going to depend on how I can time it either way. The important thing? That I stress out about it. Obviously.

And oh yeah, I included Earthride on my playlist specifically with the Saint Vitus Bar in mind, because they often play them between bands. My nod to the room. No one cares, but I wouldn’t expect otherwise, so there it is.

This is the Magnetic Eye Records Day of Doom, a nine-band label showcase that will go from at least now — coming on 1:30 — to 10:30 tonight, so yes, a full day of doom, as it were. At very least, if today had a quota of heavy, I suspect it’ll be filled by the end of it and then some.

But we enter now the sit-tight portion of the afternoon, so that’s my plan. Will check in with more either during or after it’s all over.

During the Show

These Beasts

these beasts (photo by jj koczan)

One would not accuse Magnetic Eye Records of easing into the day with These Beasts. Rather, the Chicago three-piece are at this very moment bludgeoning a Vitus Bar live room with an ultra-aggro, thickened noise rock that’s only sense of letting up is in letting up on the letup. By which I mean there is none. It’s somewhat awkward to be sitting here while they’re playing and admit I don’t know their self-titled LP, released earlier this year, but they’re showing me the error of my ways in pummeling fashion. Can hear punk roots coming through amid the intertwining screams and shouts, but there’s a definite heft to the tone and some vocal echo adds atmosphere to go with all that heads-down force. But there’s plenty of that too and it’s the sheer physicality of what they’re playing that’s letting them pull in such an early crowd. To wit, I’m one of like three people in the back bar right now and I’m about to head back in. Clearly they’re doing something right in there.

Leather Lung

Leather Lung (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s been weeks, not months, not years — more than days, though — since I last saw Boston’s Leather Lung. Last time? Dudes brought stoner-sludge chicanery to Ode to Doom in Manhattan (review here). This time? The location has changed, but the mission not so much. Vocalist Mike Vickers has had the cast taken off his arm and judging by his onstage mosh-shuffle, all seems to be in good working order, so that’s my official medical checkup, but beyond that, they’re bringing a groove that’s plenty fresh in my memory; sludge played from the heart via the crotch that makes no bones about where it’s coming from — Boston — and no bones about its affection for all manner of inebriating. Their groove has this toughguy edge to it that I can’t quite put my finger on and couldn’t last time either, but I don’t think these dudes want to fight so much as they want to get fucked up and play riffs. Like I said, the mission hasn’t changed much since I last saw them. I’ll check back on them in a bit and hope for no more busted limbs from them or anyone else in attendance, for that matter. “It’s all fun and games, until,” and so on.

High Priest

High Priest (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Chicago’s High Priest issued their Sanctum EP (review here) earlier this year and it was kind of a sleeper, but they were high (pun like 25 percent intended) among my list of anticipated acts for the day. Nothing too complex, but they roll out big-time riffs and dig into some hazy vibes and especially after the nasty nasty nastiness that was These Beasts and Leather Lung back to back, they’re a chance to show off some of the stylistic breadth on Magnetic Eye‘s roster. The kind of label as likely to redux Pink Floyd as Helmet, you know. They’d be a fitting complement to a tour with Elephant Tree, if we’re doing label pairings, but I guess probably there needs to be an album out before one starts nailing down dates. We’re in November now, so kind of fair to look back on some of the year’s highlights, and seeing High Priest live for the first time is a reminder of just how much I dug those tunes this past Spring. I’m apparently learning stuff all over the place today. Fun and educational! They also finished by dissolving into a total wash of noise that was affecting and psychedelic in kind. A pleasure to watch. Can’t say it plainer than that.

Caustic Casanova

Caustic Casanova (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Of the nine bands on this bill, I’m pretty sure Caustic Casanova win the prize for having the most recent release. Their new record, God How I Envy the Deaf, came out on Oct. 18 as their first through Magnetic Eye and they’re playing Vitus Bar as a precursor to hitting the road on the next of their seemingly endless string of tours. This is also the first time I’m seeing them as the four-piece of drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker, bassist/vocalist Francis Beringer, and guitarists Andrew Yonki and Jake Kimberley, the last of whom is a new recruit. For a band on the road as much as they are, I have to imagine finding someone to mesh with wasn’t easy — Caustic Casanova‘s particular take on melodic heavy rock is a big-time beneficiary of the chemistry they’ve built through touring — but they did it, and the match extends to onstage energy, to be sure. How many bands could cover “Wicked World” and make it sound believable? Caustic Casanova played it like they wrote it, and their original material was no less vital. I’ll make it easy: this is a band you should see. They make it even easier by touring their collective ass off, but even if they didn’t, they’d be worth the effort of showing up when possible. Magnetic Eye made a good-ass pickup when they signed them.

Ghastly Sound

Ghastly Sound (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Rivaling Caustic Casanova in the running for most-recent-outing is Vermont trio Ghastly Sound, whose debut full-length, Have a Nice Day, dropped like a sarcastic anvil in September. This was my first time seeing the three-piece, but it’s worth noting they primo position on the bill they’ve received, and I’ll admit that because of that alone, my expectations were high before they went on. Is this the part where I say the band slaughtered those expectations outright, blah blah blah dominance, blah blah blah heavy band destroys minds reaps souls and all the rest? Well, my mind feels pretty destroyed and if I ever had a soul — nope — it’s long gone, but yeah, they delivered in a big spot, taking crossover-style hardcore and leaving the guitar at home, adding melody through vocal effects and reviving a bit of the aggression from earlier in the day. The way they were set up on the Saint Vitus Bar stage made me think there was a guitarist somewhere missing in the building, but nope, and it turned out they didn’t need one, though one hesitates to say such things on a day that has featured thus far and will continue to feature so much choice riffing. A little — or a lot, as in this case — of rumble goes a long way. Also with the shouting and the being really loud. No question the pressure was on, and I know their record was a while in coming, but if I didn’t know they’d just released their debut, I’d say they’d been around much longer.

Horsehunter

Horsehunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Okay. Putting together a nine-band bill? Pretty impressive. Doing so and bringing in bands from the UK and Europe? Even more impressive. Doing so and bringing a band from Australia? And that band is Horsehunter? Who I don’t think are really even together at this point? Yeah, that’s some next level shit. The Aus megasludge four-piece put out their self-titled second album (discussed here) and swansong earlier this year — like, earlier than September — and had already been busted up for two years. Should they be broken up? No, they should not. Even if one could manage to put aside the context of seeing them play even just for 45 minutes as being a total once-in-a-lifetime experience, a group of the Melbourne four-piece’s destructive potential should continue to exist. If they were the only band playing today, it would still be a Day of Doom, and in volume and viscosity alike, they’re on a plane of their own amid this lineup. I don’t know what the future might hold for them, as members have already moved onto different projects, but I have to think that if a band is willing to get together and travel to the other side of the planet to play essentially a one-off gig, they’d have to feel motivated to maybe follow that up with something? Or maybe this would be a pinnacle anyway? I don’t know. Either way, it’s clearly a special moment for all involved parties — those in attendance, those playing, and the Magnetic Eye crew, who believed in them enough to release the record even though they were done — and I’m lucky to have been here for it. Biggest big rock finish of the day as well, so bonus points there, as if they needed them.

Domkraft

Domkraft (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This is my second time seeing Sweden’s Domkraft after being fortunate enough to catch them about 13 months ago in Oslo, Norway, at Høstsabbat (review here). They were at that point heralding the release of their second album, Flood (review here), and as they got ready to go on just now I thought back fondly to the positive impression they made that day, blending noise rock, sludge and an almost post-metallic kind of ambience. That’s a fun little narrative, right? Sure it is. Lost in that, however, is the rhythmic undulation of that nod, but man, when they decide to lock that in — and they don’t always, because they’re not a do-one-thing kind of band — they are hypnotic. They had their work cut out for them in following Horsehunter, as anyone would, but guitarist Martin Widholm, bassist/vocalist Martin Wegeland and drummer Anders Dahlgren captured a feeling of spaciousness that seemed to take all the crush of the mighty performance before them and taffy-pull it into a headier, spacier reach, still deeply weighted, still giving that feeling of surrounding you while you’re standing there in front of it, but at the same time extending outward beyond you, beyond the room — maybe just beyond, period. They’ve been to the States before, having played Psycho Las Vegas, and I guess you could count the show they did last night in Jersey with Solace too, but they feel like a band who are really stepping into themselves, and the identity they’re finding as a part of that process suits them. I’m already looking forward to their next record, and far be it from me to tell you how to live your life, but you probably should be too.

Summoner

Summoner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If you know anything about Magnetic Eye Records, or label founder Mike Vitali (also Black Electric, Ironweed, ex-Greatdayforup, etc.), it’s probably that the label frickin’ loves Boston’s Summoner. I’ve seen them live a handful of times over the years, certainly dug the crap out of 2017’s Beyond the Realms of Light (review here) as I have their material since their days a decade ago operating as Riff Cannon — a name they quickly outgrew and were smart enough to realize it, even though it was a cool moniker to have — and it’s hard to argue. I knew accordingly what to expect going into their set, at least to a degree, but with the recent change that brought Worshipper‘s Dave Jarvis to the lineup on drums — I’m not sure if it’s a permanent or temporary thing; dude was sitting next to me like 15 minutes ago, I should’ve asked — there was an added sense of intrigue to seeing them for what was the first time in a while anyway. However, part of knowing what Summoner do is knowing they do it pro-shop, and as their slot found them positioned right before Elephant Tree at the end of the show, they had an occasion to rise to and they rose to it accordingly, Jarvis sliding right in alongside bassist/vocalist Chris Johnson and guitarists A.J. Peters and Joe Richner, on familiar material while still bringing some of his own swing to it. You won’t hear me disparage the work of Summoner as they were, but if they’re indeed pressing on in this configuration, they’ll be just fine. When Johnson stops smiling on stage, I’ll worry. Didn’t happen at Day of Doom, even after the strap of his bass broke and he had to finish the song with it resting on his knee. That was like two songs in, maybe? No loss of momentum. Pro-shop, front to back.

Elephant Tree

Elephant Tree (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Elephant Tree‘s second full-length, which will actually be released by Holy Roar Records at least in the UK — I admit there might be some regional deal worked out with Magnetic Eye that I don’t know about — is reportedly in the mastering stage. At least, that’s what they told me and I’m not sure what would be their motive for lying about it. Last I heard were a couple rough mixes, but that was a while ago, and I’m all-the-way-serious when I tell you that I can’t think of another record that’s been announced for 2020 that I’m anticipating more. The Londoners’ 2016 self-titled debut (review here) has lost none of its appeal for the subsequent three years — just ask Sister Rainbow, who flew from the UK for this show basically just to see them for what I understand is at least the 48th time — and with the progression I heard evident in their performance (again) at Høstsabbat 2018 (review here) and those rough versions, yeah, I feel justified in my high hopes. It wouldn’t have made sense for them to come to Brooklyn and play only new stuff, but as noted, even the cuts from their self-titled were welcome. The fact that even after such a full show they were given a complete hour for their set should tell you something, and basically it should tell you they’re a band just waiting for your loyalty. See them 49 times? Well, I’m up to at least three now and I feel like that’s barely worth calling a start. Also of note, they’re a four-piece now, with John Slattery on guitar and keys and vocals joining the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jack Townley, bassist/vocalist Peter Holland (of the green strings) and drummer Sam Hart, so that’s all the more of an occasion for their primo stage banter. They’ve just hit into “Aphotic Blues,” if you’ll excuse me… Yeah, that’s an earplugs-out moment not to be missed. And to have them then follow it by bringing album-engineer/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/he’s-kinda-in-the-band-but-not-really-anymore-except-I-guess-sometimes-like-tonight Riley “The Wizard” MacIntyre on stage first to scream like mad, then to take over Townley‘s guitar for “Wither” only highlighted how incredible this day has been. What a trip. It’s not over. I mean, it’s mostly over, but they’ve got about 10 minutes left, so I’m going to stow the computer and get back to what’s important and get up front for the end, which is where it feels like I should be.

After the Show

Just past 12:30AM. I left the Saint Vitus Bar at I guess around 10:45PM and got back here a little bit ago, cursing the name of the tech giant whose mappery failed yet again to take into account Lincoln Tunnel traffic in its calculations. Next time, I take the FDR unless it’s visibly on fire.

Elephant Tree finished with their slowed-down take on Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” which given the Brooklyn setting found Holland’s gruffer vocal reminding all the more of Peter Steele from Type O Negative (green strings may have been a factor there as well), and followed that with a new song called “Bird,” the harmonies of which are particularly gorgeous and lush seeming. Mike Vitali Magnetic Eye Records (Photo by JJ Koczan)I can’t wait to hear that album.

Basically I’m keying down from the show, and there was a lot of show to key up. Kind of striking how even the bands whose sounds had common elements were able to stand themselves apart. That was true the whole time. And I stayed the whole time. And I wound up running the playlist the whole time as well, at least until Elephant Tree were done. So I guess that’s a thing. I DJed the show. Wasn’t planned, but I was plugged in and using my laptop anyway, so there you have it. I dug the tunes, anyway. Hopefully I wasn’t the only one.

Thanks to Mike Vitali and to Jadd Shickler for having me on board for that and for putting the thing together generally. This was a pretty astounding feat when it comes to coordination, and those efforts on their behalf were deeply appreciated. Vitali got on stage before Horsehunter went on to thank everybody and it was plain to see it was an emotional night for him as well. It would have to be, frankly.

Thanks to the bands, to everyone who said hi and/or nice things, and thanks to you for reading. Most of all, thanks to The Patient Mrs., who made my being there possible, and who makes pretty much everything that’s possible possible.

Now off to bed.

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Brume Set Nov. 22 Release for Rabbits

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brume

The only question when Brume signed to Magnetic Eye Records in March for the release of their second album, Rabbits, was whether or not said record would be out before the end of this year. The answer is yes. And not saying I’m listening right now for the first time or anything, but the record’s gorgeous. Atmospheric in new ways for the band, and the high drama of centerpiece “Blue Jay” kind of blows the doors down from what you might expect a San Fran doom band to be doing on their sophomore LP. Billy Anderson recording never hurts, and the mood in that piece and elsewhere on the LP is something that will very obviously require more than a cursory airing to more fully appreciate. But the first impression — not that I’m listening right now, I’ll say again — is that those subsequent airings will indeed take place. Possibly right after this one is done.

I’ll hope to have more before Nov. 22.

From the PR wire:

brume rabbits

San Francisco’s BRUME Present Hauntingly Beautiful New Full-Length RABBITS Nov. 22

album explores soft and pummeling atmospherics

Riding the momentum of the past several years, spellbinding San Francisco doom trio BRUME are preparing to release their new album, Rabbits, coming November 22nd from Magnetic Eye Records. Their first for the label, it follows the band’s critically-acclaimed Donkey and Rooster releases, as well as their split with Seattle’s Witch Ripper earlier this year, indicating that BRUME are pushing forward as fast as their creativity allows.

Sabbathian sensibility is a must for any band worth their weight in doom, but when combined with a strong penchant for acts like Portishead and Bjork, BRUME are a graceful leader among the skull-crushing pack.

In 2014, they made their mark with debut EP Donkey, a sorrowful slow-burner drenched in reverb and wrought with patient mourning. Rooster saw them plunge deeper into the study of duality between harsh distortion and the soaring refrains of frontwoman Susie McMullan’s stunning vocals. “Our music is non-fiction; a time stamped truth,” she said, but the band’s creative drive contains a timelessness not quickly forgotten among the sea of contenders in doom metal.

New album Rabbits continues this theme, exposing a tight-knit crew at their most creatively expansive who’ve erected a monumental piece to capture and soothe the mind during this tumultuous cultural era. Tracks like “Lament” showcase a masterful grasp on tension-building and release; it’s a hypnotic lullaby and explosion in one, stretched over a singular sonic experience.

BRUME have absorbed the experience of playing prestigious stages at Desertfest London and opening for High On Fire in Europe, and are now ready to take on a bigger role than ever in the heavy underground with the release of Rabbits.

Brume
Susie McMullan: Vocals/Bass
Jamie McCathie: Guitar/Vocals
Jordan Perkins-Lewis: Drums

https://www.brumeband.com/
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Brume, “Man-Made” official video

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Black Electric Debut Album Due on Vinyl Nov. 17; Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black electric

So, maybe it’s not a surprise that Black Electric are releasing their debut album on CD and LP through Magnetic Eye Records this Nov., and less so when you consider that Mike Vitali, who handles multiple instruments as well as vocals on the offering — which the band put out digitally last month — is also the honcho behind the label. At that point, why go anywhere else?

Vitali has a live incarnation of the band playing shows now — two are booked for this weekend in Albany, New York, for example — and reportedly there’s already more new stuff in the works, so I’ll be curious to know which version of the band ultimately wins out, or if one does at all and there isn’t just a live version and a studio version going forward. That’d be kind of interesting too. Don’t see a lot of that kind of thing these days.

Did you catch the part where I said the album’s been out for a month? Cool, because I wouldn’t want you to miss it streaming at the bottom of the post. I know how easy it is to get to the links and begone. Here’s info from the PR wire before you get there:

Black Electric Black Electric

BLACK ELECTRIC Strips Rock Down to its Essence on Self-Titled Debut

Albany heavy blues rockers BLACK ELECTRIC have emerged with a stripped-down, hook-centric debut that’s as catchy as it is understated.

The creation of multi-instrumentalist Mike Vitali, Black Electric’s music has a bit in common with his previous bands, but draws far more from the intersection of traditional blues and early 70s dive bar rock ‘n roll.

With boundary-pushng and heavily distorted past projects like Ajna Chakra, Ironweed and Greatdayforup to his credit, Vitali spent several years building taste-maker independent label Magnetic Eye Records, which (of course) inevitably demanded much of the attention he’d once devoted to music.

So, in 2018, when he returned some of his energy to writing and playing, it was with a new shift in perspective. Vitali explains:

“Growing up next door to longtime Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto and getting to know him, I learned that, at the end of the day, music is really all about the song. My other bands were always about everyone sharing the creative input and writing process each step of the way, but with Black Electric, I wanted to create material that’s singularly-focused on delivering the songs and hooks as concisely as possible.”

Re-emerging as a musician after years on the business side of rock has produced a new energy and passion for playing and performing that are evident on the Black Electric debut album.

With a full band assembled in the wake of completing the album with noted Saratoga engineer/producer David Tyo, Vitali and his cohorts have already undertaken their first live outings, with more to come and work already commencing on the band’s next studio release.

Upcoming Black Electric shows:
Sat Sept. 21 at Lark Fest, Albany, NY
Sun Sept. 22 at Pauly’s Hotel, Albany, NY (with High Reeper)

Black Electric is available now digitally on all streaming and download outlets including their Bandcamp, with physical formats forthcoming from Magnetic Eye Records.

Produced and engineered by David Tyo at Tyo Mixes
Mike Vitali – Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Electric Piano
David Tyo – Drums, Percussion and Vocals
Mike Langone – Vocals track 5 ‘Fade Along’

Black Electric live is Mike Vitali / Mike Langone / George Lipscom / Zack Cohen / Stew Overocker

https://www.facebook.com/BlackElectric666/
https://theblackelectric.bandcamp.com
http://store.merhq.com
http://magneticeyerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Black Electric, Black Electric (2019)

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Caustic Casanova Premiere “Fancy English”; God How I Envy the Deaf out Oct. 18

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

caustic casanova

Washington D.C. heavy prog noise rockers — that’s right — Caustic Casanova will release their new album, God How I Envy the Deaf, through Magnetic Eye Records on Oct. 18. On Nov. 2, they’ll also play the label’s Day of Doom label showcase at Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar, and thereafter take off on the latest their ongoing string of tours. That tour follows, wait for it, several others the now-four-piece have conducted thus far this year, and the album goes in some way toward explaining the intangible aspects of their sound.

To wit, just about no one who listens to Caustic Casanova knows what to make of them. Right? Did you see the part above when I called them “heavy prog noise rockers?” What the hell does that even mean? Are they that? Are they heavy college rock indie? Are they hard alternative? Semi-grown-up punk? Depends which song you listen to, really — and their sound encompasses all of it — but with God How I Envy the Deaf, it becomes a little clearer why. It’s the D.C. in them. This is the town that produced Funkadelic and Minor Threat. It’s not a place where artists have felt compelled to follow the rules about where genre lines are meant to reside, and so if Caustic Casanova sound just as comfortable in the psychedelic post-thrash of “Memory King” as they do balancing crunch riffs against dual-vocals and airy post-rock leads in “Truth Syrup,” it seems only appropriate to look at where they’re coming from as part of the reason behind that.

Well, that and they’re obviously a buncha weirdos.

Go get ’em, weirdos!

Comprising nine tracks in 50 gonna-be-reviewed-by-me-sooner-or-later minutes, God How I Envy the Deaf is led off by “Fancy English,” the premiere of which you can stream below. Take a second, get your brain in order, and dig in:

Caustic Casanova God How I Envy the Deaf

CAUSTIC CASANOVA Return with Exultant New Album GOD HOW I ENVY THE DEAF

New album of angular heavy rock anthems from hard-touring D.C. genre-benders arrives October 18th

Relentless road-dogs CAUSTIC CASANOVA will release their new album, God How I Envy The Deaf, this October via Magnetic Eye Records. The record lands after a nearly two-month cross-country tour and only weeks prior to another trek in support of the confident collection of singable riff-punk anthems, establishing yet again that this band won’t be held to any sort of predictable musical path nor many nights sleeping in their own beds.

Since forming as teenagers at the College of William & Mary in 2005, Caustic Casanova have weathered lineup changes and life-threatening injuries while maintaining an aggressive DIY touring ethic, and their eclectic sound has made them a favorite in a crowded scene.

Following drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker’s recovery from wrist injuries that nearly ended her ability to play, the band the band released the critically acclaimed LP Breaks in 2015 on Kylesa’s Retro Futurist Records, as well as a trio of EPs between 2013 and 2018 that paired original songs with classics from Pentagram, the Melvins and Weedeater. This hard work led to nominations for multiple Washington Area Music Awards in 2019, as well as a deal with Magnetic Eye Records to release the much-anticipated new album.

Looking to the future, the band (Zaenker, along with bassist/vocalist Francis Beringer, guitarist Jake Kimberley and guitarist Andrew Yonki) have already begun work on material for their next album. First, though, the road-hardened unit will be showcasing the genre-mashing twists and alchemies of God How I Envy the Deaf across the world, including a slot at Magnetic Eye’s upcoming Day of Doom label showcase this November, with lots more live dates to come.

God How I Envy The Deaf will be released on digital, CD and LP from Magnetic Eye Records on October 18th.

Current Caustic Casanova Live Dates:
9/13 – Shepherstown, WV at Domestic
9/14 – Winooski, VT at Monkey Bar (Ghastly Sound album release)
9/15 – Montreal, QC at Piranha Bar
9/23 – Louisville, KY at Highland Tap Room (w/ Howling Giant)
9/24 – Indianapolis, IN at Healer (w/ Howling Giant)
9/25 – Columbus, OH at Dirty Dungaree’s (w/ Howling Giant)
9/27 – Brooklyn, NY at Gold Sounds (Husbandry album release)
10/19 – Washington DC at Atlas Brew Works (Caustic Casanova album release)
11/2 – Brooklyn, NY at Saint Vitus Bar (Magnetic Eye Records Day of Doom Label Showcase)
11/8 – Richmond, VA
11/9 – Greensboro, NC
11/10 – Wilmington, NC
11/12 – Charleston, SC
11/14 – St. Augustine, FL
11/15 – Gainesville, FL
11/16 – Tampa, FL
11/17 – Miami, FL
11/18 – Orlando, FL
11/20 – New Orleans, LA
11/21 – San Antonio, TX
11/22 – Denton, TX
11/23 – Fort Worth, TX

http://causticcasanova.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CausticCasanova
https://www.instagram.com/CausticCasanova/
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http://magneticeyerecords.com/
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Summoner Part Ways with Drummer Scott Smith; Announce Replacement as Dave Jarvis of Worshipper

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Having seen Boston’s Summoner play a couple of truly kickass sets over the last decade, I can safely say that drummer Scott Smith was a big part of what made them work so well on stage. Smith, a founding member, has left the band and will be replaced by Dave Jarvis, who’ll sit in for his first show with them this weekend in New Bedford, MA. Jarvis of course is best known as the kit-basher and swing-provider in Worshipper, and whatever else you can say about the lineup change, there’s little doubt Summoner picked the right replacement. That’s going to be a fierce lineup.

Summoner have also been sharing bassist/vocalist Chris Johnson with Deafheaven since 2017, as well as with a burgeoning career as a producer, for Worshipper among others.

In addition to the show this weekend, the band will also travel to Brooklyn on Nov. 2 for Magnetic Eye Records‘ showcase The Day of Doom at the Saint Vitus Bar. They’ll play there alongside Horsehunter, Domkraft, Elephant Tree and many others (info here).

Here’s what they had to say about Smith‘s departure:

summoner

It is with great reluctance that we are announcing the departure of one of the most integral parts of Summoner since its inception many years ago. The heavy hitting, driving force behind the band, Scott Smith, has decided to move on and pursue other passions. While this departure is saddening to say the least, the split was amicable and Scott will forever remain one our best friends and biggest influences. As a founding member of Riff Cannon/Summoner and the catalyst that brought us all together Scott’s mark on the band cannot be understated. Over the past 10+ years we’ve had some great times and created music we are all very proud of. Scott, we wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors…..rock on brother!!

While we close this chapter in the Summoner story we are happy to say that we plan to push on. Our good buddy, and honestly the only guy who could come close to filling the hole left by Scott’s departure, Dave Jarvis of the mighty Worshipper has stepped up and agreed to carry the torch forward. We are excited to play our first show with Dave this weekend at The Vault Music Hall & Pub at Greasy Luck in New Bedford!!

Thanks to everyone who has listened and followed us over the years and of course…..

Hail Scott!!

Summoner live:
Sep 07 The Vault Hall @ Greasy Luck New Bedford, MA
Nov 02 Saint Vitus Brooklyn, NY (Magnetic Eye Day of Doom)

https://www.facebook.com/Summonerband/
https://summonerboston.bandcamp.com/
http://store.merhq.com/

Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light (2017)

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Magnetic Eye Records Announces Label Showcase with Horsehunter, Elephant Tree, Domkraft, Summoner & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Clearly, Magnetic Eye Records is not into half-measures. Any label can put together a tribute. When Magnetic Eye does it, it’s two sprawling collections of bands playing homage to landmark albums and artists’ greatest hits. Any label can put together a showcase. When Magnetic Eye does it, they fly in three international acts, from Australia, the UK and Sweden, to round out the bill. Do you have any idea how insane that is?

It’s quite insane.

They’ve got a Kickstarter up now, as they will, and as rewards for backers they’re letting you preorder which set you’d like to have the recorded version of, because of course they’re also recording the sets. Seriously?

To do otherwise would be a half-measure.

They’re calling it ‘The Day of Doom,’ and in addition to HorsehunterElephant Tree, and Domkraft, they’ll have SummonerLeather LungGhastly SoundHigh PriestCaustic Casanova and These Beasts on the bill. Nine bands at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on Nov. 2.

Quite insane. Just enough to work:

magnetic eye showcase banner

MAGNETIC EYE RECORDS presents its first ever live label showcase at the legendary Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn this November 2nd!

Check out the Kickstarter to help us make the Day of Doom truly epic and get in on the exclusive live album releases from MER’s flagship bands.

Sure, it’s summer right now, but have you looked around? Seas are rising, animal populations are shrinking, Scott Stapp has a new album, dogs and cats are living together… it’s mass hysteria.

Not the types to fly in the face of impending Armageddon, Magnetic Eye thought we’d expedite the end times by officially declaring our own DAY OF DOOM on November 2nd of this year as the date of our first-ever live label showcase.

Where?

The Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York. Where the hell else?

Who?

No less than nine crushing Magnetic Eye roster bands, headlined by our four flagship acts that have helped shape and define the core of the MER sound:

Summoner
Horsehunter
Domkraft
Elephant Tree

What does this mean for you?

Two things:

1. If you’re anywhere near the New York area (or even if you’re not), you’re going to want to make the pilgrimage to this show. With our biggest and heaviest acts flying in from all over the world, it’s probably no stretch to say we have no idea when or if this will ever happen again. Tickets will be on sale soon directly via the Saint Vitus Bar, and we’ll of course let you know where to get them.

2. Whether you can make this incredible convergence in person or not, you can share in the experience. Magnetic Eye will be recording the four headline bands at Day of Doom for an exclusive set of live album releases, and you can support helping get the bands here for the event and reserve your live records now by jumping on board the Kickstarter for the project at this location.

Look, we’d love to have all of you there with us. But we know it’s not possible for some to make the trip, and we understand. Hell, it wasn’t possible for most of us to attend Woodstock, but at least we have the soundtrack, right?

Check out our Kickstarter now to lock down your exclusive editions of Elephant Tree, Domkraft, Summoner and Horsehunter Live at the Day of Doom New York. It’s going to be absolutely unforgettable. And thanks to these records, you’ll always remember.

http://store.merhq.com
http://magneticeyerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Leather Lung, Lonesome, On’ry & Evil (2019)

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